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Assura to refund 30 million francs to policyholders

1 day ago

Switzerland’s third largest health insurer had a good year in 2018, according to recently published financial statements.

Instead of holding onto all of the CHF 61.9 million profit it made last year, the not-for-profit company plans to return some of the money to policyholders between now and the end of the year.
Around half of all policyholders will receive something. Policyholders in ten cantons will receive them. In Vaud each adult will get CHF 50. In Geneva they’ll get CHF 100 and in Jura CHF 40. Children will get half of these sums.
This is the first time Assura has returned money to policyholders.
Premiums at Assura skyrocketed in 2016 (+15%) before rising further in 2017 (+4%) and again in 2018. These rises were partly driven by increasing numbers of people with poor health moving

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Swiss workers open to the idea of raising retirement age

5 days ago

© Olena Yakobchuk | Dreamstime.com Employees Switzerland, an organisation representing Swiss workers, is resigned to the idea of raising the retirement age, according to Swiss broadcaster RTS. Speaking to the newspaper NZZ am Sonntag, Stefan Studer, director of the association, said raising the retirement age is inevitable because of the financial difficulties facing Switzerland’s state …

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Swiss workers open to the idea of raising retirement age

9 days ago

Employees Switzerland, an organisation representing Swiss workers, is resigned to the idea of raising the retirement age, according to Swiss broadcaster RTS.
© Olena Yakobchuk | Dreamstime.com
Speaking to the newspaper NZZ am Sonntag, Stefan Studer, director of the association, said raising the retirement age is inevitable because of the financial difficulties facing Switzerland’s state pension system, known as the first pillar.
“We must rethink the retirement age”, said Studer. He thinks we need to be flexible so that we can leave future generations with a pension system in good health. Even if the vote on increasing social security taxes to further fund pensions is accepted on 19 May 2019, it won’t be enough to solve the problem. A state pension funding gap of CHF 170 billion is forecast

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Protests against 5G mobile continue in Switzerland

9 days ago

© Tpibernik | Dreamstime.com Last week, a crowd assembled in Bern outside Switzerland’s federal parliament building to protest the roll out of 5G mobile technology in Switzerland. Switzerland’s “Stop 5G” movement is demanding a halt to further roll out of the technology in Switzerland, a process already well underway. They are demanding a precautionary approach …

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Protests against 5G mobile continue in Switzerland

9 days ago

Last week, a crowd assembled in Bern outside Switzerland’s federal parliament building to protest the roll out of 5G mobile technology in Switzerland.
© Tpibernik | Dreamstime.com
Switzerland’s “Stop 5G” movement is demanding a halt to further roll out of the technology in Switzerland, a process already well underway. They are demanding a precautionary approach and further research into the health effects.
Most scientists have failed to establish any health risks associated the radiation emitted by mobile equipment, however a portion of the public are not convinced and point to other research that raises concerns. Some people, like Jeromy Johnson, who are electrically sensitive, experience a range of symptoms when exposed to this radiation. He recommends using more fibre optics and using

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The price of some Swiss trains passes could rise significantly

14 days ago

© Man Nok Ip | Dreamstime.com Some travelers on Swiss trains could be in for a shock. The price of a GA travel card, an annual pass that allows unlimited travel of the Swiss Rail network, might rise 10% in 2021, according to the newspaper Le Matin. Compared to the price of other passes and …

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A family apartment in Geneva close to twice the price of one in St. Gallen

15 days ago

On average, renting a 4.5 room apartment of 100 to 110 m2 costs CHF 3,820 a month in Geneva. The same apartment in the Swiss city of St. Gallen costs CHF 2,004, 52% of the price, according to a report on rents in Switzerland’s ten main cities by the price comparison website Comparis.
© Rosshelen | Dreamstime.com
For an apartment of this size, Geneva (3,820) is the most expensive, followed by Zurich (3,073), Lausanne (2,850), Basel (2,660), Bern (2,600), Luzern (2,430), Winterthur (2,400), Lugano (2.110), Biel (2,050) and St. Gallen (2,004).
High rents are driven by low supply and high demand. Vacancy rates are particularly low in Geneva and Zurich and relatively high in Biel (2.4%) and St. Gallen (2.3%). The Swiss average is 1.62%.
A high number of well paid jobs in Zurich and Geneva

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The price of some Swiss train passes could rise significantly

15 days ago

Some travelers on Swiss trains could be in for a shock. The price of a GA travel card, an annual pass that allows unlimited travel of the Swiss Rail network, might rise 10% in 2021, according to the newspaper Le Matin.
© Man Nok Ip | Dreamstime.com
Compared to the price of other passes and tickets, the AG pass is relatively good value, according to a leaked internal document written by CH-direct, a pricing association bringing together 250 Swiss public transport companies.
The internal document was dated 6 March 2019, according to a publication by Beobachter, a consumer advocacy.
Instead of CHF 3,860 today, an annual AG travel card would cost CHF 4,250.
Close to 500,000 people in Switzerland have an AG travel card, around one in 17 people, so the price rise could have widespread impact.

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Geneva blocks the erection of 5G mobile antennas

20 days ago

© Tpibernik | Dreamstime.com Last week, Antonio Hodgers, the head of Geneva’s executive, announced a ban on the erection of further 5G mobile antennas in the canton, according to an interview on RTS. Motivated by uncertainty on the potential health effects of the new technology, the temporary freeze is the most the cantonal government can …

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Geneva blocks the erection of 5G mobile antennas

22 days ago

Last week, Antonio Hodgers, the head of Geneva’s executive, announced a ban on the erection of further 5G mobile antennas in the canton, according to an interview on RTS.
© Tpibernik | Dreamstime.com
Motivated by uncertainty on the potential health effects of the new technology, the temporary freeze is the most the cantonal government can do to stop the rollout of the technology.
Switzerland’s federal government in Bern calls the shots when it comes to the overall plan on 5G rollout. The cantons are only responsible for putting the plan into action.
The governments of both Geneva and Vaud have now put the brakes on 5G rollout in their territories by putting a freeze on permits to erect further 5G antennas. Any existing ones will remain.
While the new 5G antennas being installed meet the

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Smoking ban on Swiss train platforms coming soon

22 days ago

Non-smokers will soon be able to breathe easily while waiting for Swiss trains, according to the newspaper Le Matin.
© Gordon Bell _ Dreamstime.com
In 2005, it was still possible to smoke on Swiss trains in special smoking carriages. From 1 June 2019, it won’t even be possible to smoke on train platforms. Smokers will soon have to take their last quick puffs before they enter train stations.
E-cigarettes are included in the new ban that follows smoke free platform tests at a number of Swiss train stations around the country. Switzerland’s public transport union, who ran the tests, revealed that three quarters of those surveyed were in favour of the ban. Clean air for all appears to have trumped nicotine fixes for a few.
A few designated areas will be set aside for smokers, according to

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Switzerland slides one place in 2019 press freedom ranking

26 days ago

© Pavel Abramov | Dreamstime.com In 2019, Switzerland lost one place slipping from 5th to 6th place out of 180, according to the latest world ranking of press freedom by the organisation Reporters Without Borders. The change was largely driven by the stronger performance of Denmark, which moved up into 5th place. According to the …

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Swiss vote could cause chaos at Zurich and Geneva airports

27 days ago

© Toxawww | Dreamstime.com A referendum on revising gun laws scheduled for 19 May 2019 could cause major disruption at airports in Zurich and Geneva if it succeeds, according to various newspapers. If the vote passes it might eventually lead to the exclusion of Switzerland from the Schengen area. If this happened, Swiss airports would …

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The 3 things driving Geneva’s residents to shop in France

28 days ago

© Viorel Dudau | Dreamstime.com A recent study by Geneva’s department of economic development (DDE) looks at the shopping habits of its residents and the residents of neighbouring Vaud and neighbouring France – an area including Nyon and parts of the French Ain and Haute Savoie regions. Every year, the residents of this greater Geneva …

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Two thirds of companies find administrative burden high and rising in Switzerland

28 days ago

Brought to you by Winbiz online accounting for Swiss businesses.
A survey published this month shows that two thirds of Swiss companies find the administrative burden in Switzerland high or fairly high.
© Ml12nan | Dreamstime.com
Of the 2,042 companies surveyed in the autumn of 2018, 67.5% considered the burden of Swiss bureaucracy high or fairly high. The same percentage in 2014 was 66%. In addition, more companies felt the burden would rise. In 2018, 67% felt things would get worse, compared to 56% in 2014.
Some of the most time consuming tasks were company accounts and audit, a task consuming an average of 12 hours a month at small and medium sized businesses (SME) and 38 hours per month at large companies, admin related to importing and exporting, a task consuming an average of 10

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Switzerland slides one place in 2019 press freedom ranking

29 days ago

In 2019, Switzerland lost one place slipping from 5th to 6th place out of 180, according to the latest world ranking of press freedom by the organisation Reporters Without Borders.
© Pavel Abramov | Dreamstime.com
The change was largely driven by the stronger performance of Denmark, which moved up into 5th place.
According to the report, the press in Switzerland continues to face economic pressure and to suffer from a worrying increase in ownership concentration linked to the digital revolution.
In Switzerland, the collapse of the traditional newspaper business model has set off a wave of layoffs and cost-cutting. The national news agency ATS has been through a major restructuring, and the French-language daily Le Matin abandoned its paper edition last year, resulting in the lay off of

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Swiss vote could cause chaos at Zurich and Geneva airports

29 days ago

A referendum aimed at rejecting changes to Swiss gun laws scheduled for 19 May 2019 could cause major disruption at airports in Zurich and Geneva if it succeeds, according to various newspapers.
© Toxawww | Dreamstime.com
If the vote is successful it might eventually lead to the exclusion of Switzerland from the Schengen area. If this happened, immigration staff at Swiss airports would need to check the passports of all those entering from and departing to other Schengen area countries.
The vote aims to reverse new rules on gun laws introduced by the Swiss government in September last year in response to changes in EU gun laws. According to RTS, Switzerland’s broadcaster, if the referendum succeeds, Switzerland’s membership of the Schengen area will automatically expire after six months

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The 3 things driving Geneva’s residents to shop in France

29 days ago

A recent study by Geneva’s department of economic development (DDE) looks at the shopping habits of its residents and the residents of neighbouring Vaud and neighbouring France – an area including Nyon and parts of the French Ain and Haute Savoie regions.
© Viorel Dudau | Dreamstime.com
Every year, the residents of this greater Geneva region spend around CHF 7.2 billion francs on consumable items in physical stores. This money is spread across personal goods (19%), garden and DIY goods (6%), home goods (10%), entertainment (14%) and food (51%). Of this, CHF 576 million is spent shopping across national borders, around 8% of the total.
Residents of Switzerland are more frequent cross-broder shoppers than those living in France. 30% shop regularly in France and a further 35% occasionally.

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Switzerland’s workforce participation – Swiss versus foreigners

April 25, 2019

© Arturoosorno | Dreamstime.com In 2018, 68.5% of the nation’s residents aged 15 or older was working, 1.5% more than in 2010. This rise was largely driven by an increase in the percentage of women in the workforce. In 2010, 60.0% were working. By 2018, 62.9% were, a rise of 2.9%. On the other hand, …

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Switzerland’s workforce participation – Swiss versus foreigners

April 24, 2019

In 2018, 68.5% of the nation’s residents aged 15 or older was working, 1.5% more than in 2010.
© Arturoosorno | Dreamstime.com
This rise was largely driven by an increase in the percentage of women in the workforce. In 2010, 60.0% were working. By 2018, 62.9% were, a rise of 2.9%. On the other hand, the overall percentage of men working declined slightly (-0.1%) to reach 74.2% by 2018.
Swiss versus foreignersOverall, foreigners were much more likely than Swiss to be working. In 2018, 76% of foreigners over 14 were working compared to 66% of Swiss, a difference of 10%.
The difference between foreign men (82%) and Swiss men (71.5%) was 10.5%. Between foreign women (69.1%) and Swiss women (62.1%) the difference was 7%.
The biggest driver of this difference was the differing age profiles of

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Swisscom switches on its 5G mobile network

April 22, 2019

© Mykhailo Polenok | Dreamstime.com This week, Swisscom became the first Swiss mobile phone company to switch on its 5G network, according to a press release. Swisscom spokesperson, Esther Hüsler, said that at midnight on Wednesday Swisscom flipped the switch to become the first Swiss operator to put its 5G network into service. It’s 5G …

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Greenpeace attacks Nestlé’s office in Vevey over plastic waste

April 19, 2019

This week, Greenpeace activists protested against single-use plastic in front of Nestlé’s headquarters in Vevey, according to the newspaper Le Matin.
[embedded content]
One group of protesters carrying a plastic monster made from plastic waste that has been touring Europe after arriving in Rotterdam from the Philippines, demanded that Nestlé take back its plastic monster.

Take back your monster #nestle pic.twitter.com/Obt6hpJPeX
— Elsy (@elsy_n) April 19, 2019

Others carried large bags of empty plastic bottles or approached the building from the lake in inflatable boats brandishing plastic rubbish. According to Greenpeace the Swiss protest involved 65 protestors from seven countries.
Police arrived at the food giant’s headquarters in several cars but were not required to remove any of

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Swisscom switches on its 5G mobile network

April 19, 2019

This week, Swisscom became the first Swiss mobile phone company to switch on its 5G network, according to a press release.
© Mykhailo Polenok | Dreamstime.com
Swisscom spokesperson, Esther Hüsler, said that at midnight on Wednesday Swisscom flipped the switch to become the first Swiss operator to put its 5G network into service. It’s 5G network went live across 102 locations across the country, including most of Switzerland’s cities.
The announcement comes a week after the parliament of the canton of Vaud announced it would temporarily freeze permits to install new 5G transmitters. The 102 locations include: Lausanne, Écublens, Nyon and Cossonay, which are all in Vaud.
The company said it is aiming to cover 90% of Switzerland’s population with its 5G network by the end of 2019. This

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Swiss unemployment above northern european average

April 14, 2019

© Miklmakmagnitka | Dreamstime.com Switzerland is often assumed to have low unemployment. However, there are many countries in Europe with lower rates. There are several ways to measure unemployment. The official measure in Switzerland is focused on those officially registered as unemployed still collecting unemployment benefits, a measure that delivers a lower figure than the …

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Swiss test finds toxic substances in e-cigarettes

April 14, 2019

© Ilona Tymchenko _ Dreamstime.com Testing commissioned by Blue Cross, a Swiss organisation focused on helping those with addictions, found toxic substances in the Iqos electronic cigarette produced by Philip Morris, according to the newspaper 20 Minutes. Toxic isocyanates were released when the polymer filter in the device was heated to 100 degrees, a temperature …

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Swiss unemployment above northern european average

April 12, 2019

Switzerland is often assumed to have low unemployment. However, there are many countries in Europe with lower rates.
© Miklmakmagnitka | Dreamstime.com
There are several ways to measure unemployment. The official measure in Switzerland is focused on those officially registered as unemployed still collecting unemployment benefits, a measure that delivers a lower figure than the one calculated by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which includes all those looking for work
Switzerland’s official unemployment rate was 2.6% in 2018. However, the ILO rate for Switzerland was 4.9%.
The overall rate for northern Europe, which includes the UK, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Finland, Denmark and Iceland, was 4.7%, slightly below the Swiss rate of 4.9%.
A fairly long list of european countries

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Swiss test finds toxic substances in e-cigarettes

April 10, 2019

Testing commissioned by Blue Cross, a Swiss organisation focused on helping those with addictions, found toxic substances in the Iqos electronic cigarette produced by Philip Morris, according to the newspaper 20 Minutes.
© Ilona Tymchenko _ Dreamstime.com
Toxic isocyanates were released when the polymer filter in the device was heated to 100 degrees, a temperature significantly lower than the maximum of 350 degrees listed in the product’s specifications.
Isocyanates, found in solvants, paints, coatings and foam, are known to damage cell membranes and can damage eyes, irritate respiratory tracts, and trigger asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.
However, the tests did not confirm whether or not the substances would be inhaled by the smoker.
In an interview with Keystone-ATS, a spokesperson for

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Income inequality declines in Switzerland

April 8, 2019

© Eziogutzemberg | Dreamstime.com In 2016, before the effects of taxes and welfare, the highest earning 20% of Swiss households made on average 40.8 times what an average household in the bottom 20 percent made, an inequality measure known as the S80/S20. However, after taxes and welfare, including low income support, health insurance subsidies, pensions …

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Steep drop in thefts in Switzerland

April 6, 2019

© Sabine Katzenberger | Dreamstime.com Comparing 2018 to 2012, thefts in Switzerland fell by nearly half, according to the Federal Statistical Office. In 2012, there were a record 219,000 thefts recorded in Switzerland. By 2018, the figure had fallen to 112,000, a drop of 49%. Over the same period, all categories of theft with the …

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