SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
A shelter provides basic accommodation for those who lost their homes. Photo by Federal Housing Office

Covid-19: Downward trend continues

With 26,321 new cases reported on Thursday — drastically down from 41,175 infections registered a week ago — Switzerland appears to be on the downward trajectory, having reached the peak several days ago.

The situation in hospitals is stable as well, all of which lends itself to optimism  — even if cautious one — on the epidemiological front.

READ MORE:  Covid-19 infections: Has Switzerland reached the peak yet?

Swiss trains: hurry up slowly

While Switzerland’s railways beat other countries in terms of punctuality and network density, they do not set speed records.

In fact, when it comes to speed, Swiss trains lag behind other railways, according to LITRA, the Information Service for Public Transport. Its ranking of  transportation system in seven European countries places Switzerland at the bottom.

In neighbouring countries, trains often travel at over 300 km/h. In Switzerland, speeds rarely exceed 200 km/h; there are only three lines on which trains run at 200 km/h: between Olten and Bern, the Lötschberg base tunnel, as well as the Gotthard and Monte Ceneri tunnels.

The reason for lower speed is that faster trains consume too much electricity, according to the Federal Transport Office.

They look fast, but they aren’t. Photo by Kajetan Sumila on Unsplash

Where in Switzerland can you find a fiscal paradise?

Yes, there is such a thing and it is completely legal.

The tax burden varies greatly throughout the country, depending on where you live, your income, and the type of household.

Tribune de Genève published an interactive map giving you an idea of where tax rates are highest and lowest, taking into account your individual circumstances. 

As an example, this chart shows the lowest taxes…

Tribune de Genève

…and the highest.

Tribune de Genève

You can also calculate your rate directly on the website of the Federal Tax Administration.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How where you live in Switzerland impacts how much income tax you pay
 

Almost 2,200 people are homeless in Switzerland

This is the finding of a new study on homelessness carried out on behalf of the Federal Housing Office, which also reveals that additional 8,000 people are threatened with losing their homes.

Homelessness mainly affects residents of large cities and towns, while the threat of losing one’s home is also present in smaller municipalities and rural areas.

The proportion of localities with homeless people is higher in Swiss-German regions than in French-speaking part of the country and Ticino.

Most common reasons for both homelessness and risk of homelessness are over-spending, debt and drug problems, along with “social factors and migration,” the report said.

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Monday

From a solid approval of all the issues in Sunday's referendum to higher beverage prices: find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Monday

The Swiss say ‘yes’ to three proposals in Sunday’s referendum

Voters in Switzerland have accepted all three of the Federal Council’s proposals, rejecting, at the same time, opponents’ arguments.

The law making organ donation opt out across the country was approved by 60.20 percent, providing more money and staff to controversial EU border protection agency Frontex passed with 71.48 percent, and Lex Netflix – which makes streaming services pay a percentage fee to support Swiss filmmaking – passed with 58.42 percent.

READ MORE: Swiss back ‘Netflix’ law and steer clear of ‘Frontexit’

Read about the reactions in Switzerland to the vote results in our article to be published later today.

Price of beverages is soaring in Switzerland

Another popular product is becoming more expensive: non-alcoholic beverages.

“The price of PET [bottle] is skyrocketing, and with it that of mineral water and soft drinks”, according to a report in 20 Minuten.

“And there is a risk of further price increases.”

For instance, prices per litre of mineral water are now 5 to 10 cents higher, depending on the retailer. 

Of the four major retailers that the newspaper surveyed — Migros, Coop, Aldi and Lidl — only Coop has not yet increased the price of beverages, although its spokesperson conceded the company “cannot currently rule out price adjustments,” due to higher cost of raw materials, the shortage of packaging material, and the increased transport and energy costs.

Beverages have joined a growing list of other everyday products whose prices have increased due to inflation and war in Ukraine.

READ MORE: Seven products that are becoming more expensive in Switzerland

Migros gets tough on “unscrupulous” customers

Due to a growing number of shoplifters, some self-service Migros stores in Zurich are installing special barriers allowing only those who pay for their purchases to exit the store.

Customers who pay at self-checkout terminals must now scan the QR code of their receipt to open a barrier and leave with their purchases.

This is a rather drastic measure, “as Migros and Coop have so far relied on individual responsibility and random checks”, according to Tagblatt newspaper.

Russians critical of the Putin regime want to remain in Switzerland

A number of Russian women in Switzerland, who have criticised the war on social media and are therefore afraid of repercussions from the Kremlin, are asking the Federal Council to grant them asylum.

“I can understand that these women are concerned,” said Ulrich Schmid, Professor of Russian Culture and Society at the University of St. Gallen. “It is possible that the Russian secret service reports on people who are critical of the war”.

Should Russian deserters and opponents of the war get asylum in Switzerland? MPs’ views diverge.

For a Green MP Balthasar Glättli, Switzerland should grant these war objectors humanitarian visas.

However, according to Thomas Aeschi from the Swiss People’s Party (SVP), “Switzerland should treat all asylum seekers equally”, pointing out there are many people in other countries “who are also threatened”.

According to the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), Russians who remain in Switzerland can apply to their canton of residence to extend their existing residence permit. “It will be checked whether they meet the legal requirements for this”, SEM said.

READ MORE: Reader question: Do Russians now have to leave Switzerland?

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

SHOW COMMENTS