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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

Higher consumer prices, threats against elected officials and other Swiss news with The Local's short roundup of the latest developments.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
Sheep watching is a serious task in Switzerland. Photo by Pixabay

Prices are rising in Switzerland – but wages not so much

The war in Ukraine is impacting economy in general, as well as individual households.

A recent survey by the Economic Research Center (KOF) shows that living in Switzerland costs 2.4 percent more in March 2022 than it did during the same month the previous year. The inflation rate is not helping matters either — it is the highest since 2008. And is not about to stop increasing. 

Wages, however, are not growing correspondingly. KOF found that employers are planning to increase wages by only 1.6 percent for the next 12 months.

On the positive side, KOF reports an overall positive outlook for Switzerland’s economy.

Real estate – renting is now cheaper than buying

There have been ongoing debates in Switzerland over which option is more cost-effective for most people — buying a property or renting it.

The Local has also covered this subject:

Buying property versus renting in Switzerland: What is actually cheaper?

The answer depends on many factors, including mortgage rates and state of economy in general.

Right now, and for the first time in 13 years, it is more favourable to be a tenant than an owner, according to a new analysis of the local real estate market by Credit Suisse.

That’s because the total cost of owning a home when taking out or extending a mortgage exceeds the cost of renting a comparable home, Credit Suisse found.

Threats against elected officials reach new heights in Switzerland

The number of threats directed at elected officials as well as members of the Federal Council has increased significantly in 2021, according to the new annual report of the federal police (Fedpol).

A total of 1,215 cases have been reported, compared to 885 in 2020, and 246 in 2019.

“With the arrival of Covid, some people could no longer contain their anger at the measures imposed” Fedpol said.

For instance, Health Minister Alain Berset, who had been the most public ‘face’ of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, received death threats, and the head of Swiss Vaccination Commission Christoph Berger was recently kidnapped by a corona sceptic.

As Pascal Sciarini, professor of political science at University of Geneva told The Local in January, opposition to Covid measures “reached an unusually high degree of aggressiveness, with death threats against various politicians, which is definitely unusual and linked to the strong polarisation of attitudes fostered by the pandemic”.

READ MORE: ‘High degree of aggressiveness’: How Covid has changed Switzerland

New night-time job opportunity in Vaud and Valais: livestock watching

A series of wolf attacks against sheep and other farm animals have been reported in various cantons.

To keep this from happening, Vaud and Valais shepherds are training, in cooperation with the Organization for the Protection of Alpine Pastures (OPPAL), a number of civilian volunteers to watch over herds of livestock at night, when wolves are most likely to pounce.

This is a continuation of a project launched by OPPAL in 2021, when trained volunteers were taught  how to make wolf-scaring noises to keep predators at bay. 

There is no word on whether the volunteers are trained to spot a wolf in sheep’s clothing, though it seems an essential skill in this line of work.

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 Friday

From online scams to avoid to hot weather forecast: find out what's going on on Friday in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

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

Campaign launched against online shopping scams

Swiss police are warning the public against online shopping scams, including  the latest one, involving the activation of an online payment system that allows scammers to make several online purchases at the expense of the victim.

The best way to protect yourself and not fall prey to scammers, police say is to:

  • Always verify the sender and amount when receiving a payment request;
  • Never transmit a confirmation code to third parties;
  • Always check account statements;
  • Immediately report any suspicious transactions;
  • Report any such crime to the police.

All the advice and recommendations can be found on this website.

READ MORE:  How to avoid the most common online scams in Switzerland

Free travel for Ukrainian refugees to end

Since March 21st, refugees from Ukraine have traveled free of charge in on public transportation in Switzerland, a service which was provided by the federal government.

This perk, however, will end from June 1st.

“This free travel saved us from considerable administrative work, as these people would have had to be issued transport cards for each stage of their registration procedure”, according to Anne Césard, spokesperson for the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

A number of MPs are challenging this decision, however.

 “If these people can no longer travel for free, this will constitute an additional obstacle to their chances of integration, knowing that the financial aid granted to them is very low”, said Pierre-Yves Maillard.

“As long as the majority of these people cannot meet their needs sufficiently, we must continue to help them by extending this free service, even if it is in the form of a subsidy”, said another deputy , Benjamin Roduit.

United States impressed by Swiss sanctions

The US government has praised what Switzerland has done so far in the search for Russian funds to block, according to Scott Miller, the American ambassador to Switzerland.

Bern has made “immense progress” in freezing about  6.3 billion francs, belonging primarily to Russian oligarchs with ties to president Putin.

“This is a package of sanctions of a weight and breadth that, to be honest, have never been seen in the world”, he added.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why Switzerland is a magnet for Russian money
 

Get ready to be very hot today

If Swiss meteorologists got it right, temperatures will reach the high of 32 degrees today.

“The current heat wave is relatively extreme for a month of May”, said meteorologist Joshua Gehring from official weather service MeteoSwiss.

Screenshot MeteoSwiss

The reason: “What we are currently experiencing, that is to say a relatively early heat wave, is a direct consequence of climate change”, Gehring noted.

READ MORE: Heatwave: Why is it so hot in Switzerland right now?

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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