GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Back from holidays!
Weekend weather forecast
Strong winds from the west have pushed away the damp fog that sat over Lake Geneva earlier in the week. They have also brought precipitation to the mountains and warmer temperature to the plains.
A wide swath from the Vaud Alps in the west to Lake Constance in the east are under a danger 3 alert Friday night for strong winds. Temperatures over the weekend will range in most areas from 5C to 11-12C, with a mix of cloudy weather and some sunshine Saturday. Temperatures will dip and rain is expected Sunday. Check out the new weather blog (French, German, Italian) on the MeteoSwiss national weather service site, for forecast details and background information.
Swiss central bank 2014 profit of CHF38m
The Swiss National Bank said Friday 9 January it expects to end 2014 with a large profit of CHF38 billion. Preliminary figures show that currency positions account for CHF34 billion. “CHF9 billion were accounted for by interest and dividend income, CHF13 billion by price gains and CHF12 billion by exchange rate gains.” Gold holdings provided CHF4b in profits.
The bulk of the money goes into a “distribution reserve”, which will amount to CHF28b, which will be distributed to the confederation and the cantons, in addition to the CHF1b ordinary reserve they will receive.
The Swiss National Bank also just published exchange rates for the Swiss franc and other currencies for the past 24 months, showing the strength of the dollar against the franc in recent weeks. The SNB has significant holdings in dollars.
BCGE says no to hacker threats
Geneva’s cantonal bank, BCGE, has refused to give in to demands for money from hackers who stole personal (but not financial) data on several thousand clients. The clients were informed of the hacking, which did not involve secure parts of its system, says the bank; the hacker group Rex Mundi threatened to publish the data if it was not paid.
The bank is cautioning clients to use care when banking online, and to follow its recommendations.
Edelweiss will end flights to New York and Newark in March as a two-year deal with Swiss ends. Swiss will once again operate the flights.
Darwin, which is already using the name Etihad Regional, is reported to have until the end of January to answer Swiss aviation authority questions in order to have Etihad Airline’s one-third stake in the company approved. Meanwhile, at end-December it “lodged a formal complaint” against Swiss, charging the much larger airline with “predatory measures”.
Ballon d’or bets
Bets are on for the winner of the Ballon d’Or award 12 January, with ESPN quoting Diego Maradona, who “said that he believes Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer should beat out Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the Ballon d’Or”.
In other football news, Jordan’s Prince Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, who has a solid track record in international sports, will oppose Sepp Blatter for the presidency of Fifa, CNN reports.
Zurich art world murder case
A 29-year-old art gallery owner in Zurich is under investigation for murder after a 23-year-old man died following a party in Küsnacht, 30 December. The gallery owner, whose parents also own a gallery in Zurich, may have known his victim from student days in London.
Migro subsidiary online sales offset stores dip
Ex Libris, the film, games, electronics and books store that belongs to Migros, saw online sales jump 7 percent in 2014, offsetting most of the 10 percent fall in sales in shops, for a total turnover of CHF126.2 million.
ETH in Zurich joined forces with Cirque du Soleil in September to publish this gem, now making the rounds online. Enjoy!