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Local News Summary of January, 31st

  • «Motive still unclear» in murder of media lawyer Martin Wagner
  • Novartis school lab celebrates 25th anniversary
  • Newsagent at Barfi becomes a Swisscom shop

«Motive still unclear» in murder of media lawyer Martin Wagner

The village of Rünenberg in Baselland is still in shock: Two days after the tragic murder of media lawyer Martin Wagner on Sunday, local residents, his friends, and colleagues remain speechless. Their thoughts are all with Mr Wagner’s three children, who had only lost their mother in September last year.

The media and events lawyer, who was a close friend of FCB president Bernhard Burgener, was fatally wounded in a dispute with his neighbour. Now, the hush which descended on the village after the murder has slowly given way to one question: why?

According to the investigative authorities in Baselland, the motive for the killing remains unclear. However, one assumption which was made on the day of the crime holds fast. «The police and prosecution can assert that, based on current results within the investigation, there are no hints that the crime was committed in the context of the professional activities of the victim,» a spokesperson for the investigation said.

«Investigations are still running at full capacity. People are being interrogated and different leads are being followed.» The murder weapon has already been found and seized by the police.

A team of around 70 personnel was called in to deal with the murder on Sunday, including the security police, the «Barrakuda» special unit, a forensics team, prosecutors, and the institute for judicial medicine. «For tactical reasons we cannot say exactly how many people we consider as part of the investigation,» Michael Lutz, the investigator in charge of Baselland’s prosecution, said in a press release.

Martin Wagner has been a close friend and business associate of the current FCB president, Bernhard Burgener, a media company manager with Highlight Group. «Members of the administrative board, management, and all employees of the entire Highlight Group are deeply saddened and extend their sympathy to the relatives,» Mr Burgener said.

The thoughts of those who knew Martin Wagner focus on his three children he leaves behind. Many posts on Twitter and Facebook said it was known that children lost their mother last year.

Mr Wagner’s wife, Sarah, had been the finance manager at Radio Basilisk before she lost her battle with cancer in autumn last year. According to investigator Michael Lutz, the family is receiving psychological support following the second death in the family. «The Baselland Care Team was on hand on Sunday, helping several people,» he said.

«The police and prosecution promise to inform the public as soon as there are any significant new developments,» he said, adding that no further information could be released at this time.

Novartis school lab celebrates 25th anniversary

The Novartis school lab marks its 25-year-anniversary this year. Ever since its founding in 1993, the lab has provided an insight into scientific thinking and working for pupils. School classes from all over Switzerland and neighbouring countries have had the possibility to conduct experiments in the fields of chemistry, biology, and medicine.

Novartis opened the lab, the first laboratory of its kind in Switzerland, after being inspired by other initiatives abroad. Since then, other companies have followed Novartis and are running similar facilities.

The school lab has been integrated into a lab building on factory premises in Klybeck, Basel to promote contacts among teachers, youngsters, and employees of the company. The modern lab provides 24 places for classes from local secondary schools and offers a range of simple and challenging experiments. Workshops for teachers are also available.

The focus is on experiments which are suitable to be conducted in the classroom. The school lab also supports individual research projects by youngsters for high school essays and competitions such as «Jugend forscht» (youth does research) or the «biology/chemistry Olympics».

Ever since its foundation, the Novartis school lab has been met with interest. In the summer, the school lab is expected to welcome its 100,000th visitor.

Newsagent at Barfi becomes a Swisscom shop

Swisscom and Valora have announced they have launched a new sales option. Customers can order their Swisscom products online and pick them up at a newsagent of their choice.

If customers want a new networking device and the Swisscom shop at Freie Strasse is full of people waiting to be served, they can go to the Basel newsagent Valora. In short, selected news agencies will become small Swisscom shops. Customers who want to buy a Swisscom TV-box, a new fibre optic kit or a router can buy this in future in the paper shop.