Black money: Make requests that are 'justified', Swiss banks tells India

UBSNew Delhi/Zurich: As India steps up pressure on Swiss authorities in its pursuit of alleged black money, banks in Switzerland say they follow strict rules and the requests from Indian authorities must be "properly justified".

The Association of Foreign Banks in Switzerland, an over four-decade old grouping, is also of the view that a clear and transparent policy can help in dispelling "apprehensions" and the "conjectures" should not be allowed to dominate the public opinion.

To bring back illicit money stashed away overseas, India has recently made a fresh request to Switzerland to seek bank details of such entities.

World's largest flawless blue diamond fetches $23.7 mn

largest-flawless-vivid-blue-diamondGeneva, May 15 : A pear-shaped flawless 13.22 carat blue diamond, the world's largest, was sold for $23.7 million at Christie's Magnificent Jewels sale with a world record sale price of $1.7 million per carat, the event's organisers said Thursday.

Christie's said in a statement that 85 percent of the offered lots were sold of which 27 went at above $1 million.

Fetching the second best price was a 1912 Cartier's brooch at $17.5 million, followed by a 75.97 carat pear-shaped diamond for $14.4 million.

ITU award for presidents of Rwanda, South Korea

Park-Geun-hye-Paul-KagameGeneva, May 2 : President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Park Geun-hye of South Korea and Mexican billionnaire Carlos Slim Friday won the World Telecommunication and Information Society (WTIS) Award 2014.

They have been honoured by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in recognition of their leadership and dedication towards promoting ICT (information, communication and technology) development and broadband connectivity as a means of achieving sustainable development.

Switzerland still believes in bank secrecy: Chidambaram

ChidambaramSwitzerland is not in tune with the modern era as the European country still believes in bank secrecy, Union Finance minister P Chidambaram said.

In a letter to written to his Swiss counterpart Eveline Widmer Schlumpf, Mr. Chidambaram complained that Switzerland had been refusing to provide information about Indians' black money in its banks to the Indian government, despite a legal obligation of Swiss government under article 26 of the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC).

$140 bn lost in natural, man-made disasters in 2013: Report

Swiss ReGeneva, March 27 - Global natural catastrophes and man-made disasters had brought as much as $140 billion economic losses in 2013, according to the latest report released by Swiss Re Group Wednesday.

The Zurich-based insurance company noted that last year's total loss was down from the $196 billion in 2012 and well below the 10-year average of $190 billion, Xinhua reported.

The report said global insured losses reached around $45 billion last year due to large contributions from flooding and hail disasters, down from $81 billion in 2012.

Hockey to become 60-minute game from Sep 1

Hockey to become 60-minute game from Sep 1Lausanne, March 20 : The international hockey federation (FIH) Thursday introduced major changes to the structure of the sport including reducing the 70-minute game to 60 minutes comprising four 15-minute quarters instead of two 35-minute halves. The changes will come into effect from Sep 1.

After the first and third quarters there will be a two-minute break while the existing 10-minute halftime will remain unchanged. The four-quarter model has been tried and implemented by both the Euro Hockey League and the Hockey India League.

Saina, Sindhu enter Swiss Open quarters

saina NehwalBasel, March 14 - Top Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and P. V. Sindhu had contrasting victories to progress to the women's singles quarterfinals at the $125,000 Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold at St. Jakobshalle here Thursday.

French World No. 42 Sashina Vignes Waran was no match for the sixth seeded Indian as Saina came out on top 21-7, 21-13 in 34 minutes to proceed to the next stage. With the triumph, the Olympic bronze medallist took an undefeated 3-0 advantage in career clashes against Sashina.

Sindhu enters second round of Swiss Open

p-v-sindhuBasel, March 12 : World No. 9 shuttler P. V. Sindhu won her women's singles opener at the $125,000 Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold at St. Jakobshalle here Wednesday.

In their first ever match, the seventh seed overcame Malaysian World No. 127 Sannatasah Saniru 21-18, 21-15 in 32 minutes to proceed to the second round.

However, World No. 3 and third seed Shixian Wang of China thrashed Saili Rane 21-8, 21-9 in 31 minutes also in their first match.

Saina seeded 6th at Swiss Open

Saina-NehwalBasel, March 8 : Two-time winner Saina Nehwal of India has been seeded sixth at the $125,000 Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold which starts at St. Jakobshalle here Tuesday.

The Olympic bronze medallist will try to regain the crown which she won in 2011 and 2012 and reached the semi-finals last year. Saina's city-mate P. V. Sindhu is just a notch below her and has been seeded seventh.

Saili Rane is the other Indian in the main draw of the women's singles category.

Meanwhile, out of form Parupalli Kashyap has been seeded third in the men's singles draw, followed by fifth seed Kidambi Srikanth.

LSD study shows reduced anxiety in terminally ill

LSD study shows reduced anxiety in terminally illAnother overview has uncovered, dropping acid can alleviate angst in anguish terminal disease.

Noting that legitimate utilization of LSD by U.  S. therapists pummeled to an end in 1966 after the brain altering pill got prevalent as a recreational opiate, the new study reported positive outcomes around malignancy patients, who were in advanced stages, in Switzerland.

The discoveries distributed this week in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease detail the initially regulated investigation of LSD-supported psychotherapy in more than 40 years.

Honeybees can taste food with claws!

HoneybeesZurich, Feb 5 : How interesting it would be if we could taste our food just by touching it. Honeybees can actually do that.

Research sheds light on honeybees’ ability to taste with claws on their forelegs.

Insects taste through sensilla - hair-like structures on the body that contain receptor nerve cells, each of which is sensitive to a particular substance.

Honeybees have sensilla on the mouthparts, antenna and the tarsi - the end part of the legs.

Ferguson to work as UEFA coach ambassador

Alex-FergusonGeneva, Jan 24 : Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson will work as a coach ambassador for UEFA, president Michel Platini said Friday.

"Sir Alex will be chairman of the forum of elite coaches that meets every year.  He will also be a member of the technical study group of the Champions League and the European Championship," Platini said at an executive committee meeting in Nyon, Switzerland, reports Xinhua.

UNHRC condemns rights violations in Syria

UNHRC condemns rights violations in SyriaGeneva, Sep 27 : The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Friday strongly condemned the continued gross, systematic and widespread violations of human rights and all violations of international humanitarian law in Syria and urged the government to grant immediate access to the UN commission of inquiry.

The UNHRC demanded that the Syrian authorities cooperate fully with the commission of inquiry, including by granting it immediate, full and unfettered access throughout the country.

Senn assures investors regarding Zurich Insurance

Senn assures investors regarding Zurich InsuranceMartin Senn, the Chief Executive Officer of Switzerland's largest insurer, Zurich Insurance Group has assured investors and analysts that its accounts will remain intact and that the company is performing well.

The remarks came after Chairman Josef Ackermann stepped down following the chief financial officer's suicide. The company had announced on 26 August, 2013 that Pierre Wauthier was found dead at his home. The shares of the company had fallen about 2.2 billion Swiss francs in total market value.

Poor infra, financing hampering India-Africa trade: Report

india-south-africaGeneva, July 9 : Poor infrastructure facilities and lack of financing are getting in the way of expanded business and investment ties between India and Africa, said a report Tuesday.

A study, jointly by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and World Trade Organisation (WTO) supported by Britain's Department for International Development, found a number of constraints to bilateral trade. Access to Indian buyers and trade finance emerges as major concerns for African traders.

Grenada biggest mover in FIFA rankings

FIFAZurich, May 14 : Grenada has emerged as the most improved team in the latest FIFA rankings.

The Spice Boyz, crowned Windward Islands' football champions last month, climbed 20 spots to 121 in the global rankings and 16 in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Football (CONCACAF).

The movement is owed in part to the two victories in the Windward Islands Football Association (WIFA) Tournament in St Vincent.

Grenada defeated the host 1-0 and St Lucia 2-1 to win the three-team tournament following the withdrawal of Dominica after the tragic death of the coach and a player a few days before the kick-off.

Exports driving Spain's incipient recovery: Economists

ExportsZurich, April 18 : A new focus on exports - now 30 percent of Spain's GDP - as opposed to construction is crucial to the turnaround underway in the country's economic cycle, the executive director of Spain's Business Council for Competitiveness, or CEC, said Wednesday in Switzerland.

"There's been a change in how the Spanish economy works because now it's based on exports and not on construction. This change provides a sufficient basis for expecting gross domestic product growth in the coming year," Fernando Casado told EFE.

No match-fixing in 2014 World Cup qualifiers: FIFA

Ralf-MutschkeGeneva, April 6 : Football's world governing body FIFA said no match-fixing was found in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, with more than 500 matches played so far.

FIFA security director Ralf Mutschke said up to now "we don't have any leads that any match has been thrown" and they are "confident that nothing will happen through the qualification", reports Xinhua.

The full program of about 820 preliminary matches ends in November.

Novartis loses key patent battle in India

Novartis loses key patent battle in IndiaSwiss drug maker, Novartis faced a defeat in a patent issue as India's apex court dismissed its patent bid for a blockbuster cancer drug.

The company condemned the decision by the Supreme Court of India to dismiss its patent application. The decision by the Supreme Court came after legal battle for seven years by the company to gain a patent protection for an updated version of leukemia drug Glivec in the country.

Spamhaus attacks highlight security threats posed by poorly configured DNS servers

Domain-Name-SystemThe substantial security threats which millions of poorly configured Internet Domain Name System (DNS) servers pose for organisations came into limelight this week, following massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on Spamhaus, the volunteer organization based in Geneva, Switzerland.

The attacks on Spamhaus started on March 19; and were probably launched by a group which opposes the antispam work carried out by the organisation. According to a number of security companies, the attacks on Spamhaus were by the biggest ever publicly disclosed DDoS attacks thus far.

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