Bild: Basel Tourismus / Montage:
Bild: Basel Tourismus / Montage:
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Local News Summary of December, 23rd

  • International shops in Basel force their employees to dig their own graves
  • Fear among homeless after gruesome murder at Dreirosenbrücke
  • Roche to buy oncology company Ignyta for 1,7 billion dollars

International shops in Basel force their employees to dig their own graves

Basel’s shops are fighting for their survival. However, the large international chains in Basel rely on customers to go shopping online. It is both paradox and absurd that employees need to hand out vouchers for their company’s online shop together with the receipt – on explicit request by the management. Basel does everything it can to be a Christmas city. No cost is too high inachieving this: A Christmas tram, even more Christmas lights, and so on. Stores in Basel’s inner city are competing to present the most beautiful shop window. The “Pro Innerstadt” association also supports the cause with additional late openings, including a concert at Marktplatz. And on Sundays this December, the word “shopping” was underlined in everyone’s planner anyway. These seem to be ideal conditions for a city that over the last two years haslamented the death of its traditional shops.

The paradox of the online voucher

But it is a rather stupid thing that a lot of employees have to point out their shop’s online store to customers. After having handled business, the employees of large companies need to hand out a voucher for the online store together with the customer’s receipt, or at least a flyer for upcoming discounts on the Internet. This is nothing else but an invitation to go shopping online instead of actually going into the store itself. “I don’t understand this approach at all,” a leading fashion seller in Basel said. He realises that by handing out such vouchers or flyers, he is sawing off the branch he is sitting on. “In the long run, there will be an increasing number of online-only shoppers.” That way, expenses for personnel and upkeep can be saved. The situation is already dire for shops now and could well develop into something fatal. Or is this a pessimist outlook? “Online shopping is on the rise,” Sarah Stalder from the Swiss consumer protection association says. “However, there are signs that many shoppers like to have a look at what they want to acquire in the shop itself and then proceed to buy the product online after comparing prices. Both methods of shopping are merging, and businesses need to adapt to this development – if necessary, with shared online shop services.” This may be profitable for large, international companies, but not for their employees.

Online shopping has priority

It is disillusioning: If you have taken a look at a product in the online shop and then ask about it in the Basel shop itself, you often get the reply: “Have you already looked for it in our online shop?” It almost seems as if customers are not welcome in stores anymore. Often, even the big names in Freie Strasse do not offer the latest wares produced by their companies. For example, looking at the current online “Zara” collection, with its shop in Freie Strasse 36, there are many missing products – some of which will never reach Basel except via shopping online. “We never receive every product of current collections,” employees state. And of course, they then point out their Internet shops. International companies suffer very little from this. On the contrary, even: They earn far more with online “virtual” shopping than with shoppers in the “real” city centre. The shop becomes a showroom while the online store is where the real transactions are made. What is regarded as a modern business method by large companies makes less and less people want go out shopping. This is dangerous for the small and local stores – and destroys the atmosphere of the city centre: Empty shopping windows are very uninviting. And employees are having to light the match themselves for their destruction.

Fear among homeless after gruesome murder at Dreirosenbrücke

The homeless community in Basel are in shock following the murder of a man who was sleeping on a bench in Dreirosenbrücke. The 60-year-old man, who was known as “Schorsch of Dreirosenbrücke” by the “Schwarzer Peter” street workers, was found dead on Thursday on the bench near the “Dreirosen” leisure centre. At first, neither the emergency doctor or the police who were called to the scene suspected that the man had been killed. The public prosecution of Basel-Stadt are investigation the circumstances of his death and a 21-year-old Brazilian man has been arrested in connection with the murder. The public prosecution is not providing any further details due to the ongoing investigation. 

The crime reveals that sleeping outside is precarious and often dangerous,especially in winter. Various help organisations are therefore preparing for increasing numbers of people seeking shelter over the Christmas holidays.For people from abroad, a night in an emergency shelter costs 40 Swiss francs. If there are no spaces left in the emergency shelters, it is vital that homeless people have the right clothes to sleep outside. Thankfully, Basel has a far-reaching network of help organisations that are already prepared for the upcoming Christmas holidays.

“Soup’n’Chill” is collecting clothes

“There are enough food supplies, but we are still lacking men’s clothing and sleeping bags,” Alan, from the “Soup’n’Chill” meeting spot, told “The winter has so far not been too harsh, butlet’s see what January brings.” Even though Soup’n’Chill is not an emergency shelter, it is one of the most popular places for marginalised people to meet. However, not everyone who comes there is necessarily homeless. It is also just a place to gather and socialise.

Showers and washrooms in “Tageshaus”

The “Tageshaus” of the “Stiftung Sucht” charity for homeless people issituated at Wallstrasse 16. They also report “more business than usual”. Over the Christmas holidays, the Tageshaus offers another retreat for homeless people where they can warm themselves up and spend some time. It also offers food for visitors. On 26th December, the Tageshaus organises a special Christmas meal, which is possible due to public donations. People can also buy clothes there: “What we still need are good wool and winter sweaters,” it is stated. People can stay at the Tageshaus for free; lunch is 3 francs, and a warm coffee can be bought for 1 franc. Homeless people can also have a shower and do their laundry at the Tageshaus. The “Gassenküche” soup kitchen organises another Christmas celebration for marginalised people on 24th December at the “Union” institution. Anyone who wants to celebrate Christmas with the Gassenküche is welcome – free food will be provided. Afterwards, the institution will be closed until 2ndJanuary.

Roche to buy oncology company Ignyta for 1,7 billion dollars

The Swiss pharmaceutical group Roche is to buy US cancer drug company, Ignyta, for 1,7 billion US dollars. The takeover was unanimously approved by the management boards of both Ignyta and Roche. The biotechnology company, based in California, produces a range of patient-focussed precision medicine and uses gene therapy techniques to fight cancer, according to the company’s website. Roche would pay 27 Dollars per share for the company, the Baselpharmaceutical giant announced on Friday. This price represents a premium of around 74 per cent of the stock’s closing price on Thursday, 21st December. Roche wants to finish the transaction in the first half of 2018, they announced in a statement. The offer is bound to the condition that the majority of all Ignyta shares will be tendered. Other than that, the transaction follows the official regulations of company mergers and further customary conditions, it was stated. The management board of Ignyta has said it feels positive about this offer and advises its shareholders to tender their shares. According to the takeover agreement, Roche will immediately start with a takeover offer to acquire all pending ordinary shares.