FOR MEMBERS

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

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Zurich’s air quality is not tops. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Switzerland’s gift to Biden and Putin: watches.

When Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin met in Geneva on Wednesday, Swiss president Guy Parmelin gifted each one a Swiss watch.

But not just any ordinary timepiece: The US and Russian presidents received a state-of-the-art Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar, worth about 1,000 francs. The cutting-edge, multi-feature timepiece runs entirely on solar power.

Solar.powered watch the two presidents received. Photo by Tissot

The summit brought unexpected benefits for Geneva: good (free) publicity

With the hashtag Geneva, the city and its images have been trending on social media during the US-Russia summit.

For instance, the “Welcome to Geneva, Switzerland” tweet published by CNN journalist Wolf Blitzer and showing the city’s iconic water-jet fountain, got more than 60,000 views.

Running a similar advertisement campaign would cost 50 million francs, according to Michael Kamm, a representative of LSA, the umbrella organisation of public relations agencies.

It’s official: Switzerland is the world’s “most competitive” country

This is the finding of the World Competitiveness Ranking carried out by the IMD Business Institute.

While Switzerland has always ranked among the top nations, this is the first time in the Ranking’s  33-year history that the country is in the first place.

The annual study assesses 64 economies and the extent to which a country promotes the prosperity of its people.

The Local will publish a more detailed article on this subject today.

How clean is the air we breathe?

The answer none of us wants to hear is: air in Swiss cities is not very clean, especially when compared with other countries.

This is the conclusion reached by the European Environment Agency (EEA), which ranked 300 cities according to their air quality.

Zurich ranks 54th, Basel 95th, and Lugano is in 161th place.

While the air in these three cities was not rated as clean, the level of pollution was assessed as “moderate”, based on a metric guideline established by the World Health Organzation.

You can see how other cities ranked here.

Interestingly, Swiss cities scored high in recent liveability rankings; in fact, both Zurich and Geneva are the only European cities rated among the top 10.

However, while the study surveyed 140 cities around the world based on several different factors —including the environment —air quality was not one of the criteria.

READ MORE: Why have Swiss cities become ‘more liveable’ during the pandemic?

Black boxes for Swiss cars

It will soon be compulsory for all newly registered vehicles in Switzerland to be equipped with black boxes. which will record around 60 pieces of information in the event of an accident. The principle is similar to that of black boxes on board airplanes.

These small boxes will record data continuously but the backup will only be effective in the event of a major shock. In such a  case, collected information will be recorded over an interval of five seconds before the accident and a quarter of a second after.

Over half of Switzerland’s population is opposed to Swiss-EU pact

A narrow majority of the Swiss —51 percent — would have refused the framework agreement with the European Union, if they had to vote on it, according to a Tamedia poll released today.

Only 35 percent would have accepted it;  the remaining 14 percent are undecided.

Some 55 percent of those questioned expressed their support for Switzerland’s decision in May to end the protracted negotiations, after the two sides failed to agree on key issues such as the free movement of people and labour laws.

READ MORE: Significant differences’: Switzerland cuts talks with EU over cooperation agreement

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]


Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.