Tourists in Lausanne can look forward to free public transport in the new year after a decision by the city council and seven other communes. Visitors who are subject to a “tourist tax”, which is set to increase from January 1, will all benefit from free fares on the Mobilis line, according to an article in Lausanne Tourism’s newsletter. The tourist tax varies from CHF2-3.5 per person per night. It is used by tourism associations to improve facilities. Officials hope the new system will make staying in Lausanne more appealing, as it offers free transport between hotels, the local hospital and schools.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
From World Radio Switzerland...
Train services are back to normal after a bomb alert caused disruption on Switzerland’s network yesterdayA suspicious package was found under a seat on a regional train in the canton of Bern.Police removed the parcel from the train in Lyss at around 12.30pm. Explosives experts examined the item before destroying it.No-one was hurt in the incident, although Lyss station was closed for over an hour.
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This time we used a premixed bag of cheese purchased from Co op, which made the entire process a little easier.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
The snow was a bit hard, so it was difficult for the kids to play in. More photos will be posted soon.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
- The z and thez y have switched places.
- The Swiss German keyboard has these keys: ö, é, ä, à, ü, è, §, °, &, and ¬
- the ; and . keys are one row lower
- The @ is above the 2 still, but I have to push the 'Alt Gr' key. pushing shift and 2 gets me "
- The ' and ? and ´ are on the top row
Thursday, December 13, 2007
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States on Wednesday joined an international
treaty on adoptions -- a move that will protect both children and parents, and
make the State Department a central registry tracking all adoptions coming in
and out of the country, officials said. Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Maura Harty presented the U.S. ratification of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoptions during a ceremony in the Netherlands.
"We would say that today is a good day for children and parents involved in intercountry adoptions," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.
"This convention establishes international laws and procedures for intercountry adoption. Cases involving the Hague Convention are to ensure that adoptions occur in the best interests of the children."
The agreement sets out what the State Department called "safeguards to protect the interests of children, birth parents and adoptive parents." It says children may be
adopted by prospective parents outside their country only if there is proper and
informed consent from the "family of origin." The treaty calls for authorities to make sure that birth parents haven't been persuaded to give up their children in exchange for money, urging countries to take "all appropriate measures to prevent improper financial or other gain in connection with an adoption." Officials also should make sure that the child's wishes are considered, the document says. The treaty covers the other end of the adoption process as well, calling on the country where the adoptive parents live to "prepare a report including information about their identity, eligibility and suitability to adopt, background, family and medical history." The rules begin governing international adoptions for the 66 signatory countries on April 1, 2008.
More than 19,000 foreign-born children were adopted by Americans in 2007 -- more than all the other countries of the world combined, McCormack said.
Final ratification "took a while" -- 14 years -- because adoption laws in the United States are generally regulated by the states, he said. "It took quite some time to actually normalize and get a common standard among all of the 50 states and build up the right institutions and procedures so that we could comply with the convention," McCormack said.
"It took some time to do that groundwork, and when you have 50 separate
sets of laws and 50 separate sets of state legislatures, it takes some time to
make sure that we get it right." Tom DiFilipo, of the Joint Council on
International Children's Services, called the agreement "a great accomplishment
after 14 years." "We're just glad that it is over and will be in place in April," DiFilipo said on the telephone from Moscow, where he was giving a speech on adoption. "The basic principles, accountability, transparency, doing everything in the final interests of the child, how can you argue against that," he said. The new rules may create delays in finalizing adoptions, especially adoptions from those countries that have also approved the Hague convention.
Guatemala, the country that provides one of the highest numbers of children coming to the United States for adoption -- more than 4,600 this year -- also just approved the international agreement, and its courts and government officials are expected to be overwhelmed. Salome Lamarche of Families Thru International Adoption said her organization has been preparing for the new rules. Her group has handled more than 3,500 international adoptions.
She predicted significantly fewer adoptions from Guatemala, at least in the short term. Several countries that are common points of origin for children adopted by Americans have not agreed to the treaty, including Vietnam, Russia, Ukraine and Ethiopia.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Today we went to the Montreux Christmas market. It wasn't too different than a Chrismasish market you would see in the US. In fact, there were two groups of Native Americans/Pre-Columbians performing music. Our primary areas of interest were the "old fashioned" roasted chestnuts, the hot chocolate, the crepes, the playground, the carousel, and the ferris wheel. There are a number of Christmas markets over the next 23 days, so I'm sure more will be visited.