Tuesday 15 April 2008

Bits and Pieces

Giova, Fernanda, Sara

This was early Monday morning in the office. It was early because we were dealing with details before the daily work began. What do we see - on the right and left two of my colleagues and in the middle a third colleague concentrating on some important work. I did mention on one of my last blogs that the Panini sticky photos for EU2008 had now arrived in Switzerland. Over the week-end my colleagues and I had been sticking our photos of footballers into the album and had managed to sort out the photos that were double. I even took time to make an Excel list with filter, so that I did not have to take the album to work but just the photos. We were then busy exchanging our double photos - after all for one franc for a packet of five pictures, it is not a cheap hobby. I seem to have the Turkish team complete and quite a few Swiss, but the Italians are few and far between.

I was reading in a magazine under the title "Panini fever hits Switzerland" that the Swiss are buying the most and even 83% of the infected are over 15 years old - is this possible?. The biggest problem that Panini had was to pick the 20 footballers from each team to put in the album. Yes, Panini are very sly. In the 2006 world cup they apparently chose the German goalie Oliver Kahn as being the goalie for that team, only to find that Jens Lehmann was the chosen goalie. No problem, they quickly issued a sticky of Jens to replace that of Oliver Kahn. They even brought out a special edition to accommodate the new photo with information about Jens Lehmann.

Well I have about 300 pictures to go, so I am sure I will get there in the end. Even Mr. Swiss offered on Saturday to go half way with the pictures I bought. Yes, although the Swiss team have zero chances of winning anything the fever is there.

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And now for something a bit sad. Now and again a bear finds its way into Switzerland. Not very often and it still gets into the headlines. The photo is bear JJ3 (we give them names) who has been drugged before being shot. There is of course a big uproar in certain groups of the population, so what did this bear do wrongly. He has been around for some time and decided why hunt for food when the human population leave enough lying around, so he started going too near to the villages. People living in bear countries know the problems with bears, basically they are scavengers taking what they can, but the Swiss do not realise this and leave their rubbish in bins outside. JJ3 thought this was meant for him and was getting too near to civilisation. To make sure that he didn't take any humans with him on his food hunting trips, it was decided that he days should come to an end. I was listening to a radio report where one of the wildlife keepers said that the trouble was JJ3 was getting too intelligent and was avoiding the wildlife keepers and going more to the houses where people were living. The authorities found that this was getting out of hand and shot JJ3. There is a bit of a discussion in Switzerland about this act of "terror" as the WWF found that our hunters should have waited a bit before making such a decision (wait for what - the first dead cat/person/child?). He was even offered a roof over his head at the bear pit in Bern, but this was turned down. Anyhow JJ3 will be preserved for the following population of the Swiss. He will be stuffed and exhibited in one of the museums.

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Further to a blog I once wrote about politics in Switzerland and a lady, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, that was elected into the government of Switzerland as a minister, things are not going so good, or perhaps they are. Her own political party did not want her in the government as there was a strong fraction still supporting the minister that had to leave. This party, like any other, has rightwingers, and moderate wingers. The politician that had to go was extreme right, and this lady is more moderate. The situation was sharpened up last week. Her party said she no longer had their support and should quit the parliament immediately. The rest of the government were sort of split ideas, and she herself said she would stay. Well one thing must be said for the women of Switzerland. There was a bit demo in Bern (over 10,000 people which is a lot for Switzerland) came together and made their thoughts clear that the lady should stay. She came herself eventually, accompanied by loud applause and said "You came here not only for me, but because doubt has been cast on our democratic institutions". More than 100,000 people have signed an online petition in support of the justice minister (that is her department). Her party has said (i.e. the right wing) that they will expel her from the party, but I don't think this will go that far. You see we even have a bit of wild west in Switzerland from time to time.

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