Glance around Switzerland: Swiss Guards on the run, SBB taken to court, 111th birthday and angry neighbours

Our roundup of stories you might have missed this week includes Swiss guards on the run, SBB going to court, angry neighbours, a 111th birthday and more.

Glance around Switzerland: Swiss Guards on the run, SBB taken to court, 111th birthday and angry neighbours
Will Swiss Guards soon be competing at the Olympics? Photo: AFP

As always, we've tried to give you an overview of the story and a link to follow up on it, if you want. 

Swiss Guards on the run 

Priests take part in a fun run in front of St Peter's in 2013. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The Vatican has launched its own athletics team, hoping to compete in international competitions – including the Olympics. So you could see the Swiss Guards at Tokyo 2020.

Currently, the newly-formed Vatican Athletics team has 60 members and counts nuns, priests and Swiss Guards among their numbers.

The oldest member of the team is a 62-year-old professor of the Vatican Apostolic Library while the youngest is a 19-year-old Swiss Guard. 

You can read more on this story on The Local Italy website.

Celebrating 111 years of life

Photo: Chepko/deposit photos

Switzerland’s oldest inhabitant, Alice Schaufelberger, celebrates her 111th birthday today.

The Aargau native was born in 1908 and, despite being in her own words “weak and tiny” at birth, has managed to live nearly 30 years beyond the average age expectancy in Switzerland (82).

Alice’s husband passed away 80 years ago but, to this day, she still wears her wedding band.

Watson has more on this story

SBB taken to court by disabled group

Photo: Gina Sanders/deposit photos

Inclusion Handicap, the umbrella organisation of disability groups in Switzerland, is taking its fight against the new SBB double decker trains to the Supreme Court.

This follows a Federal Administrative Court ruling that the trains (called the FV-Dosto) must have at least one wheelchair ramp that provides access to a wheelchair area with a disabled toilet.

Inclusion Handicap says the trains are inaccessible to independent people with disabilities and that this ruling is therefore against the law.

The new trains were introduced on December 9 last year. The Neue Zürcher Zeitung has more.

Mars products boycotted by Coop

Photo: Bumble-Dee/deposit photos

Swiss supermarket chain Coop is refusing to sell Mars products due to a pricing dispute and has not ordered any Mars products for weeks.

This follows on from last year when Coop boycotted Nestlé products for two months. This dispute was ended by Nestlé agreeing to lower its prices. 

Coop is part of a European consortium, Agecore, that says Mars is charging too much for its products.  

In 2017, Coop made CHF29.2 billion (25.7 billion Euros) in sales, making it Switzerland's second best performing retailer. 
Le Matin has more on this story

Geneva taxis on strike

Photo: corepics/deposit photos

Taxi drivers in Geneva have been protesting this week against illegal transporters stealing their fares. 

Around 100 drivers blocked parts of Geneva airport on Friday as they take a stand against unauthorised vehicles from France, Lithuania, Hungary, Estonia and other countries driving tourists from Geneva airport to nearby ski resorts. 

The taxi drivers say these vehicles offer discounted prices that they cannot match, while paying no tax, and have asked for a meeting with the airport manager to discuss the situation. 

Blick has more on this story.

More than half of Swiss are angry at neighbours 

Photo: Rod_Julian/deposit photos

A study by has revealed that some 58% of Swiss citizens are angry at their neighbours for various reasons. 

Noise is the number one cause of anger, with cigarette smoke and pets coming in second and third place respectively. 

Perhaps more surprisingly, garden decorations were listed as the 8th biggest cause of anger between neighbours. 

Higher-earners are less likely to be irritated by neighbours whereas two-thirds of low-income house holds reported problems with neighbours. 

Some 502 people took part in the survey. Blick has more on this.


UK warns arrivals from Europe to ‘expect delays’ due to border force strike

The UK government has warned that people arriving into the country from Europe over Christmas should expect delays and disruption as border guards go on strike from Friday.

UK warns arrivals from Europe to 'expect delays' due to border force strike

The UK Border Force begins a strike on Friday, December 23rd, that is expected to cause major delays and disruption at airports and some ports.

Travellers were warned in a statement: “While the government is taking action to minimise disruption, travellers due to arrive in the UK over the Christmas period are warned to expect delays and disruption over the strike action affecting border control.

“Passengers should be prepared for longer wait times and should check with their travel agents, tour operators and airlines/carriers about possible disruptions to their journey prior to travelling.

“Our eGates will continue to function as per normal and we encourage all those eligible to use them to do so, as the quickest and most efficient way to pass through border control.”

The Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents the majority of border staff at airports, has called a strike between December 23rd and 31st, not including December 27th.

READ ALSO Do UK border strikes affect ferries, trains and the Channel Tunnel?

It is part of a wave of strikes hitting the UK as workers including nurses, paramedics, postal staff and rail workers strike for pay rises to help them cope with the soaring cost of living.

The disruption is expected to be concentrated at airports, although the ferry port of Newhaven is also affected, and is likely to lead to extremely long queues at passport control – some are predicting waits of up to 10 hours.

Affected sites are; Birmingham Airport, Cardiff Airport, Gatwick Airport, Glasgow Airport, Heathrow Airport – Terminals 2,3,4,5, Manchester Airport and Port of Newhaven.

It could also cause some flight cancellations and delays if passengers are not able to disembark at UK airports – travellers are advised to check with their airline before going to the airport.

The UK government has drafted in some members of the military to help run passport control, but this is likely to be a very limited service. 

Those travelling to the UK should also be aware of significant disruption on the railways, also due to strike action. 

You can find full details of travel between France and the UK HERE, or head to Local sites in Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Austria and Denmark for the latest on travel.