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Switzerland plans to ease restrictions now in place to combat the new coronavirus starting at the end of April, the government said on Wednesday, adding the economic damage from the epidemic could be the worst on record.

“The government knows that our people, our families, companies, employees and self-employed people need a vision for the future, and they need it quickly,” President Simonetta Sommaruga told a news briefing.

She said the uncertainty was taking its toll on...

Among the perks listed in a job advertisement seeking a new teacher, Göttibach primary school mentioned “lower than average number of children with a migration background”.

The ad’s wording quickly sparked a wave of criticism.

“It reads as though the job is more attractive because there are few foreigners at the school,” the president of the teachers’ association Dagmar Rösler told the 20 Minuten news portal.

“This sends the wrong message”, she added.

Human...

Turkey’s Consulate in the Swiss city of Zurich was attacked by a Molotov cocktail in the early hours on April 22, said the Turkish consul serving there.

Asiye Nurcan Ipekci told Anadolu Agency that the attack came at 2.51 a.m. local time (0051GMT), but no one was hurt and the building suffered no damage.

She added that there were previous attacks on the consulate but this latest wasn't claimed by any group.

The police arrested three young people over the attack, she said...

The SonntagsBlick has published a report showing the extent to which "rightwing extremists" are publicly displaying themselves in Switzerland.

The weekly newspaper published photographs of xenophobes trumpeting their views and identities on social networks. Their tattoos leave little room for doubt about their political inclinations. Neither are the symbols, flags or slogans they wield.

Rightwing extremists are keeping anything but a low profile in Switzerland.

A member...

In an early test for Geneva's controversial new secularism law, a Muslim councillor on Tuesday chose to sit in the public gallery during a recent council meeting rather than obey the new legislation by removing her headscarf so that she could take part in the session.

The move by Sabine Tiguemounine, a councillor with the Greens for the Geneva municipality of Meyrin, came just days after Geneva’s new cantonal secularism law came into force on March 9th.

The law was adopted...

Much of this is due to population growth. Switzerland’s population grew 28% over the same period. However, population growth doesn’t account for all of the increase in prison numbers. In 1988, there were 70 prisoners per 100,000. By 2017, the same figure was 17% higher at 82 per 100,000.

In 2017 there were 6,863 prisoners in Switzerland. 94% of them were men and 72% were foreign citizens.

The rate of incarceration among foreigners was more than seven times the rate of Swiss....

Police in the Swiss city of Schaffhausen have defended their decision to fine a man who used the words “Allahu akbar” in public.

The incident in May 2018, which saw the man fined 150 Swiss francs (€132) plus 60 francs in administrative charges, came to light this week after the 22-year-old involved went public with his story.

The young man, named by Swiss media as Orhan E., said he used the Islamic phrase ‘Allahu akbar’, which literally means ‘God is [the] greatest’, to express...

Around 250 people in Lausanne have demonstrated against the begging ban in canton Vaud, western Switzerland, which came into force on Thursday. Beggars now face being fined CHF50-100 ($50-100).

“Begging is not a crime”, was the slogan of the rally. Ada Marra, a parliamentarian for the leftwing Social Democratic Party, regretted in a speech that the “protection of the weakest was no longer guaranteed” and that the “poorest would now be criminalised”.

Until now, begging in...

A second Swiss canton will introduce a regional "burqa ban", after voters in St. Gallen overwhelmingly voted on September 23 to prohibit all face-covering garments in public spaces.

Nearly 67 percent of voters in the northeastern Swiss canton voted in favour of the new law, according to official results, paving the way for it to follow the example of the southern canton of Ticino, where a law was introduced two years ago that appeared to be aimed at burqas and other Muslim veils....

Switzerland has rejected a second asylum seeker relocation programme proposed by the European Union to relieve the burden on frontier countries like Italy and Greece. 

According to the SonntagsBlick paper, a spokesperson from the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) has confirmed that currently Switzerland has no plans to renew its commitment to accept asylum seekers from southern European countries.

The Alpine nation had participated in the first such relocation programme in...

A district court in canton Zurich has given a Muslim preacher, accused of promoting violence, an 18-month suspended prison sentence. It also ordered the 25-year-old Ethiopian to be deported and banned from re-entering Switzerland for 15 years.

Police arrested the cleric in October of last year, after receiving reports of the controversial sermon delivered at the An’Nur mosque in Winterthur, in north-eastern Switzerland. The man is also charged with distributing pictures of executions...

The Swiss branch of Amnesty International has criticised a visit to Switzerland by a high-ranking delegation of Myanmar army officials to discuss federalism. The visit comes as thousands more Rohingya Muslims continue to flee violence in western Myanmar and cross into Bangladesh. “The visit [to Switzerland] is unacceptable in our eyes, as for over a month the Myanmar army has been guilty of atrocities which have caused the flight of 600,000 people to Bangladesh,” Amnesty International...

The Swiss National Council, the parliament's lower house, voted with a narrow majority against financing of mosques from abroad and for expanding general transparency of the mosques’ financial backing. According to the Federal Assembly’s website, 94 members of the parliament voted in favor of the decision, with 89 voting against it. The vote took place on Tuesday.

The new legislation, proposed by the right-wing Lega dei Ticinesi party, bans foreign financing for mosques and implies...

A small hotel in the Swiss Alps is facing a barrage of criticism after it put up a sign asking "Jewish guests" to shower before swimming in the hotel pool. Israel described it as "an anti-Semitic act" of the worst kind.

The Paradies apartment hotel in the eastern Alpine village of Arosa became the target of a fierce backlash Tuesday after an outraged guest published a photo of the sign on social media. "To our Jewish Guests," the notice read. "Please take a shower before you go...

The Turkish consulate general in Switzerland's Zurich was vandalized Monday with different colors of paint, while graffiti reading "Kill Erdoğan" was written on a bus stop and a building near the mission. Consul General, Asiye Nurcan İpekçi, told Anadolu Agency that the attack happened in the afternoon. "Police arrived right after the incident and we are examining the attack," she said. Explaining that the attackers were around 60 people wearing balaclavas, İpekçi said that police had taken...