The trouble with Belarus

The weekly Wprost has a forceful visual comment on the conflict between Poland and Belarus on its frontpage. It shows Belarus authoritarian president Alexander Lukashenko with a clown's red ball of a nose and communist-era paraphernalia. Funny but also a sinister front page. Wprost says that both Lukashenko and Russian president Putin needed a war with Poland. But first a pretext had to be found and a handy pretext appeared when the Union of Poles in Belarus democratically elected new leaders, who were not ready to toe Lukashenko's line. The first stage of a cold war against Poland, the aim of which was to see how the European Union reacts, brought encouraging results for its political organizers in Moscow. The test was conducted on Poles but Wprost is convinced that next on Russia's list are the Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians.

The lay catholics weekly Tygodnik Powszechny is not happy with the way Poland is handling the on-going conflict with the Belarusian regime of president Alexander Lukashenko. Poland has yielded to a provocation masterminded by Minsk, it claims. It was Lukashenko who inspired disputes in the union of ethnic Poles in Belarus and wrote the scenario of a row with Poland, involving a series of tit for tat expulsions of diplomats. He cracked down on the last major non-governmental organization - the Union of Poles, limited the field for maneuver of the Polish diplomacy and moved closer to Russia, with which Poland has cold relations. Tygodnik Powszechny argues that in this situation Poland should at last forge a coherent policy towards Belarus and Russia, a policy which it still lacks.

The Warsaw Business Journal reports that Poland ranks among the top five countries in the world for international investments. According to the 2005 European Attractiveness Survey, Poland is now ahead of the three traditionally most attractive countries: Germany, the UK and France. The WBJ says this is mostly due to Poland's low labor costs and the availability of industrial sites. The uptrend is expected to continue as Poland is also a leader when it comes to considered destinations for new investment or expansion projects in Europe, says the Warsaw Business Journal.

Polish secondary school graduates are taking foreign universities by storm, but will they ever come back? - writes the Polish version of Newsweek, pointing out that it is the intellectual potential rather than the industry that makes nations powerful. Igor Ostrowski won the maximum number of points at the International Baccalaureate and was admitted to Cambridge, where he will study law and economy. Hardly a crammer, he is pursuing a wide range of interests and had even found time during the school year for a one month cruise on the North Sea. Igor is a graduate of a Warsaw school with an expanded program of English. And he is already planning weekend outings in the UK with close pals from Poland, as out of 36 students who took the IB exams in that school, 29 have decided to study in Great Britain. But this exodus of young talents from Poland is worrying many analysts, who say it is a brain drain. The snag is that no one has an idea how to encourage them to study in Poland or to return after studying abroad, in other words how to change the brain drain into a brain gain, writes Newsweek.

Polityka informs that a theatrical Polish version of the British box office hit "Full Monty" is in the making. Director Arkadiusz Jakubik changed the setting of this comedy about jobless men who set up a strip tease group. He wanted to reflect Polish realities. "The British sit in a pub, drink cold beer . They have hefty unemployment benefits. The life of our jobless is much more drab. They do not drink in pubs, but on benches in parks if they have any money at all to buy drinks", says Jakubik, who set the story in a backwater city in central Poland.