Switzerland

Study: Tens of millions of poor children lack vaccines

Study: Tens of millions of poor children lack vaccines Geneva  - Some 20 per cent of children born each year, mostly in the poorest parts of the globe, remain without life saving inoculations, a new international study released Wednesday showed.

The main reason for the lack of vaccines for those roughly 24 million children was a lack of funds, the report by the World Health organization, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank said.

Swiss Synthes' sales up 7.5 per cent in third quarter

Swiss Synthes' sales up 7.5 per cent in third quarter Geneva  - Swiss medical devices manufacturer Synthes said Wednesday its third quarter sales were up 7.5 per cent compared to the same period last year, with strong orders from North America.

Consolidated sales for the first nine months of 2009 reached 2.5 billion dollars, an increase of 123.1 million.

However, in the Middle East and Latin America the company reported delays or absences of tender business and "postponements of elective surgeries at some major hospitals."

Adecco to acquire US rival for 1.3bn dollars

Adecco to acquire US rival for 1.3bn dollarsGeneva  - Swiss staffing company Adecco announced Tuesday it plans to buy the rival MPS Group in order to expand its presence in the United States, Canada and Britain.

If stockholders agree, the purchase would be for 13.80 dollars per share, a 24 percent premium over MPS's closing price. The MPS board has unanimously approved the offer, the Florida-based company said in a separate statement.

The total deal would be worth about 1.3 billion dollars.

Switzerland willing to share info on bank accounts

Swiss banksSwitzerland on Monday hinted it would be willing to share information with India about the bank accounts of tax defaulters after the two sides revise the existing treaty on double taxation in December.

The representatives of both countries are expected to meet in Geneva to amend the existing treaty, which so far does not allow the details of bank account holders in Switzerland to be revealed.

“What the Indian side can expect is that once we — Indian and Swiss government — have agreed on a possible change in the existing treaty that Switzerland will implement the treaty,” the Swiss ambassador to India, Phillippe Welti told CNN IBN.

Swiss government condemns attack in Iran

Swiss government condemns attack in IranGeneva  - The Swiss government condemned Monday the terrorist attack the previous day in Iran which killed 42 people.

The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs issued a statement in which it said the ministry "deplores the loss of human lives and presents its condolences to the members of the victims' families."

The ministry also appealed "for differences of opinion to be resolved by means of dialogue and not by violence."

Red Cross says lawmakers can do more to help "disappeared"

Red Cross says lawmakers can do more to help "disappeared"Geneva - The International Committee of the Red Cross called on lawmakers Monday to take greater steps towards helping people who have "been disappeared."

The term refers to people who go missing during armed conflicts. In recent decades, making people "disappear" has become a tactic of certain regimes and rebel groups. Their families subsequently never know for certain about the missing people's fate.

The call came in conjunction with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which was starting its 121st assembly in Geneva.

Swiss firm ABB says working in Russia getting more expensive

Swiss firm ABB says working in Russia getting more expensiveGeneva  - Swiss engineering firm ABB said Monday that it was reassessing its business model in Russia, owing to the "challenges of doing business" in that country.

The cost of operating in Russia was said to be on the rise, including the impact of changing tax structures, a statement said. Third-quarter accumulated profits were expected to see a related increase in tax charges.

The company expects to announce net third quarter income of approximately 1 billion dollars.

Sulzer industrials reports large drop in orders

Sulzer industrials reports large drop in ordersGeneva  - Swiss industrial engineering and manufacturing company Sulzer reported Monday a 29.1-per-cent drop in its order intake for the first nine months of the year, when adjusted for currency fluctuations.

"The activity levels in most of Sulzer's key markets were clearly below the level of the previous year's period," the Zurich-based company said in a statement, adding, however, that the order intake level had started to show some stabilization in recent months.

UN rights expert to make first ever trip to Zimbabwe

UN rights expert to make first ever trip to ZimbabweGeneva  - A United Nations special expert on human rights will visit Zimbabwe later this month at the invitation of Harare, it was announced Friday, in the first such trip of its kind.

"It is the first time ever that the Zimbabwean authorities have extended such an invitation to a Human Rights Council independent expert," a UN statement said.

The UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak, was to travel to Harare on October 28 and stay until November 4.

UN Human Rights Council prepares to vote on Gaza war crimes report

UN Human Rights Council prepares to vote on Gaza war crimes reportGeneva - The United Nations Human Rights Council was set Friday to vote on the war crimes report of Justice Richard Goldstone regarding the conflict in and around the Gaza Strip last December and January.

A last-minute attempt by France to delay the vote on a draft resolution tabled by the Palestinians was rejected by other council members.

IOC confirms three applicant cities for 2018 Winter Olympics

IOC confirms three applicant cities for 2018 Winter OlympicsIOC confirms three applicant cities for 2018 Winter OlympicsLausanne, Switzerland - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed that Munich, the French city of Annecy and the South Korean resort of Pyeongchang have submitted their bids to host the 2018 Winter Olympics by Friday's deadline.

The three cities will now proceed to the first of the IOC's two- step procedure, which will lead to the election of the 2018 host city in Durban, South Africa, in July 2011.

Cognizant signs $75-million acquisition deal for UBS' Indian captive division

UBS India Service CentreMarking its biggest acquisition deal in terms of people takeover, multinational services firm Cognizant Technology Thursday signed a $75 million agreement to buy out Switzerland bank UBS Group's captive Indian division - UBS India Service Centre (UBS ISC).

UBS: Swiss economy to rebound but labour to remain hard hit

UBS: Swiss economy to rebound but labour to remain hard hitGeneva  - Switzerland's economy will start to show growth in the last quarter of this and early next year, but labour markets will remain hard hit, UBS AG, the country's biggest bank, said in a study Thursday.

UBS data ahead of the fourth quarter "indicates that there will be a slight upturn in growth compared with a year ago, suggesting the Swiss economy is probably out of recession."

Roche sales up in third quarter, raises full year outlook

Roche sales up in third quarter, raises full year outlookGeneva  - Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche reported Thursday a better-than-expected third-quarter sales increase of 9.7 per cent and raised its full year outlook.

Roche said in a statement that full-year 2009 sales in both its pharmaceuticals and diagnostics divisions were expected "to grow well ahead of the market."

UN to reopen debate on Gaza war crimes report

UN to reopen debate on Gaza war crimes reportGeneva  - The United Nations Human Rights Council said Tuesday it will hold a special session to debate the war crimes report of Justice Richard Goldstone later this week.

The special session would be held at the request of the Palestinian diplomatic mission to Geneva, with the support of 18 out of the 47 members of the rights body.

The session was scheduled to begin Thursday afternoon and continue into Friday, the UN confirmed.

UN rights chief concerned over Iran execution of child offender

Geneva  - The execution of a man in Iran for a murder committed when he was still a minor drew criticism Tuesday from the United Nations human rights chief who also said the authorities should review death penalties handed down to participants in the unrest following the June elections.

Behnoud Shojaie, who was executed Sunday, was convicted of killing another boy in 2005 when they were both 17 years old.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called on Iran to change its laws and "end execution of juvenile offenders once and for all."

UN: Massive agricultural damage in Philippines

UN: Massive agricultural damage in PhilippinesGeneva  - The tropical storms that struck the Philippines last month have caused wide-scale damage to agricultural land and brought massive losses to farmers, the United Nations said Tuesday.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) some 185,763 hectares of rice farming land were hit, about 35,000 of which were completely destroyed.

The national department of agriculture in Manila has estimated the damage to crops and agricultural facilities caused by the two storms to have reached 213 million dollars.

Iraqi shoe-throwing journalist arrives in Geneva

Mountazer al-ZaidiGeneva  - , the Iraqi journalist known for throwing his shoes at George W Bush last December, arrived Tuesday in Geneva, reported local media.

Al-Zaidi, who arrived from Beirut, has said he wants to start a charity to assist victims of the war in his homeland.

Though he had initially said he would seek asylum in the Alpine land, he recently changed his mind. His visit was finally arranged on a 90-day tourist visa, which is valid for the entire Schengen zone.

Once entering Switzerland on a tourist visa, a person can no longer claim asylum.

Switzerland confirms Turkey and Armenia to sign accords

Armenian Foreign Minister Edouard NalbandianGeneva  - Turkey and Armenia will sign a set of protocols in Zurich on Saturday that will lead towards the renewal of diplomatic relations between the two countries that have endured years of hostility.

The deal, negotiated by the Swiss, was announced six weeks ago. The confirmation that the signing event would go ahead came in late Friday from Switzerland's Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

Shoe-throwing Iraqi journalist to visit Switzerland

Shoe-throwing Iraqi journalist to visit Switzerland Geneva - Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi, notorious for throwing his shoes at former US president George W Bush, has received a visa to visit Switzerland, his lawyer told local radio Friday.

Mauro Poggio said his client had withdrawn his request for Swiss asylum, and was visiting as part of fund-raising efforts to start a charity for civilians affected by the conflict in his homeland.

Al-Zaidi was granted the visa from Bern's embassy in Beirut, where the journalist his relocated to since his release from prison in Iraq last month.




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