Switzerland. Accusations were made against the Swiss branch of the British major bank HSBC, which is suspected to have helped wealthy people to evade tax. In February, the bank’s office in Geneva scanned due to allegations of money laundering.
In May, Switzerland and the EU signed an agreement on automatic exchange of information on citizens’ bank accounts, hoping to put an end to opportunities to hide money from taxes. The agreement was to enter into force in 2018.
According to COUNTRYAAH, Bern is the capital of Switzerland which is located in Western Europe. A broad-based corruption scandal within the International Football Association (FIFA) was revealed when seven high-ranking representatives were arrested in Zurich in May, in connection with FIFA’s annual gathering. The arrests were made on request from the United States. Despite the scandal, Swiss FIFA chairman Sepp Blatter was elected for a fifth term at the meeting. But in September, the state prosecutor announced that a preliminary investigation was initiated against Blatter, who was suspected of embezzlement and neglect, and was subsequently suspended from his post.
- Also see AbbreviationFinder.org for Switzerland country abbreviations, including geography, history, economy and politics.
In the parliamentary elections held in October, the largest party, the right-wing Swiss National People’s Party (SVP), increased its dominance. The elections were held during the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, which helped to strengthen xenophobia. The Social Democrats backed up a bit but remained the second largest party. Since Switzerland is governed by permanent unity governments, the result had no major impact on the formation of the government, except that SVP took back one of its two ministerial posts after a defender left the party.
In 2003, a narrow-margin referendum rejected reform of Swiss asylum policy. Switzerland’s asylum policy is today the most restrictive in the industrialized world. In 2003, both the International Council against Torture and Amnesty International expressed concern about police attacks against foreigners in Switzerland. A report from the same year criticized the violence and racial slurs asylum seekers are exposed in Switzerland. It was also criticized that this practice is also applied to minors and to asylum seekers in police custody. The Torture Council stated that the form under which certain police operations are carried presents a great risk of inhumane and degrading treatment.
Amnesty International criticized the treatment protesters in Geneva and Lausanne had been subjected to in June 2003 by police. At the same time, the Human Rights Organization took the opportunity to demand promises of proper treatment by protesters planning to take action at the Davos Economic Summit in January 2004. Ironically, the UN Human Rights Commission held its 60th meeting in Geneva that year.
In June 2004, the Pope traveled to Bern to attend the first Swiss nationwide first nationwide meeting. The pope was received by the country’s Christian Democratic President, Joseph Deiss, and conducted his Mass in the country’s three official languages - German, French and Italian. Switzerland had already appointed Hansrudolf Hoffmann as “extraordinary ambassador” to the Vatican and he also attended the meeting in Bern. The purpose of the appointment was to improve relations between the two states. The pope had only visited Switzerland before – 20 years earlier.
In October, Swiss scientists discovered 600 traces of dinosaurs when a new road was to be constructed in the Jura Mountains in the country’s northwest. The head of the palaeontological team, Wolfgang Hug, stated that the tracks had been cut by up to 20 m long dinosaurs for 150 million. years ago. With this latest discovery, around 2,000 traces of dinosaurs had been discovered in this part of the country in the previous two years, and scientists urged UNESCO to put the area on the list of conservation sites for humanity.