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Freed Putin critic Khodorkovsky granted asylum in Switzerland

Kremlin critic Khodorkovsky granted residency in Switzerland (via AFP) Former Russian oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, freed after a decade in prison in Russia, has been granted a one-year resident permit in Switzerland, migration authorities said Sunday. “His application was approved,” migration office…  …

Switzerland wants to keep your ‘precious’ personal data safe from prying eyes

It looks like the ideal location for a James Bond thriller: a massive underground bunker in a secret location in the Swiss Alps used for keeping data safe from prying eyes. Housed in one of Switzerland’s numerous deserted Cold War-era army barracks, the high-tech Deltalis data centre is hidden behind…

Swiss voters likely to reject salary cap bill for executives

Swiss voters look set to reject a law to rein in executive pay in a looming referendum, with a poll released Wednesday showing only around a third back the plan. The survey by pollsters Gfs showed that 36 percent of the electorate now supported the “1:12″ initiative, named after the…

Switzerland decides 16-year-old girls can no longer be prostitutes

The Swiss parliament voted Tuesday to raise the legal prostitution age from 16 to 18, tightening the country’s liberal sex-trade laws to bring them in line with European standards. The lower house of parliament voted to change the Swiss penal code to make it illegal to pay for sex with…

Syria sought WMD material in Switzerland

Syria made multiple attempts to buy equipment in Switzerland that could have been used to make weapons of mass destruction, but officials blocked the sales, Swiss authorities said Monday. A total of 14 attempted purchases by Syria were turned down since 1998 by Switzerland’s export-control watchdog, the State Secretariat for…

Swiss upper house approves secretive deal with U.S. on tax evasion

Switzerland’s upper house of parliament voted Wednesday in favour of a secretive deal between Bern and Washington to settle a legal battle over Swiss banks’ alleged complicity in tax evasion by Americans. Twenty-four members of the Council of States voted in favour of the so-called “Lex USA” deal, while 15…

Swiss banks face massive fines over Americans’ hidden bank accounts

Swiss banks holding US citizens’ funds that are not declared to American tax authorities are set to have to pay a massive fine, under a deal between Switzerland and Washington, a newspaper reported Wednesday. The Swiss daily Neue Zuercher Zeitung, quoting sources familiar with the talks, said that the fine…

Famously corporate-friendly Switzerland set to get tough on CEO pay

Switzerland has a reputation as one of the most business-friendly countries in the world. But huge salaries and bonuses for top managers of Switzerland’s listed companies could soon be a thing of the past if voters back a national initiative on Sunday. At least 64 percent of the Swiss population…

Swiss anti-choice activists seek to ban abortions for ‘economic’ reasons

Swiss pro-lifers launched an initiative Tuesday to ban abortions in the country for economic reasons, saying the practice costs hundreds of billions in lost tax revenues. The “Protect life to remedy the loss of billions” initiative was launched by an independent group which needs to gather more than 100,000 signatures…

Forget feathers and beads: At Basel’s carnival Fasnacht, it’s all about politics

Forget feathers and beads: At Basel's carnival Fasnacht, it's all about politics New Orleans, Rio de Janeiro, Venice: All play host to the annual glittering, colorful, and wild extravaganza known as Carnival. But in Basel, Switzerland, the world’s only Protestant masque, celebrations take on a new twist – they get…

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