180 clubs receive UEFA solidarity payments for players at Euro 2008

UEFA LogoNyon, Switzerland - UEFA announced Thursday that it has finalised the
financial calculations regarding payments to Europe's national football
federations for them to pass on to their clubs for their contribution
to Euro 2008.

The payments are part of the agreement signed between UEFA and the
European Club Association (ECA) in January of this year which allowed
for the distribution of 43.5 million euros (55.1 million dollars) of
Euro 2008 revenue to the national federations.

A total of 180 clubs are set to benefit from the scheme with the clubs
providing the greatest number players for the tournament in Austria and

UAE questioned about rights record on migrant workers, women

United Arab Emirates MapGeneva - The United Arab Emirates came under close scrutiny Thursday, particularly on the treatment of migrant workers, during its periodic review before the United Nations' Human Rights Council.

Labour exporting countries in south Asia, as well as European states, questioned the UAE over what steps were being taken to improve the conditions of blue collar labourers.

Estimates say foreigners make up about 85 per cent of the Gulf state's population, and they account for about 99 per cent of the private sector workforce, according to Human Rights Watch, an advocacy group.

Credit Suisse slashes 5300 jobs after posting loss

Credit Suisse LogoZurich - Switzerland's second biggest bank Credit Suisse is stepping up its restructuring programme saying Thursday it was axing another 5300 jobs after reporting a
3 billion Swiss francs (2.5 billion dollars) net loss during in the first two months of the current quarter.

"Investment banking had a significant pretax loss, reflecting the adverse financial market conditions in the quarter and cost association with risk reduction," the Zurich-based bank said in a review of its fourth-quarter performance.

Churandy's 200m CAS appeal postponed until January

Churandy MartinaLausanne, Switzerland - A hearing over a medal distribution dispute at the Olympic 200 metres final has been postponed until January 15, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said on Wednesday.

The appeal from Dutch Antilles runner Churandy Martina to reinstate him as silver medallist was originally to be heard on Friday.

Churandy had originally finished second in the Beijing race in August won by Usain Bolt of Jamaica, with American Wallace Spearmon placing third.

Caesarean birth make child more venerable to childhood asthma

Caesarean birth make child more venerable to childhood asthmaRecent research has shown that children born through caesarean section have 80 % more risk of developing childhood asthma as compared to children delivered naturally. Swiss researchers believe that that a natural birth could help to prime a child's immune system, making them more able to fight off illness whereas caesarean section possibly renders youngsters less able to combat common inflections, which scientists believe could act as a trigger for asthma.

UN: Rights abuses of minorities, women and detainees in Iraq

United Nations Logo Geneva - Security conditions in Iraq in the first half of 2008 improved greatly the United Nations said Tuesday, but "grave human rights violations" remained a serious issue.

In addition to large casualties in heavy fighting between militias and government forces, allegations that civilians were targeted by "all parties to the conflict" were still under investigation, the UN's mission to Iraq (UNAMI) said in its biannual report.

Swiss bankruptcies on the rise in recent months

Switzerland FlagGeneva - More Swiss companies have been going broke in recent months, with over 20 per cent more businesses announcing bankruptcies since September than in the same period last year, Swiss media reported Tuesday.

Over 1,200 companies became insolvent in the past three months, while the number of new companies created dropped steeply, according to data from the firm Dun and Bradstreet.

The year as a whole would likely see the number of bankruptcies exceed the rate of 2007.

Over 200 million migrants in the world

Geneva  - There are over 200 million international migrants in the world, a report released Tuesday said, with nearly as many people moving within developing countries as there are migrants from poorer nations moving to rich ones.

The 2008 annual report by the International Organization for Migration, said 61 million migrants had moved from developing countries to other developing countries and 62 million moved on the South-North axis.

UN restarts special human rights session on Congo

United Nations LogoGeneva - The United Nations Human Rights Council restarted Monday a special session on the situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

In the first part, which took place last Friday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, warned of a deteriorating situation in areas of the DR Congo where the Tutsi rebels of General Laurant Nkunda have fought government forces.

She said both forces had committed severe abuses against the civilian population, including sexual violence against women.

Swiss voters approve prescription heroin

Swiss voters approve prescription heroinZURICH, Switzerland, Nov. 30  -- Final election results in Switzerland show voters rejecting a proposal to decriminalize marijuana, but passing a plan for prescription heroin.

The BBC said Sunday that the prescription plan will allow addicts to shoot up under medical supervision in a clinical setting and is aimed at getting hard-core users off the streets.

While critics said the idea sent the wrong message to young people, about 68-percent of Swiss voters seemed to agree with the argument that it would cut down on crime and keep addicts off the streets.

Swiss say no to legal cannabis, yes to prescription heroin

Geneva  - Swiss voters on Sunday rejected a proposition to decriminalize cannabis for personal consumption but voted by a large majority to extend a government programme that gives heroin to hard- core addicts.

In a surprise, voters chose to remove the statute of limitations on acts of paedophilia, despite government opposition to the proposal, which was put forward by parents' groups.

This put sexual offenses against children on equal footing with genocide and war crimes, the only other crimes that have no statute of limitations under to Swiss law.

Cholera death toll rises in Zimbabwe, more areas affected

SwitzerlandGeneva  - The death toll from the recent outbreak of cholera in Zimbabwe has risen to 389, the United Nations said Friday, with a total of 9,463 cases reported.

In the least three days, 76 new deaths were reported, the UN's Children's Fund UNICEF said. The disease has also spread to more areas.

"The disease is preventable and curable," said Fadila Chaib of the World Health Organization.

The UN and its partners were bringing in more supplies, including water, fuel, hygiene kits and body bags.

Swiss say joining Schengen good for security

Geneva/Brussels - The plan for Switzerland to join Europe's free movement Schengen area would help improve security for the confederation as well as for neighboring states, an official said Thursday.

"We want to improve the security situation in Europe," said Brigitte Hause-Suss, a spokesperson for Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf.

By joining Schengen, the Swiss and the other European members, though not Britain and Ireland which remain outside the pact, would share information on terrorism, criminal threats and asylum seekers.

Swiss to join Europe's passport-free zone on December 12

SwitzerlandBrussels - Switzerland is to join the European Union's free movement Schengen area as of December 12, the bloc's interior ministers agreed Thursday.

Systematic land border controls for people travelling between Switzerland and neighbouring EU countries will be terminated on that date.

However, airports will continue to demand passport checks until March 29, when European airlines introduce their summer schedules.

Switzerland is the third non-EU country after Norway and Iceland to join the passport-free zone.

The decision was taken at a meeting of EU justice and interior ministers in Brussels. (dpa)

UN: Number of cholera deaths in Zimbabwe continue to rise

Zimbabwe MapGeneva - The number of dead from cholera in Zimbabwe continued to rise, the United Nations said Tuesday, and so far 313 deaths have been reported in the latest outbreak of the disease.

"We are very concerned by the deteriorating health situation in Zimbabwe," the World Health Organization (WHO) said in Geneva.

The number of reported cases in the country in the past three months has increased to 7,283, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said, up over 1,000 from a week before.

The most affected areas were parts of the capital Harare.

FIFA suspends Peru over domestic football feud

Fifa LogoZurich - The ruling football body FIFA on Wednesday banned Peru from international competition over a dispute between the nation's government and football federation.

FIFA said in a statement that the Peruvian football federation was suspended after a November 21 deadline was not met to clean up the affair.

Peru's government of President Alan Garcia has refused to recognise the election of Manuel Burga as football federation president.

FIFA does not tolerate government interference. It said Peru's membership will be discussed at executive commission meetings December 19-20 in Tokyo if the dispute hasn't been settled by then.

Scientists unveil most waterproof clothing fabric

London, November 25 : Swiss chemists have developed a new material from polyester fibres coated with millions of tiny silicone filaments, which they claim is the most water-repellent clothing-appropriate material ever created.

Stefan Seeger, the University of Zurich researcher who led the creation of the waterproof material, has revealed that drops of water stay as spherical balls on top of the fabric, and a sheet of the material need only be tilted by two degrees from horizontal for them to roll off like marbles.

The researcher says that a jet of water goes off the fabric without leaving a trace.

He attributes the incredible water resistance of the material to a layer of silicone nanofilaments, which are highly chemically hydrophobic.

Landmine casualties affecting more countries

Switzerland FlagGeneva - Myanmar was the only country that used landmines in the past year, an international coalition reported Friday, adding that Turkey, Greece and Belarus failed to meet their deadlines to destroy stockpiles of the weapon.

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines also said Russia was still considered a violator as it had not reported stopping usage. The campaign monitors the treaty on banning the antipersonnel weapon.

"The treaty has made a real difference in saving lives and limbs all over the globe," said Stephen Goose from Human Rights Watch, a member of the campaign.

CAS partially upholds UEFA ruling against Atletico Madrid

UEFA LogoLausanne, Switzerland - The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) partially upheld Thursday a ruling by UEFA against Atletico Madrid, but reduced the size of the club's fine and halved the number of Champions League matches it must play behind closed dooors.

UEFA's appeals body originally fined Atletico 150,000 euros (dollars) and also ordered that two matches be played in an empty stadium (the second match behind closed doors was deferred).

However, Atletico appealed and CAS reduced the fine to 75,000 euros and held that only one match be held behind closed doors, the upcoming Champions League group match against PSV Eindhoven set for November 26.

Christie's latest watch auction "a big success"

Geneva  - In spite of the global financial crisis, auction house Christie's managed to beat expectations at its most recent watch sale in Geneva, a Christie's official said Tuesday.

"The auction was a big success," said Carine Decroi.

She said the total sales figure of 17.8 million Swiss francs (11.8 million euros) for the luxury watches far exceeded early estimates and was "extremely encouraging" in light of the world's current economic woes.

An 18 carat gold watch by Patek Philippe sold for over 950,000 francs, setting a world record for the piece.

Over 125 international bidders, including private collectors and museum curators, took part in the auction on Sunday. (dpa)

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