Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ukraine sacrifices European association for selective justice

Parliamentary session on Nov.13. Batkivshina Party.
 UNIAN/Dmytro Larin
The neglect of Ukrainian government to its own sworn commitments is no longer something surprising for Ukrainian citizens. But these days it seems to lead the aspiration to join EU into a dead end and threatens to throw Ukraine back into the vicious cycle of relationships with Russia as if no lesson was learned from history. 

The infantile attitude among the representatives of the Ukrainian ruling Regions Party goes as far as choosing not to show up at the parliamentary sessions like it happened on Monday, Nov. 11, when only one member of Regions Party came to Verkhovna Rada, Ukrainian parliament. On the agenda is paving the way to signing a trade treaty with EU. The obstacle to join Europe is the imprisonment of a former prime minister Yuliya Timoshenko, a political opponent of the acting president Victor Yanukovich. 

Demonstration in support of Timoshenko in Kyiv
REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Mrs. Timoshenko was convicted to the seven-year sentence in October 2011 on abuse of power charges, a decision that was condemned by European leaders as political persecution. “The refusal to release and free Tymoshenko threatens to disrupt the signing of the agreement,” said Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski on Polsat News on Oct 31. 

At present Ukrainian Parliament makes attempts to draw the bill to resolve the situation around ex-PM’s imprisonment, but no consensus was reached. 

Arsenyi Yatsenyuk , the leader of Batkivshina Party sees the behavior of pro-president party as a part of a plan to undermine the association with Europe. “Mr. Yanukovich wasn’t going to sign the agreement with EU at the very beginning,” he said on Tuesday, Nov. 12. 

The summit at which the treaty might be signed will take place in Lithuania on Nov. 28-29. For Ukraine the treaty means cooperation and extensive trade with the 28-members block and marks the shift from Russia towards Western Europe. It will open a graduate progression to European living standards, an orientation Ukraine adopted nine years ago. 

At the same time the treaty leads to a trade break-up with Russia who has already slowed down import from Ukraine as a disapproval of the agreement with EU, and promises to raise prices for Ukraine on Russian gas. 

Though in September at UN General Assembly in New York Mr. Yanukovich claimed Ukraine’s European aspirations were the main pillar of the country’s development, the rumors about his undisclosed negotiations with Russia circulated over the beginning of the week. On Tuesday, Nov. 12, acting prime minister Mykola Azarov stated that together with the president they are trying all possible means to regain trade and economic relationships with Russia. 

Earlier this fall the leader of opposition, a former heavy-weight boxing champion, Vitalyi Klitchko urged Ukrainian president to resign in case the association agreement with EU is failed. 

Serhiy Vlasenko, a legal defender of Mrs. Timoshenko predicts new repressions against the opposition after signing of the agreement is failed. 

The comments in social media are torn between calling for revolutionary actions in case the treaty is failed and insulting Mrs. Timoshenko.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Lanni Marchant Breaks the National Record

TORONTO, Ontario – On Sunday of Oct. 20, 2013 Torontonians saw Lanni Marchant, 29, setting a new national women marathon record of two hours, 27 minutes and 59.6 seconds.

The previous 28-year-old mark of 2:28:36 belongs to Sylvia Ruegger and was beaten by Marchant during Scotiabank WaterfrontMarathon.

Marchant, an Ontario born, took the third place in the marathon finishing right after Kenyan racer Flomena Cheyech (2:25:13) and Ethiopia’s Sechale Adugna (2:26:43).

Marchant’s time is good to go for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. So when the window opens she plans to qualify for it. “Hopefully my body will keep cooperating with me and I can get into the Canadian team,” she said in the interview three days after the race.

Her calves cramping was a concern for the race. Even during the last metres Marchant worried something could go wrong. The memory of the German marathon is still too fresh:  two months earlier because her leg cramped up, she could barely walk when approaching the finish. “Until you cross that line nothing is guaranteed,” she says.

“When I planned to do the race I didn’t expect it to go the way it did,” Marchant confesses. She knew she was going fast, but only when she saw 40 k marker, Marchant realized it was going to be a good result. “Keep going, cross that finish line, then it’s mine,” she was telling herself over the last two kilometers.

Marchant’s plan after the marathon was to hop back into her normal life in Chattanooga, Tenn., U.S.A., where she currently lives and works. But the Fortuna decided differently affecting her personal life with her appearance on the front pages and the outpouring support in social media. “I’m still in awe of all the attention I get, but I don’t feel I’m so special. I understand it’s a huge record and I’m more than grateful to be given the talent and the opportunity to break it,” – she says.

After a celebration week with indulging into extra cookies and extra beers Marchant will go back to her routine which is balancing between her job as an attorney and training. She keeps her training schedule consistent, between 140 and 170 kilometres per week adding swimming and biking once a week. Her workout routing also includes strength training, a huge point for distance athletes that, she believes, can be overlooked. In winter she takes a month off to train in Kenya.

The secret to such an amazing time management, Marchant says, is in knowing what is important and knowing what sacrifices to make. With such a tight schedule she has “to take advantage of every single moment.”

“Luckily I run into people who know what’s important too, so I don’t feel any pressure to go outside of my comfort zone too much. I can train, I can work, I can go for my beer when I want to. But I know everything is in moderation. It’s about balance, about making sure the things that are important to you are the things that you enjoy.”

Enjoying what you do is the advice Marchant gives to those who plan to take up running seriously. She suggests finding the way to make it fun and be OKwith giving yourself a break sometimes. “Running is something that is supposed to cheer your life,” she says and warns against sacrificing who you are, your dreams and aspirations in other aspects of life.

Racing in the Waterfront Marathon Marchant “enjoyed every moment of it,” and set her personal and Canadian best. Keep it up, Lanni!