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Polish reporter Polish reporter
by Euro Reporter
2008-01-15 09:56:52
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Turning the tram system into personal computer game

A Polish teenager allegedly turned the tram system in the city of Lodz into his own personal train set, triggering chaos and derailing four vehicles in the process. Twelve people were injured in one of the incidents. The 14-year-old modified a TV remote control so that it could be used to change track points, The Telegraph reports. Local police said the youngster trespassed in tram depots to gather information needed to build the device. The teenager told police that he modified track setting for a prank. "He studied the trams and the tracks for a long time and then built a device that looked like a TV remote control and used it to maneuver the trams and the tracks," said Miroslaw Micor, a spokesman for Lodz police.

"He had converted the television control into a device capable of controlling all the junctions on the line and wrote in the pages of a school exercise book where the best junctions were to move trams around and what signals to change.”He treated it like any other schoolboy might a giant train set, but it was lucky nobody was killed. Four trams were derailed, and others had to make emergency stops that left passengers hurt. He clearly did not think about the consequences of his actions," Micor added. Transport command and control systems are commonly designed by engineers with little exposure or knowledge about security using commodity electronics and a little native wit. The apparent ease, with which Lodz's tram network was hacked, even by these low standards, is still a bit of an eye opener. The youth, described by his teachers as an electronics buff and exemplary student, faces charges at a special juvenile court of endangering public safety

Amazing? Absolutely not, if you remember in a film sometime in early eighties another young man nearly started WWIII. Kids nowadays are far too comfortable with computers and much better than we will ever dream to be.


Record numbers visit Auschwitz

The museum at the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau tallied a record number of visitors in 2007, officials said Monday. More than 1.2 million people visited the site of the notorious German camp in southern Poland _ the largest number of visitors since the museum was founded in 1947, museum spokesman Jaroslaw Mensfelt said.

In comparison, around 500,000 people visited the former camp in 2001, Mensfelt said. The biggest group of visitors came from Poland, Mensfelt said, mainly because schools often require a visit to the camp for its students. A large number of Britons, Americans and Germans also visited the camp in 2007. Mensfelt attributed the jump in visitor numbers to Poland's membership in the European Union, which the country joined in 2004, and the rise of budget airlines in the region.

A place everybody actually should visit and my one and only visit there has been a hard memory to forget, imagine what it was like for the ones who lived it.


Poland's Jewish community and the awareness campaign

Poland's minority groups met with the country's first lady, Maria Kaczynska, on Thursday to unveil a new awareness campaign promoting the country's multicultural heritage and its future. The month long 500,000 zlotys ($205,000) campaign - conceived by the Jewish community and featuring advertisements in newspapers, billboards and a Web site - is sponsored by state-run Polish Radio, the Labor Ministry and local media. Kaczynska lent her support to the effort, which began Jan. 1 and will end Jan. 31, meeting with organizers and talking about the program, which includes billboards in 15 cities, including the capital, Krakow and Gdansk. "Our goal was not to show minorities as people treated badly or feeling strange," said Piotr Kadlcik, the leader of the country's Jewish community. Instead, he said the goal is to cast off Communist-era thinking that Poland is a homogenous country.

"That is not true," he said. "We are fighting for the general awareness that such small nations exist." The billboards include black-and-white pictures of people from a range of ethnic minorities: Jews, Armenians, Roma and Tartars. One features Maria Stepan, a Polish-born radio reporter of Ukrainian descent, with the words: "I am Ukrainian. I am Polish." She said she agreed to participate because it gave her the chance to show off the country's "sense of national richness." Of the country's 38 million residents, some 3 percent are ethnic minorities. The largest group includes 170,000 Silesians, while ethnic Germans account for 150,000 people. The smallest groups include Tartars and Karaites, who count just 500 and 50 people, respectively. The Jewish population used to number some 3.5 million people, or 10 percent of the population, but was wiped out during the Nazi occupation. It is now estimated to be more than 20,000.

I think nothing would be more interesting, especially following the above article,

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