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IMF urges Lebanon to make ‘immediate and substantial’ fiscal adjustment

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BEIRUT: Lebanon requires “an immediate and substantial” fiscal adjustment to improve the sustainability of public debt that stood at more than 150 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) at the end of 2017, the IMF executive board said. An IMF statement released overnight said IMF executive directors agreed with the thrust of a staff appraisal which in February urged Lebanon ... Read More »

Swiss annual forecast predicts sustained economic growth

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Switzerland : The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) says that Switzerland is currently experiencing an “increasingly broad-based upswing”, predicting that its economy will continue to grow by 2.4% in 2018. The federal government’s expert statisticsexternal link published on Tuesday indicate that the positive trend applied to Switzerland’s economy on a domestic as well as on an international level. The ... Read More »

Health insurance to get more expensive again in 2019: report

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Anyone hoping for good news about Swiss health insurance premiums in 2019 is going to be disappointed. While Swiss healthcare costs appeared to come down by 4 percent in the first three months of 2018 compared to the same period last year, this reduction is just a mirage, according to Swiss internet comparison site Comparis. The drop came after the ... Read More »

General Electric to cut 1,200 jobs in Switzerland

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GENEVA: General Electric  will cut 1,200 jobs in Switzerland at its troubled power generation business, about 200 fewer than its original proposal, the U.S. industrial conglomerate said on Monday. GE had announced plans in December to cut as many as 4,500 jobs in Europe – including 1,400 in Switzerland – as it aims to reduce its global footprint by 30 ... Read More »

Swiss asset manager Pictet buys into Chinese video game maker behind ‘Knives Out’, sells Tencent stock

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Swiss asset manager Pictet has been buying up shares in Chinese online video game developer NetEase, while taking a profit on Tencent Holdings, as the technology sector is now trading at a higher premium than overall global markets, according to Nolan Hoffmeyer, senior investment manager with Pictet’s thematic equities team. NetEase, the developer of popular video game Knives Out, was ... Read More »

Thai junta seeks $10 Billion in new security budget

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Bangkok:The Thai junta on Thursday sought $10 billion in a new defence and security budget, in what may be its final opportunity to allocate funds to the armed forces before a promised return to elections early next year. Military spending has risen since former army chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha seized power from the civilian government in 2014, fitting a pattern of ... Read More »

European central bank meet could bring end to bond-buying

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Frankfurt am Main :The European Central Bank may announce Thursday a timetable for withdrawing its massive support for the eurozone economy, analysts say, although looming threats to the bloc could stay its hand for a few more weeks. Central bankers’ monthly bond purchases of 30 billion euros ($35 billion) and ultra-low interest rates are designed to stoke growth in the ... Read More »

Switzerland has fifth ‘most powerful’ passport in the world

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Switzerland has the fifth most powerful passport in the world, according to the latest edition of an index which ranks the level of visa-free access passports provide to their holders. Global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners produces the Henley Passport Index each year using data from the International Air Transport Association. The 2018 edition ranked Switzerland’s distinctive ... Read More »

Switzerland to inspect Facebook and Twitter profiles of asylum seekers

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Asylum seekers in Switzerland could soon have their social media profiles reviewed as part of their application processes, according to local media reports. The newspaper ‘NZZ am Sonntag’ reported that Swiss authorities will inspect data from an applicant’s Facebook and Twitter accounts to investigate claims of asylum. A spokesperson for the State Secretariat for Migration told the newspaper that the ... Read More »

Swaziland’s reserves dwindle to $790,000

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Swaziland : The Kingdom of Swaziland only has around $790,000 left in the bank, according to the central bank’s latest estimate, as an economic slowdown in neighbouring South Africa hits home. The official reserves would cover only four months of vital imports, the central bank’s Monetary Policy Consultative Committee said in its latest fiscal update on Monday. “The contraction in ... Read More »

Swiss bank to drop Iranian business

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A Swiss lender is suspending new transactions with Iran following US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Tehran. Banque de Commerce et de Placements (BCP)external link announced on Tuesday that it was wrapping up its activity in Iran in response to the US pulling out of the Iranian nuclear accord earlier this month. + Swiss firms are ... Read More »

Swiss billionaire given heavy fine for illegal art imports

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Switzerland: A Swiss court has fined billionaire financier Urs Schwarzenbach CHF4 million ($4 million) for failing to properly declare some 200 artworks imported into Switzerland. Schwarzenbach, an art collector and owner of the five-star Dolder Grand hotel in Zurich, was found guilty by the Bülach district court in Zurich on Monday. He rejects the charges and plans to appeal. The ... Read More »

Switzerland has the best railways in Europe: survey

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Swiss Federal Railways, SBB, has come out top in a survey of European rail operators, beating off strong competition from Germany’s Deutsche Bahn and Austria’s ÖBB. The Great Train Comparison conducted by British travel portal Loco2 compared 16 major European operators and voted the Swiss national railway operator best overall. The compilers of the first-ever comparative report said that within ... Read More »

Ikea recalls bikes over safety issues

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Stockholm :Swedish home goods giant Ikea on Thursday announced a recall of its bicycles following a string of accidents caused by problems with the drive belt. “Customers that have a Sladda bicycle are urged to stop using it and to return it to any Ikea store for a full refund,” the DIY mammoth said in a statement. The company has ... Read More »

Rapid escalation in Swiss fines for freight trucks

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An increasing number of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) are being pulled over for motoring offences at border crossings. Customs officials have reported 83% more violations in the last eight years, rising from 17,997 on 2010 to 32,967 last year. A further 24,464 fines and cautions were issued against HGVs according to the SonntagsZeitung newspaper. Most infringements concerned overloaded vehicles, followed ... Read More »

Government defends Swiss Post-Amazon deal

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Switzerland : The government has defended the deal struck that will see Swiss Post delivering packages for retail giant Amazon. There is no question of preferential treatment, it said. The response by the government came in response to a parliamentary question raised by politician Olivier Feller (Liberal-Radical), querying the deal that will see Swiss Post delivering Amazon packages within a ... Read More »

Switzerland must ‘urgently’ do more to tackle bribery and protect whistleblowers, OECD says

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Switzerland must urgently do more to protect whistleblowers and stop money laundering and bribery, a group of industrialised nations has said. After a year-long investigation, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development said companies, lawyers and trustees operating in Switzerland must face tougher penalties for perpetrating or facilitating bribery taking place abroad. It said Switzerland “presents a specific risk of corruption” ... Read More »

Swiss median monthly wage exceeds CHF6,500 ($6,506)

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A government survey analysing wage structures in the Alpine nation found that the median salary for a full-time job in 2016 was CHF6,502 ($6,509) for the entire Swiss economy. The bottom 10% of Swiss earners had a salary of less than CHF4,313 ($4,317), while the best paid 10% earned more than CHF11,406 ($11,418) a month. These numbers were published by ... Read More »

The pros and cons of working in Switzerland

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Switzerland: There is no federal minimum wage in Switzerland – the Swiss rejected the idea in 2014 – though several cantons have mulled it over, with Neuchâtel likely to be the first canton to introduce it (at 20 francs an hour). Nevertheless salaries are generally high. According to figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in 2016 ... Read More »

Russian billionaire appears in Swiss court

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Switzerland: Roman Abramovich, a Russian billionaire, is on trial in Switzerland. He is accused of defrauding a publicly-funded European bank of millions of taxpayers’ money. A court in the city of Fribourg on Wednesday opened proceedings against the 52-year-old businessman and owner of the English football club, Chelsea, amid heightened security. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Developmentexternal link (EBRD) ... Read More »