Switzerland

Who’s The Happiest One Of All?
July 29, 2010

This is one of those slightly hokey surveys that measures the happiness of nations. Done by the Gallup World Poll and written up for Forbes by Francesca Levy, its results are not entirely surprising. Rich countries generally do better than others, although Saudi Arabia ranks 58th just ahead of Pakistan. Almost three times as many Saudis are “struggling” than “thriving.” On the other hand, the United Arab Emirates (which is a country made up of wealthy scions and resident ex-pats) and Kuwait register respectably 20th and 23rd. So how about Egypt?

The Heir
July 20, 2010

Is Qaddafi's hip, globe-trotting son for real?

A Deal With The Devil
July 17, 2010

Emissary of the Doomed: Bargaining For Lives in the Holocaust by Ronald Florence (Viking, 336 pp., $27.95)  I. March 18, 1944 was an unusually pleasant spring day in Budapest, with crowds filling the outdoor cafés: it was difficult to tell that Hungary was at war. Rumors were spread about the government’s secret negotiations with the Western Allies, and all surmised that an unspoken agreement existed according to which the Hungarians would not fire on American and British aircraft overflying the country and the enemy aircraft would not drop any bombs.

A Deal With The Devil
July 17, 2010

Emissary of the Doomed: Bargaining For Lives in the Holocaust by Ronald Florence (Viking, 336 pp., $27.95)  I. March 18, 1944 was an unusually pleasant spring day in Budapest, with crowds filling the outdoor cafés: it was difficult to tell that Hungary was at war. Rumors were spread about the government’s secret negotiations with the Western Allies, and all surmised that an unspoken agreement existed according to which the Hungarians would not fire on American and British aircraft overflying the country and the enemy aircraft would not drop any bombs.

We Don’t Need No Stinking Octopus
July 10, 2010

¿Quién va a ganar esta cosa ? This is the Goal Post. We don’t need no stinking octopus. I can predict the outcome of the match without Paul. The mollusk seems quite nice, has been perfect in his predictions, but he’s only predicted six games before the final, all of them German. I can do better than that. He might be loveable and edible, but I’m cuddly and he ain’t. I did predict the final. I wrote that the final will be Spain vs. Argentina, and Algeria will win. There you have it. The cynical among you will say that it’s Holland and not Argentina, but that’s simply a technicality.

Nation, Nostalgia
June 18, 2010

A week ago, in Bogota, I asked a cab driver which team he wanted to win the World Cup. “Does it matter?” he asked back. “Colombia is not playing, so why should I care?” Half a mile ahead, he failed to hit a bus by an inch. “You almost killed us,” I said. “Would it have mattered that much?” he replied. I don’t know whether he was referring to the fact that he didn’t find me valuable enough through the rear-view mirror, or to the fact that, now that we weren’t worthy enough to participate in the World Cup, we might as well try to score a goal under a bus.

Forgive Not
May 18, 2010

This early in the twenty-first century, the rulers of the Catholic Church have suffered an earthquake of crumbling credibility. Nearly ten years ago, with the initial revelations about sexual abuse of the young by priests, some argued that the problem was limited in time and place, since most of the abuse cases had occurred 30 or 40 years before, and they took place in the United States. There was hope that an investigative and reformist effort would restore the U.S. Church’s authority.

Tanking Hard
May 07, 2010

Early on Monday, BP’s boyish CEO, Tony Hayward, sat in an open-collared white dress shirt and, rocking back and forth in a studio chair, submitted to a series of four network interviews about his company’s catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The questions from NBC, CBS, ABC, and the BBC differed slightly, but to all the anchors, Hayward delivered a similar line: “This is not our accident.” In other words, it's not BP's fault.

L’Affaire to Remember
April 21, 2010

Paris The impish headlines in Le Canard enchaîné, the satirical weekly that happens to be the most informative newspaper in France, rarely translate well. An exception might be the recent front-page lead: “SARKO EST D’UNE RUMEUR MASSACRANTE.” This play on the expression être d’une humeur massacrante—roughly, “angry enough to kill”—concerns the distemper of Nicolas Sarkozy over a certain rumeur massacrante (“foul rumor”) swirling around the French president’s two-year marriage to former supermodel Carla Bruni.

Speaking of Individual Responsibility...
April 07, 2010

Harold Pollack is a professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and Special Correspondent for The Treatment. The current Pediatrics includes a timely article, which in its way is as frustrating as any account of Tea Party protesters shouting about death panels. The article by David Sugerman and colleagues recounts a 2008 measles outbreak in San Diego. This outbreak began when an intentionally unvaccinated 7-year-old contracted measles on a trip to Switzerland. The boy unintentionally exposed 839 people before the outbreak was contained.

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