Eat Apples to Annoy Putin

August 8, 2014
Eat Apples

Eat Apples

While the European Union is putting in place new sanctions against Russia over the situation in Ukraine, Russia has banned the import of fruit and vegetables from Poland. This has led thousands of Polish internet users to encourage Poles to eat apples in order to laugh in the face of Russia’s embargo. Russian news agency ITAR-TASS first learnt that in a matter of days Russia was going to either limit or completely ban the import of fruit from Poland. Officially, the embargo is motivated by ‘issues with the quality of the fruit’, but it is widely believed to be retaliation for Poland’s support of European Union sanctions against Russia. In response, Puls Biznesu journalists started what quickly turned into a national campaign when they appealed to Poles to #eatapples (#jedzjabłka) to annoy Russian President Putin. The campaign is supposed to help local farmers who will feel the effects of the Russian embargo hardest. The internet is being flooded with selfies of people eating apples, edited images of Putin mocking the Russian leader, apple recipes, as well as more creative ideas of people finding new uses for apples, for example to produce fuel, to name but one. The campaign has been endorsed by Polish politicians, celebrities and journalists. Poland is Europe’s largest producer of apples; half of its produce is exported to Russia.
tvn24.pl

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Poland, Business Partner of China

August 5, 2014
Polish Dragon (in Kraków)

Polish Dragon (in Kraków)

On 30 June, Warsaw was visited by representatives of one of the largest provinces in China: Shandong. During the meeting, which included 90 companies from Shandong province, the head of the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (PAIiIZ) Sławomir Majdan encouraged Chinese entrepreneurs to enter the Polish market. He also emphasised that Poland has been one of Europe’s top countries in terms of development during the global economic crisis. “We want Chinese companies to play an important role in the creation of new jobs in Poland as well as participating in Polish reindustrialisation,” said the head of PAIiIZ. Grażyna Hanclewska, deputy Minister of Economy, noted that China is Poland’s largest trading partner in Asia. “We are also interested in developing cooperation with particular provinces,” she said. According to Hanclewska the prospective areas of Polish-Chinese economic cooperation are: environmental protection, energy, metallurgical industry, machinery, chemical, agricultural, food, construction, transport and mining. “All forms of cooperation related to modern technologies are important for Poland,” she added. Grażyna Hanclewska also stressed that Poland is the EU leader when it comes to economic growth. “For more than 20 years Poland has consistently had positive economic growth,” emphasised the deputy minister. Also deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Katarzyna Kacperczyk argued that the prospects for the Polish economy are good and she added that Polish foreign trade and Polish entrepreneurship is developing rapidly. According to the deputy governor of Shandong Province Xia Geng, Poland continues to be China’s strategic trade partner in Central Europe. He also stated that Poland has great potential and trade between the two countries is growing every year. Data from the Ministry of Economy shows that in 2013 exports of Polish goods to China amounted to $2.1 billion dollars. Chinese imports to Poland amounted to over $19 billion.
polskieradio.pl

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Ida nominated to LUX Prize

July 14, 2014
Ida

Ida

“Ida” is a black and white film directed by Paweł Pawlikowski. It is the story of a novice nun (Agata Trzebuchowska) who before taking her vows visits her aunt, her only living relative. The young girl learns about her family history and decides to go on a journey to find the resting place of her parents together with her aunt. The film has already received a Golden Lion for best film at the Gdynia Film Festival and Warsaw Grand Prix in the International Competition for best film at the Warsaw Film Festival. The film has also been recognised at festivals in London and Toronto. At the beginning of June, “Ida” received a Golden Trailer Award for best foreign drama. Now it has the chance to win a LUX Prize, an award introduced in 2007 and given to films by members of the European Parliament. The award honours films that promote European culture, show otherness as well as demonstrate the universality of values that are important for all Europeans.
film.dziennik.pl

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Largest Amusement Park in Poland

July 6, 2014
Shape of Things to Come

Shape of Things to Come

The Energylandia amusement park in Zator, Lesser Poland, will open on 14 July, although some of the attractions will not be available until 2015. The park covers an area of 26 hectares and employs 250 people. It contains Europe’s two largest rollercoasters and many other rides, which should attract at least 170,000 visitors this year alone. The man behind the investment is Marek Gocał, owner of the Energy 2000 chain of nightclubs. The location of Energylandia is not random, as Zator lies on the border of Lesser Poland and Silesia, less than half an hour from the important cities of Kraków and Katowice. The investment cost PLN 73m, and was partially funded by the EU (PLN 42m). Although the plan was accepted in 2009, constructors received European funds four years later. Energylandia will have three sectors: for children, teenagers and adults/parents, and will feature, among others, rollercosters, a large river drop and a ‘pyramid of fear’. Entry will cost PLN 49-89 for a day, but people from Zator, only have to pay a nominal fee of PLN 1.
wyborcza.biz

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Polish European Parliament

July 4, 2014
Ryszard Czarnecki

Ryszard Czarnecki

Law and Justice (PiS) MEP Ryszard Czarnecki has been chosen as one of fourteen vice presidents of the European Parliament. “I will work for the good of Poland because that is my main goal in the European Parliament,” he declared. Czarnecki was chosen in the third round of voting by secret ballot, winning 284 votes. The PiS MEP will be the only vice president of the European Parliament from Poland. The primary role of vice presidents is to support the head of the European Parliament. When the President is not in the chair, vice presidents chair plenary sessions. They can also represent the President during various ceremonies and are members of the Bureau of the European Parliament. Several Polish MEPs will perform important roles. Jerzy Buzek will be chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE). Janusz Lewandowski will replace Buzek in the second half of the term. According to unofficial sources, head of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) will be Czesław Siekierski and Danuta Huebner will be head of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO).
tvn24.pl

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Less Pee in Baltic Sea

July 2, 2014
Clean Water?

Clean Water?

Poland has finally joined the European elite in terms of the quality of its bathing waters. Thanks to European funds for sewage treatment plants and district sewage systems, all of Poland’s seaside waters have attained high marks in terms of quality. Every year, before the beginning of the summer season, the European Environment Agency (EEA) publishes water quality reports for Europe’s bathing waters. The ratings take into account the concentration levels of such bacteria as Escherichia coli or Enterococcus faecali, which indicate pollution from sewage or animal excrement. All bathing waters (the list includes about 22,000 official bathing areas across the EU) receive a mark: “excellent”, “good”, “sufficient”, “poor”. The beaches of Cyprus are the cleanest. According to EU experts there were many reservations to the water quality of popular beaches such as the French Riviera, the Costa Brava and Liguria (about 3% of bathing waters received only a “sufficient” mark). Compared to these resorts, Polish bathing waters did well. Only one bathing area out of 200 taken under consideration by the EEA received the lowest mark, a beach by Tarpieński Lake, near Grudziądz. “In 2009, over 12% of Poland’s Baltic bathing areas received the lowest marks. So much has changed. The massive improvement of Baltic water quality is a result of the improvement of sewage treatment plants and investment,” says Jakub Skorupski from the Green Federation GAJA. Unfortunately, EEA quality control does not take into consideration sand pollution on beaches or problems with chemicals and other rubbish (cans, bottles, etc.), which often pollute the water. The resorts that received an “excellent” mark include, among others, Krynica Morska, Sopot, Jurata, Jastarnia and Świnoujście.
metromsn.gazeta.pl

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Marilyn Monroe in Wrocław

June 30, 2014
Marilyn

Marilyn

A collection of 3,000 photographs of Marilyn Monroe taken by one of the best-known fashion and film star photographers, Milton H. Greene, was put up for auction by DESA Unicum. The unique collection, which belonged to the Foreign Debt Service Fund since the mid-90s, was bought by Wrocław-based Hala Ludowa for PLN 6.4 million, making it the biggest one-off transaction on the Polish art market ever. The head of the company Andrzej Baworowski said that the collection is worth approximately PLN 18-24 million. The collection features many well-known photographs and also many never seen by the public before. A new museum will be created in Wrocław especially for the collection, which also contains approximately 100 photographs of Marlene Dietrich. The mayor of Wrocław explained that the purchase is an investment and also that Wrocław hopes to win the Melina Mercouri prize (PLN 1.5 million) for the European Capital of Culture. He has assured Wrocław residents that he has already started looking for private sponsors who will support the undertaking. The mayor was in favour of the purchase because he believes that apart from the Racławice Panorama and the original “Pan Tadeusz” by Adam Mickiewicz (Poland’s national bard), Wrocław can profit from another new international attraction. However, many believe that the investment is a “costly whim” and they doubt if it will changes the cultural line of the city.
wyborcza.pl

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Too Homophobic for Far-Right

June 26, 2014
Danger Man

Danger Man

Since the last month’s euro elections, Marine Le Pen, leader of the French Front National (FN), has been trying to form a new group in the European Parliament. On Monday, one of the MPs involved in the process informed the media that those attempts have proved unsuccessful. The group was supposed to consist of far-right parties from France, Italy, Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands. As a new group can only be formed by 25 or more MPs representing no less than seven member states, Le Pen looked to the leader of the Polish Congress of the New Right (KNP), Janusz Korwin-Mikke, as a potential ally. After weeks of negotiations, Geert Wilders of the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) told the ANP news agency that the idea of having KNP join the group was abandoned as the views of Korwin-Mikke were too disparate from those of the five other parties. Wilders added that “PVV really wanted to create a new group in the European Parliament, but not at any cost.” According to various media reports, Wilders supposedly took offence to the “homophobic worldview” of the Polish politician. Korwin-Mikke himself said that FN terminated the negotiations, citing his anti-Semitism and homophobia as the reasons.
tvn24.pl

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Worthless Polish-US Alliance

June 23, 2014
Alliance in Doubt?

Alliance in Doubt?

“Minister Sikorski’s international career is about to be dramatically cut short by his own pathetic comments. He has lost the chance to hold any office in the EU or NATO. It is a pity,” said MP Tadeusz Iwiński of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD). His comments are a reaction to the recently revealed contents of yet another batch of wiretap recordings. Increadingly more politicians of the ruling Civic Platform (PO) are finding themselves in a difficult position as Wprost magazine continues to publish transcripts and recordings of their private conversations. One of the newly released transcripts features Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski expressing his opinions on Polish-US relations. Using crude language, Sikorski describes the alliance between the two countries as worthless and even harmful to Poland as it “creates a false sense of security” unnecessarily antagonising Germany and Russia. The minister has also something to say about Poles, whom he considers to be “suckers” with “shallow pride and low self-esteem”. Before the scandal, Sikorski was seen as a rising star in the world of international politics. Last month, he became Poland’s official candidate to be the next head of EU foreign policy.
wp.pl

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Polish Farmers are Young and Rich

June 19, 2014
New Generation

New Generation

Ten years after Poland’s accession to the European Union, Polish farmers have become one of the most well-off social groups, according to Dziennik Gazeta Prawna following the results of research by the Central Statistical Office (GUS). Farming households have access to larger sums of money than households of regularly employed persons or entrepreneurs. Last year, the monthly discretionary income of farming households reached PLN 5,044 (after taxes, social insurance contributions and health insurance). This is about PLN 755 more than regular households according to GUS research. In the years 2003-2013, the average discretionary income of farming households increased nominally by 152%. Therefore, it is not surprising that increasingly more farmers are satisfied with their lives. The percentage of farmers who consider their life situation to be good or very good is growing rapidly and has already reached 40%. What is more, Polish farmers are the youngest in the EU; every seventh farmer is not yet 35.
polska.newsweek.pl

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