GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Swiss news roundup:
EPFL, ETH inch up in rankings
The two Swiss polytechnical institutes, EPFL in Lausanne and ETH in Zurich, have risen in the Quacquarelli Symonds university rankings, with praise for their research. MIT in the US remains at the top of the list, followed by Harvard and Cambridge, with ETZ now number 9 and EPFL 14. Each has moved up three places.
FIFA press conference – assets seized, greater cooperation
The long and the short of the much-hyped Fifa legal woes press conference in Zurich Monday is that some individuals’ assets have been seized and the football world is cooperating more with justice authorities. Whose assets and how much money, we don’t know, with Swiss and US attorneys general Michael Lauber and Loretta Lynch offering few details, citing the ongoing investigation. Minimalist details from TDG’s live coverage (Fr)
UN square in Geneva hosts whistleblowers art
“The work of Italian artist Davide Dormino representing Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden was inaugurated this morning,” IP Watch reported Monday 14 September, with a photo of the trio and a fourth empty chair, all part of a one-ton-plus bronze sculpture. The project is sponsored by Press Emblem Campaign, whose press release notes:
“‘It is a monument to the courage of three people who said no to the establishment of a comprehensive monitoring and lies and have chosen to tell the truth,’ said the Italian artist Davide Dormino.
Assange, Manning and Snowden, ‘traitors’ or heroes of our time? The public can respond by mounting a fourth chair intentionally left empty.
‘Art has the power to make things happen. The chair has a double meaning. It may be comfortable, but it can also be a pedestal to grow, to have a better perspective, to learn. All three of them mounted on a chair with courage at their own risk and peril,’ said Davide Dormino.”
The group notes that “After Berlin (in May), Dresden (in June) and before Paris, the travelling exhibit ‘Anything to Say?”‘ has stopped in Geneva during the Human Rights Council’s 30th session.”
Bern gives CHF400 million loan for UN Palais
The Federal Council has approved a CHF400 million interest-free loan to complete restoration of the Palais building, home to the European head office of the UN. The money brings the Swiss, canton Geneva and city of Geneva contributions to about half of the renovation costs: CHF837 million for the eight year project, the canton said Monday, in announcing the federal government’s decision.
Race for Water continues plastic-gathering data
Vaud sailor Stève Ravussin, skipper of the Race for Water MOD70 trimarin that capsized in the Indian Ocean Sunday says he d the crew are fine. The expedition’s press release about “the difficult sailing conditions they were experiencing in the area”:
“‘The conditions have been really difficult for a few days, as often is the case in the Indian Ocean. Big swell, high waves, and the fact that the crew were tired after the 32,000 miles (Note: already more than a normal round the world course) that we have already travelled were some of the factors that triggered the unfortunate accident. The crew is safe and we all agree on the fact that the expedition must continue. My priority is now to retrieve the trimaran.’
The crew has been working for several hours already on the recuperation of the boat off the coast of the Archipelago of Chagos, in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
The trimaran was sailing around the world as part of the environmental expedition Race for Water Odyssey, a project to make a first global assessment of plastic pollution in the oceans, by visiting islands located in the centre of trash concentration zones. The Odyssey has completed 11 stopovers so far and has collected a considerable amount of data in the North Atlantic, South Pacific and North Pacific trash accumulation zones. Quantitative analyses are currently in progress but preliminary results already show one clear thing – this pollution is a real environmental disaster everywhere.”