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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

Water prices could rise, new sanctions against Russia, and other Swiss news in our roundup on Thursday.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Though water may seem abundant in the alpine country, it could become an expensive commodity. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Water prices could rise in Switzerland

The amount of water available during the hot and dry summer months has always been an issue and in certain regions, private households are being encouraged to save water. The Swiss Association of Municipalities (SVG) now assumes that prices are set to rise in the future due to water shortages, SRF reported.

The association also believes that a “seasonal solution” would be conceivable. This could be, for example, higher water tariffs in the dry summer months.

“One could argue that the price rises when there is scarcity in the summer. How much would depend on the uses for the water”, said Christoph Hugi, a specialist in sustainable resource management. He proposed a new calculation system that would make it more expensive for a swimming pool owner to fill up his pool but could have lower tariffs for a farmer that needs to water their fields, for example.

READ ALSO: ‘An impossible dream’: Will we come to dread Swiss summer in future?

New sanctions against Russia

Switzerland’s Federal Council has imposed new sanctions on Russia, it said yesterday. In view of the ongoing Russian military aggression in Ukraine, Switzerland has also decided to set the latest European Union sanctions prohibiting trade in gold and gold products.

Major global hub Switzerland is banning imports of Russian gold. The measures came into force yesterday.

“The new measures primarily concern a ban on buying, importing or transporting gold and gold products from Russia. Services in connection with these goods are also prohibited”, according to the Ministry of Economics.

READ ALSO: NATO in, neutrality out: How the Ukraine invasion impacted Switzerland

Inflation stays at 3.4 percent

Inflation in Switzerland has not risen further – at least for the time being, but it remains at a high level for the country.

At 3.4 percent, the consumer prices in July were at the same level as in June, as the Federal Statistical Office announced. The increasing prices are driven mainly by more expensive imported goods (which were up 8.4 percent compared to the same period last year).

Petroleum products, for example, cost 43 percent more than in July 2021, mainly due to the war in Ukraine.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why Switzerland’s inflation has rate stayed low compared to elsewhere?

Hot and unstable day in Switzerland this Thursday

The weather forecast for Thursday promises a hot and unstable day in Switzerland. Temperatures may reach 35C in Genève, Sion, and Basel and 35C in Zürich and Bern. Chur and Lugano could see highs of 33C, according to the country’s Meteorologic Institute MeteoSchweiz.

In German-speaking Switzerland, the day should be mostly sunny and increasingly humid. There could be some afternoon showers above the mountains and near the Alps ridge.

The day will be sunny in Western Switzerland with a few morning clouds. Some showers and thunderstorms could happen in the afternoon, especially in the alps.

On the southern side of the Alpine region, it will be mostly sunny, according to the institute. Also, near the mountains, there is a tendency for local thunderstorms.

READ ALSO: How to keep your cool during Switzerland’s heatwave

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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

Health insurance premiums to rise, authorities could ban electric heaters, recession worries ease and more news from Switzerland on Monday.

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

Unemployment remains at 2 percent in Switzerland

In Switzerland, unemployment remains at a very low level, Watson news site reported. At 2 percent, the unemployment rate is as low as over twenty years ago.

At the end of July, 91,474 people were registered as unemployed at the Regional Employment Centers (RAV). This is 1,037 less than in June and 36,805 less than a year ago, as the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) announced Monday.

Last month, fewer people in Switzerland were looking for a job. According to Seco, the number of job seekers continued to decline by 5,629 compared to June to 163,315. A year ago, almost 220,000 job seekers were registered with the RAV.

READ ALSO: When is best to look for a job in Switzerland?

Health insurance premiums to rise in 2023

Health insurance premiums are set to rise by almost 10 percent in some cantons, with the highest increases in Ticino, Neuchâtel, and Graubünden, the new site NZZ writes.

According to an Accenture study, the prices need to “catch up” to higher costs in the health care system. But the corona pandemic and various special effects would also have contributed to the current situation.

READ ALSO: How is the Swiss healthcare system different from the rest of Europe?

Authorities threaten to ban electric heaters

The Federal Office for Economic State Supply (BWL) fears that there may be a lack of electricity in an already tight power supply due to many additional mobile electric heaters over the winter, Tagesanzeiger reports. “In this context, the use of electrical appliances could be restricted or prohibited,” says business administration spokeswoman Evelyne Kobelt.

The basis for the ban or a restriction would be the State Supply Act, which provides for such restrictive measures in the event of a severe power shortage.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why you should hold off on buying electric heaters in Switzerland

No recession for Switzerland, forecasters say

Switzerland does not expect to dip into recession this year despite the threat of an energy supply squeeze, the government’s chief economist said Sunday.

The Swiss economy is “doing well” despite the impact of the war in Ukraine on energy prices, Eric Scheidegger told the SonntagsZeitung newspaper.

He said it was down to companies to steel themselves for the possibility of power shortages in the winter months.

“We may have to revise our economic forecast downwards for next year. The revised forecast will be published on September 20. However, we do not expect a recession for this year,” Scheidegger said.

“We run the risk of an energy supply bottleneck in winter. If there are persistent production interruptions in the EU and we ourselves have a gas shortage, it becomes problematic.

Sperm banks are preparing for increased demand

Sperm banks in Switzerland are getting ready for higher demand after same-sex marriage was approved in the country and artificial insemination is allowed for lesbian married couples.

Since July, with the entry into force of marriage for all, female couples have had access to artificial insemination. And already, Swiss sperm banks have waiting lists, reports the SonntagsZeitung.

Among them is the “OVA IVF Clinic” in Zurich, which can’t offer new appointments for the first consultations until next December. However, its director, Peter Fehr, believes this influx should stabilise after the initial peak. His clinic should then help 30 to 50 lesbian couples become mothers each year.

READ ALSO: ‘Deviance and morality’: The history of the same-sex marriage movement in Switzerland

Sunny and hot in Switzerland this Monday

The weather should be sunny and hot today in Switzerland, according to the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss.

Temperatures will be between 16C and 29C in Geneva, 15C and 32C in Sion, 14C and 27C in Bern, 14C and 30C in Basel, 16C and 27C in Zurich, 17C and 27C in Chur, and 16C and 30C in Lugano.

READ ALSO: Body stress, drought and borders: How the heatwave affects Switzerland

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