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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

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

Higher healthcare premiums, pensions adapted to inflation, and other Swiss news in our roundup on Tuesday.

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

Sharp increase in insurance premiums to be announced

Health Minister Alain Berset is expected to announce the new hikes at a press conference this afternoon.

While the exact increase is not yet known, Santésuisse, the umbrella group for health insurance carriers, predicts that an average hike of 10 percent would be necessary to cover the soaring healthcare costs.

Health spending went up by more than 6 percent, mainly because treatments that could not be carried out in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic had to be postponed to the following year.

The cost of Covid tests and vaccination has also increased the per-capita health spending.

READ MORE: How spiralling costs are jeopardising Switzerland’s healthcare system

MPs approve cost-cutting measures

On Monday, the Council of States decided to fully adapt old-age AHV / AVS pensions to inflation.

And if the increase in cost is 2 percent higher in the course of one year, pensions will have to be adjusted accordingly.

The measure, already previously approved by the National Council, is intended to help low and middle-income households to cope with inflation, rising healthcare premiums, and higher fuel and energy prices.

READ MORE: ‘Extraordinary measures’: What could Switzerland do to ease soaring cost of living?

Online comparator of fuel prices will see the light of day

Even though the Federal Council opposes this move, the MPs have voted on Monday to accept the creation of an app helping motorists to find cheapest gasoline prices at stations in their area.

Deputies have been urging the government to launch such an app, but the Federal Council .refused, noting that while energy prices have indeed soared in the past months, inflation in Switzerland “remains moderate compared to other countries”.

READ MORE: Why the Swiss government doesn’t want a fuel-comparison app
 

Switzerland’s first dating platform for anti-vaxxers launched

Though the anti-vaccination faction has not been as vociferous in Switzerland lately as during the pandemic, they have now launched a dating site for like-minded people.

The only criteria to join the site — which already has 1,200 members — is to oppose the “Covid gene therapy” and be vaccination-free.

The website states it is used for “charitable and idealistic purposes” and promotes “the holistic development of people and nature”.

Expect colder, wetter weather this week

Starting today and continuing for the next few days, the forecast calls for tempratures ranging from 12C to 14C in much of the country, as well as intermittent rain and wind.

The snow line will drop to 1,400 metres.

The coming days will bring an active cold front with rain and a surge of even cooler air, meteorologists say.

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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