Serbia, Poland sign agreement on customs cooperation

Director of the Customs Administration of the Serbian Ministry of Finance Dragan Jerinic and Polish Assistant Minister of Finance and Director of the Customs Service Marian Banas signed the Agreement on mutual assistance in prevention of customs violations and suppression of smuggling.

This agreement will define mutual harmonisation of the customs systems of Serbia and Poland, through modernisation of customs techniques and solution of problems in the application of custom regulations, and their simplification with the purpose of acceleration of the customs procedure.

With the enforcement of this agreement, the agreement between the government of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the government of the People's Republic of Poland on cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters, signed in Warsaw on May 9, 1967, becomes null and void. (Economy, May 25.)

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Visa Plan Meets Unexpected Opposition

Lawmakers trying to expand a program that allows Europeans to enter the U.S. without visas were told Thursday that the proposed rules are still too restrictive.

The Senate has passed the package, and the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Europe heard from ambassadors and others involved with the process.

The current program allows citizens from most Western European countries and some from other parts of the world to enter the country without visas. It excludes many of the newer European Union member states, however, particularly those that were within the Soviet bloc during the Cold War. The Senate-passed bill would bring most of them into the visa program but with restrictions.

Ambassador Andras Simonyi from Hungary, one of the countries to be brought in, said in a statement prepared for the subcommittee that the restrictions are damaging the image of the United States in his country.

"The Hungarian public gets a feeling that our citizens are not welcome to visit the USA based on the mere assumption that they cannot be trusted to return to their homelands," Simonyi said.

President Bush is traveling early next month to two other countries seeking to join the program, Poland and the Czech Republic. The Bush administration, which favors limited expansion of the program, would like to reward allies who have been supportive in the Iraq war and in anti-terror cooperation.

At the same time, it worries that the visa waiver program could make it easier for terrorists to enter the United States.

Under the Senate legislation, some citizens of the European Union's 27 member nations probably still would have to obtain visas before traveling to the United States.

A less-restrictive measure is being considered in the House, and the two would have to be reconciled for a final version to be passed. U.S. officials were to appear Thursday at a House hearing on the issue.

Under public pressure, the governments in those countries have been prodding the United States to make changes to ease travel and acknowledge their status in the West's elite clubs, the European Union and NATO.

"We want to get to the point where the first-class European allies won't be treated as second class," Slovakia's ambassador to Washington, Rastislav Kacer, said in an interview.

A number of ambassadors whose countries are seeking entry to the program, including Lithuania's envoy to Washington, Audrius Bruzga, said the onerous process of obtaining visas is undermining the U.S. image in their countries.

"This issue dominates press coverage of relations with the United States in Lithuania," Bruzga said.

Lawmakers were looking to improve relations when they passed the bill sponsored by Republican Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio. But last-minute changes to the bill would impose stricter requirements that probably would exclude a number of the countries. Those requirements are based on the number of a country's citizens who have been denied visas or exceeded their legal stays in the United States.

Seven of the countries whose citizens are required to obtain visas have hired a Washington lobbying firm, Dutko Worldwide, to sway lawmakers. Those countries are Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia.

Their ambassadors signed a letter to members of Congress this week objecting to the legislation. They said the amendment shifts the focus from dealing with security policy concerns to issues of illegal immigration. The letter calls for passing the House legislation without the Senate's restriction.

A number of the countries whose representatives are lobbying against the measure probably would meet the requirements but say they want to speak in concert with the others.

"We are in the position of solidarity with Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania and other countries," said Jaroslav Kurfurst, deputy chief of mission in Washington for thCzech Republic. That is among the countries that probably would meet the requirements.
Source: cbsnews.com

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China, Poland vow to boost co-op

China and Poland have traditional friendship in more than 50 years since they forged diplomatic relations, and the bilateral relations maintain healthy growth and endure the test of the transition of international situations, Chinese top legislator Wu Bangguo said here Thursday.

Meeting with Polish parliament's lower house speaker Ludwik Dorn on Thursday afternoon, Wu said that China always regards Poland as a "sincere friend" and "important partner."

Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), said that China will make joint efforts with the Polish side to strengthen the dialogue and cooperation between the two governments, parliaments and political parties, give full play to the economic cooperative mechanisms such as the bilateral joint economic commission to expand fields of cooperation, mutual investment and optimize the two-way trade structure.

China would intensify its coordination with Poland on regional and international issues to safeguard the common interests, Wu added.

He also expressed his appreciation to Poland's long-term understanding and supports on the issues of Taiwan and Tibet that concern the fundamental interests of China, noting that China respects the path that Polish people choose to develop their own country as well as the country's domestic and foreign policies.

On the inter-parliamentary cooperation, Wu stressed the irreplaceable role that inter-parliamentary cooperation plays to boost the bilateral relations, calling the two parliaments to step up their exchange and cooperation among their friendly groups and special committees.

Agreeing with Wu's views on the bilateral relations and suggestions to promote relations, Dorn said that two countries have made remarkable progress on the bilateral relations and the ties have reached a historical height.

He reiterated that Poland's position on the issues of Taiwan and Tibet will never change and the Polish government and its people firmly oppose to any secessionist activities in any forms.

Dorn told Wu that members of the Polish parliament share strong aspiration to promote Poland-China friendly relations and the Lower House will make its utmost efforts to consolidate its friendly exchange with the NPC in a bid to expand mutual understanding between the two peoples and promote bilateral ties.

On the same day, Wu also met with Polish President Lech Kaczynski. The two sides reaffirmed the commitment to generate joint efforts to further develop ties.

They also exchange views on the Korean nuclear issue, Iran nuclear issue, the situation in the Middle East region and UN reform.

As Dorn's guest, Wu arrived in Warsaw on Thursday noon. It is the first time for a top Chinese legislator to visit Poland.

Poland is the last leg of Wu's three-nation visit, which has already taken him to Egypt and Hungary.

Source:By Yan Liang, news.xinhuanet.com

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Extradition fight under way

A lawyer for a Glenview businessman pleaded with a federal judge Wednesday not to extradite his client to Poland to face trial for allegedly soliciting the high-profile killing of one of that country's top law enforcement officers.

In a daylong hearing at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse, lawyer Chris Gair argued that Edward Mazur would be unfairly tried in the same legal system that concocted a case against him.
"I do not exaggerate when I say you are the only thing standing between my client and the gravest imaginable injustice," Gair told U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys.

The Polish government wants to try Mazur, 60, for soliciting the killing of Polish national police chief Marek Papala, who was fatally shot in the forehead outside his Warsaw home in 1998.

Keys heard arguments and said he would issue a written ruling "in due course."

Assistant U.S. Atty. Mitchell Mars urged the judge not to try to make a decision on guilt or innocence in this country, but to make the reasonable choice that there is probable cause for Mazur to answer for the crime in Poland.

Several witnesses with links to organized crime have made statements blaming Mazur for setting up the killing, Mars said, and Mazur should be sent to a Polish court to answer the charge.

Polish courts "have common sense, just like we do," said Mars, calling the killing a national tragedy in that country. "They should be allowed to address it in their system."

The attorneys sparred over the accounts of witnesses in the case against Mazur. Among the key people who may testify at a trial is Artur Zirajewski, who allegedly has said he was solicited to carry out the slaying with a third person for $40,000.

Gair attacked Zirajewski's credibility, saying he has given multiple statements that have shifted wildly. Zirajewski has told authorities about secret meetings that Mazur supposedly attended, Gair said, but he has not been consistent on who else was there and what was said.

In some instances Zirajewski said he was hired, yet other times he said he hired someone else, Gair argued.

"He's changing his story because he's making it up," Gair said, who called it preposterous that Mazur would order the killing of Papala, his friend.

Mars argued that there is no evidence of a conspiracy to frame Mazur. The evidence corroborates the accounts of witnesses, he said.

"It's very often the person who's the closest to you that lures you to the murder scene," Mars said. He asked the judge to find probable cause to extradite Mazur by considering the witness testimony in its entirety.

"It holds together," Mars said. "It makes sense."

Polish authorities believe the prominent businessman had underworld connections and possibly wanted Papala killed because he was hindering smuggling. Mazur, who has denied involvement in a sworn statement, has been made a political scapegoat by a new government eager to clear the case, Gair contended.

Ryszard Bieszynski, a former director of the Polish department of criminal investigation, testified Wednesday that in his experience investigating the case, there was no evidence that Mazur had any links to organized crime, or even that organized crime was involved in the killing. Mazur was questioned twice and released, said Bieszynski, who was called as a witness by Gair.
By Jeff Coen, chicagotribune.com

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Opera Backstage event in Poland

On Tuesday, June 5 Opera will be hosting an Opera Backstage event in Poland.

Attending and speaking at the event will be Jon von Tetzchner, the founder and CEO of Opera, and Hakon Wium Lie, the Chief Technology Officer of Opera (and known as the father of CSS).

Opera will show demos and presentations about Opera, Web standards, usability and web development. The presentations will last at most one hour. Before and after the presentations there will be food, drink, and some socializing.

At the event we will also be officially inaugurating our Poland branch of Opera Software.

We already confirmed with some polish bloggers, web developers and My Opera community members who will be attending the event. So if you live in the area, be sure to come out and join Opera. Bring your friends along too.

Source:By Daniel Goldman operawatch.com

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Ukraine and Poland discussed collaboration prospects

The Foreign Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk discussed the relationship conditions between Ukraine and Poland with members of the Polish Ukrainian parliamentary group of Seym and Senate of Poland.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk noted that Poland remains the main political, trade and economic partner of Ukraine in EU and thanked Poland for consecutive and resolute European and Euroatlantic support aspirations of Ukraine.

Special attention was given to frontier questions during the meeting.

The parties discussed also prospects of transboundary development, regional cooperation and creation of good conditions on a legislative.

Source: en.for-ua.com

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Seafood exporters to exhibit products in Poland

A group of 16 Vietnamese seafood exporters will exhibit their products at an international seafood exhibition in the Polish port city of Gdansk from May 29-31.

Tra and basa catfish, tiger prawns and molluscs are expected to be the big draw cards at a purpose built 90-sq.metre exhibition pavilion.

Polfish is held every two years and is one of the pre-eminent events for the Central and Eastern European fisheries industries.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Fisheries will coordinate with the Embassy of Poland in Viet Nam to organise a seminar entitled “Viet Nam Trade and Seafood Industry,” that will run at the exhibition on May 30.

The seminar will highlight the opportunities available in the aquatic product trade between Viet Nam and Poland.


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Poland's 200 hospitals on open-end strike

WARSAW, Poland, May 21 (UPI) -- Some 200 hospitals acrossPoland were open only to emergency cases as doctors went on an open-end strike demanding higher pay, media said Monday.

The Polish doctors union staged the protest after a futile meeting Friday with Polish Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński and Health Minister Zbigniew Religa, Polish Radio reported.

The radio said the strike was aimed at forcing the government to meet demands by physicians and medical staff in hospitals and clinics for higher pay. The demands also include the new funding system and privatization procedure.

Last Tuesday, doctors at more than 250 hospitals and clinics staged a "warning strike," demanding a monthly salary be increased to at least $1,800, which is double the Polish national average salary.

source: upi.com

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Chrysler Should Have Followed Road Map for Success to Poland

WROCLAW, Poland This capital town of Poland's southwestern province of Lower Silesia is one of the reasons the troubled nine-year relationship between America's Chrysler Group and Germany's Daimler-Benz , known as DaimlerChrysler during the years of merger, eventually fell apart.

It seems an improbable claim to make on a sunny spring weekend with crowds ambling through the picturesque Market Square in the old commercial district of Wroclaw.

But on a weekday, when the province's 26 institutions of higher learning, many of them dedicated to the study of science and technology, are buzzing with 131,000 students, something becomes alarmingly clear to Western eyes: Lower Silesia and other communities like it in central and eastern Europe are enormously attractive to global manufacturing companies as sources of well-educated, highly motivated, inexpensive production and technical talent.

As a result, many global automotive companies and their suppliers, such as Volvo Group, Saab Scania, General Motors , Siemens and Hyundai Motor, among others, are setting up factories, research-and-development centers, retail operations and other businesses in the region.

It is a short-term strategy to take advantage of low-cost labor and innovation and a long-term plan to develop profitable markets outside of the slow-growth markets of North America and Western Europe.

What global company in need of top technical talent wouldn't want to exploit an available labor source in which 7.1 percent of the population has a college degree or higher education and 55 percent hold secondary-school graduate diplomas that are equal to degrees from many four-year colleges in the United States?

What company doesn't understand the math of personal survival? For example, according to latest figures provided by Lower Silesian authorities, the province has a whopping 18.5-percent unemployment rate in 2006; and the people who are lucky enough to have jobs aren't making anywhere near the money the average automotive assembly line worker is earning in North America or Western Europe. For example, average annual per capita income in Lower Silesia amounts to 5,585 euros, or the U.S. equivalent of $7,589.

Many highly qualified people here are eager to work for companies such as the Volvo Group, and are quite willing to work for less than the money paid to comparably qualified employees in North America and in the more developed parts of Europe.

What does that have to do with the situation at Chrysler? Almost everything.

When Robert Eaton, then chairman of what was Chrysler Corp. of America, sold the company to Juergen Schrempp, then chairman of what was Daimler-Benz, for $36 billion in 1998, neither party gave much credence to the possibility of an industrial emergence in central and eastern Europe.

Instead, both men had a limited and not terribly honest vision of the deal they were entering. Eaton wanted to off-load a company that had flirted with bankruptcy several times before finally regaining something of a financial footing and success through sales of its then-popular minivans and big trucks.

Schrempp, with grand visions of solidifying Daimler-Benz's position in the lucrative U.S. market and possibly extending his company's reach into Asia with more acquisitions, was on a buying spree. Daimler-Benz was rich and powerful. Chrysler's 1998 buying price, $36 billion, was no big deal. And Schrempp and Eaton agreed to allay American concerns about a German takeover of Chrysler by dressing up the transaction and parading it before the public as "a merger of equals."

The United Auto Worker and Canadian Auto Worker unions were equally shortsighted. All they required were job security and relatively high production wages in a rapidly changing global automotive industry that could offer neither.

Meanwhile, many of DaimlerChrysler's rivals had found central and eastern Europe -- good talent for little money, the perfect recipe for developing highly competitive, very desirable products to take sales and market share from DaimlerChrysler and its Chrysler Group in North America and everywhere else in the world.

It's a brutal business.

But sitting here in the capital seat of Lower Silesia, I get the impression that neither the UAW, the CAW nor the Chrysler executives left in place by Chrysler's prospective new owner, private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, fully appreciate the reality of their situation.

For example, there is Chrysler chief executive Thomas W. LaSorda telling journalists in Auburn Hills, Mich., that all of Chrysler's brands -- Jeep, Dodge, and Chrysler -- "are staying together . . . and will not be broken up under any circumstances."

There are the leaders of the UAW and CAW telling their well-paid members, certainly by global standards, that they will not lose jobs in a fire-sale corporate sellout, a relatively paltry $7.45 billion for a company originally bought by Daimler-Benz for $36 billion, engineered by a private-equity firm known for cutting jobs and breaking up and selling off the most lucrative pieces of the companies it acquires.

LaSorda and the union chiefs have the temerity to say these things in a world where the rest of the auto industry is taking advantage of what is being offered by central and eastern Europe to help do them in.

Their expressed optimism is as believable as the "merger of equals" nonsense put forth by Eaton and Schrempp nine years ago. It's baloney.

Source:By Warren Brown, washingtonpost.com

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Poland's economy grows 7 percent in first quarter

Poland's GDP grew by 7 percent in the first quarter, and will grow around 6 percent in the full year of 2007, the Polish economy ministry said in a report.

In the entire period, total consumption had the most significant effect on the economic growth, the report said. In addition investment outlays gained significantly.

According to the ministry's estimates, total consumption rose by 5 percent in the first quarter of 2006. In 2007 investments outlays are expected to increase by 21 percent and inflation is to stay at 2.1 percent.

Source: english.people.com.cn

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DATA SNAP: Poland Mar Curr Account -EUR539M, Above Expected

DATA SNAP: Poland Mar Curr Account -EUR539M, Above Expected
Fri, May 18 2007
March Current Account ! !
March February ! Consensus: -EUR484M !
-EUR539M -EUR561M* ! Actual: -EUR539M !
Year Ago -EUR356M -EUR839M ! !
March Foreign Trade ! !
March February ! Consensus: -EUR405M !
-EUR627M -EUR201M* ! Actual: -EUR627M !
Year Ago -EUR130M -EUR229M ! !

Poland's current account posted a EUR539 million deficit in March,
exceeding expectations but lower than February's upwardly revised
EUR561 million payments gap, preliminary National Bank of Poland data
showed Friday.

Analysts had expected a EUR484 million monthly
deficit, according to the average forecast in a Dow Jones survey of
nine economists.

Compared to year-earlier figures, they suggest Poland's annualized
current account deficit edged up to about 2.4% of gross domestic
product in March from 2.3% in February.

The central bank said the country's foreign trade deficit widened to
EUR627 million in March from an upwardly revised EUR201 billion gap in

The trade deficit exceeded economists' average forecast of EUR405 million.

Source:By David McQuaid Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES,

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