Homeless taste ‘luxury’ at Geneva hotel during pandemic

first_imgAt the hotel in the heart of Geneva’s Old City, 20 rooms have been provided to homeless women, while 11 have been given to unaccompanied minors like Rahmani who have no access to seeking asylum in Switzerland.”It happened fairly naturally,” hotel director Alain Meuwly told AFP, sitting in the breakfast room, where tables have been spaced far apart and equipped with only one chair each.When Switzerland began cancelling all public events and closing restaurants and shops to halt the spread of the virus in early March, “more than 90 percent of our bookings were cancelled,” he said.The hotel, a profit-driven business run by the Salvation Army, was empty. Topics : ‘Total comfort’ Rahmani is certainly happy with the arrangement. After making a treacherous boat crossing from Algeria to Spain three years ago, making his way to the streets of Paris, and finally to Geneva last month, he said hotel life was “total comfort.””We don’t have to think about food, we don’t have to worry where to sleep, or if we will be cold,” he said.”I’d like to stay here forever.”Geneva provides migrants who are unaccompanied minors with special provisions, often officially registering them with organizations and giving access to food and shelter.Hafida Marsli, a 42-year-old woman who made her way from Morocco to Switzerland a decade ago in search of a better life only to eventually find herself homeless in Geneva, agreed.”It is really good here,” she told AFP, adjusting her headscarf. “It’s all good.”  Valerie Spagna, who heads the Salvation Army’s night shelter program for the homeless in Geneva, said there was a world of difference from the regular shelters, where people can enter in the evening to sleep in large dormitories or shared rooms, and have to leave early in the morning.At the hotel, “they can finally relax, take care of themselves, sleep as long as they want,” she told AFP. “They have finally gotten a small taste of a more normal life.”She said what she feared most now was “the return to reality” once the homeless residents are asked to leave on June 1.”They are going to have to go back to real life at some point,” she said.”It is going to hurt.”  Sofiane Rahmani can hardly believe his luck. After several years of living on the street and bouncing between shelters, he now has his own hotel room, personal bathroom and all meals provided.”It’s true luxury,” the 16-year-old Algerian illegal migrant told AFP at the three-star Bel Esperance Hotel in Geneva.Last month, as the hotel faced a cascade of cancellations, it decided to turn over the entire establishment to house homeless women and youths and help get them off the streets during the COVID-19 pandemic.center_img At the same time colleagues within the Christian charity told him they were looking for safe ways to house some of the estimated 1,000 homeless people in Geneva. Good for business Switzerland, which to date has reported nearly 28,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 1,100 deaths, does not have a national policy against homelessness, with each of the confederation’s 26 cantons implementing their own approaches.In Geneva, the Salvation Army and other organizations have long provided emergency overnight shelters with a few dozen beds, but never before anything with 24-hour service. Meuwly said the transformation process was quite simple.The hotel’s regular staff were all placed on temporary unemployment, and a team of social workers were brought in to accommodate the new residents, who will be allowed to stay until June 1. The dining area was spaced out, masks and disinfectant were provided and only one person was permitted per room.”Since this is a slightly different clientele we removed some gadgets that you would usually find in a three-star hotel room, like tablets and coffee-makers,” Meuwly acknowledged, stressing that the “comfort level is the same.””There are the same beds and bedding, TVs, and especially wifi. That is something everyone really seems to appreciate.”Ironically, the building served for more than 60 years as a shelter for vulnerable women, but in 1996 it was transformed into a hotel, which today offers elegant, plush rooms that during the high season can go for up to 600 Swiss francs ($620, 570 euros) a night.Meuwly said he was not worried that housing the homeless might harm business once the crisis ends.”Not at all,” he said, adding that he had received numerous messages from regular customers congratulating him for the initiative and asking how they could help.”I think it could even be an asset to the business.”last_img read more

The Victory of Igokee at the ULEB Euro-Cup

first_imgThe basketball players of Igokee from Aleksandrovac won against Pinar Karsiyakaju with the result 110:98 last night in Laktaši in the the sixth round of ULEB Euro-Cup group “E”.This is the second win of B&H champions in this competition.The most efficient players of Igokee were Branko Jorović with 27 points and Sergerio Gipson with 25 points, while B&H representative Nemanja Gordić had “double-double” performance of 16 points and 10 assists.Igokee will play in Hapoel Migdal on 26 November for the seventh round of the competition.(Source: Fena)last_img read more

Usain Bolt by numbers

first_img14.35 – the world best Bolt set over 150 metres in Manchester, England, in 2009. He ran the final 100 metres in a startling 8.70sec, the fastest time ever recorded19 – major global medals19.19 – the world record he set for the 200m at the 2009 worlds in Berlin30.97 – his best time over the rarely-run 300m, set in 2010. Only South African Wayde van Niekerk and American Michael Johnson have gone faster31 – the Jamaican turns 31 on August 2136.84 – the world record for the 4x100m relay set at the London Olympics, Bolt anchoring a team also comprising Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Yohan Blake. Bolt had been part of two previous world relay records, in Beijing in 2008 (though this was later voided) and at the 2011 Daegu worlds37.58 – Bolt’s average speed in km/h (23.35mph) in his 100m world record race. Should you subtract his reaction time of 0.15sec, his time is actually 9.43sec, making his average speed 38.18km/h (23.72mph)41 – the number of strides it took for Bolt to cover the 100m on his record-setting run in the German capital44.72 – top speed in km/h (27.79mph) reached during his 100m run in Berlin in 2009, between the 60 to 80-metre mark53 – the number of times Bolt has run sub-10 second 100m races195 – his height in centimetres, or 6ft 5in4.82 million -followers on Twitter7.4 million – followers on Instagram18.8 million – follows of his Facebook page34.2 million – dollars earned by Bolt last year according to a list of the world’s richest sportspeople by Forbes magazine.Share on: WhatsApp London, United Kingdom | AFP | Usain Bolt retired from track and field championships after Jamaica in the 4x100m relay at the world championships in London.Unfortunately there was to be no fairytale as he pulled up and collapsed injured on the track running the anchor leg.Here AFP Sports looks at his glittering career in numbers.1 – world bronze, after being beaten in the 100m in London 2017 by Americans Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman3 – the number of Olympic treble sprint doubles, in Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016. It should have been a treble treble including all three relay titles, but teammate Nesta Carter tested positive for doping in the Chinese capital4 – times Bolt has been named Laureus World Sportsman of the Year: 2009, 2010, 2013, 20175 – the number of sprinters to have beaten Bolt over 100m: Gatlin, Coleman, Jamaica’s Asafa Powell, American Tyson Gay and Antigua’s Daniel Bailey6 – times Bolt has won the IAAF Male Athlete of the Year: 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 20168 – Olympic gold medals: 100, 200m (2008, 2012, 2016); 4x100m relay (2012, 2016)9.58 – the world record he set for the 100m at the 2009 worlds in Berlin9.63 – the second fastest time ever run, when Bolt scorched to 100m gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics9 – times Bolt has run sub-9.77 seconds or faster for the 100m11 – world gold medals: 100m (2009, 2013, 2015); 200m (2009, 2011, 2013, 2015); 4x100m relay (2009, 2011, 2013, 2015)14 – world medals amassed since making his debut in Helsinki in 2005, when he finished eighth and last in the 200m finallast_img read more