Poland: Food prices lead the inflation higher again

Food prices lead the inflation higher in Poland

  • The price development in Poland continued to worsen in August. The consumer prices went up 0.3% m/m, which drove the yearly inflation rate to 1.6% (compared to 1.3% seen a month ago). This was once again a more sizeable uptick than the market counted with (consensus forecast stood at 1.4% vs. our prediction at 1.3%).

  • The rise in prices was not concentrated in one category, but rather seems to be more widespread. Of course, the food can be labeled as the main driver as it enjoys relatively huge weighting in the CPI index. Food prices went up 0.7% m/m which pushed their yearly dynamics sharply up to 1.8% (food is usually becoming cheaper around this time of the year as a result of fresh seasonal supply of fruits and vegetables. However, this year defies the usual pattern due to worse weather conditions).

  • In addition to the food category, also some services (linked to housing, communication, restaurants, recreations and healthcare) were more expensive. Rising oil prices left negative imprints on the price level as well (fuels up 2.5% m/m).

  • The inflation has potential to creep yet higher by the end of the year. One of the propelling forces will be again food. It saw a slump at the end of last year as a result of import ban in Russia, which caused oversupply of meat products at the local market,. However, such a decline is not likely to materialize this year. Moreover, the reviving domestic demand might also be one of the factors pushing the prices up. All in all, we see the inflation rate moving around 2.1% at the end of the year.

  • Second month of bad surprise might raise attention at the central bank. However, it has to be stressed that the inflation is still almost a percentage point below the target of 2.5%. Hence the bank has still a leeway to monitor the development. Moreover, food prices are not a factor that the monetary policy should react to. This notion was supported also by the MPC member Wojtyna (seen as a moderate – neither hawk nor dove). Even though the four hawks already sent out statements urging for caution, we still believe that they will not succeed to gather enough voices to push through a hike this year. We keep our forecast of a 25bp hike in the second quarter of 2007, though the risks have leaned towards an earlier move.

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Poland to send 900 troops for Nato's Afghan force

Poland will send at least 900 troops to bolster the Nato mission in Afghanistan, its defence minister said.

“As of February next year, over 1,000 Polish soldiers are going to be serving in Afghanistan,” Radoslaw Sikorski told journalists last night in Washington in comments broadcast on Polish television this morning.

He said the additional force would be a mechanised battalion that would be stationed at the American air base at Bagram, where Poland currently has 100 soldiers.

“We are going to take part in operations primarily in the eastern part of Afghanistan,” Sikorski said.

Poland’s announcement comes as Nato’s military leaders are calling for an additional 2,000 to 2,500 soldiers to plug shortfalls in the alliance’s force in Afghanistan, which has met strong resistance from the resurgent Taliban guerrillas along Afghanistan’s southern border.

The alliance has asked for the soldiers to be available immediately, and it was not clear whether the Polish contribution would plug the gap.

Poland, a staunch US ally, committed combat forces to the US-led invaion of Iraq, and currently has some 900 troops commanding a multinational division south of Baghdad.

Though Poland has talked about reducing its troop commitment in Iraq, Sikorski emphasised he announcement for new troops for Afghanistan does not mean Poland is pulling out.

“No decision has been made on that,” he said.

Sikorski and Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski are in Washington for talks with US leaders.

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Poland rebuked over bid to curb central bank's powers

The Polish government was on Thursday night handed a stinging rebuke for trying to curb the powers of the country's central bank, with the European Commission warning that it would keep a "close eye" on Warsaw's stance.

Charlie McCreevy, the European Union internal market commissioner, said in a speech to Polish businessmen: "Supervisors must be independent from political interference. I must therefore underline that I am deeply concerned by what is currently happening in Poland.

Mr McCreevy, who enjoys sweeping powers to police the internal market and launch infringement cases against national governments, said: "There can be no trust, no efficient co-operation, no confidence from the market and in the market if financial supervisors have to follow orders from political masters."

He added: "I will, together with the European Central Bank and my colleague Joaquín Almunia [the EU monetary affairs commissioner] keep a close eye on this."

His comments were intended as a warning to the Polish government in its fight to limit the influence of the National Bank of Poland and its embattled president, Leszek Balcerowicz. Mr Balcerowicz faces a two-pronged assault from the conservative Law and Justice party government, which is busy setting up a unified financial services regulator that some fear will be more open to political interference than the central bank is.

He is also under fire from an investigation committee set up by Poland's parliament to probe the last 17 years of Polish banking and regulation. Mr Balcerowicz says the panel is out to destroy him, and has refused to appear before the committee until the country's constitutional court rules on its legality next week.

He fell foul of the government when he refused its demand earlier this year to block the merger of two Polish banks owned by UniCredit, the Italian financial group.

Earlier this summer, parliament rushed through a law creating a new unified financial services regulator out of separate regulators for the banking, insurance and securities industries. The government argues that a single regulator will be cheaper and follows a trend in many other countries. But the Polish plan has aroused concern that the new body will be much more open to political interference than current regulators.

Source:By Tobias Buck and Jan Cienski , msnbc.msn.com,

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Poland offers help to foster Middle East dialogue

Poland's President Lech Kaczynski has offered help to foster a dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, a senior official said on Thursday. Kaczynski returned from a visit to the Middle East where he held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. "We have offered both sides our help and we are ready to help to reach a dialogue between them," Andrzej Krawczyk, Kaczynski's foreign policy adviser, told a news conference. "The president has made that offer during his visit," he said. Nearly 1,200 people in Lebanon, mainly civilians, and 157 Israelis, mainly soldiers, were killed in a 34-day war between Israel and Hizbollah guerillas triggered by Hizbollah's abduction of two Israeli soldiers on July 12. Israel has been gradually pulling forces out of Lebanon since a U.N. resolution in August halted fighting. But the European Union's and the Arab League's push to revive the Middle East peace process, so far brought little progress. Krawczyk said he believed that Poland, the biggest ex-communist EU member, could be a successful mediator because it had good relations with both sides of the conflict and was one of the leading allies of the United States in Europe. "Poland is an objective and credible country ... It has excellent relations with Israel and had always good relations with the Palestinians," he told Reuters. He added that Poland would wait for both sides to respond to its offer.
Source:Reuters, alertnet.org

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Toshiba to Build LCD TV Plant in Poland

Toshiba Corp. and Poland's government on Wednesday signed a letter of intent for the construction of a US$51 million plant that would make large liquid-crystal-display television screen units for the European market.

The letter was signed by Toshio Yonezawa, deputy chairman of Toshiba Corp., and Economy Minister Piotr Wozniak.

According to the plan, the US$51 million (euro40 million) total investment in the plant in Kobierzyce, in southwestern Poland, will be reached over five years. Production is to start in August 2007.

The plant would make some 2 million units annually for European customers by the year 2009, raising the company's current output to some 3 million units a year, Toshiba said.

It would be the second plant in Europe for the company, which also has one in Britain.

The plant would offer 1,000 jobs in Poland, which has the European Union's highest jobless rate at 15.6 percent. It would make units that are 32 inches and larger.

A Japanese business newspaper, Nihon Keizai, said Sunday that Toshiba is lagging behind Japanese rivals in production of flat panel TVs and is apparently hoping to gain ground in the European market, where demand for the thin LCD sets is rapidly growing.


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Happier in UK than in Poland'

Poles who have recently arrived in the UK are by and large happy to be here. They think the British have been friendly and welcoming, but they do not think we are hard-working.

These are just some of the findings of a survey of 135 Polish residents conducted by the BBC.

We know so little about our recent arrivals, it is hard even to conduct a full-size survey of them. Without a full census of the population, no-one really knows what a representative sample would look like.

So to fill a gap, we decided to conduct a straw poll of Poles.

A detailed 30-item questionnaire - in Polish - was given to people at a festival over the weekend, and then separately to a smaller group of Poles seeking work on the street.

Take-up was high, as there was a small reward (£2 or a refreshment voucher) for filling the survey out.

All 135 respondents were adults who had been here from two months to five years.

It took them a little over five minutes to fill out the survey. They did not have to give us their names or phone numbers.

They give the impression of being content to have come.

Of our 135, only eight regret coming to Britain.

Two-thirds are happier here than in Poland and most think they have been welcomed, and trust the British.

Straw poll results

The only criticism is a clear majority think the British are not hard-working. And they do not like the food.

Perhaps most fascinating is the fact that a quarter of the Poles we surveyed are earning below the £5.05 minimum wage.

Our Polish assistant spoke to some of them about this, to ensure they had understood the question. They had understood.

And also, a third of our sample was sharing a bedroom with someone who was not their spouse or partner.

Clearly, cheap accommodation is a key to Poles being able to fill gaps in the jobs market in high-priced areas.

Straw poll results

Whatever their feelings about Britain, our Poles appear unhappy about sharing their life here with Bulgarians and Romanians.

A small majority of our sample thought they should not have the same right to come here when they join the EU, as the Poles themselves have enjoyed.

There was a notable difference between the happier group of 111 at the festival, and the less happy group of 24 we surveyed on the street.

Most of the results had the same pattern, but those on the street tended to be older, were more likely to be below the minimum wage, had been more likely to spend a night sleeping rough, and a few more of them did regret coming. It was not as rosy a picture.

Unconvincing answers

It almost seemed as though there are two Polish communities here.

Straw poll results

Which of course reminds us that what Poles think depends on which Pole you ask - and no-one knows yet which kind of experience is the most typical.

Scrutinising the results, we found some of the answers decidedly unconvincing. Many of the Poles appeared not to speak much English, and yet few have admitted to that in the survey.

It also seems unlikely that quite so many read British newspapers as say they do.

They may have interpreted the question as asking about Polish newspapers aimed at the UK Poles.

In any event, no weight can be given to the precise numbers - it is the broad findings that appear robust.

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More budget airlines fly to Poland as market soars

Britain's Jet2 and Denmark's Sterling are the newest budget carriers to begin flights to Poland where the air travel market is soaring, Poland's Rzeczpospolita daily reported Wednesday. In October, Jet2 will begin two flights a week to and from Leeds and Newcastle to Krakow, while Denmark's Sterling will link Copenhagen with the historic and scenic Polish city, which has become a hit with foreign tourists.

Budget airlines are flocking to the Polish market which is projected to grow to 63.8 million passengers by 2030 from the 14.3 million total estimated for 2006, according to the report.

Budget carriers operating flights to Poland include Centralwings, Blue1, Easyjet, Germanwings, Jet2, Norwegian, Ryanair, Sterling and Wizzair.

The carriers fly into 11 Polish airports scattered across the country of nearly 40 million citizens. Most have chosen the capital Warsaw and the southern city of Krakow as their ports of call.

Traffic has picked up significantly since Poland's entry into the European Union in 2004, with tens of thousands of Poles using cheap flights to fly in search of work in the UK or Ireland.

Tourist traffic to Poland is also growing with a 6.4 per cent rise to 15.2 million foreign visitors to Poland from 2004 to 2005, according to Economy Ministry figures.

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EU sets regional aid areas for Greece, Poland, other states during 2007-13

The European Commission said it has agreed the areas that will qualify for regional aid under EU rules in Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia from 2007 to 2013.

These are the first regional aid maps defined by the commission under new guidelines adopted in December 2005.

'The approved regional aid maps support our cohesion objectives and contribute to the state aid action plan's focus on less and better targeted aid,' EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes said.

Kroes urged other member states to notify the commission of their regional aid maps.

'From my side, I will do my utmost to ensure that the decisions on the remaining regional aid maps will be taken before the end of 2006,' she said.

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Bush meets with Poland's new prime minister (Roundup)

US President George W Bush met with Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kyczynski at the White House Wednesday, but the two men did not discuss the possibility of basing a missile defence system in his country.

Bush had not been scheduled to meet with Kyczynski, but dropped in on a meeting between the prime minister and US Vice President Dick Cheney, a White House official told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

'The president thanked the prime minister for Poland's steadfast leadership in the struggle for peace and democracy in Iraq,' the official said.

Kaczynski, the twin brother of Polish President Lech Kaczynski, made his first visit to Washington since taking office in July. He met earlier with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice before heading to the White House.

Energy and defence issues were expected to be among the topics on the agenda for Kaczynski's three-day trip in the United States. His meeting with Bush lasted five minutes.

The Pentagon has been considering the possibility of basing a US missile defence system in Poland, but Kaczynski said in a television interview after the White House meeting that the issue did not come up.

'We did not discuss the shield at all and I don't think we will discuss it at all during this visit,' he told Poland's TVN24 news channel.

Kaczynski said talks with Cheney focused on energy security, Ukraine, Iran the Middle East crisis and Israel.

Kaczynski said the Bush administration had expressed political support for Poland's plan to build an oil pipeline designed to pump Caspian crude from Azerbaijan to Poland's and at once Central Europe's largest refiner, PKN Orlen.

'This is political support, which was very clearly formulated and repeated during the talks. On the other hand there is the possibility of American firms taking part.'

Plans call for Azeri crude oil to be transported via ship to the Black Sea to the Ukrainian port of Odessa where a pipeline would pump it across Ukraine to Brody, Western Ukraine, and then along a second leg to PKN Orlen in Plock in northern Poland.

The Odessa-Brody portion across Ukraine has already been completed. Poland intends to use EU structural funding to build the Brody-Plock leg. But it has also invited US firms to take interest in the project.

'This project which has huge political significance will also have a business dimension, and to realise this American firms are needed which will be able to enter the company which will be implementing this entire matter and will create this connection,' Kaczynski told TVN24.

Work on new pipeline is a key element in Poland's drive to diversify its energy supplies and ease its heavy reliance on Russian oil and natural gas.

Kaczynski also rejected reports that Poland would withdraw its 900 soldiers stationed in Iraq.

'No such decision has ever been taken or considered,' he told the US news channel FOX.

Rice praised the strong friendship between the two countries and thanked Poland for its efforts in Iraq.

'Poland has been a fierce fighter in the defence of freedom, both in the past and now in the present, as you have made it Poland's commitment to help others who are seeking freedom and democracy,' Rice said.

Kaczynski emphasized the long historic ties between the two countries.

'Words that would best reflect our relations would be freedom, continuous fight for freedom, for the maintenance of freedom and for the progress of freedom through the global scene,' Kaczynski said through a translator at the State Department.

Former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski strongly backed the March 2003 US invasion of Iraq, but how long Polish troops should remain there has been the source of a long-running debate in Poland.

Despite positive US-Polish relations, Polish officials regularly complain about US rules requiring Polish citizens to obtain a visa for travel to the United States. Citizens of Western European countries don't have to obtain the document.

Kaczynski will also travel to Chicago to meet with leaders of the midwest city's large Polish-American and Polish community before making his way to a US military base in Fort Worth, Texas.

While in Washington, the prime minister was also to meet with US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodeman and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, as well as Senator Richard Lugar, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and Speaker Dennis Hastert, the top Republican in the House of Representatives.

He was scheduled to address the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington on Thursday.


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Railway in Poland: PKP IC goes international

olish long distance passenger operator PKP Intercity (PKP IC) is about to take over 22 connections from PKP Regional Company (PKP PR)as part of a strategy to specialize in international transport, a weak point for PKP IC.
With an estimated 24 international trains accruing EUR 5m in losses this year, PKP IC says it wants to offset its deficit by bringing order to the market. To achieve this, it wants to take over 22 trains from PKP PR, the poorest company in the group.

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Poland's CEDC aims to list in Warsaw by year end

Central European Distribution Corporation (CEDC), Poland's biggest alcohol producer and distributor, aims to list on the Warsaw Stock Exchange by the year end, reported Puls Biznesu.

CEDC submitted its issue prospectus to the securities and exchange commission KPWiG, it reported.

CEDC is already listed on Nasdaq and has a capitalisation of 2.6 bln zlotys (652.6 mln eur).

Puls Biznesu cited CEDC head William Carey as saying that CEDC continues with preparations to be listed in Warsaw, and aims to

finalize it this year.

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Poland to hold inquiry into FA

Poland are to hold an inquiry into the country's football association which may lead to the suspension of its management, Sports Minister Tomasz Lipiec said on Monday.

The Polish Football Association (PZPN) has been under fire since the middle of last year when prosecutors began an investigation into match-fixing that has so far led to the arrest of more than 40 referees, club and association officials.

PZPN, largely unreformed since the Communist era, has begun its own investigation but Lipiec said he had lost patience.

"Unfortunately, PZPN's own actions have not been sufficient," he told a news conference announcing the beginning of an administrative court inquiry into the association.

"I took this decision because I know that our checks to date showed breaches of the law and of the association's statute."

He said the proceedings may lead to the suspension of PZPN's whole management and the appointment of a temporary state administrator.

Association officials were not available for comment.

The announcement coincided with the visit of a UEFA delegation, which arrived on Sunday for a three-day visit to examine Poland's half of a co-bid with Ukraine to host the 2012 European Championship.

They are up against Italy and a joint bid by Croatia and Hungary, but hope a combined population of 80 million and the offer of the first Eastern European finals since the fall of the Iron Curtain can win them the tournament.

Lipiec played down concerns that the administrative case would damage the Euro 2012 bid and said he would take steps to reassure both UEFA and world governing body FIFA of the government's intentions.

"I will speak to FIFA chief Sepp Blatter on Sept. 20 ... to explain today's decision is not a political decision," he said.

"Paradoxically it may improve our chances for Euro 2012. The Italians have already dealt with their corruption row. We also want to deal with corruption in Poland and improve our image."


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Polish president: We're Israel's best friend in Europe

Szalom Panie Prezydencie," (Peace, Mr. President) Polish President Lech Kaczyński said in an enthusiastic response to the warm welcome that he and his wife Maria received from President Moshe Katsav and his wife Gila during a visit to Beit Hanassi on Monday.

In greeting Kaczynski, Katsav declared that "Poland is a true friend of Israel, and this visit is yet another expression of the good relations between the two countries."

Israel has a great interest in expanding these relations on many levels, he said, but especially in the areas of politics, economics and culture.

Katsav noted the marked improvement in relations between Israel and Poland in recent years, but stressed that there was room for even more improvement. In a reference to his own visits to Poland, he said that such visits and meetings with the Polish leadership as well as Kaczynski's visit to Israel contributed to the enhancement of mutual understanding so important to both countries.

"Our relations are based on a thousand years of shared history," he said, and spoke of the pain of remembrance of the greatest tragedy in Jewish history when the Nazis attempted to exterminate the Jewish People on Polish soil.

Katsav commended the Polish government for its determination to eradicate anti-Semitism. "You cannot instill universal values if you have anti-Semitism in the air," he said.

Poland, like Israel wants to broaden bilateral relations responded Kaczynski, adding that while relations today were good, they must be intensified.

"Poland relates to Israel as a country in which Poland has a special interest," he said. It is no secret that Poland also has good relations with the Palestinian Authority and with Arab states, he added, "but Israel is most important to us because of our common history."

Kaczyński made several references to the intertwining of Polish and Jewish history. Regarding Jews murdered by the Nazis on Polish soil, Kaczynski clarified that while there were several European regimes which collaborated with the Nazis even before the war, the Polish government did not, and when German troops entered Poland in September 1939, Poland went to war against the German Reich.

In their private conversation, Katsav and Kaczyński discussed bilateral, regional and global issues, specifically the Iranian threat to the world at large, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Poland's contribution to peace-keeping efforts in southern Lebanon. They also discussed a bilateral agreement for youth exchanges that is to be signed during Kaczynski's stay in Israel.

When they emerged and spoke to the media, Katsav applauded Poland's willingness to send forces to keep the peace and maintain stability in southern Lebanon. If necessary, he said Poland would send additional forces to Lebanon and would use its ground and air capabilities in defense of peace. "We want to be active in preserving peace," he said, adding: "Whoever says that Poland is Israel's best friend in Europe is telling the truth. It's only natural for us."

Asked whether Poland would be involved in efforts to secure the release of the three abducted Israeli soldiers, Kaczyński gave assurances that Poland would assist in every way possible in coordination with the Israeli authorities.

Kaczynski was less forthcoming when asked whether Poland intended to replace Education Minister Roman Giertych, who is perceived in some circles as an anti-Semite. Kaczynski stated that it was an internal Polish matter, but made it clear that Giertych would not be replaced. Moreover, he said, Giertych has not recently made any anti-Semitic remarks.

On a related issue, Kaczynski was asked about anti-Semitic incidents in his country such as the attack on Poland's Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich, who is in Israel with the presidential delegation.

Affirming his deep respect for Schudrich with whom he has worked closely for five years, Kaczyński said that had the assault occurred in any other European country, there would not have been such a speedy and intensive manhunt for the perpetrator, who was arrested and given a much stiffer sentence than would ordinarily be the case for a crime of this nature.


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EU employment rate rises to 63.8 pct in 2005

The employment rate in the European Union (EU) was 63.8 percent last year, up from 62.4 percent in 2004, the EU's statistical office Eurostat said on Monday.

The employment rate for women in 2005 was 56.3 percent, compared with 53.6 percent in 2000.

But the figures still fell short of the EU's targets of 67 percent for the total employment rate and 57 percent for the female employment rate, which EU leaders envisaged for 2005.

EU leaders in 2000 set an employment target of 70 percent for 2010 as part of the Lisbon agenda, which seeks to make the EU the most competitive, knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010.

Eurostat said last year that 197.5 million people aged 15 years or more had a job or a business activity in the 25-nation EU.

Employment rates varied in EU member states from 52.8 percent in Poland at the bloc's lowest end, to 75.9 percent in Denmark at its highest.

In addition to Denmark, the other member states boasting of an employment rate above 70 percent include the Netherlands (73.2 percent), Sweden (72.5 percent) and Britain (71.7 percent).

The other EU countries with a rate below 60 percent are listed as Malta (53.9 percent), Hungary (56.9 percent), Italy (57.6 percent) and Slovakia (57.7 percent).

Germany, the largest economy in the EU, recorded an employment rate of 65.4 percent, while France registered 63.1 percent.

Source: english.people.com.cn

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Polish natural gas and oil monopoly names new chief executive

Poland's natural gas and oil monopoly, Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo SA, or PGNiG, said Monday that the company's board named Krzysztof Głogowski as its next chief executive.
Glogowski, a 46-year-old legal adviser to Poland's treasury ministry, will assume office on Oct. 1. He has served as chairman of the state-controlled PGNiG's supervisory board of since last December.
The company has been without a CEO since Bogusław Marzec stepped down on June 21 after learning he was being investigated for possible financial irregularities that occurred before he joined PGNiG.

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Polish FM: terrorism remains main threat to security

Terrorism remains the main threat to global security and stability and is a challenge to all countries, says a statement of Polish Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga, which was released on Monday.

Terrorism is also the main threat to international institutions and organizations, including the UN, EU and NATO, the statement says.

Thanks to efforts made by the world community since Sept. 11, 2001, all countries, include Poland, is now better prepared to cope with terror attacks, says the statement.

Source: Xinhua

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Kubica makes history for Poland

Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1 celebrates third place. Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, 10 September 2006

Having qualified fifth on the grid, Kubica made an excellent start, quickly moving up to third place. From there he spent much of the afternoon locked in an intense battle with the Ferrari of Felipe Massa, the pair trading positions on several occasions. Their fight was eventually resolved when Massa was forced to pit for an unscheduled stop after flat-spotting a tyre.

He also had to contend with a hard-charging Fernando Alonso, and almost got the better of the world champion as they went side-by-side exiting the pit lane following their second stops. When Alonso retired on lap 44, Kubica’s podium was all but assured.

“Before the race some guys from the team came to me and told me they would like to see me on the podium, I thought it was a joke and now we are here,” said the delighted 21-year-old. “I had a good start, but unfortunately locked the front wheels in the first corner, had flat spots and the first stint was quite difficult as I had a vibration. It was always a tough race as I had to fight with Massa and Alonso. Lapping the guys did not help as I was the first one of the group to lap them and I always lost one second.

“I came out of the second pit stop side by side with Alonso. Then his engine blew up and it was really risky as there was oil, Massa went off and I think had a puncture. The end of the race was quite easy for me and I just had to bring the car home. I now have the first podium of my life in Formula One. I want to thank the team for giving me this opportunity. We all are very, very proud.”

The six points Kubica earned means he is now 15th in the drivers’ championship - just one place and one point behind Villeneuve.

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Toshiba to build LCD TV plant in Poland for 3 bln yen - report

Toshiba Corp plans to build an LCD television plant in Poland with a projected capacity of 1.5-2.0 mln 32-inch or larger units for sale in Europe in 2009, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported, without citing its sources.

Scheduled to go on stream by next summer, the factory will triple Toshiba's annual production capacity of flat-panel TVs in Europe and is designed to boost its flat-panel business as it lags rivals in the domestic market, the newspaper said.

Toshiba will invest about 5 bln yen to build the facility in a suburb of Wroclaw, in southwestern Poland. By the end of September it will set up a local subsidiary to operate the plant, the report said.

The facility is expected to employ about 1,000 workers.

The plant will be located adjacent to an LCD panel factory of South Korean manufacturer LG Philips LCD Co, from which the Toshiba plant will purchase panels to save costs. The LG Philips plant is scheduled to go into operation next year, the report said.

The European LCD TV market is projected to expand to 30 mln units in annual sales volume by fiscal 2009 from about 8.6 mln in fiscal 2005. Toshiba's annual production capacity of flat-panel TVs in Europe will reach roughly 3 mln units by 2009, the report said.

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The first sitting of Azerbaijan-Poland Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation will take place September 11-12 in Warsaw, press-service of the Ministry of Economic Development said.

A delegation led by Minister of the Economic Development Heydar Babayev will attend the event. The delegation includes top-ranking officials of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Health, Agriculture, Transport, Industry and Energy, National Bank and Azerbaijan Export Investment Promotion Foundation (AzPromo).

The two sides will discuss current state and prospects of development of the bilateral relations, expansion of cooperation in trade, tourism, agriculture, energy, transport and the banking system, development of small and medium-sized enterprises.

In summary, the sides will sign Protocol of the talks.

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Poland to discuss construction of Nabukko pipeline in Washington

During the visit of Polish Prime Minister Yaroslav Kachinskov to Washington at the end of September, discussions will be held on the delivery gas from Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to European countries up to Poland through the territories of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. Energy companies Texaco and Chevron want to invest $5 billion in Nabukko pipeline, Trend reports with reference to the official site of European Parliament.

According to the information, the United States may assist Poland in decreasing the dependence on Russian gas, as well as in constructing anti-missile shields.

Poland intends to appeal the United States for support in decreasing the dependence on delivery of energy carriers from Russia, in exchange of placement of American system of anti-missile defense in its territory. However, according to the results of survey of the public opinion that was held with the request of “Rzeczpospolitа” newspaper, a majority of Poles opposes against the placement of American military bases in Poland.


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HEU Removed from Poland, Libya

A multinational effort removed and returned more than 40 kilograms of fresh Soviet-origin highly enriched uranium (HEU) from Poland to Russia, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced Aug. 10. Separately, another operation removed the last remaining quantity of fresh HEU from Libya.

The United States provided technical assistance and funding for the Polish operation, which NNSA officials said was the largest to date under the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI), a two-year-old program intended to bolster efforts to return fresh and spent nuclear fuel from Soviet-design nuclear reactors worldwide. U.S. experts worked with their Polish, Russian, and International Atomic Energy Agency counterparts to remove the reactor fuel from the Polish Institute for Atomic Energy in Otwock-Swierk, Poland. Officials placed the HEU in five specialized canisters, which were then moved under guard to an airfield near Warsaw and flown to a secure facility in Dimitrovgrad, Russia. The material, which would have been sufficient for one or two nuclear weapons, will be blended down into low-enriched uranium (LEU) for use in nuclear reactors at an enrichment level ill suited for military use.

GTRI will also fund the planned 2009 conversion of Poland’s MARIA research reactor from HEU reactor fuel to LEU. The Polish Institute for Atomic Energy uses the reactor to produce isotopes for medical treatment and diagnoses, test power-reactor fuel, and conduct other research.

NNSA spokesperson Julianne Smith said some of the fresh HEU had been delivered from the Soviet Union to Poland in the 1960s. She would not comment on the cost of the operation or if any fresh HEU remained in Poland. In the current fiscal year, NNSA received $14.7 million for activities related to the securement and conversion of Russian-origin reactors and has requested $30 million for these activities in fiscal year 2007, which begins Oct. 1.

During a separate operation completed July 26, officials secured and returned to Russia three kilograms of fresh HEU from the Tajoura Nuclear Research Center in Libya. During the two-day operation, three specialized containers of HEU reactor fuel were flown to Russia to be blended down. This operation removed the last fresh HEU from Libya, according to Smith. It follows a March 2004 operation that returned 17 kilograms of HEU to Russia from the same location.NNSA also announced July 27 that the conversion of the Tajoura IRT-1 research reactor to LEU fuel would be completed in the next several months.

Including the most recent material from Poland and Libya, about 69 kilograms of fresh HEU reactor fuel have been secured since GTRI’s inception. When announced in May 2004, the initiative brought together many different programs and efforts to secure both U.S.- and Soviet-origin material and reactors already underway. Before GTRI’s inception, these efforts had already repatriated 96 kilograms of fresh HEU from Bulgaria, Libya, Romania, and Serbia since 2000. According to a NNSA fact sheet updated Aug. 17, an additional 300 kilograms of former Soviet fresh HEU reactor fuel remains in facilities worldwide. GTRI expects to complete the return of all eligible Soviet-origin fresh HEU material by the end of 2006.

GTRI is following an accelerated, prioritized schedule developed after the Bratislava Joint Statement on Nuclear Security Cooperation issued by Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin in February 2005, in which both presidents agreed to make securing vulnerable materials a top priority. The operation in Poland was part of this new schedule. GTRI has also been working to secure U.S.-origin fresh and spent HEU and plans to convert several HEU-fueled reactors in the United States in the next few months.

All Soviet-origin spent HEU materials not in reactors cores will be secured by the end of 2010, according to the fact sheet. GTRI’s first operation to secure spent fuel began in April when it assisted with the return of 63 kilograms of spent HEU from Uzbekistan.

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Interseroh plans to make acquisitions in Poland, Baltic states

Interseroh AG is planning acquisitions in Poland and the Baltic states as well as to grow organically in Europe, Handelsblatt said, citing CEO Johannes Albus.

It cited company sources as saying the company has set aside an annual 'high double-digit' mln eur figure for investments to grow both organically and through acquisitions.

After Interseroh's failed attempt to acquire recycling company TSR, Albus now wants to set up trading offices overseas, and to expand the company's 40 scrap metal units in Germany, the Netherlands and Poland.

Interseroh was outbid by Rethmann subsidiary Remondis in the acquisition of scrap metal dealer TSR, reported the newspaper.

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