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SwissPapers

As Swiss newspapers lament the terrorist attack on the “heart of Europe”, many say the violence in the Belgian capital was not unexpected. This morning I did a press review for SWI.

When I was a journalism student, I interned in the press office of Ireland’s Permanent Representation to the EU. It’s just a short walk from the Brussels metro station hit by the terrorists — an area I remember strolling through in the cheerful manner of somebody excited to feel like a local in a foreign city.

My boss used to send me to EU press conferences, where I’d take notes and forward them to journalists based in Ireland. It was my favorite task, as it felt so grown-up and official. After work, on the way back to the campus where I was studying European affairs, I’d often treat myself to a gaufre/wafel from a vendor at the train station — to this day, the best waffles I’ve ever had.

Terror threats or not, I’ll have to return sometime. Not just for the waffles, of course, but as a sign of support for the people and their city, where so many difficult decisions about the future of Europe are made.

Gaufre

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Spotted on the road: Does love live here?

Spotted on the road: Does love live here?

Switzerland’s divorce rate is pretty average, but there seems to be a (sub)urban-rural divide hinting that life in the countryside is more conducive to wedded bliss. Or is it?

I decided to investigate. Full story here on SWI swissinfo.ch.

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Voting in Bern

Doing my civic duty in Bern. Even though I could do it by mail, I love getting my ballot stamped!

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From there I went to the SWI swissinfo.ch office to help with the vote coverage.

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Swiss Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann leaves an exhibit at Constitution Hill, site of a former prison in Johannesburg. (© Susan Vogel-Misicka, swissinfo.ch)

Swiss Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann leaving an exhibit at Constitution Hill, site of a former prison in Johannesburg. (© Susan Vogel-Misicka, swissinfo.ch)

South Africa is Switzerland’s most important African trade partner – a point underscored in an official visit by Swiss Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann.

It was the first time a Swiss delegation included key members of the business as well as science communities … and yours truly, reporting for swissinfo.ch.

As Schneider-Ammann told me: “We wanted to open doors for our private sector representatives and contact the scientific community, and I wanted to get to know my South African colleagues and reactivate our personal ties. We achieved all of that.”

The economics minister, who had visited South Africa as an entrepreneur prior to his political career, said the country had changed “tremendously” in the meantime.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

 

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In winter, Joseph keeps busy inside the prison's greenhouse. (© SVM, swissinfo)

In winter, Joseph keeps busy inside the prison’s greenhouse. (© SVM, swissinfo)

Earlier this month I visited a Swiss prison where the inmates are quite free to move about independently. Some even have permission to take the train to attend classes or vocational training in other towns. I was surprised at this freedom, and also by the cheerful and “normal” atmosphere at the prison, located in the Lucerne countryside.

You can read the whole story here on swissinfo.ch.

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Amal was one of my sources for this story. She asked if we could take a photo together, so I did my best holding the smartphone at arm’s length.

A change to the Swiss penal code on female genital mutilation (FGM) came into force on July 1; it aims to prevent Swiss-based families from having their daughters circumcised, whether in Switzerland or abroad.

I did a pair of stories on this topic for swissinfo.ch; you can find them at the links below:

Law tightened on female genital mutilation

Mutilation victim finds a voice in Switzerland

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the plenary session of the UN Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (© UN Photo/Maria Elisa Franco)

Although the Rio+20 sustainability summit ended without delivering the vision or commitment needed for the future, Switzerland says the process is not dead.

It is a view shared by the Swiss media following the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development – which closed on Friday after 193 nations agreed on a lackluster accord that largely reaffirms the goals of its predecessor, the 1992 Earth Summit.

“Based on its ambitions, the results of Rio+20 are very modest. But there were still some small successes,” stated the Saturday edition of the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper. These successes included sustainability goals and the introduction of a so-called green economy, defined as creating “well-being” and jobs without damaging ecosystems.

Click here for the whole story on swissinfo.ch.

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