Polish Toledo

This blog is associated with www.polishtoledo.com

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Joint military unit formed

According to RT, Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko signed a law ratifying the creation of a joint military unit with Poland and Lithuania organized to carry out tasks which have been given a UN Security Council mandate. 

As a peacekeeping force, other states can join it under joint invitation from the three states.

The defense ministers of the three countries agreed to form the unit last September in Warsaw, and plan to conduct the first joint military drill in 2015. Headquarters will be situated in Lublin, Poland. 

The Ukrainian commitment is planned at 545 soldiers, with Poland and Lithuania expected to contribute up to 3,800 and 350 servicemen respectively. The funding will be separate for each country’s contingent and it will be provided by the governments of the participants. 

After a fashion

There are 17,000 firms in the textile and clothing industry employing more than 150,000 workers across Poland and is one of 15 priority sectors for export promotion help by the government according to Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Janusz Piechociński.

The ministry will pay subsidies in tens of thousands of złoty to coalitions of two or three firms aimed at promoting exports. 

Poland plans to showcase its fashion and textiles at this year’s Milan expo.

The real imitators get Oscars

Up for an Oscar this year is The Imitation Game based on the Bletchley Park team lead by Alan Turing who are credited with breaking the German Enigma code during WWII. But he was not the first to figure out the Enigma's secrets.

The untold story is that the brilliant Polish mathematician Marian Rejewski and his colleagues were the first to break Enigma mega-powerful encryption prior to the outbreak of war. 

A comprehensive story behind the Enigma can be found here.

Marian Rejewski of Bydgoszcz, mathematician, cryptologist is a celebrated patriot in Poland. His team of Poles built a replica of Enigma, just like the pre-war military model on display at the Arithmeum museum of mathematics in Bonn, Germany. Below is a picture of an exhibit chronicling their work.  


Friday, February 06, 2015

EC forecasts 3.2% growth for Poland in 2015

The European Commission’s Economic Forecast estimates that the EU’s overall economic growth will reach 1.7 percent this year, with Poland’s GDP forecast at 3.2 percent in 2015 and 3.4 percent next year.

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Thursday, February 05, 2015

Traffic Jam

Here and there around Poland farmers are blocking roads in a protest over the loss of their crops caused by an over population of wild boar, ban on slaughter of animals for Kosher rituals and the Russian embargo on fruit and vegetables.

Traffic jam

Farming organisations are demanding compensation from the government.

Poland’s Agriculture Minister, Marek Sawicki, has criticised the blocking of roads and says the All-Poland Alliance of Trade Unions (OPZZ) had already agreed to take part in negotiations with the government.

But the union says they want to meet directly with the prime minister, since little progress is being made with the agriculture minister. The unions also complain that the government was able to find money for a loan to Ukraine, but not for its own farmers.

Standing Tall

This forty-five foot high statue of John Paul II is thought to be the tallest in the world, trumping a forty foot model in Chile.

The monument stands on a hill above the city of Częstochowa, famous for the Jasna Gora monastery, and its icon of the Black Madonna which is believed to work miracles.

Feat of Faith

Polish Catholic pilgrims march 33 miles from Chicago to northwestern Indiana Madonna shrine

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Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Deflation good for Poland

The economy in most of Europe is stagnant, even Russia feels the pinch from economic sanctions and slumping prices for their exported oil. But, consumers in Poland are finding more money in their pockets. That's due to lower prices, from the cost of filling up the car to outlays for weekly shopping. Poland's annual inflation numbers came in below zero throughout the second half of last year.

As domestic Polish spending spurs business activity, the job market has been very good with unemployment numbers dwindling and wages rising, which in turn makes them willing to splash more cash. This positive cycle is a change from recent years, when a credit shortage and government austerity made companies reluctant to hire.

Despite all the talk of deflation risks, so far it looks like deflation boosted real wages and falling oil prices are providing a further boost to household disposable cash.

In the past exports were the main driver of economic prosperity in Poland. Now that most western countries have had a slow down and aren't buying many imports, domestic demand, consumer spending and increases in business investment provide the majority of support to growth in the Polish economy.

Ogórek - A sweet pickle for President

Just a couple of days after planned World War II remembrance observances May 8, Poland will hold presidential elections.

One of the candidates, Magdalena Ogórek is raising a few eyebrows. A former television presenter with striking good looks, Ogórek was selected to represent the Polish social democrats in the May 10 election. 

However, her candidacy is garnering more attention for her outer qualities, rather than her inner qualities. The 35-year-old Ogórek has been criticized for not having much political experience. A closer look at her background shows she is the host of an international newscast in Poland, and holds a doctorate in history. She is also an author, lecturer and, most recently, was a media consultant to Poland’s central bank. 

Her candidacy has created a media fury, with news outlets focusing more on her appearance than her accomplishments. Ogórek has been subjected to criticism surrounding her political qualifications and had her surname - which translates as ‘cucumber’ – mocked. 

Polls show her unlikely to win the election, with incumbent, Bronisław Komorowski firmly in the lead. 

Parliamentary Speaker Radosław Sikorski, who announced the election date dismissed concerns that it's too close to the disputed end of World War II remembrance ceremonies, traditionally held in Moscow on May 9. Poland, the war's first victim, is planning an international ceremony on May 8.

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