Roman Polanski to be released on bail

Roman Polanski to be released on bailBellinzona (Switzerland), Nov 25: A Swiss court said Wednesday that film director Roman Polanski can be released from prison on bail of 4.5 million Swiss francs ($4.5 million), but must stay under house arrest.

"The court judged that the bail offered ... combined with the other measures such as the deposit of identification documents and the assignment to his residence under electronic surveillance are considered sufficient to prevent the risk of fleeing," said the Federal Criminal Tribunal (TFP) in the town of Bellinzona.

The decision may still be appealed, the TFP said.

Switzerland hoping for better fortune under Hitzfeld

Ottmar HitzfeldHamburg, Nov 25 : Switzerland, who have been solid but unspectacular at tournaments in recent years, could be a more serious threat under veteran coach Ottmar Hitzfeld at the World Cup.

The 60-year-old German, one of the most successful coaches in club history, is a canny operator who knows international football inside out and is a proven winner - at least at club level.

Hitzfeld succeeded the popular Jakob Kuhn, who had taken the Nati to Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup before standing down after failing to progress beyond the group stage at Euro 2008 as co-hosts.

India promises safe passage to ULFA leaders

Geneva, Nov 22 - The Indian government is ready to give safe passage to United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) leaders, who are in Bangladesh, in order to facilitate talks, reliable source said here.

"We have always been ready for negotiations with ULFA," the sources said here Saturday.

"We are quite willing. We had promised safe passage to ULFA leaders Arabinda Rajkhowa and Paresh Barua," the sources said.

That position has not changed, the sources added.

The outlawed ULFA had indicated that it was ready for talks with the Indian government but was not ready to give up arms. (IANS)

Pechstein to hear CAS decision on November 25

Pechstein to hear CAS decision on November 25 Lausanne, Switzerland - Five-time Olympic speed skating champion Claudia Pechstein will hear the outcome of an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against a ban imposed for blood doping on November 25, sport's highest tribunal announced Thursday.

A decision was originally expected this week and the deferral means Pechstein can not compete in this weekend's World Cup event in Hamar, Norway.

Over 668,000 tickets already sold for 2010 World Cup

Over 668,000 tickets already sold for 2010 World Cup Zurich - Over 668,000 tickets for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa have already been snapped up by fans, football's ruling body FIFA revealed Friday.

The most number of tickets have been sold in the United States (84,034), followed by Great Britain and Germany (48,274).

On Monday, the second phase of ticket sales for the 2010 finals, which has an 82-per-cent success rate, comes to an end.

Red Cross worker kidnapped in Chad

Red Cross worker kidnapped in Chad Geneva - A French staff member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been kidnapped by unknown armed men in Chad, the humanitarian organization said in Geneva on Tuesday.

Laurent Maurice, an agronomist, was taken by the group at gunpoint in the village of Kawa near the border with Sudan on Monday night, the ICRC said.

Maurice had been evaluating the most recent harvest in the area and planned, along with his five local colleagues, to spend the night in Kawa, where the ICRC helps to run a healthcare centre.

CAS grant Chelsea stay of FIFA transfer ban

CAS grant Chelsea stay of FIFA transfer banLausanne, Switzerland  - The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Friday granted Chelsea a suspension of FIFA's transfer ban, allowing the English Premier League club to sign players during the January transfer window.

Chelsea were banned from signing any new players until 2011 after being found guilty of inducing Lens player Gael Kakuta to breach his contract with the French club two years ago.

Clichy was also banned from playing for four months by the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber.

UN approves universal mobile phone charger

Geneva  - The United Nations telecommunications unit has announced it's found the solution to the lack of universality in chargers for mobile phones.

The International Telecommunications Union in Geneva says it has approved "an energy-efficient one-charger-fits-all" solution to given juice to mobiles' batteries.

"Every mobile phone user will benefit from the new Universal Charging Solution (UCS), which enables the same charger to be used for all future handsets, regardless of make and model," a statement on the ITU website said.

UBS reports continued losses for third quarter

UBS reports continued losses for third quarter Zurich  - Swiss bank UBS posted a loss of 564 Swiss franc (552 million US dollars) in the third quarter due to continued problems in the investment banking sector, it reported Tuesday in Zurich.

The bank continued to lose assets for the third quarter, as clients withdrew funds totalling 36.7 billion franc, the bank reported. It said in a statement it did not expect an immediate recovery in the area of client net new money flows.

The new losses exceeded the expectations of analysts who had predicted a slight recovery of the bank.

Swiss RE bounces back into profit

Swiss RE bounces back into profitZurich  - The world's second largest reinsurer Swiss Re has bounced back into profit in the third quarter, beating expectations of analysts, the company announced Tuesday in Zurich.

The company reported a net profit of 334 million francs (327 million US dollars), compared to a loss of 304 million francs in the same period last year, and continued losses in the second quarter of 2009.

Results in the third quarter continued to be dampened by write- offs of almost one billion francs especially in the securitized products portfolio. (dpa)

Govt on black money trail, says Pranab Mukherjee

swissbankIndia has begun tracking down money stashed away in secret bank accounts in Switzerland and Belgium.

The government has finalised dates to renegotiate with Switzerland and Belgium to broaden the scope of the existing treaties. The authorities have also stepped up efforts to bring back money parked illegally in foreign banks.

According to original plans, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was to meet the Swiss authorities from December 10-11 to discuss the issue.

“But I think the date for the meeting has been advanced by a month,” Mukherjee said at the annual Hindustan Times Leadership Summit on Friday.

Global swine flu toll rises to over 5,700: WHO

Global swine flu toll rises to over 5,700: WHOGeneva, Oct 31 - More than 700 people have died of swine flu this week raising the number of fatalities from the viral disease to 5,712 worldwide, Xinhua reported citing the UN health agency Friday.

Of all the deaths, 4,175 occurred in the Americas, 605 occurred in South-East Asia and 465 occurred in the West Pacific. Europe, East Mediterranean and Africa reported 281, 111 and 75 deaths respectively, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a latest update Friday.

Switzerland proposes law to tackle 'suicide tourism'

Switzerland proposes law to tackle 'suicide tourism' New Delhi, Oct 30 : A day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh offered peace talks to separatist leaders in Jammu and Kashmir, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram Friday said the government was mulling withdrawal of paramilitary forces from the valley as well as the "vacation of occupied houses and land" by the army.

"We have identified a number of issues on which follow-up action is being taken by the central government and the government of Jammu and Kashmir," Chidambaram told reporters here.

Children only need one swine flu shot, WHO panel say

Children only need one swine flu shot, WHO panel sayGeneva/Vienna - World Health Organization advisors recommend that children get only one shot of swine flu vaccine, a WHO official said Friday in Geneva, reversing the organization's previous view that children should receive two doses.

The recommendation by the WHO's vaccine advisory group SAGE was based on the view that as many people as possible should be immunized, given the scarcity of vaccines in some countries, according to WHO official Marie-Paule Kieny.

Switzerland authorises two pandemic vaccines for H1N1

Switzerland authorises two pandemic vaccines for H1N1Geneva  - Switzerland has authorized two vaccines against the A(H1N1) pandemic virus, the regulating agency said Friday.

One shot of Pandemrix, manufactured by GlaxSmithKline, mixed with the AS03 adjuvant, would be sufficient for antibody formation, Swissmedic said.

It did not, however, authorize the vaccine for pregnant women, children under the age of 18 and adults over 60, as it lacked data on those groups.

FIFA and WADA to create biological passport for footballers

joseph-blatterZurich - The ruling football body FIFA and the World Anti-Doping Agency will set up a partnership to develop a biological passport for footballers.

The announcement was made at a meeting between FIFA boss Joseph Blatter and WADA president John Fahey at the FIFA headquarters.

The biological passport, similar to that used in cycling, is part of a new anti-doping programme of FIFA. Fahey said that target tests will be the key to success.

Home event Basel to fete Federer with controversy raging

Home event Basel to fete Federer with controversy raging Basle, Switzerland - Roger Federer's return to tennis after a five-week pause will be celebrated with joyous voices as his home Swiss Indoors honours the world number one local hero Monday.

Amid the a bid from anti-smoking forces to somehow get the Swiss to avoid the event sponsored by luxury good provider Davidoff, plans advanced to honour the native son in a tennis hall re-named for him last year.

Footballer Lionel Messi supports Red Cross humanitarian work

Footballer Lionel Messi supports Red Cross humanitarian work Geneva - Argentinian football star Lionel Messi joined Thursday a campaign to support the humanitarian work of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

The "Our world. Your move" campaign, launched in May, aims to highlight humanitarian problems and the roles individuals can play to effect change.

"In life, as in sport, we're able to do more and achieve more when we work as a team," the Barcelona player Messi said in a statement.

Trade body sees bottoming out in airline industry

Trade body sees bottoming out in airline industry Geneva - The decline in air travel may have hit bottom, the International Air Transport Association said Thursday, but warned that a recovery was still a long way off.

"The airline industry remains firmly in the red with a fragile business environment," Giovanni Bisignani, the head of IATA, said in a statement.

Rising costs were a concern for the airlines, he said, with IATA noting that oil prices have jumped to well above 75 dollars per barrel, whilst at the start of the year a barrel was selling for 43 dollars.

Lonza cuts targets, expects volatility to continue

Lonza Geneva - Swiss chemicals and biotechnology company Lonza said Thursday that unexpected reductions in orders have led the company to reduce its expectations for full year operational earnings to 360 to 380 million Swiss francs (351-370 million dollars).

The company said an accumulation of cancellations, postponements and price-volume reductions were behind the target reduction, along with a delay in a cell therapy project due to clinical disappointments.

Lonza also announced 60-80 million francs in cost-cutting measures over the next two years, through consolidation of business units and adaptation of capacities.

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