Polish Toledo

This blog is associated with www.polishtoledo.com

Monday, December 14, 2015

Don't text and bike

Bicyclist in Poland broadsides a high-speed train.

Visit Poland - everybody else is

Polish Tourist Organization (POT) statistics show more than 220 million tourists have visited Poland over the past 15 years, with tourism representing over 5% of GDP.

Poland is the 18th most popular tourist destination in the world and the numbers keep increasing as shown by a 4% year over year rise.

The country mostly attracts nationals of neighboring countries, such as Germany, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Slovakia and Belarus. Tourists travelling from further afield are very often from Great Britain and the Netherlands.

Next year, the south-western city of Wrocław may expect a substantial boost in tourism with the launch of the European Capital of Culture (ECC) 2016.

Poland to become EU Transportation Hub

With the help of EU funding Poland is modernizing its roads, railways, airports and seaports to be a “pan-European” transportation hub.

“Poland is a gateway to Europe thanks to its strategic location and developed infrastructure,” Polish Ambassador Krzysztof Ignacy Majka said at an investment seminar titled “Poland as a Pan-European Transportation Hub” convened in Seoul last week.  He went on to say, “We offer optimal conditions for transport to all corners of Europe, being at the crossroads of the East-West corridor connecting the Baltic Sea and the North Sea and the North-South corridor linking the Baltic Sea and the Adriatic Sea.”

Express route to EU from China terminating in Łódź

Poland has focused on its intermodal transport capacities by developing logistics centers. Recently,  transcontinental rail connections from Chengdu China to Łódź and access to the deep-water container terminal at Gdansk Seaport improved. In the past an impediment to transport by rail was caused by the gauge differences in railway tracks among nations. Standardization on speed routes will overcome the impairment.

Joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank spearheaded by China will also aid in the connectivity between Europe and Asia. 

The plan also also initiates numerous projects that would enhance connections between Warsaw and main cities through roads and expressways.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Exorcise This

Today, something new in the field of exorcism was tried in Warszawa, Poland.

About 50 members of the new ruling Party PiS (Law & Justice) brought a priest to a protest against the leading Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza (meaning Electoral Gazette in English) so as to preform a exorcism on the newspaper. 

Protest / Exorcism at Newspaper Headquarters

According to AFP after marching to the publisher denouncing "lies" spewed by the Polish media concerning ultra-right wing policy and appointment changes by Jaroslaw Kaczynski's lead Party  the protesters arrived at the newspaper building with an icon of the Virgin Mary and a sign reading "Rosary crusade for the Motherland". Then the priest recited an exorcism prayer before the newspaper's headquarters.

The protesters were greeted by a flurry of leaflets, which included cartoons defending freedom of speech and a banner hung from the Gazeta Wyborcza building read "Constitution without censorship".

Most Polish media, especially the Gazeta Wyborcza led by former dissident Adam Michnik, a key symbol of free speech in Poland have been critical of  PiS.

The eurosceptic PiS party has plans to overhaul state media and at the moment has replacement of members of  the Constitutional Court in its crosshairs.

Kaczynski lashed out at the country's top court, accusing it of trying to block government policies in an escalating confrontation over which judges can serve on the bench.

Gazeta Wyborcza was first published in 1989, under the rhyming masthead motto, "Nie ma wolności bez Solidarności" ("There's no freedom without Solidarity). Its founding was an outcome of thePolish Round Table Agreement. between the communist government and the Solidarity movement. It was initially owned by Agora SA then American based Cox Communications partially bought the daily. The paper served as the voice of Solidarity during the run-up to free elections held on in June 1989 (hence its title). It was the first legal newspaper published outside the government's control during the communist era. 

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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Polish Muslims denounce terror

Muslim Tartars have lived in Poland for more than 400 years and for the most part have not been bothered by prejudicial behavior against them. A small number of other Muslims have established themselves in Poland over the past 60 years. It is estimated about 40,000 live in Poland mostly in the north-east. 
They unlike the Muslim emigrants pouring into Europe the past few years have assimilated into the Polish social structure. Apart from religious freedom, the Tartars were allowed to marry Polish and Ruthenian women of Catholic or Orthodox faith, which is extremely unique. Tartars were also granted representation in Parliament and when entering the military service took their oath from Imams.

Recently a large number of Muslims in Poznań came together to hold a protest march held under the slogan “Muslims against Terrorism and Racism”.
Poles and Tartars together protest terror Photo: PAP
“We condemn all forms of terrorism and stand in solidarity with the French nation and all those who fell victim to terrorist attacks around the world,” local imam Youssef Chadid told the peace protesters. Perhaps one day we will see the same in America.

The movement was organized to quell fears of Islamic extremism and violence against the indigenous population.  There had been a rise in racially-motivated crimes in Poznań with  a Syrian national hospitalized after he was beaten in the city center.


Shields Up

Anti-ballistic SM-3 missiles that will make up the NATO missile-shield in Poland and the entire Central European region have gone through final testing in Hawaii, It is expected the system will become fully operational by 2018 and based near Redzikowo in the north of Poland.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In September, the Sejm authorized the President to ratify the technical agreement regarding the Redzikowo base with the United States.

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Kuwaitis get medical services in Poland

Several hundred Muslims from Kuwait will be treated at a public hospital in Lublin to repair lower limbs and joints.The patients will be supervised by Dr. Krzysztof Gawęda, who spent several years in Kuwait. Because of the prayers they perform, “these are patients who are demanding in terms of the range of movement in the joints of their lower limbs,” Gawęda said.

 It is reported that local Poles will not experience longer waits for treatment following the arrival of the patients from Kuwait according to medical officials.

New Source

The first shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar arrived at Poland's new LNG terminal, the largest in the Baltic Sea. Being able to get LNG from several producing countries around the world will reduce dependence on Russia's supply of natural gas to Poland.

Docking at Swinoujscie terminal
The Swinoujscie terminal, which is expected to be fully operational  in six months with a capacity of 5 billion cubic meters per year supplying up to 35% of Poland's needs.

See also: Prior Post

A different view

This is posted solely as a comparison to the majority of people in Poland. Particularly those who support PiS that for the first time since free elections after the fall of communism have won a majority of seats in the Sejm as well as the Presidency.


Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Is there more than one Saint Nick?

More than 4,000 people dressed as St. Nicolas filled Kraków's Main Market Square on the jolly ol' man's feast day. It set a new Polish record as the previous number was 2,000 set last year in Chrzanów.

The gathering of St. Nicholas' on Kraków's Main Market Square  

St. Nicholas' Day is an eagerly awaited event for children across the country. Polish children customarily receive presents on both St. Nicholas's Day and on Christmas Eve (Wigilia).

Children write letters to St Nicholas stressing how well they have behaved and let him know what might make the perfect present. Those that have been nice collect the gifts, which appear, as if by magic, on the morning of December 6th.

Saint Nicholas' Day, observed on December 6  or December19  in Eastern Christian countries, is the feast day of Saint Nicholas. It is celebrated as a Christian festival with particular regard to his reputation as a bringer of gifts, as well as through the attendance of Mass. In Poland, boys would dress as bishops begging alms for the poor. In Ukraine, children wait for St. Nicholas to come and to put a present under their pillows provided that the children were good during the year. Children who behaved badly would find a lump of coal under their pillows. 

The American Santa Claus, is derived in part from Saint Nicholas and in part from the Dutch Sinterklaas, the saint's name in that language. However the gift giving associated with these descendant figures is associated with Christmas Day rather than Saint Nicholas Day itself.


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