Christian's Feed
Apr 16, 2014

Putin risks upstaging talks on defusing Ukraine crisis

GENEVA/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Foreign ministers from East and West will try to defuse the Ukraine crisis on Thursday in Geneva, once frequently the scene of Cold War negotiations, but will risk being upstaged by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

With Russian troops massed on the border with Ukraine, prospects of significant progress at the four-way talks appear slim. By contrast, what Putin says during his annual “hotline” session with the Russian people may have far greater influence on events in Ukraine’s rebellious east.

Apr 14, 2014

The woman who could be Poland’s next prime minister

WARSAW (Reuters) – When Polish deputy prime minister Elzbieta Bienkowska applied to study at a prestigious university in Warsaw, she was rejected after one of the interview panel questioned how she could study and raise a family as well.

The next year, she applied again and was asked the same thing. She replied by inquiring if the panel would put that question to male applicants. She was accepted.

Apr 12, 2014

Billionaire Russian gas trader says U.S. sanctions a badge of honor

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Gennady Timchenko, the billionaire Russian gas trader hit with U.S. sanctions over his alleged ties with the Kremlin following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, said being singled out by Washington was a badge of honor.

But Timchenko, who sold his stake in oil trading firm Gunvor hours after the sanctions were announced, acknowledged that the sanctions were slightly inconveniencing his business interests because some European banks were reluctant to deal with him.

Apr 9, 2014

Former Hewlett-Packard exec charged with bribery in Poland

WARSAW (Reuters) – Polish prosecutors alleged on Wednesday that a local executive with U.S. firm Hewlett-Packard Co. paid bribes worth over $500,000 in exchange for help winning contracts to supply computer equipment to the Polish police headquarters.

Poland’s Interior Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz said HP would make an announcement later on Wednesday acknowledging its Polish unit had been involved in “corrupt activities”. A spokeswoman for HP declined to comment.

Apr 9, 2014

Special Report: From Hungary, far-right party spreads ideology, tactics

WARSAW (Reuters) – In a rented public hall not far from Poland’s parliament, about 150 people gathered one afternoon late last year to hear speeches by a collection of far-right leaders from around Europe.

The event was organized by Ruch Narodowy, or National Movement, a Polish organization that opposes foreign influences, views homosexuality as an illness and believes Poland is threatened by a leftist revolution hatched in Brussels.

Mar 26, 2014

Hungary to ignore critics with landslide for Orban

BATONYTERENYE, Hungary (Reuters) – Barring a major upset, Hungarians will enthusiastically re-elect Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party for another term in April. To outsiders who see an authoritarian troublemaker, the expected landslide looks odd.

Not to those who know what motivates him.

When Orban first became prime minister in 1998, aged 35, he stripped his office and replaced the fittings with items used by his pre-war predecessors, scavenged from elsewhere in the building, former spokesman Gabor Borokai told Reuters.

Mar 26, 2014

Insight: Hungary to ignore critics with landslide for Orban

BATONYTERENYE, Hungary (Reuters) – Barring a major upset, Hungarians will enthusiastically re-elect Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party for another term in April. To outsiders who see an authoritarian troublemaker, the expected landslide looks odd.

Not to those who know what motivates him.

When Orban first became prime minister in 1998, aged 35, he stripped his office and replaced the fittings with items used by his pre-war predecessors, scavenged from elsewhere in the building, former spokesman Gabor Borokai told Reuters.

Mar 24, 2014

EU states in Russia’s shadow fearful about tougher sanctions

WARSAW/PRAGUE (Reuters) – The European Union states that used to be behind the Iron Curtain have most to fear from Russian aggression, yet also most to lose from imposing sanctions, and for now the fear of losing money is winning out.

Messages over the past week from officials in the EU’s 11 ex-Communist member countries indicate that most of them are going to be very resistant to any attempt by the bloc to impose the next stage of sanctions, on trade and economic ties.

Mar 10, 2014

Poland needs more belt-tightening to hit deficit target: OECD

March 10 (Reuters) – Poland’s government needs to make
deeper spending cuts if it is to meet its target agreed with
Brussels of getting the budget deficit under 3 percent of
economic output by 2015, the OECD said in a report issued on
Monday.

The organisation of the world’s most developed countries
left its forecasts for Polish gross domestic product (GDP)
growth unchanged, at 2.7 percent this year and 3.3 percent in
2015.

Mar 4, 2014

As leaders dither, citizens impose own sanctions on Russia

VILNIUS/WARSAW (Reuters) – While diplomats in Brussels debate how to respond to the Kremlin’s intervention in Ukraine, some people on Russia’s borders with the European Union are taking matters into their own hands.

In Lithuania, citizens angry at Russia’s leaders are encouraging a boycott of Russian goods and, in northern Poland, special events intended to bring in tourists from the Russian region of Kaliningrad at the weekend have been canceled.