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

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 11 May, 2023 Updated Thu 11 May 2023 08:10 CEST
Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Swiss Post will be automating its services. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Residents to flee their Swiss village to safety; 'blue' drivers' licenses are losing their validity; and other news in our roundup on Thursday.

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Residents set to flee a Graubünden village ahead of major rockslide

The small mountain community of Brienz  (population about 100) received orders to evacuate by Friday 6 pm, due to a risk of a massive, and potentially highly destructive, landslide. 

The natural disaster had threatened Brienz for years, but experts now believe the event will likely occur in the coming weeks, unlashing about 2 million cubic metres of land and rocks onto the village.

While people will have to leave the village by 6 pm tomorrow, livestock will be left behind for the time being,  to be evacuated in the coming days.

And speaking of natural disasters in the canton…

Magnitude 3.6 earthquake hit Graubünden yesterday

An earthquake with a magnitude of 3.6 on the Richter scale was recorded Wednesday around 6:20 pm in the mountainous canton.

According to the Swiss Seismological Service, its epicenter was near Thusis, but the quake was felt over a wide area. No casualties were reported-

Eerily, the earthquake’s epicenter was located only 15 kilometres from Brienz.

READ ALSO: Which parts of Switzerland are vulnerable to earthquakes?

Paper driving licenses will lose their validity

Old blue driver licenses will no longer be valid from October 1st, 2024, the Federal Council announced on Wednesday.

They will have to be replaced with the credit card-sized formats by that date, with this change coming into force, on staggered basis, from July 15th of this year.

If you still drive with the ‘blue license’, you can exchange it from this date by sending the following documents to your local Roads Office

  • A completed exchange form (to be downloaded from the office’s website)
  • Your original blue license
  • A color passport-size photo

You will receive your new driving license through the post, along with the invoice for 35 francs.

READ ALSO: How you can lose your driving license in Switzerland

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Swiss Post to replace staffed counters with automated services

Soon, employees will no longer sell stamps, sort mail, or provide other postal services. Instead, customers will conduct all their business through automated counters.

The aim of this change is to cut the cost of services that are no longer used as frequently as before, according to Swiss Post’s CEO, Roberto Cirillo. 

“Payments at the counter fell by almost a fifth in the first quarter. Figures show that people no longer need this service,” he said.  

In closing its old counters and pursuing the digitalisation of services, the Post is following the example of another major company: Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), which announced it would be removing ticket counters from nine stations in the cantons of Zurich, Vaud, Bern, Zug and Ticino, replacing them with automated machines. 
 
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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