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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
Swiss homes are getting ready for a winter with possible gas shortages (Photo by Patrick Robert Doyle on Unsplash)

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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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

Efforts to prevent SWISS pilots strike, sanctions for energy abusers, and other news in our roundup on Friday.

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

Goodbye summer, welcome fall

Today is the so-called Autumnal Equinox, which marks the start of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, including in Switzerland.

Given the summer heatwave that reigned (rather than rained) in Switzerland much of the summer, many people are probably longing for the cooler temperatures and golden foliage typical of the fall season.

Image by Valentin from Pixabay

SWISS proposes out-of-court arbitration to the pilots’ association

In order to avoid a strike by SWISS pilots in the middle of autumn school vacations on October 17th, and as long-winded negotiations between the pilots’ union and the airline are not productive, SWISS has proposed to settle the differences in arbitration.

“After more than two years of intensive negotiations, a new collective labour agreement has still not been concluded. The aim of the out-of-court arbitration is to work out a non-binding recommendation over the next few weeks”, the airline said in a statement on Thursday.

It added that Switzerland’s flagship airline “is convinced of a common solution in the sense of a good Swiss compromise”.

The pilot’s union, Aeropers, has not yet replied nor rescinded its threat to strike.

READ MORE: SWISS pilots threaten an October strike action

Cantons ask federal government to set fines for energy abusers 

On September 1st, the Federal Council presented its action plan to avoid energy shortages, including lowering the indoor heating to 19 degrees.

In a letter to the Federal Council, cantons are asking for uniform sanctions across the country in the event that federal rules are not respected.

They want clarifications about who will have the responsibility for the control and issuing of fines in case of non-compliance.

The cantons are concerned that no uniform rules will exist, but instead different regional  measures will be in place, as was the case during the Covid pandemic.

Pfizer seeks approval for a bivalent Covid vaccine

The manufacturer has submitted an application to the drug regulator, Swissmedic, for authorisation of its bivalent vaccine against coronavirus to be used as a second booster.

The new vaccine is “intended to stimulate production of specific neutralising antibodies against Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5”, the strains that are currently predominant in Switzerland and elsewhere”, Swissmedic said.

In August, the regulator has approved the use of Moderna’s bivalent vaccine which targets Omicron subvariants. It should be available for use from October 10th.

READ MORE: Switzerland to start dual-strain Covid boosters in October
 

Best Swiss cheese to be selected today

The Valais community of Val de Bagnes is holding The Swiss Cheese Championships to determine the best variety.

Cheeses in 32 categories are vying for the coveted title of Best Cheese in an event that brings together 300 producers from all regions of Switzerland.

To prove that Swiss cheeses are loved all over the world, the winner will be determined by an international panel. Aside from Swiss jurors, there are also some from the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Great Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Italy and even Japan.

Each one of them has a very tough job of tasting 40 cheeses for five to six hours before choosing the winner later today.

READ MORE: Ten varieties of cheese you should be able to identify if you live in Switzerland

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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