Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Geneva gets high marks for its trees, cows get their water — this and other Swiss news in our roundup this Friday.
Train timetable changes between Lausanne and Bern
The well-frequented line between the two cities will be impacted by the “major track and infrastructure maintenance work" on 4.5 kilometers of track between the stations of Fribourg and Düdingen, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) announced on Thursday.
The works will begin on August 20th and last until October 30th, causing several timetable changes on the Lausanne–Bern line, as well as in the Fribourg area, on main and regional routes.
“SBB is aware of the temporary change in habits that this work will entail for customers", the company said, recommending that passengers stay up-to-date by visiting the website dedicated specifically to this project.
Geneva ranked one of the world’s ‘greenest’ cities
The heatwave that started in June and is still continuing has highlighted the need for shady “urban forests” — places in cities where tall trees create a “green canopy" and keep the area cooler.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States has surveyed 30 cities around the world, where Geneva has a comfortable upper-middle place.
As The Local reported, Geneva, along with Zurich and other Swiss cities, is creating green areas to counteract the heat bubbles; 21 percent of the most populated zones in the city have these kind of canopies, with the objective to increase this coverage to at least 25 percent by 2030.
Property market is easing in the Lake Geneva region
Along with the Zurich area, Geneva and the nearby region of Vaud have the highest property and rental costs in Switzerland, with prices rarely budging downward.
Now, however, the trend is reversing, even if slightly, according to new data from the Federal Housing Office (OFL).
The market is more balanced in other Swiss regions, OFL reported.
This is particularly the case in both northwestern and eastern parts of Switzerland and, to a lesser degree, in the Mittelland cantons of Bern, Fribourg, Jura, Neuchâtel, and Solothurn.
Helicopters deliver water to thirsty cows
The drought is impacting also some difficult-to-access pastures in the Gruyère region, where helicopters are now hauling water to parched cows.
This mission is of top importance as bovines react to thirst by "displaying nervousness", said Frédéric Ménétrey, director of the local Chamber of Agriculture.
Helicopters lower buckets full of water onto the pastures where farmers distribute them to cattle.
Gruyère’s cows are particularly important to the region, as they provide the milk used to make the eponymous cheese.
This story has a sense of déjà-vu: in 2015, Swiss army helicopters flew into France to “steal” water from a local lake to quench the thirst of cows on the Swiss side of the border.
And a somewhat similar scenario played out in 2018, when army helicopters actually airlifted old and injured cattle, one by one, to bring them to lower pastures.
This is a video of the operation:
READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why are cows so important in Switzerland?
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