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Switzerland

Yearbook 2008

Switzerland. According to Countryaah reports, the Swiss people in a referendum in June said no to a proposal to allow citizens in closed polls to grant or reject citizenship applications. The proposal was an initiative of the anti-immigrant right-wing party SVP (Swiss People's Party).

2008 Switzerland

A dispute with Libya arose after Libyan leader Muammar al-Khadaffi's son Hannibal and his wife were indicted for mistreating two maids during a visit to Switzerland in July. The couple were arrested but released on bail. The reaction was strong in Libya, which inter alia seized two Swiss nationals, restricted air travel between the countries and forced Swiss companies to close their offices in Tripoli. In early September, the maids withdrew their charges. Nonetheless, Libya subsequently announced its intention to cease its extensive oil exports to Switzerland and withdraw all assets from Swiss bank accounts pending an official apology.

The first experiment with the world's largest particle accelerator began in September at the European nuclear physics center CERN outside Geneva. After only ten days, the accelerator - a 27-kilometer tunnel under the ground - broke down, but that did not prevent the plant from officially inaugurating a pump and stand in October.

The global financial crisis hit hard on Switzerland's largest bank, UBS. The government entered into a rescue package worth over SEK 400 billion and became the owner of almost a tenth of the bank. Three top executives resigned due to the enormous losses that occurred and also relinquished the bonus money after pressure.

The two ministers in the assembly government who were excluded from the SVP just before the turn of the year joined the newly formed Citizens Democratic Party, BDP. When one of them, Samuel Schmid, left his ministerial post, it paved the way for SVP's return to the government. In December, after three rounds of votes, Parliament appointed Ueli Maurer as new Minister of Defense. SVP's poster name Christoph Blocher again saw himself voted off.

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