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News digest: 1 August 2013

AUSTRIA: Caritas slams “abbey asylum seekers” deportation (Austrian Times): " Caritas has slammed Austria’s move to deport 8 Pakistani asylum seekers who have been living in an abbey." See also: Caritas: Authorities lied about deportations and Asylum seekers are human traffickers, claim

BELGIUM: King Filip: No general amnesty for prisoners (Expatica)

Bosnia police arrest anti-business centre protester (Balkan Insight): "Dozens of policemen were deployed to arrest Zeljko Vulic, who has been involved a months-long campaign to stop a business centre being built in a park in Banja Luka"

BOSNIA: Bosniak MPs veto adoption of ID law (Balkan Insight): "Bosniak lawmakers in the Bosnian Parliament blocked adoption of the ID number law, saying the 'urgent procedure' endangered their vital ethnic interests." See also: Police question Bosnian ID protesters

BOSNIA: EU ministers chastise Bosnia over reforms (Balkan Insight): "The Council of European Union expressed disappointment about Bosnia's lack of progress towards the EU and once again urged politicians to implement a key human rights ruling"

BULGARIA: Police rescue 100 besieged MPs after parliament blockade as Bulgaria protest turns violent (The Independent): "The President appealed for calm after more than 100 MPs, ministers and staff were forced to spend the night in parliament as demonstrators blocked the exits and held off police by throwing stones." See also: Bulgarian police break down blockade in front of parliament (BBC News); In pictures: Battleground Bulgaria - protesters clash with police (The Independent); Parliament clashes mar Bulgaria anti-government protests and Bulgaria PM calls for dialogue over reforms (Balkan Insight)

Croatia to rebuild synagogue demolished by fascists (Balkan Insight): "A city-centre synagogue that the Croatian Ustasha regime destroyed in 1942 may soon rise once again from the ashes, the newspaper Jutarnji list reported." See also: Anti-fascist uprising commemorated in Croatia

CROATIA-BOSNIA: Mixed Croatian and Bosnian police patrols to control the border (Croatian Times): "Three hundred and fourty policemen from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have been trained for joint actions of observing the border between the two countries"

Croatia to produce tanks together with Serbia? (Croatian Times): "Croatia and Serbia could produce a tank together, exporting it to Africa and Asia, daily newspaper Jutarnji List has announced"

DENMARK: MP calls on Denmark to offer asylum to whistleblower Snowden (The Copenhagen Post): "The former culture minister, Uffe Elbæk (Radikale), said it would be "huge" if Denmark were to offer asylum to American whistleblower Edward Snowden"

DENMARK: Prisons packed with foreigners (The Copenhagen Post): "As of this moment, there are 387 eastern Europeans sitting behind bars somewhere in Denmark. That number has risen ten percent since 2011. Eastern Europeans now make up one tenth of the country’s total prison population according to numbers released by Kriminalforsorgen, the nation’s prison and probation system"

DENMARK: Soldiers cheating psychological screening to be allowed to serve (The Copenhagen Post): "Many of the nation’s professional soldiers cheat their way through psychological tests meant to see if they are mentally fit to be sent on missions abroad, according to a new report by the Defence Ministry"

France's far-right ban targets ‘all extremism’ (France 24): "The French government’s decision to dissolve two far-right groups Wednesday was a deliberate move to calm tensions in France following suburban rioting and a growing number of Islamophobic incidents, according to one expert on far-right movements"

GERMANY: Nazi hunters: 'We've received over a dozen tip-offs' (Spiegel Online): "Dramatic new posters calling on the German public to submit information about possible Nazi war criminals are having an effect, says the Simon Wiesenthal Center"

GERMANY: Neo-Nazi terror: Trial advances despite immense complexity (Spiegel Online): "The NSU trial in Munich has so far been plodding along with disjointed hearings on multiple crimes and defendants, but the presiding judge has nevertheless moved the trial forward. Yet another complication is emerging, though, between prosecutors and victims"

GERMANY: Refugees as luggage porters - politics gone wrong? (Deutsche Welle): ""Black asylum seekers haul luggage for 1.05 euros per hour" - It's a headline that has caused indignation throughout the country - and casts light on the reality of refugee life in Germany"

Germany's defense minister evades blame (Deutsche Welle): " Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere has been facing fierce criticism since the failure of Germany's drone project Euro Hawk. A parliamentary investigative committee has now revealed how things stand." See: Committee probes German ministry's drone debacle

GERMANY-USA: NSA: permission to spy in Germany (Deutsche Welle): " Germany has been under surveillance by the United States for decades, and German leaders have been fully aware of it, says historian Josef Foschepoth. The reason? Secret post-war accords." See also: Chancellery finds it hard to be transparent about intelligence and Rumors of NSA surveillance outpost in Wiesbaden persist (Deutsche Welle); Three different Prisms? Parliament seeks clarity in NSA scandal and NSA spying fallout: Germany wants tighter UN privacy rules (Spiegel Online)

GREECE: 24 illegal migrant drown in Aegean Sea (Greek Reporter): "A total of 24 illegal migrants were found dead in the international waters of the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey after a speed boat carrying them capsized, according to a report here on Wednesday." See also: Four immigrants found dead after sea search (Enet English) and Immigrant died in boat sinking (Greek Reporter)

GREECE: Golden Dawn plays Nazi anthem at food handout (Enet English): "Greek version of the Nazi German Horst-Wessel-Lied (Horst Wessel Song) played on loudspeakers outside a Golden Dawn office where members handed out bags of food and clothing"

GREECE: Minister warns that Golden Dawn could 'destabilize' Greece (Ekathimerini): "Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis has warned that there is a danger that far right Golden Dawn could “destabilize” Greece"

GREECE: Officers suspended after prisoner escapes (Ekathimerini): "The chief of Greek police on Monday ordered the suspension of four police officers after a 30-year-old man who was being detained at the Thessoloniki police headquarters managed to escape from the building undetected on Sunday"

GREECE: Police launch crackdown on Roma camps in Corinth and Argos (Ekathimerini): "Police have remanded 95 suspects for questioning following a crackdown on Roma camps in Corinth, south of Athens, and in Argos in the northern Peloponnese, in response to a spike in crime in the areas, the state-run Athens-Macedonia New Agency reported." See also: Police continue crackdown on Roma settlements in the Peloponnese

GREECE: Prosecutor summons 19 on charges connected to defense system sale (Ekathimerini): "A prosecutor on Thursday called 19 people to respond to felony charges in connection to the sale of a system designed to jam enemy communications to the Defense Ministry in 2001"

GREECE: Racist attack in Greece: 3 wounded, 2 disappeared (refugeesingreece.blogspot.gr)

GREECE: Samaras moves toward total control (Greek Reporter): "With the Greek Parliament in summer session, and only 100 of 300 members needed to be present, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has quietly sent the body a bill that would allow public sector reform to be imposed by presidential decree rather than bringing legislation to lawmakers. Samaras earlier used a ministerial decree to shut down the public broadcaster ERT and fire all its 2,656 workers." See also: The time for the troika is over, says EU Commission VP Viviane Reding (Ekathimerini)

GREECE: Wealthy Greeks lose security perks in austerity cutback (The Independent): "Greeks fearing attacks by anarchists will no longer be entitled to free police bodyguards in the latest cost-cutting plan from a government trying to meet budget targets set by international creditors"

Greek defense minister meets US counterpart in Washington DC (Ekathimerini): "The United States recognizes Greece’s “strategic role” and the country’s position as a stable and stabilizing factor in its region said Greek Defense Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos during an official meeting with his US counterpart Chuck Hagel in Washington DC on Tuesday"

HUNGARY: Minorities face difficulties in exercising language rights, says ombudsman (Politics.hu): "In the absence of necessary conditions, ethnic minorities in Hungary cannot properly exercise their language rights, the ombudsman of fundamental rights said on Wednesday"

HUNGARY: Ombudsman wants review of restrictions on criticism of politicians (Politics.hu): "Ombudsman Mate Szabo has turned to the Constitutional Court and asked the body for a review of passages in Hungary’s new civil code, which seeks to restrict people’s right to criticise public officials, the Ombudsman’s Office told MTI in a statement on Sunday"

IRELAND: 169 gardaí found in breach of discipline last year (The Journal): "A total169 members of An Garda Síochana were found in breach of discipline in 2012 according to the latest annual report." See: An Garda Síochána: Annual Report 2012 (pdf)

IRELAND: Asylum seekers go to High Court over ‘unconstitutional’ direct provision (The Journal): "A group of asylum seekers has gone to the High Court to challenge Ireland’s direct provision system on the grounds that it is unconstitutional"

IRELAND: Watchdog probes death in garda cell (Irish Independent): " The garda watchdog is investigating after a young man was found dead in a garda station cell." See: Man (21) found dead in Garda cell

IRELAND: Ombudsman in stinging attack on Dail (Irish Independent): "The EU Ombudsman-elect has launched a stinging attack on the Dail for not taking itself seriously enough, writes Fiach Kelly"

IRELAND: Three-quarters of jailed women endured violence, abuse (Irish Independent): "Three-quarters of women serving short prison sentences have experienced violence and abuse as a child or an adult, according to a new study of female offenders."

IRELAND: USI withdraws condemnation of 2010 student protesters (The Journal): "The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has today withdrawn its condemnation of students involved in clashes with gardaí during a protest against increased student fees in 2010." See: Gardaí gave ‘misleading’ information to Ombudsman on student protest and

IRELAND: ‘Voyeur’ Belfast police CCTV worker quits (Irish Independent): "A civilian has quit his job as a CCTV operator after being questioned about spying on a woman from a police station"

ITALY: Clashes and champagne at Nazi birthday party (The Local): "Scuffles erupted over a bottle of champagne in Rome on Monday night, as family members gathered to celebrate the 100th birthday of one of the last living Nazi war criminals." See also: Protesters light candles for victims of Nazi Priebke (Gazzetta del Sud) and Unrepentant Nazi criminal Priebke chills Rome (BBC News)

ITALY: Expulsion order and fine rejected for immigrant who married (Gazzetta del Sud): "Italy's supreme Cassation Court on Monday tossed out a 5,000-euro fine, expulsion order and conviction for a non-European immigrant caught on Italian territory without a visa just prior to marrying an Italian citizen"

ITALY:High-speed-rail activists accused of terrorism (ANSA.it): "Activists opposed to a major high-speed-rail project between France and Italy were accused by prosecutors Monday of terrorism."

ITALY: Kyenge says 'Italy not racist' despite barrage of slurs (Gazzetta del Sud): "Italy's first black cabinet member said Wednesday that the country was not by nature racist despite a barrage of epithets she has had to endure since her appointment in April." See also: Kyenge says anti-racism action plan set for November and Kyenge calls racist attacks 'intolerable' (Gazzetta del Sud); Ministers respond to racist banana attack (The Local)

ITALY: Legal non-EU immigrant population grows by 127,000 in Italy (Gazzetta del Sud): "The number of non-European Union immigrants present in Italy grew by 127,000 people from January 1 of last year to January 1, 2013, the Italian statistics agency Istat revealed on Tuesday"

ITALY: Maroni confirms Kyenge's invitation to Northern League rally (Gazzetta del Sud): "The national chief of the anti-immigrant Northern League party and Lombardy Governor Roberto Maroni said that he would call Italy's Congolese-born integration minister to confirm her attendance at a national rally next month"

ITALY: Neo-Nazi Italian GP has bust of Hitler in library (The Independent): "Italy’s dubious relationship with far-right politics is in the spotlight again with news that an unabashed neo-Nazi doctor has been reported to the country’s health ministry."

ITALY: The ghastly account of Marta - Police abuses in Italy (InfoAut): "Marta, a 33-years old activist from Pisa, Italy, recounts her experience of being arrested during a No Tav demonstration last week then heavily beaten up and humiliated, being groped on her breasts and private parts by police agents"

Macedonia spies probe 'has become a witch-hunt' (Balkan Insight): "The process of identifying former Communist informers in Macedonia has turned into a tool for targeting government critics, a human rights watchdog has alleged"

MACEDONIA: Macedonian court prolongs detention of journalist; OSCE slates Macedonian journalist's extrad detention (Balkan Insight): "The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic, on Thursday condemned the continued detention of the Macedonian journalist, Tomislav Kezarovski"

MALTA: Horticulture training for refugees and asylum seekers (Malta Independent): " Since June 2012, the University section of the Argotti Botanic Gardens was buzzing with a different activity from its usual day to day running. The HORTES project, short for Horticulture Training as a Means to Enhance Skills of Refugees and Asylum Seekers aimed to do exactly what its title says - this ERF funded project endeavoured to teach refugees and asylum seekers the basics of gardening"

MALTA: Justice reform commission issues second report (Malta Independent): "A radical reform of the legal aid system and the splitting up of the Attorney General’s role are among the 293 proposals included in the second document issued by the Justice Reform Commission headed by retired judge Vanni Bonello"

MALTA: Record number of irregular migrant arrivals for July (Times of Malta): "One day before the end of the month, a record 984 irregular migrants have entered Malta during July, surpassing the July 2008 record of 809 arrivals." See also: Video: Migrants rescued off the coast of Malta (The Independent)

MONTENEGRO: Murdered Montenegro journalists' sister slams Amnesty plan (Balkan Insight): "The sister of Dusko Jovanovic, a Montenegrin journalist killed in 2004, urged parliament not to support a proposed amnesty law which could cut his murderer’s jail sentence by a quarter"

Montenegro's first gay pride march attacked (Balkan Insight): "Montenegro’s first Gay Pride march went ahead in the coastal town of Budva despite attacks by anti-gay protesters who threw stones and bottles"

NETHERLANDS: Dutch mobile operators modify data-analysis after investigation Dutch DPA (Dutch DPA): "The Dutch Data Protection Authority (CBP) today publishes its reports resulting from the investigation into the analysis of data traffic (packet inspection) on the mobile network by the mobile operators KPN, Tele2, T-Mobile and Vodafone. These four operators are the largest mobile network providers in the Netherlands. In the course of the investigation the Dutch DPA has found violations of the Dutch Data Protection Act and the Telecommunications Act at all four operators"

NETHERLANDS: Holland held Czech gold for the nazis (Dutch News): "The Dutch central bank held gold reserves on behalf of the German nazi party on the eve of World War II, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday"

NETHERLANDS: Mayors irritated by justice minister's influence on police (Dutch News): "Justice minister Ivo Opstelten has too much influence over the national police force, according to local mayors who have spoken to the NRC"

NETHERLANDS: Ombudsman front-runner for European post (Dutch News): "National ombudsman Alex Brenninkmeijer is the front-runner to become the Dutch member of the European audit office"

NETHERLANDS: Tilburg toddler's toy fairground gun sparks police armed response (Dutch News): "A family from Tilburg had the shock of their lives while driving through Amsterdam after their car was surrounded by six police cars with sirens blaring and they were ordered to get out and kneel on the ground"

Norway opposition fights EU Data Retention Directive (The Foreigner)

NORWAY: Australian-Norwegian couple fight officialdom for children's dual nationality right (The Foreigner): "Norwegian immigration authorities’ decision to revoke the citizenship of children born to a mixed nationality couple sparks a campaign to reexamine the rules."

POLAND: Armed forces under reform (New Poland Express)

POLAND: Back in the Day: Warsaw rises up (euronews): "August 1, 1944. The Warsaw Uprising took place, designed by Polish resistance fighters to liberate Warsaw from Nazi Germany. The uprising began on August 1, as part of Operation Tempest, with the Soviet Army approaching Warsaw, having already driven the German Wehrmacht from Mother Russia. The goal of the Polish was to drive the German occupiers from the city and free Warsaw before the Soviets arrived, in order to claim sovereignty"

POLAND: Explosives seized in 'Polish Breivik' case raid (The News): "Intelligence officers seized explosives at a Warsaw house on Tuesday in connection with the case of a Krakow academic who allegedly planned to blow up Poland's parliament." See: 'Polish Breivik' sane say experts (The News)

SWEDEN: Port city 'no haven' for Swedish Jews (The Local): "Attacks against Jews in Malmö, Sweden's third largest city, have left members of the community questioning their future in a place known for its multiculturalism"

SWEDEN: Telltale landlords keep notes on tenants (The Local): "Municipal landlords in western Sweden have been keeping notes on tenants' lifestyles and habits, with some annotations potentially in breach of Sweden's privacy laws."

SWITZERLAND: Names in hooligan database at all-time high (swissinfo.ch): "A record number of people have been put under restraining orders for committing violence at sporting events, according to the latest figures from the Federal Police Office, further spotlighting the issue of hooliganism in Switzerland"

Hertfordshire Police number plate database declared illegal (TechWeek Europe): "The Hertfordshire Constabulary has been ordered to review its illegal automated collection of people’s number plates." See also: ICO slams police for invading motorists' privacy with 'unlawful' ANPR camera use (V3)

UK: London police officers face action over woman's strip-search (BBC News): "Eight police officers are to face disciplinary action after policemen strip-searched a woman who had been arrested outside a London nightclub"

UK: National archives: Margaret Thatcher wanted to crush power of trade unions (The Guardian): "The Cabinet papers published under the 30-year rule lay bare the scale of Margaret Thatcher's long-held ambitions to crush the power of Britain's trade unions even before she had won her historic 144-seat majority landslide victory"

UK: Sussex Police arrest Balcombe oil drill protesters (BBC News): "Sixteen people have been arrested by police at the site of an exploratory oil drilling operation in West Sussex." See also: Frack Off protesters bring a little fire engine trouble to Balcombe oil site (The Guardian)


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