This week was busy with storms both real and political…
If you have been looking for a new source of protein, rejoice as of today you can buy worm and grasshoper burgers in the coop supermarket at the Löwenplatz. Last year the government made it legal to sell insects as food in Switzerland and now supermarkets are beginning to offer products made out of creepy crawlies. Just beware that it currently costs twice as much as meat to buy.
A primary school in Basel has decided to communicate with foreign parents in „simple deutsch“. Fearing that too many parents of foreign children are not understanding the letters they are being sent, the school has vowed to simplify its language. Communication will be simplified to one sentence per line and complex words will be separate like this Lehr-person. Local schools do not see the advantage of this and argue that this is actually stigmatising for parents. They point out that there are translators available should parents really have trouble understanding and that they promote learning German from the youngest age possible.
If you fancy a staycation in Lucerne this month, then the following deal is for you 25 local hotels are offering room rates very cheaply for people who live in town. The purpose is to discover what staying at a local hotel feels like and then, presumably, recommending the hotel to any friends coming to visit. Ranging from CHF 75.- for a room in a 3 star hotel to CHF 250.- in a five star you can find out more at nichtdaheim2018.luzern.one
The influx of foreigners moving to Switzerland is at its lowest in the past 10 years. There now are 2’053’589 foreigners living in the country, this still represents a quarter of the population. The number of foreigners from EU and UEFTA countries has fallen by 20% in the last year, namely Germany, Italy and Spain who normally constitute the largest groups of foreigners moving here. This can be explained by a better economy in the home countries meaning that people do not feel the need to go abroad to get work as much as previously. Last year 53’221 foreigners of which 30’799 from the EU moved here.
Two nights in a row, minor asylum seekers living in Kriens caused thousands of francs in a rampage in their centre over their perceived ill treatment. Namely that they are given only CHF 3.- a day to live on. The asylum seeker agency counters that the children are being lodged, clothed, given an education and fed hot meals 3 times a day. Normally asylum seekers are given CHF 11.- a day to see to their needs (including food), but in the case of the minors the schools were complaining that the children were not feeding themselves properly so the care centre decided to provide 3 hot meals a day but cut the money down as a consequence.
Fasnacht is a mere few weeks away, but already there are celebrations taking place. However these come with a word of warning after there have already been several cases of violent fights erupting and people ending up in hospital as a consequence. Alcohol seems to, more often than not, bring out the worst in Fasnachtler so be sure to enjoy in moderation!
Two weeks after storm “Burglind”, we are in the middle of storm “Evi”. Although not as fierce, winds reached 180 km/h on top of the Titlis yesterday and it will continue to be stormy until Friday. We might even get snow in the centre of town later today or tomorrow. Winter is still here!
Road rage took on a surreal turn yesterday when a 75 year old driver got impatient with the police who were helping pedestrians to cross the road. He decided to drive on the pavement past the police car endangering other pedestrians. He was finally forced to stop his car and it took several policemen to subdue him. In the process one of the policemen was bitten by the pensioner.
There have been recent sightings of raccoon in our region. This animal is not native to Europe, but was imported in the 1920s to Germany for their fur factory trade. A dozen were released in the wild to give hunters something different to kill, but during the world wars their numbers exploded and there are now millions of them living in Germany. They are already quite numerous in the French speaking part of Switzerland so it was only a matter of time until they made it here.
The two subjects which tend to get Swiss hot under the collar are taxes and transportation. Today people will be pleased to learn that the government has decided to allocate 13 billion francs towards road repairs and improvements. For the region it means a new bus lane between Luzern and Kriens, and improving the Rotsee – Buchrain part of the motorway as this one of the traffic jam hot spots in the area. As usual this takes time, so we can hope to see this project finished by 2030.
The weather is going crazy. On the one hand we are enjoying unusually warm weather but on the other we are being battered by storm after storm. After Burglind (2 weeks ago) and Evi (yesterday) today we can expect to be battered by “Friederike” bringing more strong winds up to 100 km/h in the valleys and up to 160 km/h in the mountains. Hopefully by this weekend things will calm down a bit.
Switzerland has been named the safest country for expats to work in, with 97% of the respondents saying that they feel safe living here, that’s 19% more than the average. Norway and Singapore are ranked 2nd and 3rd; Kenya, South Africa, Brazil, and Nigeria make up the bottom five. The findings were put together by Internations.
Today money is the subject that has locals in an uproar, more specifically a charge for CHF 1.50. If you are a car owner you will have received your yearly bill allowing you to drive your car. On the bill there is a new additional charge for CHF 1.50, this is because you are getting the bill via mail. Had you switched to online billing you wouldn’t have to pay this fee. The problem is that the town only communicated this extra cost on December 20, giving people only 10 days to make the switch. The consumer protection agency argues that this was too short a notice and encourages people to boycott paying the extra CHF 1.50. The town sticks to its guns, claiming that they gave people ample time to implement the change (It was published in the Kantonsblatt).
If you want to save the CHF 1.50, you can get the information on how to switch to ebanking here.
The European Union has handed the Swiss an olive branch by suggesting that any issues between Switzerland and Europe could be presented to a common arbitration committee made up of a Swiss judge, an European judge and a third judge agreed on by both parties. This is to help deal with the complex issues arising from the bilateral agreement between Europe and Switzerland.
Yodeling has been given its “letter of noblesse” by the Music Department at the Lucerne Hochschule. As of September this singing style will be taught by Nadja Räs, who is currently considered as the best yodeler in Switzerland.
Finally, storm “Friederike” blew through last night leaving only mild damage here; not so in Germany and Holland where 8 people died. Hopefully the weather is going to quiet down now for a while.