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The Swiss show Christmas good will

The Swiss exchanged a record number of electronic greetings this Christmas.

On December 24 and 25 they sent over 65.6 million messages via their phones, about three million more than last year.

A spokeswoman for one of Switzerland's mobile phone operators, Orange, said individuals had not sent more messages, but the number of customers had increased.

The Swiss also kept up their enthusiasm for sending parcels: the post office reported that it had handled 15 million between December 1 and 24, around the average for this time of year. In Christmas week it was sorting a million a day – twice the number in normal periods.

Christmas is not over for the post office: it is cooperating with the Swiss Red Cross and the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation to send parcels donated by the public for people in need. Half the gifts will be distributed in Switzerland, and the others in eastern Europe.

Volunteers have been helping their fellow citizens in quite a different way in the traditional "red nose" operation. Since the beginning of December they have driven home more than 12,500 people who felt unsafe behind a wheel after too much partying.

The operation continues until January 7. Traditionally, the night of December 31 is the busiest, with between a fifth and a quarter of all the "red nose" calls.


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