January 9, 2014 |
Magdalena Zyzak's delightful first novel, "The Ballad of Barnabas Pierkiel," has no noble characters, a good deal of mean-spirited behavior, and it all ends badly - in other words, it's a comedy. For those who think that religious fanaticism, racial hatred and Nazis are not fit subjects for humor, Zyzak mounts a spirited defense. "Prejudices and stupidities … in any time, in any people, serve as worthy targets for a bit of mockery," she writes. "This may be considered, in its modest way, a document of protest, as lightheartedness has become rather rare in this part of the world.
December 13, 2013 |
To its credit, the Obama administration has condemned the crackdown on demonstrators in Ukraine and is suggesting that further repression might lead to economic sanctions. There are signs that international support for the protesters, who are calling for a closer relationship with Western Europe, may induce President Viktor Yanukovich to recommit to an association agreement with the European Union that he backed away from under pressure from Russia. Promising efforts also are underway to provide Ukraine with financial aid to enable it to close a deal with the EU. At the same time, U.S. officials are rightly emphasizing that Ukraine can honor its people's European aspirations without rejecting a harmonious relationship with Russia.
November 12, 2013 |
Rising tensions between Poland and Russia flared into a fiery rampage on Polish Independence Day, when masked youths and right-wing radicals veered from a peaceful march to hurl bottles, trash and torches at the Russian Embassy in Warsaw. Russia's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday summoned the Polish ambassador to Moscow, Wojciech Zajaczkowski, to demand an apology for the attack and compensation for damage inflicted on the embassy and a security checkpoint at its front gate, RIA Novosti reported.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 28, 2013 |
Tadeusz Mazowiecki, 86, Eastern Europe's first democratic prime minister after communism, a key advisor to Poland's Solidarity freedom movement and U.N. human rights envoy to Bosnia in the 1990s, died Monday in Warsaw after being hospitalized for a high fever, said his personal secretary, Michal Prochwicz. In August 1980, Mazowiecki joined thousands of workers on strike at the Gdansk Shipyard. Within days, their action grew into a massive wave of strikes that gave birth to Solidarity - Eastern Europe's first free trade union and a nationwide freedom movement - led by a charismatic shipyard electrician, Lech Walesa, whose name quickly became known around the globe.
July 4, 2013 |
The Caspian Sea city of Baku, Azerbaijan, will turn into an international hot spot for ponies and polo players this summer when the first Arena Polo World Cup gets underway. The event, scheduled for Sept. 6-8, will be at the newly constructed outdoor polo arena of the Elite Equestrian Center in Baku. Azerbaijan, the largest country in the Caucasus, sits at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe; Baku is the capital and largest city. The nation has a long polo history.
June 18, 2013 |
Auto sales in Europe fell to their lowest level in 20 years last month, a sign that analysts said represents the depth of the economic malaise spreading across the continent. Sales of new passenger cars declined 5.9% in the European Union compared with the same month a year earlier to just 1 million vehicles, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Assn. That was the lowest since May 1993 when new auto sales dipped below 1 million. Through the first five months of this year, the industry has sold just under 5.1 million autos, a 6.8% decline from the same period last year.