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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F-16 Jets in Poland

March 17, 2014
In Support

Supporting Poland

Several F-16 fighter jets have arrived for training exercises at the Łask Tactical Air Base from the Aviano base in Italy, according to the US Embassy in Warsaw. The US has also announced that the remaining F-16 fighters will arrive by the end of the week. The Polish-American military exercises are a response to the crisis in Ukraine and are much more significant than originally planned. US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel commented last week about increasing military support for NATO members, including Poland. “The first batch of F-16 jets have arrived at Łask Air Base in order to strengthen the American air subdivision. By the end of this week 12 aircrafts will arrive in Poland,” according to an official US Embassy communiqué. Polish TV (TVP) has shown images of F-16s landing at Łask. According to TVP, there were six American F-16s. “The intensification of training courses and exercises organised by the Air sub unit shows that the US is committed to the collective defence of its allies,” according to the press release
wiadomosci.wp.pl

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Met Opera Comes to Warsaw

February 28, 2014
Beyond Space and Time

Beyond Space and Time

From 1 March 2014, Praha cinema in Warsaw will begin a series of live HD broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera. Audiences will feel like they are sitting in the Metropolitan  itself. The “Metropolitan Opera: Live in HD” is a well-known and award-winning series of live broadcasts in HD quality from the most famous opera in the world. Special effects give viewers the impression of participating in the performance, even though it is being watched by thousands of people around the world. Another attraction is the fact that during the shows, we are able to follow set changes and watch interviews with the actors backstage, giving the audience of the live HD series the opportunity to look behind the scenes of high art. Despite the six-hour time difference, European audiences can watch the performaces live in the evenings, because the Metropolitan has two performances on Saturdays: one in the early afternoon and the other in the evening. The afternoon show is broadcast in Europe. Praha cinema will also show repeats of selected productions.
naszemiasto.pl

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Polish Company Signs Dell Contract

January 26, 2014
Polish Printing

Polish Printing

Olsztyn-based Zortrax will supply 5,000 3D printers to American computer giant Dell. “Signing this contract with Dell is a huge success because we beat off competition from many other companies,” says Rafal Tomasik, Zortrax chairman. “We’ve been negotiating with Dell since last year. It was difficult to supply this amount of printers at first but we quickly resumed negotiations. After that, we signed an agreement,” noted Tomasik. The M200 printers will be delivered in two shipments. The first will be delivered by March 2014, the second by June 2014. Zortrax, operating now for four years, has been researching a prototype 3D device for two and a half of those years. Its aim was to create a piece of equipment which is affordable not only for the big guns, but also for small- and medium-sized companies. To obtain the necessary funds, Polish researchers used Kickstarter.com, a website where people can present innovative technologies and find potential investors. Thanks to this, Zortrax obtained nearly $180,000 from people all over the world to ‘kick-start’ the 3D printer initiative. Dell became interested in the project thanks to Kickstarter.com. Zortrax claims that the future belongs to 3D printers. “I firmly believe that in five, maybe fifteen years, people will be using this technology every day,” says chairman Tomasiak.
onet.pl

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What Hollywood Thinks of Poland

January 24, 2014
Time to Stop Stereotypes

Time to Stop Stereotypes

“I will follow you to the end of the world, even to Poland or Beirut!” says the main character of the film “HappyThankyou-MorePlease”. The comparison of Poland to the capital city of Lebanon says a lot about what Americans think of Poland. Generally speaking, Polish characters are portrayed as people with lower social status, heavy-drinkers or sometimes people who come from an archaic country where time has stopped (around the 19th century). Dustin Hoffman’s directorial début, “Quartet”, includes a hint of Polishness, however, it is introduced in such a way that only Polish people or people who know Polish will notice it. In one scene, a person responsible for looking after an elderly pensioner says “niemożliwe” (pol. ‘impossible’), and that’s all. An entire string of dialogue can be heard in “The Fugitive”. The Poles portrayed in the film are drug dealers living in a ‘typical’ Polish apartment, with pictures of Pope John Paul II and and the Virgin Mary hanging on the walls. Polish people also appear in American TV series. Not wanting to break the stereotype, a Polish woman in “The Sopranos” is a cleaner. However, there is a Pole with a different occupation in “Boardwalk Empire”. In the series, the Polish character changes his surname to ‘Doyle’ – he is a gangster who makes moonshine. There is also a salesman from Poland in “Boardwalk Empire”. Chandler, in the popular sitcom “Friends”, bizarrely says, “If I can invade Poland, I can do anything”. In another TV series, “Gossip Girl”, we are introduced to Dorota, a cleaner who is played by an actress from Poland. Moreover, “Gossip Girl” is full of scenes where we can hear Polish. On the other hand, Poland’s ‘honour’ is restored by Clint Eastwood who created the character of Walt Kowalski, in “Gran Torino”. He is called “Polack” several times in the film and for most of the movie he is not liked by most of the other characters, however, as the film progresses, he becomes a more positive character, perhaps even a hero. This is surprising as it is difficult to find films where Polish people are shown in a positive light. The exception being characters in historical films. As a side note, in Oscar-nominated “Zero Dark Thirty”, a film about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, there is a scene which takes place in Gdańsk where CIA agents interrogate a person suspected of terrorism. What is interesting is the fact that the Polish authorities have still not admitted that terrorists were imprisoned and tortured in Poland. The film may, however, make it more difficult for Poland’s former Prime Minister Leszek Miller and his government to defend their position.
itvl.pl

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Polish-American Genetics

January 23, 2014
DNA Research

DNA Research

American company GenoVive has signed a long-term agreement with DNADieta of Poland. Both companies have established detailed plans for helping people lose weight and encouraging them to live a healthy lifestyle based on the latest genetic research. Twenty-five clinical trials have confirmed a relationship between a certain DNA chain and a tendency for gaining weight and obesity. Vic Castellon (the founder of GenoVive) said that the main reason for the US-Polish partnership is to introduce a new way of losing weight in Europe. The executive manager of DNADieta also claims that this new method is easy to follow. The first stage is to obtain a DNA sample from someone’s mouth. The sample can be sent to the company by mail.
onionas.pl

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Witcher Comes to America

January 19, 2014
The Witcher Returns

The Witcher Returns

The Witcher graphic novel is being published in the US prior to the launch of the third Witcher computer game. The graphic novel, based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s character, will be published by famous American publisher Dark Horse, which is also know for publishing graphic novels like Hellboy, Usagi Yojimbo, Sin City and the Star Wars series. The Americans have decided to create a whole new series about Sapkowski’s Witcher, although the initial plot will differ from the plot of the third instalment of the widely popular game, Witcher#3: Wild Hunt. The scriptwriter of the series is Paul Tobin, the illustrator is Joe Querio. Dave Johnson designed the cover of the graphic novel. Both are well-known graphic designers in the USA who have worked on the 100 Bullets and BPRD series. In the graphic novel, Geralt of Rivia will face a ghost woman who has changed an abandoned house into a house full of monsters and other creatures. Two series of the Witcher graphic novels have already appeared in Poland. In the 1990s, Bogusław Ploch illustrated six volumes which were penned by Maciej Parowski, based on the Andrzej Sapkowski books. The concepts were faithful to the literary original, but some found it controversial. In 2011 two more volumes came out. They were illustrated by Arkadiusz Klimek (coloured by Łukasz Poller) with script work by Michał Gałek. Although this time, Arkadiusz Klimek based the storyline on the computer game, created by Przemek Truściński and Michał Gałek who developed their own story within Andrzej Sapkowski’s world. There is also an application for iPhone and iPad that lets you read animated versions of the graphic novel which can be downloaded for free on iTunes.
culture.pl

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US Treats Poles as Second-class Partners

January 19, 2014
Not Respected

Not Respected

“Poles, like Bulgarians and Romanians, are treated by the US as second-class partners, as all the citizens of these countries still have to obtain visas to enter the US,” according to United Poland (SP) party representatives in the context of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Warsaw. “Much is said today of Poland strategic relationship with the United States. However, we would like this relationship to be beneficial for Poland, for every party to get what is important for them, instead of one partner having everything,” said United Poland MP Andrzej Romanek. He said that Poland has given much to the US, including the lives of soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan, and have not received much in return. According to the politician, the visa issue is “important, even prestigious” for Poles.
wiadomosci.wp.pl

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Spreading Democracy

January 18, 2014
Komorowski and Obama Discuss

Komorowski and Obama Discuss

In May last year, Presidents Obama and Komorowski met with Poland’s ‘fathers of democracy’ in order to discuss possible avenues of cooperation between the US and Poland and to spread democracy. Among the invited guests were Solidarity activists, leaders of political parties and representatives of Polish NGOs dealing with the promotion of democracy. President Obama recognised Poland as a model and an inspiration for democracy activists across the whole world, and expressed his admiration for the brave heroes of Solidarity. The first post-communist Prime Minister of Poland Tadeusz Mazowiecki and the Speaker of the Senate Bogdan Borusewicz talked about Poland’s transformation in the early ’90s, they also spoke about cooperation with other countries in Central Europe and North Africa that wish to make similar changes. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Radosław Sikorski talked about Poland’s activities in Tunisia for the promotion of democracy and gave assurances that Poland will support the political transition in Libya. Obama also expressed his appreciation for Polish activities in Belarus. Poland was the driving force for a common EU position condemning Lukashenko for his brutal crackdown of the opposition, civil society and independent media after the elections. Poland also participated actively in the elaboration of a mutual US-EU position for Belarus, and thus the insertion of tougher sanctions. After the meeting, President Obama spoke briefly with young democrats. The hope is that these young Polish democrats will follow in the footsteps of Solidarity, and with US help, forge a better future.
polish.poland.usembassy.gov

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The Poles who Discovered America

January 17, 2014

America of Old

America of Old

The name “America” comes from Amerigo Vespucci, the famous Italian discoverer who flew the flag of the then king of Portugal. Vespucci, as captain and seafaring navigator, journeyed to the west using hitherto unknown routes. During his first journey in 1497 he came across a new, unknown and unfamiliar land which he explored during later expeditions. It was South America. At roughly the same time (around 1492), another sailor and searcher of new trade routes to India, Christopher Columbus, made his way west to unknown lands, the central America islands. Thanks to numerous publications and descriptions which made Captain Amerigo Vespucci incredibly famous and popular, geographers named the newly discovered territories “America” after the great explorer (Vespucci was also known as “Americus”). Soon after, many European countries such as Holland, England, Denmark, France and even Russia began the active colonisation and occupation of some of these areas. International arguments, incidents and even battles ensued between and amongst the colonisers and the natives. Poland did not take part in that process as it had to deal with its own problems and wars against the Tartars, Mongols and Turkish assailants. Nevertheless, a few daredevils joined the colonisation and trade expeditions of Holland, England and France. They wanted to reach America so that they could live freely, get rich, discover new lands and create a new life for themselves. Some historians claim that one of the first to dare to leave Poland and reach American soil (probably with the Vikings in 1476) was the traveller John of Kolno. The main reason why many Poles (Protestants, Hussites, atheists) decided to leave Poland was to avoid religious persecution. Daniel Lischo from Koszalin was one of the first citizens of the Dutch colony called New Amsterdam (today’s New York). He started a tavern there. The business went so well that he soon became a wealthy and revered person in the colony. He also took part in the defence and military activities of the colony and was highly valued for his loyal service to the colony and its governor Peter Stuyvesant. Stuyvesant showed his high appreciation for Lischo’s skills and diligence by asking the Spanish king to invite more Polish settlers. Well-educated Polish settlers established many academic outposts and profitable businesses. One of the most prominent characters of the colony was Captain Marcin Krygier (Creiger). He acquired a huge fortune and was deputy mayor of New Amsterdam from 1653 to 1661.

Old America

Old America

Another example was the Vilnius scholar Alexander Kurcjusz (Curtius). He reached American soil in 1659 and was founder and headmaster of the first Latin School of New Amsterdam. However he was not the only Polish professor in what was to become New York. There were many others like John Rutkowsky or Kazimierz Butkiewicz. Wojciech Adamkiewicz was the great architect of New Amsterdam in the 17th century building many structures both for housing and for business (sometimes even whole streets). Unfortunately there is no trace of them now because they were made of wood. The wealthy and well-educated nobleman and forefather of a famous family Albert (Olbracht) Zaborowski also settled in the vicinity of New Amsterdam. He became rich trading in real estate and buying large tracts of land near the colony of New Jersey. He was linguistically gifted and learnt the language of the local Indians and worked as a New Amsterdam translator. Zaborowski was also nominated a magistrate in Bergen County, New Jersey. What is more, thanks to his marriage to the local chief’s daughter, he become the owner of many large pieces of real estate. Another rich and influential ‘American’ Pole was Piotr Stadnicki (1735-1810), a surveyor who created plans for entire districts. He designed the initial plans for Buffalo City (the steel industry metropolis). Stadnicki was also one of the few great financiers and bankers of North America who received substantial loans from President Thomas Jefferson for both himself and for the development of the region. Jan Antoni Sadowski (1669-1736) was a Polish nobleman who settled in Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. He was a diligent polyglot who befriended and traded with the Lenape Indians. Sadowski was able to negotiate peace treaties and Patrick Gordon, the Deputy Governor of Pennsylvania, confided in him to go on missions for him. Sadowski travelled west to Ohio province, even as far as Kentucky, to explore and discover new territories and founded the Sandusky settlement in Ohio. Zygmunt Leszczyński (a relative of King Stanisław Leszczyński) was another important early settler. Poles such as J.W. Golkowski, Karol Blaszkiewicz and Casimir T. Goeredk also contributed to the development of Pennsylvania in the 17th and 18th centuries. Casimir T. Goeredk, became the main surveyor of New York but his premature death interrupted his work on the city map. He married into the wealthy and famous family of President Roosevelt when he married Cornelius Roosevelt’s sister. Poles were key to the settlement and development of Pennsylvania. What is more, they played a key role in the birth of the United States.
dziennik.com

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