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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
Swiss military planes flying in formation over the Alps. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Switzerland to buy US fighter jets?

While the official announcement has not yet been made, Swiss media reports that the Federal Council has decided to buy F-35 planes from US manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

The 6-billion-franc purchase was approved by voters in a referendum in September 2020 to enable the Swiss air force to replace its ageing fleet, but the final decision on where to buy the jets was left to the government.

The other contenders were the Rafale, made by French company Dassault, and the Eurofighter by Airbus.

It is not yet known whether Switzerland’s decision was influenced by Joe Biden’s visit to Geneva last week. In a meeting with his Swiss counterpart Guy Parmelin, the US president “recalled the excellent quality of US planes”, Parmelin said.

READ MORE: Buy American? Biden pushes US fighter jets in talks with Swiss

Ticino drivers ranked worst in Switzerland
Drivers in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino suffered the highest number of car accidents between 2016 and 2020. That is 20 percent more than the Swiss average.

These are the findings of a new mobility study carried out by AXA insurer.

Driving behaviour varies from canton to canton.

The best drivers were found to be the canton of Uri, with Schaffhausen’s and Luzern’s drivers also relatively safe. Collision damage claims in those regions were around 10 percent lower than average.

This map shows where the best and worst drivers in Switzerland are.


Switzerland nabs first place as Europe’s most innovative country

Last week Switzerland was selected as the most competitive of 64 economies surveyed by the International Management  and Development (IMD) Institute.

Now the European Commission has ranked Switzerland as the most innovative nation, based on its “attractive research system, workforce, digitalisation and well-trained experts”.

“Switzerland is the overall Innovation leader in Europe, outperforming all EU Member States”, the report said. 

Sweden ranks in the second place in terms of innovation, followed by Finland, Denmark and Belgium.

As far as the most innovative single region in Europe, Zurich placed fifth, behind Stockholm, Etelä-Suomi (Finland) Oberbayern (Germany), and Hovedstaden Denmark.

READ MORE: It’s official: Switzerland is the world’s ‘most competitive’ country

Most anti-vaxxers live in Swiss -German cantons
There is a particularly large number of people who refuse to be vaccinated against coronavirus in Obwalden — around 40 percent of the population, according to a new analysis by the research institute Sotomo.
There are also many skeptics living in Appenzell Innerrhoden, where 35 percent reject the vaccination. Across Switzerland, that number is is 22 percent.
Anti-vaxxers typically work in agriculture, tend to be low-paid and tend to be younger, the report found.
The fact that that the population of these rural cantons has been less affected by the pandemic could explain why such high percentage of people oppose the vaccine, said Martin Sigg, President of the Obwalden Medical Association.

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

Another way to cut healthcare proposed, Switzerland ranks as the "best country in the world", and other Swiss news in our roundup on Thursday.

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

Non-emergency treatments raise the cost of healthcare

The Federal Council has recently issued its recommendations on curbing the spiralling costs of healthcare, and MPs are discussing the ways to keep expenses under control as well.

One of the many reasons for high costs is that many people use hospital emergency services for minor injuries or trivial symptoms.

According to Martin Kuhn, managing director of Regio-144 emergency transport, the number of minor cases for which the ambulance service is called is increasing sharply.

“Non-serious hospital emergencies contribute to high costs and premium growth,” said Matthias Müller, spokesperson for Santésuisse, an umbrella group for insurance companies.

Both suggest that in order to stem the sharp rise in healthcare costs, people who use emergency resources unnecessarily should pay for the service out of their own pocket, rather than have it billed to insurance companies.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How Switzerland wants to cut soaring healthcare costs

Home working could be back this winter

Working from home became a widespread practice during the Covid pandemic but now a number of Swiss employers are considering this option again — though for a different reason.

In order to save on heating fuel, as urged by the government, some companies, including Novartis, are looking into the possibility of “leaving employees at home”, and making them work remotely.

This would save energy in the long run, as the web platforms used by companies for their work activities would use less electricity compared to the physical sites.

READ MORE: Swiss employers to reinstate working from home in winter in event of gas shortages

Switzerland ranked ‘Best Country in the World

This may come as no surprise to those familiar with various international rankings and have seen Switzerland get high scores numerous times in the past.

Now the new US News & World Report has also ranked Switzerland the ‘best in the world’ in 2022.

The reason for the top position, according to the Report, is that Switzerland has “low unemployment, a skilled labour force and one of the highest gross domestic products per capita in the world. The country’s strong economy is powered by low corporate tax rates, a highly-developed service sector, and a high-tech manufacturing industry”.

Out of 10 criteria on which countries were rated, Switzerland got 100 points (out of 100 maximum) for its business sense, also ranking high (96.7) for quality of life.

Switzerland should better promote its languages, Council of Europe says

French and German should be  promoted more in Swiss cantons where they are non-official languages, while Italian and Romansh need to be pushed more in economic and social life, according to a report released by the Council of Europe on Wednesday.

The report also welcomes “the financial assistance provided by the federal authorities to the bilingual cantons of Bern/Berne, Fribourg/Freiburg, Graubünden/Grischun/Grigioni and Valais/Wallis for their measures in connection with multilingualism” .

READ MORE: How did Switzerland become a country with four languages?

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]