Category Archive: 3) Swiss Markets and News

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Swiss public transport given good cost-effectiveness marks

Using public transport infrequently in Switzerland is expensive, but thanks to new special offers such as “early bird” rates Switzerland does well when it comes to value for money, according to an international study. “Travelling by train, bus or boat is expensive in Switzerland,” is a common refrain among Swiss people – and especially tourists.

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Fat Cattle Force Farmers to Call for ‘New Model Cow’

Many Swiss cows are getting too heavy for soft Alpine pastures, too wide for their stalls and too gluttonous for their owners. An interest group is now calling for cows to be bred that are smaller, lighter and more easily sated.

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Robot-built pergola showcases Swiss digital fabrication skills

Istituto Svizzero, the Swiss cultural centre in Rome, gets some welcome shade thanks to a computer-designed, robot-built pergola. The four-metre tall construction was inaugurated in June and was the handiwork of 17 architecture students at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ). The pergola was put together without using nails, glue or screws.

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Traffic jams cost Swiss more than just time

Various costs related to traffic jams totalled CHF1.9 billion ($1.9 billion) in 2015, up 7% from 2010, according to the Swiss Office for Spatial Development. In a statement released on Wednesday (link in French, German and Italian), the office said that costs stemming from wasted time accounted for 70% of the losses, having increased by 14% since 2010. However, other costs related to the climate (+12%) and the environment (+3%) also increased...

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Swiss Trade Unions to Boycott Talks on EU Labour Negotiations

Switzerland’s largest national trade union centre has refused to participate in discussions led by Swiss Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann on easing measures for wages and working conditions as part of framework negotiations with the European Union (EU).

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CEO of Baselworld steps down

The head of the world’s largest watch and jewellery trade show, the Swiss-based Baselworld, has handed in his resignation amid a row over the departure of several exhibitors. The MCH Group announced that CEO Peter Kamm would resign from his position “in view of the fundamental transformation phase in business operations”.

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Swiss court blocks French request for UBS banking data

Switzerland’s Federal Administrative Court has ordered the Federal Tax Administration (FTA) not to provide France with details about 40,000 UBS bank clients with French addresses. In May 2016, the French tax authorities requested administrative assistance from the FTA. They wanted details about UBS clients who lived or had lived in France.

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IT made compulsory for upper secondary pupils

Computer science has become obligatory at Swiss upper secondary schools, as the country seeks to plug its information technology (IT) skills gap. These schools (Gymnasium/lyceé/liceo), whose pupils typically go on to university, have until the school year 2022/3 to introduce the compulsory lessons, under a regulation change that came into force on August 1. Previously, IT had the status of a non-obligatory supplementary subject.

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Switzerland’s young socialists restart the debate on first class train seats

Recently, members of the young socialists raised the debate of the social inequalities associated with two ticket classes again while on trains travelling between Fribourg and Bern. They complain that at periods of peak demand second class carriages are overflowing, while first class ones often have space and spare seats.

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Central bank back in the black after shaky 2018 start

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has reported strong profits for the first half of the year, largely thanks to a weakening franc and gains in the foreign currency market. The results, published in an SNB press releaseon Tuesday, show overall profits of CHF5.11 billion ($5.17 billion) for the first six months of 2018, compared with CHF1.22 billion the previous year.

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Swatch Group withdraws from Baselworld

With the departure of its largest exhibitor from 2019, it’s yet another setback for the world’s largest watch and jewellery trade show, which has seen participation dwindle in recent years.

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Economiesuisse warns of economic dangers of vote against foreign judges

The business and industry association Economiesuisse says the up-coming vote on 25 November 2018 on self-determination puts the Swiss economy at risk. The Swiss People’s Party led initiative entitled: Federal law instead of foreign judges, aims to cement the primacy of Swiss law over international law by adding a clause to Switzerland’s constitution.

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Geneva set to vote on maintaining public spending in the face of company tax reform

An initiative entitled: zero losses, was filed this week in Geneva. It aims to ring fence current public spending in the face of future company tax reform. The initiative gathered 9,147 signatures, more than the 7,840 required.

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Switzerland’s special tax deals less attractive from 2021

Foreigners who don’t work in Switzerland can benefit from special tax deals known as lump sum taxation, or for fait fiscal in French. Instead of paying tax on their worldwide income and assets their tax is calculated based on their living expenses. When someone becomes Swiss they automatically lose eligibility.

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Majority favours later retirement for women, according to survey

In Switzerland, the official retirement age for women is 64, a year earlier than it is for men. A poll by gfs.bern shows that around two thirds are in favour of raising the retirement age of women to 65. Only 16% are against the idea, with a further 18% somewhat against it. Men (78%) are more in favour of the change than women (54%), according to the newspaper 20 Minutes.

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UBS Boss Bemoans Geopolitical Jitters

UBS may have seen quarterly profits rise year-on-year, but chief executive Sergio Ermotti says the threat of trade wars and political unrest has dampened investor enthusiasm and continues to hold back financial markets.

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Zurich Airport to Limit Night-Time Flight Traffic

Federal aviation authorities have decided to limit the number of time slots for planes at Switzerland’s main airport in Zurich. The Federal Office of Civil Aviationexternal link said it has ordered a freeze on landings after 9pm and for take-offs after 10:20pm to reduce the noise for residents living near the airport.

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Swiss slap nearly 20,000 fines over labour violations

Swiss authorities sanction on average ten companies per day for violating wage protection rules, according to official figures. That corresponds to 19,200 fines in the span of five years. NZZ am Sonntag published these figures on Sunday on the basis of a list compiled by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

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Rothschild bank sanctioned for role in 1MDB scandal

The Swiss financial regulator has concluded its investigations into the Malaysian 1MDB scandal by finding Rothschild Bank AG and one of its subsidiaries in serious breach of anti-money laundering regulations. The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) said on Friday that it has appointed an auditor to make sure the bank and its Rothschild Trust vehicle properly implement an internal overhaul of its practices.

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Swiss bank settles US tax evasion probe

The Zurich-based Neue Privat Bank (NPB) has paid $5 million (CHF5 million) fine to settle a criminal tax evasion investigation in the United States. NPB is one of a handful of so-called ‘category 1’ Swiss or Swiss-based bank branches that were still facing sanctions at the start of this year.

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