SCI FI, Universal Channels Set for Poland Launch

NBC Universal Global Networks is set to launch fully localized versions of SCI FI and Universal Channel in Poland on December 1.

The networks will be available on the digital TV platform ‘n’ and will feature science fiction and entertainment programming, respectively, including series and blockbuster movies from a range of distributors, among them NBC Universal, CBS Paramount and 20th Century Fox.

“We’re thrilled to be establishing SCI FI and Universal Channel in a market as significant as Poland,” said Roma Khanna, the president of NBC Universal Global Networks & Digital Initiatives. “These strategic launches underscore our expansion plans and the global popularity of our brands.”

The newly launched channels will be managed by London-based Eleanor McBrien, the interim managing director for NBC Universal Global Networks in Northern Europe. This is NBC Universal’s first channel expansion into Central and Eastern Europe, with other countries in the region to follow in 2008.

Universal Channel’s offerings include Dexter, Brotherhood
and Cane, plus box-office hits such as Bean, Apollo 13 and Waterworld. SCI FI, meanwhile, will deliver Flash Gordon, Dark Angel and Futurama, plus movie premieres including King of the Lost World and Devil’s Den.

Source: By Mansha Daswani, worldscreen.com

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Poland picks designer for Euro 2012 stadium

Poland has chosen a German-Polish consortium to design its new national stadium, which will host the opening match of the 2012 European Championship.

Sports Minister Miroslaw Drzewiecki said Thursday that JSK Architects will design the new arena in Warsaw because of its experience in "more than 20 stadium projects" worldwide.

The stadium is to seat 55,000, and is scheduled to open in 2011.

Poland is co-hosting Euro 2012 with neighboring Ukraine and both countries face the challenge of building stadiums and upgrading dilapidated infrastructure.

Drzewiecki said he expected the stadium design to be ready in six months, and the ministry estimates the cost of the entire project to be 1 billion zlotys (US$408 million; €273 million).

A contractor still has to be selected to build the stadium, which will be located on the eastern bank of the Vistula River in the Polish capital.

The Euro 2012 final will be held at Kiev's redeveloped Olympic Stadium.

source: iht.com

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Poland's central bank ups rates, statement suggests more sure to come UPDATE

- WARSAW (Thomson Financial) - Poland's central bank raised interest rates for a fourth time this year today and issued a hawkish statement that signalled that more was sure to come in its battle to bring inflation back to its 2.5 pct target in quarters ahead.

The bank's 10-strong policy council said in its statement that it would seek to return inflation to a level in line with the target in the medium term, adding that pressure on prices and wages is still rising.

One of the majority on the council who supported earlier rate hikes, however, made clear that it had time to observe the economy and the impact of global food and fuel price rises before moving again.

'We are in a fairly comfortable situation, because the structure of economic growth is fairly healthy,' Andrzej Wojtyna told a news conference after the bank's monthly meeting.

'We are trying to avoid jumps in rates. A certain tightening of monetary policy is needed, but not a sharp one. The question of the size of potential rises in rates is an open one, but we have a certain period of calm.'

The bank said in its post-meeting statement the EU's largest former communist economy would continue to grow faster than its ideal non-inflationary rate and that inflation will be higher than shown in its most recent projection.

'The policy council has assessed the likelihood of inflation being above the target in the medium term as being higher than the chances of it being below,' it said.

Bank Governor Slawomir Skrzypek, alone in voting against its last rate rise, said that the council believed that it was not behind the curve in its bid to stop the economy from overheating.

After today's move, the bank's main stand at 5.0 pct, up 1 percentage point since April.

Wojtyna also said the bank would need to focus on the impact of fuel and food prices on inflation in months ahead, saying that he saw signs the global rise in inflation may be different in substance to previous shocks, whose impact on price growth has quickly faded.

Inflation rose to 3 pct in October but much of the rise is due to a jump in food prices outside of Poland, over which the council has no control.

The council raised rates quickly in response to the last such shock around EU entry, saying it was worried by the prospect expectations for inflation would rise as a result. Prices quickly rebounded, however, and some policymakers later admitted it had acted too aggressively.

The bank's decision was in line with market expectations and analysts said the statement and news conference comments could cool speculation of another possible rise in December.

'The communique was indeed 'hawkish', but to a degree anticipated by the market,' said analysts from Bank BPH in a note afterwards.

'The council did not suggest in any way that it intends to raise rates in December - so the scenario is only a risk in the event that inflation sharply accelerates.'

Source: By Paweł Sobczak, thomsonfxhub.com

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Swiss help to break down eastern bloc barriers

Renewable energy, business promotion and healthcare are just some of the areas the Swiss are helping eastern Europe make the transition to a prosperous future.

Ten countries joined the European Union in 2004, seven of them former members of the Soviet-dominated eastern European trading bloc. Over the next ten years they will receive a total of SFr1 billion ($895 million) from Switzerland.

The collapse of the old system left eastern Europe with a legacy of out-dated production facilities and wide-scale pollution. It created exciting opportunities for the business-minded – and misery for those who saw their jobs disappear and their regions stagnate.

Experts warn that the gap between rich and poor both inside the new member states and between them and older members of the EU is creating the potential for instability.

While the EU is allocating large funds to improve the general infrastructure of its new members, Switzerland is concentrating its relatively small contribution on carefully targeted bilateral projects.

"The aim is to reduce inequalities," said Walter Fust, head of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, one of the bodies overseeing implementation of the projects.

Switzerland has a history of grassroots partnership with the states of eastern Europe that dates back to the 1990s.

A number of Swiss towns have sister-city agreements. Lucerne is twinned with Olomouc in the Czech Republic and has contributed its know-how in environmentally friendly energy. The Czech city's zoo now has a heat and power station fuelled by biomass leftover from the food given to the animals rather than by coal.

Energy saving and job creation have come together in Lucerne's partner in Poland, Cieszyn. The Swiss provided equipment for the Poles to learn how to make and install solar panels.

In other cases money has come from the Swiss government. A fund to promote small businesses has provided start-up credit. One example is a firm in the southern Polish village of Rabka-Zdroj, which makes sheeting and sacks from recycled material.

The benefit is not only for the environment and job creation: the company has also learnt how to face up to competition from the West, by focusing on quality – something that was neglected in the past.


Switzerland says it is vital to make companies in the new EU states internationally competitive.

According to Jörg Reding of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, this will help ensure a free flow of trade that will benefit all Europeans, including the Swiss.

Social issues, including health care, are also on the agenda. Lithuania is one country where the Swiss have already backed successful mother and baby healthcare projects.

Lithuanian Finance Minister Rimantas Sadzius told swissinfo that this was a good example of the difference between the Swiss approach and that of the EU.

"By not dispersing but concentrating money, you can achieve good results," he said.

The grassroots approach has further benefits. Lithuania has excellent doctors, but that is not enough.

"They need equipment, they need further knowledge, they need scientific information, they need cooperation with colleagues and training courses. This can be provided by this cooperation," Sadzius added.

The details of the programmes are now being worked out and implementation should start at the beginning of 2008. Switzerland is optimistic about the future.

"We want to produce winners," Fust said.

Source: swissinfo.ch

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Poland convicts may build sports stadiums

A Polish government minister has come up with a plan to employ convicts to build stadiums for the European soccer championships in 2012.

Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Cwiakalski said employing convicts would temporarily solve the issue of Polish overcrowded prisons and would provide cheap labor force needed to build six stadiums for the Euro 2012 soccer championships, Polish Radio reported Wednesday.

There are some 58,000 convicted people waiting for a free place in jails to begin serving their time, the radio said.

The idea seems attractive as Poland is also suffering of a shortage of construction workers, who in thousands have left in search for better-paying jobs in Western Europe since the country joined the European Union in 2004.

Cwiakalski ruled out sending murderers or pedophilia-related convicts to building sites, adding he had in mind only those convicted for minor crimes.

Source: upi.com

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Poland Raises Interest Rates

Poland's central bank decided Wednesday to raise interest rates by a quarter percentage point amid rising inflation.

The National Bank of Poland said it was increasing its benchmark seven-day intervention rate to 5 percent from 4.75 percent, effective Thursday.

The rise had been widely expected after the bank kept rates on hold for the last two months. It made quarter-point increases in April, June and August.

Recent data have shown large increases in corporate wages. In addition, food prices helped drive Poland's annual inflation rate to 3 percent in October from 2.3 percent in September - well above the central bank's inflation target of 2.5 percent.

Source: forbes.com

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Poland hopes Russia to lift food ban -farm minister

WARSAW, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Poland's new government hopes Russia would lift a ban on its food products after Warsaw decided to stop blocking Moscow's entry to the OECD, the Polish farm minister said on Wednesday.
Donald Tusk's cabinet, in power since last week, vows to improve relations with Moscow and lifting of the veto to Moscow's talks with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was the first gesture towards the eastern neighbour.
Farm Minister Marek Sawicki said he hoped that Poland's conciliatory move would prompt the Kremlin to lift a two-year long embargo on Polish food products.
"It would be good if there would be a gesture from the Russian side now ... like readiness to lift the ban," Sawicki told a news conference.
Moscow imposed the ban on Polish agricultural imports blaming forged certificates, but Warsaw repeatedly said it was politically motivated.
Relations strained by rows over historical and trade issues reached a low under the rule of Poland's conservative twin brothers, Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski and President Lech Kaczynski.
The prime minister lost power last month but the president does not face re-election contest until 2010.
The president, who has a key role in shaping foreign relations, criticised Tusk's move to lift the veto on the OECD talks.
Source: By Gabriela Baczynska, Michael Roddy,

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Poland's government has not plan to sell stakes in PKN Orlen, Lotos - treasury

WARSAW (Thomson Financial) - Poland's new government, which took power earlier this month, has no plans to sell stakes in the country's two oil companies PKN Orlen and Grupa Lotos due to concerns over energy security, treasury minister was quoted as saying in an interview for Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper.

Aleksander Grad told the daily the government will sell its remaining stake in the press distributor Ruch next year and float the country's national airline LOT. It also plans to complete the sale of Poland's power companies in next four years.

'When it comes to Lotos and Orlen the government plan doesn't foresee their further privatisation,' Grad was quoted as saying. 'Due to the energy security of the country I would be very cautious about disposing of stakes in these companies.'

The state controls 27.5 pct of PKN Orlen and 52 pct of Lotos. The previous conservative government planned to merge refiners in a bid to bolster their position against foreign oil majors.

Source: By Piotr Skolimowski (Thomson Financial)

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Lenovo heads to Poland

Lenovo has bucked the Far Eastern trend and announced plans to open a $20m manufacturing plant in Poland in Q3 next year.

Unlike other vendors, which are uprooting to make use of cheaper labour in the Far East, Lenovo plans to use the 30,000 square metre plant and accompanying fulfillment operations center to support customers across EMEA. It will employ around 1,000 people once complete.

With a capacity to produce over two million desktop PCs a year, additional services will include product assembly and configuration, distribution services and logistics and labelling.

Gerry Smith, senior vice president global supply chain at Lenovo, said: "Our new plant in Poland is an example of Lenovo’s worldsourcing strategy in action. In a world with just one time zone -‘now’ - Lenovo must source materials, assemble managerial and technical talent, and concentrate logistics, infrastructure, and production wherever they are best available – in this case, Poland. This new plant brings our manufacturing operations closer to our European customers, enabling Lenovo to better optimize its supply chain, enhance its competitiveness and serve our expanding customer base in this region.”

Milko van Duijl, president of Lenovo EMEA, said: " ”Selecting Poland as the location for Lenovo’s European manufacturing facility – featuring Lenovo's best-in-breed manufacturing processes – is a significant step in demonstrating our increasing presence in Europe and our strategy to grow in this market. To develop a state-of-the-art facility in Europe focused on improving the customer experience, Lenovo is leveraging its 'worldsourcing strategy,' that enables us to recruit the best local talent and international management where they are.”

Source: vnunet.com

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Poland loses case against Eureko

Poland has lost the case against Eureko in a Belgian Appellate Court.

The Court dismissed the second petition of the Polish government to revoke the unfavourable verdict of the International Arbitral Tribunal, which ruled two years ago that Poland, by preventing the completion of the privatization of the national insurer Powszechny Zakład Ubezpieczeń (PZU), violated the terms of the Polish-Dutch agreement.

The Eureko company, possessing 33% of PZU’s shares, has not yet received the additional promised 21%, which would give it control over the biggest Polish insurance company.

The International Arbitral Tribunal didn’t have time to rule how high a compensation the Eureko should receive, because Poland immediately questioned the verdict on the grounds that one of the arbitrators was biased, because he had been connected to the law office that conducted a case of an American company against Poland.

Poland also argued that the International Arbitral Tribunal did not have the authority to judge in this case, because according to the PZU privatization contract only Polish courts could do so.

Both petitions have been dismissed as groundless.

Source: polskieradio.pl

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Poland's entry date to euro zone depends on global economy, minister says

WARSAW, Poland (AP) - The timing of Poland's entry to the euro zone depends on the global economy, making it difficult to give an exact date for the switch-over, the country's new finance minister said Monday.
Jacek Rostowski said at a news conference that the government wants to meet the euro entry criteria in a «few years,» but that when Poland starts using the euro «will depend on external factors.
«Safe entry to the euro zone also depends on world economic conditions, whether they are stable or turbulent,» Rostowski said.
He added that he believes euro adoption would be possible in the next parliament's term _ due to start four years from now, in late 2011.
New Prime Minister Donald Tusk pledged in his inaugural address Friday to put Poland on course to replace the zloty with the euro «as soon as possible,» but gave no date.
Tusk's European Union-friendly and pro-market Civic Platform party won elections Oct. 21 and took office earlier this month in coalition with the small centrist Polish People's Party.
Tusk has stressed the need to adopt the euro without causing too much pain or disruption to Poles.
Poland is by far the largest of the Eastern European countries that have joined the EU in recent years. Only one of them, Slovenia, has adopted the euro so far.

Source: www.pr-inside.com


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Aviva signs JV with Poland’s BZ WBK

Life insurer Aviva has entered into a 15 years bancassurance partnership with Bank Zachodni WBK to sell life and general insurance products through BZ WBK’s bank network in Poland.

Under the terms of the deal, Aviva and BZ WBK will each hold 50% of two newly established joint venture companies and will each contribute 50% of the total £13.2 million ($27.1 million) working capital.

The joint venture, which is expected to be operational in the Q3 2008, will provide access to BZ WBK’s 1.4 million customers across Poland.

“The bancassurance arrangement will significantly enhance Aviva’s distribution network in Poland, complementing our well-established direct sales force and the direct motor insurance service which will launch later this month,” said finance director Philip Scott.

“The Polish economy is booming and this partnership will give us a significant competitive advantage in this rapidly growing market,” he added.

Source: www.portalino.it

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2010 World Cup qualifying draw

Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington said he was excited by the 2010 World Cup qualifiers awaiting his team.

The Czech Republic and Poland join Northern Ireland in Group 3 along with Slovakia, Slovenia and San Marino.

"I would rather have the group this way than have three to four easy ones and one difficult one," he said.

"It's more difficult than the Euro 2008 qualifiers as only one team qualifies automatically but it's very interesting and there's plenty to look forward to "

The Czech Republic are the top seeds in the group and both they and Poland topped their Euro 2008 qualifying groups.

"The Czechs and Poland stand out straight away, they are very strong, in-form teams," added Worthington.

"Slovakia and Slovenia, certainly away from Windsor Park, will not be easy games while San Marino are one of those teams you are expected to beat.

"With only one team going through automatically it means you've got to be on your metal from game one."

Worthington's contract as N Ireland manager expired after Wednesday's defeat in Spain but the Irish FA want the former Norwich boss to stay on in the job.

Talks will take place after the IFA's delegation returns from Sunday's World Cup draw in Durban.

"I will see how they (IFA) are looking to take things forward and then I can put my side of the story to them.

"If the two tally up we can move forward together."

Source: news.bbc.co.uk

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Poland's new govt says euro entry unlikely before 2011, to lower debt levels

WARSAW (Thomson Financial) - Poland's new government said it was unlikely to decide on adoption of the euro before the end of the current parliament in 2011 and would not set a concrete target for when the EU's largest former communist state can join.

Presenting the 2008 budget to parliament yesterday, Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski also said he would aim to lower the ratio of public debt to GDP by 4-7 pct points over the cabinet's four year-term.

Analysts said his comments confirm the cabinet will aim to improve the structure of public spending and lower the budget deficit steadily, but show it is unwilling to encourage speculation that Poland could adopt the euro before 2013.

'Replacing the zloty with the common European currency goes beyond the horizon of one parliamentary term,' Rostowski told the Sejm lower house of parliament.

Before joining the euro, Poland must spend at least two years in the pre-euro currency grid ERM-2, and analysts say in reality it would likely take up to 3 years from the moment of entry to ERM-2.

Rostowski, who has declined to talk to reporters since his nomination, gave no details of how much he would seek to chop off next year's budget deficit, planned at 28.6 bln zlotys by the outgoing conservative administration.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk, however, said his ruling coalition would seek to knock 1-1.5 bln off the headline cap in work in committee - less than previous estimates of a 3-4 bln zloty cut by other party officials.

'The ambitious target for Rostowski will be to lower next year's deficit by 1 or maybe 1.5 bln zlotys,' Tusk, whose pro-business Civic Platform party won elections last month, told a news conference.

In reality, that means the 2008 public sector shortfall will likely rise from this year's, which looks set to come in at least 7 bln lower than the outgoing cabinet's 30 bln target due to an economic boom which has driven revenues higher.

Rostowski signalled next year's budget was unlikely to outperform so spectacularly.

'The strong execution of the budget in 2007 results chiefly from the high pace of economic growth,' the minister said.

'In 2008 the impact of this factor, due to the slowdown in theeconomy, will be weaker. The peak of the economic cycle is now behind us. We are entering a phase of slightly slower growth, although the fall will be a slow one.'

The budget assumes Poland's economic expansion will slow to 5.5 pct next year from 6.5 pct in 2007.

Source:By Paweł Sobczak, forbes.com

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Poland's Ciech says German acquisition to boost sales by 280 mln zlotys UPDATE

Poland's largest chemical producer, state-controlled Ciech, said today it has acquired German soda maker Sodawerk Stassfurt in a 75 mln euro deal that will boost sales by 280 zlotys annually and generate higher group profits.

Ciech, Europe's second largest producer of soda used in the production of glass, said it would finance the purchase with a bond issue and its own cash.

Its earlier bid to buy the German-based company failed in July this year.

'After the acquisition...annual revenues of Ciech group will increase by around 280 mln zlotys,' the company said in a statement.

'The acquisition will also increase profits,' it added.

In a separate presentation, company managers said the purchase would raise its annual EBITDA by 52 mln zlotys.

Sodawerk has an annual production capacity of 450,000 tonnes, Ciech said.

Earlier this year Ciech said it planned to spend up to 4.8 bln zlotys on a series of investments and acquisitions at home and abroad in a bid to triple net profit by 2011.

Source: By Piotr Skolimowski, .forbes.com

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Poland's TVN raised to 'Ba2' on still strong opg performance - Moody's

MUMBAI (Thomson Financial) - Moody's Investors Service upgraded the corporate family rating of TVN SA to 'Ba2' from 'Ba3', citing the Polish broadcaster's continued strong operational performance since the upgrade in Oct 2006.

The outlook on the ratings is stable.

The agency added the ratings reflect TVN's leading market position and growth potential, but also factor in the highly competitive environment it operates in.

It also noted that further upward pressure is limited at this stage in part because it does not expect significant further deleveraging.


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