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 […]

Anti-poverty candles lit in 121 Swiss cities

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Saturday night saw 121 Swiss towns and cities lighting candles in recognition of poverty that must be eradicated. It was the 10th year for the event, organized by Caritas, which collected funds to help Switzerland’s 260,000 children who live in poverty. The “million stars” project also had some 6,000 people who had […]

Time-honoured sea practice in danger

A mother and her young child, saved at sea after their boat sank in the Mediterranean (photo ©22011 UNHCR/ F Noy)

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND  – Five UN agencies are calling for concerted action to ensure that the time-honoured practice of saving lives at sea continue, as the situation worsens in a number of parts of the world. “We are deeply concerned about the loss of life, injury, trauma and serious human rights violations affecting migrants, asylum-seekers and […]

Gov’ts agree to take in 100,000 Syrian refugees

3 / Hundreds of Syrian refugees stream across the border into Jordan at a remote border point in the east. Many people crossing the desert into eastern Jordan are forced to pay smugglers hefty sums to take them to safety. Once refugees only paid smugglers to take them from the Middle East into Europe, now they must pay just to find their way out of Syria. / UNHCR / J. Kohler

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Governments meeting in Geneva today agree to increase the number of Syrian refugees they will take in, mainly through resettlement programmes, to 100,000, up from the 62,000 places currently available. Five countries, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, today host more than 3.2 million Syrian refugees, according to the UNHCR, the UN […]

Ebola update from Geneva

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – While Ebola continues to rage in Africa, three bits of related news came out of Geneva this week:. Vaccine, well tolerated The Canadian experimental vaccine against Ebola has been well accepted by a group of volunteers testing it at the HUG (university hospitals in Geneva), the hospital said Tuesday 2 December. “Since […]