Author: switzerlandtimes.ch

This week, Switzerland’s federal government reached a dead end on reducing the voting age to 16. It is unlikely the idea will be discussed again for a while, reported SRF. After years if discussion, federal parliament rejected the idea. The left favoured it – younger people are more likely to lean left, while those on the right were generally against it – younger peopel are more likely to lean left. In the end 106 voted against it and 84 supported it. Previously in June 2023, parliament supported drawing up a template for how a younger voting age might be introduced.…

Read More

This February in Switzerland was the warmest since records began in 1864, with an average temperature of 2.7 degrees, 4.6 degrees above the average recorded for the month over the last 30 years. High temperatures have been driven by strong air currents from the west, said Meteo Swiss. The next warmest Februarys were recorded quite recently in 2020 (1.6 degrees) and 1990 (2.1). This year, a high pressure zone over southern Europe has prevented colder polar air moving down as it normally would. One theory to explain this is unusually high sea and ocean temperatures coming out of the summer…

Read More

After two increases in a row the reference interest rate used for adjusting rents remains unchanged this quarter. After two rises from 1.25% to 1.75% last year, many tenants in Switzerland will be breathing a sigh of relief. Many economists forecast no increases in the rate this year. Every quarter the rate of interest used to set the rents in Switzerland is reviewed. If it goes down some renters have the right to request a decrease in rent. If it goes up landlords can generally raise rents. The interest rate used to set the reference rate is the average rate…

Read More

This week, the Socialist and Green Parties submitted sufficient signatures to trigger a popular initiative, reported RTS. According to the organisers, nearly 130,000 signatures were submitted to the Federal Chancellery on Thursday. The initiative aims to create a climate fund. It would compel all levels of government to invest in actions to meet international climate agreements. If the plan is accepted by a majority of voters, starting no more than three years after its acceptance the federal government would need to put 0.5% to 1.0% of annual GDP into the fund, a figure that could reach between CHF 3.5 and 7…

Read More

In 2023, 98,851 more people moved to Switzerland than left, according to data from Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Migration (SEM). The net number of arrivals in Switzerland in 2023, exceeded the number in 2022 by 21.5%. A total of 181,553 people immigrated to Switzerland, of which 71.9% came from an EU or EFTA member state. Immigration from the EU and EFTA nations rose by 14.1% to 130,483 people, compared to a rise of 6.3% in the number arriving from nations beyond the EU and EFTA. The vast majority (70.7%) of these new arrivals from the EU/EFTA came for work. At the same…

Read More

At the end of September 2023, driving was banned on a 60 metre section of Langstrasse in Zurich. To enforce the ban, cameras were later set up on 8 January 2024 to catch and fine errant drivers. Since then 17,310 fines have been issued. The driving ban, which excludes buses, was introduced to make the area more cycling friendly and applies from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. At CHF 100 each, the recent fines have generated 1.7 million of revenue for the city. However, a city official said the authorities are unhappy about the number of fines issued and would…

Read More

Much of the progress being made in AI is captured within private companies aiming to keep in to themselves in order to profit from it. Open AI, a project started as an open-source non-profit has morphed into a largely closed-source profit-maximising project increasingly integrated into the software company Microsoft. Many see open-source as critical to the healthy development of AI. A super computer combined with the knowhow of Switzerlands world-leading federal universities could help to swing the pendulum back into the open-source court, reported SRF this week. The supercomputer is based in the CSCS data center in Lugano. It will…

Read More

Lake Geneva is getting warmer and hit a record high in 2022, according to a recently published report by the International Commission for the Protection of the Waters of Lake Geneva (CIPEL). Since 2012, the water temperature at the bottom of Lake Geneva has risen by one degree while the average surface temperature has leapt by 1.2 degrees to 13.6 degrees. Similar changes have been recorded at Lake Constance, Switzerland’s second largest lake – these lakes also fall into French and German territory. These temperature changes might appear minor. However, they are not. As the surface water warms lakes become…

Read More

In 2023, Switzerland slipped one place in the EIU democracy ranking to eight place behind Norway, New Zealand, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Ireland. Overall, only 24 (14%) out of the 167 nations surveyed were classified as full democracies. The relatively small populations of these flag bearers of democracy means only 8% of the global population lives in a fully functioning democracy. Nearly 55% of the world lives under authoritarian or hybrid rule, which includes large nations such as China and Russia and nearly all of the Middle East and much of Africa. A further 38% of the global population…

Read More

On 8 February 2023, a man armed with an axe, a hammer and a knife held 13 people hostage on a train near the Swiss town of Yverdon-les-Bains, reported RTS. The man, an asylum seeker from Iran, was initially tasered by police as he ran towards them armed. After failing to stop he was fatally shot by another officer. The incident started at around 18:35 on a train between the towns of Yverdon-las-Bains and Baulmes and ended with a police intervention at 22:15. The hostages included 12 passengers and train engineer. None of them were hurt according to a police…

Read More