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December 4, 2016 Top stories from the Swiss Sunday papers

Assisted suicides are rising rapidly in Switzerland

Assisted suicides are rising rapidly in Switzerland

(Keystone)

Swiss newspaper coverage on December 4 included reports on the Middle East expansion of state-owned war materiel firm Ruag, an increase in assisted suicides and self-driving trains.

Ruag expands UAE presence

The SonntagsZeitung and Le Matin Dimanche have both uncovered plans by state-owned weapons manufacturer Ruag to build up its office in Abu Dhabi. Ruag plans to increase the number of staff working in this office from four currently to around 15 next year.

But the move may not go down well with everyone as the United Arab Emirate has been involved in the Yemen civil war. There is also the problem that weapons shipments from Ruag to the UAE have ended up in the wrong hands on two occasions in the past.

The expanding office is 51% owned by unnamed local business people. It is developing a simulation system to train army personnel.

More people exercising right to die

The rising numbers of people opting for assisted suicide in Switzerland is a cause for concern in some quarters. The NZZ am Sonntag reports that 999 people in Switzerland used the services of Dignitas and Exit last year – 25% up on 2014.

While assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland, theologian Frank Mathwig told the newspaper that the rise in numbers does not bode well for society. “We are losing our scruples about the issue of dying,” he said.

Mathwig believes the Baby Boomer generation, who have grown up with greater freedom of choice than earlier generations, are exercising this independence when it comes to choosing how to die.

Self-driving trains to be tested

The Swiss transport ministry has chosen a stretch of railway to test self-driving trains, according to NZZ am Sonntag. A concept for testing the new technology on the Neuchatel to La Chaux-de-Fonds stretch will be presented to the government next year.

This section of the line is on the periphery of the network and is due for an overhaul in any case. In addition to Swiss Railways trains, the report will also include plans by private rail operators to test self-driving stock.

Banking/pharma job fears

Speculation has been rife that Credit Suisse will announce more costs cuts as its investor day on Wednesday, including the fear that the bank will shed more staff.

Schweiz am Sonntag has stoked up the rumours further by announcing that Credit Suisse will slash between 1,000 and 1,300 staff in Switzerland. The bank could announce that it will achieve its cost-cutting programme a year early, according to NZZ am Sonntag. In this case, it could present further cuts for 2018.

Schweiz am Sonntag also predicts job cuts at Swiss pharmaceutical firm Actelion if US giant Johnson & Johnson achieve their goal of taking it over. Some 800 research staff could be forced to leave the Allschwil company, the newspaper writes.

 

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