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News digest: 21 February 2013
refugees end hunger strike (Austrian Times): "Hundreds
of people had marched through Vienna on Saturday in support for
the plight of the refugees freezing in the Votivkirche. The refugees
had sought shelter in the church near the university, having
marched from the insalubrious Traiskirchen detention centre in
November last year." See also: Caritas
has concerns over hunger strike
border guard jailed over teddy bear air drop (BBC News)
"A court in Belarus has sentenced a border guard to two
years in prison for failing to stop a plane dropping hundreds
of teddy bears carrying pro-democracy messages over the country."
in Diplomatic Row With Belarus After Teddy Bear Drop
govt resigns amid bloody protests (Balkan Insight): "After
mass protests against high utility bills turned violent, the
Bulgarian government has called it a day - PM saying he feels
'shamed' by the bloodshed." See also: Bulgaria
government to resign, PM Boika says (BBC News); Bulgaria
Protests Continue After PM's Resignation; Bulgaria
Turmoil 'May Hit Romania's Schengen Bid' (Balkan Insight)
Bulgarian winter: between the devil and the deep blue sea
CZECH REPUBLIC: Citizens
of far more states can get Czech green card (Prague Daily
Monitor): "The number of the non-EU countries whose citizens
can apply for a green card in the Czech Republic to facilitate
their access to the Czech labour market was extended from 12
to 64 Wednesday, the Interior Ministry's spokesman Vladimir Repka
CZECH REPUBLIC: Trial
of Czech far-right extremists over racism charges starts
(Prague Daily Monitor): "A
Brno district court wants to question 17 Czech proponents of
extremist ideas on charges of spread of Nazism and racism in
the next three days of their trial that started Tuesday, court
panel chairwoman Lenka Nekudova has said"
Romania counter anti-immigrant campaigns (SETimes.com):
"A campaign launched by Great Britain to stem an expected
immigration wave from Bulgaria and Romania after labour restrictions
on the two countries are lifted on January 1st 2014, has sparked
counter-initiatives in the hope of turning the situation into
a positive one"
Migration: Berlin Urges Bulgaria, Romania to Integrate Roma
(Spiegel Online): "With the tide of Bulgarians and Romanians
flooding Germany showing no signs of abating, officials in Berlin
have called on the two countries to stem the exodus by boosting
efforts to integrate Roma into their own societies. Poverty migration,
they argue, must be combatted at the source"
Officials Travel to Secure EU Start Date (Balkan Insight):
"As Brussels readies to decide on whether to grant Serbia
a start date for EU accession talks, Serbian officials are heading
to EU capitals to muster support."
Gypsy apartheid in the Paris suburbs (El Pais): "During
his presidential campaign, François Hollande promised
a different immigration policy from that of his predecessor,
Nicolas Sarkozy. "There will be no mass deportations, just
on a case-by-case basis," said the Socialist candidate to
the French presidency. "No minority will be stigmatized
or used as a scapegoat.""
football fans injured in Lyon pub attack (euronews):
"Two pubs full of English football supporters have been
attacked by an apparent neo-Nazi group in the French city of
let NSU murders be forgotten' (Deutsche Welle): "
Barbara John is the German government's ombudsperson for the
NSU victims' families. She told DW that it's important that the
neo-Nazi murders should not be forgotten." See also:
victims' families want more than sympathy
Citizenship Demands Have Merkel on Defensive (Spiegel
Online): "Hardly a campaign season goes by in Germany
without at least one bout of hand-wringing over the twin issues
of immigration and integration. And this year, as comments on
Monday and Tuesday have shown, is shaping up to be no different.
Suddenly everyone is talking about the country's tortured approach
to dual-citizenship -- and whether that approach should be changed
to allow the possession of two passports"
activists slam Germany's open data portal (Deutsche Welle):
"Germany's long-awaited open data portal govdata.de has
opened for business. It follows similar moves in the US and UK.
But how open is open data in Germany? Not very, say the net activists"
blamed for stunting east Germany (The Local): "Eastern
Germany will never attract enough investment to start growing
again if it fails to root out its neo-Nazi problem, a leading
management consultant said this week"
security firms under scrutiny in Germany (Deutsche Welle):
"Since the recent move by online retailer Amazon to fire
a private security company over allegations of racism, the role
of private security providers has been put in the spotlight in
Germany." See also: Amazon's
former private security firm with neo-Nazi employees is one of
many, say reports (Statewatch News Online)
strike brings Greece to a standstill (Ekathimerini):
"Greek workers walked off the job on Wednesday in a nationwide
protest against wage cuts and high taxes, keeping ferries docked
in ports, shutting state schools and leaving hospitals working
with emergency staff." See also: Anti-Austerity
Protests Draw 60,000 in Athens (Greek Reporter); Thousands
rally in anti-austerity strike; scuffles break out [Update]
blackout in Greece on Tuesday as journalists walk out ahead of
general strike (Ekathimerini)
on mine project fuels political turmoil: "A 54-year-old
man was arrested on Monday on charges of being the moral
instigator behind an arson attack on Sunday on a gold mining
project in Skouries, in the northern prefecture of Halkidiki.
He was released a few hours later." (Ekathimerini) See also:
to sue Hellas Gold security guards for defamation
officials hail results of Evros fence (Ekathimerini):
"A crackdown on illegal immigration code-named Aspida
(shield) appears to be yielding fruit since its launch
in August last year. Last July, 6,000 people were arrested in
Orestiada, according to police data. In January the number dropped
to 45. The construction of the 12.5-kilometer barbed-wire fence
along the land border with Turkey, which was met with skepticism
at home as well as from many EU officials, has allegedly succeeded
in blocking one of the most popular transit routes for migrants
seeking to make their way to the West. Nothing can
get through the fence, Orestiada police chief Giorgos Salamangas
sues police after man slapped outside Golden Dawn offices
(Ekathimerini): "Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasidiaris
(photo) sued the police on Wednesday for breach of duty after
they arrested one of the partys members following an altercation
outside the far-right groups offices in Anavyssos, southeast
than 30 officials questioned over Lagarde list (Ekathimerini):
"A cross-party parliamentary committee investigating
the so-called Lagarde list of possible tax cheats began on Thursday
the process of questioning more than 30 officials who worked
Giorgos Papaconstantinou when he was finance minister in 2010
shadows Turkish corvette in Greek territorial waters (Ekathimerini):
"Hellenic Navy vessels were on Wednesday evening monitoring
the movements of a Turkish Navy corvette that was seen in Greek
territorial waters between Myconos and Naxos in the eastern Cyclades
between 11 a.m. and 2.30 p.m"
court overturns ban on Nazi and Communist symbols (euronews):
"The decision by Hungarys Constitutional Court
to reject a ban on Nazi and Communist symbols has been deemed
unworkable by several political groups. Some socialists say a
constitutional amendment may be needed to prevent anyone from
sporting a swastika, red star or SS badge, which Hungarian Jews
or surviving victims could justly find offensive."
murderer refused appeal over killing Polish men (Irish
Independent): "Double murderer David Curran was today
refused leave to appeal two mandatory life sentences for the
killing of two Polish nationals"
paid firm 89m to house asylum seekers (Irish Independent):
"A company has been paid over 89m by the State
in a decade to provide accommodation to asylum seekers"
slapped, called racial slurs caught on tape in Tuscany
(Gazzetta del Sud): "Italian police said Wednesday they
are investigating the bullying of a young woman of colour who
suffered a beating and endured racial slurs - all captured on
video and later shared on the Internet"
'revolt' at Rome detention center (Gazzetta del Sud):
"A blaze on Monday morning at a detention center for
immigrants on the outskirts of Rome was subdued by firefighters
and police who were called to contain a 'revolt'"
attacks claims Finmeccanica paid bribes to Lega Nord
(Gazzetta del Sud): "Roberto Maroni, the center-right
candidate for governor of Lombardy in upcoming elections, on
Tuesday said a police report that pointed to presumed bribes
paid by defense contractor Finmeccanica to Maroni's Northern
League (Lega Nord) party was bogus"
Journalists Wary of PM's Olive Branch (Balkan Insight):
"Macedonian journalists say conditions are not ripe for
resuming talks with the government following the forced removal
of reporters from parliament in December, which left relations
will focus on regional security, NATO bids (SETimes.com):
"The focus of Macedonia's presidency of the Adriatic
Group will be to advance regional security co-operation and to
boost member country's NATO bids"
sleeping in corridor because of overcrowding - foundation
(Times of Malta): "A growing prison population is causing
overcrowding problems, an NGO which works for the prisoners said
this evening." See also: Should
prisoners have the right to vote?
focuses on human rights (SETimes.com): "Moldova
should step up efforts to improve its human rights record, which
remains merely satisfactory despite recent government measures,
civil society experts said"
unaccompanied children arrive in Holland as refugees
(Dutch News): "In 2011, 485 youngsters under the age
of 18 arrived in the Netherlands and claimed asylum, according
to new figures from the national statistics office CBS"
minister plans 'terms and conditions' contract for new migrants
(Amsterdam Herald): "New immigrants to the Netherlands
should be required to sign a declaration that they will abide
by the countrys constitution and laws, under plans set
out by deputy prime minister Lodewijk Asscher."
to investigate medical care for refugees (Dutch News):
"National ombudsman Alex Brenninkmeijer is to investigate
the medical care available to asylum seekers in the Netherlands,
following reports that doctors tending people in the Ter Apel
protest camp are unable to cope"
NORTHERN IRELAND: 24
years after Finucane killing, the damage limitation continues
(The Detail): "Today [12 February] marks 24 years since
solicitor Pat Finucane was shot dead in a killing which has become
a defining symbol of the states complicity in the Troubles.
The government-commissioned report into the murder has yielded
secrets of the dirty war which still have the power
to shock such as the existence of a senior RUC officer
helping loyalists procure weapons but other pieces of
the picture remain off-limits to this day"
commission leader raps Norway security authorities (The
Foreigner): "Norways Police Security Service (PST)
is under fire for using an undercover informant to snitch on
far-to-extreme left-wing organisations following media-uncovered
revelations. The matter could have political repercussions."
See also: Terrorists
and spies threaten national security (Barents Observer)
after '3 throws at a Jew' football fan game (The News):
"Local government in Lodz, central Poland, says that
a game played by fans of first division football club LKS Lodz,
where objects were thrown at 'a Jew', is offensive and
'slipped' in shooting incident? (The News): "Polish
police have claimed that a shot that injured a mistaken assault
suspect was fired because an anti-terrorist officer slipped
while making an arrest"
2,000 judges strike to protest Justice Ministry reforms
(El Pais): "Not a profession given to going on strike,
thousands of judges and prosecutors failed to show up for work
across Spain on Wednesday in order to protest a rash of recent
reforms undertaken by Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón"
search offices of Método 3 as political spying inquiry
widens (El Pais): "Police officers on Tuesday
searched the Barcelona and Madrid offices of Método 3,
the now-defunct private detective firm at the center of a political
spying scandal in Catalonia. Investigators, including two anticorruption
prosecutors, were seen bringing out boxes of confiscated documents
from the buildings." See also: Catalan
PP leader files charges against detectives who spied on her;
accepts PP leaders suit against spying firm and demands
client list be handed over and Catalonia
spy case company has dossiers on judges and politicians
mayor concerned about Islam-critical show (The Local):
"The mayor of Malmö has slammed an upcoming exhibition
of work by controversial Swedish artist Lars Vilks, saying he
hoped no one would visit the gallery to see artwork he said was
"associated with xenophobes""
Patriot missiles to defend Sweden: minister (The Local):
"Sweden should consider placing US-made Patriot missiles
on the island of Gotland to help deter resurgent neighbour Russia,
Sweden's deputy prime minister has argued in a call for greater
Cameron gives green light for aid cash to go on military
(The Guardian): "Hundreds of millions of pounds from
Britain's aid budget are expected to be diverted to peacekeeping
defence operations as the government moves to build up support
on the Tory benches for overseas development." See also:
Britain's arms trade making a killing?
sues activists for £5m - an attack on peaceful protest?
(Channel 4 News): "A group of activists plead guilty
to aggravated trespass for a protest at an EDF power plant, but
now face a civil claim of up to £5m in damages - something
they say is an attack on peaceful protests." See also:
release: EDF suing climate activists for £5 million 0 protesters
face losing homes (No Dash for Gas)
Scotland Yard officer found dead with gunshot wound (The
Guardian): "Member of Met's specialist protection command
found shot dead at home in Camden, north London"
lobbied for stiff sentences against Kingsnorth activists, papers
show (The Guardian): "The UK chief executive
of energy giant E.ON repeatedly lobbied the then-energy secretary
Ed Miliband and others over the sentencing of activists disrupting
the company's power plants, warning that any failure to issue
"dissuasive" sentences could "impact" upon
investment decisions in the UK." See also from 2009:
protests report criticises 'counterproductive' policing tactics
justice for Kingsnorth Fitwatchers (Fitwatch)
Le Pen sparks protest on Cambridge visit (France 24):
"Hundreds of students gathered outside Cambridge Universitys
prestigious debating society on Tuesday to protest a speech by
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, whose visit sparked an
outcry among anti-fascist groups in the country"
step closer to reversing the 'big brother' effect (NUS
connect): "The attendance monitoring policy that has
sparked a wave of extended checks on students, issued by UKBA
(United Kingdom Border Agency), has caused enormous issues across
Copyright Fight (British Press Photographers' Association):
"As the song goes There may be trouble ahead
this time there is no maybe about it. For those that
recall the less-than-wonderful Clause 43 of Labours
Digital Economy Bill which proposed to legalise the
use of Orphan Works and Extended Collective Licensing
well, despite its defeat its back and this time its
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