PRAGUE (Reuters) – It was a moment of high drama: the Czech prime minister stood up in parliament to try to salvage a political career torpedoed by the arrest of an aide, and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, sitting next to him, had dozed off.
Schwarzenberg’s habit of napping has, instead of being a liability, made him popular among Czechs fed up with their political class and its endemic corruption, and desperate for someone who breaks the mould.
WARSAW, June 17 (Reuters) – Six European Union states have
asked Poland to explain why it is not paying billions of euros
that foreign construction firms say they are owed for work
carried out under an EU-backed road-building programme.
Poland’s state roads agency says it is the contractors that
are at fault, but the dispute risks harming Warsaw’s reputation
in Brussels, which is pumping huge sums of development cash into
Polish roads and railways.
WARSAW (Reuters) – With his fondness for tea in china cups and upper-class English accent, British-born Jacek Rostowski projects an air of cultivated calm, but the economic slowdown has put his job as Poland’s finance minister in the balance.
Rostowski, an admirer of ex-British leader Margaret Thatcher, has overseen one of Europe’s few economic success stories. When its neighbors were in recession, Poland grew robustly for most of the past six years, and stuck to tough fiscal discipline.
WARSAW (Reuters) – Polish prosecutors have extended until October a five-year-old criminal investigation into allegations that the CIA ran secret jails on Polish soil, a case human rights activists say the authorities are deliberately dragging out.
The United States has acknowledged it used a network of facilities in foreign countries to detain al Qaeda suspects in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. cities, though it has never disclosed their location.
GARTZ, Germany (Reuters) – Like most people in Szczecin, a port city on the western edge of Poland, businessman Zbigniew Sawicki thought that when his country joined the European Union a decade ago, wealthier German neighbors would pour in and buy up the city.
But events took an unexpected turn. Large numbers of well-to-do Poles from Szceczin, including many of Sawicki’s friends, are moving into Germany and buying properties on such a scale that sleepy Prussian villages are taking on a Polish air.
WARSAW (Reuters) – Delays in Poland’s investigation into whether the CIA ran secret jails on its soil could have caused evidence to be lost and given security services time to cover their tracks, according to a submission to the European Court of Human Rights.
Lawyers for Saudi-born Abu Zubaydah, who alleges he was held illegally by the CIA in Poland, on Tuesday submitted an application the court to hear their client’s case. They argued there was no hope of him receiving fair treatment inside Poland.
BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Investors do not like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s policies but unless they pull their money out, causing a run on the forint, there is little to make him change course.
After a successful dollar bond issue last month he does not need an international rescue so the European Union, which says he is backsliding on democracy, and the International Monetary Fund cannot impose conditions to stop him.
BUDAPEST, March 13 (Reuters) – Investors do not like
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s policies but unless they
pull their money out, causing a run on the forint, there is
little to make him change course.
After a successful dollar bond issue last month he does not
need an international rescue so the European Union, which says
he is backsliding on democracy, and the International Monetary
Fund cannot impose conditions to stop him.
WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland has not answered questions put to it seven months ago by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) about whether the CIA ran a secret jail in Poland and how much Polish officials knew about it, the court said on Tuesday.
The absence of answers will add to pressure on Poland from human rights groups, who say it must prove it is committed to revealing the truth about what part it may have played in helping the CIA detain and interrogate al Qaeda suspects during Washington’s “War on Terror” following the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
WARSAW (Reuters) – The third-biggest party in Poland’s parliament nominated a transsexual woman for the job of deputy speaker on Thursday, upsetting conservative lawmakers who said they would try to block the appointment.
The nomination of Anna Grodzka, a 58-year-old who completed a sex change three years ago, will test attitudes in Poland, a devoutly Catholic country where traditional moral values often clash with new, liberal ideas about sexuality.