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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
A glass of Swiss milk will probably be pricier starting in the spring. Photo by Fá Romero from Pexels

Health experts were right: Covid infections in Switzerland keep falling

From over 40,000 new infections registered on February 1st, the latest tally (on February 21st) stood at 32,317 cases recorded from Friday until Monday — roughly 10,000 per day.

It is too early to say whether the numbers will continue their downward path in a sustained manner because it will take a few weeks to assess the impact of  the lifting of Covid measures last Thursday.

For now, however, it appears that the pandemic is waning, as this chart from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) demonstrates.

Image:FOPH

Dairy products will soon cost more

Milk prices are skyrocketing around the world and Switzerland is no exception.

“Swiss dairy producers will probably charge around three centimes more per kilo of milk from April or May”, said Pierre-André Pittet, vice-director of the Federation of Swiss Milk Producers.

This increase will also be reflected in the price of dairy products like yogurts, butter and cheese.

The reason for this price hike is higher costs involved in farming in general, and milk production in particular.

READ MORE: How the cost of living will change in Switzerland in 2022

Residents in eight cantons ‘overpay’ their rent.

An average monthly rent in Switzerland is 1,373 francs, according to a new analysis by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

However, tenants in eight cantons — including the traditionally expensive markets like Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Zug and Vaud —  pay about 1,750 francs in rent.  

Residents of the 18 other cantons fall below the national average in terms of rent, but only Jura tenants pay less than 1,000 francs for their dwellings.

Image: FSO

READ MORE: In which Swiss canton can you find a rental bargain?

Switzerland could end up on EU’s “dirty money” blacklist— again

In view of a recent data leak showing that Credit Suisse bank accepted money from illicit sources, the European People’s Party (EPP) has called on the EU to “re-evaluate Switzerland as a high-risk money-laundering country” and add it to the list of nations at high risk for financial crime.

READ MORE: ANALYSIS: How the latest banking scandal has damaged Switzerland’s reputation

Switzerland is no stranger to this list: in 2017, the country was placed on it  because “it intentionally attracted foreign investors by allowing corporations and wealthy individuals to pay a low, lump-sum tax on the money they kept in Swiss banks”.

However, Switzerland was removed from the list in 2019 because that year Swiss voters accepted a legislation which introduced major changes in the Swiss tax system by ending some preferential tax schemes and replacing them with new regulations which are in line with international standards.

‘Swiss Secrets’: What would EU blacklisting mean for 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 Monday

More on impending gas shortage, ‘unreliable’ Swiss trains, and other news from Switzerland on Monday.

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

Candles could become much in demand this winter

As The Local reported last week, Switzerland is at risk of a gas shortage this winter and, depending on the situation, restrictions on consumption during the coldest months can’t be excluded.

As Lukas Küng, head of Organisation for Power Supply in Extraordinary Situations (OSTRAL) explained to Swiss media on Sunday, this could lead to electricity being shut down for four to eight hours each day in some areas.

He added that households would need to stock up on candles — clearly not so much for heating as for light.

Other possible consequences: “traffic would be at a standstill, with light signals out of order and tunnels closed. Public transport would also be paralysed”, according to Küng.

READ MORE: ‘It could hit us hard’: Switzerland prepares for impending gas shortage

And this leads us to the next question…

Which Swiss communes would be most impacted by gas shortage?

Logically, towns and communities that depend most on gas, versus other energy sources, will be most affected by the shortage.

According to Switzerland’s Watson news outlet, which based its calculations on the data from the Federal Statistical Office (OFS), the highest gas consumption in Switzerland is found the Swiss-speaking parts of Switzerland, notably in Vaud,

The 10 most gas-dependent Swiss communes, and the percentage of buildings heated with gas, are as follows:

  1. Rivaz (Vaud) (70 percent)
  2. Saint-Saphorin (Vaud) (68)
  3. Vinzel (Vaud) (67)
  4. Langenthal (Bern) (64)
  5. Cossonay (Vaud) (64)
  6. Soleure (Solothurn) (64)
  7. Allschwil (Basel-Country) (62)
  8. Lotzwil (Bern) (61)
  9. Aigle (Vaud) (61)
  10. Sierre (Valais) (61)

Double decker trains: ‘Lack reliability and comfort’.

Even though Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) invested 32 million francs in trains intended to shorten the journey on the Lausanne-Bern and on the Winterthur (ZH) – Saint-Margrethen (SG) lines, this goal will not be achieved.

SBB head Vincent Ducrot announced that double-decker trains that Switzerland ordered from Canadian manufacturer Bombardier especially for this purpose shake too much on curves, so they actually have to slow down on turns rather than pick up speed, resulting in a “lack of reliability and comfort”.

Since being put into service in 2018, these trains have also been plagued by a series of technical breakdowns and massive delays, Ducrot said.

Russian hackers attacked Foreign Ministry

The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) was a victim of phishing emails, according to a confidential intelligence document from June 24th, as reported in the Swiss media on Sunday.  

In these fraudulent messages, the content of which was not made public, Russian cyber criminals attempted to obtain sensitive data, which could serve for espionage or sabotage purposes.

However, the emails were intercepted and deleted, so no security breach took place.

READ MORE: How Switzerland is preparing to fend off Russian cyberattacks

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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