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  #101  
Old 28.10.2014, 12:34
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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the Job of a US ambassador to CH is to promote Commercial Relations and to improve the general Feelings but NOT to care for EXPATS
The US Ambassador's job description is at this link. It doesn't specifically mention promoting US commercial relations nor taking care of US expats. These two job description bullet points may, however, allude to those two items:

  • Reshaping the mission to serve American interests and values and to ensure that all executive branch agencies attached to the mission do likewise; and
  • Serving Americans with professional excellence, the highest standards of ethical conduct, and diplomatic discretion.
http://canada.usembassy.gov/ambassad...mbassador.html
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  #102  
Old 28.10.2014, 12:47
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

I couldn't help noticing that Swiss President Burkhalter commutes by train while US Ambassador Suzan LeVine travels in an armored SUV.

Pres. Burkhalter waiting for train:
http://www.blick.ch/news/schweiz/bur...id3100905.html

Amb. LeVine in front of her armored SUV:
http://www.blick.ch/news/schweiz/ber...id2888476.html

Her predecessor, Chargé d'Affairs Jeffery Cellars, evidently traveled in a Cadillac or a VW Passat:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/usembassybern/9502337726/

Why the need to up-armor? Ebola?
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  #103  
Old 28.10.2014, 14:55
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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I couldn't help noticing that Swiss President Burkhalter commutes by train while US Ambassador Suzan LeVine travels in an armored SUV....Why the need to up-armor? Ebola?
Wild guess, but I imagine security protocols for ambassadors were reviewed and beefed up after Benghazi. Even in friendly countries like Switzerland.
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  #104  
Old 28.10.2014, 19:48
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

do not believe that the swiss president always rides on the train without security. Switzerland wrote the book about discretion and therefore security services here blend in like nowhere else on this planet. As a matter of fact this forum is probably a branch of the swiss secret service


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I couldn't help noticing that Swiss President Burkhalter commutes by train while US Ambassador Suzan LeVine travels in an armored SUV.

Pres. Burkhalter waiting for train:
http://www.blick.ch/news/schweiz/bur...id3100905.html

Amb. LeVine in front of her armored SUV:
http://www.blick.ch/news/schweiz/ber...id2888476.html

Her predecessor, Chargé d'Affairs Jeffery Cellars, evidently traveled in a Cadillac or a VW Passat:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/usembassybern/9502337726/

Why the need to up-armor? Ebola?
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  #105  
Old 28.10.2014, 20:27
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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Wild guess, but I imagine security protocols for ambassadors were reviewed and beefed up after Benghazi. Even in friendly countries like Switzerland.
Alexa Wesner, the U.S. Ambassador to Austria, also travels in a black armored Chevrolet Suburban:

http://www.gettyimages.ch/detail/nac...23?Language=de

Although this won't help her one bit to do her job or be accepted in Austria, Alexa Wesner speaks German:

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  #106  
Old 28.10.2014, 20:50
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

DS History: Today

Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, DS has played an active role in overseas contingency operations. With more than 1,900 special agents assigned to diplomatic missions in 157 countries, DS is the most widely represented American security and law enforcement organization around the world. Our agents have forged solid relationships with foreign police and security services worldwide. Through this global network of international law enforcement contacts, we have been able to identify, arrest, and prosecute potential terrorist suspects before they reach American shores.

DS criminal investigations into passport and visa fraud--felonies often committed in connection with other more serious crimes, including international terrorism--help secure American borders and protect the American people and the national security of the United States.

The DS coordinated Rewards for Justice Program continues to aggressively advertise reward offers that prevent, frustrate, or resolve acts of terrorism against U.S. interests or bring terrorists to justice. Through our global advertising campaigns, our message has reached millions of people and put potential sources of information in every place a terrorist might try to hide or operate.

Another DS-led effort, the Antiterrorism Assistance Program, provides terrorism-focused police training to civilian security personnel from friendly governments. More than 31,000 students from 127 countries have received ATA training in the last 20 years. These students return to their countries better prepared to fight terrorism and protect Americans overseas during a crisis.

In addition, DS continues to work closely with other elements in the State Department, the Administration, the Congress, and foreign governments on embassy security issues. Our programs now encompass all security aspects of life overseas. While DS has taken steps to enhance the security of all our diplomatic facilities, we are committed to meeting the evolving challenges of today to ensure the safety of our people, facilities, and information throughout the world.

http://www.state.gov/m/ds/rls/rpt/c47602.htm

attached: History of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (Complete Version - large file) [17982 Kb]

Last edited by bigfujitsu; 11.12.2015 at 22:20.
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  #107  
Old 28.10.2014, 20:53
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

why do you say that speaking german will not help her to be accepted and to do her job?


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Alexa Wesner, the U.S. Ambassador to Austria, also travels in a black armored Chevrolet Suburban:

http://www.gettyimages.ch/detail/nac...23?Language=de

Although this won't help her one bit to do her job or be accepted in Austria, Alexa Wesner speaks German:

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  #108  
Old 29.10.2014, 11:15
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

The last sentence in the blick article says: the fact that people do not see bodyguards, does not mean that there are no bodyguards, says rolf schatzmann chief of the governments security/bodyguard services

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Pres. Burkhalter waiting for train:
http://www.blick.ch/news/schweiz/bur...id3100905.html

Why the need to up-armor? Ebola?

Interview with the chief of personal protection for the presidents in switz

http://www.beobachter.ch/archiv/arti...-ungeschuetzt/


Rolf Schatzmann: "Federal Councillors are not unprotected»

The "patron saint" of the federal councils called Rolf Schatzmann. Anyone who believes that our magistrates moving freely, "which can be mistaken," said the head of the Federal Security Service.

Observers: Not even if federal councils to drive to work alone in the public bus?

Schatzmann: No. The fact that we see no protected person, still does not mean long, that no one is there.

Observers: Federal Councils run in Bern around seemingly unprotected. Deceives?

Schatzmann: Yes, it can be deceiving. We assess the situation for each Federal constantly new and design a tailor-made protection concept. I'll say this.

Observer: Why so discreet?

Schatzmann: Just the fact that you do not know our concept is a good protection. If we provide information, we would immediately change it again.
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  #109  
Old 30.10.2014, 07:29
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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why do you say that speaking german will not help her to be accepted and to do her job?
Sorry, I meant that sarcastically. Speaking the national language will undoubtedly help the US Ambassador to Austria to succeed there and likely set her apart from the other Obama campaign bundlers to obtain that plum assignment in Vienna.

Although they may ride in identical Chevrolet Suburbans, Alexa Wesner appears kilometers ahead of her counterpart in Switzerland.

Last edited by MennoFloyd; 30.10.2014 at 08:11.
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  #110  
Old 30.10.2014, 10:51
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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Sorry, I meant that sarcastically. Speaking the national language will undoubtedly help the US Ambassador to Austria to succeed there and likely set her apart from the other Obama campaign bundlers to obtain that plum assignment in Vienna.

Although they may ride in identical Chevrolet Suburbans, Alexa Wesner appears kilometers ahead of her counterpart in Switzerland.
It seems she may have had a leg up with having a German background, but good on the Administration for at least matching someone with a country that has the appropriate language skills!
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  #111  
Old 01.11.2014, 10:52
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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It seems she may have had a leg up with having a German background, but good on the Administration for at least matching someone with a country that has the appropriate language skills!
The US Embassy in Vienna may require a higher caliber ambassador than Switzerland since it runs major espionage operations there. There are 416 employees working from the Vienna embassy vs. 111 from the Bern embassy, although Austria and Switzerland have comparable sized populations, 8.5 million vs. 8.0 million.

This is from an RIA-Novosti article "Vienna named international spy capital":
"According to a survey compiled by specialists in spying activities, Vienna, Austria, is home to more than 7,000 secret agents and spies, a number greater than any other city. “Vienna is a stock exchange of information. We have the most liberal laws governing this activity in the world,” Gert Rene Polli, the former chief of BVT, the country’s counter-terrorism agency, said.
“It is also a nice place for spies to live and bring their families, with good education and health services after difficult postings in Serbia, Iraq or Afghanistan,” Polli added.
Embassies there are overcrowded with personnel, many of whom are secret agents serving as links to their home countries. Although Vienna hosts spies from a large number of countries, US and Russian spies dominate the numbers.

Following World War II, Vienna became a battlefield for intelligence operations, competing for influence and information. At the forefront were CIA and KGB agents. After 1955, Vienna became neutral territory, but allied countries left their agents behind. Foreign intelligence agents can rest easy for now since according to law, Austria’s state police can only punish spying aimed at Austria.
As long as Vienna’s laws continue to only punish espionage against Austria, agents will continue to flock to the historically spy-friendly city."

http://en.ria.ru/world/20140801/1915...y-Capital.html

In numerous interviews, the US Ambassador to Austria, Alexa Wesner, has dutifully denied that the US conducts spy operations from there. An example:

Kurier newspaper: "No spying is occurring in Vienna?"
US Amb. Wesner: "No, nothing secret."

http://kurier.at/politik/ausland/ale...gen/88.031.338
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  #112  
Old 01.11.2014, 11:10
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

The new US embassy in Bern is not so big, however the US Mission in Geneva is bigger and most of the dirty work is done there.

The Mission in Geneva hosts 4 US Ambassadors while the one in Bern is where the main ambassador works.

Geneva Ambassadors:
U.S. Mission to the UN
U.S. Mission to the WTO
U.S. Delegation to the CD
U.S. Delegation to the HRC

Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto
Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva

Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto began her career in the energy sector, working as a civil engineer for Pacific Gas & Electric Co. from 1983-1985. Pursuing her early interest in clean energy, she developed computer models to optimize hydroelectric energy generation along northern California river systems and prepared testimony for Supreme Court hearings related to the relicensing of hydroelectric facilities. From 1986-1988 Ambassador Hamamoto worked in the telecommunications industry and provided strategic guidance to both GTE Corporation and GTE Hawaiian Tel as they expanded their operations into new products and markets.

Throughout the 1990s, Ambassador Hamamoto worked as an investment banker at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in New York and San Francisco and at Merrill Lynch & Co. in Los Angeles. She managed a broad array of equity and debt financings for large corporate clients in a variety of sectors, including energy, telecommunications/media, health care, financial services and consumer products, and provided financial advisory services related to mergers and acquisitions, sales/divestitures, restructurings and spin-offs.

For the past 15 years, Ambassador Hamamoto has served as a valued trustee and advisor to prominent educational institutions in northern California. From 2012-2013 she was a member of the Board of Trustees at The Branson School, and from 2007-2013 she was a member of the Board of Trustees at Marin Country Day School where she chaired the Finance Committee and Audit Committee in addition to serving on the Board’s Executive Committee and Investment Committee. She was a member of the Board of Trustees at Ring Mountain Day School from 1999-2008 where she served as Board Chair, Finance Committee Chair, Site Committee Chair and Strategic Planning Committee Chair and played a leadership role in establishing the school’s K-8 program and campus. From 2008-2012 she also served on the Stanford University Athletic Board.

Ambassador Hamamoto received a B.S. and an M.S. in Civil Engineering from Stanford University in 1983 and an M.B.A. from the UCLA Anderson School of Management in 1990. She is married and has two children.



Michael Punke serves as Deputy United States Trade Representative and U.S. Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Michael Punke has worked in the field of international trade law and policy for two decades. From 1995 to 1996, Punke served as Senior Policy Advisor at the Office of the United States Trade Representative. There, he advised the USTR on issues ranging from agricultural trade to intellectual property protection.

From 1993 to 1995, Punke served at the White House as Director for International Economic Affairs with a joint appointment to the National Security Council and the National Economic Council. His responsibilities included assisting in the management of the interagency process. From 1991 to 1992, Punke was International Trade Counsel to Senator Max Baucus, then Chairman of the Finance Committee’s International Trade Subcommittee. Punke has also worked on international trade issues from the private sector, including as a partner at the Washington, D.C., office of Mayer, Brown, Rowe, & Maw. From 2003 to 2009, Punke advised clients on public policy issues out of Missoula, Montana.
Punke has also worked as an adjunct professor at the University of Montana and as a writer, authoring a novel, two books of nonfiction, and two screenplays. Punke is a graduate of George Washington University and Cornell Law School, where he was elected Editor-in-Chief of the Cornell International Law Journal.



Ambassador Keith M. Harper was nominated by President Obama to serve as the Representative of the United States to the United Nations Human Rights Council. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 4, 2014.

Previously, Mr. Harper was a partner at the law firm of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, where he was chair of the Native American Practice Group. He currently serves as a Member on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. Previously, Mr. Harper served as Senior Staff Attorney for the Native American Rights Fund from 1995 to 2006. From 2007 to 2008, he served as a Supreme Court Justice on the Supreme Court of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, and from 2001 to 2007, he served as an Appellate Justice on the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court. From 1998 to 2001, he was an adjunct professor at the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, and from 1999 to 2001, he was a Professorial Lecturer at the American University Washington College of Law. Mr. Harper was a Law Clerk to the Honorable Lawrence W. Pierce on the Second Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals. He began his career as a Litigation Associate with Davis, Polk & Wardwell in New York. He is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. He received a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.



Biography of Ambassador Robert Wood, U.S. Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament


U.S. Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament and U.S. Special Representative for Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) Issues

Ambassador Robert A. Wood arrived in Geneva on August 13, 2014 to assume his duties as the U.S. Representative to the Conference on Disarmament and U.S. Special Representative for Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) Issues. He previously served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Mission to the European Union from August 2013 – July 2014. Before his service in Brussels, Ambassador Wood was the Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna, Austria from 2010-July 2013. From July 2008- January 2010, Mr. Wood was the State Department’s Deputy Spokesman and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. During the first six months of the Obama Administration he served as Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Acting State Department Spokesman.

Mr. Wood has been a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State and the former U.S. Information Agency since 1988. From 2004-2008 he served as the Press Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Germany. Prior to his assignment to Berlin, he was Deputy Spokesman at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York (2001-2004).

In Washington, Mr. Wood has worked as a public affairs advisor for the Bureau of African Affairs, as a special assistant to the Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, and in several positions dealing with the Balkans.

Mr. Wood has also served in public affairs positions in Mexico City, Mexico; Lagos, Nigeria; Islamabad, Pakistan; and Pretoria, South Africa. He speaks German, Spanish and French.

He lives in Geneva with his wife and son.


-

Last edited by bigfujitsu; 11.12.2015 at 22:19.
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  #113  
Old 01.11.2014, 13:44
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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The new US embassy in Bern is not so big, however the US Mission in Geneva is bigger and most of the dirty work is done there.

The Mission in Geneva hosts 4 US Ambassadors while the one in Bern is where the main ambassador works.
A "strategy expert" states in an interview in 20 Minuten that there is a total of about 100 foreign intelligence personnel working in Switzerland, registered as diplomatic attachés. He mentions that the number of foreign intelligence personnel can be estimated by determining whehter a embassy delegation is larger than necessary:

20Min: "How many foreign secret service personnel are working in Switzerland?"

Strategy expert: "Based on the number of military and other attachés at the various embassies I estimate that there are presently about 100 foreign secret service personnel active in Switzerland. If a delegation is larger than necessary, then the number of intelligence personnel can be deduced."

http://www.20min.ch/schweiz/news/story/18986156

Although the US undoubtedly has a number of intelligence agency personnel working from the US Mission in Geneva and the US Embassy in Bern, it appears that the number in Vienna is much larger. This is a reason that a competent ambassador is needed there and less so here.

The US Embassy in Paris also has many employees, 949. But after subtracting 219 who are employed to take care of the American soldier cemeteries, that leaves 730. This number of embassy personnel for France, with a population of 66 million, is not so disproportional like Austria's 416 employees in a population of 8.5 million.
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  #114  
Old 08.11.2014, 11:56
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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the Job of a US ambassador to CH is to promote Commercial Relations and to improve the general Feelings but NOT to care for EXPATS
The JewishSound quotes Amb. Suzan LeVine:

"The ambassador’s most basic duty is to keep American citizens safe.
“In Switzerland and Liechtenstein, fortunately, we’re in good shape,” she observes. "

http://jewishsound.org/suzi-levine-s...nd-ambassador/
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  #115  
Old 08.11.2014, 21:29
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

Amb. Suzan LeVine was interviewed by SRF via Twitter. The interview is in English at the link below.

Some of the items Amb. Suzi commented on:

Suzi: The US has "Direct Democracy" like Switzerland because referendums are allowed in 27 states.

Sure, Suzi, but it's not done at the US Federal level. Can you imagine the Obama administration allowing a referendum on the F-35 Lightning fighter plane like the Swiss did for the Gripen? Do you know what might happen to that project if it did?

Suzi: The US has put pressure on Switzerland to ensure that all US citizens pay their fair share of taxes.

Good one, Suzi. But did you know that one of the largest retail banks, Postfinance, froze the accounts of anyone with a US connection last spring until FBARs were provided, including for 2013, which wasn't even due until June 30, 2014? Do you know what it is like to have your checking account frozen based on your nationality?

Suzi: US innovation is characterized by a freedom to fail and Swiss innovation is characterized by precision and quality.

On occasion, Suzi, Swiss researchers and companies have come up with something innovative, e.g., the General and Specific Theories of Relativity. And your mom may have been thankful for that Swiss wonder drug, Valium. By the way, take a look at the number of bankruptcies in Switzerland. There is a "freedom to fail" here as well.

Suzi: The US could learn a lot from Swiss vocational education training.
You got one right, Suzi ... but that doesn't make you ambassadorial material.

http://www.srf.ch/news/international...kte-demokratie
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  #116  
Old 09.11.2014, 00:23
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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The new US embassy in Bern is not so big, however the US Mission in Geneva is bigger and most of the dirty work is done there. -
An article in the TagesWoche indicates that both the US consulate/ mission in Geneva and the US embassy in Bern play an important role in US espionage activities in Switzerland. An excerpt from the article:

"In Geneva, for example, the NSA and CIA intelligence organizations use electronic means to spy systematically on the UN organizations and other countries from the roof of the US delegations. In Bern the city government allowed naively in 2008 that US agents disguised as diplomats move the embassy out of the Kirchenfeldquartier into the center of the city. And the Americans began promptly thereafter to quarter their CIA coordination office for all of Europe into their new Bern embassy building. The US Embassy rules from a building of the former Berner Insurance Company on Sulgeneckstrasse 19 in a bunker-like fortress extending to the street and only several hundred meters from the Swiss Parliament building. And within hearing distance from the administration building in which the "Cyber Defense" department of the Swiss Defense Ministry (VBS) resides. Only the residence of the US ambassador lies in between. Also spying and electronic espionage are occurring almost unhindered from there. In a heat-sensitive camera picture an addition on top of the embassy building glows suspiciously red."

http://www.tageswoche.ch/de/147/schweiz/599902/
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  #117  
Old 11.11.2014, 11:27
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

In an interview with the "Schweiz am Sonntag" on October 4, Amb. Suzan LeVine said:

"Next week I will fly to Washington D.C. and will speak with important people about the situation of our citizens in Switzerland. If we, with the Swiss banks, can take a step forward in the tax debate, I am confident that the situation of Americans abroad will improve."

To follow up, just when will we learn of the progress that Amb. "Suzi" made while in Washington D.C. a month ago. Not holding my breath.
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  #118  
Old 30.11.2014, 10:51
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

Amb. Suzan "Suzi" LeVine graduated from Brown University in Rhode Island. An article in the Wall Street Journal describes how a young Californian wasn't accepted at two California state universities but was at Brown:

"Last spring, Nicholas Anthony graduated as co-valedictorian of Malibu High School with a résumé that included straight A’s, top marks on nine advanced placement exams, varsity quarterback and baritone horn in the wind ensemble.
But Mr. Anthony didn’t get into the top two public schools in his home state: the University of California, Berkeley or the University of California, Los Angeles. Instead, he is going to Brown University, an Ivy League school which will cost over $100,000 more during four years."

As is often said, elite schools are for the elite. Pay your money, get your degree.

WSJ article (paywall):
http://online.wsj.com/articles/colleges-wider-search-for-applicants-crowds-out-local-students-1412790096
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  #119  
Old 30.11.2014, 11:56
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

'There is no American Dream': Why one US professor believes the national ethos is an illusion and the country has the same level of social mobility as medieval England

Gregory Clark, of UC Davis, claims American dream is simply an illusion

Disadvantaged citizens 'will not be granted opportunities for hard work'

They will remain stuck in social status for life - and so will their children

Mr Clark's findings were obtained using figures from the past 100 years
Parents' wealth is a 'deciding factor'


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...#ixzz3KXnjP5gU
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  #120  
Old 30.11.2014, 15:30
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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Amb. Suzan "Suzi" LeVine graduated from Brown University in Rhode Island. An article in the Wall Street Journal describes how a young Californian wasn't accepted at two California state universities but was at Brown:

"Last spring, Nicholas Anthony graduated as co-valedictorian of Malibu High School with a résumé that included straight A’s, top marks on nine advanced placement exams, varsity quarterback and baritone horn in the wind ensemble.
But Mr. Anthony didn’t get into the top two public schools in his home state: the University of California, Berkeley or the University of California, Los Angeles. Instead, he is going to Brown University, an Ivy League school which will cost over $100,000 more during four years."

As is often said, elite schools are for the elite. Pay your money, get your degree.

WSJ article (paywall):
http://online.wsj.com/articles/colleges-wider-search-for-applicants-crowds-out-local-students-1412790096

It's fairly common for kids in states with strong state universities - if you live in a competitive school district with lots of good students - you may get into an Ivy league school, but not into your strong state school. We lived in North Carolina, and kids from the Chapel hill school district had an easier time getting into Harvard than university of North Carolina at Chapel hill, unless you were in the top 10% of the class. Problem was that the top 30% of the class had incredible records because the school district was so competitive.

If you had a sports ability, or you came from one of the other counties without such high standards, you had a much easier time getting in. How you did once admitted is another story.

The story for unc may be different now....we've been away for 7 years.

I am curious about the ambassador - she's Jewish, right? With this odd capitalization of Levine that makes it look ..... Different. LeVine?
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