Today in Switzerland For Members

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

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 9 May, 2022 Updated Mon 9 May 2022 08:12 CEST
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Time-tested tradition: a speaking clock. Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels

From summer weather at last, to tips on buying cheaper train tickets — read about this and other Swiss news in The Local's brief roundup.

Let’s begin the week with good news: warm weather predicted for coming days

Starting today, “generally sunny and increasingly warm weather”, is expected throughout Switzerland, according to the Federal Office of Meteorology (MeteoSwiss) .

“At the beginning of the week, high pressure will set in, which will bring a generally sunny and increasingly warm weather”, MeteoSwiss announced,

The latest weather trends indicate that “sun and almost summer heat should accompany us for a large part of the week, with peaks at 25 or even 28 degrees in the plain”.

Wednesday, for instance, temperatures should reach 28 degrees in Zurich and Geneva, and 29 in Sion.

This will come as a welcome relief to all those tired of cool weather, rain and wind of last days (depending on where in Switzerland you live), especially since, as MeteoSwiss said, heat waves are not unheard of in mid-May.

Buying Swiss train tickets on foreign sites may save you money

It is a well known fact that purchasing the same or similar goods abroad will likely cost less than buying them in Switzerland.

The same holds true for tickets for Swiss trains.

According to a report in Blick, “people who book their train journeys in Switzerland on the Deutsche Bahn or on the SNCF [French] website, can save up to 10 percent”.

For instance, a full-fare, one-way Lausanne to Geneva ticket purchased from the SNCF website costs 2.55 francs less than when bought from the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) site, Blick said.

EXPLAINED: How to find cheap train tickets in Switzerland

The reason for this price disparity is the exchange rate between franc and the euro, which are at near parity.

However, the report points out that it is preferable not to pay for train tickets on foreign websites with a credit card, “otherwise, the savings may be canceled out by the surcharge on foreign currency, charged by the credit card companies”.

Online payment systems like PayPal are preferable in these situations, Blick said.

Swiss MPs: Russian money should be used to reconstruct Ukraine

Parliament members from both left and central-right parties have submitted a motion calling for the government to hand over the frozen assets belonging to Russian oligarchs to Ukraine, to be used for the reconstruction of the war-torn country.

"Switzerland is home to an above-average number of sanctioned Russian fortunes”, according to MP Mattea Meyer. “So it is right that this money benefits the country which is currently being destroyed by Putin”.  

Another MP, Andrea Caroni also supports the motion.

"From the point of view of international law, it is clear that Russia owes damages to Ukraine because of its aggression”, he said.

Russian assets in Switzerland are estimated to amount to 200 billion francs; Swiss authorities have blocked 7.5 billion so far.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why Switzerland is a magnet for Russian money

Switzerland’s “speaking clock” will continue to tick

The Swiss like to keep their traditions intact, and one of them is dialling a telephone number ,161, to hear the precise time, down to the minute and second.

But as three-digit numbers will be retired at the  end of year, some aficionados feared this …time-tested service, which has been in operation since the 1930s, will disappear, the way the weather service, 162, had last November.

READ MORE: Adieu 162: Switzerland to retire telephone weather service from Monday

But according to Swisscom, the clock will remain in operation, albeit under a different, paid number, starting with 0900.

“The speaking clock still meets a customer need. Swisscom will continue to invest in its operation and maintenance,” said Alicia Richon, spokesperson for the operator.

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]

 

 

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Helena Bachmann in Geneva 2022/05/09 08:12

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