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food / travel

The Matterhorn Watchman: Living In The Shadow Of Switzerland’s Iconic Peak

After 15 years of running the “Hut” at the base of the Matterhorn mountain, Kurt Lauber knows the peak like a big brother. The “Watchman” has roped together memories of perilous rescues and the daily quirks of a mountain life.

Matterhorn at dawn (Franco Pecchio)
Matterhorn at dawn (Franco Pecchio)
Kurt Lauber

The Hörnli Hut is the legendary starting point for anyone climbing the iconic Swiss Matterhorn peak. For 15 years, it has been run by a man named Kurt Lauber. A ski instructor, mountain guide, helicopter pilot and trained rescuer, Lauber has just published a book in German -- Der Wächter des Matterhorns (The Matterhorn Watchman) – about his experiences. Here are some excerpts:

1. Altitude sickness. My mobile phone rang around 4 p.m. Two Italian climbers were on the Matterhorn. One of them had altitude sickness and couldn't climb down. The peak was enshrouded in fog, so a helicopter rescue wasn't possible. I explained that given the weather we could only copter to 4,200 meters (13,780 feet) and climb up on foot from there. But the climber insisted, saying his friend had pulmonary edema, and absolutely needed a helicopter.

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Geopolitics

AMLO Power Grab: Mexico's Electoral Reform Would Make Machiavelli Proud

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka AMLO, says his plans to reform the electoral system are a way to save taxpayer money. A closer look tells a different story.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico votes

Luis Rubio

OpEd-

MEXICO CITY — For supporters of Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) the goal is clear: to keep power beyond the 2024 general election, at any price. Finally, the engineers of the much-touted Fourth Transformation, ALMO's 2018 campaign promise to do away with the privileged abuses that have plagued Mexican politics for decades, are showing their colors.

Current electoral laws date back to the 1990s, when unending electoral disputes were a constant of every voting round and impeded effective governance in numerous states and districts. The National Electoral Institute (INE) and its predecessor, the IFE, were created to solve once and for all those endemic disputes.

Their promoters hoped Mexico could expect a more honest future, with the electoral question resolved. The 2006 presidential elections, which included AMLO as a recalcitrant loser, showed this was hoping for too much. That election is also, remotely, at the source of the president's new electoral initiative.

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