Conflicts behind 24% increase in refugees

Second half of year likely to be even higher GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The number of refugees arriving in Europe continued to rise in the first half of 2014, displaced by fighting in Syria and Iraq but also Afghanistan and Eritrea. Figures released Friday 26 September by the UN refugee organization in Geneva, the UNHCR,  show […]

Insurance premiums take 4% jump

BERN, SWITZERLAND – Swiss health insurance premiums will rise 4 percent on average in 2015, the Federal Office of Public Health said Thursday 25 September. The increase is the largest in four years, says Bern, fueled by higher costs for medicines and health care. Geneva, Vaud and Valais will see slightly lower increases of around […]

Air France strike extended to 30 September

The unglamorous days of flying

©2014 Chappatte, distributed by Globe Cartoon. More cartoons on Chappatte’s web site. Geneva-based Patrick Chappatte works for the International New York Times, for Geneva newspaper Le Temps, and for NZZ am Sonntag. All cartoons reproduced with permission. GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The Air France pilots’ strike  was extended this morning and will run to 30 September. Details […]

Inheritance tax initiative hits bump

BERN, SWITZERLAND – A Swiss popular initiative to tax inheritance, created by the left-wing Evangelical Party, ran into problems in parliament Wednesday 24 September. The initiative was drawn up to provide AVS funding, but the upper house voted not to support it today, 33-13, arguing that it steps on cantonal taxation rights. The initiative would […]

WHO on depression: Black Dog tips

video WHO depression Black Dog

The WHO published a first video on depression in 2012, for those who suffer from it. Now it has come out with tips for companions and caregivers

Viva the int’l babies

erasmus impact study_200914

Erasmus student exchange benefits touted by EC GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The Erasmus student exchange programme says it has contributed to the birth of one million babies. The figures were part of a report issued earlier this week on the impact of the European-based programme. “The findings of the Erasmus Impact study are extremely significant, given […]

WTO forecasts global trade dip

Merchandise exports and imports of selected
economies, 2010Q1-2014Q2
(Seasonally adjusted volume indices, 2010Q1=100) Source: WTO

But China celebrates unexpected factory output boost GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Weaker than expected import demands and lower GDP lie behind the World Trade Organization’s new, lower forecasts for world trade growth, issued 23 September. WTO economists cut their 2014 forecast to 3.1 percent, down from 4.7 percent forecast in April. The 2015 estimate is down […]

Suspected Ebola patient in Chuv quarantine (update)

Health education about Ebola, with WHO staff in Kolobengu, Guinea in July 2014 (photo Stéphane Soporito, WHO)

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – Update 16:00 – Federal health authorities say initial tests have come up negative, but a battery of tests will be run again and the young Guinean suspected of having Ebola will remain hospitalized. A 23-year-old Guinea man is in quarantine at the Chuv university hospitals in Lausanne, where he was taken when […]

Swiss add CHF20 milllion to Syrian aid funds

BERN, SWITZERLAND – Switzerland is increasing its humanitarian aid funds for Syria by CHF20 million to CHF50m for 2014, Swiss President Didier Burkhalter said 23 September, “in view of the constantly deteriorating situation – with almost 14 million people in Syria and its neighbouring states now in need of aid.” The additional funds, announced at […]

Wingsuit, paraglider Alpine deaths

Bagnes/Mauvoisin, site of wingsuit accident 23 September 2014

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – A 26-year-old Russian man and a 28-year-old Italian man have lost their lives in separate accidents in the Swiss Alps Monday. The Russian man, who was using a wingsuit, failed to take off properly from the top of Le Pleureur (3,704 metres) and he crashed into the rocky face of the west […]