A 27-year-old Swiss woman has been sentenced to ten years in prison after she killed a 4-year-old girl in a sect-like community in the Zurich highlands ruled with an iron fist by a man who believed he was Jesus.

"/> A 27-year-old Swiss woman has been sentenced to ten years in prison after she killed a 4-year-old girl in a sect-like community in the Zurich highlands ruled with an iron fist by a man who believed he was Jesus.

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CRIME

Woman gets 10 years in Swiss child torture case

A 27-year-old Swiss woman has been sentenced to ten years in prison after she killed a 4-year-old girl in a sect-like community in the Zurich highlands ruled with an iron fist by a man who believed he was Jesus.

Pfäffikon district court convicted the woman of murder and grievous bodily harm in the verdict on Tuesday, newspaper Zürcher Oberlander reports.

At the time of the incident in 2006, the woman lived in a religious sect in the Zurich Oberland as the girlfriend of the victim’s father, a man referred to in the Swiss media as Hash-Jesus. 

The 44-year old disciplinarian, who thought he was the son of God, was sentenced to nine years and six months imprisonment in 2010 for repeatedly beating his deceased daughter and her older half-sister, who survived the ordeal.

The court found that he had given the girls a sadistic upbringing through the use of a punishment system based on the Old Testament and designed to break the will of the children, who lived in “permanent fear“.

A 62-year old female social worker who lived with couple was also jailed for seven years for her part in the abuse.

The sect leader’s girlfriend admitted to the court that she used all her strength to shake the child in May 2006 in what she described as “an unintentional emotional reaction“ after the girl wet her pants.

The judge said the woman must have known that the brutal treatment of the children was wrong and ought to have “recognised the hunger and bruises“ of the children to whom she was a “virtual mother“.

The court found that she actively supported her boyfriend’s cruel regime as she did not want to lose him. The accused, whose gender was uncertain at birth, was baptized as a boy. She became acquainted with the girls’ father shortly after travelling abroad to undergo a sex change operation.

The state prosecutor had called for a 16-year sentence, but the judge took the woman’s remorse over the death of the almost 5-year-old girl into account. 

Her lawyers had called for two years, arguing she was not as guilty as her accomplices as she was only “part of the system.“

The ex-girlfriend said she has now distanced herself from the teachings of the sect leader.

The court set compensation for personal suffering for the surviving child at 30,000 francs ($33,600) to be paid by the woman and 75,000 ($83,950) to be paid jointly with the girl’s father and the ex-social worker. 

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QUALITY OF LIFE

Why are Geneva and Zurich high among world’s ‘most liveable’ cities?

Zurich and Geneva have been ranked once again in the top 10 best cities to live in but not everything is so rosy about life in Switzerland's two big cities.

Why are Geneva and Zurich high among world’s ‘most liveable’ cities?

Switzerland is the only country in Europe to have two entries in the top 10 in the new Global Liveability Index: Zurich is in the third place and Geneva in the sixth.

The study, carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit rates living conditions in 172 cities based on more than 30 factors. These are grouped into five categories: stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. 

Both cities score high across all categories, with highest marks given for heath care (100), followed by infrastructure (96.4), and stability (95).

The difference, though minimal, between the two cities, lies in the culture and environment category, were Zurich scored 96.3 and Geneva 94.9.

The lowest score both got, 91.7, is for education, which is surprising, as Zurich’s Federal Polytechnic Institute (ETH) has been named the best university in continental Europe for several years running, including in 2022.

READ MORE: Swiss universities still highly ranked but slip in ratings

The overall result, however, is not exactly a surprise, because the two cities (and sometimes also Basel, Bern, and Lausanne) frequently rank in the Top 10 places to live in the world.

Paradoxically, Switzerland’s two largest cities also routinely take top spots as the most expensive places to live in. For instance, both were ranked among the costliest for international residents in a survey published on June 14th.

So the obvious question is, how can two most expensive cities also be among most ‘liveable’?

At least part of the answer may lie in different criteria used to measure the quality of life versus costs.

The concept of quality of life defined by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which was also adapted in Switzerland, includes categories such as  health, education, environmental quality, personal security, civic engagement, and work-life balance.

Swiss cities (and Switzerland in general) scores high in all these categories, which explains the overall top rankings.

The cost of living, on the other hand, is determined by calculating prices of goods and services that are essential parts of individual or household spending.

These prices are totalled and averaged, and indexes are created to help compare costs of living in different locations.

As prices for basic necessities such as housing, health insurance, food, and public transportation, are much higher in Switzerland than in most of Europe, the country always ranks among the most expensive in the world.

However, as The Local explained in a recent article, in order to get a more accurate assessment of the cost of living, prices should be looked at in the context of purchasing power parity (PPP) — that is, the financial ability of a person or a household to buy products and services with their wages.

An in depth analysis by a digital employment platform Glassdoor concluded that in Switzerland (along with Denmark, and Germany) the average city-based worker can afford to buy 60 percent or more goods and services with his or her salary than residents of New York.

READ MORE : EXPLAINED: Why Switzerland’s cost of living isn’t as high as you think

And there’s more to the equation…

Most, if not all, participants in the global quality / standard of living indexes are international residents in each surveyed country — people who are typically high earners and have sufficient income to live well. That skews the results somewhat.

For instance, the Quality of Living Ranking conducted annually by asset management firm Mercer, bases its findings on responses by expatriate employees — people who work in high-level, well-paid executive positions — rather than those in lower-level jobs, like in retail or restaurant sector.

 READ MORE: What is the average salary for (almost) every job in Switzerland?
 
 

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