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Giant Stig statue in Poland for BBC promo

Good citizens of Poland, run for the hills: Big Stig is coming!

Top Gear The Stig Krakow

He’s nine metres tall, made of fibreglass and, according to the instruction manual, should only be hand-washed in warm soapy water. We don’t know where he came from, or what his mission upon this mortal coil may be. Frankly we’re worried to ask.

All we know is that he is Big Stig, and that he today departed the hallowed Top Gear test track on the back on a flatbed, bound for the Polish capital Warsaw, via Amsterdam, Berlin and Poznan. If you’re anywhere near those cities over the next few days, keep an eye out. You’re unlikely to miss him.

What’s all this in aid of, you ask? A fair question. It’s all about a new global channel called BBC Brit, which launches in Poland on February 1 and will be the new home of Top Gear in many countries around the world.

More, we hope, shall become clear in the coming days. For now, fair burghers of northern Europe, we ask you not to panic. Big Stig means no harm. If you spot him, simply stay calm, avoid eye contact, back quietly away and, whatever you do, don’t feed him any Wotsits. We don’t need another electrical substation trashed…

UPDATE, 27 January: After departing the UK on Sunday, we have word Big Stig has reached Germany, via the Dutch capital Amsterdam. And, having escaped the throngs of cameraphone-wielding spotters at Kent’s glamorous Clackett Lane service station, it seems Big Stig’s journey across mainland Europe hasn’t been exactly plain sailing.

“We had a brief stand-off with a tram in the narrow streets of Amsterdam,” reports Simon ‘Premium’ Bond, TG’s man on the ground. “And the journey through Germany to Berlin was fairly biblical in terms of weather. Good thing Big Stig’s waterproof…”

Last we heard, Big Stig’s rig was loose on the derestricted autobahn, clocking a fearsome v-max of 56.2mph en route to Poznan, Poland. Let us know if you spot the big lad…

January 28, 2015 Posted by | Events, News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Margaret Thatcher roundabout’ in Warsaw?

Local councillors in Warsaw are pushing for a roundabout near the central railway station to be named after the late Lady Margaret Thatcher.

Wojciech Bartelski, mayor of the central Warsaw borough of Śródmieście and member of the centre-right Civic Platform, told Polish Radio that the best way for the capital to honour the late British prime minister who died on 8 April would be to name the roundabout at the junction of Chałubiński and John Paul II streets after her.

Local councillors from the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), however, want the roundabout to be named after Edward Gierek, who replaced Władysław Gomułka as communist party first secretary in Poland in 1970.

2013 marks 100 years since the birth of Gierek.

Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, who is deputy leader of the ruling Civic Platform, has said he would like to see a statue of Lady Thatcher – whose funeral he attended on Wednesday – placed outside the Hala Mirowska market place, not far from the roundabout, which the British prime minister visited while in the Polish capital in 1988.

April 18, 2013 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

2 year stadium ban for Polish swimming hero.

A man has received a two-year stadium ban after he ran onto the pitch at Warsaw’s National Stadium before the Poland vs England match was called off, Tuesday night.

The 41 year-old man, described as Adam D. ran onto the pitch while fans waited for announcements as to whether or not the World Cup qualifying match would have to be re-scheduled due to a five hour downpour in the Polish capital.

A Facebook page – Free Heroes of National Swimming Pool – was set up after Adam D. was arrested on Tuesday night and spent the next two nights in a police cell.

The Facebook page had nearly 60,000 fans at the time of writing this article.

The man emerged from the stands and made for one of the goals, to see, he told the district court in Warsaw, Thursday, whether the pitch was in a condition to allow the Group H match to go ahead.

Adam D reportedly told the court that he was not aware of the legal penalties against what he was doing and that he thought his actions would ease a growing tension in the crowd, as kick off time came and went with still no announcement made by the National Stadium.

Adam D. who was one of several males who invaded the pitch, was ordered to pay a small fine (around 25 euros) as well as having to serve a two-year stadium ban.

The re-scheduled match was finally played on Wednesday night when Poland and England drew 1 – 1.

Meanwhile, the National Sports Centre, which manages the National Stadium and the Polish Sports Ministry have set up two different investigations as to why the match had to be called off on Tuesday. The National Stadium, which was opened this year at a cost over 500 million euros, has a roof which can be closed when rain is forecast for an event.

On Tuesday night, the roof remained open as the pitch turned into a swimming pool.

October 18, 2012 Posted by | News, Sport | , , , | Leave a comment

President Obama, ends European tour in Poland

US President Barack Obama has reaffirmed relations between the US and Poland, as his six-day tour of Europe drew to a close.

He praised Poland’s economic growth and its support of pro-democracy movements in North Africa and the Middle East.

Mr Obama also said the shelving of his predecessor’s plan to build a missile defence shield in Poland did not put the country or region at risk.

Poland PM Donald Tusk said 0ne had been reassured by Mr Obama’s words.

In a brief press conference with Mr Tusk, Mr Obama said Poland was “one of our strongest and closest allies and a leader in Europe” and “a living example of what is possible when countries take reform seriously”.

He praised efforts by members of Poland’s Soviet-era pro-democracy Solidarity movement to offer support to Egypt’s post-revolution government.

The BBC’s Stephen Evans in Warsaw says Polish leaders had been hoping Mr Obama would rectify what many saw as a slight, when he cancelled President George W Bush’s missile shield plan as part of efforts to “reset” US relations with Russia.

Many in Poland were disappointed when the US decided not to go ahead with the shield on Polish soil, says our correspondent, reading is as deference to Russia and as a sign of a lack of commitment to Poland.

Mr Obama repeated his insistence that the strategy was about reaffirming the Nato principles of mutual defence, saying it allowed their two countries to deal with shared threats.

“Nato is the strongest alliance in history primarily because it has a very simple principle – that we defend each other,” he said.

“What we want to do is create an environment in this region in which peace and security are a given – that’s not just good for this region, it’s good for United States of America. We will always be there for Poland.”

Mr Tusk said Mr Obama’s words “give us the sense that together we work for the purpose of Polish security” and that the US strategy was “the best way to guarantee security for Poland”.

The two countries also announced plans to hold high-level bilateral business meetings to promote ways of boosting economic growth.

Mr Obama said they had discussed co-operation on “a range of clean energy initiatives” including natural gas projects and nuclear power.

Poland has reserves of shale which hold natural gas.

Our correspondent says Germany and Russia do not want those reserves opened up, Germany for environmental reasons and Russia perhaps because it currently exports much gas to the whole region.

He says the hope in Warsaw was that Mr Obama would support the opening of the shale reserves, ideally with the help of American energy companies.

The US had already announced one new initiative on security – to set up a US air detachment in Poland to train Polish personnel.

However, Mr Obama has not granted Poland’s desire for a visa waiver for its citizens travelling to the US.

May 28, 2011 Posted by | News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

President Obama to visit Poland soon?

KRAKOW TOURS – US president Barack Obama is to take part in the summit of Central and East European countries to be held in Warsaw at the end of April.

The information comes from Foreign Ministry sources.

Reacting to the unofficial news, Prime Minister Donald Tusk told Polish Radio that “from our point of view the US is, and shall be, [Poland’s] most important ally.”

“We understand this is not always reciprocal, bearing in mind the force it represents. However, this would testify to the gravity of Polish-US relations. Let’s not look for different contexts. This is good news and I hope it will materialise,” PM Tusk added.

The information was first revealed by the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper on its website, while Polish Radio received confirmation from the Foreign Ministry in Warsaw.

March 19, 2011 Posted by | News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia Blames Polish Pilot Error For Smolensk Crash.

Russia has blamed the Smolensk air crash which killed the Polish president and nearly 100 other people in April on Polish pilot error.

The Polish crew failed to heed bad weather warnings because they were afraid of displeasing President Lech Kaczynski, Russian investigators said.

The presence of Poland’s air force commander in the cockpit drove them to take “unjustified risk”, they said.

Poland’s prime minister has cut short a holiday in response to the report.

A government spokesman said Donald Tusk was returning to Poland for talks with Poland’s lead crash investigator, Jerzy Miller.

Last month, Mr Tusk sharply criticised a draft version of the Russian report.

Russia’s handling of the disaster had previously been widely commended.

President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others, spanning the country’s military and political elite, were killed when their airliner came down in heavy fog near the western Russian city of Smolensk. There were no survivors.

They had been on their way to a memorial ceremony for Poles massacred by Stalin’s secret police at Katyn during World War II.

Tatyana Anodina, head of the Inter-state Aviation Committee (Mak) in Moscow, told reporters that the final report had been handed to Polish colleagues.

The Soviet-made Tu-154 plane, she said, had been in good condition when it took off from Warsaw en route to Smolensk’s Severny airport, and it suffered no engine or flight system failures.

The jet was piloted by Captain Arkadiusz Protasiuk (left) and Major Robert Grzywna

Before impact, there was no fire, explosion or other damage in the air, she continued.

The disaster resulted directly, she said, from the crew’s failure to heed weather warnings and land at a different airport.

“During the flight, the crew were repeatedly informed of inadequate weather conditions at the destination airport,” she said.

“Despite this, the crew of the Tu-154 did not take a decision to switch to a back-up airfield. This may be considered as the start of the extreme situation aboard the plane.”

The Russian investigation found “substantial deficiencies” in the training given to Captain Arkadiusz Protasiuk and his co-pilot, Major Robert Grzywna, Ms Anodina said.

The two men had feared a “negative reaction” from President Kaczynski if they switched to the other airfield, according to the Russian investigator.

“The main passenger’s expected negative reaction… placed psychological pressure on crew members and influenced the decision to continue the landing,” she said.

The jet’s flight recorder caught one of the crew saying “He’ll get mad”, in an apparent reference to the Polish president’s determination not to alter his schedule.

Poland’s air force commander, Gen Andrzej Blasik, added to the pressure by entering the flight deck, Ms Anodina noted.

“The presence of the Polish air force commander on the flight deck up to the aircraft’s impact with the ground put psychological pressure on the crew captain to decide on continuing descent in a situation of unjustified risk, dominated by the goal of making a landing at any cost,” she said.

According to pathology tests, alcohol was found in the blood of Gen Blasik in a concentration of 0.6 grams per litre – just above the drink-driving limit for most EU states.

Investigators found that a top Polish foreign ministry official, Mariusz Kazana, had also entered the flight deck at one point.

At the news conference in Moscow, they played back the flight recorder tape of the pilots’ final minutes, including conversations with Russian air traffic controllers.

Just before the recording ends, an automatic recorded message in English from the plane’s Terrain Awareness and Warning System can be heard exhorting the crew to “pull up, pull up”.

In December, Mr Tusk described a draft of the Russian report as “unacceptable”, saying some of its conclusions were unfounded.

Without revealing details, he said it did not comply fully with the Chicago Convention which regulates international air travel.

“This negligence and mistakes, or lack of positive reaction to what Poland has been asking for, all these things allow us to say that some of the report’s conclusions are without foundation,” he added.

On Wednesday, Mak official Alexei Morozov said his investigation had amended its report with regard to technical criticisms made by Polish investigators.

But other amendments suggested by the Poles relating to responsibility for the crash were not included in the report as they were non-technical, Mr Morozov said.

These amendments would, he added, be contained in an appendix to the report.

Lech Kaczynski’s twin brother, former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, recently said he doubted that the body entombed in a Polish cathedral last year was that of his brother.

“When I saw the body that was brought back in a coffin to Poland, that person did not look like my brother,” he told reporters last month.

BBC Full Report

January 12, 2011 Posted by | News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

An Englishman in Krakow……well Warsaw actually.

Here is Sting singing a couple of tracks from his Symphonicities album at Polish Radio’s 85th birthday gala on Friday 17th Dec 2010

December 20, 2010 Posted by | Events | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Horrors discovered as flood water recedes.

Damaged farms, ruined fields, trash, rotting corpses and carcasses are emerging from under water as flood is gradually subsiding in the south of Poland.

The financial losses caused by flood are hard to estimate, says the government’s crisis centre. Many roads throughout the country are still impassable and power lines still down. The death toll, which so far has reached fifteen, is still on the rise as new dead bodies are being discovered. Today, the corpse of a young girl was found in Mlynowka River in the southern region of Podbeskidzie.

Water is slowly subsiding in the region but still 150 ha are under water. In Czechowice-Dziedzice, prisoners from a correctional facility in Jastrzebie Zdroj are pumping out water from the flooded area and a rescue team is providing owners of the flooded houses with food.

In Podkarpackie region the Vistula River still exceeds the emergency level and flood alerts are still valid in several villages and the town of Tarnobrzeg, one of the towns hardest hit by flood water. Over 70 rescue workers from Ukraine are pumping out the flood water from basements, drainage ditches and fields using 12 highly efficient water pumps.

Soldiers from chemical units are preparing to disinfect flood-affected areas, from which water has already withdrawn. Inhabitants of these areas are being vaccinated against tetanus. Although the flood situation in the south of Poland is stable, it may soon deteriorate again, warns forecasts, as heavy rains and thunderstorms are expected there today.

In the Mazovia region, central Poland, water is also subsiding but sanitary services warn of epidemics as water in adjacent wells and water pipes is contaminated. In the flood-stricken areas many buildings are in danger of collapsing and will have to be demolished. Teams consisting of doctors, vets and building inspectors are visiting households to check if people are fine and houses safe enough to dwell.

After the great wave, the level of water in the Vistula River in Warsaw is going down. “It’s getting better. We are monitoring embankments every 30 minutes and so far they haven’t soaked or damaged,” Arthur Lauda from Warsaw Fire Services said. Firemen are cutting out trees on embankments in Port Czerniakowski because their weight may breach the construction.

May 27, 2010 Posted by | News | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

   

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