Monday, April 10, 2006

Annual Supreme Court meeting missed by Polish government

Warsaw, Poland April 6, 2006 - According to the Polish government, inconvenient scheduling made it not possible for anyone in the Polish government to hold with tradition and to attend an annual meeting of the Supreme Court where it reviewed its activities for the previous year.

In the past, the president of Poland, the Prime Minister of Poland, and leaders of the Sejm and Senate attended the meeting held by the Polish Supreme Court.

The leaders of the current ruling Polish political party Law and Justice had been critical of the Polish Supreme Court. A very few commentators have accepted the excuse for inconvenience scheduling. Consensus seems to say, "everyone knows what's going on".
Lawsuits Over Counterfeit Amber

At the Spring 2006 Amber Fair in Gdansk Poland, the news circulated that there are suddenly lawsuits in the United States against sellers of and manufacturers of jewelry that has been manufactured with imitation or counterfeit amber. In some cases designs made by well-known Polish amber and silver jewelry manufacturers have been counterfeited by pirates who have used those designs and undercut prices by the legitimate amber and silver jewelry manufacturers, or original designer, by using imitation amber as the setting in the jewelry.

Those amber and silver jewelry buyers, who have been buying amber mainly by focusing on price, have learned that low-priced amber, in many, if not all cases, is low price because it is manufactured with amber resins instead or real amber.

Consumers and retailers are now taking to the courts for compensation.

Amber is a precious stone that is dredged from where ancient pine trees were buried and the resins exuded by these pine trees was petrified. The price of amber is currently approximately twice the price of silver. And like silver, the price of amber is not lower than the market price.

Authentic amber is a petrified resin and by its nature comes in many colors and will most often have many inclusions or imperfections. Counterfeit amber and amber resins, conversely, are generally Brandy in color and very clear. One can typically see as an example of an amber resins the large amber beads that are used to make up necklaces often purchased in tourist traps in Europe. See pictures of natrual and amber resin here. Amber Natural And Resin

There is no test that can guarantee you with 100 percent assurance that the amber product that you are buying is one natural amber. You can however look for warning signs when buying amber.

If the price of the amber is low compared to the general market price of amber products quoted by the factories in Gdansk Poland, it is very likely that the amber is imitation.

There is no guarantee, however, that even price is a good benchmark because some buyers may get good prices on products if they purchase amber and silver jewelry in huge in huge quantities. So the price benchmark is only a guideline to be used as a warning.

You can also become cautious when you see that the amber piece has large, uniformly shape, Brandy colored amber that is clear with no inclusions. You just do not find this too often in nature. To see a comparison between natural amber and an amber resin, go to the website did you find at.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Vatican increases the pressure on the Polish Catholic Church

Warsaw, Poland April 7, 2006 - The Vatican representative in Poland has sent to the leaders of the Polish Catholic Church a letter that advises the leaders of the Polish Catholic Church who are responsible for the supervision of the millionaire Roman Catholic priest father Tadeusz Rydzyk to exercise that responsibility. The convent to which the priest belongs and the bishops that make up the Polish episcopate are told to take action.

This letter is a follow-up to a letter that was presented to Father Rydzyk previously. On February 15, 2006 the Polish Catholic Church gave Father Rydzyk a private letter that advised him to remove himself and his radio station, Radio Maria, from Polish politics.

Since that time Father Rydzyk does not seem to have changed his approach to Polish politics and he continues to be the platform for the broadcast of anti EU and antisemitic information.

Father Rydzyk and his radio station have come under fire recently for some particularly anti-Semitic radiobroadcast. As he becomes more important in Polish politics he is getting more press coverage that discuss his activities.

Polish television coverage on April 6, 2006 of the Vatican letter to the Polish Catholic Church included a sound bite of the last leader of the uprising in the Jewish ghetto which sound bite had him comparing the broadcasts on Radio Maria to the newspapers coming out of Nazi Germany that discussed the final solution for the Jews in Europe. The TV coverage was definitely not flattering for the Polish Catholic Church.

The ruling Polish political party, Law and Justice, has seen many of its members go to Father Rydzyk ' s radio station Radio Maria and discuss Polish politics on this Catholic radio station. When questioned by reporters about the affect of the Vatican letter on their activities, a couple of Law and Justice parliament members indicated that discussing politics on Radio Maria did not mean that Radio Maria was involved in politics. They seemed to indicate that the Vatican letter would have no real effect on their activities with Radio Maria and they would continue to broadcast their political message on the Catholic radio station.

The letter from the Vatican seems to indicate that not only is the Vatican concerned about the activities of Father Rydzyk, but it is also concerned about the churches failure to control Father Rydzyk and how his involvement in politics may affect the church itself. It may also indicate that the church is not a happy with the current administration of the Polish Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict has somewhat of a reputation of being a disciplinarian. He is coming to Poland on official visit that starts May 25, 2006. One would expect that the Polish Catholic Church must be ready to show that it is in fact exercising its responsibilities with regard to Radio Maria and that it is not involving itself in Polish politics.

This new letter may be a final warning before Pope Benedict takes action

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Not all Polish unemployed want to work

From:The Polish Outlook
Warsaw, Poland 24 March 2006 Poland has been experiencing a long term unemployment rate of about 18%. This is the same as the European Union wide overall, employment rate which it is about that same 18%. In an interesting report on Polish public television a regional Polish government employment office provided some interesting commentary on the unemployment problem in that particular unemployment office's region.

According to the comments , the unemployment problem is related to both human nature and to the Polish method of regulating the Polish work place.

Human beings are human beings and they will take the path that is most beneficial to them. The Polish government gives unemployed of 500 zloty per month whether they get out of bed or not. The minimum wage in Poland is 800 zloty. So to a Polish unemployed person, in many cases, it is best to take the 500 zloty dole from the Polish government than to take a job that pays 800 zloty. In fact, when one factors in the costs of transportation and other incidentals necessary to be employed, the net to worker is less than 500 zloty.

Unfortunately, added to this problem is the fact that many of these unemployed do not want to be retrained to be eligible for higher-paying jobs. They're willing to take their 500 zloty dole and stay out of the work place on unemployment.

The 800 zloty minimum-wage is a deceptive figure. The actual cost to the employer is much higher. Government regulations are such that, in many cases, raising the amount of money offered to employees is not economically feasible because when one adds all the charges added to be allowed to employ a person, the cost becomes prohibitive.

This Polish government employment office opined that the Polish government must take some steps to give businesses incentive to hire people. As it stands, the bulletin boards in their offices are filled with job offers to and these offers are ignored by the unemployed.

Those who have advanced training and marketable skills, find it better to emigrate to Western Europe to work. Pay scales are up to five times as high as they are in Poland.

The result is that those who do not want to work stay in Poland and take money from the Polish government while those who want to work head west.

So there are a large number of jobs in Poland that are unfilled. There are many people leaving the country for Western Europe to receive higher wages. Those staying behind including many who are too lazy to be retrained or not interested in working. Many positions that are unfilled are now being offered to immigrants from the East.
Jaruzelski charged over crackdown

From:BBC News
Gen Jaruzelski remains a highly controversial figure
Prosecutors have filed charges against Poland's last communist leader, General Wojciech Jaruzelski, over his imposition of martial law in 1981.

Charges were laid by Poland's Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), a body that investigates Nazi- and communist-era crimes.

Gen Jaruzelski imposed martial law to halt the activities of the Solidarity trade union, led by Lech Walesa.

Gen Jaruzelski has said he expects to go on trial soon.

In the early 1980s, the communist authorities could not bear the threat posed by the rise in popularity of Solidarity. Within months of it being founded in 1980, the union became a national political movement with 10 million members.

The authorities responded by declaring martial law in December 1981. Solidarity leaders and thousands of others were jailed, many being held in internment camps.

Communist crimes

The charges brought by the institute relate to crimes committed between 27 March 1981 and 31 December 1982 including "organising crimes of a military nature" and "carrying out crimes that consisted of the deprivation of freedom through internment", according to the Associated Press.

Gen Jaruzelski has sought to justify martial law as the lesser of two evils.

"This was our own sovereign decision - but one which took into account the realities of those times. At that time the Socialist system was the reality of that state - its backbone. And toppling that reality would have meant both civil war and foreign intervention."

He argued that a bloodbath would have followed intervention by Soviet troops.

The general was later cleared by the Polish parliament of responsibility for the deaths resulting from martial law.

Under Lech Walesa's leadership, Solidarity survived underground and went on to negotiate the end of communism in Poland in 1989.
Polish General Jaruzelski returns medal to President

From:The Polish Outlook
Polish President Lech Kaczynski honored General Jaruzelski with the Cross of Deportees. The general has, however, returned the medal to the president.

Three years ago, in order to honor all those people who were deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan, the Cross of the Deportees was established. General Jaruzelski was deported to Siberia with his parents in 1940 thus qualifying him to receive the medal. President Kaczynski signed the authorization for General Jaruzelski to receive his medal.

General Jaruzelski told Polish television station TVN, "I really appreciate Kaczynski ' s gesture". "It shows that President Kaczynski has risen above divides. "

But when confronted by television reporters as to why President Kaczynski awarded the medal to a man that President Kaczynski in the past has wanted to strip General Jaruzelski of his rank and pension benefits, Andrej Urbanski, the chief of the President ' s Chancellery, said the Chancellery staff gave the president a document to sign, without the knowledge and against the will of the president. It was also without the knowledge and consent of the chief of medal department. The employees involved would meet consequences according to the labor law.

On private television station TVN 24 spokesman Maciej Lopinski said "Someone at the presidential chancellery made a mistake. " "The President does not read everything he signs. "

Jan Rokita, deputy leader of the opposition political party Civic Platform, "If I came to believe that the President signed documents the content of which he ignores, I would consequently have to say that he should cease to be president."

This sequence of events has created a political firestorm and received much coverage in the Polish press and on Polish television.

As a result General Jaruzelski decided to return the medal and said that he was returning the medal because he did not want to cause problems for the Polish President. He felt that it would be best for Poland to look forward to the future rather than looking at problems of the past.

Jan Rokita, deputy leader of the opposition political party Civic Platform, "If I came to believe that the President signed documents the content of which he ignores, I would consequently have to say that he should cease to be president."

Will the Polish government think like General Jaruzelski and start to look toward the future rather than fighting the battles of the past?
Polish president honours communist

From:The daily telegraph
POLAND'S staunchly anti-communist President Lech Kaczynski has mistakenly awarded a prestigious medal for patriotism to former communist strongman Wojciech Jaruzelski.

Mr Kaczynski, a conservative with roots in the Solidarity movement which overthrew Polish communism, once tried to strip General Jaruzelski of his rank and pension because of the communist's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy activists in 1981.

"Someone at the presidential chancellery made a mistake," spokesman Maciej Lopinski bluntly told private television TVN24 overnight when asked about the gaffe, widely covered by the Polish media.

"The president does not read everything he signs."

General Jaruzelski, Poland's last communist leader, received the medal for patriotism shown during and after his family's expulsion to Siberia by the Soviet Union during World War II.

In Siberia, General Jaruzelski signed up for the Polish army which fought alongside the Red Army in liberating western Russia, Poland and parts of Germany from Nazi rule, starting the career that took him to the top job in communist-era Poland.

"I really appreciate Kaczynski's gesture," General Jaruzelski, 82, told TVN, proudly showing off his medal.

"It shows that President Kaczynski has risen above (political) divides."
President criticises media...again

From:Polskie Radio
President Lech Kaczyński considers that some media are biased. Speaking for Polish Radio early today the head of state observed that some of the media openly attack the government and when the ruling Law and Justice is critical of the opposition it is immediately accused of brutalizing public life .

Presenting examples of what he considers as a lack of objectivity in the media, the President said it is a breach of 'political equilibrium'. Lech Kaczynski added that society should be honestly informed and not manipulated.

The media and Law and Justice have been in conflict since the party gave exclusive coverage of an important press conference to the radical Catholic Radio Matyja and TV Trwam.
Poland seeks Auschwitz renaming

From:BBC News
"For the contemporary, younger generations, especially abroad, that association with Nazi Germany is not universal" Jan Kasprzyk
Polish government spokesman
Poland wants the official name of Auschwitz-Birkenau changed to remind the world that the death camp was built and run by Nazi Germany.
The government in Warsaw is anxious that the grim history of the Auschwitz site, listed as a Unesco world heritage site, is not linked to Poles or Poland.

Poland wants Unesco to change the official name to "Former Nazi German Concentration Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau".

More than a million people, almost all Jews, died there between 1940 and 1945.

The Nazi regime killed some six million Jews during World War II.

Warsaw angry

The twin camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau, built in occupied Poland near the town of Oswiecim, were designed, built and operated by Nazi Germany.

However, Polish officials have become unsettled by media references to Auschwitz as a "Polish concentration camp".

German newspaper Der Spiegel this week called the camp "Polish", prompting anger in Warsaw.

"In the years after the war, the former Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was definitively associated with the criminal activities of the national socialist Nazi regime in Germany," Polish government spokesman Jan Kasprzyk told a Polish news agency.

"However, for the contemporary, younger generations, especially abroad, that association is not universal."

'No doubt'

Unesco's current description of Auschwitz says that the "fortified walls, barbed wire, platforms, barracks, gallows, gas chambers and cremation ovens show the conditions within which the Nazi genocide took place in the former concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest in the Third Reich."

However, Mr Kasprzyk added: "The proposed change in the name leaves no doubt as to what the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp was."

The Polish government made the request to change the name in writing to Unesco - the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

The body added Auschwitz-Birkenau to its list of world heritage sites in 1979.

Poland said it expected an answer later this year.
Accusations of a conspiracy against the Polish government

From The Polish Outlook
It was recently reported by the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza that North Koreans were working as welders at the Stocznia shipyard in Gdansk, Poland. These workers toil long hours under the supervision of a Korean handler or manager. Their pay is sent to a bank account in North Korea. They live under very meager conditions.

The shipyard considers the North Koreans to be good workers. According to a shift supervisor at the Stocznia Gdanska shipyard, "They make perfect welders, they cause no problems, and they're never hung over."

The government labor inspector says that the workers are working in violation of the Polish labor laws. The matter has been turned over to the public prosecutor who is now investigating the matter.

The former Polish ambassador to North Korea said that even though this is a way for North Koreans to make more money than they would in North Korea, no country in the European Union should allow such a thing to happen.

But the Polish political party Law and Justice and Solidarity have accused the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza of provocation for printing a report about the issue. According to Solidarity, Gazeta Wyborcza is part of a larger conspiracy that is working to discredit the Law and Justice Party which party is controlling the only government that has tried to help the shipyard.

See Szef kancelarii: Prezydent nieswiadomie odznaczyl Jaruzelskiego

Is there something else going on that prompted the reaction from Solidarity and the Law and Just Party? Here is a report from Radio Polonia:

Only one buyer for the cradle of Solidarity -

The deadline to declare an intention to purchase the Stocznia Gdanska shipyard was yesterday. According to the Puls Biznesu daily, one offer was placed at 5pm, but it was not revealed which company stood behind it. It is possible the offer was placed by Norway's Aker. Puls Biznesu was unable to establish whether the Gdansk-based Energa entered the game, this state company expressed interest in buying the shares with the thinly-veiled interest to save the cradle of the Solidarity trade union from bankruptcy. Earlier reports also indicated the Japanese industrial-banking giant Mitsui as another possible buyer.