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Who Picks Up The Tab After A Night At The “Boozers’ Hotel”?

Some 500 people annually spend a night in Zurich's so-called "Boozers' Hotel," a sober-up facility run by local police. City officials agree they need to keep the drunk tank operating, but debate over who should pay for

After a long night of drinking... (Nurse Kate)
After a long night of drinking... (Nurse Kate)


ZURICH -- Where does the responsibility of the municipality end and personal responsibility begin? A flare-up erupted around that issue at a recent meeting of the Zurich City Council's Health Commission.

The catalyst was the sobering-up facility at the Urania police station, popularly known as the "Boozers' Hotel," which has special cells where drunks can bed down for the night. The City Council wants to continue with the facility, which began as a pilot project two years ago. The 13-person Commission agrees, but not on who should pay for staying there – the city or the severly inebriated people dropped off their by police.

According to two independent sources present at the meeting, socialist and green Commission members want the city to pay. From their point of view, fall-down drunks are sick people who shouldn't be punished. Leftists also used the opportunity to try and clear up a discrepancy in existing practice. Right now, drunks delivered to the Boozers' Hotel have to pay between 650 and 950 Swiss francs ($700-$1,000) for disorderly conduct and/or endangering themselves or others. But those brought to other police stations to sleep it off aren't charged. In both cases, any medical expenses are picked up by the individual's health insurance policy (mandatory in Switzerland).

A centrist Christian Democrat member of the Commission has now drafted a motion to be put before the City Council that all drunks, regardless of which police station they are left in to sleep it off, be charged the same amount.

Last year, approximately 500 people, mostly men aged 18 to 40, were delivered to the Boozers' Hotel, which costs around 330,000 Swiss francs per year to operate. For 98% of those spending the night, the experience was a one-off. Although getting paid for the stays proved somewhat difficult at first, the police department says things have now improved.

The cost of giving drunks a place to spend the night would add an estimated 500,000 Swiss francs ($545,000) to the city's annual budget.

Read the full story in German by Stefan Häne

Photo – Nurse Kate

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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The Unsustainable Future Of Fish Farming — On Vivid Display In Turkish Waters

Currently, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming, compared to just 10% two decades ago. The short-sightedness of this shift risks eliminating fishing output from both the farms and the open seas along Turkey's 5,200 miles of coastline.

Photograph of two fishermen throwing a net into the Tigris river in Turkey.

Traditional fishermen on the Tigris river, Turkey.

Dûrzan Cîrano/Wikimeidia
İrfan Donat

ISTANBUL — Turkey's annual fish production includes 515,000 tons from cultivation and 335,000 tons came from fishing in open waters. In other words, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming.

It's a radical shift from just 20 years ago when some 600,000 tons, or 90% of the total output, came from fishing. Now, researchers are warning the current system dominated by fish farming is ultimately unsustainable in the country with 8,333 kilometers (5,177 miles) long.

Professor Mustafa Sarı from the Maritime Studies Faculty of Bandırma 17 Eylül University believes urgent action is needed: “Why were we getting 600,000 tons of fish from the seas in the 2000’s and only 300,000 now? Where did the other 300,000 tons of fish go?”

Professor Sarı is challenging the argument from certain sectors of the industry that cultivation is the more sustainable approach. “Now we are feeding the fish that we cultivate at the farms with the fish that we catch from nature," he explained. "The fish types that we cultivate at the farms are sea bass, sea bram, trout and salmon, which are fed with artificial feed produced at fish-feed factories. All of these fish-feeds must have a significant amount of fish flour and fish oil in them.”

That fish flour and fish oil inevitably must come from the sea. "We have to get them from natural sources. We need to catch 5.7 kilogram of fish from the seas in order to cultivate a sea bream of 1 kg," Sarı said. "Therefore, we are feeding the fish to the fish. We cannot cultivate fish at the farms if the fish in nature becomes extinct. The natural fish need to be protected. The consequences would be severe if the current policy is continued.”

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