Catherine McLean Freelance Writer

Mushroom picking 'more complex' than expected

Published September 8, 2014 in The Local

The cold, wet summer may have been a disappointment for swimmers or hikers, but it has turned out to be a blessing for mushroom pickers.

Swiss newspapers have run stories about this summer’s fungi bounty, featuring photos of children with mushrooms bigger than their heads.

Police in the canton of Graubünden last month confiscated100 kilograms of mushrooms as overly eager pickers exceeded their daily quota.

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Gritty district turns into Zurich's trendiest spot

Published April 18, 2014 in The Local

Zurich’s Kreis 5 may be the antithesis of the idyllic Switzerland shown in tourist brochures, but that uniqueness is proving a draw for tourists and residents alike.

The once abandoned industrial quarter has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent decades, helping revamp the image of Switzerland’s largest city from conservative and sleepy to trendy and modern.

Lonely Planet named Zurich one of its top 10 cities this year, assuring visitors that the locals really do know how to party, including in Kreis 5’s after-dark hotspots.

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Swiss grapple with pros and cons of immigration

Published January 14, 2014 in The Local

Swiss politician Martin Suter doesn’t have to look far to see the drawbacks from a European Union agreement that has permitted thousands of Germans, French and other Europeans to settle in Switzerland.
Whether it’s trains crammed with commuters, families struggling to find a place to live, or older Swiss failing to find work, Suter, a politician for the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP), believes the blame can be laid at the feet of the newcomers.

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Swiss weigh slashing top pay in landmark vote

Published October 28, 2013 in The Local

In Winterthur, a former industrial town in the north of Switzerland, red and white banners are popping up outside houses and apartments — but they are not national flags.

Instead of the famous Swiss ensign — a white cross on a red background — two numbers, 1-12, are displayed.

 The banners showing up here and in dozens of other Swiss towns symbolize the goal of a controversial upcoming vote in Switzerland aimed at restricting the pay of the highest-paid executive in a company to 12 times what the lowest worker in the same firm receives.

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Without conscription 'who will defend Swiss?'

Published September 16, 2013 in The Local

Every year, thousands of young Swiss men are called up by the Swiss military to attend boot camp, leaving behind their studies or jobs to spend a few months learning how to defend their country.

On September 22nd, citizens across Switzerland will decide whether to abolish military conscription. Indications are they aren’t likely to do so: a survey by Swiss television in August revealed that 40 per cent of respondents would turn down the initiative, with another 17 per cent leaning that way.

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Deficient Swiss day care dogs working parents

Published May 3, 2013 in The Local

Politics, crime and . . . day care? In Switzerland these days, child care is often front-page news. Authorities and parents are wringing their hands over everything from high prices and long waiting lists to overly detailed regulations that govern child-care facilities.

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Americans fall out of favour with Swiss banks

Published April 2, 2013 in The Local

Richard Bloomfield has spent three decades embracing the Swiss way
of life. Married to a Swiss woman, the 63-year-old retired pastor speaks Swiss
German fluently and admits he does many things “the Swiss way”. In the
eyes of wary Swiss banks, however, he’s still very much an American.

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Switzerland loses its borrowed hockey stars

Published January 7, 2013 in The Local

A deal reached over the weekend is expected to end the hockey lockout in North America that sent many of the world's best players to Switzerland and other European countries.

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Swiss mull slashing 'fat-cat' salaries

Published November 20, 2012 in The Local

Attention all high-flying executives in Switzerland: go ahead and splurge on diamonds, fine art and vintage champagne this holiday season because next year you may be tightening your belts.

The Swiss will vote on an initiative in March that could put an end to the big pay hikes of top managers at publicly-listed companies in the country.

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Switzerland, Liechtenstein: what's the difference?

Published September 18, 2012 in The Local

Passing over a bridge, the Rhine river flowing below, it’s hard to tell that we have left Switzerland and are entering the tiny principality of Liechtenstein.

There are no border guards waiting to examine passports. The houses look the same, as does the mountainous landscape. People go shopping at the Coop supermarket chain, just like in Switzerland. Liechtenstein even uses the same currency: the Swiss franc.

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