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    Switzerland ranks at or near the top globally in several metrics of national performance, including government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic competitiveness, and human development. Zürich and Geneva have each been ranked among the top cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with the former. It is likely that this was more for political than economic reasons: the Lucerne market was very important for central Switzerland, but also strongly dependent on the city of Zürich. Zürich initiated a siege on Zug with the federal army in June Zug surrendered. On 27 June Zürich, Luzern, Zug, Uri, Schwyz and. To remedy the problem, the Swiss government proposed an online gambling blockade of foreign operators that was immediately criticized by SWICO In January , the new gaming laws are reportedly due to take effect, however, they could be delayed if 50, signatures are collected from Swiss.
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Helvetica is derived from the Helvetii , a Gaulish tribe living on the Swiss plateau before the Roman era. Helvetia appears as a national personification of the Swiss confederacy in the 17th century with a play by Johann Caspar Weissenbach. Switzerland has existed as a state in its present form since the adoption of the Swiss Federal Constitution in The precursors of Switzerland established a protective alliance at the end of the 13th century , forming a loose confederation of states which persisted for centuries.

The oldest traces of hominid existence in Switzerland date back about , years. One of the most important tribal groups in the Swiss region was the Helvetii. Steadily harassed by the Germanic tribes , in 58 BC the Helvetii decided to abandon the Swiss plateau and migrate to western Gallia , but Julius Caesar 's armies pursued and defeated them at the Battle of Bibracte , in today's eastern France, forcing the tribe to move back to its original homeland. The area occupied by the Helvetii—the namesakes of the later Confoederatio Helvetica —first became part of Rome's Gallia Belgica province and then of its Germania Superior province, while the eastern portion of modern Switzerland was integrated into the Roman province of Raetia.

Sometime around the start of the Common Era, the Romans maintained a large legionary camp called Vindonissa , now a ruin at the confluence of the Aare and Reuss rivers, near the town of Windisch , an outskirt of Brugg. The first and second century AD was an age of prosperity for the population living on the Swiss plateau. Several towns, like Aventicum , Iulia Equestris and Augusta Raurica, reached a remarkable size, while hundreds of agricultural estates Villae rusticae were founded in the countryside.

Around AD, the fall of the Agri Decumates territory north of the Rhine transformed today's Switzerland into a frontier land of the Empire. Repeated raids by the Alamanni tribes provoked the ruin of the Roman towns and economy, forcing the population to find shelter near Roman fortresses, like the Castrum Rauracense near Augusta Raurica.

The Empire built another line of defence at the north border the so-called Donau-Iller-Rhine-Limes , but at the end of the fourth century the increased Germanic pressure forced the Romans to abandon the linear defence concept, and the Swiss plateau was finally open to the settlement of Germanic tribes.

In the Early Middle Ages , from the end of the 4th century, the western extent of modern-day Switzerland was part of the territory of the Kings of the Burgundians. The Alemanni settled the Swiss plateau in the 5th century and the valleys of the Alps in the 8th century, forming Alemannia. Modern-day Switzerland was therefore then divided between the kingdoms of Alemannia and Burgundy.

Throughout the rest of the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries the Swiss regions continued under Frankish hegemony Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties.

But after its extension under Charlemagne , the Frankish Empire was divided by the Treaty of Verdun in With the extinction of its male line in the Kyburg dynasty fell in AD ; then the Habsburgs under King Rudolph I Holy Roman Emperor in laid claim to the Kyburg lands and annexed them extending their territory to the eastern Swiss plateau. The Old Swiss Confederacy was an alliance among the valley communities of the central Alps. The Confederacy, governed by nobles of various cantons, facilitated management of common interests and ensured peace on the important mountain trade routes.

The Federal Charter of agreed between the rural communes of Uri , Schwyz , and Unterwalden is considered the confederacy's founding document, even though similar alliances are likely to have existed decades earlier.

The expansion led to increased power and wealth for the confederation. The Old Swiss Confederacy had acquired a reputation of invincibility during these earlier wars, but expansion of the confederation suffered a setback in with the Swiss defeat in the Battle of Marignano.

This ended the so-called "heroic" epoch of Swiss history. It was not until more than one hundred years after these internal wars that, in , under the Peace of Westphalia , European countries recognised Switzerland's independence from the Holy Roman Empire and its neutrality. During the Early Modern period of Swiss history, the growing authoritarianism of the patriciate families combined with a financial crisis in the wake of the Thirty Years' War led to the Swiss peasant war of In the background to this struggle, the conflict between Catholic and Protestant cantons persisted, erupting in further violence at the First War of Villmergen , in , and the Toggenburg War or Second War of Villmergen , in In , the revolutionary French government conquered Switzerland and imposed a new unified constitution.

The new regime , known as the Helvetic Republic, was highly unpopular. It had been imposed by a foreign invading army and destroyed centuries of tradition, making Switzerland nothing more than a French satellite state. The fierce French suppression of the Nidwalden Revolt in September was an example of the oppressive presence of the French Army and the local population's resistance to the occupation.

When war broke out between France and its rivals, Russian and Austrian forces invaded Switzerland. The Swiss refused to fight alongside the French in the name of the Helvetic Republic. In Napoleon organised a meeting of the leading Swiss politicians from both sides in Paris. The result was the Act of Mediation which largely restored Swiss autonomy and introduced a Confederation of 19 cantons. In the Congress of Vienna fully re-established Swiss independence and the European powers agreed to permanently recognise Swiss neutrality.

Switzerland's borders have not changed since, except for some minor adjustments. The restoration of power to the patriciate was only temporary. Yet however minor the Sonderbundskrieg appears compared with other European riots and wars in the 19th century, it nevertheless had a major impact on both the psychology and the society of the Swiss and of Switzerland. The war convinced most Swiss of the need for unity and strength towards its European neighbours.

Swiss people from all strata of society, whether Catholic or Protestant, from the liberal or conservative current, realised that the cantons would profit more if their economic and religious interests were merged. Thus, while the rest of Europe saw revolutionary uprisings , the Swiss drew up a constitution which provided for a federal layout , much of it inspired by the American example.

This constitution provided for a central authority while leaving the cantons the right to self-government on local issues. Giving credit to those who favoured the power of the cantons the Sonderbund Kantone , the national assembly was divided between an upper house the Council of States , two representatives per canton and a lower house the National Council , with representatives elected from across the country. Referendums were made mandatory for any amendment of this constitution.

A system of single weights and measures was introduced and in the Swiss franc became the Swiss single currency. Article 11 of the constitution forbade sending troops to serve abroad, with the exception of serving the Vatican , though the Swiss were still obliged to serve Francis II of the Two Sicilies with Swiss Guards present at the Siege of Gaeta in , marking the end of foreign service. An important clause of the constitution was that it could be re-written completely if this was deemed necessary, thus enabling it to evolve as a whole rather than being modified one amendment at a time.

This need soon proved itself when the rise in population and the Industrial Revolution that followed led to calls to modify the constitution accordingly. An early draft was rejected by the population in but modifications led to its acceptance in It also established federal responsibility for defence, trade, and legal matters.

In , the constitution was revised with unusually strong elements of direct democracy , which remain unique even today. Switzerland was not invaded during either of the world wars. In , Switzerland joined the League of Nations , which was based in Geneva , on condition that it was exempt from any military requirements. The Swiss military strategy was changed from one of static defence at the borders to protect the economic heartland, to one of organised long-term attrition and withdrawal to strong, well-stockpiled positions high in the Alps known as the Reduit.

Switzerland was an important base for espionage by both sides in the conflict and often mediated communications between the Axis and Allied powers. Switzerland's trade was blockaded by both the Allies and by the Axis. Economic cooperation and extension of credit to the Third Reich varied according to the perceived likelihood of invasion and the availability of other trading partners.

Concessions reached a peak after a crucial rail link through Vichy France was severed in , leaving Switzerland completely surrounded, with the exception of Liechtenstein, by the Axis. Over the course of the war, Switzerland interned over , refugees [36] and the International Red Cross , based in Geneva, played an important part during the conflict. Strict immigration and asylum policies as well as the financial relationships with Nazi Germany raised controversy, but not until the end of the 20th century.

During the war, the Swiss Air Force engaged aircraft of both sides, shooting down 11 intruding Luftwaffe planes in May and June , then forcing down other intruders after a change of policy following threats from Germany.

Over Allied bombers and their crews were interned during the war. Between and , Switzerland was bombed by the Allies causing fatalities and property damage. Allied forces explained the bombings, which violated the 96th Article of War , resulted from navigation errors, equipment failure, weather conditions, and errors made by bomber pilots.

The Swiss expressed fear and concern that the bombings were intended to put pressure on Switzerland to end economic cooperation and neutrality with Nazi Germany. After the war, the Swiss government exported credits through the charitable fund known as the Schweizerspende and also donated to the Marshall Plan to help Europe's recovery, efforts that ultimately benefited the Swiss economy.

During the Cold War , Swiss authorities considered the construction of a Swiss nuclear bomb. In , the Paul Scherrer Institute was founded in his name to explore the therapeutic uses of neutron scattering technologies.

Financial problems with the defence budget and ethical considerations prevented the substantial funds from being allocated, and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of was seen as a valid alternative. All remaining plans for building nuclear weapons were dropped by Switzerland was the last Western republic to grant women the right to vote.

Some Swiss cantons approved this in , while at the federal level it was achieved in [29] [42] and, after resistance, in the last canton Appenzell Innerrhoden one of only two remaining Landsgemeinde in After obtaining suffrage at the federal level, women quickly rose in political significance, with the first woman on the seven member Federal Council executive being Elisabeth Kopp , who served from —, [29] and the first female president being Ruth Dreifuss in Switzerland joined the Council of Europe in On 18 April the Swiss population and the cantons voted in favour of a completely revised federal constitution.

In Switzerland became a full member of the United Nations, leaving the Vatican City as the last widely recognised state without full UN membership. An application for membership in the European Union was sent in May , but not advanced since the EEA was rejected in December [29] when Switzerland was the only country to launch a referendum on the EEA. There have since been several referendums on the EU issue; due to a mixed reaction from the population the membership application has been frozen.

Nonetheless, Swiss law is gradually being adjusted to conform with that of the EU, and the government has signed a number of bilateral agreements with the European Union. Switzerland, together with Liechtenstein , has been completely surrounded by the EU since Austria's entry in It contains three basic topographical areas: The majority of the Swiss population live in the Swiss Plateau.

The largest lake is Lake Geneva, in western Switzerland shared with France. Lake Constance is the second largest Swiss lake and, like the Lake Geneva, an intermediate step by the Rhine at the border to Austria and Germany.

Both are located within the Pennine Alps in the canton of Valais , on the border with Italy. In the southeast the long Engadin Valley, encompassing the St. It has greater open and hilly landscapes, partly forested, partly open pastures, usually with grazing herds, or vegetables and fruit fields, but it is still hilly.

There are large lakes found here and the biggest Swiss cities are in this area of the country. The Swiss climate is generally temperate , but can vary greatly between the localities, [47] from glacial conditions on the mountaintops to the often pleasant near Mediterranean climate at Switzerland's southern tip. There are some valley areas in the southern part of Switzerland where some cold-hardy palm trees are found. Summers tend to be warm and humid at times with periodic rainfall so they are ideal for pastures and grazing.

The less humid winters in the mountains may see long intervals of stable conditions for weeks, while the lower lands tend to suffer from inversion , during these periods, thus seeing no sun for weeks. This works both ways across the alps but is more efficient if blowing from the south due to the steeper step for oncoming wind from the south.

Valleys running south to north trigger the best effect. The driest conditions persist in all inner alpine valleys that receive less rain because arriving clouds lose a lot of their content while crossing the mountains before reaching these areas.

The wettest conditions persist in the high Alps and in the Ticino canton which has much sun yet heavy bursts of rain from time to time.

Autumn is the driest season, winter receives less precipitation than summer, yet the weather patterns in Switzerland are not in a stable climate system and can be variable from year to year with no strict and predictable periods.

Switzerland's ecosystems can be particularly fragile, because the many delicate valleys separated by high mountains often form unique ecologies. The mountainous regions themselves are also vulnerable, with a rich range of plants not found at other altitudes, and experience some pressure from visitors and grazing. The climatic, geological and topographical conditions of the alpine region make for a very fragile ecosystem that is particularly sensitive to climate change.

The Federal Constitution adopted in is the legal foundation of the modern federal state. It is among the oldest constitutions in the world. It outlines basic and political rights of individuals and citizen participation in public affairs, divides the powers between the Confederation and the cantons and defines federal jurisdiction and authority.

There are three main governing bodies on the federal level: The Swiss Parliament consists of two houses: Members of both houses serve for 4 years and only serve as members of parliament part-time so-called "Milizsystem" or Citizen legislature. Through referendums , citizens may challenge any law passed by parliament and through initiatives , introduce amendments to the federal constitution, thus making Switzerland a direct democracy.

The Federal Council constitutes the federal government, directs the federal administration and serves as collective Head of State. It is a collegial body of seven members, elected for a four-year mandate by the Federal Assembly which also exercises oversight over the Council. The President of the Confederation is elected by the Assembly from among the seven members, traditionally in rotation and for a one-year term; the President chairs the government and assumes representative functions.

However, the president is a primus inter pares with no additional powers, and remains the head of a department within the administration. The Swiss government has been a coalition of the four major political parties since , each party having a number of seats that roughly reflects its share of electorate and representation in the federal parliament.

Following the Federal Council elections , the seven seats in the Federal Council were distributed as follows:. The function of the Federal Supreme Court is to hear appeals against rulings of cantonal or federal courts. The judges are elected by the Federal Assembly for six-year terms. Direct democracy and federalism are hallmarks of the Swiss political system.

The instruments of this system at the federal level, known as popular rights German: Diritti popolari , [57] include the right to submit a federal initiative and a referendum , both of which may overturn parliamentary decisions.

By calling a federal referendum , a group of citizens may challenge a law passed by parliament, if they gather 50, signatures against the law within days.

If so, a national vote is scheduled where voters decide by a simple majority whether to accept or reject the law. Any 8 cantons together can also call a constitutional referendum on a federal law. Similarly, the federal constitutional initiative allows citizens to put a constitutional amendment to a national vote, if , voters sign the proposed amendment within 18 months.

Constitutional amendments, whether introduced by initiative or in parliament, must be accepted by a double majority of the national popular vote and the cantonal popular votes. The Swiss Confederation consists of 20 cantons and 6 half cantons: The cantons have a permanent constitutional status and, in comparison with the situation in other countries, a high degree of independence.

Under the Federal Constitution, all 26 cantons are equal in status. Each canton has its own constitution, and its own parliament, government and courts. The cantons comprise a total of 2, municipalities.

Within Switzerland there are two enclaves: Traditionally, Switzerland avoids alliances that might entail military, political, or direct economic action and has been neutral since the end of its expansion in Its policy of neutrality was internationally recognised at the Congress of Vienna in Switzerland maintains diplomatic relations with almost all countries and historically has served as an intermediary between other states.

A large number of international institutions have their seats in Switzerland, in part because of its policy of neutrality. Even though Switzerland is one of the most recent countries to have joined the United Nations, the Palace of Nations in Geneva is the second biggest centre for the United Nations after New York, and Switzerland was a founding member and home to the League of Nations.

The Swiss Armed Forces , including the Land Forces and the Air Force , are composed mostly of conscripts, male citizens aged from 20 to 34 in special cases up to 50 years.

Being a landlocked country, Switzerland has no navy; however, on lakes bordering neighbouring countries, armed military patrol boats are used.

Swiss citizens are prohibited from serving in foreign armies, except for the Swiss Guards of the Vatican , or if they are dual citizens of a foreign country and reside there. The structure of the Swiss militia system stipulates that the soldiers keep their Army issued equipment, including all personal weapons, at home. Some organisations and political parties find this practice controversial [66] but mainstream Swiss opinion is in favour of the system.

Men usually receive military conscription orders for training at the age of The reform "Army XXI" was adopted by popular vote in , it replaced the previous model "Army 95", reducing the effectives from , to about , Of those, , are active in periodic Army training and 80, are non-training reserves.

Overall, three general mobilisations have been declared to ensure the integrity and neutrality of Switzerland. The first one was held on the occasion of the Franco-Prussian War of — The second was in response to the outbreak of the First World War in August The third mobilisation of the army took place in September in response to the German attack on Poland ; Henri Guisan was elected as the General-in-Chief.

Because of its neutrality policy, the Swiss army does not currently take part in armed conflicts in other countries, but is part of some peacekeeping missions around the world. Since the armed force department has also maintained the Onyx intelligence gathering system to monitor satellite communications.

Following the end of the Cold War there have been a number of attempts to curb military activity or even abolish the armed forces altogether. A notable referendum on the subject, launched by an anti-militarist group , was held on 26 November It was defeated with about two thirds of the voters against the proposal.

The large majority of firearms kept at home are issued by the Swiss army , but ammunition is no longer issued. From the Swabian War in onwards until Reformation, most conferences met in Zurich. Afterwards the town hall at Baden, where the annual accounts of the common people had been held regularly since , became the most frequent, but not the sole place of assembly. After Frauenfeld gradually dissolved Baden. From , the Catholic conferences were held mostly in Lucerne, the Protestant conferences from mostly in Aarau , the one for the legitimation of the French Ambassador in Solothurn.

At the same time the syndicate for the Ennetbirgischen Vogteien located in the present Ticino met from in Lugano and Locarno. In , the federal constitution provided that details concerning the federal institutions, such as their locations, should be taken care of by the Federal Assembly BV Art.

Thus on 28 November , the Federal Assembly voted in majority to locate the seat of government in Berne. In , a law RS fixed the compensations owed by the city of Bern for the federal seat.

The new constitution, however, does not contain anything concerning any Federal City. In a tripartite committee has been asked by the Swiss Federal Council to prepare the "creation of a federal law on the status of Bern as a Federal City", and to evaluate the positive and negative aspects for the city and the canton of Bern if this status were awarded. After a first report the work of this committee was suspended in by the Swiss Federal Council, and work on this subject has not resumed since.

Thus as of today, no city in Switzerland has the official status either of capital or of Federal City, nevertheless Berne is commonly referred to as "Federal City" German: Terrorism in Switzerland has occurred periodically since the s. Switzerland has a stable, prosperous and high-tech economy and enjoys great wealth, being ranked as the wealthiest country in the world per capita in multiple rankings.

In it was ranked as the wealthiest country in the world in per capita terms with "wealth" being defined to include both financial and non-financial assets , while the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report showed that Switzerland was the country with the highest average wealth per adult in It is the twentieth largest exporter , despite its small size.

Switzerland has the highest European rating in the Index of Economic Freedom , while also providing large coverage through public services. The World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report currently ranks Switzerland's economy as the most competitive in the world, [85] while ranked by the European Union as Europe's most innovative country. Switzerland is home to several large multinational corporations.

Switzerland is ranked as having one of the most powerful economies in the world. Switzerland's most important economic sector is manufacturing. Manufacturing consists largely of the production of specialist chemicals , health and pharmaceutical goods, scientific and precision measuring instruments and musical instruments. The unemployment rate increased from a low of 1. GDP per hour worked is the world's 16th highest, at Switzerland has an overwhelmingly private sector economy and low tax rates by Western World standards; overall taxation is one of the smallest of developed countries.

Switzerland is a relatively easy place to do business, currently ranking 20th of countries in the Ease of Doing Business Index. The slow growth Switzerland experienced in the s and the early s has brought greater support for economic reforms and harmonisation with the European Union. The Swiss Federal budget had a size of Agricultural protectionism—a rare exception to Switzerland's free trade policies—has contributed to high food prices.

Education in Switzerland is very diverse because the constitution of Switzerland delegates the authority for the school system to the cantons. The minimum age for primary school is about six years in all cantons, but most cantons provide a free "children's school" starting at four or five years old. Traditionally, the first foreign language in school was always one of the other national languages, although recently English was introduced first in a few cantons.

At the end of primary school or at the beginning of secondary school , pupils are separated according to their capacities in several often three sections. The fastest learners are taught advanced classes to be prepared for further studies and the matura , [] while students who assimilate a little more slowly receive an education more adapted to their needs. There are 12 universities in Switzerland , ten of which are maintained at cantonal level and usually offer a range of non-technical subjects.

The first university in Switzerland was founded in in Basel with a faculty of medicine and has a tradition of chemical and medical research in Switzerland. The largest university in Switzerland is the University of Zurich with nearly 25, students. In addition, there are various Universities of Applied Sciences. In business and management studies, the University of St. As might befit a country that plays home to innumerable international organisations, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies , located in Geneva , is not only continental Europe's oldest graduate school of international and development studies, but also widely believed to be one of its most prestigious.

Many Nobel Prize laureates have been Swiss scientists. They include the world-famous physicist Albert Einstein [] in the field of physics, who developed his Special relativity while working in Bern. In total, Nobel Prize winners in all fields stand in relation to Switzerland [] [note 11] and the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded nine times to organisations residing in Switzerland. Geneva and the nearby French department of Ain co-host the world's largest laboratory , CERN , [] dedicated to particle physics research.

Another important research centre is the Paul Scherrer Institute. Notable inventions include lysergic acid diethylamide LSD , diazepam Valium , the scanning tunnelling microscope Nobel prize and Velcro.

Some technologies enabled the exploration of new worlds such as the pressurised balloon of Auguste Piccard and the Bathyscaphe which permitted Jacques Piccard to reach the deepest point of the world's oceans.

Switzerland Space Agency, the Swiss Space Office , has been involved in various space technologies and programmes. In addition it was one of the 10 founders of the European Space Agency in and is the seventh largest contributor to the ESA budget. In the private sector, several companies are implicated in the space industry such as Oerlikon Space [] or Maxon Motors [] who provide spacecraft structures.

Switzerland voted against membership in the European Economic Area in a referendum in December and has since maintained and developed its relationships with the European Union EU and European countries through bilateral agreements. In March , the Swiss people refused in a popular vote to start accession negotiations with the EU. The western French-speaking areas and the urban regions of the rest of the country tend to be more pro-EU, however, with far from a significant share of the population.

To minimise the negative consequences of Switzerland's isolation from the rest of Europe, Bern and Brussels signed seven bilateral agreements to further liberalise trade ties. These agreements were signed in and took effect in This first series of bilateral agreements included the free movement of persons. A second series covering nine areas was signed in and has since been ratified, which includes the Schengen Treaty and the Dublin Convention besides others.

In , Switzerland approved 1 billion francs of supportive investment in the poorer Southern and Central European countries in support of cooperation and positive ties to the EU as a whole. A further referendum will be needed to approve million francs to support Romania and Bulgaria and their recent admission.

The Swiss have also been under EU and sometimes international pressure to reduce banking secrecy and to raise tax rates to parity with the EU. Preparatory discussions are being opened in four new areas: On 27 November , the interior and justice ministers of European Union in Brussels announced Switzerland's accession to the Schengen passport-free zone from 12 December The land border checkpoints will remain in place only for goods movements, but should not run controls on people, though people entering the country had their passports checked until 29 March if they originated from a Schengen nation.

On 9 February , Swiss voters narrowly approved by This initiative was mostly backed by rural In December , a compromise with the European Union was attained effectively canceling quotas on EU citizens but still allowing for favorable treatment of Swiss-based job applicants.

On 18 May , two anti-nuclear initiatives were turned down: Moratorium Plus , aimed at forbidding the building of new nuclear power plants The agency is supporting the watt society initiative to cut the nation's energy use by more than half by the year On 31 May the world's longest and deepest railway tunnel and the first flat, low-level route through the Alps, the It starts its daily business for passenger transport on 11 December replacing the old, mountainous, scenic route over and through the St Gotthard Massif.

Switzerland has a publicly managed road network without road tolls that is financed by highway permits as well as vehicle and gasoline taxes.

Gallen-Altenrhein Airport and Sion Airport. Swiss International Air Lines is the flag carrier of Switzerland. Switzerland has one of the best environmental records among nations in the developed world; [] it was one of the countries to sign the Kyoto Protocol in and ratified it in Switzerland developed an efficient system to recycle old newspapers and cardboard materials.

Publicly organised collection by volunteers and economical railway transport logistics started as early as under the leadership of the notable industrialist Hans Caspar Escher Escher Wyss AG when the first modern Swiss paper manufacturing plant was built in Biberist.

Switzerland also has an economic system for garbage disposal, which is based mostly on recycling and energy-producing incinerators due to a lack of space for open pit garbage disposals. As in other European countries, the Illegal disposal of garbage is not tolerated but usually the enforcement of such laws is limited to violations that involve the unlawful disposal of garbage bags at traffic intersections and public areas.

In some cities, stickers need to be purchased that allow for identification of disposable garbage. In , Switzerland's population slightly exceeded eight million. In common with other developed countries, the Swiss population increased rapidly during the industrial era, quadrupling between and Growth has since stabilised, and like most of Europe, Switzerland faces an ageing population , albeit with consistent annual growth projected into , due mostly to immigration and a fertility rate close to replacement level.

As of [update] , resident foreigners made up Immigrants from Sri Lanka , most of them former Tamil refugees, were the largest group among people of Asian origin 6. Additionally, the figures from show that A third of this population , held Swiss citizenship.

Four fifths of persons with an immigration background were themselves immigrants first generation foreigners and native-born and naturalised Swiss citizens , whereas one fifth were born in Switzerland second generation foreigners and native-born and naturalised Swiss citizens.

In the s, domestic and international institutions expressed concern about what was perceived as an increase in xenophobia , particularly in some political campaigns. In reply to one critical report, the Federal Council noted that "racism unfortunately is present in Switzerland", but stated that the high proportion of foreign citizens in the country, as well as the generally unproblematic integration of foreigners", underlined Switzerland's openness.

Switzerland has four official languages: However, federal laws and other official acts do not need to be decreed in Romansh. In , the languages most spoken at home among permanent residents aged 15 and older were Swiss German More than two-fifths Other languages spoken at home included English 4. The federal government is obliged to communicate in the official languages, and in the federal parliament simultaneous translation is provided from and into German, French and Italian.

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Among the most successful skiers and world champions are Pirmin Zurbriggen and Didier Cuche. The most prominently watched sports in Switzerland are football , ice hockey , Alpin skiing , " Schwingen ", and tennis. Actually many other headquarters of international sports federations are located in Switzerland. The Swiss Super League is the nation's professional football club league.

Many Swiss also follow ice hockey and support one of the 12 teams of the National League , which is the most attended league in Europe. The numerous lakes make Switzerland an attractive place for sailing. The largest, Lake Geneva , is the home of the sailing team Alinghi which was the first European team to win the America's Cup in and which successfully defended the title in Tennis has become an increasingly popular sport, and Swiss players such as Martina Hingis , Roger Federer , and most recently, Stanislas Wawrinka have won multiple Grand Slams.

Motorsport racecourses and events were banned in Switzerland following the Le Mans disaster with exception to events such as Hillclimbing. In June the Swiss National Council , one house of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland , voted to overturn the ban, however the other house, the Swiss Council of States rejected the change and the ban remains in place.

Traditional sports include Swiss wrestling or " Schwingen ". It is an old tradition from the rural central cantons and considered the national sport by some. Hornussen is another indigenous Swiss sport, which is like a cross between baseball and golf. Practised only among the alpine population since prehistoric times , it is recorded to have taken place in Basel in the 13th century.

It is also central to the Unspunnenfest , first held in , with its symbol the The cuisine of Switzerland is multifaceted. The number of fine-dining establishments is high, particularly in western Switzerland. Chocolate has been made in Switzerland since the 18th century but it gained its reputation at the end of the 19th century with the invention of modern techniques such as conching and tempering which enabled its production on a high quality level. Also a breakthrough was the invention of solid milk chocolate in by Daniel Peter.

The Swiss are the world's largest consumers of chocolate. The most popular alcoholic drink in Switzerland is wine. Switzerland is notable for the variety of grapes grown because of the large variations in terroirs , with their specific mixes of soil, air, altitude and light.

Swiss wine is produced mainly in Valais , Vaud Lavaux , Geneva and Ticino , with a small majority of white wines. Vineyards have been cultivated in Switzerland since the Roman era, even though certain traces can be found of a more ancient origin. The most widespread varieties are the Chasselas called Fendant in Valais and Pinot noir. The Merlot is the main variety produced in Ticino. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

This article is about the sovereign state. For other uses, see Switzerland disambiguation. For other uses, see Swiss disambiguation and Swiss Confederation disambiguation. Early history of Switzerland and Switzerland in the Roman era. Restoration and Regeneration Switzerland and Switzerland as a federal state. Switzerland during the World Wars and Modern history of Switzerland. Contrasted landscapes between the regions of the Matterhorn and Lake Lucerne.

Foreign relations of Switzerland. Education in Switzerland and Science and technology in Switzerland. Demographics of Switzerland and Swiss people. List of Swiss people. Linguistic geography of Switzerland. Music of Switzerland , Swiss folklore , and Alpine culture.

Swiss law does not designate a capital as such, but the federal parliament and government are located in Bern, while the federal courts are located in other cities. The date of the Federal Charter of was selected in for the official celebration of the "Confederacy's th anniversary".

A resolution of the Tagsatzung of 14 September specified that the powers of the institutions provided for by the Federal Treaty would expire at the time of the constitution of the Federal Council , which took place on 16 November Schwyz is also the standard German and international name of one of the Swiss cantons. Department Communication, University of Berne: Retrieved 7 May Quartals " [Recent monthly and quarterly figures: Retrieved 7 December Switzerland's population PDF official report.

Report for Selected Countries and Subjects: Retrieved 1 October United Nations Development Programme. Retrieved 25 March Studienkurs Politikwissenschaft in German. Alpine Landscape and the Reconstruction of the Swiss Nation". Comparative Studies in Society and History. Society for Comparative Study of Society and History. Retrieved 14 December Retrieved 29 April Archived from the original on 26 June Retrieved 22 June It should be noticed that in valle di Lei Italy got in exchange a territory of the same area.

Retrieved 5 May International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. Retrieved 6 March Retrieved 12 October Map of Switzerland with route planner. Cartography by TomTom, swisstopo, osm. Retrieved 27 March Die interaktive Statistikdatenbank" in German and French.

Swiss Federal Statistical Office. Physical Geography of Switzerland". Archived from the original on 29 June Archived from the original on 23 February Impact of climate change". Archived from the original on 29 January Archived from the original on 20 June Retrieved 24 June Archived from the original on 14 July Retrieved 13 December Retrieved 9 December Retrieved 12 December Retrieved 4 December Archived from the original on 13 December Retrieved 15 January Retrieved 23 February Dezember Stand am 1.

The Swiss Federal Council. Retrieved 6 December Retrieved 11 May Terrorism and its control. Retrieved 28 February Top 10 countries with the highest average wealth per adult in Archived 14 November at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 10 October Retrieved 28 April Maastricht Economic and social Research and training centre on Innovation and Technology, 1 February Retrieved 22 July Retrieved 13 March Retrieved 17 December Associated Press 8 January Going for Growth — Switzerland Country Note.

Archived from the original PDF on 14 July Retrieved 14 June Swiss News 1 May Move to Switzerland reuters. Retrieved on 14 January Archived from the original on 12 October Retrieved 2 November Retrieved 22 December Percentage of foreign students in tertiary education. Archived from the original on 9 July Retrieved 29 May Retrieved 31 July Archived from the original on 30 April Retrieved 13 June Retrieved 13 August Archived from the original PDF, 1.

Retrieved 15 June Initiative "Yes to Europe! Archived from the original XLS on 1 May Retrieved 8 May Archived from the original on 17 March Initiative "Gegen Masseneinwanderung " " web page in German and French. Retrieved 20 April Retrieved 10 February Strikes Deal on 'Stress Tests ' ". American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Retrieved 28 November Archived from the original on 24 February Archived from the original on 15 October Archived from the original on 23 April Retrieved 20 October Retrieved 23 June Swiss Federal Statistical Office, Retrieved 20 December Archived from the original on 13 November Retrieved 29 July Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz. Archived from the original on 21 January Differing Norms in Different Nations. Retrieved 1 April Die Antworten erreichten auf einer Skala von 1 bis 10 durchschnittliche Werte zwischen 9 und 9,4.

Retrieved 9 April Mehrheitliche 91 Prozent sind mit "ihrem" Hausarzt mehr oder weniger dezidiert zufrieden. Krankenkassen sollten Effizienz und Image verbessern". Retrieved 8 April Deaths, mortality and life expectancy". Retrieved 21 November Archived from the original PDF on 5 October Retrieved 22 November Archived from the original PDF on 3 December Retrieved 22 April Archived from the original PDF on 25 January Retrieved 5 April Archived from the original XLS on 29 May Archived from the original XLS on 15 October Retrieved 14 October Retrieved 7 June Swiss Federal Statistical Office, December Archived from the original XLS on 6 January Guardian News and Media Limited.

Retrieved 9 June Retrieved 3 November Top wine consuming nations per capita, winebiz. Retrieved on 14 June Find more about Switzerland at Wikipedia's sister projects. Articles related to Switzerland. Specifically applying to all software, folders, data and their content provided for download by the swissinfo.

All other rights remain the property of swissinfo. In particular, any sale or commercial use of these data is prohibited.

See in another language: Neuer Inhalt Horizontal Line. Top stories weekly Latest news daily Business weekly Politics weekly Society weekly Fintech monthly Click here to see more newsletters. Copyright All rights reserved. During the turmoil of the Reformation, Zug remained on the Catholic side of central Switzerland and retained the old faith.

Warring religious confederates fought at Kappel am Albis and at Gubel in Menzingen. Its location on the edge of central Switzerland made Zug a confessional border town. During the Reformation, Zug clung to the old faith and was a member of the Christliche Vereinigung of In , it became a member of the Golden League. The period up until was marked by internal political rivalries and turbulence.

The invasion of the French troops marked the end of the old order, and with the Helvetic order came a radical political change.

Zug was given its current cantonal structure, consisting of eleven local municipalities. Until well into the 19th century, Zug consisted of agricultural land. The connection to the Swiss railway network in was important, as was the connection of mountain and valley with an electric tram at the beginning of the 20th century.

In parallel, large industrial and commercial zones evolved; employment increased rapidly; the population rose sharply, and the building boom skyrocketed. Canton Zug catapulted itself into being at the top of the financially strong cantons. Zug is a low tax region , and is headquarters for a number of multinational enterprises.

On 27 September , an angry, unstable gunman, Friedrich Leibacher , shot and killed 15 people including himself in the cantonal parliament of Zug.

The event became known as the Zug Massacre. Of the rest of the land, Zug has an average of It has an average of 5. During this month there is precipitation for an average of The month with the most days of precipitation is June, with an average of The City Council Stadtrat constitutes the executive government of the Town of Zug and operates as a collegiate authority.

It is composed of five councilors German: Departmental tasks, coordination measures and implementation of laws decreed by the City Parliament are carried by the City Council. The regular election of the City Council by any inhabitant valid to vote is held every four years. The current mandate period Legislatur is from to Any resident of Zug allowed to vote can be elected as a member of the City Council.

The delegates are selected by means of a system of Majorz since The mayor is elected as such as well by public election while the heads of the other departments are assigned by the collegiate. The executive body holds its meetings in the Stadthaus City Hall on Kolinplatz. The last regular election was held on 5 October He has been elected by the collegiate.

In the federal election the most popular party was the SVP with The next three most popular parties were the CVP In the federal election, a total of 9, votes were cast, and the voter turnout was The election saw a large change in the voting when compared to The percentage of the vote received by the SP increased sharply from 6. In they decided to become sister cities. Zug has a population as of 31 December of 29, Most of the population as of [update] speaks German Zug has an unemployment rate of 2.

As of [update] , there were people employed in the primary economic sector and about 51 businesses involved in this sector. They play their home games in the 7,seat Bossard Arena.

Their home games are held in the Academy Arena. The team plays its home games in the Bossard Arena. Zug also has numerous junior teams that compete in the different junior leagues of Switzerland.

Additionally there is an amateur floorball team, Zug United. As of [update] , there were a total of 40, people employed in the municipality. Of these, a total of people worked in 42 businesses in the primary economic sector. The secondary sector employed 5, workers in separate businesses. Finally, the tertiary sector provided 34, jobs in 6, businesses.

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