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Swiss Central Bank Eyes Record Profit for 2014

Switzerland's central bank on Friday said it expected record profits of 38 billion Swiss francs (31.6 billion euros) in 2014 on the back of gains from its foreign currency holding.

The bank said it would make a profit of 34 billion Swiss francs ($33 billion) from its foreign currency holdings and four billion Swiss francs from its gold holdings, according to provisional estimates.

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Anti-Islamic Sentiment Spreads across Europe

Germany has become the latest European country to witness mass anti-Islamic protests which have grown increasingly common across the continent. 

"In Europe in general, there is an anxiety, an anti-Islamic phobia, developing," said left-wing activist and Green euro MP Daniel Cohn-Bendit. 

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Serbia Takes over as OSCE Head

Serbia takes over the presidency of the OSCE from Switzerland on Thursday, as the multinational body plays a prominent role in efforts to resolve the Ukraine conflict.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, headquartered in Vienna and representing 57 states, was created as an East-West forum during the Cold War.

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Swiss Central Bank Introduces Negative Interest Rate

Switzerland's central bank announced Thursday it was introducing negative interest rates to stop the franc getting any stronger, after the Russian ruble crisis sent investors pouring their investments into the safe haven currency.

The Swiss National Bank will impose a rate of -0.25 percent on certain bank deposits on January 22, with the aim of pushing the target range of Switzerland's benchmark interest rate into negative territory.

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Palestinian Rights Conference Opens without Israel

A conference on respect for international human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories opened Wednesday in Geneva but was shunned by   Israel and the United States.

Israel is boycotting the one-day talks and has accused host Switzerland of contributing to the politicisation of the Geneva Conventions on the laws of war.

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'Bomb Threat' Causes Delays at Zurich Airport

A bomb threat caused flight delays and the partial shut-down of Switzerland's main airport in Zurich on Monday before security forces gave the all-clear, reports and officials said.

Around a dozen flights were delayed by up to 30 minutes, police said, as a result of what they said was an unspecified threat. No flights were cancelled.

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Growing Number of Swiss Jihadists Heading Overseas

Some 22 people have left Switzerland to fight abroad as jihadists since May, including eight in the past fortnight, the Swiss intelligence agency said Monday.

This represents almost one third of the 62 who have left to fight since 2001, including 37 who headed to Syria and Iraq and 25 to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

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Radicals Rampage through Normally Tranquil Zurich Center

Police fired tear gas and water cannon in central Zurich late Friday to disperse some 200 masked radicals who attacked officers and set cars, trees and trash bins on fire, sending terrified residents fleeing in the upscale and normally tranquil neighborhood.

The rioters, many of them armed with iron bars, threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police in a rampage that left hundreds of thousands of euros worth of damage and that police said was claimed by left-wing radicals.

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Israel Blasts Swiss over Palestinian Rights Conference

Israel on Friday condemned Switzerland's plan to host a conference on respect for international human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, charging it was a deviation from the country's traditional neutrality.

Switzerland has announced a December 17 conference in Geneva, in response to a recommendation from the U.N. General Assembly at the request of Palestinian authorities.

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Swiss Attorney General: Former Analyst Transferred Stolen Data to Lebanese Banks

Swiss authorities have charged a fugitive banking analyst with data theft and their transfer to several institutions abroad, including Lebanese banks, in what is considered to be one of the biggest security breaches in the country's often-secretive banking sector.

The case of Herve Falciani, a former employee of global banking group HSBC, has been making headlines in Europe since he fled Switzerland in 2008. He has been accused of stealing information between 2006 and 2007 relating to 24,000 customers of the Swiss division of HSBC.

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