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UKRAINE

Danish authorities issue information to Ukrainians ahead of annual siren test

Authorities in Denmark say they want Ukrainian refugees in the country to be aware in advance of the siren test that takes place across the country on Wednesday.

danish siren test information in ukrainian
The Danish Emergency Management Agency has issued information in Ukrainian ahead of a scheduled annual test of warning sirens in Denmark on Wednesday. Graphic: Beredskabstyrelsen

At noon on Wednesday, the Danish Emergency Management Agency (Beredskabstyrelsen, DEMA) and the National Police will test the warning siren system. 

It’s a routine test conducted yearly on the first Wednesday in May, and officials are especially keen to remind the public it’s a scheduled drill and not a ‘real’ alarm, given the invasion of Ukraine and many Ukrainians who have fled to Denmark because of the war.

“This year, of course, we are particularly attentive to the Ukrainians who have come to Denmark and have had an experience with air raid alarms that is in a completely different context than the test we run here in Denmark,” Lars Aabjerg Pedersen of the Danish Emergency Management Agency told broadcaster DR

A Ukrainian-language information graphic and fact sheet can be downloaded in pdf form from DEMA’s website. The graphic is also available in English and Russian, and the fact sheet in a number of other additional languages.

The full Ukrainian version of DEMA’s siren test information graphic. Image: Beredskabstyrelsen

The warning sounds will fill the air for a short time in the early afternoon as emergency sirens are tested in the annual drill, which always takes place on the first Wednesday of May. The test will last about ten minutes.

The siren system, with a total of 1,078 sirens enabling them to be heard by about 80 percent of the Danish population, is operated by DEMA, which is part of the Ministry of Defence.

The sirens are fixed to buildings or poles in cities and urban areas with populations of over 1,000, although mobile sirens mounted on police cars can also be used in less populated areas.

Two distinct sounds are given by the sirens.

The first siren, signal 1, signifies ‘go indoors’. Signal 1’s tone rises quickly and falls again slowly, lasting for 45 seconds. If you hear the signal (outside of a test situation), you should go indoors and listen to the radio or watch DR or TV2 for further information. It is also important to make sure others know how to react, according to DEMA.

Signal 2, a long tone lasting 45 seconds, means ‘danger is over’. It is now safe to go back outside and carry on with your day, according to DEMA’s information material.

The agency’s website contains information in several languages on what to do if you hear the alarm sounding a real emergency.

In the event of a major accident or a disaster, the police may decide to use the sirens. At the same, time an emergency message from police or other authorities will be broadcasted by national TV stations DR and TV2.

It’s important not to call the emergency number 112 unless you or people are around your are in immediate danger — either during the drill or a real alarm. You may block real life-or-death calls from getting through, DEMA says.

Emergencies in which the sirens might be used can include the presence of chemical gases, radiation or hazardous smoke.

The sirens are able to warn the entire population, but can also be used regionally or locally to warn specific areas.

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UKRAINE

Rapping, breakdancing Ukrainians win Eurovision in musical morale boost

Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest Sunday with an infectious hip-hop folk melody, boosting spirits in the embattled nation fighting off a Russian invasion that has killed thousands and displaced millions of people.

Rapping, breakdancing Ukrainians win Eurovision in musical morale boost

Riding a huge wave of public support, Kalush Orchestra beat 24 competitors in the finale of the world’s biggest live music event with “Stefania”, a rap lullaby combining Ukrainian folk and modern hip-hop rhythms.

“Please help Ukraine and Mariupol! Help Azovstal right now,” implored frontman Oleh Psiuk in English from the stage after their performance was met by a cheering audience.

In the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, the triumph was met with smiles and visible relief.

“It’s a small ray of happiness. It’s very important now for us,” said Iryna Vorobey, a 35-year-old businesswoman, adding that the support from Europe was “incredible”.

Following the win, Psiuk — whose bubblegum-pink bucket hat has made him instantly recognisable — thanked everyone who voted for his country in the contest, which is watched by millions of viewers.

“The victory is very important for Ukraine, especially this year. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Glory to Ukraine,” Psiuk told journalists.

Music conquers Europe

The win provided a much-needed morale boost for the embattled nation in its third month of battling much-larger Russian forces.

Mahmood & BLANCO  performing for Italy at Eurovision 2022

Mahmood & BLANCO perform on behalf of Italy during the final of the Eurovision Song contest 2022 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)

“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!” he wrote on Facebook.

“This win is so very good for our mood,” Andriy Nemkovych, a 28 year-old project manager, told AFP in Kyiv.

The victory drew praise in unlikely corners, as the deputy chief of the NATO military alliance said it showed just how much public support ex-Soviet Ukraine has in fighting off Moscow.

“I would like to congratulate Ukraine for winning the Eurovision contest,” Mircea Geoana said as he arrived in Berlin for talks that will tackle the alliance’s expansion in the wake of the Kremlin’s war.

“And this is not something I’m making in a light way because we have seen yesterday the immense public support all over Europe and Australia for the bravery of” Ukraine, Geoana said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the win “a clear reflection of not just your talent, but of the unwavering support for your fight for freedom”.

And European Council President Charles Michel said he hoped next year’s contest “can be hosted in Kyiv in a free and united Ukraine”.

‘Ready to fight’
Despite the joyous theatrics that are a hallmark of the song contest, the war in Ukraine hung heavily over the festivities this year.
 
The European Broadcasting Union, which organises the event, banned Russia on February 25, the day after Moscow invaded its neighbour.
 
“Stefania”, written by Psiuk as a tribute to his mother before the war, mixes traditional Ukrainian folk music played on flute-like instruments with an invigorating hip-hop beat. The band donned richly embroidered ethnic garb
to perform their act.
 
 
Nostalgic lyrics such as “I’ll always find my way home even if all the roads are destroyed” resonated all the more as millions of Ukrainians have been displaced by war.

Kalush Orchestra received special authorisation from Ukraine’s government to attend Eurovision, since men of fighting age are prohibited from leaving the country, but that permit expires in two days.

Psiuk said he was not sure what awaited the band as war rages back home.

“Like every Ukrainian, we are ready to fight as much as we can and go until the end.

Britain’s ‘Space Man’

Ukraine beat a host of over-the-top acts at the kitschy, quirky annual musical event, including Norway’s Subwoolfer, who sang about bananas while dressed in yellow wolf masks, and Serbia’s Konstrakta, who questioned national healthcare while meticulously scrubbing her hands onstage.

Coming in second place was Britain with Sam Ryder’s “Space Man” and its stratospheric notes, followed by Spain with the reggaeton “SloMo” from Chanel.

After a quarter-century of being shut out from the top spot, Britain had hoped to have a winner in “Space Man” and its high notes belted by the affable, long-haired Ryder.

Britain had been ahead after votes were counted from the national juries, but a jaw-dropping 439 points awarded to Ukraine from the public pushed it to the top spot.

Eurovision’s winner is chosen by a cast of music industry professionals — and members of the public — from each country, with votes for one’s home nation not allowed.

Eurovision is a hit among fans not only for the music, but for the looks on display and this year was no exception. Lithuania’s Monika Liu generated as much social media buzz for her bowl cut hairdo as her sensual and elegant
“Sentimentai”.

Other offerings included Greece’s “Die Together” by Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord and “Brividi” (Shivers), a duet from Italy’s Mahmood and Blanco.

Italy had hoped the gay-themed love song would bring it a second consecutive Eurovision win after last year’s “Zitti e Buoni” (Shut up and Behave) from high-octane glam rockers Maneskin.

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