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TAGES-ANZEIGER
Tages-Anzeiger ("Daily Gazette") is a German-language Swiss daily newspaper based in Zurich. Founded in 1893, the newspaper is owned by Tamedia.
Forever Godard: 20 International Newspapers Bid Adieu To French New Wave Icon
Society
Chloé Touchard

Forever Godard: 20 International Newspapers Bid Adieu To French New Wave Icon

International outlets are saluting the passing of the father of the Nouvelle Vague movement, considered among the most influential filmmakers ever.

Jean-Luc Godard, the French-Swiss filmmaker who revolutionized cinema in the late 1950s and 1960s as the leading figure of the Nouvelle Vague (New Wave) movement, died Tuesday at the age of 91.

The Paris-born Godard produced now-cult movies such as À bout de souffle (“Breathless” 1960), Le Mépris (“Contempt” 1963) and Alphaville (1965), with his later works always garnering interest among cinephiles, even if often considered inaccessible for the wider public.

Godard's lawyer reported that that the filmmaker had been “stricken with multiple incapacitating illnesses," and decided to end his life through assisted suicide, which is legal in Switzerland, where he'd lived for decades.

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Russian Debacle Continues, Is Kherson Next?
In The News
Worldcrunch

Russian Debacle Continues, Is Kherson Next?

Ukraine’s lightning-fast counter-offensive continues Monday, as Kyiv’s chief commander General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi declared more than 3,000 square kilometers of territory recaptured since the start of the month, forcing Russian troops from more than 20 towns and villages.

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Ukrainian soldiers are in firm control of the northeastern Kharkiv region, having arrived at the border with Russia. Moscow appears to be reeling from the losses as thousands of Russian troops abandoned their positions, leaving behind huge stocks of ammunition and equipment.

Vitaly Ganchev, the Russian-installed head of Moscow's occupation administration in the Kharkiv region, acknowledged that Ukraine's troops had broken through, ordering civilians to evacuate from the Russian-occupied parts. Ukrainian forces outnumbered Russian troops by eight times during the counteroffensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region, a Russian-installed official said.

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Photo of a woman walking in Kyiv next to a disused Russian tank
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

World Front Pages As Ukraine Marks Independence Day & 6 Months Of War

Ukraine is marking a somber independence day that coincides with the six-month milestone of the Russian invasion. Here’s how newspapers around the world are covering the event.

Every year on August 24, Ukraine celebrates its 1991 independence from the Soviet Union. The anniversary of the peaceful transition is traditionally marked by military parades and other displays of patriotic pride across the country.

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But this year, celebrations will be subdued, as the event coincides with the grim milestone of six months since Russia launched its large-scale invasion of the country.

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Dead people like Facebook too (Zombies)
Switzerland
Michèle Binswanger

Facebook For Zombies: Social Media For The Dead

A new Internet service allows dead people to communicate with their loved ones via social media. Is this crazy or just the thing to help us grieve in the 21st century?

It used to be called Second Life. But that early attempt at an alternative virtual life lies long forgotten in the Internet cemetery, with virtual living now taking place on Facebook or Twitter. And now, there's even a social media for life after death: a new, free service called Dead Social.

The idea is to open an account and start feeding in stuff that will be sent at specific times after one's demise to relatives and friends via services like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. If the idea works, it could become routine some time in the near future, say on your dead Dad's birthday, to get a Facebook message that reads: "Hey, it would have been my birthday today. Hope you haven't forgotten. Have a drink --on me!" That's one of the nicer possibilities. But since we're talking about virtual zombies it's not all going to be pleasant and could be more along the lines of: "I may be dead, but you still owe me four thousand. The goon squad is on its way."

Technically, it's quite simple: a legally responsible person must confirm that you have shuffled off this mortal coil, thus activating your Dead Social account which will then send out your messages at the times you've programmed. It's also possible to form groups on the site – such as Vegans and Vegetarians of the Afterlife ("For people who loved animals in life, and will continue to do so in death!").

Dead Social is the brainchild of James Norris, who launched his service in late April at the Next Web Conference in Amsterdam. Initial reactions were confusion and outrage, but he still believes he's on to a good thing: "Dead Social can also be therapeutic for the person writing the news, and for the one who reads it after that person has died."

And as absurd and macabre as is sounds, maybe the whole thing isn't so crazy. Death is one of social media's unsolved problems. What happens to the accounts of millions of people when they are no longer around? Among other issues, they use up a lot of computer space. Maybe in future they could all be closed except for the profiles of people who leave a digital will.

Dead Social could be of interest to celebrities as well. "Imagine if Amy Winehouse had had an account," enthuses Norris. "She could have included unreleased material or dished on her affair with Pete Doherty." Norris says he can easily see the day when music labels make it mandatory for stars to open a Dead Social account.

Read the full article in German

Photo - Zombies

Antonis Samaras, feeling victorious (Nea Dimokratia)
Greece
Mirko Plüss and Stephan Israel


Greece: Why Europe Doesn’t Trust Antonis Samaras

Even if he was considered a “pro-Europe” option, the Conservative victor in Greece’s Parliamentary election does not enjoy a shining reputation around the continent.

ATHENS - All eyes in Europe were turned on Greece this past weekend when millions of its citizens turned out in the boiling heat to cast their ballot in parliamentary elections for the second time in two months. In the early evening, the news was that the Conservatives and radical left were running neck-and-neck. But just before 10 p.m., Alexis Tsipras, leader of the leftist Syriza alliance, acknowledged his defeat and congratulated Conservative leader Antonis Samaras who is poised to become Prime Minister, and the most powerful man in the country.

Samaras had managed what only a few believed possible: putting his Nea Dimokratia (New Democracy) party back on the path to success. In his victory speech, Samaras reiterated what he was elected to do by stating: "The Greeks have voted for a pro-European course and for keeping the euro."

For a long time it had looked as if the Conservatives would lose. The Greek party landscape seemed too fragmented, and Syriza leader Tsipras too charismatic. Samaras, meanwhile, is a man of the old Greek elite whose party ran the government from 2004 to 2009 and bears some responsibility for the country's desperate debt situation.

Put simply, Samaras opponents see him as an opportunist, while supporters admire his ability to always bounce back.

Samaras had already played a major role on the Greek political scene in the early 1990s as a hardline Foreign Minister, before forming a party called Political Spring that was more right-leaning than Nea Dimokratia and enjoyed considerable if short-lived success. By 2004 he was back with Nea Dimokratia, a move that paid off: the Conservatives garnered the most votes in parliamentary elections and remained the leading party until 2009.

Samaras, who'd risen to party chief and leader of the opposition, spent much of the last two-plus years making life difficult for then Prime Minister Giorgos Papandreou, and the resulting domestic political standoff contributed to the worldwide financial crisis. Samaras was a bitter opponent of the severe austerity measures that the European Union, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank (ECB) troika wanted to impose. But in November 2011, when Papandreou resigned and the Conservatives regained a role in government, Samaras ended up accepting the measures.

The 18.85% of the vote that Samaras got during the first elections on May 6 were interpreted by many as a slap on the wrist for his surprising turnaround, but Sunday's victory for Nea Dimokratia, which received just under 30% of the vote, showed that Samaras was on the road to the prize he'd always longed for: the Prime Minister job.

Not the time for discounts

Following Sunday's results in Greece, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso was quick to announce that now that the pro-Europeans had won, there was no time to lose and reforms should be quickly implemented. In Berlin, an initial statement by Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Sunday evening seemed to suggest that the Greeks might be granted a little more time to meet their obligations to creditors. But that was quickly reversed, as a German government spokesman said this was "no time for any sort of discounts," with Westerwelle adding: "If I gave the impression that I was prepared to accept less stringency as regards to the need for reform in Greece, that is definitely a wrong impression."

An aura of mistrust hangs over European reactions to the new reality in Greece -- and it is linked directly to Samaras. His intransigence as head of the opposition on the issue of reforms and austerity still rankles. Indeed, the European Conservatives in Brussels are most diffident, having long tried to talk him into acceptance to no avail.

However, after making their point European partners will have to come around to some adjustments in the timetable. Between the early May elections and the ones last Sunday, hardly any progress on reforms has been made in Athens. As soon as a new government is in place, representatives of the purse-string holding EU, IMF and ECB troika will come calling.

The first thing they'll do is check the finances, and they will undoubtedly find that Greece in behind in both cutting costs and collecting taxes. The corrections and adjustments the euro countries then press for will depend on the results of those checks. One billion euros in European payments to Greece had been delayed pending greater clarity in the situation, and these funds could now be released short term.

The hour of truth will come by the end of August at the latest. That's when the Greek government has to pay back 3.8 billion euros. It can only do that of the troika attests that the country is on an austerity course and the euro countries agree to release the next big chunk of the second bailout package.

Read original articles – here and here - in German

Photo - Nea Dimokratia

Fashion faux-pas (Zabowski)
Germany
Philipp Tingler

Hey Guys: Legs Matter

As summer approaches, some men might be inclined to show off half their calves with those "7/8ths" Capri pants. Don't. Just Don't. And If you want to wear shorts, please follow these simple rules.

BERLIN - Yes men, you need to worry about hem length too. That is a brutal truth the summer months force us to face. And it was brought home to me again recently by a snapshot I took on the streets of my hometown Berlin, showing one guy wearing pants cropped to the knee, and another guy wearing Capri pants, manpris.

Berlin will always (hopefully) be different from the rest of Germany -- big, rough, noisy, arty, its famous Fashion Week something of a contradiction in terms. But: that's no excuse for 7/8th Capri pants. Contemplating the photo, I realized several things. First of all: male legs are important. I know that it's very difficult to get an attractive leg shape (and particularly hard to achieve good-looking calves) by working out at the gym -- but that's no reason not give it the old try. Come on guys, I know for a fact you don't want to look like Larry the Lobster from SpongeBob Squarepants.

Secondly: Capri pants. I've said this time and again, but since I'm still seeing them all over the place, I'll say it again: the only people allowed to sport them are women under 35, of the Audrey Hepburn type. Did you get that? Women with an Audrey Hepburn figure. Seven-eighths pants do not work for anybody else.

On a man --and I don't care what age he is or what kind of body he has-- trousers cropped that length are the equivalent of a burqa. They make the wearer instantly and utterly unsexy. Some of my friends don't agree that the cropped pants in the snapshot are 7/8th, I'm hearing 3/5th: I don't care. You catch my drift. The only thing deadlier than 7/8th (or 3/5th) pants is 7/8th worn with sandals and ankle socks.

Hot Pants: only if you are Cristiano Ronaldo

On to shorts: The length issue is crucial here too, the perfect length being just above the knee. Tight shorts can be a little shorter, assuming the wearer has the body – and again, guys, legs – to pull them off. This might also be a good opportunity to mention the social context for wearing shorts. Shorts are by nature casual. Which means that on no formal occasions should other people be allowed to see your knees, and I don't care how attractive the latter are. So no shorts at theater premieres, baptisms/weddings/funerals, testifying in court – you get the point. And no shorts *ever* on the job. It doesn't matter where you work, a trendy PR agency, a funeral home: shorts at the workplace are an absolute taboo unless you're a parcel delivery-person or a pool attendant.

There's a myth about so-called City Shorts. Some men actually believe that they can wear their navy blue cotton Neil Barrett Bermudas in town as long as they wear a striped seersucker regatta blazer with them. My recommendation is: unless you're Ewan McGregor, just forget about it. And never make the mistake of thinking that you can compensate for the missing fabric and formality by wearing shorts of a dark color. At best, putting on a shirt and tie with black shorts makes you look like you're on your way to a stripper's funeral.

Now about age: per se, 50 is not too old for Bermudas. You can pretty much wear short pants at any age. There's a photo by Jonathan Becker of famous American writer Dominick Dunne standing in front of the Hôtel du Cap in Antibes on the French Riviera during the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Dunne was 81 at the time, and he was wearing cuff-less khaki shorts with a single-breasted yachting blazer, a formal shirt from Turnbull & Asser, and embroidered velvet Albert Slippers. Without socks, it goes without saying. Daring? I admit it all depends on the wearer. "You've got to have swagger," as Margot Light, my International Relations professor at the London School of Economics, liked to say --laid-back self-confidence, natural dominance and charisma.

That attitude unfortunately does not protect the wearer of shorts from mistakes and wardrobe blunders. One must keep in mind that faux-pas involving shorts often have to do with ...size. Do you remember when soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo's Hot Pants unleashed crowds of would-be imitators, men wearing too-tight, too-short shorts? One general rule could be distilled from that unfortunate situation: even if this is the time of year when Mother Nature pours her bounty forth unreservedly, that doesn't automatically mean that you have to --or at least not as long as you have two legs and a prostate.

Read the article in German in Tages Anzeiger.

Photo - Zabowski

Samantha Cameron and Michele Obama have put their careers on hold (Pete Souza)
Germany
Michèle Binswanger

His & Her Success: When The Balance Of Power Shifts Inside A Power Couple

France’s First Lady Valérie Trierweiler’s troublesome tweet this week has been a public soap opera and the first real blow in the new presidency of her companion, François Hollande. But how much should a successful woman care about her man's prof

François Hollande was supposed to come with a clean slate, the "normal" President – ready to devote all of his attention to the citizens and country of France, not to himself.

And now his partner Valérie Trierweiler has put a spoke in the wheels – or, put more aptly, left a nasty little stain on his jacket. But this all came from a modern woman who could care less about looking after her partner's wardrobe.

The stain came in the form of a tweet in which Trierweiler expressed support for the political opponent of Ségolène Royal, Hollande's ex-partner. Since it's known that Trierweiler and Royal are enmeshed in an on-going private cat fight, this news already had the makings of a scandal – and was firmly cemented as one in light of the fact that Hollande himself supports Royal's candidacy for this weekend's parliamentary runoff.

Trierweiler, a journalist, has from Day One shown little interest in filling the role of France's First Lady, and would rather be judged by her own career accomplishments. And yet getting publicly mixed up in politics in quite this way, taking a swipe at Royal, has turned the French off. It would be an uncomfortable enough situation for a man in a far less important position. For Hollande, just elected to France's highest office, it must be a nightmare.

The French media have leapt on the story, dubbing it "Dallas in the Elysée Palace." It highlights a conflict that neither the powerful men nor the emancipated women of this world seem to have devoted much thought to: in power couples, how do the partners deal with each other's power? And more specifically: how strong can a woman be if she is at the side of a powerful man?

The former head of the Swiss National Bank, Philipp Hildebrand, was recently enmeshed in a scandal of his own involving some financial transactions allegedly made by his wife without his prior knowledge. "My wife," said Hildebrand, "has a strong personality."

This could be another way of saying: Look, I decided to marry a woman who thinks and acts independently. The Swiss media let it be: after all, in the supposedly enlightened 21st century, nobody can come out and say that a man should have his wife under control. In the Hildebrand case, it was about a joint bank account which is why he could also be held responsible for transactions made from the account. Indeed, the case eventually brought about his resignation.

Independence v. power

The Hollande/Trierweiler case is altogether different. Out of jealousy, she did something that damages his reputation. Does the French President have to answer for his partner's idiocy?

Winston Churchill wrote that, where power is concerned, women often have trouble keeping politics and feelings separate. Trierweiler's tweet is an example of that. However it should also be said that women who have their own power usually know what they're doing, and the consequences of their actions. But how about a strong woman faced with the fact that her partner is suddenly stronger? Should she insist on her autonomy? Or does she go all house-wifey, and look after his wardrobe, and make sure there are no stains?

Or put another way: how powerful can the companion of a powerful person like Hollande be allowed to be? If the issue can't be reconciled, is he better off separating from the woman – or the office?

Power couples are often considered role models for modern partnerships between equals. Ironically, the problems they run into are perfect examples of the anachronisms often overlooked in our understanding of love and partnership.

A marriage or partnership is never only just about love; it also – always – has an economic and strategic component to it. With regard to her role as First Lady, Trierweiler told the French magazine Paris Match where she has long worked as a journalist that she wanted to be independent of her partner Hollande. But maybe women in recent years have been thinking too much about their independence, and not enough about power.

Power is a system of dependencies, which also happens to apply to the partnership of a power couple. Like it or not, at the end of the day they're both in it together.

Read the original article in German

Photo - White House/Pete Souza

The Dalai Lama speaking at UCSD (Facebook)
Switzerland
Hugo Stamm

Ponder This: The Dalai Lama Is Brainwashing You

Essay: A Swiss writer settles his score with Buddhism, which he calls "manipulative" and "brainwashing." Facing reality is a much more *centered road to salvation.

ZURICH - The scandals plaguing Christian churches in Western countries are a manifestation of their state of crisis. Image problems and crumbling credibility are causing many to leave these churches. In Zurich, the figures speak clearly: in 1970, 94% of residents were members of a church; today, only 62%.

What happens to those who leave the church? Do they become agnostics or atheists? A small minority probably does, but spiritual or religious needs do not disappear altogether. Today many people prefer to piece together their own set of beliefs from many different sources, often esoteric. Others turn to Buddhism. The hype surrounding the Dalai Lama, who in his appearances in the West is honored as a kind of "God-King" and is received by top leaders, is an indication of the fascination this religion holds.

And there is no question about it: Buddhism has a friendly face. It isn't actually a religion – rather, it offers a spiritual worldview or path of life. What is also nice about it is that it has no God. The historic Buddha rightly recognized that greed, hate, and delusion drive people and that these three attributes cause a great deal of suffering. Today it might be a good idea to add power to the list.

To overcome suffering, Buddha came up with some fairly radical rules. Besides "kill no living being," and "take nothing that is not given to you" (monks begging for alms are essentially obeying this rule), these include: "avoid degenerate sensuality;" "don't lie;" and "don't consume consciousness-altering substances."

Brainwashed by Buddhism

To help achieve these and other goals, Buddhists meditate. The idea is to free oneself from outer ties and needs to find inner calm. What this amounts to is finding a way to shut up the Ego, the great "I", source of all greed. Tackled in a rigorous and consequent fashion, this could ultimately lead to renunciation of all worldly things and total immersion in the spiritual world.

What in theory appears very honorable and worth working towards, however, on deeper examination reveals itself to be out of touch with life. Unrealistic. In Buddhism, daily life is rendered negative, devalued. The bottom line is that people are full of greed and hate, so they should chastise themselves. Instead of learning how to deal with impulses and hedonistic drives, the idea is to repress them, to overcome them through meditation. Basically, it's a kind of brainwashing, albeit a "nice" kind since the goal is to banish evil from the world. But it's nevertheless autosuggestion and no less manipulative.

More important though is the question: do I really want to define reality as the epicenter of all ugliness, the source of all evil? Does it really make sense to adopt these values, to consciously pursue inner calm to the extent of giving up my Ego?

No, I do not. The Ego has to deal with a world that is full of greed and hate – a power-driven world. It's also not an either/or situation: it doesn't exclude acknowledging an inner place of calm in my consciousness, in my body, which should be nurtured and cared for.

Nature is a miracle. I don't want to turn away from it, or demonize it as the source of all dangerous cravings. The senses, and feelings, are powerful things in life: they shouldn't be tamed, much less kept entirely at bay. I don't want to hide. What I do want is to communicate with the world. In any case, the inner and outer are intermeshed; one is not possible without the other. They mutually enhance each other, in a healthy balance. And this is something that Buddhism neglects – but the fact is that to seek the inner to the exclusion of the outer results in bloodlessness.

I personally also have my doubts about the serenity that Buddhists strive for. Of course it's wonderful to be able to face some difficult life event stoically, to write it off as a meaningless outer-world phenomenon. But isn't there then the danger that -- if I don't look out for myself and take measures to avoid a recurrence -- the same thing will happen again?

I want to mix with the outer world; to revolt against injustice; to denounce abuse. Because let's face it: injustice and abuse are going to be out there even if the whole world turns Buddhist.

Read the original article in German

Photo - Facebook