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Posts Tagged ‘poland

[LINK] “With Robust Economy, Poland Navigates Around Eastern Europe’s Strains”

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Rick Lyman’s article in The New York Times points out that Poland’s solid economic growth has continued despite adverse external conditions, and that it’s starting to translate into serious heft.

To the east, Russian aggression has paralyzed Ukraine’s hope for faster economic development. To the south, Hungary flirts with authoritarianism and still struggles to climb out of the last recession. To the north, Lithuania and the other Baltic States are being squeezed by the cycle of escalating trade sanctions between Moscow and the European Union.

Poland, meanwhile, has managed to navigate safely around the latest strains on Eastern Europe, just as it managed to sail through the 2008 financial crisis with barely a bruise, maintaining solid growth rates, attracting considerable new investment and industry and using its relative economic strength to build clout within the European Union.

By dint of its size, enthusiasm for embracing the West and stable governance, Poland, a member of NATO and the European Union, has long been the most important model of post-Soviet transformation. But now, with Russia again seeking to exert its influence and much of Europe struggling to recover fully from the deep downturn of recent years, Poland has taken on an even more important role as the leading symbol of regional stability and resolve.

Construction cranes stretch across the Warsaw skyline. Huge malls and gleaming stores open almost daily. Attracted by wage rates considerably lower than those in Western Europe, many multinational companies continue to invest in Poland as a manufacturing and distribution base.

Virtually everything that Ikea, the Swedish housewares behemoth, sells in Europe, for instance, is manufactured in Poland. Many Volkswagen components are made in Poland. General Motors has facilities here, as do 3M, Procter & Gamble and other American brands.

Amazon is opening giant new distribution centers. Google Campus Warsaw, mirrored on similar projects in London and Tel Aviv, will nurture homegrown high-tech start-ups.

Intent on ensuring that it is not vulnerable to Russian pressure, Poland is pressing the European Union to do more to break its reliance on Russian energy supplies. The recent rounds of sanctions and countersanctions over Russia’s aggression in neighboring Ukraine have had relatively little impact on Poland’s economy, beyond inspiring a patriotic campaign to persuade Poles to eat more homegrown apples in reaction to Moscow’s banning of them.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 7, 2014 at 11:26 pm

[LINK] “Why no one wants to host the 2022 Olympics”

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Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel writes about how the escalating costs and ephemeral benefits associated with hosting the Olympics, along with the high-handed nature of the International Olympic Committee, has left only two cities in the running. Norway’s Oslo and Poland’s Krakow are among the world cities that aborted their bids owing to popular opposition. What are the cities?

There’s Beijing, China, which doesn’t actually sit within 120 miles of a usable ski mountain, and there’s Almaty, Kazakhstan, which in its bid touted itself as “the world’s largest landlocked nation.”

It’s down to these two cities not because the IOC narrowed the field, but because every other city in the entire world said no.

Seriously, every other city said no.

That even includes cities that previously said yes and made it deep into the bidding process only to stare directly into the corrupt, humiliating voting system, not to mention eventual unnecessary construction costs, environmental effects, blown resources and white elephants built to opulent IOC code. They promptly high-tailed it the other way.

Russia said it spent $51 billion hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics. What, no one else is interested in footing that bill?

Certainly not Oslo, Norway, not even at the bargain rate of an estimated $5.4 billion in a nation of just five million people. It once wanted desperately to host the 2022 Winter Olympics and its bid was so perfect that it was considered the favorite to win. Then the country held a vote earlier this year and 55.9 percent of Norwegians opposed.

Wednesday the Norwegian government effectively pulled the bid. Norwegians are known for the ability to cross country ski really fast and being so friendly they beg visitors to come experience their picturesque nation. Since this involved the IOC however, they decided against having visitors come experience their picturesque nation to watch them cross country ski really fast.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 2, 2014 at 10:47 pm

[NEWS] Some Sunday links

  • Al Jazeera notes the quilombos of Brazil founded by escaped slaves and looks at the strength of the separatist vote in Scotland’s largest city of Glasgow.
  • Bloomberg notes continuing tensions between North Korea and Japan over Japanese abductees, looks at Russian state subsidies to sanctions-hit companies, suggests a softening of Polish foreign policy versus Russia, and notes how Johannesburg is flourishing as gateway to Africa despite high crime and inequality.
  • The Bloomberg View notes separatist concerns depressing yields of Catalonian and Spanish bonds, and wonders if Gujarat’s industrial economy might serve as an example for all India.
  • CBC notes that national newspapers are no longer being sold in Yellowknife, looks at the case of an Iroquois girl refusing chemotherapy, and notes that the Angelina Jolie effect boosting breast cancer screening endures.
  • Open Democracy examines Catalonian separatism, looks at India’s changing Palestinian policy, considers trends in ideology in Hungary, wonders if Jordan will be next to succumb to the Islamic state, and examines anti-Syrian sentiment in Lebanon.
  • Wired examines teletext and notes the strength of China’s Alibaba.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • blogTO notes an interesting play being put on at Buddies in Bad Times about a same-sex couple’s divorce.
  • Centauri Dreams features a guest post from Andrew Lepage examining habitable exomoons.
  • Crooked Timber notes the exceptionally high voter turn-out in Scotland.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes China’s attempts to construct a new security architecture in Asia.
  • Eastern Approaches notes that Poland’s Radek Sikorski is now foreign minister.
  • A Fistful of Euros’ Edward Hugh notes that the Eurozone is set to become Japan-like economically.
  • Far Outliers has a whole slew of posts on Romanian history, noting early Romanian history, the autonomy of the Danubian principalities from Ottoman rule, and the complex relationships in Transylvania and with central Europe.
  • Geocurrents notes that one Islamic State map was made from a computer game.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that the final segment of New York City’s High Line park is complete.
  • Language Hat notes the Scots dialect of Yiddish.
  • Marginal Revolution looks forward to the complexities of Catalonian separatism.
  • Registan notes Kazakhstan’s concerns with Russia.
  • The Search examines methodologies for preserving E-mails.
  • Towleroad notes that a Grindr poll in Scotland accurately predicted the outcome of the Scottish referendum and also notes Grindr’s concern with Egyptian police use of the app.
  • Understanding Society considers the idea of turning points in history. Do they exist, or not?
  • The Volokh Conspiracy’s Ilya Somin comes out in favour of allowing informed teenagers–16 years and older–to vote.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Russification in the Gagauz leadership and observes Russophilia among Ukrainian evangelical Protestants.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell imagines likely issues with devolution in the near future in the United Kingdom.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Claus Vistesen at Alpha Sources notes that the Italian economy has slipped back into recession.
  • blogTO identifies ten secret things in Toronto.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at gas giants with very unusual, even misaligned, orbits around their local suns.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to one study on the internal geology of silicon-carbon worlds and to another on the moderating impact of oceans on planetary climates.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the Indian military buildup in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and links to a study suggesting that even the very early Earth might have been hospitable towards life.
  • Geocurrents features a guest post from Will Rayner pointing out ways in which statistics can lie (Luxembourg looks very wealthy, but this is an artifact of a huge day-commuter workforce coming from outside of its frontiers).
  • Joe. My. God. reports that the Egyptian police seem to be using Grindr to hunt down gay men for arrests.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes the ethnographic justification for the Soviet invasion and partition of Poland.
  • Spacing Toronto points to an upcoming photo exhibit showcasing Toronto’s tower neighbourhoods.
  • Torontoist reports on the success of urban agriculture as an experiment in New York City.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the deteriorating situation of Crimean Tatars and suggests Russia is preparing to move into the Baltic States.

[NEWS] Some Monday links

  • Al Jazeera notes the rivalry between the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, observes claims of persecution by evangelical Christians of followers of traditional African religions in Brazil, notes that separatism is unpopular in Scotland’s border regions, considers the problems of a beetle theme park in the penumbra of Japan’s Fukushima, looks at a Palestinian-American model, and considers rap music in Iran.
  • The Atlantic notes how events have vindicated the American Congress’ Barbara Lee, the only person not to vote in favour of granting unlimited war-making powers to the American presiden after 9/11, looks at the existential problems of Yiddish outside of ultra-Orthodox communities, and examines Stephen King’s thinking on how to teach writing.
  • Bloomberg notes the water problems of Detroit, looks at proposals to give Scotland home rule and Euroskepticism among the English, considers claims that Scotland might need huge reserves to back up its currency, notes ways sanctions threaten oil deals with Russian companies, examines Poland’s natural gas issues and those of the rest of central and southeastern Europe, notes Ukraine’s exclusion of Russian companies from a 3G cellular auction, notes the reluctance of Scottish banks to support an independent Scotland, and observes how domestic protectionism in Argentina is boosting Uruguay’s beef exports to Europe.
  • The Bloomberg View argues that it should be possible to cleanly break up even established nation-states, is critical of what Colombia is doing to Venezuelan refugees, argues that the achievements of social insects like acts are irrelevant to more complex beings like us, and suggests Britain has no place to criticize China over Hong Kong.
  • CBC notes the strength of Inuit oral history following the discovery of one of the Franklin Expedition’s ships, notes that the type of cancer that killed Terry Fox is now highly curable, and notes NDP leader Thomas Mulcair’s proposal of a $15 an hour federal minimum wage.
  • The Inter Press Service notes Uzbekistan’s fear of Russia motivating a look for eastern allies and suggests that an anti-discrimination law can worsen the plight of sexual minorities in Georgia.
  • MacLean’s notes that Mexican economic development is good for Canada, looks at Catalonian secessionism, and suggests that a new EI tax credit won’t help Canadian business boost employment.
  • Open Democracy looked at the likely outcome of Crimean elections under Russian rule.
  • The Toronto Star revisited the unsettled state of affairs in the Central African Republic.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait notes that claims Arctic ice cover is recovering are ill-founded.
  • blogTO shares some of the most notable catastrophes from Rob Ford’s days coaching high school football.
  • Centauri Dreams shares a new map of Triton, Neptune’s moon.
  • The Cranky Sociologists map the distribution of different religions and the unaffiliated around the world.
  • Crooked Timber has at the old canard about Silent Spring‘s DDT ban killing millions with malaria.
  • Discover‘s Crux notes how GPS location services owe their existence to relativity.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper examining how rocky asteroids can be detected around white dwarfs.
  • The Dragon’s Tales note that tuberculosis was in the Americas before Columbus.
  • Eastern Approaches notes an appeal by Polish intellectuals to support Ukraine.
  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas wonders what if, instead of imagining worst-case scenarios for new technologies, we imagine positive things.
  • Language Hat comments on a new book on Russia in the Napoleonic Wars that mentions how Latvian was used as a code.
  • Language Log notes that technology is not dehumanizing us.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that the biggest split in Ukraine is between supporters of European and Eurasian integration, and notes that Putin’s Russia has kickstarted a new era of global politics.
  • James Nicoll reviews Heinlein’s juveniles.
  • Otto Pohl notes that modern Kazakhstan can trace its history directly only to the Soviet era, not to earlier states.
  • Registan looks at the Chinese geopolitical concept of continentalism.
  • Towleroad looks at a controversial gay club poster featuring two notable male writers kissing.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy reminds readers of the Crimean annexation and doesn’t think eastern Ukraine has a compelling moral case at all for secession.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the economic costs to Tatarstan of remaining Russian, reports that Russian neo-Nazis are fighting in Ukraine, looks at how past actions are being seen in a more biased light, and quotes Vladimir Lukin to the effect that Russia wants Donbas to stay in Ukraine so as to prevent the country from looking to NATO.
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