Syrian conflict’s 5th year: refugees’ future “bleak”

2 / Syrian refugee, Dayane, 24, holds her daughter Yemen, 5, who was severely burned in an accident with scalding water during a bombing raid in Yarbroud, Syria.  The family fled to northern Lebanon six days after the accident but they could never afford treatment for Yemen. Six months on, the little girl is still in great physical pain, with some of her wounds unhealed, and she is still clearly traumatized. / UNHCR / Andrew McConnell

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The future is increaslingly “bleak” for Syria’s refugees, as their country’s conflict enters its fifth year, says the UN refugee organization in Geneva. The organization’s head, António Guterres said 12 March that while this “worst humanitarian crisis of our era should be galvanizing a global outcry of support”, help is in fact […]

Drones and anti-drones, the talk of Geneva

John Kerry, Human Rights Council, Geneva, 2 March 2015

Kerry-Lavrov meeting reports: hope for Ukraine solution GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – International meetings of a “sensitive” nature in Geneva and Montreux are behind a ban on drones in several parts of cantons Geneva and Vaud during the month of March. It’s the first such move, taken by the cantons with the Federal Aviation Department. Human Rights […]

El Gizouli named Acting IPCC Chair

RK Pachauri, photo by Marshall Niles

Pachauri resigns as climate head amid sexual harassment charges GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Rajendra Pachauri has denied any wrongdoing and says his email and mobile phone were hacked, in response to an investigation in India into sexual harassment charges, the BBC reports. The head of the Geneva-based IPCC nevertheless handed in his resignation, effective today, to […]

Swiss media praise for US ambassador

US Ambassador to Switzerland Suzan LeVine

BERN, SWITZERLAND – It’s rare for a political appointment to the ranks of foreign ambassadors to garner media attention in Switzerland, but US Ambassador Suzi LeVine is making a name for herself. “Speedy Suzi” has so impressed the Swiss diplomatic staff in Bern and in the US with her high level of activity and her […]

Warming trend: 2014 hottest year

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GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Global warming news is making headlines with the WMO in Geneva declaring 2014 the warmest year on record. The UN agency that released the talked-about report, the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, sat in a flurry of snowflakes, with massive snowfalls in the Jura hills above the head office, while issuing the […]

Switzerland ratifies arms treaty

BERN, SWITZERLAND – The Swiss government 30 January ratified the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) at the UN in New York, saying it will go into effect 2 April, 90 days after ratification. Switzerland has been active in drawing up the treaty, adopted by the UN General Assembly in April 2013. The country is bidding to […]

Bern, WEF sign “international body” agreement

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GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The World Economic Forum and the federal government signed an agreement Friday whereby Bern recognizes Geneva-based WEF as an “other international body” of importance to Switzerland as a host country to the United Nations and other international NGOs. The agreement provides the WEF with some support from Bern: “At its meeting on […]

Tax rules for expats in Switzerland tightened

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New rules go into effect in 2016 BERN, SWITZERLAND – Deductions for expatriates working in Switzerland will be tightened starting in 2016, the Federal Department of Finance announced Monday 19 January. The definition of “expatriate” for tax purposes has also been reviewed and narrowed. Housing, moving (removal) expenses, and dependents’ education costs are all affected […]

Geneva’s foreigners, up; salaries, up

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International organizations employ 27,000, spend CHF2.9b GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The inflow of foreign workers continues in Geneva, with 13,400 new cross-border permits issued in 2014, show figures published 16 January by the canton statistical office in Geneva. The total number of cross-border permits was 88,800 at the end of the year, but the office cautions […]

Davos warmup begins

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GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The Davos warmup, with the Swiss air force doing loops and major media coverage gearing up, is underway. The 2015 meeting of heads of state and the corporate and non-profit worlds, 21-26 January in canton Graubünden, promises to be a bigger deal than it has been in recent years, given the return […]