Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Quality of "Independent" Russian TV

I am watching Russian NTV news on SBS in Australia occasionally. The quality of reporting is appalling. In the news from Monday 25 January 2016 (listed on SBS as "Russian News 26 January"), there was a segment titled "Warsaw against the EU".  It had two short interviews with politicians from the fringe of Polish politics: Janusz-Korwin Mikke, introduced as a "veteran politician", a pro-Russian, anti-EU, far-right nationalist, and Krzysztof Bosak a very young and unknown far-right National Movement politician, presented as an "expert".

Oleg Nemenskij, a "political scientist", said that Poles do not like most: Ukrainians, Germans, Russians - in that order. Fact: CBOS poll from January 2015: Poles disliked most: Roma - 58% of Poles dislike them, Russians 50%, and Romanians 43% (commonly mistaken for Roma), the fourth group is Palestinians with 36%. No Ukrainians or Germans in the first three, just Russians, sorry Oleg. (*)

The segment showed Jacek Kurski - the new head of TVP, as president of Poland Andrzej Duda. I understand, after 10 years abroad all Poles look the same to me too. :-)
Jacek Kurski, he is not the President of Poland.
Andrzej Duda, this is the guy you should have shown.

It called Jarosław Kaczyński "the younger Kaczyński". Jarosław and Lech were twins. No Pole ever calls Jarosław the younger brother. We do not even know which one was younger, they were identical twins!

It said that after PiS took power, the EU flag was removed from the Polish parliament. Funnily enough, later they showed the parliament with the EU flag still there. (**)

There were other inaccuracies, fringe opinions stated as official state positions, and false accusations - for example about the alleged campaign to destroy Soviet Army monuments (***) in Poland. The whole segment was just a propaganda piece. Why is SBS showing that?


(*) More details on the OBOP poll: dislike: ... Turks 36%, Jews 32%, and Ukrainians 32%.

To balance this, who Poles liked most in January 2015 according to OBOP?  Italians 51%, Czechs 50%, Spaniards 49%, English 48%,  Slovaks 48%. Other nations: Americans 44%, Germans 43%, Ukrainians 36%, Jews 28%, Vietnamese 25%, Russians 22%, Roma 18%.


(**) The EU flags were removed from the government's press conference room.

(***) Some controversial Soviet Army monuments are being removed in Poland, for example, a monument to Ivan Chernyakhovsky who helped NKVD arrest Polish Home Army officers in Vilnus in 1944. Local news about the event: http://www.polskieradio.pl/5/3/Artykul/1506136,Rosja-oburzona-likwidacja-pomnika-bohatera-ZSRR-Symboliczny-gest-w-Pienieznie

Sunday, December 6, 2015


A quick weekend jump to Auckland with JetStar.

The road from the airport to Britomart, shows strong Asian influence on modern Auckland:

Britomart is the common name for the central railway station in Auckland. This strange name, evoking an image of a small British shop in India, comes from the name of a British Royal Navy ship HMS Britomart, which surveyed the area. The HMS Britomart was in turn named after Britomartis - a Minoan/Greek goddess of mountains and hunting,  and that name probably means "sweet virgin" in a Cretan dialect. There you go, the central hub of Auckland is called "sweet virgin". :-)

Auckland is ready for Christmas, can you see the reindeers?

Street art:

The Viaduct Harbour, which hosts many beautiful boats is located close to the Maritime Museum:

Team Vodafone's ORMA-60 class trimaran built in France capable of sailing at 18 knots windward:

The war was a good business to the shipbuilding industry in Auckland:

What's a "lighter" ? A kind of barge:

Auckland architecture in Viaduct Harbour:

Arataki Visitor Centre near Auckland:

Himiona Heketarere

Te Ure
Leaves growing directly from the trunk:

New Zealand amber (kauri gum):

Monday, November 2, 2015

Trip to Europe, September 2015, Oslo


We got to Oslo by a short and very inexpensive Ryanair flight from Warsaw's Modlin airport.

The bus from the Rygge airport to the centre of Oslo takes about 60 minutes. These office buildings look very interesting, but the best place to see them seems to be the platforms of the central train station:

Oslo is quite compact, it reminds me of Amsterdam, and is also a port. From the train station hall you can see ferries that connect Oslo with cities in Denmark and Germany.

The city centre is surprisingly quiet. There are very few cars. Buses use tram lanes when needed:

I like plants in the cities, if grass can grow between tram tracks, great!

I was looking for street art. The best I found outdoors was this advertisement for milk chocolate. I was in Oslo only one day though. 

 More, of the city centre, narrow streets and trams:

I like the human scale of these buildings, like in Amsterdam:

 A piece of street art inside the central train station:

An older and newer train, see the rust in these pictures? The climate is harsh:

This is a Norwegian tilting train capable of going 210 km/h. Next time I'm in Norway I will try to get on it:

The famous opera building - the roof is walkable and slides down all the way to the sea:

I have no idea what this building is, but it reminds me of the Hollywood Tower from Disney:

The Oslo City Hall building:

 This is the view from the other side. This is where the Nobel Peace prizes are given every year:

The National Theatre building is a symbol of a strong Norwegian presence in classical music.

The Norwegian resistance museum - it is much bigger on the inside than on the outside:

Neutral Norway was attacked by Germany on 9th April 1940. From the Polish perspective, the interesting thing is that Polish soldiers together with Norwegian, British, and French won the first major battle against Germans in WWII in May 1940 at Narvik:

German propaganda poster inviting Norwegians to join Waffen-SS in the fight against Bolsheviks:

Symbol of Norwegian resistance - H7 stands for Haakon VII - the king of Norway who escaped to the UK:

The Norwegian resistance was most famously involved in the sabotage of heavy water production.

Finally, a few intriguing statues from the Vigeland sculpture park: