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November 27, 2016


Top stories from the Swiss Sunday papers


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Switzerland has been preparing for a Trump win for the past year (Keystone)

Switzerland has been preparing for a Trump win for the past year

(Keystone)

Swiss newspaper coverage on November 27 included reports on Swiss relations with the future US president, reaction to the death of Fidel Castro and a leaked study into which sectors recruit foreign workers. 

Swiss government ready for Trump

Switzerland hedged its bets in the US election, already opening lines of communication with Donald Trump’s campaign team back in September 2015. Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter told the Schweiz am Sonntag newspaper he believed early on that Trump had a chance of winning. “We have contacts not only within the campaign team but also those in charge of the transition.” The Swiss foreign minister said Trump’s election needed to be put into perspective. Trump’s transition team has emphasised that it will “clarify its positions” on issues, something that the campaign team didn’t do as it “simply wanted to win the election, full stop”. 

Most foreign workers aren’t specialists

Four out of five foreign workers arriving in Switzerland aren’t the specialists the country urgently needs, according to a study leaked to the NZZ am Sonntag. The report by Zurich’s public economy office shows that foreign workers are mainly employed in the areas of gastronomy, retail and construction even though those sectors have a comparatively high rate of unemployment and are not struggling with a shortage of skilled workers.

Since 2007, only about 20% of immigrants have been employed in fields such as academia, technology and health care where there is a shortage of available local personnel.

This week, parliamentarians will discuss the implementation of the immigration quotas initiative approved by voters in 2014.

Fidel Castro: divided remembrances

“It’s high time to bury Castro’s image as a revolutionary icon,” found the SonntagsZeitung’s editorial, among the Sunday newspaper coverage of the death of Fidel Castro. The newspaper argued that the Cuban leader had many “fans worldwide, among them well-known politicians, culture and opinion makers”, who turned a blind eye to his suppression and persecutions.

Former Swiss cabinet minister Pascale Couchepin told Le Matin Dimanche: “The man was always impressive for his extraordinary logorrhea, a kind of verbal diarrhea. He understood that people were fascinated by his personality.” But Jean Ziegler, a former Swiss politician and member of the UN Human Rights Council, described Castro as someone with an “extraordinary human warmth” who had proved that “one can change the world”.

Stay of deportation for Iraqi

An Iraqi who has been in Switzerland since the age of seven will not yet be deported even if he represents a security risk for Switzerland, according to the Schweiz am Sonntag. The newspaper reports that the Federal Court in Lausanne halted the 24-year-old’s deportation procedure, based on his defence that he could be identified by the Iraqi authorities on his return because of media coverage of his case. He argued that he was at risk of being tortured if he went back, particularly because his uncle belongs to Islamic State. He is currently being held in a detention centre in Basel and his case will be decided at a later date.   

Clown under suspicion

Several newspapers carried a story about a clown from the Knie circus who was arrested for alleged attempts to have sexual relations with a 12-year-old girl. Le Matin Dimanche reports that the man is alleged to have exchanged phone numbers with the girl after a performance and had lunch with her, both with the mother’s consent. He is accused of having then rented a Zurich hotel room and taken photos of the girl. When the mother found out about the second meeting, she raised the alarm. Two weeks later, he was arrested. According to the newspaper, the man has been released but has lost several work contracts since. The clown did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.

Emirates airline seeks expansion

The Emirates airline says the Swiss market, and flights from Geneva in particular, are generating “among the highest” returns for the company. Emirates CEO Tim Clark told the Schweiz am Sonntag newspaper that the service could therefore be expanded. However, connecting two countries without a stop in the airline’s Dubai hub would require approval from the Federal Office of Civil Aviation. Clark said the airline had requested to offer flights to Mexico over a year ago but was still waiting on an answer from the authorities. 

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