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The World Trade Organization and the demise of multilateralism

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 16:02
Seventy-five years after the creation of the United Nations in the wake of the Second World War, the resignation of the director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Roberto Azevedo, does not bode well for the international trading system, multilateralism and International Geneva. The WTO has had several major setbacks even before the pandemic: The Doha Development Round to lower trade barriers which started in November 2001 has not been completed; the WTO’s unique dispute-settlement system was stymied last year when the United States blocked all nominees.  The disheartened Brazilian diplomat threw in the towel, saying, ”If I stay here will the virus go away? The virus will not go away. If I stay here will the US and China all of a sudden shake hands and say, ‘Let bygones be bygones’? No, that is not going to happen. Nothing is going to change if I stay here.” The director-general was not without his critics. “He was not courageous enough to take positions on ...
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Are apprenticeships undergoing a ‘corona shock’?

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 13:00
The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting current and future apprenticeships in Switzerland. With around two-thirds of young people taking the vocational route, the consequences could be worrying, experts say.  The country’s much admired dual-track apprenticeship system sees young people combine on-the-job training with lessons in a vocational school, producing a well-qualified workforce. It is considered one of Switzerland’s economic success factors. But the economy has been impacted severely by the nationwide coronavirus lockdown.  + Economic cost of pandemic will be enormous: SNB chief  + Switzerland facing biggest economic slump since 1975  Concerned, the government announced the creation of a task force on apprenticeships earlier this month. “We expect companies to go out of business and as a result, apprenticeship places to be lost. Plus it might become harder for those who have finished their apprenticeships to find a job,” a statement to mark the founding of the taskforce ...
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Emma Hodcroft: The ‘virus hunter’

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 10:49
Tracking mutations of the coronavirus as it spreads across the world, biologist Emma Hodcroft has become one of Switzerland’s most-followed researchers on Twitter. Her name has appeared in Wired, the Boston Globe and (German-language media including) the NZZ, but also in the Aargauer Zeitung, Blick and even Nau, a news platform shown on screens in buses, at petrol stations and fitness centres. This is an impressive feat, because Emma Hodcroft, an American-British researcher working in Basel, does pretty complicated research. She is busy mapping mutations of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in real time. But her straightforward communication style has made her one of the best-known faces of science in Switzerland during the pandemic, along with senior experts. “It was heart-warming to be featured in local media. As a foreigner in Switzerland, I felt accepted and valued”, she says, sitting on a metal chair in a park next to her flat in Basel. But she regrets that the media sometimes...
Categories: News EN

Emma Hodcroft: The ‘virus hunter’

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 10:49
Tracking mutations of the coronavirus as it spreads across the world, biologist Emma Hodcroft has become one of Switzerland’s most-followed researchers on Twitter.  Her name has appeared in Wired, the Boston Globe and (German-language media including) the NZZ, but also in the Aargauer Zeitung, Blick and even Nau, a news platform shown on screens in buses, at petrol stations and fitness centres. This is an impressive feat, because Emma Hodcroft, an American-British researcher working in Basel, does pretty complicated research. She is busy mapping mutations of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in real time. But her straightforward communication style has made her one of the best-known faces of science in Switzerland during the pandemic, along with senior experts. “It was heart-warming to be featured in local media. As a foreigner in Switzerland, I felt accepted and valued”, she says, sitting on a metal chair in a park next to her flat in Basel. But she regrets that the media sometimes ...
Categories: News EN

Who’s at risk of poverty in Switzerland?

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 10:00
Almost 8% of the population was already living in poverty in Switzerland before the coronavirus crisis, and more than a million people were struggling to stay above the minimum subsistence level. The pandemic threatens to push many of them into precarious situations. The images have caused such a stir that they have been published by major international media, including The Guardian, the New York Times and Radio France Internationale (RFI): over 1,500 people queued up last Saturday, stretching for over one kilometre, as they had done the previous week, to receive free food parcels worth CHF20 ($30) in one of the richest and most expensive cities in the world, Geneva. Despite its wealth, canton Geneva has major socio-economic disparities. Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the number of people requesting food support has quadrupled. The Covid-19 epidemic highlights the fragility of the poorest in Swiss society, who lost part or even all income sources overnight. The ...
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The lockdown leaves students strapped for cash

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 14:35
Due to the coronavirus pandemic 60% of student jobs have disappeared. As these were the only source of income for many young people, requests for financial support sent to universities have drastically increased since the beginning of the lockdown. Maxance is studying and normally gets by on CHF1350 ($1390)/month, but without a job, her outlook is bleak. “All of a sudden, everything closes and I’m getting cancellation emails about concerts and entertainment jobs. My employer tells me ‘I don’t know what I’ll do, I’m also living with uncertainty, unfortunately there’s no work at the moment’,” she said. She can get CHF450/month in unemployment money and her university has stepped in to offer a grant for these unprecedented circumstances: CHF500/month for three months. The amount and type of financial support varies from university to university, but all major institutions have cleared funds to support their students.
Categories: News EN

Switzerland mulls controversial Covid-19 health passports

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 13:00
Swiss technology firms and medical researchers are developing digital health passports that could be used to certify who is immune to Covid-19. But scientists don’t yet know whether having the virus confers immunity, and treating people differently based on their immunity status raises serious ethical questions for Switzerland and other countries mulling this option. Assuming there is such a thing as immunity from Covid-19, the pros of an immunity passport are easy to imagine. The document could be presented to access elder care homes, travel safely internationally, and attend large sporting or cultural events without putting oneself or others at risk. It could be used within medical teams so those lacking immunity don’t come into unnecessary contact with Covid-19 patients. And it could come in handy in strategic sectors to, for example, prevent all the workers at a nuclear power plant from getting sick at once. The creation of immunity passports is well underway in...
Categories: News EN

Switzerland mulls controversial Covid-19 health passports

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 13:00
Swiss technology firms and medical researchers are developing digital health passports that could be used to certify who is immune to Covid-19. But scientists don’t yet know whether having the virus confers immunity, and treating people differently based on their immunity status raises serious ethical questions for Switzerland and other countries mulling this option.    Assuming there is such a thing as immunity from Covid-19, the pros of an immunity passport are easy to imagine. The document could be presented to access elder care homes, travel safely internationally, and attend large sporting or cultural events without putting oneself or others at risk. It could be used within medical teams so those lacking immunity don’t come into unnecessary contact with Covid-19 patients. And it could come in handy in strategic sectors to, for example, prevent all the workers at a nuclear power plant from getting sick at once.  The creation of immunity passports is well underway in ...
Categories: News EN

Swiss vaccine approval: As fast as possible, as slowly as necessary

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 10:00
Dozens of labs around the world are working to find a vaccine against Covid-19. But they have embarked on a marathon rather than a sprint, because the approval procedures are lengthy, with good reason, including in Switzerland.  "A vaccine by autumn? No, it's a misunderstanding. What we are hoping for is the start of phase II trials this autumn," says Lukas Jaggi, spokesman for Swissmedic, the Swiss licensing and control authority for therapeutic products. It usually takes 10-12 years from the first laboratory tests to the arrival of a product on the market. With Covid-19, the global emergency makes it possible to speed up certain stages, but not all of them. The scale of the pandemic has greatly boosted research into this new virus. Its genome was sequenced in record time, and on January 11 the Chinese authorities made the data available to researchers around the world. Laboratories have revised priorities to free up teams to work on the new coronavirus. And they can take ...
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A New JEC Innovations Award With Hexcel's Support

News Machinery - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 00:36

Hexcel is pleased to announce its role as materials development partner for the Institut de Soudure Group's winning JEC project - the Innovative Solutions for Welding (ISW) of Thermoplastic Composites. ISW is a novel solution co-developed and patented by both the Institut de Soudure Group (IS Group) and Arkema, providing high-performance welding for thermoplastic composites. Hexcel congratulates the two companies that were announced as the winners of the Aeronautics Category at the JEC In...

Read the full story at https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=259171

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Swiss attorney faces possible impeachment over FIFA probe

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 05/13/2020 - 19:18
Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber could become the first high-ranking national official to be impeached over his handling of a FIFA corruption probe, after a key parliamentary committee meeting on Wednesday. Here’s the background.  A parliamentary judicial committee agreed unanimously on Wednesday to invite Lauber for questioning on May 20 to determine whether he broke rules or was grossly negligent. This followed motions filed by parliamentarians.  Next week’s decisive hearing could represent the first step towards possible impeachment proceedings – a historic first - against the federal prosecutor.  What are the accusations against Lauber? Switzerland’s attorney general has been criticised and is facing calls to resign over accusations that his office botched up high-profile international football trials. Last month, the first trial in Switzerland’s five-year investigation of corruption in football ended without a judgment. A five-year statute of limitations to secure ...
Categories: News EN

Swiss to re-open borders with neighbouring countries

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 05/13/2020 - 15:51
Switzerland is planning to re-open its borders with Germany, France and Austria as part of a gradual loosening of restrictions over the coronavirus pandemic imposed in March. Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter said the four countries had agreed in principle on the coordinated re-introduction of the free movement of people by June 15. "Discussions with my counterparts have shown a common intention to go back to normality, also at the borders, provided the epidemiological situation allows us to do so," she told a news conference on Wednesday. "Tourism can resume between the three countries from mid-June, provided the conditions are right," she confirmed.  Certain restrictions could be eased beforehand, possibly already this weekend, according to Keller-Sutter. She said talks were underway to define the details of preliminary measures, notably for family reasons or property owners. The announcement follows similar statements by the German and Austrian governments. However, ...
Categories: News EN

Syntegon Technology launches Kliklok ACE carton former

News Machinery - Tue, 05/12/2020 - 12:49

- - • New 240 cpm former with a small footprint - • Availability with lock, glue or ultrasonic forming - • Integrated “Flex Feeder” ensures positive carton control - • Ergonomic low-level hopper for operator convenience - • On-board electrics replace control cabinet - - - Syntegon Technology has launched its new Kliklok ACE (Advanced Carton Erector) carton former platform at its virtual show booth. Visitors could join the online reveal of the new machine from the site in Bristol, U.K. The Sy...

Read the full story at https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=259081

Categories: News EN

The sound and the city: Swiss exhibit captures Kolkata’s streets

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 05/10/2020 - 10:00
From barking street dogs to hustling hawkers and singing beggars, two Swiss friends have tried to record the essence of the Indian city of Kolkata. Their soundscapes and images are now on virtual exhibit through a Zurich museum. Thomas Kaiser has a soft spot for Indian crows. A tree-lined empty lot behind his favourite Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) budget hotel attracted the vocal birds all day long. “I would try to book a rooftop room so I could feed them,” he says. The crows, the city and its people would keep Kaiser returning to the same Gariahat neighbourhood in Kolkata over a period of almost 15 years (1994 to 2008) to record the sounds of the area. For someone working in radio in Switzerland, the acoustical density in the eastern Indian city was like nowhere else. The tinkling of the bells of the hand-drawn rickshaws, the soulful ballad of the Baul folk singer trying to earn a few coins and the rhythmic sales banter of street hawkers looking to make a quick sale...
Categories: News EN

Cullum Announces COVID-19 Employee Relief

News Machinery - Wed, 05/06/2020 - 13:00

Cullum, on Tuesday May 5, announced they have created the COVID-19 Employee Relief Fund by contributing $200,000 to assist team members as they work through the COVID-19 pandemic. - - Cullum employs over 200 people across the state of South Carolina, with offices located in Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville. -   - As layoffs continue due to business shutdowns and economic uncertainty during the pandemic, Cullum is still actively hiring journeymen and women. -   - “As a company, we understand...

Read the full story at https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=258840

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Wärtsilä gas engines to burn 100% hydrogen

News Machinery - Tue, 05/05/2020 - 16:01

The technology group Wärtsilä is developing the combustion process in its gas engines to enable them to burn 100% hydrogen fuel.Wärtsilä has researched hydrogen as a fuel for 20 years, and has tested its engines with blends of up to 60% hydrogen and 40% natural gas. This development is part of the company's strategy to future-proof its engine technology in line with the global trend towards decarbonisation of the energy and marine markets. In addition to hydrogen, other potential renewable...

Read the full story at https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=258826

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Four Companies Offering 3D Metal Printing Solutions Named IDC Innovators

News Machinery - Mon, 05/04/2020 - 22:25

International Data Corporation ( IDC ) today published an IDC Innovators report profiling four companies in the 3D metal printing market. IDC Innovators are companies that have introduced innovative new technologies or groundbreaking business models. The four companies are Desktop Metal, ExOne, Rapidia, and Velo3D. Key trends, such as manufacturers seeking manufacturing flexibility, supply chain efficiency, light-weighting, and part consolidation are making the 3D Metal printer market o...

Read the full story at https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=258793

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Bangkok Blue Line Extension Officially Opens for Full Passenger Revenue Service

News Machinery - Fri, 05/01/2020 - 23:15

Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), Bangkok Expressway and Metro Public Company Limited (BEM) and CH. Karnchang Public Company Limited have officially implemented full passenger revenue service for the Blue Line Extension. In support of this project, Siemens Mobility integrated turnkey services delivered 35 three-car metro trains, installed the signaling, built the traction power supply, developed a passenger information system, implemented a SCADA system, provided depot works...

Read the full story at https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=258729

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Carrier Expands TruVu™ Family of HVAC Controls

News Machinery - Fri, 05/01/2020 - 18:57

Carrier is proud to add two new multi-purpose controllers (MPCs) to their TruVu™ family of flexible, scalable building controls for the i-Vu® building automation system. These new controllers feature integrated input/output (I/O) points, built-in BACnet routing and integration capabilities, and expansion modules that can be added to support up to 224 total I/O points for a variety of heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) applications. Carrier is a part of Carrier Global Corpor...

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MHPS the Global Market Share Leader in 2019 for Flue Gas Desulfurization Systems

News Machinery - Thu, 04/30/2020 - 16:47

- Top share with 37.2% of the global market, fifth time since 2014 - - Contributing to a significant reduction in air pollutants, and improvement in the global environment Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Ltd. (MHPS), achieved the top market share for flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems in 2019, securing 37.2% of the global market.(Note) According to a leading market research report, for the last six-year period, MHPS had the world's leading market share with 37%, delivering the syst...

Read the full story at https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=258680

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