Saturday, November 10, 2012

FEMEN protesters continue to hit hard message home

(WNN/VOA) Kiev, UKRAINE: At first, protests by Ukrainian feminist group Femen were ignored by the media.  But two years ago the women started taking off their shirts.  In recent months, their tactic has spread to France, Canada, and Brazil.
Back home, in a basement office in downtown Kiev, Oleksandra Shevchenko, a Femen founder, rebuts critics who say Femen protesters attract media attention for the wrong reasons.
“When we mixed nakedness, intelligence and our ideas, we saw that it is working,” she says.  “People saw this contradiction, they are not ready to see, and to listen to women, and to see aggressive women, naked, aggressive women.”
Coming from Eastern Europe, Ukraine’s Femen and Russia’s Pussy Riot band represent a new kind of feminist protest, theatrical and radical.  In Kiev, activists train regularly for protests.  Behind the training is anger that Eastern European women are 30 years behind Western European women, in salaries and in job discrimination by employers.
“They say, ‘You will get married in a few years, or even like, in a few months you will be pregnant, like you are not a good worker, I don’t want to have you in my office,” Shevchenko says. “Or, like the second way to work there, they say that you have to sleep with me, we have to have sex.  And we can do nothing.”
In June, Femen protested Ukraine’s co-hosting of the European football (soccer) championships.  They argued some fans would also visit Ukrainian brothels and strip clubs.
Shevchenko says, “We have a lot of sex tourists here in Ukraine.  Because nobody cares about that, nobody wants to stop this problem.”
The sex industry thrives in Ukraine, a country where women score high in beauty and low in income.
“It is really easy to become a prostitute in Ukraine, even for me, or for other girls,” notes Shevchenko.  “You just need to make this one step to become a prostitute.  I have a lot of invitations from a lot of brothels, from different strip clubs.”
Oksana Shachko, a veteran Femen activist, goes a step further, attacking Internet international dating sites, sometimes called mail-order bride sites.
“There are many websites that advertise Ukrainian women, because Ukraine girls are beautiful.  But, unfortunately, many are undereducated and want to become a wife of a rich man, their knight on a white horse,” she says.  “But in actuality, it is only like exporting human flesh, and it is illegal.  We are trying to explain to these girls that it is not a real way to a good life. “
Shevchenko, 24, has to juggle her feminism with the traditional expectations of her mother and grandmother.
“They imagine for me another life,” says Shevchenko, who grew up in a mid-sized city in Western Ukraine.  “They wanted to see me as a wife and a mother.  And each single day when my mom calls me she says, ‘When I will have my grandchildren, did you find a man?’  And I do not know what to answer her.”
But Shevchenko believes she can have it all.  A few weeks ago, she helped to open Femen’s new office in Paris.  She says she met several interesting Frenchmen, men she calls ‘male feminists.’

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ukraine is a major player in world affairs

UKRAINE entered the international arena as a new state in 1991, after proclaiming Independence on August 24. A new chapter in its history started for a country with a population of 46 million and a sound economy. 
Ukraine is one of the world’s major producers of grain, sugar and vegetable oil, as well as among the leaders in coal, iron ore and steel production.
One of the first tasks of the new Ukraine was to undertake economic, political, social and humanitarian reforms, with a view to establishing democratic and modern legal procedures affecting all spheres of life. Good examples are the law on the access of public information, the new law concerning the elections to the parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, tax pension reforms and the national anti-corruption strategy for 2011-2015.
In the field of foreign policy, Ukraine had to face various challenges and efficiently respond to them, so as to secure the success of internal reforms. Within this framework, Ukraine has adopted key principles of foreign policy which cover development of mutually beneficial relations with neighbouring countries, as well as Europe and America, strengthening the economic component of its foreign policy so as to increase the standards of living of Ukrainian citizens, and non-participation in military-political alliances.
First among its foreign policy priorities is Ukraine’s European integration, as it considers the EU an optimal model for social and economic development. Ukraine and the EU have already initialled the Association Agreement that hopefully will be signed in the near future. The agreement establishes the transition from the principles of partnership and co-operation to a qualitatively new level of political association.
Having the experience of the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, Ukraine showed accrued sensitivity to the events at Fukushima. The April 2011 Kiev Summit dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl demonstrated the high spirit of solidarity which exists on the issues of peaceful and safe use of nuclear energy. Moreover, being a staunch supporter of nuclear disarmament, Ukraine voluntarily abandoned arsenal of nuclear weapons, the third largest in the world. 
In the field of international organisations, Ukraine remains one of the most active participants of peace-keeping missions under the auspices of the UN. It has presided for the first time over the works of the Council of Europe and in 2013 will assume the presidency of the OSCE, the regional security organisation of Europe. This is tangible evidence of the successful presence of Ukraine in the international arena and the overall appreciation it enjoys.
In the bilateral field, first and foremost Ukraine normalised its relations with Russia, an important neighbour and strategic partner. Relations with the USA, apart from co-operation in various other fields, concentrated on the strengthening of nuclear safety. Of great importance for Ukraine are its relations with China, which acquired a strategic nature, and the CIS countries with which a free trade area agreement has been signed. In the meantime, Ukraine continued strengthening its relations with the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. 
Cyprus established diplomatic relations with Ukraine in February 1992. Ever since, political dialogue at the highest level and intensification of interparliamentary co-operation have deepened our bilateral relations. The first-ever visit of the president of Cyprus in July 2011 was considered of the outmost significance, and this week’s forthcoming visit of President Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine to Cyprus is expected to contribute to the further advancement and expansion of the co-operation between the two countries in all areas of mutual interest. Upgrading the partnership between Cyprus and Ukraine on the basis of sincere friendship will certainly benefit the two countries and their people.  

Street Workout Crimea Community

On Sunday, November 4, in the Crimean capital opens first sport area Street Workout. After renovation and installation new equipment for the workout-training in the sports ground in school № 18, located in the region Moskoltsa. All those who support the idea of ​​a healthy lifestyle, wants to become a "street athlete" and learn tricks on the parallel bars and horizontal bar will be able to train here. This sport is available for the guys and girls.

The work-outer from Dnepropetrovsk, Nikolaev, Simferopol will show what can be achieved as a result of regular exercise in the fresh air. Among the guests will be the Movement Workout Girls. In addition to exhibition performances, athletes will give master classes to the public.
Kristina Kalugina

The Group "Healthy Generation of Crimea" and "Street Workout Crimea Community" were among those who created this sport area.