In Eastern Slovakia new born babies are hooked up to headphones for music therapy to counter the trauma of birth. Now, their Polish neighbours are taking things one step further. A group of radio enthusiasts has launched a new station to cater to the needs of the youngest radio audience - babies, toddlers and small children.
Something else that potentially needs an image revamp is Polish food. In the communist era, local dishes had a reputation for being gray and stogy. And as trendy bistros and international restaurants open up in the Polish capital, there’s fear traditional dishes could be left behind. Michal Kubicki from Polish Radio External Services set out culinary tour of Warsaw, and found, to his surprise, that Polish food still has a place in the hearts of its citizens.
Some in Poland are worried about what’s seen as a criminal westernisation of their country. Crimes that were thought of as exclusively west European are now appearing in Polish statistics. One such crime is date-rape, often perpetrated by spiking a victim’s drink with a drug that knocks them out, sometimes even wiping their memory. Now a new campaign’s under way to make young Poles aware of the dangers they face.
In Poland, climate change hasn’t taken off as it has in other European countries. Until now. As winters become warmer and summers see more erratic weather, more and more Poles believe global warming is taking grip. In the southern Polish city of Kraków Poles are adapting to the new orthodoxies of climate change thinking, and some are even making a living from going eco-warrior.
When you think of online dating services you tend to imagine them serving lonely people in large cities. What need do religious people have of such a service when they have the church community to meet partners through? But two years ago, three single and Catholic students from Warsaw started Poland's first online Catholic dating service. Right now the community is 27 thousand strong and growing. So Catholic singles in Poland seem to need to go online to find a spouse. NE finds out how and why.
Movie buffs and the film-making community in Poland are in jubilant mood. The list of Oscar nominations has been published and it includes several Polish names, with the nation’s most acclaimed director Andrzej Wajda leading the field with a nomination for best foreign film.
It’s hard to get an accurate figure of how many Muslims there are in Europe. France has the most—5 or 6 million people, who make up nearly 9% of the population. In the UK, they’re about 3%. But some countries, like Poland, have barely enough to make a blip on the radar. In the southern city of Krakow, some question the need for an Islamic Cultural centre because the community is so small.
And we haven’t finished with the war yet… Not for the first time in recent memory there’s controversy in Poland on a World War II issue. Two books on Polish-Jewish relations after the war have just been published, both by Polish-born historians living in the United States. Michal Kubicki of Polish Radio’s External Service looks at why the books are set to provoke heated debate on one of the most complex chapters in Poland’s modern history.
When the Polish Liberal party won in October, one of the first decisions the new government took was to withdraw the country’s troops from Iraq by the end of this summer. The move has been approved by the president. That doesn’t mean Polish troops won’t be stationed around the world, on other foreign missions.
The average Pole spends three and a half hours a day in front of the TV. Nearly half of that time is devoted to watching soap operas. People watch these series because they can identify something of themselves in them. And some Polish sociologists say that they can be good for establishing family roles.
And while you’re on holiday – of course you need to bring back a souvenir or two. An order of Polish monks has come up with a rather unusual business idea to support themselves. How about some Prayer Book apricot jam or the rather popular Novice Brothers pickled mushrooms? Michal Kubicki from the Polish Radio External Service visited the Benedictine monks of Tyniec Abbey near Krakow for a little divine souvenir hunting.
From personalities - to places. One of the most fascinating places in Poland's capital, Warsaw, is across the Vistula river. It's in a part of the city most tour guides ignore, or even dismiss as too dangerous. The Tenth Anniversary Stadium was a left-over piece of architecture from Poland's communist past. But Poland's surprise success with its bid to host the 2012 European Football Championships means a brand new sports complex is being built on the site. So, it’s also goodbye to the famous international market - Polish Radio's Amy Drozdowska presented an obituary:
If you want to be treated like royalty – you might consider a trip to Krakow. A new tram service has begun running there, but it’s not a line for regular commuters. The most important question on that route is – do you take sugar with yours? It’s a café tram – a new way to see Kraków from renovated comfort complete with all the mod-cons. Tea or coffee, the choice is yours and an espresso was the choice of John Beauchamp on a trip outside Polish Radio’s studios.
Poland still relies heavily on fossil fuels, coal and oil. But wouldn't the Polish government, as well as the average consumer, have much to gain economically by boosting their energy efficiency? Polish Radio's External Services Gabriel Stille reports.
Six weeks after Poles voted the conservative Law and Justice party out of office, Poland's new government is in place, with Prime Minister Donald Tusk at the helm. So what does the Polish man-in-the-street expect from the new leadership? And what does the new cabinet stand for? Michal Kubicki of Polish Radio's External Service reports.
Parliamentary elections in Poland have brought about far-reaching changes on the country’s political scene. The governing conservative party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski suffered a stinging defeat at the hands of the centre right opposition. The news was welcomed in Brussels and across Europe as well as Poland, but this doesn’t necessarily spell the end of twin brother politics and the Kaczynski era.
For the seventh time since the collapse of communism in 1989, Poles are about to elect a new parliament. The vote comes two years early, following the implosion of the current coalition in August. Many voters are still undecided over which party to support, and opinion polls show an even split between the ruling Law and Justice Party of Prime minister Jaroslaw Kascinski and the opposition pro-European Civic Platform.
In a week’s time Poles will be electing a new parliament. Snap elections were called after the Polish government, headed by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, fell apart in August, after prolonged infighting in the ruling coalition. Polish voters will now have the choice between seven parties and the race is a tight one as no block has a clear lead. Who are the main players and how do Poles feel about these elections?
We've heard a lot about declining populations and a graying Europe. But now there's an interesting new development in Poland as the country is experiencing something of a baby boom. Statistics show the generation born in the early 80's is increasingly starting to have families. So why are Poles suddenly discovering parenting?
The Rugby World Cup, hosted in France, is now in full swing. And the sport which has never been in the limelight in Poland seems to be gaining a wide range of fans there. John Beauchamp from Polish radio External Services
In five weeks time, two years earlier than scheduled, the Polish people will be electing a new Parliament. Is Poland in for a repeat of the political scenario of two years ago when no party won enough support to form an independent majority government? Michal Kubicky reports.
Now something for you dancers out there—or those of you would who’d like to learn. Michal Kubicki of Polish Radio’s External Service recently made the rounds of dance schools in Warsaw— and found a surge in enrolments during the summer months.
And moving now from one church to another, an order of Polish monks has come up with an unusual business idea to support themselves. Now, you may not yet be familiar with "Prayer Book" apricot jam or "Novice Brothers" pickled mushrooms, but the monks' line of products is gaining ground. Michal Kubicki from the Polish Radio External Service visited the Benedictine monks of Tyniec abbey near Krakow and has this report.
Poland adored Pope John Paul II while he was alive. But now that he’s gone, they’re finding new ways to hold onto him. Visitors to Poland can now follow the tracks John Paul made in his homeland - 21st century style.Two years after the death of the Polish Pope, pilgrims are now following his tracks on a special train which takes them from Krakow to Wadowice - the Pope's birthplace - and back.
The Polish government is currently at logger heads with the European Commission over a stretch of motorway it wants to build through the Rospuda Valley in the North-East of the country. This European nature reserve has unique wetlands and virgin forest, but the Polish insists this motorway is crucial as part of the Via Baltica linking Warsaw with Helsinki via the Baltic States. This week Poland decided to postpone the start of the construction as the case is now being examined by the European Court of Justice. But the dispute over the motorway's environmental impact is far from being resolved.
EU-Polish relations have not been easy in the past few months. Poland clashed with the EU over voting rights, it also vetoed talks between the EU and Russia earlier on in the year. This latest dispute surrounding a stretch of motorway seems to be yet another bone of contention. True, the Polish government has this week agreed to back down from starting construction while the European Court of Justice is looking into the case. But the question is: what's next?
British men are content to self-medicate when in need of relaxation and for large numbers of them on stag-weekends that means picking up a cheap flight to Krakow in Poland! The beer’s cheap, the hotels are cheap, and, until recently at least, the local population greeted them warmly. To give the uninitiated an idea of what the British stag weekend is – groups of up to 20 or so men, usually friends and relatives of the one getting married, go away for the weekend to celebrate the groom’s last days of bachelor life. Such weekends often get so beer-soaked that in Prague, another popular cheap booze destination, the British embassy plans to issue 20,000 beer-mats warning that under Czech law you could spend a couple of days in jail for being drunk and disorderly. But there seems little doubt that Krakowites are having their patience tested by brash, boozy Brits.
In Poland Jewish culture is enjoying something of a revival. A fact perhaps not being enjoyed by the Catholic priest Father Tadeusz Rydzyk. He owns a growing media business and is expressing some opinions some in the catholic faith think he should keep to himself. A group of prominent Polish Catholic intellectuals has published an open letter condemning recent statements Father Tadeusz Rydzyk has made, among them anti-semitic remarks and some tabloid style put-downs of the Polish president and his wife.
Poland joined the EU 3 years ago and has been gaining a widening reputation as a diplomatic bruiser ever since. Their tactics at the latest EU summit drew fierce criticism from across the continent. And the already raised eyebrows of European liberals have risen further up their foreheads this week. Luxembourg’s prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker said it “was very near to unacceptable” while others called the Kaczynski twin brothers, Poland’s President and Prime Minister, “Germanophobic”. Poland wants to use a system that gives more power to smaller member states. The current system gives more voting power to larger nations, making the union’s most populous state, Germany, the most powerful. The sting in the tail was President Kaczynski’s suggestion that if the Nazis hadn’t killed so many Poles in World War II it would now be the most populous nation in Europe and therefore the most powerful. But does this row reflect the way ordinary Poles feel?
Last week's heads of Government Summit in Brussels to hammer out the content of a new European Treaty was characterised as always by some very tough bargaining - But a tacit understanding on what can be used as a bargaining ploy in European negotiations was challenged when Poland's Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski cited his country's war dead at the hands of Nazi Germany as a reason why he the opposed German chancellor, Angela Merkel’s proposed new system of majority voting within the Union. In the end the compromise solution was found - but since the summit, commentators around have been trying to get their heads around what the comment's mean for Poland and the EU.
No another reminder of the holocaust - this time in Warsaw where the cornerstone for the Museum of History of Polish Jews was laid in the polish capital. The people behind the project are emphasising that their ambition is not to build “just a Holocaust museum' but a centre of dialogue, culture and the long and rich history of Polish - Jewish coexistence. Joanna Najfeld from Polish Radio External Services reports
European leaders this week converged on Brussels for talks on the controversial EU treaty at a two-day summit in Brussels, which began on Thursday. Governments around the EU went into the summit assuring voters that they would stand firm on their own position. Some of them - notably the UK and Poland have long threatened to veto the new treaty if it doesn't serve their national interest. It all seems a far cry from the days when the majority of European leaders talked happily about forging an ever closer union. Or does it? Network Europe's Brussels correspondent, Stephen Castle in Brussels
The Stadion Dziesieciolecia or the Tenth Anniversary Stadium is a left-over piece of architecture from Poland's recent past. Its outdoor market, one of the largest of it's kind, is a special universe of sellers from all over the world. But its days are numbered. Poland's surprise win on the bid to host the 2012 European Football Championships means a brand new sports complex will be built on the site. And after June 30th 2007, the market will close forever. Polish Radio's Amy Drozdowska reports.
The intergovernmental conference set to work out the details of a new draft of the European constitution starts next week. Poland is hardening its position on voting rights - and warning member states that it won't hesitate to use its veto power. Polish Radio External Service's Slawek Szefs in Warsaw
In Poland teenagers cannot imagine life without the web. After all personal computers were almost common place when they were born. Does that mean that they’re blasé though? And what are the reasons why they go online?
The constitutional court in Poland last week shot down a vetting law aimed at purging ex-communist agents out of public life. The 11-judge panel declared unconstitutional numerous clauses equiring members of certain professions, including journalists, to declare whether they had collaborated with the communist-era secret police. The ruling was a rebuke to President Lech Kaczynski and his twin brother, Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who campaigned on rooting out communists. Michal Kubicki of Polish Radio’s External Service reports that in reaction to this decision, some in Poland are now looking to open communist police archives to the public.
In Poland, sports fans and politicians are still celebrating what will surely prove to be a major sporting event and showcase for the country. Poland and Ukraine beat Italy and joint bidders Hungary and Croatia in the race to host the European Football Championships in 2012. Michal Kubicki reports for Polish Radio.
That sound of Polish composer Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki's Third String Quartet played by the American Kronos Quartet, is something you might be hearing more often in the future. After a long period of silence, much of Gorecki's work and that recording in particular, is being re-released: a chance for music lovers everywhere to rediscover his work. Michal Kubicki of Polish Radio’s External Service has been following the development of Gorecki’s career for many years.
Seventy years ago this week Polish composer Karol Szymanowski died. And 2007 also marks 125 years since he was born. The Polish Parliament's declared 2007 the Szymanowski Year and numerous events celebrating his unique music are planned over the coming months.
Poland is intimately acquainted with the challenges of integration and enlargement. It was part of that big bang of new members admitted three years ago. For Poland, then, the anniversary of the Treaty of Rome is first and foremost an opportunity for reflection. Given Poland’s past, this means remembering the decades this nation was unable to participate in the process of European integration.
Now, from organizations buying political influence we move to selling influence in return for letting someone set up a military base in your backyard. That someone is, of course, the US and the proposed new military bases would be built in Poland and the Czech Republic. The plans have prompted lively debate there and have angered Russia considerably. Radio Prague's Rob Cameron has the story.
Polish military intelligence disbanded last year was involved in illegal activities and exerted illegitimate influence on Polish public life after the fall of communism, according to a just published government report. Polish Radio's Joanna Najfeld reports.
The European Commission has warned Poland again against building an expressway running through the unique marshland nature reserve of Rospuda Valley in the north-west of the country. Agnieszka Bielawska reports.
As work, study and weekend breaks take Europeans to the four corners of the continent, international romance is blooming. More than 100,000 Poles alone have moved to Ireland in search of jobs since it flung its doors wide-open to immigration from the new EU member states in Eastern Europe. Most of the Poles are young and...single. For its part, Ireland has more young people per capita than any other European country. So even if many Poles don't have romance on their mind when they leave for Dublin, Limerick or Galway, it often ends up that way. Polish Radio's Bogdan Zaryn caught up with Paul and Dominika, one of the increasing number of Polish-Irish couples.
In Poland, it used to be taboo to talk about former communist bosses and the special privileges they enjoy. Eighteen years after the fall of communism, the Polish government is taking steps to change that. From Polish Radio External Service, Joanna Najfeld reports.
After a meeting late last week, the Polish Roman Catholic Episcopate has announced the intention to purge the Church of communist ties, disclosing documents concerning the cooperation of a minority of priests and bishops with Poland's communist regime. The meeting followed the resignation of archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus, who was about to be installed as the metropolitan of Warsaw, but admitted to having had links with the communist security police.
The resignation of the newly appointed archbishop of Warsaw, Stanislaw Wielgus, two days after he admitted that he'd collaborated with the communist secret services and only hours before his formal investiture ceremony, is surely one of the most important events in the history of the Polish Church. How serious is the crisis in the Church and what are the chances for healing the wounds? Michal Kubicki reports.
While the number of Turks supporting EU membership has been steadily falling over the past year, hitting an all time low of about 30% - a public opinion survey just released in Poland this week suggests that people there are head over heals in love with the European Union. Even former Eurosceptics seemed to have been reconciled with the EU. What are some of the reasons behind this positive trend?
In the Second World War the Polish capital, Warsaw was all but flattened and rebuilding the Old Town was the largest renovation project in the history of Europe. Now the town of Lodz has just started the next biggest project of this kind. Lodz is Poland's second largest city but isn't usually on tourists' to-do lists. But it might be now. The town's Manufaktura complex has had a huge makeover.
Growing numbers of Britons and Germans take advantage of Poland's expanding private health sector to have their teeth fixed cheaply, or to perform cosmetic surgery. 'This medical tourism has taken off in a big way in the historic city of Krakow, which is a destination of many low cost airlines. Radio Polonia's John Beauchamp reports from Krakow. This report is by John Beauchamp.
The Polish authorities have declared they will send a thousand soldiers to Afghanistan, as part of a NATO multinational force. The decision is to some extent a logical consequence of the country's support for American-led operations in the war on terror. But for the first time, the national consensus on Poland's role in such missions, seems to have been broken, with the opposition accusing the government of sending Polish troops into combat, rather than a peacekeeping mission.
George Orwell once lived in Paris, but he may not have had it particularly in mind when he wrote 1984 and created the concept of Big Brother keeping watch over citizens. Today technology is becoming ever more a part of the fabric of ordinary life. At the start of the new school term, the biometrical scanning of pupils’ hand prints as a way of paying for meals has appeared in more school canteens in France. With computers, mobile phones, chip and pin payment systems, not to mention surveillance equipment our movements are being traced and tracked as never before.
Polish people feel vulnerable and wonder if they are could be on a terrorist hit-list because they have shown support for the US war on terror. So the level of suspicion is high and tighter anti-terror laws are on the cards.
The Basowiszcza music festival in Poland has become a mecca for Belarusian rock fans who can't see their favourite bands at home. Basowiszcza, which has been running since 1990, showcases Belarusian rock acts banned from playing in their homeland by authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko.
Many European countries and particularly Poland have long relied almost entirely on Russian sources when it comes to energy. Trying to look for alternative gas and oil providers is not really something new in Polish politics. But after Moscow pulled the plug on Ukraine earlier this year and Germany signed a deal with Russia to pump natural gas under the Baltic Sea bypassing Poland, Warsaw's efforts to diversify its energy supplies seem to have been given a new impetus. Cooperation will be strengthened with Norway. And Poland is now also increasingly looking towards the Caucasus for its energy needs.
Though the last time Poland had a king was way back in 1795, at least five monarchist parties are vying for public attention. There are lots of potential successors to the throne as throughout much of its history Poland had elected monarchs, rather than dynasties.
Ceremonies have been held in the central Polish city of Kielce to mark the sixtieth anniversary of a Jewish pogrom by their Polish neighbours. Poles have still to confront the moral aspect of the tragedy. The massacre in which 39 Jews were butchered was taboo in communist Poland. And since, Official investigations have led nowhere. The Kielce pogrom, along with a series of similar events in other parts of Poland in the immediate aftermath of WWII caused an exodus of the country's Holocaust survivors. Radio Polonia's Slawek Szefs reports.
After the EU-US summit in Vienna this week, George W Bush visited Hungary, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Hungarian uprising against communism. Commentators have noted that trips to Europe of the US President often include a stop in Eastern Europe's new democracies. The US administration has decided to station forces in Bulgaria and Romania. Hungarian troops helped in Iraq after the March 2003 invasion. Romania Bulgaria and Poland also joined the coalition. But it seems said these countries suffer from a sense of frustration, and believe they have not been sufficiently repaid. For instance Poland's hopes to land contracts in the reconstruction of Iraq have not materialized.
Citizens from new EU member states are able to enter the UK through the front door, as the country has a free labour market for EU citizens. According to the Home Office around 250 000 Poles are employed in the UK. Up to two million Poles may have settled in EU countries since Poland joined the Union in 2004. But emigration on this scale may in the long term have dramatic consequences for Poland, which has an ageing population. More from Radio Polonia.
Polish President Lech Kaczynski has vowed zero tolerance of anti-Semitism, as he received the chief rabbi who was attacked in the streets of Warsaw. After the meeting, Rabbi Michael Schudrich said he was pleased that the president was taking the incident seriously. But he linked the aggression against him, to the appointment of far right politicians in the Polish government. Radio Polonia reports.
The World Cup is going to be good for business in Germany. But what about the oldest trade of them all - prostitution? Sex workers are also gearing up for the championships. A lot of ladies will be coming from Poland for the event. And hot on their heels are going to be - not just football fans - but also a group of nuns. More from Radio Polonia.
The German-Russian deal struck last autumn to build a pipeline under the Baltic Sea continues to raise concerns in the Baltic States, Poland and Ukraine. The leaders of these countries said they felt uneasy about what they thought was a deal made behind their back on an issue as vital as energy. Radio Polonia reports from Estonia.
Growing numbers of Poles are opening business and taking up jobs in neighbouring countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Initially, most of these Polish job seekers went to the UK, Ireland and Sweden, which were the first to open up their labour markets. But increasingly, Poles are discovering that they can easily fill niches in labour markets closer to home. Radio Polonia reports.
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