Catherine McLean Freelance Writer

Starting over in Switzerland

Published February 4, 2015 in swissinfo.ch

Jwan Othman and Media Joulak sit down on a black couch in the tidy main room of their flat, overlooking the main street of Rothenthurm.

It’s a beautiful winter day outside and the village is busy as visitors go cross-country skiing in the surrounding foothills of the Alps. The couple’s two-year-old son Tirej, and three-year-old daughter Tireva play nearby, popping by every so often to see their parents and grab a cookie.

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Great expectations for scholarship Angolans

Published October 1, 2014 in swissinfo.ch

Among the intake of students at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) this semester is a unique group from Angola. These young adults fought tough competition to secure places on a course billed to make them decision-makers back home.

More than 700 people applied for the new “Future Leaders of Angola” scholarship programme and 46 were chosen to travel from Angola to the Swiss city of Winterthur to attend the sixth-month course in finance and asset management.

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Help wanted in search for more prehistoric icemen

Published June 23, 2014 in swissinfo.ch

If you find a set of keys or wallet, you’re likely to be a good citizen and hand them in to a lost and found bureau. But what do you do if you stumble upon a 5,000-year-old leather handbag while on a walking holiday in the Swiss Alps?

Leandra Naef has the answer. The fresh-faced archaeologist is the brains behind a new project called kAltes Eis (cOld ice). Her plan is to search for perfectly preserved artefacts trapped beneath ice patches in canton Graubünden’s mountains.

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Border towns feel squeeze from trucks and shoppers

Published April 17, 2014 in swissinfo.ch

Turn a corner in the village of Koblenz and you’ll see cars and ten-wheeler trucks backed up waiting to enter or exit Germany, blocking the idyllic view of the Rhine River. It’s one of many Swiss border towns struggling to cope with growing traffic.

A combination of transport trucks, commuting workers from abroad and Swiss shopping tourists is creating headaches for the authorities, not to mention citizens, in these towns.

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How competitive are competitiveness rankings?

Published July 1, 2013 in swissinfo.ch

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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Author "sets the story straight" with new book

Published April 13, 2013 in swissinfo.ch

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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