Ukraine: Ihor Kolomojskyj, the mastermind behind the sensation Selenskyj

Volodymyr Selenskyj did not distribute flyers, refused long public debates, and did not tour the country's many television channels. In other words, “Ze!”, As the actor and newcomer to politics is called because of the two initials of his name in Ukraine, drove a slightly different campaign. And at the presidential election spectacularly rushed past incumbent Poroshenko (read more about the backgrounds here).

The election victory of Volodymyr Selenskyj, 41, is a sensation. The policy newcomer a phenomenon. One that would hardly have been possible without a powerful supporter: Ihor Kolomojskyi.

“There are actually only two real candidates in this election – Petro Poroshenko and Ihor Kolomojskyj,” Vitaly Portnykov told German radio shortly before the election. He is one of the most influential publicists in the country and says: “Poroshenko and Ihor Kolomojskyj hold cards in this game.”

You could call the billionaire businessman, who sits on a fortune of about $ 1.1 billion, according to “Forbes”, in this context, possibly as the kingmaker. Or as a regicide. For Kolomojskyi, who made a name for himself in the banking, aviation and oil business, had no way around Ukraine for a long time. Until someone dared to dethrone the power of the oligarch sensitive: Petro Poroshenko. The man who now has to give up his position to Selenskyj.

Ukraine and her “servant of the people”

A brief review: The Ukraine was in an extreme situation. At the end of 2013 many Ukrainians dreamed of a democratic constitutional state without corruption. Citizen protests culminated in street battles. The state power fired on protesters. Over 100 people died. Head of state Viktor Yanukovych fled to Russia. And Petro Poroshenko promised after the “revolution of dignity”, as it is called today, departure and change. Five years later, Poroshenko himself is accused of being too indecisive about corruption. In April 2016, there was even a suspicion that he might have used a mailbox company for money laundering or tax fraud.

Before Poroshenko was elected president in the first ballot in 2014, Kolomojskyi controlled airports, airlines, the private bank, and also in the gas and oil business Kolomojskyj was of great importance. The “world” quoted from an internal paper of German intelligence services: “The colossal financial influence of Igor Kolomojskyj on the political ranks of Ukraine allows him to practically dictate the rules of the game to the new leadership of the country.”

And Poroshenko dared to severely curtail Kolomoisksky's influence in a number of measures. He was deposed as governor, nationalizing the private bank, limiting his power in the oil and gas business.

How enthusiastic Kolomojskyi was about his dismissal as governor can be seen in a video. It was published by the Ukrainian Presidential Administration. Poroshenko and Kolomojskyi are sitting opposite each other. The president says placatingly: “I am sure that you will remain a patriot of Ukraine”. The stunned governor answers dryly: “Thanks for the cooperation.”

How better, the new president Volodymyr Selenskyj made even before taking office – at least in the eyes of many television viewers. In “Servant of the People” Selenskyj plays a history teacher who surprisingly becomes president and ruled a bit awkwardly, but incorruptibly and fundamentally. Only a few weeks ago, shortly before the elections, the third season of the extremely popular series started with pompous presidential debut. Perfect (election) program for the largely contentless campaign of his newly founded party, which incidentally also “Sluha Narodu– ie “servant of the people” – means. You can see the political parody on the most popular channel of Ukraine “1plus1”, where the 2019 presidential election campaign was a focal point. Majority owner of the station: Ihor Kolomojskyj.

What goal could Ihor Kolomojskyj pursue?

Selenskyj does not answer at all narrowly on questions concerning financing of its election campaign and personal connection to Ihor Kolomojskyj. The fact that he has traveled to Vienna or Tel Aviv 13 times since the beginning of his TV series two years ago, the residence of the oligarchs, became known only through research by journalists. About it also reports “Time Online”. What goal could Kolomojskyj pursue? With Selenskyj's help, the critics believe, he wants to return to nationalized parts of his corporate empire.

Now Kolomojskyi could have the president as a powerful ally – so at least the fear of critics. The comedy series on Kolomojskyjs transmitter is meanwhile stopped for the time being. It was hotly debated to the last, whether “servant of the people” can go on with a new actor. But from circles of the series it was clear now: “Selenskyj – this person is irreplaceable.”

Swell: Deutschlandfunk, “Die Zeit”, “Die Welt”, “Forbes”, news agency DPA

De Bijlmer versus Amsterdam-Zuid: writer Vuijsje on tour

The book struck ten years ago Only decent people from author Robert Vuijsje as a comet. The story about a Jewish boy who is mainly recognized as a Moroccan on the street – and who only likes big dark women – caused a lot of discussion. The book still ranks among the top 10 best-read books by the youth. And the film of the same name also became a big hit.

His new novel recently arrived Solomon Judgment from. Again the most important themes are discrimination and hassle between the different population groups in the Netherlands.

The author goes on tour through two high schools: De Bijlmer versus Amsterdam-Zuid, where he discusses with students from 4 and 5 HAVO: does everyone discriminate? Can the police be trusted? Do you later marry only someone from your own culture?

Melting glaciers in Greenland “scares”

Measuring melting ice in Greenland or Antarctica is a relatively accurate exercise in 2019, thanks to an arsenal of satellites, weather stations and sophisticated climate models. Scientists also knew how to do quite well for the 1990s and 2000s, but estimates from previous decades were so far unreliable because satellites and other measurement technologies were less advanced.

A change at a frightening speed

In a study published Monday, April 22, 2019 in the Proceedings of the American Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers have recalculated the loss of ice since 1972, when the first Landsat satellites were first photographed in Greenland. “When you look back over several decades, it's better to sit in your chair before looking at the results, because it's a bit scary to see how fast it's changing.“, told AFP the French glaciologist Eric Rignot, at the University of California Irvine, co-author of the study with colleagues in California, Grenoble, Utrecht and Copenhagen.It's also something that affects the four corners of Greenland, not just the warmer parts of the South“.

Glaciologists have three methods for measuring glacial melt. Satellites simply measure altitude – and its variations – with a laser: if a glacier melts, the satellite sees its altitude drop. A second technique, since 2002 using NASA satellites, to measure the earth's gravity variations: the mountains do not move (almost) not, it is the movements and transformations of water that explain them.

Finally, scientists have developed so-called mass balance models: they compare what accumulates on Greenland (rain, snow) to what comes out (rivers of ice), and calculate what remains. These models, confirmed with field measurements, have become very reliable since the mid-2000s, says Eric Rignot – about 5 to 7% margin of error, against 100% a few decades ago.

Ice melts six times faster

The team used these models to “go back in time” and reconstruct in detail where the ice of Greenland was in the 1970s and 1980s. The limited data they had for this period (medium resolution satellite photos, photos aerial observations, snow coring and other field observations) helped to refine the model. “We added a little piece of history that did not exist“, adds Eric Rignot.

The result is that in the 1970s, Greenland gained an average of 47 gigatonnes of ice a year (Gt / yr), before losing an equivalent volume in the 1980s. Melting continues at this rate in the 1990s , before a strong acceleration from the 2000s (187 Gt / year) and especially since 2010 (286 Gt / year). The ice melts there six times faster today than in the 1980s, say the researchers. The glaciers of Greenland alone would have helped raise the level of the oceans by 13.7 millimeters since 1972.

“ an excellent job, by a well-established research team that uses new methods to extract more information from the available dataColin Summerhayes of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge commented, “Like a similar work from the same team for Antarctica, the new study provides a longer context for the rapid melting observed in Greenland in recent years.”Ice melt observed over the past eight years is equivalent to that of the previous four decades“, summarizes Amber Leeson of Lancaster University.

Militant Republican Group: New IRA Commits to Murder of Journalist in Northern Ireland

The militant Republican group New IRA has committed itself to the murder of journalist Lyra McKee in Northern Ireland.

In a letter of protest published in The Irish News, “In the course of the attack on the enemy, Lyra McKee was tragically killed while standing beside the enemy forces.”

One wants to sincerely apologize to the partner of the victim, the family and their friends. The letter was verified by a recognized password.

29-year-old McKee was shot dead on Thursday evening in violent riots in the city of Londonderry. She was standing in a group of people near police vehicles when a bullet hit her head. The investigators assume a terrorist act. The New IRA was also known in March for parcel bombs that had appeared in London and Glasgow. It rejects the peace-building Good Friday Agreement of 1998 and aims for a united Ireland.

Near the crime scene on the outskirts of Londonderry, more than 50 incendiary devices had been thrown at police officers before the murder. Vehicles burned. Earlier, policemen searched for weapons in the neighborhood. The trigger for the riots is said to have been the annual Easter protest in connection with the Northern Ireland conflict. The new riots came at a time when Irish Catholic nationalists recall the uprising against the British in 1916.

At the weekend, two young men arrested after the murder had been released. Allegations against her had not been made, the police said.

“You cannot plan such an attack on your own”

Who is responsible for the 290 deaths and 450 injuries in Sri Lanka? The government of the country says it out loud today: the local extremist Muslim organization National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ). But terrorist expert Sajjan Gohel from the Asia-Pacific Foundation suspects that NTJ had help from a larger international organization.

Big step

“You cannot plan such an attack on your own. A large network that requires training is needed. There must be an international force behind it. They did not come up with this themselves,” Gohel said.

Few people had heard of NTJ before, so far the organization was only known for destroying statues. They have also had collisions with the Buddhist community. To date, they have not been able to do anything great in the terrorist field. Gohel: “From destroying statues to coordinated attacks with many deaths is a big step.”

Yesterday's attack was one of the most serious attacks since 11 September. “Heavier than the train attack in Madrid in 2004, heavier than the attacks in Brussels or Paris. So you have to see it on that scale.”

IS or al-Quaida

The authorities do not want to say much more than that the people arrested are Sri Lankans from the Muslim community, because the investigation is still ongoing. But according to Gohel, it is being investigated whether the people who were arrested were in contact with foreign countries or whether they returned to Sri Lanka after they were at IS.

“IS or al-Qaeda are a possibility. Above all, let's not exclude al-Qaeda, they are regrouping and becoming a bigger player again. Al-Qaeda or IS may have wanted to recruit people in Sri Lanka.”

Returned from Syria

Radicalized Islamic citizens also traveled from Sri Lanka to Syria and Iraq to join IS. According to Gohel, a few of them have returned to the crowd.

“They may have brought their knowledge and training for attacks,” says Gohel, “but it could also be that people in Sri Lanka had online contact via encrypted messages and the dark web to get help with planning attacks, making bombs and choosing targets.

In Nieuwsuur this evening much attention was paid to the attacks, the background of the perpetrators and their link with the NTJ group. You can read the latest news in this live blog.

With this ultrasound, brain surgery becomes even more precise

That is why it is also tested during surgery whether a surgeon is in a healthy area. For example, while a patient reads words, the surgeon gives electrical shocks to the parts of the brain responsible for speech. “But with electric shocks it stays superficial,” says Sadaf. “You don't see how deep a tumor is. You can see that with this new ultrasound technique.”

Sadaf has now made pictures of the blood in the blood vessels during five operations. Before surgeons can actually start operating on the basis of their 3D models, the technology must be further tested and approved.

Technology and care

The project is a collaboration between science, technology and care. The network that supports these collaborations is called Medical Delta. Chairman Ton van der Steen thinks that Sadaf's system will ultimately “revolutionize brain surgery”.

Sadaf is currently a PhD student in neuroscience. After this research she wants to continue with medicine and after that she wants to specialize in brain surgery. She hopes that by that time she can do brain surgery with her own technique.

Extinction Rebellion interrupts its “ecological” blockages in London

The movement Extinction Rebellion interrupted Monday its blockages in London and thought about the follow-up to be given to its action, which aims to obtain a “state of ecological emergency”.

Born in 2018 in the United Kingdom, this network of activists turned international, which advocates non-violent civil disobedience, blocked for a week, until Sunday, several busy sites in the center of the British capital.

Protesters were confined on Monday at Marble Arch, northwest of Hyde Park and at the end of the commercial artery Oxford Street, in the heart of the British capital. Many tents were visible on the spot and “XR” planned to organize a “banquet” at the end of the afternoon.

The Waterloo Bridge, partially turned into a garden by Extinction Rebellion last week, was normally open to traffic after a police intervention the day before to dislodge protesters.

The movement “is entering a new phase,” said Extinction Rebellion in a message posted on its website.

“The one + phase has been a huge success, and occupying places has drawn attention to our cause,” he says, explaining that “phase two” should be discussed Monday after -midday.

On Sunday, James Fox, a spokesman, said the group was ready to take a “break” if the British government agreed to open negotiations. If not, other actions could be taken, he warned.

Extinction Rebellion has three demands in the United Kingdom: the proclamation of a “state of climate and ecological emergency”, the development of an action plan to “reduce to zero” the net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2025 and the creation of a “citizen assembly” which, with the help of scientific advice, would decide on climate issues.

On Sunday, the group was visited by young Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. “Humanity is at a crossroads, we need to decide where we want to go,” she said, denouncing those “in power” who “did nothing to fight the climate crisis” .

The actions led by “XR” have led to 1,065 arrests since April 15, 53 people have been prosecuted, said Scotland Yard Monday.

The London police had complained of having to mobilize many agents on this file, to the detriment of their missions.

“Fridays for Future” movement: Climate protection: Lindner draws parallels to the refugee debate

FDP leader Christian Lindner has warned against making the same mistakes in the “Fridays for Future” movement as in the refugee debate.

“In the summer of 2015, there was the Refugees welcome (Refugees Welcome) campaign and a very emotionally charged debate on the right refugee policy,” he said in a conversation with students organized by the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger and the Rheinische Post , “We should not repeat that in climate policy.”

Today you can see everything in the refugee debate much more sober and differentiated. “I dare predict that the discussion on climate change in three years will be very different, if 400,000 people from the automotive industry must be dismissed.”

According to the “Spiegel”, there will be a discussion in the FDP before the federal party conference next week about dealing with the students' climate protests. The trigger was Lindner's statement that climate protection was a matter for professionals. “Sympathy is also due to ecological and social sensitivity,” quotes the news magazine former FDP Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger. “We should support the great youth movement for the climate and the environment and talk to it.”

The deputy party leader Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann said after “Spiegel” information that the FDP had used in the years 2009 to 2013 by false intonation the prejudice that the Liberals are heartless and cold. «This image is still present. That's why we need to be particularly sensitive in our communication. “

Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU), meanwhile, praised the teachers for their prudent handling of the Friday demonstrations. “My impression is that most of the teachers reacted very cleverly,” Schäuble told the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung” (Saturday). “It was wise that most of the educators held back to catch up on the lesson. Because drama does not help here. “In the long run, however, Friday can not become a demo day. If the tab break becomes the rule, the effect is exhausted. “There will be a mode in a few weeks.”

“Attacks seem to be the work of Muslim extremists, but nothing is certain”

“They were coordinated attacks on Christians and tourists. That looks like the modus operandi of Muslim terrorists. But we don't know anything for sure.” That's what Alan Keenan Sri Lanka analyst from the International Crisis Group said about the series of attacks that killed 207 people today. Among the dead is also a 54-year-old Dutch woman. Keenan warns against hasty conclusions about the perpetrators.

“This specific type of attack, the coordinated nature, the large number of victims, multiple barbaric attacks: something like this has never happened in Sri Lanka,” says Keenan. “So that's why some people think that the attack was not organized from Sri Lanka. That a foreign organization is involved. But there are also many people in Sri Lanka
who are able to do this. Many people have experience with explosives because of the war. Both from the army and from militant groups. “

Since the end of the struggle between the government and the Tamil Tigers resistance movement, the country was relatively quiet. There were, however, incidents of violence between Muslims and Buddhists. The state of emergency was regularly declared as a result of the violence.


Sri Lanka is currently in 'lockdown'. There is a curfew that means streets are deserted. Thirteen people have been arrested, but the attacks have not yet been claimed. According to the prime minister, the perpetrators come from Sri Lanka. But names or other details were not disclosed.

“No matter which community the perpetrators turn out to be, the community as a whole should not be blamed,” says analyst Keenan. According to him, there is already a heightened atmosphere of fear towards Muslims in Sri Lanka. “In that context, there is a high risk that these attacks, if they were ultimately committed by Muslim extremists, would make the entire Muslim community the goal.”

Air pollution of fine particles from Brittany to Normandy

From Finistère to Seine-Maritime, pollution alert procedures were triggered on Saturday and Sunday by the prefectures, which ask motorists to reduce their speed by 20 km / h on 2×2 lanes.

Three departments in Brittany (Finistère, Côte-d'Armor, Ille-et-Vilaine) and three Normandy departments (Manche, Calvados, Seine-Maritime) were affected Sunday by a pollution episode related to a high level of PM10 fine particles in the region. 'atmosphere.

After the Côtes-d'Armor and Finistère, the prefecture of Ille-et-Vilaine announced in turn the “triggering of an alert procedure for an episode of particulate air pollution PM10”, activated for the first time. entire department from Sunday 5 pm until midnight Monday, in a statement.

The procedure was triggered “due to predictions of degradation of the ambient air quality, indicating a high level of PM10 particles,” said the prefecture. In the department, the information-recommendation threshold for PM10 pollution had been exceeded.

In the Finistère, the alert procedure is maintained until Monday midnight, accompanied by a “maintenance of the recommendations broadcast (Saturday), including the maximum speed reduction on roads with 2×2 lanes from 110 to 90 km / h “she said on Twitter.

Ditto in the Côtes-d'Armor where a pollution alert procedure has been activated since Saturday and “until further notice” due to a high level of PM10 fine particles, according to the prefecture.

Pollution particularly concerned the agglomerations of the Channel coast: Sunday morning in Brest, Saint-Brieuc and Saint-Malo, the air quality index was 8 (bad to very bad), on a scale of 10 , according to the air quality observatory Air Breizh.

On the south coast, in Quimper, Lorient and Vannes, as well as in Rennes the index was 6 (average to mediocre), specified the observatory.

The situation improved in Calvados where the prefecture announced the “lifting of the procedure of alert for persistence of pollution” as of Sunday midnight.

For the department “an improvement of weather conditions” is expected Monday, in connection with a change of air masses (flow of Southeast), according to a statement from the Interministerial Service of Defense and Civil Protection.

In Normandy, the situation is due in particular to an “increase in suspended particulate matter levels” in the three departments “due to the air masses coming from the North-East, since high particle concentrations were measured in these regions. days in the Hauts-de-France “, said the air monitoring agency Atmo Normandy.