GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Sometimes you step out of the office for a couple hours and come back to interesting surprises. I found an e-mail for me, addressed to “Grüezi Mrs. Lunch!” I love the multilingualness of Switzerland, but when a Swiss German decides my first name is Geneva and my family name is Lunch I wonder how well we’re all communicating.
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – If the chemists can do it, so can the rest of us: the The Fifth Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention, which regulates the export of dangerous chemicals and pesticides, is meeting 20-24 June in Geneva and they are doing it paper-free. May we all sit up and take note!
Possibly even more beautiful than this decision is the brevity of their paperless instructions for how this can be done. Delegates, may it go well so the rest of us can learn by your example.
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Work for the US Mission in Geneva, settle down to a quiet retirement somewhere back in America and twiddle your thumbs? Not for Pete Jensen, who retired from the US foreign service three years ago and who is now spending his time as a pilot whose aerial photos of homes are very much in demand in upmarket Westchester County in New York.
Jensen has just been the subject of an article in The Daily Weston, talking about how he made aerial photos for 100 homeowners in 2010, extending a hobby that grew out of his first aerial home photo, the US ambassador’s residence in Geneva.
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The US Overseas Vote Foundation in Munich 15 June is launching a remarkable campaign to count, for the first time, US citizens who live abroad, using a “formalized methodology”. The project, which runs until 15 July, aims to fill a gap that has made the number of Americans abroad guesswork, with government and privates unofficial estimates ranging from 4 to 10 million citizens by asking people “to self-report simple demographic information”.
“Even at 4 million, this represents a larger community of Americans than the combined populations of Wyoming, the District of Columbia, Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska and South Dakota, according to 2010 US Census data,” the group points out.
“The US Census counts all American citizens in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico every 10 years but has found it difficult to count non-federally-employed Americans living abroad,” the group says in a statement issued Wednesday. “OVF hopes to demonstrate that the Internet and social media can be used to accurately measure this population. Such demographic statistics can be used to support efforts to gain recognition for the needs of overseas citizens and better access to US services from overseas.
The report will be released at the end of 2011.
LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – Charlie Chaplin has been invited to Waterford, in the south of Ireland, for what looks like a promising party this summer. Vevey and environs might want to look west, to check out the party, suggests Peter Dennehy, a Lake Geneva region fan who is currently with the Irish Nursing Board, An Bord Altranais.
“In Memory of Charlie Chaplin” will be the first annual Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival, with the patronage of Josephine Chaplin, the filmmaker’s daughter, in the village of Waterville in August.
Waterville, the Kerry seaside village that Charlie Chaplin loved, according to the organizerse, “is holding this festival to honour the life and work of the master comedian and filmmaker, whose legacy remains both relevant and influential to comedy today.”
The four-day festival “is packed with really creative events including premieres, film screenings, parades, talks, workshops, street entertainment, the Film Awards Ceremony, Gala Ball, the Tramps’ Ball, 1920′s themed parties and much more,” according to the festival web site.
Journalist Jou Ying-Cheng from Taiwan, who worked in Geneva for a few years and who contributed occasionally to GenevaLunch while in Switzerland, is back working in Taiwan and traveling in Asia. He shares with us a extraordinary view of the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam, “Very defiant motorcyclist”:
Warmer weather is here, so I pulled out a pair of comfortable, loose linen trousers for work earlier in the week. This morning I checked the label for washing instructions on these American-bought but made-in-Lithuania pants and found a little additional label tucked away in the seam that said “I am open and receptive to all people”.
I was still smiling, I read Wired‘s story, picked up from David Allen Green’s blog at the New Statesman, on the latest from WikiLeaks, which wins today’s prize for irony: its contributors, or leakers, now risk up to $20 million in fines if they are responsible for a significant leak of unpublished material provided to WikiLeaks. For those who want to believe that WikiLeaks is all about making information freely available for the greater community good, the disclaimer agreement may come as a surprise, showing as it does that WikiLeaks considers its work a commercial operation.
SwissMissing has been in the news in recent weeks because of the foundation’s help with the search for missing six-year-old twins Alessia and Livia Schepp. They’ve been helping families and police since 2007, however, and swissinfo today, 4 May, carries a well-deserved tribute to their work. Some 5,000 persons go missing a year in Switzerland, with 80 percent of them found, but the work SwissMissing does, at the request of the family, can make a crucial difference.
The swissinfo article also carries several useful links with information in English, for example about what to do if someone goes missing.
The recruitment office at UBC (University of British Columbia) in Canada apparently had nothing to do with the making of one of the most amazingly energetic short films of the year, but they must be pleased as punch. UBC LipDub has had close to half a million hits in the three days it’s been on YouTube: this is what people mean when they talk about viral.
The magic formula: take a talented group of young filmmakers with decent equipment and training, add a cast of a thousand or so volunteers, a hot musician, turn up the music and let loose. Add in a charity clause. In this case, for every view, some organizations will donate a sum of money to the Make a Wish Foundation. The training: UBC has one of the top film schools in North America. The musician: Marianas Trench.
By the end you’ll be wishing you were 18 or 20, if you aren’t, and able to head to school in Vancouver.
This is pure fun, and bravo to everyone who took part. And if you’re new to LipDub, read all about it on the UBC “what’s this” page.
Can I really say hat’s off to shoes? Of course, and where else but in China, where shoes seem to have gone to designers’ heads, at CHIC (China’s International Clothing and Accessories Fair). Decide for yourself: check out Xinhua’s photos of some of the winners.