Rich vs. Poor
It is probably hard to believe, but there are as many as 467 councillors in Warsaw. Their average salaries amount to PLN 2,000 a month whereas there is a vast number of families with many children living in Warsaw who must survive for only PLN 860 a month. Therefore, Law and Justice (PiS) activists wish to decrease the number of councillors by 50%. The resolution on this issue will be approved at the party convention.
According to the author of the resolution Mariusz Błaszczak, the councils of Warsaw could function more effectively if smaller. “The main aim is to increase the budget,” he says. The council of Warsaw includes 60 members. Councillors earn as much as PLN 2,600 a month and each of the 18 districts has its own council, which means that 407 people in total work in the city councils. More than PLN 10,000,000 from the city’s budget is spent on councillors. If Błaszczak’s idea comes into effect, the city would save PLN 5,000,000 for which several buses could be bought. “It is not fair that so much money is spent on maintaining an army of officials,” according to the Saładziak family from Wola, a district of Warsaw.
Małgorzata Ziarko-Saładziak (41) and Krzysztof Saładziak (39) bring up four children. With an income of PLN 860 they hardly make ends meet. “I have had huge problems finding a job because I am disabled. We survive thanks to my benefit payments, my wife and our daughter’s salaries,” says Krzysztof. The Saładziak family is behind with their rent and they fear eviction. They would like to pay off their debts in instalments, but they can only afford to save an additional PLN 20 a month. Małgorzata concludes that the money saved by the council could help families like theirs.
Bunch of Bangers
“If the manager had not reacted in time and dragged me away, I would have been crushed just like these sausages,” says Wioletta Kowalska (39), a shop assistant at the meat counter in Biedronka. “The car drove into our shop with such force, it smashed through the front window and rammed into the counter. “Thank Heavens nobody died,” adds Wioletta. Funeral parlour owner Felicja Wydra (72) and her husband Rudolf (71) wanted to visit their grandson in hospital.
She planned to buy him some ham and smoked pork sausage so she stopped off at the Biedronka in Rybnik and parked her Peugeot in front of the shop. “We got out of the car and suddenly I remembered I had left the car keys in the ignition,” says Felicja. Rudolf went to get the keys, but unfortunately he has no driving license and cars are not his cup of tea. “Instead of taking the keys out, he turned them starting up the vehicle,” sobs Felicja. The car powered forward like a rocket. The owners, in a state of shock, tried to stand in the way of the car but were unable to do anything. The car smashed through the front door of Biedronka and rammed into the meat counter. “Luckily, there were no customers inside,” says Wioletta. The firefighters who came to the rescue could not believe what they saw. Losses of PLN 30,000 will be covered by the insurance company. Mrs Wydra’s small finger, which needed eight stitches, is already much better, her husband says his knee is not hurting as badly as before.
According to a recent poll by CBOS, 67% of Polish people believe that Lech Kaczyński is not doing a very good job as President of Poland. A mere 23% are positive about his Presidency. This piles more pressure on President Kaczyński whose popularity has been consistently falling since the beginning of his term in office. With rumours this week of Donald Tusk wanting to stand for President at the next election, this could be another bitter pill to swallow for Lech Kaczyński. The CBOS poll showed a drop in public confidence with regards Polish politics in general; satisfaction with the work of both the Senate and the Sejm (Poland’s Lower house) has dropped in the polls.
Drugs on Tap
Do you want to terminate a pregnancy or lose weight in just a few weeks? Just get onto the Internet and google the name of a drug. A journalist from Polska easily found sellers who, on the spot, are willing to offer drugs which are available only on prescription and which can be extremely dangerous. Together with a journalist from Interia.pl, Piotr Twardyska, the two checked how easily available psychotropic drugs are on the Internet. Salesmen do not find it difficult to reach customers, although administrators of the online market claim they delete drug adverts. Psychotropic drugs, such as perazine, tramadol and even morphine, are mostly offered in chat rooms. Buyers and salesmen exchange their messenger numbers and then the transaction goes smoothly. However, both parties need to be careful. Salesmen claim to have unused drugs as they have not made the most of their prescriptions, but still they ask if customers want more as they can get additional drugs if needed.
Polonia Warszawa’s goalkeeper, Radosław Majdan seems to have finished his sports career and intends to be a model. The 37-year-old footballer has even signed a contract with an agency, which is ready to pay him up to PLN 250,000 for an advertising campaign. The Polish goalkeeper and Doda’s ex-husband has began working for MAG MODELS, model & hostess agency. Paula Marciniak, one of MAG MODELS producers, says proudly: “He is one of the most handsome men in Poland, extremely interesting and very nice. It would be a shame not to use such a talent. We offered him a job and we are very pleased to be working with him”. Experts estimate that Majdan could earn as much as a quarter of a million zlotys for an advertising contract which would include a whole campaign. However this is not the goalkeeper’s first experience of modelling – a few years ago he modelled a collection of men’s underwear.
This spells an end to short cigarette breaks at work. Smoking rooms will disappear from offices and factories because employers will not have to provide them any longer. All employees will have to smoke outside. To smoke freely, one will be forced to walk at least 10 metres away from the building because smoking outside workplace doors will also be banned.
Such restrictions are included in the Anti-smoking Bill. Voting on the Bill will take place in March, which means that these regulations will probably come into force in the summer. Smokers can only wish for sunny weather. There is no question that smoking rooms will not be created if there is no obligation for it. This is in connection with the necessity to fulfil draconian demands, such as the installation of ventilators which replace air as often as 25 times an hour costing more than PLN 25,000. “We hope that smoking rooms will not be created. Such a radical ban will surely bring measurable effects in smoking restrictions,” says a member of the governmental health commission, Aleksander Sopliński, on behalf of the Polish Peasant Party (PSL) in an interview with Polska.
The World Health Organization warns that by 2020 depression will be the second most common disease in the world after cardiac health problems. Diagnosing depression is not difficult despite its many different forms. According to the Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology 14-16% of Poles have consulted a specialist in the past two years regarding depression, which is more than a few years ago. The two most common types of depression and their symptoms are:
Endogenous depression (clinical depression, severe depression) Caused by unspecified brain disruption, particularly hormonal and nervous system disorder followed by such symptoms as being in a depressed mood for most of the day, lack of positive thinking, drastic increases or decreases of weight, insomnia or excessive sleepiness, feeling tired, and dissociation.
Chronic depression (dysthymia) Depression lasts longer, and depressive symptoms go away for a short time only. One cause of dysthymia may be not adapting oneself to society in early childhood caused by a lack of security and self-confidence, traumatic events, or the inability to satisfy one’s needs and desires. The most common symptoms are a decrease or increase in appetite, feelings of tiredness or lack of energy, low self-esteem, and a sense of hopelessness.