Home | Feed aggregator | Sources

Swissinfo EN

Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
News and information from Switzerland about Switzerland: direct democracy, education, science, business, living in Switzerland and a lot more – current, informative, in depth and in 10 languages (English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, Russian).
Updated: 2 days 17 hours ago

How your personal banking can be tailored to fit your lifestyle

Fri, 12/28/2018 - 18:00
A new breed of digital financial services firm is lowering costs for high street bank account holders. Among them is a Swiss start-up called YAPEAL that also promises to transform the way people manage their finances and interact with their bank. Zurich-based YAPEAL wants its customers to help build their bank of choice from the ground up by outlining exactly what services they would like. To this end, it is building up a community of so-called “Yapsters” to play a hands-on role in the bank’s creation.  This might include accounts for children that parents can switch on and off at a swipe or robo-advisory services for checking accounts. “If you see a nice piece of furniture in a shop window or a new TV, your app can tell you if it’s a good decision to buy or whether you are best off putting some more money in your pension,” says co-founder Andy Waar. Other suggested services are an intelligent app that tunes in to the lifestyle and habits of users or a feature to easily split ...
Categories: News EN

2018 as seen by Swiss cartoonists

Fri, 12/28/2018 - 12:00
Hot summers, European Union-Swiss talks and Donald Trump. Here is a selection of the people and events inside and outside Switzerland that caught the attention of Swiss political cartoonists this year. Each year since 2008, Bern's Museum for Communication has exhibited the cartoons of around 50 artists who work mostly for Switzerland's main newspapers. The current exhibition runs until February 10, 2019. The best cartoon of the year, decided by visitors, will receive a prize.
Categories: News EN

Train-spotting and people-watching at five major stations

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 15:00
Switzerland is known worldwide for its very dense and well-organised railway network, which more than a million travellers use per day. One hub is the main railway station in Zurich. Around a third of all commuters in Switzerland depend on public transport to get to work. Longer sections are often tackled by train. On the Swiss Federal Railways network alone, there are around 10,600 trains a day. In addition, the entire 5,000-kilometre-long railway network of all national and regional train companies is almost completely electrified. Project ‘The Sounds of...’ swissinfo.ch and its partners have collaborated to bring you soundscapes and images of similar places in each of our countries. The videos from Radio Canada International, Radio Poland, Radio Praha and Radio Romania International provide a chance to tour the train stations of their countries. Zurich main station is the largest train station in Switzerland and one of the busiest in the world. It is the most important hub ...
Categories: News EN

2018 in figures – from Federer to a flaming snowman

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 12:00
Almost every article published by swissinfo.ch contains a percentage, an age, an amount of money or some other figure. Here are 12 of the most interesting statistics to appear in 2018.  January 20 What a score! Swiss tennis player Roger Federer won his 20th grand slam title, extending his record, when he lifted the Australian Open trophy for the sixth time. He returned to the top of the rankings in February, aged 36, and ended the year world No. 3. February 80 It was exactly 80 – or otganta – years ago that Romansh became the fourth Swiss national language, after 92% of Swiss voters gave it the thumbs up. On the anniversary of that vote, Switzerland’s Romansh lobby called to broaden the official territory of the language. 2018 also saw the release of the world’s first professional feature film in Romansh.  March 71.6 In a nationwide vote watched around the world, almost three-quarters of Swiss voters (71.6%) rejected a proposal to scrap the mandatory licence fee for ...
Categories: News EN

The Great Swiss climbing tour: bolting your way up

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 12:00
What is sport climbing all about? And where are the most beautiful spots in Switzerland to reach new heights, hanging on by your fingernails? Follow professional German climber Pirmin Bertle in this exclusive swissinfo.ch series as he journeys in his van through Switzerland's natural wonders; discovering where you can climb hard, or simply take a deep breath and reconnect with nature.  In this episode, Pirmin explains what bolting in climbing is all about on the backdrop of the beautiful Gastlosen ridge. But first he shows us the amazing Still Water Forest ('Stillwasserwald'), tells the story of a devilish encounter, and becomes an audience of one for an alphorn player. Bertle has been living in Fribourg, Switzerland for ten years. One of the top sport rock climbers in the world, he's bolted and climbed two of the hardest routes in the country, "La Céne du Lézard" in Jansegg and "Meiose" in Charmey, both in canton Fribourg. 
Categories: News EN

New cash bonus for babies born south of the Swiss Alps

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 09:58
In an effort to boost the local birthrate, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland is introducing a CHF3,000 ($3,032) bonus for having a child. Starting in 2019, canton Ticino in southern Switzerland will offer the premium to parents of newborn or newly-adopted children. To be eligible, the family can’t earn more than CHF110,000 per year. “Having children should be a joy, not a burden,” says Paolo Beltraminelli, the director of Ticino’s health and welfare department. With more deaths (3,230) than births (2,774) in 2017, Ticino also had the lowest birthrate among the 26 Swiss cantons: 7.8 births per 1,000 residents. In comparison, the rate was 11.6 in Appenzell Inner Rhodes, followed closely by cantons Zurich (11.4) and Geneva (11.1), as reported by the Swiss statistics office. “Recent projections show that in 2040, one third of the population will be retired. It is crucial to maintain a certain equilibrium throughout the generations,” Beltraminelli told swissinfo.ch. “There is ...
Categories: News EN

Energy highs and lows

Wed, 12/26/2018 - 12:00
For some people, 2018 was energising, but others found the summer heat very draining. Here’s our look back at the past 365 days, using some of the year’s most powerful images. We had the Sun’s energy in abundance this year: summer was hot, long and very dry. Water levels in Swiss lakes and rivers got low. The heat caused water temperatures to rise and resulted in an even more intense melting of Alpine glaciers. But the heatwave also increased mineral water and beer profits. Open-air swimming pools were full to bursting with people seeking to beat the heat. Mountain regions benefited too as people enjoyed the cooler temperatures of the mountain lakes and gorges. Heat at the ballot boxes The year was marked by heated vote campaigns, such as for the proposal to abolish the mandatory licence fee for Swiss public broadcasters or the “Swiss law first” initiative, both of which did not get through at the ballot box (the licence fee proposal was rejected by 71.6% voters in spring and ...
Categories: News EN

The Swiss dog that conquers hearts

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 12:00
The Saint Bernard, featured in everything from Christmas cards to glass-blown ornaments, is a giant bundle of joy and a year-round symbol of Switzerland. We visited the Barry Foundation to sneak in some cuddles and find out directly from owners and experts what it is like to have one as a pet. You asked us your questions about Saint Bernards. Here are (some of) the answers. Origins – why Barry and why the barrel? “Barry is the original,” explains Manuela Lanz on the sidelines of a workshop with dog owners at the Barry Foundation in Martigny. “He is the dog who saved 40 people from avalanches on the Great Saint Bernard pass. He is a Swiss symbol. Barry saved so many people. That’s why today he is the national Swiss dog. Everybody knows him.” Some readers wanted to know what is in the barrel. That, she says, is a secret – code for nobody really knows. Some people speculate that the original Barry carried schnapps to help revive people swept up in avalanches; others assume it was ...
Categories: News EN

A nod to Switzerland in an American icon

Mon, 12/24/2018 - 18:00
For one American family, no car looms larger than one from a company created by a Swiss: the Corvair. You don’t see them often these days, but every time I spot one I burst with glee. I’m no car guy but Corvairs are different. These trophies of America’s love affair with automobiles remind me of my earliest days and of my most formative years. In a who-knew kind of way, they also remind me of the Swiss. The Corvair was one of the world’s first compact, economy cars with an air-cooled engine in the rear that emitted a delightful, throaty purr as its pistons and valves roared to life. It had two, heavy doors, four buggy headlights and a flared, pleasing beltline that made it look far more sporty than it was. You could take the key out of the ignition while the car was running and switch between low and high beams by mashing a button on the floor. The rear windows rolled up not horizontally but in the quarter-circle arc of a catapult firing into the wind. But the quirks that made ...
Categories: News EN

Waste not, want not is motto of Swiss food charity

Mon, 12/24/2018 - 12:00
Switzerland can afford to throw away a lot of food - two million tons to be precise, each year. But 7.5% of the population in the wealthy country live below the poverty line, and can't afford a good meal. A project wants to change that by redistributing the food. The project, Schweizer Tafel, based on the American concept, City Harvest, and similar efforts in Germany, addresses the imbalance. Surplus food from supermarkets that is past its date of sale is collected and distributed to homeless shelters, street kitchens, emergency shelters and other relief organisations. It amounts to 16 tons of food each day. The project was founded in 2001 in the Swiss capital, Bern.
Categories: News EN

‘The police closed us down within an hour!’

Sun, 12/23/2018 - 18:00
I can’t be the only British expat to have moaned about the lack of good brunches and burgers in Switzerland. Nor can I be the only expat to have considered writing a novel. I’m certainly not the only one to have done nothing about either. Richard Williams, on the other hand, is a doer.  The 43-year-old from Wales moved to Switzerland in 2004 and has not only opened a successful burger chain, a brunch café, a diner and a gastropub, he has also just published his first novel, Mostyn Thomas and the Big Rave.  I meet Lausanne-based Williams in Bern to discuss the book – a crime thriller set in the early 1990s, featuring Welsh farmers, ravers and debt collectors – but soon find myself explaining my grail-like quest for a decent Swiss burger.  “That was me ten years ago!” Williams says. But instead of complaining, in 2009 Williams and his English-Swiss wife founded the Holy Cow burger chain in Lausanne, which now comprises 15 restaurants throughout Switzerland (burgers pictured above).
Categories: News EN

Cute dogs, iconic cars and a new breed of bank

Sun, 12/23/2018 - 13:00
Here are the stories we’ll be following the week of December 24, 2018. Monday Waste not, want not: a Swiss charity takes food past its sell by date from supermarkets and redistributes it to homeless shelters, street kitchens and other organisations in need. Our photo-reportage for this holiday season. Also on Monday: we learn about one American family’s love affair with the Chevrolet Corvair, a car made by a company created by a Swiss. Tuesday The Saint Bernard, featured in everything from Christmas cards to glass-blown ornaments, is a giant bundle of joy and a year-round symbol of Switzerland. We visit the Barry Foundation to sneak in some cuddles and find out directly from owners and experts what it is like to have one as a pet. Wednesday Energy highs and lows: for some people, 2018 was energising, but others found the summer heat draining. Our gallery features a look back at the past 365 days, using some of the year’s most powerful images. Friday A new ...
Categories: News EN

UN migration pact: A hard landing for ‘soft law’

Sun, 12/23/2018 - 12:00
The uproar caused by the UN migration pact may have been largely political, but it also raises questions about the legitimacy of informal international agreements. For a non-binding document that looks more like a gentlemen’s agreement than a Faustian bargain, the UN’s Global Compact for Migration (approved in Marrakesh on December 10 by 164 countries) caused a surprising furore. The US backed out, after having been one of the instigators in the first place. The Swiss parliament, piqued about its perceived under-consultation, demanded the final say on the pact, forcing the government to postpone signing. In Belgium, street protests and coalition divisions brought down the government and the prime minister. Clearly the disproportionate opposition is more due to the hot political potato of migration than the concrete impact of the compact’s 23 objectives (as well as non-binding, they are far from revolutionary). Fears around migration are simmering, more and more people are ...
Categories: News EN

Brexit, Trump and e-voting

Sat, 12/22/2018 - 18:00
Almost every article published by swissinfo.ch contains a percentage, an age, an amount of money or some other figure. Here’s a round-up of the most interesting statistics to appear in the past week’s stories. Monday 6 The European Commission offered the Swiss stock exchange access to its markets for another six months. This allows Switzerland to hold a consultation process on a proposed “framework agreement” treaty to govern future ties between the two parties.  Tuesday 3,000 This is the number of politicians, business leaders and representatives of science, culture and civil society who attend the World Economic Forum’s annual showpiece in Davos every year. US President Donald Trump confirmed he would be among their number for a second year in a row. Wednesday 300 More than 300 successful trials on e-voting have been carried out in Switzerland over the past 14 years. This has persuaded the government to draft a bill to make digital voting a permanent feature ...
Categories: News EN

A Christmas clinic where the patients are parcels

Sat, 12/22/2018 - 12:00
Christmas is the busiest time of year for packages, but sometimes they get damaged, and Swiss Post has a special clinic to take care of them.  Swiss Post has a lot to do in the run-up to Christmas. In December, up to one million parcels a day are processed in its sorting centres. Each individual package passes through one of the parcel centres before it ends up under the Christmas tree. At the Härkingen parcel centre in canton Solothurn, the parcels are delivered by truck and transported on a conveyor belt to the sorting hall.
Categories: News EN

Citizens’ Juries – providing a neutral recommendation on voting issues

Fri, 12/21/2018 - 12:00
In Switzerland, issues up for vote are typically complex and the interests of different parties are often difficult to decipher. One solution could be the use of a citizens’ jury whereby a few citizens are selected at random to provide a balanced assessment of voting issues for the many. The random selection of citizens is critical to ensure the independence of the jury. That is the key condition for the jury to undertake its task: to “filter” or sort through information from campaigns and political parties in order to provide citizens with neutral and correct information. At its core, a citizens’ jury should help people make decisions at the ballot box that are balanced and free from any individual or party interests. And, importantly this should be provided in a language that is clear and understandable. A widely used model in the US Citizens' juries, sometimes called panels or committees, are not a Swiss invention. They are widely used in many states in the US, providing a ...
Categories: News EN

Green initiative gets early support, but not enough to win vote

Fri, 12/21/2018 - 07:00
A proposal by environmentalists to limit urban sprawl in Switzerland enjoys widespread support nine weeks ahead of a nationwide vote next February. But pollsters say the chances of it being approved are slim. The initiative, launched in 2015 by the youth wing of Green Party, wants to ban new development zones under certain conditions and to promote the creation of environmentally sustainable housing areas in urban areas. They are seeking to outlaw the zoning of new construction land unless the respective surface area is compensated elsewhere. New buildings outside development zones would only be allowed under strict conditions. The initiative also calls on the authorities to promote sustainable forms for housing and jobs in urban areas. An opinion poll, carried out by the leading GfS Bern research institute and published on Friday, found that supporters have a lead of more than 30%. For detail see chart below. “Two-thirds of respondents are currently in favour of the ...
Categories: News EN

Swiss-British treaty extends worker residency rights post-Brexit

Thu, 12/20/2018 - 15:10
The existing rights of Swiss and British nationals already residing in each other’s countries when Britain leaves the European Union will be guaranteed post-Brexit, the Swiss government has said. The deal, announced on Thursday, ends uncertainty for 77,500 British and Swiss nationals who have taken advantage of the EU freedom of movement of persons principle. But the agreement to extend residency rights only applies to people moving between the two countries while Britain remains in the EU. “The rights granted in this agreement apply indefinitely,” read the Swiss government statement. “However, the terms of the agreement do not apply for UK and Swiss citizens who move to the respective foreign country after the [EU free movement of persons protocol] ceases to apply.” The affected citizens of each country will be able to continue working as foreign nationals and provide the same services. The deal also guarantees the same social security provisions and mutual recognition of ...
Categories: News EN

‘Swiss farmers could make a lot more money selling to the US’

Thu, 12/20/2018 - 12:00
The American ambassador to Switzerland believes the agricultural sector has evolved to make room for a potential US-Swiss free trade deal. He also put the onus on Switzerland to move talks forward. Earlier this month, Switzerland’s outgoing Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann sought a rendezvous with America’s lead trade negotiator during a trip to Washington, DC. He ended up meeting the negotiator’s deputy, which some in the Swiss press called a snub and a reason why Schneider-Ammann returned without a significant breakthrough towards formal trade negotiations. But Edward McMullen, US Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, calls the idea of an American snub as “absurd”. With US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer called into last-minute talks on resolving the US’s ongoing trade row with China, McMullen says he “figured [the US trade office] would cancel the meeting” with Schneider-Ammann. “Just the fact that the meeting happened is representative of the priority ...
Categories: News EN

Where the Swiss emperors lived

Thu, 12/20/2018 - 11:21
The origins of the Habsburg family, one of the most influential in European history, are Swiss. Their castle still stands on a hill overlooking the town of Habsburg, in northern Switzerland.  Throughout history, thousands of men and women have shaped Switzerland's territory and society. The stories of who they were, the battles, revolutionary ideas or quiet but significant changes have been handed down through generations, and now fill the pages of Swiss history books. The traces of this rich heritage are many, some hidden and unknown. In this series by Swiss Public Television, RSI, seven places have been chosen that are linked to historical events, myths and legends, that are part of the country's cultural heritage. The Habsburgs were at the head of the empire on which the sun never set. In Switzerland many buildings recall their reign. The seventh and last episode of the series visits two of them, the Habsburg Castle that was built around 1000 years ago, where the family ...
Categories: News EN