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Art, Music, and Humour: How Ukraine is Maintaining Public Morale Amid Conflict with Russia

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More than 13 million Ukrainians have fled their homes, including around five million who have gone to neighbouring countries and millions of others displaced within the country itself. Yet the flames of optimism and unity continue to burn bright among Ukrainian homes and abroad, sparked by art, music, and humour. Here’s how they do it.

Paint Brush Mightier than the Sword

Gamlet Zinkivskiy, a Ukrainian artist, has made headlines after the media took notice of his use of art in fighting back against Russian forces. He creates murals to boost morale in Ukraine’s battle-scarred Kharkiv and help thwart Russian forces.

Although he earns a living through his studio art and wishes to further develop his career in England, Zinkivskiy decided to hang back and participate in the fight by using what he has mastered the most — the paintbrush.

His recruiter, Kizhemyako, is a prominent Ukrainian businessman who founded a volunteer militia against Russia. He also supports other artists, such as celebrated poet and novelist Serhiy Zhadan.

Zinkivskiy’s latest work is a mural titled Hospitality from Hell. It is a 3-metre high painting depicting a gasoline can and petrol bombs, much like what Ukrainian Civilians used to fight back against Russia’s onslaughts against Kyiv and Kharkiv earlier in the year.

The title “Hospitality from Hell” was intentionally picked as a mockery of Russian soldiers that expected to be welcomed in Kharkiv and Kyiv but were met with Molotov cocktails instead.

Other works from Zinkivskiy include I Keep Balance, a painting on two large double doors featuring a man balanced on the edge of a white block, one hand holding body armour with a tourniquet attached, and the other arm supporting two birds.

Zinkivskiy’s work only became widely known recently, while other prominent artists across Europe were already making statements as soon as the war started.

For example, street artist Seth had his fresco, titled Onwards Ukraine, on Rue Biot in France just three days into the conflict. It depicted a young girl with a crown of flowers and ribbons, waving the Ukrainian flag and crushing Russian tanks under her shoes. Prints of the work would later sell out at $55 apiece.

Other artists who have shown support for Ukraine include Italian Tvboy, Andrea Villa, Harry Greb, as well as Big Ben from France, Stanislav Belovski from Bulgaria, and Polish Tuse.

Attention-Grabbing Eurovision Win

Ukraine’s recent success in the Eurovision came highly celebrated by citizens worldwide as it tipped the scales in the country’s favour. To Ukrainians, constantly reminding the world of their existence, music, and culture is vital. It shows that Ukraine matters.

The song that Ukraine’s flag bearer Kalush chose for the finals, Stefania, was a rallying cry cleverly disguised as a tribute to lead singer Oleh Psiuk’s mother.

For instance, Psiuk shouted at the end of the performance, calling for the world to help Ukraine. He also mentioned Mariupol and Azovstal steelworks. Many online users praised this bold way of attracting attention. At the same time, Zelenskyy congratulated Kalush Orchestra and pointed out that such courage from Ukraine impressed the world. A video would later surface, showing one of the soldiers deployed outside Azovstal steelworks singing the Stefania song.

Remaining amusingly human and showing the world that Ukraine matters while subtly resisting Russian forces has worked well for the country. We have seen almost 1,000 companies pull out of Russia to support Ukraine, including popular names such as Amazon, Apple, Starbucks, BMW, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi. Even some of the top online casinos and betting sites like bet365 have boycotted the country.

Dark Humour

There is no better adjective for Ukrainian humour than dark. Ukrainians love their jokes so much that they named April Fool’s Day Humorina, the city’s holiday of humour. In Odessa, it is a day of showing kindness and witty humour.

In the same spirit, Ukrainians have managed to use humour as part of their resistance against Russia. Even in the middle of an invasion, the internet is populated with images of Ukrainian civilians and farmers playing with abandoned Russian artillery.

For example, in one video titled “Ukrainian Tractors Versus Russian Armour,” farmers can be seen using a tractor to tow an abandoned Russian tank across the fields.

If that does not sound funny, wait till you hear these next examples. The country’s Twitter account posted a meme illustrating different types of headaches. There was a head with a red patch at the front for migraines, another had it at the back for hypertension, and for the highlight, one that was entirely red for living next to Russia.

In yet another meme, “Hawkeye” from The Avengers is seen asking a Ukrainian soldier: “Are you one of the Avengers?” The response goes: “No, I am from the Ukraine post,” coming from Serhiy Chizhikov, a postal worker who joined Ukrainian forces after the invasion and amazed the world when he shot down a Russian Su-35 plane.

Furthermore, a meme depicting a Ukrainian soldier flipping off Russia’s Moskva warship was turned into a postage stamp and sold out in days, then started reselling at $100 a piece.

Humour is a big part of Ukrainians’ survival strategies and an important aspect of their national characteristic. Even president Zelenskyy was big on jokes back when he headed Kvartal 95 Studio (which he helped found). The group ridiculed Putin and high-ranking Russian politicians for years. For instance, they once described Putin as a baby who could control his gas. They also ridiculed Prime Minister Medvedev, claiming he supported Facebook’s presence in Russia because the platform was the only place he could get friendships.

Humour is working out well for Ukraine and seems to be a crucial part of preserving the country’s individuality and independence in the face of Russia’s invasion. In any case, humour triggers positive mental and physical changes that offer stress relief. In the meantime, we hope for peace and things to go back to normal as soon as possible.

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Money

How to Prepare for a Financial Emergency: Your Loan Options

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Sudden financial emergencies can instantly leave a person feeling taken off guard and vulnerable. A sudden shift in your financial situation, whether it’s a loss of income, medical bills, or emergency house repairs, can be very stressful.

Even the best financial planning and cash management abilities won’t save you from unforeseen payments that far exceed your monthly spending allowance. So, here are some loan options to consider when preparing for a financial emergency.

Personal Loans

A personal loan provides funds in the form of a lump sum that is repaid in monthly payments, and along with paying the initial amount, you also need to pay the interest and fees. They can be used for almost anything, including vacations, weddings, home renovations, and emergencies.

And borrowers with good credit can get the best personal loans with low-interest rates and various repayment options. So, if you’re considering getting a personal loan in preparation for a financial emergency or when you need money right away, look for reliable lending sites to apply for one.

Payday Loans

Payday loans are short-term loans that allow you to borrow small sums of money, such as a few hundred dollars. Payday loans, for instance, have extremely short repayment terms, primarily within two weeks or by your upcoming payment period.

However, payday loans are widely regarded as predatory due to their exorbitant interest rates. Thus, payday loans are ideal if you, as a borrower, require small sums of money and can pay back the debt within a short period.

Credit Card Cash Advances

When used responsibly, credit cards can be valuable tools in an emergency. The cash you can borrow is your card’s limit percentage or a fixed maximum number.

And since the cash advance is linked to your existing card’s credit limit, no additional credit check is required. In addition, credit card advances are ideal for cardholders that already have active credit cards in excellent condition and need only a small loan.

Title Loans

A title loan is another emergency loan that allows you to get cash quickly. You may be eligible for a title loan without requiring a strict credit check.

It’s a secured loan that uses your vehicle title as collateral, and if you don’t pay back the loan by the end of the loan term, the lender has the authority to seize your vehicle to settle the existing debt. It’s one of the best loan options if you wish to prepare for a financial situation that needs immediate funds.

Pawn Shop Loans

A pawn shop loan is a secured loan backed by collateral, the item you bring in and leave with the pawnbroker. And while the sum you can borrow from a pawnshop depends on the item you use as collateral, the broker is likely only to offer you a portion of the item’s total market value.

Pawnshop loans mostly appeal to individuals who cannot obtain a traditional loan. So, if you cannot apply for a conventional loan, you can try a pawnshop loan whenever you need it for a financial emergency.

Small Business Loans

If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, you may borrow to fund your next business venture or to keep your business running. Besides, small business loans are available from credit unions, banks, and online lenders.

Small business loans are available to businesses such as hair salons, restaurants, and freelancers. So, if you’re one of them and in a financial emergency, you should consider small business loans.

Debt Consolidation Loans

Debt consolidation allows you to simplify your payments by submitting an application loan to pay off your debts, leaving you with a single monthly loan payment. And to get a debt consolidation loan that lowers your expenses, you must shop around for an interest rate lower than your credit card or existing loan.

You’re also much more eligible to qualify if your credit has improved since your last loan or credit card. When you’re eligible, your lender may pay your debts automatically or you may have to do it yourself.

Credit-Builder Loans

Credit-builder loans are small short-term loans taken out to assist you in building credit. Unlike traditional loans, they do not require excellent credit to qualify because they are marketed to people with no or limited credit.

You can find a credit-builder loan in credit union lending circles, online lenders, and Community Development Financial Institutions. A hidden benefit of credit-builder loans is that when the loan is paid off, you receive a lump sum of money that you can use for a large purchase or supplement an emergency fund.

Final Thoughts

It’s a difficult pill to swallow, but financial emergencies can happen anytime. While saving for the best times in our lives is important, it’s also essential to plan for the worst. That way, you ensure you are prepared for a financial emergency in the future.

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Business

Choosing the Right Location for Your Business

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There are many big decisions that you have to make when starting a business. Partners, suppliers, funding options and more will all have to be considered, discussed, and eventually committed to. But what about location? Where your business will be based is often the last thing to be thought about, or is something that is essentially left to chance.

Staying in the area where you already happen to be and renting the first available, barely suitable premises may enable you to get started as soon as possible, but it is rarely the best option. The location where your business is based is more important than you might think, and it is something worth prioritizing in the early stages of a startup — or reconsidering if you are hoping to grow an existing concern.

Whether you are talking about a bricks-and-mortar retail unit, office space, or a corporate headquarters, where you are is of paramount significance. Here are some of the factors you might want to consider when choosing a location for your business:

Investment

Certain parts of the world find favor with investors at different times. If your business is based in a region that is attracting investors, then you may find it easier to build seed capital.

Right now, many investors are looking at Latin and South America as a good place to buy stocks in business. Julio Herrera Velutini is a financial and banking specialist based in Puerto Rico who has advised many individuals and companies looking to invest in South America.

Regulations and tax

Many businesses choose to relocate to a different country because the situation regarding regulations and/or taxation is favorable for them. Sometimes, relevant regulations and tax rules can change from one city or state to another. Look carefully at what the current laws are, and how they relate to your business.

Weigh up the pros and cons — would your company benefit from less regulation, or would it put the firm at greater risk? Remember too, that political administrations can change, and new laws can be brought in that may dramatically alter the business landscape, for better or worse.

Perception

Where your business is based can play a big part in how it is perceived. Certain countries, cities and even districts can go in and out of fashion or seem right or wrong for a particular type of company. A solid industrial district may be right for an auto factory, but the address could count against an advertising agency trying to attract clients.

Choosing the right address may be more expensive in terms of rent, but it can soon pay for itself as part of a low-cost marketing strategy where you trade on your location to build your brand. Even if you do not care about being fashionable, businesses that hope to be players on the national or international stage need to be based in a major city to be taken seriously.

Employees

If you want to have the best and brightest working for you, then you need to go where the talent is. Once again, this generally means big cities, but you should select a metropolis where the people with the skills you need will choose to live. Your location might be near to a university that is known for turning out top-quality graduates in the subjects you need, or a place with a traditional labor pool in the kinds of crafts or manufacturing you work with.

Remember that as well as finding the best employees, you have to keep them. If they need to commute to a workplace that is far from pleasant housing districts, amenities, and entertainment, then they may not choose to stay long.

Customers

Depending on the nature of your business, you need to go where your customers or clients are. If your business is a retail shop or hospitality vendor, then choosing the right location is essential. You either want to be right in the central shopping district, or in a neighborhood where your potential customers are likely to go. Sometimes it makes sense to be close to other similar businesses, so that your potential customers are already around. However, sometimes it is better to avoid direct competition and instead fill a gap in another high street.

Cost

Prime real estate is not cheap, but you get what you pay for. Sometimes it is worth paying a bit more for a particular location, and sometimes it is not. Carefully consider the advantages of a given location and whether it is worth the additional overheads.

If having a fashionable address or being close to your customers does not matter to your business, and having plenty of physical space for a factory does, then it makes sense to go where real estate and labor is cheapest. In today’s global economy, many companies choose this option. Weigh up all the costs and savings to see what works best for you.

Location matters and where your business is based can define its future. Think about how your operations might differ in different places. The world is a big place — why not make the most of it?

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LifeStyle

How to Start over after a Painful Divorce

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Divorce is a painful process, and it can be hard to start over. You might feel lost and not know what to do next.

The good news is help is available. Take time to grieve over the loss of your marriage. You may feel sad or angry, but it’s important not to rush through these feelings. Instead, try journaling about it, talking with friends and family members who care about you, or attending counselling if necessary. These can help keep you grounded during this transition period in life.

Going through a divorce can be a devastating experience, and you may feel like you will never recover. However, it’s possible to start over again with patience and time. Here are some tips for making this process easier:

Accept That the Divorce Happened

You will never be able to move forward if you continue to blame yourself. Stop thinking that it was your fault or there was something you could have done differently to keep things together.

You also need to stop blaming your ex-spouse for everything that happened during and after the divorce. Blaming them can only hold them back from making changes in their lives and prevent personal growth. The best thing to do is accept that things ended and there’s something nontoxic to look forward to.

Take Care of Yourself

You have a lot to work on, and taking care of yourself is crucial to getting through it. It’s essential to eat well and exercise regularly.

Take time to relax. After a divorce, it’s easy to push yourself too hard—but that will not help anyone in the long run. You need breaks where nothing matters except being with friends or family members who love you unconditionally.

If possible, try finding more positive outlets for your emotions besides food, alcohol, or TV. Maybe join an online support group or read an uplifting book about divorce recovery success stories. You can also go outdoors and walk around someplace beautiful, like a park.

Don’t Try to Date too Soon after Your Divorce

You must focus on yourself and your needs when going through a divorce. Then again, it’s also normal to want to get out there and date again. You may feel like you need to find someone new as soon as possible. You think you’re ready for a new relationship, or at least prepared to try something different than you had before. But don’t rush it.

Rushing into a possible new relationship can be dangerous. You might find yourself in circumstances that are not good for you. Worse, you might only end up in a situation that can make you feel bad about yourself again.

If you think about it, you’ll start over after your divorce, so why not do it right? Why don’t you take the time to ponder on what kind of person and relationship would be right for you? And then take all the time in the world to get there.

Change Your Relationship with Your Divorce

Now that you’ve gotten through the shock of the initial separation, it’s time to do some real work. No matter how much you wish things were different, the reality is that they are not. You don’t have to feel good about it or like it—but neither can you deny its existence or pretend otherwise.

Give yourself time. There will come a day when all these emotions feel normal again. But, right now, they’re still raw, painful, and overwhelming. Recognize when these feelings hit, so they don’t knock you down completely.

Seek Legal Advice from a Lawyer

After a painful divorce, knowing your rights and responsibilities as a parent is essential. But you might want to get legal advice before moving on with your new life.

A lawyer can help you understand how the divorce will impact your finances and other areas of your life. This includes property ownership. They can also explain what steps you need to take to start over after a difficult divorce. You should also pursue legal advice if you want to change custody or visitation arrangements.

Life Will Be Easier With Legal Help

Ask people you trust for recommendations if you’re looking for a divorce attorney. You can also check reviews and read online directories.

Once you’ve found an attorney, schedule an initial meeting with them. This can assist both parties in better understanding the situation and your goals. They’ll be able to tell you what they think they can do for you. They can also give you a cost estimate based on their experience in similar cases.

An attorney will typically charge hourly fees, though some may charge by the project instead (for example, filing the paperwork necessary for divorce). They will draft documents related to your case and review them with you before submitting them to court. In this most challenging time, you can rely on Nussbaum Family Law. They’ve been helping estranged spouses go through a divorce less painfully and more civilly. You won’t have to go through your legal battle alone with a reputable lawyer by your side, .

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