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

From Easter traffic jams and a possible new 'road tax', to a noisy Swiss river — 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 Thursday
How noisy can this really be? Photo by Pixabay

Beware of Easter traffic jams

If you are hitting the road today, expect heavy traffic and congestion on many Swiss motorways. Depending on where you are going, you may be stuck in bottlenecks for a while.

For instance, a 14-km queue has already been reported at the northern entrance of the Gotthard tunnel, which connects Swiss-German regions with Ticino.

This map from the Federal Roads Office (ASTRA) indicates where the heaviest traffic and slowdowns are.

Image: ASTRA

READ MORE: What to expect if you’re traveling in Switzerland over Easter

And if you are going abroad, this is the information about what entry rules apply in certain countries:

What Covid rules are in place in these common Swiss Easter destinations?

Crime rate in Switzerland is rising, police chief says

The recent kidnapping in Zurich of the head of Swiss Vaccination Commission Christophe Berger sheds light on the increased violence in Switzerland, according to Nicoletta della Valle, director of the Federal Office of Police (fedpol).

In an interview Wednesday with Swiss media, della Valle said that more people have resorted to violence since the beginning of the Covid pandemic. (The man arrested for abducting Berger is reported to be a coronasceptic).

Other Swiss political figures who are linked in one way or another to the pandemic, as Berger is, have received death threats — Health Minister Alain Berset and former MP Dick Marty, among them.

Threats are also directed at their families  “to an extent never seen before”, della Valle noted.

Tax reform for Swiss motorists may be on the horizon

The Federal Council is discussing a new system which would scrap gasoline tax and car stickers in favour of taxing drivers for each kilometre driven. Money generated by this per-kilometre tax would pay for road improvements.

The Fund for National Roads and Urban Traffic (FORTA) is funded mainly by the surcharge on mineral oils. This works well with gasoline-powered cars, but as electric cars don’t run on  fossil fuel, they don’t finance the road infrastructure and the loss of income is increasingly felt, according to FORTA.

The new system of taxation on the basis of kilometres driven would be levied on both petrol and diesel cars, but also on electric vehicles.

READ MORE: Switzerland’s strangest taxes – and what happens if you don’t pay them

Vaud residents complain a river is flowing too loud – really

We can’t say with certainty that this only happens in Switzerland, but we suspect this is so.

Residents of a district of Saint Légier in Vaud complained that a stream in their neighbourhood which is used mainly by farmers is making too much noise, asking officials to soundproof  it. (Soundproofing rivers is apparently a thing in Switzerland).

However, authorities responded that “the noise emitted by the stream… does not constitute an inadmissible attack on the tranquility of local residents”.

Next, the complainants  took their cause to the district court, demanding that acoustic assessments be made to measure the stream’s noise level.

Their arguments were heard loud and clear: the court said officials should either bury the stream, make it narrower, or install a noise barrier.

All this may sound bizarre, except that this is hardly the first time a group of residents creates ruckus about ambient noise.

Other instances include people complaining about loud church bells, public clocks chiming every 15 minutes, and cow bells.

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: 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]