100+ mid-20th c. pollutants found in Visp canal

flooding Rhone vines Visp_300714

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Measurements taken recently by two groups confirm that the canal of the Rhone river in Visp, canton Valais, was chemically polluted by local employer Lonza, from 1930 to 1976. Researchers found the presence of more than 100 chemicals, with mercury heading the list, in the water. The researchers were from WWF Switzerland […]

Switzerland votes on new national anthem

Six new songs vying for role as Swiss national hymn

Four languages, six versions shortlisted for online vote BERN, SWITZERLAND – Switzerland is going to the polls, electronically this time, to vote on a new national “hymn”. The six songs shortlisted – out of some 200 entries – by a committee of seven judges are now online. Each one is available in four languages – […]

Iran talks still going on in Lausanne

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – The six countries involved in negotiating a nuclear power agreement with Iran are meeting together with Iranian representatives, with increasing pressure to find a preliminary deal as Tuesday’s deadline, in Lausanne. Few concrete details are coming out about the state of the negotiations, but an agreement is still not assured, Reuters reports, […]

Foreigners who love Swiss fresh cell therapy, beware!`

Fountain of youth, or less than healthy therapy: sheep cell injections

BERN, SWITZERLAND – “Fresh cell therapy” to counter aging or to fight diseases, has been a selling point for a number of private Swiss clinics, particularly along the Swiss Riviera. This may soon change, with federal health authorities cracking down on the business. Wealthy foreigners have been a lucrative market for the clinics, in particular […]

News roundup: banker pay, ski star, Geneva clubs, watches

Skier Dominique Gisin, tennis player Roger Federer: 2014 Swiss Sports Awards top athletes

Geneva’s bars, clubs, cafés get later hours GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Let the party roll! Geneva’s politicians have decided to let the city dance and party until the wee hours on weekends and pre-holiday nights. The new hours, from 15:00-08:00, are designed to reduce the problem of noise in the street when clubs close earlier, in […]

Swiss-European tax info swap in 2018

british_passport1

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The European Union and Switzerland initialed an agreement 19 March that will put information swaps for tax purposes into effect by 2018. The actual data exchange will begin in 2017. In a statement Bern notes: “The agreement on the automatic exchange of information (AEOI) in tax matters will replace the taxation of […]

UN gets new web page, whew

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / EDITOR’S NOTEPAD – It’s rare for a new web page to be newsworthy, but the UN’s new web page is such a marked departure from the old one, which felt like it was created before the internet iself, that it’s worth encouraging you to take a look. You can find things and […]

Switzerland, Italy share CHF12.3b in seized Mafia funds

BERN, SWITZERLAND – Switzerland and Italy will split the CHF12.3 euros in money seized by Switzerland at Italy’s request, in three criminal money laundering cases. The first case, in 2011, was against Massimo Ciancimino and his father Vito, considered to be a member of the Mafia. Palermo’s public prosecutor made the request to Swiss federal […]

Geneva hands over dictator money to Nigeria

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – It took 16 years, but Nigeria has finally been given CHF380 million of the funds stolen by the Abacha family, and the court case over the money has been closed, Geneva’s Justice Department said 17 March. The money was frozen by Switzerland in 2006 in connection with corporate funds hidden in Luxembourg […]

Putting the politics into litter: tally the cost

Swiss-wide smoking ban debate in 2008 - Photo Flickr Hance Gessell

BERN, SWITZERLAND / EDITOR’S NOTEPAD – There was initially little reaction to last week’s announcement by the lower house of parliament that it was putting out for public consultation new rules that would make cigarette butts and chewing gum, as well as mis-placed garbage, litter – with offenders handed fines. And then Dimanche Matin put […]