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Poland cuts benchmark interest rate by 50 bps to 0.5%

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Poland’s Monetary Policy Council (MPC) cut the country’s benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points to 0.5 per cent, the lowest level in history, just three weeks after a similar move, central bank NBP said in a statement.

Basis points (BPS) refers to a common unit of measure for interest rates and other percentages in finance.

One basis point is equal to 1/100th of 1%, or 0.01%, or 0.0001, and is used to denote the percentage change in a financial instrument.

Prior to the March and April rate cuts, Poland’s benchmark interest rate had stood unchanged at the level of 1.5 per cent since March 2015.

In March, the head of the central bank NBP justified the rate cut as a move aimed at counteracting the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The country had 5,000 reported coronavirus cases,136 deaths and 222 recovered.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim
(NAN)

Fatima Sule: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

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Poland apologises after PM fails to observe virus rules

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A Polish government spokesman on Monday apologised for Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s failure to observe coronavirus-related social distancing rules in a cafe.

On Friday, Morawiecki posted a tweet showing him sitting at a table with the owners of a cafe in the Silesia region.

They were in close proximity to one another without wearing face masks.

According to the regime put in place after the country’s restaurants were allowed to reopen recently, only families and people who live together are allowed to share a table.

The prime minister’s tweet triggered criticism and mockery.

“The prime minister was misinformed by his staff and for that, I wanted to apologise,” government spokesman Piotr Mueller said.

Poland has been gradually lifting coronavirus restrictions in recent weeks as the number of new cases detected each day remains stable at several hundred.

So far the country has recorded over 21,000 cases of the novel coronavirus and almost 1,000 virus-related fatalities.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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People visit Warsaw Zoo park amid COVID-19 outbreak in Poland

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Photo taken on May 23, 2020 shows a meerkat in Warsaw Zoo park in Warsaw, Poland. Warsaw Zoo, which was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reopened on May 20. (Xinhua/Zhou Nan)

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Poland to extend int’l air travel ban until June 6

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Poland will extend the ban on international air connections until June 6, and on domestic flights until May 31, the Polish Press Agency reported Friday, citing documents of the Ministry of Infrastructure.

“Due to the epidemic in the Republic of Poland, it is necessary to extend the period of air traffic bans for a further 14 days for international flights and a further 8 days for domestic flights,” said the new regulation prepared by the ministry.

The draft provides that the regulation will enter into force on May 24. It now awaits the signature of the prime minister.

The current regulation of the Council of Ministers on the suspension of all flights will expire on May 23.

(XINHUA)

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Poland’s presidential elections planned for June 28

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The Polish government plans to hold presidential elections on June 28 as a later date is precluded due to the expiry date of the current presidential term, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Thursday.

“We want to fulfil our constitutional obligations and conduct these elections in line with the constitution and today we plan to do that on June 28,” Morawiecki was quoted by the Polish Press Agency as saying.

“A later date would not be indicated because afterwards, on August 6, the president’s term ends and later dates that result from the law would mean that announcing the final results or approval of the elections by the Supreme Court would stretch beyond the deadline,” he said.

On the matter of when the State Electoral Commission (PKW) would publish a resolution concerning the elections, the prime minister said analysis were being conducted as to the best time to publish such a resolution.

The PKW stated that in presidential elections scheduled for May 10 there was no possibility to vote and that the Sejm (lower house of the parliament) speaker would announce a new date within 14 days of the resolution being published.

(XINHUA)

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Poland reopens restaurants, bars, cafes, hair salons under rules enforced by sanitary authorities

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A waiter wearing a face shield serves coffee in Warsaw, Poland, on May 18, 2020. As the third phase of lifting restrictions, Poland has reopened restaurants, bars, cafes and hair salons on Monday under rules enforced by the sanitary authorities. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/Xinhua)

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Poland reopens restaurants, bars, hair salons as virus rules ease

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Poland will reopen restaurants, cafes, bars, food courts and beauty salons on Monday, another step in easing coronavirus restrictions.

All reopened facilities will have to adhere to a sanitary regime and observe social-distancing measures.

A limit of one patron per 4 square metres will be introduced in restaurants, bar and cafes.

Nonetheless, it is an easing after weeks in which only take-out and food delivery service were allowed.

Hair salon clients will have to make appointments to avoid crowds in waiting rooms.

Indoor sports halls will reopen on Monday, with a limit on the number of people allowed to enter.

Limits will be increased on the number of people who can use outdoor sport facilities and travel by public transport.

At the weekend, Poland already increased the number of people who can participate in religious services and lifted the obligation to undergo mandatory quarantine for cross border commuters, who pursue medical professions.

In the upcoming stages of lifting coronavirus restrictions, Poland plans, among other things, to allow a partial reopening of schools.

Social-distancing measures as well as an obligation to wear face covering in public are still in place.

To date, Poland recorded more than 18,000 cases of the novel coronavirus and over 900 virus-related fatalities.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Visitors tour National Museum in Warsaw in Poland

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Visitors tour the National Museum in Warsaw which has reopened amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Warsaw, Poland, May 16, 2020. The National Museum in Warsaw has reopened to public visitors on May 12 after being closed for two months due to COVID-19. (Xinhua/Zhou Nan)

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Poland’s main opposition party changes presidential candidate

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Poland’s main opposition party Civic Platform (PO) on Friday chose Rafal Trzaskowski to replace Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska as new presidential candidate after Kidawa-Blonska announced her quit from Poland’s presidential elections to be held later in the year.

Aged 48, Trzaskowski is the current mayor of Warsaw.

The change comes a nearly week after the elections originally scheduled for May 10 being postponed. The ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) accused the PO of falsely citing health reasons of the COVID-19 pandemic and democratic standards to force the postponement.

Incumbent Polish President Andrzej Duda, a former MEP and staunch supporter of PiS and its leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, was polling well among the likely voters. Opinion polls suggested a result of over 50 percent in favor of Duda in the first round if the elections took place as normal, as a large part of opposition supporters had declared that they would not take part in a vote conducted entirely by post, which the government tried to push through. A result above 50 percent would see Duda reelected outright.

More recent polls, however, showed Duda dipping below 50 percent again, making a runoff with the second-placed candidate likely. The new date for the elections has not been announced, but are speculated at the end of June or in early July.

(XINHUA)

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President Duda appoints new acting head of Poland’s Supreme Court

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Polish President Andrzej Duda on Friday appointed Supreme Court judge Aleksander Stepkowski, as the new acting head of the country’s highest court following the resignation of  the previous appointee Kamil Zaradkiewicz.

Zaradkiewicz was appointed acting head at the end of April but stepped down after the general assembly of Supreme Court judges failed to agree on their selection of five candidates for the permanent post of permanent Supreme Court head.

The Supreme Court has been racked by internal division along partisan lines.

So-called old judges, appointed ahead of extensive judicial reforms introduced by governing party Law and Justice (PiS), accused Zaradkiewicz of refusing to put to vote the motions they submitted.

Among the motions was a push to exclude from deliberations judges from a controversial disciplinary chamber, due to its uncertain legal status under Polish and European law.

Some new judges accused longer-serving colleagues of obstructing proceedings. Incoming acting head Stepkowski, also a new judge, has defended Zaradkiewicz’s actions.

Judicial reforms and court independence came to the fore of Poland’s public life after PiS came to power in late 2015.

The party started the implementation of broad judicial reforms, arguing that the inefficient system needs a comprehensive overhaul.

However, critics argue the reforms have been an attempt, sometimes unconstitutional, to control the judiciary.

Critics say that two main judicial institutions in the country, the Constitutional Tribunal and the National Council of the Judiciary, are already under strict political influence of the governing party and fear the same might happen to the Supreme Court.

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Obike Ukoh (NAN)

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