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  • Sun, 21 Oct 2018 15:00:00 +0000: Switzerland: a country of dual nationals? - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Every fifth Swiss has dual nationality. In Geneva, it's almost half of the population. Swiss public television, SRF took a closer look at why residents with foreign passports are keen on becoming naturalised. (RTS/swissinfo.ch) This summer, during their winning game against Serbia during the World Cup, Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka, two players on the Swiss national football team, made hand gestures symbolising the double-headed eagle of the Albanian flag. This controversial act launched a wide-reaching debate in Switzerland over dual nationality. In fact, most players on the national team are citizens of two countries - as is every fifth Swiss.  According to figures released by the Federal Statistical Office in September, the dual nationality rate exceeds 20% in the cantons of Zurich, Basel City, Ticino, Vaud and Neuchâtel. The cantons with the lowest proportion of Swiss citizens with a second passport are Bern, Uri, Schwyz, Obwalden, Nidwalden, Appenzell Inner Rhodes and ...
  • Sun, 21 Oct 2018 10:00:00 +0000: Swiss-EU relations, apprentices and science crowdfunding - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Here are some of the stories we'll be following the week of October 22: Tuesday Since 2014, talks have been taking place to formalise relations between Switzerland and the EU that are presently covered by the bilateral accords. swissinfo.ch untangles the jumble of history, politics and economics of these ongoing negotiations. Wednesday Is a Swiss university the right fit for you? Unlike the US or UK, Swiss institutions are more specialised in certain disciplines. We examine what their strengths are at the international level. Thursday Since 2017, the Science Booster crowdfunding channel has hosted 40 science projects, which have collectively raised CHF500,000 ($503,000). But it's more than just about money - the innovation has also helped to democratise science. Thursday On November 25, Switzerland votes on the "Swiss Law, Not Foreign Judges" initiative designed to cement Swiss sovereignty on legal matters over international law. This will be a closely watched vote, due ...
  • Sun, 21 Oct 2018 09:00:00 +0000: ‘It’s hard to listen to a Swiss complain’ - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Professional mountain biker Ariane Lüthi has lived in South Africa for eight years. As a woman, she says, she has had to fight harder there than in Switzerland. The 35-year-old from the Bernese Oberland, who holds university degrees in sports, media science and history, thinks that a lot of Swiss who have never travelled don’t appreciate how much Switzerland has achieved when it comes to societal issues.  swissinfo.ch: When and why did you leave Switzerland?  Ariane Lüthi: I emigrated to South Africa at the end of 2010. Two months before leaving, I took part in a mountain bike stage race where I met my ex-husband. He was able to give me a contract to join his new mountain bike team as a professional. I emigrated to South Africa for love and the opportunity to turn my passion into my profession. swissinfo.ch: Was it a one-way trip or are you planning to come back one day? A.L.: When I left Switzerland and got married soon afterwards, I thought I'd probably stay in South ...
  • Sat, 20 Oct 2018 15:00:00 +0000: Why apartments are so expensive, but the Swiss can afford them - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Almost every article published by swissinfo.ch contains a percentage, an age, an amount of money or some other figure. Here’s a round-up of the most interesting statistics to appear in the past week’s stories. Monday 3,000 Disputes around the retirement age of 60, and long working hours were two of the reasons 3,000 construction workers in canton Ticino striked. They were joined by more than 2,000 others in Geneva a day later.  Tuesday 97 That's the increase, in percentage, that apartment prices rose over the past decade in Zurich. A square metre in Switzerland's financial capital now runs you CHF13,000 ($13,117).  Wednesday 4 Switzerland came fourth in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitivenes Index. While that's pretty good considering 140 countries were ranked, Switzerland did poorly in some key areas, such as conflict of interest regulation. Thursday 1 The drop from first to fourth has not yet been reflected in Switzerland's riches. A day later, Credit ...
  • Sat, 20 Oct 2018 09:00:00 +0000: ‘Helvetia is calling!’ Is she being heard? - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    On December 5, the Swiss parliament will elect two new ministers to succeed Johann Schneider-Ammann and Doris Leuthard, both stepping down at the end of the year. The big question: how many women will be elected to the new Federal Council? Each Federal Council election in Switzerland over the past few years has had its peculiarities. In 2015, when Guy Parmelin was elected, the focus was on the Swiss People’s Party regaining two seats in the executive body. In 2017, it was all about getting a minority Italian speaker back into government – Ignazio Cassis was chosen. And this year, it’s all about female representation. How many women will be elected into the new Federal Council? One, two, or even three? What can we expect? Currently there are two female members in the cabinet. This puts Switzerland in 33rd place out of the 185 countries listed in the United Nation’s international ranking of women’s representation. If the number of female federal councillors were reduced to one, ...
  • Sat, 20 Oct 2018 09:00:00 +0000: Workshop of the long- and short - knives - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Forging, grinding, sharpening: Behind the precise cut of a Swiss knife lies a lot of grimy work. A family of cutlers at the Klötzli workshop has been shaping metal into knives for over 160 years. Entering the workshop in the industrial quarter of Burgdorf, north of the Swiss capital, Bern, the first thing you notice is the smell: iron, steel, abrasives, oil and grease. It stays with you for the entire visit. The Klötzli cutlery is in the hands of the sixth generation of the Klötzli family, now run by Nina and Samuel Klötzli. Nina takes care of administration and bookkeeping and occasionally sales in one of the two shops in Burgdorf and Bern. Only last year, at the age of 34, she began an apprenticeship as a cutler after working in the hotel business. Her brother Samuel takes care of the marketing. Nanny knife In the assembly area, a staff member drills straight holes into the wooden handles of a simple kitchen knife. But it becomes a "Grandmother's knife" once the handle is ...
  • Fri, 19 Oct 2018 14:01:00 +0000: Opaque political financing blights Swiss democracy rating - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Once again, the Swiss democratic system has received poor marks for refusing to identify the deep pockets that finance political parties. This time the condemnation comes from a German democracy barometer, which otherwise bestows a good score on Switzerland. According to the Bertelsmann Foundation ‘Sustainable Governance Indicators’ (SGI), Switzerland has is fifth healthiest democracy of 41 developed countries in the European Union and the Organisation forEconomic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Switzerland was awarded the highest score of 10 in four areas: direct democracy, the fair treatment of registered candidates and parties during elections, the electoral process for citizens and access to information. But many observers feel that a lack of access to information on political party donors has been an Achilles heel of Switzerland for some time. The Bertelsmann Foundation agrees, dishing out the worst score of 1 in this category. Without this handicap, Switzerland ...
  • Fri, 19 Oct 2018 09:00:00 +0000: Want a job in Switzerland? Take a hint from top companies - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    swissinfo.ch readers dive into our content in ten languages and come from all over the world. No wonder one of their most recurring questions is: How do I get a job in Switzerland? The Alpine nation is home to thousands of foreign and Swiss multinational corporations, many of them with compelling opportunities for the globally minded and multilingual professional. We asked some of Switzerland’s largest multinational companies, representing an array of sectors, what they look for in a candidate.  The answers yielded some clear trends but also some interesting caveats. Matchmaking 101 Having Nestlé, Roche, Glencore, ABB or LafargeHolcim on your business card might sound great but don’t waste time if you don’t have the skills and expertise needed for the job. Hiring managers at all five companies highlighted first and foremost the importance of meeting the technical requirements of any given position. Being in sync with company values and developmental potential came a close ...
  • Fri, 19 Oct 2018 04:00:00 +0000: ‘Swiss first’ principle could cause upset at ballot box - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    A rightwing proposal to put the Swiss constitution above international law has potential to win a majority in next month’s vote, despite modest initial support, pollsters say. Another initiative to grant financial support to farmers who keep cows with horns could also be successful on November 25. However, opponents of increased powers for social welfare detectives are unlikely to find broad support. The opinion poll, published on Friday, was carried out seven weeks ahead of voting day by the GfS Bern research institute on behalf of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). For details see below. Despite a gap of 16 percentage points, the initiative by the Swiss People’s Party still stands a chance of catching up with its opponents. These comprise an impressive alliance of political parties from left to centre-right, the business community, trade unions, representatives of civil society, as well as parliament and the government. “There is limited support at the moment for ...
  • Thu, 18 Oct 2018 19:57:00 +0000: The Big Blockchain Lie - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    With the value of Bitcoin having fallen by around 70% since its peak late last year, the mother of all bubbles has now gone bust. More generally, cryptocurrencies have entered a not-so-cryptic apocalypse. The value of leading coins such as Ether, EOS, Litecoin, and XRP have all fallen by over 80%, thousands of other digital currencies have plummeted by 90-99%, and the rest have been exposed as outright frauds. No one should be surprised by this: four out of five initial coin offerings (ICOs) were scams to begin with.  Faced with the public spectacle of a market bloodbath, boosters have fled to the last refuge of the crypto scoundrel: a defense of “blockchain,” the distributed-ledger software underpinning all cryptocurrencies. Blockchain has been heralded as a potential panacea for everything from poverty and famine to cancer. In fact, it is the most overhyped – and least useful – technology in human history. In practice, blockchain is nothing more than a glorified spreadsheet.
  • Thu, 18 Oct 2018 09:00:00 +0000: Swiss glaciers surrender secrets of the past - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Neolithic wooden bows, quartz arrowheads and a prayer book: As Alpine glaciers melt and retreat, well preserved archaeological treasures and human remains are surfacing. A new exhibition presents some of the rare finds.  “If you are on a glacier, any piece of wood you find is likely to have been brought there by a human. If the wood looks unusual and like it’s been worked upon by man, you should contact the archaeological service about it,” declares Pierre-Yves Nicod.  The archaeologist and Valais History Museum curator recently inaugurated the “Mémoires de glace: vestiges en péril” [Icy memories - vestiges in danger] exhibition in the town of Sion, a small but important collection of objects dating from 6,000 BC up to the last century, which had been frozen in time beneath Alpine glaciers. Most were found by hikers or skiers at high altitude and later verified by archaeologists using carbon-dating techniques. Among the poignant most recent vestiges are the heavy black boots ...
  • Wed, 17 Oct 2018 15:00:00 +0000: A taste of Switzerland in 1980s America - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    If you're a child of the American ‘80s, there’s a good chance you spent a lot of your time at the mall. You bought your clothes there. You played Donkey Kong at the arcade and tossed copper pennies in the fountains. The mall of my youth provided all of that and more, for it was there that my seven-year-old mind learned there existed a country called Switzerland. Over the next few months we'll be uncovering how Switzerland has left its mark on the United States. From small place names to forgotten monuments and distant communities, we're tracking down 'Swissness', far from home. Tim Neville is our journalist on the ground Do you know of a Swiss connection in the US? Tell us! The Salisbury Plaza sat in Salisbury, Maryland, in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, but it could have been anywhere in rural America. Its 600,000-square foot (56,000 square metre) floor plan was laid out in an H shape. It held a Camelot music store filled with cassette tapes (and soon CDs!) and a ...
  • Wed, 17 Oct 2018 14:21:00 +0000: Autumn of discontent in the land of labour harmony - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Switzerland is not known for a high level of trade union organisation or for frequent strikes. But here too, labour conflicts sometimes erupt onto the streets. This is the case with the current dispute around working conditions in the construction industry. For the second day running, on Wednesday, some 1,000 striking construction workers marched in Geneva. An estimated 1,800 took part on Tuesday. This comes after a similar protest by about 3,000 from the profession in canton Ticino on Monday. The workers are protesting what they say are deteriorating working conditions, as well as demanding that the retirement age for the industry be kept at 60. Further action is planned in the rest of the country in coming weeks, a situation that could represent one of the biggest labour protests in Switzerland in recent years. Seeds of discontent The conflict has been in the air for a while. Last autumn, for the umpteenth time, construction workers expressed dissatisfaction at not having ...
  • Wed, 17 Oct 2018 09:00:00 +0000: Sexual harassment still shrouded in secrecy in big companies - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    In the #metoo era, there are exceptional examples of corporate leadership like IKEA Switzerland. Its code of conduct is widely disseminated among employees, and it openly admits cases of sexual harassment and has a proactive plan to address them. But, for most multinationals in Switzerland, sexual harassment is still discussed behind closed doors.  So, has anything changed in big companies since the start of the #metoo movement a year ago? The #metoo movement has led to some corporate soul-searching. “#metoo was like an earthquake in Switzerland,” says Judith Wissmann Lukesch, a trained lawyer and founder of arbeitundkonflikt.ch (Work and Conflict), which advises companies on discrimination cases and internal investigations. “Companies have started asking, could this happen to us?” It isn’t just the usual suspects either, she explains. “Companies in tourism and design fields that once saw themselves as untouchable are also asking the question.” What the movement has made ...
  • Tue, 16 Oct 2018 22:01:00 +0000: Global economic competitiveness stumbles in face of technology transformation - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    A major update to the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Competitiveness Index reveals that the global economy is ill-prepared for the transformation brought on by technology disruption.  While the United States comes the closest to the “competitive frontier” taking the top spot in the ranking, the WEF warns that government policies need to catch up to prevent rapid technological change from becoming a drag on competitiveness. Around three-quarters of economies lack sufficient innovation capabilities, impacting economic competitiveness according to the study. The annual Index, launched on Wednesday, assesses national competitiveness for 140 economies through the factors that determine an economy’s level of productivity including institutions, infrastructure, business dynamism among other areas. Evolving concept of competitiveness The Geneva-based WEF revamped the Index to reflect the changing nature of economic competitiveness in the age of rapid innovation and digital ...
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