IN A NUTSHELL 4/2019-20

TRUMP INTRODUCES BAN ON FLAVOURED E-CIGARETTES

Until September 6, 2019 the USA has witnessed more than 450 cases of a strange respiratory condition clearly related to e-cigarettes. ”Vaping sickness” has already led to six deaths. Many of the patients who had the symptoms are young. In connection to the growing problem President Donald Trump decided to introduce a ban on flavoured liquids. Over the last years e-cigarettes have become very popular in America especially among students and, unfortunately, children. The number of teens who use them daily rose last year to a worrying 5 million. There are many factors to blame. E-cigarettes are perceived as a healthier alternative to standard ones, come in all kinds of attractive packaging and in some countries (UK, for example) have even been prescribed by doctors as a way to give up smoking. Finally, liquids are available in many flavours which do not remind people of the old bad traditional smokes. So far it remains unclear what exactly causes the vaping sickness but it seams reasonable to avoid e-cigarettes altogether, at least until the causes of the problem are identified.

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POLAND TO BUY F-35 FIGHTER JETS

Poland continues to invest in modernizing its army. Only last year we signed the biggest contract in the history of military purchases, spending $4.7 billion on the Patriot missile system. This year after the American vice president visited our country during the event commemorating 80 years since the outbreak of World War II, it has been announced that we again want to cooperate with the USA in the field of defense. Poland declared it wants to buy 32 fighter jets (F-35) and the US State Department has already agreed to sell them to us for a maximum of $6.5 billion, a price which is still open for negotiation. The contract includes many elements such as the necessary spare and repair parts, personnel training, communications, navigation and all other support. F-35 fighter jets are the most technologically advanced machines of this kind in the world. They come in a few versions, some of which can even start and land vertically. Their cost is much bigger than that of their predecessor, the F16 (100 million versus 17 million). Poland hopes the purchase will tighten relationship with the USA as well as reduce our dependance on Russia – parts of current fleet include Russian machines MiG-29 and Su-22.

Source: businessinsider.com, article from September 11, 2019 about Poland buying F-35 fighter jets

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MINIMUM WAGE TO RISE TO PLN 4,000 IN 2023

During a press conference organized in Łowicz, Prime Minister Morawiecki announced considerable changes in the area of minimum wage. According to the presented plan the minimum wage will start to rise next year: in 2020 it will reach PLN 2,600, which is PLN 350 more than now. Only a year later (2021) a Pole will not be able to earn less than PLN 3,000 and by the end of 2023 the minimum wage will be PLN 4,000. Modifications apply also to minimum hourly rates. Prime Minister says such move will help Polish companies because it will increase their efficiency and innovativeness as well as have good influence on the quality of work and employee satisfaction. With so fast a pace many people are not sure what kind of effect the decision will have on the economy, especially on small and medium enterprises. There is risk that many of them will not be able to carry the burden of additional spendings and will either go bankrupt, be forced to let some of the workers go or employ them without any formal contracts (illegally).

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AND THE 2019 IG NOBEL GOES TO…

…two scientists who measured the differences in temperature between testicles among postmen in France, depending on whether the postmen were naked or clothed. Strange, but true. Although the Ig Nobel awards have been given out annually for the past 29 years, they deserve to be called unusual. Organized by a scientific humor magazine AIR, each year researchers are celebrated for their achievements in science that „first make people laugh and then make them think”. During this year’s gala held on September 12 at (the real) Harvard University, genuine Nobel Prize laureates handed out the Ig Nobels to winners in ten categories. The 2019 Medicine Ig Nobel, for example, went to Silvano Gallus for collecting evidence that pizza might protect against illness and death, if the pizza is made and eaten in Italy. The Economics prize went to several Turkish scientists for testing which country’s paper money is best at transmitting dangerous bacteria. The organizers emphasize that these were all real studies, based on real research and published in serious scientific papers. „Good achievements can also be odd, funny and even absurd” – as they point out. The award’s name is a pun on the actual Nobel Prize and the word „ignoble”, meaning „common” or „not noble”. And, if it did make you curious, the left testicle is warmer, but only if the (only French?) postmen are clothed.

Source: cnn.com, a September 14 article on 2019 Ig Nobel awards

DISCUSSION:

  1. All e-cigarettes should be banned.
  2. Poland should invest a lot in its army.
  3. Raising minimum wage will have good effect on the economy.
  4. The Ig Nobel contest promotes hate speech.

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