Taut relations with Belarus

Belarus makes headlines in today's press with relations taut between Warsaw and Minsk over the Polish minority.

"Belarus strikes at Poles" headlines RZECZPOSPOLITA, reporting that the Polish President and Foreign Minister intend to join forces to pressure Minsk. GAZETA WYBORCZA in an editorial urges: "We should tell Minsk: Enough!" writing that the Lukashenko regime's testing of Warsaw's patience had reached a climax and that Warsaw should respond duly to the repressions of the Union of Poles - the biggest apolitical non-governmental organisation in Belarus.

METRO, distributed free in the Warsaw underground, adds that the European Parliament is considering sanctions against Belarus in an article titled "Lukashenko shuts Poles in prison, Warsaw shuts the borders". Meanwhile POLSKA THE TIMES wonders: "The regime is closing the Union of Poles. What will Polish diplomacy do?"

DZIENNIK GAZETA PRAWNA alarms that the numbers of suicides in Poland have been rapidly growing. According to police statistics, last year there were almost as many suicide attempts as road casualties, it writes. The average Polish suicide is a man with employment problems, increasing dependence on alcohol and the beginnings of depression.

In 2009, out of more than 4800 men who tried to kill themselves, more than 3700 succeeded. In the same period of time, 645 suicides were among females. The numbers for 2009 have been highest in the past 6 years, and, tragically, there has also been an increase of attempts among under-15s. This is still a taboo subject in Poland and there is no comprehensive prevention programme, writes the paper, adding that those at risk often turn to the internet, which is far more helpful in informing one on ways to kill oneself than of providing support.

RZECZPOSPOLITA reports that people trust television serials more than they do government ministers, writing of an initiative by the Education Ministry, which paid public television to weave themes promoting pre-school into several of its most popular series'. The Ministry says that all it did was use the concept of "idea placement" which is successfully used in commercial advertising. The reason is that government officials are far less credible to viewers than popular fictional characters such as a good mother or a wise parish priest, writes the daily.

GAZETA WYBORCZA, in its Warsaw supplement, reports that a cubic metre of wet and packed snow can weigh up to 800 kilogrammes, which spells danger for the buildings on which it lies. The authorities have released appropriate warnings but clearing companies have more work than they can now handle, in spite of steep charges. Moreover, writes the daily, those building administrators who neglected roofs while waiting for a thaw now are having to deal with a crust of ice below the piled-up snow, and leaking ceilings besides.


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