Poland, police are serious with traffic control drones

Poland, police are serious with traffic control drones


Just a few days ago we were talking about how Australia does not look favorably upon (and is good for) those who use smartphones while driving. But in Poland we have already reached the next level, given the regular use of drones that follow unruly motorists and report them to patrols. As you can see from the video at the bottom of this article, these are not experiments but a technological aid that the police are already using on a regular basis. Not surprisingly, the same video was released online by the Polish police forces.

The controls work in a similar way to the classic fixed cameras: the drone flies over the critical points of roads and highways where it usually occurs verify the most serious infringements. As soon as the operator catches cars that violate traffic rules, he follows them, alerting the nearest patrol. Within a few kilometers, based on the speed of the culprit, the agents pull over the responsible vehicle and activate the required measures. That said, there doesn't seem to be many ways to escape sanctions, other than change paths or keep running away hoping the aircraft's charge will run out (but the license plate is still photographed).

It's unclear which drone model is being used by the Polish police but certainly not the economic models that we find at the mall. The unit must in fact fly over the road from a certain height and be able to operate in all weather conditions. Just to get an idea of ​​its effectiveness, in the Olsztyn area (one of the largest cities in Poland) 31 infringements were registered and punished in 4 hours. These include driving without a license, the use of the telephone while driving (a classic) and failure to comply with road signs and rules.

We see some examples in the video below, where common maneuvers also appear in Italy such as overtaking with a continuous double line (in the presence of queues or slow vehicles). Speaking of Italy: for now we have to worry "only" about slow motion and tutors, but who knows that some administration will not read this news with interest. To be safe, drive carefully and watch out for unidentified flying objects.

Anger as Poland plans law that will stop Jews reclaiming wartime homes

A few years ago, Shoshana Greenberg stood outside a building in Lodz, Poland, once owned by her family, with an old photograph in her hands and tears running down her face.

Greenberg, now 74 and living in Tel Aviv, was on a quest to reclaim property lost during the Holocaust. Her father was head of a prominent, wealthy Jewish family in Lodz that owned industrial buildings, residential homes and holiday properties.

When the Nazis came, the property was confiscated along with the family jewellery. They were forced into the Lodz ghetto. Later, Greenberg’s father and his siblings were sent to Auschwitz, and only her father survived. After the war, the new communist government in Poland nationalised property that had been confiscated while destitute Holocaust survivors rebuilt their lives from scratch elsewhere.

Since the fall of communist Europe in 1989, most countries in the former Soviet bloc have taken steps to provide restitution and compensation to their pre-war Jewish citizens. Poland is the only major country that has not implemented such a programme – and now it is on the verge of making recompense even harder.

In the coming weeks, a new law is expected to pass its final stages in the Polish parliament that will set a 30-year time limit on legal challenges over confiscated properties, in effect axing thousnds of claims.

The Polish government has said the new regulations are aimed at preventing fraud and “irregularities”. It has also said it is “not responsible for the Holocaust, an atrocity committed by the German [occupiers]”. But many other countries – including the UK, Israel and the US – have sharply criticised the move.

Israel’s foreign ministry said: “This is not a historical debate about responsibility for the Holocaust but a moral debt of Poland to those who were its citizens and whose property was looted during the Holocaust and under the communist regime.”

Last week, the US said the legislation “would cause irreparable harm to both Jews and non-Jews by effectively extinguishing claims for restitution and compensation of property taken during the Holocaust that was subsequently nationalised during the communist period”.

The UK Foreign Office and the British embassy in Warsaw have raised concerns with the Polish government. Eric Pickles, the UK’s special envoy on post-Holocaust issues, tweeted: “Restitution of confiscated Jewish property remains unfinished business. Poland’s many friends urge it to agree a fair and reasonable scheme.”

Gideon Taylor, chair of operations at the World Jewish Restitution Organisation, told the Observer that the legislation was a “terrible mistake” that would “basically eliminate any claims”. He added: “The arguments made by the Polish government that there needs to be legal certainty is correct, and a very reasonable position. However, with that comes a necessity to address the underlying issues.”

Other former Soviet bloc countries had “squared up” to the past. “But Poland is trying to ignore the past, and paper over what was a huge injustice.” Some prominent Polish figures had advocated “addressing history openly and transparently but unfortunately there are stronger voices that reject any attempt to look at what happened. The hope is that wiser heads will prevail, but it’s very difficult,” Taylor said.

Three years ago, Poland made it a criminal offence to accuse the country of complicity in Nazi war crimes, with a penalty of up to three years in prison. After an international outcry, particularly from Israel and the US, the Warsaw government backtracked, making it a civil rather than a criminal offence.

Before the second world war, there were more than 3 million Jews living in Poland, the largest community in Europe. About 90% were killed in the Holocaust, many in the Nazi death camps. Now the Jewish population of Poland is about 10,000.

The Polish embassy in London said the legislation “does not discriminate against any person or any particular group, nor is it intended to antagonise any party, including Israel or the Jewish diaspora.”

It added: “Polish law allows all entitled individuals, irrespective of their nationality or origin, to pursue their rights, including in civil proceedings, to obtain compensation for property lost due to postwar nationalisation.

“Poland attaches great importance to commemorating victims of the genocide committed by the German occupiers on its territory during the second world war.”

My father’s voice spoke from my mouth, in the name of my family and all 6 million Jews who died

Shoshana Greenberg

Greenberg’s father asked her to one day reclaim the family’s property. Finally in 2016, she had her day in a Polish court. “On the witness stand, I was stronger than steel. My father’s voice spoke from my mouth, in the name of my family and all 6 million Jews who died,” she said.

After the court ruled she was the legal heir, she went to her father’s grave. “I told him he had won, that the family’s dignity had been restored.”

But within weeks the Polish land registry office denied her request that the property be registered in her name, citing a “caveat” registered in the 1950s. “I was shocked. I was the heir but not the owner.”

The new law is a further blow to Greenberg and other descendants seeking restitution. “The property does not belong to the Polish government, it belongs to my family. It doesn’t matter how many years have passed,” she said. “I hope the world will not be silent. I don’t forget and I never forgive. Never.”

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