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

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 Thursday
Storks set up nests on train wires. Photo by SBB

More information about the immunity passport

The final decision about the pass will be made on June 18th, but the first certificates will be issued in stages, starting already on June 7th “so that the entire population can benefit from them no later than the end of June, when the first measures related to the use of the certificate will come into force”, Health Minister Alain Berset said.

He explained it will be primarily intended for international travel and major events, but “will not affect public transport, shops or the workplace”.

“It will not be a vaccination certificate but a certificate of non-contagiousness “, Berset added.

READ MORE: UPDATED: Everything you need to know about the ‘green pass’, Switzerland’s coronavirus immunity card

SWISS airline tests a new digital health certificate

The flagship carrier will test the functionality of this new digital solution in the form of a wallet containing vaccination and test certificates.

It requires no application downloads and meets the strictest data protection guidelines. It allows travelers to store and administer in a digital wallet their vaccination and test certificates that are transmitted directly to their mobile devices by test centres and affiliated laboratories.

This way passengers can present airlines and authorities with proof that they meet the conditions for entry into the country without having to disclose other health information. The encrypted barcode of the certification system will also speed up and optimise the relevant airport processes.  

All lights off, to better appreciate the night

On May 21st, 290  municipalities in the French-speaking cantons will turn off  their public lighting to raise awareness of light pollution.

The participating communities include 98 in the French Genevois, 45 in the canton of Geneva and 35 in Vaud.

Cities of Delémont, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Neuchâtel, Bulle, Yverdon-les-Bains, Lausanne and Sierre will also go dark on that night.

Swiss drink more alcohol than the OECD average

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) compared the alcohol consumption levels of 52 countries and found that the Swiss drink more alcohol than average.

“People in Switzerland consume 11.5 liters of pure alcohol per capita per year, roughly the equivalent of 2.4 bottles of wine or 4.4 litres of beer per week per person aged 15 and over”, the report says.

Among the Swiss population. 35.6 percent of adults binge-drinking alcohol at least once a month. This corresponds to drinking more than 80 percent of a bottle of wine, or 1.5 litres of beer, each time.

And now for the ‘awww’ moment…

The wires of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) seem to be very popular with storks, who sometimes build their nests too close to conductor cables.

Recently, a couple of storks were building a nest on the mast of a transmission cable between Rotkreuz and Hendschiken, according Hanspeter Dürig, whose job at SBB involves not only wire maintanence, but also ensuring the storks’ safety.

“As the eggs were already in the nest, it was no longer possible to move them”, Dürig said.

To keep everyone safe in the nest, the longest branches were cut to reduce the danger, and the electrical conductors above and below the nesting site have been provisionally isolated, SBB said in a press release.

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]