Don’t trash the train – swissinfo

Swiss trains often look like battlefields after football fans have been in them. Repair bills can amount to thousands of francs. One of the country’s top teams, Young Boys, decided to put a stop to this by appointing monitors from its own fan base, to patrol the trains and calm down the rowdies. Swiss TV took a ride with one of the new train monitors to see how the pilot scheme was working out. (SF/
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Hooligans – swissinfo

Zurich police recently published video footage showing football fans rioting in a stadium. The violent images shocked the Swiss public and questions are increasingly being raised as to how to tackle the problem. (SF/
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Cocaine habit – swissinfo

Cocaine is no longer a high-society drug. As a result of falling prices and increased availability, even young teenagers are buying it in Zurich, according to Swiss television. At the recent Street Parade, a mobile laboratory was set up to test the quality of the cocaine on sale on the streets. Tests showed that purity had sunk to an all-time low. (SF/
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Hi-tech prison – swissinfo

Switzerland’s most modern prison building has opened in Lenzburg, canton Aargau. The 95 cells were built according to the latest thinking on penitentiaries. The new central prison for men and women is about 300 metres away from the old prison building, and has a special department for seniors. (SF/
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The heist

cezanne.jpgArmed robbers have made away with what could be the biggest heist in Swiss history: SFr180 million worth of paintings by Cezanne, Degas, Monet and Van Gogh. Zurich police said four paintings were stolen on Sunday from the Bührle Collection, one of Europe’s finest private museums for Impressionist and post-Impressionist art. It is the biggest theft ever committed in Switzerland – overtaking SFr75 million stolen from a Zurich’s main post office a few years ago – and chances are in Europe as well.
Update: Zurich police announced on Tuesday they had recovered two of the paintings, the van Gogh and the Monet, in an abandoned car found just 500 metres from the Bührle museum. Apparently, the thieves found them too cumbersome to run off with.

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Carnival loses its glitter

mask.jpgCarnival has ended in most of Switzerland with the Mardi Gras festivities. But in one town, they hardly got off to a start this year. The authorities in Locarno, canton Ticino, called off the partying after a local student was savagely beaten by three other men. The young man was taken in a critical condition to a nearby hospital with severe brain damage. He died the next day without ever waking up.

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R2-D2 kidnapped from museum

r2d2.jpgUnidentified thieves have stolen a replica of the Star Wars robot R2-D2 from a film prop museum in Frauenfeld, canton Thurgau. According to local police, the theft must have occurred some time between the beginning of the month and Tuesday, when some objects were reported missing. The thieves broke into a basement storage room, making off with an exact copy of the famed robot character as well as other items. It is not known if they left the talkative 3CPO behind. The 1.2-metre-high robot is worth thousands of Swiss francs according to its owner, Roman Güttinger. Güttinger’s hoard of props from horror, adventure and science fiction films is considered the biggest private collection in Europe. He has gathered around 2,500 items, including rarities such as the monster from the Alien films and the Batmobile from Batman.