Swiss send Nepal emergency assessment team

BERN, SWITZERLAND – A team of six specialists flew from Switzerland to Nepal Sunday morning in a Rega emergency plane, to assess precisely the most critical aid needs there, after the Swiss government offered to help the mountainous country as well as India. The huge earthquake (7.8) that struck near Kathmandu Saturday also left victims […]

Refugee groups appeal to EU

EU must take Mediterranean solutions further GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Three major NGOs (non-governmental organizations) issued a joint statement Thursday, appealing to the European Union to go further in finding a solution to the Mediterranean crisis, where thousands of migrants are being lost at sea. EU ministers are meeting in Brussels today and, according to a […]

Some gov’t funds rare exemptions from negative interest

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – The central administration in Bern, the AI disability funds and AVS old age funds are virtually the only exemptions from the SNB’s policy to charge negative interest rates. The Swiss central bank has completed its review of who will be exempt – those clients who will not have to pay the SNB […]

British voters: register, watch elections (correction)

uk voter registration

BERN, SWITZERLAND – British voters go to the polls 7 May to decide on a new government in a General Election. This is the first time that they will be able to register to vote online, with the deadline 20 April, less than two weeks away. Correction: please note that online voting is not yet […]

Foreigners make up one-third of Vaud residents

Flag flying at the Chateau d'Aigle, now part of a new city

Vaud has 4 new cities LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – One-third of the people who live in Canton Vaud are foreigners, the latest statistics show. And the canton has four new cities, according to cantonal population statistics released 7 April. The latest figures, for 2014, also show that for the first time in some years, the percentage […]

Deal with Iran (Chappatte cartoon)

deal with Iran Chappatte_040315

©2015 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.

Tracking the Swiss franc, euro, dollar

The meaning of the Swiss National Day - Photo Ellen Wallace

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – There is no doubt about it, removing the euro cap in January has, to date, resulted in a stronger Swiss franc against the euro and the pound. The Swiss National Bank’s currency exchange rate data for the first quarter of 2015 was released Thursday. The franc rose from euros 1.23 in January […]

Lausanne, back to normal as Iran deal struck

Lausanne view from St Prex_010415

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – Lausanne will be getting back to normal Friday, although with shops and businesses closed for the long Easter weekend, quiet-again will be unusually quiet. Negotiators struck a preliminary deal on Iran’s use of nuclear power as evening fell Thursday 2 April. By 22:00 the sky was unusually noisy with planes, as some […]

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 – […]