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

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12 Sep, 2022 Updated Mon 12 Sep 2022 07:47 CEST
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Some Swiss cities will not forego Christmas lights. Image by Michelle Raponi from Pixabay

An earthquake shakes parts of the country, Switzerland ranked the most developed nation, and other news in our roundup on Monday.


An earthquake shook Switzerland over the weekend

An earthquake, whose epicentre was in Mulhouse, France, at the border with Basel, was felt as far away as over 100 km away into Switzerland.

Some residents of Vaud, Neuchâtel, Fribourg and Jura also felt the tremor, measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale, shake the ground just before 6 pm on Saturday.

No casualties or serious damages have been reported.

This is the second earthquake to hit Switzerland in a span of just over two weeks; the previous one, which measured 3.2 on the Richter scale, shook the region of Zinal (VS) just after midnight on August 24th.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Which parts of Switzerland are vulnerable to earthquakes?


Parliament begins its autumn session

MPs are re-convening today after a summer break, ready to tackle some hot-button topics that are of particular relevance to Switzerland’s population right now.

Foremost among them is the looming energy shortage and soaring electricity prices, which will have a huge impact on Swiss consumers in 2023.

Another issue of interest to the deputies is the increasing cost of healthcare; socialist and Green MPs already said they would push for the government to subsidise health insurance premiums to the tune of 30 percent, but this motion will face opposition from the right-wingers.

READ MORE: What are Switzerland’s four main challenges right now?

Switzerland is the most developed country in the world, the UN says

In terms of average life expectancy, level of education, and standard of living, Switzerland is ranked in the first place out of 191 countries, according to the new Human Development Index, released by the UN Development Program (UNDP).

It is the first time Switzerland nabbed the top position in the annual ranking, though it always hovered near the top, ranking third in 2020.

A UNDP chart shows how Switzerland has progressed over the past 30 years. For instance, in 1990, the life expectancy in the country was 77.4 years, and its Gross National Income per capita was 59,117.

In 2020, the same figures were 84 years, and 65.011, respectively.

You can check out the ranking here.


Not all Swiss cities want a 'dark' Christmas

While some municpalities have announced they would cut nighttime lighting, including Christmas displays, this year to save energy, others are not planning to do so.

“Having a city that is  dead during the Christmas and New Year period is not the best signal to give to our population”, said Mauro Moruzzi, who sits on Neuchâtel's municipal council.

In Lausanne, too, "we are not going to turn them off", said municupal councillor Xavier Company, adding that illuminated holiday decorations "is not what wastes the most energy”.

Geneva officials too say that "Christmas decorations have a very limited impact" in terms of energy savings. 


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]




2022/09/12 07:47

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