BERN, August 19 -- Two fighters from Switzerland’s Air Force escorted a plane belonging to the Rossiya Airlines special air carrier en route from Moscow to Marseille for several minutes.
On board the Ilyushin-96 liner, were members of the Russian delegation going to France for talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and French leader Emmanuel Macron, including Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov and Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov, along with a group of journalists. When the plane entered Switzerland’s airspace, two fighters approached it, one on each side at an altitude of 10.6 kilometers. The fighters took turns to flying close to the airliner, at certain moments hovering just several meters away from the liner’s wings and escorted it across Swiss airspace for some time to the border with France, where they turned away. Swiss Air Force jets have approached and escorted Rossiya Airlines aircraft many times in the past.
GENEVA, July 30 -- Swiss prosecutors said Monday they have been assisting Japanese investigations into former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn, who has been indicted over financial misconduct and breach of trust.
Tokyo prosecutors requested Swiss assistance in investigations on Jan. 14, and the request was forwarded to the Canton of Zurich's prosecutors on March 8 following a summary probe, a spokesperson of the Swiss Federal Department of Justice. While Zurich prosecutors did not give details of the ongoing investigation, they are believed to be checking bank accounts associated with Ghosn as Tokyo prosecutors are apparently following the flow of money disbursed by Nissan and Renault SA in Europe and the Middle East. Many European and American financial institutions are based in Zurich, which is known for hosting many private banks and investment banks for the wealthy class. French media have reported Ghosn was making preparations since around last year to move his tax domicile to Switzerland, which offers preferential tax treatment to the rich.
The former boss of the major Japanese automaker has been accused of underreporting his remuneration and redirecting company funds, allegations he categorically denies. Since his arrest last November, investigations into Ghosn have spilled over to other countries. Earlier this month, French authorities searched the head office of Renault in connection with a probe into Ghosn's lavish 2016 wedding party at the Palace of Versailles. The once-feted auto tycoon also served as Renault chairman.
Ghosn has been free on bail since April and is now awaiting trial in Japan.
GENEVA, July 9 -- China is tightening its grip on Hong Kong and the territory's autonomy and democratic freedoms are slipping away, a prominent Hong Kong activist told the UN Human Rights Council on Monday (July 8) in a plea for international action.
Beijing's delegation twice interrupted the speech by Ms Denise Ho, a Hong Kong singer, producer and pro-democracy activist who is banned in mainland China. Mr Dai Demao, first secretary of China's mission to the UN in Geneva, accused Ms Ho of "slandering" and interfering with China's sovereignty and internal affairs. Hong Kong enjoyed a "high degree of autonomy" since the former British colony's 1997 handover, but protesters used extreme violence to attack the Legislative Council building a week ago, Mr Dai said. Tens of thousands of protesters marched through one of Hong Kong's most popular tourist areas on Sunday, trying to gain support from mainland Chinese visitors for the city's opposition to an extradition Bill which has caused political turmoil.
Ms Ho urged the Council to speak up in defence of the territory's autonomy by holding a special session and consider suspending China's membership in the 47-member forum. "This anger of Hong Kongers follows years of deceitful promises. Since the handover, we saw our autonomy slowly eroded," she told the council. "Disqualification of six lawmakers, cross-border kidnappings of booksellers, and activists jailed are proof of China's tightening grip. Real universal suffrage is still non-existent. "With a Chief Executive Officer appointed and controlled by Beijing, China is preventing our democracy at all costs," she said. Ms Ho, popularly known as HOCC, was referring to Beijing-backed Mrs Carrie Lam who is clinging to her job after suspending the Bill in the face of public protests. "The 'One Country, Two Systems' is nearing its death", Ms Ho said, referring to the model under which Hong Kong has been ruled for 22 years.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet last month urged the authorities in Hong Kong to "consult broadly" before passing or amending the Bill, or any other legislation. No state has brought a resolution on China at the session that ends on Friday. "We are all in danger in Hong Kong because we are on the edge of becoming just another China city where we would lose all our freedom of speech, freedom of protest and this is really that tipping point where either we can safeguard our city, or no, it goes the other way," Ms Ho told reporters. But she said the pro-democracy movement had a good chance of regaining seats in district council elections set for November, in what she called the "next battleground" against Chinese rule.
Author: Linda Lim
ZURICH, June 21 -- The Ukrainian delegation to Switzerland discussed new economic opportunities in the sustainable energy sector with their Swiss counterparts, the Ukrainian government said Friday.
The discussion took place during the "Ukraine 2019: New Economic Horizons, New Business Opportunities" round table in Zurich and the 12th meeting of the Ukrainian-Swiss Joint Committee in Bern, said a statement on the government's website. As a member of the Ukrainian delegation, Serhii Savchuk, head of the State Agency for Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving (SAEE), took part in the discussion. Switzerland's achievements in the clean energy sector could become a great example for Ukraine, Ukrainian officials noted. The SAEE head emphasized that Ukraine has created favorable legislation and market conditions for the development of green energy. Switzerland is already cooperating with Ukraine in bio-energy projects, according to the statement. Both sides expressed hope for more fruitful projects in energy efficiency, green energy and garbage utilization in the future.
MONTREUX, 28 MAY 2019 – The 67th Bilderberg Meeting will take place from May 30 – June 2, 2019 in Montreux, Switzerland.
About 130 participants from 23 countries have confirmed their attendance. As ever, a diverse group of political leaders and experts from industry, finance, academia, labour and the media has been invited.The 2019 edition of the exclusive Bilderberg Meeting will take place at the Hotel Montreux Palace in the Swiss town of Montreux from Thursday to Sunday. It will feature Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, the head of Germany’s Christian Democrats, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, and Crédit-Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam among others. According to Swiss daily Tages Anzeiger, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will also be among the attendees, although he is not on the official guest list on the Bildberg website. The Swiss paper reports that Pompeo is set to sit down with Ueli Maurer. The two are tipped to discuss the situation in Iran where Switzerland represents US interests.
However, the Swiss Finance Ministry told The Local on Tuesday that no meeting was envisaged between Pompeo and Maurer. The yearly Bilderberg talk-fest, which dates back to 1954, features a guest list of around 130 people from Europe and North America including everyone from royals to business tycoons and academics. A highly secretive affair without a fixed agenda, the Bilderberg Meeting is regular fodder for conspiracy theorists who believe its participants act as a secret world government. However, organisers argue the private nature of the event gives attendees the chance to hold informal discussions about major issues. Topics up for discussion this year include climate change and sustainability, Brexit, China, Russia, the future of capitalism and the weaponization of social media. According to the official Bilderberg website, discussions are held under the Chatham House Rule, which means participants can use any information they receive during the meeting but cannot reveal its source. This year will be the second time the Bilderberg meeting has been held in Switzerland. In 2011, it was held in St Moritz in the country’s southeast.
The key topics for discussion this year are:
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS 2019
GENEVA, March 5 -- Design house Pininfarina — the author of so many Ferraris — promised last year to launch its own car-building division and, wow, has it delivered.
What is it?
The 2021 Pininfarina Battista is a 1900-horsepower, all-electric AWD hypercar that will go into production and will come to a select few Canadian buyers for somewhere around $2.5M US. Only 150 cars will be built, 50 of them slated for North America. Pininfarina claims to have North American deposits on 30 of them.
Why does it matter?
With a staggering 1,900 horsepower and 1,700 lb.-ft. of torque — a figure that’s possible only by electrification — the Battista points not only to the future of the electric automobile but also signals the internal combustion engine has been eclipsed by electrons that are able to rocket this car to 100 km/h in under two seconds. Heck, with that kind of force, a neck brace will be required. Pininfarina has also said zero emissions are key to its brand, and plans to build more models, though all will cost at least six figures. Sharing mechanical components with the Croatia-built Rimac C Two, with individual motors at each wheel, the Battista could have as much as 450 km of range from its T-shaped battery pack.
When is it coming?
Sometime in 2021.
Should I buy one?
If Picasso said he was only creating 150 paintings, would it be prudent to buy one? Better than art, the Battista is something that can derive pleasure beyond its appearance. The only question is what that pleasure sounds and feels like.
DUBAI, March 2 -- Roger Federer has claimed a historic landmark in his career after he won his 100th title with a 6-4, 6-4 victory against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Saturday.
The 37-year-old Swiss and 20-time Grand Slam champion is only the second man in the Open era to reach the three-figure mark in accolades after American Jimmy Connors, who won 109 titles.
Swiss Federer also avenged his shock defeat by Tsitsipas in the fourth round of the Australian Open in January. "I'm delighted. It's great to win my eighth here in Dubai and in combination with my 100th singles title," Federer said.
"Tough conditions and tough opponents. To win in Marseille and then come here was difficult for Stefanos." Stuck on 99Federer, who had been stuck on 99 titles since triumphing at his hometown Basel tournament in October, broke Tsitsipas in the first game of the match and saved two break points at 5-4 to claim the first set in 36 minutes. Tsitsipas, who will break into the top 10 for the first time on Monday, held firm up to 4-4 in the second set before the 37-year-old Federer switched gears to seal the decisive break and close out the victory.
"I don't know if Stefanos was born when I won my first title," Federer joked. "It's a privilege (to play against potential champions) because I'll be watching them on TV. It was a treat to play Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. I'm sure Stefanos will have a wonderful career. "Tennis is in good hands regardless if I'm there or not," Federer said.
Previously Tsitsipas won his only previous meeting with Federer, completing a four-set victory over the Swiss in a round of 16 match at this year's Australian Open. On Friday in the semi-finals of the championships, Federer claimed two breaks of Croatian Borna Coric's serve in either set on the way to a 6-2, 6-2 win that took just over an hour.
DAVOS, January 22 -- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US has defeated ISIS in Syria and Iraq, only days after an attack by the militant group killed four American personnel in Syria.
"It should not go unnoticed that we’ve also defeated the ISIS Caliphate in Syria and Iraq... There’s a lot more work to do, and with your help, I know we’ll achieve it," he said from Washington DC. The senior official said he is hopeful of a solution to the years-long war in Yemen but noted that the Houthi rebels are violating the agreement by using Iranian weapons of war. He said that the US is committed to working with the UN on brokering a political solution to the conflict. He also said that Iran is still striving to reduce Iraq's freedom and independence, continuing his hard rhetoric against the Islamic Republic.
More to follow.
DAVOS, January 22 -- This week the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) will bring business leaders from around the world to the Swiss town of Davos, and Air Charter Service predicts there will be close to 1,500 private jet flights over the week.
Andy Christie, Private Jets Director at ACS, said: “The global interest in the event led us to analyse the private jet activity over the past five years of WEF. Davos doesn’t have its own airfield and, whilst we have several clients who fly into the town by helicopter, the four main airfields that private jet users attending the forum use are Zürich, Dübendorf, St. Gallen-Altenrhein and St. Moritz. “Working with WingX, we looked at private jet activity at those airports over the six days of each WEF week since 2013 – from one day before the event to one day after. Last year was the busiest year for private jets so far, showing an 11% increase on 2017, with more than 1,300 aircraft movements. If we see a similar increase this year, we could be looking at almost 1,500 aircraft movements over the six days.
“The week of the forum is unlike any other busy private jet event, such as the Super Bowl or Champions’ League final – it’s unique for the industry in that we receive bookings from a number of our offices around the world, rather than just the one or two offices in the region where the event is being held. We have had bookings from as far as our operations in Hong Kong, India and the US – no other event has the same global appeal. “Top countries involved in terms of arrivals in and departures out of the local airports over the past five years have typically been Germany, France, UK, USA, Russia and UAE, in that order. There appears to be a trend towards larger aircraft, with expensive heavy jets the aircraft of choice, with Gulfstream GVs and Global Expresses both being used more than 100 times each last year. This is at least in part due to some of the long distances travelled, but also possibly due to business rivals not wanting to be seen to be outdone by one another.”
LUZERN, January 21 -- Sauber’s 2019 Formula 1 car will be unveiled shortly before the start of the opening day of testing, the team has confirmed.
The wraps will come off its new challenger at 08:20 on February 18 in the pit lane at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 40 minutes prior to the start of the first test day at the venue. Sauber will enter 2019 with a refreshed line-up of 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen and full-time debutant Antonio Giovinazzi. They have replaced Ferrari-bound Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson, who is set to dovetail his IndyCar duties with a reserve/ambassadorial role at Sauber. Sauber finished eighth in last year’s Constructors’ Championship as it benefited from a return to current-year power units and greater finances and resources after a tricky phase. It will continue to run with title sponsorship from Alfa Romeo.
Sauber is the fifth team to confirm its launch plans for 2019.
F1 2019 launch dates:
Renault - February 12
Racing Point - February 13
McLaren - February 14
Ferrari – February 15
Sauber - February 18