Today in Switzerland For Members

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

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
An international Nightjet train Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP

Switzerland admits incidences of racism in the country; high demand for international night trains; and other news in our roundup on Tuesday.


Government report finds ‘systematic racism’ in Switzerland

Though international human rights groups have accused Switzerland of racist attitudes in the past, the country has never officially acknowledged it — until now.

As RTS public broadcaster reported on Monday, the government’s Anti-Racism Service (SLR) admitted, in an unprecedented move, “the existence of systemic racism in Switzerland.”

This includes “discrimination or exclusion based on racial criteria, such as skin colour, names, languages, accents, etc, as well as prejudices built up throughout history and now so deeply rooted in our society that they go unnoticed.”

As an example of discrimination, the SLR report mentions difficulties that Albanian, Turkish, Tamil, and African people face in finding housing or jobs.

The SLR has pledged to combat racism, starting with identifying the most vulnerable people, and then finding solutions in collaboration with public and civil authorities.
READ ALSO: How employers and landlords in Switzerland 'discriminate against Swiss citizens of immigrant origin'

A night train journey from Switzerland must be booked six months in advance

If you plan to travel to travel to international destinations on night trains, you’d better book your tickets and seats as soon as possible.

That’s because these trains are in such high demand, especially during school holidays and on weekends, that passengers are advised to reserve “six months in advance,” according to Sabine Baumgartner, a spokesperson for Swiss Federal Railways (SBB).

There are 11 night train routes to and from Switzerland including a new one to Amsterdam.

Some MPs have been calling for more government funding of night trains, while others are more cautious.

Before investing money, “we must first ensure that this demand is long-term and not just temporary,” one deputy said.

READ ALSO: Which European cities can you reach by direct trains from Switzerland?


Starting today, Switzerland will live on credit

No, not the financial credit but  the energy one.

What this means is that Switzerland’s energy resources have covered the country’s needs only until April 17th.

As of today, the country’s population will live, so to speak, on ‘credit’ until the end of the year, relying on the imported oil and gas.

That's because when it comes to energy independence, Switzerland is at the bottom of the European ranking — in the 18th place out of 24 — far below countries like Latvia (98.6 percent), Iceland (84.8) and Sweden (78.8).


Are Swiss universities really among the best in the world?

Year after year, the federal polytechnic institute of Zurich (ETH) ranks at the top of the ratings by various international surveys. Its sister school in Lausanne (EPFL), also gets high scores.

There is no doubt that both Swiss universities have an excellent reputation, but now there are questions about how credible these rankings really are.

According to Matthieu Gillabert, professor at the University of Fribourg, the ratings don’t focus on the quality of education but, rather, they are “largely based on the citations of scientific works that are produced in universities, the number of Nobel Prizes, and the capacity of a university to capture private funds.”

“These rankings often serve to reproduce hierarchies that already exist between universities and which highlight Anglo-Saxon institutions: Cambridge, Oxford or the Ivy League in the United States", he added.

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