When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Switzerland

Society

How Altered Consciousness Is Changing Psychiatry

From self-induced trance to psychedelics, altered states of consciousness are experiencing a renewed interest in the scientific community for their therapeutic value.

GENEVA — Swiss psychiatrist Valérie Picard describes her weekly trance practice as being plunged into a feeling of intense happiness: “I often find myself parachuted into magnificent natural landscapes. With a feeling of weightlessness all my perceptions are amplified, in a kind of ecstasy of the senses”

Working at the Belmont Clinic in Geneva, she does not, however, have the sort of profile of someone traditionally interested in these techniques. These explorations of states of consciousness are still considered by many to be controversial.

Watch Video Show less

For Ukraine, It's Time For The Switzerland Solution

No one should be under any illusions that Ukraine is about to join the EU or NATO. If this war is to end in a lasting peace, Ukrainians will have to accept a new position on the world stage and a new approach. The famously "neutral" and multilingual Switzerland could be a model.

-OpEd-

BERLIN — Without a doubt, Vladimir Putin’s deadly war in Ukraine deserves the nearly universal condemnation it has sparked. But in order to understand the conflict, we must also look at the history of political miscalculations that has led up to it.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Efforts at diplomacy ended in utter failure, including the approach of foreign policy leaders in Germany and elsewhere in the West. Politicians have allowed tensions to simmer away, ignoring the very real threat that they could develop into an explosive situation.

Keep reading... Show less

Swipe Vax: Dating Apps Are The New Battleground Of Vaccination Divide

A Swiss-German anti-vax dating app is the latest tool for COVID-19 skeptics. As the pandemic becomes increasingly politicized around the world, will it permanently change how and who we date?

People usually turn to dating applications for a shot at love, but a new Swiss-German platform hopes to connect those who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and are frustrated by European health passes that limit activities (including a romantic dinner date) for the un-jabbed.

The app, called “Impffrei: Love” (“Love Without The Vaccine"), has reportedly registered some 10,000 unvaccinated users aged 20 to 50, who claim they are sick (not literally) of how the pandemic has impacted their personal liberty, reports Berlin-based magazine Cicero.

Keep reading... Show less

Why The Right To Die Is Expanding Around The World

Euthanasia and assisted suicide laws are still the exception, but lawmakers from New Zealand to Peru to Switzerland and beyond are gradually giving more space for people to choose to get help to end their lives — sometimes with new and innovative technological methods.

The announcement last month that a “suicide capsule” device would be commercialized in Switzerland, not surprisingly, caused quite a stir. The machine called Sarcophagus, or “Sarco” for short, consists of a 3D-printed pod mounted on a stand, which releases nitrogen and gradually reduces the oxygen level from 21% to 1%, causing the person inside to lose consciousness without pain or a sense of panic, and then die of hypoxia and hypocapnia (oxygen and carbon dioxide deprivation).

While active euthanasia is illegal in Switzerland, assisted suicide is allowed under certain conditions and under the supervision of a physician, who has first to review the patient’s capacity for discernment — a condition that Sarco aims to eliminate. “We want to remove any kind of psychiatric review from the process and allow the individual to control the method themselves,” Australian doctor Philip Nitschke, the machine’s creator, told news platform SwissInfo. Some argue that this is against the country’s medical ethical rules while others expressed concerns about safety.

But Nitschke says he found the solution: an online AI-based test, which will give a code to the patient to use the device if he passes.

Keep reading... Show less
Switzerland

A Weird 2021 : Our Favorite "What The World" Stories

Tales of odds and ends from deep inside the world's newspapers....


Watch Video Show less
LE MATIN
Anne Sophie Goninet

A Swiss Thief With A Fondue Fork Tries To Dip Into Till At Funeral Home

Switzerland is famous for its fondue, a national specialty that is eaten by dipping bread into melted cheese, using uniquely shaped long-stemmed forks. Now a 60-year old Swiss man has found a rather unexpected use for his fondue fork, reaching with the length of the utensil and its sharp prongs to steal envelopes containing condolence cards from boxes in funeral parlors. He managed to fork 17 envelopes in three different funeral homes in the towns of Delémont, Bassecourt and Porrentruy, reports Swiss daily Le Matin. The thief, who later admitted that he was hoping to find money left in the cards by mourners to the deceased's family, was eventually caught by an undertaker last April.

It is unclear whether the man actually found money, as no banknote was recovered by the police in his house, but in July, a court ruled his "motives were financial" and condemned him to a fine of 600 Swiss francs ($663) plus 570 CHF to cover fees, for theft, property damage, disorder of funeral service by inappropriate behavior and for undermining the peace of the deceased.

Watch Video Show less
Switzerland

Bertrand Piccard: Profits And Saving The Planet Go Together

Five Questions for the legendary pilot, environmental activist and founder of Solar Impulse Foundation, supporting solutions that are profitable and protect the planet.

In partnership with: ChangeNOW

Environmentalist, Psychiatrist, Aviator, Explorer, Entrepreneur. Bertrand Piccard's many hats have made him a pioneer and leading voice on the themes of innovation, clean technologies and sustainability. He is the first person to complete a non-stop balloon flight around the globe, as well as the co-pilot of the maiden around-the-world flight in a solar-powered airplane.

Founder and Chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation, the Lausanne-born 63-year-old has made it his mission to select 1000 solutions to protect the environment in a profitable way. He is currently United Nations Ambassador for the Environment and Special Advisor to the European Commission.

Ahead of the 2021 changeNOW summit, the world's largest gathering of innovations for the planet, where he will be sharing his vision and pioneering spirit, we asked Bertrand Piccard 5 questions about building a smarter future.

Watch Video Show less
Switzerland
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

Spring Rolls Sprung At Swiss Border Crossing

Drugs, weapons and... spring rolls? Add the Asian fried staple to the list of contraband items that have been seized in the illegal international smuggling market.

Police discovered 61.5 kilograms (136 lbs) of chicken spring rolls stashed in a car trunk during a control at a France-Switzerland border crossing on Feb. 16. The driver, a Vietnamese national, and the passenger, a French national, were returning to Switzerland where they own a restaurant. But they did not declare the rolls to the Swiss administration at Ferney-Voltaire.

Watch Video Show less
Switzerland
Irene Caselli

Switzerland's 'Contract Children' - Abused, Exploited, Forgotten

A report turns much-needed attention to a dark and long-ignored chapter in Swiss history.

In Switzerland, well into the 1970s, children of unmarried mothers or from poor families were taken away from their parents and sent to live with new ones. They were placed in new homes, especially on farms, where they were made to work.

In many cases, they were exploited, beaten and abused at the hands of those who were meant to look after them. And yet attacks were rarely investigated, not least because foster families were barely controlled by the authorities.

Watch Video Show less
Switzerland
Ayaz Ali

When China Went To Davos: Those Chilly Winds Of Global Capitalism

-Analysis-

Two years ago Chinese President Xi Jinping — in the wake of the twin election victories of Brexit and Donald Trump — arrived at the Davos World Economic Forum as the would-be savior of international free trade. "We should adapt to and guide globalization, cushion its negative impact, and deliver its benefits to all countries and all nations," he declared in a landmark speech. Last year it was Chinese Vice Premier Liu He's turn at the Swiss ski resort, boldly claiming that within three years Chinese debt would be assuaged and the nation would be able to comfortably withstand a trade war with the U.S. As the 49th World Economic Forum opens today, China is again center stage, but the storyline is shifting, following reports that Chinese growth is at its lowest rate in nearly 30 years.

Watch Video Show less
BBC
Martin Greenacre

Just A Handshake? Touchy Subject For Pious Muslims In The West

A series of recent legal cases across Europe have questioned whether those who refuse to shake hands with people of the opposite sex for religious reasons are guilty of discrimination.

PARIS — The traditional Muslim veil has long been a source of conflict in the West over integration and gender equality. Now, another familiar practice is prompting debate: the handshake.

Last week, it was reported that a Muslim couple had been denied Swiss citizenship after refusing — for religious reasons — to shake hands with people of the opposite sex during their interview. Officials cited a lack of respect for gender equality as the reason for their decision.

Watch Video Show less
Switzerland
Megan Clement

Crisis In Family Care Demographics, Women Pay The Price

Women have the most to lose if governments don't start investing more in quality care services, the International Labour Organization warns.

When it comes to care provision, the world faces something of a perfect storm as populations age, family structures shrink and more women enter the workforce. It's a crisis in the making, the International Labour Organization (ILO) warned in a recent report. And unless governments start properly investing in care services, gender inequality will increase and economies will suffer.

The demand for care work is set to increase significantly in the next decade, with 2.3 billion people needing care by 2030, the ILO report concludes in its report released in late June. What remains to be determined is whether this work will be high quality and well remunerated, or low quality and exploitative. The answer to that question, lead author Laura Addati explains, will determine in large part how the crisis plays out.

Watch Video Show less
Switzerland
Julie Rambal

(Even Older) Boomerang Children Weigh On Parents' Well-Being

More and more young and not-so-young people are returning home to live with their parents. A phenomenon which is hard on their aging parents.

GENEVA — Françoise, 71, couldn't have dreamt of a more complicated relationship with her 39-year-old daughter Sandra. They used to speak every day, and not a week would pass without them seeing one another. But their relationship changed last September when Sandra arrived and unpacked her suitcases after a break-up. "She stayed seven months. Hell!" sighs Françoise. "She never ceased to remind me that I am old and decrepit and that she can't stand my retired life. Worse, she didn't do anything around the house, despite the fact that she acted very autonomously. I found myself stuck with a 40-year-old teenager."

Françoise says her grown daughter, who wanted a child of her own, had been stung badly by her boyfriend who changed his mind at the last minute. "She took her anger out on me," the aging mother said. "I didn't dare to invite friends over for lunch if she so much as seemed to be in a bad mood. I felt obliged to constantly be at her disposal."

Watch Video Show less
Switzerland
Fabien Goubet and Florian Delafoi

Behold Tomorrow! Meet The Professional Futurists

GENEVA — One day last October, during the morning talk show on Swiss state broadcaster RTS, still groggy viewers were brutally awakened by a sentence dropped live on-air: "Schools train children who will be decimated by artificial intelligence." The voice that dragged them out of their reverie belonged to a French doctor and entrepreneur named Laurent Alexandre. His words hit their mark, so much so that the video clip instantly went viral on social media.

Laurent Alexandre doesn't have a monopoly on snappy sentences. "Humanity will change more in the next 20 years than in the previous 300." This prediction is trademarked by Gerd Leonhard, one of Europe's leading thinkers of the future. The website of this Zurich-based German thinker is worth its weight in divinatory herbs. In the background, a video plays on a loop, showing the spry 50-year-old in a dark suit with a sly smile and wavy gray hair. Leonhard's face turns in slow motion towards the horizon, his gaze plunged serenely towards the future. A yellow sticker that reads "Top 100 Wired" reminds us that Leonhard is among the world's most influential personalities on innovation. Visitors are then invited to "futurize their business', in other words, hire Gerd's services for a conference.

Watch Video Show less
Switzerland
Valère Gogniat

Rolex, Making Of A Worldwide Reputation From A Swiss Backyard

GENEVA — At a time when trust and truth are under attack, it's somehow comforting to see that some reputations can still go untarnished.

For the third year in a row, Swiss company Rolex has earned the designation as the company with the world's best reputation, as awarded by the Reputation Institute, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The timeless watchmakers beat out (in order) LEGO, Google, Canon and the Walt Disney Company to the top spot.

Watch Video Show less
Switzerland
Mathilde Farine and Céline Zünd

Is Switzerland Finally On Its Way To Being Cool?

It may not be Europe's biggest trend setter, but in subtle ways, the land-locked, quadrilingual republic is fashioning a hipper, more confident cultural identity.

ZURICH — Ask any Swiss person if they think their country is cool and you're likely to get a raised eyebrow, maybe even a burst of laughter. Efficient? Sure. Switzerland is also safe, tidy. All that. But cool? That's just not the first word that comes to mind — unless you're Nicolas Bideau, director of the federal agency Presence Switzerland.

Bideau's job is to promote the country's image, which is his mind, has every reason to be considered cool. Take Roger Federer. He's "the king of coolness," in Bideau's opinion. There's also the "Nati," as the Swiss national soccer team is known. And so on and so forth. "The Swiss-made brand is so cool that everybody wants to copy it," the Presence Switzerland head insists.

Watch Video Show less
EXPLORE OTHER TOPICS