Spaghetti Won’t Fly in Poland

April 16, 2014
He Boils in Poland

He Boils in Poland

According to Grupa IQS, an independent research company, less than 20% of Poles think that the Polish courts should allow the Polish Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to be registered. “The lack of support for registration is evident; 59% of Poles are against its registration and around 25% are undecided. There is a certain pattern among people who believe in the registration of the Spaghetti Church. For example, the majority of them have at graduated from high school,” says Marta Rybicka, from Grupa IQS. The results of the poll are satisfactory for the followers of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (called Pastafarians). “We did not expect as much as 17% support,” commented Andrzej Kuliński, spokesperson for the church, who is especially satisfied with 10% support in rural areas. “This means that people from rural areas are increasingly more aware of human needs and their world view is not affected by factors that may depreciate other faiths”. He also discusses the group of people who are undecided: “This group is rather large in both the countryside as well as in the city. What is more, this group does not seem to be in opposed to the church’s registration. As a faithful Pastafarian, I am sure that the number of people who support our case will rise as well as the number of followers of our wonderful religion.” The whole community is controversial because many people consider them anti-religious. Recently, the Regional Administrative Court overruled a decision of the Ministry of Administration and Digitization not to register the Church in the Register of Churches and Religious Unions. This decision has made future registration still possible.
polska.newsweek.pl

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Polish Education Problem?

April 12, 2014
Bricks in a Wall?

Bricks in a Wall?

There are 36,000 foreign students in Poland from 149 countries, which is approximately 23% more than in the previous year. The largest group, more than 15,000, are Ukrainians, according to the ‘Perspektywy’ Educational Foundation. Students from Ukraine already make up 42% of the total number of foreign students in Poland, and are followed by students from Belarus (3,743), Norway (1,580), Spain (1,361) and Sweden (1,251). According to Perspektywy data and the Central Statistical Office (GUS) precisely 35,983 foreign students were studying in the 2013/14 academic year. This equates to a 23% increase in the number of students from outside Poland. “Such a sharp increase has not yet experienced in Polish universities,” reads a Perspektywy report. At the same time, the iPerspektywy’ Educational Foundation also claims that the internationalisation of higher education in Poland stems not only from an increase in the number of foreigners, but also an unprecedented decline in the total number of students. There are currently 1,549,877 students in Poland (2013/14) which is actually less than 125,000 compared to last year.
wiadomosci.wp.pl

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Downsizing Polish TV

April 12, 2014
Not Cultured

Not Cultured

On Wednesday, 9 March, Leasing Team won a tender for taking up to 550 employees from the Polish Television (TVP) payroll. The employment agency offered the highest bid. Allegedly, the changes will be implemented in June. According to the plan, coordinating editors will still be employed by TVP, however, employees whose duties do not require an employment contract, e.g. make-up stylists and graphic designers, editing staff and journalists, will be employed by the agency. Staff enrolled by the employment agency will be guaranteed a two-year contract, with no changes to the contract guaranteed only for the first year. The transfer of staff to the outsourcing company is the first stage of restructuring at TVP. The plan involves changing employment contracts to task-based contracts thus encouraging some staff to become self-employed. Naturally, trade unions strongly oppose the changes. On 7 February, the Wizja trade union declared a one-hour warning strike. The organisers also sent a letter to the Prime Minister informing him about the restructuring plans of the TVP management board. TVP wishes to cut costs and the Ministry of Treasury expects progress in the restructuring programme. Rafał Baniak, deputy minister at the Ministry of Treasury, has praised the methods employed by the management board. “The net income of TVP for 2013, although negative, will improve by PLN 200 million compared to last year. Such an improvement in the financial state of the company is a result of the efficient restructuring programme. We expect TVP to continue restructuring whilst assuring high-quality programming and improving financial performance,” declared the minister.
Wyborcza.biz

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Macierewicz Investigates

April 11, 2014
Questioning Smolensk

Questioning Smolensk

“I am certainly not mistaken; what we are dealing with here is a crime,” said PiS MP and Jarosław Kaczyński confidante Antoni Macierewicz, discussing the Smolensk plane crash. “Those people died because the plane exploded in the air. I believe that it involved the actions of third parties,” stressed the deputy leader of Law and Justice (PiS). At the same time, he did not indicate the persons who in his opinion are responsible. “At this stage of the proceedings of the parliamentary team, we cannot indicate those responsible. However, everything implies that culpability lies on the Russian side.” Antoni Macierewicz emphasises that the details of the catastrophe are still unknown, which can be blamed on “the prosecutor’s office and the governing bodies of the state.” “Unfortunately they are only blocking this investigation. Hence, there is a necessity to introduce a special Smolensk Act,” notes the deputy PiS head.
wiadomosci.onet.pl

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Polish Education Disaster

April 10, 2014
Typical Student?

Typical Student?

Polish students scored below average on the PISA problem-solving test. “It is easier for Polish teenagers to solve a maths problem than to buy a cheap train ticket. The latest PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) 2012 results show that Polish teenagers cannot cope with real-life problems,” according to Gazeta Wyborcza. “Creative problem-solving and tackling real-life problems is an additional part of PISA, which aims to measure the abilities of teenagers. Last year, in December, when PISA published the reading, maths and science results, it turned out that Polish teenagers were the cream of the crop in European countries with regards to maths putting the average Polish 15-year-old on a par with Finland, which is the leader,” we read in Gazeta Wyborcza. However, this time around, the PISA results in creative problem-solving have been published. And there is nothing to brag about. “15-year-olds in Poland scored below the OECD average. In thirty minutes they had to cope with tasks that were connected with the use of modern technology. The tasks included how to use a ticket machine to purchase the cheapest train ticket available, setting up an MP3 player according to specified guidelines or changing air conditioner settings without having any instructions,” describes Gazeta Wyborcza. The results were disastrous for Polish schools. Polish students scored an average of 481 points. The average for all countries was 500.
rmf24.pl

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Euro Election Spending

April 9, 2014
Money, Money, Money

Money, Money, Money

According to Gazeta Wyborcza, during the first month of the campaign for the elections to the European parliament, Law and Justice (PiS) spent PLN 1.2m, Civic Platform (PO) spent PLN 0.5m and the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) spent PLN 250,000 on their respective campaigns. Political parties which may have representation in all districts is allowed to spend a maximum of PLN 18m. Both PO and PiS wish to spend around PLN 10m. PO will give PLN 8m to local authorities which will be divided between candidates for individual campaigns. PiS candidates will receive much less: between PLN 2m and PLN 2.5 m. The euro-elections have not yet aroused the emotions of Polish people. The PiS YouTube video only garnered 19,000 views, whereas the PO video got 19,400.
wiadomosci.wp.pl

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Rolling Stones in Poland

April 9, 2014
Still Can't Get No...

Still Can’t Get No…

The manager of the Rolling Stones has announced that a concert will take place at the National Stadium in Warsaw at the personal request of the President of Poland Bronisław Komorowski on the 25th anniversary of the free elections held on 4 June 1989. The Rolling Stones want to do something similar to U2 who had a concert to mark the anniversary of German reunification, reports Polish Radio One. “We knew that 4 June is an important day for Polish people, although we were not fully aware of what happened on that day,” admits the manager. “The Stones have prepared a surprise. They will sing the famous Maryla Rodowicz song “Niechżyje bal” (‘Long Live the Ball’). There is no lack of great Polish rock songs that Mick Jagger could sing. So, we are not ruling out the possibility of other Polish songs being sung. The Rolling Stones remember the Warsaw concert of 1967. There were a lot of people and it was really hot,” continues the manager. A group of Polish artists wrote a letter to Bronisław Komorowski protesting against the Warsaw concert. “We oppose this cultural initiative, which will result in making a substantial financial contribution to a foreign artist. The celebration of our national victory should be an opportunity for the global presentation of Polish music,” wrote Krystyna Prońko, Robert Chojnacki and others. However, much to the annoyance of Polish Stones’ fans, it turned out that the concert announcement was an April Fool’s joke by Polish Radio.
polskieradio.pl

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Natalie Portman’s Polish Praise

April 8, 2014
Polish Praise

Polish Praise

Natalie Portman, the movie star and debuting director, has acknowledged Polish cinematographer Sławomir Idziak for his “commitment and professional working methods”. Idziak is director of photography on “A Tale of Love and Darkness”, which is an adaptation of the novel of the same name and also 32-year-old Portman’s silver screen directorial debut. The American actress, who was born in Jerusalem and is the daughter of an Israeli doctor and American artist, also plays one of the leading roles in the movie. The novel “A Tale of Love and Darkness”, written by Amos Oz, an Israeli writer born in 1939, has been translated into 30 or so languages. Sławomir Idziak spent the last four months in Israel working on the screen adaptation. Shooting was completed several days ago. The Polish cinematographer uses an unconventional way of working on set, which was created during his workshops for young filmmakers. Film Spring Open has been run by Idziak for a few years now and his unconventional methods drew the attention of the young director. “The choices we made together at the pre-production stage saved so much time and effort,” wrote Portman in a special thank-you expressing her gratitude to Idziak.
PAP

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Standard of Polish Living

April 7, 2014
No Fat Cats in Poland

No Fat Cats in Poland

Polish people have difficulty making ends meet, according to a report by Poland’s Central Statistical Office (GUS) on the income and standard of living. The ability to make ends meet, among other factors, determines the quality of family life. There is a large proportion of Polish people who claim that they do not have the possibility to realise these basic needs due to financial difficulties. Polish families save by reducing spending on recreation or renovation. Despite the fact that, compared with figures in 2005, the number of Poles forced to tighten their belts has decreased, more than 50% believe that a week-long holiday or new furniture is a luxury.
biznes.onet.pl

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Russia Steering Poland?

April 7, 2014
Calling the Shots

Calling the Shots

According to Max Kolonko, a Polish news correspondent in the US, “Russia is steering Poland and the Polish Prime Minister is as weak as [Poland's last monarch] King Stanisław August Poniatowski.” In a recent interview with Onet, Max Kolonko criticised the Polish media and described how the Smolensk air crash was presented in the American media. According to Kolonka, Americans hardly know anything apart from the fact that the crash took place. All US agencies obtained their information from Russian ITAR-TASS and not Polish press agencies because the investigation was carried out by the Russians. As a result the majority of Americans do not know that the black boxes and the wreckage of the plane have not been returned to Poland yet. “The Smolensk air crash has become helpful for Russia in destabilising the situation in Poland. This also explains why gruesome photographs of the mangled bodies of crash victims appeared on a Siberian website,” he added. Kolonko also stated that a conflicted Poland is in the interests of Russia. “A weak Polish Prime Minister is part of a script written in Moscow a long time ago. The PM needs help and Moscow is willing to give it (the plane wreckage and black boxes) but only at a time that is right for Moscow providing an additional ‘ace’ that might strengthen or even save the Polish Prime Minister,” explained Kolonko. Such a grateful Prime Minister would mirror the King Poniatowski situation and his servile attitude to Russia’s Catherine II,” he noted.
gazetaprawna.pl

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