Polish Toledo

This blog is associated with www.polishtoledo.com

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Glory Days

Looks like the end could be near for the Gdansk shipyard where Lech Wałesa and the Solidarity movement lit the fuse that led to the collapse of the communist regime in Poland and the eventual fall of the Berlin Wall and Soviet satellite governments from the Baltic to the Black Sea 28 years ago.

[Slick flash video of Solidarity struggle]

17,000 worked beneath the Gdansk cranes - now, 3,500 are employed.

The future of the dockyards has revealed divisions in Polish society, with Walesa, now 64, weighing in. "The era in which Germany united, Europe united and the world started moving to a new global unity started in Gdansk shipyard," he said.

"It is the first monument to these events and it should be preserved for humankind. We should do our best to make the yards profitable, but without destroying them."

The final straw, according to senior officials at the yard, is a European Union demand made late last month that millions in economic aid be repaid and that two of the three remaining slipways where ships are constructed be closed.

If Poland does what the EU wants, it will be the end. The Gdansk shipyards will become economically enviable.

Requiéscant in pace. Amen.

Not a secret anymore

Dealing with its communist past, Poland this past week published a list of public figures who either collaborated with or were spied on by its old secret police before 1989.

There was so great an interest in the list that theInstitute of National Remembrance Website crashed.

Dead is Dead, Man

EU countries are pushing for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty. But European Union consensus has fractured over Poland's determination to link the issue with abortion and euthanasia.

Poland's refusal to go along with its fellow 26 E.U. member states has stymied the bloc's plans to mark an official "European day against the death penalty" next month.

Poland argued that the EU should instead celebrate a "right to life" day, with abortion and euthanasia on the agenda, too.

Germany's Spiegel reported that a further stir was created by reading aloud abortion figures for Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

Poland is one of just three E.U. member states -- the others are Ireland and Malta --to prohibit abortion on demand.

The Paris-based group Together Against the Death Penalty expressed deep disappointment over the turn of events, and said the death penalty issue could not be linked with those of abortion and euthanasia.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Remember Ross Parot?

How to win an election by a divided opposition Playbook 101.

In the last election Law and Justice (PiS) won over Civic Platform (PO). This year both are about even in support.

The upcoming election will be dominated by social moods instead of essential information presented during the campaign. (American style if you ask me) During the age of economic growth and improving outlooks, the middle class has much more to lose and its representatives are terrified by the autocratic nature of PiS so they have more arguments to move the ruling party away from the power.

This might give an advantage to PO, but the party might face a problem as it appeals to the same people as the Left and Democrats (LiD). Even if the opposition gathers more votes, PiS might win anyway, as it [PiS] is looking for support where there is no competition.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

GM's BIG Polish Deal

General Motors has announced plans to rebuild the FSO manufacturing plant in Poland and make it Europe's biggest Chevrolet producer with 400,000 vehicles built annually.

To complete the deal GM announced it paid $254.5 million for 40 percent of FSO shares. GM is also prepared to pay to the Polish government $192 million that the state invested into bailing out the FSO plant, after the South Korean Daewoo car producer went bankrupt in 2001, according to Rzeczpospolita.

How will they ever get those 40 inch wide Polish license plates attached to Polish built Corvettes?

Notice the Polish flag has been replaced by the EU circle of stars emblem. Kosciuszko must be rolling in this grave.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Move On . org-ski

A Polish computer programmer could face up to three years in jail for linking a slang Polish word for penis to the presidential Web site.

Marek W., 23, created a programme that caused the official home page of Polish President Lech Kaczynski to rank first in the list of results on the Google search engine when "kutas", a vulgar term in Polish, was typed in by an Internet user.

The computer programme did something similar to a practice known as "Google bombing" that links the Web sites of politicians and companies to insulting words or phrases.

He has been charged with insulting the president and prosecutors said on Friday he could face up to three years in jail if convicted. "This is not a matter of freedom of speech," said Andrzej Holdys, a regional prosecutor in the southern town of Cieszyn, where the programmer lives.

"If somebody uses a derogatory word to libel the head of state than it's a clear insult which violates the law."


Polish border guards have found the bodies of three Chechen sisters - the youngest aged six - who died in the mountains on the border with Ukraine. The guards found their exhausted mother on Thursday clutching a fourth child - a two-year-old son - near the border.

They had been trying to enter Poland illegally. They had spent four days in the cold and wet, the woman said.

The bodies were found 1,100m (3,600 ft) up a mountain in the Bieszczady range. The girls were aged six, 10 and 13.

Thousands have fled Chechnya in more than a decade of conflict.

The mother and surviving child are now in hospital.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Miss Polonia 2007

Twenty one year old Barbara Tatara from Lodz, central Poland, has been
crowned Miss Polonia 2007.

Barbara, a brunette, is a language student and her vital statistics are
(in centimeters) 86-66-85 and is 176 centimeters tall.

The winner of Miss Polonia, crowned Saturday night at the Congress Hall
in Warsaw, automatically goes on to contest the Miss World final later
this year.

Watch her strut her stuff [Click Here]

I'd rather have Ola Domagała - Kazdy sadzi wedlug siebie

[Click Here]

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Ex induments

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 13, 2007 (Zenit.org).- People who want to receive a relic "ex indumentis" -- from the clothing -- or a holy card of Pope John Paul II, may do so by writing to the Vicariate of Rome.

The Vicariate of Rome is accepting requests via mail, fax or e-mail for the religious items. The petition should be sent to "Holy Cards and Relics Service," and should indicate a shipping address.

The holy cards contain the prayer to obtain graces through the intercession of the Servant of God John Paul II and can be requested in English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Polish and Portuguese.

Though the vicariate is not charging for the holy card, donations are accepted to cover the printing and mailing expenses.

For more information, visit the official multilingual Web site of the postulation of the cause of beatification and canonization.

Send requests to:
Vicariate of Rome -- 3rd Floor
"Totus Tuus"
Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano, 6/A
Rome, Italy 00184

Tel: +39 06 69893723
Fax: +39 06 69886240

To contact the Vicariate's Web site: [Click Here]

* * *


O Blessed Trinity
We thank You for having graced the Church
with Pope John Paul II
and for allowing the tenderness of your Fatherly care,
the glory of the cross of Christ,
and the splendor of the Holy Spirit,
to shine through him.
Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd,
and has shown us that holiness
is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life
and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you.
Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will,
the graces we implore,
hoping that he will soon be numbered
among your saints.

With ecclesiastical approval

The Holy Father's Vicar General
For the Diocese of Rome

Monday, September 17, 2007

Elections a'commin'

According to the PAP state news agency - Poland's ruling conservative Law and Justice party leads its pro-business opposition by 34% to 30% in a new opinion poll published ahead of elections in late October.

The poll showed the Left and Democrats grouping would also make it into parliament with 17%, along with the far-right League of Polish Families on 6 pct and the Peasants Party on 5%.

Law and Justice would take 180 of the lower house of parliament's 460 seats, well short of a majority, compared to the pro-business Civic Platform's 159 pct.

Financial markets are hoping the Platform will take the leading role in a new administration after two years of conservative government that has done little to push on with privatisation and reform of public finances.

The poll was conducted between August 31 and Sept 13.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Political Influence

Father Tadusz Rydzyk, a radical Polish priest has become the "king-maker" of his country's election campaign. The priest runs the Radio Maryja Catholic Media Network and his messages to the faithful could influence the outcome of the polls.

The coalition led by the prime minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, fell apart last month and an election campaign has begun. While Mr Kaczynski and his twin brother Lech, who serves as president, are well known for their grip on the secular levers of control - including a myriad of security services - Fr. Rydzyk has emerged as a power broker who claims his power from a higher authority.

In staunchly Roman Catholic Poland, the ability to mobilise the faithful in their pews and at the ballot box is critical. Run from a fenced compound in the city of Torun, 75 miles north-west of Warsaw, Radio Maryja was created by Fr Rydzyk in 1991 and has one million listeners a day. Others read the priest's newspaper or watch his television program. Radio Maryja has become a crucial political ally of the conservative Kaczynski twins. "Radio Maryja has up to 1-2 million listeners. But they are a very specific group - usually old, and very disciplined voters," said Dr Jacek Kucharczyk, from Poland's independent political think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs.

"In the 2005 elections, with Poland's low turnout, the Kaczynskis won with just 3.5 million votes, so a block of one million voters is huge. It has made Rydzyk a king-maker."That power has increasingly allowed Fr Rydzyk to impose Radio Maryja's agenda on national politics in Poland.In part that means homespun family values.But Radio Maryja's critics argue that Fr Rydzyk and his media empire are also anti-Semitic and homophobic."It is extremist. The political message is xenophobic, notoriously anti-Semitic, anti-German, homophobic - you name it," said Dr Kucharczyk.

Poland Holds Position on New EU Constitution

Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski has reiterated that Poland will continue to try to introduce a blocking mechanism into any new EU "constitutional" treaty, which would enable nations to delay decisions not to their benefit. "Poland will make efforts to introduce arrangements from Ioannina into the EU constitution treaty protocol, since that would boost the document's prestige, placing it on a level equal to other EU treaties", according to the PM.

The so-called Ioannina compromise refers to an informal agreement made in Greece in 1994 when ministers were discussing how to organize qualified majority voting within an enlarged European Union. "Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga confirmed during the last meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Portugal that Poland sees as it's main objective introducing a provision allowing to postpone disadvantageous, in Poland's opinion, decisions in the Council of the European Union ", said PM Kaczynski. "There is an ongoing discussion concerning the EU treaty and we will continue persuading the remaining EU member states to accept Polish postulates", added the prime minister.

Katyn Forest Find

Like Nazi atrocities during WWII, the USSR is not without its sins. For those unfamiliar with Katyn Forest Massacre - google it.

An ID tag belonging to a Polish soldier gone missing in the Soviet Union in 1940 has been dug up in Bykownia near Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. A group of Polish archeologists found the tag belonging to sergeant major Naglik. Naglik's name was on the list of 3,435 Polish POWs, who, according to documents had been transported from prison to prison.

No written evidence of what happened to Polish soldiers later has been found yet. The ID tag is the first proof that part of the victims of the Katyn Forest Massacre were murdered in the Ukrainian capital, before they were buried in mass graves in Bykownia. The forest near Bykownia is one of the most well known spots of Stalinist crimes on the territory of Ukraine. The number of victims buried there is estimated at up to 100,000 people.

Poland's Economic Performance - Two Thumbs Up

Poland's GDP growth will reach 6.5% in 2007. The European Commission sees such considerable growth as a result of better than expected economic results for the second quarter of this year as well as promising prospects for the future. For the third quarter it forecasts 1.2% growth and for the fourth 1.3%. According to the Commission, growth of this scale is mainly boosted by internal demand. Among the most important factors the Commission mentions a rise in consumption bolstered up by diminishing tax burdens and an improving situation on the job market.

The Commission praised Poland for a rise in the employment rate between the first and the second quarter by 1.2%. "This means that around 300,000 people have found a job", reports the Commission with satisfaction. "The situation will continue to improve but at a slower pace," says the EC's report. However, the Commission also notes the fact that the improvement of the situation on the job market has stimulated higher pay expectations, which in turn is one of the factors contributing to inflationary pressure. It also mentions the shortage of workers in some market sectors as well as rising prices of petrol and food. This is why the new forecasts say inflation in Poland will be 2.4%, and not 2%, as has been estimated earlier.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

VISA still not every where you want to be

Archived: Polish Global Village
The Visa Barrier
By Janusz Reiter
Wednesday, August 29, 2007; Page A17

Congress's recent changes to American visa laws will be of little comfort to people in Central Europe (http://www.washingt onpost.com/ ac2/related/ topic/Central+ Europe?tid= informline) who wish to travel to this country. Citizens of these countries will continue to undergo visa application procedures whose rules they do not understand and which they consider to be anachronistic, unjust and even humiliating.

American visa policy is driven by two concerns: fear of unwanted immigrants and concern about U.S. security. These concerns are reasonable, but it's difficult to understand why they should create a barrier against people from Central Europe. (http://www.washingt onpost.com/ wp-srv/community /saveandshare. html) Those who think that the first priority of every Pole is to settle in Chicago (http://www.washingt onpost.com/ ac2/related/ topic/Chicago? tid=informline) have a rather outdated view of how things are in my country today. First, the economic situation has changed radically in Poland (http://www.washingt onpost.com/ ac2/related/ topic/Poland? tid=informline) and in other countries in the region in recent years.

Second, those seeking jobs outside of Poland can find them much closer to home -- in Britain (http://www.washingt onpost.com/ ac2/related/ topic/United+ Kingdom?tid= informline) , Ireland (http://www.washingt onpost.com/ ac2/related/ topic/Ireland? tid=informline) and other places in the European Union (http://www.washingt onpost.com/ ac2/related/ topic/European+ Union?tid= informline) , which have opened their job markets to people from the new member states.

Poland continues to be excluded from the American visa waiver program, which allows quicker and easier entry to the United States. The main problem is an arbitrary and inflexible standard on the rejection rate for people in a particular country applying for U.S. non-immigrant visas. The requirement is meant to exclude those who might overstay their visas and seek work in the United States. But it has little relationship to the situations of Poland and the rest of Central Europe. The waiver program is designed for visitors who want to come to the United States on business, to see their families or just to go shopping in New York (http://www.washingt onpost.com/ ac2/related/ topic/New+ York?tid= informline) . They are the kind of people who are representative of the new Poland, visitors whom the United States should be trying to attract. Instead, it keeps them away.

What about security? Central Europe is one of the safest and most stable regions on the continent. And the countries in that region have sided with the United States in the global fight against terrorism. Poland has fought in Iraq (http://www.washingt onpost.com/ ac2/related/ topic/Iraq? tid=informline) from the very beginning of the operation and is also one of the biggest contributors to the mission in Afghanistan (http://www.washingt onpost.com/ ac2/related/ topic/Afghanista n?tid=informline) . Warsaw (http://www.washingt onpost.com/ ac2/related/ topic/Warsaw? tid=informline) and the other Central European capitals have declared that they are ready to work with the United States to gain better control of the movement of people.

Indeed, expansion of the visa waiver program would bring about more, not less, security for the United States and Europe (http://www.washingt onpost.com/ ac2/related/ topic/Europe? tid=informline) . This is one of the reasons that the U.S. administration has supported including Central European allies in the program. Many members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have also endorsed this change. But they failed, unfortunately, to pass a law that would enable the countries of Central Europe to join the waiver program. While many Poles were shocked and angered by this latest failure, others saw it as not particularly important to them. According to one opinion poll, 80 percent considered the decision on visas important for the nation, but only 39 percent said it was relevant to them or their families.

This isn't good news for the United States. It shows that for Poles, traveling to America does not have the same importance it did 10, 20 or 30 years ago. More and more Poles seem to be saying: "America doesn't want us? We'll travel elsewhere. The doors of the European Union are wide open to us. The European passport allows us to travel without visas to dozens of countries around the world." But what do such attitudes mean for future relations between the United States and Central Europe, which is still one of the most pro-American regions in the world? The mainstream political elite will certainly remain committed to an alliance with the United States.

But, what made this part of Europe unique was widespread popular support for close cooperation with the United States. This support is threatened. If America is to be considered only as a partner in the arena of security -- important but not dominant in the lives of Central Europeans -- the "American dream" will fade in the region. Perhaps in time someone will ask: Who lost Central Europe? This need not happen. It is possible to lower the visa rejection rate; the rules that American consuls have to follow in granting visas could be rethought. Such a process would require more cooperation between U.S. authorities and those in countries seeking to join the visa waiver program -- overall a good thing. The United States played a major role in Central Europe's fight to free itself of communism. It was extremely successful in transforming Cold War enemies into friends in the free world. Now it needs to seek similar success in dealing with its new friends.

The writer is Poland's ambassador to the United States

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Whodunnit? Youdunnit!

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

Police were stumped until they read the gruesome thriller of a Polish pulp fiction writer who orchestrated the murder of a suspected love rival.

The writer was sentenced to 25 years behind bars for his role in a grisly case of abduction, torture and murder. Then he used the crime for the plot of a bestselling thriller.

In a remarkable case that has gripped Poland for months, Krystian Bala, a writer of blood-curdling fiction, was found guilty of orchestrating the murder seven years ago of a Wroclaw businessman, Dariusz Janiszewski, in a crime of passion brought on by the suspicion that the victim was sleeping with his ex-wife.

The court ruled Bala planned and directed the killing of Janiszewski, but ruled there was insufficient evidence to convict him of murder. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Polish Tennis Star

Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland pulled off a stunning upset, beating the defending U.S. Open champion 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 in a third-round match that took a startling turn Saturday.

Maria Sharapova seemed to take control by winning eight games in a row, giving her a 2-0 lead in the final set. Then, she fell apart and never won again.

The 30th-ranked Radwanska the former junior champ at Wimbledon and the French Open played with poise and smarts, creeping closer and closer to the service box on second serves, hoping to unnerve the two-time Grand Slam winner. At times, Radwanska walked nearly halfway from the baseline to the net as Sharapova got ready, then backed off at the last second.