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News digest: 11 June 2013

Bosnia beldatedly adopts ID number law (Balkan Insight): "Bosnia has adopted amendments to the law on national identification numbers, delays to which sparked a wave of street protests"

Bulgaria probes ministry's use of spy programme (Balkan Insight): "Bulgaria is investigating the alleged use of the spy software programme FinSpy, detected in the now-closed Ministry of State Administration"

BULGARIA: 100 Bulgarian MPs freed after parliament blockade (The Independent): "Bulgarian police have broken up a blockade of parliament and escorted out more than 100 MPs and ministers who had been trapped inside the building for more than eight hours by protesters." See also: President urges calm after Bulgarian MPs blockaded (BBC News) and Mass protests in Bulgaria, despite attempts at media blackout (Counterfire)

Bulgarian Jews fear repeat of bombing (Balkan Insight): "A year after the Burgas bus bombing, the head of the organization of Jews in Bulgaria said the community fears a repeat attack"

Czech scientists use new materials for blast-resistant litter bins (Radio Praha): "Terrorist attacks in public spaces have been haunting city dwellers for years. The recent bombing attack at the Boston marathon made those fears even more acute. Many cities, including Prague, have installed blast-resistant litter bins, which can protect the surrounding area from the effects of a bomb planted inside, or could serve as a disposal for a suspected bomb placed nearby. Now, Czech scientists have come up with a new prototype of a bomb resistant bin, using completely new materials"

CZECH REPUBLIC: Defying parliament, technocratic government is sworn in (aktualne.cz): "The new technocratic government of Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok was sworn in by President Milos Zeman today, in spite of the strong opposition of virtually all political parties in the lower chamber"

CZECH REPUBLIC: Police on racial riots: "We couldn't see it coming" (aktualne.cz): "Czech police said that it was not possible to prevent the racial riots that shocked the capital of the South Bohemian Region on Saturday 29 June. The organizers of the two competing demonstrations allegedly complied with all requirements of the law on assembly and did not give any indication that their events could turn violent"

EU: Cecilia Malmström welcomes new rules boosting Europe's defences against cyberattacks (Europa, press release)

EU: Hezbollah rattled as EU unanimously agrees to put group on terrorism blacklist (The Independent): "The 28 members of the European Union on Monday unanimously agreed to label Hezbollah’s “militant wing” a terrorist organisation, making it illegal to send money to the organisation and enabling its assets in Europe to be frozen." See also: Malta's ‘reservations’ against EU’s blacklisting of Hezbollah (Malta Independent)

EU: Malta considering push-backs: statement by Home Affairs Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström (Europa, press release)

EU: The dark shores of Europe (Critical Legal Thinking): Photo-essay documenting attempts by migrants to enter Europe.

EU: Troika of IMF, ECB and EU here to stay, says Rehn (Reuters): "The EU's top economics official issued a strong defence of the 'troika' of international lenders on Thursday, saying the monitoring team was essential to restoring euro zone credibility"

EU-UK: Audit of EU powers published by ministers (BBC News): "The first details of an audit of EU powers, which Tory MPs hope will be the basis of a future re-negotiation of the UK's membership, have been published." See: Review of the balance of competences (Gov.uk)

FRANCE: Rioters set Paris ablaze over ban on Islamic veil (The Independent): "Twenty cars were burned and four people arrested early today in a second night of violence in a Paris suburb after allegedly heavy-handed police action to enforce France’s ban on the full-face Islamic veil." See also: Five injured and six detained in Paris protests over French ban on face veils (The Independent); and Suburb violence ‘nothing to do’ with French veil ban (France 24)

FRANCE: Stolen Lives: A new generation rises up against French police violence (Ceasefire): "Across France, a growing community-based protest movement is speaking up for the victims of systemic Police violence and the institutional State racism that underlies it"

France's headscarf war: 'It's an attack on freedom' (The Guardian): "With rioting breaking out in Paris over the weekend, the row over Muslim headwear has erupted again. Will it lead to a new law against women wearing headscarves? And could that fan the flames of a French identity crisis?"

French cops probed over racist Facebook posts (The Local): "Tensions between police and Muslim youths in France's poor suburbs are simmering after the weekend's "veil riots". With news that an investigation has been launched into racist remarks posted on an unofficial police Facebook group the bad-feeling will only increase"

French MP Gilles Bourdouleix under fire over Nazi Roma remark (The Independent): "A French mayor faces prosecution and expulsion from the centre-right UDI party after saying he wished the Nazis had murdered more Roma gypsies during the Second World War." See also: MP faces prosecution in France over Hitler Roma remark (BBC News)

FRANCE: Neo-Nazi musician Vikernes freed after arrest in France (BBC News): "A Norwegian neo-Nazi musician has been released two days after he was arrested in central France on suspicion of "preparing a major terrorist act"." See: Neo-Nazi linked to Breivik arrested amid fears of ‘major terrorist act’ (The Journal)

German defense minister to face grilling over Euro Hawk debacle (Deutsche Welle): " The German parliament has taken on the task of conducting a rapid-fire investigation into the Euro Hawk drone debacle. With elections looming, the defense minister's testimony could prove politically explosive"

German offers nature walk at NSA base, gets house call from the feds (The Daily Dot): "German Facebook user Daniel Bangert shares his hometown with a top secret U.S. facility known as the Dagger Complex. So the other day Bangert, whose Facebook posts rarely veer from the earnest, invited his friends to go on a little trip to the complex... Four days after Bangert posted his facetious event, at just after 7:00 a.m., [the police] rang him up to make their displeasure clear."

GERMANY: Neo-Nazi trial: Damaging testimony against Zschäpe (Spiegel Online): "A police officer who interrogated an alleged accomplice of the NSU terrorism group claims that Beate Zschäpe, the main defendant in the Munich neo-Nazi trial, was an "equal member" in the trio that is believed to have killed 10 people, most of foreign origin"

GERMANY: 'Prolific partner': German intelligence used NSA spy program (Spiegel Online): "Angela Merkel and her ministers claim they first learned about the US government's comprehensive spying programs from press reports. But SPIEGEL has learned that German intelligence services themselves use one of the NSA's most valuable tools." See also: Prism in Afghanistan: Conflicting accounts by German government; Berlin and the NSA: Questions mount for Merkel's chief of staff; Snooping fears: German firms race to shield secrets (Spiegel Online); Itching to ask: What does Merkel know about NSA surveillance?; Interior Minister: 'Too much secret-mongering' (Deutsche Welle)

GREECE: Cops charged with beating pregnant woman (Greek Reporter): "An alleged brutal crime is being investigated by the Prosecutor who ordered a probe of a policeman and a policewoman that authorities said thrashed a pregnant Romanian woman, causing a miscarriage"

GREECE: Golden Dawn MPs swear at, threaten SYRIZA deputies in parliament (Ekathimerini): "The efforts of far-right Golden Dawn to hold a festival in Kalamata on August 3 and 4 prompted a row in Parliament on Thursday that culminated in MPs from the neo-Nazi party hurling obscenities at SYRIZA lawmakers and making references to Greece’s bloody Civil War"

GREECE: Police bans public gatherings in central Athens to block Golden Dawn food handout (Ekathimerini): "The police has announced a ban on any kind of public gathering in central Athens, from noon to midnight, on Wednesday." See also: Athens mayor vows to stop another Golden Dawn food handout on Friday

GREECE: Racist assault against elderly woman (Greek Reporter): "An elderly woman from the former Soviet Union, was sitting on a little chair on the pavement outside the Theageneio Anti-Cancer Hospital in Thessaloniki, where her husband is hospitalized with cancer. She was selling bread rolls to make ends meet"

IRELAND: Almost 260 Magdalene survivors apply for scheme (RTÉ News): "Just under 260 completed application forms have been received from survivors of Magdalene Laundries who believe they qualify for the Government's restorative justice package"

IRELAND: Concern about right wing websites with Irish contributions (The Journal): "The Immigrant Council of Ireland says it is concerned about the emergence of right-wing websites with Irish contributions that remain online for weeks or months despite complaints from the public"

IRELAND: Garda sent for trial over ‘forged DPP letter’ (Irish Independent): "A female Garda has been sent forward for trial accused of using a forged letter purporting to be from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in connection with a criminal investigation."

IRELAND: Irish Government must address internet porn in wake of UK clampdown (Irish Independent): "David Cameron has declared war on internet pornography and his Irish counterparts are being criticised for failing to do the same"

IRELAND: Mother of bullied boy backs SIM card review (Irish Independent): "The mother of a young boy who was systematically bullied for almost a year via mobile phone has welcomed the government report calling for a review of the sale of SIM cards"

IRELAND: People unable to pay court fines to escape jail (Irish Independent): "People not able to pay court fines will be spared jail under new proposals to spread the payment."

IRELAND: The ‘defacto detained’: How voluntary patients can be held without review (The Journal)

IRELAND: This is a fight for our rights, says mum in battle for home birth (Irish Independent): "A pregnant mother who is taking legal action after the HSE refused to provide her with a midwife for a home birth has insisted her case is "not a women's rights issue""

IRELAND: Two quizzed over 'passport fraud' (Irish Independent): "Two employees at the passport office have been questioned by gardai over suspected fraud." See: Gardai launch fraud probe at passport office

IRELAND: Your SIM is hackable, says expert (Irish Independent): " Mobile phone users have been put on alert after it was revealed that sim cards can now be hacked, possibly leading to fraud and soaring premium rate bills"

Italian photographer indicted in Turkey over protest (Gazzetta del Sud): "An Italian photojournalist jailed then released in Turkey earlier this month for participating in an unauthorized demonstration says he is now being indicted there"

Italy to tackle online racism (The Local): "Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge said on Thursday the government is looking into new ways of tackling racism, with a focus on the online sphere"

ITALY: Bloody G8 protests marked in Genoa with memorial (Gazzetta del Sud): "A block of granite with the phrase, "Carlo Giuliani, young man, July 20, 2001" served as the symbol to mark the 12th anniversary of protests marred by police violence at the 2001 G8 meeting in Genoa. The stone, placed by Genoa port workers in Alimonda Square, will substitute a memorial plaque for the 23-year-old protestor who was slain by police during anti-G8 demonstrations in 2001"

ITALY: Boat carrying 86 immigrants rescued off Lampedusa and More than 700 migrants arrive in Lampedusa in 24 hours (Gazzetta del Sud)

ITALY: Denuncia del sindacato di Polizia: “i Cie sono bombe a orologeria” (MigrantiTorino): "Italian Police Union deplores lengthy and expensive immigration detention for its adverse effects on both migrants and law enforcement officers: Detention centres are a 'time bomb'"

ITALY: Immigrant drowns after jumping in river to avoid checks (Gazzetta del Sud)

ITALY: No 100th birthday party in public for Nazi officer (Gazzetta del Sud): "The mayor of Rome said Tuesday he would "personally make sure" that a former Nazi officer about to turn 100 here would not have any kind of celebration in public. "No one should celebrate someone responsible for massacres," added Ignazio Marino"

ITALY: Police probed for keeping confiscated drugs (Gazzetta del Sud)

ITALY: Protesters swarm Naples city hall (Gazzetta del Sud): "Nearly all of the women from group that held a sit-in protest in Naples' city hall on Wednesday have been taken to a police station, authorities said"

ITALY: Sanremo mayor causes stir for reportedly kicking a beggar (Gazzetta del Sud): "The mayor of the Ligurian city of Sanremo has fallen under criticism after he reportedly kicked a beggar on the street in the city's center"

ITALY: Squatters in Rome fight for social change (The Local): "With the economic crisis showing no sign of abating, people in Rome are turning to the city's abandoned buildings for shelter and community support. The Local visited Lab Puzzle, a former council office, to find out how Italians are developing their own social movement"

ITALY: Stamping out racism in Italy (The Local): "Remarks by a right-wing MP comparing Italy's first black minister, Cecile Kyenge, to an 'orangutan' have sparked a storm in Italy. Prime Minister Enrico Letta called it a "shameful chapter" for Italy. The Local speaks to several experts about how Italy can stop racism." See also: Kyenge says new hate speech laws under consideration; Lombard councillor demands action from Northern League chief; Calderoli probed over orangutan jibe, row rumbles on; Trento councillor expelled for racist remarks about Kyenge; Councilor found guilty over Kyenge rape comments (Gazzetta del Sud) and Eataly bans MP over 'orangutan' slur (The Local)

ITALY:UN slams Italy for 'extraordinary rendition' (The Local): "UN rights experts urged Italy Thursday to do everything possible help the wife and daughter of a Kazakh dissident who were illegally deported in May to return to the country." See also: Kazakh dissident's family may return to Italy and 'Dark areas remain' in Kazakh deportation says foreign min (Gazzetta del Sud)

KOSOVO: EULEX and Kosovo sign crime-busting deal (Balkan Insight): "The EU rule of law mission and the Kosovo government signed a technical agreement on intelligence sharing, aimed at boosting the crackdown on organized crime and corruption"

MACEDONIA: Detained Macedonian journalist starts hunger strike (Balkan Insight): "Investigative journalist Tomislav Kezarovski, who has spent almost two months in detention after being arrested for revealing the name of a murder witness, has launched a hunger strike"

MACEDONIA: Third Macedonian academic labelled communist informer (Balkan Insight): "A state commission tasked with rooting out former collaborators has caused controversy by claiming that prominent Macedonian academic and writer Bozin Pavlovski was a secret police informer"

Macedonian journalists reject draft media law (Balkan Insight): "Macedonian journalists organisations have continued to press their concerns over the government's third attempt to pass a controversial media law"

Malta to pay Lithuanian €5,000 after human rights violation (Malta Independent): " Malta has been fined €5,000 by the European Court of Human Rights after it was found to have violated Article 5 of the Convention of Human Rights in the case instituted by a Lithuanian national for excessive detention at Corradino Correctional Facility"

Malta fined €60,000 after migrant detention facilities complaints (Malta Independent): "Judges ruled today that Malta breached the human rights of two irregular migrants, fining the country a total of 60,000 euros." See also: European court fines Malta over migrant detentions (BBC News); ECHR judgments: government considering all legal options (Times of Malta) and ECHR judgment: Suso Musa v. Malta (pdf)

MALTA: 150 police benefited from disciplinary proceedings amnesty (Malta Independent)

MALTA: Journalists given tour of irregular migrants' detention centres (Malta Independent): " Members of the press were this morning given a tour of the two detention centres – in Safi and in nearby Hal Far – which together house over 900 asylum seekers and immigrants intercepted or rescued on the way to Malta." See also: Inside detention centres for irregular migrants

MALTA: Mallia discusses migration with Malmstrom - EU agrees on emergency funds, repatriation assistance (Times of Malta): "The EU Commissioner responsible for immigration, Cecilia Malmstrom today promised Malta emergency funds and increased assistance for the repatriation of migrants who are not granted protection." See also: Government, IOM explore methods of cooperation (Malta Independent)

MALTA: Metsola, Europol hold talks on human smuggling (Malta Independent): "Roberta Metsola, Member of the European Parliament, held talks this morning with Europol Director Rob Wainwright on how best the European Union can tackle the organised crime networks profiting from illegal immigration"

MALTA: Migrant helper appeals jail term (Times of Malta): "A taxi driver who was jailed for seven years after jurors found him guilty of aiding migrants to leave the island yesterday filed an appeal arguing that they could not have found him guilty given the weak evidence"

Montenegrin gays ready for first pride parade (Balkan Insight): "Aleksandar Zekovic, of the LGBT forum Progress, has announced that the first Montenegrin Gay Pride will be held on Wednesday in front of the walls of Budva's old town."

NETHERLANDS: Dutch court forbids terror suspect deportation to US on torture doubts (Dutch News): "The appeal court in The Hague has called a halt to the deportation of terror suspect Sabir K to the US. The court said there is still too much uncertainty over the involvement of America in K’s torture following his arrest in Pakistan." See also: Dutch court blocks US extradition amid torture claims (BBC News)

NETHERLANDS: Dutchman in spotlight in international probe into neo-Nazi terror groups (Dutch News): "A 19-year-old Dutchman is one of six people under suspicion of forming an international terrorist neo-Nazi organisation, the Volkskrant reported on Wednesday"

NETHERLANDS: Justice minstry internet taps up five fold in one year (Dutch News): "The number of internet taps carried out by Dutch police rose 500% to 16,600 last year, according to new justice ministry figures. By contrast, the number of phone taps rose just 3% to nearly 25,500 despite doubts about their usefulness. And the number of requests for information about phone calls - such as the location calls were made from - reached almost 57,000, up 10% on 2011"

NETHERLANDS: Muslim family surrounded by 6 cop cars for toy gun (Roet In Het Eten): "In Amsterdam a North African or Middle Eastern looking family was surrounded by six cop cars because of a toy gun a little boy stuck out of the sunroof. The boy had won the toy gun at the fair on Friday. The family of three and two friends were ordered to get out of the car with their hands up and to kneel on the sweltering pavement. The Netherlands is going through a heat wave at the moment. One of the passengers was a pregnant woman who immediately started having contractions. The driver Anwar Chakir is filing a complaint with the police while the police contend that this is standard procedure"

NETHERLANDS: Officials broke human rights laws by following welfare claimant (Dutch News): "Amsterdam council fraud investigators broke human rights legislation by secretly observing a man they suspected of wrongly claiming welfare benefits, the Parool reports on Wednesday"

NETHERLANDS: Several hundred people picked up after police camera checks on the A13 (Dutch News): "Spot checks on cars on the A13 this year led to ‘350 criminals’ being arrested, police have told news agency ANP"

NETHERLANDS: Refugees feel a cold Dutch embrace (Epoch Times): "American filmmaker Miles Roston, the son of two refugees, followed four refugees from different backgrounds for a year in their struggle to fit into a changing Dutch society, once considered at the pinnacle of tolerance. His film, Refugees: Who Needs Them? was released in May and explores the anti-immigrant sentiments that have become common in the Netherlands."

NETHERLANDS: 'The Netherlands is a tax haven for firms which infringe human rights' (Dutch News): "The Netherlands is a tax haven for companies which are involved in human rights violations, according to new research by multinational research centre SOMO"

NORTHERN IRELAND: More mutual aid officers in Northern Ireland after rioting (BBC News): "A further 300 mutual aid officers from other UK police services are due to arrive in Belfast later to help the Police Service of Northern Ireland"

POLAND: 'Most difficult Polish-Jewish relations since fall of communism' (The News): "Poland's Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich said after a meeting with government officials on Monday that the ban on kosher slaughtering is bad news for Polish-Jewish relations"

POLAND: Row over death camp rising tribute (The News): "MPs have altered a draft resolution for the 70th anniversary of a breakout at the Nazi German death camp of Treblinka, following complaints that Polish aid to Jewish fugitives was overstated"

POLAND: Terrorism charges for 'Polish Breivik' (The News): "Polish prosecutors increased the charges on Monday against a Krakow academic who allegedly planned to blow up parliament"

Serbia axes chief of special police (Balkan Insight): "Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic has relieved of his duties Gendarmerie commander Bratislav Dikic after one of his men was arrested for murder"

SERBIA: Infant mortality rate high in Serbian Roma communities (BBC News): "Like many countries in South East Europe, Serbia has a large Roma community. Their children are among the most vulnerable in the country, the infant and under-five mortality rates are double those of the general population. A big part of the problem is that Roma families either don't know about local healthcare facilities, or feel they don't have the right to go there."

SPAIN: Madrid protests turn violent as Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy is accused of corruption (The Independent): "Thousands of protesters clashed with riot police in Madrid as they called for the resignation of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy"

SPAIN: Supreme Court ruling allows former government minister to escape jail (El País): "The Supreme Court on appeal has reduced the jail sentence of Jaume Matas on corruption offenses to nine-and-a-half months, likely ensuring the former ruling Popular Party premier of the Balearic Islands and central government minister will not spend any time behind bars, according to a ruling made public on Tuesday"

TURKEY: Migrants die as boat sinks off Turkey (The New York Times): "At least 58 migrants drowned in the Aegean Sea just off the Turkish coast after the fishing boat that was carrying them sank early Thursday morning, local officials told a Turkish news agency"

UK CCTV: Why we need more regulation (IFSECGlobal.com): "The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) has produced its own set of statistics. In a report entitled "The Picture Is Not Clear: How Many CCTV Surveillance Cameras Are There in the UK?", the Trade Association has made a thoroughly detailed attempt to unearth current numbers."

UK: Anti-fascist protester claims police broke her leg at rally (The Independent): "Scotland Yard is investigating claims that a female teacher sustained “life-changing injuries” after being struck by a police officer during an anti-fascist demonstration opposing the British National Party, The Independent has learnt."

UK: Arms exports from UK raise questions, MPs say (BBC News): "The UK government has approved more than 3,000 export licences for military sales to countries which it believes have questionable records on human rights, MPs say." See also: Will Parliamentary Committee's report change Government stance on arms fair invitations? (Campaign Against Arms Trade, press release)

UK: Forced return flights from the UK: the European anti-torture committee publishes its first report (European Committee for the Prevention of Torture): "The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) publishes today its first report on an operation of deportation of foreign nationals by air. The monitoring took place in the context of an ad hoc visit to the United Kingdom from 22 to 24 October 2012 and involved the presence of a CPT delegation on a charter flight between London and Colombo (Sri Lanka)"

UK: Govt's 'illegal immigrants go home' campaign begins (The Voice): "Vans with giant billboards featuring the slogan "Go home or face arrest" will be driven around London this week in an attempt to persuade illegal immigrants to leave the Britain." See also: Adverts urging illegal immigrants to leave UK attacked by ex-minister (The Guardian)

UK: Huawei has spied for Chinese government, ex-CIA boss says (The Guardian): "The former head of the CIA and the National Security Agency in the US has said he is aware of hard evidence that Huawei Technologies has spied for the Chinese government, the Australian Financial Review newspaper reports." See: Government defends Huawei after MPs warn on security (computing)

UK: Online pornography to be blocked by default, PM announces (BBC News): "Most households in the UK will have pornography blocked by their internet provider unless they choose to receive it, David Cameron has announced." See: David Cameron can't protect us from child porn because he doesn't understand the internet (The Telegraph)

UK: Police set to get new dispersal powers (Netpol): "New laws being considered by parliament would allow police to disperse people taking part in a lawful assembly and arrest those that did not comply. There is no need for the demonstration to have been disorderly or violent – the only requirement would be that the dispersal was ‘necessary to reduce the likelihood of anti-social behaviour’"


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