Online magazine Commentary and many others have been discussing the decision of the Polish government to ban ritual slaughter of animals, in accordance to humane slaughter practices, which many EU countries have recently been leaning towards. For Poland however, this decision is a controversial one, in light of its history and significance to the Jewish community in the country and world-wide:
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Rick Falkvinge, the founder of Pirate Party, reinterprets the wars of religion that devastated Western Europe in the XVI and XVII centuries in terms of the current struggle to control information through overbearing legislation related to copyright and freedom of expression:
The religious wars were never about religion as such. They were about who held the power of interpretation, about who controlled the knowledge and culture available to the masses. It was a war of gatekeepers of information.
An anti-ACTA rally took place in Bratislava on Feb. 4. On the protest's Facebook page [sk], nearly 7,500 people wrote they would attend, and over 3,800 wrote they'd “maybe” attend. The weather was cold and windy; the recent news from Poland, which has postponed the ratification of ACTA, was good; and it's unlikely that anything will be approved before the Slovak early elections in March. As a result, only 500 people or so showed up for the rally [sk; photos; video]. This week, a number of Slovak and Czech politicians announced they were in favor of postponing the ratification of the controversial treaty.
Polandian writes about the 30th anniversary of the introduction of martial law in Poland 1981, and argues that repression became a positive trigger for the popular movement against communist rule.
Michael Dembinski of W-wa Jeziorki tries but fails to understand a suicide attempt by a military prosecutor involved in investigations of the 2010 Smolensk aircrash killing Poland's president Lech Kaczynski, and causing a plethora of conspiracy theories.
Spotted by Locals: Experience cities like a local features a few dozen locations, including CEE cities of Belgrade, Bucharest, Budapest, Krakow, Ljubljana, Prague, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius, Warsaw, and Zagreb. A random sample post from Zagreb, Croatia: Hrelić Flea Market – The Aleph of Zagreb; from Bucharest, Romania: The Haunted House – Armenian Neighbourhood; from Sofia, Bulgaria: Nissim – A True Old-School Bookstore.
Tomasz Lis, editor-in-chief of one of Poland's biggest weekly magazines, “Wprost”, and a host of a political talk show, announced the upcoming launch of a new journalistic platform in 2012 – unofficially called the “Polish Huffington Post” [pl]. His presentation generated lots of reactions, especially on Polish tech blogs, which criticized the idea. Among the critics are Maciej Budzich [pl] and Radek Zaleski [pl]. Lis suprised everyone by addressing allegations almost personally and publishing special answers to both Budzich [pl] and Zaleski [pl].
Kominek [pl] summarizes bloggers’ reactions to the death of Hanka Mostowiak [pl], a fictional character of one of the biggest TV hits ever in Poland, a soap opera called “M jak Miłość” (“L for Love”) [en]. In episode 862, Hanka dies in a car accident (as the actress who played her – Małgorzata Kożuchowska – had decided to leave the TV production). In the past months, the tabloid press has made quite an event out of Hanka's fate, leading bloggers to record one-minute videos called “A minute of silence for Hanka Mostowiak” to show that too much attention was given to this fictional event.
KohoVolit‘s Michal Škop and Centrum Cyfrowe [pl] from Poland announced that the open source application Raw Salad [pl] used to hack the Polish state budget will also be used in the Czech Republic. Besides publishing the budget data using this new way, Czechs will also create a dedicated portal with visualisations of the selected data.
Raf Uzar writes that the Oct. 9 parliamentary election “will be a true test of Poland’s democratic calibre.” Polandian writes about a Lublin candidate “willing to court controversy in order to gain attention for some votes”: Katarzyna Lenart, 23, whose striptease video had over 410,000 views as of Oct. 8. Politics, Economy, Society hoped for a high turnout, for “[w]hoever wins, should be authorised by the nation to wield power,” and summarized the election's preliminary results, which point to the victory of Donald Tusk's Civic Platform (PO): “Poland is in for four years of predictable and pragmatic, yet sometimes mediocre and feckless rule.”
Politics, Economy, Society writes about the upcoming Oct. 9 parliamentary elections in Poland.
Michael Dembinski of W-wa Jeziorki discusses whether edifices of communist era architecture, such as Warszawa Zachodnia station, can be as cherished as older historical landmarks.
Leoš Tomíček of Austere Insomniac reports that Russian ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, is asking whether Polish Foreign Minister, Radosław Sikorski, killed soviet soldiers in Afghanistan during the 1980s, when working as a journalist there with Afghan guerilla fighters.
Michael Dembinski of W-wa Jeziorki pays hommage to the 67th anniversary of the Warsaw uprising against the Nazis during World War II and reflects upon its historical and current significance.
Michael Dembinski of W-wa Jeziorki instructs his readers on how to travel by night train in Poland and what to think of.
Streetwise Professor comments on the Polish report about last year's plane crash that killed the country's president, and goes on to argue that, whereas Polish pilots where mostly to blame, Russian air-traffic control was probably also to blame.
Dominika Bychawska-Siniarska of Europe of Human Rights writes on BlogActiv.eu about airport body scanners, “human dignity” and the case of Shaminder Puri, a British Sikh who was harassed at the Warsaw Chopin Airport last year.
Polandian writes about what has changed and what hasn't since the ban on smoking in public places was introduced in Poland on Nov. 15, 2010.
Belatedly, a link to a post about Polish poetry displayed on the London Underground, which was published on May 31 by the POLSKI blog.
J Clive-Matthews of Nosemonkey's EUTopia writes about the outset of the Polish EU-presidency and its Premier, Donald Tusk, as a potential visionary for the European Union.
Polandian posts a list of companies celebrating anniversaries of their presence in Poland in 2011.
Alexander J. Motyl writes at Ukraine's Orange Blues/World Affairs about the implications of the May 12 sentencing of John Demjanjuk “for being an accessory to the murder of 28,060 Jews in the Nazi concentration camp in Sobibor, in occupied Poland.”