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Swiss cities in global ranking

A new study by Pricewaterhouse Coopers reveals how competitive the major Swiss cities are compared with those in other countries. This is the first time that Swiss cities have been included in the consultancy firm’s annual ranking. Zurich occupies 5th place out of 34 cities behind London, Paris, Toronto and Singapore. Basel lies in 13th place, Geneva in 17th and Berne in 20th. Criteria such as the economy, adaptability and quality of life were evaluated. The Swiss cities performed particularly well in terms of quality of life. Berne actually topped the ranking in the health and safety categories.

Novartis to divest over-the-counter medicine business

The Basel-based pharmaceutical group Novartis transferred its over-the-counter medicine business to a joint venture with the UK company GSK three years ago as part of an exchange of several lines of business. Novartis satisfied itself with a 36.5 % holding in over-the-counter medicine operations. The company is now completely divesting this line of business. GSK will pay 13 billion US dollars for the remaining stake.

CHF 80 million for the ICRC

Switzerland is supporting the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) again this year. The Federal Council has pledged 80 million Swiss francs with retroactive effect to the headquarters in Geneva for 2018, which is exactly the same amount as last year. In addition to the contribution to headquarters, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is providing 60.9 million francs to fund specific humanitarian operations carried out by the ICRC. Some 62.5 million francs was made available for this purpose last year. Switzerland was the fifth-largest contributor to the ICRC’s total budget in 2017.

New systems for air defence

The Department of Defence plans to reorganise air defence. The Swiss army is to be equipped with ground-to-air missiles with greater range. They must now be able to travel a distance of 50 kilometres and fly at a height of up to 12 kilometres. In addition to range, the missiles must also be able to cover at least 15,000 km2. New requirements have also been placed on the fleet of aircraft that will replace the Tiger and F/A-18 from 2025. Four fighter jets must be able to protect Swiss air space continuously for a four-week period in future. The air force must also be capable of carrying out aerial reconnaissance and combating ground targets in the event of an attack.