Polish Toledo

This blog is associated with www.polishtoledo.com

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Gun laws in Poland

The number of legally owned guns by citizens in Poland has nearly tripled in the past 15 years from 131,000 in 1999 to 340,000 in 2014. The laws governing gun ownership in Poland are more restrictive than many other countries including the United States.

The right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by Polish law. In Poland, only licensed gun owners may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition. In the U.S. licensing is primarily used in cases when citizens want a permit to conceal carry a firearm, which demands formal certified training before applying for a CCW permit.

Polish Pistol Radom P-35
World War II Vintage
Guiding gun control legislation in Poland includes the Law of January 31, 1961 on firearm ammunition and explosive, the Council Directive of June 18, 1991 on Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons, the European Union Firearms Regulation of 2012 and the Common Position on the Control of Arms Brokering of 2003.

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Poland are required to prove genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example, hunting, target shooting, personal protection, security. The minimum age for gun ownership in Poland is 18 years

An applicant for a firearm licence in Poland must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental and domestic violence records. Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Poland stipulates that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

In Poland, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is require for a firearm licence. Authorities maintain a record of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Poland are permitted to possess only ammunition suitable for the intended firearm.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Monika Jagaciak

Too young? 14-year-old Polish model Monika Jagaciak.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Call the Cavalry

Will  600 soldiers from the Army’s 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division deploying to Poland and the Baltic states help reassure European allies who feel threatened by Russian military moves?

This October the troops and their equipment — which include M-1 Abrams tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and armored personnel carriers — will arrive for a three-month series of training exercises.

The soldiers, based at Fort Hood, Texas, are replacing about 600 paratroopers from the Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade. The paratroopers have been conducting exercises with Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia since April as part of ongoing Operation Atlantic Resolve.

The U.S. has sent a  handful of F-16 combat aircraft to Poland to participate in NATO air policing missions over the Baltics.

Polish Winged Hussars were the greatest cavalry that ever was and General Casimir Pulaski is known as the Father of the United States Cavalry. Perhaps sending the First Cavalry is a fitting selection. 

Poland A, America F

Twenty-five years ago, Americans like economist Jeffrey Sachs were running around Poland helping to turn moribund socialism into a vibrant market economy. Now, with the U.S. trying to fix its lagging educational system, it might just learn a thing or two from Poland, which in the past decade has moved sharply forward from the rear of the international pack and beats the U.S. on most performance measures. And it didn't even spend a lot money to get there.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Poles take a bite out of Russian Apple ban

An apple a day keeps... the Rosjanie away? 

As if Poland were selling Russia poisoned apples

A social media push-back by Poles consists of thousands of apple eating selfies after Russia announced a ban on apples and other produce from Poland effective August 1.

It started after a Polish newspaper published a blog where a journalist asked people to tweet photos of themselves eating apples with the hashtag #jedzjabłka, or "eat apples." 

The hashtag caught on, with a Facebook page dedicated to the movement garnering more than 33,000 likes and folks sharing many different photos of apples on Twitter. 

The journalist who started it all said that the produce ban was "the most hurtful thing that could happen to Polish farmers," and that he thought "the best way to help them would be to start eating more apples and drinking more cider. That way some of the apples will get consumed and people will show solidarity with farmers." 

So why did Russia make the decision that invited all of this Polish mockery over social media?

Well, Russia's official reason is that their Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance watchdog group found high levels of pesticide residues in 90 percent of the Polish apples they tested.

But others believe it could be Moscow reacting to recent sanctions issued by the E.U. and U.S. over the conflict in Ukraine. 

The Warsaw Voice quotes Poland's agriculture minister as saying the ban is "political repression in response to the restrictions imposed by the European Union against Russia." 
Despite Poland's lighthearted social media response, the ban's effect on the country could be much more serious.

The Christian Science Monitor notes Poland is the world's largest apple exporter, and more than half of those apples go to Russia. This ban could deal a severe blow to Poland's economy.
Russia's produce ban on Poland is only the latest in a string of embargoes, perceived by most to be retaliation for Western sanctions. These include a ban on Ukrainian soy products issued Thursday and a ban on Moldovan fruit issued in early July.  

Meanwhile Russians are already paying a price — literally — for the ban on food imports from Europe and the United States.

Putin's Food Market

Suppliers and consumers are facing shortages and 30% price hikes on staples such as fish and fruit. Suppliers report shortages and higher prices. Retailers brace for milk prices to go up, and some meat suppliers were engaging in price speculation, according to Russia's business daily.

Maybe it's time for another revolution, my Russian friends.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

70th Anniversary Warsaw Uprising

Uprising Monument
After five years of a degrading occupation, the Poles decided to revolt against their Nazi captors. The rising of August 1944 was both heroic and catastrophically mistimed. They had not realised that there were SS divisions in the area. They did not bargain for the bestiality of the Führer’s response. Hitler ordered that the city should be flattened, and the Poles massacred; and with a sickening fidelity the German soldiers obeyed.

The insurgent Poles were flushed from the sewers with hand-grenades; they were carbonised with kerosene. Their cellars and hideouts were shelled with such unrelenting fury that by the end of the uprising – after 63 days – the Germans had destroyed 85 per cent of the city. 

Read more in the Telegraph

Friday, August 08, 2014

Łódź Film School second in international ranking

According to the US movie industry bible The Hollywood Reporter The Łódź Film School has been ranked second internationally.

Fifteen schools were included in the ranking, ranging from India to Denmark. “The Polish National Film, Television and Theatre School, founded in 1948, has launched a pantheon of cinema greats including Oscar winner Roman Polanski and other famous Polish directors including Andrzej Wajda, and Krzysztof Kieslowski. The school is also noted for grooming excellent cinematographers such as Sławomir Idziak (Black Hawk Down, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) and  Pawel Edelman (The Ghost Writer, Carnage, The Pianist). All in all, alumni of the school have been nominated for 18 Oscars, besides countless wins on the international festival circuit. 

Number one on The Hollywood Reporter's ranking this year was the National Film and Television School, near London. 

Gun ownership on the rise in Poland

From TheNews.pl

Despite some of the most draconian gun laws in the European Union, over the past decade the number of firearm permits in Poland has gone up by some 30 percent.

Hunting for Sinners?
Latest figures from the central police headquarters reveal that about 500,000 guns are currently registered in Poland owned by some 340,000 people. Currently, the number of hunting firearm permits stands at 150,000, a rise of one third in the past decade. Around 44 percent of all permits are issued for hunters.

Currently around 5,000 firearm permits are issued annually.

Gun ownership in Poland is regulated by a number of laws, and has some of the strictest gun possession legislation in Europe.

In order to obtain a firearm licence, sharp shooters are subject to background checks, and must have spotless criminal records and pass psychological tests. An exam may also have to be taken, and a valid reason for gun ownership must also be proved. (jb)

Read more

Urgency for attack & utility helicopters

Poland's plan to spend more than $33 billion over ten years on modernizing its military hardware includes 70 medium lift and 32 attack helicopters. With recent worries about Russian aggression the time-frame for bids just got a kick in the dupa. 

Medium-lift utility helicopter bid should have been in by the end of September 2014, according to the Ministry of Defense.

Analysts estimate the tender, which is now accelerated to August, might be worth nearly $1.4 billion and said Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine had helped to accelerate the purchase. The new equipment would replace some of the 250 Soviet-era helicopters owned by Poland.

Poland is scheduled to spend 1.95% of its GDP on military hardware including its own missile defense shield since Obama dismantled earlier plans and promises by the Bush administration to provide radar stations in the Czech Republic and launchers in Poland.

Other posts on the subject of missile defense

30 pieces of silver

The DOW hit its lowest point since April and Poland is set to lose close to $800 million in fruit and vegetable exports to Moscow as Western nations because of the Ukrainian conflict impose sanctions against Russia who in turn imposes bans on imports .  In addition, the dominance of the USD  as the world's trade currency is threatened by Russia and the rest of the BRIC's.

Ah, but the Canadian pig farmers who's pork has also been banned by Russia will simply look East to China's 1.3 billion consumers.

Like Toledo's contaminated water supply caused by perennial algae blooms in the western basin of Lake Erie - Governments didn't heed the warnings blatantly obvious to the casual observer or have an alternative plan ready to compensate for the dire situation.

The question is will the EU and other Western nations do the right thing or like Judas place more value on economic benefit turning their backs on Ukraine after delivering the kiss of death?

It is the job of government to see and hit targets beyond the horizon. Once it was only a United States problem, but now it seems the rest of Western civilization suffers from the Pearl Harbor syndrome. The word preemption is in the dictionary and politicians ought to become familiar with its definition.  

Like Judas perhaps Western leaders will hang themselves out of remorse following the betrayal of Ukrainians. I doubt it.

Update 08-10-2014:

Poland has asked the United States to open its market quickly to Polish apples banned by Russia. The United States severely restricts imports of fresh fruit and vegetables from the European Union, including EU member Poland; however, there are exceptions and Poland exports peppers and broccoli to the US market while Italy exports apples and pears.

Poland is by far the leading exporter of apples in Europe, ahead of Italy and France.

See also

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

LNG Terminal behind schedule

It's over due and over cost but Poland’s plan to have a liquefied natural gas terminal ready by mid-2015 is an urgent matter to cut its reliance on gas imports from Russia.

The terminal at the northwestern port of Swinoujscie, originally scheduled for completion in June, will allow Poland to import as much as 5 billion cubic meters of gas by sea, or about a third of its annual usage. The country now imports about 10 billion cubic meters from Russia. 

Poland is also speeding up development of domestic shale gas deposits and expanding links to other neighbors to further diversify supply before its contract with  Gazprom expires in 2022.

The project has suffered cost overruns since a group of companies led by Italy’s Saipem SpA, which also includes Poland’s PBG SA, won the contract in 2010. Poland agreed to pay 13 percent more than originally budgeted last year, bringing the terminal’s cost to 2.37 billion zloty ($762 million).

Invasion possible

Poland’s foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski told the TVN24 BIS television channel that a renewed buildup of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border may foreshadow an invasion. The troop buildup comes as President Vladimir Putin's response U.S. and European sanctions.

Russian army units gathering near the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, are poised to pressure or invade according to the minister and Poland is among the EU nations seeking the toughest response to Russia over Ukraine. Estonia also fears that Putin may be planning a military incursion.

Putin is showing no sign of backing down over Ukraine since the U.S. and the EU tightened sanctions last week. Russia, which annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March, has deployed 45,000 soldiers, 160 tanks and as many as 1,360 armored vehicles, a Ukrainian military spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, told reporters in Kiev today.