Polish Wedding of Gay Couple

August 31, 2014
Changes Afoot?

Changes Afoot?

Jędrzej and Marek have been together for over seven years and thinking about getting married for the past two. At first, they were going to wait for parliament to pass a bill on civil unions. However, as time went on, they realised that the law might not change in their lifetime, so they took matters in their own hands and managed to get as close to getting married as a homosexual couple possibly can get in Poland. It took them a year and a half to come up with a way to circumvent the law. They started by changing their surnames: both men added the name of their partner to their own. Then, they set out to find a lawyer; one that not only would prepare the appropriate documents but also would be willing to officiate the wedding ceremony. Finally, the men signed a civil law agreement. “The law states that the parties of such an agreement can add statements of any kind, including professing their love,” the couple says. Marek and Jędrzej read their vows in the presence of sixty guests, with classical music playing in the background. The couple insisted on a traditional Polish wedding, complete with their parents’ blessing, horse-drawn carriages, and a wedding reception that continued until the small hours.
tvn24.pl

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Over 1M Poles in Grey Zone

August 27, 2014
In the Shadows (c) fractalenlightenment

In the Shadows (c) fractalenlightenment

Recent information from the Central Statistical Office of Poland (GUS) indicates that in 2011 over 1.4 million Poles earned income from unreported employment. It is estimated that in 2014 this number might even be higher due to an increase in unemployment since 2010. High unemployment rates and bureaucratic employment regulations that are disadvantageous to SMEs are a catalyst for the growth of the grey economy. Employers are afraid of complicated laws and regulations and do not want to pay exorbitant mandatory fees. Therefore, it is not surprising that 13% of Polish GDP comes from unreported employment. “The increased development of the grey economy is understandable, because the grey zone usually flourishes at times of economic decline or crisis,” says Professor Stanisław Gomułka, former Deputy Minister of Finance and Chief Economist at the Business Centre Club (BCC), the largest private employer organisation in Poland. Professor Elżbieta Mączyńska of the Warsaw School of Economics (SGH) claims that SMEs shift towards the grey economy when employment law is inflated; the poorer the employment regulations, the greater the grey zone. Industries with the largest unreported employment include commerce, repair and handyman services, construction, and food and hospitality industries. The grey economy divests billions of złoty from the state budget. The loss to the state economy was estimated at PLN 185 billion last year. However, it is difficult to assess the losses precisely, because some of the funds return to the public purse via VAT charged on purchases made with money earned under the table. Unreported employment destroys the market as employers who pay cash-in-hand have lower costs than entrepreneurs who follow labour law and they also drive down the prices of goods and services. Additionally, people who get paid under the table are not entitled to public health or employment insurance.
Dziennik.pl

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Sikorski Afraid of Neighbours

August 15, 2014
Radosław Sikorski

Radosław Sikorski

Foreign Affairs Minister Radosław Sikorski has recently boasted about his firearm license being renewed. According to police statistics, he is one of only 21,000 Poles who can legally carry firearms for self-defence. Polish law in this regard is one of the most restrictive in Europe. Not only do applicants need to prove they are in “constant, real, and extraordinary danger” but they also need to undergo psychological evaluations every five years. Minister Sikorski, implicated in the wiretapping scandal earlier this year, has found the evaluation rather amusing as the doctor wanted to know if Sikorski felt that someone was listening in on his conversations. Despite the fact that up to 70% of all applications for firearm license are denied, Sikorski is one of many gun owners amongst Polish politicians. MP Arkadiusz Czartoryski (PiS) and MP Tomasz Kaczmarek (PiS) have suggested that politicians receive preferential treatment. “Nobody will risk saying ‘no’ to parliamentarians who want to carry firearms. However, in many instances, former law enforcement officers are denied the permit even though, I daresay, they are in much graver danger than ‘cheerful Radek’ [Radosław Sikorski],” said Kaczmarek, commenting on the information that Minister Sikorski applied for his license on the grounds that he resides 3 km from a prison.
tvn24.pl

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Lynch Mob Attacks, Kills Man

August 7, 2014
Caught But Too Late

Caught But Too Late

Five men are suspected of having tortured a drunk 25-year-old, who caused a car collision in Bełchatów. They are facing up to ten years in prison. “On Sunday, around 2:30 a.m., a 25-year-old inhabitant of Silesia caused a car collision in his Ford Mondeo in a parking lot on Edwardów Street. The driver of the other vehicle was a 28-year-old woman also from Bełchatów,” according to Sławomir Szymański, Press Officer of Bełchatów Police. According to the woman’s statement, the perpetrator looked drunk. Whilst talking to the Mondeo driver, some unknown men walked over to them and started a fight with the 25-year-old man. They hit him, kicked him, and jumped on him. When he lost consciousness, the men ran away. Police officers, who were called to the incident, attempted to resuscitate the man, but unfortunately he died on his way to the hospital due to the severe injuries he had sustained. Tests showed that he was intoxicated. Thankfully, police stopped the perpetrators of the crime within just a few minutes of their attack on the man. They were a 31-year-old inhabitant of Bełchatów, a 39-year-old inhabitant of Drużbice, and three inhabitants of Zduńska Wola aged 28, 29 and 34. All of them, bar the 29-year-old, were intoxicated. Police are now investigating the reasons behind the crime.
newsweek.pl

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Poland Helped CIA

August 2, 2014
CIA Prison in Poland

CIA Prison in Poland

The Süddeutsche Zeitung has reported that Poland helped the CIA and now has to answer for it. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Poland broke the European Human Rights Convention in helping the Central Intelligence Agency render two terror suspects. This judgement violates the democratic and libertarian tradition of the Polish nation. The Warsaw correspondent of SZ Klaus Brill points out that the name of U.S. President George W. Bush is associated with “two terrible wars and a number of further cases which his successor Barack Obama is still trying to deal with.” This includes Guantanamo, “a synonym for the violation of the fundamental principles of the rule of law.” As we read in SZ, secret CIA operations involved the deportation of people who were under suspicion of terrorism to other countries, followed by interviewing and torturing them in these countries. According to the German journalist, 54 governments were involved in such operations, including Syria, but also three EU states: Poland, Lithuania and Romania. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled on 24 July that seven violations on the European Convention on Human Rights had been committed by Poland.
fakty.interia.pl

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CIA Black Site in Poland

July 31, 2014
CIA Crime

CIA Crime

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Poland violated the European Convention on Human Rights by allowing the CIA to detain and torture terrorism suspects on Polish territory. The verdict was unanimous. Two applicants claim that between 2002 and 2003, they were imprisoned at a so-called “black site” in Stare Kiejkuty, northeastern Poland. Both men are currently indefinitely detained at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. The Court has ordered Poland to pay €100,000 in compensation to Al-Nashiri, allegedly responsible for orchestrating the bombing of the American military vessel USS Cole in 2000, and another €130,000 to Abu Zubaydah, supposedly one of the top members of Al-Qaeda. While the Court stressed the fact that the CIA was solely responsible for interrogations and tortures conducted in Stare Kiejkuty, it faulted Poland for cooperating  with the American agency and allowing it to use a Polish intelligence training facility. According to the Court, Polish authorities, bound by the European Convention on Human Rights to prevent torture and inhumane treatment, had in fact permitted it. What is more, Poland failed to effectively investigate the matter and subsequently refused to submit the requested evidence to the Court.
tvn24.pl

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Hospital Head Fired

July 13, 2014
Bogdan Chazan Sacked

Bogdan Chazan Sacked

“If one’s conscience does not allow one to tend to a patient’s needs in accordance with the law, then one should choose another profession,” said former Health Minister Ewa Kopacz, commenting on the recent decision to dismiss Warsaw hospital head Bogdan Chazan for refusing to help a pregnant woman get an abortion because of his religious convictions. Kopacz added, “I am a doctor and a religious person, but my rights as a doctor cannot negate the rights of my patients”. Kopacz stressed the fact that a medical practitioners’ job is to serve their patients. Although she admits that she understands why some doctors would not want to perform abortions, she argues that a situation in which one’s religious convictions are held above a patient’s rights cannot be tolerated. Kopacz, the current Speaker of the Polish Lower House, the Sejm, would also prefer the media to concentrate on the suffering of the woman, whose rights were infringed upon by Dr Chazan, instead of holding endless discussions about Chazan’s ‘conscience’. The woman who was denied an abortion, which she was legally entitled to, was forced to give birth to a baby, despite the fact that the foetus had serious birth defects. The baby died on Wednesday, after only ten days.
tvn24.pl

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