- david adams
A prototype of the Zelenskiy figurine in Brooklyn, New York, on August 9. PHOTO: Reuters/Roselle Chen
• Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who has been fighting a Russian invasion since February, is being made into a figurine by a product design company in Brooklyn, New York. FCTRY launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production less than two weeks ago. He reached his fundraising goal of US$30,000 in just three hours and has since raised over US$120,000. For every figurine sold, US$1 goes to Ukraine during the campaign which ends on Friday. A six-inch-tall clay prototype of the Zelenskiy figure, cast by Seattle artist Mike Leavitt, will be mass-produced in plastic in China. It should ship by March. “The way we’ve framed him in the campaign is ‘the unlikely hero,'” said Jason Feinberg, FCTRY’s CEO and Creative Director. “He’s the perfect leader for this moment, just this super inspirational character. He has this real strength coming out, but it’s humble and he kind of represents the opposite of everything we associate with politics.” Zelenskiy, 44, a former comic actor, came to power three years ago promising to end a war with Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. A shrewd communicator, he won praise around the world for his defiance in resisting Russia’s devastating invasion of his country. – ROSELLE CHEN/Reuters
Miniature models depict refugees fleeing Ukraine and aid being transported into the country at the ‘Mini-Europe’ theme park in Brussels, Belgium, on July 27. PHOTO: Reuters/Yves Herman
• Ukraine has also been on the minds of those in Brussels where the war-battered country recently secured a spot alongside members of the European Union at “Mini-Europe”, an outdoor theme park in famous European landmarks. Amid more than 300 miniature models and scenes in Brussels Park, visitors will see depictions of refugees fleeing Ukraine after the Russian invasion in February, and trucks carrying medical and food aid into the country. The centerpiece is a model of the Independence Monument in Maidan Square in Kyiv, surrounded by people waving Ukrainian and European flags, and President Volodymyr Zelenskiy handing over Ukraine’s formal application for EU membership. Mini-Europe owner Thierry Meeus told Reuters the idea was to demonstrate EU solidarity with Ukraine and the country’s European destiny, making it the first candidate for possible membership in the EU to be represented in the park. The approximately 20,000 square meter park, which opened in 1989, includes mini scale models of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Houses of Parliament in London and the Grand Place in Brussels. – JOHN CHALMERS/Reuters
Andrea Garcia Lopez, 71, nicknamed “Granny Jordan” by TikTok users, plays basketball during an exhibition game in San Esteban Atatlahuca, Oaxaca, Mexico on August 3. PHOTO: Reuters/Jorge Luis Plata.
• Mexico has a new basketball star: Andrea Garcia Lopez, 71. Dubbed “Granny Jordan” by TikTok users, a video showing Lopez lighting up the courthouse in her small, isolated town of San Esteban Atatlahuca in the southern state of Oaxaca has been viewed more than a million times since it was downloaded by his grandson. In the video, Lopez, a local craftswoman with her gray hair slicked back into two long braids and sporting a long skirt, fakes an opponent near the basket to make room for a shot which she expertly scores on the backboard. Lopez says she hopes to continue playing for many years, even if her knee is starting to hurt a little. – JORGE LUIS PLATAS/Reuters