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Swiss gloomy about prospects for 21st century

A new survey shows the Swiss are pessimistic about what the 21st century will bring. Forty-two per cent said they expected humanity to be shaken by a major catastrophe, and 43 per cent believe Switzerland will no longer exist by the year 2100.

The survey, carried out by the research institute, DemoScope, found optimists to be in the minority. Only 37 per cent said they did not expect a major disaster (such as an atomic war, environmental catastrophe or a collision with a meteorite). The remaining 21 per cent gave no opinion.

Similarly on the future of Switzerland, only 36 per cent believed the country would still exist as a separate state in 100 years' time. Again, 21 per cent of those questioned withheld their opinion.

Asked whether the human race will be better or worse off at the end of the century, 44 per cent answered "worse", while 30 per cent felt there would be no change.

The survey revealed that older people are particularly sceptical. Only 20 per cent believe in a better future for the world, while 48 per cent think things are going downhill.

For the survey, DemoScope questioned 1,014 people aged 15 to 74 in German and French-speaking Switzerland.

swissinfo with agencies

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