Indian Hope in Refugee Crisis

Poland's Maharaja Saviour

Poland’s Maharaja Saviour

“This is a history of Poland, but also a history of each rescued child,” said PM Beata Szydło during the opening ceremony of the unique exhibition entitled Passage to India. Polish camps in Balachadi and Valivade 1941/1948. The Polish Prime Minister thanked the organisers and emphasised that Poland respects freedom, tolerance and helping the needy because Polish history has not been easy. The exhibition, put together by the Polish History Museum, presents the story of thousands of Polish civilians, including children, who were freed under the Soviet amnesty in 1941 and together with the army of General Anders were evacuated from the Soviet Union to Iran and then to India. 6,000 of the 40,000 Polish people imprisoned in the USSR lived in the Indian camps of Balachadi and Valivade under the care of the Polish government-in-exile. United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Cristina Gallach highlighted the fact that Polish refugee children received a new home thanks to Maharaja Jam Saheb Sri Digvijaysinhji Ranjitsinhji of Nawangar State who provided the initial funding for an orphanage in Balachadi. Gallach said that the Maharaja’s act should be an inspiration to us all. The impressive Passage to India exhibition includes photos of the kolkhoz in Ammala, members of Anders’ Army released from the Soviet gulags and starving orphans. There are also maps showing the route Anders’ Army took through the USSR to the Middle East, pictures of refugees from Avhaz in Iran, a refugee train at Valivade station as well as photos of the everyday life of refugees in the camps of Balachadi and Valivade. One of the honorary guests at the exhibition was Henry Bobotek who lived in Balachadi camp in India. He thankfully only spent one year there because his mother managed to get to America where he joined her after the war.
wiadomosci.onet.pl

Abortion Ban Imminent?

Abortion Ban?

Abortion Ban?

The Polish government’s ideas about restricting abortion is an extremely hot topic. Recently, there was a debate in Poland’s Sejm (the Lower House) entitled “Contraception and terminating pregnancies – should we be worried?”, and with it some interesting facts came to light. Professor Romuald Dębski of the Medical University of Warsaw discussed the role of gynaecologists under the new law, and how it may affect their actions in various situations during pregnancies. The new regulations mean doctors will not be allowed to perform certain procedures, under penalty of a 3-year prison sentence. “If a foetus has pre-eclampsia in its 32nd week, I will have to let the baby die. If I perform a Caesarean and the baby dies, I could face a 3-year sentence,” said Professor Dębski. Moreover, Draginja Nadazdin, the director of Amnesty International Polska, broached the subject of women who have had a miscarriage and could be investigated by the public prosecutor wishing to discover whether or not they have committed a crime. Many experts are alarmed at the consequences of the new legislation and wish it to be discussed in greater detail to help the Polish public understand what it will mean.
polska.newsweek.pl

From Kraków to Warsaw

Kraków - Former Capital City

Kraków – Former Capital City

Exactly 420 years has passed since the capital of Poland was moved from Kraków to Warsaw. In March 1596, the Polish king (of Swedish origin) Sigismund III Vasa moved his entire court to the region of Mazovia (Polish: Mazowsze), which in the late 16th century was already a centre of strategic importance and a rapidly developing area within the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The decision to move the Polish capital was probably not only driven by the fact that the assembly of the Polish parliament (Polish: Sejm) was held that year in Warsaw, but also because of a fire that devastated Wawel Castle in Kraków. What is more, Warsaw is situated much closer to Sweden, the homeland of King Sigismund, who planned to retake the Swedish crown. “The year 1596 may well be considered the date of moving the capital of Poland from Kraków to Warsaw, but it in fact was a very long process, which lasted until 1609,” said Krzysztof Zwierz, of the Warsaw Research department of the Museum of Warsaw. “The king was simply going to participate in the Sejm and the fact that he remained with his court in Warsaw was due to certain political reason that took place at the time. Furthermore, the future capital of Poland was considered a thriving large city with more opportunities and well-developed trade routes,” he adds. Regardless of the potential that Warsaw had back then, it was Kraków that remained the official capital and the venue for the coronations of the majority of Poland’s kings, however, Warsaw gradually began to take over these diplomatic and political functions.
wp.pl

President Helps Swiss Franc Payers

Swiss Franc

Swiss Franc

Poland’s Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) has calculated the costs of the new draft act on financial aid to those citizens paying off mortgages in Swiss Francs, put forward at the behest of the President. The costs, it appears, are gigantic. The KNF believes that the financial consequences of the act would “not only upset the stability of some banks, but also, in a worst-case scenario, cause a financial crisis”. Aid for Franc-payers was one of Andrzej Duda’s key presidential campaign promises. The Office of the President has prevaricated for a long while in presenting the draft act, putting it forward as late as mid-January. Despite claims that fees for Swiss Franc mortgage lenders would be converted into a “fair” exchange rate, the draft did not include any calculations of the financial consequences thereof. Members of the Office of the President asked the KNF to prepare the appropriate calculations. It appears, however, that the KNF’s opinion of the act is crushing. According to the KNF: “there is a group of banks for which the deficit in their own capital is significant; this would decrease even more sharply after the mortgage restructuring process, below safety levels”. What is more, we have to be aware and open to the periodic market disturbances that never fail to appear, which, on top of this restructuring process, would significantly weaken the Polish złoty. The Office of the President is currently analysing the expert opinion of the KNF.
newsweek.pl

Polish Actors go International

Joanna Kulig

Joanna Kulig

International film producers are increasingly turning their gaze to Poland, whose actors are no longer playing only supporting roles, but have begun to star more frequently in foreign movies. Polish fingers have been well and firmly crossed for Joanna Kulig, who charmed audiences in Elles’ and The Woman in the Fifth’; for Daniel Olbrychski, who played alongside Angelina Jolie in Salt’; and for Agnieszka Grochowska in Ridley Scott’s Child 44′. More recently, Anne Fontaine’s ‘Les Innocentes’ stars Polish actresses Agata Kulesza and Agata Buzek, and ‘The Red Captain’ sees Poland’s Maciej Stuhr hit the silver screen in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The film is an adaptation of Dominik Dán’s novel of the same title and is set in the ’90s during the time of dissolution of Czechoslovakia. Richard Krauz (Maciej Stuhr), a young ambitious detective, begins an investigation into a mysterious homicide on a construction site. Step by step, Krauz starts putting together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that leads him to the former Czechoslovakian Security Services, the police and their links to several church dignitaries. ‘The Red Captain’ is a Slovakian, Czech and Polish co-production. The film hits Polish movie theatres this summer.
kultura.gazeta.pl

Staff Cuts in Banks

Is It Safe?

Is It Safe?

According to analysts and bankers, Poland’s banks, which employ a total of 170,000 people, are preparing for a series of dismissals for the first in a decade because of a decline in profits and government plans to charge the banking sector with additional costs. Last year, exceptionally low interest rates resulted in the loss of a quarter of the stock market value of some banks. New taxes put forward by the Law and Justice (PiS) government on assets and its plans to force banks to transform Swiss Franc mortgages into Polish złoty cause for concern because the decline in the value of the Franc has made mortgages too expensive for home owners. “By the end of 2017, new fees and taxes that have been recently forced on banks will result in the dismissal of 5% to 8% of the sector’s personnel,” says Mieczysław Groszek, vice president of the banking lobby of the Polish Bank Association (ZBP). One bank source claims that these dismissals may be higher. “For weaker banks, the reduction in personnel will reach around 10% to 20%. Thankfully, no cuts have taken place yet but HR departments are already beginning to evaluate the potential scale of the challenge ahead: the Excel spreadsheets have been prepared,” says one anonymous source.
biznes.onet.pl

Richest Polish Women

Dominika Kulczyk

Dominika Kulczyk

Forbes magazine has published the list of “100 Richest Poles”, in which men are still the leaders. Although, it is worth mentioning that women occupy 19 of the 100 places on the list, in most cases they are there together with their husbands. Individual Polish women-millionaires are rather rare. However, the 2016 list makes much better reading than last year, when only 16 women were on list. It is also worth noting that it was much more difficult to get on the list this year. Last year it was enough to have assets of PLN 240 million. This year, the list is propped up by ice cream moguls Zbigniew and Elżbieta Grycan who have assets of PLN 340 million. On this year’s list we find Dominika Kulczyk, daughter of the recently deceased Jan Kulczyk, together with her brother Sebastian; Elżbieta Filipiak, who runs IT company Comarch, together with her husband; Irena Eris, a leader in the cosmetics industry; and Teresa Mokrysz, founder of Mokate, together with her husband.
forbes.pl