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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Today's talking points

Deputies call for international condemnation of Belarus following recent events

Yesterday turned out to be the most dramatic day in the history of the Association of Poles in Belarus (ZPB). The regime of the country's president Alexander Lukashenko continues to increase the tension between Poland and Belarus and reached a climax point on the night between Tuesday and Wednesday when the Belarussian militia tried to enter the office of the Union by force. The country's authorities have managed to force changes in the board of the Polish organization by dismissing Anżelika Borys from the seat of the Association's head as well as seven other members of the organization. On Tuesday, on rediculous charges they detained the deputy president of ZPB Józef Porzecki, Mieczysław Jaśkiewicz and Polish journalist Andrzej Poczobut. Polish politicians are shocked about the course of events and claim that drastic steps should be immediately taken. "This is a scandal which requires a more energetic reaction and moving the issue to the international arena, at least to the forum of the EU Council in Strasbourg, but also possibly to the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations. Belarus has to be condemned not only by Poland. Other countries have to react," announced Sejm Speaker and presidential candidate Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz.
When am I going to see this story in the mainstream news?

Polish PM meets with US Secretary of Defense in Iraq

Prime Minister Marek Belka spent his second day in Iraq yesterday (Wednesday), during which he met with US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The day before he was present at the seat of the multi-national military division, the control of which was just handed over to General Piotr Czerwiński. The fifth contingent of the Polish soldiers is also the last. Starting next year, Poles will only train the Iraqi security services. General George Casey, the commander in chief of the US army in Iraq, announced that if the political process will continue to develop and if the Iraqi security services gains strength, the Americans will significantly reduce the number of soldiers residing in Iraq in summer of next year.

Miners win improved retirement scheme following protest and Sejm vote

Following the violent protest by the workers of the mining sector, Sejm deputies yesterday decided that employees of this sector will have their own, more beneficial, retirement program. The deputies voted to allow miners the right to retire after working 25 years underground without regard to age. However, the government as well as experts criticize this decision. "Today the insurance system costs a lot because many people take advantage of it. We pay zł.14 billion for early retirements," explained Agnieszka Chłoń-Domińczak, the Deputy Minister for Social Policy. She failed however, to convince the opposition. "The miners work in extreme conditions, in hot air, humidity and have to be treated in a special way. We have to limit the expenditures, but not at the cost of the working people," claimed Maria Nowak of Law and Justice (PiS).
PiS is getting more populist by the minute. Still leading in the polls - I don't like where this is headed.

Oleksy joins the growing band of resentful SLD ex-leaders

Former leader of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) Józef Oleksy announced yesterday that he is not interested in becoming a candidate for a seat in the Senate, although he has not yet made his final decision concerning this issue. Oleksy was annoyed at the party's authorities that they removed his right, as with Leszek Miller and Jerzy Jaskiernia, to run for a seat to the Sejm from the SLD list, but can only be a candidate in the election to the Senate. "It has been decided that I am responsible for the catastrophe of the party in the opinion polls. I am against selecting people who should be held politically responsible for the fall in support. Some people were not punished," said Oleksy, who said that tomorrow he will discuss the issue of the future of former SLD leaders with the current head of the party, Wojciech Olejniczak.
Well, Józef, you're at least partly responsible, aren't you? Shouldn't have lied about spying for the Communists in the past. Tsk, tsk, tsk.
The Guardian:

Poland May Create John Paul II Holiday

Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to support a measure that will establish a national day to honor the late Pope John Paul II.

The lower house, or Sejm, voted 338-3 for the bill that will make Oct. 16 a day of reflection and remembrance of the Polish-born Karol Wojtyla. That date was chosen because he was elected pope on Oct. 16, 1978. Two lawmakers abstained from voting.

The bill now goes to the Senate, which is expected to approve it this week. President Aleksander Kwasniewski is expected to sign it into law.

The annual holiday will be dedicated to remembering and studying John Paul's teachings, but it won't be a government holiday. Banks, schools and government offices will stay open.

John Paul II, who died April 2, was greatly loved and admired in Poland, his predominantly Roman Catholic homeland.


The head negotiator for the US in the six-way N. Korea nuclear-disarmament talks is Christopher Hill. Mr. Hill was US Ambassador to Poland during 9/11, and left his post here early last year.


Blogger Gustav said...

Just when I ask when I'm going to see this story in the mainstream media...

BBC News:

Belarus-Poland dispute escalates

Poland has recalled its ambassador from neighbouring Belarus amid escalating tension between the Polish government and Belarus' president.

President Alexander Lukashenko has accused the Polish minority in Belarus of plotting to overthrow him.

On Wednesday, Belarussian police raided the headquarters of an organisation representing ethnic Poles in Belarus and briefly detained its leader.

Each country has expelled the other's diplomats in recent months.

About 400,000 ethnic Poles live in Belarus, in areas that were part of Poland until World War II.

Mr Lukashenko has accused Poland of interfering in Belarussian affairs and seeking to provoke mass protests against his government.

Poland says Mr Lukashenko's government is persecuting the Polish community.

Fears of backlash

Riot police with guns and dogs raided the Union of Poles headquarters in the western town of Grodno, about 280 km (175 miles) west of the capital, Minsk, on Wednesday, detaining those inside for several hours.

Mr Lukashenko has criticised the recently elected leadership of the association, saying it is illegal.

Some Poles outside the building on Thursday said they feared rising anti-Polish sentiments among the Belarussian people.

"The authorities of Belarus are provoking the conflict by using force and politicise the organisation themselves," Leon Podlach, 37, told the Associated Press.

"I am afraid of anti-Polish sentiments in the republic."

7/28/2005 04:24:00 PM  

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