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Swiss Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann leaves an exhibit at Constitution Hill, site of a former prison in Johannesburg. (© Susan Vogel-Misicka, swissinfo.ch)

Swiss Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann leaving an exhibit at Constitution Hill, site of a former prison in Johannesburg. (© Susan Vogel-Misicka, swissinfo.ch)

South Africa is Switzerland’s most important African trade partner – a point underscored in an official visit by Swiss Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann.

It was the first time a Swiss delegation included key members of the business as well as science communities … and yours truly, reporting for swissinfo.ch.

As Schneider-Ammann told me: “We wanted to open doors for our private sector representatives and contact the scientific community, and I wanted to get to know my South African colleagues and reactivate our personal ties. We achieved all of that.”

The economics minister, who had visited South Africa as an entrepreneur prior to his political career, said the country had changed “tremendously” in the meantime.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

 

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The world's largest solar boat sailed past New York's Statue of Liberty in June. © MS Tûranor PlanetSolar

The world’s largest solar boat sailed past New York’s Statue of Liberty in June.
© MS Tûranor PlanetSolar

Two Swiss solar vehicles have spent recent months touring the United States raising awareness of the potential of renewable energy. But how successful have the trips been in generating valuable funds or forging new partnerships? My latest article on swissinfo.ch tries to answer that question.

Check out the related podcast – Solar Flair – to hear interviews with Solar Impulse pilot André Borschberg as well as PlanetSolar CEO Pascal Goulpié.

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The Chedi Hotel, as it should look when finished. (© Andermatt Swiss Alps)

The Chedi Hotel, as it should look when finished.
(© Andermatt Swiss Alps)

Egyptian property developer and billionaire Samih Sawiris is confident his first venture in Europe, the Andermatt Swiss Alps resort, will be a success. But there are question marks. I recently visited Andermatt to see an extremely large work in progress.

Click here to read the whole story on swissinfo.ch. Once there, you can also read a related article or listen to a short interview I did with Sawiris at the construction site.

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Time flies in the Hall of Dreams (© BASELWORLD)

The world’s top watch and jewelry fair – featuring 1,815 exhibitors from 41 countries – has opened its doors in Basel. Now in its 40th year, Baselworld showcases the latest technology and designs over the course of a week. Click here to read the whole story.

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Passengers can no longer buy tickets onboard. © Foto SBB

 

For Swiss Federal Railways, the new year has already begun. In addition to introducing new timetables on December 11, it has stopped selling tickets on board. This policy translates into hefty fines for passengers who fail to buy their tickets prior to boarding – either because they forgot or because they were in too much of a hurry.

Read the whole story here.

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Podcast icon courtesy of Colleen AF Venable

The place to be: for many international firms, that’s Switzerland. A place revisited: a political exile revisits Tunisia for the first time in 19 years. Places you wish you’d never been: a woman remembers her painful past.

Click on the link below to listen a recent swissinfo.ch podcast, which I regularly contribute to.

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/multimedia/audios_podcast/People_and_places.html?autoPlay=y&view=podcastDetail&cid=29650988

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It was a telecommute day in Switzerland.

Some extra sleep, a leisurely breakfast and no need to leave the house – it sounds an awful lot like a lazy Saturday morning.

However, it could also be the start of a full workday for people whose jobs and employers allow them to telecommute. May 18 was Switzerland’s first national Home Office Day.

Click here to read the rest of the story: http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/index/Initiative_encourages_workers_to_stay_at_home.html?cid=8787028

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