Briefly: Swiss voters reject 6 weeks of paid vacation

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Voters reject 6 weeks of paid vacation

BERN | Swiss citizens appear to be leading the way on European austerity, apparently rejecting a minimum of six weeks of paid vacation a year.

Swiss polls closed Sunday on several national referendums, including one pushed by a union to raise the minimum holiday from four weeks.

An exit poll by Swiss public broadcaster SSR projected that when votes were counted, two-thirds would reject the proposal.

Known for their work ethic, the Swiss appeared to heed warnings from government and business that more vacation would put the economy at risk.

As Europeans struggle to control debt through layoffs, wage cuts and tax increases, campaign group Travail.Suisse has argued more break time is needed because of workplace stress.

Many other Europeans get a minimum of four weeks.


Sarkozy threatens pullout of visa-free zone

PARIS | President Nicolas Sarkozy said he will pull France out of the European Union’s coveted visa-free “Schengen” zone unless progress is made on protecting EU borders from illegal immigration.

The pledge came Sunday at a boisterous campaign rally as the conservative leader faces what polls suggest will be a tough battle for him for re-election in April and May.

Mr. Sarkozy also pitched an effort to support purchases of European products within the continent, calling for the creation of a “Buy European Act” modeled on the U.S. “Buy American Act.”

Most recent polls show Mr. Sarkozy would lose by a double-digit percentage margin against Socialist Francois Hollande if, as expected, they qualify April 19 for the decisive, two-candidate presidential runoff on May 6.


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