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Magdalena Chodownik

Warsaw, Poland
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About Magdalena
Magdalena Chodownik is an award-winning journalist based in Warsaw, Poland.
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Belarusian 'Freedom Day': This is journalism in exile fleeing censorship

25 Mar 2024  |  es.euronews.com
Belarus continues its massive repression of independent media, making it one of the most dangerous countries in Europe for journalists. Independent media cannot operate within Belarus, leading outlets like 'Euroradio' to relocate to Poland. The state-run BTRC is the only media operating normally, spreading regime propaganda. Reporters Without Borders' Svoboda satellite channels provide independent journalism to Russian-speaking populations from exile. In Russia, independent media face prohibitions and censorship, especially since the invasion of Ukraine. A small percentage of the Russian population accesses independent information, highlighting the importance of projects like Svoboda for free information flow in Eastern Europe.

Poland: 1st Place in Global Cybersecurity Ranking

06 Mar 2024  |  de.euronews.com
Poland ranks first in national cybersecurity according to the National Cybersecurity Index (NCSI), despite being highly threatened by DDoS attacks, with the majority originating from Russia. Cyber Defence Army's Przemyslaw Lipczynski notes Poland's high incidence of DoS attacks. Cybersecurity expert from CyberDefense24.pl highlights frequent attacks on Poland's rail transport authority and suggests Kaliningrad as a source. Felix Aime of Sekoia.io comments on Europe's strong cyber defenses. Euronews reporter Magdalena Chodownik reports that cybercrime costs are projected to exceed $10 billion annually by 2025.

Poland: Chaos and confrontations in public media - Strong criticism of Tusk

11 Jan 2024  |  gr.euronews.com
In Poland, there is ongoing chaos in public media following the government's attempt to replace directors and chief editors appointed by the previous administration. The dismissed officials, along with newly appointed heads chosen by Tusk's government, are both showing up to work. Opposition MPs are visiting the broadcasting house, and there is strong criticism of the Culture Minister's actions, which are seen as illegal and expected to be challenged in court. Legal experts, journalists, and NGOs agree that changes in public media were necessary but question the legality of the process. The new leadership of public television is striving to create a media outlet based on European standards but lacks full access to infrastructure. Supporters of the opposition are protesting Tusk's policies, particularly the changes in public media, while the ruling party addresses urgent budget approval and media reforms.

Law or Arbitrary? Two PiS Deputies Arrested in Warsaw

10 Jan 2024  |  de.euronews.com
A Polish court sentenced two PiS party deputies, former Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski and his secretary Marciej Wasik, to two years in prison for abuse of office. The arrests, which took place at the Presidential Palace, have sparked controversy over their legality and claims of political persecution. Protests erupted, with supporters arguing the arrests were arbitrary and likened to a dictatorship. The situation highlights ongoing political and judicial tensions in Poland, with significant criticism directed at the government and judiciary.

Political crisis over the imprisonment of two opposition deputies

10 Jan 2024  |  es.euronews.com
A political crisis has erupted in Poland following the imprisonment of two opposition deputies from the Law and Justice Party, Mariusz Kaminski and Maciej Wasik, who were sentenced for abuse of power. Despite being pardoned by President Andrzej Duda before the final court ruling, they were detained, leading to accusations of anarchy and state crisis. The situation has sparked a heated debate on parliamentary immunity and the legitimacy of the presidential pardon, with the ruling coalition blaming the opposition for the chaos. Protests have ensued, highlighting deep political divisions in the country.

Poland Weakened by Political and Institutional Crisis

10 Jan 2024  |  fr.euronews.com
Two deputies from the national-conservative PiS party were sentenced to prison for abuse of power, leading to a political crisis in Poland. The deputies, Mariusz Kaminski and Maciej Wasik, sought refuge in the presidential palace, claiming political persecution by the new liberal and pro-European coalition. Their eventual arrest sparked protests and highlighted deep divisions within the country. The ruling coalition accuses the PiS of evading legal responsibility and undermining the state, while the PiS and its supporters decry what they see as a dictatorial crackdown. The situation underscores the ongoing struggle between conservative and liberal forces in Poland.

In Poland, new ministries to bring the country closer to the EU

01 Jan 2024  |  fr.euronews.com
Donald Tusk's new government in Poland has established four new ministries aimed at aligning the country with European values and standards. The Ministry of Industry, located in the mining city of Katowice, will focus on mining and energy issues, particularly mineral fuels. The government also introduced ministries for senior citizens, civil society, and equality, addressing abortion rights and other pressing issues. The Ministry for Equality will include an anti-discrimination commissioner for gender and LGBTQ+ community matters. Activists and experts view these changes positively, seeing them as a significant political gesture and a move towards action. The upcoming administrative and European elections in 2024 will serve as a test for the new government's commitment to its promises.

Chaos at the Polish-Ukraine border as row over transport permits continues

05 Dec 2023  |  www.euronews.com
Protests at the Poland-Ukraine border by transport companies and truck drivers, now joined by farmers, have caused significant disruption. The main grievances include the scrapping of permits for Ukrainian drivers and the European Commission's restrictions on truck transit, which were altered to aid Ukraine post-Russian invasion. Polish transport company owners and politicians argue that these changes have destabilized the market. Despite a recent agreement to open an additional border crossing for empty trucks, the situation remains tense.

UN awards Polish couple for providing safe housing for refugees since the start of war in Ukraine

28 Nov 2023  |  www.euronews.com
Wladyslaw and Lena Grochowski have been honored by the United Nations for their significant contributions to providing safe housing for refugees since the onset of the war in Ukraine. Their foundation, the Lena Grochowska Foundation, has expanded its efforts to accommodate refugees, offering 500,000 nights of free lodging through their Arche hotel network. The foundation has invested €4.1 million in housing and opened centers in six Polish cities. The UNHCR awarded them the Nansen Prize for their comprehensive support, which includes job training and social inclusion for refugees. The Grochowski family also supports migrants at the Polish-Belarusian border.

Poland: Couple offers half a million accommodation places to refugees

28 Nov 2023  |  gr.euronews.com
A Polish couple, Vladislav and Lena Grokhovski, were awarded by the United Nations for offering half a million safe accommodation places to refugees through their hotel chain, Arche. They established crisis management centers in all their hotels to support refugees, providing food, shelter, and assistance in finding jobs and integrating into society. The UNHCR praised their holistic approach, which also involved collaboration with municipalities and humanitarian organizations.

Poland: Liberal coalition attempts to unfreeze EU funds

22 Nov 2023  |  ru.euronews.com
Following the liberal coalition's parliamentary majority in Poland, there is hope for the reversal of controversial judicial changes made by the Law and Justice Party. Brussels requires an independent judiciary to unfreeze EU funds. Judge Łukasz Mrozek from the Association of Polish Judges and Anna-Maria Zukowska from the New Left Party discuss steps towards depoliticizing the National Judicial Council. Poland received the first 5 of 60 billion euros from EU funds aimed at reducing dependency on Russian fossil fuels. Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński calls for the immediate allocation of funds, stating that the withholding of funds is politically motivated without legal basis. The European Commission recommended allocating 5 billion euros to Poland, separate from funds contingent on judicial system changes.

Poland: Maneuvering for government formation

13 Nov 2023  |  gr.euronews.com
Polish President Andrzej Duda has tasked Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, leader of the ruling Law and Justice Party, with forming a government following recent elections. Despite winning the elections, Morawiecki's party lacks a majority in the new Parliament. An opposition coalition, including the Civic Platform led by Donald Tusk, has a parliamentary majority and has signed an agreement indicating a commitment to liberal policies, separation of church and state, and restoration of the rule of law. The opposition alliance aims to rebuild relations with the EU and unblock European funds, contingent on legal reforms in Poland. Razem, part of a left-wing coalition, supports the opposition alliance but did not sign the agreement due to financial guarantees concerns. It is likely that the Law and Justice Party will not find the majority it seeks, and Poland must wait a few weeks before power transitions to the more liberal coalition.

Poland's parliament convenes as two opposing camps claim victory in its national elections

13 Nov 2023  |  www.euronews.com
Poland's president Andrzej Duda announced that the right-wing Law and Justice party will attempt to form a government despite lacking a parliamentary majority. Meanwhile, three opposition factions, including Donald Tusk's centrist Electoral Coalition, the Christian Democratic Third Way, and the Left, have signed a coalition agreement, securing a majority of 248 seats. The coalition aims to address key issues such as economic and environmental management, EU relations, public media reconstruction, and the separation of church and state. If the current government's formation efforts fail, the opposition is set to take power by mid-December.

Polish truck drivers block checkpoints on the border with Ukraine

07 Nov 2023  |  ru.euronews.com
Polish truck drivers have blocked roads to three border crossing points with Ukraine, protesting that they are losing business due to the war and accusing the government of inaction. The blockade aims to prevent Ukrainian trucks from entering, with exceptions for humanitarian aid and assistance to the Ukrainian army. Protesters are angered by Ukrainian carriers offering cheaper services without adhering to European standards. The Ukrainian ambassador called the action a painful stab in the back, but protesters insist on staying until they receive concrete proposals. Previously, the market was regulated, but in 2022 the EU lifted the permit system for Ukrainian commercial carriers to aid the war-affected country. Experts suggest that improving cross-border transport and leveling the competitive playing field are essential, and negotiations with Ukraine are crucial. The Medyka border crossing remains open, but protesters do not rule out blocking other checkpoints if their demands are not met.

Polish truckers protest against unfair competition from Ukraine colleagues

07 Nov 2023  |  euronews
Polish truck drivers are blocking three border crossings with Ukraine, protesting against unfair competition as Ukrainian truckers are exempt from paying entry permits into the EU. This exemption was granted to support Ukraine's economy after Russia's invasion. The protesters claim they have lost business and demand action from the Polish government, which has yet to propose a solution. Exceptions to the blockade include humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

In Poland, the process of forming a new government begins

24 Oct 2023  |  ru.euronews.com
The process of forming a new government in Poland has begun following parliamentary elections. Although the conservative Law and Justice Party won the most seats, it lacks a majority, complicating its ability to form a government. The liberal coalition, comprising the Third Way, Civic Coalition, and Left, is attempting to persuade President Andrzej Duda to allow them to form the government. Analysts predict that Mateusz Morawiecki may remain as prime minister initially, but Donald Tusk is likely to lead the new coalition government by December. President Duda will consult with political parties to assess their chances of securing a parliamentary majority.

Donald Tusk on the opposition's victory: 'This is a new era for Poland'

16 Oct 2023  |  ru.euronews.com
Poland is shifting towards liberal left forces as three opposition alliances gain enough votes to potentially unseat the ruling nationalist conservative party. The 'Third Way' block, one of the winners, sees itself as a mediator for a new chapter in Polish politics. Despite 'Law and Justice' taking first place in the elections, opposition parties are urging the president to bypass the formality of government formation. The opposition, including Donald Tusk's 'Civic Coalition,' 'Third Way,' and 'New Left,' campaigned on different platforms but shared a promise to defeat 'Law and Justice.' Leaders like Donald Tusk aim to restore tense relations with the EU, while liberal activists express satisfaction with the election outcome. Final results are awaited until Tuesday.

Poland: What the parties that will determine the next day tell Euronews

11 Oct 2023  |  gr.euronews.com
On October 15, Polish citizens will decide on an election battle that appears to be closely contested. Neither of the two largest parties, Law and Justice and Civic Platform led by Donald Tusk, seem capable of winning an absolute majority, making the third party a likely determinant of Poland's post-election direction. Euronews interviewed representatives from parties likely to claim third place about their terms for a potential government coalition. Mikał Komposko from the centrist Third Way outlined terms for cooperation with Civic Platform, emphasizing a return to Europe, restoration of the rule of law, and improvement of public services. Agata Diduszko-Zyglewska from the New Left discussed being guardians of women's rights and the separation of church and state. The conservative Confederation party, represented by Krzysztof Bosak, is seen as a potential partner for Law and Justice, despite significant differences, particularly on economic issues.

Legislative elections in Poland: the number of non-voters is increasing

10 Oct 2023  |  fr.euronews.com
In the upcoming decisive legislative elections in Poland, 45% of voters remain undecided, with a significant portion not intending to vote. Katarzyna Wodniak from Trinity College Dublin notes that undecided women, who tend to be more favorable to democracy and progressive, could sway the elections if they vote. The campaign 'Les femmes aux urnes!' encourages women to vote, emphasizing the potential impact of each vote. Distrust in politicians contributes to a high abstention rate, with 10% of the electorate refusing to vote. Zenobia Zaczek, an activist, expresses a preference for direct democracy over parliamentary democracy, highlighting a lack of control over elected officials' actions.

New Polish government sacks governing bodies of public media

04 Oct 2023  |  nz.news.yahoo.com
The new Polish coalition government, led by Donald Tusk, has dismissed the governing bodies of public media, including Television, Radio, and News Agency, and appointed new leadership. This move aims to end the political control of media by the previous conservative nationalist administration led by the Law and Justice party. As a result, broadcasting has been cut, and programs have been canceled, leaving many employees uncertain about their future.

Will Slovakia move towards Russia after snap elections?

29 Sep 2023  |  France 24
Slovakia, a strong ally to Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February 2022, may see a shift in its foreign policy depending on the outcome of the upcoming snap parliamentary elections. The pro-Russian SMER party, led by former prime minister Robert Fico, is leading in the polls with a platform that includes halting arms support to Ukraine. This stance is gaining traction among Slovakians who are influenced by Russian propaganda.

Slovakia: Towards a pro-Russian shift after the parliamentary elections?

29 Sep 2023  |  www.france24.com
Slovakia, which has been supportive of Ukraine by providing weapons, planes, and sheltering refugees, may see a change in its stance as early parliamentary elections approach. Former pro-Russian Prime Minister Robert Fico, leader of the SMER party, is leading in the polls, potentially signaling a shift in the country's allegiance that could result in Ukraine losing one of its closest allies in the region.

Poland: Farmers say 'no' to Ukrainian grain - Warsaw and Brussels clash

14 Sep 2023  |  gr.euronews.com
The European ban on Ukrainian grain imports to Poland is set to end on September 15, but Warsaw strongly opposes lifting the restriction. Polish farmers are upset due to losses from cheaper Ukrainian grain in the market. The ruling party vows to keep the ban until the end of the year, even if it leads to conflict with Brussels. Farmers are skeptical of government promises, especially with parliamentary elections approaching. The article highlights differing views on the capacity of Polish ports to handle grain exports and the broader implications for Polish-Ukrainian trade relations.

Back to school: 170,000 Ukrainian pupils start a new year at school in Poland

05 Sep 2023  |  euronews.com
Ukrainian children in Poland have begun their second full academic year away from Ukraine. The International Rescue Committee found that 170,000 Ukrainian pupils in Polish schools struggle with language barriers, integration, and trauma. Additionally, an equal number of Ukrainian children are not enrolled in Polish schools, with parents choosing home-schooling, Ukrainian language schools in Poland, or online education.

Poles voting in October's general election will face referendum questions on migration too

31 Aug 2023  |  euronews.com
Polish voters will participate in a four-question referendum on the same day as the general election on 15 October, addressing issues such as retirement age, state asset ownership, border fence with Belarus, and migrant processing rules. The referendum, proposed by the nationalist Law and Justice party, has been criticized by Donald Tusk's Civic Platform party as a distraction from the ruling party's governance record.

Referendum on Election Day in Poland: Pros and Cons

31 Aug 2023  |  ru.euronews.com
The Polish Sejm voted for the ruling Law and Justice Party's proposal to hold a referendum on the same day as the parliamentary elections on October 15, 2023. The referendum has sparked sharp criticism from the opposition and parts of civil society, accusing the ruling party of campaigning through the referendum, attempting to influence voter decisions on election day, and the inappropriateness of the questions. The referendum will address four issues: the sale of state assets to foreign entities, retirement age, potential dismantling of the wall on the Belarusian border, and the resettlement of migrants. The opposition claims the referendum is senseless and accuses the ruling party of using it for their own advantage, with the campaign potentially funded by state resources. Dozens of organizations have also signed a letter to the National Electoral Commission, calling for guidelines that allow voters to refuse to participate in the referendum, which they believe will help voters make a fully informed decision.

Criticism in Poland of the referendum planned by the Government for election day

31 Aug 2023  |  es.euronews.com
The Polish Sejm approved a proposal by the ruling Law and Justice Party to hold a referendum on October 15, 2023, coinciding with parliamentary elections. The referendum, which includes questions on state asset sales, retirement age, border security, and EU migrant relocation, has faced significant criticism from the opposition and civil society. Critics argue that the referendum is a campaign tactic by the ruling party to influence voters. The Law and Justice Party defends the referendum as necessary for addressing crucial security issues. Opposition figures and organizations have called for guidelines to inform voters of their right to abstain from the referendum.

Sharp language, military themes, and polarization dominate the election campaign

22 Aug 2023  |  es.euronews.com
The Polish election campaign is marked by sharp language, military themes, and deep polarization. Voters are demanding more substantial debates and specific action plans, particularly on security. The ruling party, Law and Justice, and the opposition, Civic Platform, face criticism for their campaign strategies. The nationalist party, Confederation, is perceived to benefit from the major parties' conflicts by adopting a softer language approach. Protests and public sentiment reflect the intense ideological divide in the country.

Parliamentary Elections in Poland: What is the Strategy of the Far-Right?

22 Aug 2023  |  ru.euronews.com
The Polish parliamentary election campaign has begun, marked by sharp rhetoric and societal division. The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party emphasizes security amid geopolitical tensions, while the opposition is criticized for lack of concrete proposals. Experts attribute the militarized language to the ongoing war in Ukraine and societal polarization. Public dissatisfaction with media bias and the rise of the far-right Confederation party, especially among the youth, are notable. The election outcome is expected to hinge on voter sentiment in the final days of the campaign.

Polish city pushes for more green spaces as country is hit by heatwave

26 Jul 2023  |  euronews.com
Rzeszów, near the Ukrainian border, is one of Poland's greenest cities due to a concerted effort to increase green spaces. Trees significantly lower temperatures, providing natural cooling in urban areas. The city's residents and government collaborated to plant trees, with around 1,000 new trees added this year. Studies indicate that tree coverage can reduce urban heat island effect-related deaths and that proximity to green spaces correlates with biological youthfulness.

Rzeszów plants trees for urban livability in times of climate change

26 Jul 2023  |  es.euronews.com
Rzeszów, recognized as one of Poland's greenest cities, is enhancing urban livability by planting more trees to combat climate change. Local residents and activists, like Mirosław Ruszała from EKOSKOP, highlight the significant temperature differences between shaded and sun-exposed areas, emphasizing the importance of urban vegetation. The municipal council, represented by Artur Gernand, actively involves citizens in identifying new planting sites, aiming to plant over a thousand new trees this year. This collaborative effort between the city council and residents aims to mitigate the effects of global warming and improve the quality of life, setting a model for other cities.

Security ramped-up on Lithuanian-Russian border as NATO talks get underway in Vilnius

12 Jul 2023  |  www.euronews.com
Lithuania has heightened security measures on its border with Kaliningrad Oblast and Belarus due to tensions from Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing NATO summit in Vilnius. The Queen Louise Bridge crossing is closed to car traffic, and additional staff and technical systems have been deployed. The southeastern border with Belarus, a common migration route, has also seen increased cautionary measures. Despite low official asylum acceptance numbers, activists argue that migration continues, with personal stories highlighting the challenges faced by migrants.

Descendants of Nazi victims demand compensation from German companies

28 Jun 2023  |  hu.euronews.com
Descendants of two Polish victims of Nazism have filed a claim for €4.3 million in compensation against German companies Bayer and Henschel. One victim, Leopold Wiellisz, had his company taken over by Henschel during World War II, while the other, Tadeusz Sledzinski, was sent to a forced labor camp by a subsidiary of Bayer. The case, represented by the Defenders for Defenders War Compensation Foundation, runs parallel to the Polish government's reparations claim against Germany. The German government considers the matter closed, and experts suggest that while World War II crimes remain a serious issue, they do not threaten Polish-German relations. Public opinion in Poland is divided on the issue of reparations.

Poland: Descendants of Nazi Victims Demand Compensation from Germany

28 Jun 2023  |  fr.euronews.com
Descendants of two Polish victims of Nazi persecution are demanding €4.3 million in compensation from German companies Bayer and Henschel, alleging illegal seizure and forced labor during WWII. The Polish government continues to seek war reparations from Germany, emphasizing the injustice and asymmetrical treatment post-WWII. Despite ongoing legal and diplomatic efforts, German-Polish relations remain stable, though the legacy of WWII continues to impact them. Experts warn that German reparations to Poland could set a precedent for other countries to make similar demands.

Deliveroo Rider Stabbed While Fighting Off Knife-Wielding Mugger

28 Mar 2023  |  malaysia.news.yahoo.com
A Deliveroo rider in north London was stabbed while resisting an attempted robbery by 19-year-old Lewis Livingston from Enfield. The incident, captured on CCTV on July 1, 2023, shows Livingston attacking the rider with a knife in broad daylight. Bystanders intervened, and the victim received first aid before being hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. Livingston was sentenced to six-and-a-half years after pleading guilty. The victim expressed ongoing shock and fear, while Detective Constable James Hunt commended the public's bravery.

Poland’s Tourism Industry Is Helping Ukrainian Refugees

10 Mar 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
Poland's tourism industry, particularly in Lublin, has been actively supporting Ukrainian refugees following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Hotels like Arche Hotels have offered free temporary housing, while bus companies like FlixBus are providing free transportation. Some hotels, however, have been criticized for raising prices during the crisis. Initiatives also include guided city tours for refugees and cultural trips for children. Airbnb and its nonprofit arm are working to supply free temporary housing, and individuals worldwide are booking Airbnbs in Ukraine to financially support homeowners there.

Poland abortion ruling: protest movement grows across country

23 Dec 2020  |  France 24
In Poland, a significant protest movement is growing in response to a top court's decision that imposes a near-total ban on abortion. Demonstrations have continued for six consecutive days, drawing tens of thousands of people from various cities and even small villages. The protests have seen a diverse range of participants, including social groups traditionally viewed as conservative, such as miners and farmers. This widespread mobilization is occurring despite the ongoing pandemic, indicating the depth of feeling against the court's ruling.

Poland: Angry merchants demand help from their government

14 Dec 2020  |  euronews
In Poland, merchants took to the streets of Warsaw to express their frustration with sanitary measures affecting their businesses. Marek Moliński, an Indian restaurant owner, had to sell his apartment to avoid bankruptcy. Protesters are demanding more support from the authorities. Financial expert Marcin Roszkowski explains that the government is targeting financial aid to the most affected sectors. Medical experts, including Paweł Grzesiowski of the High Medical Council against Covid, stress the importance of maintaining restrictions to prevent a third wave. Despite Poland's threats of veto, the EU has voted on its budget and economic recovery fund, with merchants in Poland, Italy, and Spain hoping for government assistance.

Poland, a women’s revolt

13 Nov 2020  |  France 24
In Poland, the government is considering enforcing a court ruling that would almost completely ban abortion, leading to widespread protests across Warsaw. These protests have seen the participation of tens of thousands of women, undeterred by the Covid-19 pandemic. The protests are not only about the right to abortion but also express the public's concern over the increasing influence of the Catholic Church on the government. The reporter has documented the efforts of Polish women and men who are actively engaged in defending their rights, indicating a significant pressure on the government.

'Sex is not a crime': the women protesting Poland's new abortion law

13 Nov 2020  |  www.theguardian.com
Poland is facing significant protests, the largest in four decades, as the government attempts to pass a stringent abortion law that would include a near-total ban on terminations. This includes cases where the fetus has a condition that would lead to death shortly after birth. The protests have seen Polish women, supported by various age groups, taking to the streets to fight for their bodily autonomy and to challenge both the church's and the state's stance on abortion. Karolina Więckiewicz, a lawyer with Abortion Without Borders, is highlighted for her work in assisting Polish women to obtain safe and legal abortion services abroad. The article also touches on the broader social issues of sex and abortion stigma in Poland.

The Endless Conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh

16 Oct 2020  |  Le Soir
For over two weeks, fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh between Azerbaijanis and Armenians has resulted in at least 400 casualties and tens of thousands of displaced individuals. The conflict has escalated to a new peak of violence not seen in 30 years, with tensions and hostilities that had been relatively contained in recent years now erupting once again. The war stems from unresolved conflicts, unsettled crimes, pride, and political and economic crises. The current generation is left to resolve the unpaid debts of their parents, being sent to the front lines to continue a war inherited from their ancestors.

Belarusians in Poland Protest Lukashenko's Disputed Election Victory

15 Aug 2020  |  euronews
Belarusians residing in Poland protested against the disputed election that saw President Alexander Lukashenko secure a sixth term. Protesters called on the Belarusian embassy in Warsaw to support opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who fled to Lithuania citing election fraud. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the situation in Belarus during his visit to Warsaw. Poland is preparing for an influx of Belarusians and has set up an €11 million fund to assist them. Reports of torture among detained protesters in Belarus have surfaced. Stepan Svetlov, from Nexta, faces threats of prosecution for running an online news platform. A protester in Warsaw has started a hunger strike demanding EU sanctions against Lukashenko's regime. Polish MP Michal Szczerba expressed solidarity with the protesters outside the European Commission building.

'We are the most homophobic country in the EU': Poland’s election and the LGBT fightback – video

08 Jul 2020  |  www.theguardian.com
Andrzej Duda, the incumbent president of Poland, has been using anti-LGBT rhetoric as part of his re-election campaign strategy. He has made controversial statements, referring to 'LGBT ideology' as a threat greater than communism, which resonates with his conservative supporters. This stance has been accompanied by certain towns in Poland declaring themselves as 'LGBT-free zones.' The article questions whether the LGBT community and its allies have the capacity to influence the election outcome and prevent Duda from securing another term in office during the final week of the election campaign.

Polish journalists, judges and opposition turn to rap to denounce govt's authoritarian bent

08 Jun 2020  |  France 24
In Poland, various groups including musicians, opposition figures, judges, and journalists are utilizing rap music as a medium to protest against the government's authoritarian actions, particularly those that threaten the independence of the judiciary and press freedom. Meanwhile, President Andrzej Duda has engaged with the genre by releasing a rap in support of healthcare workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this has not quelled the criticism of the government, especially on the eve of a contentious presidential election, which has been rescheduled to June 28 due to the pandemic.

The Living Horror of Albania's Spac Camp

24 Mar 2018  |  euronews
The article by Magdalena Chodownik recounts the harrowing experiences of Adem, a political prisoner who survived nearly two decades of forced labor in Albania's Spac camp during Enver Hoxha's Stalinist regime. Adem was accused of conspiring against the party and sentenced to 20 years in the notorious camp, where he endured brutal conditions, hard labor, and the constant threat of denunciation and punishment. The camp, modeled after Stalin's gulags, was a place of extreme suffering, with prisoners working in dangerous mines and living in overcrowded cells. The article also touches on the broader context of political repression in Albania, the culture of spying and denunciation, and the aftermath of the regime's fall, including the challenges faced by former prisoners in seeking compensation and reconciliation. The Spac camp, now a decaying ruin, serves as a reminder of the country's dark past, which many Albanians are reluctant to revisit.

Double vision: dark times for the Rohingya echo past horrors – in pictures

14 Jun 2017  |  www.theguardian.com
The article discusses the plight of Abdul Rahim, a refugee from Myanmar, who resides in Naziratek village near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Rahim and his family are among the unregistered asylum seekers living outside the refugee camps, which means they do not have official refugee status and are ineligible for food rations. The story highlights the dangers faced by refugees attempting to migrate to other countries in search of better conditions. Rahim's son, Mohammed Yasin, endeavored to reach Malaysia by boat for a better life but was captured by a mafia. His family, unable to afford a ransom, has lost contact with him. Additionally, the article mentions the ship El Venizelos, which is used to transport refugees and migrants to Athens from the Greek islands, suggesting a broader context of refugee movement in the region.

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