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Swissinfo

SWI swissinfo.ch – the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Since 1999, swissinfo.ch has fulfilled the federal government’s mandate to distribute information about Switzerland internationally, supplementing the online offerings of the radio and television stations of the SBC. Today, the international service is directed above all at an international audience interested in Switzerland, as well as at Swiss citizens living abroad.

Videos by Swissinfo

A Swiss film on why it’s hard to help people

The documentary "That Girl" by Swiss director Cornelia Gantner shows how laborious development aid can be, even for locals. Gladys Shonga-Furrer grew up in rural Zambia. She dropped out of school because her parents ran out of money. Gladys refused to be married off and instead went to a town to work and finance her own education. Later, she and her Swiss husband Thomas provided development aid in a remote Zambian village. But even as a local, Gladys faced  considerable challenges. Rich Swiss philanthropist Cornelia Gantner not only supported the project financially, but also made a film about it.

swissinfo.ch is the international branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Its role is to report on Switzerland and to provide a Swiss perspective on international events.

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Simona Aebersold, on being a world orienteering championships medallist and student

Simona Aebersold is 23 but has been running through forests and fields since she was a kid – her mom and dad are former top athletes and got her into orienteering very young.

A 7-times world championship medallist, Simona is also a student at the University of Bern, where she’s getting a degree in Sports science and Psychology. We met her in her garden, and she told us how she manages to balance her training sessions, competitions and exams.


swissinfo.ch is the international branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Its role is to report on Switzerland and to provide a Swiss perspective on international events.

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Swiss watchmakers’ efforts to become more sustainable

The Swiss watchmaking industry is one of Europe’s hungriest consumers of stainless steel: it uses up to 120,000 tonnes of it per year. The sector is facing increased pressure to reduce its environmental impact and local entrepreneurs are presenting solutions.

A waste management centre in canton Bern has established a recycling chain to enable valuable raw material to be re-used. They collect unsold watches and defective watch parts from some 20 brands in the region. The different materials are separated and recycled, so that they can be re-used by watchmakers.

The first batch of eco-recyclable steel has been produced in 2020 and part of those bars are coming back to the recycling centre to be smolded once more.


swissinfo.ch is the international branch of the Swiss Broadcasting

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From Beethoven, with help from algorithms

Beethoven died in 1827 without having been able to finish his 10th Symphony. Nearly two centuries later, the work of the famous composer has been completed in Switzerland using artificial intelligence.

In early September, the Nexus Orchestra of Western Switzerland presented Beethoven’s 10th Symphony to audiences in Lausanne and Geneva – an unprecedented creation generated by artificial intelligence. The project was launched by the conductor Guillaume Berney and artificial intelligence engineer Florian Colombo. The seven-minute piece was “created” on the morning of the concert by a computer programme that got to know the composer by “digesting” Beethoven’s 16 string quartets. The sketches of the 10th Symphony left behind when Beethoven died have been added to the computer which, via

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A giant water battery in the Swiss Alps

The amount of electricity that can be stored thanks to the new pumped-storage and turbine power station in Nant de Drance, canton Valais, could charge more than 400,000 electric car batteries. Its director explains the role of this "water battery" for electricity supply and grid stabilisation in Switzerland and Europe.

“The electric storage capacity of the reservoir surpasses that of 400,000 electric car batteries,” explains Alain Sauthier, engineer and director of the Nant de Drance pumped-storage hydroelectric plant, pointing towards the Vieux Emosson reservoir. This artificial lake was built in 1955 in the municipality of Finhaut, high in the Alps of the Swiss canton of Valais.

Between 2012 and 2016, the height of the Vieux Emosson dam was raised by some 20 metres to increase the

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An alternative life of Swiss luxury

Thomas Brunschwig leads an unconventional life. He is a self-confessed outsider who has found his sustainable, spiritual paradise in a Bernese farmhouse filled with various Indian and Chinese instruments and sculptures – and four zebu cattle.

The zebu produce neither milk nor meat. In fact he says the only useful thing they produce is dung, the fuel of fire in the Vedic religion. “Technically, if I calculate the income from selling dried cow pats, they are self-sufficient,” he says.

The wooden building is nestled among lush forest, perfect for foraging for fruit, vegetables and plants. And the cattle share their home with countless butterflies, frogs, snails, lizards and spiders.

“Everyone sees luxury differently,” Brunschwig says. “My water for life comes from mountain springs. There

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Afghan women face an uncertain future

One of the big questions since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan is what will become of Afghan women.

When the militant group last ruled the country, women and girls were barred from schools, universities and jobs, and had to veil from head to toe in public. The Swiss-based non-profit group Geneva Call has been active in Afghanistan for several years, trying to improve the protection of women in particular. Marie Lequin, Head of the Eurasia region, says its local staff, some of whom are female, will continue this work.


swissinfo.ch is the international branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Its role is to report on Switzerland and to provide a Swiss perspective on international events.

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Covid vaccinations in schools

Aargau is the first Swiss canton to offer mobile vaccination centres for older pupils on school grounds. The aim is to boost the vaccination rate among 16- to 19-year-olds in the canton, which currently stands at 43%, as well as to stem the number of coronavirus outbreaks in schools.

More than 200 pupils tested positive for the virus in the first week of term. Schools in the northern canton were the first to go back after the summer holidays on August 9. Currently the over 12s are eligible for the coronavirus vaccination with Pfizer and now Moderna in Switzerland. Aargau plans to extend its voluntary school vaccination service to those aged 12-15 in September.


swissinfo.ch is the international branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Its role is to report on Switzerland

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Deepfake hunters

Deepfakes are often used in ads and films, for instance when actors play younger versions of their characters. However, the technology also offers high potential for misuse. A spin-off of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne is using AI and deep learning to create software to help specialists detect fraud.

Artificial intelligence helps detect anomalies inside images. The software then marks any manipulated areas. Detectors are also programmed to recognize manipulated faces, providing a valuable tool for fact checkers.

(SRF/swissinfo.ch)


swissinfo.ch is the international branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Its role is to report on Switzerland and to provide a Swiss perspective on international events.

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3 essential items for Swiss urban swimming

People in Switzerland are really into urban open water swimming, especially with rivers running through cities like Basel, Bern and Zurich. In this video that originally appeared live on our Facebook page, Susan Misicka and Taylor deGraffenried show you some must-have items for taking the plunge. They also share tips for a relaxing and safe swim.

You can also listen to our podcast, The Swiss Connection, to hear about a Swiss woman who is so passionate about river swimming that she’s being trying to export the concept abroad. Renata von Tscharner founded the Charles River Conservancy to help people make the most of the so-called "dirty water" flowing through the Greater Boston Area. You can listen to that episode and see photos here:

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Diplomatic back channels: Castro stretches out a hand to Clinton in Geneva

Cuban president Fidel Castro flew to Geneva in 1998 for a world summit and while there wished to initiate ties with US president Bill Clinton. While his hopes were dashed, the Cuban leader did leave a lasting impression on the international community.

In 1998, for the 50th anniversary of the WHO and GATT (now WTO), government leaders and officials from all over the world flocked to Geneva. Among them were Castro and then US president Bill Clinton.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Castro had hoped the summit could prove an occasion to improve Cuba’s relationship with the United States. Though Castro and Clinton both stayed at Geneva’s InterContinental hotel, the only time they were in close proximity was in the assembly hall of the United Nations.
While Clinton failed to

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Why is Switzerland important in the commodity trading sector?

Tiny landlocked Switzerland is a big player in the commodity trading business. The country’s involvement in this industry can be traced back to the 15th century, when its ideal central location had merchants from all over Europe meeting on its city square to exchange goods.

Today, commodities are shipped around the world in huge container ships, and the trading mostly happens in climatised offices, far away from the mines and ports. Giants such as Glencore, Vitol and Trafigura have their headquarters in Switzerland.

But what is commodity trading exactly, and who is doing what? What’s the impact of this industry on Switzerland’s economy? Why is commodity trading usually discussed in connection to controversial topics such as deforestation, human rights violations, and corruption?

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Finding joy and inspiration through the covid 19 pandemic

While the coronavirus pandemic has put many projects on hold, for some people it also freed up the time to pick up new hobbies and make those New Year resolution come true. In this last episode of our series’ second season, you’ll discover what paper quilling is and looks like, how to look at the bright side of a cancelled wedding and why art can be important in coping with the daily blues.

Our Silver Linings series is made of videos our readers and followers sent to us, to show what has happened during the covid19 pandemic.

swissinfo.ch is the international branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Its role is to report on Switzerland and to provide a Swiss perspective on international events.

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Icy relations warm up in Geneva

The handshake between US-President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin between made headlines in Geneva on Wednesday. The atmosphere of their meeting was described as “warm”. The summit took place amid a huge security operation involving thousands of police and military personnel. The lake and parts of the city became no-go zones.

swissinfo.ch is the international branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Its role is to report on Switzerland and to provide a Swiss perspective on international events.

For more articles, interviews and videos visit swissinfo.ch or subscribe to our YouTube channel:

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How Geneva is preparing for Biden and Putin

Geneva will be hosting the first presidential meeting between the American president Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Preparations are underway.

As the host country, Switzerland will be deploying its good offices and taking all the necessary measures to ensure that talks, which start on June 16, can take place as safely and as discreetly as possible.

Issues which have contributed to a rise in tensions between the United States and Russia are likely to be discussed, says Marc Finaud, a global security expert. For Ambassador Jürg Lauber, head of the Swiss Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, it’s important that the two presidents meet in person and that the two big powers can have a constructive dialogue in these challenging times.

This is not the first time

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How robot cars may transport freight under Switzerland

Cargo sous terrain, or underground cargo, is a futuristic Swiss freight project aimed at relieving pressure off existing roads and other infrastructure.

The plan is to build a 500-kilometre network of tunnels linking production sites and logistics hubs in Switzerland’s biggest cities. Electric driverless vehicles will transport goods from hub to hub below ground.

The private venture, which is planned for completion in 2045, is expected to cost CHF30-35 billion ($33-38 billion). But first a law overseeing the project must be passed by the Swiss parliament.


swissinfo.ch is the international branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Its role is to report on Switzerland and to provide a Swiss perspective on international events.

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Protest over academic collaboration with China

The Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) is one of three European institutions cooperating with a university in China with ties to the military. Not all ZHdK staff and students agree with the move.

A petition has been organised by Verso, the ZHdK student organisation, which is calling for cooperation with the Chinese Harbin Institute of Technology to cease immediately. It has been signed by 531 students and members of staff. But a Swiss-China relations expert says that the petition’s call to stop cooperation goes too far.

swissinfo.ch is the international branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Its role is to report on Switzerland and to provide a Swiss perspective on international events.

For more articles, interviews and videos visit swissinfo.ch or subscribe to our

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Hollywood gives Swiss bankers a bad rap

To foreigners, Switzerland often means Alpine mountains, cows, chocolates – and tax evasion. As Frédéric Maire, director of the Swiss national film archives, explains in this video, the Hollywood movie machine is helping to keep these clichés alive.

He examines whether the sleazy characters depicted in films such as Wolf of Wall Street are simply exaggerations of the real bankers working in Geneva. We ask him whether the rigid, stiff, secretive, protestant, Germanic banking types of Zürich are real or just figments of filmmakers’ imaginations.

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Napoleon Bonaparte’s impact on Switzerland

To mark the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s death, Swiss Public Television SRF takes a closer look at the changes he brought about in Switzerland, as he plowed his way across Europe with the French Imperial Army.


swissinfo.ch is the international branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Its role is to report on Switzerland and to provide a Swiss perspective on international events.

For more articles, interviews and videos visit swissinfo.ch or subscribe to our YouTube channel:

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What Switzerland and North Korea have in common


In both North Korea and Switzerland, the omnipresence of high mountains most probably affects the national psyche. An exhibition at the Alpine Museum in Bern investigates the similarities and differences between the two mountain nations, focusing not on politics but on people.

swissinfo.ch is the international branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Its role is to report on Switzerland and to provide a Swiss perspective on international events.

For more articles, interviews and videos visit swissinfo.ch or subscribe to our YouTube channel:

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Channel: http://www.youtube.com/swissinfovideos
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The great Mars debate

Is human exploration of Mars worth the cost and the risk? Will we ever see the first man or woman on the surface of the Red Planet?

Following the launch of recent Mars missions with Swiss and international involvement, including the landing of the Perseverance rover, SWI swissinfo.ch put those questions to Sylvia Ekström of the University of Geneva and Pierre Brisson of the Swiss Mars Society in an online debate, hosted via Zoom.

These are highlights from the debate, in which Ekström’s co-author, Javier Nombela, also took part.

For Ekström and Nombela, it’s clear that the risks of a manned mission to the Red Planet outweigh the benefits. At the end of last year, they published the book ‘We won’t live on Mars, or anywhere else’, a paving stone in the form of a list of obstacles to a

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Pension reform in Switzerland: a democratic balancing act

The reform of pension systems is a pressing item on most political agendas worldwide. But in Switzerland, all major reform efforts since 2003 have failed. Is this a case of democracy hitting its limits? Political scientist Silja Häusermann explains how the mountain could be scaled.

Western countries all face the same scenario: the number of pensioners is going up, while the number of active workers – who finance these pensions – is going down by comparison. In Switzerland, the workings of the system needs to be adjusted so that old-age and survivors’ insurance payments – the core of the social finance model – remain guaranteed after 2030.

But the latest attempt at a reform again threatens to fall at the hurdle of the ballot box. During the recent spring parliamentary session, the Senate

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Electric cars – how much cleaner are they?

Are electric vehicles really more eco-friendly than other types of cars? The Swiss TV consumer magazine ‘Kassensturz’ used a new climate calculator to find the answers, comparing the carbon footprints of electric cars with those of other types over the entire lifespan of the vehicles.

The tool was developed by the Touring Club Switzerland (TCS) automobile association.—

swissinfo.ch is the international branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Its role is to report on Switzerland and to provide a Swiss perspective on international events.

For more articles, interviews and videos visit swissinfo.ch or subscribe to our YouTube channel:

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Swiss-EU relations hang in the balance

Discussions between the EU and Switzerland over the future of their bilateral relations could be on the verge of collapse. Over 100 bilateral treaties set the terms of relations between the two. These need updating. A framework agreement has been hammered out over seven years but there are sticking points and the deal is under fire from across the Swiss political spectrum.


swissinfo.ch is the international branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Its role is to report on Switzerland and to provide a Swiss perspective on international events.

For more articles, interviews and videos visit swissinfo.ch or subscribe to our YouTube channel:

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Channel: http://www.youtube.com/swissinfovideos
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A nightclub in an isolated Swiss town

Before Juliane and Nici opened Cult, young people in the eastern Swiss town of Scuol had to drive for miles – even across the border into Austria – for a bit of fun.

“Scuol was a ghost town in terms of nightlife,” Juliane admits. As a result, local youngsters organised a petition saying there needed to be somewhere in Romansh-speaking Scuol where young people could meet and dance or just have a few drinks with friends. Parents were also supportive as the risk of drink-driving was reduced.

On a limited budget, the two created from scratch the wildly successful Cult, which is not just a bar and nightclub but also a platform for various cultural events.

They say everything’s going really well and they’ve received a lot of positive feedback, although they wish people would dial back the

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Two tales of women’s suffrage

Swiss men continued to deny women the right to vote until 1971. This inspired two Swiss-based authors to tell stories of women experiencing the fight for women’s suffrage at first hand.

In The Other Daughter by British author Caroline Bishop, one of the key protagonists, Sylvia, is a reporter sent to Switzerland on a mission to find out the effect of the introduction of female suffrage. Voting Day by Irish writer Clare O’Dea is set on the day that men first voted no to women’s suffrage in Switzerland in February 1959. Clare’s novella examines how sexual inequality affects the lives of its four main characters.

swissinfo.ch is the international branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Its role is to report on Switzerland and to provide a Swiss perspective on international

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Gabriela Martina – from yodel to bebop

Over a decade ago, Gabriela Martina left her home in the countryside of Lucerne to study jazz in the United States. Today, the vocalist and composer lives in Boston and teaches at her alma mater, Berklee College of Music.

Martina tries to mix her Swiss yodelling roots with jazz, soul, RnB, gospel and blues. Her latest album, Homage to Grämlis, tells stories about the farm where she grew up with her parents, grandmother, two sisters and a brother. Many of the songs are about how they tended animals and the land. It’s bittersweet as the family recently had to give up the farm.

When we first met Martina, the traditional building was undergoing renovations in preparation for the new tenants. She herself was preparing to perform at a local yodel festival.

Later, we met Martina across the

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Swiss circus performer brings her passion to New Orleans

At a young age, circus artist Meret Ryhiner migrated to the United States to study circus arts in New York. She became a professional circus artist and eventually moved to New Orleans.

This is the story of how a road accident and hurricane Katrina changed her life, as well as the lives of the people in her community.


swissinfo.ch is the international branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Its role is to report on Switzerland and to provide a Swiss perspective on international events.

For more articles, interviews and videos visit swissinfo.ch or subscribe to our YouTube channel:

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The introduction of women’s suffrage worldwide

Switzerland was one of the last countries to grant women their right to vote, preceding only 22 other countries worldwide. Today, only one country doesn’t allow women voters to cast their ballot in national elections, just because there aren’t any. In Vatican City, an absolute monarchy, the legislators are appointed by the Pope. Neither male nor female citizens have the right to vote.

February 7, 2021, marks the 50th anniversary of Swiss women’s right to vote. Two thirds of the male population voted in favour of women’s suffrage in 1971. A first vote in 1959 was rejected with the same proportion, and a previous petition submitted in 1929 was ignored by the government.

When and how were women allowed to vote in other countries? The journey through time starts in 1776, and is closely

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Travelling to Switzerland post-Brexit


If you’re a Brit planning to visit Switzerland, you might want to think twice about bringing your pets with you! Things have changed since Brexit. ⁠

UK nationals are no longer covered by the EU’s free movement of persons agreement. When the present Covid-19 related travel ban is lifted, they will still be able to visit Switzerland for short periods using just their passports. But from 2022, short visits will require a visa waiver. UK citizens now have had to go through a different passport channel and may face longer waits at airports. ⁠

Travellers from the UK wanting to enter Switzerland with pets or meat and dairy products will also face stricter rules, as we find out in this video. ⁠

swissinfo.ch is the international branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Its

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