Switzerland in the News

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  • Wed, 20 Jun 2018 15:00:00 +0000: Pope Francis’ Geneva trip in a nutshell - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    The pope is flying into Geneva on Thursday. Here is a brief guide to the pontiff’s one-day visit.   What is Pope Francis doing in Geneva? The pope is travelling to the Swiss city on June 21 partly to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Geneva-based World Council of Churches (WCC). He is expected to arrive at the airport at 10.10am, where he will be welcomed by Swiss government delegation, including president Alain Berset and ministers Doris Leuthard and Ignazio Cassis. After official talks with the Swiss leaders, the pope will make the short journey to the WCC headquarters for an ecumenical prayer session with local church representatives. After lunch at the Ecumenical Institute at the Château Bossey in neighbouring canton Vaud, he will return to the WCC for talks.  Why is the pope visiting the WCC? I thought the Roman Catholic Church was not a member of the Geneva-based organisation. Founded in 1948, the World Council of Churches (WCC) brings together the world’s ...
  • Wed, 20 Jun 2018 15:00:00 +0000: When US migrant policy debates invoke the Bible - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Many nations, including Switzerland, must grapple with the challenge of migration. The news of controversial recent border-security measures along the US-Mexican border has made headlines not only in North America, but in Europe as well. Almost 2,000 children have been separated from their parents between-mid April and the end of May in what many have denounced as a cruel and immoral approach to deterring unlawful crossings. The US administration has staunchly defended this heavy-handed policy. Attorney General Jeff Sessions even cited chapter 13 of Paul’s letter to the Romans to silence clergy who protest the sharpening of anti-immigration policies. This unusual twist in the raging political debate across the Atlantic inevitably struck a chord in me, a pastor and life-long student of the New Testament. I immediately thought of a scene in Eric Till’s 1999 biopic, Bonhoeffer – Agent of Grace. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German theologian, had been detained in wartime Germany without ...
  • Wed, 20 Jun 2018 09:26:00 +0000: Switzerland regrets US move to quit human rights body - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    The Swiss government has reacted with disappointment to the United States’ decision to withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council, defending the Geneva-based forum’s “key role” and “tangible impact”.  “Switzerland regrets the decision of the United States to withdraw from the Human Rights Council, which it sees as a core body in the promotion and protection of human rights as a whole,” the Swiss foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.  The Swiss ministry said it remained committed to the 47-member forum, which has a "tangible impact on the ground, in particular by deploying fact-finding missions and commissions of inquiry into situations of concern”.  After much speculation, the US confirmed on Tuesday that it was pulling out of the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, calling it “hypocritical and self-serving” with chronic bias against Israel and lacking reform.  “Switzerland is convinced that the active engagement of the United States in the work of the ...
  • Wed, 20 Jun 2018 05:45:00 +0000: Behind closed doors: where refugees call home in Switzerland - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    There are 68.5 million forcibly displaced persons worldwide as a result of war, and natural or man-made disasters. Photographer Yvain Genevay’s photos show what temporary shelters look like for the small number of them who reach Switzerland. People seeking asylum in Switzerland may stay in the country while awaiting a decision from the authorities on whether their application has been successful. They receive temporary accommodation where they will stay during the first three months of their application. According to the State Secretariat for Migration, there were 18,088 applications for asylum in Switzerland at the end of 2017 and 6,360 people were granted asylum. Every asylum seeker arriving in Switzerland receives an N-Permit, proof that they have applied for asylum and are awaiting a result. A first impression In these pictures, Genevay makes a political comment about what some of Switzerland’s asylum seekers might see when confronted with their temporary housing for the ...
  • Tue, 19 Jun 2018 15:00:00 +0000: Can research tame the excesses of the blockchain revolution? - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    The cryptocurrency craze has attracted hundreds of millions of francs in crowdfunding cash to Switzerland, often based on the flimsiest of concepts. The Crypto Valley Association (CVA) is banking on research to lay a more solid foundation for the industry in Switzerland. To this end, CVA has invited academics and researchers from around the world to rub shoulders with entrepreneurs at a three-day blockchain conference to be held in Zug this week. Switzerland’s appetite for blockchain needs a more balanced diet than speculation and fanciful notions, according to Alexander Denzler, head of blockchain research at Lucerne’s University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU). Research can add healthier, and more palatable, ingredients to the mix. There is a big need for a conference that focuses on technology rather than marketing for start-ups,” he told swissinfo.ch. “The blockchain hype of the last few years has resulted in a lot of heads being lost up in the clouds. We need to ...
  • Tue, 19 Jun 2018 12:22:00 +0000: What to do when your friend talks about suicide - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    In Switzerland a young adult commits suicide about every three days. An innovative prevention campaign wants to encourage young people to seek help. (SRF, swissinfo.ch) One evening, an 18-year-old man receives a phone call from a friend who is upset over a girl and says he wants to kill himself. He passes the phone to his father who is successful at calming the friend down. This true story is one of the vignettes in a new suicide prevention campaign launched by Pro Juventute, a charitable foundation, supporting the rights and needs of children and youth. The campaign, “Talk, listen and get help” is also supported by the Swiss Federal Railways. The online campaign encourages young people to speak up to their friends. It presents  five first-hand stories to convince teenagers to address the subject of suicide when confronted with it. The campaign includes an app that recognises posters placed throughout Switzerland and redirects users to a website with the personal stories. It ...
  • Tue, 19 Jun 2018 09:00:00 +0000: Experiments made in Zurich defy museum conventions - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    An eclectic selection of objects is on show on the ground floor of Hamburg’s Museum of Applied Arts (Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe - MKG).  Among the discoveries in the exhibition “Mobile Worlds” are a Congolese figurine of a white missionary; a plaster model of an eighth-century Syrian sculpture of a goddess; a pile of rubber tyres; a beautifully painted pair of Indian doors; a football signed by Pele; and a collection of tsubas, Samurai sword mountings. Contemporary art rubs shoulders with ancient artefacts. Asian porcelain is juxtaposed with modern European fashion, Kurdish activists, and images of African hair art. Roger Buergel, the guest curator of the show (together with Sophia Prinz), likes to mix things up. “Mobile Worlds” is the result of curatorial experiments Buergel and Prinz have been carrying out in the Johann Jacobs Museum in Zurich since Buergel took the challenge, in 2013, to revamp the old “Coffee Museum” set up originally in the mid-1980s by the ...
  • Mon, 18 Jun 2018 14:29:00 +0000: What politicians can learn from Swiss cows - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    My favorite was number 73. She had a certain dignity about her. When potential intruders approached her space, she gave off an aura of invincibility causing them to walk away. When potential enemies came too close, she chased them off with a simple flick of the neck. Those familiar to her stayed nearby, confident that if they were threatened she would come to their defence. There was no question; number 73 was a natural leader. When the Hérens breed of cows are put out to pasture in the mountains after the snow has disappeared, fights break out. Enclosed in a giant field, separated by ropes and painted with numbers according to their owners, the cows are initially kept in closures, pawing at the ground and bellowing for a fight. When the barriers are brought down at an exact Swiss time, the groups begin to separate, and then all hell breaks loose.  Inalpe is a special tradition in the canton of Valais. An organized version is often shown live on television with cows fighting ...
  • Mon, 18 Jun 2018 09:16:00 +0000: Video games addiction recognised as mental health problem - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Gaming disorder – addiction to playing video games – has been officially listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a mental health condition. In Switzerland, there are around 70,000 “problematic” internet users – a stable number for the past five years that includes hardcore gamers.  The Geneva-based UN health agency on Monday released the 11th edition of its International Classification of Diseases (ICD) which now includes the condition gaming disorder. The ICD is used by practitioners worldwide to diagnose health conditions.  The WHO describes gaming disorder as a pattern of behaviour which is so severe that playing video games “takes precedence over other interests and daily activities”.   The health agency says studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only 2-3% of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities. But it warns that people who enjoy video games “should be alert to the amount of time they spend on gaming activities, particularly when it is to ...
  • Mon, 18 Jun 2018 09:00:00 +0000: Refugees and locals learn to live together in Swiss town - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    If you check a map, you might think that Bex - pronounced without the X - is just a sleepy Swiss town known mostly for its salt mines. Look a little closer and you will see an African shop in the centre of town and faces of many colours on the street. This small town was one of the first places in the region to have an asylum-seekers’ centre - since 1982 - and some 33% of its 7,731 population are foreign, which is above the national average. So does it hold some lessons for elsewhere in terms of living together? “I have nothing against refugees, but we are a small town and many have been imposed on us when towns along the Lake [Geneva] don’t want them,” says one elderly resident who has lived in Bex all her life and preferred not to be named. “It’s too much. Sometimes when you step out on the streets, you wouldn’t even think you are in Switzerland.  We are at the bottom of the canton, it’s like we are the dustbin.” Coming by train from Lausanne, you reach Bex after glittering ...
  • Sun, 17 Jun 2018 15:00:00 +0000: ‘Fans’ Embassy’ hits the road in Russia - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Any Swiss football fans who run into difficulties at the World Cup won’t have to deal with the problem on their own. The Swiss embassy in Russia is organising a “mobile consular service” – a minibus – to help them.  The red-and-white minibus, known as a “Fans’ Embassy”, will travel to the three cities – Rostov-On-Don, Kaliningrad and Nizhny Novgorod – in which the Swiss team is playing its three group matches.  The two or three embassy staff and their boss will help Swiss supporters who have lost documents or have questions about their visas or other issues. The exact locations (address and GPS coordinates) of the minibus can be found on the website of the Swiss embassy in Russia. Additional World Cup information is available in German, French and Italian.  These locations have been agreed with the local authorities, whom the consul-general and his staff met as part of their World Cup preparations. The embassy is also in touch with the Swiss Supporters Association, which has ...
  • Sun, 17 Jun 2018 15:00:00 +0000: Ken Loach on wealthy Switzerland and how to film capitalism - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    British film director Ken Loach, known for his bleak social critiques, discusses his informative experiences and whether he's an 'angry old man'.
  • Sun, 17 Jun 2018 09:00:00 +0000: ‘Big differences between the law and reality’ - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    How does a Swiss person integrate in Russia? Having Russian friends and an interest in local history, culture and sport can help, says 45-year-old Daniel Rehmann, a businessman representing Swiss expatriates living in Russia. swissinfo.ch: Why did you choose to live in Russia? Was it by chance, or planned? Daniel Rehmann: It was a result of how business was building up here and my academic further education at the University of St Petersburg. It wasn’t planned. I met some people on a trip to St Petersburg who proposed cooperating with me in building up a tourism business. That’s how I got started here. It was also during the economic boom in Russia and there were plenty of business opportunities. So I stayed and built up my own small business while furthering my education at local Russian universities.  swissinfo.ch: How did you imagine Russia before you arrived – what were your expectations? D.R.: I had visited Russia a few times previously and made some contacts here, so I ...
  • Sat, 16 Jun 2018 15:00:00 +0000: Welcome to the World Cup of Direct Democracy - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    What if the World Cup were decided not by playing football but by the quality of each nation’s direct democracy?  The 32 teams which qualified for the tournament currently underway in Russia did so on very different merits from what counts in the World Cup of Direct Democracy. This tournament is decided by free and fair elections, the rule of law, and comprehensive forms of participatory and direct democracy. Here is how such a contest would play out among the 32 countries, through eight groups and a 16-team playoff.  Group A: The Beauty and the Beasts  Uruguay has been a pioneering and longstanding practitioner of direct democracy since the early 20th century. But who wins second place? The far-from-democratic Russia, with a nod to the well-drafted-if-little-used Soviet referendum tool, noses out the even less democratic countries of Egypt and Saudi Arabia. {1. Uruguay, 2. Russia, 3. Egypt, 4. Saudi Arabia}  Group B: A Regional Contest with a Guest  Three neighbouring ...
  • Sat, 16 Jun 2018 15:00:00 +0000: Stray cats, dates of birth and overseas wealth - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Almost every article published by swissinfo.ch contains a percentage, an age, an amount of money or some other figure. Here’s a round-up of the most interesting statistics to appear in the past week’s stories. Monday 108 The number of years Basel carnival has been run by a man. The committee for the annual event has now got its first woman chair, Pia Inderbitzin.   Tuesday 300,000 Apparently there are between 100,000 and 300,000 stray cats prowling around Switzerland! Animal welfare groups are calling for owners to castrate their cats so they don’t mate with stray ones and have kittens.  Wednesday 00.00 Swiss passports and ID cards will no longer discriminate against people who do not know their date of birth. Until now, the birthdate section on such documents recorded 00.00, which created problems for holders at border controls and shopping online.  Thursday 52 The percentage of Swiss people who trust the news, up six points on last year.  Friday 2,300,000,000,000 ...
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