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Local News Summary, July 13

  • Police search for witnesses after brawl
  • New habitat for the penguins at Basel Zoo will be unique across Europe
  • Authorities want to intervene but still cannot: much ado about a brothel in Kleinbasel

Police search for witnesses after brawl

The police are looking for witnesses after a brawl at Elisabethanlage resulted in one man being hospitalised.

The fight, between two men and a woman, broke out at around 11.45pm. What started out as an argument turned violent, resulting in a man sustaining cuts, according to investigations by the criminal police of the public prosecution. The police say the weapon used has yet to be identified.

A passing cyclist who saw the fight had contacted the police, while two more passers-by tried to intervene. The police arrived on the scene a short while later and called an ambulance for the injured man, who was was taken by paramedics to the emergency unit of the hospital.

All three involved parties – two male Sri Lankans aged 33 (the injured man) and 34, as well as an 18-year-old Sri Lankan woman, were arrested.

The exact circumstances and the cause of the incident are still unclear and are part of ongoing investigations by the criminal police of the public prosecution. The police are also looking for witnesses and request that any relevant information be provided via the telephone number 061 267 71 11 or by going to the nearest police station.

New habitat for the penguins at Basel Zoo will be unique across Europe

Basel’s Zoo will begin the construction of a new habitat for its penguins this winter. Thanks to an extension, the animals should be able to live more closely to how they live in the wild. The two-million-franc project is an innovation that has apparently not yet been seen in Europe. 

The construction is planned for the Vivarium area – and with it, Basel aims to become a role model for Europe. The key to the project is that the needs of the penguins will be taken into account. 

“The project is unique,” zoo director, Olivier Pagan, said. After the new area is constructed the penguins will have more space, and their old habitat will be extended and renovated. With this construction and reconstruction, the inside area will grow from 60 square metres to about 150 square metres – more than double the size. Visitors also profit from the new construction: they will see more of the underwater area and the penguins diving there.

Too much food for smaller penguins 

Basel’s Zoo has one of the most successful breeding programs for King Penguins. But as soon as the chicks have hatched, the problems start. The constant feeding is very difficult to deal with, because the requirements of penguins change seasonally in the wild. In their natural environment in Antartica, one of the penguins begins to search for food in the ocean shortly after the chick has hatched. The other parent stays behind and looks after the chick. It is only when the baby penguin has grown large enough that both parents go in search of food and they may be gone for days or even weeks. Once the parents return, the small penguin receives the gathered food. 

At Basel Zoo, the King Penguins do not have the possibility to leave and search for food. Therefore, the chicks are constantly begging for food, and the parents instinctively feed them. The result: Older penguins lose weight while the chicks grow fatter.

Relearn a more natural life

These conditions should change with the new penguin habitat. The new construction can be isolated from the renovated existing area. This way, the parents can look for food without having to cater to the needs of their chicks all the time. It is clear that this process cannot happen overnight. Penguin parents will need to learn to adapt to their new life again.

The construction works will begin this winter, and the new habitat is set to open in the middle of 2018. These are going to be exciting times for the 25 penguins: For the duration of the construction works, the nine Gentoo Penguins and 16 King Penguins will move to a German zoo. There are also changes to be expected in the more distant future: The Gentoo Penguins will move into the planned Oceanium while the King Penguins will remain in the Vivarium. Looking at the planned renovation and extension, they have a good reason to stay there.


Authorities want to intervene but still cannot: much ado about a brothel in Kleinbasel

The FKK-Club in Kleinbasel promises fitness activities but in fact this mean sex. However, the original construction permit was for a fitness studio. Due to an objection by the operators, the authorities still cannot intervene.

“The city of Basel is colourful, multifaceted, and offers a lot for visitors in many areas. If you are looking for a brothel in Basel, there is an address that you should definitely not miss: The Sexclub FKK Basel.” There are a lot of promises at Amerbachstrasse: “Here, you experience the perfect symbiosis of refreshing wellness and sensual eroticism. No other brothel can compete.” Big words coming from Kleinbasel. The Amerbachstrasse is a red-light street. It was also home to the Bunga Bunga and Kiki bars. A heavy burden for local residents.

A special form of fitness 

With the authorisation of the FKK-Club as a fitness studio in a rear building at Amerbachstrasse 45 years ago, the mood turned bad. As early as in 2012, the city’s Construction and Traffic Department (BVD) stated that this was “an unauthorised use” of the rear building. No wonder, as fitness is not part of the programme at the FKK-Club.

About 30 women await guests who pay an entry fee of 100 Swiss francs. Most of the ladies come from Eastern Europe according to a barfi.ch source. They take care of the “sport activities”. The types of sport include “vibrator and dildo games” as well as sexual practices that we’d rather refrain from describing further - both “actively and passively” in this article. On purely formal terms, the club proprietors claim that all the ladies are also merely guests of the FKK-Club, and therefore there is no reuse (of the building, not of the guests).

However, at a media conference last June police director Baschi Dürr clearly stated that all 209 sex businesses in Basel received authorisation only after it was made clear through an assessment that they did not disturb local residents. This is the prerequisite. There is a test for “a house or apartment to see whether it may be used commercially”. Looking at the Amerbachstrasse with its dingy bars, this should rather not be the case.

New hope 

Now, there is new hope for the local residents. As “Online Reports” states, the Construction and Trade Inspectorate authorised a fitness room with a restaurant at the location in 2008 – but nothing more. Following an objection, the inspectorate consequently decreed that the building’s “original state” needed to be restored. However, the club operators have now filed another objection with the building law commission. The inspectorate’s decision is therefore not yet legally binding.

So therefore, the FKK-Club story remains controversial: Even though the opposition has been going on for years, objections were not possible for a long time. Only with the transition from an operating permission to a building permission, local residents were enabled to challenge the reuse. So it seems as if the sex club is facing its downfall after all.

The sex industry in Basel is closely monitored by the police. A total of 364 salons and more than 894 people have been subject to inspection, police director Baschi Dürr reported. The police are also taking “noise complaints” very seriously. There were only 13 of them last year, with nearly all of them in Kleinbasel. Be that as it may. Until the decree becomes legally binding, the FKK-Club continues with its promises: “Experience the greatest sex in Basel.” Or: “We keep the Euro stable.” This means that half an hour of “full service” costs only 50 Euros for French and German customers. Swiss guests need to pay double for such service. What a rip-off.