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(MENAFN - AFP) Switzerland's recent vote to curtail immigration from the European Union could seriously impact the Alpine country's booming watch trade, industry insiders warned this week.

Nearly half of all employees in the sector are foreign nationals who either reside in Switzerland or commute across its borders to work, according to the Swiss Watch Industry Federation.

"We ...


(MENAFN - AFP) The fruit of the shea tree has long been considered sacred by many in Western Africa because of its myriad health benefits.

But now growing demand among Western consumers for the fruit, known as "women's gold" by those who harvest it, is helping improve lives in some of the world's poorest communities.

Sweet-lovers around the globe already consume ...


(MENAFN - AFP) Japan is bracing for its first sales tax rise in years, with last minute shoppers buying up a host of goods from gold to ice cream, as the government tries to tackle its crushing national debt.

Millions of shoppers are making a mad dash to stores ahead of Tuesday's tax rise to 8.0 percent from the current 5.0 percent amid fears the increase could spark the ...


(MENAFN - AFP) Tens of thousands of Taiwanese protesters took to the streets in Taipei on Sunday in a bid to pressure embattled President Ma Ying-jeou to retract a controversial trade pact with China.

The protesters, many wearing black shirts and headbands reading "defend democracy, retract service trade pact," crowded the streets leading to the presidential office, despite ...


(MENAFN - AFP) In a cloud of dust and diesel fumes, a souped-up 4x4 roars through the silence of Pakistan's Cholistan desert, cheered on by tens of thousands of spectators.

Nearly 90 drivers were drawn to throw their vehicles around the dry, rocky 214-kilometre track in a desolate, baking hot corner of Punjab province for this year's Cholistan Jeep Rally.

The event, ...


(MENAFN - AFP) For Jack Daniel's, Tennessee's world-famous corn-based whiskey should be made according to a strict recipe -- basically, its own.

But to rivals, some with their roots in ginning up moonshine in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, Jack Daniel's wants to lock them out of a booming business.

In a battle of two global giants of liquor distribution, ...


(MENAFN - AFP) Crowdfunding and medieval history are coming together in Rome as a group of Franciscan monks take to the Internet to drum up funds to restore a dusty cell said to have been used by St Francis of Assisi himself.

Located in the trendy Trastevere district, the church of San Francesco a Ripa looks much like any other of 900 churches in the Eternal City and is ...


(MENAFN - AFP) The quest for oil may be the latest threat to Africa's most venerable wildlife reserve, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and already hard hit by deforestation, poaching and armed conflict.

Early in March, European Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs warned that "with oil production there would be a major risk of pollution at this site, located ...


(MENAFN - AFP) Russia has started counting the cost of seizing Crimea from Ukraine to its already stuttering economy, anxiously hoping that the West will refrain from implementing a second wave of sanctions that would cause even greater damage.

Moscow, already excluded from the G8, is planning for at least economic semi-isolation from the world for the next years with ...


(MENAFN - AFP) The European Central Bank is not expected to cut its key interest rates this week, even though inflation in the euro area continues to slow, analysts said.

The ECB has held eurozone borrowing costs at their current all-time lows since November.

But no further monetary easing appears to be on the cards at the bank's next meeting on Thursday just yet, ...

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