Swiss voters support increase in women’s retirement age

Swiss voters support increase in women’s retirement age

Swiss voters accepted the government's pension reform plan by a narrow margin on Sunday. The plan would raise the retirement age for women from 64 to 65, bringing it in line with the age for men. A concurrent vote on imposing stricter regulations in farming failed to garner majority support. According to Swiss government figures, the pension system changes had won by 50.57% of the vote, with counting having been finalized in all cantons. Switzerland's government attempted to introduce similar reforms plans in 2004 and 2017, both of which failed when put to a vote. Opponents of the plan, including trade…
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Swiss to vote on Sunday on banning factory farming

Swiss to vote on Sunday on banning factory farming

GENEVA (Reuters) - Swiss voters decide on Sunday whether to ban factory farming in a referendum on whether the wealthy country's strict animal welfare laws need to be tightened yet further. The proposal under the Swiss system of direct democracy wants to make protecting the dignity of farm animals such as cattle, chickens and pigs a constitutional requirement. The government would have to set stricter rules for caring for animals, including giving them access to the outdoors, and for slaughtering them. The requirements would also cover imported animals and animal products. The government recommended against the proposal, saying such changes…
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Photo Story: The Castello CUBE, artwork worth 10 million euro displayed in downtown Zurich

Photo Story: The Castello CUBE, artwork worth 10 million euro displayed in downtown Zurich

A security guard rushes by as an elderly man on Thursday tried to measure The Castello CUBE, an artwork made by German artist Niclas Castello, in Zurich, Switzerland.  According to the artist, the artwork, made of 24-carat, 999.9 fine gold, was cast in the Ruetschi bell foundry in Aarau, Switzerland, and weighs 186 kg. The artwork is valued at 10 million euro and will remain displayed and heavily guarded in the center of Zurich for one day. Via EPA-EFE/MICHAEL BUHOLZER
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Swiss to dial down thermostats in government buildings

Swiss to dial down thermostats in government buildings

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss bureaucrats will need to dress warmly this winter after the government decided public buildings would be heated to no more than 20 degrees Celsius (68°F) to save energy. The measures agreed by the cabinet on Friday cover federal office buildings and universities and military properties. They aim to save 6-10% of the energy used to heat federal buildings. Other steps include turning off hot water where possible, turning down thermostats overnight and on weekends, and switching off non-essential lighting and devices. Administrative operations between Christmas and New Year are to be reduced with the aim of…
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Swiss cut off tax data, make visas harder for Russians

Swiss cut off tax data, make visas harder for Russians

ZURICH, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Switzerland will temporarily halt the exchange of tax information with Russia and make it harder for Russian citizens to get visas, the government said on Friday. Switzerland, the world's largest centre for managing offhsore wealth, routinely exchanges bank data with other countries on their citizens' Swiss accounts. At a meeting on Friday, the cabinet decided to suspend the exchange of tax information with Russia, it said in a brief statement, citing the public policy proviso of the administrative assistance convention in tax matters. It had earlier said it would fully suspend an agreement that eases…
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Swiss seek closer defence ties to EU, NATO; to stay neutral

Swiss seek closer defence ties to EU, NATO; to stay neutral

Switzerland will seek closer defence and security ties to the European Union and NATO while preserving its traditional neutrality in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the government said. A policy paper approved by the Cabinet also calls for building up Switzerland's own military powers. The Ukraine war showed the increasing threat of hybrid conflict, disinformation campaigns, cyberattacks, covert operations and even armed conflict, it said in a statement. "The report concludes that it is in Switzerland's interest to orient its security and defence policy more consistently than before towards international cooperation," it said, citing chances to expand policy…
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Women’s pay in Switzerland lags that of men by 43%

Women’s pay in Switzerland lags that of men by 43%

ZURICH, (Reuters) - Women in Switzerland earn more than 40% less than men and draw less pension money, a gender pay gap report the government adopted this week showed, citing the high proportion of women working part-time. The government's Gender Overall Earnings Gap (GOEG) study, requested by parliament in 2019, showed Switzerland performed relatively poorly in a European context. "In 2018, the GOEG for Switzerland was 43.2%. This means that women's earnings are 43.2% lower than men's for all hours worked between the ages of 15 and 64," the national statistics office said in a statement. In 2020, the gender…
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Switzerland’s engineering sector urges country to start energy saving now

Switzerland’s engineering sector urges country to start energy saving now

ZURICH, (Reuters) - Switzerland's mechanical and electrical engineering sector said this week that businesses and households need to start energy savings immediately and called for more government support to help companies weather surging power costs. Last week Switzerland set a voluntary gas savings target of 15% for the winter as Europe faces a potential gas shortage as a consequence of the Ukraine war. On Wednesday, the government is expected to announce new contingency plans for addressing possible future electricity shortages due to Switzerland's dependence on gas imports this winter. SwissMEM, which represents mechanical and electrical engineering companies, said carbon reduction…
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Swiss inflation ticks up to 3.5% in August

Swiss inflation ticks up to 3.5% in August

ZURICH, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Swiss consumer price inflation rose a higher-than-expected 3.5% in August, the seventh month in a row that inflation has surpassed the Swiss National Bank's 0-2% target range. Economists had expected the year-on-year rate to hold steady at July's 3.4%, the same as the 29-year high touched in June. The reading comes amid expectations that the central bank could soon tighten policy again after hiking its policy rate in June for the first time in 15 years. CH-ECI The index rose 0.3% versus July given higher prices for inpatient hospital services and housing rents. Prices for…
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Photo Story: Transhumance in Switzerland

Photo Story: Transhumance in Switzerland

A herdsman looks on during the annual cattle drive (Alpabzug) on the Saemtis Alps in Bruelisau, Switzerland, 26 August 2022. Cattle feed on alpine herbs in summer and are later brought back to lower valleys in winter. The process is also known as transhumance. Via EPA-EFE/GIAN EHRENZELLER
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Switzerland could align with EU energy saving drive

Switzerland could align with EU energy saving drive

Switzerland could prevent an energy shortage by aligning with a European Union plan to cut gas use by 15% this winter, Energy Minister Simonetta Sommaruga told newspaper SonntagsBlick. European Union countries formally adopted the bloc's emergency plan to curb gas use on Friday in a bid to save fuel for a winter of uncertain Russian supplies. "The situation is serious," Sommaruga told the Sunday newspaper, adding that a call from Switzerland's electricity commission for households to stock up on candles in case of blackouts this coming winter was "a wake-up call for everyone". In late June, the Swiss government outlined…
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UPDATED: Russia says Switzerland cannot represent its interests in Ukraine

UPDATED: Russia says Switzerland cannot represent its interests in Ukraine

MOSCOW, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Russia said on Thursday it had turned down a Swiss offer to represent Ukrainian interests in Russia and Moscow's interests in Ukraine because it no longer considers Switzerland a neutral country. Switzerland has a long diplomatic tradition of acting as an intermediary between countries whose relations have broken down, but Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ivan Nechayev said this was not possible in the current situation. "The Swiss were indeed interested in our opinion on the possible representation of Ukraine's interests in Russia and Russia's in Ukraine," Nechayev told reporters. "We very clearly answered that Switzerland had…
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Swiss hotel sector shows signs of post-pandemic recovery

Swiss hotel sector shows signs of post-pandemic recovery

A total of 16.9 million overnight stays were made in Swiss hotels between January and June, an increase of 47.3% on the same period in 2021, when Covid health measures and travel restrictions were still largely in force, the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) announced. Domestic clients made up over half of all bookings (10 million), rising by 8%. However, the return of international visitors after the lifting of restrictions also meant an explosion of overseas guests – from 2.2 million to 6.9 million. Of these, Europeans still dominated (70%), despite the Swiss decision in April this year to normalise entry requirements for…
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Cash payments in Switzerland lose further ground, poll finds

Cash payments in Switzerland lose further ground, poll finds

Some 52% of respondents in a survey said either of the cards were absolutely indispensable for them, the independent online comparison service, moneyland.ch said. The share of respondents who prefer cash dropped to 30%, down 4% on the previous year, and 20% use the electronic payment system Twint, according to the survey published this week. It was conducted online among 1,500 people in the German- and French-speaking regions of the country in April. More than 70% of respondents also said they used at least one electronic payment system with their mobile phones. However, cryptocurrencies have remained marginal in Switzerland’s everyday…
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Swiss adopt new EU sanctions on Russia, allow oil payments

Swiss adopt new EU sanctions on Russia, allow oil payments

The Swiss government imposed further sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine, in line with the European Union's latest measures on gold and gold products, the cabinet said. The government said that it had made two new exceptions with respect to transactions related to agricultural products and oil supplies to third countries, which the EU has as well, in order to avoid any disruptions in payment channels. "The new measures primarily concern a ban on buying, importing or transporting gold and gold products from Russia. Services in connection with these goods are also prohibited," a government statement said. It…
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Swiss inflation holds steady at 3.4% in July

Swiss inflation holds steady at 3.4% in July

ZURICH, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Swiss consumer price inflation held steady at 3.4% in July, slightly less than economists had expected after inflation touched a 29-year high in June. The reading - still the sixth month in a row that inflation has risen above the Swiss National Bank's 0-2% target range - comes amid expectations that the central bank could soon tighten policy again after hiking its policy rate in June for the first time in 15 years. CH-ECI The index was unchanged versus June as prices for heating oil, clothing and footwear fell, offsetting higher prices for gas and supplementary accommodation. The…
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Swiss leading economic indicator points to gloom ahead

Swiss leading economic indicator points to gloom ahead

ZURICH, July 29 (Reuters) - The forward-looking Swiss KOF economic barometer slipped to its lowest reading in two years in July, data published on Friday showed, indicating a sluggish development for one of Europe's traditionally more robust economies. The barometer, compiled by the KOF Institute at the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, fell 5.1 points to 90.1 points in July, the third month in a row below the 100 point level and its lowest reading since July 2020.  A figure below 100 points to below-average economic activity in the analysis, which indicates the health of Swiss economy in about six…
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Swiss brace for rolling four-hour blackouts in any energy crunch

Swiss brace for rolling four-hour blackouts in any energy crunch

ZURICH, (Reuters) - Switzerland could resort to rolling four-hour regional blackouts should Europe's energy crisis lead to winter power shortages, a senior utility sector official said this week. The country is bracing for shortages of power and gas due to the war in Ukraine, possible interruptions in gas supplies, and the situation at nuclear power plants in France, although energy supplies were secure for now, officials said.  Michael Frank, director of the VSE association of Swiss electricity companies, said Switzerland planned to phase in increasingly strict measures to conserve power if needed. First the government would request voluntary conservation steps -- a public…
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Photo Story: Angele at the 45th Paleo Festival in Nyon

Photo Story: Angele at the 45th Paleo Festival in Nyon

Belgium's singer Angele Van Laeken, aka Angele, performs on the main stage, during the 45th edition of the Paleo Festival in Nyon, Switzerland, on Thursday evening. The Paleo is the largest open-air music festival in the western part of Switzerland and runs from 19 to 24 July. Via EPA-EFE/LAURENT GILLIERON
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Swiss say energy supplies safe for now, winter shortages loom

Swiss say energy supplies safe for now, winter shortages loom

ZURICH, July 20 (Reuters) - Swiss energy supplies are safe for now but power shortages may loom in winter due to the war in Ukraine, possible interruptions in gas supplies in Europe, and the situation at nuclear power plants in France, the government said on Wednesday. On the electricity side, Swiss hydropower reservoirs were now filled at the long-term average. "However, inflows are likely to be lower due to the glacier melt, which started earlier than usual this year, and the hot spell," government experts said in a statement ahead of a news conference. The Swiss transmission grid was available as planned…
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Swiss attorney general warns trading looted commodities could be war crime

Swiss attorney general warns trading looted commodities could be war crime

ZURICH, July 14 (Reuters) - Switzerland's attorney general has warned Swiss-based commodities trading firms that dealing with stolen raw materials, notably from Ukraine, could trigger war crime charges. "Commercialising looted raw materials could constitute a war crime," Stefan Blaettler, who took over as attorney general on Jan. 1, said in a column he contributed to newspaper Le Temps that was published on Wednesday. He said he did not know of any convictions in this area, but Switzerland's prosecutors were already conducting criminal investigations in this context. He did not give any details. The Swiss government said last month it wanted to take…
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EPA’s Eye In The Sky: Corsier, Switzerland

EPA’s Eye In The Sky: Corsier, Switzerland

Giant landart artwork representing Charlie Chaplin in costume of his character "The Tramp" "Charlot chez Chaplin" by French artist Franck Bonneau along the route of the 9th stage (Aigle - Chatel Les Portes du Soleil" of the upcoming Tour de France cycling race at the museum "Chaplin's World by Grevin" at the Manoir de Ban, in Corsier, on the shore of the Lake Geneva above Vevey, Switzerland. Covering an area of 10'000 square meters (100 meters by 100 meters), this fresco has been realized in the gardens, by cutting the grass at different heights, of the mansion where the Chaplin…
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Swiss inflation in June tops 3%, highest since 2008

Swiss inflation in June tops 3%, highest since 2008

ZURICH, July 4 (Reuters) - Swiss consumer prices rose 3.4% in June, more than economists had expected and the first time inflation in Switzerland has topped 3% since July 2008.  The reading was the fifth month in a row that prices have risen above the central bank's target for price stability. Prices rose 0.5% versus May as fuel, heating oil and vegetables became more expensive. Prices for red wines and salads decreased. Swiss prices had increased in May by their highest level in nearly 14 years. The consumer price index rose by 2.9% compared with a year earlier as transport, food and…
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Swiss gear up for hard times with bulked up food reserves

Swiss gear up for hard times with bulked up food reserves

ZURICH, (Reuters) - Switzerland wants to expand its emergency food reserves to make sure the neutral country is not hit by shortages of coffee, grain and sugar caused by over-extended supply chains, climate change and conflicts like Ukraine. A growing population and changes in food production have made the government consider raising stockpiles to six months worth of consumption, from three to four months at present. That would mean steep increases in, for example, the 160,000 tonnes of grain stored in silos dotted around the country, increasing official reserves to levels last seen in the 1980s. It would also build more silos…
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Swiss top court upholds ban on foreign online betting operators

Swiss top court upholds ban on foreign online betting operators

Switzerland's supreme court has upheld a ban on accessing foreign online gambling sites, dashing the hopes of three betting outfits to tap the Swiss market. The Federal Court said in a statement on Tuesday the "domain name system" ban was proportionate. Gaming officials have since 2019 used network blocks to limit access to the market to Swiss-approved games of chance. The system means Swiss gamblers can bet online only with Swiss casinos and lotteries that pay tax in the country and that protect people against falling victim to addiction. German group bet-at-home.com AG  had on Monday already revealed the verdict.…
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Court convicts Credit Suisse in money-laundering case

Court convicts Credit Suisse in money-laundering case

BELLINZONA, Switzerland, June 27 (Reuters) - Switzerland's Federal Criminal Court convicted Credit Suisse CSGN.S and a former employee of failing to prevent money-laundering in Switzerland's first criminal trial of one of its major banks. The judges were ruling on whether Credit Suisse and the former employee did enough to prevent an alleged Bulgarian cocaine trafficking gang of laundering profits through the bank from 2004 to 2008. Both had denied wrongdoing. The case - which included testimony on murders and cash stuffed into suitcases - is being followed closely in Switzerland, where it is seen as a test for prosecutors taking a potentially tougher line…
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Financial watchdogs should do more to protect crypto traders, top Swiss regulator says

Financial watchdogs should do more to protect crypto traders, top Swiss regulator says

ZURICH, June 22 (Reuters) - Cryptocurrency trading increasingly resembles the U.S. stock market of the late 1920s, Switzerland's top market regulator said on Wednesday, calling for regulators to take more action to protect consumers from abuse in the freewheeling sector. Governments are trying to work out how to best oversee the $890 billion crypto market, which is currently only covered by patchy regulation. Regulators and policymakers have long fretted over the risk to consumers from cryptocurrencies, with U.S. securities watchdogs among those to warn about the potential for manipulation of opaque crypto markets. "There's much more that can be done," said Urban…
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Photo Story: Geraldine Fasnacht SolarStratos wingsuit jump

Photo Story: Geraldine Fasnacht SolarStratos wingsuit jump

Swiss freeride snowboarder, base jumper and wingsuit pilot Geraldine Fasnacht jumps out of SolarStratos, a solar powered aircraft prototype. The aircraft was flown by Swiss adventurer Raphael Domjan and this was the first ever wingsuit jump from and electrical and solar airplane, above the alpine resort of Verbier, Switzerland. Via EPA-EFE/VALENTIN FLAURAUD
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UPDATED: Swiss franc in biggest daily jump since 2015 after rate hike

UPDATED: Swiss franc in biggest daily jump since 2015 after rate hike

LONDON, June 16 (Reuters) - Switzerland's franc soared on Thursday after the Swiss National Bank took markets by surprise with a large interest rate hike, putting the currency on track for its biggest one-day rise against the euro in more than seven years. The central bank had broadly been expected to stand pat on a -0.75% interest rate that was the lowest in any major developed country, though some banks had suggested a quarter-point was possible. Instead, the SNB increased its policy rate to -0.25% from the -0.75% level it has deployed since 2015.  The hike was the first increase by the…
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Swiss cut economic growth forecasts, citing war and inflation

Swiss cut economic growth forecasts, citing war and inflation

ZURICH, June 15 (Reuters) - The Swiss economy is expected to expand by 2.6% in 2022, the government said on Wednesday, becoming the latest region to downgrade its growth estimates due to the war in Ukraine and uncertainties in China. The deceleration, from the previous forecast for 2.8% growth in March, was also due to rising prices for food and energy, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said. SECO also reduced its forecast for GDP growth in 2023 to 1.9% from the 2.0% rate it previously expected. All the figures are adjusted to take out the effect of sporting events. "The…
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UPDATED: Swiss airspace re-opens after ‘technical malfunction’

UPDATED: Swiss airspace re-opens after ‘technical malfunction’

A technical problem with the air traffic control system halted take-offs and landings at Swiss airports early on Wednesday morning. Flights resumed from Zurich and Geneva from 8:30am, the Skyguide agency confirmed. Skyguide initially said the closure would be in effect “until further notice” after the malfunction early in the morning. A few hours later, it said   the airspace closure had been lifted at 8:30am local time and air traffic over Switzerland had resumed along with operations at the country's two national airports in Geneva and Zurich. Aircraft are displayed on a screen showing a flight radar of Switzerland, in Zurich, Switzerland, after…
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Moscow Exchange suspends Swiss franc trading after new sanctions

Moscow Exchange suspends Swiss franc trading after new sanctions

The Moscow Exchange said it would suspend trading of the Swiss franc against the rouble and the U.S. dollar from Tuesday after Switzerland adopted new EU sanctions against Russia. The Moscow Exchange, Russia's largest bourse, said it was having difficulty conducting transactions in the Swiss currency as a result of new trading restrictions imposed by Switzerland last week. "The suspension of operations is due to difficulties conducting settlements in Swiss francs faced by market participants and the financial sector in connection with the restrictive measures imposed by Switzerland on June 10," the Moscow Exchange said in a statement. Switzerland, which…
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Switzerland adopts new EU sanctions against Russia, Belarus

Switzerland adopts new EU sanctions against Russia, Belarus

BERLIN, June 10 (Reuters) - Switzerland has adopted new EU sanctions against Belarus and Russia, also imposing financial and travel sanctions on 100 additional individuals and entities, including oligarch Aleksandra Melnichenko, the Federal Council said on Friday. The Swiss list of sanctioned individuals and entities, which is the same as the European Union's, includes military personnel held responsible for atrocities committed in Bucha, individuals active in the fields of politics and disinformation and certain oligarchs and their family members, it said. The council also approved the exclusion of four new Russian and Belarusian banks, including Sberbank SBER.MM, Russia's largest, from the SWIFT transaction…
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Ronaldo brace leads Portugal to big win over Switzerland

Ronaldo brace leads Portugal to big win over Switzerland

LISBON (Reuters) - Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Portugal swept to an emphatic 4-0  victory over Switzerland in their UEFA Nations League clash at the Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon on Sunday. William Carvalho and Joao Cancelo were also on the scoresheet as the hosts wasted numerous opportunities to inflict more humiliation on the visitors, who suffered their biggest defeat since losing to Germany by the same scoreline in 2008. Portugal have four points from their opening two Group A2 matches and are ahead of second-place Czech Republic on goal-difference. Switzerland are on zero after back-to-back losses and are now…
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Neutral Swiss spell out rules for re-export of arms

Neutral Swiss spell out rules for re-export of arms

Switzerland reiterated it would not as a neutral country allow the re-export of Swiss arms to conflict zones but this did not cover some Swiss-manufactured parts that other countries may use to make weapons. Pressure has mounted on Switzerland to take a more active role helping Ukraine defend itself against Russian invaders. The Bern government has vetoed Denmark's request to send Swiss-made armoured personnel carriers to Ukraine, blocked re-export of Swiss-made ammunition used in anti-aircraft tanks that Germany is sending to Ukraine, and rejected Poland's request for arms to help its neighbour resist Russia.  "Based on the export criteria described…
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Swiss catch inflation bug, prices rise at fastest pace in 14 years

Swiss catch inflation bug, prices rise at fastest pace in 14 years

ZURICH, June 2 (Reuters) - Swiss prices increased by their highest level in 14 years during May, the government said on Thursday, as Switzerland became the latest country to be hit by more expensive fuel and food costs. The consumer price index rose by 2.9% compared with a year earlier as transport, food and drinks became much more expensive in a country noted for its historically low inflation.  The reading was the highest increase in Swiss prices since September 2008, and was the fourth month in succession that prices have risen above the central bank's target for price stability. (Reporting by John…
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Swiss veto Danish request to send Ukraine armoured vehicles

Swiss veto Danish request to send Ukraine armoured vehicles

ZURICH, June 1 (Reuters) - The Swiss government has vetoed Denmark's request to send Swiss-made armoured personnel carriers to Ukraine, citing its neutrality policy of not supplying arms to conflict zones, Swiss broadcaster SRF reported on Wednesday. The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) rejected Denmark's bid to provide around 20 Piranha III infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine, SRF said, citing confirmation from the agency. SECO did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Neutral Switzerland requires foreign countries that buy Swiss arms to seek permission to re-export them. In April it vetoed the re-export of Swiss-made ammunition used in anti-aircraft…
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Swiss regulator weighing new COVID booster recommendation for children

Swiss regulator weighing new COVID booster recommendation for children

Swiss drugs regulator Swissmedic said on Tuesday it is reviewing an application from pharmaceutical company Pfizer for a new dosage recommendation for a COVID-19 booster shot for children. The regulator said it was looking at the data submitted and assessing the benefits and risks of recommending a booster shot administered at least six months after basic immunisation for children between ages 5 and 11. Germany's vaccine advisory panel on Tuesday said one COVID-19 shot was enough for healthy five to 11 year-olds because most of them had already undergone an infection, be it known of undetected. The view by the…
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This Spring in Switzerland was one of the warmest on record

This Spring in Switzerland was one of the warmest on record

Spring 2022 in Switzerland was one of the warmest on record, with temperatures from March to May around 2.5 degrees above normal, public television weather service SRF Meteo said. Only 2007 and 2011 were warmer, since records began in 1864, it said. The weather has also been drier than in the past, meaning there is a threat of water shortages this summer.  There is also a lack of snow, which serves as a water reservoir. In the coming months, only a quarter of the usual snow reserves will be available. At the Weissfluhjoch measurement site above Davos in eastern Switzerland,…
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Ukraine top of the agenda in Davos as business leaders gather

Ukraine top of the agenda in Davos as business leaders gather

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Russia would normally have its own "house" at the World Economic Forum as a showcase for business leaders and investors. This year the space on the dressed-up main street in Davos has been transformed by Ukrainian artists into a "Russian War Crimes House", portraying images of misery and devastation. Russia has denied allegations of war crimes in the conflict. Ukraine is top of the agenda for the four-day meeting of global business leaders, which kicks off in earnest on Monday with a video address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. View of the 'Russian Warcrimes House', pictured…
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Switzerland confirms its first case of monkeypox

Switzerland confirms its first case of monkeypox

VIENNA (Reuters) - Switzerland has detected its first confirmed case of monkeypox, a person in the canton of Bern who contracted it through "close physical contact abroad", the canton said in a statement on Saturday. The person consulted a doctor because they had a fever and a rash and felt poorly, the canton said, adding that the person was in isolation at home and the illness was developing in a "benign" way. A person they had been in contact with has been informed, the canton added. (Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Frances Kerry)Switzerland confirms its first case of monkeypox
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Swiss voters approve ‘Lex Netflix’ TV streaming funding law

Swiss voters approve ‘Lex Netflix’ TV streaming funding law

Swiss voters on Sunday backed proposals to make global TV streaming services such as Netflix Inc, Amazon  and Disney  invest some of their revenues generated in Switzerland into domestic film-making. Just over 58% of voters backed the proposal, according to the final result, in one of three national votes held under the Swiss system of direct democracy. Switzerland will become the latest European country to introduce such measures to support local TV and film production and boost locally-produced content. "This result underlines the cultural importance of film-making in Switzerland," Swiss Interior Minister Alain Berset told a press conference on Sunday.…
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Analysis: Neutral Switzerland leans closer to NATO in response to Russia

Analysis: Neutral Switzerland leans closer to NATO in response to Russia

BERN, May 15 (Reuters) - Switzerland's fabled neutral status is about to face its biggest test in decades, with the defence ministry tilting closer to Western military powers in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The defence ministry is drawing up a report on security options that include joint military exercises with NATO countries and "backfilling" munitions, Paelvi Pulli, head of security policy at the Swiss defence ministry told Reuters. The details of the policy options under discussion in the government have not been previously reported. "Ultimately, there could be changes in the way neutrality is interpreted," Pulli said in…
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Swiss voters look set to approve TV streaming funding law

Swiss voters look set to approve TV streaming funding law

ZURICH, May 15 (Reuters) - Swiss voters on Sunday looked set to back proposals to make global TV streaming services such as Netflix Inc NFLX.O Amazon AMZN.O and Disney DIS.N invest some of their revenues generated in Switzerland into domestic film-making. Some 58% of voters backed the proposal, according to early projections by broadcaster SRF, in one of three national votes held over the weekend under the Swiss system of direct democracy. The vote is the latest introduced in European countries to support local TV and film production and boost locally-produced content. In the binding referendum on what is being called "Lex Netflix", Swiss voters decided whether international…
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EU threatens to kick Switzerland out of passport-free zone

EU threatens to kick Switzerland out of passport-free zone

Brussels has threatened to throw Switzerland out of the EU’s passport-free zone if it does not back paying more to the bloc's border agency, as the country prepares to vote in a “Frontex-it” referendum on Sunday. The Telegraph reports that the EU decided to boost Frontex numbers and staff after the 2015 migration crisis, which means an increase in Swiss payments to the agency, which polices the borders of the Schengen Zone.A referendum on whether to pay the increased payments was triggered by an alliance of  NGOs and politicians from the Social Democrats and Green Party, which accuses Frontex of…
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Swiss release some frozen Russian assets

Swiss release some frozen Russian assets

The Swiss government reported 6.3 billion Swiss francs ($6.33 billion) worth of Russian assets frozen under sanctions to punish Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, a drop from early April as around 3.4 billion francs in provisionally blocked assets were released. The figure marked a decrease from roughly 7.5 billion Swiss francs in funds the government reported frozen on April 7. Government official Erwin Bollinger pointed to fewer funds -- 2.2 billion francs -- newly frozen than those that had been released. "We can't freeze funds if we do not have sufficient grounds," Bollinger, a senior official at the State Secretariat for…
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Swiss National Bank opposed to holding bitcoin as a reserve currency

Swiss National Bank opposed to holding bitcoin as a reserve currency

ZURICH, (Reuters) - The Swiss National Bank is against buying and holding bitcoin as a reserve currency, Chairman Thomas Jordan said at the central bank's annual general meeting this week. "Buying bitcoin is not a problem for us, we can do that either directly or can buy investment products which are based on bitcoin," Jordan said. "We can arrange the technical and operative conditions relatively quickly, when we are convinced we must have bitcoin in our balance sheet. "But from the current perspective we do not believe bitcoin meets the requirements of currency reserves, that's why we have until now decided not…
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Swiss gold exports to the United States rocketed in March

Swiss gold exports to the United States rocketed in March

Swiss shipments of gold to the United States surged in March to their highest since May 2020, Swiss customs data showed, as investors spooked by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the threat of a global economic slowdown stocked up on bullion. Switzerland's exports to Britain, which like the United States is a centre for gold investment and trading, also rose, while shipments of gold to China and India, the biggest consumer markets, fell sharply. Switzerland is the world's biggest refining and transit centre for gold, an asset typically seen as a safe place to store wealth in times of economic…
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Fossils of giant marine reptiles found high in the Swiss Alps

Fossils of giant marine reptiles found high in the Swiss Alps

Fossils from some of the largest creatures ever to swim Earth's oceans - whale-sized marine reptiles called ichthyosaurs - have been found in a counterintuitive place: atop three mountains in the Swiss Alps up to 8,990 feet (2,740 meters) above sea level. Scientists described rib and vertebrae fossils from two ichthyosaur individuals: one about 69 feet (21 meters) long and the other about 49 feet (15 meters). They described from a third individual the largest-known tooth from any ichthyosaur with a base 2.4 inches (6 cm) wide and an estimated length of 6 inches (15 cm), suggestive of a fearsome…
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Swiss OK agreement on classified information exchange with NATO

Swiss OK agreement on classified information exchange with NATO

BERLIN, April 27 (Reuters) - Switzerland's government approved on Wednesday an agreement that forms the basis for exchanging sensitive information with NATO, it said. Such agreements make it possible, among other things, for Swiss companies to apply for contracts with classified content that are advertised by the NATO defence alliance, it added. (Writing by Miranda Murray; Editing by Michael Shields)
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Swiss to keep mum on Russian commodity deal sanctions rulings

Swiss to keep mum on Russian commodity deal sanctions rulings

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland will maintain tight non-disclosure rules as part of its Russian sanctions package and keep conversations with trading houses on their purchases of Russian crude confidential, the government agency in charge of sanctions said. The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) had said on Tuesday it would decide case by case whether to curtail traders' purchases from Russia's state-controlled companies under European Union sanctions Bern has adopted that limit commodity deals to those deemed "strictly necessary" from mid-May.  Asked by Reuters how SECO planned to communicate such decisions, a spokesperson said: "We do not comment publicly on individual transactions.…
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U.S. surpasses Germany as top Swiss export market as pharma booms

U.S. surpasses Germany as top Swiss export market as pharma booms

ZURICH (Reuters) - The United States overtook Germany as Switzerland’s biggest export market last year, mainly thanks to strong growth in chemical and pharmaceutical products over the last two decades, the Swiss customs office said. Swiss exports to the United States hit a record 46.95 billion Swiss francs ($50.42 billion) last year after growing by an average of 6.3% per year since 2001, three times faster than the No.2 and No.3 export markets, Germany and Italy. Germany had been the Alpine country’s biggest export market since 1954. Growth of Swiss exports to the United States was mostly driven by chemical…
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Swiss adopt latest round of EU sanctions on Russia

Swiss adopt latest round of EU sanctions on Russia

ZURICH, April 13 (Reuters) - Switzerland has adopted the latest round of European Union sanctions against Russia and Belarus for Moscow's military aggression against Ukraine, the government said on Wednesday, keeping the neutral country in line with EU measures. It also approved sanctioning a further 200 individuals and entities, including two of Russian President Vladimir Putin's daughters. "Switzerland's list of sanctions now fully mirrors that of the EU," it said in a statement. The amendments will come into force at 1600 GMT. The EU on Friday formally adopted sweeping new sanctions against Russia, including bans on the import of coal,…
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