Passport

Poland: The next hot destination for Indians

Euro 2012 proposed stadium Poland

Earlier this month, Passport noted that Eastern European countries are facing a labor crunch that threatens to impede their rapid economic expansion. Companies in Poland, for instance, have been forced to look outside the country for skilled workers—even though Poland's unemployment rate is 13 percent. And so, hosting the 2012 European football championships, a multi-billion dollar soccer event, is proving to be more of a burden than a blessing as the country struggles to find enough construction workers.

Well, Poland may just have found a solution: importing labor from India. Poland already hosts around 3,000 Indian workers, but could welcome hundreds of thousands more as a result of a recent agreement between the two countries to make Poland the "next hot destination for Indians."

It's a supply that's much needed. Between 800,000 and 2 million Poles have left the country since it joined the European Union three years ago. India, for its part, will no doubt benefit as well through remittances sent back from workers in Poland, especially as demand for workers from countries in the Middle East starts to dry up. And as India's IT competitiveness declines slightly, it can still take advantage of its main competitive advantage: abundant labor.

Passport

Hot dog watch: 8 days and counting

Kobayashi

Regular readers of Passport know that we are avid followers of the world of competitive eating. Last year, we posted a Seven Questions with George Shea, the head of the International Federation of Competitive Eating. And just a few weeks ago, we blogged about how American upstart Joey Chestnut shattered the world record set by Japan's Takeru "Tsunami" Kobayashi by eating an astonishing 59 1/2 hot dogs in 12 minutes. So we were really looking forward to this year's Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest, with Chestnut challenging Kobayashi in head-to-head competition, trying to put a halt to the tsunami's unbroken string of five victories in a row.

Alas, our hopes may be dashed, just like Kobayashi's chances for defending his title. It turns out that the scrappy competitor has been diagnosed with jaw arthritis brought on by overtraining for the event. He still hopes to compete despite his pain. But for now, his playing status is unknown. Get well, Kobayashi-san!