Deficient geography strikes in America – again

schaff9.gifWorried the Americans might bomb your home by accident one day? You do have to wonder when they send their military staff to exclusive resorts in the Swiss Alps – at least what the person who wrote this thought. For some reason Garmisch-Partenkirchen is in Switzerland… This is probably no laughing matter if it is any indication of how geography is taught in American schools. The task facing the National Geographic people is looking more and more like the Eiger North Face.

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DNA dating site promises better sex

love.jpgSweaty t-shirts shouldn’t be a turn-off according to a new dating website. ScienceMatch.com promises to increase chances of better sex, fertility and lasting relationships with less risk of cheating. The bold claims are based on a Bern scientist’s odour attraction research. Claus Wedekind’s studies focused on genes that play an integral role in a part of the immune system known as the major histocompatibility complex (MHC).

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The heist

cezanne.jpgArmed robbers have made away with what could be the biggest heist in Swiss history: SFr180 million worth of paintings by Cezanne, Degas, Monet and Van Gogh. Zurich police said four paintings were stolen on Sunday from the Bührle Collection, one of Europe’s finest private museums for Impressionist and post-Impressionist art. It is the biggest theft ever committed in Switzerland – overtaking SFr75 million stolen from a Zurich’s main post office a few years ago – and chances are in Europe as well.
Update: Zurich police announced on Tuesday they had recovered two of the paintings, the van Gogh and the Monet, in an abandoned car found just 500 metres from the Bührle museum. Apparently, the thieves found them too cumbersome to run off with.

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Carnival loses its glitter

mask.jpgCarnival has ended in most of Switzerland with the Mardi Gras festivities. But in one town, they hardly got off to a start this year. The authorities in Locarno, canton Ticino, called off the partying after a local student was savagely beaten by three other men. The young man was taken in a critical condition to a nearby hospital with severe brain damage. He died the next day without ever waking up.

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Catholic Church struggles with sex scandal

812550_92467913.jpgThe Catholic bishop for Fribourg, Lausanne and Geneva in western Switzerland has asked forgiveness from victims of paedophile priests, after several cases of abuse came to light. In the most widely publicised case, a Swiss priest was moved to France by superiors who knew he had already sexually abused at least one child.
UPDATE: a priest in Neuchâtel, once suspected of paedophile abuse before he was ordained, has shot himself through the heart. According to his family, he had complained of considerable local media pressure that came in the wake of the other cases that have rocked the local diocese. One formal complaint was filed against him in 2001. The case was dropped because of the statute of limitations even though he partially confessed. He was working in a parish, but was following medical treatment and was not working with children.

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