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Bolivia, ETH, mafia & gambling Stories making the Swiss Sunday papers

Bolivian President Evo Morales will visit Switzerland in December to sign an agreement about a major South American rail project

(Keystone)

The following stories were reported in Switzerland’s Sunday press on November 12, 2017.

A major South American rail deal

The SonntagsBlick newspaper reports that Bolivian President Evo Morales will head to Switzerland on December 14 to sign a memorandum of understanding with Swiss Transport Minister Doris Leuthard over a massive South American rail transport project. 

The 3750-kilometre-long Bioceánico railway line is intended to connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and span the South American continent. It is expected to cost between $10 billion and $14 billion and is being spearheaded by Bolivia. Swiss transport firms hope to secure some of the lucrative construction contracts. 

ETH Zurich expansion 

According to a report in the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper, the Federal Technology Institute ETH Zurich wants to hire 100 new professors in the next seven years, amounting to a 20% increase in personnel. University President Lino Guzzella told the paper that the goal is to increase the institution’s power and influence. The hiring project is expected to cost some CHF550 million ($552 million). 

Mafia in Switzerland 

Ahead of a trial of mafia members in canton Thurgau set for next week, the SonntagsBlick reports that multiple mafia cells are active in the country. Zurich alone, says the paper, is home to three families active in the ‘Ndrangheta clan, with further mafia activity to be found in French and Italian-speaking Switzerland. 

Italian authorities believe that Switzerland is home to a large regional mafia organisation that controls a vast swath of ‘Ndrangheta activity. Federal Prosecutor Michael Lauber told the SonntagsBlick that his office is conducting “several investigations” into criminal organisations in the country, and harsher punishment is needed to crack down on their activities. 

Banned gamblers

As of the end of last year, Switzerland’s 21 official casinos had banned 50,262 gamblers from using their facilities, says a report in the NZZ am Sonntag. The number of banned gamblers continues to increase, in part because most of those bans are never reversed.

Other Sunday news:

Swiss justice minister calls for commodities crackdown

Swiss arms surrender events yield thousands of weapons

ICRC head hopes for consensus, resettlement agreement at migration conference

Switzerland asked to aid Mauritian inquiry into Basel-based Dufry

Swiss TV journalists arrested, held in Abu Dhabi

 

swissinfo.ch and agencies/vdv

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