ZUS, Polish Social Security Office issued a letter to pensioners, asking them to fill in the form. The main point in the form is this: I hereby declare that I am still alive and reside at the stated address. www.tvn24.pl/-1,1552108,wiadomosc.html
Pensioners feel offended and ironically ask if, being still alive, should they notify ZUS about a predicted date of their death?
Experts are puzzled because it proves that ZUS electronic data storage system is somewhat unprofessional.
But even with all this, is not life better, in Poland, than it was twenty years ago?
Yes, of course it is and it is reflected in all polls - hardly anybody, except for hardened communists, wants the return of the old system. . Yet, people will always complain because Poles like it and they think the grass is greener on the other side....
Poland's public television Tragedy or farce? Jan 8th 2009 | WARSAW The Economist
A putsch at Poland's public-television enterprise reflects murky politics
Illustration by Peter Schrank
PUBLIC broadcasting in Poland is a fractious business. Ruling parties habitually try to unseat their predecessors' placemen amid howls of protest from opposition parties who did much the same when they were in power. Now the main ruling party, Civic Platform, is enjoying the sight of television bosses installed by the former Law and Justice government being fired. What is odd is that the new bo ss, Piotr Farfal, comes from the League of Polish Families (LPR), a radical right-wing outfit, normally seen as an arch-enemy by Warsaw's liberals. Yet in this case, the usual criticism is missing.
The story starts with the general election in 2005, after which the LPR, along with another small party, Self-Defence, went into coalition with Law and Justice and won places on the bodies governing public radio and television. The coalition lost the 2007 election and the two smaller parties retreated to the fringes of political life. But now their representatives in public broadcasting have mounted a coup at Polish state television (TVP), suspending the incumbent chairman and two colleagues.
TVP's new boss is Mr Farfal, once active in the LPR's youth wing. As a teenager, he was associated with a skinhead magazine that printed stridently anti-Semitic articles. Now aged 30, Mr Farfal strongly denies that he has extremist views. He says he just wants to make TVP run better.
Leaving aside the inevitable allegations of politicisation, there is plenty of scope for improvement at TVP. Andrzej Wajda, Poland's most eminent film director, has attacked the state broadcaster in an unusually sharp tone for bungling the international distribution of his Oscar-nominated film, "Katyn".
Some wonder if the putsch is the result of a deal between the former LPR leader, Roman Giertych, and the Civic Platform prime minister, Donald Tusk. The government may secure friendlier coverage in the run-up to the European elections this summer. Mr Farfal has already reinstated a newsreader seen as sympathetic to the government.
This all comes at a time when Poland may have more chance to influence European Union affairs, as its neighbour, the Czech Republic, has taken over the EU's rotating presidency. The need for a better-informed public, given the fragile economies of eastern Europe, has never been greater. The Polish media used to be the best in the region. Squeezed by falling revenues, they have recently become noticeably more sensational. A recent poll has shown young people in Poland disinclined to become involved in political affairs. These latest events are hardly likely to rekindle their enthusiasm.
On National Independence Day, Krakow was granted two new monuments. Shortly afterwards, it turned out that one of them may be a copy of a monument in Kielce, a city north of Krakow.
The November 11th National Independence Day is always associated with Marshal Jozef Pilsudski, the key figure in the regaining of Polish independence in 1918 and the country's most influential politician throughout the 1920s. Krakow's Mayor, Jacek Majchrowski, unveiled a monument to him during this year's 90th anniversary celebrations. Appropriately enough. the statue stands on a street named after the great leader.
An accompanying monument, the so-called "four legionnaires" , shows marching soldiers sculpted in tribute to the men of the Polish Legions, a military unit of 144 fighters that was formed in Krakow during the First World War by Pilsudski.
Both the marshal's and the soldiers' statues were designed and made by Czeslaw Dzwigaj, the author of numerous controversial works of art found in Krakow. Local artists have accused the sculptor of producing mediocre art and lacking originality, yet his position is considered influential ? Dzwigaj is the chairman of the Fowler Guild, an organisation of historical provenence and a bastion of Krakow's bourgeois traditions. The fraternity was indeed the sponsor of the Pi?lsudski statue, with the "Legionnaires" sculpture sponsored by the city.
The issue of plagiarism arose when the Gazeta Wyborcza daily compared Dzwigaj's legionnaires with a nearly identical piece by Jan Raszko, a sculptor who was a member of the original Polish Legions. Raszko's "Four Legionnaires" were sculpted in 1917 and are located in Kielce. The soldiers in both monuments march, bend their knees and even look up in nearly the exact same way, though Dzwigaj's version loses a lot in comparison.
The 88-year-old daughter of Jan Raszko, Danuta Bielecka, who is now the inheritor of the author's rights, is appalled that her father's name was not mentioned in the project, although she always agrees to requests of copying the legionnaires statue without claiming any royalties. "I just wish somebody had made an effort to ask me for permission. I would agree anyway," she says.
However, Czeslaw Dzwigaj considers her opinion the "remarks of an elderly lady" that contradict the facts and claims that both pieces are distinctly different. His key argument is that soldiers had to have the same uniforms and had to march in fours.
That was enough for Krakow's Internet forums to boil.
"That's a scandal! Raszko's author's rights are above any doubt. This is a sheer theft and plagiarism," writes user Dorota at www.forum.gazeta. pl.
"Dzwigaj's 'legionnaires' look as if they were sneaking for beer to a nearby pub right under the marshal's nose," mocks stasieczek5.
"It's a parody of the original, a huge kitsch," comments Jan Polewka, a director and stage designer.
Professor Ewa Nowinska from the Intellectual Laws and Property Institute of the Jagiellonian University, an expert on intellectual property, points out the fact that the real soldiers didn't necessarily have to march with their hands on their thighs, which is the most visible similarity to the Kielce monument. However, the legal court's experts are the only ones who will be able to resolve this issue.
Polish postman wants to change his name to 'James Bond'
14:29 | 23/ 01/ 2009
MOSCOW, January 23 (RIA Novosti) - A Polish postman wants to change his name to James Bond as the first step in getting a new life, but the authorities refuse to make it official, the country's TVN24 TV channel said on Friday.
"I need the name and surname of the famous British agent to change my life dramatically," Rafal Jarosinski, from the central Polish town of Radomsko, said in an interview.
Jarosinski, who is also a student in computer science, is convinced that "to begin a new life, one should first of all change his first and second name." He has been applying to local authorities for several months, but his requests have been denied on the grounds that a living person cannot assume a name of a fictional character.
"I think, I should be taken seriously, as an educated and honest person, who will do no harm to anyone by this," he said. "I just want to take this expressive name and to fill my life with it."
James Bond, named after an American ornithologist, was created by Ian Fleming while on holiday in Jamaica in 1952. Fleming said he wanted a plain-sounding name for his character, something which would reflect his anonymous and neutral nature as an instrument of MI6.
In 45 years, Agent 007 has been all over the world - from Russia to the Caribbean, from the United States to the Amazon, and even into space. Many of his catchphrases have entered the global lexicon, and his favored vodka-martini cocktail has become a cult drink. Audiences have also fallen for his supporting characters, such as Miss Moneypenny, his boss's charming and witty secretary.
Polish PM apologises for skipping vote to play football Poland's prime minister Donald Tusk was force to apologise after a TV station caught him on tape skipping a parliamentary vote to play football.
Polish PM Donald Tusk apologised for skipping the vote for the match Photo: AP
The private Polish television station TVN caught the centre-Right politician playing football with friends on Thursday night while lawmakers voted on pension plans.
Tusk said on Monday that "there are no special words to justify" skipping the vote for the match. He apologised and said "it shouldn't happen, and it won't happen again."
Mr Tusk is an avid football fan and plays regularly with friends from his Civic Platform party and from his hometown of Gdansk.
"What was the score?" asked President Lech Kaczynski, a political rival of Mr Tusk's. "Did the prime minister score a couple of goals or not?"
PO Sends Envoy to Apologise to Gabon Bartlomiej Kuras Gazeta Wyborcza 2009-03-11
A PO councillor from Ma³opolskie is going to Gabon. He wants to apologise to the Gabonese for Jaros³aw Kaczyñski's recent comments. He has the support of party colleagues; the PiS authorities are outraged.
Kazimierz Czekaj, a PO councillor on the Ma³opolskie provincial assembly and head of its budget committee, is a keen traveller.
'I like getting to know other countries' cultures. That's why when I heard how the PiS leader speaks about Gabon, I thought about going there', Mr Czekaj tells Gazeta.
The PO councillor, like many of his fellow party members, were puzzled by comments made last week about Gabon by Jaros³aw Kaczyñski.
'A rather small African country whose economy is based on peanuts' was the definition of Gabon the opposition leader provided when asked why he had cited the country in reference to Donald Tusk's policies.
He again referred to Gabon when explaining his comment that Mr Tusk used the eurobond issue to 'frighten Poles with the bogeyman'.
'You could as well say that Gabon intends to invade Poland', said Mr Kaczyñski.
'I'm sorry if anyone in Gabon felt offended', he apologised later.
Now Mr Czekaj wants to check personally what they think about Poland in Gabon.
'We need to apologise to the Gabonese people for Mr Kaczyñski's remarks. I'm booking a plane ticket. I'm going for my own money, but I have the support of my party colleagues. I'll assure everyone in Gabon that not all Poles are so prejudiced against the country as Mr Kaczyñski', says Mr Czekaj.
The PO is happy about the councillor's enterprise.
'This is a great initiative. Colleague Czekaj has the party's full support on this', says Jerzy Fedorowicz, a PO deputy.
'We need to build accord between the Polish and Gabonese peoples rather than creating an atmosphere of hostility with irresponsible comments', he adds.
The PiS has reacted coldly to the news about Mr Czekaj's planned trip.
'Perhaps the councillor and his fellow party members should visit a psychiatrist. That's all I have to say!' commented Joachim Brudziñski, chair of the PiS Executive Board.
Bottom Line: Kaczynski should not have been at the EU Summit. Tom
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PM Chancellery sued over bill for chartering plane Polish Radio 15.03.2009
The Polish President's Chancellery is suing the chief of the Prime Minister's Chancellery Tomasz Arabski over the bill for chartering a plane in which the President flew to a EU summit in Brussels last October, after the President and Prime Minister could not agree who should be representing Poland.
Mr. Arabski is being held responsible for causing unnecessary cost to the State Treasury. At the time he refused to send the official aircraft from Brussels back to Warsaw, saying it must remain there at the disposal of the Prime Minister. The President's office then chartered a plane and now claims that it's the Prime Minister's office which should be footing the bill.
Gerald Warner Last Updated: 1:57PM GMT 16 Mar 2009
It has long been a complaint of purists that the English language, so superlative in many ways, is defective in just one respect. It does not contain equivalents of those delicately nuanced courtesies in which other European languages abound: monsieur, madame, mademoiselle; signora and signorina; and so on.
Adressing a waitress as “Miss!” is rightly considered naff. Conversationally, the normal English resort is to omit any form of address. While “monsieur” and its equivalents are commonplace on the Continent, some British churls would die rather than say “sir”, hence the popularity of the deplorable style “mate”.
Now that juggernaut of cultural philistinism, the European Parliament, has taken an axe to the time-honoured courtesies of ancient cultures. A new “Gender-Neutral Language” pamphlet issued by officials has banned all these traditional styles, allegedly for fear of offending women MEPs. This conforms to a familiar pattern that assumes women are offended by being addressed politely. Political correctness is the new boorishness.
The usual suspects have also been outlawed in the new diktat: “statesmen” must be replaced by “political leaders” (though not all statesmen could have been described as such); “fireman”, “air hostess”, etc are also verboten. This is an artificial imposition to make people inarticulate – and many MEPs require very little assistance in that direction.
The forms of personal address such as “madame” are redolent of the courtesies of a more civilised age. When a Frenchman met a woman in the street he would traditionally address her as “madame” and remove his hat, keeping it in his hand until his lady interlocutor graciously said “Couvrez-vous, monsieur.” In Poland, the most courteous society of all, even under communism a dustman would greet a woman by kissing her hand.
These are the remnants of Christendom, of an ancient Thomist civilisation in which every individual had an assured place and certain recognition. It is because of the memory of Christian civility enshrined in these salutations, along with the marital and familial status they imply, that the dictators of the New Order at Brussels seek to excise them, as their predecessors tried to impose such synthetic styles as “citizen” or “comrade” on the totalitarian societies they tried to create and dominate. They should be ignored, derided and dismissed. Are we agreed, ladies and gentlemen
Polish zoo visitors flock to catch glimpse of 'gay' elephant 14:56 | 10/ 04/ 2009
MOSCOW, April 10 (RIA Novosti) - Visitors have been flocking to a zoo in the western Polish city of Poznan to catch a glimpse of an elephant, who it is claimed is homosexual, Polish media said.
The ten-year-old African Bush elephant, Nino, has had to change zoos three times in the past five years because of his aggressive behavior toward female elephants, including pushing them into the pool. However his attitude to male elephants is described as "affectionate."
"He only liked his buddies and hit the cows with his trunk, and was very disrespectful on the whole," Michal Grzes, the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) deputy for Poznan said.
Nino was sent to Warsaw Zoo, where he lived for three years, until his aggressive behavior led to his transfer to a zoo in Budapest before he once again returned to Poznan.
Grzes said that if Nino does not alter his behavior and breed, he will become "dead weight" for the zoo. He is currently being kept separate from the other animals.
However, zookeepers have not lost all hope. Nino is still young and will soon be introduced to a female from the Netherlands to try and tempt him into breeding.
A right-wing Polish politician wants to know why his local zoo spent money on an elephant he calls “gay.”
Michal Grzes, a counselor from the western city of Poznan, noted that the elephant, Ninio, prefers the company of other males, and challenged the zoo’s fiscal wisdom for acquiring him.
"We didn't pay 37 million zlotys ($11 million U.S.) for the largest elephant house in Europe to have a gay elephant live there," said Grzes, according to London's Daily Mail.
"We were supposed to have a herd,” Grzes continued, “but as Ninio prefers male friends over females, how will he produce offspring?"
Ninio, who is 10, has changed zoos three times in the past five years because of his aggressive behavior toward females, in contrast to his affectionate treatment of males.
The head of the Poznan zoo contends that any conclusions about same-sex trunk intertwining are premature because Ninio will not reach sexual maturity until age 14.
Grzes is a member of the Law and Justice Party. Two of the party’s most high-profile members, the identical twin brothers Jaroslaw and Lech Kaczynski, have been outspoken in their homophobic views. Lech is the current president of Poland.