Saturday, January 31, 2009

Polish police in debt

The Polish police have started the new year with debts reaching up to 480 million zlotys.

“The ministry got less money and was forced to cut the policing budget,” explained spokeswoman for the ministry of interior Wioletta Paprocka.

In mid-December the ministry cut the police’s budget for 2008 by some 535 million zlotys.

The police will need to cover their debts from the money assigned for 2009. “Police chiefs and heads of particular units will do their best to ensure normal operations. But the truth is that we need to think twice before spending even one zloty,” said Mariusz Sokolowski of the police forces.

Hence the police are to spend money only on the necessities: fuel, energy, salaries and taxes. Any greater purchases need to wait for better times.

“Our purchases are rather complicated. It’s impossible to buy weapons or cars from one day to the next,” Sokolowski added.

The budget of the police for 2009 is to amount to some 9 billion zlotys.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Poland – 82nd most free economy

Poland is the 82nd freest economy in the world, according to the Heritage Foundation’s 2009 Economic Freedom Index.

The ranking, out of 183 countries, is the same for the post-communist central European nation as it was in 2008. One place above is Greece, one place below is Kazakhstan.

According to the Heritage Foundation, Poland’s ranking reflects, “modest declines in five of the 10 economic freedoms that offset a considerable gain in freedom from corruption. Poland is ranked 35th out of 43 countries in the Europe region, and its overall score is above the world average.”

After a series of reforms implemented last year, :Poland scores above the world average in trade freedom, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights, and freedom from corruption.”

However, Poland ranks badly in the size of the state sector, with high public spending and still sluggish progress in the rate of privatization.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Two Polish men detained on drugs charges

Central Criminal Investigation Agency in cooperation with the Warsaw police, detained, Friday, two men and seized seven kilos of marijuana and one kilo of cocaine.

The men, 29 and 30 years of age, are suspected of trafficking huge amounts of drugs from Holland to Poland.

Both the detained men have a record of bringing stolen cars from other European countries into Poland. Police have managed to regain four of such vehicles with a joint value of 350,000 zlotys, or over 100,000 dollars. The men have been on the run from police for the last two years.

The culprits been charged with fencing and preparing large amounts of drugs to be introduced inbo circulation. They face up to 10 years in prison.

According to some law enforcement officials in Eastern Europe, Poland is a major transshipment country. Half of the 30 tons of hashish confiscated in Europe in 2008 was found in Poland and Bulgaria.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Grzegorz Lato to be replaced at PZPN?

New chief of the Polish Football Association (PZPN) Grzegorz Lato may have to be replaced just three months after his election.

On January 16, a court in Szczecin, west-northern Poland, will rule whether Lato's election last October observed all the rules of the association’s statute. If the court finds against PZPN then Lato, a former Polish international, may have to stand down as chairman.

The Polish government is also thought to be discontent with Lato’s performance so far, reports the Polska daily, accusing him of being weak on corruption, the issue which led to the resignation of the old board in the first place. On January 24, the Ministry of Sport will decide whether to call an extraordinary meeting of the special electoral board, to discuss the matter.

On news of Lato’s election three months ago, government spokesmen declared that “this is bad news for Polish football”. It was well known that the legendary Polish footballer Zbigniew Boniek was the government’s preferred candidate.

The decision would have to be consulted with FIFA and UEFA, who insist that all sports associations should be completely independent of national governments.

Meanwhile more evidence is emerging that the Polish FA was aware of the widespread state of corruption for some time but failed to crack down on it.

It has been revealed that PZPN were tipped off about match fixing taking place at the Korona Kielce football club a few years before any arrests were made, writes

Witnesses say the club’s officials were also informed about the activities of one of the coaches later accused of match fixing but they failed to act.

And evidence given by Edyta Mierzwa, a wife of a former Korona Kielce player, discredits Polish FA as a whole. She says that PZPN had information about incidents of corruption at the club, but simply neglected to do anything about it.

Numerous coaches - including Janusz W., who trained the Polish team to a silver medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics among them, - have been arrested alongside managers, players and officials at all levels of the game.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Court throws out Legia Warsaw hooligan charges

A court has thrown out police evidence against 752 football fans arrested after a September 2008 match in Warsaw.

The police officers involved in the arrests may now face charges themselves, involving acts of violence against detained fans.

The Warsaw Court has quashed a ban on entering stadiums against 179 fans after the match between Legia Warsaw and arch-rivals Polonia. The judges now say that the police officers did not present sufficient evidence against those charged.

A total of 182 complaints were made against the police for over reaching their powers of detention and arrest.

Serious charges, mainly those involving an illegal gathering, have been leveled against just eight fans.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Court hears Beger appeal

A court of appeal in Poznan will consider today the case of former Self defence MP, Renata Beger, who was found guilty, last June, of electoral fraud.

She was originally sentenced to five years probation and fined 30,000 zloty (10,000 dollars) after being found guilty of forging signatures needed to run as an MP for the lower house of parliament, the Sejm.

Renata Beger is a prominent figure in Polish politics. She was a member of the Sejm from 2001 to 2007. Beger first under the media spotlight after being delegated by her party to a special parliamentary committee investigating one of the biggest corruption scandals in Polish political history, the so-called Rywingate affair. After she was accused of counterfeiting signatures, she was expelled from the committee, however.

Beger is not only known for her political activity but also for her controversial personality. In an interview for one of the Polish tabloids she extensively described her and her husband's love life and concluded in saying that she likes sex "just like horses like oats".

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dove massacre in Elk

A dove-keeper in small lakes-region town of Elk, northern Poland, massacred his 100-bird flock by starving them to death over a week-long period in which he claims to have lost the key to the loft.

Spokesperson for the local police, Anna Siwek, stated that the police were informed about the ‘dramatic situation’ by a neighbor. He was, reportedly, reportedly appalled at the fact that someone could starve out their flock.

“With great concern for the birds, the neighbor forced open the loft, but it was, most unfortunately, too late,” added Siwek.

Zbigniew R., 54-years-old, the dove-fancier, explained upon arrest for neglect that he simply lost the key to the coup. For starving the birds, he faces up to a year in prison.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Illegal Chinese migrants detained

Illegal immigrants from the People's Republic of China were detained, Tuesday, by the Pomeranian border guard, northern Poland.

According to the Marine Border Guard, 18 Chinese men will be sent back to China. Apart from the immigrants a Chinese businessman and his Polish accomplice have also been detained and will be charged with people smuggling.

Poland is a popular stop over point for illegal immigrants fro the East on their way to the Western Europe, say the Border Guard.

When questioned, the Chinese men admitted that many of their colleagues have already found their way to the West.

Human trafficking is a growing problem in Poland and the perpetrators are from this country but also Ukraine, Russia or Vietnam. Organizing a transfer is quite a lucrative business, as the profit from it can be compared to that gained drug trafficking.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Poland involved in nuclear material trafficking

An agreement between Poland and the United States regarding the deterrence, detection and interdiction of nuclear materials, known as the “Second Line of Defense” program, has been signed by the US Ambassador to Poland, Victor Ashe, and the Polish Deputy Ministers of the Interior and Finance.

In accordance with the US’ National Nuclear Security Administration’s program, Poland will receive new equipment to detect radioactive materials at border crossings. The program also provides education for border guards and customs officials.

“For the last ten years, thanks to the Second Line of Defense program, we have been able to strengthen the possibilities for many countries’ detection and prevention capabilities regarding radioactive material,” stated Ashe.

The Ambassador added that the new agreement simply intensifies the US and Poland’s cooperation in this area. “The threat of smuggling radioactive material by terrorists is not a figment of Hollywood’s imagination – it really can happen,” added Ashe.

“We have come upon a superb project which gives us the chance to enhance security not only in Poland but also on a global scale,” said Deputy Minister of the Interior and Administration, Adam Rapacki. He added that thanks to cooperation with the US, Polish border guards and customs officials were involved in a large action that isolated radioactive material on Polish soil in the 1990s.

“One would think that this is an imaginary phenomenon, one for the movies, but, I have to say that I personally lead such operations throughout the ’90s in which we seized numerous quantities of radioactive material – uranium and radioactive cesium particles specifically . Then, there were no sophisticated controls at borders, so today we have decided upon increased security measures,” assured Rapacki.

Deputy Finance Minister and head of customs, Robert Kapica, added that Poland is in a position to help trans-border threats and is committed to fighting against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Kapica stated that Poland joined the Second Line of Defense program when the International Atomic Energy Agency started to note the increase in incidents relating to the illegal transfer of nuclear materials across borders.

Poland has been a part of the bi-lateral and multi-party program since 2003. An additional program that Poland participates in is the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. Since 2006, Polish sea ports and cargo docks have been participating in the Container Security Initiative.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ugandan woman victim of trafficking to Poland

Border Guards are working on the case of a 23-year-old Ugandan woman who has fallen victim of human trafficking into Poland and escaped captors in Warsaw.

The Border Guards have released information that the woman met a Polish man at the end of last year in Uganda that offered her well-paid work in Europe and told her that she needed no money or documents – that he would arrange the whole trip.

The journey from Uganda to Poland took several days during which the woman was raped several times and most likely drugged with sleeping pills and narcotics.

Upon arrival in Warsaw, the woman was able to escape her captor when the man left her alone in a vehicle. Authorities suspect that she spent the night underground near Warsaw’s Central Train Station.

The day following her escape, the Ugandan woman, thanks to her knowledge of the English language and with help from a medical clinic, she was able to contact the Department for Foreigners at the local Border Guard Office.

The young woman has been tested and treated by doctors and is now under care of the Program for the Support and Protection for Victims of Human Trafficking run by the Ministry of the Interior and Administration.

It has yet to be decided whether or not Poland will provide the woman with asylum as the details of her journey have not yet been discovered. As well, Border Guards have not yet indentified the real identity of the man who lured her into Poland as, it is assumed, that he used false documents.

The Office of the Attourney General of Poland has stated that, while trafficking statistics for 2008 are not yet available, between 1997 and 2007, 2,855 people have been treated in Poland as victims of human trafficking. The Office added that Poland is considered one of the most important ‘transit’ country for trafficking humans further to Western Europe.

Legislation enacted in September 2003 in Poland allows foreign victims a one-year temporary residence permit to remain in Poland to testify against their traffickers.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Government to control Christmas Charity?

Creator of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity (WOSP), Poland’s largest, annual charity fund raiser, is outraged at government plans to try and control how the charity spends its donations.

On Monday, a day after the charity’s Great Finale event, when the charity raised the equivalent of eight million euro, Minister of Interior Grzegorz Schetyna declared that the government will make sure that all the money collected by WOSP will be spent “in the way donors intended.”

“The Ministry of Interior will monitor the transferring of money collected during the Great Finale to hospitals and clinics,” announced Schetyna.

The minister stressed that the people who supported WOSP should have a guarantee that their donations will be used in accordance with the law.

Schetyna added that so far he hadn’t received any signals of irregularities during the collection of money, however. “So far everything was all right,” he stressed.

Jerzy Owsiak, the founder of the charity, which first formed in 1993, is outraged that the government should interfere in what is an independent NGO.

“Research shows that the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity is the best brand among this kind of organisation around the world. That is why I am very surprised with Schetyna’s declarations. We are very transparent and the collected money is carefully divided,” said Owsiak.

This year during the 17 Great Finale the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity collected over 32.6 million zlotys, though more is expected to be collected in celebrity auctions and other evenmts..

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

ATM thieves steal from PKO BP clients

Up to 320 clients of PKO BP bank have had their bank accounts cleared by criminals who obtained their PINs and forged their credit cards.

In a cash machine in Aleksandrow Kujawski, mid-northern Poland, thieves installed a special reader which helped them collect users' data. Then they produced cards duplicates, which they used to withdraw the cash in Bulgaria last weekend.

According to some initial information, thieves could have stolen anything from a few hundred up to a few thousand zlotys. The criminals may have, however, withdrawn more money than the users had, making a debt on their accounts.

The action was prepared very carefully, as the reader had been installed in October. It was also then when they gathered data from the citizens of Aleksandrow Kujawski.

PKO BP has reassured that it will pay off damages to all those who have fallen victim to the robbers.

The police warn against using a cash machine without checking whether additional, suspicious devices have been installed.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Polish police find wanted man hiding on large dining table

A Polish man on the run from police for several months after not paying a fine was finally caught trying to hide on a dining table, according to a report by Poland's TVN24 news on Friday.

Janusz D., 50, was sentenced several months ago to 60 days in prison for not paying a fine, but he never appeared to serve his sentence and was put on a police wanted list. He avoided the police for several months, during which time he did not visit his home or have any contact with relatives or friends, according to the report.

But this week the police were tipped off that the Janusz could be found at a home near Minsk-Mazowiecki. On arriving at the address, the police found several men, none of whom would admit to knowing the whereabouts of Janusz.

The police searched the house anyway, and their attention was drawn by an extremely long table covered by a tablecloth. Although a bottle of vodka stood on the table, the tablecloth did not look very even, and upon lifting it, the officers found their quarry stretched out under it.

Janusz has been taken into custody.

Crook Pretends He’s A Carpet in Attempt to Elude Police

In an incredibly related story, Digital Journal offers the following: It’s nowhere near Halloween, but if you are looking for a different disguise that may or may not work, consider this crook’s attempt to hide from the law by pretending to be an innocent carpet. Read on but remember; there’s no trick or treat!

According to news sources, Miroslaw Dabrowski, 32, tried to dodge a police search by disguising himself as a carpet. He rolled himself up in a giant rug and propped himself up against a balcony wall while cops searched his aunt's flat in Warsaw, Poland, after he held up a cosmetics shop.

The police actually might not have found him if not for the fact that after a two hour search, a disgusted detective decided to grab a smoke on the balcony. It was then that he noticed the carpet against the wall that was doing something that carpets are not supposed to; namely tremble.

Withstanding magic carpet rides that occur only in the Arabian Nights, the jig (or in this case, the rug) was up for Dabrowski who now faces 12 years in jail for armed robbery. The carpet, however, was dismissed of all charges as it was an unwilling accessory, and free to remain where it was on its own recognizance.

Crime doesn’t pay even for carpets.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

PZPN head Grzegorz Lato to be replaced?

New chief of the Polish Football Association (PZPN) Grzegorz Lato may have to be replaced just three months after his election.

Stand down
On January 16n January 16, a court in Szczecin, west-northern Poland, will rule whether Lato's election last October observed all the rules of the association’s statute. If the court finds against PZPN then Lato, a former Polish international, may have to stand down as chairman. The Polish government is also thought to be discontent with Lato’s performance so far, reports the Polska daily, accusing him of being weak on corruption, the issue which led to the resignation of the old board in the first place. On January 24, the Ministry of Sport will decide whether to call an extraordinary meeting of the special electoral board, to discuss the matter.

Bad news

On news of Lato’s election three months ago, government spokesmen declared that “this is bad news for Polish football”. It was well known that the legendary Polish footballer Zbigniew Boniek was the government’s preferred candidate. The decision would have to be consulted with FIFA and UEFA, who insist that all sports associations should be completely independent of national governments.

Corruption involved
Meanwhile more evidence is emerging that the Polish FA was aware of the widespread state of corruption for some time but failed to crack down on it. It has been revealed that PZPN were tipped off about match fixing taking place at the Korona Kielce football club a few years before any arrests were made, writes Witnesses say the club’s officials were also informed about the activities of one of the coaches later accused of match fixing but they failed to act.

Hidden information
And evidence given by Edyta Mierzwa, a wife of a former Korona Kielce player, discredits Polish FA as a whole. She says that PZPN had information about incidents of corruption at the club, but simply neglected to do anything about it. Numerous coaches - including Janusz W., who trained the Polish team to a silver medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics among them, - have been arrested alongside managers, players and officials at all levels of the game.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Polish paper says Orthodox leader was communist agent

A leading Polish newspaper said on Tuesday it had documentary evidence that the head of the country's small Orthodox Christian community collaborated with the secret services (SB) in communist times.

An official of the Orthodox Church official acknowledged that its leader, Metropolitan Sawa, had cooperated with the authorities but said this did not amount to collaboration.

The right-leaning Rzeczpospolita daily said the SB recruited Sawa in 1965 and that he provided numerous reports on priests, probably until the fall of communism in 1989.

"From the archives the impression is created of a person who was trying to use the SB to shape the personnel policy of his church," said the paper, which has strongly backed efforts to unmask communist-era agents in Polish public life.

Replying to the allegations, Sawa admitted to the paper that he had held many meetings with the SB but insisted that in his dealings with them he had only sought to protect his church.

"The young generation may feel scandalised by this. But I say we had to agree compromises to save the Orthodox Church," said Sawa, now aged 70.

"I signed no formal obligations ... We are aware that many priests met the SB ... Our attitude towards the (communist) authorities was shaped by the difficult situation of the Orthodox Church, and with some fear, so to say."

Only about 500,000 Orthodox Christians live in Poland, a country of 38 million people. They mostly live in eastern regions, close to the border with Ukraine and Belarus.

Atheistic communist authorities across the Soviet bloc persecuted churches and religious believers for decades.

The allegations against Metropolitan Sawa are the latest in a long-running series of claims made about public figures, including some state officials and Roman Catholic clergy, suggesting they collaborated with Poland's communist regime.

Poland's dominant Catholic Church is also credited with helping to undermine communist rule, especially under the moral leadership of Polish-born Pope John Paul II, extending support to pro-democracy activists in the Solidarity trade union.

Contacted by Reuters, an official from the Polish Orthodox Church said: "In general Metropolitan Sawa is not denying cooperation (with the communist regime) but he claims this was not collaboration as it is understood today."

The Orthodox Church in Poland is expected to issue an official statement later in the day.

Rzeczpospolita supported a campaign by the previous Polish government of Jaroslaw Kaczynski to uncover people who spied for the communist regime and to exclude them from public life.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cigarette gang leader arrested

Poland’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBS) has arrested a 53-year-old businessman from Pomerania for organizing a ring of cigarette smugglers between China and the U.K.

The gang bought knock-off cigarettes produced in China for 30 cents, transport them by sea to Poland, by truck to the U.K., and sell them to unsuspecting Brits as brand-name cigarettes for an average of six pounds.

The arrest of Zbigniew L., the leader of the international ring of cigarette smugglers, is just another step in a two-year effort to shut down this particular ring of smugglers. Police have already arrested 43 people in connection with this group.

Last March, a heavy-goods vehicle transporting 340,000 packages of cigarettes was stopped near Torun, central Poland. A man arrested with the vehicle was found to have over 2 million euro, over half a million British pounds and nine kilograms of gold bricks in his possession.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Car pile-up in Poznan

Forty one cars crashed on one of the exit roads from Poznan, western Poland. Four people have been slightly injured as a result of the pile-up in which cars crashed into each other after going into a skid on slippery roads. According to police information, the road was extremely slippery during the accident and the drivers failed to adjust their speed to the road conditions. Seven teams of firemen took part in the rescue action.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bail for man sought in Poland for theft

A 35-year-old Polish national who is being sought in his home country over a theft committed in 1993 was granted bail in the Maltese law courts after pleading not guilty to the charge. The Warsaw regional courts have requested a European Arrest Warrant for Mariusz Norbert Kawka, currently a Fgura resident, over the alleged theft of Euro 4,193.

Lawyer Gavin Gulia, appearing for the defendant, noted that under Maltese law, the statute of limitations for the alleged crime had passed.

Magistrate Tonio Micallef Trigona granted Mr Kawka bail against a deposit of Euro 8,000 and a personal guarantee of Euro 8,000.

Inspector Mario Cushcieri prosecuted.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


POLISH migrants fear they could become the victims of a violent backlash as Brits suffer economic meltdown.

They claim hate crimes against Polish workers are on the rise as the credit crunch bites.

They fear it could get worse as thousands more Brits face redundancy and blame immigrants for “stealing” jobs.

Leaders of the Federation of Poles in Great Britain are concerned about the rise in racist incidents last year “as resentment grew”.

They want the Govern-ment to introduce new laws to stop further attacks.

Spokesman Wiktor Moszczynski said the downturn already appears to be fuelling a fierce backlash.

“We are aware that many of these incidents occur because of growing tension in the traditional indigenous population
following increasing anxiety about job losses,” he said.

“While the Polish workforce has proved to be highly flexible and some 300,000 appear to have left the country as the economic situation deteriorates, a large number who still have jobs are staying – particularly if they have families here.

“And media scare stories can fuel resentment at a time like this.” Figures from the Metropolitan Police show there were 8,800 racist incidents in London last year.

MigrationWatch chairman Sir Andrew Green said: “Attacks of this kind are inexcusable, but the Government must realise this severe recession has changed the whole picture.

“It destroys the remains of their case for continued immigration. EU citizens have free movement but we must take serious steps to cut back on the rest.”

The Federation’s suggestions include more free English lessons for EU citizens, and up-to-date statistics provided to show how many Poles live in each area.

They also want more Polish speakers to work in local services such as the police, to improve communication.
Gangmasters and employers should also be monitored and fully licensed.

A Department of Communities and Local Government spokesman said: “We deplore all forms of hate crime and are committed to tackling it.”

A French politician last night attacked Britain’s immigration policies as “inhumane and illegal”.

Ex minister Etienne Pinte, a veteran member of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party, said the UK is “solely to blame” for the build-up of thousands of migrants in northern France.

He said almost all of those trying to illegally board ferries to Dover are from former British colonies and asked: “Why are the British now rejecting them while welcoming thousands of citizens from Poland?’

Monday, January 12, 2009

Poland apologizes for yet another reacial remark

Barack Obama: "a black crypto-communist" according to Poland
Poland on Monday issued an apology to President-elect Barack Obama, after a controversial right-wing politician called the Illinois Democrat "a black crypto-communist" whose election marks "the end of the white man's civilization" and must "delight" al Qaeda terrorists

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Most-wanted Pole arrested in Krakow

The border patrol has arrested Poland’s most wanted man at Krakow-Balice airport.

He is being sought after by 45 lawyers in the country on charges connected with multiple theft and is now in police custody.

The man, Piotr Cirocki., is a serial thief, with a long list of convictions, mainly for auto-theft. The twenty-six-year-old specializes in importing cars, selling them, then making the cars seemingly disappear – the client neither recuperating what they paid and certainly never seeing the vehicle.

The thief was arrested entering the country on a flight from Liverpool, U.K.

“While checking his identification card, his name quickly came up in the computer system as one to arrest immediately,” claims the Carpathian Regional Border Guard spokesman.

Piotr Cirocki has been arrested several times and convicted a total of twelve times. This most recent charge of fleeing arrest will cost him at least eight years in prison alone.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Polish Murder accused released on bail

A MAN arrested in connection with a suspected murder in Trowbridge this week has been released on police bail.

The 25-year-old, a Polish national from the local area, had been in police custody since Monday morning after a body was discovered at the foot of a flight of stairs at 66 Newtown.

Officers had been granted an extension to question him for a further 12 hours but he was released shortly before the extension expired at 6.30pm yesterday.

A post-mortem examination has been carried out on the body, believed to be that of a Polish man in his mid 40s, but his identity is not being released until his relatives have been traced.

Residents living in the five bedsits at 66 Newtown have been unable to return to their homes for a second night and are either staying with friends or in bed and breakfast accommodation.

Police are continuing their investigation into the death and have renewed their appeal for anyone who was in the area at the time or may have any information in connection with the death to contact them on 0845 408 7000 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Polish diplomat charged with impaired driving returns to Europe

Poland's consul in Vancouver has returned home to Europe, raising questions about whether he will be present for a court hearing next week on impaired-driving charges.

Tomasz Lis is supposed to appear in court on Jan. 13 to face a charge of impaired driving and having a blood alcohol level over .08 while operating a motor vehicle.

But Sylwia Domisiewicz, spokeswoman for the Polish embassy in Ottawa, wrote in an e-mail yesterday that Mr. Lis has left Canada for Poland and, as of Dec. 31, is no longer Poland's consul general in Vancouver.

She did not reply to e-mails and phone calls requesting clarification on whether Mr. Lis would attend the court hearing next week.

Piotr Ogrodzinski, Poland's ambassador in Canada, has suggested Mr. Lis would face Canadian justice, but was not available for comment yesterday.

Vancouver police said last month that the driver of a car with consular licence plates was arrested for being over the legal limit after a 2009 Volvo rear-ended a municipal fire truck in downtown Vancouver.

Mr. Lis, 49, later conceded that he was the individual in the spotlight in the case, but denied he had blown over the limit. A career diplomat since 1990, Mr. Lis had been in B.C. only a month. Among his responsibilities was being a point person for concerns over the fate of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski, who died in October, 2007, after being tasered by Mounties during a confrontation at Vancouver International Airport.

Crown spokesman Stan Lowe said Mr. Lis was required to attend next week's court hearing or he could face the prospect of a warrant being issued for his arrest.

Mr. Lowe noted, however, that any such warrant would not be valid outside of Canada.

"This warrant remains in the system so that if the person comes back to Canada and comes into contact with police, that person can be arrested," Mr. Lowe said.

He would not comment on how the Crown would proceed if Mr. Lis does not show up, suggesting the Crown would wait for the court hearing. "Depending what happens will determine our course of action," he said.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

56 dead on roads over Xmas

Fifty six people died on Poland’s roads over the long weekend.

From the 24 to 28 December, police recorded 56 deaths with 436 injured in 316 accidents. Most of the fatalities occurred in the first two days of the holiday period. On Sunday, nine deaths occurred and on Saturday, 14.

Spokesperson for police headquarters, Mariusz Soko?owski, told the PAP agency that police detected 1152 drivers in charge of a vehicle while drunk.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Gas supply shortfall reported in Poland

Poland’s gas monopoly PGNiG and pipeline operator OGP Gaz-System report a six percent shortage of gas coming through from pipelines through Ukraine.

The shortage, reported on Friday afternoon, follows Russia turning off the taps to Ukraine in a dispute over 2 billion dollars of unpaid bills to Gazprom.

Warsaw says that the shortfall is being made up by alternative supply routes via Belarus.

Hungary and Romania have also reported shortfalls of supply, with the latter reporting a 30 to 40 percent drop in gas coming from Gazprom. Poland reported a similar drop off in pressure in delivery pipes when Russia cut off gas to Ukraine in 2007.

The Russian gas giant has accused Ukraine of siphoning off gas from supplies intended to Poland and the rest of Europe.

The EU - which collectively relies on one fifth of its supply needs from the pipeline vua Ukraine - has called for a resolution of the conflict.

Earlier Poland had reassured customers that it has several days of gas in reserves.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Gangs exploiting Poles in UK

A gang of Polish Romanies is operate in Sheffield, northern England, employing Poles in the construction and renovation service but not paying them for their work.

According to the Dziennik daily, Romanies lure Poles to England by promising well-paid jobs. But once there, life is made hell when they are forced to work 10 to 12 hours everyday, without being paid for months. Their living conditions are said to be far from perfect. Polish police and Interpol are investigating the case.

Polish vice-consul Szymon Bialek has confirmed the reports, adding that such gangs are operating not only in Sheffield, but also in Bradford, Leeds, Doncaster and Middlesbrough.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Kiszczak says evidence against collaborators not reliable

Much of evidence against those accused of collaboration with Poland’s secret services (SB) comes, not from information given by the accused themselves, but from bugs placed in their homes and workplaces, admits General Kiszczak.

General Czeslaw Kiszczak - currently on trial for his part in initiating martial law in Poland in 1981 - has admitted to ordering the secret police to record eavesdropped information as if it was coming, voluntarily from the accused. This invalidates much of the evidence against many who have been accused of collaboration.

Kiszczak, reports Gazeta Wyborcza – who was head of the communist secret services between 1981 – 83 - made his apologies to all who have been unjustly accused of collaboration.

One of those suspected is Malgorzata Niezabitowska, who served as a spokesperson in the first post-communist government of Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki, from 1989 to 1990. She was said to have collaborated with the SB under the codename of 'Nowak'. After she was exonerated in 2006 by the vetting court, who said that information about her came from surveillance equipment installed in her house and not from herself voluntarily, the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) lodged an appeal against Niezabitowska’s acquittal.

Kiszczak’s statement sheds new light on the activity of the SB which was, after 1968, the organ responsible for the implementation of political repression and surveillance of opposition leaders.

Critics of the vetting process in Poland, where hundreds of people have been accused of collaboration with the communists, have argued that the source of the evidence – communist secret service records – is not reliable. Those found guilty of collaboration can be banned from public service in Poland.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Chicago archdiocese settles Polish Priest sex-abuse case

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has reached a $1.375 million settlement in the sexual abuse case of a priest who allegedly molested a teenage boy from the late 1980s to the early 1990s, church officials said today.

The priest, Rev. Czeslaw "Chester" Przybylo, is accused of repeatedly abusing a 13-year-old Polish immigrant from 1987 to 1992 while serving at Five Holy Martyrs Church in Chicago's Brighton Park neighborhood.

Przybylo currently works as pastor at Shrine of Christ the King in west suburban Winfield.
The shrine calls itself "Catholic," but it is an independent congregation and not part of the Roman Catholic Church.

At a news conference Thursday, the victim's attorneys and abuse activists called on church officials to identify Przybylo on the archdiocese Web site and place him on their list of "Priests with Substantiated Allegations of Sexual Misconduct with Minors."

Archdiocese director of communications Colleen Dolan said Przybylo is not listed on the Web site because he is not a priest of the Chicago archdiocese. He was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Tarno in Poland in 1976.

"He was never a priest of the Chicago archdiocese," Dolan said. "He worked here, but he was not one of our priests. This man is the responsibility of his diocese, similar to priests of religious orders."

According to the lawsuit filed in 2006, the plaintiff said Przybylo molested him in the parish rectory, the Chicago Health Club and the River City apartment complex. When the boy began to resist, he said Przybylo threatened to have him arrested and have his mother deported.

When he tried to tell now-deceased Bishop Alfred Abramowicz about the abuse, the bishop scolded him and told him to go to confession.

Przybylo responded by suing the victim, the victims' attorneys, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), and a research group called

Barbara Blaine, president of SNAP, urged Cardinal Francis George to enact a new policy that forbids accused priests from suing their accusers.

"We must set up a climate that encourages, not discourages, the reporting of child sex abuse allegations," Blaine said.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Poland will take half a century to catch up with the West

According to the latest data published by Eurostat, Poland will need 55 years to catch up with the standard of living in Germany.

In 2008, a Pole could afford only 55 percent of what an average EU citizen could. This is the worst result in the EU, with the exception of Romania and Bulgaria. The study shows that in 1997 the standard of living in Poland amounted to 47 percent of the EU average, meaning that Poland is catching up only 1 percent a year.

The data also reveals that one of the most significant factors hindering development is unemployment. The report states that only 57 percent of those aged up to 65 actually work.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Guantanamo prisoners to be sent to Poland?

Poland would be willing to take prisoners from Guantanamo detention camp, after the new Obama administration coses it down.

Some prisoners from Guantanamo are likely to be kept in European countries, including Poland.

According to the head of the Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs, Krzysztof Lisek of the ruling Civic Platform, there are no political obstacles to put such a plan into practice.

“If our ally submitted a request like that, we wouldn’t refuse,” Lisek said. “But we do know the situation of the Polish penitentiary system, the cramped conditions in the jails and a notorious lack of places. So in practice this would be extremely hard,” he adds.

Opposition MP and deputy head of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Pawel Kowal is of a similar opinion: “We should act in accordance with the obligations we have towards our ally, but also in accordance with the law”.

And it remains unclear whether keeping foreign prisoners in detention could be reconciled with the international conventions Poland observes.

According to the Rzeczpospolita daily, the US administration has asked the previous government to accept a few prisoners from Guantanamo. Warsaw however, turned the offer down, as they believed this would put Polish soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq in danger.

Spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Piotr Paszkowski said Minister Radoslaw Sikorski has not made a decision on the matter as yet.

The liquidation of Guantanamo detention camp in Cuba was promised by the US president-elect Barack Obama in an attempt improve the image of the US around the world.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

US airport security harasses elderly Poles?

More and more Poles complain about the US airport immigration services: even the elderly pare being harassed.

Dziennik reports of one 73-years-old Polish woman, who was delayed from visiting her son and grandson in New York after she was taken from the airport to a cell in handcuffs.

According to the officers, the woman had violated US immigration law – a few years earlier she illegally prolonged her stay in the US.

In November another Polish woman aged 81 was also transported to custody in handcuffs.

Poland’s foreign ministry has already complained to US consul-general to Poland, Philip Mine.

“We respect the right of US law to refuse Polish citizens on their territory. But we decided to point to the humanitarian aspect of the case,” explains foreign ministry’s spokesman Piotr Paszkowski. Paszkowski.

To avoid such cases in the future the US is considering launching an information campaign in Poland on its immigration law.

Only this year the US Citizenship and Immigration Services have sent back home several dozen Poles who landed on the US soil. The number of rejected Poles increased with every month – in November as many as 13 were forced to return to Poland, more than any other month this year.
  • Note: Message here: Take the hint!!