The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Sunday, February 04, 2023

The disagreement between Amherd and Süssli, the possible forced recruitment of IT staff and the Swiss election observer rejected by Azerbaijan: this and more can be found in the Sunday newspapers. The headlines in unverified reports:

"NZZ am Sonntag":

Defense Minister Viola Amherd and army chief Thomas Süssli have recently disagreed on the army's financial situation. Amherd agreed that the financial resources for the army should only increase after a delay, as the "NZZ am Sonntag" newspaper discovered from confidential minutes of a meeting. She had given the all-clear several times to the Security Policy Committees of the Council of States and the National Council. Süssli, on the other hand, believes that Switzerland's defense capability is in danger. Systems are at the end of their service life and there is a lack of financial resources to renew them.

"NZZ am Sonntag":

The revised military law provides for the compulsory recruitment of IT personnel even in peacetime. The new Article 95 states that the "security of resources must be guaranteed in all situations", as the "NZZ am Sonntag" wrote. The revised law is still undergoing consultation until the beginning of March. According to the newspaper, cyber attacks and other hybrid threats do not yet trigger a case of defense. The recruitment of IT personnel and infrastructure would therefore also be possible in peacetime. The Federal Council would have to approve the coercive measures individually.

"SonntagsBlick":

The authorities in Azerbaijan have refused entry to the EPP National Councillor and election observer Nik Gugger. Police officers confiscated his passport and prevented him from entering the country, as SonntagsBlick reported. Gugger was travelling to Azerbaijan as an election observer on behalf of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. According to the newspaper, the other members of the Swiss delegation were allowed to enter the country. After a flight to Turkey, Gugger received his passport back. The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) will intervene with the Azerbaijani authorities through diplomatic channels. It was not clear why Gugger was prevented from entering the country.

"SonntagsBlick":

110 railroad employees were injured or killed on duty between the beginning of 2021 and the end of 2023. Eight employees died at work, as SonntagsBlick wrote based on reports from the Federal Office of Transport. According to the report, carelessness and errors were largely responsible for the accidents. They mainly occurred when working near tracks, shunting or loading goods. SBB attributed the accumulation of accidents to the many construction sites. After five fatal accidents in 2022, an external body was commissioned to review safety. According to the newspaper, the Federal Office of Transport still sees a need for action, particularly in safety management.

"SonntagsZeitung" / "Le Matin Dimanche":

Former Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer has defended his decision not to intervene in Credit Suisse (CS) at the end of 2022. A rescue by the state was not very realistic, he said in an interview published in the "SonntagsZeitung" and "Le Matin Dimanche". A bankruptcy of CS was very unlikely, said Maurer. A state bailout of the major bank would have meant a loan in the billions, which the bank's management would not have wanted, said Maurer. This would have caused an uproar in the public, but would have been of little use to the bank. Four months before CS went under, the bank's Board of Directors spoke out against a federal rescue package, as the SonntagsZeitung newspaper reported.

"SonntagsBlick":

Swiss Animal Protection wants to restore the trust of its 70 or so sections and donors through transparency. The decisions of the central board are to be communicated clearly in future and internal processes and figures are to be disclosed, as Piero Mazzoleni told "SonntagsBlick". He will lead the association until a search committee has found a new person to head it. He plans to lead the association for one year, after which the next ordinary meeting will be held, at which the presidency can be filled. "We need calm now, the disputes must come to an end," said Mazzoleni.

"SonntagsBlick":

FC Zurich (FCZ) and five fans have called for a landmark decision on the closure of individual stadium sectors in Swiss football. They lodged an appeal against the closure of the south curve at Zurich's Letzigrund stadium, according to SonntagsBlick. FCZ president Ancillo Canepa told the newspaper that the new collective punishments lacked a legal basis. It is actually not clear whether the new sanctions would stand up to legal scrutiny, wrote "SonntagsBlick". The bans would be based on the Hooligan Concordat of the cantons. However, the Federal Supreme Court has ruled that measures may not constitute punitive action for fans outside the stadium.

"SonntagsZeitung":

A radical Islam influencer has met with three GC football players. The players Elmin Rastoder, Florian Hoxha and Meritan Shabani wrote under a post published on social media: "It was a pleasure to meet you, brother!", as reported by the SonntagsZeitung newspaper. In photos, they stand next to Abdul Wahab. According to the newspaper, the American of Lebanese origin has more than half a million followers on YouTube. His role model is Andrew Tate. The British influencer is accused of human trafficking and rape in Romania, according to the newspaper. The footballers and the club did not want to comment on the meeting.

"SonntagsZeitung":

Migros has commissioned an external law firm to investigate possible conflicts of interest involving its former head of retail, Dieter Berninghaus. In addition to Berninghaus' wife's company, the Signa Group also commissioned another consultancy firm in Berninghaus' circle, as the "SonntagsZeitung" wrote. According to the newspaper, the Schwyz-based company Retail Capital Partners earned over 135 million euros over ten years for its consulting services. Its head, Hendrik Gottschlich, was brought into the Signa circle by Berninghaus in 2012. According to the newspaper, many of the references on the Retail Capital Partners website, such as Globus, match Berninghaus' professional biography.

"NZZ am Sonntag":

The Norwegian criminal proceedings against the former president of the biathlon world federation, Anders Besseberg, have also caused problems for the Zug-based sports marketing company Infront. The trial concerns hunting trips that the accused undertook with a former manager of Infront, as the "NZZ am Sonntag" wrote. Infront is said to have financed the trips at times. The Norwegian judiciary is investigating whether the sports association subsequently favored the Zug-based company in negotiations. In Austria, an investigation into allegations of embezzlement and corruption is underway against Infront Austria, among others. There are indications that the Swiss company did not receive preferential treatment: for example, it had repeatedly applied unsuccessfully for media rights to biathlon events.

©Keystone/SDA

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