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Swiss supermarket Migros may soon sell alcohol

4 days ago

Currently, the Swiss supermarket Migros does not sell alcoholic drinks in its stores. Gottlieb Duttweiler, the retailer’s founder, instituted the policy to promote public health when the company was started in 1925.

© Tea | Dreamstime.comHowever, this autumn, the management of the cooperative is planning to vote on whether to allow alcohol on to the the company’s shelves for the first time, according to watson.ch and Le Matin Dimanche.

Migros’ no-alcohol rule is already fraying at the seams. It is possible to buy alcohol via the supermarket’s online store Le Shop. In addition, Migros owns Denner, and alcohol is one of the mainstay of this business.

Other brands under the Migros umbrella, such as Migrolino and Voi, also sell alcohol.

However, adding alcohol to the selves at

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Swiss flood damage could cost half a billion francs

5 days ago

Switzerland’s four largest buildings insurers estimate the costs of recent weather events could reach half a billion francs across Switzerland, reported RTS.

© Angela Schmidt | Dreamstime.comAccording to Grégoire Deiss, who works for the cantonal buildings insurer ECAB in Fribourg, the cost of recent storms and flooding could be around CHF 500 million across all of Switzerland, a figure he based on claims that have been made so far.

However, the final bill remains uncertain. More claims will come because some people were away on holiday. In addition, some damage will be discovered later, he said.

Deiss also pointed out that the cost of claims against private insurance will need to be added to this figure. In Switzerland, basic buildings insurance is compulsory and is provided by

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Vote to increase Swiss retirement age clears signature hurdle

5 days ago

The youth chapter of the PLR (FDP) has successfully collected enough signatures for an initiative to raise the official retirement age in Switzerland to 66 years old, reported RTS.

© Skypixel | Dreamstime.comOn 16 July 2021, initiative organisers submitted 145,000 voter signatures as part of the formal process of launching a referendum in Switzerland. Under referendum rules a minimum of 100,000 valid signatures must be collected within 18 months.

The official retirement age in Switzerland is currently 65 for men and 64 for women, although the government recently passed laws to create a universal retirement age of 65 for both men and women. The federal government also agreed to increase VAT up to 8% to help improve pension system finances.

The perilous state of Switzerland’s state

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Some charging for rapid Covid tests that are supposed to be free

10 days ago

According to a report by the newspaper Le Matin, some testing centres in Switzerland are charging for rapid antigen tests despite the federal government announcing it would cover the cost of these tests.
© Seventyfourimages | Dreamstime.com
With many holiday destinations still requiring negative Covid-19 tests as a condition of entry, those heading across borders for the summer holidays will need to get tested before heading to the airport or getting on the road or on a train.
Every nation has its own Covid-19 entry rules that change regularly. Across much of Europe, two doses of specific vaccines received more than 14 days earlier allow entry without a negative test. However, those not fully vaccinated are often required to provide the results of a recent

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How the Swiss Government gets Paid to Borrow

11 days ago

Normally, those who borrow must pay out more money than they are lent in the form of interest and repayments. Currently, for the Swiss government it is the other way around. Lenders are paying the Swiss federal government to give it money.
© Valeriya Luzina | Dreamstime.com
On 14 July 2021, the Swiss Confederation announced the success of its latest issue of government bonds. The government recently issued bonds with a face value of CHF 934 million in return for CHF 1,078 million, netting more than it will pay out in interest and repay at bond maturity. The recently issued bonds mature in 5 to 34 years with yields ranging from -0.056% to -0.629%.
Switzerland is one of a small number of nations able to raise money for a 10-year time span at negative cost. Germany,

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Switzerland locked out of EU research project

11 days ago

On 14 July 2021, Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation reported that it had been told by the European Commission that Switzerland will be treated as a non-associated third country in the EU’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme.

© Thamrongpat Theerathammakorn | Dreamstime.comThis means that Switzerland can only participate in limited ways. It can put forward proposals to some projects but will not qualify for funding. As a work around, the Swiss government will fund Swiss proposals and has earmarked CHF 6.15 billion for such projects.

At the same time, participation in particular projects will no longer be possible. For example the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions fund will be closed to Switzerland.

The move follows the Swiss

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How the Swiss government gets paid to borrow

12 days ago

Normally, those who borrow must pay out more money than they are lent in the form of interest and repayments. Currently, for the Swiss government it is the other way around. Lenders are paying the Swiss federal government to give it money.

© Valeriya Luzina | Dreamstime.comOn 14 July 2021, the Swiss Confederation announced the success of its latest issue of government bonds. The government recently issued bonds with a face value of CHF 934 million in return for CHF 1,078 million, netting more than it will pay out in interest and repay at bond maturity. The recently issued bonds mature in 5 to 34 years with yields ranging from -0.056% to -0.629%.

Switzerland is one of a small number of nations able to raise money for a 10-year time span at negative cost. Germany, Switzerland,

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Covid: 67% of Geneva now has Antibodies

12 days ago

Vaccination has pushed the percentage of residents in Geneva with antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus up to 67%, according to a recent study by Geneva’s HUG hospital.
© Kukotaekaterina | Dreamstime.com
To some extent, Geneva has been at the forefront of Switzerland’s experience with Covid-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the canton has recorded Switzerland’s highest rate of infection, 54% above the Swiss average.
Geneva has also been a leader on vaccination. By 11 July 2021, with 102 doses administered per 100 residents, Geneva trailed only the canton of Basel-City (105) on vaccination roll out. The Swiss average was 95 doses per 100 people.
Geneva’s high rates of infection and vaccination appear to have combined to deliver a high rate SARS-CoV-2

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Price comparison site Comparis customer data exposed in ransomware attack

12 days ago

On 9 July 2021, the Swiss price comparison website Comparis revealed that it had been the victim of a ransomeware cyber attack on Wednesday, 7 July 2021.
© Chernetskaya | Dreamstime.com
According to Comparis, the attack occurred in the morning. Comparis took down several of its sites as a security measure. The attackers demanded money in exchange for decrypting data.
Comparis said that based on the information available most of their databases containing customer information were unaffected. The one exception was data held by Credaris, a partner.
The company said it had started criminal proceedings against an unknown party and was working closely with Credaris and Zurich Police.
Comparis said that it had not paid any ransom money and was in the process of directly

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Price comparison site Comparis customer data exposed in ransomware attack

12 days ago

On 9 July 2021, the Swiss price comparison website Comparis revealed that it had been the victim of a ransomeware cyber attack on Wednesday, 7 July 2021.

© Chernetskaya | Dreamstime.comAccording to Comparis, the attack occurred in the morning. Comparis took down several of its sites as a security measure. The attackers demanded money in exchange for decrypting data.

Comparis said that based on the information available most of their databases containing customer information were unaffected. The one exception was data held by Credaris, a partner.

The company said it had started criminal proceedings against an unknown party and was working closely with Credaris and Zurich Police.

Comparis said that it had not paid any ransom money and was in the process of directly contacting

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Covid: 483 New Cases in 24 hours in Switzerland

14 days ago

On 13 July 2021, Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) reported 483 new cases of Covid-19, up from a daily average of 274 over the preceding three days.
© Sweet Hour Photography | Dreamstime.com
The rise in cases follows a rising trend in the incidence of the more infectious Delta variant, which now makes up the majority of DNA sequenced samples in Switzerland.
The latest reproduction rate, or R number, in Switzerland overall is 1.47, which means that on average 1 infected person infects 1.47 other people. In some cantons, such as Nidwalden (3.15), St Gallen (1.94), Zurich (1.94), Glarus (1.92), Jura (1.84) and Ticino (1.84), the virus is spreading significantly faster. The last time the virus was spreading this fast in Switzerland fast was in

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EU Now Accepts Swiss Covid Certificates

17 days ago

The European Commission has given the Swiss Covid certificate a green light for inclusion on the EU-wide digital Covid certificate platform. This means that holders of Swiss Covid certificates are able to present their Swiss-issued Covid certificate QR codes at ports of entry into EU nations under the same conditions as holders of certificates from EU nations.
© maramade | Dreamstime.com
The Swiss Covid certificates are valid in 27 EU countries plus Iceland and Norway from Friday 9 July 2021.
The scannable QR codes presented in digital or paper format will allow streamlined entry at national borders. Once the QR code is scanned, the system will automatically flag someone as green or red, a process that is far easier than manually processing information presented

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EU recognition of Swiss Covid certificate imminent

17 days ago

According to RTS, Brussels is close to giving the Swiss Covid certificate a green light for inclusion on the EU-wide digital Covid certificate platform. This means that Swiss residents will soon be able to present their Swiss-issued Covid certificate QR codes at ports of entry into EU nations.
© Valerio Rosati | Dreamstime.com
Swiss digital Covid certificates are expected to work in the EU by Friday 9 July 2021 or next Monday.
According to RTS, a commission, composed of members of EU member states, has already given a green light to Switzerland’s certificate. The only hurdle left is for the European Commission to approve the decision in writing.
Once validated, the certificate will be valid in 27 EU countries plus Iceland and Norway.
Once operational, the

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Swiss CO2 taxes to rise in 2022

18 days ago

Switzerland has a mechanism that automatically increases taxes on fossil fuels if emission reduction targets are not met. And the small reduction in emissions in 2020 is not enough to avoid triggering a CO2 tax rise in 2022.

© Jean-michel Feinen | Dreamstime.comData published this week by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) confirms the slow progress in reducing emissions in Switzerland. Emissions from heating oil and gas did not fall enough in 2020 to avoid triggering a rise in the tax. The target is a reduction of 33% from the level in 1990. However, by the end of 2020 emissions were down by only 31% on their level in 1990 and only 1 percentage point lower than in 2019.

As a result, the tax on the emissions associated with these products will rise from CHF 96 to CHF 120

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Swiss Unemployment back below 3% again

19 days ago

On 8 July 2021, the Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) published unemployment figures for June 2021.
© Fizkes | Dreamstime.com
By the end of June 2021, there were close to 132,000 people registered as unemployed across Switzerland, 11,000 fewer than at the end of May 2021, bringing Switzerland’s overall unemployment rate down from 3.1% to 2.8%.
Youth employment dropped particularly sharply compared to a year earlier. Unemployment among this age group (15-24) was down 32% year on year. By contrast, among those aged 50-64 year-on-year unemployment was up by 1.9%.
By the end of June 2021, only 28 people had exhausted their 2-year unemployment insurance payments, which were extended for 66 days in response to the pandemic.
The SECO figures are based on people

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Swiss unemployment back below 3% again

19 days ago

On 8 July 2021, the Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) published unemployment figures for June 2021.

© Fizkes | Dreamstime.comBy the end of June 2021, there were close to 132,000 people registered as unemployed across Switzerland, 11,000 fewer than at the end of May 2021, bringing Switzerland’s overall unemployment rate down from 3.1% to 2.8%.

Youth employment dropped particularly sharply compared to a year earlier. Unemployment among this age group (15-24) was down 32% year on year. By contrast, among those aged 50-64 year-on-year unemployment was up by 1.9%.

By the end of June 2021, only 28 people had exhausted their 2-year unemployment insurance payments, which were extended for 66 days in response to the pandemic.

The SECO figures are based on people registered as

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Covid: Swiss Health Minister Concerned by Rest Home Staff Vaccine Refusal

20 days ago

In Switzerland, 20% of people over 80 have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 at a time when the fast spreading Delta variant is gaining ground, said Alain Berset, Switzerland’s health minister, in an interview with the NZZ reported RTS.
© Arne9001 | Dreamstime.com
Berset said he’s concerned that too many people do not want to get vaccinated. But in rest homes we have a worse problem, he said. A considerable portion of staff working in rest homes or offering home care are refusing to be vaccinated. This is putting old people at risk and should no be allowed, said the minister.
Over the last few months not everything has gone well. Some well organised rest homes have recorded no Covid-19 cases, while in others, close to half of residents have died, he said.
The

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Nearly 40% have Long Covid after 7 months, finds Swiss study

21 days ago

The longer term effects of Covid-19 can take many forms and there are numerous definitions of the disease. A study undertaken by HUG and UNIGE in Geneva, published on 6 July 2021, found that 39% of a group of Covid-19 patients still had symptoms after 7 months.
© Wavebreakmedia Ltd | Dreamstime.com
Of the 629 participants in the study who completed the interviews, 410 completed the follow-up at 7 to 9 months after a COVID-19 diagnosis in early 2020. Of this group, 39.0% reported residual symptoms at 7 to 9 months. Fatigue (20.7%) was the most common symptom, followed by loss of taste or smell (16.8%), shortness of breath (11.7%), and headache (10.0%).
Some had symptoms that persisted, some had symptoms that arrived after a delay, while others had symptoms that

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Swiss social spending up nearly 60 percent in 20 years

22 days ago

In 1999, social expenditure in Switzerland was CHF 13,370 per resident. By 2019, the same figure had reached CHF 21,300, a rise of nearly 60%.
© Alexey Stiop | Dreamstime.com
Over the same period, total inflation was around 11%. Applying inflation to CHF 13,370 brings the figure to CHF 14,480. Why has the cost risen beyond this and how has the extra spending been funded?
One of the key drivers behind the rise in social expenditure is increased spending on pensions as Switzerland’s population ages. In 1999, 15% of the population was 65 or older. By 2019, this percentage had grown to 19%.
Another key driver is rising medical expenditure, something associated with an ageing population. Switzerland has also seen a rise in social spending on unemployment since 1999.
In

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Covid: Swiss Government sets out Autumn Scenarios and Measures

22 days ago

On 30 June 2021, Switzerland’s Federal Council discussed ways of preparing Switzerland for the autumn and winter months and a possible renewed rise in the number of coronavirus cases.
© Silviu Matei | Dreamstime.com
From the meeting ministers produced a report setting out various scenarios and response plans.
The key elements are rapid identification of new variants of concern, continued progress with vaccination and a focus on ensuring sufficient capacity for testing and contact tracing at the cantonal level.
While the epidemiological situation in Switzerland has improved significantly in recent months, the Federal Council envisages three possible ways the epidemic could develop in the coming months.
All three scenarios are based on the assumption that the virus

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Swiss social spending up nearly 60% in 20 years

22 days ago

In 1999, social expenditure in Switzerland was CHF 13,370 per resident. By 2019, the same figure had reached CHF 21,300, a rise of nearly 60%.

© Alexey Stiop | Dreamstime.comOver the same period, total inflation was around 11%. Applying inflation to CHF 13,370 brings the figure to CHF 14,480. Why has the cost risen beyond this and how has the extra spending been funded?

One of the key drivers behind the rise in social expenditure is increased spending on pensions as Switzerland’s population ages. In 1999, 15% of the population was 65 or older. By 2019, this percentage had grown to 19%.

Another key driver is rising medical expenditure, something associated with an ageing population. Switzerland has also seen a rise in social spending on unemployment since 1999.

In 2019, 47%

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Swiss Meat and Eggs often not very Swiss

25 days ago

Any animal raised and slaughtered in Switzerland can be labelled Swiss. However, what the animal has been fed could be from anywhere. If animals are what they eat then much of the meat and eggs labelled Swiss aren’t very Swiss.
© Sergio Bertino | Dreamstime.com
A key challenge for meat, dairy and egg consumers is the absence of information on labels, which is limited to provenance. Information about what an animal has been fed is not contained on the labels of meat, eggs of dairy products. Animals could in extreme cases be fed things that are not fit for human consumption without consumers ever knowing.
One example of this is farmed fish. To stop the oils in fish pellets going rancid some producers add a chemical called Ethoxyquin, a chemical banned for use as a

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Swiss federal budget back to surplus in 2022

25 days ago

The Covid-19 pandemic plunged Switzerland’s budget into the red in 2020 and 2021. The federal government expects to return to normality with a balanced budget in 2022.

© Asdf_1 | Dreamstime.comOn 30 June 2021, the Federal Council approved the outlines of a federal budget for 2022 and a financial plan for the period from 2023 to 2025.

The balanced 2022 budget follows two years of pandemic-induced negative results.

By the end of June 2021, the federal government had approved nearly CHF 40 billion of spending on matters related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Most of this has been spent on unemployment benefits and business support.

In 2022, the federal government expects to spend CHF 0.6 billion less than it collects.

Future revenues will benefit from a boost from the Swiss

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Swiss Roaming Charges to Fall on 1 July 2021 but the Roaming Minefield Remains

26 days ago

On 1 July 2021, Switzerland’s revised telecommunications law came into effect. The new rules force mobile providers to make certain changes to deals they offer customers when roaming. Some of the resulting changes are positive, but not all. In addition, some operators have retained bundles that don’t comply with the new rules.
© Jekaterina Voronina | Dreamstime.com
The new rules force mobile operators to change for roaming calls in increments of a second instead of increments of a minute, to extend the validity of roaming bundles to 12 months and to make it easier to limit costs to a set amount.
The effects of the changes vary significantly from one operator to another. For example, roaming on Swisscom’s low cost brand Wingo is more expensive than it was, while

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Swiss roaming charges fall on 1 July 2021 but the roaming minefield remains

26 days ago

On 1 July 2021, Switzerland’s revised telecommunications law came into effect. The new rules force mobile providers to make certain changes to deals they offer customers when roaming. Some of the resulting changes are positive, but not all. In addition, some operators have retained bundles that don’t comply with the new rules.

© Jekaterina Voronina | Dreamstime.comThe new rules force mobile operators to change for roaming calls in increments of a second instead of increments of a minute, to extend the validity of roaming bundles to 12 months and to make it easier to limit costs to a set amount.

The effects of the changes vary significantly from one operator to another. For example, roaming on Swisscom’s low cost brand Wingo is more expensive than it was, while data bundles under the

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Switzerland to open mass events and nightclubs to those with Covid certificates

June 26, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]On 23 June 2021, Switzerland’s government announced that it was loosening a wide range of Covid-19 restrictions from Saturday. From Saturday, 26 June 2021 rules on nightclubs, large events, remote working, education and restaurants will be loosened. In addition, it will become easier for travelers to enter Switzerland.

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Covid: Swiss cases down 44% this week as Delta looms

June 25, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]This week, 880 new Covid-19 cases were recorded in Switzerland, down 44% from the week before (1,576). The daily number of cases on a 7-day rolling average is now 126. During the week, 22 people were reported being admitted to hospital in Switzerland with Covid-19.

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Switzerland running low on butter and potatoes

June 24, 2021

Import quotas to protect farmers from outside competition are tightly managed in Switzerland. However, when Swiss farm production dips or demand rises, quotas are often eased to allow more low tariff imports.

© Yasuhiro Amano | Dreamstime.comThis week, Switzerland’s government extended quotas on butter and potatoes in response to shortages.

On 22 June 2021, Switzerland’s Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) announced it would increase the amount of butter that can be imported into Switzerland at preferential tariffs for 2021 by 1,000 tonnes, reflecting a level of demand that’s currently outstripping reduced local production. A factor behind this appears to be increased Swiss cheese production, a product with higher added value than butter that is competing for dairy output.

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Switzerland tops innovation in Europe in 2021

June 24, 2021

In 2021, Switzerland had the highest innovation score in Europe, according to a report published by the European Commission this week.

© Diego Grandi | Dreamstime.comSwitzerland’s innovation score of 162.3 put it comfortably ahead of Sweden (156.5), the European nation in second place.

The score measures innovation across 12 areas, which include workforce education, research systems (international research publications), digitalisation, finance and support, investment, use of IT, product and business process innovation, linkages (public-private and between companies), intellectual assets, level of employment in knowledge-intensive activities, sales impacts and environmental sustainability.

Switzerland excels in intellectual assets, research, and education, lifelong learning in

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Covid: Delta variant does not worry Swiss vaccination commission

June 21, 2021

Switzerland is well prepared to take on the Delta variant, said Christoph Berger, head of Switzerland’s federal vaccination commission. Based on what we currently know, there is no need to be concerned, he said, reported RTS.
© Rodrigo Fernández | Dreamstime.com
While it’s true that the variant is more contagious, nearly 90% of those vaccinated with two doses of mRNA vaccine are protected against this variant, Berger told the NZZ am Sonntag on 20 June 2021.
Switzerland has only used the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines. The UK has used the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines. The AstraZeneca vaccine, accounts for around 60% of total UK vaccinations.
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines used in Switzerland have been found to be much more effective against the new

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