Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Another Alpine resort closes to summer skiing, Swiss banks to divulge undeclared assets, and other news from Switzerland on Thursday.
Heatwave: Zermatt closes its slopes
Some of Switzerland’s high-mountain slopes, which used to offer all-year skiing, are now out of commission due to lack of snow.
After Saas-Fee, which recently closed most of its slopes to tourists, another Valais resort, Zermatt, will shut down its ski lifts tomorrow due to high temperatures that melted much of the snow cover .
“The challenges already caused by the lack of snow for the technical maintenance of transport facilities and the tracks are becoming increasingly significant and can no longer be fully mastered,” according to Zermatt Bergbahnen, the company operating local ski lifts.
Switzerland will not join the European energy rationing plan
EU countries want to voluntarily consume 15 percent less gas from August 1st until March 31st, 2023 to prevent a shortage.
Switzerland, however, is not part of this plan. The reason, according to the Energy Ministry, is that the country's economic supply law prohibits initiating a reduction in gas consumption before a shortage situation actually arises.
The issue that is widely debated right now is who will have priority to gas supply in case of scarcity. Authorities already said that private households and healthcare facilities would continue to be supplied with gas, whereas businesses would have to restrict their use.
Swiss banks will reveal client information to the United States
In its on-going hunt for possible tax evaders in Switzerland, the US tax administration, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), obtained information from Swiss authorities about accounts in 25 Swiss banks.
These accounts belong to American customers, both in the US and Switzerland, who had not given their permission for the Swiss banks to divulge their account information to the IRS, as required under the "Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act" (FATCA) agreement, which Switzerland signed with the United States.
READ MORE : How to open a bank account in Switzerland
Four Swiss universities join EU alliances
Although Switzerland is not part of the European Union, the Universities of Basel, Geneva, Lausanne and Zurich have been given the green light to take part in the EU initiative aimed at strengthening the competitiveness of higher education.
The University of Zurich will participate in the "Una Europa" alliance, which focuses on research on data science, artificial intelligence, materials design, and engineering. "Una Europa" is one of the largest alliances, alongside CIVIS2 (of which the University of Lausanne is a member) and EPICUR (University of Basel).
The "ICORE" alliance, with which the University of Geneva is associated, offers a common training programme teaching related to digital transformation.
Participation in this European initiative is important for Switzerland because "s country like ours must invest in the training of its researchers to remain competitive on an international scale,” according to Olivier Tschopp, director of Movetia, Swiss agency in charge of promoting research exchanges.
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