Category : Switzerland

(WSJ) A Fractured World: Nationalism vs. the Global Liberal Order

The global liberal order is holding up better than many feared a year ago.

In Europe, right-wing populists lost elections to the establishment in the Netherlands, Austria and France. U.S. President Donald Trump has prioritized traditional conservative causes like tax cuts over protectionism.

But globalists should not breathe easy. The nationalist insurgency is both growing and metamorphosing. It is not just eating away at relations between countries on issues such as free trade; it is also eroding the institutions and norms that prevail within countries.

This is not a problem for the global economy yet, as a synchronized upswing drives growth and stock prices higher. But it’s a shadow over the future. Populists sustained by legitimate grievances at the cultural and economic upheaval caused by globalization often govern by authoritarian or divisive means, undermining the stable, rules-based environment that businesses crave.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Switzerland

Congratulations to Roger Federer 2017 Australian Open Champion

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Europe, Men, Sports, Switzerland

Congratulations to Roger Federer for making it to the Australian Open Men's Finals

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Europe, Men, Sports, Switzerland

(BBC) Swiss Muslim girls must learn to swim with boys, European court rules

Switzerland has won a case at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) obliging Muslim parents to send their children to mixed swimming lessons.

It said authorities were justified in giving precedence to enforcing “the full school curriculum” and the children’s “successful integration” into society.
The ECHR acknowledged that religious freedom was being interfered with.
But judges said it did not amount to a violation

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Switzerland, Theology

Novak Djokovic defeats Roger Federer in the 2015 Wimbledon final, earning his 9th Grand Slam victory

What an amazing second set tiebreaker!

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe, Men, Serbia, Sports, Switzerland

(Eurosports) Stan Wawrinka stuns Novak Djokovic to win the French Open

Stanislas Wawrinka shocked world number one Novak Djokovic 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 to win the French Open and claim his second Grand Slam title.

There were no jeers this time as Swiss Stan Wawrinka defied the odds to win the French Open with a courageous 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 victory over world number one Novak Djokovic in an enthralling final on Sunday.

The eighth seed, booed by the crowd when he played French opponents this year, handed Serbian Djokovic his third defeat in three Roland Garros finals to add a second major to his 2014 Australian Open title.

“I played the match of my life, it’s hard to believe. Playing against Novak was one of the biggest challenges. I know how much he wanted this Roland Garros,” Wawrinka said courtside.

“It was a crazy atmosphere these two weeks. I’d like to thank you.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, France, Men, Serbia, Sports, Switzerland

(BBC) St Annes businessman Jeffrey Spector dies of assisted suicide in Switzerland

In England and Wales, the Suicide Act 1961 makes it an offence to encourage or assist a suicide or a suicide attempt.

Former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer said he would attempt to reintroduce a bill that would allow assisted dying in the UK.

He said it was “completely wrong” that terminally ill people did not have the option to end their life.

“Whatever your take on the subject, it should be debated,” Lord Falconer told the BBC.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Switzerland, Theology

(W Post) U.S. indicts world soccer officials in alleged $150 million FIFA bribery scandal

The Justice Department unsealed a 47 count indictment early Wednesday charging 14 world soccer figures, including officials of FIFA, with racketeering, bribery, money laundering and fraud. Four of the accused have already pleaded guilty.

The announcement in a press release followed a round-up of officials of FIFA, the world soccer federation, at a swanky Zurich hotel where they were assembling for an important meeting.

“The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Sports, Switzerland, Theology

(NYT) Reformation Museum in Geneva Blends Humor and Wonder

Finding the International Museum of the Reformation is almost as complicated as explaining the historical movement it chronicles.

You must first navigate the labyrinth of Geneva’s Old Town, down narrow, cobblestone streets and then up a long flight of stone stairs, skirting the shadows cast by a towering 13th-century cathedral. Finally you arrive at the tranquil courtyard of the Maison Mallet, the 14-room 18th-century mansion housing the museum, which opened in 2005.

From the outset, its director, Isabelle Graesslé, knew she faced a challenge. “It’s not easy to do a museum around a concept,” she said with a chuckle.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Religion & Culture, Switzerland

Warm Swiss Welcome Despite Temperature Change for Bishop Robert Innes

In the Diocese in Europe we pride ourselves on offering residents and visitors a warm welcome to our congregations but as Bishop Robert discovered during a pastoral visit to Berne and the Swiss Archdeaconry Synod he needs a good supply of warm clothing and the ability to adapt quickly to temperature changes.

Read it all and see what you make of the Bishop’s sermon.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Europe, Parish Ministry, Switzerland

(Project Syndicate) Making Sense of the Swiss Shock by professors Markus Brunnermeier & Harold James

The SNB was not forced to act by a speculative run. No financial crisis forced its hand, and, in theory, the SNB’s directorate could have held the exchange rate and bought foreign assets indefinitely. But domestic criticism of the SNB’s large buildup of exchange-rate reserves (euro assets) was mounting.

In particular, Swiss conservatives disliked the risk to which the SNB was exposed. Fearing that eurozone government bonds were unsafe, they agitated to require the SNB to acquire gold reserves instead, even forcing a referendum on the matter. Though the initiative to require a fixed share of gold reserves failed, the prospect of large-scale quantitative easing by the European Central Bank, together with the euro’s recent slide against the dollar, intensified the political pressure to abandon the peg.

Whereas economists have modeled financial attacks well, there has been little study of just when political pressure becomes unbearable and a central bank gives in. The SNB, for example, had proclaimed loyalty to the peg just days before ending it. As a result, markets will now hesitate to believe central banks’ statements about future policy, and forward guidance (a major post-crisis instrument) will be much more difficult.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, History, Politics in General, Switzerland, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(Bloomberg) Switzerland Ambushes the Global Economy

The Swiss National Bank’s shock move today to stop intervening in the foreign exchange market all but guarantees the European Central Bank will finally introduce quantitative easing when it meets Jan. 22. Switzerland is surrendering before a wave of post-QE money fleeing the euro threatens to make a mockery of its currency policy. It’s also capitulating as slumping oil brings global deflation ever closer.

t’s an astonishing U-turn. Just two days ago SNB Vice President Jean-Pierre Danthine told Swiss broadcaster RTS that “we’re convinced that the cap on the franc must remain the pillar of our monetary policy.” He added, though, that it was “very possible” that QE would make defending the threshold more difficult. It seems highly probable that the ECB has winked about its policy intentions to its Swiss counterparts.

The ensuing whipsaw in the currency market is unprecedented. The franc immediately appreciated almost 30 percent against the currencies of the Group of Ten industrialized nations, and surged to a record against the euro…:

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Globalization, Stock Market, Switzerland, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(BBC) Summit to discuss Ebola emergency starts

Global health experts at the World Health Organization are meeting to discuss new measures to tackle the Ebola outbreak.

The meeting – being held in Geneva, Switzerland – is expected to last two days and will decide whether to declare a global health emergency.

That could involve imposing travel restrictions on affected areas.

The outbreak began last February and has since spread to four African countries, claiming nearly 900 lives.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Globalization, Guinea, Health & Medicine, Liberia, Nigeria, Pastoral Theology, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, Theology

Argentina Barely Survive to Beat the Swiss in the World Cup

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Argentina, Europe, Men, South America, Sports, Switzerland

John Calvin on John 15:1-8 for his Feast Day

There is scarcely any one who is ashamed to acknowledge that every thing good which he possesses comes from God; but, after making this acknowledgment, they imagine that universal grace has been given to them, as if it had been implanted in them by nature. But Christ dwells principally on this, that the vital sap ”” that is, all life and strength ”” proceeds from himself alone. Hence it follows, that the nature of man is unfruitful and destitute of everything good; because no man has the nature of a vine, till he be implanted in him. But this is given to the elect alone by special grace. So then, the Father is the first Author of all blessings, who plants us with his hand; but the commencement of life is in Christ, since we begin to take root in him. When he calls himself the true vine the meaning is, I am truly the vine, and therefore men toil to no purpose in seeking strength anywhere else, for from none will useful fruit proceed but from the branches which shall be produced by me.

–Commentary on John, Volume II

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Switzerland, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Karl Barth with some Thoughts on Sabbath rest on his Feast Day

It is not a question of recuperation after a toilsome and well-done job. Even the Sabbath rest of man corresponding to the divine rest does not have this sense in the Old Testament, but means negatively a simple cessation and abstention from further work. The freedom, rest and joy of the Sabbath consist in the fact that on this day man is released from his daily work. On the Sabbath he does not belong to his work.Nor is it merely a question of having to recuperate from the work that lies behind him and to fortify himself for the new tasks that are ahead. On the Sabbath he belongs to himself. Whether he be farmer, artisan, servant or maid, he is just the man who for six days had to be these things and to perform the corresponding tasks, but whose being and existence are more than all these things and his work, who in and with these things seeks to be a man, male and female, and as such before God. That he does not strive in vain towards this goal; that his work cannot devour him but consists of steps towards this goal, is confirmed at the end of each week by the proffered freedom, rest and joy of the workless Sabbath which he is granted. It is this which gives perspective and depth, meaning and lustre, to all his weeks, and therefore to his whole time, as well as to the work which he performs in his time.

–Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics (ed. Geoffrey Bromiley and Thomas Torrance, Edinburgh: T and T Clark, 1958 E.T. of the German 1945 original) III.I.para. 41, Creation and Covenant, p. 214

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Church History, Eschatology, Europe, Switzerland, Theology

A Prayer for the (Provisional) Feast Day of Karl Barth

Almighty God, source of justice beyond human knowledge: We offer thanks that thou didst inspire Karl Barth to resist tyranny and exalt thy saving grace, without which we cannot apprehend thy will. Teach us, like him, to live by faith, and even in chaotic and perilous times to perceive the light of thy eternal glory, Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, throughout all ages. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Spirituality/Prayer, Switzerland, Theology

(Time) Fareed Zakaria on the New Healthcare Law and Lessons Thereon from around the Globe

The centerpiece of the case against Obamacare is the requirement that everyone buy some kind of health insurance or face stiff penalties–the so-called individual mandate. It is a way of moving toward universal coverage without a government-run or single-payer system. It might surprise Americans to learn that another advanced industrial country, one with a totally private health care system, made precisely the same choice nearly 20 years ago: Switzerland. The lessons from Switzerland and other countries can’t resolve the constitutional issues, but they suggest the inevitability of some version of Obamacare….

Twenty years ago, Switzerland had a system very similar to America’s–private insurers, private providers–with very similar problems. People didn’t buy insurance but ended up in emergency rooms, insurers screened out people with pre-existing conditions, and costs were rising fast. The country came to the conclusion that to make health care work, everyone had to buy insurance.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Asia, Budget, Economy, Europe, Health & Medicine, Medicare, Politics in General, Switzerland, Taiwan, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

A Prayer for the (Provisional) Feast Day of Karl Barth

Almighty God, source of justice beyond human knowledge: We offer thanks that thou didst inspire Karl Barth to resist tyranny and exalt thy saving grace, without which we cannot apprehend thy will. Teach us, like him, to live by faith, and even in chaotic and perilous times to perceive the light of thy eternal glory, Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, throughout all ages. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Spirituality/Prayer, Switzerland, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Particles found to break speed of light

An international team of scientists said on Thursday they had recorded sub-atomic particles traveling faster than light — a finding that could overturn one of Einstein’s long-accepted fundamental laws of the universe.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Science & Technology, Switzerland

(BBC) UBS trader Kweku Adoboli arrested over 'rogue deals'

Police in London have arrested a 31-year-old man in connection with allegations of unauthorised trading which has cost Swiss banking group UBS an estimated $2bn (£1.3bn).

Kweku Adoboli, believed to work in the European equities division, was detained in the early hours of Thursday and remains in custody.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, Science & Technology, Stock Market, Switzerland, The Banking System/Sector

Switzerland tops WEF World Competitiveness rankings, US slips to no. 4

Switzerland is once again at the top of the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Competitiveness Report, followed by Singapore, which has overtaken Sweden, then Finland with the US now in fifth place, slipping two slots since last year.

The report was published Wednesday morning 7 September by the Geneva-based organization that organizes an annual meeting of world business and political leaders in Davos, Switzerland every January. The full report is available online.

Japan remains the top Asian country, at number 9 and China has advanced one place to number 26. Slovenia and Montenegro had steep falls of more than 10 places, while Sri Lanka rose by an impressive 13.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Europe, Globalization, Psychology, Switzerland

(Church Times) Bishops slam ”˜one-sided view’ of suicide on TV

A former Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, said that the BBC had some “hard questions to address”, after broadcasting the programme. “Its own guidelines state that the portrayal of suicide has the potential to make this appear possible, and even appropriate, to the vulnerable.” He also argued that “the BBC has an obligation to provide a balanced presentation of the moral issues of the day,” but “so far, there has been little evidence of such balance in this matter.”

In a statement, the BBC said that it ac­know­­ledged that suicide was “an exceptionally difficult issue”, which “should be portrayed with the utmost sensitivity”. It argued that there was “a clear editorial justification” to broadcast the programme, which “does not encourage suicide and does not breach BBC guidelines.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Europe, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Suicide, Switzerland

Why a quiet millionaire's suicide will be shown on BBC TV

On Monday the BBC, which has been accused of becoming a ”˜”˜cheerleader’’ for assisted suicide, defended its decision to show Mr [Peter] Smedley’s death in the film.

Sir Terry hopes it will persuade the Government to think again about the law and advocates a system in which doctors are able to prescribe take-home suicide kits to enable terminally-ill patients to choose the right moment to end their lives.

Mrs Smedley said… last night that she did not want to discuss her husband’s death.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Switzerland, Theology

BBC TV to Air Documentary this week Showing an Assisted Suicide

Living can be brutal. The other Dignitas customer in the programme ”” not filmed dying, but discussed up to the final handshake ”” is a 42-year-old man who tried suicide twice, failed, and took the journey to certainty. Again, earlier than he truly needed to. The window of opportunity, he saw clearly, would close as he travelled down “the narrowing alleyway” of disability….

The actual nature of the Dignitas experience….is grim. Even discounting the disgraceful fact that 21 per cent of its customers don’t have a terminal disease but depression, and that the Swiss authorities seem unwilling to intervene, there is something horrible ”” a condemned-cell atmosphere ”” about the process: the files, the signatures, the insistence that you practise drinking the stuff in one long draught “and do not sip”, the dreary environs, the anti-nausea drug taken beforehand so that Mr [Peter] Smedley observes how odd it is to be told “ten minutes more”.

Read it all (requires London Times subscription) and you may find a lot more articles on this there.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Switzerland, Theology

Swiss voters overwhelmingly reject proposed assisted suicide ban

Swiss voters rejected a proposal to ban assisted suicide and suicide tourism in the Canton (political district) of Zurich.

In a referendum on Sunday, about 85% of voters in Zurich rejected a proposal to end legalized assisted suicide while about 78% rejected a proposal to stop the practice of suicide tourism by foreigners in their Canton.

Two conservative political parties, the Evangelical People’s Party and the Federal Democratic Union, supported the referendum, promoting palliative care as the best option to care for seriously ill people at the end of their lives. The groups argued that the presence of assisted suicide clinics run by the Exit and Dignitas organizations, and their promotion of suicide tourism, damages Zurich’s image.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Switzerland, Theology

A look at the US Dollar/Swiss Franc Chart over Five and Twelve Years

[Here is the Bloomberg Headline: Swiss Franc Reaches Highest In At Least 40 Years Versus Dollar]

This is painful and sad and (go under the chart to the time box and click “max” all the way to the right) for an even longer term perspective check this out.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Budget, Currency Markets, Economy, Europe, Politics in General, Switzerland, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

(BBC) Religion may become extinct in nine nations, study says

A study using census data from nine countries shows that religion there is set for extinction, say researchers.

The study found a steady rise in those claiming no religious affiliation.

The team’s mathematical model attempts to account for the interplay between the number of religious respondents and the social motives behind being one.

The result, reported at the American Physical Society meeting in Dallas, US, indicates that religion will all but die out altogether in those countries.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Austria, Canada, England / UK, Europe, Finland, Ireland, Religion & Culture, Switzerland, The Netherlands

WSJ: Rate Swings Sting Europe's Borrowers

“I just can’t believe it,” Mr. [Dezso] Kocs said, looking around at his current quarters, with empty cardboard boxes used as night stands. “I used to be a business owner. Now I’m a slave.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Eastern Europe, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Economy, Europe, Hungary, Personal Finance, Switzerland, The Banking System/Sector

World Cup: Swiss Make Melted Cheese out of Spain

Spain isn’t supposed to lose to Switzerland.

Spain has never lost to Switzerland.

Perhaps Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas believed that would last forever just a little too much.

In a 1-0 loss, it was his peculiarly complacent misjudgment that heaped the pressure of a billion expectations on a team that, for many, was the pre-tournament favorite.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Globalization, Spain, Sports, Switzerland