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LE TEMPS, APS, THE LOCAL, LE MATIN (Switzerland)

Worldcrunch

BERN – The Swiss Public Welfare Society (SSUP) has launched a contest to change Switzerland’s national lyrics by August 2015, reports Le Temps.

According the newspaper, the association finds the existing lyrics too awkward and outdated -- so much so that a majority of Swiss don't know the words to it and can't sing along.

The SPWS wants the new lyrics to reflect better contemporary Switzerland. The current anthem is known as the Swiss Psalm, with versions in all of Switzerland's official languages (German, French, Italian, Romansch), and is a hymn praising God and the Alps, explains the Local.

The lyrics will have to be inspired by the preamble of the Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation and be sung in two languages, adds Le Temps. The music will remain the same.

In 2008, Margret Kiener Nellen from the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland asked for new lyrics but her request was denied by the Federal Council. Similar attempts had already failed in the 1990s, adds Le Temps.

The Swiss psalm was composed by Alberich Zwyssig in 1841 and replaced Rufst du, mein Vaterland (When you call, my Fatherland, using God Save The Queen melody) in 1961. It was only officially adopted as national anthem in 1981.

The Swiss national anthem sounds like a remix of "Happy Birthday" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas'. #london2012

— Tubes (@tubes_taylor) Août 4, 2012

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Society

How India’s Women Are Fighting Air Pollution — And The Patriarchy

India is one of the world's worst countries for air pollution, with women more likely to be affected by the problem than men. Now, experts and activists are fighting to reframe pollution as a gendered health crisis.

A woman walking through dense fog in New Delhi

*Saumya Kalia

MUMBAI In New Delhi, a city that has topped urban air-pollution charts in recent years, Shakuntala describes a discomfort that has become too familiar. Surrounded by bricks and austere buildings, she tells an interviewer: "The eyes burn and it becomes difficult to breathe". She is referring to the noxious fumes she routinely breathes as a construction worker.

Like Shakuntala, women’s experiences of polluted air fill every corner of their lives – inside homes, in parks and markets, on the way to work. Ambient air in most districts in India has never been worse than it is today. As many as 1.67 million people in the country die prematurely due to polluted air. It is India’s second largest health risk after malnutrition.

This risk of exposure to air pollution is compounded for women. Their experiences of toxic air are more frequent and often more hazardous. Yet “policies around air quality have not yet adequately taken into account gender or other factors that might influence people’s health,” Pallavi Pant, a senior scientist at the Health Effects Institute, a nonprofit in the U.S., told The Wire Science.

“It’s unacceptable that the biggest burden [rests on] those who can least bear it,” Sherebanu Frosh, an activist, added. People like her are building a unique resistance within India.

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