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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

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 Wednesday
It's nyet: Rolex no longer sends its watches to Russia. Photo by Pixbay

Rolex stops ticking in Russia

Russian oligarchs have been deprived of Swiss bank accounts and now they won’t be able to purchase Rolex watches in their country.

That’s because Switzerland’s largest luxury watch brand has followed other Swiss watchmakers Swatch Group, Breitling, and Richemont in stopping exports to Russia.

Big Swiss firms have also started boycotting the country. Among them are food giant Nestlé, robotics and automation technology company ABB, train manufacturer Stadler, and a number of others, including retailers.

READ MORE: Swiss supermarkets begin boycott of Russian goods

Ukrainians receive official welcome in Switzerland

While federal and cantonal authorities are discussing “how to ensure as best as possible the immediate protection” of Ukrainian refugees, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) is making the new arrivals  feel at home — in their own language.

A new sign in Ukrainian on SEM’s website is welcoming the refugees to Switzerland, linking to a page explaining (also in Ukrainian) the procedure and other details of their stay in the country.

Government welcomes Ukrainians to Switzerland. Image: SEM screenshot

Switzerland has committed to take in 5,000 people from Ukraine, who will be housed in the federal asylum centres or private homes.

READ MORE: How Switzerland is supporting refugees from Ukraine

SWIFT’s IT center in Thurgau under police protection

International (including Swiss) sanctions have banned several Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments network, meaning they will no longer be able to use the financial interface to transfer money.

The computer centre of the SWIFT global interbank network in Diessenhofen, canton Thurgau, has been placed under tight security to protect the facility against the risk of sabotage from Russia.

 “For obvious reasons, we do not give details on this subject,” the cantonal police told the Keystone-ATS news agency.

The Diessenhofen computing center is one of three s operated by SWIFT worldwide. The other two are in the United States and the Netherlands.

Warmer weather is on the way

Spring doesn’t officially start until March 20th, but Swiss meteorologists are forecasting higher, double-digit temperatures in the coming days.

“In certain regions, temperatures will even reach18 degrees this week,” according to Michael Eichmann from Meteonews weather service.

On Thursday, Friday and over the weekend, mostly sunny and mild weather will continue, and rain is not expected, he added.

However, this forecast may not be good news for people who suffer from hay fever and other seasonal allergies. That’s because “the vegetation now grows much earlier than it did a few decades ago”,  Eichmann said.  “As a result, pollen and other allergens will be in the air early as well”. 

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 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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