click links in text for more info

Politics of Switzerland

Switzerland is a semi-direct democratic federal republic. The federal legislative power is vested in the two chambers of the Federal Assembly, the National Council and the Council of States; the Federal Council holds the executive power and is composed of seven power-sharing Federal Councillors elected by the Federal Assembly. The judicial branch is headed by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, whose judges are elected by the Federal Assembly. Switzerland has a tradition of direct democracy. For any change in the constitution, a referendum is mandatory. In addition, the people may present a constitutional popular initiative to introduce amendments to the federal constitution; the people assume a role similar to the constitutional court, which does not exist, thus act as the guardian of the rule of law. Cantonal and municipal politics vary in the different cantons; the Economist Intelligence Unit rated Switzerland a "full democracy" in 2019. Switzerland features a system of government not seen in any other nation: direct representation, sometimes called half-direct democracy.

Referenda on the most important laws have been used since the 1848 constitution. Amendments to the Federal Constitution of Switzerland, the joining of international organizations, or changes to federal laws that have no foundation in the constitution but will remain in force for more than one year must be approved by the majority of both the people and the cantons, a double majority. Any citizen may challenge a law, passed by parliament. If that person is able to gather 50,000 signatures against the law within 100 days, a national vote has to be scheduled where voters decide by a simple majority of the voters whether to accept or reject the law. Any citizen may seek a decision on an amendment they want to make to the constitution. For such a federal popular initiative to be organised, the signatures of 100,000 voters must be collected within 18 months; such a federal popular initiative is formulated as a precise new text whose wording can no longer be changed by parliament and the government.

After a successful signature gathering, the federal council may create a counterproposal to the proposed amendment and put it to vote on the same day as the original proposal. Such counter-proposals are a compromise between the status quo and the wording of the initiative. Voters will decide in a national vote whether to accept the initiative amendment, the counter proposal put forward by the government if any, or both. If both are accepted, one has to additionally signal a preference. Initiatives have to be accepted by a double majority of both the popular votes and a majority of the cantons, while counter-proposals may be of legislative level and hence require only simple majority. Federalism refers to a vertical separation of powers; the aim is to avoid the concentration of power in a forum, which allows a moderation of state power and the easing of the duties of the federal state. In Switzerland, it is above all a matter of designating the independence of the cantons vis-à-vis the Confederation.

The Swiss Federal Council is a seven-member executive council that heads the federal administration, operating as a combination cabinet and collective presidency. Any Swiss citizen eligible to be a member of the National Council can be elected; the Federal Council is elected by the Federal Assembly for a four-year term. Present members are: Viola Amherd, Guy Parmelin, Ueli Maurer, Ignazio Cassis, Simonetta Sommaruga, Karin Keller-Sutter and Alain Berset; the ceremonial President and Vice President of the Confederation are elected by the Federal Assembly from among the members of the Federal Council for one-year terms that run concurrently. The President has no powers over and above his or her six colleagues, but undertakes representative functions performed by a president or prime minister in single-executive systems; the current President and Vice President are Guy Parmelin, respectively. The Swiss executive is one of the most stable governments worldwide. Since 1848, it has never been renewed at the same time, providing a long-term continuity.

From 1959 to 2003 the Federal Council was composed of a coalition of all major parties in the same ratio: two each from the Free Democratic Party, Social Democratic Party, Christian Democratic People's Party and one from the Swiss People's Party. Changes in the council occur only if one of the members resigns; the Federal Chancellor is the head of the Federal Chancellery, which acts as the general staff of the Federal Council. The Chancellery is divided into three distinct sectors; the Chancellor is the formal head of the Federal Chancellor Sector, comprising the planning and strategy section, the Internal Services section, the political rights section, the federal crisis management training unit of the Federal Administration, the Records and Process Management section. Two sectors are headed by the Vice-Chancellors: the Federal Council sector manages the agenda of the Federal Council's meeting; this sector comprises the Section for Federal Council Affairs, the Legal Section

Zvonko Marković

Zvonko Marković is a Serbian fashion designer known for creating sculptural leather clothing, as well as opulent gowns made of lace and silk. In 2018, he celebrated twenty years in the fashion industry with a special collection seen at "Serbia Fashion Week". Marković was moved to Belgrade when he was ten years old. Graduating in 2001, he studied at the Faculty of Applied Arts and Design in Serbia, he started out as a commercial clothing designer and created costumes for theater companies. He presented his first collection in 1998 in Serbia, his clothing gained attention in 2002, after designing a concert gown for pop folk singer Svetlana Ceca Ražnatović. Marković has presented his clothing line in Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Rome, St. Petersburg, Shanghai, as well as in his native country at Serbia Fashion Week. In 2015 and 2016, he participated in the "Paris Haute Couture" fashion show in France. Called "Night Moth", the 2015 collection had pieces designed with silk georgette, anaconda skins, jersey.

The 2016 collection was named "Land of Lilacs" and featured leather combined with floral prints and feathers. In 2017 and 2018, he put on runway shows at "New York Fashion Week". Marković celebrated two decades of career at "Serbia Fashion Week" in April 2018 with a collection inspired by fairy tales. Several months he presented a collection in Shanghai, China which led to other runway shows in Asia, his clothes have been worn by local celebrities such as Lepa Brena, Ana Nikolić, Jelena Janković, as well as international ones like singer Ashanti and model Kylie Jenner. Marković believes that "fashion in every possible way deals with art" and that "clothes are kind of three-dimensional sculpture, in movement, they get a new, fourth dimension." In 2003, Marković won a ULUPUDS prize for best leather collection at the Belgrade Fair. He has received two awards from Serbia Fashion Week. In 2017, he was awarded a prize from the Paris organization "Centre du luxe et de la création"

Dawna Friesen

Dawna Friesen is a Canadian television journalist the chief anchor and executive editor of Global National. She was a foreign correspondent for NBC News, she started reading news at a hybrid television and radio station in Brandon, Manitoba, in 1985 and from there went on to report for other stations in Thunder Bay, Saskatoon, Calgary and Toronto. By the late 1990s she joined NBC News. While at NBC, Friesen covered stories out of London as well as the Middle East, including the Israeli Palestinian conflict and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Karachi, she won an Emmy for her part in NBC's coverage of Barack Obama election as US President. In 2010 Friesen joined Global News as their Global National anchor. Friesen was the first full-time female news anchor to lead a nightly newscast in Canada. In 2011 she won the Gemini Award for best news anchor. Friesen was raised on a farm west of Winnipeg, her father had her work on the farm, she learned how to drive a tractor when she was six.

Her mother was active in local politics. She worked as a waitress when she was young, she re-married on July 2018, to Rick Anderson after she divorced Tom Kennedy. Both of her parents developed dementia, in 2014 Friesen was featured in a 16×9 program about dementia and how families cope with it. Dawna Friesen at

Lisson Grove/History

Article forked from Lisson Grove. Lisson Green is described as a hamlet in the Domesday book in 1086, the edges of the settlement defined by the two current Edgware Road stations facing onto Edgware Road or Watling Street as it was known, one of the main Roman thoroughfares in and out of London. Referred to as Lissom Grove Lisson Grove was part of the medieval manor of Lilestone which stretched as far as Hampstead. Lisson Green as a manor broke away c. 1236 with its own manor house. Paddington Green formed part of the original Lilestone estate One of Lisson Green village's first attractions would have been the Yorkshire Stingo, a public house visited by Samuel Pepys in 1666 on a visit with a flirtatious widow. Stingo was the name of a particular Yorkshire ale. On Saturdays during the 1780s, former sailors from Bengal, Portuguese Goa employed by the East India Company left stranded and destitute in London would gather to receive a small subsidy; until the late 18th century the district remained rural.

The Austrian composer Joseph Haydn moved to a farm in Lisson Grove in the spring of 1791 in order to have quiet surroundings in which to compose during his three-year stay in England. The historical painter Benjamin Haydon described a Lisson Grove dinner party with William Wordsworth, John Keats and Charles Lamb at which Lamb got drunk and berated the ‘rascally Lake poet’ for calling Voltaire a dull fellow. In 1792 The Philological School was opened on the corner of Marylebone Road. Nowadays Lisson Grove is a much improved section of West London, but for over a hundred years it was one of the capital's worst slums; the area was notorious for drinking and prostitution, as well as the extreme poverty of the people and the squalor and dilapidation of the homes they lived in. Local police officers only patrolled the district in pairs, they described the women of the area as the most drunken and foul-mouthed in all London; the Grove being between Marylebone and Paddington railway stations, on top of a busy midsection of Regent's Canal, the industrialisation of the area was swift during the 19th century transforming the area from a pastoral outpost on the north western edge of London into a crossroads for goods and passengers.

In 1880 the most substantial building in the road, Portman Buildings, was erected. Regent's Canal arrived in rural Lisson Grove in 1810 and with the construction of Eyre's Tunnel or Lisson Grove Tunnel under Aberdeen Place in 1816 and Marylebone railway station by H W Braddock for the Great Central Railway on the Portman Nursery site at the end of the century, the rural Lisson Grove was engulfed by the expanding city during the 1800s, it was during the early 1800s that painters from the Royal Academy, including a coterie of various student artists calling themselves the Shoreham Ancients inspired and congregating around William Blake, began to settle in and around Lisson Grove. In 1812, John Linnell, to become a major patron of Blake's work, visited his friend Charles Heathcote Tatham, an architect who had built himself a majestic house in the open fields of the area of Lisson Grove between Park Road and Lisson Grove to paint the view of the surrounding fields of his garden. No. 34 Alpha Cottages is memorialised in the name of a block of flats on Ashmill Street, opposite Ranston Street and Cosway Street.

One such friend and colleague of Blake was Richard Cosway whose studio on Stafford Street was renamed as Cosway Street. "Cosway was not only a fashionable painter. There are reports of erotic ceremonies, the imbibing of drugs or'elixirs', ritual nudity. Blake was no stranger to the symbols or beliefs of a man such as Cosway – the manuscript of the poem he was writing contains many drawings of bizarre sexual imagery, including women sporting giant phalli and children engaged in erotic practices with adults."In 1829 the Catholic church of Our Lady was built. Designed by J. J. Scoles in the new Gothic style, it was one of the first Catholic churches following the Catholic Emancipation Act. Nearby on Harewood Avenue the Convent of the Sisters of Mercy was established as part of the Catholic Mission in St. John's Wood, serving the large Irish community attracted by the railway and construction work; the same year George Shillibeer operated the first London omnibus from the Yorkshire Stingo taking passengers to Bank.

Lisson Grove hosted the first of London's Victorian Turkish baths—which were to become a fashionable trend towards the latter half of the 19th century—when Roger Evans established one in 1860 at his house on Bell Street. A critical social commentary reads: This is the side of Lisson Grove, supposed to contain the decent poor. Bell Street, now famous in history as the spot where Turkish baths were first established, is the main stream of a low colony, with many tributary channels. There is no particular manufacture in the neighbourhood to call the population together. Hollingshead was, of course, referring only to the first such bath in London; the first Victorian Turkish bath was built near Cork in Ireland in 1856, while the first in England opened in Manchester in 1857. During the latter part of the 19th century a number of artisans and workers' flats and cottages sprang up from social housing initiatives

Fort Wayne station

The Pennsylvania Railroad Station in Fort Wayne, Indiana known as Baker Street Station, is a former passenger rail station in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana. The American Craftsman-style station opened to the public March 23, 1914, at a cost of $550,000; the station saw its most heavy usage during World War II, when about 3,000 visitors passed through the station daily. The station was frequented by politicians on whistle stop train tours, including U. S. Presidents Harding, Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eisenhower; until 1957 a Grand Rapids originating branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad's Chicago-Florida Southland made a stop in at the station, picked up passengers from a connecting Wabash Railroad train from Detroit, Michigan. Until 1961 the PRR's Mackinaw City, Michigan-Cincinnati, Ohio Northern Arrow made a stop there, picked up connecting passenger rail cars from Chicago; until 1971 the Penn Central ran the Broadway Limited and several other Chicago-New York City passenger trains, Manhattan Limited and Pennsylvania Limited through the station.

In the second half of the 20th century, the station served as a stop on Amtrak's Broadway Limited line until November 1990 when Amtrak was forced to reroute about 25 miles north of Fort Wayne. Today, Baker Street Station's concourse is used as a banquet hall and community events space, while the east and west wings have been converted into office space. Over the last decade and local leaders have begun a movement to bring passenger rail service back to the city and station in the form of Amtrak or other high-speed rail service. Although the station has been without passenger rail service for over 20 years, it has remained a landmark to the city, designated a Fort Wayne Local Historic District in 1990. and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998 as the Pennsylvania Railroad Station. Media related to Pennsylvania Railroad Station at Wikimedia Commons Baker Street Station

Buddhist cosmology

Buddhist cosmology is the description of the shape and evolution of the Universe according to the Buddhist scriptures and commentaries. It consists of temporal and spatial cosmology: the temporal cosmology being the division of the existence of a'world' into four discrete moments; the spatial cosmology consists of a vertical cosmology, the various planes of beings, their bodies, food, beauty and a horizontal cosmology, the distribution of these world-systems into an "apparently" infinite sheet of “worlds”. The existence of world-periods, is well attested to by the Buddha; the historical Buddha made references to the existence of aeons, intimates his knowledge of past events, such as the dawn of human beings in their coarse and gender-split forms, the existence of more than one sun at certain points in time, his ability to convey his voice vast distances, as well as the ability of his disciples to be reborn in any one of these planes. The self-consistent Buddhist cosmology, presented in commentaries and works of Abhidharma in both Theravāda and Mahāyāna traditions, is the end-product of an analysis and reconciliation of cosmological comments found in the Buddhist sūtra and vinaya traditions.

No single sūtra sets out the entire structure of the universe, but in several sūtras the Buddha describes other worlds and states of being, other sūtras describe the origin and destruction of the universe. The synthesis of these data into a single comprehensive system must have taken place early in the history of Buddhism, as the system described in the Pāli Vibhajyavāda tradition agrees, despite some minor inconsistencies of nomenclature, with the Sarvāstivāda tradition, preserved by Mahāyāna Buddhists; the picture of the world presented in Buddhist cosmological descriptions cannot be taken as a literal description of the shape of the universe. It is inconsistent, cannot be made consistent, with astronomical data that were known in ancient India. However, it is not intended to be a description of; the cosmology has been interpreted in a symbolical or allegorical sense. Buddhist cosmology can be divided into two related kinds: spatial cosmology, which describes the arrangement of the various worlds within the universe.

Spatial cosmology displays the various, multitude of worlds embedded in the universe. Spatial cosmology can be divided into two branches; the vertical cosmology describes the arrangement of worlds in a vertical pattern, some being higher and some lower. By contrast, the horizontal cosmology describes the grouping of these vertical worlds into sets of thousands, millions or billions. "In the vertical cosmology, the universe exists of many worlds – one might say "planes/realms" – stacked one upon the next in layers. Each world corresponds to a mental state or a state of being". A world is not, however. A world comes into existence when the first being is born into it; the physical separation is not so important as the difference in mental state. The vertical cosmology is divided into thirty-one planes of existence and the planes into three realms, or dhātus, each corresponding to a different type of mentality; these three realms are the Ārūpyadhātu, the Rūpadhātu, the Kāmadhātu. In some instances all of the beings born in the Ārūpyadhātu and the Rūpadhātu are informally classified as "gods" or "deities", along with the gods of the Kāmadhātu, notwithstanding the fact that the deities of the Kāmadhātu differ more from those of the Ārūpyadhātu than they do from humans.

It is to be understood that deva is an imprecise term referring to any being living in a longer-lived and more blissful state than humans. Most of them are not "gods" in the common sense of the term, having little or no concern with the human world and if interacting with it; the term "brahmā. In its broadest sense, it can refer to any of the inhabitants of the Rūpadhātu. In more restricted senses, it can refer to an inhabitant of one of the eleven lower worlds of the Rūpadhātu, or in its narrowest sense, to the three lowest worlds of the Rūpadhātu A large number of devas use the name "Brahmā", e.g