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

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Starry night: there will be showers during the night, but not the wet ones.JORGE GUERRERO / AFP
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Don’t travel by train to Germany until Friday

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) advise passengers from Switzerland not to travel to Germany until August 13th, as many connections are suspended due to a massive strike by Deutsche Bahn (DB) train drivers.

The only rail link that remains in service is the Zurich-Basel-Hamburg line.

SBB spokesperson Ottavia Masserini said the current situation is “very unstable”.

Travellers wishing to postpone their trip due to the strike can either use their already purchased ticket on another day, or cancel it free of charge until (and including) Friday August 20th. Seat reservations can also be changed free of charge.

The strike has left many passengers stranded. Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE / AFP

Health Minister urges pubic to get vaccinated before autumn

Although the cantons have enough doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in stock, the rate of immunisations has stagnated since mid-July.

“This is the last moment to decide on the vaccination before the fall”, Health Minister Alain Berset said.

“It is an individual contribution to a collective effort”, he added.

Right now, 49.5 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, according to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). However, as the map below shows, in Zurich, the two Basels and Ticino, this rate exceeds 53 percent.

But Obwalden, Glarus and Appenzell Innerrhoden’s rate falls below the national average, hovering around 40 percent.


 

READ MORE: Switzerland approves Moderna vaccine for teenagers

Cross-border tax agreement reached

The Federal Council has adopted new tax agreement on cross-border commuters between Switzerland and Italy.

Bern and Rome signed the agreement last December, when, after years of negotiations, controversies and postponements, the two countries managed to find a solution that was satisfactory to both sides.

Under the agreement, Switzerland retains 80 percent of the ordinary withholding tax levied on the income of new frontier workers who will work in Switzerland. They will be taxed the same way also in Italy. Double taxation will be eliminated.

However, a transitional regime applies to people who work or have worked in Ticino, Graubünden and Valais – the three cantons that share a border with Italy — between December 31st 2018 and the date of entry into force of the text.

This category of workers will continue to be taxed exclusively in Switzerland, which will pay the Italian border municipalities up to fiscal year 2033 a financial compensation of 40 percent of the withholding tax levied in Switzerland.

READ MORE:EXPLAINED: What cross-border workers should know about taxation in Switzerland

Switzerland tightens sanctions on Belarus

Starting on August 11th at 6 pm, Swiss government is enforcing “further economic sanctions against Belarus. These include controls on trade in certain goods as well as restrictions in the financial sector”, the Federal Council said in a statement.

This new package of economic sanctions on Belarus follows similar decisions taken by the European Union in June. 

“Switzerland is deeply concerned about the steadily deteriorating human rights situation in Belarus and the absence of dialogue between the government and civil society”, the government explained.

It added that Switzerland “continues to call on Belarus to adhere to its international human rights obligations, which include respect for the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, the release of all persons arbitrarily detained, and the investigation of allegations of torture or ill-treatment by security forces”.

Tonight, look skyward

Meteorologists are predicting clear skies tonight, allowing people across Switzerland to watch the Perseid meteor shower.

This phenomenon occurs when the Earth crosses the path of the debris left behind by the Swift-Tuttle comet. This event occurs annually between, approximately, July 20th and August 25th, with a peak in intensity between August 11th and 15th; the most active night this year is August 12th to 13th.

Experts estimate that tonight around 110 shooting stars could be seen per hour, with two peaks at 10 pm and 3:37 am.

For best visibility, choose a dark, unlit place and look towards the northeast and Perseus constellation. If you need help, there are various sky map applications to download to your smartphone.
 
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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