Switzerland

Credit Suisse reports 29% rice in Q2 profits; surpasses analysts’ estimates

Credit SuisseSwitzerland's largest bank Credit Suisse Thursday reported a net profit of 1.6 billion Swiss francs - or $1.5 billion - in the second quarter, largely because of an improvement in its investment banking business.

While the second-quarter profit figures fell below the first-quarter profit of 2 billion francs; they still were 29 percent higher than the year-before figures of 1.22 billion francs profit, as well as surpassed the analysts' estimates of 1.44 billion francs profit.

ABB reports 31 per cent Q2 net profit drop

ABB reports 31 per cent Q2 net profit drop Geneva - ABB, the Swiss engineering company, reported Thursday double-digit drops in sales, earnings and orders performance in the second quarter of 2009 in what it called a "challenging" business environment.

ABB said net income fell 31 per cent year-on-year to 675 million dollars, while sales revenues, at 7.9 billion dollars, were down 12 per cent. Orders dropped 35 per cent to around 7 billion dollars.

China's BAIC drops out of Opel talks

General Motors, OpelZurich  - China's Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Company (BAIC) is out of the bidding race for General Motors' (GM) European offshoot Opel, the US car giant confirmed Thursday.

"We have agreed to continue the negotiations to secure the future of Opel with Magna and RHJI," said John Smith, who is leading the talks on behalf of GM.

Rival bids from Canadian-Austrian car parts manufacturer Magna and RHJI, the European offshoot of US investor Ripplewood, were the focus of a 4-hour meeting with politicians in Berlin the previous day.

Roche profits down, but outlook robust, says company

Roche profits down, but outlook robust, says companyGeneva - Roche AG, the Swiss pharmaceuticals giant, reported a drop in profits Thursday, but offered a bullish forecast on increasing sales, including for its flu and cancer drugs.

Net income in the first half of the year was down 29 per cent to 4.1 billion Swiss francs (3.84 billion dollars), which the company said was due to one-time costs related to the recent acquisition of Genentech, the United States-based biotech company.

Credit Suisse reports 1.6 billion francs net profit for Q2

Geneva  - Credit Suisse, the largest Swiss bank by market capitalization, reported Thursday a net profit of 1.6 billion francs (1.5 billion dollars) in the second quarter.

The bank said the results reflect mark-to-market write-downs of 1.1 billion francs from changing credit spreads on its own debt and 0.5 billion francs relating to a settlement it paid out to the Huntsman Corporation in the United States.

The bank's private banking division, which brought in some 10.7 billion francs in net new assets, had 935 million francs in profit, but that was still a 23 per cent decline from the second quarter of 2008. Its wealth management division reported a profit of 662 million francs, down 20 per cent.

FIFA fines Ivorian FA, restricts number of spectators

FIFA fines Ivorian FA, restricts number of spectatorsZurich  - Football's governing body FIFA on Wednesday announced that they had fined the football association of Ivory Coast after 22 fans died during a World Cup qualifying match between the Ivory Coast and Malawi in March.

In a statement released in Zurich, FIFA said that the organization's disciplinary committee had finalized an investigation into the tragedy outside the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan.

Official: US, Russia begin new round of START talks

Official: US, Russia begin new round of START talksGeneva  - Delegations from the US and Russian governments began a new round of talks Wednesday on replacing START, the nuclear arms reduction treaty that is set to expire at the end of the year, an official said.

The Russian diplomat told the German Press Agency dpa that the teams arrived at the Russian diplomatic mission in Geneva in the late morning and were set to begin three days of talks.

WHO: 700 deaths from swine flu recorded

WHO: 700 deaths from swine flu recordedGeneva - The World Health Organization Tuesday said the death toll from swine flu had risen to 700 globally.

By comparison, seasonal flu, the common variety of influenza which normally hits during the winter months, kills about 500,000 people each year.

An official at the WHO headquarters in Geneva said the organization did not have a death ratio for the virus and was still compiling data.

The disease was first reported to have broken out in mid-April in North America, which remains the hardest-hit region.

Saudi Arabia lead humanitarian donor, US lags behind

Saudi Arabia, USA-flagGeneva  - Saudi Arabia was the largest international donor to humanitarian appeals, when measured as a percentage of the national economy, the United Nations reported Tuesday.

The Saudi kingdom gave 0.19 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) to humanitarian funding.

Sweden, which gave 0.14 per cent of its national product and Norway with 0.13, followed in the list of top donor countries.

Many small European countries, with large and generally affluent populations, were also part of the lead countries by GDP. Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates were also large proportional donors.

Sixteenth stage of Tour de France starts with Contador in control

Sixteenth stage of Tour de France starts with Contador in controlMartigny, Switzerland  - The 16th stage of the 2009 Tour de France got underway Tuesday in the Swiss city of Martigny with Spanish rider Alberto Contador in firm control of the race.

The 159km course to the French city of Bourg-Saint-Maurice will take the 162 riders remaining in the race through three countries and up two long climbs.

Steep losses force Swiss trade back to 2006 levels

Steep losses force Swiss trade back to 2006 levels Geneva  - Switzerland's exports and imports plunged by about 16 per
cent in the first half of 2009, the federal authorities reported
Tuesday, pushing trade levels down to those of 2006.

The decline in exports was the largest the Alpine nation had ever reported for a six-month period since records have been kept.

Exports are a key backbone of the Swiss economy, which maintains a
trade surplus of nearly 9 billion francs, which is a contraction of
about a tenth off last year's figures.

Switzerland condemns Jakarta bombing

Switzerland condemns Jakarta bombing Bern - The Swiss foreign ministry condemned Friday the bombings in Jakarta, calling them "barbaric acts."

The Federal Department of Federal Affairs said in a statement it was "devastated at the bomb attacks in Jakarta, which have claimed numerous innocent victims."

The FDFA expressed "its solidarity with the Indonesian government and people at this difficult time and its sincere condolences to the families of the victims of these barbaric acts."(dpa)

Montreux Jazz Festival attracts 230,000

Montreux Jazz Festival attracts 230,000 Montreux, Switzerland - The 43rd Montreux Jazz Festival attracted an estimated 230,000 people this year, organizers said Friday.

While many shows were free, some required a fee and still attracted 90,000 fans to performances by acts like Wyclef Jean, pop princess Lily Allen, blues great BB King and a special performance by jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, who played a world premier of his new collaboration with Chinese musician Lang Lang.

Several acts, including King, also held open workshops for young guitarists and other aspiring musicians.

Alexander Frei to join Basel from Dortmund

Alexander Frei to join Basel from Dortmund Dortmund - Alexander Frei will Germany's Borussia Dortmund to play for Basel in his native Switzerland, the local Ruhr Nachrichten daily said on Friday.

The Switzerland striker Frei is to sign a long-term contract at Basel who will pay a transfer fee of 4.25 million euros (6 million dollars).

"There is agreement. Alexander Frei will travel to Switzerland for the medical on Saturday," Dortmund sports director Michael Zorc told the Ruhr Nachrichten website.

UN official calls for full and clear probe into Estemirova slaying

UN official calls for full and clear probe into Estemirova slayingGeneva  - The top United Nations official on human rights said Thursday that the investigation into the killing of Natalya Estemirova must be "thorough, transparent and independent."

Estemirova, a prominent human rights activist working on issues relating to Chechnya - where she lived - was kidnapped and shot to death on Wednesday, her body turning up in neighboring Ingushetia.

Officials: New round of US-Russia START talks this month

Officials: New round of US-Russia START talks this monthGeneva  - The United States and Russia will engage in a new round of talks this month on replacing START, the nuclear arms reduction treaty that is set to expire at the end of the year, officials said Thursday.

This would be the first round since US President Barack Obama met with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow earlier this month and reached a basic agreement that there must be a follow-up treaty.

Swiss say illegal medicines imports nearly double

Geneva  - Switzerland reported Thursday a 92 per cent increase in the amount of illegal and counterfeit medicines seized at its border crossings in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year.

The medicine consignments confiscated by Swiss customs officers came from several regions, including eastern and western Europe, the federal authorities said in a statement, though the majority arrived from Asia.

Erectile dysfunction drugs made up 24 per cent of the caught shipments. Slimming products were 14 per cent of the found products followed by muscle enhancers, at 12 per cent.

Novartis profits, hit by stronger dollar, drop 10 per cent in Q2

Novartis profits, hit by stronger dollar, drop 10 per cent in Q2 Geneva  - The Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG reported Thursday that second quarter profits were down 10 per cent, to 2 billion dollars, owing to a stronger dollar against the euro and higher financing costs.

Net sales rose 8 per cent in local currencies, a statement said, but fell 2 per cent, to 10.5 billion dollars, due to currency movements.

Recently launched products from its pharmaceuticals department contributed 15 per cent of the net sales figure, compared to 9 per cent in the first half of 2008.

Oxfam: Doha not a development roun

Oxfam: Doha not a development rounGeneva - The World Trade Organization's ongoing round of talks on trade liberalization is not living up to its stated development agenda, meant to help economic growth in the emerging economies, the charity Oxfam said Thursday.

In a new report, Empty Promises, Oxfam says the Doha Development Round deal, as it currently stands, would not "re-balance decades of unfair agricultural and industrial trade rules."

Instead, the report says the round is leaning towards opening up developing markets further without offering them much in return.

UN presents new education kit for disasters

UN presents new education kit for disasters Geneva  - The United Nations presented Wednesday its latest education kit to help young children affected by wars and natural disasters, saying it would develop their mental capacities and reduce stress and trauma.

Ann Veneman, executive director of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), said that quickly getting youngsters in such situations into a learning environment was important.




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