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Zurich news roundup: Just how pricey is the city and what is Tina Turner's community 'tax cut'?

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Zurich news roundup: Just how pricey is the city and what is Tina Turner's community 'tax cut'?
Lake Zurich in Switzerland. Photo by Henrique Ferreira on Unsplash

From a new ranking placing Zurich as one of the most expensive cities in the world to a tax cut said to be influenced by rock goddess Tina Turner, here's The Local's weekly news roundup for Switzerland's biggest city.

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Simply the best: Stäfa residents get tax cut - likely thanks to Tina Turner

Taxes in one Goldküste (Gold Coast) municipality around the lower eastern shore of lake Zurich are set to be reduced by two percent. 

And residents in Stäfa, in the canton of Zurich, likely have Tina Turner and her husband Erwin Bach's to thank for that, reported Swiss media this week.

That's because Turner - who is one of Switzerland's most famous citizens- and her other half bought the sprawling Steinfels estate in Stäfa about a year ago. 

And because of the high income from property gains taxes in 2022, the local council voted this week to cut the base tax rate from next year by 2 percent.

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The municipality took in around 21 million francs from property gains tax - almost twice as much as in the previous year, the Tages-Anzeiger reported.

Turner's estate purchase is likely to account for a considerable part of the high revenue. But due to tax secrecy rules, the municipality is not allowed to say exactly where this year's outlier comes from.

The estate is 24,500 square metres and includes 10 buildings with a pool, a jetty, a pond and a stream. It was previously estimated to cost a cool 70 million francs.

READ ALSO: Zurich's Tina Turner receives Swiss passport

How to find a flat in Zurich 

Mansions aside, trying to find a (modest) place to live in Switzerland's biggest city can be seriously disheartening, especially due to the low supply and high demand of apartments. After talking to renters, The Local has put together a few tips to make the search easier. 

READ ALSO: Renting in Switzerland: How to find a flat in Zurich 

Finding a flat in Zurich is tricky but it is possible.

Finding a flat in Zurich is difficult. Photo by Marwan Haidar on Unsplash

Zurich tests 'menstrual leave' project

Local government employees in Zurich who suffer from menstrual cramps will be able to stay off work for up to five days each month with full pay.

The idea has been debated for years but the Greens proposal was passed this week. It will apply to employees of the Zurich city council. 

Politicians who pushed for the move hope that it will result in menstruation becoming less of a taboo topic in Switzerland.

Zurich named one of the most expensive cities 'in the world'

Zurich and Geneva have been placed in the top 10 of the most expensive cities in the world, according to a new ranking.

Switzerland's largest city - Zurich - took sixth place, and Geneva was seventh in the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) Cost of Living 2022 index. They were ranked as the most expensive places in Europe. 

However, Zurich has slipped down the ranking since last year when it took the fourth most expensive city spot. That is likely due to rising inflation across the world rather than Zurich getting less pricey. Geneva remained in the same place as the 2021 study.

The top spot for most expensive city in the world went to Singapore, followed by New York, Tel Aviv, Hong Kong and Los Angeles. The only other European cities to get into the top 10 were Paris (8) and Copenhagen (9).

The EIU analysed how soaring inflation has impacted the cost of living around the world. 

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Zurich scientists test soft drinks for alcohol content

Many people opt for an alcohol-free tipple or soft drink to limit their drinking.

But a laboratory in Zurich recently found that alcohol may be seeping into several drinks. In fact they detected alcohol in five out of 25 tested drinks. 

The test was intended to show whether the promises made on labels are true. Supposedly alcohol-free beers have a low alcohol content more often than people assume, according to the Cantonal Laboratory of Zurich.

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Beers, wines and alternatives to spirits were examined, although product names were not mentioned.

Two kombucha drinks came off particularly badly. Although they are considered alcohol-free, they had 1.5 per cent alcohol content. The producers overlooked the fact that the fermentation with Kombucha culture, a fungus, produces alcohol, the Swiss analysts speculated.

Meanwhile, in a non-alcoholic alternative to gin, the testers found 0.6 per cent alcohol. The manufacturer used a flavouring with too much alcohol, the scientists said. 

As well as the alcohol content, the products were tested for preservatives, sweeteners and labelling.

The lab urged for more clarity for consumers on labels. 

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