Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Entry By Train Into Switzerland's Capital Berne

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Lucerne's Main Station Power Shortage Downstairs in the Shopping Mall

Power Shortage At Lucerne's Main Train Station on May 7, 2015

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How can you improve G+ Use?

How to Use Google+ Better

Are you a Google+ user? If so, you’re likely fairly new to Google’s latest attempt at a social network — or at least comparatively new to the beta users who joined Google+ when it first launched in June, 2011. Many of these early adopters have now had a chance to explore Google+ and discover the best ways to use this social network — many of whom are quick to say that it’s not really a social network, but more of a forum. If you’re new to Google+ and still finding your way around, here is some advice we’ve gleaned from other LockerGnome community members on how to not only use Google+, but how to use Google+ better.

Realize It’s Google+ — Not Facebook

How to Use Google+ BetterOne of the most common pieces of advice we heard when asked how new Google+ users could use Google+ better was that, as Google+ users Heavy Maniac and Adam Thompson said: “Google+ is not Facebook.” Adam continued to say that, as a result, “don’t try to use it as such!” Additionally, LockerGnome community member and Google+ user Derrick Wallner said, “Don’t expect it to replace or behave like Facebook. It’s not a collaboration of people who want to see pictures of your kids and you’re not going to find that girl you had a crush on in 8th grade to check out photos of her in a swimsuit.” Instead, he suggested to simply “share and find information on topics of interest.” This brings us to our next piece of advice on how to use Google+ better.

Connect with Others Who Share Your Interests

Google+ may be best defined as a social network, but its unique Circle feature allows users to connect with others based on niche topics or specifc interests. To continue the comparison to Facebook, Google+ userAdalgiso Mancini IV advised, “Don’t fret that your Facebook friends aren’t all represented here. [Instead,] fill your G+ circles with people who post about your interests, and you’ll never be dissatisfied.”

Adalgiso also recommended to “circle lots of people. There’s no harm in following hundreds or thousands of people. You can always go back through later and remove people.” He also suggested using Chrome extensions to make G+ features more accessible, thereby helping you use Google+ better, like Hangout Canopy, Better Circle Management, and Plus Minus.

Another LockerGnome community member on Google+, Brian Worhatch, shared Adalgiso’s recommendation to find other like-minded Google+ users, suggesting to “use the Search Google+Bar above [the Google+ content] to search for people and interests you have.”

Interact and Share

Once you have found other Google+ users with similar interests — and have added them to Circles to easily follow — be sure you are interacting with them. Marc Jansen, another Google+ user and LockerGnome reader, elaborates on this process:

“I think the most useful thing I can recommend is that they cannot wait for people to come to them. They need to start adding people to their circles right way, so that they do not appear to have a dead stream. After that, I think that they need to not be afraid to jump in and interact with complete strangers, because if you limit your interactions only to those you already know, your stream will still appear relatively still.”

Also, if you’re looking for exposure on Google+, Jeff Pettorino also suggets that “if you want to be an ‘influencer’ and not just a member, Public posts are a must. Limited posts have an exponentially lower impact.”

Update Your Profile

Finally, don’t forget about your profile, which many social network users tend to not take very seriously, but is a critical component of your Google+ activity. Mohammad Khatib recommends that the first thing a Google+ user actually does is “fill in their profile in order for others to add them or easily find them through searching.”Eduardo Chavez echoes this sentiment for existing users: “Fix your profile. Half of the time why I don’t circle back any of my followers is because I don’t know if they are spam or not. By writing a couple of things about themselves, [it] certainly helps distinguish real people from spam.”

Are you a Google+ user? What tips do you have for new Google+ users to use Google+ better? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Swiss Parliament approves nuclear opt-out!

Parliament takes first step in nuclear opt-out - SwissInfo

The board shows the result of a vote in the House of Representatives for a gradual phase-out of nuclear energy
The board shows the result of a vote in the House of Representatives for a gradual phase-out of nuclear energy (Keystone)

by Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch


The government has won approval from a majority of the House of Representatives for a proposed gradual withdrawal from nuclear energy.

The house called on the cabinet to remove administrative hurdles for renewable energy projects and promote research in this field but also wants to curb the right of environmental groups to block the construction of wind- and hydro-power plants.


All the decisions taken in Wednesday’s marathon debate still have to be confirmed by the Senate at a later stage.

It could take several years before the necessary legal amendments will have been discussed by parliament. Voters are also likely to have a say on the issue at the ballot box.

Two weeks ago the cabinet decided to decommission Switzerland’s five nuclear power reactors by 2034, once they reach the end of their lifespan. It announced its intention to boost renewable energy resources and promote energy saving methods instead of building new nuclear power plants.


" We must not shirk from a decision over nuclear energy now. "
Eric Nussbaumer, Social Democrat

Change

The wide-ranging discussions in the House of Representatives – one of two parliamentary chambers – pitted the centre-left and members of the centre-right parties against the rightwing Swiss People’s Party.

The centre-right Radicals, considered close to the business community, abstained in a crucial vote over the cabinet proposal.

Supporters, mainly from the Social Democrats and the Greens, argued phasing out nuclear energy was desirable and realistic. Those unwilling to agree to a political sea change after the disaster at the Japanese nuclear power plant of Fukushima were ignoring reality, they said.

“There is a world before Fukushima and a world after Fukushima,” said Roberto Schmidt of the centre-right Christian Democrats.

Speakers called for a sustainable energy policy and innovative solutions to spare future generations a nuclear disaster.

Notably the Radical Party drew a barrage of criticism for its refusal to back the government’s proposal.

“We must not shirk from a decision over nuclear energy now,” said Social Democrat Eric Nussbaumer.


" The cabinet might believe it has made the right decision. "
Hansruedi Wandfluh, Swiss People's Party

Criticism

However, opponents slammed the government’s proposal as irresponsible, unrealistic and damaging for the Swiss economy.

“The cabinet might believe it has made the right choice but it is mistaken,” said Hansruedi Wandfluh of the People’s Party.

Filippo Leutenegger of the Radical Party pointed out that refusing to replace the existing nuclear power plants with a more advanced technological generation was tantamount to a “ban on technology”.

Other speakers warned of price hikes for electricity which could have a serious impact on the competitive edge of the Swiss economy.

It was an illusion to believe that renewable energy resources could make up for the gap that would open up if Switzerland phased out nuclear energy, opponents argued.


Emotions

Energy Minister Doris Leuthard reiterated that the cabinet based its proposals on economic considerations and on general concerns of the population about nuclear energy.

She added there was potential for energy saving measures and for renewable energy resources which at the moment play a marginal role in Switzerland’s energy policy.

Leuthard said she had confidence in the power of innovation both from the research community and from Swiss companies.

“The government’s proposal for a phase out by 2034 gives us time to seek solutions with all players from the business community and from politics,” she said.

The cooperation of all sides involved was needed and a willingness for compromise and clear-headed decisions, she said.

The five-hour parliamentary debate was broadcast live on public television and saw a string of party-political and personal verbal exchanges. About 60 parliamentarians took part in the debate on more than 130 different detailed proposals.

Environmental issues, including nuclear energy, are seen as a key topic in the campaign ahead of October’s parliamentary elections.


Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch

Friday, May 6, 2011

Swiss Re Loss Beats Analyst Estimate

Swiss Re Loss After Japan, New Zealand Earthquakes Beats Analyst Estimate

Swiss Re Reports First-Quarter Loss of $665 Million

The logo of Swiss Reinsurance Co. at their headquarters in Zurich. Photographer: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images


Swiss Reinsurance Co., the world’s second-biggest reinsurer, posted a second consecutive quarterly loss after claims from earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan.

The net loss of $665 million compares with a year-earlier profit of $158 million, the Zurich-based reinsurer said today in astatement. That beat the average estimate for a loss of $1.03 billion of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The shares rose.

Swiss Re, which is bidding to regain the AA credit rating thatStandard & Poor’s cut in 2009, expects major first-quarter natural catastrophe pretax losses to be about $2.3 billion after the temblors in Japan and New Zealand. That may erode the company’s capital, which exceeded S&P’s AA requirements by more than $10 billion at the end of last year.

“If we continue to do what we’ve done in the past, I’m sure the rating change will come,” Chief Financial Officer George Quinn said in a conference call with reporters today. “The impact of the first quarter’s disasters on our capital position was relatively small.”

Swiss Re almost tripled its dividend to 2.75 Swiss francs ($3.16) a share last year, after repaying a 3 billion-franc capital injection by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

The shares rose 2.2 percent to 51.25 francs at 9:07 a.m. in Zurich. They have gained 7.1 percent this year, giving the company a market value of 18.9 billion francs. Larger rival Munich Re has dropped 2.3 percent this year.

Risk Management

“Swiss Re’s net loss is better than expected and confirms its improved risk management and solid balance sheet,” Stefan Schuermann, an analyst with Vontobel Holding AG in Zurich, wrote in a note to clients.

Spending on claims and costs as a percentage of property and casualty reinsurance premiums, the so-called combined ratio, worsened to 163.7 percent from 109.4 percent a year earlier following the first quarter’s disasters, Swiss Re said.

The first-quarter as well as last year’s natural catastrophes are expected to “accelerate price improvements,” Swiss Re said, adding that the April renewals of reinsurance treaties in Japansaw approximately 20 percent to 50 percent price increases for earthquake coverage and as much as 10 percent higher rates for non-earthquake exposed property policies.

“We remain committed to our five-year targets and are confident that we can deliver,” Swiss Re Chief Executive Officer Stefan Lippe said in today’s statement. “The impact of natural catastrophe losses in the first quarter creates an additional challenge but it will also accelerate the market turn we had previously expected in 2012/2013.”

Earnings Target

Swiss Re targets include an average annual increase in earnings per share of 10 percent over the next five years.

Aon Benfield, an arm of the world’s largest insurance broker, expects total losses for insurers and reinsurers to top $52.6 billion in the first quarter compared with $40.6 billion for the whole of 2010. The disaster in Japan may cost insurers and reinsurers $21 billion to $34 billion, according to catastrophe modeler Risk Management Solutions.

Munich Re said on April 20 it will report a “clearly negative” first-quarter result. The Munich-based company in March scrapped its 2.4 billion-euro ($3.6 billion) profit target for this year as it estimated about 1.5 billion euros in claims from Japan.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Swiss urge global rethink of nuclear power

Swiss urge global rethink of nuclear power - SiwssInfo

President and Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey has urged the international community to set new priorities for the use of nuclear energy.

Addressing a summit in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Calmy-Rey recalled the “unspeakable suffering” at Pripyat – the town near the destroyed power plant – and parts of Belarus and Russia.


She also called on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to reconsider its role following the accident at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan, earlier this year.

Calmy-Rey was among government representatives from 50 nations discussing the safe use of nuclear power.




New questions raised about Switzerland’s energy strategy.

Switzerland is committed to increasing its financial aid for the victims of Chernobyl – in line with pledges by other countries according to an economics ministry spokeswoman. The Swiss contribution to an international programme is set at 1.15 per cent of the total.

To date, Switzerland has paid €27 million to projects, including the Chernobyl Shelter Fund, according to the foreign ministry.

Ukraine was hoping to raise €740 million (SFr952 million) in funds for new safety measures at the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster.


swissinfo.ch and agencies

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