Hermine Speier (1898 to 1989)

In 1934, Hermine Speier became the first female employee in the Vatican in the modern sense of employee with a salary and a pension plan. She wasn’t a nun, and more surprisingly, she wasn’t even Catholic.
Hermine Speier at work in the Vatican Museum

Indian President Prathibha Patil on State Visit to Switzerland

Indian President Prathibha Patil has been on a two days state visit in Switzerland. She started the official program of her visit in Bern (seat of the Swiss federal government) and continued through Lausanne to Geneva from where she left for a state visit to Austria.

Prathibha Patil and Micheline Calmy-Rey

Pity the Middleton Family

Many might think that having a Royal Duchess as a daughter must be like a dream come true. The reality is far from that. That being related to a member of the Royal Family resembles more to a nightmare is mainly due to the press and the media.

Carole Middleton, family matriarch

Polanski Prize for Paedophiles

Roman Polanski will return to Zurich to receive a prize for his life work. While the paedophile filmmaker will be holding court to lap up public adulation from fellow paedophiles, Switzerland is powerless to hinder him due to a malfunction in the American legal system.

Roman Polanski, paedophile film director

Dr James Barry, Transvestite Surgeon

Dr James Barry studied at Edinburgh and qualified with a Medical Doctorate. He entered the army and had a sterling career there. But not all things were as they seemed at the time. Who was Dr James Barry? 

Dr James Barry and servant

Skywalker Freddy Nock Skips a Rope Record

Circus artist Freddy Nock had to break off his latest attempt at a further world record on the rope. The planned record should have been completed in Bern by driving a bicycle over a tight rope 150 m (492 ft) in length and 50 m (164 ft) from the ground. The disappointment was obviously great.

Freddy Nock, circus artist

James Greenwood Started Investigative Journalism

James Greenwood started out as a printer. Later, he began writing adventure tales before entering journalism. As a journalist, he was the first to go undercover and to invent investigative journalism in the process. His subsequent writing was nothing short of revolutionary.

James Greenwood

Skywalker Freddy Nock Knocks Down Another World Record

Circus artist Freddy Nock did it again. Only two days after completing a Guinness worthy world record on the Zugspitze in Germany, he completed another world record attempt successfully on the Feuerkogel Mountain in Austria, this time on a slack rope with a steady incline.

Freddy Nock, circus artist

The Real Skywalker: Freddy Nock

Fancy a little walk? How about doing it on the cable of a cable car in the Alps with 150 metres (500 ft) of air between you and the ground? How about doing it over a kilometre, a mile, or more? That’s what a real Skywalker does for a living and currently to set some records.

Freddy Nock, circus artist

Sherlock Holmes and the Fairies

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is remembered for his stories of Sherlock Holmes and the Lost World. A new biography tries to reconcile these seemingly highly logical writings with his unshakeable belief in fairies and the supernatural. 

Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle skiing

Michael Phelps and Daley Thompson are in a Stable Gay Relationship

Michael Phelps and Daley Thompson moved to London on May 18th, 2011, coming from Edinburgh by way of Weymouth. A press release stated that it is hoped they will be able and willing to incubate eggs from unreliable heterosexual couples.

Michael Phelps in speedo

New Dream Team: Pippa Middleton and Justin Bieber

This must be the new dream team: The Bieb and The Bum have joined forces to conquer the universe. In a right Royal salute, the Middletons and the Biebers have hooked up their common interests to gain supremacy over the World Wide Web’s tat market.

Justin Bieber undressing trial

Supermodel Xenia Tchoumitcheva Moves to London

Watch out, London, Xenia Tchoumitcheva will make you her new headquarters in June. The Elite Model has announced that she will move to London despite the fact that she hasn’t yet found an appropriate apartment. Most importantly, she moves for career reasons, not love. Men, keep your eyes open! 

Xenia Tchoumitcheva

The United States Cheated the United Kingdom (again)

Following the state visit of their Obamishnesses to the United Kingdom, it emerged that the United States after all their protests of eternal friendship cheated again and in a backhanded vicious attack condemned the United Kingdom to face the final punishment.

Cheryl Cole

Oscar Parties: Who Is Max Loong?

Oscar presenter James Franco will host his after Oscar party at the Supperclub in the converted Vogue Theatre just 100 yards from the Kodak Theatre. The owners of the Supperclub on the Hollywood Walk of Fame are Jerry Garcia, Abdi Manavi, and Max Loong.

Max Loong, presenter

First International Solar Flight a Success

Solar Impulse has successfully completed the first international flight on solar power alone in flying history. The historical flight took it from Switzerland to Belgium where the airplane will be on display during the Green Week in Brussels.

Solar Impulse in flight

Six Curious Facts About The FIS Alpine Ski World Championship

The FIS Alpine Ski World Championships have been running for 80 years. There were a few curious instances in that time. They include time differences between winners and runners up of almost 30 seconds, the championship that never was, one without snow, and the man who became women’s world champion.

Erika Schinegger

Flying Without a Permit

When flying was all new and shiny, it was also still in paradise. There were no permits to get and no exams to pass; you just got into your flying machine and took off. But paradise ended when the snake came in; this snake took the form of an international body which started to issue permits.

Hubert Latham in monoplane

How Not to Win a Grand Slam

Andy Murray is following in Roger Federer’s and Rafael Nadal’s footsteps. He just broke the first long standing tennis record. He is the first player to have lost his first three appearances in a grand slam final without winning a single set. That is not the kind of record to inspire confidence in his ability to win one.

Andy Murray, tennis boy

Maurice Bavaud: One Swiss Alone Against Hitler

On November 9th, 2008, it will be 70 years since Maurice Bavaud tried to assassinate Hitler in Munich. After prolonged torture, he was murdered by the Nazis on May 14th, 1941, after ‘legal’ proceedings followed by a sentence to death. He was officially rehabilitated by Germany in 1956.

Maurice Bavaud

10 Best Earning Corpses

They are dead and earn millions every year. Celebrities from the recent and not so recent past are still generating huge income. Meet the ten corpses who earn more in a year than you will in a lifetime. Some of their names you will easily recognize, some of them maybe not.

Heath Ledger

FC Barcelona: Where Did It Get Its Colours From?

FC Barcelona is one of the best known football or soccer clubs in the world. One of the questions coming up every now and then is: How did it come by the colours blue and red?

Cristiano Ronaldo underwear model

High School Musical, it’s Just That

Walt Disney’s High School Musical 3 has started in cinemas all over the place. Zac Efron is in every glossy magazine for his starring in it. Zac Who? If you don’t know, you don’t have girls aged four to 14 at home.

Zac Efron

Why James Bond is Eternal

The Man With The Golden Touch: How The Bond Films Conquered The World by Sinclair McKay was published by Aurum. Just one more writer jumping on the marketing train of Quantum of Solace? Not quite.

Sean Connery

Pomp and Circumstance for Haider

Jörg Haider’s funeral brings 30,000 people to Klagenfurth, many of them Nazis. The press ignores this and concentrates instead on defamation of gays and gay lifestyle.

Jörg Haider

A Quantum of Boredom

Roger Moore’s My Word Is My Bond is published by Michael O’Mara Books. I don’t know where he found his ghost-writer, maybe it’s his accountant.

Roger Moore

Roger Federer's Interview on Swiss Television

A summary compiled on the interview given by Roger Federer on Swiss Television on October 19, 2008. Roger Federer comments on the season, on press, on marriage, on Stanislas Wawrinka, and his plans for the Davis Cup.

Roger Federer tennis

Barbara Cartland Lives

Just in time for Halloween, BBC4 rings on a drama based on Dame Barbara Cartland’s life. TV reality more ghoulish than any Halloween haunt.

Dame Barbara Cartland

Blair Affair, the Lies Continue

Tony Blair has managed to degrade all values dear to Parliament. His conduct towards the Commons was utterly cynical and his behaviour over Abu Ghraib lack in all decency or morality.

Tony Blair

Six Notable Women

Royal Mail has issued the portraits of six women of distinction (?) as a new stamp series. The inclusion of a Nazi has provoked heavy criticism. The other five faces on these stamps are also controversial.

Royal Mail stamp collection

Haider's Unlamented Death

Jörg Haider, the well known Austrian Nazi spokesman, died in a car crash breaking one law too many. He brought brown politics back into fashion while living it up in a £25 million estate seized from a Jew during the War.

Jörg Haider skinny dipping

An Eulogy on Tony Blair

Adam Boulton, Sky’s former political editor, tried to write a book on the Blair (blah) years at 10 Downing Street: Tony’s Ten Years: Memoirs of the Blair Administration published by Simon & Schuster. Boulton is married to Anji Hunter, the longstanding personal assistant to the Prime Minister; with so much inside information available one would have expected more than what resulted. On the other hand, one is not surprised that the book is one sided and boring while missing out on all major points of interest. 

Tony Blair and Pope Benedict XVI

James Bond 007 Quantum of Solace

James Bond is back. I mean the real James Bond 007, not some washed up replica from the eighties trundling around with his gadgets. I got news to share on the film to come: Quantum of Solace.

Daniel Craig as James Bond 007

Barbara Cartland's Etiquette Handbook

Random House republished Dame Barbara Cartland’s Etiquette Handbook. But why?
Sometimes, writers, and not only second class writers like Dame Barbara Cartland, just go off in a tangent from what they normally write, and thereby produce what can be best titled as literary fraud. Obviously, there can be extremely funny frauds. One of my favourites, gladly brought back to mind by the Daily Mail, is Barbara Cartland’s Etiquette Handbook published by Random House.

Dame Barbara Cartland