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Swiss to Open Office in Libya's Rebel Stronghold Benghazi

Switzerland said Tuesday it is dispatching a diplomat to the rebel-held Libyan city of Benghazi to open an office aimed at strengthening its ties with the Libyan National Transitional Council.

"By sending a special envoy to Benghazi, Switzerland is signaling its intent to strengthen its presence there, and to intensify its political relations with the Libyan National Transitional Council," said the Swiss Foreign Ministry.

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Europe Rights Court Rejects Cases against Swiss Minaret Ban

Europe's rights court on Friday rejected two cases brought by Muslims against Switzerland's constitutional ban on the construction of new minarets.

The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights said it would not consider the cases because the plaintiffs "cannot claim to be 'victims' of a violation" of the European Convention on Human Rights, which the court enforces.

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Switzerland Blocks Assets Linked to Syrian Regime

Switzerland has blocked 27 million francs (31.8 million dollars) worth of assets linked to the Syrian regime, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said Sunday.

Financial sanctions and travel restrictions were imposed against 23 key players in the Syrian regime in May, including President Bashar al-Assad, intelligence chief Ali Mamlouk and interior minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Chaar, for their "involvement in the repression against demonstrators."

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Pakistan Mounts Search for 2 Swiss Hostages

Pakistan has launched a search operation and engaged tribal elders to help secure the release of a Swiss couple abducted in the insurgency-hit southwest, officials said Saturday.

The Swiss nationals were kidnapped on Friday while traveling in impoverished and sparsely populated Baluchistan province, which borders both Iran and Afghanistan.

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Swiss Solar Aircraft Takes Off on First International Flight

Pioneering Swiss solar-powered aircraft Solar Impulse, which holds a 26-hour record for flight duration, took off from Switzerland on Friday on its first international flight to Belgium.

The experimental emissions-free aircraft is expected to take about 12 hours to complete the journey to Brussels Airport, the team said.

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Letter Bomb Blast at Swiss Nuclear Industry Group

A letter bomb exploded at the offices of the Swiss nuclear energy association Thursday, injuring two people, police said.

The letter exploded at the offices of Swissnuclear in the northern town of Olten, a police spokesman said. Both victims suffered superficial wounds.

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Fire Guts Building at Swiss Watchmaking Heritage Site

A unique 19th-century building in Switzerland's La Chaux-de-Fonds watchmaking town, a U.N. world heritage site, has burned to the ground, officials said Sunday.

It was not known what caused the fire, which destroyed seven apartments, a daycare and two businesses in the four-storey building, the town said in a statement.

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Explosion at Davos Hotel during World Economic Forum

A small blast shattered two windows but caused no injuries at a hotel near where top business and political leaders are attending the World Economic Forum, Swiss police said Thursday.

The explosion happened in a storage room of the Posthotel Morosani shortly after 9 a.m. local time (0800 GMT) Thursday, regional police spokesman Thomas Hobi told the Associated Press.

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WikiLeaks' Site Back with Swiss Address after 6 Hours

The whistleblower website WikiLeaks was back on line Friday with a new Swiss address -- wikileaks.ch -- six hours after its previous domain name -- wikileaks.org -- was shut down.

"WikiLeaks moves to Switzerland," the group declared on Twitter, although an Internet trace of the new domain name suggested that the site itself is still hosted in Sweden and in France.

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