Episode 61

It’s Tusk’s Turn & more – 19th Dec 2023

Tusk in power, partially unblocked COVID-19 funds, first biogas plant, MP puts out Hanukkah candles, an award for a movie, and much more!

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Witam from Keswick Village! This is the Rorshok Poland Update from the 19th of December twenty twenty-three A quick summary of what's going down in Poland.

Let’s get the show on the road with the government change in the country.

On Wednesday, the 13th, the new liberal government started its term after Donald Tusk, the new prime minister, and his ministers took an oath in the official ceremony in parliament. After the ceremony, President Andrzej Duda welcomed the new prime minister into his office. The new cabinet consists of politicians from the new ruling coalition, including the Civic Platform, the Polish People’s Party, Poland twenty fifty, and the Left parties. For instance, Władysław Kosiniak, the leader of the Polish People’s Party, will serve as the deputy prime minister, instead of Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of the conservative Law and Justice party.

The US congratulated the new government. On Thursday, the 14th, John Kirby, the spokesman for America's National Security Council, said that the US believes the close relations between both countries will continue despite the government change.

Do you remember that the EU froze Poland’s COVID-19 funds worth nearly sixty billion dollars after the government refused to reform the legal system? Well, on Friday, the 15th, Donald Tusk convinced the EU to unfreeze them. The European Commission announced that it will release a five-billion-dollar recovery package to Poland before the end of this year. In return, the recently elected liberal government promised to restore the rule of law in the country.

Moving on…..

This week, according to news outlet The Guardian, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Poland’s laws on abortion went against “a pregnant woman’s right to privacy and family life.” The fetus was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

According to Polish law, abortion is illegal, except for cases where a fetus endangers a woman's life or if a pregnancy is a result of rape.

The woman became pregnant in twenty twenty, and scheduled an abortion for early twenty twenty-one. However, in the end, she had to travel to the Netherlands to get an abortion because the Polish constitutional tribunal mandated the criminalization of abortions when it came to “foetal abnormalities.”

On Friday, the 15th, Katarzyna Kotula, the recently elected Equality Minister of the new liberal ruling coalition, promised to appeal to the government to allow abortion in cases where the baby is at risk of suffering a serious illness.

She also promised to legalize abortion altogether if the president agreed. However, President Duda is a conservative, so he might not be on board.

Speaking of childbirth, On Friday, the 15th, President Dada signed the bill for the state to fund an in vitro fertilization program. Currently, the country is experiencing a decline in childbirth level, and one of the reasons is infertility, which affected three million people. According to Agnieszka Pomaska, a member of the ruling Civic Coalition, in vitro fertilization will bring 100,000 children in forty years.

The country is increasing its investments in green energy.

On Thursday, the 14th, German energy group EON announced that it will establish the country’s first biogas plant in twenty twenty-four near the town of Pułtusk. Initially, the plant will produce two million dollars worth of energy annually and will increase this amount in the following years.

In another development, 2loopTech, a Polish research company, with the help of research from AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków, developed a method to recycle solar panels with the guarantee of total recovery of all valuable materials. This marks a great step in fighting against climate change as it will increase efficiency in the production of solar panels in the world.

Let’s go back to politics for a second as actions of a far-right MP raised the international public’s eyebrows...

On Tuesday, the 12th, the Jewish community in Poland celebrated Hanukkah. On that day, Grzegorz Braun, an MP from the far-right Confederation Party, used a fire extinguisher to put out Jewish Hanukkah candles in the parliament lobby. The video of the incident went viral on the internet, and the international public said that it was an act against freedom of religion. Braun said that Hanukkah candles were 'satanic' and that he was restoring ‘normality’ when he was explaining why he put out the candles. As a punishment, the parliament issued a fine and dismissed him from the parliament. On the same line, the President, the leader of the Confederation party, and the Prime minister condemned his actions.

In the security news…

On Wednesday, the 13th, security forces deported four foreigners from Poland. Moreover, they banned them from entering the country and crossing EU borders for ten years. The Internal Security Agency stated that a citizen of Tajikistan posed a threat to the country’s security since he was wanted by Interpol for terrorism. The other three Russian citizens were involved in intelligence activities against Poland. On the same line, the country deported an Azerbaijani citizen due to his potential threat to national security.

On the same note about foreign affairs…

On Monday, the 18th, Bill Burns, the American Intelligence Service director, the head of Israel's Mossad spy agency, and the Qatari Prime Minister met in Warsaw to discuss the conflict between Hamas and Israel and prepare a prisoner exchange strategy.

There was another meeting in Warsaw. Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, the Defense Minister, and Bill Blair, his Canadian counterpart, talked about the war in Ukraine. Blair said that Canada would send more troops to the eastern NATO territory. The Canadian defense minister thanked Poland for its cooperation in sending military equipment to Ukraine.

Moving on, the holiday season has just begun…

On Sunday, the 17th, President Andrzej Duda and first lady Agata Duda joined a campaign to help families in need as a part of the country's Christmas tradition. The presidential couple gave special gifts to the "Noble Gift" project representatives, who would send the gifts to people with health issues and those in financial need. Last year, the Nobel Gift Project sent gifts worth fifteen million dollars to almost sixteen thousand families across the country.

On the next day, the country’s state television, TVP, announced that it would greet twenty twenty-four with an open-air program in the southern mountain resort of Zakopane, known for its premier mountain and ski resort. The program will include New Year's shows and concerts by the country’s famous singers Maryla Rodowicz and Edyta Górniak.

In cultural updates…

On Saturday, the 16th, the recently published Polish movie W nich cała nadzieja or "All Hope In Them," got another award at a film festival, this time in Gdynia. The dystopian movie is about a possible future of a world at risk of disaster and disappearance with the development of artificial intelligence. The main character, Ewa, feels lost and lonely in the face of isolation, and she struggles to survive with her robot companion. Piotr Biedroń, the director of the film, said that he wanted to draw attention to possible future disasters, including global warming and the appearance of "climate refugees", that is, people who will migrate from hot climate areas of the planet due to global warming.

The movie is in theatres now.

On Thursday, the 14th, the European Shooting Stars program named Kamila Urzędowska, a twenty-nine-year-old Polish actress, among Europe’s ten most promising film stars after her success in the internationally hit Polish movie ‘The Peasant.’ Urzędowska played a peasant girl who forcedly married a much older man The European Shooting Stars program selects the most successful actors every year from all European countries. The award ceremony will take place in Berlin, Germany in February twenty twenty-four.

Aaand that's it for this week!

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