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Switzerland

Intel Switzerland

  • 2021 Geneva Motor Show ‘very uncertain’ as organisers reject loan

    The 2021 edition of the Geneva International Motor Show remains touch and go after the organisers rejected the terms surrounding a state rescue loan.  This year’s car show was cancelled four days prior to its opening due to the coronavirus outbreak, costing an estimated loss of CHF11 million ($11.3 million) for the organisers of Switzerland’s largest public event.  Canton Geneva came to their rescue with the offer of a CHF16.8 million loan to be reimbursed over 15 years at low interest rates. This would help cover the cost of the cancellation and plan for the 2021 event. But on Tuesday the foundation that organises the event rejected the loan based on the conditions attached to it. In a statement, the foundation thanked the Geneva authorities for its offer, but added: “Unfortunately, the conditions attached to the loan, which, in particular, aim to completely outsource the show including its conceptualisation to Palexpo SA [the company running the Geneva congress centre], are …

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  • Algorithm predicts drift direction of people lost at sea

    A mathematical method that can speed up search-and-rescue operations at sea has been developed by scientists at the federal technology institute ETH Zurich and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  Hundreds of people die at sea every year in vessel and airplane accidents, ETH Zurich noted in a statement on Tuesday. “Emergency teams have little time to rescue those in the water because the probability of finding a person alive plummets after six hours. Beyond tides and challenging weather conditions, unsteady coastal currents often make search and rescue operations exceedingly difficult.”  An international research team led by George Haller, professor of nonlinear dynamics at ETH Zurich, has gained new insights into coastal flows. These promise to enhance the search and rescue techniques currently in use.  Using tools from dynamical systems theory and ocean data, the team has developed an algorithm to predict where objects and people floating in water – potentially …

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  • Saint-Gobain to drop its shareholding in Swiss chemical maker Sika

    The French building materials and distribution group Saint-Gobain has announced the sale of its 10.75% stake in the capital of the Swiss chemical manufacturer Sika.  Saint-Gobain said in a press release on Tuesday that it would dispose of “of its entire stake in Sika of approximately 15.2 million shares, representing 10.75% of Sika’s share capital”, without mentioning any financial amount.  According to an AFP calculation, at the current Sika share price the transaction would be valued at some €2.5 billion (CHF2.65 billion). The result and the final terms of the private placement will be announced on Wednesday “at the latest”, according to Saint-Gobain’s press release.  Sika, a specialist in sealants and adhesives with origins dating back to 1910, employs some 25,000 people and has more than 300 plants worldwide. The group, headquartered in Baar, canton Zug, achieved record sales of CHF8.1 billion ($8.38 billion) in the financial year 2019.  Long conflict  In May 2018 Sika and …

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  • Switzerland’s safety net must be there for all

    Images of several thousand people queuing each weekend to receive food parcels in wealthy Geneva have circulated in the international press recently. The working poor and undocumented migrants in Switzerland have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. A group of concerned citizens in Geneva is calling for respect for migrants’ fundamental rights and for regularisation. For many foreign observers, the fundamental right to food is something that has always been observed in Switzerland. Yet recent distributions of food aid by the local authorities, NGOs and private associations at the Vernets sports centre in Geneva seem to have taken the international press by surprise. For almost a month now this trend has been visible and continues to grow. In the international capital of human rights, Switzerland’s second-biggest city, and in a country often praised for its excellent economic and social organisation, part of the population is in dire need of food. People who previously …

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  • Tourism industry told to adapt to new travel habits

    Going on holiday in one’s own country and in the countryside, in smaller groups and sometimes with restrictions – this is the new reality to which the tourism industry must adapt, according to a study by the University of St Gallen.  Mobility and socialising: both are undesirable in times of Covid-19. The tourism industry was therefore the first to be affected by the government lockdown and other measures and “will be one of the last to re-open”, write study authors Christian Laesser and Thomas Bieger.  While people certainly want to travel, they remain reluctant to do so because of the health risks and economic uncertainties, they say. “For the time being, Switzerland must adjust to domestic tourism. This is difficult to control because of reluctant guests, short-notice travel decisions and short stays.”  Flexible pricing systems could help balance out peak times and capacity utilisation. In addition, locally and regionally valid vouchers with a nominal value that is higher …

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