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Glance around Switzerland: Holocaust deniers, veins for coffee, no gifts for hospital workers and cash hunters

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Glance around Switzerland: Holocaust deniers, veins for coffee, no gifts for hospital workers and cash hunters
lostation/ / depositphotos
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Our round-up of stories you might have missed this week includes a bitcoin ATM found in the woods, parents saving an international school, no presents for hospital workers, a whole lot of onions and more.

As always, we have tried to give you an overview of the story and a link so you can follow up on it for more information, if you want. 

No presents for 8,000 hospital workers

The University Hospital of Zurich has told staff that they will not receive any Christmas presents this year – due to too many people complaining about them in recent years.

In a letter sent to staff, the hospital hierarchy said that despite significant financial efforts the gifts had prompted negative reactions. Recent gifts include entry to a zoo, a bath towel and cinema tickets.

Spokeswoman Katrin Hürlimann said that the idea of giving gifts to staff was out of date, adding that “it has become impossible to find a gift that everyone likes” when explaining the decision.  

You can read more on this story on 20 Minuten

Swiss avalanche efforts recognised by Unesco

The hard-working souls within avalanche risk management in Switzerland (and Austria) have been recognised by Unesco and inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The decision was made at the 13th meeting of the Interstate Committee in Mauritius on Thursday. Switzerland and Austria submitted their candidacy in March 2017.

Unesco praised the way avalanche management had changed with the times. The organisation said it was a “dynamic process combining empirical knowledge and practical experience: knowledge is transferred from science to practice, and from the ground to research."

More on this story can be read on the Unesco website, or in the video above.

Police may soon use vein scanners to get coffee

Police in the city of St Gallen have introduced a state-of-the-art biometric identification system that uses unique patterns in veins to identify people much more effectively than traditional methods.

The palm vein scanner system can be used instead of ID cards, finger prints or a signature, and is said to be almost impossible to fool. It is also described as being 10 times safer than iris scanners and a 1,000 times more secure than facial recognition.

Initially, the system will be used by 260 members of the city's police force for entry to its St Gallen HQ.

A spokesperson for St Gallen police said the scanners could also, in future, be used for accessing lockers or using coffee machines.

20 Minuten has more on this story

Hunting for cash

The recovered Bitcoin/ATM Machine. Photo: Kanton Zug

A damaged Bitcoin/ATM machine was discovered by a hunter in Herrenwald, Hünenberg, this week – complete with nearly 3,000 Swiss francs (€2,650) inside.

It turns out that the machine was stolen from an office building in Zug in October 2017. The unknown criminals had unsuccessfully attempted to drill into the machine to retrieve its contents before apparently dumping it in the woods.

Police have since secured the money but it unclear if the hunter will be rewarded for his efforts.

The canton of Zug press department has more on this story

Parents save international school

Two weeks ago, the International School of Central Switzerland, located in Cham, announced it was closing due to a lack of funds. 

This week it has announced that, thanks to donations from parents, the school will continue to operate at least for now. The school had asked parents for donations of 5,000 francs so that staff salaries could be paid. 

The school has announced that the immediate goal is to restore confidence and that it is currently looking for investors so that it can continue to operate. 

More on this story in the Blick newspaper.

Holocaust deniers meet in Switzerland

It has emerged that a group of ‘Reich Citizens’ met at a hotel on the Walensee lake in eastern Switzerland for a seminar looking at conspiracy theories including the idea that the German government is a puppet of the Allies, a small group of super-rich families own the world, and the possibility of a secret world government.

During the seminar, which took place in July this year and was attended by roughly a dozen Reich Citizens, participants also aired their doubts over whether gas chambers were used in World War Two.

It is initially unclear exactly why they chose to meet in Switzerland but it has been suggested that strict German policing played a part in the decision.

The Reichsbürgerbewegung (or Reich Citizens’ Movement) is the name given to numerous extremist groups and individuals who reject the legitimacy of the modern German state. Their ideology is said to be based on right-wing politics, racism and antisemitism.

Tagblatt has more on this story

Bern goes onion crazy

Check out them onions: The Zibelemärit (Onion Market) in Bern. Photo: Switzerland Tourism

The weird and wonderful Zibelemärit (which roughly translates to onion market) was celebrated this week in Bern. Each year, Bernese citizens are said to go through between 40 and 60 tonnes of onions as part of this colourful celebration. 

The Zibelemärit always takes place on the fourth Monday in November, and dates back to the 19th century. It is said to pay tribute to the time when farmers started selling their vegetables in Bern for a two-week period around the Feast of St Martin (November 11th). 

This year's outing had more than 200 stalls dedicated to onions and a further 400 dedicated to local delicacies, ceramics, mulled wine and sweets. Check out the video below for a closer look. 

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