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Swiss banks shut out Americans

Tax dodgers under the gun
June 30, 2009

By Warren Giles Geneva

Swiss banks are shutting the accounts of Americans as the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) accelerates the hunt for tax dodgers.

UBS and Credit Suisse Group, the country’s biggest banks, have told Americans to move their money into specially created units registered in the US, or lose the accounts.

Smaller private banks such as Geneva-based Mirabaud are closing all accounts held by US taxpayers.

[ Etc. – there’s lots more . . . ]

SEC registration means that the clients do not enjoy the protection of Swiss banking secrecy laws, which makes it a crime for money managers to disclose the names of clients without their consent.

Switzerland said in March that it would co-operate with international tax evasion probes after UBS admitted helping US clients avoid taxes.

[ . . . ]

“The Swiss simply don’t want American customers because it requires so much infrastructure and hassle that they do not make any money.”

Sandra Dysli, an American who has lived in Geneva for 40 years, said Zurich-based Bank Zweiplus and a Geneva branch of Raiffeisen International Bank had refused to open investment accounts for her.

UBS said last July that it planned to stop all offshore banking and investment services for people subject to US taxes, except through US registered units.

UBS notified US clients in a March 27 letter that it would close accounts within 45 days. Customers were asked to transfer assets to entities registered with the SEC, and asked to consult an adviser about the US tax consequences, according to a copy of the letter.

“UBS will no longer be able to continue to provide services to you through your current account,” the letter said.

[ . . . ]






If you’re a Scot, or just love Scotland, then you cannot afford to miss one of the biggest events happening this summer.

The Gathering 2009 is a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of Scotland’s culture, both contemporary and traditional.

Press Release – Lining up for a big family gathering

Press Release - Lining up for a big family gathering Lining up for a big family gathering The Gathering 2009 has today unveiled its world-class line up and programme for the Highland games and Scottish festival taking place in Holyrood Park on 25 and 26 July, in what will…Read More

Highlights over the two days:

Deuchars World Highland Games Heavy Events
Live Music Arena – Capercaillie, Dougie MacLean, Red Hot Chilli Pipers and more
Children’s Activities Zone
International Highland Dancing Championship
Talisker Taste Experience
Clan Village with 126 clan tents
Bòrd na Gàidhlig Acoustic Music Tent – Roddy Hart, Cast, Rachel Sermanni and more
Solo Piping and pipe bands
A Flavour of Scotland
• Storytelling Centre
Scotland Lives Auditorium and International Authors
The Nairn’s Oatcake Hill Race
Big Pull Tug of War with Premier Inns in aid of Anthony Nolan Trust

You can see all this and more by buying Highland Games and Scottish Festival Ticket:


4 to 16 years; 60+ years; Students



£15 £10 FREE

Family and two-day ticket also available online until the 23rd of July.

Tickets available at the gate subject to availability.



Clan Gathering in Edinburgh Scotland
June 29, 9:13 AM

It’s being billed as a “Homecoming” and if you are of Scottish decent, Edinburgh is the place to be July 25-26. Put simply – it is “The Gathering.”

Scotts, part Scots and even would-be Scots from across the globe will be assembling for the largest gathering of the Scottish clans since the Battle of Culloden. From the stately hill called Arthur’s Seat behind Holyrood Palace to the full stretch of the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle – the city will be awash in the colors of tartans for the two day event. Large and small, each clan will pitch their tent and welcome their relatives “home” to their roots.

For many, this is as much a spiritual as geographical journey – coming back to the land of their origins. Can you imagine Asian-Scots? African-Scots? Jamaican-Scots? Most of those participating will have never been on Scottish soil before.

Edinburgh will be transformed with pageantry and the sound of bagpipes. Events include a parade along the Royal Mile, Highland Country dancing, piping displays and the largest ever Highland Games competition. And as much fun as the daytime events promise to be, other activities are also planned in the evening in designated pubs around Edinburgh.
For more info:





Zürich Street Parade 2009: Your official guide
June 27, 8:59 PM

Commonly cited as the “largest party in Europe” (though it actually comes in close second to Berlin’s Love Parade), Zürich’s Street Parade started in 1992 with just 1,000 participants. Since 2001, attendance has hovered near a million participants per year. This year’s party will open at 1:00 PM on Saturday, August 8, is expected to continue the trend of popularity in spite of the global recession. Though the technoparade itself will officially end at midnight, many of the rave parties at local arenas will continue all night and into Sunday morning.

Nearly one million people from every corner of the world will converge on Zürich’s historic center, following the same 2.4 km path as the 2008 event, beginning at 3:15 PM at Utoquai, located in Seefeld. The procession will continue along the lakefront, hitting Bellevue, Quaibrücke, and Bürkliplatz, commencing around 20:00 at Hafendam Edge. Though the daytime Street Parade is officially free, donations are accepted and encouraged to ensure the continuity of the festival over time.

Afterparties will be held at various venues throughout Zürich, with world-renowned DJ Paul Van Dyk spinning at Bürkliplatz from 23:00, Jerome Isma-Ae at Kongresshaus from 22:30, Johnny Roxx and Bildstörung at Limmatquai and Daniel König and Tom Novy at Bellevue. Additional events may be announced in advance of the event. As many afterparties require advance purchase tickets, it is adviseable to contact venues for specific information.



Map of the Party (on this page above)
From – Zurich Street Parade – Party


June 29, 2009 11:19 AM PDT
New solar airplane unveiled in Switzerland
by Lance Whitney

After a six-year effort, the prototype of a new solar-powered aircraft was unveiled at a Swiss airfield on Friday by its future pilots and promoters Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg.

Dubbed the Solar Impluse HB-SIA, the airplane is designed to fly both day and night without the need for fuel and will begin test flights by year’s end.

Despite a wingspan equal to that of a Boeing 747, the Solar Impulse weighs only around 1.7 tons, about the same as an average car. More than 12,000 solar cells mounted on the wing supply renewable solar energy to the four 10-horsepower electric motors. During the day, the solar panels charge the plane’s lithium polymer batteries, allowing it to fly at night.

The Solar Impulse HB-SIA
(Credit: Solar Impulse)


After this year’s initial test flight, a night flight is scheduled for 2010 to see if the plane can stay in the air for 36 hours.



June 27, 2009 6:00 AM PDT
America’s Fortress: Cheyenne Mountain, NORAD live on
by Daniel Terdiman

One of the two 25-ton blast doors that protects the main entrance to the Cheyenne Mountain complex outside of Colorado Springs, Colo.
(Credit: Daniel Terdiman/CNET Networks)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.–If there are two things that drive the folks at the world-famous Cheyenne Mountain complex crazy, it’s the widely held public perceptions that, for one, the complex has shut down altogether, and that it is synonymous with NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

After visiting as part of my Road Trip 2009 project Friday, I’m here to report that both perceptions are quite incorrect.

For one, the Cheyenne Mountain complex is very much still operational. In some ways, in fact, in a world where existential threats come not from the Soviet Union but from things like natural disasters, cyberattacks, and amorphous terrorist organizations on the hunt for nuclear weapons, it may today even be considered more important than ever.

In its heyday, during the height of the Cold War, it was seen as the nerve center from which U.S. military operations could still conduct business during a nuclear attack. But today, in the post-9/11 era, a whole new set of operational tenants, including U.S. Strategic Command, Air Force Space Command, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the Missile Defense Agency, have moved in.

[Etc. – with a lot more great information, a photo gallery, two video clips and two pages of the funniest comments I’ve seen for awhile.]

(from news on cnet)


My Note –

very nifty stuff –



Welcome to the new version of the official website of the Belgian Tourist Office-Brussels and Wallonia for the UK and Ireland!

In this new look website you will find even more content, tips and news on the mainly French-speaking areas of Brussels and Wallonia in the South of Belgium, with plenty of new features including profiles and interviews of Belgian personalities, musical backgrounds from a selection of tracks by up-and-coming Belgian artists, a “hot deal” section with special offers by Belgian and UK–based operators, new pictures and stunning slide shows.

[And wonderful music that I had found there – ]


Luc Baiwir

click on the music tab – symphonic music tab and play “Waltz of the Ages” – it is haunting and dynamic.

[And – this music came from the Wallonia site also and it is great – ]


Pink Satellite

click the play button –

La Linea

Jupiter’s Walkers

Loosing Faith

The Cat in my Washing Machine

(and on the right corner of the Wallonia tourism site listed above, there is one of their other compositions – I had to double click the speaker button for it to play but it is well worth hearing both of the selections offered, one from each of these artists – they are absolutely beyond this world . . . )


My Note –

very, very nifty .

– cricketdiane, 06-30-09