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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

Energy crisis unit is underway, SWISS pilots threaten to strike, and other news in our roundup on Monday.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
SWISS planes will be grounded on October 17th if pilots go on strike. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Autumn weather arrives in Switzerland

All those who thought this summer’s oppressive heatwave would never end can now breathe a sigh of relief.

Frosts have been observed on the plain over the weekend, according to MeteoSwiss weather service.

Temperatures through much of Switzerland dropped significantly, with some areas, like the Valais capital of Sion, even registering minus 1.7C over the weekend. The trend towards cooler weather is expected to continue, MeteoSwiss said.

Switzerland to create crisis unit to handle energy shortage

Faced with the pressure from the cantons which claim that the federal government is too slow in responding to the imminent energy shortage, Economy Minister Guy Parmelin announced on Sunday that a crisis unit is being formed.

However, this body would only intervene if Switzerland actually experiences a shortage, Parmelin said, adding that in the meantime, the government is “actively seeking” ways  to avoid drastic measures such as quotas for energy consumption.

READ MORE: What the Swiss government is asking you to do to save energy
 

SWISS pilots threaten to strike in mid-October.

The pilots’ union, Aeropers, which has been negotiating salary increases and improved working conditions with Switzerland’s national airline, has rejected the carrier’s latest collective labour agreement and is threatening to go on strike.

The pilots said they would cease flying on October 17th, which falls in the middle of school vacations in a number of cantons — the period when many families holiday abroad.

“SWISS has not sufficiently entered into the matter of the legitimate interests of its pilots”, Aeropers said, adding that if the airline doesn’t come up with a better offer, the union “will initiate the procedures for a strike”.

READ MORE: What is a Swiss collective bargaining agreement — and how could it benefit you?

Report: foreign psychiatrists endanger Swiss patients

As more than half of psychiatrists currently practicing in Switzerland are foreigners who have not mastered local languages sufficiently, the risk of misdiagnosis increases, according to a report in NZZ am Sonntag.

While the doctors from Germany, France and Italy who practice in the language-appropriate regions are not the problem, “now the percentage of those coming from other countries such as Romania or Greece is growing”, the report states.

“Foreign doctors are in demand due to the shortage of specialists, but they also bring with them different ways of working”, along with language deficiencies, NZZ points out.

The newspaper cites the example of a patient who went to a psychiatric clinic due to depression, but was treated for delusional disorders. It was later discovered that the psychiatrist, a Czech doctor, misunderstood the patient.

“Complaints about language problems in psychiatry are on the rise”, according to Thomas Ihde, president of the Pro Mente Sana association, who said more of such cases are being reported.

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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