Climate activists celebrate “historic” judgement
January saw the acquittal of 12 climate activists at Renens district court (canton of Vaud). The activists stormed a Lausanne branch of banking giant Credit Suisse (CS) in November 2018. Wearing whites and wigs, the group staged a mock tennis match inside the branch to highlight CS’s “hypocrisy” in using Roger Federer’s squeaky-clean image for their advertising campaign while investing in environmentally damaging fossil fuels.
In court, the judge rejected CS’s charge of trespass, concluding that the activists had been acting on grounds of “justifiable emergency”. He said that their behaviour had been “necessary and appropriate” in view of the impending climate catastrophe, and that there had been no other way for them to elicit a reaction from the bank. The activists’ lawyers called it a “historic verdict in Swiss case law”.
Large bank Credit Suisse in turmoil
Swiss large bank Credit Suisse (CS) has been rocked by boardroom turmoil. CEO Tidjane Thiam resigned on 14 Feb-ruary 2020 after Swiss media reports had revealed that CS had spied on its own senior executives. Thiam said that he had been unaware of the surveillance.
The “father of the solar sail” dies
Johannes Geis, the University of Berne physics professor who developed an experimental device designed to collect solar wind on the moon (see “Swiss Review” 3/2019), has died. Geis’s foil contraption was used on the first success-ful moon landing. The “spiritual father of the solar wind sail” passed away at the end of January aged 93. Through his research efforts, Professor Geis helped to bring international renown to Swiss space science. He also played a significant role in the European Space Agency scientific programme.
President of the Swiss Confederation meets Holocaust survivors
Ahead of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp, President of the Swiss Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga (see also Sommaruga finds her calling) met Holocaust survivors who live in Switzerland. President Sommaruga also invited history students to this meeting, remarking that one of the aims of doing so was to ensure that this “dark chapter in Swiss history” was never forgotten.