Insects on the Menu – Entomophagy in Prague

Jiskra loves to experiment with food and began cooking with insects five years ago. The lunch menu was much more extensive than the average insect tasting with mealworms, crickets, grasshoppers and cockroaches on offer. You could eat a three-course cricket meal with crickets in the soup as well as the typically-Czech fried cheese but also covered in chocolate as dessert…

Wednesday, March 16th was a special day for Prague-based HP and Microsoft employees who were offered insect meals for lunch. The seemingly ordinary cafeteria was decorated with plastic spiders, allergy warnings and facts about entomophagy.

“The six-legged menu attracted people who really wanted to experiment,” said Martin Jiskra, head chef and manager of Momento DELTA restaurant. “I was nervous at first but it turned out to be a great success.”

Jiskra loves to experiment with food and began cooking with insects five years ago. The lunch menu was much more extensive than the average insect tasting with mealworms, crickets, grasshoppers and cockroaches on offer. You could eat a three-course cricket meal with crickets in the soup as well as the typically-Czech fried cheese but also covered in chocolate as dessert.

“It was the first time I organized an insect-eating event in a restaurant like this,” Jiskra said, “but the outcome was so good that we’ll probably do it again.”

Although it was the first insect feast at Momento DELTA, insect tasting events are fairly common in the Czech Republic, however, selling them as food in a supermarket isn’t exactly legal. According to Czech law, insects arenot considered a food which makes them unsuitable for human consumption.

This law doesn’t make serving insects illegal at events – however, it prevents restaurants from having them on their permanent menu. However for events like this, if you follow all the hygiene laws and regulations, there are no problems. Jiskra has proved this before when he served other exotic meals including bear and zebra meat.

The chef points out that cooking with insects is much safer than handling common meats such as beef and chicken. There are no GMOs or antibiotics in insects and they cannot carry any diseases that are harmful to humans because they would die from them too. There are no safety concerns from an insect from a certified breeder that is handled correctly – with the exception of allergies: people who are allergic to shellfish are warned that they may react similarly when eating insects.

Before cooking insects, Jiskra recommends that chefs and culinary enthusiasts read published literature about the topic. There are currently four books about entomophagy in Czech and they explain how to handle the insects prior to cooking them.

The insects served in Momento DELTA were closely watched to ensure that they look healthy, aren’t eating their excrements and were fed oregano for two days to enhance their flavor. The feedback on the event was great and approximately 480 insect meals were served. While the restaurant received fewer visitors than usual, very few people asked for insect-less meals.

Two days before the event, Jiskra organized a presentation to explain the benefits and history of insect-eating around the world. Insects contain proteins, minerals and enzymes that are great for the human body. They can also be bred, reared and processed much more sustainably than other meats which could have a large positive impact on the environment and the economy. Currently, the largest issues are the legal and bureaucratic ones.

“If people’s attitude and understanding about eating insects changes; laws will too,” concludes Jiskra.

Originally published here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/olena-kagui/insects-on-the-menu_b_9506770.html

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Up Close and Personal with… Alena Wilson, Prague’s Queen of LBDs

The LBD or little black dress is an essential part of a woman’s wardrobe. Coco Chanel was the first to make it ever-present in an edition of American Vogue in 1926. It was presented as simple yet elegant and Vogue predicted that it would shape the future…

Alena Wilson is a 37-year-old fashion designer from the Czech Republic. She has two kids, a girl who is six, and a boy who is four. Her husband is American and runs his own business in Prague. They live in a household with two cocker spaniels, black and gold, and two goldfish that were recently bought behind her back by her husband and children… Alena sighs with a smile.

Fact box:

The LBD or little black dress is an essential part of a woman’s wardrobe. Coco Chanel was the first to make it ever-present in an edition of American Vogue in 1926. It was presented as simple yet elegant and Vogue predicted that it would shape the future.

The Bridge: What motivated you to start your company?

Alena Wilson: My passion for fashion. Originally I studied economic foreign trade but I always had a huge passion for creativity since I was 15. I think this is one of my strong positions that I have 16 years of experience in PR and business. I absolutely love the creative process. I did nine years of art school beside my study. That helped me also.

TB: What makes your business unique?

AW: The concept of using real women. I don’t agree with the top fashion world using underweight or photo-shopped models. People misunderstand, I don’t mean fat people; I mean healthy women. My models are size 38+.

TB: What does fashion mean to you personally?

AW: I think that fashion is something that should support who you are. I want women to see the options and choose what suits their body type and personality. For me, fashion is a really strong tool that can help introduce other people to your personality. People always first judge you based on your looks.

TB: Who is your favorite designer and why?

AW: I like elegant, sexy and romantic stuff so I really like Valentino. I really like the detail that he puts into his dresses. He is someone I really look up to. He creates his own materials and patterns. I think that he’s the one. I look at many designers and they inspire me but he’s above all what I really love.

TB: What is an LBD and why is it so important to have (at least) one?

AW: A little black dress is something that I first started with because it was missing from the industry. An LBD is simple and can be worn for many occasions because you can go anywhere in it. Especially in Prague, it is normal to wear an LBD not just for a special occasion. It’s good to have two LBDs in your wardrobe; one very simple dress to combine with a variety of accessories, and a more unique one that’s more fun or sexy.

TB: What did your first LBD look like?

AW: The last kick to starting my own brand was when I was in Boston with my husband at a Harvard black-tie reunion. I always create my own dress for parties so I created a unique LBD. I used lace with Swarovski stones in the back. I got loads of compliments and several ladies asked where I had purchased the dress. That was when I decided to start drawing my first LBD collection.

TB: What inspires your designs?

AW: It’s mainly women’s curves and strong women. A strong woman in the terms of giving birth and managing everything. Their curves inspire me to make them more beautiful in my dresses. I always think of how to show the good things and hide the flaws and that’s what really inspires me.

TB: What is the best place to people watch in Prague?

AW: At night you see what people like to wear when they try to look their best. You can just sit on a bench and watch the chaos. If you really want to see the average cut of what people wear day to day, the best place is to sit in a mall. Pastacafee Lamborgini on Vodičkova in Prague 1 is my favorite café for people watch over my cappuccino.

TB: What is the best accessory?

AW: Hmm trick question. There is one thing that women forget about the most. They go to any big or small event wearing the most fantastic outfit but they have absolutely miserable hair, hanging with no concept to it. Hair is a very important accessory. You should always do something with it, even putting it in a ponytail to give it style.

This post was updated on June 14th, 2018: the text, as well as title and headline, may have been edited, proofread and optimized for search engines. The featured image may have been changed due to copyright or quality issues.
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Ukraine 2014 – Life During Crisis

It was volunteers who did the most at the protest, but politicians were necessary too, especially to help get people out of jail. The politicians also offered the protesters organization and helped them raise their demands. But although some politicians tried, “politicians couldn’t lead the revolution.”

The crisis in Ukraine began on November 21st, when the former president, Yanukovych had refused to sign an agreement with the EU that he had been promising to sign for over a year. He wanted instead to form closer ties with Russia. Students went out to Independence Square known as Maidan, to protest. The police used violence to disperse them, which brought a lot more people out onto the streets. More and more gathered to protest, and stood there through freezing temperatures and violent conditions. They are still standing there today until there are a new government and order in Ukraine. I applied for a grant from the Prague Freedom Foundation to go make a difference in Ukraine. In Ukraine, I spoke to Olga, Irina and Eduard. Their stories were originally published on my blog, www.olenakaguiukraine2014.wordress.com.

Olga:

Olga Azzuz, a dentist at one of the field hospitals describes what happened in Kiev as “the scream of the soul of the nation.” In her opinion it is important for Ukrainians to deal with this issue by themselves, however, “if the West can help out, then they should.” She spoke coldly about Yanukovych and his people, calling them bandits. She said that they “traded their bandit clothing for suits when Yanukovych was elected and stole money from the nation.” They then put this stolen money into Western banks. “They confused their own pockets with the nation’s pocket,” she said.

At the beginning people just wanted to go talk to those in power, “but when people went to the government, their way was blocked,” which angered them. According to her, there is no proof that it was the protesters who started the violence but violence did begin after almost 3 months of peaceful protesting. A lot of outrage came when the government enforced strict laws against protesting. Azzuz was particularly angry about this, saying “If we continued to live that way (following those laws) we would live as slaves in a dog house on a leash, seeing the sky only through bars.”

Before the protests even began, inflation was getting really bad; people could no longer afford food. After rent and food were taken care of, they had no extra money to spend on clothes or anything else. The gap between the poor and the rich expanded.

This revolution was a revolution of educated and intelligent people who had diplomas, who ran their own businesses, explains Azzuz, “it was the people who had something in their lives and wanted to defend it.” These protesters had no rights in the eyes of the government, and that was the problem.

The amazing thing about Maidan was that the self-organized volunteers came where they were needed. They would do whatever they were capable of to show support – cook, fight, draw, speak or pray. All the necessary ‘positions’ were filled by people who had those particular skills. The volunteers would meet and they greeted each other like family. There was a real sense of unity.

It was volunteers who did the most at the protest, but politicians were necessary too, especially to help get people out of jail. The politicians also offered the protesters organization and helped them raise their demands. But although some politicians tried, “politicians couldn’t lead the revolution.”

Azzuz then told me that everyone at Maidan worked together to keep it clean. When it snowed, they would clear snow from the paths and use the snow to build and enforce barricades. At one point the garbage collectors refused to come to Maidan. So the protesters gathered all the trash, filled up several cars and brought the trash bags straight to the dump. They demanded that next time the trash collectors came, and they began coming regularly again.

There was a big problem with taking protesters to hospitals because the Berkut would stop ambulances and harass the injured – Azzuz’s word of choice to describe Berkut’s behavior was “sadistic”. So volunteers decided to organize their own field hospitals and used regular passenger cars to transport the injured to protect them.

A lot of the patients who were stopped by Berkut were never seen again. There was one particular patient who Azzuz treated; he had very serious injuries, broken teeth, ripped lip and broken bones in his face around his nose and eyes. He told her that a Berkut officer was beating him in the face yelling “I will rip your head off.” He was one of the patients who a random stranger took to a hospital in his car. Azzuz called hospital after hospital asking about him. He had lost his passport and they hadn’t had time to give him fresh clothes before they had to run, and she was very worried about him. After very many phone calls, she reached a nurse who told her he was recovering from surgery to reconstruct his face. She reassured her that they are taking care of getting him a new passport and had been given clothes that were donated to the hospital. Azzuz thanked her and was relieved to hear that at least his story had ended well, considering the circumstances. During those times, any good news added a little hope and pointed towards a better future.

Irina:

“We are women but we can still help, at least morally,” said Irina, who’s been working in the Cossack kitchen for three months. She is a student in Kiev and when I asked her why she came, she looked at me like it was a crazy question, “all my people are here… I live here so I’m going to stand here until the end.”

I asked her if she was scared. “Sometimes,” she said, “especially that night.” She referred to the night when Berkut stormed Maidan. But she didn’t let her fear stop her from doing what she believed was right. She found a way to help her people, like everyone else at Maidan. Politicians and their parties are often mentioned when people speak about Maidan, but they usually have a hidden (or a not so hidden) agenda, it is ordinary people like Irina who are the true heroes of Ukraine.

Eduard:

I really wanted to speak to the Afghan war veterans, who were very active at the protests. But the man who had the authority to speak for them wasn’t there yet. So Eduard Kryhov offered to tell me his story and show me one of the field hospitals.

He was in and out of Maidan since it began, alternating between spending time with his wife outside of Kiev, and living in the veteran tent. He helped out a lot at one of the medical points, and one night, they were told that Berkut was about to storm them. He has had a knee problem at the time and knew he wasn’t able to help carry injured men out to safety. Instead, he grabbed a hand-grenade and walked up to where the Berkut could see him. The 64-year-old man showed them what he was holding and said, “Look at me; I have seen all there is to see, I don’t care anymore, if you come in here, we will all die together.” The Berkut did not attack the medical point; Kryhov had saved several lives with his bravery.

Kryhov took me to one of the field hospitals at Maidan, where people were still coming to get treated. One man needed stitches removed from his lip and eyebrow, he looked badly beaten. Others came to get dental work done, or to treat a fever or a sprained arm. Kryhov took me into an empty room, made me some tea, offered me bread and showed me pictures of his friends and asked me to put them online. He told me about how he used to live in Prague 9 and Brno and about his wife. He made me see what everyone meant by Maidan uniting people when we parted ways we hugged each other like old friends.

I was very lucky to meet such a wonderful and kind man. He had helped save the country not once but twice – first in Afghanistan and now at Maidan. He taught me that one person can make all the difference in the world.

This post was updated on June 14th, 2018: the text, as well as title and headline, may have been edited, proofread and optimized for search engines. The featured image may have been changed due to copyright or quality issues.
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Fake News and Social Media Journalism

Jones believes that journalism must continue to evolve to remain relevant, and newspapers can no longer depend solely on print to be profitable. His newspaper had to recently start charging their readers for their online content to avoid losing money. In addition to this, “traditional news organizations must now redefine what makes news,” said Daniel Moore, editor-in-chief of the Kent State University newspaper. As entertainment and traditional blend together it is important to pose the question, ‘Does a Twitter trend equal news?’

Sharing information and stories is something that’s been natural to humans since the very start. It is one of the ways that we distinguish ourselves from animals. For centuries the distribution of news stories has been developing in speed and convenience. Today we use a variety of platforms to communicate news to the rest of the world. With the discovery and growth of social media journalism are more instant than ever before. These changes affect the way we create, share and interpret information and they have given new power to information warfare.

Susan Zake, assistant professor at Kent State University is one of the people who applaud these developments, while Raymond Johnston, editor-in-chief of the Prague Post stands with the more critical. “Social media is changing the essential nature of how news reaches an audience, particularly younger people,” said Zake, “It speeds up the delivery of news and increasing its immediacy.” According to her, Facebook, Twitter and the use of smartphones have changed people’s behavior, “audiences demand a conversation from journalists now, instead of the old dynamic where journalists made the informed choices for their audiences and delivered them.”

Johnston believes that the types of stories have changed and lost news value, “you can’t even really call them stories in many cases – they are just a cute photo and some almost random words.” He noticed that even for bigger issues, the text is shorter. “People almost never share a 1,000-word story,” Johnston says, “as it would be rude to expect someone to actually read that much.” He agrees that it’s great that people can get news faster, but he believes that the depth is very poor.

Johnston worries that in the future news will get even shorter and eventually video will take over text. One reason is that our technology is getting smaller, “could you read an in-depth article in your Google glasses while you walked around?” he asks. Zake agrees that the speed and the abilities to capture and distribute news have improved – the spread of news is almost instantaneous. However, Zake is concerned with the accuracy of the news we read and share. “There are mistakes made in reporting too fast and without verifying information,” she said, explaining that this is a big issue in breaking stories.

Gordana Knezevic, head of the Balkan department at RFE/RL believes that “Thanks to social media and new technology we can sit at home and watch a live stream” from any place in the world, “getting the first-hand experience of events.” She agreed that the speed at which information is spread through social media is fascinating. However, she does believe that it makes a journalist’s job more complex and more important because they have a greater level of responsibility towards their audience. “How was it possible to be a journalist before Google,” Knezevic asks herself sometimes.

“Social media has totally changed the way we cover news, gather information and disseminate,” said Michael Jones, a news reporter at Observer-Reporter in Washington. He emphasized the improved outreach and a new accessibility to sources that wasn’t even possible before. Like Zake, Jones mentions that communication between journalists and readers is now involved in writing a story. Twitter and social media can act as sources and exchange platforms for information. “We are all mobile journalists who can take their own photos, email them to our editors and write from a coffee shop or the driver’s seat of a car,” said Jones. Knezevic agrees that it is now is possible to conduct interviews quickly over the phone or email, but she believes that interviews are better when done in person. “There is a body language which is important as well as spoken words,” she said.

Social media and modern technology have changed the actual creation of stories, not just their reception. Jones agrees with Zake’s concern for factual errors. They are increased with the habit of sharing posts without verification. “We have to be careful about which sources we trust,” said Jones.

Jones believes that journalism must continue to evolve to remain relevant, and newspapers can no longer depend solely on print to be profitable. His newspaper had to recently start charging their readers for their online content to avoid losing money. In addition to this, “traditional news organizations must now redefine what makes news,” said Daniel Moore, editor-in-chief of the Kent State University newspaper. As entertainment and traditional blend together it is important to pose the question, ‘Does a Twitter trend equal news?’

“Social media can create ethical pitfalls for a journalist,” said Moore who worries that if everyone is a journalist then it is harder to determine credibility. He agrees with Jones when it comes to changing the format of journalism so that it doesn’t cease to exist. Moore believes that “social media has shown incredible potential to initiate true and meaningful change throughout the world.”

As Moore pointed out, the change in social media and technology has also impacted modern politics. Information warfare has developed and is now something that countries need to be constantly wary of. Moore speaks about information warfare from a journalism perspective: “We must protect our sources and the information we collect from cyber-attacks and other technological threats that didn’t exist even 10 years ago,” he said. Flaws in modern establishments include dependence on internet and technology to function – a simple technological failure can shut down an electrical grid, bank accounts, and other critical information systems. “Information warfare can absolutely be more socially devastating than a military attack,” said Moore, “because it has the potential to impact more people.”

“Social media has helped fill the gap for traditional media in certain conflicts,” said Zake, “particularly when the journalistic community is repressed or controlled.” She believes that it makes it harder for a controlling government to use propaganda as an effective tool. Johnston doesn’t quite agree: “Anyone with access to the internet can put up a blog and claim to be an expert on what is going on,” he said, “in the past, only government officials could spin propaganda.” Johnston mentioned astroturf groups who get paid to write and say things on the internet while masquerading as concerned citizens. Zake explains that journalists can’t ethically engage in ‘warfare’, but like Johnston, she believes that it has become increasingly more difficult to know exactly who is putting out information and what their point of view is.

“If there’s a hostile government in place, it’s difficult for information alone to overpower a concerted military response,” said Zake, “but I think it can mobilize populations and empower them to make changes.” Johnston believes that information warfare can have more impact than military warfare. “A war where you send an army to kill people is an outdated model,” said Johnston, “it wasted resources, ravages potential markets and disrupts trade.” He believes that convincing people to support your cause even if it is not to their benefit is “the wave of the future”.

“I don’t think information can necessarily be used as a weapon”, opposed Jones, “but it can most definitely be used to promote political changes in countries.” He believes that it can be used to unite and mobilize people to join a single cause. “It is not unusual to see websites nowadays that have the appearance of news pages, but are really tools to push an agenda,” explains Jones. According to him, it is important for cities and countries to have a free press that is independent of the government, corporations, political factions and special interests.

According to Knezevic, a good example of information warfare is propaganda in politics. She believes that some people don’t make the necessary distinction between journalism and propaganda. She believes that “if the information offered by authorities is based on existing prejudices, it tends to demonize “others” while making one’s own ethnic group look good.” She believes that recent events have shown that, “the pen can be as dangerous as the sword.”

There is a wide range of opinions on the changes that social media have brought to journalism and the development of information warfare. Not everyone is satisfied with how journalism has developed, but there is the mutual agreement that changes must be made in order to sustain the need and use for news reporting. Due to our dependence on technology, information warfare is a growing threat to countries during times of conflict but also in everyday situations. The world keeps developing new platforms and technologies that allow readers to attain current news and information. Journalists and news organizations must adjust accordingly in order to remain not only relevant but profitable.

Suzan Kirkman Zake:

Susan Kirkman Zake is an assistant professor in Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She is the former Managing Editor for Multimedia & Special Projects at the Akron Beacon Journal, where she began work as a staff photographer in 1986. Over a 20-year career, she worked as an assignment editor, picture editor, graphics editor, assistant metro editor and assistant managing editor.

She is the recipient of numerous awards for her photojournalist images, the photography, graphics and design staffs under her supervision have been recognized locally, nationally and internationally for the quality of their work. She shares in three Pulitzer Prize team awards; for coverage of the attempted takeover of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.; for A Question of Color, which examined local attitudes toward race; and for coverage of Hurricane Katrina as part of a Knight Ridder editing team working for the Biloxi Sun Herald.

Mike Jones:

Mike Jones has been a news reporter since 2005, covering crime, state and municipal government, education and energy. In addition to working as a multi-media staff writer at the Observer-Reporter in Washington, Pennsylvania, he also has spent time at the Charleston Daily Mail in West Virginiaand Patch.com. He holds a journalism degree from West Virginia University.

Gordana Knezevic:

Gordana Knezevic is the Director of RFE/RL’s Balkan Service. Before coming to RFE/RL in March 2007, Gordana worked as an online editor with Reuters News Agency in Canada, occasionally contributing to the Toronto Star and CBC Radio while there. Before relocating to Canada, Gordana lived in Bosnia, where she was the Deputy Editor of Oslobodjenje, the internationally recognized Sarajevo-based daily paper – which never stopped publishing during the Bosnian War. For her work there, she was honored in 1992 with the Courage in Journalism award from the Washington-based International Women’s Media Foundation. Gordana was an elected member of the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression Board of Directors.

Daniel Moore:

Daniel Moore has worked for the Kent State University paper The Kent Stater for four years now. He’s worked as a reporter and editor since his first semester at KSU and he will graduate next month. He had only become editor-in-chief this semester. KSU is known for having one of the best departments of School of Journalism and Mass Communication in the United States. In March, Daniel went to Helsinki on a reporting trip.

Raymond Johnston:

Raymond Johnson has been in Prague since 1996 and he worked for the Prague Post in 1997 and again starting in 2013. He also worked at Czech Business Weekly and Czech Position (Ceska Posize). Right now Raymond is the editor-in-chief of the Prague Post.

Originally printed in Youth Time Maganize.

This post was updated on June 14th, 2018: the text, as well as title and headline, may have been edited, proofread and optimized for search engines. The featured image may have been changed due to copyright or quality issues.
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French wine events offer a choice of wax celebrities or sushi

Wine company Dvě Deci is having two events. The most accessible is a French wine tasting at newly opened waxworks Musée Grévin on Celená Street. The May 21 event, just the fourth in the new space, will have wines selected by master sommelier and Dvě Deci cofounder Jean Michel Deluc, who has recommended wines to people ranging from the Queen of England and Lady Diana to Woody Allen and Elton John.

Wine company Dvě Deci is having two events. The most accessible is a French wine tasting at newly opened waxworks Musée Grévin on Celená Street. The May 21 event, just the fourth in the new space, will have wines selected by master sommelier and Dvě Deci cofounder Jean Michel Deluc, who has recommended wines to people ranging from the Queen of England and Lady Diana to Woody Allen and Elton John.

Dvě Deci will host a tasting at the new waxworks as well as a separate wine-and-sushi event, originally published here: http://www.praguepost.com/food-and-drink/39003-two-french-wine-events-offer-a-choice-of-wax-celebrities-or-sushi

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Alena Wilson makes little black dresses for real women

Czech fashion designer Alena Wilson finds inspiration, in clients and models who are all “real women.” The 37-year-old’s first collection was a series of simple and elegant small black dresses, or SBDs. She says every woman needs two SBDs in her closet: one that is simple and can be worn with anything and decorated accordingly with accessories, and another for special occasions that’s more fun and sexy.

Czech fashion designer Alena Wilson finds inspiration, in clients and models who are all “real women.” The 37-year-old’s first collection was a series of simple and elegant small black dresses, or SBDs. She says every woman needs two SBDs in her closet: one that is simple and can be worn with anything and decorated accordingly with accessories, and another for special occasions that’s more fun and sexy.

Fashions designed to fit healthy women find a substantial audience, first published here: http://www.praguepost.com/fashion2/38652-alena-wilson-makes-small-black-dresses-for-real-women

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Gallery: Yoka Sola Takes a Personal Touch to Lingerie

French fashion designer Yoka Sola came to Prague seeking to fill a gap in the Czech Republic’s lingerie industry. “I always wanted to create something new, and the idea was to offer something that you couldn’t find in the Czech market: colorful sexy lingerie,” Sola says. Her aim is to offer her clients a personalized service, selling directly to clients that she has met in person and has a personal connection with.

French fashion designer Yoka Sola came to Prague seeking to fill a gap in the Czech Republic’s lingerie industry. “I always wanted to create something new, and the idea was to offer something that you couldn’t find in the Czech market: colorful sexy lingerie,” Sola says. Her aim is to offer her clients a personalized service, selling directly to clients that she has met in person and has a personal connection with.

This was originally published here: http://www.praguepost.com/fashion2/38532-yoka-sola-takes-a-personal-touch-to-lingerie

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More Than Religion Believes in the Power of Numbers

Alena Bělíková is the owner and curator of More than Religion, a company that combines creating fashion with a network for photographers, models and anyone who wants to experience working in the fashion industry. Right now the company is working on publishing its first online magazine….

Alena Bělíková is the owner and curator of More than Religion, a company that combines creating fashion with a network for photographers, models and anyone who wants to experience working in the fashion industry. Right now the company is working on publishing its first online magazine.

Originally published on Prague Post which stopped publishing new articles in 2017: http://www.praguepost.com/fashion2/38395-more-than-religion-believes-in-the-power-of-numbers

This post was updated on June 14th, 2018: the text, as well as title and headline, may have been edited, proofread and optimized for search engines. The featured image may have been changed due to copyright or quality issues.
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Beagles for Peace – War in Ukraine

Today was a long and emotional day for me at Maidan, so my first post about it will be a happy one. One of the first things I saw when I arrived in the square was a group of beagles with yellow-and-blue ribbons on their collars. Their owners were holding signs that read “Beagles for Peace” standing on the steps by the “Christmas tree.” Other beagle owners were coming from every direction and the cuteness was attracting a lot of attention from those passing by…

Beagles for Peace was made possible thanks to the grant I received from the Prague Freedom Foundation to report on the Ukrainian Euromaidan Revolution in March 2014.

Today was a long and emotional day for me at Maidan, so my first post about it will be a happy one. One of the first things I saw when I arrived in the square was a group of beagles with yellow-and-blue ribbons on their collars. Their owners were holding signs that read “Beagles for Peace” standing on the steps by the “Christmas tree.” Other beagle owners were coming from every direction and the cuteness was attracting a lot of attention from those passing by.

Our blogger in Ukraine finds a propaganda battle waged with puppies http://www.praguepost.com/viewpoint/37836-beagles-for-peace

This post was updated on June 14th, 2018: the text, as well as title and headline, may have been edited, proofread and optimized for search engines. The featured image may have been changed due to copyright or quality issues.
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One Field Hospital – War in Ukraine

The protesters were treated very roughly at Maidan. She found a boy sitting in a strange way with his hands bandaged up, she asked him if he was okay and he insisted that he was. She convinced him to come into the hospital; he had a really high fever. She gave him an IV and only then did he admit that he was in jail, beaten brutally, “they jumped on me, humiliated me, hurt me in every way they could,” he told her. He was only 18; he didn’t want his parents to know so they wouldn’t worry about him…

One Field Hospital was made possible thanks to the grant I received from the Prague Freedom Foundation to report on the Ukrainian Euromaidan Revolution in March 2014.

I spent several hours in one of the field hospitals in the very center of Maidan. I spoke to several nurses there, but mainly Iryna Zakharchenko and Olga Azzuz. They pointed out the nurse who was treating the first victim of the protests, the Armenian boy who died on January 22nd 2014. The hospital had paper signs showing which room was used for what, and the furniture was rearranged to transform this office building into a hospital.

Another nurse told me that volunteers began coming in from all over Ukraine, including regions such as Kievska Oblast and Poltava. During the most violent days they had an inflow of 100 – 120 patients a day. The doctors and nurses are still there now, and they come for free, “We have enough, we don’t need money,” one of the nurses told me. They all come because they want to, not because they were asked to. They take turns working, but some of them like Zakharchenko, the coordinator, work up to 15 hours a day 7 days a week. She was very hesitant to speak with me, because she isn’t doing this to get any attention from the media.

She told me that when it started they set up several different rooms for different purposes; therapy, surgery, psychology and dentistry. Humanitarian help brought in some medicine for them to use. During February 18th – 20th there were 100+ patients a day, 90% of the protesters came with bronchitis from breathing in so many dangerous fumes from the gas weapons. Some of them still have health problems as an after-effect of the gas. While Zakharchenko was telling me about this another nurse brought me a ‘souvenir’, I expected a flag or a badge, I was handed a gas mask.

The doctors and nurses at the hospital would help everyone who came in injured, protestors as well as guests to Maidan. “What about Berkut?” I asked, and a dark expression came over her face. “We would help everyone, Berkut too… but usually as a trade for them letting someone go,” she said, but pointed out that this was before February 18th when the most people lost their lives. On February 25th Berkut was disbanded.

She told me that Polish and Czech doctors came to help at the hospitals. Later, Azzuz took me to one of the other hospitals where the doctors from People in Need were stationed. Right now there are Ukrainian doctors from the Rod Cross as well as other foreign doctors who are being sent to Crimea in anticipation of violence. Although things are a lot quieter now in Kiev, Zakharchenko still works at the hospital for a lot more than the legal 8 hours a day, and she comes every single day.

“My soul called me to work here” she said. In the beginning they weren’t allowed to come to Maidan during work, so she would come after and brought food and clothes. When the fighting broke out – Kiev was closed – all over the internet people were saying that it was going to be stormed by Berkut. She wanted to stop people from getting hurt, so she came at 3PM and was trying to get women to leave, but they wouldn’t budge. There were 20,000 people there all from Kiev since no one else could enter and half of them were women. When the Berkut was supposed to come, Tyhnybok, a deputy from the Supreme Council came. He asked Berkut, “Will you really storm these women? What if your mother, sister or wife is here? She stayed there until 8PM that night, and the Berkut did end up storming Maidan, and people were shot.

Once the shooting began, they set up the hospital. She brought her 19 year old son with her many times, because he would tell her, “If you don’t take me with you, I’ll come on my own.” They were very busy, people needed x-rays and surgery, and they needed all the help they could get. She wasn’t the only one who came with her son; many would come with their families, many students worked there all night.

Everyone would give first aid, but many of the injured needed more serious care. They didn’t have a fancy clinic for surgeries and they couldn’t create a perfectly sterile environment. But they had to preform surgeries, there was no other way, people had to be saved.

Her mother didn’t know that she was coordinating and working at this hospital. At one point reporters came to interview the doctos and got her on camera. This was shown on the news and the next day her mom called, demanding to know what she is doing and to know that she is safe. Everyone was scared.

The protesters were treated very roughly at Maidan. She found a boy sitting in a strange way with his hands bandaged up, she asked him if he was okay and he insisted that he was. She convinced him to come into the hospital; he had a really high fever. She gave him an IV and only then did he admit that he was in jail, beaten brutally, “they jumped on me, humiliated me, hurt me in every way they could,” he told her. He was only 18; he didn’t want his parents to know so they wouldn’t worry about him.

Originally published here: https://olenakaguiukraine2014.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/one-field-hospital/

This post was updated on June 14th, 2018: the text, as well as title and headline, may have been edited, proofread and optimized for search engines. The featured image may have been changed due to copyright or quality issues.
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