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Ukraine Wins Junior Eurovision 2012
At the Junior Eurovision Song Con-test 2012, the ten-year old singer Anastasiya Petryk from Ukraine received a total of 138 points for her song "Nebo" (Sky) which made her the winner. Last year's winner Georgia, with The Funkids, finished second with 103 points and Armenia's Compass Band finished third with 98 points.
Anastasiya Petryk is very happy to have won the Junior Eurovision. Her elder sister Victoria had taken part in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2008 and had been the runner-up.
Anastasiya's singing voice was described as beautiful and strong. Those who had heard her sing at the Ukrainian competition to win the right to sing at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest were of the opinion that she had very good chances of winning this Contest.
Originally, it was planned to provide her performance with a back-up ballet group, but the director and producers decided she had enough power in herself to carry her through.
It was the seventh time that Ukraine was represented at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. When asked after the show what Anastasiya was dreaming of, the girl said, "I want my elder sister win the Eurovision Song Contest for adults."
Her fifteen-year old sister Victoria said in an interview that the victory of her younger sister was also a victory for their whole family. "And I am planning to take part in Eurovision Song Contest for adults as soon as I am of age. And I do hope to win the contest. The Ukrainian Petryk family are the winners!"
Ukraine Is to Host Junior Eurovision 2013
Ukraine has won the right to host the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2013, but unlike the Eurovision Song Contest, winning the contest does not grant the right to host the next edition. The Host Broadcaster is decided in a bidding process by the Steering Group which is made up by representatives from broadcasters all over Europe.
Several broadcasters all over Europe expressed the Ukrainian wish to host the event on November 30, 2013. The final decision was made by the Steering Group of the contest.
To make sure the contest will be held at the best possible level, the Steering Group evaluated all proposals and in the end the offer by Ukrainian broadcaster NTU, was chosen.
"We felt NTU's proposal was the strongest one among the bids we received. Thanks to our previous experience with them and their plans for this year’s event, we are expecting an excellent show in Kyiv," says Vladislav Yakovlev, Executive Supervisor of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.
NTU organised also the 2009 Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv. That event was won by Ralf Mackenbach, who represented the Netherlands, with his song "Click Clack".
The previous Junior Eurovision Song Contest was also won by Ukraine when their contestant Anastasiya Petryk won the hearts of Europe with her song "Nebo".
Ukrainian Biathlon Athletes Win Medals
The 46th Biathlon World Championship was held in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic, from 7 to 17 February 2013.
A total of 11 competitions were held: sprint, pursuit, individual, mass start and relay races for both men and women, and a mixed relay.
The women’s national team of Ukraine has won more medals then ever before at such competitions.
At the very first event of the championship – sprint, Olena Pidhrushna won the gold medal and her teammate Vita Semerenko won the bronze medal.
No Ukrainian athlete has ever won the biathlon sprint event ever before. Incidentally, it was Ukraine’s first biathlon gold medal in eleven years.
Says Olena Pidhrushna: “It was an auspicious start! And a good sign for the future too — the next Winter Olympics is only a year ahead.”
In the pursuit event, Olena Pidhrushna won her second medal, thus time the bronze one.
In individual event, Valya Semerenko (Vita Semerenko’s twin sister) won the bronze medal.
In the relay event Ukrainian women athletes Yuliya Dzhyma, Vita Semerenko, Valya Semerenko and Olena Pidhrushna were the runners-up and this won them the silver medals.
On the last day of the competitions, in the mass start event, Vita Semerenko was the fourth, one step short of medal.
Biathlon world championships began to be held in 1958, but it was only in 1989, at the 24th biathlon world championship, that women began to take part.
In 1999, Olena Zubrylova from Ukraine was the star of the show with her three gold and one bronze medals, the highest Ukrainian achievement so far at such competitions.
Unfortunately, Ukrainian male biathlon athletes this time have won no medals.
In the overall medal count, Ukraine with its one gold, one silver and three bronze medals, was the third after Norway and France.
EuroBasket 2015 Preparations Coordinating Committee Set up
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has signed a decree setting up a coordinating committee on preparing for and holding the final tournament of the European basketball championship in Ukraine in 2015. Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov was appointed the head of the committee. The committee includes 49 people. Among them are Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Vilkul, ministers, Head of Ukraine's Presidential Administration Serhiy Liovochkin, mayors of cities bidding to host EuroBasket 2015 matches and the heads of respective regional state administrations, heads of parliamentary committees, various agencies, President of the Basketball Federation of Ukraine Oleksandr Volkov, and a member of the supervisory board of PrivatBank, Ihor Kolomoisky (by consent).
The coordinating committee should meet at least once a quarter. The committee's decisions are mandatory for consideration by the central and local executive authorities. The activity of the coordinating committee is regulated by the presidential administration.
The local organizing committee for the preparation of Ukraine to host the EuroBasket 2015 Euro-pean Basketball Championship will be led by UEFA Euro 2012 Tournament Director in Ukraine Markiyan Lubkivsky. "I am very grateful to the Basketball Federation of Ukraine for their offer to lead the preparation of a basketball tournament in terms of its organization and the projects close to those that we prepared for Euro 2012… I think the local organizing committee of EuroBasket 2015 will begin its work in February 2013," he said.
It is planned to build and modernize sports arenas and other sports facilities in Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Lviv, Odesa and Kharkiv to put them in line with the requirements of International Basket Association, FIBA Europe.
The infrustructure facilities will be put in operation not later than December 2014. In addition, funding will be allocated for the construction, investments will be attracted for the preparation of the infrastructure for the championship, security of public order will be ensured and medical services will be organized in the abovementioned cities.
Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Vilkul said that at least 100,000 people would be engaged in the construction of infrastructure facilities for this championship and that at least 10,000 would be involved in the operation and maintenance of these facilities.
Ukraine also intends to create a comfortable environment for the fans who are planning to attend EuroBasket 2015.
As reported, on December 18, 2011 Ukraine received the right to host the European Basketball Championship in 2015.
Anna Ushenina Wins Women’s World Chess Championship
Anna Ushenina, 27, from Kharkiv, Ukraine, won the Women’s World Chess Championship on December 1, 2012 when she beat Antoaneta Stefanova, the former world champion from Bulgaria, in a decisive game, thus making overall score 3.5 to 2.5 in her favor.
The championship was held in the Russian city of Khanty-Mansiysk.
In an interview the twenty-seven year old Ukrainian said that she did not think of playing chess only in terms of winning: “I enjoy the very process of playing chess.”
“It was a tough competition,” she admitted. “The competitors were very strong and I did not think I’d be able to get through. The toughest were the finals. Every game was exhausting, I was very tired at the end — but luck was on my side.”
One of Ms Ushenina’s coaches said that “she is never intimidated by the opponent, no matter how experienced her opponent may be. She looks for the slimmest chances to win, even when a tie would seem to be the only solution.” He went to say that “Winning at all costs is her motto” thus somewhat contradicting Ms Ushenina’s own words when she claimed that playing chess was just to enjoy it.
Anna Ushenina expressed a wish to take part in the world cup chess competition among men which will be held in Norway at the end of August-early September of 2013.
Her winning the world chess championship among women automatically made her grandmaster, the title that entitles her to take part in men’s chess competitions of the highest level.
In accordance with the FIDE rules, Anna Ushenina will have to defend her title in the second half of 2013 against the Chinese player Hou Yifan.
Anna Ushenina was not the first Ukrainian to become female world chess champion — in 1950 the title was won by Lyudmyla Rudenko from the town of Lubny in the Land of Poltavshchyna, who held the title for three years. She was the second female champion ever and first among the soviet chess players to win the top title.
Enigmatic Sculptor Pinsel in Louvre
In November 2012, the Louvre Museum in Paris mounted an exhi bition that showed works of a mysterious Ukrainian sculptor best known as Johann Georg Pinsel who was active in the mid-eighteenth century. His thirty works, which included finished sculptures and sketches, were exhibited in the Salle de la Chapelle.
It was for the first time, that The Louvre showcased a Ukrainian artist. Pinsel’s recognized skill and strong personality give his art a special place among Baroque works, said curator Guilhem Scherf. “His style is brilliant, especially the way he carves the folds of the draperies, like faces of diamonds, with lines and oblique curves.”
According to Scherf, Pinsel’s works suit the museum perfectly. “It is important to show at The Louvre, which is an encyclopedic museum, art that is not [usually] shown there — Baroque sculptures from Central and Eastern Europe,” he said.
Scherf noted the origin of the art is no less important to museum visitors than its style. “People in France are curious about art from various countries,” he said.
The exhibition is also important for Ukraine, as its national art begins to slowly emerge on the world scene. “This is the first and very valuable step toward the world discovering the rich cultural heritage of Ukraine. I am confident the success of Pinsel’s art at The Louvre will give the world a new view of Ukraine and draw its attention to the rich high culture of our land,” Mykhaylo Kulynyak, the then Culture Minister of Ukraine said at the official opening.
Project Manager Nataliya Zabolotna, who is also general director of the National Art Complex Mystetsky Arsenal in Kyiv, concurred. She said that the exhibition was an event of historic importance for Ukrainian art as it showed Ukrainian artistic heritage in the context of European art.
Ms Zabolotna added that Pinsel’s art will move to the premises of Mystetskyi Arsenal in Kyiv after the end of The Louvre’s exhibition.
Pinsel has become the first Ukrainian artist, whose works were exhibited in one of the most popular museums of the world.
French experts have personally selected sculptures for the exhibition. According to the experts of the museum, Pinsel is one of the greatest and yet most enigmatic artists of the eighteenth century. Sometimes he is referred to as “Ukrainian Michelangelo.”
Very little is known of Pinsel’s life. He is thought to have lived and worked mainly in Western Ukraine. Mikolaj Potocki, a Polish nobleman, was his patron and the main customer until Pinsel’s death, presumed to have occurred in 1761.
Galleries of Washington, New York and Munich have already expressed an interest in showing Pinsel’s works too.
The exhibition was open until February 25.
Ukraine Signs Drilling Deal with Shell for Shale Gas
Royal Dutch Shell, the largest oil company in Europe, signs a contract to drill for natural gas in Ukraine.
The company's chief executive, Peter Voser, and the Ukrainian president, Viktor F. Yanukovych, signed a production agreement on January 2012 for the potentially prolific Yuzivska gas field in the eastern part of Ukraine. The signing took place at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Winning an active Shell drilling program is a potential boon for Ukraine, which is thought to be one of the best bets in Europe for so-called shale gas and tight gas. Such gas, found in porous underground shale rock, is usually withdrawn through the process known as hydraulic fracturing. The technique is controversial, because of the potential environmental effects.
Menno Koch, an analyst at Lambert Energy Advisory in London, speaking of Ukraine said that Ukraine is considered by many to have huge potential."
Shell plans to drill 15 wells as part of a 50-year joint venture with a local company called Nadra Yuzivska. It would be the latest in a series of steps ahead for unconventional gas development in Europe.
The oil and gas industry is betting that post-soviet states and countries like Poland, which are heavily dependent on gas imports from Russia, will be more receptive politically to shale gas exploration. Ukraine has a particular incentive to develop its own gas resources because in recent years it has twice suffered cutoffs from Russia during disputes.
Shell's contract covers the Yuzivska field in the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions. The Ukrainian prime minister, Mykola Azarov, said that the area could contain as much as 113 billion cubic meters, or 4 trillion cubic feet, of gas.
It remains to be seen how much, if any, of the Ukraine gas is recoverable. The local councils in Ukraine have so far declined to approve Chevron's deal, though, prompting displeasure from the central government.
Some of the Ukrainian experts have voiced their concern: "The consequences are unpredictable and the environment risks may be high," says Yury Korolchuk of the Energy Strategies Institute in Kyiv.
Oleksiy Vasyliuk, deputy director of nongovernmental National Ecological Center of Ukraine, claims: “It is the pumping of great amounts of chemically treated water to create pressure in the shale gas deposits which will push the gas out, that can create potential environment risks. Not only the chemicals used can be a major pollutant, but the fact that at least of the toxic water remains under the ground causes a particular concern”.
A number of public pickets against shale gas production in Kharkiv, Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities took place.