Nudity as a tool of activism is hardly new. But the women of Femen have elevated it to an Internet-age art form. Based in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, the group now has chapters in nine countries, on four continents. It calls its tactics “sextremism” and its hundreds of mostly volunteer members “shock troops” — frontline soldiers in a global war against patriarchy, and for women’s rights. Its sworn enemies are dictatorship, organized religion and sexual exploitation.
Femen protests often catch the law enforcement authorities off-guard, and can make officers seem silly, as they struggle to contain partially dressed women squiggling in their grasp. In response to their protests, Femen women have been beaten, jailed and threatened with death.
They have been dragged off all over: at the Vatican where they set off red smoke during the papal conclave to condemn “bloody” church history; at the European Parliament in Brussels where they pushed gay rights; on the Berlin Film Festival’s red carpet where they denounced female circumcision in Africa; in Moscow where they tried to steal Mr. Putin’s ballot on Election Day; at the Davos World Economic Forum where they decried income inequality; in Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, where Femen has its second base.
Qatar interested in Ukraine’s experience in organizing and hosting Euro 2012.
Doha – The official delegations of Ukraine and Qatar held a working meeting in Doha on Tuesday, during which they discussed bilateral economic cooperation.
An Interfax-Ukraine reporter said that the Ukrainian delegation had been represented by Foreign Minister Kostiantyn Hryschenko, Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yuriy Boiko, Defense Minister Dmytro Salamatin and businessmen Victor Pinchuk and Oleksandr Yaroslavsky. The main topics of the discussion were priority sectors for the strengthening of international economic relations – oil and gas industry, aviation and agriculture.
Particular attention was paid to the possibility of using Ukraine’s experience in Qatar’s preparations for the finals of the 2022 World Cup. In particular, Hryschenko introduced President of DCH Group and FC Metalist Kharkiv Oleksandr Yaroslavsky to the members of the Qatari delegation and proposed using his experience of infrastructure construction and management of the key facilities of the Euro 2012 tournament.
In addition, the question of Ukrainian-Qatari cooperation in the sphere of preparations for Euro 2012 was raised at a meeting between Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani and Yaroslavsky.
As reported, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych arrived on an official visit to Qatar on November 27. In Doha, Yanukovych met with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.
After the ceremony chaired by the Ukrainian president and the emir of Qatar the delegations of the two countries held negotiations in a broad format.
Yanukovych also participated in the presentation of Ukrainian national projects that are being implemented on the initiative of the Ukrainian president.Yanukovych’s official visit to Qatar will last until November 28.
Ukraine: the $1bn deal that never was.
Ukraine’s government on Monday rolled out the red carpet for a highly-publicised signing ceremony for a landmark energy deal.
But the event, attended by Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko, quickly spiralled into a fiasco, with denials and confusion over what has actually been signed – and by whom.
“This is a historic moment… We’ve taken the first really big step in securing Ukraine’s energy independence,” Azarov announced proudly in Kiev, and ordered construction to begin on a project involving the building of Ukraine’s first LNG terminal.
Live video feed demonstrated welders far away in Odessa region at work as they commenced construction on a pipeline that would connect Ukraine’s vast gas transit network with the proposed Black Sea coast LNG terminal.
Minutes later, with Azarov and Boyko looking on, attention turned to a signing ceremony between “investors” and Vlad Kaskiv, head of Ukraine’s state investment agency.
Journalists were told by Kaskiv that the “investors” had signed agreements to lead a newly-formed consortium – still open to other partners – to build the terminal at a cost of $1.1bn.
Upon completion in coming years, Kaskiv said the LNG terminal would allow Ukraine to import 5-10 bn cubic metres of gas shipped by tanker at a cost 20 per cent lower than the price Ukraine is charged by Russia’s Gazprom.
So far, so good.
The lead investor in the new consortium was identified by Kaskiv as Gas Natural Fenosa, the Spanish energy group. Signing on behalf of Fenosa was a Spanish-speaking man that Kaskiv and his subordinates identified as Jordi Sarda Bonvehi (pictured above, left).
Herein lies the problem.
Officials at Gas Natural Fenosa claim they don’t know Sarda Bonvehi. They say he does not represent their company or its subsidiaries. And, the company has not signed any agreement with Ukraine.
Shocked by news reports suggesting Gas Natural Fenosa had signed agreements to join the consortium, and lead efforts to raise financing for it, the company’s press service issued the following statement:
Gas Natural Fenosa has not signed any contract to invest in a LNG plant project in Ukraine, nor is it leading any consortium whatsoever for the development of the aforementioned terminal. Gas Natural Fenosa has nothing under study in this regard, nor does it have representatives working in Ukraine on this issue. We categorically deny the news reports which have been circulating throughout the day in various media.
Here’s where it gets really strange.
Ukrainian officials claim to be baffled by Gas Natural Fenosa’s statement. They claim to still believe that an agreement was reached with Gas Natural Fenosa. Speaking with beyondbrics, Kaskiv said it was the understanding of his state investment agency that Sarda Bonvehi represents the interests of Gas Natural Fenosa. He and other Ukrainian officials claim to have held negotiations with Gas Natural Fenosa, with Sarda Bonvehi playing the role of a negotiator of sorts. Officials at Gas Natural Fenosa steadfastly deny this.
Beyondbrics tried to talk to Sarda Bonvehi at the signing, but he declined to comment.
Describing the turn of events as “disappointing,” a spokesperson for Ukraine’s prime minster stressed that the country would pursue construction of the strategic LNG terminal – with or without Gas Natural Fenosa, or other investors.
But with its 2012 budget deficit widening, with its economy on the verge of economic recession and government cut off from billions of dollars of International Monetary Fund loans due to lacklustre reform efforts, does Ukraine’s government have the financial fire power to bankroll this project alone? Or will it fall into the hands of billionaire oligarchs that have deep pockets, but already have a powerful hold the country’s economy?
Ukraine Railways to Spend $1.7 Billion on Investments This Year.
Ukrzaliznytsya, Ukraine’s state owned railway company, plans to spend 14 billion hryvnia ($1.72 billion) on capital investment this year.
The investment includes 6 billion hryvnia for rolling stock, Ukrzaliznytsya said in a statement on its website today. Loans will cover 8.4 billion hryvnia of the spending, according to the company, which is based in the capital city of Kiev.
Net income this year will reach 496.4 million hryvnia, Ukrzaliznytsya, said without providing year earlier figures.
Ukraine’s wheat exports likely to fall from November.
Ukraine’s monthly wheat exports will fall sharply starting from November or December as traders deplete the agreed quota aimed at ensuring stable local bread prices after a fall in 2012 wheat output, the Agriculture Ministry said on Tuesday. “The contracts that have already been signed will be fulfilled and starting from November or December wheat exports will be 50,000 to 100,000 tonnes per month,” Serhiy Kvasha, the head of the ministry’s markets department, told reporters.
Ukraine exported 824,000 tonnes of wheat last month. Ukraine’s wheat harvest fell to 16.3 million tonnes bunker weight in 2012 from 22.3 million tonnes clean weight in 2011. Bunker weight usually exceeds clean weight by 5 to 7 percent. Analysts and traders forecast the 2012 wheat crop at about 14 million tonnes in clean weight. Ukraine consumes about 12 million tonnes of wheat per season.
The ministry and grain traders’ unions earlier this month agreed on 2012/13 maximum export volumes of 19.4 million tonnes of grain, including 4.0 million of wheat. Traders have said the government may limit wheat exports in early 2013 in a bid to prevent a jump in domestic grain prices after the wheat harvest declined this year.
Turchynov: Yulia Volodymyrivna was unconscious for over two hours after taking medicines
Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Volodymyrivna Tymoshenko was unconscious for over two hours in the Kachanivska penal colony (Kharkiv), after she was given unknown medicines, according to the Batkivschyna Party.
“Yulia Volodymyrivna [Tymoshenko] fell unconscious immediately after taking the drugs, although she had no prerequisites for this. She was actually in a state of unconsciousness for more than two hours,” the party’s first deputy head, Oleksandr Turchynov, said at a press conference on Tuesday.
He added that Yulia Volodymyrivna Tymoshenko had been given drugs to treat an acute viral infection.