News roundup: banks’ money, mafia guns, Alpine golf, revenge

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Just back from three days of covering a wine fair in Zurich, which you can soon read about on Ellen’s Wine World. Local news roundup for the first part of the week: Swiss private banks reveal numbers Geneva-based bank Pictet 26 August published its financial figures for the first time in 209 […]

Breaking news: Hamas, Israel “long-term” truce

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Hamas officials say a long-term truce with Israel has been agreed to, and an announcement with details will be made shortly. Egyptian officials are reportedly saying the official announcement will be at 20:00 local time. Breaking news details: Aljazeera, BBC, Jerusalem Post, Reuters

French await new gov’t in shuffle

PARIS, FRANCE – France is waiting today to see who will be in the new government proposed by Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who announced Monday morning that his government was resigning. President François Hollande has asked him to form a new government by Tuesday. The shuffle follows vituperous remarks about the government’s economic policy and […]

Suicide tourism doubled in 5 years

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – Suicide tourism – people who lived abroad and who come to Switzerland for assisted suicide – doubled to 600 persons in five years, between 2008 and 2012. The figures were published 20 August by researchers in Zurich in the Journal of Medical Ethics. The largest group, 43.9 percent, came from Germany, followed […]

House of Switzerland – sports fans are loving it

House of Switzerland: mobile, sustainable wooden structure - Zurich appearance, European Athletics Championships

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – The House of Switzerland made its first appearance in Sochi for the Olympics, then in Milan, followed by Rio where it was used as a fan centre during the football World Cup. Its latest appearance shows growing popularity with sports fans – the sustainable architecture mobile wooden structure was in Zurich during […]

Russians uninvited: Swiss air show


GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The Swiss air force is not inviting Russian pilots to fly their planes in AIR14, the hugely popular air show in Payerne that takes place over two weekends in August. A team of Russian Knights pilots were expected to take part, flying Su-27 military planes, but in the current climate, says the […]

Asylum numbers up 30% in one month, mainly Eritreans

Immigration in Switzerland

BERN, SWITZERLAND – The number of people seeking asylum in Switzerland rose by 30 percent in one month, but the statistics were somewhat skewered by the problem of a lack of competent translators. The Federal Migration Office says the increase is due mainly to a jump in June in the number of people arriving from […]

Business news: Half-year reports, shares disclosure, US citizens


ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – Half-year results coming in from major Swiss-based firms 7 August: Nestlé net profits down, from CHF5.1 billion in 2013 to CHF4.6b this year. Turnover fell 4.8 percent to CHF43 billion. The weaker performance cast a shadow over the Swiss stock market Thursday morning 7 August. Zurich insurance group, profits up 14 percent […]

Business news roundup: China deals, Russians, wine & beer

Raising a glass to friendship: Crans-Montana and Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China

BERN, SWITZERLAND – Wine consumption remained stable in 2013 and beer consumption slipped a bit, figures released by Bern Wednesday show. But the changes are so small that a rainy spring and autumn could be the explanation, according to the Federal Agriculture Office. Foreign wines lost some ground to local wine production. The Swiss in […]

Swiss central bank’s profits up sharply

The meaning of the Swiss National Day - Photo Ellen Wallace

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – The Swiss National Bank posted profits of CHF16.1 billion for the first six months of 2014. Of this, CHF12.6b was due to currency exchanges, while gains in gold valuations accounted for CHF3.5b. Gold was trading for CHF34.2 per kilogram at the end of 2013 and at June 2014 the price was CHF37.6/kg. […]