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Switzerland to Give Ben Ali Money to Tunisia

Switzerland said on Friday it will hand over to Tunisia $40 million (29 million euros) stashed in Swiss bank accounts by the family of ousted dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Swiss authorities had frozen the funds as part of a probe launched following the revolution that forced the longstanding Tunisian leader from power in 2011.

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Switzerland Says Palestinians Join Geneva Conventions on War

The Palestinian Authority has signed up formally to the Geneva Conventions, which set down the rules of warfare and humanitarian operations in conflict zones, the treaties' guardian Switzerland confirmed Friday.

Swiss foreign ministry spokesman Pierre-Alain Eltschinger told AFP that the Palestinian Authority had declared itself party to the conventions on April 2.

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Al-Rahi Travels to Geneva, Says New President Should be Honorable

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Monday traveled to Switzerland on a five-day official visit, reiterating his call for the election of an “honorably” strong president.

Al-Rahi, who headed to Geneva, was accompanied by Bishop Boulos Matar and Bkirki spokesman Walid Ghayyad.

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Kremlin Critic Khodorkovsky Granted Residency in Switzerland

Former Russian oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, freed after a decade in prison in Russia, has been granted a one-year resident permit in Switzerland, migration authorities said Sunday.

"His application was approved," migration office Martin Reichlin, a spokesman for the Federal Migration Office, told Agence France Presse.

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Switzerland Holds Off on Russia Sanctions

Switzerland on Wednesday decided not to impose sanctions against Russia for its seizure of Crimea, claiming it wanted to find a "balance" between international law and Swiss interests.

"The position of our country is independent of the U.N.," Swiss president Didier Burkhalter told a press conference in Bern, saying Switzerland can only use sanctions when they are based upon "international law and the interests of the Swiss".

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Switzerland Blocks more Ukrainian Assets

Switzerland, which led a push to block assets of ousted Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych and others, has frozen the holdings of nine more individuals including one of his sons.

Swiss authorities, which last month ordered a freeze on the assets of Yanukovych, his coal magnate son Oleksandr and 18 other Ukrainians, published an order late on Monday extending their net.

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Swiss Launch Criminal Probe against Yanukovych, Freeze Assets

Swiss authorities said Friday they have launched a criminal probe into alleged money laundering by ousted Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych and his multi-millionaire son.

The government also announced it was freezing the assets of 20 Ukranian officials, including Yanukovych and his son Olexandr and a number of former ministers in his government.

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Switzerland Says Ready to Freeze Any Yanukovych Funds

Switzerland said Thursday it was prepared to freeze any funds Ukraine's ousted president Viktor Yanukovych might have in Swiss banks.

The Swiss government has decided "in principle to freeze any possible funds Mr Yanukovych may have in Switzerland", foreign ministry spokesman Pierre-Alain Eltschinger told Agence France Presse in an email.

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War of Words in EU Parliament over Swiss Immigration Vote

A European Parliament debate Wednesday on Switzerland's controversial decision to curb immigration erupted into a barrage of bitter exchanges and insults between right and left-wing lawmakers.

Brandishing a Swiss flag, Italian deputy Mario Borghezio, a member of the populist, anti-immigration Northern League, interrupted the debate by shouting: "Yes to the referendum! Yes to the people's freedom!

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Merkel Sees 'Considerable Problems' from Swiss Immigration Curbs

German Chancellor Angela Merkel foresees "considerable problems" after voters in Switzerland opted to impose limits on immigration from the European Union, her spokesman said Monday.

"The government takes note of the result of this referendum and respects it," Steffen Seibert told reporters when asked to respond to Sunday's vote that was pushed by Swiss right-wing populists.

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