News

18.04.2017

Switzerland isn't afraid to be considered currency manipulator by US Treasury

The Swiss government on Tuesday acknowledged the country's reappearance on a U.S. Treasury watch list of currency manipulators, but said the status would have no immediate consequences, as Reuters reported. Switzerland met two of the three criteria to be named a manipulator, both in the most recent report and the previous one in October: it runs a material current account surplus and it engages in persistent, one-sided intervention in foreign exchange markets.

 
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18.04.2017

Geopolitical Tensions Give Gold a Boost

The price of gold is getting close to the 1300 dollars mark per one ounce, after a rally that brought it almost 12% higher since the beginning of 2017. Most of the climb of the precious metal is attributed to its role of safe haven, especially after the rise of political tensions in Syria and more recently over North Korea, but also a gradual deterioration of the U.S. dollar value, which trends are usually inverse to those of gold, contributed to this rally. In figure 1, where the Dollar Index is compared to gold, it looks clear that since the greenback has begun to depreciate from the 14 years high that had reached at the end of 2016, the price of gold has inverted the down-trend that had subdued it for most of the second half of last year.

 
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14.04.2017

Australia to replace passports with facial recognition

Australia has started implementing biometric facial, iris and fingerprint recognition in airports, allowing passengers to go through without showing a passport or even talking to anyone. The "Seamless Traveler" project is aimed at creating a "fast, seamless self-processing experience for up to 90 percent of travelers," so that border control can focus on high-risk passengers.  The Seamless Traveler system was budgeted to spend $94 million over five years to make the airport process more efficient. For about 10 years, automatic passport scanning stations have been used the 40 million travelers to the land down under. 

 
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14.04.2017

Novartis under investigation in Greece for bribery

Greece's parliament on Wednesday voted to open an investigation into alleged health scandals going back two decades, involving bribes and inflated prices for medical equipment and medicine. A broad majority of 187 lawmakers in the 300-seat parliament approved a government proposal to look into suspected mismanagement between 1997 and 2014. "Everything must be investigated... to clear up whether the public interest was upheld," Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told the chamber. For years, public (funds) were pillaged, hurting social security funds and benefiting powerful interests," the PM said.

 
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14.04.2017

Apple Watch could become a medical device for diabetics

Apple is working on a way to measure blood sugar levels, potentially turning the Apple Watch into a must-have device for millions of diabetics, according to CNBC citing anonymous sources. If successful, the technology will be integrated into a future version of the Apple Watch to help people with diabetes manage their condition, but this rumored project could send the Apple into a much more complicated realm of biomedical devices. Ideally, Apple will develop a non-invasive way to measure blood sugar levels, as opposed to devices commonly used now that require need pricks. The technology could be similar to optical heart rate monitors found on many fitness trackers, which send light through the skin to measure heart rate.  

 
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14.04.2017

Ireland destination: Credit Suisse is watching the Quatrefoil country

Credit Suisse, which set up a European hub in Dublin creating 100 jobs last year to service hedge fund clients, may apply for a full banking licence in Ireland as it prepares to move jobs out of London following the UK's decision to quit the European Union, according to sources. Credit Suisse received regulatory approval in December 2015 to operate as a direct branch of the group’s Zurich headquarters, becoming the first and only bank to date to avail of a change in Irish law in 2013 that allowed non-EU banks to set up a branch in Ireland. Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Paris and Brussels are among the main locations competing with Dublin to lure financial services activity from London in the wake of the Brexit referendum last June. However, despite the triggering of Article 50 last month, it is understood that Credit Suisse has, as yet, no preferred location.

 
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14.04.2017

Credit Suisse Board accepted to cut their bonus

Credit Suisse chief executive Tidjane Thiam and the bank's board of directors have offered to cut their own bonuses by 40% ahead of its annual meeting. They also proposed to keep total board pay at the same level as 2015 and 2016. The move follows pressure from Swiss lawmakers and the bank's shareholders to address excessive executive pay. Glass Lewis & Co and Geneva-based Ethos, which advises major Swiss pension funds that may represent up to 5 per cent of the bank's market capitalisation, also criticised the bonuses. The pair had opposed executive and director compensation packages last year, as well, without success. Still, at that meeting, almost one in five shareholders voted to reject the proposed packages.

 
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13.04.2017

Artificial intelligence will change Healthcare

Doctors are stretched thin, especially in underserved areas, to respond to the growing needs of the population. Meanwhile, training physicians and health workers is historically an arduous process that requires years of education and experience. Fortunately, artificial intelligence can help the healthcare sector to overcome present and future challenges. One of the most basic yet efficient use cases of artificial intelligence is to optimize the clinical process. Traditionally, when patients feel ill, they go to the doctor, who checks their vital signs, asks questions, and gives a prescription. Now, AI assistants can cover a large part of clinical and outpatient services, freeing up doctors’ time to attend to more critical cases.

 
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13.04.2017

Canada may legalise recreational marijuana soon

Canada's government is aiming to pass legislation that will legalise the recreational use of marijuana: the federal government is scheduled to table in Parliament legislation that will legalize the recreational sale of marijuana in the country. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has acknowledged that will require selling cannabis at a price that is equal to or cheaper than its going rates on the black market and he has already endorsed one of its key recommendations: that marijuana should be legal for people who are of legal drinking age – 18 or 19 years old, depending on the province they live in.

 
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13.04.2017

Facebook Messenger without rival: plus 1.2 mln users per month

Facebook Messenger now has over 1.2 billion monthly active users, with the platform adding 200 million users in just eight months.  The milestone, announced ahead of Facebook's annual conference for software developers next week by head of Messenger David Marcus, is key to Facebook's push to own more of people's time and wallets on mobile devices as the arms race with Google and other competitors escalates.

 
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    ICDA will return this year to its alpine home for the 38th Bürgenstock Meeting.

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