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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
In 2020, the Swiss spent a chunk of their household money on – that else – cheese. Photo by JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP

Switzerland could ban advertising on discounted meat

Federal Office for Agriculture (OFAG) said it is considering banning advertising of discounted meat, because these products are not favoruable to sustainable consumption and do not correspond to the real value of meat products.

“The discounts on meat are not conducive to sustainable consumption”, OFAG’s’s deputy director Adrian Aebi said in an interview.

Consumer groups have no objection to restricting advertising on meat, as long as safeguards make it possible to avoid throwing away merchandise.

Meat industry association Proviande, on the other hand, said the government should not interfere in consumer affairs.

A huge landslide looms above Bernese resort

About 20 million cubic metres of rocks are on the verge of collapsing over Kandersteg, a high-altitude resort village in the Bernese Oberland.

The snowy winter and the abundant precipitation this summer have “enormously accelerated” the speed with which the mountain is moving towards the valley, according to Nils Hählen, head of the Department of Natural Hazards of the Canton of Bern

This phenomenon is triggered by climate change in the Alps, causing glaciers to melt and permafrost to thin out.

READ MORE: Climate change: Glacial melt in Switzerland has created 1,000 new lakes

Kandersteg could be submerged by rocks. Photo by Amt für Wald und Naturgefahren Kanton Bern

Covid-19 changed consumers’ spending habits

A new study by the Federal Statistical  Office, the Household Budget Survey. compares how the spending habits of Swiss consumers changed during the pandemic in 2020 as compared to the same period the previous years.

The data shows that the average spending on meals in restaurants, cafés and bars fell sharply in the second quarter of 2020, while consumer expenditure on food increased sharply.

During this quarter, households spent 693 francs per month on average, 78 more than in previous years. In particular, they spent more on milk, cheese and eggs (100 francs against 86 francs previously) and on vegetables (96 francs against 78 francs).

READ MORE: Why is Switzerland so expensive?

A new phenomenon: the French are shopping in Switzerland

Even though prices in Switzerland are higher than in France, more French consumers are crossing the border to go shopping in Geneva — a reversal of the usual practice where the Swiss go shopping in France to save money.

That’s because in France, 11 departments are now requiring the health pass  to enter shopping centres. This the case also in Haute-Savoie, which is adjacent to the Lake Geneva area. No such measures are in place in Switzerland at the moment.

Not only the retailers, but also bars and restaurants on the Swiss side of the border have seen the influx of French customers,

“We now have 30 to 40 percent more customers”, said Arianit Pira, manager of Auberge de Perly in Geneva.

As a thank-you, “we should send a bottle to Mr. Macron”, he added. 

Swiss researchers declare new record for exact pi figure

If you are a math fan, you will be happy to know that Swiss researchers had calculated the mathematical constant pi to a new world-record level of exactitude, hitting 62.8 trillion figures using a supercomputer.

The number is 7817924264.

 “The calculation took 108 days and nine hours”, the Graubünden University of Applied Sciences said in a statement.

π: Swiss researchers calculate most exact figure of pi ever recorded

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

Fewer train connections in Switzerland, cheaper housing in Zurich and the rest of the news roundup on Thursday.

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

Coming soon: more affordable housing in Zurich

Rents are notoriously high in Switzerland’s largest city, but some relief is on the way.

Municipal authorities have successfully negotiated a barter deal with Welti-Furrer real estate company to offer a number of reasonably priced apartments in the Altstetten neighbourhood.

While the amount the flats are renting for was not published, Blick reports that the negotiations yielded “974 square metres of affordable living space to be rented out during 25 years”.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How inflation is increasing housing costs in Switzerland

Swiss Federal Railways want to eliminate some train connections

In its draft timetable for 2023, the company (SBB ) proposes to reduce the number of trains circulating between some Swiss cities.

For instance, SBB is planning to do away with the trains departing from Bern at 7:10 am and 4:10 pm, and the departures from Zurich at 6:49 am.

Two morning connections on the Lucerne-Zurich route are also to be eliminated, along with come off-peak-hour trains in other parts on Switzerland.

However, the draft timetable for 2023 also provides for an expansion for the leisure traffic on weekends, including between Geneva and Chur.

New direct connections are also planned on the Romanshorn-Interlaken route. This means that the tourist destinations in the Bernese Oberland will be better linked to eastern Switzerland and the Zurich area.

Swissmedic to Moderna: It’s too early for second boosters

After Paul Burton, chief medical officer of the vaccine manufacturer Moderna, announced in the Swiss media this week that vaccines will have to be administered “year after year”, Switzerland’s drug regulatory body responded that second boosters are not yet planned in the country.

Swissmedic said that neither Moderna nor other vaccine manufacturers have submitted an authorisation request for a second booster in Switzerland.

In order for the process to get off the ground,the Federal Vaccinations Commission (FVC) will also have to issue a recommendation for the booster dose before it is given to all age groups.

For people over 65 or with chronic illnesses, this will likely be possible in the fall, according to FVC head. Christoph Berger.

READ MORE: Reader question: When will Switzerland roll out second Covid boosters?

Switzerland wants to speed up the purchase of American fighter jets

Although the decision to buy 36 US-made F-35A planes remains controversial, the Federal Council decided to accelerate the purchase.

With a number of other countries buying these fighter jets as well, the government is concerned there could be delivery delays. “In order for Switzerland to be able to protect its population from air threats beyond 2030, it must receive its first F-35As as early as 2027”, the Federal Council said in a press release.

Under the terms of the agreement, the offer is valid only until March 31st, 2023, but “the deterioration of the security situation prompts the Federal Council to want to fill the gaps in military capabilities quicker than expected”.
No specific date is given but it will be before the March deadline, authorities said.

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]