Highlights of the Week: January 14th

Highlights of the Week: January 14th

Sun, Jan 14th 2024

Swiss Government’s Continued Support for Peruvian Mine Despite Tragic Fire

Last May, 27 workers died in a fire at the Yanaquihua mine in Peru. The investigation report by the local authorities. Escape routes were not correctly signaled and explosives were lying around. There was a lack of adequate fire protection and warning systems. Deadly mistakes were also made on the night of the accident. Contradictory orders delayed the evacuation, and a group of miners was even sent in the wrong direction and suffocated.

The mine was considered a flagship operation of the “Swiss Better Gold” initiative. The prestigious project, which was launched in 2013, will be funded with around 18 million Swiss francs of taxpayers’ money until 2025. Yanaquihua was one of the most important mines in the program. The Swiss Better Gold Association told the newspaper that it wanted to expand its presence on site and carry out more inspections in future. Seco remains committed to the project.

Rising Migration Background Among Swiss Children

The Federal Statistical Office has analyzed for the SonntagsZeitung how many infants and children have a migration background.

The calculation for 2019 and 2021 shows that 58% of 0 to 6-year-olds and 56% of 7 to 15-year-olds live in a household with at least one parent who was born abroad or has a foreign nationality. Just ten years ago, the figures were 54 and 50 percent respectively. In the city of Zurich, 70 percent of all 15 to 60-year-olds already have roots abroad.

Significant Growth in Eritrean Newborns in Switzerland

In 2022, over 1,000 Eritrean newborns were born in Switzerland. In 2002, there were just 12, and there are now over 15,000 children aged between 0 and 14 from the country in the Horn of Africa living in Switzerland. This makes them the sixth largest migrant group of this age – just behind those from Kosovo. “In the coming years, children from non-European countries will become increasingly important in Switzerland,” said demography and migration researcher Ganga Jey Aratnam.

Even today, the proportion of 0 to 14-year-olds in the Eritrean community living here is 36 percent. This is almost three times as high as the Swiss population.

Varied Rates of Covid-19 Loan Fraud Across Swiss Cantons

When large-scale coronavirus aid was distributed to companies in Switzerland, this also attracted thousands of fraudsters. However, not all cantons were equally willing to abuse the system. As the “NZZ am Sonntag” writes, the fraud rate for Covid-19 loans varies considerably depending on the canton. Appenzell Ausserrhoden comes out on top.

Cases of abuse accounted for 3.89 percent of all loans applied for there. It is followed by the cantons of Basel-Stadt and Aargau. At the other end of the table is the canton of Jura with an abuse rate of just 0.49%. The national average for coronavirus fraud is 2.01 percent. The total amount of fraud has now increased to CHF 374 million. A total of CHF 16.9 billion in coronavirus loans were provided in spring 2020. There were virtually no checks on the disbursements.

Swiss Hospital Association to Challenge Federal Council Over Laboratory Prices

The Swiss Hospital Association H+ wants to take legal action against the Federal Council’s ordinance in the dispute over laboratory prices. At stake is CHF 140 million, as SonntagsBlick writes.

In the summer of 2022, the national government decided to reduce the tariffs for laboratory analyses by ten percent on a linear basis – as a transitional solution until the FOPH has recalculated the outdated laboratory tariffs from 2009. The hospitals describe the linear reduction in prices as arbitrary and unlawful. The H+ association has now decided to finance a test case.

The association is bothered by the unequal treatment of service providers, as the Federal Council has reduced the tariffs for hospitals and laboratories, but not for GP practices.

Swiss Army’s Large Ammunition Reserves

The army has immense stocks of ammunition. As a spokesperson told “SonntagsBlick”, the reserves are valued at 3.4 billion Swiss francs. Every year, stocks have to be disposed of, and the Defense Department procures new ammunition with every army program.

Destruction is necessary because weapon systems have to be decommissioned and the shelf life of ammunition is limited. A large proportion of the stocks are available for the large weapon systems, i.e. the F/A-18 fighter jets, the Leopard tanks and the artillery. The army spokesman does not say exactly how the stocks are divided up because these figures are classified.

The aim is to increase the stocks of ammunition for use “in order to improve the endurance and thus also the defense capability,” said the spokesman. This is advisable, as findings from the war in Ukraine have shown.

Excessive Hotel Costs During World Economic Forum in Davos

Hotel beds are in short supply during the World Economic Forum in Davos and are sinfully expensive, so expensive that even the federal government’s auditors are now calling for savings.

In an audit report, the auditors of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs have found that the Confederation is paying much more for the overnight stays of its official delegation in Davos than the regulations allow, as the “NZZ am Sonntag” writes. Depending on the hotel, the expenditure for hotel rooms is 408 percent or 140 percent above the actually permitted threshold.

Last year, the Confederation spent a total of CHF 116,065 on overnight stays alone for its delegation. The delegation should therefore be as small as possible; for the first time, federal envoys are also to stay overnight in Chur, 50 kilometers away – and in some cases “high hierarchical levels” now also have to share rooms in Davos.

Related Stories

Stay in Touch


the swiss times
A production of UltraSwiss AG, 6340 Baar, Switzerland
Copyright © 2024 UltraSwiss AG 2024 All rights reserved