Taking stock: Geneva’s international organizations’ renovations

WHO headquarters in Geneva

Improved work space and better energy use give breath of fresh air to tired buildings GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Fipoi is not an acronym that is as familiar as many in Geneva, where they abound as the names we know for international organizations, but without Fipoi most of them would not be here. Monday the federal […]

Portugal passes muster for next funding round

Greeks bonds out as collateral GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Portugal will get the nice euros 14 billion of the 78bn allotted to it as part of a european bailout package. The country’s spending cuts and ability to stay on target for reducing its debt were reviewed by a team that visited Monday, from the three agencies […]

Greeks demonstrate as minister joins EU to discuss austerity plan

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Greeks held two major demonstrations in Athens over the weekend to protest the country’s austerity plan, as their finance minister flew to Brussels for European Union talks on the plan Monday 20 February. The EU’s finance ministers are scheduled to discuss and vote on the plan, which they and the International Monetary […]

Swiss borrow less than most other Europeans

Household borrowing in Europe, 2008 (source: Swiss Federal Statistical Office)

BERN, SWITZERLAND – The average rate of indebtedness in Europe, mortgages for a first residence not included, is 28.2 percent. Switzerland, with a rate of 18.2 percent is one of the countries with the lowest rate of household indebtedness, with only Malta and The Netherlands having lower rates and Italy and Austria having about the […]

10 Tamil Tigers arrested after nationwide sweep

Huge money-laundering “pyramid” operation uncovered Police seek local Tamils who were victims to give evidence Bern and Geneva, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – Ten members of LTTE, the Sri Lankan Tamil independence movement, who are resident in Switzerland were arrested Tuesday 11 January after police in several cantons raided 23 locations across the country. The sweep, coordinated […]

UK gov’t study calls for end to university fees cap

An independent review  mandated by the British government has concluded that universities should be allowed to charge more than the currrent limit of £3,290 a year per student. If Lord Browne of Madingley’s plan is adopted, the recommendation could prompt a major increase in fees, up to £36,000 for a three-year degree programme. The coalition […]

Swiss to boost IMF loans to developing countries by CHF850m

Bern, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – The Swiss Federal Council Wednesday 8 September approved an additional CHF850 million in loans for developing countries, to be administered by the IMF trust fund for developing countries (International Monetary Fund). Switzerland’s share of the trust fund is 5 percent. The loan will be made through the Swiss National Bank. A […]

Greek, eurozone package: €750bn in aid

The European Union’s finance ministers have agreed to a generous package of €500 billion in aid for Greece and the  eurozone, the bulk of it in the form of loan guarantees. The European Commission will provide f €60b in emergency funding for members having “difficulties caused by exceptional circumstances beyond their control”, said Elena Salgado, […]

IMF puzzles over its role in Greece

The IMF (International Monetary Fund) said Friday 26 March that it is watching developments in Greece closely, after the euro zone countries agreed to provide Greece with loans, with help from the IMF. But IMF and European Union (EU) rules covering loans are not aligned and the situation may force the IMF to reconsider its […]

Construction loans are up, interest rates remain stable and low


Zurich, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – Mortgage loans in Switzerland, 40 percent of which are new construction loans, rose by 4.6 percent in July. They had been falling but began to rise after Swiss interest rates moved lower starting in November 2008, says the Swiss National Bank (SNB). Mortgage loans constitute 80 percent of all loans. Loans […]