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

Questions raised about Swiss fuel prices, further damage to Swiss glaciers, and other news from Switzerland in our Friday roundup.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
This is what you could see tonight across the sky. Photo by Ethan Miller via AFP

Swiss officials probe high fuel prices

While the price of crude oil is at the same level as before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, gasoline in Switzerland has gotten more expansive.

Right now, a litre of unleaded 95 costs 2.14 francs. However, “if there were a direct link between the price of crude oil and that of fuel, gasoline should cost 1.89 francs per litre”, the same price as before the war, Blick writes in a report.

Though Ramon Werner, head of Swiss fuels supplier Oel-Pool, said that crude oil and fuels are two completely different products, the Swiss Price Monitor’s office is now investigating whether the industry is charging unjustifiably high markups.

 “We have received many complaints in which it is assumed that crude oil price increases are passed through more quickly than corresponding decreases”, said Beat Niederhauser, Deputy Price Monitor.

Heatwave:  Swiss mountain peak resurfaces after 2,000 years

Le Col de Tsanfleuron, which connects cantons of Vaud and Valais at an altitude of 2,800 metres, has been buried under ice for almost two millennia — until now.

Only a decade ago, the thickness of its ice cover was 15 metres.

However, due to this summer’s heatwave, the glacier, which is a part of the Diablerets massif, has now been partially freed, and will be “entirely in the open air”, in a few weeks.

The loss of thickness of the glaciers in the Diablerets region “will be on average thee times higher this year compared to the last ten summers”, according to Mauro Fischer, researcher at the University of Bern.

In all, the summer of 2022 has been disastrous for Switzerland’s glaciers.

Heatwave-related accelerated melting is shifting Switzerland’s borders and causing other irreversible damage.

 READ MORE: Climate change transforming Switzerland ‘into Tuscany’, scientists warn

Fewer apartments for rent, higher prices, and no relief in sight

The number of new constructions does not keep pace with the increase in Switzerland’s population and the corresponding demand for more housing, according to new data released by Raiffeisen bank.

Throughout the country, apartment vacancy rate was 1.25 percent in June of this year, down from 1.54 percent at the same time in 2021, the research shows.

The bank concludes that “abundant supply observed over the past ten years is rapidly eroding, resulting in an increase in rental prices”.

To make matters worse for apartment seekers, “this is only the beginning”, Raiffeisen warned, adding that the causes of this situation are linked to the increase in the population, including newly arrived immigrants.

READ MORE : How foreigners are changing Switzerland

Make a wish upon a star…

Tonight, you will be able to see countless shooting stars with the naked eye in the sky over Switzerland.

This is due to the Perseid meteor shower, a once-a-year event when larger meteors enter the atmosphere.

If you are lucky, you can spot up to a hundred shooting stars per hour — but only under good observation conditions, including a clear sky and a secluded place away from bright city lights.

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: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday

Covid cases are increasing substantially, prices are not falling despite lower inflation, and other Swiss news in our roundup on Wednesday.

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

Covid cases are rising significantly

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced on Tuesday that 25,134 new cases of coronavirus were detected in Switzerland in the past seven days — 49.4 percent more that at the same time last week.

This is in line with predictions that another Covid wave will hit Switzerland during the fall and winter.

To curb the number of new infections, Switzerland will roll out a new version of the Moderna vaccine on October 10th, which should better target Omicron and its subvariants.

READ MORE: OUTLOOK: Could Switzerland introduce Covid rules this autumn?

Inflation in Switzerland is down, but impact on prices not yet seen

Swiss inflation fell slightly in September, from 3.4 to 3.3 percent, but except for the price of gasoline, other costs have not gone down.

“Inflation fell, but the consumer price index did not decline”, according to Sergio Rossi, economist and professor at the University of Fribourg.

“In other words, prices continue to rise, just not as much as previously”.

And Swiss consumers should not see any relief on the price front any time soon. “The upward trend will will continue, at least until the end of the year, or even until the summer of 2023”, he said.

READ MORE: Pasta up by 13 percent: How food and energy prices in Switzerland are rising

The best airport in Europe is Swiss

For the 19th consecutive year, Zurich Airport has received the World Travel Award for Best European Airport.

The ranking is based on customer satisfaction, as well as the quality standards of the products and services offered at and around the airport.

To maintain its standing, the airport is planning new infrastructure, including a new baggage sorting facility and the renovation of part of the airport’s shopping area.

Switzerland’s other international airports, Geneva and Basel, were not part of the ranking.

Research: To save energy, we must live in smaller dwellings

To reduce the use of (and need for) energy, we have to “seriously change our habits” and  learn to live in smaller spaces, researchers from the Federal Polytechnic Institute of Lausanne (EPFL) say.

This would cut energy costs both in terms of electricity and heating.

However, this could be difficult to achieve as homeowners and tenants in Switzerland want larger dwellings, which inevitably leads to higher energy consumption.

Therefore, “promoting the environmental awareness among those people is essential but difficult to implement”, the study found.

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]