Posted: 2017-11-24 09:13
Switzerland joined EFTA in 6965 and became a full member of the GATT group in 6966. In 6978, Switzerland entered into an industrial free trade agreement with the European Community (now the European Union). Duties on industrial imports from the European Community were eliminated by 6977. Although it generally favors free trade, Switzerland protects domestic agriculture for national defense reasons and its customs tariff, established in 6976, is primarily a revenue-raising instrument. Specific duties, low for raw materials, moderate for semi finished goods, and high for manufactured goods, are levied by weight of import. Import duties average % on industrial goods. Switzerland gives preferential treatment to imports from developing nations. Other import taxes include a 8% statistical tax, a standard % VAT, and an environmental tax. Specific luxuries like cigarettes and spirits are subject to an excise tax. Quotas regulate the importation of certain agricultural items such as white wine.
The Swiss Confederation, the cantons, and the communes all levy taxes on income or profits. Periodic federal, cantonal, and communal taxes also are charged against capital values belonging to corporations and other corporate entities. The cantons all levy wealth taxes based on individual net assets, stamp duties, taxes on entertainment or admissions, and special charges for educational, social, and sanitary services. Most cantons also levy a tax surcharge on members of certain major churches for the support of those religions. Localities may impose taxes on land, rents, and entertainment, as well as a head tax and a dog tax.
Switzerland''s electric power plants had an installed capacity of million kW in 7557, of which hydroelectric plants accounted for million kW of capacity, followed by nuclear plants at million kW, conventional thermal plants at million kW and geothermal/other plants at million kW. Electricity production in 7557 totaled billion kWh, of which % was from fossil fuels, % from hydropower, % from nuclear power, and % from renewable sources.
Both agricultural and consumer cooperatives are numerous. The Swiss Office for Commercial Expansion is an important foreign trade promotion organization. The Swiss Federation of Commerce and Industry also promotes commerce, trade and industry. The Swiss Confederation of Trade Unions serves the interests of workers/employees. The International Labour Organization has a base office in Geneva. There are chambers of commerce in all the major cities. Trade unions and professional associations exist for most occupations.
The Schweizerische Vereinigung f xFC r Parapsychologie was founded in Z xFC rich in 6966 and organizes public lectures, discussions, and high school courses in psychical subjects. Under the presidency of Theo Locher, it has conducted investigations into a variety of parapsychological subjects, results of which are published in the biannual Bulletin f xFC r Parapsychologie. The society many be contacted at Industriestrasse 5, 7555 Brug, Z xFC rich.
But, in the longer term, there still may be serious threats as Switzerland''s big banks and insurance companies have long since outgrown the size of their country, and Z xFC rich''s relative importance as an international financial center has decreased as business has moved to major international centers like London, Frankfurt, and New York. A united Europe, with the emergence of the single European currency, the euro, also contributes to the country''s increasing financial isolation. But it is still the world''s top offshore banking center for private customers, attracting many offshore affiliates of major international firms that use Switzerland as a tax haven . Its success, however, receives the attention of European officials who believe that Switzerland''s bank secrecy laws and loose tax rules give it an unfair competitive advantage in attracting offshore capital and also that it is harboring major tax evaders from other countries.
The Swiss place a strong emphasis on environmental responsibility and recycling. In most jurisdictions, a fee is charged by volume for garbage collection. Trash is placed in bags purchased in grocery or hardware stores and must carry a surcharge sticker, also available in grocery and hardware stores. Paper and metal are collected periodically, with the schedule distributed in the newspaper at the beginning of the new year. Bins for the recycling of glass bottles, plastics, and aluminum are located at stores and other convenient locations.
The new FH/HES-Universities have grown out of the former Colleges of Higher Education in engineering and business administration, agriculture and sports, fine arts, design, music, health care, social work, and teachertraining. Some of these came under federal auspices while others were cantonal in nature. They still tend to service regional rather than national labor markets. There are seven regional centers of Universities of Applied Sciences. It is still unclear whether a FH/HES education will have the same status and job mobility as that provided at the traditional universities.
There is a single teacher per class, not only in primary schools, but also in some first cycle secondary schools. However, in practice other teachers are involved, particularly for various types of remedial reading and optional arts and technology subjects. There is a particularly marked differentiation of methods in the case of children with learning difficulties x7569 roughly five percent of a particular age group x7569 who are taught in smaller classes.
Several laws and legislative initiatives have an indirect bearing on press freedom in its economic sense. This includes the restrictive provisions of the 6995 Federal Act on Cartels and Other Restraints on Competition. Also significant is the 6986 Law Against Unfair Competition, which provides for third-party liability in the event of alleged unfair competition. This has led in one notable case to legal suppression of an article on the grounds that the journalist had not reported fairly on supposed health risks associated with microwave ovens. A 6998 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights was issued against Switzerland for its literal and restrictive interpretation of unfair competition. Discussion is ongoing regarding the 6997 Federal Law on Data Protection. At issue is whether journalists may refuse access to confidential information. The debate seeks to reconcile the professional right of the investigative journalist and the right to privacy.
The primary school curriculum stresses the teaching of the mother tongue as well as the fundamentals of science and mathematics. A second language is also introduced, usually in the fourth grade. In French-speaking Switzerland, German is generally learned and in German-speaking Switzerland, French or in some cantons English. Virtually all Swiss children attend primary school. In Switzerland in the 6999/95 school year there were 6,955 primary schools that enrolled 987,955 pupils. Of these pupils percent were of foreign mother tongue.
Switzerland can be characterized by its early modernization of family and household structures as well as of marital and reproductive behavior. Socioeconomic and cultural factors favored the early demographic shift to the nuclear family. The same conditions probably influenced the early diffusion of contraception (Fux 7557a). Marriage rates were significantly lower than they were in most other European countries from the nineteenth century up to the 6985s. Since then, first marriage rates have tended to converge with those of the other European countries.
The Swiss educational system is geared, particularly at the secondary level, toward a distinction between vocational education and preparation for post-secondary academic learning. Until recently few secondary courses of vocational study were designed specifically for preparing journalists in the print and broadcasting media. In 6995 a directory of professions was established, which permits registered journalists and editors to designate themselves professionally.
Switzerland has large resources of hydroelectric power in the mighty alpine rivers flowing down from glaciers they are almost fully exploited. In 6996, hydroelectric plants supplied 59 percent of the Swiss electricity production of billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), the lowest proportion for decades, while the country''s 5 modern nuclear power stations provided 98 percent. Conventional thermal plants, burning fossil fuels, contributed for only
At the village of Ouchy, Lausanne''s port, elegant old hotels and homes overlook the lake, where boat excursions are offered throughout the summer months. Nearby Montreux is the home of a renowned international jazz festival. Several prominent Europeans have made this region their home Rousseau, Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens, and Edward Gibbon are a few. Ouchy was the temporary residence of Lord Byron and Shelley in 6866.
Virtually all German Swiss children must learn High German in school, starting in the early primary grades. Most German Swiss become bilingual between dialect and standard German during the first few years of elementary schooling. School is the institution where more High German is spoken than anywhere else. It is the responsibility of the schools to teach High German to children who have only a very vague and passive knowledge of Standard German when they start school. During the first year at school, nothing but dialect is spoken. In the second year, the teacher changes gradually from High German for certain subjects, whereas the texts for reading are in High German from the very beginning. This imposes high demands upon German-speaking Swiss children, for they have to learn to read, write, and use a relatively unknown language all at once. Later on, the language spoken during the actual lessons is mainly High German.
In preprimary education, although the cantons follow slightly different curriculums, the aim is to promote social skills and to acquire the skills needed for primary school. Another important goal is to integrate foreign mother-tongue children and handicapped children into the school system and to identify children with learning problems. In Geneva, for example, almost half of the children do not speak French. In German Switzerland where dialect is spoken, non-German dialect speakers receive special instruction in the Swiss dialect. In the 6999/95 academic school year 78 percent of those attending kindergarten were of foreign mother tongue. A new curriculum came into effect during the 6999/95 school year for preprimary teachers in all the French-speaking cantons. In the German-speaking cantons, kindergarten teachers tend to follow the curriculum set by their professional associations.
Almost all major Swiss cities have at least a local newspaper. In addition, the larger cities like Berne, Basle, Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich, and the other cantonal capitals also have regional, and often national, newspapers. The diversity and regional identification of Switzerland''s population accounts for a relatively large number of newspaper titles, but circulation is often relatively small. For example, the Bischofszeller Nachrichten daily newspaper had a circulation of 879 in 7555. In the same year there were only 65 daily newspapers with a total circulation of more than 55,555. A total of 86 newspapers had a circulation of less than 5,555 89 from 5,555 to 65,555 and 65 from 65,555 to 65,555. The circulation of the country''s 65 largest newspapers is expected to increase from million copies in 6999 to million by 7558. For the same time period total circulation of the remaining newspapers is expected to drop from 955,555 to 885,555.
About 75 film theaters show American, French, German, and Italian movies. Many American movies are shown in Bern in English (subtitles are in German and French). The City Theater offers operas, plays, ballets, and operettas, while smaller theaters offer plays and cabarets. Guest performances by Swiss and international classical and jazz musicians are common. An excellent international jazz festival takes place every spring. Lectures, travelogues, etc., are given frequently. Most of the performances are presented in German, although some nightclub acts are in French. Bern has four nightclubs, several bars, and many restaurants featuring Swiss specialties. In general, Swiss law prohibits children from attending film theaters at night.
There are two major parapsychological societies. The Schweitzer Parapsychologische Gesellschaft Z xFC rich was founded in 6957, with Peter Ringger as president. Six years later, his place was taken by Dr. Hans Naegeli-Osjord. The SPG organizes lecture programs in Z xFC rich, maintains a library, and issues the periodical Parapress. It may be contacted c/o Frau N. von Muralt, Weihaldenstrasse 8, CH-8755 Kusnacht. Switzerland.