Polish Toledo

This blog is associated with www.polishtoledo.com

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Keselowski wins Talladega

Brad "Shake and Bake" Keselowski wins at Talladega narrowly beating Carl Edwards to snatch his first Sprint Cup win.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Righteous Among the Nations medal

The five Poles honored yesterday by US President Barack Obama at a ceremony at the Capitol ending the Holocaust Days of Remembrance, have returned home.

The five are holders of the Righteous Among the Nations medal, awarded by the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem for rescuing Jews from the Holocaust.

One of those who took part in the ceremony at the Capitol is Anna Bando, who told reporters that she had been proud to be remembered and that especially those Jews who had left Poland wanted to stay close at all times, and began crying.

One of those rescued from the Holocaust is Barbara Góra, who said that many Polish families contributed to save her life, stating simply that without Poles she would not be alive.

At yesterday’s ceremony in Washington, the US President thanked the five Poles present for their heroic courage. Six thousand Polish citizens have been awarded the Righteous Among the Nations medal.

Production up in Poland

Polish industrial production rose in March by 15.5% from February according to the Central Statistical Office (GUS) and nearly 2% year-to-year.

The results are better than expected, and Economists assess the results to be good, especially against the backdrop of the region's economic performance e.g. Ukraine suffered a 30% and Russia a 14% fall year-to-year in industrial production.

Warsaw: East-West Command Center

A NATO center to command a network of early warning radars will be set up in Poland.
According to the Dziennik daily, three radars in Norway, Poland and Turkey will send data regarding airborne threats to a headquarter in Warsaw, which then will be sent to Moscow. In return, Moscow will provide NATO with its own information about airborne threats aimed against the Alliance.

The Russian RIA Novosti agency claims that the U.S. military has declined to comment on the initiative, saying the matter should be discussed with NATO officials.

Meanwhile, the issue is being welcomed in Moscow. Russia's envoy to NATO, described the decision as a practical contribution to the improvement of Russia-NATO relations.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Out of wedlock

Every fifth child in Poland is born out of wedlock. There are five times more 'illegitimate' children than thirty years ago. "In the past marriage was synonymous to family. Nowadays a wedding does not imply having children and a child is no longer a reason to get married", says Prof. Miroslawa Marody from the University of Warsaw, commenting that Poland's views on family life have changed.

There is a growing number of people living in informal relationships who decide to have a child or married couples who decide not to. "Nowadays traditional marriage is perceived by many as a restriction", explains Prof. Krystyna Iglicka-Okolska. "Young people do not want to sign a marriage certificate. They prefer to stay in informal relationships and evolve". It is easier for them, than for their parents, to abandon the idea of getting married because the social pressure is not that strong any more.

The drop in the number of marriages in Poland does not necessarily mean the end of a traditional Polish family, claim sociologists. It is possible that the next generation will return to the traditional family model. In comparison to the rest of Europe, Poland is still a very traditional country. The latest polls show that, in Great Britain, up to 75 percent of women who had a child before turning 25, did not get married.

Source: thenews.pl

Saving Face

Professor Maria Siemionow has returned to Poland from Cleveland, Ohio in the US where she led a team of internationally- renowned surgeons in successfully transplanting a woman's face.

The New York Times has called the transplant "one of the most shocking medical operations of the last decade." The woman's face is now made up of her own forehead, upper eyelids, lower teeth and jaw – the remaining elements of her face come from a cadaver.

The 23-hour operation, replacing the face of a woman with facial damage so severe she was unable to eat or breathe without extensive assistance, took place at the Cleveland Clinic in mid-December.

"Our patient was called names and was humiliated," Dr. Siemionow stated. "You need a face to face the world," added the surgeon.

The complex and highly experimental operation required that surgeons integrate functional components of the face – like the nose and lower eyelids – as well as skin, bones, muscles, arteries, veins and nerves. Almost 500 square centimeters of tissue were transplanted from the donating cadaver.

Dr. Siemienow has received much acclaim upon return to Poland – she is a guest-lecturer to packed auditoriums at the Poznan University of Medical Sciences, western Poland.

Source: thenews.pl

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Poland Going Platinum

The Polish finance minister says that Poland will apply for the International Monetary Fund's Flexible Credit Line and thus wants to become a member of the prestigious "Platinum Club" which includes strong economies.

Thanks to the Flexible Credit Line (FCL) the reserves of the National Bank of Poland will increase by USD 20 bln. Joining the mechanism will protect Poland against uncontrolled depreciation of its currency and shield it against the effects of the global crisis. During the talks with IMF it was clear that Poland continues to be perceived as a pillar of stability in the region.

The Platinum Club admits only countries with a very strong track record of viable economic policy and those which give confidence that their economic policies will remain strong in the future. This move stems from a cautious and responsible economic policy conducted by the Polish government before and during the global crisis.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Courageous Heart

The heroic story of Irena Sendler the woman credited with saving the lives of 2,500 Jewish children from Nazi-invaded Poland is coming to Television on Sunday, April 19, on Channel 11.

Nobel Peace Prize nominee Irena Sendler put her life at risk day after day for years, saving 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto during the Second World War.

Her story, "The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler," is about a Polish Catholic social worker, who wasn't even 30 years old when she led the conspiracy of women who moved in and out of the Warsaw ghetto disguised as nurses, smuggling Jewish children away from the Nazis. The group worked under the guise of attempting to prevent and contain typhus and spotted fever, as rampant diseases were a major concern for the Nazis.

Sendler had the difficult task of convincing Jewish parents to give up their children to a stranger, while risking her life. Once in her hands, the children were hidden inside boxes, coffins and suitcases to rescue them from deportation to death camps.

The children, all 2,500 of them, were given new identities and placed under the care of equally courageous Polish families and convents, with the hope that some day they would reunite with their family.

Sendler kept a hidden record of every child's birth name and location to help them after the war.

In 1943, the Nazis figured out what Sendler was doing, and they arrested and tortured her. On the day of her scheduled execution, she was rescued by the underground network with which she worked. The women had bribed the Nazi officer, who let Sendler go. Still wanted by the Gestapo, she remained in hiding until the war was over.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

World War II victims database

Seventy years after the outbreak of World War II, Poland will launch a database of some 2 million victims of the fighting. The database will be available on straty.pl, and will include the location and circumstances of the victims' death.

Statue of the Little Insurgent old towne Warsaw

Families or loved ones will have the option to add to the list of victims. Officials hope that the database will grow to 4 million names within a year or two. 'Launching such a database is a big event,' said historian Wojciech Roszkowski. 'Up until now, researchers trying to determine the number of victims always hit a wall. They weren't able to determine in various places how many were really died.'

Foreigners pay Poles for marriage

Up to one in four of the 9,000 marriages between foreigners and Polish citizens every year could be bogus. Some are looking for citizenship, not love. Poland has become a target for people from outside the EU looking to migrate from poorer regions of the world, but denied entry because of strict immigration controls.

"Registrars in Poland are helpless. They can't refuse to marry anyone, even if they suspect a fraud," explains Małgorzata Pyziak-Szafnicka from the University in Lodz, quoted in Rzeczpospolita.

For a bogus marriage, a Pole can demand between $2,000 and $3,000. Most foreigners who are ready to pay for such services come from Asian countries and the former USSR region.

Rzeczpospolita gives the example of Olga M, a 27 year old Ukrainian who married 72 year old Aleksander J.. A divorce pertition was made after only two months, pointing to the failure to sexually consummate the marriage. Aleleksander, however, died before the divorce could come through.

The price Poles can demand has risen in recent years as Poland is an attractive country for these sorts of marriages, particularly since the country joined the Schengen Zone, which means free movement for non-EU born citizens.

The arrangement, however, can backfire, especially when the spouse takes off out of the country without first getting a divorce.

Source: thenews.pl 09.04.2009

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Michelle Needs Lessons

Poland's former First Lady Jolanta Kwasniewska thinks Michelle Obamaneeds to work on her style and behaviour.

"Michelle Obama is a wonderful woman, but sometimes I think she could use a couple of lessons of style," said the wife of Poland's former president, Aleksander Kwasniewski.

Source: News.pl

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Sex Ed

Poland's Ministry of Education has opposed including sexual education classes in every school's curriculum. According to the ministry, obligatory sex classes are unconstitutional.

Parents have the right to bring up their children as they see fit, teaching them morality and religion in agreement with their beliefs. But sexual health campaigners disagree. "If parents do not agree with Darwin's theory, it does not mean that their children can skip biology lessons", argues Maria Keller-Hamela from Nobody's Children Foundation, who supports sexual education.

Michal Baran, however, from the Youth Catholic Association claims that, "It is absolutely unacceptable for the state to take the role of parents in bringing up children." Baran explains that teaching sexuality should be accompanied by morality lessons.

In January, the Union of Polish Teachers signed an agreement aiming at propagating sexual education in Polish schools. During sex classes pupils were to learn how to protect themselves against HIV and AIDS and how to practice birth control. Because of the government's objection to the plan, starting from the new school year, sexual education classes will become an extra-curriculum activity only for those who are willing to take part in them.

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More Polish Troops to Afghanistan

Polish President Lech Kaczynski and Afghan President Hamid Karzai attend a joint news conference in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, April 8, 2009.

After the talks with Karzai, Kaczynski said Poland boost military presence up to 20% in Afghanistan before the upcoming Afghan elections. Poland currently has 1590 troops mostly stationed in the Afghan province of Ghazni.

Kaczynski also visited Ghazni and talk to his soldiers based there.


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