TIME Poland

2 Teenagers Arrested for Theft of Auschwitz Artifacts

Auschwitz poland robbery
Christopher Furlong—Getty Images The infamous German inscription that reads 'Work Makes Free' at the main gate of the Auschwitz extermination camp on November 15, 2014 in Oswiecim, Poland.

If convicted, the two could face up to 10 years in prison

Two British teenagers were arrested in Poland on Monday for stealing historic artifacts from Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest former Nazi death camp, which was converted into a museum at the close of World War II.

The teenagers, who have not yet been named by authorities, could face up to 10 years in prison, local police told the BBC. According to a museum spokesman, they are believed to have stolen items including buttons and pieces of glass.

In 2010, a Swedish man was convicted of plotting to steal the infamous “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work sets you free”) sign from the gate of the camp.

More than 1 million people, mostly Jews, as well as gay people and gypsies, were killed at Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945. In 1947, the site was converted to a museum and saw more than 1.2 million visitors in 2012.

[BBC]

TIME Poland

Women’s-Rights Groups Plan to Deliver Abortion Drugs to Poland by Drone

The move is designed to circumvent strict Polish laws on abortion

Four women’s-rights organizations based in Germany and Poland are planning to deliver WHO-approved abortion pills by drone from Germany to a Polish border town.

The drone will carry the drugs from Frankfurt an der Oder to women across the river in the Polish town of Slubice, in a bid to get around Poland’s restrictive abortion laws

The delivery will also hopefully bring attention to the discrepancy between Poland’s abortion laws and those of other European countries, says one of the organizations involved, Women on Waves.

Poland, a staunchly Roman Catholic country, is one of the few places in Europe where women can only get a legal abortion if there is proof of rape or incest, if the mother’s life is endangered, or if the fetus is severely malformed.

The drugs scheduled for delivery on June 27 are mifepristone and misoprostol. They can be taken without medical supervision for pregnancies of less than nine weeks, Women on Waves says. Inducing miscarriage is not an offense under Polish law.

Women on Waves adds that, since the drone won’t be flying through controlled air space and weighs less than 5 kg, it does not require authorization from the Polish or the German government.

TIME Poland

See NATO’s Massive Training Exercises in Eastern Europe

“The big buzz word was interoperability."

Thousands of NATO troops took part in a two-week exercise in Poland and the Baltic states, practicing sea landings, airlifts and assaults, the Associated Press reports.

The series of massive maneuvers, each with its own code name, took place on NATO’s eastern flank and in the Baltic Sea, where 5,000 troops from 17 NATO and partner nations took part in the maritime BALTOPS exercises. This year, the naval maneuvers took place without Russia.

Freelance photographer Amanda Rivkin was embedded with multi-national troops in Drawsko Pomorskie, a northwestern Polish town. “The big buzz word was interoperability,” she said, referring to NATO’s goal to show that its members can cooperate in the face of a potential crisis. “This is clearly being done as a show of force against Russia’s show of force in Crimea and in the Baltic,” she added.

Polish and Baltic state leaders have made it clear that they want to host large numbers of U.S. and NATO forces as a deterrent in the face of a resurgent Russia, the AP reports. “We must know how to defend ourselves. It is our goal to assure a stable order,” said Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna.

Read next: New NATO Force Trains in Poland to Assure Eastern Flank

TIME Poland

New NATO Force Trains in Poland to Assure Eastern Flank

Poland NATO Exercise
Czarek Sokolowski—AP Soldiers kneel down on the beach after an amphibious landing during NATO sea exercises BALTOPS 2015 that are to reassure the Baltic Sea region allies in the face of a resurgent Russia, in Ustka, Poland, June 17, 2015

"We must know how to defend ourselves"

(WARSAW, Poland) — Warships. Tanks. Helicopters. Rapid reaction forces.

Thousands of NATO troops are on the move this month in Poland and the Baltic states, practicing sea landings, air lifts and assaults. The massive maneuvers on NATO’s eastern flank that began in early June include the first-ever training by the new, rapid reaction “spearhead” force, and are NATO’s biggest defense boost since the Cold War.

Polish and Baltic state leaders have made it clear that they want to host large numbers of U.S. and NATO forces as a deterrent in the face of a resurgent Russia, and are welcoming the thousands of allied troops to their land and sea test ranges. Polish and Romanian leaders are even seeking more of a permanent allied military presence ahead of next year’s NATO summit in Warsaw.

“We must know how to defend ourselves. It is our goal to assure a stable order,” Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna said.

“In the face of new, real threats, the biggest enhancement since the Cold War of the alliance’s collective defense is taking place,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told the Polish PAP news agency.

He added that the spearhead exercise means to show that NATO is “ready and capable of facing every challenge and every threat.”

East European countries that took pains to shed Moscow’s dominance almost three decades ago have been jittery ever since Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula last year and began backing separatists in the deadly conflict in eastern Ukraine. They have urged NATO to show force as a deterrent.

In response, all kinds of NATO troops are testing their readiness this month to react and cooperate in the face of a potential crisis in the Allied Shield exercise in Poland, the Baltic states and in Romania. Those nations had significantly downscaled their armies and defense spending since the Cold War, but now they want to be sure that NATO will defend them in time of need — especially Poland, with its memories of failed defense alliances at the start of World War II.

Over 2,000 of the troops taking part in the Noble Jump maneuvers in southwestern Poland are from the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force that President Barack Obama and NATO leaders agreed upon at a NATO summit last fall.

Multi-national drills are also being held at Poland’s northwestern range in Drawsko Pomorskie, along with greatly scaled-up annual BALTOPS exercises on the Baltic Sea.

BALTOPS this year includes a spectacular amphibious landing of 700 allied troops on a beach in Ustka in northern Poland. Its maneuvers involve some 60 ships from 17 NATO and partner nations and about 5,000 troops. But for the first time they are taking place without Russia, whose Kaliningrad military port is on the Baltic.

On Wednesday at BALTOPS, a Polish army amphibian sank while returning to its ship following the drill. Both crew members were rescued unscathed.

A multi-nation corps in Poland’s Baltic port of Szczecin was doubling its staff to 400 this year to host the spearhead’s command.

Underscoring the maneuvers’ significance, the Noble Jump exercises are being visited Wednesday and Thursday by Stoltenberg and NATO’s commander for Europe, Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, as well as Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak and defense ministers from some other NATO nations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is not taking all this military activity lying down. On Tuesday, he announced a substantial re-armament program for Russia that, among other things, will add to its nuclear arsenal this year “over 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of penetrating even the most technologically advanced missile defense systems.”

Stoltenberg reacted by saying that Russia is “undermining the treaties we have had jointly in place for several years, which are important for arms control.”

Speaking ahead of the spearhead exercises in Zagan, in the southeast, he said that NATO members “don’t seek confrontation. We seek and strive for a more cooperative relationship but the precondition for that is that Russia is respecting the borders of its neighbors.”

Russia’s long-standing nuclear rhetoric, investment in nuclear forces and in military exercises “requires that NATO is responding,” Stoltenberg said.

Poland and Romania have been in talks to have U.S. army heavy equipment permanently stationed on their territory to speed up deployment in an emergency — since it’s faster to ferry troops than tanks and howitzers. Romanian Defense Minister Mircea Dusa said two other East European countries were also in these negotiations but did not name them.

The U.S. decision on placing heavy equipment is expected within weeks, Poland’s Siemoniak said.

Poland’s President-elect Andrzej Duda, who takes office in August, says security guarantees for Europe are not sufficient enough. He plans to further encourage NATO and U.S. military commitment to the region on Moscow’s doorstep.

“A realistic thinking does not base itself on wishful thinking that peace will come on its own, but it is secured by mutual, hard security guarantees,” said Duda’s foreign policy adviser, Krzysztof Szczerski.

The Polish public is divided about the NATO maneuvers.

“I feel safer that they are training here, that they are ready to defend us,” said Agnieszka Sokol, a 31-year-old housewife from Warsaw. “I don’t think that that will anger Russia. But even if (it does), NATO is much larger, much better armed compared to Russia. So I don’t think we have anything to fear.”

Not everyone is that confident.

“I don’t feel safe at all. I’m worried, seeing what Putin does. One move from him and we can have a war. It is really hard to say whether NATO would help in times of need,” said Grazyna Sokolowska, a 57-year-old shop assistant in Warsaw.

TIME Poland

U.S. Weighing Placement of Army Equipment in Poland, Minister Says

Jason Kenney, Tomasz Siemoniak
Alik Keplicz—AP Canadian Defence Minister Jason Kenney, left, and his Polish counterpart Tomasz Siemoniak watch the marching guard of honor prior to talks in Warsaw, Poland, on June 9, 2015.

Poland believes its security is threatened by Russia's actions in Ukraine

(WARSAW, Poland) — The U.S. will “soon” take a decision to place heavy army equipment in warehouses in Poland for decades to come, the eastern European country’s defense minister said Sunday.

A former Moscow satellite, Poland believes that its security is threatened by Russia’s hostile actions in neighboring Ukraine and is seeking permanent U.S. and NATO presence on its territory and in the region, as a deterrent.

Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak tweeted Sunday that he and U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter held talks about placing U.S. heavy army equipment in Poland last month.

“Decisions are near,” he wrote.

Siemoniak did not specify numbers or what type of equipment was being discussed. The White House and the U.S. defense secretary need to approve such a move.

Siemoniak told the PAP news agency that if such warehouses with equipment are placed in Poland, they will remain “for years and for decades.”

“It is not a temporary reaction to crisis,” he said.

Poland’s General Command spokesman, Col. Artur Golawski, said on Twitter that efforts have been taken to find locations where the equipment could be placed.

Commentators say that permanent stationing of heavy equipment near potential threat areas help speed up the reaction to an event, as relocation of troops is much easier and faster than relocation of large, heavy equipment.

NATO is holding massive sea, land and air exercises this month in Poland, the Baltic states and Romania in response to calls from these members for greater security reassurance.

Among the thousands of NATO troops is the new rapid reaction force, the so-called spearhead, agreed on at a NATO summit last year. It is testing it relocation and cooperation potential in southwestern Poland.

TIME Poland

U.S. Ambassador Apologizes to Poles Over FBI Director’s Holocaust Remarks

The 72nd anniversary of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
Jakub Kaminski—EPA The U.S. ambassador to Poland, Stephen Mull, right, lays flowers at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes in Warsaw on April, 19, 2015

Envoy concedes that remarks were "offensive"

The U.S. ambassador to Poland Stephen Mull has apologized for remarks made by FBI Director James Comey, who penned a Washington Post op-ed last Thursday in which he accused Poland of being a collaborator in the Holocaust.

Mull, who had been summoned by Polish authorities, conceded that Comey’s remarks were “wrong, harmful and offensive.”

During Nazi Germany’s occupation of Poland in World War II, more than 6 million Poles died in addition to millions of Jews, Roma and other groups who died in several extermination camps in the country.

In his article, which was based on a speech he delivered at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Comey referred to Polish “murderers and accomplices” and claimed that “in their minds” they “didn’t do something evil.”

The Polish embassy in Washington, D.C., published a statement over the weekend castigating Comey’s article “especially for accusing Poles of perpetrating crimes which not only did they not commit, but which they themselves were victims of.”

On Sunday, Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz said, “To those who are incapable of presenting the historic truth in an honest way, I want to say that Poland was not a perpetrator but a victim of World War II.”

TIME World

A Sword-Wielding Polish Prince Just Challenged a U.K. Politician to a Duel

"I’d like us to meet in Hyde Park one morning, with our swords, and resolve this matter"

The son of a celebrated Polish cavalry officer has formally challenged an English parliamentary candidate to a duel.

Polish prince Janek Żyliński challenged UKIP leader Nigel Farage to a 18th-century-style duel in a video posted on Youtube. Janek is the son of Andrzej Żyliński, a Polish officer who led a charge against the Nazis in 1939, according to the Independent.

“I’ve had enough of the discrimination against Polish people in this country,” Żyliński said before brandishing the sword his father used in World War II. “The most idiotic example I’ve heard of has been Mr. Nigel Farage blaming migrants for traffic jams on the M40.”

“What I’d like to do is to challenge you to a duel. I’d like us to meet in Hyde Park one morning, with our swords, and resolve this matter,” he continued.

“It is an impressive sword,” Farage said in response to the video, according to Sky News. “I don’t have one but I’m sure we could find one if we had to. But I’m not intending to accept the offer.”

[The Independent]

TIME France

An Airplane Crashed into a Skier in the French Alps Almost Severing Her Hand

The 55-year-old suffered a “near amputation”

What was supposed to be a relaxing excursion on the slopes of the French Alps turned into a near catastrophe when a small plane, sliding out of control after leaving an adjacent runway, struck a Polish woman on a skiing holiday.

The aircraft appeared suddenly from behind her without a sound, the local public prosecutor told Agence France-Presse. It skirted a group of children and slid under a chairlift. The woman, 55, did not hear the approaching plane and was hit by its propeller. She was seriously injured, and emergency services reported that she suffered a “near amputation.”

The resort doctor was immediately on scene to provide medical care, and the woman was then taken by helicopter to the local hospital.

The pilot was about to depart Avoriaz, a ski resort near France’s border with Switzerland, but failed to take off from the snowy high-altitude runway. Local prosecutor Patrick Steinmetz, whose office is investigating the incident, told AFP that the pilot was “a professional who is used to these kind of conditions.”

[AFP]

TIME World

A Mini Auschwitz Display at a U.K. Kids’ Attraction Has Been Slammed as ‘Bizarre’

Trains of Holocaust victims shown next to displays of London in the Swinging 60s

A tourist attraction geared at families and children in Birmingham, England has drawn flak for its “Railways in Wartime” Auschwitz display, depicting model trains shepherding Holocaust victims to their death in Nazi concentration camps.

“The Holocaust was only possible because of trains,” Wonderful World of Trains and Planes managing director Peter Smith told the Birmingham Mail. He said that he had received no complaints.

A sign by the display — which lies incongruously next to models of seaside Britain in the 1930s and London in the Swinging 60s — reads: “On each train about 3,000 men, women and children were herded into cattle wagons and moved hundreds of miles to the death camps – Bergen-Belsen, Auschwitz, Treblinka and others.”

Matt Lawson, a lecturer at Edge Hill University, has called the display “bizarre.”

“It’s a step too far and I really don’t understand the thought process,” Lawson told the Mail. “Did someone wake-up one morning and say, ‘You know what this place needs’…”

Mala Tribich, a survivor of Ravensbruck and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps who lectures on her experiences, said “Wonderful World’s Auschwitz is a useless tool in educating children about the Holocaust.”

[Birmingham Mail]

TIME Diet/Nutrition

How People Around the World Eat Their Yogurt

Americans may be largely alone in their Greek obsession, a new report shows

Any trip down the yogurt aisle makes it all too clear—yogurt is having a moment. Greek yogurt alone soared from 4% of the U.S. yogurt market in 2008 to 52% in 2014. But Greek isn’t the only yogurt game globally. A new report reveals that how (and when) people like their yogurt varies greatly from country to country.

MORE: QUIZ: Should You Eat This or That?

To assess yogurt preferences, DSM Food Specialties, a global manufacturer of food enzymes and ingredients, surveyed 6,000 men and women in six major markets: Brazil, China, France, Poland, Turkey and the United States. More than 53% of people surveyed report eating more yogurt than they did three years ago, even in countries with a robust history of yogurt consumption.

Here’s how people around the world like their yogurt:

  • United States

    Chobani Yogurt
    John Minchillo—AP Images for Chobani

    36% of Americans surveyed preferred Greek yogurt, and the U.S. was the only country whose citizens named it as the favorite variety. Americans were also more likely to eat yogurt for breakfast and the most likely to pair yogurt with fruit.

  • China

    103122353
    Getty Images

    In China, people prefer to drink their yogurt; only 11% eat it by spoon. 54% prefer a probiotic variety, much more than the other markets. A full 83% of surveyed Chinese reported actively looking for probiotics in yogurt, compared to 50% or less in other countries—most choose it for its gastrointestinal benefits. (Not all yogurts contain added probiotics, but it’s a growing trend.) The growth of yogurt popularity in China is somewhat surprising, given the high rate of lactose intolerance in the population—though the survey does show that 60% of Chinese men and women believe lactose-free yogurt is healthier than other yogurt.

  • Brazil

    Muesli with berries and yoghurt
    Getty Images

    Brazilians also like to eat their yogurt at breakfast, and they’re most likely to eat it with cereal, with 55% of the surveyed population doing so. Flavored yogurt is the yogurt of choice for 45%.

  • France

    93330485
    Getty Images

    The French typically eat their yogurt as a dessert (83% do so), and 73% like to eat it on its own, the survey shows. They also prefer the flavored variety.

  • Turkey

    Plain yogurt
    Getty Images

    In Turkey, 77% of yogurt lovers prefer eating it as part of a warm meal, and plain yogurt is the most common kind. Even though yogurt was a staple in Turkey before the recent fad, 60% of Turkish men and women surveyed say they are eating more yogurt now than three years ago.

  • Poland

    Opened cartons of fruit yoghurts, close-up
    Getty Images

    The Polish also love flavored yogurt—51% prefer it—and most eat it as a snack.

    Read next: Hungry Planet: What The World Eats

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