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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

Still no relief on the drought front, the number of foreigners is rising in Switzerland, and other news in our roundup this Friday.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Despite heavy rains of the past days, summer will make a comeback next week. Photo by chi liu on Unsplash

Heavy rains not a cure for drought

The much-awaited rain, which has hit Switzerland in the past two days, has not only failed to counteract the drought, but is also posing new risks.  

The reason is that the soil is so dry that it simply can’t absorb water, according to Peter Molnar, water resource management expert at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

The drainage system is no longer able to evacuate all the accumulated rainwater, which then “runs off the surface and can cause flooding”, he explained.

While this has not yet happened in Switzerland, the risk still exists, Molnar added

And this is what’s ahead on the weather front…

Heavy rains will continue to fall on certain regions of central and eastern Switzerland through Saturday, according to Vincent Devantay, meteorologist at MeteoNews.

From Sunday, however, the sun will be back, bringing will it temperatures ranging from 28C and 30C.

This is something to look forward to: “temperatures will remain high for about 10 days but will not create a new heatwave”, Devantay said.

More foreigners are working in Switzerland

While the number of employed Swiss nationals rose by only 0.1 percent between June 2021 and June 2022, the number of foreigners went up by 4.8 percent in the same period.

The new data from the Federal Statistical Office shows that the biggest increase (12.6 percent) has been among holders of short-term L permits, followed by cross-border G permit holders (6 percent), B permits (5.6 percent), and 2.7 percent for C-permit holders.

This development “reflects a strongly job market-oriented immigration to Switzerland”, the government said in a press release.

“This is due to the economic growth observed after the lifting of pandemic-related measures and the resulting increase in labour demand”.

READ MORE: How foreigners are changing Switzerland
 

Swiss mortgages are becoming significantly cheaper again

There is some good news for prospective property buyers: while long-term mortgages in Switzerland have gone up substantially since the beginning of the year, they are now beginning to drop.

Why is this?

“Swiss capital market interest rates are strongly linked to those in the United States, where recession fears have emerged recently, driving the rates down”, said Stefan Meyner, head of mortgage research at MoneyPark.

READ MORE: Where to find property in Switzerland for under CHF 500k

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 Monday

The financing of the pension scheme is safe, no 'free' money will be distributed in Zurich, and other Swiss news in our roundup on Monday.

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

Swiss voters back pension scheme reform

A narrow majority of voters – 50.57 percent — approved on Sunday the government’s proposed amendment to the existing old-age and survivors’ insurance (AHV / AVS), including increasing the retirement age for women from the current 64 to 65, same as for men.

This move  is seen as necessary to keep the AHV / AVS scheme afloat financially as life expectancy in Switzerland is increasing and people require pension benefits longer than in the past.

And 55.1 percent accepted a related proposal to raise the current Value Added Tax of 7.7 percent by 0.4 percent to help finance the scheme.

READ MORE: What impact could Switzerland’s referendum on pensions have on you?

Zurich’s basic income experiment rejected

Also on Sunday, 53.9 percent of Zurich voters turned down a proposal by the political left to introduce a pilot project that would dole out between 2,500 and 3,000 francs a month to 500 city residents.

The issue, which previously failed in other cities, was thought to have a bigger chance of success in Zurich, which is believed to be more “left” than other Swiss municipalities.

However, only two of Zurich’s 12 districts voted in favour of the project on Sunday.

READ MORE: ‘3,000 francs a month?’: Zurich to vote on trying universal basic income

Switzerland not prepared for nuclear attack

As fears over the possibility of Russia using nuclear weapons in its war against Ukraine is growing, Switzerland “is not sufficiently prepared,” for such an event, according to Urs Marti, president of the Conference of Cantonal Officials for Military Affairs and Civil Protection.

For instance, the radioactivity alarm equipment is old, and some nuclear shelters have not been properly upkept, Marti said.   

In response, the National Council’s Security Policy Commission is set to hold a special meeting to discuss ways to remedy the situation.

“We must take stock of the state of civil protection shelters,” said the Commission’s  president, Mauro Tuena.

READ MORE: Reader question: Where is my nearest nuclear shelter in Switzerland?

These Swiss cities are most dependent on imported gas

With the beginning of autumn and colder weather across Switzerland, the subject of Switzerland’s reliance on foreign energy is in the news again.

But the extent of this dependence varies from one municipality to another.

At 96 percent of imported energy, Geneva tops the chart, followed by Lugano (94 percent), Lucerne and Biel (91), Winterthur (87), Bern (83), Zurich (76), and Basel (75).

The reason big cities rely more on gas is that in densely populated areas, this energy source requires relatively little space in buildings.

REVEALED: Switzerland’s best cheese is…

 The Swiss Cheese Championships held in the Valais community of Val de Bagnes last week have come to an end.

Out of more than 1,000 cheese varieties vying for the coveted title, the international jury selected a Gruyère from the village of Montbovon in the canton of Fribourg.

The jury tasted each single cheese, basing its decision on criteria such as cheese’s appearance, taste, aroma, and texture

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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