Sunday, January 31, 2010

Polish criminal spotted by Polish policewoman…in Bristol

From: The News
As she strolled the streets of Bristol, west England, a Polish police woman on a three months training course in the UK, spotted a suspected Polish robber and took action so he was arrested.

The officer, who has been serving in police in the eastern city of Lublin for eleven years, went to Great Britain for a three-month training. While she was on patrol in Bristol, the woman recognized Krzysztof R., who was on the run from Polish police. She had seen the criminals’ photos on most wanted list.

Krzysztof R., who had several warrants of arrest issued on his name, is accused of robbery and assault.

When the officer recognized the criminal she informed Polish, which issued the European Warrant of Arrest for Krzysztof R. and British police, who detained the criminal on 23 December 2009. The man was completely surprised to see policemen arresting him, equally to his family which visited him for Christmas.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Brain Damaged Pole gets paid

From: The News
With that kind of money, he can afford to crash a better class of car
A 27-year-old Pole residing in Great Britain has received a record-breaking 9.6 million euro in compensation for injuries suffered in a car accident.

In November 2005, Lukasz Borowski from the northern city of Szczecin was on his way to work in a factory in Cambridgeshire. He was given a lift by a colleague. Suddenly, the car skidded and fell down a ditch.

As a result of the accident Pole’s spinal cord and spine were fractured and damaged vertebrae blocked the flow of oxygen to brain. Lukasz’s left cerebral hemisphere got damaged.

The court in the UK has adjudged the Pole with the highest compensation in the history of the country, which amounts to 8.35 million pounds (9.6 million euro).

Friday, January 29, 2010

More bad news: Tougher economic times do not mean Polish workers are returning to their homeland

From: Guardian
Be careful: Sometimes they try to move to a third country
Contrary to some suggestions, Poles are not escaping Britain – we are trying to survive here. Since 2004, more than 2 million Poles – mostly young – have gone abroad in search of work. They left mainly because of the following factors: demographic (the 1980 "baby boom" generation), economic (discrepancies in salaries in Poland) and political (the opportunity to work legally thanks to Poland's entry into the EU).

It is very difficult to estimate how many of those two million migrated to Britain, and it is even harder to estimate the number who have returned. Different countries adopt different definitions of a "returning migrant". Sometimes people tell researchers they are thinking of returning, but in reality they try to postpone the final decision for as long as possible. Sometimes they return home and, after not being able to find a job, return to the country where they originally emigrated. Sometimes they try to move to a third country.

The history of economic upheavals, such as the oil crisis in 1973, should teach us that recessions do influence the outflow of migrants (it becomes lower). However, they do not stimulate return migration. During recessions most local inhabitants are trying to survive and stop being so mobile (both professionally and within their own country). With jobs insecure or in short supply, it is a time "to wait and see".

So it is important that journalists, experts and politicians on both sides share the data available. There is plenty of misleading information in this field which, in my opinion, is mainly harmful for Polish migrants. These are just people who migrated to find a better life abroad and decent working conditions. Most of them are trying to survive an economic crisis abroad, which is a very challenging task. So why do I think Poles are not going home in the numbers suggested by the British government?

The most recent estimates by Poland's Central Statistical Office (CSO), based on census data, put the number of Poles who have migrated for work at 2.21 million in 2008, of whom 650,000 are in Britain. In 2007 the figures were 2.27 million and 690,000 respectively, and in 2006 1.95 million and 580,000.

So according to our data there were never a million Poles in Britain – as sometimes reported – but nor did half of them come back home. The number of Poles in Britain dropped by only 40,000 in 2008. However, at the same time countries including Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark observed a small increase in the number of Poles. According to the same source, 70% of Poles stay abroad for at least one year.

In order to know what really happened in 2009, we have to wait until July or August of this year, when all the data from various sources will be available to the Central Statistical Office). The observed drop in remittances (of around 20%, in comparison with the same periods during 2008) recorded by the Polish National Bank for the first three quarters of 2009 may suggest that the economic situation of Polish migrants in Britain deteriorated substantially.

The history of migration also teaches us that after a period of time – usually five years – migrants' loyalties and ties change from their homeland to the receiving countries, and they therefore stop sending money home. Instead, they try to persuade family members to join them abroad. The small number of dependants of Polish migrants recorded by the Home Office appears to confirm this.
  • Note: These lies were written by somebody named Krystyna Iglicka
  • Thursday, January 28, 2010

    Polish activists detained in Belarus

    From: UPI
    Lukashenko: Let's be perfectly clear- If the UK doesn't want them, why the hell should we?
    The head of the Union of Poles in Belarus said as many as 50 members of the Polish minority in Belarus were detained Thursday by authorities.

    Union of Poles in Belarus leader Andzelika Borys told the Polish news agency PAP the minority members were detained as nearly 100 Polish activists were traveling to Ivyanets, Belarus, to meet with members of the Polish Union in Belarus.

    Borys said Belarus authorities stopped activists' vehicles and surveyed documents before detaining certain individuals.

    "People were stopped on various pretexts: their cars and documents were checked, some had breathalyzer tests, others were taken for medical examinations," she added.
  • Note: It's a good start, but we can do better...
  • Wednesday, January 27, 2010

    Shocking report on 'corrupt' Central Anti-Corruption Bureau

    From: WBJ
    The results of a recent audit of the Central Anticorruption Bureau (CBA) were revealed by its new head, Pawel Wojtniuk. The report paints a grim picture of the agency.

    "There was corruption, favoritism, the use of public property for personal gain," said Civic Platform MP Konstanty Miodowicz, chairman of the Sejm's Special Services Committee, which heard the report.

    He was reluctant to say more, as the entire 198-page long audit is confidential.

    So what now?

    Allegedly Mr Wojtniuk has not yet offered a new outlook on how the agency should function. "He does not want to be a liquidator, he needs time. So far, the CBA has operated in violation of the rules on civil control over special services. It is also our fault, and we need to change that," commented Mr Miodowicz.

    The directors of the various CBA departments are due to present proposed changes on Friday.
  • Note: Why is this shocking?
  • Tuesday, January 26, 2010

    Man orders attack on pregnant fiancée

    From: NPE
    A woman and her unborn child survived a vicious attack from a thug hired by her boyfriend to beat her up in the town of Zgierz.

    The events came about when 30-year old Arkadiusz K. persuaded his 19-year old cousin Robert K. to attack his fiancée, with the aim of getting rid of their unwanted pregnancy.

    Whilst out, the couple’s car was ‘ambushed’ and Arkadiusz K. was told to drive. When he stopped at the chosen location, he was ordered outside and beaten, the Prosecutor’s Office heard.

    The attacker then turned his attention to the woman, hitting her with force in the stomach, despite her pleas that she was pregnant.

    After the ordeal, the couple went immediately to the Zgierz Provincial Hospital, where staff alerted the police.

    Investigators found a number of inaccuracies in the story and were dubious that the attacker had left the woman’s phone and car keys at the scene. After some questioning, Arkadiusz K. admitted to orchestrating the whole event.

    “It’s the opinion of experts that the beating could have resulted in an abortion,” said Krzysztof Kopania, a spokesman for the Prosecutor’s Office in Lodz.

    “We have to admit, we have never had a case like this before,” said one police source. “It turns out that human stupidity truly knows no boundaries.”

    The woman is said to be in stable condition and not in danger of losing the baby.

    If found guilty, the two men face up to eight years in prison.

    Monday, January 25, 2010

    Kaminski before Blackjack commission

    From: The News
    Former head of Poland’s anti-corruption bureau (CBA) Mariusz Kaminski will give evidence before the special parliamentary commission into the gambling law scandal, otherwise known as the Blackjack affair.

    Kaminski’s will be landmark evidence in a commission which will run for months.

    It was the CBA which alleged that two business men in Lower Silesia from the betting industry tried to affect the course of a bill going through parliament on the betting industry, which aimed to put tax hikes on betting to go towards investment in the Euro 2012 football championship. The politicians they approached were the now former sports minister Miroslaw Dzewiecki and former head of Civic Platform’s parliamentary party, Zbigniew Chlebowski.

    Mariusz Kaminski was dismissed shortly after he made the allegations that Civic Platform politicians were lobbying on behalf of the gambling industry.

    Prime Minister Donald Tusk dismissed Kaminski as head of the CBA on 13 October 2009, accusing him of using his office for political purposes.

    Sunday, January 24, 2010

    Left wing politician accused in Olewnik murder case

    From: The News
    Grzegorz K., former leader of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) in Sierpc, 100 km northwest of Warsaw, has been accused extortion in connection with Krzysztof Olewnik’s abduction and murder.

    The politician is accused of wheedling money out of Wlodzimierz Olewnik, wealthy businessman and Krzysztof’s father, on the pretext of helping him find his son after his abduction.

    The Prosecutor’s Office in the northern city of Gdansk claims that Grzegorz K., together with Eugeniusz D. alias Gienek, wheedled 160,000 zloty (40,000 euro) from Wlodziemierz Olewnik and intended to extort an additional 15,000 dollars.

    Grzegorz K. - full name withheld under Poland’s privacy laws now that he has been charged by prosecutors - denies the allegations.

    Krzysztof Olewnik was abducted in October 2001 and ransom was demanded for his release. In July 2003, the abductors were given 300,000 euro but Krzysztof Olewnik was still not freed. His body was later found and the post mortem concluded that he was tortured and brutally murdered a month after the kidnappers received the money.

    Three men convicted in Olewnik’s case later committed suicide in prison. Parliamentary commission investigating the abduction and murder of Krzysztof Olewnik is now underway.

    Saturday, January 23, 2010

    Brits to protest against Polish workers

    From: The News
    Thousands of British construction workers are going to stage a protest against foreigners in the workforce, including Poles, on 3 February in London.

    The aim of the demonstration is to remind PM Gordon Brown about his pledge to give “British jobs to British workers”. It will also mark the first anniversary of the protests at the Lindsey Oil Refinery.

    Protesters claim that since last year’s strike the situation on the British labour market has not improved. Sub-contractors still flood construction sites with cheap and poorly skilled workers from Poland, Spain, Italy and Portugal, cliam the protestors.

    Thousands of workers from building sites, power plants and oil refineries will join the protest.
  • Note: A rightious cause...
  • Friday, January 22, 2010

    Key cop murder witness found dead

    From: NPE
    Cop killer witness found dead in cell at maximum security prison in Gdansk
    A key witness in one of Poland’s most high-profile murder cases died in mysterious circumstances in prison, prompting immediate calls for an investigation.

    A key witness in one of Poland’s most high-profile murder cases died in mysterious circumstances in prison, prompting immediate calls for an investigation.

    Artur Zirajewski was found dead in a cell of a Gdansk prison hospital on Sunday after, according to some press reports, suffering a pulmonary embolism, although it was widely rumoured that he may have killed himself.

    Serving 15 years for an unrelated crime, Zirajewski was a prime witness in the killing of the former head of the police General Marek Papala.

    The policeman was gunned down in 1998 in a crime that bore all the hallmarks of a mafia hit, and one that remains unsolved.

    In his testimony Zirajewski claimed that Edward Mazur, a Chicago-based, Polish-American businessman had offered another man about $40,000 dollars to kill Papala.

    Following Zirajewski’s death Law and Justice called for an extraordinary meeting of parliament’s justice committee to probe what it described as the “mysterious and questionable death”.

    In particular the party wants an explanation as to just why such a valuable prisoner was left unsupervised despite being unwell, and an answer to the question whether he committed suicide or was foul play involved.

    Citing a reliable source, the newspaper Rzeczpospolita claimed the prisoner had taken a large number of sleeping pills but, according to Lieutenant-Colonel Leszek Urbanowicz, one of the men investigating the death, Zirajewski showed no sign of depression.

    “There was no indication that Arthur Z. wanted to commit suicide,” he told the newspaper. “He was behaving normally and asked only for sleeping pills as he was having trouble sleeping.”

    Experts have pointed out that Zirajewski’s death came after he had tried to get his sentence reduced by offering more information on Papala’s murder.

    “He had made two similar proposals beforehand: both were rejected - in February and then June. The last one was submitted to the court November 19,” said Przemyslaw Banasik, a spokesman for the Gdansk district court.

    Zirajewski is the latest of a number of people linked to high-profile murder cases to die in suspicious circumstances.

    Three people involved in the kidnap and murder of businessman Krzysztof Olewnik have died, and a criminologist has claimed that 10 people connected to corruption cases had died from having “little accidents” or committing suicide.

    Thursday, January 21, 2010

    Poland's stolen Monet found, suspect arrested

    From: AFP
    Polish police said Wednesday they had recovered a painting by French Impressionist master Claude Monet stolen over nine years ago and had arrested the suspected thief.

    Police spokesman Andrzej Borowiak told AFP that the man, whom he identified only as Robert Z., 41, had been arrested Tuesday in Olkusz, southern Poland.

    "We're convinced that this is the individual who stole the painting," Borowiak said.

    He declined to say where the artwork itself -- Monet's 1882 oil painting "Plage de Pourville" -- had been found.

    "It had been kept in a good condition. It hasn't suffered any visible damage," he said.

    The study of a beach in northern France was the only Monet on public display in Poland and was exhibited in a state museum in the western city of Poznan.

    The theft was discovered on September 19, 2000.

    Investigators had long been trying to trace an individual who was seen making sketches of paintings in the museum two days earlier, Borowiak explained.

    "In December we obtained new evidence that helped us identify that individual, as well as the place where the painting was," he said.

    Police believe that Robert Z. was the mysterious artist, he added.

    The thief had cut the painting from its frame and replaced it with a copy.

    Shortly before the theft, insurers had valued it at million dollars (690,000 euros).

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Cops nab 15 year-old driver

    From: The News
    A fifteen year-old and his two passengers are detained by police at the wheel of a car he bought for peanuts.

    Police in the northern city of Slupsk are looking for the former owner of a 32-year-old Volkswagen after they stopped the car when being driven by a 15-year-old with two 10-year-old passengers.

    The under-age driver said he had bought the car for 50 zl (around 12 euro).

    He told police that after he’d bought the vehicle he took his small brother and his friend for a ride. According to observers, he had driven the car, “in a strange way but not dangerously,” and parked it correctly in a supermarket lot.

    Police are now looking for the car’s original owner, who could face legal consequences for selling it to a minor.

    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    Former Warsaw Metro boss detained on corruption charges

    From: The News
    Former head of the Warsaw Metro has been detained by the Central Anticorruption Bureau on corruption charges.

    Bohdan Z. is accused of fixing the results of a tender on metro rail carriages in 1998 worth 500 million zloty (123 million euro). The investigation was opened by the Prosecutor’s Office in the western city of Wroclaw after the sensational testimony of Peter V., a convicted Polish murderer known as “the accountant of the Left”.

    Seventy seven year-old Bohdan Z. was detained in Warsaw and transported to Wroclaw, where he is being interrogated. He worked at the Warsaw Metro since its beginning and in 1991 became its head. In 2003, Bohdan Z. was dismissed by the then Warsaw mayor Lech Kaczynski.

    Monday, January 18, 2010

    Pole stabs partner in Brussels

    From: The News
    A 47-year-old citizen of Poland residing in Brussels has been detained on murder charges.

    The man is accused of stabbing his partner and wounding a passer-by. The crime was committed on Friday in Schaerbeek district inhabited by many Poles. The woman who was stabbed during an argument died, another woman, who witnessed the crime, is in a critical state.

    The killer fled the crime scene but was later detained by police.

    Sunday, January 17, 2010

    Two killed, 16 injured road accident in Poland

    From: M&C
    Two people were killed and 16 injured when a tanker collided with a bus in the southwestern Polish city of Wroclaw, media reports said Tuesday.

    The accident occurred on Monday night, when the tanker switched lanes and collided with an oncoming bus, police told the Polish Press Agency PAP. The two vehicles caught fire.

    The bus was carrying passengers from Jelenia Gora to Warsaw.

    Police said they found two bodies in the burned-out bus. Sixteen people, including the driver of the tanker, were taken to the hospital.

    Harsh winter weather causes over 100 train cancellations in Poland

    In a related story, Snow, ice and cold caused over 100 train cancellations in Poland, foreign media reported. Thick snow covers roads and rails. Especially harsh the condition is in the south of the country, where 114 flights had to be cancelled on Monday.

    Saturday, January 16, 2010

    Polish Prostitute Fined $820,000 For Evading Taxes

    From: Huffington Post
    A prostitute in Poland has been fined 2.3 million zlotys, or $820,000, for evading taxes, Reuters reports. The woman was technically unemployed but earned at least 13.7 million zlotys renting herself, thanks to "generous" customers.

    Although prostitution is legal in Poland, organized activities like brothels or pimping are against the law. According to a State Department document, experts estimate that 18,000 to 20,000 women work as prostitutes in the county.

    The woman told the tax office in the southern city of Katowice that she had very "generous" customers, the website, which is linked to leading Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, reported Tuesday.

    One of her clients paid the woman 5 million zlotys during the 1997-2002 period, she was quoted as saying.

    The website gave no further details.

    Friday, January 15, 2010

    Poland and Ukraine were risky choices - Platini

    From: ESPN
    Michel Platini
    Granting Poland and Ukraine the rights to co-host Euro 2012 was a risky move as the two lack experience in hosting big sports events, UEFA President Michel Platini has said.

    Since being chosen to co-host the event, both countries have been criticised repeatedly for the slow progress in updating the antiquated infrastructure and delays in building stadiums.

    "We should remember that the two states so far have no experience in organising such events. That's why it is a great adventure for us ... a bit risky I'd say," Platini told Przeglad Sportowy in an interview.

    In December one of Poland's host cities, Wroclaw, scrapped a deal with Mostostal Warszawa on stadium construction because of delays.

    Platini said he believed Wroclaw would be ready on time and had not considered moving matches away from the city.

    "I am not considering such a scenario because the information I am getting from Wroclaw shows it's just a change of the builder. Yes, the timing of opening of the new stadium will change, but it will not be a dangerous postponement," he said.

    "The stadium was supposed to be ready at the end of 2010 and it will be delayed by a few months."

    Wroclaw' mayor said after announcing his decision to scrap the deal with Mostostal that the new stadium would be ready to meet UEFA time deadlines.

    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    Audit reveals ‘financial irregularities’ at Poland’s public TV

    From: The News
    Poland’s Supreme Auditing Chamber has uncovered financial irregularities in the state-owned broadcaster TVP.

    The Prosecutor’s Office has been informed about possible offences related to the misuse of public funds.

    The Supreme Auditing Chamber (NIK) has checked the finances of TVP in the years 2007-2009, while it was managed by Bronislaw Wildstein, Andrzej Urbanski and Piotr Farfal. It turns out that the broadcaster spent 150 million zloty (36 million euro) incorrectly.

    Among the irregularities mentioned by NIK are costly reshuffles of managerial stuff. As many as 90 percent of personnel decisions were taken to the detriment of TVP. The Supreme Auditing Chamber reports that the worst situation occurred at the beginning of 2009, under the management of Piotr Farfal. Farfal, who had close ties with the Catholic-nationalistic League of Polish Families (LPR), dismissed over 26 managers (usually related to the Law and Justice party), which cost TVP over 2 million zloty (500,000 euro).

    Another irregularity was legal outsourcing, which cost the broadcaster 17.5 million zloty (4.3 million euro) and was unnecessary, in NIK’s opinion, because TVP has its own lawyers. One of the advocates employed by Farfal, also related to the LPR, managed to earn 54,000 zloty (13,000 euro) in only three months.

    NIK also reported irregularities on hiring advisors. Usually their duties were not defined but nevertheless they managed to earn from 5,000 to 20,000 zloty (1,500-5,000 euro), which cost TVP over 7 million zloty (2 million euro). Andrzej Urbanski employed as many as sixteen such advisors, Piotr Farfal – three and Bronislaw Wild stein – one.

    The Supreme Auditing Chamber wants the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate why suspended presidents, especially Andrzej Urbanski, used company cars, telephones and credit cards, which cost TVP almost 143,000 zloty (35,000 euro); and why they granted themselves high premiums although TVP’s budget deficit reached 200 million zloty (almost 50 million euro).

    Acting to the detriment of TVP may cost former presidents of the Polish broadcaster a fine or up to five years in prison.

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Nothing new here: Poland deadly for cyclists

    From: The News
    Poland is the most dangerous among EU states for cyclists, warns Gazeta Wyborcza. Statistics show that the number of fatal accidents involving cyclists in Poland is four times the average among EU countries.

    Biking in Poland is not a safe pleasure. Around five hundred cyclists are killed on Polish roads every year with another five thousand injured. Contrary to a common misperception, the majority of those victims were not those biking under the influence of alcohol or on improperly lit bikes but children and the elderly who were killed on new or newly modernized roads. Biking organisations indicate the behaviour of car drivers and unclear law among the reasons for such grim statistics.

    In the EU states some four cyclists are killed to every one million inhabitants, in Poland statistics point to 18 . The Polish Lower House will be debating on a project amending the road regulations in Poland. The project envisages among others special road passages only for bicycles and introducing right of way for bicycles in certain road situations. To raise the awareness that bicycles are part of the road traffic cyclists in Poland joined the Critical Mass a ride founded in 1992 in San Francisco held in some 300 cities around the world. They manifest their presence on the streets of Polish cities on the last Friday of the month, winds Gazeta Wyborcza.

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    A classic example of the pot defaming the kettle: Marcin Sobczyk: Poland Wakes Up to Harsh Ukrainian Business Climate

    From: WSJ
    Polish computer hardware distributor Action decided to pull out of Ukraine and sell shares in its unit there.

    Despite Action’s huge loss on the entire investment, analysts who cover this Warsaw-listed company offered a loud sigh of relief after the pullout as Ukrainian operations continued to generate losses from quarter to quarter without any promise of a better tomorrow.

    The company said it views the situation in Ukraine negatively, as declining gross domestic product, high inflation and unemployment mean the country’s economy will be depressed for many quarters ahead.

    Flashback to the early 1990s — some politicians, maybe listening to what Russia was saying or maybe just being useful idiots, were saying Poland was wrong in reorienting its own economy from Comecon to the West. Why go West if you have the vast markets of the East, they would say?

    Fortunately, Poland didn’t listen and now nearly 80% of its foreign trade is with other European Union countries, with more than 50% of the total with the euro zone.

    In the meantime, Russia has repeatedly tried to block Polish exports, and even the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, which Polish politicians eagerly supported, has failed to change anything for Polish companies there.

    Keep in mind that many Polish executives who are still active now also have the experience of the communist regime and its crazy economic logic, and they somehow got by. But present-day Ukraine just beats them.

    A number of Polish companies that are covered by the financial media here have investment projects in Ukraine. This group includes or used to include radio broadcaster RMF FM, one of Poland’s largest banks PKO Bank Polski, media firm Agora and now South African-owned online communicator Gadu-Gadu, as well as a number of real-estate developers.

    And they all complain that business rules in Ukraine are unstable, employees disloyal, corruption out of control. Leszek Czarnecki, a Polish financial tycoon with, to put it mildly, a lot of experience with communist Poland, has recently said his decision to invest in Ukraine was one of the biggest mistakes of his life.

    Contrary to what many in old-EU countries think, there is no common culture in Poland and Ukraine, and the two countries are increasingly diverging. For many Polish investors the experience of Ukraine is a true culture shock.

    So what does Ukraine do to address those problems? Nothing. Literally, nothing.

    Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking at a conference for Ukrainian journalists co-organized by the Polish Foreign Ministry. What surprised me most when I heard my Ukrainian colleagues was their obsession with politics — and their absolute disinterest with the economy.

    For any post-communist country, real integration with the west and real security guarantees begin when economic stakes are high for foreign investors — billions of dollars of investments and billions of profits.

    Instead, all I heard was: Will Yushchenko this, will Tymoshenko that. Will NATO accept us, will EU give us free travel. Will Poland advocate for us.

    If there’s no cash incentive, who cares, really?
  • Note: It is believed that this last sentence was recently nominated as the new national slogan for Poland...
  • Monday, January 11, 2010

    Big Brother legislation on its way

    From: NPE
    New laws governing the retention of data from mobile phone and internet usage that critics claim will help usher in a Big-Brother era will come into force in Poland come the New Year.

    Bringing the country into line with an EU directive designed to combat terrorism, from January 1 information on calls made my mobile phones and just what people have been doing on the internet will be retained for 18 months.

    While this may alarm human rights groups and prompt fears of the data either being abused and misused, or simply mislaid, the newspaper Puls Biznesu has claimed that the government has even taken matters a step further by requiring service providers to keep the location from where mobile phone calls are made.

    This should provide the authorities with a map of the comings and goings of phone users, along with just who and when they made calls.

    The huge amount of information that the law requires to be stored has raised the hackles of the industry.

    “To record the number of data is a huge undertaking. To make changes to the data base increases the technical requirements, time, money,” Dariusz Kosni, from the Polish network provider Telefonia Cyfrowa, told Puls Biznesu. “I do not know whether he will be able to cope, and even if so it will be very expensive.”

    The industry claims that to get the systems up and running to cope with the new law will require tens of millions of zloty.

    It has also disputed government claims that the new law complies with the constitution and provisions of the existing telecommunications law.

    Official snooping through electronic communication might also get a further boost from recent changes to the gambling law.

    In an effort to crack down on and regulate the growing trend of e-gambling the new law, claimed the newspaper Gazeta Prawna, will allow the police to have free access to an internet user’s data without the need of a court warrant.

    The paper goes further by saying that the police, customs and excise and secret services, under the pretext of taking preventative action, will soon have the freedom to delve into somebody’s internet past even if they haven’t come under formal investigation.

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    Poles lose fortune on gambling

    From: The News
    In 2009, Poles spent twice as much money on gambling than on vodka and ten times more than on investment funds.

    The money spent on gambling in 2009 reached a record sum of 20 billion zloty (5 billion euro). Last year the gambling market in Poland grew by 16 percent. However, it is still less than in 2006-2008, when Poles were spending 40 percent more on gambling a year. Recession slowed down the pace of gambling industry’s development.

    In 2009, the national lottery gained 5 percent less than a year before but casinos, amusement arcades and bookmakers earned the same amount of money. One-armed bandits, on the other hand, brought huge profits. Poles spent 11.3 million zloty (2.8 million euro) on fruit machines, which is one third more than a year before. The number of machines increased by 10,000 and exceeded 56,000.

    However, the times of gambling prosperity are gone. From 1 January 2010 over 26,000 one-armed bandits have been removed from gambling spots. A dramatic increase of gambling tax, which followed an anti-gambling bill made the machines less profitable.

    Saturday, January 09, 2010

    Mysterious death of hitman turned state witness

    From: WBJ
    Artur Zirajewski, aka "Iwan" – the star prosecution witness in case of the 1998 murder of Police General Marek Papala – died in a Gdansk police station on Sunday in “mysterious circumstances.”

    It was Mr Zirajewski, a professional hitman, who informed the police about the meeting during which Edward Mazur, a Polish businessman living in the United States, allegedly offered to pay $40,000 for the death of Mr Papala.

    Thanks to Iwan's testimony, the police could press charges against Mr Mazur and several gangsters from the Pruszków mafia who were also said to be involved.

    According to Piotr Krusi?ski, a specialist in penal law at the Warsaw University, it is now very unlikely that those responsible for Mr Papala's death will be brought to justice. "While Iwan's testimony will be used in court, the defense attorneys of the accused will do their best to prove them incredulous," Mr Krusilski said.

    Iwan's death will be investigated by a special committee appointed by the Justice Minister.

    Friday, January 08, 2010

    Eleven dead on roads over New Year period

    From: The News
    Eleven people died and 189 were injured in road accidents during the period spanning New Year's Eve and January 1.

    A total of 138 road accidents occurred within that period. Despite the grim statistics, the roads in the country were safer than in the previous year, says Agnieszka Hameliusz from the Warsaw Police Headquarters:

    "Statistics are much better than over the previous new year period. We had less accidents, less fatalities. Police officers have, however, seized more drivers under the influence of alcohol," she told Polskie Radio.

    The police charged 600 drunk drivers, 400 of them on 1 January.

    Police reported only one accident resulting from mishandling of fireworks. Meanwhile, no serious crimes were noted at the open-air events across the country.

    Poles return home drunk through snow, ice

    Police brace themselves for a steep increase in road accidents as Poles return home from the seasonal holiday just as temperatures plunge to minus 18 tonight.

    Traffic police have already caught 773 people for drunk driving. Eighteen have died in the last two days on the roads, 253 were injured in 183 accidents. Compared to last year these figures are comparatively good but they are expected to rise, sharply, as Poles struggle home through snow and ice, warns Przemyslaw Rzelniewski the General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways.

    The worst conditions are currently in southern and central Poland. southern provinces and in the middle of the Polish. Snow ploughs and salting machines are trying to keep roads clear but are hampered in many places by strong winds.

    The maximum temperature are expected to plunge to between minus 11 to minus 8 degrees Celsius in most places with only coastal districts reaching a comparatively warm minus 2 degree C.

    Thursday, January 07, 2010

    Ex-MP sent down for doing drugs

    From: NPE
    Former Civic Platform (PO) MP Cezary Atamanczuk has been sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty of possession of drugs, driving under the influence and attempting to bribe policemen.
    In addition to the custodial sentence, the former politician was given a PLN 10,000 fine by the Sczecin. court and will lose his driving licence for three years.

    Atamanczuk was arrested in autumn last year for the possession of cannabis and driving his car whilst under the influence of the drug. He then tried to bribe the police officers that had detained him.

    Initially, the prosecutor had intended to be lenient on Atamanczuk and hand him a four year suspended sentence and a two year driving ban. However, this was later increased by Judge Marek Dalidowicz, who felt that such a punishment was insufficient.

    “There is no doubt that the accused committed these particular acts,” said Dalidowicz.

    “There are no worse crimes for a public person to commit than the type that have been carried out here. Cezary Atamanczuk abused peoples’ trust.”

    Atamanczuk was fired from PO and dismissed from his post as councillor.

    Wednesday, January 06, 2010

    Senator in coke-fuelled sex shocker

    From: NPE
    A tale of sex, drugs, a woman’s dress and blackmail may have conspired to ruin the political career of a senior member of Donald Tusk’s governing Civic Platform party.
    Senator Krzysztof Piesiewicz, the politician in question, found himself embroiled in the unseemly scandal after the tabloid Super Express posted a video on its website that appeared to show another side to the otherwise respected and respectable man.

    The footage, taken by two prostitutes, shows Mr Piesiewicz, wearing an unbecoming white dress decorated with flowers, slumped on sofa as one of the prostitutes smears his face with makeup.

    To make matters worse the video also shows the 64-year-old senator with his nose pressed to a table and, apparently, trying to snort a white powder.

    The revelations in the video startled Poles given the good reputation of a man who, in his other incarnation as a lawyer, represented dissidents during the communist years, and who also won fame as a screenwriter through his collaboration with acclaimed film director Krzysztof Kieslowski.

    In his defence Mr Piesiewicz, who has been separated from his wife for 10 years, admitted to arranging to meet a prostitute but claimed that he has been the victim of blackmail plot.

    The two prostitutes, he says, intoxicated him with something and then took the compromising footage as part of a plan to extort money from him.

    When shown the video and threatened with a public scandal Mr Piesiewicz twice paid the prostitutes but when they came back asking for money a third time he went to the police and called the prosecutor’s office.

    The prostitutes were arrested and charged with blackmail but the senator, who has waived his parliamentary immunity, has also come under investigation for illegal drug use.

    With the embarrassing video now a well-viewed item on YouTube ( the embattled senator has said that the affair could mark the end of his political career.

    “This is terrible, never in my life have I experienced anything like this. Nothing like this has ever happened to me,” he told Super Express. “This incident has destroyed my career.”

    But so far his party boss Donald Tusk has refrained from calling time on Mr Piesiewicz’s job.

    The prime minister said that he would not judge the man until the full truth had been revealed.

    Tuesday, January 05, 2010

    Economic crisis: Polish companies for bargain prices

    From: Baltic-Review
    The global economic crisis is facilitating the acquisition of Polish companies, writes the conservative daily Rzeczpospolita:

    “According to prevailing opinion a crisis is the best time for mergers and takeovers.

    The prices for companies have fallen considerably and the bosses and owners of struggling companies are more inclined to talk to potential investors.

    At the same time each company thinks five times about making a binding offers and the possibilities for financing huge transactions are heavily restricted by the banks.

    Nonetheless, more and more companies reach the conclusion that cooperation with international companies can be useful to them.”

    Monday, January 04, 2010

    Winter freeze kills 79 in Poland

    From: Vancouver Sun
    Ten people have died of cold in Poland over the past day, taking the toll since winter set in earlier this month to 79, police said Tuesday.

    A national police spokeswoman told AFP that 10 people had been found dead since Monday.

    The majority of the victims were homeless men who died while drunk, police said.

    Fifty-two of the 79 deaths recorded since December 1 occurred since Friday, as temperatures plunged to minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus four Fahrenheit).

    By Tuesday, temperatures had risen to around zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit).

    Police and municipal employees have boosted patrols in areas where the homeless gather, notably public parks and allotments, to try to persuade them to head to special hostels.

    The death toll is far from unusual in Poland, which regularly faces harsh winter conditions.

    In the 2008 to 2009 winter season, for example, police recorded 82 deaths from hypothermia.

    Poland's highest winter toll in recent years was in 2005 to 2006, when 233 died.

    Sunday, January 03, 2010

    LG cuts investments in Poland

    From: The News
    Korean company wants to reduce its biggest investment in Poland – a factory in Kobierzyce near the western city of Wroclaw.

    LG intended to invest 2.6 billion zloty (620 million euro) in the plant and employ up to 12,000 people but recession thwarted the plans. Instead, the Korean giant will spend 700 million zloty (167 million euro) less on the factory in Kobierzyce and employ 4,000 fewer people than expected.

    The company has already received a green light for the changes in investments from the Polish government.

    “Financial crisis resulted in the fall of demand on LG products abroad,” says Iwona Dzygala from Economy Ministry. LG will receive 120 million zloty (29 million euro) of financial help from the government.

    “However, the company is obliged to keep employment at the present level for five years”, adds Dzygala. Consequently, there will be no redundancies at LG but the company will employ fewer people than planned.

    Saturday, January 02, 2010

    Top aid to PM Tusk commits suicide?

    From: The News
    Head of the Prime Minister’s Chancellery in Poland Grzegorz Michniewicz has committed suicide.

    The official appears to have hung himself according to media reports. His body was found in his apartment earlier today.

    The Government Information Centre has so far declined to comment. District Prosecutor's Office spokesman in Warsaw, Matthew Martyniuk, however, said the participation of a third party in the death cannot be ruled out.

    Grzegorz Michniewicz, born in 1961, was general director of the PM’s Chancellery from January 2008, acting as commissioner for the protection of classified information and data administration. His responsibilities included securing classified and personal data.

    Michniewicz was also a member of PKN Orlen supervisory board, Poland‘s oil giant.

    Friday, January 01, 2010

    60 euro to fix football match?

    From: The News
    Police have detained footballers from FC Unia Tarnow, who allegedly fixed matches for as little as 250 zloty (60 euro).

    Ten people are accused of corruption and Artur W., former football player nicknamed “hairdresser from Tarnow” is in custody, accused of giving and taking bribes worth 30,000 zloty (7,100 euro).

    Police have evidence that seven FC Unia Tarnow matches were fixed between 2007 and 2009. Referees and footballers from the rival teams received bribes which amounted from 10,000 zloty (2,400 euro) to only 250 zloty (60 euro).

    Over 300 people, including footballers, coaches, referees and football club managers have been arrested so far in relation to an ongoing investigation into corruption in the Polish Football Association (PZPN).