A weekly roundup of news in Switzerland for the week of March 12-18.
The Sahara Desert in Switzerland
Swiss residents awoke Tuesday morning to hazy, orange skies and orange-speckled snow – a sign that a sandstorm from north Africa had dispersed desert sand over the continent of Europe. The weather phenomenon happens several times a year (Tuesday’s is the third time in 2022), but meteorologists say it is one of the heaviest in recent years.
Swiss businessman evacuates Ukrainians
Swiss entrepreneur Guido Fluri chartered a plane this week to evacuate 150 Ukrainian refugees, mostly women, babies and children with disabilities. The refugees have been given accommodation at a former children’s home in Mümliswil, a building which belongs to The Guido Fluri Foundation. Fluri spent most of his childhood in where the refugees are now while in foster care. He said it was “a small contribution in the face of this immense European catastrophe that we all face.”
Switzerland’s S Permit gets first recipients
Ukrainian refugees arriving in Switzerland will be the first recipients of Switzerland’s “S Permit” – created in the 1990s for such an event, but never used until recent weeks. The “S” status allows refugees to live and work in Switzerland for at least one year, with an option to extend if necessary. More than 6,000 Ukrainians have already registered in Switzerland; another 45,000 to 55,000 are expected to arrive in Switzerland in the coming weeks.
Bunker down: Switzerland prepares for nuclear war
After Russia’s attack on Ukrainian power plant Zaporizhzhya, the Swiss government reassured residents that the country is prepared for every kind of attack – even a nuclear one, with fallout shelters for all 9 million residents of Switzerland. Read more on how the government has been preparing for such an event since the 1960s.
Switzerland moves towards the legalization of cannabis
Three months ago, Malta became the first country in the European Union to legalize cannabis for personal use – a move that some lawmakers say has opened the door for legalization in Switzerland and perhaps, across the continent. Read more on the steps Switzerland has already taken and why cannabis social clubs will open in Zürich this year.
Thank you for reading and we’ll see you next week!