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  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A woman took a young girl to school by boat Wednesday in Xochimilco, Mexico, on the southern edge of Mexico City. In Xochimilco, busy markets stand side by side with colonial churches, and children ride to school in boats pushed by poles along a network of canals and floating gardens that date from pre-Hispanic times.
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Chaplin mansion will be a museum

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland » Memories of Charlie Chaplin’s last quarter-century live on above the shores of Lake Geneva, where his Swiss mansion allowed for a normal family life and an escape from global fame.

Now, after 14 years of planning, Chaplin’s family and supporters are ready to convert the run-down mansion into a museum to preserve those memories and introduce the early-20th-century film icon to new generations.

Three of his children — Michael, Eugene and Victoria — and business partners in the 50 million-Swiss-franc ($57 million) proj­ect said Wednesday they are on track to open early in 2016.

Chaplin, who died in 1977, spent his last 25 years on the 35-acre estate along the Swiss Riviera, where he could surround himself with family and take walks without drawing attention.

Vibrant Mexican borough thrives

MEXICO CITY » It’s a different Xochimilco on weekdays.

Gone are the boats full of revelers and sightseers plying the canals of the watery district, many of them residents of Mexico City keen to take a break on the tranquil remnants of the pre-Columbian waterways and gardens that remain on the capital’s southern edge.

The canals are quieter. Children are poled across the water in dugouts on their way to school. Farmworkers pack boats full with flowers and send them to the market beside Xochi­milco’s main square.

In the plaza, stalls sell everything from CDs and tacos to children’s clothes, and performers dressed in Aztec garb offer blessings to passers-by, wafting incense and blowing into a conch shell.

Traditions remain vibrant here. Xochimilco, which means "place where flowers grow," is home to the Most Beautiful Flower of the Common pageant, a 200-year-old tradition that draws contestants from 12 of Mexico City’s 16 boroughs.

In the 16th-century San Bernardino de Siena church, Roman Catho­lic faithful celebrate the Ninopa, a more than 400-year-old representation of baby Jesus. Festivities and processions honoring the Ninopa take place throughout the year.

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