A wide range of topics occupied Swiss newspapers this weekend, from Swiss investments in US arms companies and requirements for FIFA World Cup host countries, to what to do in the event of a terror attack. A critique of Geneva’s relationship with the Red Cross also made headlines.
Swiss arms investments
The NZZ am Sonntag newspaper reported that the Swiss National Bank (SNB) has upped its investment in American nuclear arms manufacturing companies, with the figure having surpassed CHF750 million ($777 million) in 2016 to CHF1.2 billion. The German-language paper quoted a SNB spokesperson, who attributed the significant investment increase to the growth of foreign exchange reserves.
A report in the SonntagsZeitung newspaper described how the Swiss Federal Office of Police (Fedpol) has developed recommendations for how to behave in the event of a terrorist attack. Specific steps and rules of conduct that can be adopted to increase the chances of survival will be illustrated using images, symbols and schematised characters. These will be published and shared via social media channels like Facebook and Twitter at the national and cantonal levels if such instructions become needed, and informational brochures will also be distributed.
FIFA highlights human rights
The SonntagsZeitung also informed Swiss readers that in September, the world football governing body FIFA would publish new requirements for countries wishing to become candidates to host major sporting events, such as the 2026 FIFA World Cup. For the first time, this list of requirements will include “respect for human rights”. This stipulation will require candidate countries to demonstrate respect for the rights of construction workers, as well as freedom of assembly and of opinion.
Rethinking Red Cross relations
According to a US study commissioned by the Swiss foreign ministry, the relationship between the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Swiss government need to be rethought. Currently, Switzerland contributes financially to the Geneva-based humanitarian aid organisation in return for the ICRC’s promotion of the city as a diplomatic centre – a quid-pro-quo that is rooted in a 2013 memorandum of understanding. But as Le Matin Dimanche newspaper reported, the study experts criticised this “symbiosis”, because it does not allow for honest strategic debate. They recommended that Switzerland focus more on launching “concrete projects” of its own, rather than relying on the ICRC to support Geneva.
swissinfo.ch and agencies/cl