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Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Wednesday

Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Wednesday
Farmers are looking for helping hands. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Due to Covid, Landsgemeinde is cancelled this year — again

For the second year in a row — and the second time in its 600-year-old  history — Appenzell Innerrhoden had to give up its traditional Landsgemeinde this month.

Instead of the open-air assembly where hundreds of people gather to vote on various issues by show of hands, canton’s residents cast their votes the way people elsewhere in Switzerland do — in the ballot box.

“Appenzell is not the same without Landsgemeinde. There is something missing, because this tradition is in our hearts”, said District Secretary Patrik Lenzi.

Regional public transport is punctual and clean, report says

Regional trains and buses that run all over Switzerland are generally in good condition and run on time, according to a new report by the Federal Office of Transport (FOT).

Regional transport is considered punctual if it arrives at its destination less than three minutes late. In this respect, trains are more efficient than buses, with around 95 percent on average arriving on time at their destination.

However, the direct trains of the RegioExpress and Interregio type, do less well than the trains serving urban areas (RER / S-Bahn) and those providing connections to mountains and countryside.

As for regional buses, about 90 percent are punctual. In this sector, transportation in the countryside and in the mountains obtains better results than in urban areas, the study found.

And the winners are………

For the sixth year in a row, the RepTrak Company has carried out its Brand Reputation Study to find which Swiss brands consumers in Switzerland like and respect most.

The companies were judged on categories such as product or service quality, innovation, quality as an employer, and environmental awareness and performance.

The study concluded that large corporations “have a reputational disadvantage” and people “appreciate companies that are familiar and close to them”.

The top 10 most respected Swiss companies are: Ricola, Migros, Touring Club Suisse (TCS), Lindt & Sprüngli, Rolex, Rivella, Die Mobiliar, Zweifel, Hilti, and Coop.

Swiss mountain farmers are looking for volunteers

Normally, scores of volunteers from abroad help Alpine farmers in their daily chores. But due to travel restrictions, this year the farmers are hoping help will come from within the country.

Caritas, an organisation helping to find about 1,400 urgently needed volunteers, is looking for “people who appreciate the insight into a new world, who are looking for a connection to nature, and who want to secure the livelihood of mountain farmers”.

The tasks include harvesting hay, looking after animals, helping around the house, and other chores.

Anyone wishing to work on a mountain farm for at least a week must be at least 18 years old and physically fit. It is also important that applicants have not visited a risk area 10 days before the assignment, Caritas said.

More information and applications (in German, French and Italian) are available here.

Geneva vaccinates undocumented migrants

An estimated 10,000 illegal immigrants who live in the canton can now get their Covid shots through the Geneva Red Cross.

Besides undocumented migrants, vaccines are also available to people without health insurance and those who have not paid their premiums due to lack of money. However, proof of presence in the canton for at least three months — for instance invoices, bus tickets, etc. — must be shown.

READ MORE: How to get the coronavirus vaccine in Geneva

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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For members


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

Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
MPs debate tax breaks for childcare services. Photo by Rashid Sadykov on Unsplash

Geneva vaccination centres will remain open despite USA-Russia summit

Although certain parts of the city will be shut on Wednesday due to the meeting this week between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin, health authorities have said that Geneva’s vaccination facilities will continue to operate.

Even if some modifications will have to be made, “their impact will be minimal”, according to the cantonal pharmacist Nathalie Vernaz-Hegi.

READ MORE: Historic Swiss lakeside villa spruced up for Biden-Putin talks

Night trains and buses will resume their activity in July

Suspended since November, following the Federal Council’s decision to close restaurants at 11 pm, public transportation has not, or rarely, operated during the night since that time.
This is set to change in July, especially as there are now enough train drivers, particularly in the German-speaking Switzerland.
Shortages still remain in the French-speaking areas, as well as Ticino, but they should be resolved by fall.

Parents might be able to deduct more taxes for daycare costs

The parliament is debating about increasing the deduction for childcare costs, from 6,500 to 10,000 francs.

MP Christa Markwalder proposed this motion, arguing that it would allow a better reconciliation of professional and family life, as well as better integration of women into the labour market.

Opponents, however, claim  that such a deduction would lead to considerable tax losses, without having any positive effect on equality between men and women.

However, the proposal has every chance of succeeding, supporters say.

READ MORE: How to decide where to live in Switzerland based on affordability

Deportations of foreign criminals should be improved for minor cases, MPs say

The National Council has widely adopted a motion proposing several changes to criminal law relating to the expulsion of foreigners who commit crimes in Switzerland,

The motion proposes three options.

Firstly, the Public Prosecutor’s Office should be empowered to order expulsion in minor cases. Today, only a court can make this decision.

Secondly, foreign defendants without a residence permit or who entered Switzerland solely with the intention of committing a crime, should no longer be entitled to a defense.

Finally, the list of offenses must be re-examined to exclude minor ones; this includes contraventions leading to compulsory expulsion, in particular when they were committed by young foreigners who grew up in Switzerland.

Swiss residents opt to invest their money in pension funds

People in Switzerland have a marked preference for placing their money in pension funds and life insurance over other investment options, according to a study by Boston Consulting Group.

The study showed that the two investment vehicles accounted for 41 percent of the estimated $3.3 trillion of financial wealth in 2020.

Next — 32 percent — are deposits in foreign currencies, followed by equities and investment funds (23 percent).

At the end of 2020, the share of Swiss financial assets was more than 6 percent of  Western Europe’s.

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local please get in touch with us at [email protected]