Swiss-Swedish engineering giant ABB has appointed a new CEO, who has a background in oil and gas, utilities, telecoms and automotive industries and who was a key player in the acquisition of Baldor. …
A defiant Turkish prime minister arrived in Ankara surrounded by supporters having addressed six rallies in one day. His message – that his patience with mass anti-government protests is running out. In a move intended to seize back the initiative, Recep Tayyip Erdogan also…
The probe comes only a week after the bank’s French subsidiary was charged with suspected ‘complicity in illegal sales practices’. The investigators have sent a list of 353 names of suspected ‘secret’ Swiss bank accounts, undeclared by French citizens, the BBC reported. The alleged offenses took place between 2002 and 2007.The bank also allegedly facilitated a shadow accounting system, which made transfers between French and Swiss bank accounts clandestine, and unable to trace or detect. Under French law, being under investigation insinuates there exists a ‘serious or consistent evidence’ in implication of a crime. The case will either proceed to court or be dropped. “We will continue working with the authorities in France within the applicable legal framework to arrive at a resolution to this matter,” UBS said in a statement. The allegations first surfaced when a UBS bank employee raised questions over the alleged criminal activity. Patrick de Fayet, the former head of UBS France, and two other French branch executives have already been placed under investigation. In March, French budget minister Jerome Cahuzac resigned over allegations he possessed an undeclared Swiss bank account, which he admitted to in March. Following the financial crisis, politicians have called for a global crackdown on both wealthy individuals and corporations who use tax avoidance to safeguard their wealth, and keep tax dollars from supporting states. Oxfam, a UK-based charity, released a report in late May which estimates that over $150 billion is lost in tax loopholes and fraud. Following the report, EU Parliament officials met in Brussels and resolved to recover €1 trillion in lost taxes in the next year, hoping the money will help the record recession and unemployment. According to a Boston Consulting Report, ‘offshore’ wealth has soared to $8.5 trillion. The parliament also set a one year deadline to end banking secrecy, stressing states must play a larger role in tightening the tax codes. …
The legislation, which has been dubbed by some Swiss media outlets as ‘American dictate’, is a strong demand by the US in a step for Switzerland to end their banking secrecy regime and bring transparency to their shady practices. The accord, if enacted into law by Swiss parliament, aims to better track tax evasion in the alpine nation. Last week, Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpt told reporters that her cabinet had approved the bill. The Swiss news agency, ATS, reported 90 votes were in favor, and 100 opposed to debate the new law, which is expected to decided upon during the summer parliament session, which began on Monday and will come to a close on June 21. Before voting, members from various political parties voiced concerns over the details of the deal to hand over sensitive data to Washington. A committee, supported by elected members of the Swiss People’s Party, the Christian Democrats and the Ticino League, have until December 4th 2014 to collect 100,000 signatures to put the proposal to a national vote. On Tuesday, the right-wing Swiss People’s Party launched a campaign to kill the bill and said the package was too ‘vague’ and could create trouble for Swiss bankers. The bill is vague because Washington and Bern are keeping mum about the details and conditions of the deal, and plan to keep quiet until after the Parliament approves it. Once approved, Parliament will not be able to amend the accord. Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf last week said that U.S. authorities had proposed a “unilateral offer, one that we couldn’t negotiate”. Following a public scandal in France, bank secrecy was written into Swiss law in 1934. It has served as a financial safe haven for funds from all corners of the world, and its tight lipped policy helped it build its $2 trillion financial industry. The US pressure mounted in 2009, when Switzerland’s biggest lender, UBS, admitted to helping 52,000 American clients evade taxes. The bank narrowly escaped prosecution in exchange for handing over 5,000 client names and paying a $780 million fine. In January Switzerland’s oldest private bank, Wegelin & Co, said it would close down for good after over 250 years of service, following its guilty plea to charges of helping prosperous Americans hide more than $1.2 billion from the Internal Revenue Service through secret accounts. A managing partner at the bank, Otto Bruderer, confirmed in court that “from about 2002 through to about 2010, Wegelin agreed with certain US taxpayers to evade the US tax obligations of these US taxpayer clients, who filed false tax returns with the IRS.” …
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Swiss firm ABB has developed technology that can charge a full-sized electric bus during ordinary stops, removing the need for overhead lines in major cities it believes will turn away from traditional engines in the battle with pollution.
Claes Rytoft, acting chief technology officer at ABB, said the new system takes only 15 seconds to charge a bus carrying 135 people with enough power to reach the next stop and fully charges the battery in just 3-4 minutes at the end of the line.
The world’s biggest supplier of power grid technology expects the growing number of cities with populations stretching into the tens of millions will drive an electrification of the transport network, as governments look to cut pollution, improve air quality and reduce dependence on oil.
Yet it is investing in the technology at a time when several high-profile electric car initiatives have failed or fallen short of their goals, including the bankruptcy of Israeli venture Better Place earlier this week.
ABB said it was working on a pilot project with Geneva’s public transport company and Geneva Power Utility SIG to install a series of chargers between the city’s airport and its international exhibition centre, Palexpo.
Rytoft said because the technology eliminates the need for overhead power lines, it makes electric buses cheaper to install and more visually appealing.
“The key element for ABB in this project is power conversion and electrical motors, which are our core technologies and we are always interested in new applications for these technologies,” he told Reuters in an interview.
“It’s not unusual for us to supply the transportation industry as such, but the focus so far has been on rail. Now we’re looking to add mass transit.”
ABB’s rail business had sales of $1.2 billion in 2012. Rytoft declined to speculate on the potential size of the market for flash-charging technology, but said the uptake would depend on the costs of electric batteries and fuel prices.
According to a 2012 study by Pike Research, global sales of electric buses are expected to quadruple to 20,000 per year by 2018 from 5,000 last year. ABB’s new type of automatic flash-charging mechanism allows batteries on the roof of buses to be charged in 15 seconds with a 400 kilowatt boost, as passengers get on and off the bus.
ABB has also invested in fast-charging technology for electric cars and last year announced a 6-million euro deal to build 200 fast-charging stations in Estonia. ABB produces chargers that use both direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC). Because DC can carry heavier loads, a battery can be recharged in 15-30 minutes, compared to the six to eight hours it takes with a lower-voltage AC unit.
“These small initiatives help to generate momentum for infrastructure needs in a bigger context. In the end this all adds up for a need to reconfigure energy infrastructure to a more efficient one,” said ZKB analyst Richard Frei.
“Plus, fast chargers for buses mid- to long-term could become a mass business … if it becomes attractive they can become a big player. And if some of those initiatives fail, it’s not too costly.”
Copyright © 2013 euronews
Bradley Manning trial begins 03/06/2013 09:45 CET
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Manning trial to spin US moral compass 03/06/2013 19:29 CET
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The Turin Appeals Court in Italy has increased the sentence for a Swiss tycoon Stephan Schmidheiny – a key share holder in Eternit, whose factories caused the deaths close to 3,000 people from exposure to asbestos.
Schmidheiny’s 16-year sentence, handed down last year in Italy, has been extended to 18 years.
Eternit, which had several factories across Italy, used asbestos in the production of construction material. The firm went bankrupt 1986, six years before asbestos was banned in Italy.
The Turin Appeals Court, which sentenced Schmidheiny in absentia, said he bore responsibility for what it called ‘a permanent health and environment catastrophe’ and violated work safety rules at his facilities.
The case is the biggest of its kind against a multinational corporation for asbestos-related deaths.
Copyright © 2013 euronews
Germany and Spain launch a youth jobs initiative 27/05/2013 12:05 CET
Jobs market slides further in Portugal and Greece 09/05/2013 16:44 CET
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Where there are no jobs for them at home in Spain and Portugal, young people have been packing their suitcases and venturing out to other countries. France 2 television reported on the increasing number seeking work both in Switzerland and the French Jura region.
Millions of Spaniards have nothing but time on their hands. Starved of work, day after month after year, some of them have given up going through regular channels, and improvise. They’ll accept low wages and won’t ask for guarantees. Swiss TSR television reported on pickup work in the capital.
When the going gets tough, the rules can start to be ignored. This is the point behind this RTP Portuguese television story about what some employers think they can get away with in the current economic climate.
Copyright © 2013 euronews