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Today in Switzerland: A roundup 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 roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Switzerland may have its own memorial to victims of Nazism. Photo by Tobias Schwarz / AFP

Return to normal for Swiss trains

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) are responding to the normalisation of life in Switzerland following the lifting on many restrictions of May 31st.

With the re-opening of restaurants, the end of obligation to work from home, and the prospect of public events such as concerts happening again in the summer, increasing numbers of people will be using public transportation again.

The dining cars will be open again from June 11th. However, not all seats can be used, in order to respect a minimum distance between travellers.

From July 2nd, trains will be circulating at night during weekends.

Testing centres close to saturation points

All those who need a Covid test to be able to go abroad this summer are advised to make an appointment already now, as test sites have fewer available slots in the next few weeks.

Various cantons report that people are making appointments for tests well ahead of the summer school vacation, which starts in the first week of July in most of Switzerland.

Photo by Pascal GUYOT / AFP

READ MORE: PCR, rapid and self-tests: Your guide to coronavirus testing in Switzerland

Switzerland wants to create a memorial for the victims of Nazism

The Council of States accepted a motion calling on the Federal Council to create an official place of remembrance for the Nazi victims.

“The memory of the crimes of Nazism and of the six million Jews killed, but also of all the other victims, must be kept alive”, said Foreign Affairs Minister Ignazio Cassis.

“As time goes by, knowledge about National Socialism and the Holocaust evaporates. This is dangerous, because some do not want to know anything about the events of that time. Others relativise or deny the horrors of Nazism and the terrible effects of totalitarianism”, he noted.

Foreign Ministry will soon present to the Federal Council various options for the realisation of a memorial, Cassis said.

People with intellectual disabilities must be able to vote, MPs say

The Council of States sent a motion to the Federal Council calling for people with intellectual disabilities to be able to participate fully in political life.

The Federal Council will have to present a report to assess the measures to be taken to allow people with mental disabilities to  vote and be elected, in accordance with the principle of non-discrimination.

MP Marina Carobbio argued that these individuals “must be able to participate fully in political and public life, either directly or through representatives”.

To help them in their process, “easy-to-read language should be used at all levels of the government as well as in voting materials”, she says.

In Switzerland, people considered to be permanently incapable of discernment are in principle excluded from the right to vote and run for office.

Swiss university ranked among 10 best in the world

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich placed in the 8th place in the annual ranking compiled by the global education network Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

ETH’s sister school, the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) ranks in the 14th place.

The survey features 1,300 universities from 97 locations around the world.

ETH is the only educational institution in continental Europe to be included in the top 10. 

You can see all the rankings here.

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]