Sunday 5th: Today’s Headlines & Reports

Sunday 5th: Today’s Headlines & Reports

Sun, May 5th 2024

More and more truants, high salaries for health insurance company bosses and the energy transition is becoming more expensive than expected: this and more can be found in the Sunday newspapers. The headlines in unverified reports:

KEYSTONE/Christian Beutler

NZZ am Sonntag: More Kids Skipping School

Children and young people are increasingly skipping school for hours, days or even longer. This has not only been noted by experts, but also by the education directorates of many cantons in a survey conducted by “NZZ am Sonntag”: of the 17 cantons that responded, 14 confirmed an increase in truancy. “Cases of prolonged school absences have increased since the coronavirus pandemic,” writes the Department of Primary Education of the canton of Lucerne, for example.

The Basel-Stadt Department of Education writes of an “increase in cases of children and young people feeling insecure or even anxious about attending school”. Experts are certain that the increase in truancy has to do with the poorer mental health of children and young people.

SonntagsBlick: Health Insurance Exec Bonuses

Since 2016, health insurance companies have been obliged to disclose the remuneration of the Board of Directors and Executive Board. “SonntagsBlick” has analysed how remuneration has developed since then: Groupe Mutuel, for example, paid its CEO CHF 520,200 in 2016 – including bonuses and social security contributions. In 2022, the top boss received 783,300 francs.

An increase of around 50% in just a few years. In 2023, the CEO of Sanitas received 955,200 francs, an absolute top figure compared to other health insurance company bosses. In 2016, the position was still remunerated with CHF 663,300.

SonntagsZeitung: Green Energy Switch Is Hard

Researchers at ETH Lausanne and the materials testing institute Empa believe that moving away from oil and gas will be much more complex than many authorities and politicians imagine.

In order to have enough electricity for millions of electric cars and hundreds of thousands of heat pumps in 2050, eight large new power plants would be needed in addition to the existing hydropower plants after the old nuclear power plants are shut down.

Each would have to produce as much electricity as the Gösgen nuclear power plant, as the SonntagsZeitung writes. Surprisingly, according to the researchers, the construction of a new nuclear power plant would be the most cost-effective.

Hydrogen-fueled gas-fired power plants and a combined power plant consisting of photovoltaics and hydropower are also possible.

SonntagsBlick: Switzerland Military Sales During The War

Shortly after the start of the war in Ukraine, the Swiss government sold the ammunition manufacturer Ammotec to the Italian company Beretta. Research by “SonntagsBlick” is now to show: The Czechoslovak Group made the highest bid for Ammotec, but was not successful.

The sale price is secret; it is in the mid three-digit million range. It was not adjusted after the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, although the prices for armaments have been going through the roof since the start of the war. The Directorate of the Federal Finance Administration (FFA) also had a condition removed. Originally, there was talk of a buyback right – “if Switzerland’s security situation required it or if Switzerland’s security interests would be jeopardised by a resale of Ammotec”.

SonntagsZeitung: Health Subsidies

Of the additional federal subsidies that will be distributed as a result of the premium relief initiative if it is accepted, the most money per capita will go to Basel-Stadt and Geneva. Basel-Stadt alone can expect an increase of around CHF 1,000 per inhabitant.

Appenzell Innerrhoden, Zug and Nidwalden will receive the least. This is shown by an analysis of the “SonntagsZeitung”. Innerrhoden in particular is known for its low healthcare costs because people often consult a doctor first. There is no hospital there.

In Basel, on the other hand, expenditure is very high. The density of doctors is the highest in Switzerland and people make extensive use of the services on offer. Basel-Stadt and Geneva are also among the most generous when it comes to premium reductions.

NZZ am Sonntag: AI To Boost The Swiss Economy

The use of artificial intelligence could more than double the growth of the Swiss economy by 2030. This is the conclusion of a study by the consulting firm Accenture, which is available to the “NZZ am Sonntag”.

Compared to the baseline scenario of GDP growth of 1.6%, growth would increase to 3.9% if the productivity benefits were fully exploited. This corresponds to additional added value of CHF 131 billion. The authors see the greatest potential for increasing efficiency in the financial sector, the IT sector and the pharmaceutical industry.

Conversely, this means that most jobs are at risk in these sectors. Employees are correspondingly skeptical: According to the study, around 50 percent are worried about their jobs, and just as many anticipate additional stress and burnout risks as a result of the use of AI.

SonntagsZeitung: ETH & EPFL Must Accept Cuts

ETH in Zurich and EPFL in Lausanne have to make savings. The Federal Council recently decided to cut contributions to the two institutions, while at the same time the number of students has been rising for years. According to the “SonntagsZeitung”, it is now clear that the growth is mainly due to the strong influx of foreign students, i.e. people who move to Switzerland to study.

While the number of domestic students has increased by 46% overall over the last 20 years, the number of foreign students has risen by 293%. In Lausanne, foreign students are already clearly in the majority. This development is particularly explosive because the tuition fees at the two universities are lower than at almost any other top university in the world.

NZZ am Sonntag: Asylum Proceeders

Since this week, the 24-hour procedure for asylum seekers from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia has been in force throughout Switzerland. However, the procedures take significantly longer than 24 hours. The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) writes to the “NZZ am Sonntag” that in the pilot phase in Zurich, the procedures were decided on average in twelve days.

Although this is significantly faster than the procedures in the other asylum regions, which take around 50 days on average, it is considerably longer than the name would suggest. According to the SEM, the 24-hour procedure is not primarily about how long asylum procedures actually take. The aim is rather to have a deterrent effect on people who are not dependent on Swiss protection.

SonntagsBlick: UBS Corporate Interest Claims

Following the CS takeover, UBS is apparently pushing through higher interest rates on some corporate loans. “SonntagsBlick” wants to know about four export-oriented industrial companies where the big bank wants to increase the interest margin by 30 to 40%. “The new conditions came overnight,” said the head of one of the companies, who wished to remain anonymous.

As they had been negotiating with UBS for months beforehand, the changes were all the more surprising. The loan is a normal overdraft facility that many companies in Switzerland make use of. The framework conditions are regularly renegotiated. The company in question, which previously had credit lines with UBS and Credit Suisse, negotiated exclusively with UBS after the collapse of CS.


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