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Służąc Polskiej społeczności na całym świecie | Serving Polish Communities Around the World | Servir a la comunidad polaca en el Mundo
Służąc Polskiej społeczności na całym świecie | Serving Polish Communities Around the World | Servir a la comunidad polaca en el Mundo

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New Polish president may spell eurosceptics' return to power.
Warsaw (AFP) - Polish voters have opted for change and chosen the conservative and relatively unknown lawyer Andrzej Duda as their next president, spelling a possible return to power of his eurosceptic mentor in autumn parliamentary elections.

The opposition challenger clinched surprise victory in a Sunday run-off against incumbent centrist Bronislaw Komorowski, who is allied with the governing Civic Platform (PO) party and until recently was expected to secure a second term.

An MEP with a populist streak who promised change and generous social spending, Duda scored 51.55 percent support ahead of Komorowski's 48.45 percent, according to final results from the election commission Monday.

The result gives a key indicator of the national mood ahead of a general election expected in late September or early October that analysts say could return Duda's conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party to power after eight years.

PiS leader and Duda mentor Jaroslaw Kaczynski -- a populist ex-premier and twin brother of the late president Lech Kaczynski -- will be the party's candidate for premier, several PiS officials said Monday.

The 43-year-old Duda will take up his new office on August 6 and enter into what is expected to be a difficult cohabitation with the PO government of Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz in the Central European heavyweight.

Political scientist Radoslaw Markowski believes Duda's victory surprised the party itself.

"Their problem now will be to maintain his image as a president of all Poles, given that he was elected mainly thanks to a rural and poorly educated electorate," he said.

The governing liberals were also to blame for the outcome in the EU member nation, according to political analyst Eryk Mistewicz.

"Over the course of eight years, the PO built up a system that is closed off to youths, where upward mobility is impossible."

The PiS is nationalist and eurosceptic and agrees with the country's powerful Roman Catholic church on issues including abortion.

The Church congratulated the devout Duda, who on Monday visited the Jasna Gora monastery in the southern city of Czestochowa to offer "thanks for the support". The monastery is home to the Black Madonna, an ancient Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary that is believed to work miracles.

Kaczynski gained a reputation for being highly combative and eurosceptic during his 2006-7 stint as prime minister, when he served in tandem with his late twin, who died in a 2010 plane crash in Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday congratulated Duda and called for "the building of constructive ties between Russia and Poland, based on the principles of good neighbourly relations and a mutual respect for each other's interests".

The two countries' historically complicated ties are in the doldrums as Poland has been one of the fiercest critics of Soviet-era master Russia over its alleged meddling in Ukraine.

Duda has called for NATO to station its troops on Polish soil. As president, he will have limited powers but is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, steers foreign policy and has the right to introduce and veto legislation.

His first state visit abroad will be to Brussels, then Kiev, according to PiS member and European Parliament Vice-President Ryszard Czarnecki.

At home, Duda could try to block a draft law that would make in vitro fertilisation (IVF) reimbursable.

The economy could be the biggest minefield for Duda, who believes Poland should only enter the eurozone once the European single currency has solved all its debt woes.

He has promised to lower the retirement age from 67 to 65 years and cut taxes for those earning the least while upping taxes for supermarket chains and banks.

But lowering taxes is "unfeasible" according to Witold Orlowski, chief economist at PriceWaterhouseCoopers Polska.

Duda crisscrossed the country throughout the campaign wooing the man on the street, always full of energy, his sleeves rolled up and a broad smile on his face.

In keeping with his man-of-the-people image, Duda appeared on Monday at a Warsaw subway station and gave out free coffee to passers-by. He also announced that he would give up PiS membership as Polish presidents are supposed to remain neutral.

The country of 38 million people has avoided recession over the last quarter of a century.

The economy is set to expand by 3.5 percent this year, but joblessness is still high and stood at 11.3 percent in April.

"Poles want change. They issued a yellow card to the PO and risk issuing the party a red card at the general election," wrote Poland's Polska The Times daily on Monday.

Voter turnout was high on Sunday at 55 percent.
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US envoy apologises to Poland over FBI chief's #Holocaust claim.
Warsaw (AFP) - The US ambassador to Warsaw apologised Sunday after being summoned by the foreign ministry over comments by the head of the FBI that Poland shared responsibility for the Holocaust with Germany.

Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski said the comments in an opinion piece by FBI director James Comey were an "insult" to Poland.

"In their minds, the murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland, and Hungary, and so many, many other places didn't do something evil," Comey wrote in the April 16 Washington Post article.

After meeting with Poland's deputy foreign affairs minister, US ambassador Stephen Mull told reporters the Nazis bore sole responsibility for the Holocaust, which left six million European Jews dead in World War II.

"I made clear that the opinion that Poland is in any way responsible for the Holocaust is not the position of the United States," Mull said in Polish. "Nazi Germany alone bears responsibility."

"I now have a lot of work before me to make things right in this situation," he added.

Foreign ministry spokesman Marcin Wojciechowski wrote on Twitter Sunday that Mull would "receive a note of protest and a summons for an apology" over Comey's comments.

Komorowski told public television that the FBI head's comments showed a "lack of historical knowledge" and "this requires a reaction from the Polish state".

They were an "insult to thousands of Poles who helped Jews".

Mull was quick to offer an informal apology at memorial ceremonies in the Polish capital on Sunday marking the 72nd anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

"Any suggestion that Poland, or any other countries other than Nazi Germany, bear responsibility for the Holocaust, is a mistake, harmful and insulting," Mull told reporters.

Six million Polish citizens were killed under Nazi Germany's occupation of Poland during World War II. While half of the victims were Jewish, the other half were Christian.

Historical records show instances of Poles turning against their Jewish neighbours, either killing them or giving them up to the Nazis. Poles also risked their lives and families to save Jews.

In 2012, US President Barack Obama caused outrage in Warsaw when he labelled a World War II Nazi German facility in occupied Poland used to process Jews for extermination a "Polish death camp".

He subsequently expressed "regret".

Poland's government keenly watches the global media for descriptions of former Nazi German death camps as "Polish" because it says the term -- even if used simply as a geographical indicator -- can give the impression that #Poland bore responsibility for the Holocaust.

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SS 'accountant of Auschwitz' going on trial in Germany.
BERLIN (AP) — Hedy Bohm had just turned 16 when the Nazis packed her and her parents onto a cattle car in May 1944 and sent them from Hungary to the Auschwitz death camp in occupied Poland.

After three days and nights in darkness, crammed into the standing-room-only car with babies wailing, the doors were flung open. "An inferno," is how she remembers the scene she saw.

"The soldiers yelling at us, guns and rifles pointed at us," she recalled. "Big dogs barking at us held back on their leashes by the soldiers."

One of the black-uniformed men on the ramp was likely SS guard Oskar Groening. Today 93, he goes on trial Tuesday in a state court in the northern city of Lueneburg on 300,000 counts of accessory to murder. Two of those deaths were Bohm's parents, who are believed to have been killed in the gas chambers immediately upon arrival in Auschwitz.

Groening's trial is the first to test a line of German legal reasoning opened by the 2011 trial of former Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk on allegations he was a Sobibor death camp guard, which has unleashed an 11th-hour wave of new investigations of Nazi war crimes suspects. Prosecutors argue that anyone who was a death camp guard can be charged as an accessory to murders committed there, even without evidence of involvement in a specific death.

Bohm is today 86 and lives in Toronto where she moved after the war. She will testify as a witness about her Auschwitz experience, although she doesn't remember Groening. She is one of some 60 Holocaust survivors or their relatives from the U.S., Canada, Israel and elsewhere who have joined the prosecution as co-plaintiffs, as is allowed under German law.

Groening has openly acknowledged serving as an SS non-commissioned officer at Auschwitz, though denies committing any crimes. His memories of the cattle cars packed with Jews arriving at the death camp are just are vivid as Bohm's.

"A child who was lying there was simply pulled by the legs and chucked into a truck to be driven away," he told the BBC in an interview 10 years ago. "And when it screamed like a sick chicken, they then bashed it against the edge of the truck so it would shut up."

His attorney, Hans Holtermann, has prevented Groening from giving any new interviews, but said his client will make a statement as the trial opens. Earlier, Groening said he felt an obligation to talk about his past to confront those who deny the Holocaust.

"I want to tell those deniers that I have seen the crematoria, I have seen the burning pits, and I want to assure you that these atrocities happened," he said. "I was there."

Though acknowledgement of his past could help mitigate the 15-year maximum sentence Groening faces if convicted, the court's focus will be on whether legally he can be found an accessory to murder for his actions.

Groening is accused of helping to operate the death camp between May and June 1944, when some 425,000 Jews from Hungary were brought there and at least 300,000 almost immediately gassed to death.

His job was to deal with the belongings stolen from camp victims. Prosecutors allege among other things that he was charged with helping collect and tally money that was found, which has earned him the moniker "the accountant of Auschwitz" from the German media.

"He helped the Nazi regime benefit economically," the indictment said, "and supported the systematic killings."

Efraim Zuroff, the head Nazi hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said even low-ranking guards were necessary for Adolf Hitler's genocidal machine to run.

"The system that the Nazis put in place in order to annihilate the Jewish people and the others they classified as enemies was made up of all sorts of people who fulfilled all sorts of tasks," Zuroff said in a telephone interview. "Obviously Oskar Groening is not as guilty as (SS head) Heinrich Himmler... but he contributed his talents to helping the system carry out mass murder."

No pleas are entered under the German system and Holtermann would not comment on his defense ahead of the trial.

"According to the indictment that was accepted there is a certain probability he did something criminal," Holtermanns said. "We will have to see what the court decides."

For decades, German legal reasoning held that camp guards could only be prosecuted if there was specific evidence they committed a crime against a specific person.

But in 2011, prosecutors won an accessory-to-murder conviction against Demjanjuk under the theory that since the sole purpose of a death camp was murder, anyone who could be proven to have served there could be found guilty of being an accessory.

The verdict was not legally binding because Demjanjuk, who steadfastly maintained he had never been a camp guard, died in 2012 before his appeals could be heard. But the special federal prosecutors office that investigates Nazi crimes launched dozens of new probes on that basis.

Thomas Will, deputy head of the office, said there are currently 11 open investigations against former Auschwitz guards, and charges have been filed in three of those cases including Groening. Another eight former Majdanek guards are also under investigation. The office is also re-examining cases from other camps, as well as former members of the einsatzgruppen mobile death squads, he said.

Bohm finds the new focus "admirable," and felt obligated to testify to do her part.

"It's something I have to face," she said.

According to his own account, Groening volunteered for the SS in 1940, and worked for two years in a paymaster's office until being assigned to Auschwitz in 1942.

In 2005, he told Der Spiegel magazine he was assigned to "ramp duty" — positioned to guard luggage taken from Jewish prisoners upon their arrival at the death camp.

He said that he quickly learned what was going on in the camp, when another SS man told him Jews were only admitted to the camp "if they're lucky." When Groening asked what that meant, he was told "some of them will be exterminated."

Groening was assigned to "inmate money administration" — keeping track of the money that the Jews and others were forced to forfeit upon arrival in the camp.

With arrivals mounting as the Nazis began to systematically deport Hungary's Jews in 1944, Groening was assigned extra duties as an auxiliary guard on the ramp.

Thoroughly indoctrinated in virulent Nazi anti-Semitism, he said that although he found the work "horrible," he also felt "I am part of this necessary thing."

It was on that ramp that Bohm was separated from her parents, whom she would never see again.

Her father, who was disabled, was sent one way with other men, and she and her mother were motioned to go another direction — which turned out to be directly to the gas chambers. But in the confusion Bohm and her mother were separated. As she ran to catch up with her, a Nazi guard with a rifle blocked her path and said "no, you go to the right."

"I cried after her, she heard me and we looked at each other," Bohm remembered. "She didn't say anything and then turned and kept walking. I never saw her again."

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Poland summons U.S. ambassador over FBI head's #Holocaust remarks.
WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland has summoned the United States' ambassador in Warsaw over an article written by a top U.S. intelligence official on Poland's alleged responsibility for the Holocaust during World War Two, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Sunday.

The article by FBI director James Comey, published in the Washington Post earlier this week, prompted an outcry in Poland and drew condemnation in the media and from politicians.

A foreign ministry spokesman said on his Twitter account that the U.S. ambassador would be summoned to the ministry over the article, and that Poland would demand an apology.

Comey said in the article: "In their minds, the murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland, and Hungary, and so many, many other places didn’t do something evil. They convinced themselves it was the right thing to do, the thing they had to do."

Poland says the passage wrongly implied it was complicit in the Nazi genocide of European Jews.

Poland's ambassador to the United States said in a statement the remarks were "unacceptable", adding that he had sent a letter to Comey "protesting the falsification of history, especially ... accusing Poles of perpetuating crimes which not only they did not commit, but which they themselves were victims of."

Shortly after Poland's announcement, U.S. Ambassador in Warsaw Stephen Mull told reporters he would attend a meeting at the foreign ministry on Sunday afternoon.

"Suggestions that Poland, or any other country apart from the Nazi Germany was responsible for the Holocaust are wrong, harmful and offensive," he added, speaking in Polish.

"I think that Comey's wider message was that there were many people in the world that aided the Nazi criminals, or there were people who did not respond sufficiently, ... also in the United States."

Poland is one of the United States' closest European allies, and bilateral relations have been strengthened by the conflict in Ukraine and related tensions with Russia. Polish politicians have repeatedly called for an increased U.S. military presence in the region.

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Poland, others prepare for Russian threat
Ordinary folk take up military training over Russia threat.
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — NATO aircraft scream across eastern European skies and American armored vehicles rumble near the border with Russia on a mission to reassure citizens that they're safe from Russian aggression.

But these days, ordinary people aren't taking any chances.

In Poland, doctors, shopkeepers, lawmakers and others are heeding a call to receive military training in case of an invasion. Neighboring Lithuania is restoring the draft and teaching citizens what to do in case of war. Nearby Latvia has plans to give university students military training next year.

The drive to teach ordinary people how to use weapons and take cover under fire reflects soaring anxiety among people in a region where memories of Moscow's domination — which ended only in the 1990s — remain raw. People worry that their security and hard-won independence are threatened as saber-rattling intensifies between the West and Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, where more than 6,000 people have died.

In Poland, the oldest generation remembers the Soviet Army's invasion in 1939, at the start of World War II. Younger people remain traumatized by the repression of the communist regime that lasted more than four decades.

It's a danger felt across the EU newcomer states that border Russia.
"There's a real feeling of threat in our society," Latvian defense ministry spokeswoman Aija Jakubovska told The Associated Press. Military training for students is a "way we can increase our own defense capabilities."

Most people are still looking to NATO's military umbrella as their main guarantor of security. Zygmunt Wos waved goodbye to a detachment of U.S. armored vehicles leaving the eastern Polish city of Bialystok with apprehension: "These troops should be staying with us," he said, "not going back to Germany."

Poland has been at the forefront of warnings about the dangers of the Ukraine conflict. Just 17 hours by car from the battle zone, Poland has stepped up efforts to upgrade its weapons arsenal, including a possible purchase of U.S.-made Tomahawk missiles. It will host a total of some 10,000 NATO and other allied troops for exercises this year. Its professional army is 100,000-strong, and 20,000 reservists are slated for test-range training.

It's the grassroots mobilization, however, that best demonstrates the fears: The government has reached out to some 120 paramilitary groups with tens of thousands of members, who are conducting their own drills, in an effort to streamline them with the army exercises.

In an unprecedented appeal, Parliament Speaker Radek Sikorski urged lawmakers to train at a test range in May, while Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak called on men and women aged between 18 and 50, and with no military experience, to sign up for test-range exercise. So far, over 2,000 people have responded.

"The times are dangerous and we must do all we can to raise Poland's ability to defend its territory," President Bronislaw Komorowski said during a recent visit to a military unit.

The Poles believe they have grounds for feeling particularly vulnerable because they have been invaded by Russia repeatedly since the 18th century. Russian leader Vladimir Putin seems to have singled out Poland, a staunch U.S. ally, as a prime enemy in the struggle over Ukraine, accusing it of training "Ukrainian nationalists" and instigating unrest.

Recently Moscow said it will place state-of-the-art Iskander missiles in its Kaliningrad enclave, bordering Poland and Lithuania, for a major exercise.

Last week, over 550 young Polish reservists were summoned on one hour's notice to a military base for a mobilization drill. In their 20s and 30s, in jeans and sneakers, the men and women arrived at a base in Tarnowskie Gory, in southern Poland for days of shooting practice. One of them, 35-year-old former soldier Krystian Studnia, said the call was "absolutely natural."

"Everyone should be willing and ready to fight to defend his country," he said.

In Warsaw, Mateusz Warszczak, 23, glowed with excitement as he signed up at a recruitment center. "I want to be ready to defend my family, my relatives, from danger," he said.

Even older Poles feel obliged to take responsibility for their own safety.

In September, Wojciech Klukowski, a 58-year-old medical doctor, and his friends organized a civic militia group of about 50 men and women of various ages, and called it the National Guard. They practiced skirmishes and shooting, with the aim of becoming citizen-soldiers in their hometown of Szczecin, on the Baltic Sea coast.

"We do not feel fully safe," Klukowski said. "Many people ... want to be trained to defend their homes, their work places, their families."
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Wesołych Świąt Wielkanocnych i mokrego dyngusa.

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Welcome to the World of #Henryk #Szydlowski
Henryk Szydlowski was born in Poland in 1950.  During the mid to late 1960's, Szydlowski attended the High School of Fine Arts in Jaroslaw, Poland.  It was not until 1976 that he completed his stringent art training at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, attaining a Master of Fine Art's degree.

Szydlowski emigrated to New Zealand during the late 1970's.  Whilst living in New Zealand, Szydlowski lectured at the Whitcliffe Art School and exhibited his art work in both New Zealand and Australia.  In 1982, Szydlowski gained worldwide recognition by artists and critics for developing a new printing technique which he named 'PolPrint' (Polish Print).

During the mid 80's Szydlowski emigrated to Australia where he lectured at the Claremon School of Fine Arts and in 1994 became a full time artist.  Since 1976 Szydlowski has exhibited in over 85 solo exhibitions and over 30 group exhibitions.

In 1996 and 2000, Szydlowski's art work was featured in a collection stamp release.  On both occasions the tribute was paid by Who's Who in International Art, Lausanned, Switzerland.  In Italy in 1998, Szydlowski was honoured when officially appointed the title of 'Professor Henryk Szydlowski' by the Accademia Internazionale Greci Marino, Accademia del Verbano, Di Lettere, Arti, Scienze, Vercelli.

In 2000, Szydlowski once again gained recognition for wonderful work he has created over the last three decades.  He was awarded the highest title of 'Academical Official Knight', also by the Academia Internazionale Greci Marino.

In 2003, Henryk Szydlowski published his first book titled 'Door to the Dreams'.  The book is part of the Masters of Today series published by World of Art.  The book features over 90 colourful pages of various oil paintings on canvas, created by Szydlowski since the early 90's.

Henryk Szydlowski is a painter who is extremely difficult to link to any particular artistic direction or style - he describes himself as a 'Credo Artist'.  He is a painter who delivers decorativeness in form and colour, expressed in conjunction with elementary symbolism in drawing.  He places powerful emphasis on composition in his works.  Henryk Szydlowski has a deep passion for painting and one of the greatest rewards for him is that it makes people happy.

Henryk Szydlowski's works can be found in private, corporate and government collections in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Japan, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA and the Vatican.
View Henryk's work here:

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Flight 9525 #Germanwings - Evidence Germanwings co-pilot hid illness
MONTABAUR, Germany (AP) — Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz appears to have hidden evidence of an illness from his employers, including having been excused by a doctor from work the day he crashed a passenger plane into a mountain, prosecutors said Friday.

The evidence came from the search of Lubitz's homes in two German cities for an explanation of why he crashed the Airbus A320 into the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board.

Prosecutor's spokesman Ralf Herrenbrueck said in a written statement that torn-up sick notes for the day of the crash "support the current preliminary assessment that the deceased hid his illness from his employer and colleagues."

Such sick notes from doctors excusing employees from work are common in Germany and issued even for minor illnesses. Herrenbrueck didn't reveal details of what illness Lubitz was suffering from.

Herrenbrueck said other medical documents found indicated "an existing illness and appropriate medical treatment," but that no suicide note was found. He added there was no indication of any political or religious motivation for Lubitz's actions.

Germanwings, a subsidiary of Lufthansa, refused to comment on the new information.

Investigators had removed multiple boxes of items from Lubitz's apartment in Duesseldorf and his parents' house in Montabaur, near Frankfurt.

A German aviation official told The Associated Press that Lubitz's file at the country's Federal Aviation Office contained a "SIC" note, meaning that he needed "specific regular medical examination." Such a note could refer to either a physical or mental condition, but the official — who spoke only on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information, said the note does not specify which.

However, neighbors described a man whose physical health was superb.

"He definitely did not smoke. He really took care of himself. He always went jogging. I am not sure whether he did marathons, but he was very healthy," said Johannes Rossmann, who lived a few doors down from Lubitz's home in Montabaur.

German news media painted a picture of a man with a history of depression who had received psychological treatment, and who may have been set off by a falling out with his girlfriend. Duesseldorf prosecutors, who are leading the German side of the probe, refused to comment on the anonymously sourced reports, citing the ongoing investigation.

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said there was a "several-month" gap in Lubitz's training six years ago, but would not elaborate. Following the disruption, he said, Lubitz "not only passed all medical tests but also his flight training, all flying tests and checks."

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration had issued Lubitz a third-class medical certificate. In order to obtain such a certificate, a pilot must be cleared of psychological problems including psychosis, bipolar disorder and personality disorder "that is severe enough to have repeatedly manifested itself by overt acts."

The certificate also means that he wasn't found to be suffering from another mental health condition that "makes the person unable to safely perform the duties or exercise the privileges" of a pilot's license.

French investigators, who are in charge of the probe into the plane crash, believe the 27-year-old locked himself inside the cockpit and then intentionally smashed the Germanwings plane into a mountainside on Tuesday during a flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf.

People in Montabaur who knew Lubitz told AP they were shocked at the allegations that he could have intentionally crashed the plane, saying he had been thrilled with his job at Germanwings and seemed to be "very happy."

Germanwings, a low-cost carrier in the Lufthansa Group, said it was setting up a family assistance center in Marseille for relatives of those killed in the crash.

"In these dark hours our full attention belongs to the emotional support of the relatives and friends of the victims of Flight 9525," Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann said in a statement.
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Polskie niemowlę wśród 150 ofiar katastrofy #Germanwings
W katastrofie zginęło 150 osób, w tym niemowlę posiadające kilka obywatelstw, w tym polskie. MSZ poinformowało, że nie stwierdziło dotąd innych ofiar posiadających nasze obywatelstwo.

Tak czytamy w komunikacie MSZ, polskie służby konsularne otoczyły opieką rodzinę zmarłego i są z nią w kontakcie.
Najwięcej ofiar jest wśród obywateli Niemiec i Hiszpanii. Informację o śmierci swoich trzech obywateli potwierdziło brytyjskie MSZ. W katastrofie zginęli także Australijczycy, Japończycy, Kolumbijczycy i Izraelczyk oraz dwie obywatelki USA.
Na miejsce tragedii przyjechali w środę prezydent Francji, kanclerz Niemiec i premier Hiszpanii. Prezydent Francois Hollande, kanclerz Angela Merkel i premier Mariano Rajoy przylecieli w Alpy dwoma śmigłowcami. Na polanie, gdzie utworzono główny sztab akcji ratowniczej, rozmawiali z miejscowymi władzami, z prowadzącymi akcję oraz najprawdopodobniej także z rodzinami niektórych ofiar.
Jak relacjonuje z Seyne-les-Alpes specjalny wysłannik Polskiego Radia Wojciech Cegielski, niemiecka kanclerz i hiszpański premier dziękowali francuskiemu prezydentowi za zaangażowanie i za jego szlachetną postawę. Dziękowali też ratownikom za ich, jak mówili, godną podziwu pracę. Angela Merkel dodawała, że rodzinom ofiar zostanie udostępnione miejsce, w którym airbus A320 się rozbił.
Ekipy ekspertów znalazły już czarne skrzynki samolotu linii Germanwings. Zapisy rejestratorów airbusa A320 będą kluczowe, by wyjaśnić przyczynę tragedii.
Pierwszą czarną skrzynkę znaleziono na rumowisku już we wtorek. Jest to rejestrator rozmów w kabinie pilotów. Nie wiadomo na razie, czy uda się odczytać zapisane tam dane. „Jest ona zniszczona, ale jest możliwe odtworzenie jej, by w ten sposób odczytać pewne szczegóły na temat tej katastrofy” – mówił we francuskim radiu RTL minister spraw wewnętrznych Bernard Cazeneuve.
Jak poinformował prezydent Francji Francois Hollande, odnaleziono obudowę drugiej czarnej skrzynki, ale bez aparatury zapisującej.
Eksperci badający zapisy podkreślają jednak, że jest za wcześnie, aby snuć jakieś przypuszczenia co do przyczyn katastrofy. Ale istnieje kilka hipotez – dehermetyzacja kabiny i zasłabnięcie załogi, problemy z systemami pokładowymi, błąd pilotów oraz zamach. W tej chwili żaden z tych scenariuszy nie wydaje się bardziej prawdopodobny od pozostałych.
Akcję poszukiwawczą utrudnia pogoda. Wysoko w górach istnieje niebezpieczeństwo zejścia lawin. Samolot rozbił się w wąwozie, do którego na razie nie można dostać się pieszo, a jedynie śmigłowcami.
Tymczasem szef Lufthansy, do której należy linia Germanwings, podkreśla, że airbus był "w idealny stanie". "To jest niewytłumaczalne" – powiedział Casten Spohr, dodając, że dwaj piloci byli doświadczeni.
Mimo tych zapewnień niektórzy piloci Germanwings odmówili wykonywania pracy. Z tego powodu trzeba było odwołać kilka połączeń. Część pilotów, a także niektórzy członkowie personelu pokładowego, zgłosili niezdolność do pracy. Rzeczniczka koncernu Lufthansa potwierdziła, że niektóre załogi odmówiły lotów zasłaniając się złym stanem psychicznym w związku z wtorkową katastrofą. Jak dodała, firma rozumie ich zachowanie.
Tygodnik "Der Spiegel" podaje jednak na swoich stronach internetowych, że powodem zachowania pilotów może być fakt, że samolot, który rozbił się we Francji, w poniedziałek miał usterkę i przez kilka godzin był naprawiany. Lufthansa zapewniła, że usterka została usunięta, zresztą nie miała wpływu na bezpieczeństwo lotu.

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#Polski #festiwal ostatni raz w #Holmdel?
Doroczny Festiwal Dziedzictwa Polskiego w Holmdel, NJ, w tym roku odbędzie się w niedzielę, 7 czerwca. Będzie to 43. festiwal i może być ostatnim organizowanym w PNC Arts Center w Holmdel, NJ.

Garden State Arts Foundation, która wspiera polski i inne festiwale etniczne w Holmdel i pokrywa większość kosztów ich organizacji, poinformowała organizatorów, że nie będzie w stanie finansować tych wydarzeń.

"Taki sam los spotkał festiwal słowacki i afroamerykański, które do tej pory odbywały w PNC Arts Center i sponsorowane były przez tę samą fundację" – tłumaczy Jadwiga Kopala, która od wielu lat działa w komitecie organizacyjnym tego największego w New Jersey festiwalu dziedzictwa polskiego.

Jak wynika z danych przekazanych przez Garden State Arts Foundation, fundacja ta przeznaczała rocznie około 35 000 dol. na organizację Festiwalu Dziedzictwa Polskiego w PNC Artc Center. Suma ta pokrywała opłacenie wynajmu miejsca, w którym jest duża scena, obszerny parking oraz mnóstwo miejsca na rozstawienie namiotów i stolików dla sprzedawców oraz organizowanie zabaw plenerowych.

Z sumy tej opłacana była też obsługa medyczna i techniczna festiwalu oraz drukowanie plakatów i broszurek. "To bardzo dogodne miejsce, w centrum stanu, z ogromnym parkingiem, ale nie będziemy w stanie zebrać 35 000 na zorganizowanie kolejnego festiwalu w PNC Arts Center" – mówi inny członek komitetu organizacyjnego Tom Kazalski.

Garden State Arts Foundation (wcześniej .Garden State Cultural Center Fund of the New Jersey Highway Authority) to organizacja, która została założona przez stan, ale obecnie nie otrzymuje żadnych stanowych funduszy, utrzymuje się z donacji i wsparcia sponsorów. Jak wynika z informacji na jej stronie internetowej, fundacja sponsoruje wydarzenia dla seniorów, dzieci, koncerty muzyki klasycznej oraz festiwale etniczne, które dzięki funduszom z tej organizacji odbywają się w PNC Arts Center od 1971 r.

Na początku swoje festiwale miało tam 13 grup etnicznych. W tym roku po raz ostatni Garden State Arts Foundation zasponsoruje trzy, w tym festiwal polski, który odbędzie się 7 czerwca.

Brak funduszy z fundacji nie oznacza końca festiwalu, który ma ponad 40-letnią historię. "Wszystkimi siłami będziemy szukać innych miejsc, w których będziemy mogli zorganizować kolejne festiwale" – mówi Jadwiga Kopala. Na liście potencjalnych miejsc są Monmouth Park, park w powiecie Bergen i w Bridgewater.

Organizatorzy czekają na kosztorysy i mają nadzieję, że alternatywne miejsca będą tańsze niż PNC Arts Center, który obecnie zarządzany jest przez Live Nation.
Festiwal Dziedzictwa Polskiego co roku gromadzi około 6000 osób – Polaków i Amerykanów polskiego pochodzenia. Zawsze rozpoczyna się uroczystą mszą świętą, a potem na scenie głównej odbywają się koncerty, występy taneczne i wręczane są stypendia przyznawane przez Polish American Heritage League.

Poniżej sceny głównej, na przestronnym trawniku, od kilkunastu lat odbywają się pokazy starych i ciekawych samochodów oraz motocykli, organizowane są zabawy dla dzieci oraz turnieje sportowe. Na dziesiątkach stoisk natomiast uczestnicy festiwalu mogą zakupić polskie potrawy, książki i pamiątki.
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