Swiss army prepares for euro unrest

Switzerland is evidently planning for the worst, staging military drills last month to prepare for anarchy unleashed by the euro crisis. EUObserver reports:

“It's not excluded that the consequences of the financial crisis in Switzerland can lead to protests and violence,” a spokesperson of the Swiss defence ministry told CNBC on Monday. “The army must be ready when the police in such cases requests for subsidiary help.”

Some 2,000 officers took part in the "Stabilo Due" military exercise in eight towns around the country, based on a risk map detailing the threat of internal unrest between warring factions and the possibility of refugees from Greece, Spain, France, Italy and Portugal, according to Swiss media reports.

Swiss defence minister Uli Maurer recently told Schweizer Soldat magazine that there may be an escalation of violence in Europe. "I can’t exclude that in the coming years we may need the army," he said.

Switzerland hasn't seen combat since the Napoleonic wars so this is a pretty grim scenario.



Militant wanted by U.S. offers hurricane aid

Hafiz Saeed, the founder of the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba who is wanted by India and the Untied States for his alleged role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, last attracted international attention in April when the State Department put a $10 million bounty on his head, despite the fact that he's not exactly in hiding. This prompted Saeed to hold a mocking press conference in which he asked for the reward money himself.

But despite all this history, Saeed is evidently in a generous mood today:

Hafiz Saeed says his organization, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, is prepared to send volunteers, medicine and food if allowed by the United States.

Saeed said in a written statement Tuesday that it is a religious duty under Islam to help Americans affected by the storm, even if the U.S. has put a bounty on his head.

Saeed's statement echoes Hugo Chavez's rejected offer of aid in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. 

Max Fisher of the Washington Post rounds up some other international responses to Sandy, most of which have been sympathetic, if a tad histrionic.

An Arabic Twitter hashtag begun last night which praised the "divine winds" of Sandy seems now to have been mostly taken over by users denouncing it and expressing sympathy for the storm victims.