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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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
Teachers demand health protection measures. Ina FASSBENDER / AFP

Swiss teachers’ unions asking for health measures in schools

As the school year already started in some cantons and will soon begin in other regions as well, associations of teachers are urging the authorities to take the necessary steps to prevent the spread of viruses among students and teachers.

Among the requested measures are air purification systems in classrooms, as well as sensors which monitor the level of carbon dioxide.

In addition, it is necessary to train health protection officials, who can take appropriate action when needed, the associations say.

PostFinance raises the limit for contactless payments

The financial arm of the Swiss Post has increased the limit for its contactless debit cards from 80 to 100 francs. These payments can be made without entering the PIN code.

This new option will be gradually introduced on payment terminals within a week of August 16th. However, the limit of 80 francs per purchase will remain in effect for all PostFinance credit and prepayment cards.

Swiss economists criticise government’s lax vaccination policy

When it comes to vaccinations, “the federal government is paying too much attention to individual freedom and human rights”, said Christoph Mäder, president of Economiesuisse, an association representing industries which compose the Swiss economy.

He added that while “these values are important, it is clear that immunisation is the only way out of the pandemic. The federal government must propagate this as strongly as possible”.

READ MORE: Six things the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us about Switzerland

Swiss national football team has a new coach

After the departure of Vladimir Petkovic, Switzerland’s team, The “Nati”,  was left without a head coach for about 10 days.

But now his successor has been chosen and soccer fans can relax at last: Petkovic’s replacement is Murat Yakin who will stay with the team at least until the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

According to Swiss Football Association (SFA), Yakin has extensive experience in coaching. “After having accomplished his brilliant playing career in Switzerland (notably as captain of the champion and winner of the Grasshopper Club Zurich and FC Basel), in the Bundesliga with VfB Stuttgart and 1. FC Kaiserslautern, in the Turkish League with Fenerbahçe Istanbul, as well as 49 caps for 4 goals with Switzerland, Yakin started as a coach with Concordia Basel”.

SFA president Dominique Blanc, said Yakin is a good choice “as he represents our Swiss path and the continuity in our national team.  He will also advance it to a successful future”.

Photo by SFA

Misunderstanding over Covid certificate at Swiss-Italian border

Cross-border workers commuting to their jobs in Switzerland are exempted from having to present their health passes at customs.

However, Corriere del Ticino newspaper reports that Swiss border guards demand these certificates, “creating confusion” at border crossings, according to  local MP Stefano Candiani.

Candini reported these “unreasonable and unnecessary requests” to Italy’s Ministry of the Interior.

The “excessive and unsolicited controls discriminate against Italian travelers going to Switzerland and highlight a lack of coordination of which the border staff themselves are victims, as they are obviously lacking the necessary and precise indications”, Candioni claims.

He added that clear directives regarding the Covid pass are “urgently needed in order to protect Italian frontier workers and travelers” entering Switzerland.

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

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

Heating with wood to become more expensive, redacted vaccine contracts, and other Swiss news in our roundup on Thursday.

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

Heating with wood is starkly more expensive

It’s not only the prices for fossil fuels, oil and gas that have risen sharply in Switzerland. Even those who rely on alternative energies such as wood as a fuel currently have to dig deeper into their wallets, SRF reported.

The pellets made from pressed sawdust are 46 percent more expensive than a year ago. “In general, we can summarise that the increase is due to higher production costs,” said Peter Lehmann, President of the “proPellets” Association. In addition to processing, wood is also more expensive.

Last year, almost 50 percent more pellet-based heating systems were built than in 2020, which has increased the demand for pellets. However, Lehmann assumes that the price will not decrease in the medium term; wood as a raw material is too much in demand in the current situation.

READ ALSO: Five of the biggest challenges facing Switzerland right now

Swiss government publishes redacted vaccine contracts

After a long period of resistance, the Swiss government disclosed the vaccine purchase contracts. Before that, however, it had redacted them out extensively, Watson reported.

The authorities have kept it a secret even the duration of secrecy, so the Swiss won’t know how long it will take until they can see the complete contracts. The lack of transparency has brought on criticism against the government.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why vaccinations are not mandatory in Switzerland

Almost 10 percent of Ukrainian refugees have found jobs in Switzerland

A total of 9.4 percent of adults possessing a special “S” permit are working, with most employed in the restaurant sector, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) said.

Nearly a quarter of them (23 percent) are active in the restaurant industry. In addition, 17 percent work in the “planning, consulting, IT” sector. Agriculture and education each account for 8 percent of those with the S status.

There are currently 61 424 status S applications in Switzerland, of which 59 411 persons have been granted S status, SEM said.

READ ALSO: 200,000 in 2022: Immigration fuelling Swiss population surge

Federal Council wants to decide on sanction policy in August

Switzerland’s Federal Council wants to discuss whether or not to adopt the so-called “thematic” sanctions of the European Union, Tagesanzeiger said.

These sanctions work differently than those imposed on a specific country. Instead, they allow measures to be taken against individuals, companies and organisations from different countries that violate certain rights. They are primarily concerned about violations regarding chemical weapons, cyber and human rights.

Specifically, in March 2021, the EU decided to sanction some persons, organisations and institutions from North Korea, Libya, Eritrea, South Sudan, Russia and China for serious human rights violations.

The controversial decision could lead to Switzerland sanctioning China, with Minister of Economic Affairs Guy Parmelin against adopting the measures.

READ ALSO: Switzerland bans imports of Russian gold

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