Tag Archives | Switzerland

World Leaders Call For End of Criminalization of Drug Use

drugwarToday in New York City, the former presidents of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Poland, Portugal and Switzerland join with Kofi Annan and others to call for the end of drug criminalization. They are also calling for legal and regulated use of psychoactive substances. This press conference is being held at 9:45 AM by the Global Commission on Drug Policy:

Via Drug Policy Alliance:

Today, the Global Commission on Drug Policy will release Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work, a new, groundbreaking report at a press conference in New York City. The event will be live-streamed and speakers include former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, former Colombian President César Gaviria, former Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss, Richard Branson and others.

The Commissioners will then meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson in the afternoon following the press conference.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Apartment Building Caters To Needs Of ‘Multiple Chemical Sensitivity’ and ‘WiFi Sickness’ Sufferers

PIC: OSO (CC)

PIC: OSO (CC)

In Switzerland, people who claim to be affected by multiple chemical sensitivity, WiFi illness, or both, can try to get an apartment in a building specially built for their needs.

Via Raw Story:

Schifferle and the other residents suffer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), a chronic condition not broadly recognised by the medical community. Those afflicted, however, believe it is sparked by low-level exposure to chemicals in things such as cigarette smoke, pesticides, scented products and paint fumes.

Twelve of the 15 apartments in the earth-coloured building in a remote part of Leimbach, on the outskirts of Switzerland’s largest city, have already been rented since it opened in December.

Many occupants also suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity, in which electrical circuits and radiation from wireless equipment make them equally ill.

“It makes me weak, anxious, I can’t breath, my lungs hurt, and I get dizzy,” says Schifferle, who suffers from both conditions.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Officials in Zurich call ‘sex box’ drive-in a success

This is an example of giving up the ghost, addressing the elephant in the room, and turning a con into a pro.

via The Raw Story

Switzerland’s first sex drive-in, which opened two months ago in a bid to take prostitution off Zurich’s streets, has been a success, the city said Tuesday following an initial evaluation.

“After two months I can say that this guarded prostitution site is working,” Michael Herzig, director of social services for sex workers in the city, told reporters.

Zurich opened the fenced-in site, which is only accessible by car, in an industrial sector on the outskirts of town in August to move sex workers out of the city centre and provide them with a safer working environment.

The drive-in, approved by 52.6 percent of Zurich voters in a March 2012 referendum, has a track where the sex workers can show off their assets and negotiate a price, and nine so-called “sex boxes” where they and their clients can park and conclude the transaction.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Switzerland To Vote On Radically Limiting CEOs’ Pay Nationwide

ZurichMontageMost likely with fists clenched and all the blood drained from its face, the Wall Street Journal reports:

Switzerland is expected to vote later this year on a proposal to place further limits on executive pay, the latest effort to govern corporate compensation in a country that recently approved some of the world’s strictest say-on-pay rules.

The Young Socialists have collected more than 100,000 signatures—the threshold needed to call a vote—in support of a referendum to limit executive salaries to 12 times those of a company’s lowest-paid employee.

The campaign, dubbed the 1:12 Initiative for Fair Pay, is named for the organizers’ belief that no one in a company should earn more in one month than the lowest-paid employee makes in a year.

The Swiss Federal Council, the country’s cabinet, has advised the parliament to recommend that voters reject the proposal. However a poll earlier this month showed 49.5% of respondents were in favor of the 1:12 Initiative, 40.5% against and 10% undecided.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Mysterious Figure In Gas Mask Has Haunted Swiss Wilderness For A Decade

gasmaskImagine bumping into him alone on an isolated trail in the Alps. Via the Australian:

Known only as ‘Le Leyon’, the mysterious stranger has puzzled locals and authorities in Switzerland for years. He always wears the same outfit and nobody has ever seen his face. The mystery surrounding his identity and purpose in the area has been the subject of much concern and intrigue.

“He had a military cape, boots and an army gas mask – an antique type, I think,” said an unnamed local photographer who managed to snap a photograph of the man.

Some area residents have also expressed fears over the man’s intentions. “He came out of the woods with his military clothes,” said one woman. “We saw neither his face nor his eyes behind his big dark gas mask.”

Authorities are currently attempting to track down and identify the man but have so far come up empty.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Switzerland Starts Sex Drive-In

Waiting for customersHard to imagine that stuffy Switzerland, land of conservative bankers, would launch such a progressive project as a sex drive-in, but it’s an effort to ghettoize prostitution reports Reuters:

Greeted by a press pack rather than prostitutes, the first customer to roll up to Switzerland’s sex drive-in on opening night took one lap of the facility before making a hasty exit.

The second car, a family vehicle driven by a man in sunglasses under cloudy evening skies, broke down and needed jump starting in front of a host of photographers, sniggering into their cameras.

Zurich authorities had said they expected a modest start to the country’s first so-called “sex boxes”, a row of drive-in wooden garages on a looping track where clients in cars can visit prostitutes, shielded from prying eyes and security cameras.

With an estimated annual turnover of around 3.5 billion Swiss francs ($3.79 billion), prostitution has been legal in Switzerland since 1942, with sex workers in Zurich required to have a special permit, health insurance and pay tax…

[continues at Reuters]

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Swiss Santa Claus’s Terrifying Alter-Ego Schmutzli

The harsh Germanic Santa Claus equivalent known as Krampus has seen his celebrity rise in recent years, but he’s not Northern Europe’s only the only psychologically scarring Christmas figure. Switzerland’s black-cloaked Schmutzli, also known as “the Whipping Father,” arrives each December 25th to beat and abduct children. Swissinfo says:

Known as Schmutzli in the German part of the country and Père Fouettard (from “whip”) in French, Samichlaus’s alter ego usually carries a broom of twigs for administering punishment to children.

Kurt Lussi, curator at Lucerne’s History Museum, says that the St. Nicholas custom in Switzerland became interwoven with a festival of masks dating back to pre-Christian times. Schmutzli, he says, was a symbol of the evil spirits which these ancient festivals sought to drive out with a combination of noise and light.

He gives the example of an illustration from 1486 that depicts a demon who abducts children. “This child-stealing motif returns again in Schmutzli,” he said.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Switzerland’s Anti-PowerPoint Party

12. cash collateralThe best up-and-coming political force may be Switzerland’s Anti-PowerPoint Party. The intrepid Party is fighting the use of PowerPoint presentations in business, government, and education, arguing that use of PowerPoint costs their nation approximately 2.5 billion $USD yearly. (There is no methodology behind this number.)

Ultimately, the group is working to obtain 100,000 voter signatures, which would enable it to call for a national referendum to ban PowerPoint and other presentation software throughout Switzerland. Their website has a library of examples of terrible presentation slides:

The APPP sees itself as the advocate of approximately 250 Million people worldwide, who, every month, are obliged to be present during boring presentations in companies, universities, or at other institutions, and who had up to now no representation in politics.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

George W. Bush Cancels Swiss Trip To Avoid Prosecution For Torture

Mr. Blair (left) and Mr. Bush

Mr. Blair (left) and Mr. Bush

There was a British television drama a few years ago that had ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair being sent for war crimes prosecution at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Apparently ex-President George W. Bush doesn’t think that’s so far-fetched and is avoiding Switzerland for fear of being arrested, according to Reuters:

Former President George W. Bush has canceled a visit to Switzerland, where he was to address a Jewish charity gala, due to the risk of legal action against him for alleged torture, rights groups said on Saturday.

Bush was to be the keynote speaker at Keren Hayesod’s annual dinner on February 12 in Geneva. But pressure has been building on the Swiss government to arrest him and open a criminal investigation if he enters the Alpine country.

Criminal complaints against Bush alleging torture have been lodged in Geneva, court officials say.

Human rights groups said they had intended to submit a 2,500-page case against Bush in the Swiss city on Monday for alleged mistreatment of suspected militants at Guantanamo Bay, the U.S.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Did Google Street View Find God Above a Swiss Lake?

GodvonvGooglevMaps?

So, even God can’t hide from Google Street View? Max Read writes on Gawker:

Who are those blurry, possibly robed figures hovering above a lake in Quarten, Switzerland, visible on Google Street View? Is it something on the camera lens? Or is it maybe… God and His only begotten Son? And who’s to say that God isn’t “something on the lens,” in some kind of a cosmic, metaphysical sense?

Read the rest

Continue Reading