SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

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

Geneva drivers waste 69 hours each year sitting in traffic jams. Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash
Geneva drivers waste 69 hours each year sitting in traffic jams. Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

Cantons divided on ending Covid measures

The cantons had until Wednesday to give their opinion on the two variants proposed by the Federal Council to end current restrictions. Most cantonal authorities said they prefer to do this in one fell swoop, rather than in stages.  

The small cantons of central Switzerland — Zug, Schwyz, Uri, Nidwalden, Obwalden and Glarus —  are in the greatest hurry, considering  that a gradual lifting would be too complicated and difficult for the population to understand.

Valais prefers this approach as well, but only “as long as the number of cases and hospitalisations continue to decrease by mid-February”. Otherwise, the lifting of the measures should be done in stages.

However, Geneva, Basel-City, Neuchâtel and Jura  say it is too early to lift remaining measures. “It is too risky at the moment, given the still high load in hospitals”, according to Basel-City, which added that “the effects of the first relaxations, such as teleworking and quarantines, are also not yet known”.

READ MORE: What are Switzerland’s plans to relax Covid measures – and will they happen?

Traffic: In which Swiss cites are bottlenecks the worst?

TomTom GPS has unveiled its statistics for the most congested cities in the world.  

Its findings show that Geneva is the 75th worst city globally in terms of traffic jams, but first in Switzerland. Drivers there lose 69 hours each year stuck in bottlenecks.

Zurich follows closely in the 77th place and Lugano in the 93rd.

This TomTom chart shows the congestion level as well as time lost in traffic in Switzerland’s six major cities.

READ MORE: MAPS: Which Swiss canton has the worst drivers?
 

Taliban’s visit to Switzerland sparks concern

Ten representatives of the fundamentalist Islamic organisation that returned to power in Afghanistan in 2021 have arrived in Geneva this  week .

The official purpose of the visit is to meet with the Red Cross and other NGOs for talks about a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

Swiss authorities insist the delegation’s presence in the country doesn’t imply recognition of the Taliban regime.

However, Afghanistan’s embassy in Switzerland, which still represents the interests of the former government, tweeted it is “disconcerted” by a visit of a Taliban delegation to an European country, “while arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances of citizens of Afghanistan, particularly young women”, continue to take place.

MMS messages are being phased out

Today’s young generation may not even know what a MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) is, but those of us who remember the turn of the (21st century) are familiar with this service, which has been used to send photos, videos, voice messages, and documents for 20 years.

However, this obsolete, by today’s standards, service is being gradually phased out in Switzerland, and will cease to exist by the end of this year, Swisscom announced.

“MMS was a great innovation at the time,” Swisscom said of the service’s beginnings in 2002.

But it has been gradually usurped by more modern options and instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and Threema.

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]

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
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]

SHOW COMMENTS