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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Thursday

Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Ban on tobacco ads targeting young people is likely to be approved in upcoming referendum. Photo by lilartsy on Unsplash
Ban on tobacco ads targeting young people is likely to be approved in upcoming referendum. Photo by lilartsy on Unsplash

Switzerland’s alarm system passes the test

The nationwide alarm sounded on Wednesday confirmed that 99 percent of the sirens in Switzerland are functioning correctly,  according the Federal Office for the Protection of the Population (OFPP).

The country has a network of 7,200 sirens used for general alarm, including 5,000 fixed and 2,200 mobile ones.

Switzerland’s annual siren test: What you need to know

The cantons and municipalities are required to repair or replace defective alarm equipment without delay. Since the sirens are tested every year and any deficiencies found are subsequently eliminated, operational safety is maintained at a high level, OFPP said.

The test also included alarm transmission via the digital channels of Alertswiss. At the same time as the sirens were triggered, a message was broadcast on the Alertswiss website and mobile application.

Alertswiss app, which can be downloaded free of charge, allows the population to better prepare for a disaster or an emergency.

Epidemiologist: Booster shots are still beneficial

With the announcement on Wednesday that Switzerland is lifting most of its Covid measures between today and February 17th, you may be wondering whether the third dose of Covid vaccine is still necessary?

Health experts say it is.

“It’s always useful because the first doses protect in the short term and generate memory cells, while the booster provides longer-lasting protection, even if it acts more against severe forms than against the disease itself”, according to Pierre-Alex Crisinel, infectious disease specialist at Vaud’s University Hospital.

READ MORE: Switzerland announces plans to relax all Covid measures

February referendum: only the tobacco initiative has a chance of approval

According to the latest Tamedia/20 Minutes poll, only one issue out of three submitted to the nationwide vote on February 13th is likely to be accepted.

The initiative aimed at protecting young people from tobacco advertising is expected to get approved by 60 percent of voters.

Another poll, carried out by gfs.bern institute on behalf of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, shows that 63 percent of voters are in favour of ban on cigarette advertisement, while the two other issues are set for defeat, with only 26 percent voting to end animal experimentation, and 39 percent supporting abolition of stamp duty.

All the issues are explained here:

Tobacco, tax and animal testing: What’s at stake in Switzerland’s February referendum?

And on the topic of voting: Schaffhausen supplies special voting aids for the deaf

In order to give people with hearing impairments a barrier-free access to the voting templates, Schaffhausen is making explanatory videos in sign language available as part of a pilot project — the first canton to do so.

The canton decided that hearing impaired residents should be able to take part in political life — including voting —with more ease and convenience.

To achieve this goal, authorities have created offering explanatory videos for the voting templates in sign language.

You can see the video (with German voice-over) here.

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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For members

TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

Unemployed foreigners, sexist work ads, and other news: find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the latest happenings.

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

Zug helps unemployed expatriates find new jobs

Out of the 1,300 current job seekers in Zug, a relatively high proportion of around 300 people are foreign employees. This is due to the fact that an above-average number of international companies — mostly in raw materials, chemical and financial services sectors — are based in the low-tax canton.

However, according to a report by public broadcaster SRF, finding a job is more difficult there because most foreigners in Zug are highly specialised in their fields and can’t easily switch from one industry to another.

The canton is now helping unemployed foreigners back into the job market — for instance, by setting up job fairs where job seekers meet recruiters and companies looking for personnel.

 “Zug is a very attractive job market, and if we help the unemployed expats, many can gain a professional foothold here again”, according to Gianni Bomio, president of the canton’s Association for Labour Market Measures.

READ MORE: MAP: Where do Switzerland’s English-speakers live?

Swiss bank blasted for sexist advert

Postfinance, a financial services unit of Swiss Post, is looking to hire software developers, but only those who  — according to an ad placed on the LinkedIn’s career platform  — “do not devote working hours to the fight for equality”.

Specifically, it seeks employees who want to work out “the difference between 0 and 1 and not between XX and XY” — the former referring to codes and the latter to male and female chromosomes.

While the advertisement was intended to be clever, “with this text, Postfinance is massively devaluing the fight for equality”, said Agota Lavoyer, an expert on sexualised violence.

In its defense, Postfinance responded that its ad was misunderstood.

“The message is that equality is firmly anchored in the culture at Postfinance and is so normal that employees do not have to spend any time on the job thinking about it”, said spokesperson Dörte Horn.

Now is a good time to sell your house

Property prices have skyrocketed in recent months, and a house today costs almost 30 percent more than a decade ago, according to real estate consultancy firm Iazi. And in certain high-demand areas like Zurich and the Lake Geneva region, prices are significantly higher.

Ruedi Tanner, president of the Swiss Chamber of Brokers (CSC) said owners who are selling their properties now “have clearly chosen a good time”.

The demand is such that “in many regions, there are hardly any more offers on the property market”, he added.

READ MORE: Swiss property prices see strongest rise in years

Idyllic Ticino village a hub of criminal activity

When the Italian-speaking canton published its annual statistics recently, many were astonished (and not in a good way) to discover that a small commune of  Riva San Vitale registered 791 crimes in 2021.

This means the crime rate has increased by 1313 percent compared to previous year. “When I read that, I was flabbergasted,” said Antonio Guidali, mayor of the 2,600-resident community.

It turns out, however, that there is no need to rush for bullet-proof vests; according to police reports, only two residents, who committed several hundred cases of insurance fraud, are to blame for the staggering crime rate.

The statistical anomaly occurred because each single case of fraud has been registered as an individual offense.

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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