Polish Toledo

This blog is associated with www.polishtoledo.com

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Invasion Stopped

Recently, officers in Olsztyn intercepted a shipment of fake Polonez vodkas whose labels stated, "made for Poland" (not made in Poland).

The Sejm patched a loophole in the law that permitted sales of “knock-offs”. Approved now is an outright ban on trading fake goods.

Previously, truckloads full of fake Dior perfumes, Barbie dolls, bootlegged Marlboro cigarettes and various vodka brands, fake "branded" clothing and lingerie - were familiar sights for many Polish customs officials.

There is no word as for the quality of the knock-offs, but we would assume poor quality.

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Poland #2 Behind China

Foreign investors created more than 30,000 jobs in Poland last year, more than in any other country in Europe.

11% of executives surveyed by Ernst & Young mentioned Poland as the most attractive country to invest in 2007. Poland ranked second, only behind China, as the preferred location for manufacturing investments and fifth for call centers.

Poland’s poorer ranking in terms of where to locate R&D centers and company seats, where the U.S., Germany and the UK were the clear leaders may be turning around. Poland could attract even more Foreign Direct Investment according to Jan Rutkowski of the World Bank. He said, “France's FDI per capita is higher than in Poland so labor costs are not everything to investors". Rutkowski says that in order to attract more FDI, Poland needs to reform its tax regime and streamline regulation, as well as improve infrastructure and address the growing shortage of professionals. There are indications that Poland may improve its ranking even further: FDI will reach a record-breaking EUR 11 billion this year.

[Related Post]

Majority Opposed to Missile Defense Shield

A survey conducted on a random representative national sample of 903 adult Poles June 1-4, shows a majority are opposed to the proposed Missile Defense Shield to be located in Poland.

60 % oppose plans by the United States to locate 10 anti-ballistic missile silos in Poland as part of a missile defence shield against possible future nuclear terror
attacks by so-called rogue states like Iran and North Korea.

Warsaw-based CBOS pollsters also found 26 % support the plan, which US President Bush and Polish President Lech Kaczynski are expected to discuss in Washington DC in mid-July.

Opposition to the project grew by five per cent since February and appears to be rooted in fears sparked by Russian threats to point its missiles at Europe should nearby Poland host the US missile shield.

Previous Related Posts:






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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Polish mermaids

Polish police have descended on Poland's beaches to ticket topless women in a campaign to force people to hide breasts. The campaign includes banning images of bare breasted Polish mermaids.

Rather than using limited police resources to control speeders and drunks on the Polish roads, police have been assigned to the beaches to force women to cover up. Polish women, when they want to bare tops or bottoms, ignore the fact that it is illegal. Now Polish police have been instructed enforce the law, to look for and to ticket any women that they find topless.

This latest action in the pursuit of a moral revolution in Poland follows an attempt by one of the Law And Justice Party representatives to outlaw miniskirts and low cut blouses.

[Post on mini-skirt ban proposal]

Polish Baby Boom - Strains Hospitals

The government is campaigning to encourage families to have more children, but as children born in a 1980s boom reach fertility, they are straining a system which constitutionally must provide free services to all Poles.

Healthcare has been slow to reform since the end of communism in 1989, and the hospitals' grim state is adding to the difficulties of giving birth.

Since 2004, more people have been born than died each year in this predominantly Catholic nation, although emigration by Poles seeking work means the population of around 38 million is still shrinking.

Worried at the falling numbers, the government has led a campaign to persuade Polish women to have more babies to "save the nation from disappearing", as some politicians have said.

But Poland's economic boom of late has not led to major improvements in the state's healthcare system and it is poorly placed to deal with a big increase in demand on any front.

Saudi King visits Poland

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah arrived in Warsaw on Monday for two days of talks with Poland's leaders on bolstering economic ties and fighting organized crime.

The king is to take part in the signing of bilateral agreements to fight organized crime linked to the smuggling of humans, drugs and weapons and to forging documents and money.

The two countries established ties in 1995, six years after the fall of communism in Poland.

Abdullah gained widespread popularity in Poland after he funded an operation in 2005 to separate Polish conjoined twins Daria and Olga Kolacz, which was performed by a team of 50 Saudi surgeons and nurses in Riyadh. He was awaded the "Order of the Smile" an honor voted upon by children of Poland.

Keeping Abreast of EU Summit

So much for the promise 'to die for' the square root method to balance voting power by member nations of the EU.

The Polish government is being feted at home after agreeing to a last minute compromise at a summit of European Union leaders on a new Constitution. Simultaneously, criticism of its negotiating style is growing abroad.

Remarks by Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski ahead of the summit that Poland would have a population of 66 million today rather than the current 38.5 million if it had not been for the war irritated EU leaders.

Germany's biggest selling tabloid, Bild, was critical of EU concessions to the Polish government. "Why is Poland getting extra wurst?" the paper asked.

Who really came out ahead depends on who you talk to.

At home in Poland a poll shows a majority of Poles got some good concessions. But, a sizable minority question success at the summit.

The right wing movement headed by former parliamentary speaker Marek Jurek, who left the ruling Law and Justice to set up his own party, has criticized the Polish performance at the Brussels EU summit.

Marek Jurek said that the main aim of the Polish government had not been achieved – and that is the introduction of the square root system of voting. Jurek also pointed that the compromise on ignoring the Christian values in the future European Treaty is a harmful decision. The late JPII wanted Poland to be the moral compass of Europe.

Jurek underlined that this important stand for Poland was not defended, and that is wrong both for the public opinion as well as in practical debates on social policies, education or family. Marek Jurek demanded that the Polish head of diplomacy presents a detailed report of the summit.

The right-wing Warsaw weekly magazine Wprost, which backs the conservative nationalist regime of the prime minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, and his twin brother, the president, Lech Kaczynski, has the cover of its latest issue as a montage showing "a beaming chancellor Merkel as "Europe's stepmother" baring her breasts to nourish the infant Polish twins.

In an article in the magazine, a Polish government official reacted to the weekend summit in Brussels, at which Poland stood alone threatening to wreck a deal and won big concessions from Mrs Merkel, by arguing that Germany was treating its eastern neighbour "neo-colonially" and refusing to accept it as a European partner. He accused Mrs Merkel of "humiliating" Poland at the summit because she was "full of complexes herself".

In the run-up to last week's summit, the Polish prime minister stunned colleagues in Europe by seeking to parlay Polish suffering at the hands of the Nazis into greater power in EU councils. Had it not been for the Nazi occupation and murder of six million Poles, half of them Jews, Poland would be much bigger and more powerful in the EU, he argued.

Mr Kaczynski lost, but got a new EU voting system postponed, guaranteeing that in crucial talks on EU budgets in 2013-14, Warsaw will be in a much more powerful position than it might have been.

But Mariusz Muszynski, the Polish ministry official who advises on relations with Germany, said in Wprost that Berlin still refused to treat Poland as "a partner" in Europe. Wprost, which has a circulation of 700,000, has often used graphics to provoke Germany. Its editor-in-chief, Stanislaw Janecki, defended the latest image. "We just wanted to have a bit of fun," he told Spiegel Online.

In the final analysis, the cover slams both Merkel and the Twins. Hey, it's the free press in an open marketplace of ideas. Crude, but free of censorship.

See also post below. And...

[Previous Post A]

[Previous Post B]

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Down with proposed Double Majority for EU

German Chancellor Angela Merkel held her third meeting of the day with Polish President Lech Kaczynski at the European Union summit on Friday in a bid to persuade Poland to agree to a new EU treaty (Constitution).

Poland fiercely opposes proposals by Germany to reform voting rights for the 27-country EU as part of the new treaty. The populist Kaczynski twins who rule the former communist state say the so-called "double majority" mechanism would give big countries such as Germany too much power in decision-making for the EU and penalise mid-sized nations such as Poland.

The German proposal would mean that decisions are passed if they have the support of at least 55 percent of member states and 65 percent of the EU population.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy offered Poland a compromise, suggesting that a small group of EU member states could block certain decisions adopted under the proposed voting system, but the idea was rejected as "a slogan" by a Polish spokesman.

The treaty is intended to replace a draft constitution which was rejected by French and Dutch voters in referendums two years ago.

[See previous posts]

[Also see evil of double majority system of EU]

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Funny New Flick with Kasinski

Polish-American Actor John Kasinski in new film with Robin Williams.

License to Wed follows newly engaged Ben (John Krasinski) and his fiancée, Sadie (Mandy Moore), in their quest to live happily ever after. The problem is that Sadie’s family church, St. Augustine’s, is run by Reverend Frank (Robin Williams), who won’t bless Ben and Sadie’s union until they pass his patented, "foolproof" marriage-prep course.

Consisting of outrageous classes, outlandish homework assignments and some outright invasion of privacy, Reverend Frank’s rigorous curriculum puts Ben and Sadie’s relationship to the test. Forget happily ever after – do they even have what it takes to make it to the altar?

Movie Trailer below.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

What you did yeaterday affects today

The Polish PM has stunned European leaders today with an astonishing attack on Germany for starting the Second World War.

In a spectacularly undiplomatic outburst, he said his country was losing out in today's European Union as a direct result of the millions of deaths that followed its invasion by Germany in 1939.
"We are only demanding one thing - that we get back what was taken from us," said Jaroslaw Kaczynski at the opening of the EU summit in Brussels, chaired by German chancellor Angela Merkel.

"If Poland had not had to live through the years of 1939-45, Poland would be today looking at the demographics of a country of 66 million." The issue of population is at the heart of a heated row over voting rights that could wreck Tony Blair's last EU summit.

A proposed new system of sharing out votes rewards countries such as Germany with the biggest numbers - and Poland is angrily demanding more. Poland's population is 38 million - implying that Mr Kaczynski blames the Germans for the loss of 28 million people.

[Complete Story]

[See previous posts]

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007


As the displaced persons from Europe poured into Australia after World War II Poles established a strong Polonia down under. Today, they're moving into a new phase as an older generation of members are replaced by a new one, with different tastes and needs. In Brisbane you'll find a strong Polish community that maintains a well run club. So much so, that many that come to enjoy some Polish hospitality aren't the least bit Polish.

Forget trendy and expensive bars, if you're a vodka fan head instead to the real deal – the home of vodka (it's said the Russians appropriated it from the Poles). The Polish club (now called Polonia) has at least 20 Polish vodkas, from the innocuous-sounding Balsam Herb Vodka to the sledgehammer Spirytus which is 160 proof. Try a herb-infused vodka with real slivers of silver or the Wild Bee Honey Vodka. Prices range from a ridiculous $3 to a silly $5. There are also Polish beers like Okocim Palone, Perla or Zywiec and Polish liqueurs at $2.50 each.

A the bar or the club's restaurant you can sample some traditional Polish staples like pierogi, or the national dish, bigos (a hunter's stew made with venison, lamb or beef, wild mushrooms, and juniper berries, or apples). Golabki are the famous Polish cabbage rolls, stuffed with minced meat and rice, while fasolka po bretonsku is a rustic bean and sausage stew.

Many of the local businesses have discovered the Polish Club, says manager Kamilla Serek, and the clientele is eclectic, from students to pensioners. Every second Friday, the club also hosts a small market in the downstairs hall, where you can buy Polish cakes, doughnuts and delicatessen goods as well as Polish sausages.


Photo from Polish Fest in Tasmania

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And, Action

The United States is honoring the Oscar-winning Polish film director Andrzej Wajda as a "moral and professional authority" for films that chronicled the development of the Solidarity freedom movement.

Wajda, who supported the pro-democracy movement that helped topple communism in 1989, is the first recipient of the new award from the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw. The award, celebrating contributions to U.S.-Polish understanding, is to be given annually. He is not only one of the most acclaimed directors in the history of film, but he brought Polish culture and politics to U.S. and international audiences through his films.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sad Chapter Closed too Late for Many

Reuters reported last week - Germany wrapped up one aspect of its Nazi past on Tuesday by shutting down a forced labor fund that paid out more than 4.37 billion euros to 1.7 million elderly victims of the Hitler era around the world....

So, a price has been set on the value of human dignity and restraint from freedom and liberty. 2500 EU for those enslaved laborers during Nazi occupation of Poland. This story of retribution I have followed for more than 5 years, and my heart bled each passing day as another few hundred survivors pass on without seeing one cent of compensation.

Justice delayed is justice denied (W. E. Gladstone).

Atrocities committed by the Germans during the war were not only criminal, but also exacted a "cost" to humanity, which centers more with civil law. When liability cannot be paid out in currency, usually the remedy at law is attachments of assets and property.

Conquered nations and those that lost at war have through the millennia paid the price. Attachments of German government assets should have been the avenue of swift payment to the victims of Nazi inhumanity even before the turn of 20th mid-century.

Now we are quelling some German's claim to lost lands affected by the post war border shift in the west of Poland devised at Potsdam.

I do not believe the sins of the father should be visited on the son. Justice delayed is truly justice denied. The lack of addressing this compensation issue in a more timely fashion was deplorable. Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, of course, plays into the equation ;however, I take no comfort in Aeschylus' observation, "Justice turns the scale, bringing to some learning through suffering."

I do believe there is a price to pay for atrocities, but 2500 EU on average, years too late and for too few cheapens the existence of man. Go after the Stalinists if they still exist. But, to extract petty change from them too would further devalue the priceless grace of man.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Muscle of MickyD in Poland

McDonald's Corp. aims to double its outlets in Poland to 420 over the next 10 years, making the country one of its five biggest European markets.

The firm expects 2007 revenue growth to outpace last year's 17 percent gain in the country of 38 million people. McDonald's, which rolled out its first Warsaw restaurant in 1992, faces growing competition in Poland's expanding fast-food market.

This particular icon of the fast-food chain shown left is being carried away by two members of a local police department. Perhaps the news of expanding locations across Poland caused a little too much celebration. If you know the history of redheads in Poland - perhaps Ronnie is being carried away for another reason. If he is also left handed he'd be in really big trouble.

AmRest SA, which operates Pizza Hut and KFC outlets in Poland, also is opening new stores. Burger King, which opened its first Polish eatery last month, plans to set up seven more this year. MickyD holds 60 percent of Poland's fast-food market. They are modernizing thier restaurants, adding new locations and constantly changing the menu. This year, McDonald's will start selling breakfast in Poland and widen its range of coffees. It is also negotiating with Poland's third-biggest mobile-phone company for free Internet access at all of its restaurants in Poland.


For world domination - first, you must supplant nationalism. Appears Tony Blair wants to be the new Caesar.

[Click Here for story]
[Previous Post - Poland sticks to its guns]
[Previous Post - Not prudent, ain’t gonna do it]

Video Tour of Polish Riviera

Little known to Americans and Polish-Americans too is a City on the Baltic that’s a resort area with beautiful beaches and seascapes in addition to its handsome historic architecture and its one of a kind warped, twisted, misshapen tavern that purposely looks like a structure out of “Alice in Wonderland”. Take the amazing short video tour. And, if you get a chance attend the Sopot Summer Music Festival. While basking on the beach; however, remember before you jump in the Baltic for a swim – Like our own Great Lakes, Michigan and Superior, the water never gets warm. Simply stimulating!


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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Corpus Christi Procession - Buffalo

[VIDEO - Buffalo Corpus Christi Procession]

Inductees at Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame

The 35th annual National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame Induction banquet is at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Polish Cultural Center, located at Maple Road and Dequindre in Troy. Tickets are $100 and can be ordered at (248) 588-5333.

Former major league pitcher Ray Sadecki , wrestling legend Walter "Killer" Kowalski , swimmer Chet Jastremski and pro football star Tom Sestak have been elected.The four new members bring the Hall of Fame roster to 107. It was founded in 1973, and former St. Louis Cardinal baseball great Stan Musial was the first inductee.

Lech comes out fighting

Former Polish president and Nobel laureate Lech Walesa said Sunday he has published on the Internet about 500 pages of files kept on him by the communist-era secret police in order to disprove allegations he collaborated with them in the 1980s.

Walesa founded and led the Solidarity trade union that helped topple communism in 1989, but has been dogged for years by allegations that he collaborated with the secret police in an attempt to sabotage the freedom movement. Although he has been cleared in court of such charges, Walesa has continued to face allegations from leading Solidarity activists Anna Walentynowicz and Andrzej Gwiazda, and Gwiazda's wife, Joanna Duda-Gwiazda.

Walesa said the files show that Gwiazda and Walentynowicz were themselves manipulated by the secret police without realizing it, and that the secret services pursued a strategy of deepening discord among the key Solidarity leaders.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Like gum on the sole of a shoe - hard to get rid of

More than 1,000 residents were evacuated from downtown Warsaw on Friday after construction workers unearthed a 1.5 ton gift from Nazi Germany.

"It's a big bomb shell, around 1.5 tons, so we have to take all necessary security measures," police Sgt. Andrzej Browarek from the Warsaw police said on TVN24 television. "There are explosive experts on site who will decide on how to remove the shell."

Police had set up medical points for older residents in the 30 C (86 F) heat, Browarek said.

Television footage showed heavy construction equipment inactive near the large, rusted bomb. A handful of tall apartment buildings surrounded the building site, in central Warsaw.

Warsaw was heavily bombed during fighting in World War II, sparked after Nazi Germany invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, and many unexploded bombs remain strewn across the country.

Do they send the bill for bomb disposal to Berlin?

Work Slow Down

Workers in several hypermarket chain stores staged a go-slow across Poland Thursday in protest at having to work on Sundays and public holidays, a Solidarity trade union spokesman confirmed.

Thursday is a public holiday in Poland marking the Roman Catholic feast of Corpus Christi.

Workers and Solidarity union members intent on forcing retailers to close shop on public holidays were serving customers at a snail's pace Thursday.

Solidarity union officials noted several hypermarket chains had shut down for the Corpus Christi holiday, while others offered double wages to their employees to work on the holiday.

The union is lobbying parliament to pass legislation banning retail stores from operating on 12 annual public holidays.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Spanish Fly in The Polish Ointment

A Spanish homosexual activist and Socialist parliamentarian, Pedro Zerolo, is demanding that Poland be expelled from the European Union if the nation passes legislation banning homosexual propaganda in public schools.

Arguing that every European Union should afford equal rights to homosexuals, Zerolo said that policy under discussion for Polish schools violates that principle. He concluded his statement by inviting Poland to leave the Union, saying, "There are the doors!"

Corpus Christi

Thursday is Corpus Christi – one of the major holidays in the Catholic church. The predominantly Catholic society in Poland is widely observing this religious occasion.

The hallmark throughout the country are traditional mid-day processions of the faithful in their respective parishes. The major event took place in the capital. It was led by the metropolitan of Warsaw archbishop Kazimierz Nycz, following morning mass at the Holy Cross basilica. In his homily, the archbishop emphasized the need for unity among Poles.

The first Corpus Christi procession in the Catholic church was organized by bishop Robert in the parish of Liege in 1246. In Poland, this religious holiday has been observed since the year 1320.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Ferris Buelowski's Day Off

Leaders of Poland's Solidarity movement are threatening a nationwide strike on the feast of Corpus Christi, to protest policies that require employees to work on religious and national holidays.

At a press conference in Warsaw, leaders of Solidarity's retail division appealed to employees across the nation to join in a work stoppage on June 7, when Corpus Christi will be observed.

Solidarity is demanding that all retail stores be closed on Sundays and on the country's 12 most important national and religious holidays, including New Year's Day, Easter, Corpus Christi, All Saints' Day, Independence Day, and Christmas. A proposal to the same effect was introduced in the Polish parliament this year, but has yet to be voted on.

Polish Anne Frank

The diary of a 14-year-old Jewish girl dubbed the "Polish Anne Frank" was unveiled on Monday, chronicling the horrors she witnessed in a Jewish ghetto at one point watching a Nazi soldier tear a Jewish baby away from his mother and kill him with his bare hands.

The diary, written by Rutka Laskier in 1943 shortly before she was deported to Auschwitz, was released more than 60 years after she recorded what is both a daily account of the horrors of the Holocaust in Bedzin, Poland and a memoir of the life of a teenager in extraordinary circumstances.

"The rope around us is getting tighter and tighter," the teenager wrote in 1943, shortly before she was deported to Auschwitz. "I'm turning into an animal waiting to die."

Within a few months Rutka was dead and, it seemed, her diary lost. But last year, a Polish friend who had saved the notebook finally came forth, exposing a riveting historical document.
"Rutka's Notebook" a 60-page memoir includes innocent adolescent banter, concerns and first loves combined with a cold analysis of the fate of European Jewry.

I simply can't believe that one day I will be allowed to leave this house without the yellow star. Or even that this war will end one day. If this happens I will probably lose my mind from joy," she wrote on Feb. 5, 1943. "The little faith I used to have has been completely shattered. If God existed, He would have certainly not permitted that human beings be thrown alive into furnaces, and the heads of little toddlers be smashed with gun butts or shoved into sacks and gassed to death."

Reports of the gassing of Jews, which were not common knowledge in the West by then, apparently had filtered into the Bedzin ghetto, which was near Auschwitz

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Tallest building in EU to be in Warsaw

Rzeczpospolita reports insurance company Warta and PKP Polish Railways are to build the tallest buildings in the European Union right in the center of Warsaw.

The Twin Towers, about 300 meters high, would be located near Aleje Jerozolimskie. One would be built jointly by both companies, while the second would be a sole project for PKP. The towers would be taller than the Palace of Culture and Science, which is currently the tallest building in Poland at 231 meters with the spire. The tallest building in the EU currently is Commerzbank' s 299 meter headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany.

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Sticking to Your Guns

Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski warned last week that Poland was ready "to die" to get its way over a proposed new European Union treaty.

Warsaw has repeatedly threatened to veto new text to replace the EU's moribund constitution unless it gets its way on how the 27-nation bloc makes decisions affecting the whole EU. "We are ready to die for that, despite contrary information in the press," Kaczynski said in an interview with Polish news agency PAP.

Sticking to Your Guns - look for Gary Cooper post below.

[See earlier post onthe subject]

Did you hear the one about the . . .

This is a true story reported by TVP and BBC.

A Polish man who worked on the railroad woke up from a 19-year coma to find the Communist party no longer in power and food no longer rationed. Jan Grzebski, 65, fell into a coma after he was hit by a train in 1988.

"Now I see people on the streets with mobile phones and there are so many goods in the shops it makes my head spin," he told Polish television.

[Watch BBC News Clip]

Devoted wife (another reason to marry a Polish woman)

He credits his survival to his wife, Gertruda, who cared for him. Doctors gave him only two or three years to live after the accident.

"It was Gertruda that saved me, and I'll never forget it," Mr Grzebski told Polish news channel TVN24 of his recovery.

Mrs Grzebski is reported to have moved her husband every hour on the hour to prevent bed sores. "Those who came to see us kept asking: 'When is he going to die?' But he's not dead."

When Mr Grzebski had his accident Poland was still ruled by its last communist leader, Wojciech Jaruzelski. "When I went into a coma there was only tea and vinegar in the shops, meat was rationed and huge petrol queues were everywhere," Mr Grzebski said.

"What amazes me today is all these people who walk around with their mobile phones and never stop moaning," said Mr Grzebski.

"I've got nothing to complain about."

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Learn Polish?

Not so helpful Polish language lesson
from a typical American Airhead

Polish Girls & How to Chat With Them

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Saturday, June 02, 2007


Poland ranked 27th in the annual Global Peace Index which has just been presented in London.

The safest country in the world is Norway while the most dangerous is Iraq.

121 countries from Algeria to Zimbabwe have been ranked by their 'absence of violence', using metrics that combine both internal and external factors like street violence, organized crime and operations of armed forces in a given country.

The Index has been endorsed by His Holiness Dalaj Lama, archbishop Desmond Tutu and former US president Jimmy Carter, among others. Peace index scores from 1 to 5 where 1 is most peaceful and Poland received 1.683 after considering factors like level of crime, respect for human rights, political instability and the potential for terrorist acts.