Turkish protests a 'buildup of frustrations' Wednesday, 5 June, 2013After five days of protests and unrest in Turkey, two people are confirmed dead and an estimated 2,300 injured. Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister, Bulent Arinc apologized to demonstrators, saying that the original protests had been “just and legitimate.” Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, however, who went ahead with travel to Morocco, stuck to a harder line, saying that the protests were undemocratic, and insisted that the situation was “calming down.” In Switzerland, Turkish residents represent a large immigrant community of about 130,000. Celal Bayar, president of the Turkish Federation for Western Switzerland, talks to WRS’s Jo Fahy:
Swiss pipe-organ builders prepare royal delivery Wednesday, 5 June, 2013Whether it be watches, chocolate, or anything else, the Swiss pride themselves on a certain brand of expensive-but-high quality. One industry not always lumped in with talk of Swiss quality, though, is that of organ building—as in the massive pipe organs you find in churches or concert halls. WRS’s Tony Ganzer visited Switzerland’s biggest organ builder near Zurich, which is preparing to begin installing a high profile organ in London.
Why Switzerland's a magnet for megabands Wednesday, 5 June, 2013For many of us summer means festival time. Reporter Daniel Johnson went to see what goes into the making of one of Switzerland’s top events, Caribana, which is in Crans on Lake Geneva, starting tonight. Headliners include FUN, Skunk Anansie and Motorhead:
Desertion clause in asylum law 'symbolic measure' Wednesday, 5 June, 2013The Swiss people head to the polls this Sunday; one of the measures they’ll be voting on is a revision to asylum law, put into place last year. The University of Neuchatel has published research into the effects of these changes. Robin Stünz worked on the report at the Centre of Migration Law at the university. WRS’s Jo Fahy asked him how asylum seekers would be affected by the revision that desertion is no longer a reason to be granted asylum in Switzerland:
9,000 lose license over 'inattention' Tuesday, 4 June, 2013More than 9,000 drivers lost their licenses last year because of “inattention,” according to the Federal Roads Office and Le Matin newspaper. Inattention—defined as driving while being occupied with the mobile phone or other gadgets—is punishable by fines and sometimes merits withholding of the driver’s license. WRS’s Alex Helmick talks to Laurent Pignot, from the motoring organizationTouring Club Switzerland:
What new bank reforms will mean for Swiss citizens Tuesday, 4 June, 2013Another battle for banking secrecy has begun, this time within national borders. Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf has proposed banking reforms that could now include Swiss citizens. A right-wing coalition has until the end of 2014 to file an initiative to block the reforms. WRS’s Lucas Chambers explains the situation to host Alex Helmick:
Pressure mounts on commodity trading Tuesday, 4 June, 2013Commodity trading is a huge global industry and a major player in the Swiss economy, but how much do we know about it? Who regulates it? Faced with growing calls for transparency, the industry is looking to clean up its act. WRS’s Daniel Johnson has the story.
SNB warns it won't bail out banks Tuesday, 4 June, 2013As Parliament began debating the government’s proposals yesterday, the head of the Swiss National Bank said it wouldn’t jump to the rescue of any bank which came across financial difficulties as a result of future settlements. In addition, the Swiss Association of Asset Managers has accused Swiss banks of being willing to denounce independent asset managers, financial advisers and lawyers in a bid to avoid criminal investigations themselves. Reporter Michael Hollingdale spoke to economist and commentator Beat Kappeler and asked him if the National Bank chief had been right to rule out intervention:
Italian court ups Swiss billionaire's sentence for asbestos disaster Monday, 3 June, 2013An appeals court in Italy has sentenced Swiss billionaire Stephan Schmidheiny to 18 years in prison for intentionally failing to comply with safety regulations and for causing an environmental disaster in what was called the biggest asbestos case in history. He ran the Swiss fiber cement company Eternit. Originally Schmidheiney’s sentence was 16 years, but the court today upped it to 18. Ticino correspondent Nicole della Pietra fills in WRS’s Alex Helmick with the details:
MPs unhappy with banking bosses over controversial U.S. tax accord Monday, 3 June, 2013Switzerland’s controversial tax accord with the United States is the topic of debate at the Federal Palace this evening. The deal was announced nearly a week ago and the parliamentary session is expected to last well into the evening as politicians weigh in. SRF’s political correspondent in Bern, Pascal Krauthammer, says the mood of federal MPs is not at all favorable towards the nation’s banking executives. He speaks to host Alex Helmick:
Parliament's agenda jammed with contention Monday, 3 June, 2013Parliament opens today for the summer session amid pressure for the nation’s MPs to bow to the latest proposal by the Federal Council to deal with the U.S. tax dispute. Politicians have been laying out their positions this week and its clear the debate will be contentious. WRS’s Pete Forster talks to reporter Morven McLean:
60 percent of Swiss support conscription Monday, 3 June, 2013Europe is going through a tough time but it seems that at the heart of the continent, Swiss people feel safe and look to the future with optimism. A new study published by the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, or ETHZ, suggests the Swiss are very attached to neutrality and have little interest in joining the European Union or NATO.Only one in three people now supports scrapping compulsory military service—that’s a 15 percent drop since last year. To find out more, WRS’s Catherine Allen spoke to Tibor Szvircsev Tresch, professor of military sociology at the ETHZ. She asked him if a recent popular initiative calling for an end to compulsory service had anything to do with it:
Proposed tax law could end banking secrecy for Swiss citizens Friday, 31 May, 2013Ever in the spotlight, the Federal Council has announced proposals to up the powers of cantonal tax authorities which stand to put the nail in the coffin of banking secrecy for Swiss citizens, and the announcement has raised a few eyebrows. WRS’s Daniel Johnson speaks to the head of the Penal Affairs and Investigations Division at the Federal Tax Office, Emanuel Lauber for his side of the story:
Politicians gear up for heated tax deal debate Friday, 31 May, 2013There’s been mixed reaction to the draft law between Switzerland and the U.S. on banking secrecy. While some see it as a wise choice by the Swiss government easing pressure on banks in an impossible situation, others feel there was little choice. Parliament now has to debate and vote on the draft from Monday, but it’s not going to be a smooth ride, as WRS’s Jo Fahy reports:
The pros and cons of a TV license fee for all Friday, 31 May, 2013Major changes are on the way relating to how Swiss households pay their TV and radio license—in fact it will no longer be linked to whether you own a TV or radio at all. That’s the direction of reforms proposed by the government this week, responding, it says, to technological developments that have made the current system obsolete. Michael Hollingdale has this report: