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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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Make-up kit

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. This age-old saying is less true than ever, if one considers the growth of the beauty industry. The sector that includes everything from cosmetics to plastic surgery profits from engrained notions of good looks.

It is estimated that every day, the Swiss population works its way through 64 tonnes of cosmetics and hair products – all in the name of looking better. For facial products alone, the Swiss spend SFr400 million ($428 million) per year.

Click here to read the whole article and see a gallery of people primping at swissinfo.ch.

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A 2007 Swiss People's Party billboard calling for the expulsion of foreign criminals -- altered to criticize its racist tone. Today, some people are anxious about large numbers of north African refugees, even if they're looking for work and not trouble.

 

Despite an increase in the number of people seeking asylum in Switzerland this year, there is no crisis, say experts.

So far, more than 8,000 people have come in 2011. In May there were 2,254 applications, many of them from North Africa, according to the Federal Migration Office.

Click here to read the whole story: http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/politics/Switzerland_not_facing_asylum_crisis.html?cid=30565396

 

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The cover image of the Suva future study © Suva

Buildings that are too clean, vehicles that are too quiet and workers who are always on call – these are risks facing us in the future, according to a study.

Suva, the Swiss accident insurer, commissioned the report to see what kinds of issues could have a detrimental effect on the workforce and general public in 2029. In consultation with businesses the research team identified 21 trends to watch out for.

Click here to read the whole story: http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss_news/Trends_threaten_wellbeing_of_workers.html?cid=28402052

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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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