Illustrating Chappatte: New wave graphic journalism Tuesday, 5 May, 2009Not many editorial cartoonists are given three page spreads at the front of the news section, nor do they go out into the field. However, in today’s edition of Le Temps, you may notice a rather eye-catching report on South Lebanon. Pages two through four are dedicated to editorial cartoonist Patrick Chappatte’s illustrated report on cluster bombs dropped during the 2006 conflict between Israeli forces and Hezbollah, and the effect it has had on lives of the people who live there three years later. WRS’s Video Journalist, Amy Wong, paid a visit to his studio just before the paper went to print.
Becoming the kickboxing champion of the world Monday, 4 May, 2009It may just be one of the most violent sports around, and it’s not as well-paid as its commercialized counterpart, pro-English boxing, but becoming the full-contact kickboxing champion of the world is no less coveted. Here in Geneva, kickboxing has helped numerous kids steer themselves in the right direction, and one of these fought last weekend for the world kickboxing title. WRS video journalist Amy Wong went ringside to see Swiss and European Champion Patrick Kinigamazi take on World Champion Gary “The Kid From Belfast” Hamilton in one of the best kickboxing matches of the year.
A bear-y nice trip to Italy Thursday, 30 April, 2009They are an important part of Swiss culture – the capital city is named after them and they appear on numerous cantonal flag - yet they are often completely misunderstood. In a recent poll conducted by the WWF, the vast majority of Swiss people are in favour of the brown bear returning to the Alps. More bears are expected to cross over from Italy into the Canton of Graubünden. However, their survival in this country depends on whether humans can adapt to their existence. WRS video journalist Amy Wong went to Northern Italy on a bear trip organized by the conservation group Pro Natura.
Living the e-bike life Tuesday, 21 April, 2009Sales have doubled every year for the past three years. In 2008, 11 thousand electric bicycles were sold across the country. The government is strongly in favour of these two-wheeled wonders as they reduce congestion, noise pollution and CO2 emissions. In fact many municipalities across Switzerland offer subsidies for purchasing new e-bikes, and it seems to be resonating with urban families. Now more residents are opting to use a combination of bicycles and public transportation instead of a car. WRS video journalist Amy Wong raced local parliamentarian Michèle Künzler to City Hall to find out more.
From the streets to the stage Thursday, 9 April, 2009Gangs, violence and suicide are not the kind of themes that one might expect to see in a musical, and they are certainly not the kind of things that many people believe exists in Switzerland. However “Underground, the Musical” has all of that. This hip-hop musical/social project has given many teenagers across Switzerland a forum to express themselves and make the public aware of problems that an increasing number of youths face everyday. WRS video journalist Amy Wong spent the afternoon handing out flyers and “KRUMP-ing” with the cast of “Underground, the Musical.”
QB1: the next generation Thursday, 26 March, 2009For decades, the keyboard and mouse have been our main interface with computers. But what if we didn’t have to sit in front of our screens and type? What if the computer turned to us instead? This is what QB1 represents – the next generation of robotic computer interfaces. WRS video journalist Amy Wong went out the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne to meet QB1 and its creators.
Spring fever in Bern's museums Saturday, 21 March, 2009The city of Bern welcomed in spring by staying up late to go museum-hopping. The 7th annual Bern Museum Night took place and drew over 30,000 people, despite the freezing temperatures. WRS video journalist Amy Wong dressed warmly and went out to get cultured.
The forgotten books of Mon Bijou Friday, 20 March, 2009With computers, Internet and the fast-pace of modern day life, fewer people are reading books, and especially old, forgotten books. While the newer generation welcomes in digital technologies, an older, traditional generation of library-going book readers is dwindling in numbers. Mon Bijou Bookstore (Büechermärit Mon Bijou, Monbijoustrasse 16, Bern) represents this fading generation of book-enthusiasts. The book market has been around since the 1960s and is still considered a hidden jewel by the book-enthusiasts across the country, but its future is uncertain. Heinrich Rohrer is the loveable storekeeper and former director of Bern’s Public Library. WRS video journalist Amy Wong spent the afternoon with him rummaging through thousands of old books.
Living in a Swiss eco-house Monday, 16 March, 2009Since the beginning of the ‘Green’ era, achieving the sustainable house has been somewhat like the quest for the Holy Grail. There have been many drastic attempts at energy-efficiency, including houses covered in solar panels and photovoltaic cells. However these sometimes radical approaches often do not take into account different lifestyles and the varying environmental conditions that people live in. But here in alpine Switzerland they’ve learned to make use of simply designs that passively collect energy. Now many foreign architects are realizing that this more subtle approach may be the answer. WRS video journalist Amy Wong spoke to Swiss architect, Davide Macullo and spent the day in one of his award-winning eco-houses.
Switzerland embraces heroin-assisted treatment Tuesday, 10 March, 2009Heroin-assisted treatment (HAT) has existed for 15 years in Switzerland. This prescription program was a response to the open drug scenes and high levels of addiction across the country in the ’80s and ’90s. Now some of the addicts have reached senior citizen age in the German part of Switzerland. In last November’s referendum, 68 percent of Swiss voters approved the legalization of heroin prescription. Roughly 1,300 of Switzerland’s 30,000 heroin addicts are being treated through HAT. WRS video journalist Amy Wong visited one of the 38 heroin clinics across Switzerland.
A 'table' for the hungry poor Tuesday, 24 February, 2009Switzerland is known worldwide for its wealth and high standard of living, but approximately 380,000 people in Switzerland between the age of 20 and 59 are poor—and around 25,000 tons of consumable food is thrown out every year. Swiss Tables is an organization that brings the two together. Modeled after the New York and Berlin versions, City Harvest and Berliner Tafel respectively, it recuperates and redistributes roughly 2,500 tons of that food. The project is funded by the Foundation of Hope for Distressed Persons founded by Yvonne Kurzmeyer. WRS video journalist Amy Wong spent a day carrying heavy boxes of food for a good cause in the Canton of Vaud.
Shop and drop-off via bicycle courier Thursday, 12 February, 2009Relief for those who are tired of carrying heavy grocery bags up the steep hills of Lausanne will be arriving this Saturday. The bicycle courier collective, Vélocité, is starting a new service for shoppers called Dring Dring. After purchasing goods at participating retail stores or online, shoppers can have them sent to home the same day. WRS video journalist Amy Wong rode up the steep hills of Lausanne to deliver some parcels.
The wild man of drumming Thursday, 5 February, 2009Free-jazz drummer Michael Wertmueller, also known as the “wild man” of drumming, is in Geneva playing at the 2nd annual percussion festival, Batteries! II. Wertmueller’s trio includes legendary saxiphonist, Peter Brötzmann and bassist, Marino Pliakas. They played at Le Kab de l’Usine yesterday evening. Wertmueller and Philipe Nielsen from Séquence came into the studio to speak with Conor Lennon. Batteries! II continues until Saturday, February 7.
Competing at the Prix de Lausanne Sunday, 1 February, 2009The finals of the 37th annual Prix de Lausanne were held today. This is one of the most prestigious international ballet competitions in the world. Student-dancers aged 15 to 18 compete all week long at the Beaulieu Theatre. The grand-prize winners are awarded a full-scholarship at a school or dance company of their choice. This year the jury was headed by Karen Kain. Seventy-three competitors overall partook in the event and WRS video journalist Amy Wong followed one of the talented young dancers, Jemima Dean, throughout the competition.
Top end luxury watches proving resilient Sunday, 25 January, 2009The 19th annual Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie took place in Geneva. Unlike it’s bigger sister Baselworld, this watch fair focuses only on luxury brands, most of which belong to the Richemont Group. Richemont has admitted that the demand for luxury goods fell drastically in the final quarter of 2008, and it’s preparing itself for the worst. However, top end brands seem to be doing just fine. WRS video journalist Amy Wong went out to Geneva’s Palexpo center to gaze at the finery.