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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

Read about German immigrants in Switzerland, tax evasion and other news in our brief roundup of latest developments.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
The Swiss like international night trains. Photo by Gilles Rolland-Monnet on Unsplash

New study: Switzerland is top destination for German immigrants

Of all European countries, German citizens most frequently emigrate to Switzerland, according to a new study by the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden, Germany.

At the beginning of 2021, for instance, around 309,000 German citizens resided permanently in Switzerland — 2,100 more than the previous year.

According to the Statistical Office, Switzerland is a logical emigration destination for Germans because there is no language barrier (at least in the Swiss-German part of the country, which is roughly two-thirds of the population).

In addition, they appreciate the physical proximity to their own country. 

Financial aspects, such as lower taxes in Switzerland, also play a role, the study found.

Switzerland among  “most complicit” nations in tax evasion

Switzerland is ranked in the second place, just after the United States, in terms of “financial opacity”, according to a new report published by the Tax Justice Network.

The so-called secrecy index is calculated by combining a score of each country’s financial and legal system in terms of transparency, with the volume of financial services provided to non-residents.

“Taken by storm”: The Swiss like travelling on night trains

A trend is emerging in Switzerland: travelling in “sleeper cars” to various European destinations is becoming more popular.

Night trains connecting Swiss cities with Amsterdam, Berlin, Hamburg, Hanover, Vienna, Graz, Prague, Budapest, Ljubljana and Zagreb “are taken by storm and reservations are multiplying”, according Arcinfo news platform.

Travellers choose trains rather than planes or cars for environmental reasons and convenience.  In the first case, rail travel saves about 50,000 tonnes of CO2 per year — the average annual consumption of 30,000 automobiles.

Also, train travel allows passengers to arrive directly in a city centre without having to transfer from the airport, which adds to the overall convenience of travel, said Liliane Rotzetter, spokesperson for  Railtour Suisse.

READ MORE: 10 francs: Everything you need to know about Flixtrain’s Basel to Berlin line

This where Switzerland’s cheapest beer can be found

Some research carried out in Switzerland is more important to consumers than others, and this one definitely fits under the ‘news you can use’ category.

A recent survey conducted by Hellosafe consumer website compared the price of a half a litre of beer in 29 cities in different cantons.

The study found that one of the cheapest pints, at 5.22 francs, can be had in Aarau, followed by Bern  (5.92).

While it is one of the world’s most expensive cities, a big mug of beer in Zurich costs “only”  6.96 francs, four cents less than in another relatively inexpensive location, the Valais capital of Sion.

The priciest half-litres are in Geneva (7.72 francs) and Lausanne (7.96).

The study also looked ahead at how the war in Ukraine is likely to increase the cost of cereals used to manufacture beer, impacting the price of the end product.

If Hellosafe’s estimates are correct, then the price of beer will increase the least in Olten, Langenthal, Chur and Arbon.

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

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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

More on impending gas shortage, ‘unreliable’ Swiss trains, and other news from Switzerland on Monday.

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

Candles could become much in demand this winter

As The Local reported last week, Switzerland is at risk of a gas shortage this winter and, depending on the situation, restrictions on consumption during the coldest months can’t be excluded.

As Lukas Küng, head of Organisation for Power Supply in Extraordinary Situations (OSTRAL) explained to Swiss media on Sunday, this could lead to electricity being shut down for four to eight hours each day in some areas.

He added that households would need to stock up on candles — clearly not so much for heating as for light.

Other possible consequences: “traffic would be at a standstill, with light signals out of order and tunnels closed. Public transport would also be paralysed”, according to Küng.

READ MORE: ‘It could hit us hard’: Switzerland prepares for impending gas shortage

And this leads us to the next question…

Which Swiss communes would be most impacted by gas shortage?

Logically, towns and communities that depend most on gas, versus other energy sources, will be most affected by the shortage.

According to Switzerland’s Watson news outlet, which based its calculations on the data from the Federal Statistical Office (OFS), the highest gas consumption in Switzerland is found the Swiss-speaking parts of Switzerland, notably in Vaud,

The 10 most gas-dependent Swiss communes, and the percentage of buildings heated with gas, are as follows:

  1. Rivaz (Vaud) (70 percent)
  2. Saint-Saphorin (Vaud) (68)
  3. Vinzel (Vaud) (67)
  4. Langenthal (Bern) (64)
  5. Cossonay (Vaud) (64)
  6. Soleure (Solothurn) (64)
  7. Allschwil (Basel-Country) (62)
  8. Lotzwil (Bern) (61)
  9. Aigle (Vaud) (61)
  10. Sierre (Valais) (61)

Double decker trains: ‘Lack reliability and comfort’.

Even though Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) invested 32 million francs in trains intended to shorten the journey on the Lausanne-Bern and on the Winterthur (ZH) – Saint-Margrethen (SG) lines, this goal will not be achieved.

SBB head Vincent Ducrot announced that double-decker trains that Switzerland ordered from Canadian manufacturer Bombardier especially for this purpose shake too much on curves, so they actually have to slow down on turns rather than pick up speed, resulting in a “lack of reliability and comfort”.

Since being put into service in 2018, these trains have also been plagued by a series of technical breakdowns and massive delays, Ducrot said.

Russian hackers attacked Foreign Ministry

The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) was a victim of phishing emails, according to a confidential intelligence document from June 24th, as reported in the Swiss media on Sunday.  

In these fraudulent messages, the content of which was not made public, Russian cyber criminals attempted to obtain sensitive data, which could serve for espionage or sabotage purposes.

However, the emails were intercepted and deleted, so no security breach took place.

READ MORE: How Switzerland is preparing to fend off Russian cyberattacks

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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