Polish Toledo

This blog is associated with www.polishtoledo.com

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Damn the EU

Krakow, Dec. 26, 2007 (CWNews.com) - A statement chiding the European Union for failing to acknowledge God will be read in all the parishes of the Krakow, Poland, archdiocese this coming Sunday, the Dziennik newspaper reports.

Father Jan Maciej Dyduch, the rector of Poland's Pontifical Theological Academy, is the author of the statement, which expresses "regret that the European Union's Lisbon Treaty does not contain an invocation of God."

"It is as if Europe -- represented by an influential group of politicians, bureaucrats, and journalists -- fears Jesus and His Gospel," the criticism continues. The Church statement concludes that "Europe risks becoming a spiritual desert."

The drive to include an explicit mention of God, and of the Christian foundation of European culture, was one of the last major public campaigns undertaken by the late Pope John Paul II who was Archbishop of Krakow from 1964 until he was elected
Pontiff in 1978.

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Pole is Strongest Man in World

Mariusz Pudzianowski is the strongest man in the world, again. The Polish weight lifter won the title of The World's Strongest Man this year, his fourth title in five years as the king of the guys who drag heavy machinery around on ESPN.

Following the example of bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger, the 30 year old intends to pursue acting after his strongman career (he already played in 6 Polish films so far).

Wild Life in Poland's Urban Areas

The port of Gdynia is having problems with beavers, which have built a network of dams on wetlands in one of the city's suburbs. Local residents worry that in the spring, the rising water will flood the basements of their houses.

Beavers are a protected species in Poland but Gdynia residents hope that with the help of local forestry officials, who could remove some of the dams, it will be possible to persuade the beavers to find other places to settle. The Tricity of Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot have occasionally had problems with wild boar, which roamed in some districts, causing damage to lawns and rummaging through rubbish.

While you might not expect it, Gdansk is one of Eroupe's most beautiful cities. Check out some pictures: [Click Here]

See the beautiful resort of Sopot: [Click Here]

See Gdynia Port Live Web Cam: [Click Here]

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Friday, December 28, 2007

1 in 14 Poles are millionaires

There are two million millionaires in Poland according to a recent survey. As many as 7% of all respondents, i.e. one in fourteen Polish adults, think their assets are worth more than a million zlotys.

Poles are doing it for themselves, not counting on a miracle, but working hard instead, which results in "growing assets".

A government survey two years ago only counted 100,000 families whose assets were worth more than a million zlotys.

The ubiquitous tax evasion in Poland, makes polls more credible than official data published by the Ministry of Finance.

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It's the economy, stupid

According to a report just published by the Central Statistical Office, Poland's economy continues to boom. In November industrial production was 8.3 percent higher than a year ago, productivity increased by over 6 percent and average pay by 9.2 percent.

State revenues were much higher than spending and in effect budget deficit was 80percent lower than expected.

Poland's unemployment continued to fall in November. The unemployment rate declined to 11.2 percent compared with almost 15 percent in the same period of last year.

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The grass is greener

A former London bus driver has become the first British man to get a job driving a bus in Poland.

While up to 2 million Poles have left to work elsewhere in the EU in recent years, Paul Brannan has made the reverse trip. He met his wife Kamila three years ago on a snowboarding vacation in Poland and decided to leave the UK and live in her country.

Although he is paid much less than in London, he said he felt safer. He said even the drunks are friendly.

Mr Brannan now lives in the picturesque mountain town of Zywiec in southern Poland which is famous for its local beer.

The number of people from the UK now living in Poland has increased by more than 300%percent since the Poles joined the European Union three years ago.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Music 001


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Westward young Poles

Poland is bracing to join the Schengen passport-free zone this week, but dozens of its citizens have already helped melt the frontier by snapping up property in a small German border town.

Loecknitz, a 3,000-strong community in northeast Germany, lies in the hinterland of Szcezcin, a Polish port city of some 420,000 people.

Little by little, Loecknitz is being transformed into a cross-border suburb of Szczecin, as Poles go hunting for real estate bargains. They now make up 10 percent of the population.

"After joining the European Union in 2004, Poles started looking for apartments and houses on the German side," said estate agent Jan Rybski, who is himself Polish.

Until 1945, Loecknitz was a well-heeled district of the then German city of Stettin.

But the Polish-German border was shifted westwards after Germany lost World War II.
Loecknitz found itself in communist-ruled East Germany. Poland also became part of the Soviet-dominated bloc, which collapsed from 1989.

After East and West Germany were reunited in 1990 -- bringing the ex-communist state into the EU -- the town felt the chill wind of economic crisis. Its young people left in droves to look for work in the west, investors shied away, and today around a quarter of the population is jobless.

Across the border in Poland, meanwhile, the once-shambolic economy gathered steam in the 1990s, and has powered ahead since the country joined the EU.

When Poland and seven other ex-communist EU newcomers join the borderless Schengen zone from December 21, it will boost Loecknitz's existing draws for Poles.

The town is only a 20-minute drive from central Szczecin, and has schools, hospitals, a gym and other leisure facilities, as well as being set in the largely unspoilt Pomerania region.

Polish property hunters also get far more for their money. Real estate prices have spiralled in Poland in the past three years, but have barely changed in Loecknitz.

Marek Fiuk, 30, bought a magnificent red-brick farmhouse near Loecknitz with his brother several weeks ago. The price tag: under 50,000 euros (73,000 dollars).

"For that, I'd have been able to buy a studio apartment in Szczecin, around 32-35 square metres. In other words, nothing," he said, smiling.

"Here I've got a whole house. I always dreamed of that."

Fiuk is also planning to set up the headquarters of his multimedia firm in his new-found home.

"I travel a lot to Germany for work, and now I'm going to live there. And from December 21 there won't be any border checks. You won't have to show your ID card, which is sometimes pretty tiresome," he said.

Maria Theresia Odentall, head of Loecknitz's municipal housing office, said that all the homes bought by the newcomers had been on the market for years.

"The Poles do these places up," she said.

Less well-off Poles also opt to rent in Loecknitz.

"Three years ago, 15 percent of municipal apartments in Loecknitz were empty. Now it's around one percent," Odentall said.

In public, the Polish influx does not appear to have caused bad feeling.

"At the beginning we had to get used to it. Now it doesn't bother us at all," said 83-year-old resident Anne Marie Hedwig.

Nonetheless, Germany's far-right NPD party, which is hostile to Polish migrants, won almost 21 percent of the vote in Loecknitz in regional elections last year.

Most Religious Nations of Europe

Poland and Italy, overwhelmingly Catholic countries are the most religious nations in Europe with approximately 87 percent citizens claiming to be religious and more than 40 percent highly religious.

These scores are even higher than in Turkey with a Muslim majority.

The UK and France are below the West European average as far as religiosity is concerned. The least religious nation in Europe is Russia with 50 percent claiming to be religious and 7 percent highly religious. The religious situation in Israel is in line with the West European average.

Truth in Vodka

The European Union Agriculture Ministers have given a broad definition as to constitutes the ingredients of vodka, much to the annyance of more traditional producers such as Poland. The European Parliament decided that spirits based on bananas and grapes can also be marketed under the vodka label from June next year.

This vodka battle within the EU has ended in Warsaw's defeat, which was pushing for a vodka definition that only comprised spirits distilled from rye, potatoes and molasses obtained from raw sugar.

The definition adopted by the EU ministers includes a provision which stipulates that vodka may also be distilled from other products, provided that relevant information is included in the label.

Poland can still win in another spirits definition dispute, however over fruit wine. The European Commission has withdrawn from its earlier suggestion and decided that it will be still allowed to produce wine form apples, currants or cherries and not grapes exclusively. The decision on this matter is to be made by the Ministers of Agriculture of 27 countries who on Monday started a two-day meeting in Brussels. The condition is, however, a radical reform of the EU wine market. The final decision is expected shortly.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

...And, a prosperous New Year!!!

Polish economy is growing the fastest in a decade while consumers are spending, construction is booming and wages are rising – writes Financial Times its annual "Poland 2007" report.

According to the paper, Poland has benefited considerably from the 2004 EU accession. "People are earning much more money, which is driving domestic consumption. A lot of money is flowing into the country from people who have left to work in western Europe. Whether one looks at economic, political or cultural life, Poland is swiftly becoming similar to the countries of western Europe" - concludes Financial Times.

And, a prosperous New Year!

Monday, December 10, 2007

St. Nick

In the Morning of St. Nicholas' Day in Poland all good children find a gift in their shoes, provided of course they cleaned them last night. Those children who have been bad might rather expect a birch twig! Meanwhile, police in the south-western city of Gorzów have launched a campaign on St.Nicholas' day, with Father Christmas presenting drivers either with chocolates or ...birch twigs. Those drivers who get birch twigs from Santa can also expect quite ordinary traffic tickets. Gorzów police hope that the campaign will help promote road safety as well as improve the image of the police.

Double Standard

Poles in the UK are protesting against a Christmas card which features John Paul II and George W. Bush.

The deceased John Paul II is lying on a catafalque. George Bush is standing over him. The speech bubble next to his face says: "What happened to Santa?". This Christmas card is selling like hot cakes in Britain, causing outrage amongst the Polish community.

Poles have already informed they would organise street protests.

"It's appalling. Using the image of the deceased Holy Father is a scandal. Muslims protested at the cartoons deriding Muhammad. Why should offending Christians go disregarded?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Polish man killed by Cops in Vancouver

An eyewitness's video recording of a Polish man dying after being stunned with a Taser by police on October 14th at Vancouver International Airport has been released to the public. The 10-minute video recording clearly shows four RCMP officers talking to Robert Dziekanski while he is standing with his back to a counter and with his arms lowered by his sides, but his hands are not visible.

About 25 seconds after police enter the secure area where he is, there is a loud crack that sounds like a Taser shot, followed by Dziekanski screaming and convulsing as he stumbles and falls to the floor.

Watch the video, filmed by Paul Pritchard, here at CBC.ca.

Another loud crack can be heard as an officer appears to fire one more Taser shot into Dziekanski. As the officers kneel on top of Dziekanski and handcuff him, he continues to scream and convulse on the floor. One officer is heard to say, "Hit him again. Hit him again," and there is another loud cracking sound.

Police have said only two Taser shots were fired, but a witness said she heard up to four Taser shots. A minute and half after the first Taser shot was fired Dziekanski stops moaning and convulsing and becomes still and silent. Shortly after, the officers appear to be checking his condition and one officer is heard to say, "code red." The video ends shortly after.

Minutes later, ambulance attendants arrived but their efforts to revive Dziekanski were unsuccessful and he was declared dead.RCMP spokesman Cpl. Dale Carr said no one can judge what happened to Dziekanski by just watching the video. "It's just one piece of evidence, one person's view.

There are many people that we have spoken to," RCMP spokesman Cpl. Dale Carr said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. "What I urge is that those watching the video, take note of that. Put what they've seen aside for the time being. And wait to hear the totality of the evidence at the time of the inquest," Carr said.

But retired superintendent Ron Foyle, a 33-year veteran of the Vancouver police who saw the video tape, said he didn't know "why it ever became a police incident ... It didn't seem that he made any threatening gestures towards them," Foyle said.

Much of the video was shot through the glass walls that separate the international arrivals lounge from a secure area outside the Canada Customs exit.

The video was recorded in three segments. The first segment shows Dziekanski before police arrive. Four RCMP officers subdue Robert Dziekanski after stunning him with a Taser on Oct. 14 at Vancouver airport. He is clearly agitated, yelling in Polish, and appears to be sweating. He can be seen taking office chairs and putting them in front of the security doors. He then picks up a small table, which he holds, while a woman in the arrivals lounge calmly speaks to him in apparent effort to calm him down.

In the second segment, Dziekanski picks up a computer and throws it to the ground. Three airport personnel arrive and block the exit from the secure area, but Dziekanski retreats inside and does not threaten them. Then four RCMP officers arrive in the lounge.

Someone can be heard mentioning the word Tasers. Someone replies, "Yes," as the officers approach the security doors. Police have said repeatedly that there were only three RCMP officers involved in the incident, but the video shows four men in RCMP uniforms. People in the lounge can be heard clearly telling the police Dziekanski speaks no English, only Russian. His mother later said he only spoke Polish.

Police enter the secure area with no problems and can be seen with Dziekanski standing calmly talking with officers. They appear to direct him to stand against a wall, which he does. As he is standing there, one of the officers shoots him with a Taser. RCMP officers have also said police did not use pepper spray because of the large number of people at the airport at the time. But the video shows Dziekanski standing alone with the four officers in an otherwise empty area, which is separated from the public area by a thick glass wall.

Paul Pritchard shot the video with his digital camera, but afterward he surrendered it to police for their investigation on a promise that they would return it within 48 hours. The next day, police told Pritchard they would not be returning the recording as promised. Carr previously stated investigators kept the video longer than they anticipated in order to protect the integrity of the police investigation while they interviewed witnesses.

Saying he feared a coverup by police, Pritchard then engaged a lawyer to start legal proceedings to reclaim the recording. Police returned the recording to him on Wednesday.Dziekanski, 40, died on Oct. 14, hours after he arrived at Vancouver International Airport. He was on his way to Kamloops to live with his mother in the B.C. Interior.

The Polish immigrant arrived from Europe the previous day around 4 p.m., but for some unknown reason he did not clear customs until after midnight. Dziekanski's mother had already returned home to Kamloops after waiting for several hours at the airport. She claims airport officials offered her no help locating her son.The RCMP's integrated homicide investigation team, the B.C. coroner's service, the Vancouver International Airport Authority and the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP are each conducting their own investigations into the incident.- Article from www.CBC.ca, where photos and video can be viewed