MONEY The Economy

WATCH: How Some U.S. Companies Are Dodging Taxes

Major American corporations are reincorporating overseas to avoid paying higher U.S. taxes.

TIME World Cup

The 16 Best Photos From the World Cup’s Round of 16

The celebrations, the heartaches, and the sometimes gravity-defying saves and goals that made this leg of the tournament all pins-and-needles

TIME Switzerland

Swiss Group Will Help Elderly Who Aren’t Terminally Ill Commit Suicide

The group Exit changed its practices to allow patients who are not terminally ill to request assisted suicide

A Swiss assistance suicide organization will now extend its services to elderly people who aren’t terminally ill but simply wish to die as old age advances.

The group Exit added “suicide due to old age” to its list of services at annual meeting over the weekend, the Guardian reports, amid criticism from Swiss doctors. Patients will now have the choice to end their life if suffering from psychological or physical problems associated with age.

The Swiss Medical Association condemned this change, saying it will encourage suicide among the elderly. “We do not support the change of statutes by Exit,” association president Dr Jürg Schlup said. “It gives us cause for concern because it cannot be ruled out that elderly healthy people could come under pressure of taking their own life.”

Exit stood by its decision, saying patients who consider that option had already been looking into assisted suicide for years.

Euthanasia has been legal in Switzerland since 1942 but organizations administering life-ending drugs only gained legal status in the 1980’s. The shift by Exit came shortly after a doctor was acquitted by a Swiss appeals court for administrating life-ending drugs to a 89-year old man without examining him first.

[Guardian]

 

TIME Marriage

This Is How Much The Most Expensive Divorce In History Costs

Rose Ball 2014 In Aid Of The Princess Grace Foundation In Monaco
Dmitry Rybolovlev attends the Rose Ball 2014 in aid of the Princess Grace Foundation at Sporting Monte-Carlo Pascal Le Segretain—Getty Images

Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev was ordered to pay his ex-wife $4.5 billion by a Swiss court

A Swiss court ordered Russian oligarch and Monaco soccer club owner Dmitry Rybolovlev to pay more than $4.5 billion to his ex-wife Monday.

And if what Rybolovlev’s lawyer’s saying is true, then the soon-to-be-appealed settlement amounts to the most expensive divorce in history.

Lawyers for Rybolovlev’s ex-wife Elena, on the other hand, released a statement that the ruling was a “complete victory.” On top of the settlement money, which amounted to half of Dmitry’s fortune, Elena will receive three different properties—one of which is worth $146 million—and custody of their 13-year-old daughter Anna.

The former couple, both of whom are 47, met in a Russian university and were married in 1987. Divorce proceedings began in 2008. Forbes once estimated Rybolovlev was the 78th richest man on earth thanks to his success in the fertilizer business. He’s now number 147.

Ryobolovlev’s settlement figure puts even other notoriously pricey divorces in the shade. Art dealer Alec Wildenstein paid his ex-wife a $2.5 billion settlement on top of a yearly $100 million sum for 13 years following his 1999 divorce. That same year, Rupert Murdoch reached a settlement with his wife of 31 years, Anna, for $1.7 billion.

[AP]

TIME Earnings

Swiss Voters Reject a $25 Minimum Wage

SWITZERLAND-VOTE-LABOUR-DEFENCE
A man arrives to casts his ballot during a referendum on May 18, 2014 in Bulle, western Switzerland. FABRICE COFFRINI—AFP/Getty Images

The country showed that minimum wage hikes, while generally popular, do have their outer limits

Swiss voters resoundingly rejected a bill on Sunday that would have vaulted the nation’s minimum wage to $25 an hour, the highest wage floor in the world.

The Minimum Wage Initiative, advocated by the Swiss Trades Union Confederation, suffered an overwhelming defeat at the polls, with 76% of Swiss voters opposing the bill. It marks an unusual defeat for a policy that typically polls well the world over.

In the US, 71% of voters back President Barack Obama’s proposal for a minimum wage hike. In Germany, 81% of voters supported a similar proposal from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

But the scale of Switzerland’s proposed hike, vaulting it two times ahead of the most generous minimum wage rate in the world ($10.66 an hour, compliments of Luxembourg), clearly had Swiss voters on edge.

Untitled
Source: OECD

The referendum offers an interesting test case of where in the voters’ mind a wage hike leaves the realm of economic reality and soars into Alpine-high levels of wishful thinking. After all, if the Swiss bill became U.S. law tomorrow, it would require instant wage renegotiations for 620 occupations across the country, all of which pay less than $25 an hour on average. A sampling of those occupations is below.

MinWages
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Workers in jobs ranging from flipping burgers to preparing taxes to writing articles like this one would be vaulted up the pay ladder, but would they be able to keep their jobs along the way?

Swiss voters registered their doubts at the polls on Sunday, effectively setting an outer boundary for public debates on wage floors – $10, yes, but $25? Come back down to earth.

TIME Renewable energy

Solar Plane Will Circumnavigate Earth in 2015

The unveiled Solar Impulse II aircraft is seen at their base in Payerne
The unveiled Solar Impulse II aircraft is seen at their base in Payerne April 9, 2014. Denis Balibouse—Reuters

The co-founders behind the newly unveiled Solar Impulse 2 say the jet will be able to circle the planet in a three-month trip planned for next year using only solar power, but now they just need to "develop a sustainable pilot"

A new airplane was unveiled in Switzerland on Wednesday that its builder hopes will fly all the way around the earth using only solar power in 2015.

The Solar Impulse 2 has a 236-foot wingspan—longer than a Boeing 747—covered in 17,248 solar cells that power four electric motors, which in turn drive the plane’s propellers.

Weighing in at 5,000 pounds, the Solar Impulse will ferry just one pilot at a time and not much else at a top speed of 87 mph. To cross the vast Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the plane will have to stay airborne for at least five days at a time, gaining altitude during the day when the sun is out and slowly descending about 5,000 feet in the evening when it’s dark.

The plane will be piloted in shifts by the two founders of the Solar Impulse project, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg. Though the plane, they say, could theoretically fly indefinitely, the pilots cannot.

“So we have a sustainable airplane in terms of energy,” Borschberg told the Associated Press. “We need to develop a sustainable pilot now.”

The flight will take place in 20 airborne days over the course of three months in 2015. It will be grounded on the remaining days to allow the two pilots to switch off. The plane will be tested in May and June this year.

[AP]

TIME Switzerland

This Picture Shows What’s Wrong With Switzerland’s Anti-Immigrant Hysteria

Without multiculturalism, the Swiss would not be at the World Cup

By the smallest of margins, Swiss voters passed a controversial anti-immigration law by referendum on Sunday, which returns strict quotas on migration from the European Union in spite of existing trade and labor agreements with Brussels. The verdict has been met with dismay by the Swiss government and business leaders, as well as E.U. officials who may now seek reciprocal, punitive measures that affect the importation of Swiss goods into the European market. “It means that Switzerland wants to withdraw into itself,” lamented French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

Migrants make up roughly a quarter of Switzerland’s population and increasing fears over overcrowding and cultural dilution have led right-wing groups to push back using the country’s unique system of direct democracy. The Swiss People’s Party (SVP) has spearheaded earlier initiatives to ban burqas and the construction of minarets in the country; it championed the yes vote in this referendum. The SVP’s thinly veiled racial prejudice has raised eyebrows before, but its current success may embolden other ideologically similar Euroskeptic parties across the continent.

Still, many are not impressed. Not long after news of the referendum’s verdict emerged, a satirical German news site released this image in a blog post, which soon spread across social media. It shows what the highly regarded Swiss national soccer team would look like were it unable to select players from immigrant backgrounds.

The Swiss team qualified first in its group for the 2014 World Cup and ranked, surprisingly, as one of the top seeds going into the tournament. Its triumphant form is in large part due to a new generation of young, immigrant talent — including the ethnically Turkish midfield general Gökhan Inler and Xherdan Shaqiri, a budding superstar of Albanian descent born in the former Yugoslavia. The dynamic core of Swiss football is a direct product of outward-looking policies that accepted migrants and embraced the refugees of the 1990s Balkan wars. A thin majority of the country may resent the inroads made by traditionally non-Swiss groups in their society, but you’ll find few complaining when Shaqiri, Inler et al line up in their nation’s colors.

MORE: As Europe Reels, Switzerland Builds New Barriers Against Immigrants

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