Catherine McLean Freelance Writer

Swiss weigh slashing top pay in landmark vote

Published October 28, 2013 in The Local

In Winterthur, a former industrial town in the north of Switzerland, red and white banners are popping up outside houses and apartments — but they are not national flags.

Instead of the famous Swiss ensign — a white cross on a red background — two numbers, 1-12, are displayed.

 The banners showing up here and in dozens of other Swiss towns symbolize the goal of a controversial upcoming vote in Switzerland aimed at restricting the pay of the highest-paid executive in a company to 12 times what the lowest worker in the same firm receives.

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Former SNC-Lavalin executive Riadh Ben Aissa returning to Canada to face fraud, bribery and money laundering charges

Published September 24, 2013 in National Post

Catherine McLean, Stewart Bell

After 17 months in Swiss custody, former SNC-Lavalin executive Riadh Ben Aissa is to return to Canada to face fraud, bribery and money laundering charges in relation to a Montreal hospital contract, the National Post has learned.

A ruling handed down by Switzerland’s Federal Criminal Court shows Canada’s Department of Justice formally sought Mr. Ben Aissa’s extradition in January. Swiss authorities approved the request in May. Mr. Ben Aissa appealed but lost.

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Without conscription 'who will defend Swiss?'

Published September 16, 2013 in The Local

Every year, thousands of young Swiss men are called up by the Swiss military to attend boot camp, leaving behind their studies or jobs to spend a few months learning how to defend their country.

On September 22nd, citizens across Switzerland will decide whether to abolish military conscription. Indications are they aren’t likely to do so: a survey by Swiss television in August revealed that 40 per cent of respondents would turn down the initiative, with another 17 per cent leaning that way.

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How competitive are competitiveness rankings?

Published July 1, 2013 in

Conventional wisdom is that the IMD World Competitiveness Centre’s annual rankings are a key indicator of a country’s economic fortunes. But with powerhouses like China outside the top ten, some experts question how influential such rankings are.

After a quarter of a century, the Swiss-based IMD’s competitiveness list has become a coveted prize for countries around the world that view the top spot as the business world’s equivalent of an Oscar. A move in the right direction could persuade firms to invest in a country.

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Why Frank Stronach's brother walked away from a chance to be a billionaire

Published June 7, 2013 in The Globe and Mail

Hans Adelmann is the one who didn’t make it. While his big brother Frank Stronach is a self-made billionaire, Adelmann has led a modest life in Switzerland, working as a technical maintenance supervisor before retiring in 2002.

But after a life of anonymity, it’s Adelmann who’s getting a taste of the spotlight after publishing a book called Einfacher Leben (Simple Living). The tale of the brother who enjoys nothing more than spending time by himself in his mountain hut without electricity or running water has attracted a great deal of attention in Europe.

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Deficient Swiss day care dogs working parents

Published May 3, 2013 in The Local

Politics, crime and . . . day care? In Switzerland these days, child care is often front-page news. Authorities and parents are wringing their hands over everything from high prices and long waiting lists to overly detailed regulations that govern child-care facilities.

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Forest schools: When every day is a field trip day

Published April 22, 2013 in Today's Parent

After a morning of sliding down frozen hills and trudging along snowy forest paths, the preschoolers attending this forest playgroup in the Swiss village of Bauma are ready for lunch.

A few red-cheeked children help dig out the snow in the so-called “forest sofa” — a fenced-in sitting area made of logs where they dine alfresco. They eagerly line up to carry small loads of kindling, and the group leader patiently lights the fire and starts cooking today’s kid-friendly menu of pasta with cheese and pumpkin.

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Author "sets the story straight" with new book

Published April 13, 2013 in

As far as most people around the world are concerned, the Swiss excel at three things: banking, chocolate and watches. Author R. James Breiding aims to bust that myth with his new book, Swiss Made.

The book, which has the subtitle “The untold story behind Switzerland’s success”, outlines how numerous global giants were created within this small landlocked country. Yes, the Swiss produce plenty of milk chocolate but they also dominate a wide range of industries from pharmaceuticals and electrical engineering to hearing aids and cement.

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Americans fall out of favour with Swiss banks

Published April 2, 2013 in The Local

Richard Bloomfield has spent three decades embracing the Swiss way
of life. Married to a Swiss woman, the 63-year-old retired pastor speaks Swiss
German fluently and admits he does many things “the Swiss way”. In the
eyes of wary Swiss banks, however, he’s still very much an American.

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Switzerland loses its borrowed hockey stars

Published January 7, 2013 in The Local

A deal reached over the weekend is expected to end the hockey lockout in North America that sent many of the world's best players to Switzerland and other European countries.

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