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What’s green and has a dandelion and a paraglider on it? The latest Swiss banknote! I attended the unveiling this week and chatted with some of the people behind the new 50-franc bill.

 

Thanks to their farmer, Milena and Rahel still have their horns. (Susan Misicka, swissinfo.ch)

Thanks to their farmer, Milena and Rahel still have their horns. (Susan Misicka, swissinfo.ch)

Can one man persuade 100,000 fellow citizens to care whether cows have horns or not? If the man is as bull-headed as Swiss farmer Armin Capaul, the answer is yes.

 
With his rosy cheeks, reddish-blond moustache and white beard, farmer Armin Capaul is a colourful character. A winter’s day finds him in layers of patterned knitwear and a red neckerchief. His bright blue car blasts country-rock music.

 
“Haven’t you heard of J.J. Cale? He’s a soulmate of mine,” says Capaul, referring to the late American singer-songwriter. I admit that I haven’t, and worry it’s a bad start to our visit. But he just laughs, and laughs some more when he sees my eyes widen at the sight of the narrow and twisted road leading to his 17-hectare farm perched high in the Bernese Jura. It’s home to cows and a bull, as well as goats, sheep, donkeys, dogs, cats and chickens.

 

Read the whole story here on SWI swissinfo.ch.

SwissPapers

As Swiss newspapers lament the terrorist attack on the “heart of Europe”, many say the violence in the Belgian capital was not unexpected. This morning I did a press review for SWI.

When I was a journalism student, I interned in the press office of Ireland’s Permanent Representation to the EU. It’s just a short walk from the Brussels metro station hit by the terrorists — an area I remember strolling through in the cheerful manner of somebody excited to feel like a local in a foreign city.

My boss used to send me to EU press conferences, where I’d take notes and forward them to journalists based in Ireland. It was my favorite task, as it felt so grown-up and official. After work, on the way back to the campus where I was studying European affairs, I’d often treat myself to a gaufre/wafel from a vendor at the train station — to this day, the best waffles I’ve ever had.

Terror threats or not, I’ll have to return sometime. Not just for the waffles, of course, but as a sign of support for the people and their city, where so many difficult decisions about the future of Europe are made.

Gaufre

Spotted on the road: Does love live here?

Spotted on the road: Does love live here?

Switzerland’s divorce rate is pretty average, but there seems to be a (sub)urban-rural divide hinting that life in the countryside is more conducive to wedded bliss. Or is it?

I decided to investigate. Full story here on SWI swissinfo.ch.

power_lines

Power lines in Suffolk, UK (Tony Boon / Wikimedia Commons)

In light of unprofitable hydropower plants, ageing nuclear power plants, leaked documents and cheap electricity from abroad, Swiss political and business leaders have been voicing their thoughts on how to improve the situation. Here’s a press review with input from various Sunday papers.