Poland's Kaczynski unusually bashes right-wing ally Orban
Poland’s de-facto leader has used strong words to criticize his long-time ally, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and said further cooperation is not possible unless Orban’s approach to Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine changeswashingtonpost.com
3 EU prime ministers visit Kyiv as Russian attacks intensify
The prime ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia traveled to the embattled Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday in a show of support for Ukraine even as bombardment by the Russian military edged closer to the center of the city. The three leaders went ahead with the hours-long train trip despite worries within the European Union about the security risks of traveling within a war zone.news.yahoo.com
Polish leader admits country bought powerful Israeli spyware
Poland's most powerful politician has acknowledged that the country bought advanced spyware from the Israeli surveillance software maker NSO Group, but denied that it was being used to target his political opponents. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland’s ruling conservative party, Law and Justice, said in an interview that the secret services in many countries are using the Pegasus software to combat crime and corruption. Kaczynski said the use of such spyware arose in response to the growing use of encryption to mask data in transit, which defeated earlier monitoring technologies.news.yahoo.com
Populist leaders meet, seek 'European renaissance'
The trilateral meeting brought Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Italy's former interior minister, Matteo Salvini, to Hungary's capital of Budapest. The event came two weeks after Orban’s ruling Fidesz party finalized a break with its center-right European political family, the European People’s Party (EPP). As Italy's interior minister, Salvini worked to ease EU sanctions on Russia. But Poland's ruling party shares Fidesz's disaffection with the EU, with both parties arguing Brussels has infringed on their sovereign decisions. AdOn Thursday, Morawiecki echoed Orban's calls for a European political force that “respects national sovereignty and freedom" and defends traditional values.
The Latest: Philippine leader orders mayors investigated
New coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Utah have been on a downward trend since January. Ad___SAO PAULO, Brazil — Brazil has reached 300,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and become the second nation to top that figure. ___BOISE, Idaho — The governor of Idaho has said COVID-19 vaccine eligibility will be open to all Idaho residents 16 and up starting April 5. ___WAILUKU, Hawaii — A hospital on Maui had to throw out nearly 1,400 vaccine doses after a refrigerator thawing the vials did not properly seal. Also, COVID-19 deaths have dipped below 1,000 a day on average for the first time since November.
Polish leader hails summit deal on use of EU sanctions
Sunday's protest was scheduled to coincide with the 39th anniversary of the 1981 martial law crackdown by the country's communist regime. Under the deal, the EU is to draw up precise guidelines for when a new financial mechanism can be used to cut funds to a member that violates democratic standards, and what might trigger it. Kaczynski, the main architect of Poland's politics, argued the compromise secured Poland's sovereignty and position in the bloc and strengthened its budget. He said Poland “had no other way but to enter that conflict” over the financial mechanism and obtain the clear-cut deal. A nation of around 38 million, Poland has among Europe's highest level of popular support for EU membership, currently at over 80%.
Poles protest on anniversary of communist-era crackdown
Sunday's protest was scheduled to coincide with the 39th anniversary of the 1981 martial law crackdown by the country's communist regime. Sunday’s protests coincided with the 39th anniversary of the 1981 martial law crackdown by Poland's communist regime. Many Poles accuse the current government of acting more and more like that authoritarian regime by disregarding the civil liberties of citizens. The weeks of protests have morphed into the largest protest movement in Poland since communism fell three decades ago. The protesters gathered at a central intersection and began marching to the home of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of the ruling Law and Justice party.
Poles voice fears of 'Polexit' as govt defies EU over budget
FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2020 file photo, protesters carry an EU flag at an anti-government protest in Warsaw, Poland. Poland's conservative government denies that it has ever wanted to leave the 27-member bloc and popular support for EU membership runs very high. The fears of a hypothetical Polexit are fueled by Brexit, Britain's messy divorce from the EU, which is seen as accidental. “I cannot imagine Poland outside of the European Union remaining a democratic and liberal country,” Buras said. Poland's three living former presidents, noting their own long efforts to build a democratic nation, asked the government in a joint appeal this week “to stop blackmailing other European Union countries."
Pressure mounts on Hungary, Poland to unlock EU stimulus
German European Affairs minister Michael Roth said the stimulus is crucial for many European countries whose economies have been devastated by the pandemic. Both Poland and Hungary, which have conservative, nationalist governments, have said they fear the EU mechanism will be used to punish their values. Many projects for Poland and Hungary — which are already being formally investigated by the EU for their potential violations of the rule of law — could be held up. Under the enhanced cooperation procedure, a group of EU nations can decide to move forward in situations where all 27 countries are not on the same page. If the standoff continues, such a move could at least help unlock the bloc's 750 billion-euro ($909 billion) economic recovery package.
Polish police criticized for using tear gas on protesters
Polish police came under criticism on Thursday for using tear gas and force on mostly female and young protesters during the latest in a string of women-led protests against a top court ruling restricting abortion. (AP Photo/Agata Grzybowska)WARSAW – Polish police came under criticism on Thursday for using tear gas and force on mostly female and young protesters during the latest in a string of women-led protests against a top court ruling restricting abortion. She was charged in relation to an incident in which the women-led protesters and far-right nationalists were facing off against each other, with police in the middle. According to reports in Polish media, plainclothes police with batons used force on some of the protesters Wednesday night. There were many more policemen than protesters.”Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski told parliament Thursday that the police officers used force because they found themselves “under attack” from the protesters.
Poland delays implementing abortion ruling amid protests
(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)WARSAW – Poland’s right-wing government is delaying the publication and implementation of a high court ruling that tightens the abortion law and that has triggered almost two weeks of nationwide protests. A government official said Tuesday that the leaders are taking time to debate the contested ruling and find a solution. The constitutional court ruled Oct. 22 that aborting fetuses with congenital defects violates the constitution, in effect further tightening what was already one of Europe's most restrictive abortion laws. Massive daily anti-government protests have been held by hundreds of thousands of people ever since the ruling. Women's rights activist are critical of Duda's proposal and Morawiecki's invitation for talks, and are planning more protests this week.
Poland protests leader: abortion court ruling must be waived
(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)WARSAW – A leader of Poland’s massive protests triggered by the tightening of the country's strict abortion law said Monday the court ruling must be withdrawn. The court ruling means that an abortion is only permitted in Poland when a pregnancy threatens the mother's health or is the result of crime like rape or incest. Suchanow said that Poland's abortion law needs liberalization, but admitted it may not be possible under the current conservative government, which has a narrow majority in the lower house of parliament. Support for the ruling party started shrinking even before the abortion ruling. The government’s moves to control the judicial system, a new animal rights law and remarks against LGBT rights by top officials created political divisions and provoked some protests.
Why an abortion law ruling triggered mass protests in Poland
So why has a court ruling restricting abortion sparked more than a week of angry protests across the central European nation of 38 million? Lawmakers with the ruling Law and Justice party were among those who sought the court's review. The ruling Law and Justice party won a second term in 2019 and President Andrzej Duda, a party ally, was re-elected this summer. The protests of the past week have been dominated by young people, who believe that the abortion ruling infringes on their liberties. Protest organizers are now pushing for the government to resign and a liberal abortion law to be passed — though neither seem like realistic prospects now.
Polish PM calls for stop to mass protests as pandemic rages
Mateusz Morawiecki said the dispute should be resolved through dialogue, instead of through repeated mass street gatherings that are banned under pandemic restrictions. The president said he still favors outlawing abortion in cases of fetuses with non-lethal congenital defects, such as Down syndrome. On Wednesday night, men with a far-right group, All-Polish Youth, attacked women taking part in protests in Wroclaw, Poznan and Bialystok. Duda's comments Thursday were in contrast to his initial reaction last week, when he welcomed the court ruling. His words have no legal bearing on the court ruling and are not expected to appease protesters.
Poles join strike as protests against abortion ruling expand
A women's rights activist with a poster of the Women's Strike action protests in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020 against recent tightening of Poland's restrictive abortion law. Tens of thousands of people, gathering in defiance of pandemic restrictions, vented their frustration about the abortion ruling and more broadly at perceived restrictions on their freedoms under the right-wing ruling party, Law and Justice. Protests against last week's court ruling also spread to other countries. Rage over the ruling, which would deny legal abortions to women even in cases of fatal birth defects, has been directed at the Roman Catholic Church and ruling party leader Kaczynski. “I am very troubled by this situation,” Duda, who is allied with the ruling party, told Polsat News.
Poland's leader wants churches defended, condemns protests
Massive nationwide protests have been held ever since a top court ruled Thursday that abortions due to fetal congenital defects are unconstitutional. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)WARSAW – Poland’s powerful ruling party leader urged his supporters Tuesday to defend the predominantly Catholic nation's churches, potentially setting the stage for clashes with demonstrators angry at a court ruling that severely restricts abortions. Poland's archbishop appealed for calm and respect for churches. Earlier in the day, the head of Poland's Catholic Church, Archbishop Wojciech Polak, called for calm and respect for churches. Parliament's speaker called guards to protect Kaczynski, a deputy prime minister, from angry opposition lawmakers.
Poles vent fury at court's further restrictions on abortions
(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)WARSAW – Thousands of protesters vented fury across Poland over a top court ruling that declared abortions of fetuses with congenital defects unconstitutional, effectively narrowing one of Europe’s strictest abortion laws. Police vans and units in riot gear were dispatched Friday to guard the Warsaw home of the leader of Poland's right-wing ruling party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Some people carried wire coat hangers, a symbol of dangerous abortions that happen in conditions where safe abortions are not accessible. A protest also took place outside Kaczynski's home Thursday night, after the Constitutional Court presented its abortion law ruling. Critics accuse the ruling party of using the cover of the pandemic to push it through with a politicized court.
Polish leader vows to veto EU budget in face of 'blackmail'
“There will be a veto. If the threats and blackmail are maintained then we will firmly defend Poland’s vital interest,” Kaczynski was quoted as saying in an interview with Gazeta Polska, a pro-government daily. Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister and former EU president, said Kaczynski's threat was harmful to his country on more than one level. “Deputy Prime Minister Kaczynski announces that he is ready to block EU aid for Poland so that he can continue to violate the rule of law with impunity. Poland has also come under major criticism from European partners recently for anti-LGBT rhetoric by its conservative president and other top figures from the ruling party.
Kaczynski joins new Polish Cabinet as deputy prime minister
WARSAW – Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki presented a reshuffled Cabinet on Wednesday that formally brings the conservative ruling party's leader into a government position, together with a new education minister who has said LGBT people are “not equal” to others. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the behind-the-scenes strategist of the government since his Law and Justice party came to power for the second time in 2015, will be a deputy prime minister under Morawiecki. It's an awkward arrangement because it leaves Kaczynski subordinate to Morawiecki in the government, but still the key powerbroker in the country. Kaczynski, 71, served as prime minister from 2006 to 2007 and is a lawmaker in the lower house of parliament. The reshuffled Cabinet keeps hard-liner Zbigniew Ziobro as justice minister.
Polish government under fire over draft animal welfare law
Polish farmers take part in a demonstration against a proposed ban on fur farms and kosher meat exports in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. The proposed animal welfare legislation debated in parliament Wednesday has been strongly advocated by the ruling Law and Justice party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who recently said it brings Poland in line with European Union standards. Agriculture Minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski has separately warned that the draft law would further batter a sector already weakened by the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hundreds of farmers staged a protest Wednesday outside Kaczynski's office and in front of parliament against the proposed tightening of animal rights regulations. Similar draft legislation by Law and Justice was rejected a few years ago after pressure from the fur farm lobby.
Song critical of Polish leader disappears from hit chart
(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)WARSAW A song took aim at an alleged abuse of power by Poland's ruling party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski. It rose to the top of the chart of a public radio station. The scandal, which has been a top issue of public debate in recent days, has prompted several resignations from the station, Radio Trojka, and left some musicians vowing to boycott it. Kaczynski isn't himself accused of ordering the removal of the song from a listener-voted chart, and members of the government have also been critical of what happened. The song, Your Pain is Better than Mine," is by singer and songwriter Kazik Staszewski, known better as just Kazik.