27/08/2012

Neil Armstrong and the End of a Long Nightmare

Neil Armstrong is being celebrated as a great hero. He was the first man to walk on the Moon. Millions watched him descend from the space capsule and listened to him utter that memorable phrase, “That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." Armstrong and Aldrin were part of a dedicated group who fulfilled John Kennedy’s 1961 promise to send an American safely to the Moon before the end of the decade. They opened a new frontier. They inspired millions.

I remember exactly where I was on July 20, 1969 when Armstrong stepped on the Moon. He did not inspire me to be an astronaut or an astronomer. What he did was more important; he helped me to end a long nightmare that had lasted 12 years.

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11:18 Publié dans USA | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) |  Imprimer |  Facebook | | | |

20/08/2012

The End of Summer: Beyond the Fringe

As the heat of summer beats down and the last days of vacation fade away, the serious business of whatever will start again. The campaign for President of the United States will begin in earnest, the economic situation within the European Union will once more make front page news, the civil war in Syria will increasingly spill over to other countries, Israel will more and more threaten to attack Iran and the Dow Jones index should retreat from its artificial summer high. Those returning to the office from the mountains or shores will open piles of letters and e-mails, and once again bear down to work. Children will put away their bathing suits and dust off their schoolbooks long hidden under some pile in their rooms. In other words, we should start being serious again.

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15:36 Publié dans USA | Lien permanent | Commentaires (2) |  Imprimer |  Facebook | | | |

14/08/2012

Interrogating Swiss minors in the U.S.: Have you no sense of decency?

According to a headline story in the Tribune de Genève of August 6, American authorities questioned two Swiss adolescents upon their arrival in the United States to visit their grandparents. Held incommunicado from their families for six hours, they were asked about their father's activities as a banker following the April revelation by five Swiss banks of a list of 10,00 employees. The article went on to discuss the various dangers for those employees and the legality of the banks turning over the names.

I am a parent and grandparent. I can only imagine the panic of the parents and grandparents during the six hours that the children were held incommunicado. That cell phones are not allowed to function in the New York airport until you leave is understandable. That the minors were not allowed to communicate with their families for six hours is very difficult to understand and I can only sympathize with what must have been panic on the relatives' side.

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16:58 Publié dans Switzerland | Lien permanent | Commentaires (1) |  Imprimer |  Facebook | | | |

06/08/2012

Syrian Civil War: Annan Failure or Mission Impossible?

Last week, former UN Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan resigned as special UN-Arab League Envoy to Syria. The news agency Reuters described him during his Geneva news conference as follows: "A visibly shaken Kofi Annan admitted defeat in his attempts to bring peace to Syria...His voice cracking with emotion as he announced his resignation..."

Should we blame one individual for his failure to stop the bloodshed? When Annan accepted the job 17 months ago, several observers considered it Mission Impossible since the UN Security Council was split over what to do...

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14:14 Publié dans Middle East | Lien permanent | Commentaires (2) |  Imprimer |  Facebook | | | |