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Passengers in Polish cockpit before crash

The investigation into the plane crash that killed Polish President Lech Kaczyński has revealed that passengers were in the cockpit of the crashed plane.

Part of the wreckage of the polish aircraft

According to the head of the technical commission involved with investigating the crash, Alexei Morozov, the crew of the aircraft had been warned of limited visibility.

Although it has not been determined whether or not the crew’s decision to land had been influenced by the passengers on board. The cause of the crash has not been identified, although the possibility of an explosion or terrorist attack on board the aircraft has been ruled out.

Morozov also said that the crew on board the plane had not been properly trained for the flight, and had been assembled only a few days before the flight. He said that the crew “did not undergo regular simulated training, including the practice of co-ordination and emergency situations during flights.” Read More…

On this day May 3, 1791

The Polish Constitution, one of the earliest codified national constitutions in the world, was adopted by the Sejm.

Before the 20th century, the term “Sejm” referred to the entire three-chamber Polish parliament, comprising the lower house, the upper house and the King.

The Sejm building in Warsaw

The Sejm building in Warsaw

The Constitution is generally regarded as Europe’s first and the world’s second modern codified national constitution, following the 1788 ratification of the United States Constitution.

The May 3rd Constitution was designed to redress long-standing political defects of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and its traditional system of “Golden Liberty”.

The Constitution introduced political equality between townspeople and nobility (szlachta) and placed the peasants under the protection of the government, thus mitigating the worst abuses of serfdom.

The Constitution abolished pernicious parliamentary institutions such as the liberum veto, which at one time had put the sejm at the mercy of any deputy who might choose, or be bribed by an interest or foreign power, to undo legislation passed by that sejm.

Nuclear Security Summit

President Barack Obama open the 47-nation Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.  The president says he wants new commitments to secure weapons-grade plutonium and uranium to prevent nuclear terrorism.

With concerns about the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea a major backdrop to the conference, this is the biggest U.S.-sponsored gathering of world leaders in more than 60 years.

The New START treaty was signed on April 8, 2010 in Prague by U.S. President Obama and Russian President Medvedev and Iran will hold the Tehran International Conference on Disarmament and Non- Proliferation, 2010, announced on April 4, 2010 and to be held April 17–18, 2010.

The Summit is the largest gathering of heads of state called by a United States president since the 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organization. Delegations from forty-six governments plus the United States are attending, thirty-eight of which are represented by heads of state or government. Read More…

No survivors in plane crash carrying Polish delegation

Polish President Lech Kaczyński, travelling with up to 133 other people, has been killed when his plane crashed in Russia due to dense fog while approaching a Russian airport today. Officials say there are no survivors.

Lech Kaczynski Plane Crash

The Polish Central Bank governor, Slawomir Skrzypek, and other members of the Polish government, were amongst those onboard. The crash was near Smolensk airport in western Russia.

Kaczyński’s wife was killed along with him when the Tupolev Tu-154 went down; the trip to Russia was to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, when thousands of Polish prisoners of war and civilians were killed by the Soviets. Read More…

On this day January 16, 1969

Student Jan Palach set himself on fire in Wenceslas Square in Prague to protest the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia one year earlier. He died three days later from the third-degree burns he suffered.

The Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 was designed to crush the liberalising reforms of Alexander Dubček’s government during the Prague Spring. Read More…

Deaths in Polish mine explosion

At least 13 miners were killed and at least 30 more were hospitalised in Poland. It is the country’s deadliest mining accident since the deaths of 23 miners from methane at the Silesia’s Halemba mine in November 2006. The death toll is expected to increase.

The incident happened approximately 1 kilometre below surface level. Around 40 people were underground at the time of the blast. Twenty-nine made it out themselves but the rest had to be assisted.

Emergency services ferried the casualties to the nearest hospitals. Eighteen were hospitalised at a burns specialist unit in Siemianowice Śląskie; six were hospitalised at Sosnowiec where family members collected outside in an upset manner.

On this day August 14, 1980

Lech Wałęsa leads strikes at the Gdańsk, Poland shipyards, after the beginning of an occupational strike in the Lenin Shipyard of Gdańsk, Wałęsa became the leader of this strike. The strike was spontaneously followed by similar strikes, first in Gdańsk, and then across Poland.

Lech Wałęsa

Lech Wałęsa

In September of that year, the Communist government signed an agreement with the Strike Coordination Committee to allow legal organization, but not actual free trade unions.

The Strike Coordination Committee legalized itself into National Coordination Committee of Solidarność (Solidarity) Free Trade Union, and Wałęsa was chosen as a chairman of this Committee.

Wałęsa kept this position until 13 December 1981, when he was arrested. General Wojciech Jaruzelski declared a state of martial law on 13 December. Wałęsa was incarcerated for 11 months in eastern Poland in several villages (Chylice, Otwock and Arłamów near the Soviet border) until 14 November 1982. Read More…