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Sunday press review


What are the Swiss papers talking about?


Will China's president be attending the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos from January 16-20? The NZZ am Sonntag thinks so. (Keystone)

Will China's president be attending the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos from January 16-20? The NZZ am Sonntag thinks so.

(Keystone)

The NZZ am Sonntag newspaper reports that Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to make an official visit to Switzerland next January and also attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) gathering in Davos. In other Sunday headlines, former UBS boss Oswald Grübel criticises the accumulated power of central banks.

NZZ

Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to make an official visit to Switzerland next year, the paper reports. It claims he will visit Bern on January 15-16, 2017 and also attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, which will take place from January 16-20. The Swiss foreign ministry refuses to confirm this information. 

Tages Anzeiger

Former UBS boss Oswald Grübel criticizes the growing strength of central banks and their ‘supremacy over the markets and other banks’. The former chief executive officer claims their use of negative interest rates and huge positive balance sheets represent ‘weapons of mass destruction’. He calls for an end to the use of negative interest rates. 

Grübel argues that central banks have reached a ‘point of non-return’ and fears that current monetary policy could lead to central banks losing their credibility and a future financial crash. 

Early last year, Switzerland’s central bank pushed official interest rates deep into negative territory as it battled to prevent the strong Swiss franc affecting the country’s export industries. 

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has the lowest interest rate among the world’s major central banks. SNB policy makers plan to keep the deposit rate unchanged at minus 0.75% (introduced in 2015) until at least the end of the first quarter of 2019.

NZZ

Each Swiss adult has an average fortune of $561,900 (CHF568,000), according to the 2016 Credit Suisse ‘Global Wealth Report’, due to be published on Tuesday. Switzerland tops the ranking, followed by Australia, which climbs to second place ($376,000), the United States ($345,000) and Norway ($312,000). Private wealth has risen by 5.3% annually since the 2008 financial crisis. The report says the Swiss franc’s appreciation against the dollar is one of the main reasons. 

Tages Anzeiger

Germany recently banned the “True Religion” group, which is behind the “Read!” Koran-distributing project run by ultra-conservative Muslims. But in Switzerland their activities continue, SonntagsBlick reports. According to the paper, ‘Read’ campaigners distributed the Muslim holy book in eight Swiss cities at the weekend. 

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière claims the Salafist group uses its activities to radicalize youngsters and has persuaded about 140 people to join militants in Iraq and Syria. Last week hundreds of German police raided 200 homes, buildings and mosques and initiated investigations after the authorities launched the ban. Switzerland has also opened criminal proceedings against several people suspected of links to terrorist organisations and is working with Germany on the investigation.

Zentralschweiz am Sonntag/Ostschweiz am Sonntag:

Between January and October 2016, the Federal Office of Police initiated bans against 26 individuals to stop them entering Switzerland, the Zentralschweiz am Sonntag and Ostschweiz am Sonntag report. This compares with 17 for 2015 and only 13 for the previous three years. For the January-October period, 100 travel bans were filed against Swiss residents to prevent them leaving the country.

Le Matin

The two brothers of an 82-year-old Geneva man who recently committed suicide have launched legal proceedings against the vice president of the Swiss assisted suicide organization Exit, Le Matin Dimanche reports. 

On October 24, the two men filed a legal bid to prevent the assisted suicide association from helping their older brother to kill himself. In a hearing the court ruled that Exit could not prescribe the lethal potion. But following the legal ruling their older brother went ahead and took his life alone at home on November 11. 

The brothers reportedly argued that their sibling, a member of Exit for more than two decades, had suffered from temporary depression and had not been acting of his own free will. 

He lost his wife two years ago and had reportedly contacted the assisted suicide association for their help. Exit said he had "multiple aged-related disabilities" and said he had written a letter attesting to "intolerable" mental and physical suffering.
   
Under Switzerland's right-to-die laws, patients can self-administer a lethal dose prescribed by a doctor acting for a not-for-profit assisted suicide association.

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swissinfo.ch with agencies

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