Referendum for family supplementary benefits in Baselland
Families in Baselland which find themselves in financial trouble because they are on low incomes should receive supplementary benefits, according to an unformulated referendum launched on Monday. The initiators of the “Bewegung ATD Vierte Welt” and “Caritas beider Basel” referendums say that family poverty would become drastically reduced with top-ups from the canton. In comparison to social welfare, one advantage of supplementary benefits is that they do not have to be paid back. In addition, receiving them is seen as less negative than welfare handouts.
These benefits are to be worked out together between canton and municipalities, it was further stated. At the same time, incentives to work should be taken into account. The referendum remains deliberately unformulated so that an ideal solution both for cantons and municipalities, as well as affected parties, can be found.
According to the initiators, around 17,000 people live below the minimal subsistence level in the canton of Baselland. The website of the Statistical Office of Baselland shows that more than 1,450 households with children were supported by welfare last year. The net costs of social welfare payments are almost 65 million Swiss francs.
Family supplementary benefits already exist in several cantons. They are aimed at families where both parents are working but cannot offer financial security (the working poor). On the Federal Government level, a venture by the Social Democratic Party (SP) for a framework law for family supplementary benefits, failed in 2015.
Kyrgios not playing in Basel following suspension by ATP
The ‘enfant terrible’ of the tennis world, Nick Kyrgios, has been suspended by the ATP for eight weeks and ordered to pay a fine of 25,000 dollars. As a result, the number 14 in the world will miss the Swiss Indoors tournament in Basel, which runs from 24 to 30 October. The Australian was suspended for playing sluggishly at the Masters-1000 tournament in Shanghai last week, winning only four games against Mischa Zverev (ATP 10) in the second round. He also started an argument with a disappointed fan. He was found by the ATP to have committed the major offence of ‘Conduct Contrary to the Integrity of the Game’.
The suspension of 21-year-old Kyrgios will end on 15 January, one day before the start of the Australian Open. However, he has the chance to reduce his suspension to three weeks (until 7 November) if he “enters a sports psychology treatment approved by the ATP”. “I respect and understand the ATP’s decision,” Kyrgios said. “I will use the break to improve on and off the field.” The Australian Tennis Association said Kyrgios had agreed to receiving the psychological help offered to him in order to reduce his suspension period. The suspension means that Kyrgios will no longer play in the ATP Tour this year, as the last tournament starts in Paris-Bercy in the first week of November.
“Nick’s behaviour in Shanghai is unacceptable and shows no respect for the sport and its fans,” the ATP CEO, Chris Kermode, said. “Nick is a phenomenal talent. We hope that he will use it (the suspension) in a constructive manner and return in a better state of mind.” Kyrgios is a repeat offender who stood out negatively several times already. Among other things, he publicly insulted Stan Wawrinka and his girlfriend Donna Vekic last year at the tournament in Montreal. On a good day, however, he is one of the most spectacular players of the ATP Tour – therefore he will be sorely missed at the Swiss Indoors.
Researchers at Basel University develop new microscope with nanofilaments
Researchers at the University of Basel and the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have developed a new kind of scanning microscope for more accurate examination and analysis of samples. This type microscopes is vital for medicine, biology, materials sciences, and solid-state physics. The new scanning microscope uses so-called nanofilaments, the University of Basel researchers said in a statement on Monday. Nanofilaments are a thousand times thinner than a human hair and can be used as minute sensors to analyse chemical or biological samples, or to measure pressure or charge.
The team at the university, led by Martino Poggio, along with fellow scientists at the EPFL, integrated these nanofilaments into a regular scanning microscope which created a new kind of microscopic technique. When the microscope is used, the nanofilaments vibrate along two vertical adjacent axes.
Researchers can define the direction as well as the expanse of attracting and repelling powers of molecules and atoms by differences in these vibrations. In the magazine “Nature Nanotechnology”, the team describes how they created a structured sample surface in this manner. With this innovation, the various fields of application for scanning microscopy are extended, the University of Basel researchers said.