Your Daily Scan of the New Global Economy

Switzerland

Intel Switzerland

  • 5G: from popular anger to people’s initiatives

    As authorities, telecoms companies, and experts struggle to communicate the dangers and merits of 5G, Swiss voters might end up having the last word – even if the issue might seem more technical than political. No less than five separate campaigns for people’s initiatives are currently underway, all riding the waves of popular discontent that have coalesced in recent months into a “real rebellion”, as campaigner Hans-Ulrich Jakob put it last week. And while each ingredient of this “initiative salad” is operating with a shared overall goal in mind (make the technology safe for citizens), each is also clearly individual – so much so that, for now, there are no signs of overt cooperation. For example, the initiative ‘For a health-conscious and energy-efficient mobile communications’, which started collecting signatures in October, has a range of demands: firmly fix the limit-values for wave frequencies; clearly differentiate indoor and outdoor limits for such waves; and establish …

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  • Blockchain shares – who needs lawmakers?

    The Swiss parliament will soon get to grips with merging the current financial system with new blockchain architecture. This is a bit like refitting your whole house to make sure the swanky new furniture and fittings blend in. Switzerland has deliberately chosen to not to tear the whole house down and build it again in a new style. But the structure still needs a major re-fit by amending banking, corporate and financial infrastructure laws. At present, the new kitchen cupboards don’t fit, the refrigerator door keeps banging against the hob and the chaise lounge blocks the fire escape. What good are digital shares if they can’t be sold, a new system of book keeping that can’t be read or an alternative style of stock exchange that can’t trade? Why should people invest into all of this if they can’t be sure of retrieving their assets in the event of a bankruptcy? Next year, lawmakers will decide on how to remodel the corporate and financial system to accommodate Distributed Ledger …

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  • Glencore faces British criminal probe

    Swiss commodities giant Glencore is being investigated by the British Serious Fraud Office (SFO), it emerged on Thursday. The company would give no further details, but it already faces questions about its dealings in several countries. The SFO said it “confirms it is investigating suspicions of bribery in the conduct of business by the Glencore group of companies, its officials, employees, agents and associated persons,” but would add no other detail. The commodities trader has come under increasing pressure over suspicions of engaging in questionable business practices. Last year, it was subpoenaed by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) in relation to its activities in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Venezuela. This followed a criminal complaint submitted in Switzerland by the NGO Public Eye against the company’s activities in DRC, including suspect links with billionaire Israeli businessman Dan Gertler. Leaked documents, known as the “Paradise …

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  • Money mules, phantom bank and a Federer coin

    Almost every article published by swissinfo.ch contains a percentage, an age, an amount of money or some other figure. Here’s a round-up of some of the most interesting statistics to appear in the past week’s stories. Monday 20 Swissmint is dedicating a commemorative CHF20 silver coin to Swiss tennis icon Roger Federer – the first living person to receive the honour. It is already sold out, with a CHF50 gold version planned for May. Tuesday 12 The Swiss Federal Court acquitted 12 Tamil Tigers of charges filed by the Office of the Attorney General after ruling that the group is not a criminal organisation. The verdict upheld a previous court ruling on the matter.   Tuesday 10,329 With 10,329 registrations so far this year, Switzerland and Liechtenstein have more new electric passenger cars on the roads than ever before. The numbers reflect a 136.6% increase over last year’s fleet.  Wednesday 175 A Europol investigation uncovered 175 Swiss “money mules” (people who …

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  • Swiss government rejects anti-tobacco advert initiative

    Switzerland’s cabinet has recommended rejecting a people’s initiative aimed at banning tobacco advertising targeting both minors and young adults. The country’s executive said on Friday that it wanted to protect young people, but that the initiative went too far. Currently, tobacco advertising is not allowed on radio and television. The people’s initiative – which was handed in during September after getting more than the 100,000 signatures needed – wants an absolute advertising ban in print media, online, posters, in cinemas and shops. It also aims at outlawing sponsoring by tobacco companies. + Read more about the anti-tobacco advertising people’s initiative   In a statement on Friday, the government said that the initiative’s proposals were tantamount to a “total ban”. But it said that it was in favour of measures that would better project young people from the dangers of tobacco.  Law in progress  In 2016 parliament rejected a first draft law on the issue of young people …

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