UBS unveils quarterly loss, management shakeout

Zurich  - Shares in Swiss banking giant UBS AG fell Tuesday after the embattled financial house announced plans for a shakeout in its top management in the wake of another quarterly loss.

Zurich-based UBS, which has emerged as one of the prominent victims of the US mortgage meltdown, said it chalked up a loss of 358 million Swiss francs (330 million dollars) in the three months to the end of June.

The second-quarter loss was the group's fourth consecutive quarterly loss and compared to a 11.5-billion-franc loss in the first quarter this year. UBS reported a
5.5-billion-franc profit in the second quarter last year.

Swiss president hopes Marcos' victims to get compensation soon

Manila  - Switzerland's President Pascal Couchepin on Monday expressed hope that the Philippine Congress would soon pass a law compensating nearly 10,000 victims of human rights abuses under the dictatorship of late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

Couchepin, who was in Manila for a two-day state visit, conveyed to Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo "the firm expectation of the Swiss government that the Philippine Congress may soon enact the Human Rights Compensation bill," a government statement said.

The statement noted that Arroyo "assured Couchepin that her administration attaches great importance to the speedy passage of the law so that human rights victims may be justly compensated."

Credit Suisse returns to the black in second quarter

ZurichCredit Suisse - Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse said Thursday it returned to the black in the second quarter of 2008, with net earnings of 1.2 billion francs (1.16 billion dollars).

The figure was 62 per cent below the second-quarter 2007 result, but an improvement after the bank had lost 2.15 billion francs in the first quarter this year reflecting the turbulence in the subprime mortgage sector.

Credit Suisse said that in the second quarter all three of its divisions - private banking, investment banking and wealth management - operated at a profit.

Swiss-Libyan diplomatic spat over arrest of Gaddafi son

Berne - Switzerland has advised its citizens not to visit Libya because of a row triggered by the temporary arrest of Moammer Gaddafi's son, officials said Wednesday.

The Swiss Foreign Ministry voiced concern at what it described as "alarming" retaliatory measures introduced by the Libyan leader in the wake of his son Hannibal's detention in Geneva a week ago.

Since last Thursday Gaddafi's government has detained Swiss citizens in Libya, demanded the closure of Swiss firms present in the country and recalled its diplomatic representatives to Switzerland, the ministry said.

Decisive ministers' meeting on WTO's Doha round starts in Geneva

Geneva - Decisive ministers' meeting on WTO's Doha round starts in GenevaRepresentatives of World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries began a key meeting in Geneva Monday in an attempt to revive the stalled Doha Round of talks on liberalizing world trade that began seven years ago. 

The talks are centred on resolving an impasse over barriers to trade in industrial and agricultural goods on world markets by the end of the week. 

One aim is to open markets for agricultural goods from the world's poorest countries. 

Mountain railways in Italy, Switzerland, get world nod

Alpine railwaysWashington/Quebec City - A stretch of Alpine railways that connect Thusis in Switzerland via St Moritz to Tirano in Italy were added to the list of World Heritage sites by UNESCO.

The 128-kilometre rail designation includes the Albula line and the Bernina pass lines operated by Switzerland's Rhaetian Railway. The lines pass through Alpine mountain towns and landscape and through the language divides of German, Romansh and Italian cultures.