Spain remain top of FIFA rankings as England return to top 10

Spain remain top of FIFA rankings as England return to top 10Zurich - European champions Spain remain top of the world football rankings issued Wednesday by the world governing body FIFA while England jumped four places to return to the top 10.

Spain lead the way with 1,657 points from Germany, who moved up one place to second on 1,413 points. World champions Italy dropped to third on 1,356 points.

The Netherlands moved up one spot to fourth, ahead of Brazil with Argentina up one to sixth and Croatia down one to seventh.

Blatter says professional refs would help ward off match-fix threat

Zurich - FIFA president Joseph Blatter called Monday for professional referees as a measure to protect football from the threat of match-fixing.

Blatter told a congress of football's world governing body in Zurich on sport betting that there appeared to "no limits" on what people were prepared to bet.

In reference to a recent match-fixing scandal in Germany which led to the jailing of a former referee, Blatter said there were still no professional referees in the Bundesliga.

"Nobody can say that the money is not there. We have to protect those who could be or already are the targets of such methods," he said.

Switzerland moves to bail out banks

Zurich - Switzerland's two leading banks were forced Thursday to seek out new capital injections as the nation became the latest country forced to unveil a bail-out plan in the wake of the global financial crisis.

While UBS AG, the nation's biggest bank, turned to the government for 6 billion Swiss francs (5.2 billion dollars) in additional capital, Credit Suisse Group AG said it was raising 10 billion Swiss francs from private investors and the Qatar Investment Authority.

Credit Suisse's announcement came as Switzerland's second biggest bank posted a 1.3-billion-franc third-quarter loss following further writedowns resulting from the world financial crisis.

Zurich train station temporarily becomes opera hall

Zurich  - Zurich's main train station was transformed into an opera hall for a special production of the opera La Traviata.

Tuesday night's three-hour production, sponsored by Swiss television, was viewed by train station patrons, but was also broadcast on Swiss television and Arte, a French-German cultural television station.

Performers and producers said they were pleased with the performance. No technical problems were reported and the audience of several thousand applauded enthusiastically.

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 designer Wettstein dead at 50

Zurich - Swiss interior designer Hannes Wettstein has died at age 50, friends of the family confirmed Sunday following a newspaper report. 

Wettstein's work included the interiors of the luxurious Grand Hyatt in Berlin and the Swiss embassy in Washington. 

He designed furniture, tables, lamps and other furnishings. 

Born in 1958 in Ascona, Switzerland, Wettstein founded his own firm in 1982 and went on to collect numerous design prizes. He also taught, both at the Zurich art college ETH and from 1994-2001 at a design school in Karlsruhe, Germany. (dpa)

UBS hopes to avoid second-quarter loss

Zurich- Shares in UBS AG bounded ahead Friday after the Swiss banking giant said it hopes to post second-quarter earnings "at or just below breakeven," despite it battle to overcome the fallout from the US subprime mortgage market crisis.

Analysts had expected UBS to turn in a second-quarter loss. The Zurich-based bank which has written down about 37 billion dollars in the wake of the financial crisis sparked by the upheaval in the US mortgage sector.

However, a tax credit of about 3 billion Swiss francs (2.9 billion dollars) should help to shore up the company's second-quarter earnings, the bank said.

Gay rights demonstrators target sport a week before Euro 2008

Zurich - Around 13,000 people marched through Zurich old town Saturday for the Christopher Street Day march, according to police.

Many of them wore sports kit and carried pink footballs in a nod to Euro 2008 which kicks off next Saturday.

Zurich is one of the eight host cities and the demonstrators used the occasion to call for greater tolerance of homosexuals in sport.

The march is held every year to mark clashes between homosexuals and police in Christopher Street in New York in 1969. (dpa)

UBS goes deep into the red in 1st quarter

Zurich  - Swiss banking group UBS reported Tuesday it lost 11.53 billion francs (10.96 billion dollars) in the first quarter of 2008, as the bank felt the effects of the international financial market turbulence.

The red-ink figure compares with net income of 3.28 billon francs in the first quarter the year before.

Zurich-based UBS said that it expected 2008 to continue to be problematic. In an immediate measure, the bank said it planned to slash 2,600 jobs in its investment banking operations. (dpa)

Credit Suisse reports bigger-than-forecast loss

Zurich - Switzerland's second biggest bank Credit Suisse reported Thursday a bigger-than-expected first quarter loss as well as another 5.3 billion Swiss francs (5.2 billion) in write-downs of risky investments as the group battles to lay aside the fallout from the US subprime mortgage market crisis.

The Zurich-based bank posted a loss of 2.15 billion francs during the first quarter compared to a profit of 2.73 billion francs during the first three months of 2007. Analysts had expected the bank to report a first-quarter loss of about 779 million francs.

Argentina top FIFA list - Greece delight and Austrian despair

Zurich - Argentina maintained first place in the latest world football rankings issued on Wednesday by the ruling body FIFA, with European champions Greece enjoying a best-ever eighth place while Euro 2008 co-hosts Austria crashed out of the top 100.

Argentina lead the way with 1,519 points, a mere 10 points ahead of arch-rivals Brazil, who have 1,509 points.

World Cup champions Italy are third on 1,391, with Spain (1,319), Germany (1,261), the Czech Republic (1,234), France (1,205), Greece (1,187), Portugal (1,125) and the Netherlands (1,124) completing the top 10.

Ex-UBS boss questions bank's strategy ahead of AGM

Zurich - A former UBS boss and current chairman of investment company Olivant cast doubt in a letter published Friday on the bank's reorganization plans and its choice of new chairman.

Luqman Arnold, joint founder of Olivant Limited, wrote asking for a meeting with UBS executives after the bank announced chairman Marcel Ospel was to stand down and be replaced by UBS lawyer Peter Kurer.

The UBS move was part of a shake up as losses continued to accumulate from the subprime crisis in the US, rising from 19 billion dollars at the end of 2007 to almost 40 billion at the end of the first quarter in 2008.

GMM Pfaudler acquires Zurich-based engineering firm

GMM Pfaudler, GMM PfaudlerIndia’s largest manufacturer of Glass-lined equipment has acquired Mavag AG, a Zurich-based high-end engineered equipment company for an undisclosed amount.

The two companies would leverage on their synergies to emerge as leading suppliers of critical equipment for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry.

Tarak Patel, Executive Director of GMM Pfaudler said, “With this acquisition, GMM hopes to significantly increase its topline. GMM bought the Swiss company through a special vehicle, GMM Mavag AG, created recently in Zurich for the purpose of acquisition.”

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