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News digest: 15 January 2013

Bulgaria ordered to pay compensation to man overcharged in court fee (Novinite): "Nikolay Dimitrov from Silistra is the first Bulgarian to have won a case against the state at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in 2013. Dimitrov will be paid a compensation of EUR 2500 for being overcharged with a court fee"

CZECH REPUBLIC: Senators to challenge amnesty at Constitutional Court (Prague Daily Monitor): "Czech senators proposed to the Constitutional Court (US) yesterday the abolition of that part of President Vaclav Klaus's amnesty that halts prosecution that has continued for more than eight years providing the maximum punishment does not exceed ten yers in prison." See: A clean slate - Presidential amnesty sees one-third of Czech prisoners let out of jail (The Prague Post)

DENMARK: Port's search of mobile phone illegal, fired employees say (The Copenhagen Post): "Crane operators fired after management found disloyal messages on employer-supplied mobiles say the port violated their assumption of privacy"

DENMARK: Rail operator paid PR company to keep critical journalist busy (The Copenhagen Post)

DENMARK: New controls over PET announced in wake of media Storm (The Copenhagen Post): "Following headline-grabbing claims by former PET double agent Morten Storm, government and opposition parties agree that parliament should keep a closer eye on intelligence agency"

EU: Frontex chief looks beyond EU borders (EUobserver): "Frontex, the pan-European border agency based in Warsaw, is mandated to co-ordinate member state border police patrols on Europe's external frontiers. But its executive director, Ilkka Laitinen, told EUobserver the agency is looking to expand its surveillance operations beyond the EU to develop a so-called "common pre-frontier intelligence picture [CPIP].""

EU: Jail sentence for Austrian ex-MEP caught in sting (EUbusiness): "An Austrian former member of the European Parliament was sentenced Monday to four years in prison for corruption after being secretly filmed offering to change EU legislation for money"

France invites Bulgarian reps to Roma camp inspections (Novinite): "French authorities have invited for the first time Bulgarian representatives to take part in inspections of illegal Roma camps in Paris' suburbs"

German companies want fewer visa restrictions (Deutsche Welle): "Visa applications take too long, representatives from German industry say. They argue that companies lose money when a foreign business partner cannot travel. And they have concrete proposals to reform the system"

Germany to ban most workplace surveillance (Deutsche Welle): "With a new law, the German government wants to prevent employers from secretly videotaping their employees. But experts are criticizing the legislation, saying it still allows surveillance"

GERMANY: Russia 'spies' go on trial in Germany (BBC News): "A married couple are due to go on trial in Germany for spying in what German media say is one of the most intriguing cases since the end of the Cold War"

GREECE: Anarchists railly supports squatters rights (Greek Reporter): "Thousands of Greek anarchists marched through central Athens on Jan. 12 to protest the arraignment of nearly 92 people who were arrested after trying to reoccupy a long-term squat evacuated by police last week"

GREECE: Shots fired at Greece ruling party HQ in Athens (BBC News): "Shots have been fired at the Athens headquarters of Greece's ruling New Democracy party, but nobody was hurt." See also: Petrol bombs thrown at home of govt spokesman's brother (Greek Reporter), Armed attack on PM office fuels fear of terror spike (Ekathimerini), Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire suspect freed pending trial (Ekathimerini) and Greece: Journalists under fire in wave of attacks (Global Post)

GREECE: Three dead migrants found off Chios (Greek Reporter): "Greece’s Coast Guard said the bodies of three would-be migrants were been retrieved in the waters off the eastern Aegean island of Chios as people trying to sneak into Greece by water after the erection of a fence along the Turkish border continued." See also: Bodies of three migrants found off Chios (Ekathimerini)

Italian 'blitz' against illegal trafficking of Somali migrants to Italy, Malta (Times of Malta): "The Italian police have arrested 55 persons thought to be involved in the trafficking of Somalis to Italy, Malta, Greece and the North of Europe. The operation, described as a 'blitz' by Italian news agency Ansa, was coordinated by police forces in Catania and Florence"

ITALY: Police, protesters clash at Monti's railroad unveiling (Gazzetta del Sud): "Clashes between police and protesters broke out on Monday in Turin where Italian Premier Mario Monti was unveiling a piece of a controversial high-speed rail line that will link Italy to France"

ITALY: US Defence Secretary Panetta to visit Rome Wednesday (Gazzetta del Sud): "US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will be in Rome Wednesday to meet with Italian Defense Minister Giampaolo Di Paola, the Italian defense ministry announced Monday." See also: US embassy argues to keep defence satellites in Sicily

NETHERLANDS: Party leader Henk Krol prosecuted in 'ethical hacking' case (The Amsterdam Herald): "The leader of the 50Plus political party will appear in court next month accused of hacking into medical records"

NORTH AFRICA: Maghreb states to ramp up border security (Magharebia): "Libya, Algeria and Tunisia on Saturday (January 12th) agreed to adopt a raft of new border patrol measures to counter arms struggling and repel terrorists"

NORTHERN IRELAND: Policing strategy under the spotlight (Belfast Telegraph): "With the street fallout from the Belfast City Hall flag row now well into its second month, the PSNI is feeling the heat of a burning spotlight on tactics and operational command"

POLAND: CBA accused of Stalinist tactics (New Poland Express): "A judge has caused a huge media and political storm with comments that interrogation methods used by law enforcement agencies including the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA) in a high profile case were reminiscent of those used during the times of Joseph Stalin"

POLAND: Cranking up the cameras (New Poland Express): "Polish roads are to witness a dramatic increase in the number of speed cameras during the upcoming 12 months it was claimed this week"

SPAIN: Justice minster was also focus of Madrid political spying (El Pais): "The alleged political spying of Popular Party (PP) officials in the Madrid regional and city governments orchestrated by officials in the same PP regional administration extended to then-Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, who is now the justice minister in the national government, according to an ongoing judicial probe"

SPAIN: Two navy corporals convicted of using patrol boat to traffic hashish (El Pais)

Sweden ramps up industrial espionage fight (The Local): "Industrial espionage directed against Swedish companies and research institutions is on the rise, according to intelligence officials, prompting new inter-agency intelligence coordination to protect national security"

SWEDEN: 'Criminalise offensive online comments' (The Local): "Sweden needs stronger legislation to deter internet bullying, the country's data privacy agency has argued, calling for tougher penalties for offensive comments posted online"

SWEDEN: 'Sweden can't count on help from Nato' (The Local): "Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen visited the annual defence conference in the Swedish mountains on Monday, telling the press "you cannot stand outside Nato but still want everything it offers""

UK worried over upcoming 'influx' of Bulgarians, Romanians (Novinite): "UK Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has warned that an "influx" of Romanians and Bulgarians would add to the existing housing problems in the country." See: Cameron says Bulgarian, Romanian influx impossible to predict

UK: High Court refuses to condemn drone strikes (UK Human Rights Blog)

UK: MoJ wants obligation to appoint data protection officers scrapped from EU reform proposals (Out-Law.com): "Businesses should not be placed under any obligation to appoint dedicated data protection officers (DPOs) under a new EU data protection law framework, the UK Government has said"

UK: Public insults to be legalised but grossly offensive messages still criminal (UK Human Rights Blog): "Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986, which outlaws the use of “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour” will be amended to remove the word ‘insulting’. The amendment is the result of a successful, high-profile campaign which asked “Do we really need the police and the courts to deal with insults?“" See also: Law which made it illegal to call a police horse 'gay' is to be changed (The Telegraph)

UK: Secret papers show extent of senior royals' veto over bills (The Guardian): "The extent of the Queen and Prince Charles's secretive power of veto over new laws has been exposed after Downing Street lost its battle to keep information about its application secret"

UK: The SPG: Whatever happened to Britain's most controversial policing unit? (The Justice Gap): "The Special Patrol Group is arguably the most controversial unit in the history of British policing, writes Brian Williams. From 1973 to its replacement in 1986 the unit became a symbol of how British policing had changed to meet the challenges of public disorder, crime and terrorism"

UK-SPAIN: Extraditing ETA member arrested in UK would be 'a breach of human rights', says defence (Think Spain)

USA: The war on terror spreads to Africa: US sending troops to 35 African nations (Blacklisted News)

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