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News digest: 12 June 2013

Albania journalists protest over election tapes (Balkan Insight): "A dozen journalists protested on Thursday against a decision of the Central Electoral Commission, CEC, obliging TV stations to transmit tapes of campaign events, calling it a form of censorship"

Bosnians continue protests over ID logjam (Balkan Insight): "People have continued to take to the streets in Sarajevo and other cities as Bosnia’s State Parliament failed to resolve the wrangle over a law on personal numbers." See also: Bosnian protesters block parliament over ID law delay and Protesters' siege of Bosnia parliament alarms Serbs (Balkan Insight) Protests over ID numbers highlight Bosnia’s divisions (EurActiv)

CZECH REPUBLIC: Archives full of explosive revelations (Prague Daily Monitor): "The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes is gradually throwing history back at the Czechs. Some are finding it hard to cope with"

DENMARK: 2 suspected in Danish police data hacking (Boston.com): "The Swedish founder of the file-sharing site The Pirate Bay is suspected along with a Dane of hacking into a company handling sensitive information for the Danish police, officials said Thursday"

EU: Brussels examining Hungarian government’s response to constitutional criticism (Politics.hu): "The European Commission is reviewing the Hungarian government’s latest measures taken in response to criticism over constitutional amendments, spokesperson Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen said on Monday"

EU: Parliament and Council agree on new border surveillance system (Malta Independent): " The EU’s external borders and migrants’ lives will, according to the European Parliament and the European Council, be better protected thanks to the new ‘Eurosur’ border surveillance system, details of which were agreed by Parliament and Council this week." See: Eurosur: Parliament and Council agree on new border surveillance system (European Parliament, press release) and Borderline: The EU's New Border Surveillance Initiatives: Assessing the Costs and Fundamental Rights Implications of EUROSUR and the "Smart Borders" Proposals (pdf)

 EU: Council of the European Union discusss progress on the proposed EU data protection regulation (Privacy and Information Security Blog)

EU: ECB policy under court scrutiny (New Europe): "A top European Central Bank official has warned that a German court judgment against the bank's program to buy the bonds of troubled economies could reignite concerns over the future of the euro"

EU: Germany ratifies Croatian EU accession (Balkan Insight): "Germany ratified Croatia's EU Accession Treaty on Friday, the last EU member state to do so, opening the way for Croatia to join the European club on July 1"

EU: Hunton publishes analysis paper on the Irish Presidency's draft compromise text on the proposed EU data protection regulation (Privacy and Information Security Blog)

EU: President: Racism will rise if Europe does not focus on citizens (The Journal): "President Michael D Higgins has warned of a rise in racism and a decline in democracy if the European Union does not refocus on more socialist values"

EU: Migration and mobility partnership signed between the EU and Morocco (Europa, press release): "Cooperation between Morocco and the EU is set to also apply to migration and the movement of people, thanks to an EU-Morocco mobility partnership which was signed today by Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Internal Affairs, Mr Saad dine El Otmani, the Moroccan Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the Ministers responsible for migration from the nine EU Member States participating in this partnership (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom)." See: EU-MOROCCO: Political agreement on Mobility Partnership: Towards the first readmission agreement with an African country? (Statewatch News Online) and Extension of Mobility Partnerships with Euro-Mediterranean Partners by Marie Martin

EU: NUCLEAR WEAPONS: 22 American nuclear bombs are stored in the Netherlands: media (Dutch News): "Twenty-two American nuclear bombs are being stored in underground strong-rooms at the Volkel air base in Brabant, the Telegraaf reports on Monday." See also: US nuclear bombs 'based in Netherlands' - ex-Dutch PM Lubbers (BBC News) and US, Russian leaders sign new arms control deal in Prague (Prague Daily Monitor): "US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, signed a new treaty on the reduction of their countries' strategic nuclear weapons in the historic Spanish Hall at Prague Castle, one year after Mr Obama delivered his keynote speech on nuclear disarmament in the Czech capital"

FRANCE: France to ban violent neo-Nazi groups as eight claim self-defence over 'anti-fascist' student Clément Méric's death (The Independent): "The French government promised today to ban all violent neo-Nazi groups after the death of 19-year-old "anti-fascist" student Clément Méric in the heart of Paris." See also: Murder charge sought in Paris skinhead attack (France 24)

German court orders gay tax equality (Deutsche Welle): " Germany's Federal Constitutional Court has ruled that homosexual couples may no longer be disadvantaged in income tax rights. Political scientist and lawyer Sabine Berghahn evaluates the judgment"

Germany to deport 'poverty immigrants' (Spiegel Online): "German communities have complained for years about Romanians and Bulgarians immigrating to abuse the country's social welfare system. On Friday, the interior minister promised tougher measures, including expulsions and travel bans"

GERMANY: Drone troubles mount for minister (Spiegel Online): "German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière rejected calls to resign on Monday over losses from the Euro Hawk drone project. But he admitted knowing about the problems sooner than he had indicated last week and now faces a parliamentary investigation." See also: Drone debacle 'extremely embarassing'

GERMANY: Number of Islamists in Germany grows (Spiegel Online): "In its annual report on extremist activity in Germany, the country's domestic intelligence agency has identified a surge in support for Islamists and growth in the number of influential neo-Nazi music groups"

GERMANY: Neo-Nazi's mother sheds light on his disappearance (Spiegel Online): "The murderous neo-Nazi group National Socialist Underground vanished from sight in 1998. On Thursday, the mother of one of the group's members told investigators her version of the events leading up to her son's disappearance"

GREECE: Bill gives authorities quick access to bank accounts as part of tax probes (Ekathimerini): "The Finance Ministry is to submit a bill to Parliament on Monday that would allow it to obtain taxpayers’ bank details at 24 hours’ notice as part of investigations into tax evasion"

GREECE: Boat carrying Afghan refugees sinks off in Turkey and Greece waters (Greek Reporter)

GREECE: Kasidiaris says Holocaust fiction (Greek Reporter): "The spokesman and a Member of Parliament for the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, Ilias Kasidiaris, whipped up controversy while addressing the body after he suggested that he – like his party leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos - is a Holocaust denier"

GREECE: Lagarde list publisher returns to Greek court months after being exonerated (The Guardian): "A Greek newspaper editor accused of breaking privacy laws when he published the names of suspected tax dodgers with deposits in Switzerland is to be retried this week in a case that has raised howls of protest over press censorship in the crisis-hit country"

GREECE: Pakistani man waiting to be deported jumped from fifth floor, police say (Ekathimerini): "A Pakistani man is being treated in the hospital in Trikala for serious injuries after apparently jumping from a window in the city’s police headquarters"

GREECE: Risk of riots in northern Greek jails due to overcrowding (Enet): "Thessaloniki chief prosecutor says situation has reached the point where prisons are unable to admit remand prisoners, adding that the city's police stations have 400 remand and convicted prisoners in their cells"

GREECE: Xenios Zeus fills detention centers (Greek Reporter): "A year after beginning the ironically-named Xenios Zeus (Hospitality) program to round up illegal immigrants and then deport them, Greece’s detention centers are full of them and there’s no room for more, police and immigration officials said"

GREECE: Special Report: The tortured activist whose fate tells Turkish protesters: don't seek refuge in Greece (The Independent): "Bulut Yayla, a Turkish archaeology student and left-wing activist, says he travelled to Greece in April this year to escape imprisonment and torture he endured under the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan"

HUNGARY: Justice minister voices concerns over 2012 report on implementation of EU charter (Politics.hu): "Hungary only approved the 2012 report on the implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union by attaching a political statement to it, voicing reservations about four points, Deputy Prime Minister Tibor Navracsics told MTI on Thursday"

HUNGARY: Socialist MP accuses Jobbik lawmaker of provocation, Holocaust denial over questioning of memorial site (Politics.hu): "Pal Steiner, a lawmaker of the opposition Socialists, accused a radical nationalist MP of Holocaust denial and provocation in a parliamentary committee on Monday"

IRELAND: Almost 2,000 have dole cut for not attending schemes (Irish Independent)

IRELAND: Daly and Wallace join US stopover protest (Irish Independent): "Two Independent TDs joined protesters at Shannon Airport yesterday for their monthly rally that opposes the continuing use of the mid-west aerodrome by the US military"

IRELAND: Death threat issued to journalist (Irish Independent)

IRELAND: Man arrested for murder of Polish man in Donegal (The Journal): "A man has been arrested in connection with the murder of Bogdan Michalkiawicz in Letterkenny, Co Donegal in May." See also: Polish man assaulted in Galway estate passes away (The Journal) and Four held as Polish man dies from attack injuries (Irish Independent)

IRELAND: Mongolian clerks awarded €6,500 over study visa problems (Irish Independent): "Two Mongolian office clerks who each paid The Eurocollege Institute of Education €6,500 before discovering they could not obtain visas to study in Ireland, have been awarded judgments against the college"

Italy considers reopening island prison of Pianosa (Gazzetta del Sud): "One of Italy's former prison islands will likely be reopened, a government official said Monday. A plan to reopen the prison on Pianosa off the coast of Tuscany has been approved by administrators and will be discussed further at high-level meetings on June 19, the official said." See also: Napolitano urges fast action on Italy's prison problems

Italy risks social 'revolt' say young employers (Gazzetta del Sud): "Soaring jobless rates and the lack of prospects for young people mean politicians face a social "revolt" in Italy, young employers said Friday. "They (the politicians) have emptied tomorrow of hope and filled the present with anguish," said the head of the young employers' branch of influential industrial confederation Confindustria, Jacopo Morelli"

ITALY: 68 Egypt migrants picked up in Calabria (Gazzetta del Sud)

ITALY: Northern League bigwig blames Kyenge for incoming migrants (Gazzetta del Sud): "The second-in-command of the Northern League on Thursday said Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge's push to decriminalize undocumented immigration to Italy has sparked a wave of incoming migrants"

ITALY: Survivors of WWII massacre in Italy persist in quest for justice (Inter Press Service)

LIBYA: EU border security mission announced, as UNSMIL helps define the challenges (Libya Herald): "The European Union has signed off on a €30 million mission to help Libya improve its troubled and disorganised border security"

MALTA: Irregular migration: Malta insists on tangible solidarity from EU (Malta Independent): " The Minister for Home Affairs and National Security, Emmanuel Mallia, attended a meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council. The meeting discussed several issues of importance to Malta, including the establishment of a Common European Asylum System and Schengen governance"

MALTA: Government denies amnesty was promised before election (Malta Independent)

MALTA: Ministry investigating alleged visa irregularities (Malta Independent): "The foreign ministry said it is investigating claimed irregularities about the issue of visas at the Maltese consulate in Libya. A news report was carried yesterday in a section of the press"

NETHERLANDS: Back to the drawing board with electronic tagging plan (Dutch News): "Junior justice minister Fred Teeven is to look again at his plans to cut €340m from the prison budget, after MPs said they would not accept an increase in electronic tagging"

NORTH AFRICA: Choucha refugee camp to close at end of June (Libya Herald): "The Choucha refugee camp on the Tunisian-Libyan border will close as planned on 30 June, despite protests from those living in the camp, according to the Tunisian news agency TAP"

NORTHERN IRELAND: G8: Security tightened ahead of G8 Summit (Irish Independent): "Police protection of landmark sites across Belfast has been tightened in advance of the G8 conference in Northern Ireland." See also: Special court to help tackle G8 protesters (Irish Independent); Northern Ireland airspace to be restricted during G8 and Police: we're ready for G8 (Belfast Telegraph)

NORTHERN IRELAND: Equality for whom: how is the Equality Commission delivering? (The Detail): "It’s supposed to ensure equality of need in Northern Ireland, but a new report accuses the Equality Commission of allowing the promotion of good relations between the two main communities to undermine the rights of minorities." See: Committtee on the Administration of Justice: Unequal relations? Policy, the Section 75 duties and Equality Commission advice: has 'good relations' been allowed to undermine equality? (pdf)

NORWAY: Dagbladet cartoon slammed for being anti-Semitic (The Foreigner): "Oslo’s Jewish community and the Norwegian Centre Against Racism strongly reprehend a cartoon published by tabloid Dagbladet depicting Jews torturing children"

POLAND: Cake-throwing martial law internee faces charges (The News): " A communist-era opposition activist is to be charged after throwing a cake into a judge's face during a case against former Interior Minister Czeslaw Kiszczak"

Romania's new constitution bans gay marriage (Balkan Insight): "An amendment to Romania's new constitution, backed by MPs and the Orthodox Church, defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman alone"

Russia faces security challenges at Sochi Olympics (Epoch Times): "Drones hovering overhead, robotic vehicles roaming Olympic venues to search for explosives, high-speed patrol boats sweeping the Black Sea coast — Russian officials say they will be using cutting-edge technology to make sure the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi will be “the safest Olympics in history.”"

RUSSIA: Longer in jail for Bolotnaya Anti-Putin protesters (BBC News): "Ten of 12 Russians being tried over clashes at a rally against President Vladimir Putin last year have had their detention extended by six months"

SWEDEN: British man stuck in Swedish ID nightmare (The Local): "A British man's attempt to gain Swedish citizenship has been marred by a bureaucratic black hole that has left him stranded in the country without a valid ID"

Switzerland votes to tighten asylum law (Deutsche Welle): " Switzerland has voted overwhelmingly in favor of tightening the country's asylum law. The controversial decision comes with refugee applications having risen to their highest level in more than a decade." See also: Swiss back tighter asylum rules (BBC News); Minister pushes for more asylum reforms (swissinfo.ch)

Turkey protests: Riot police storm Taksim Square (BBC News): "Turkish riot police have moved into Istanbul's Taksim Square, which has been occupied by anti-government protesters for close to two weeks." See also: Turkish riot police break through barricades into Taksim Square to confront Istanbul protesters (The Independent)

UK: 145 specially appointed government barristers demand rethink on legal aid plans (UK Human Rights Blog)

UK Afghanistan president demands transfer of prisoners of war at Bagram (Jurist): "Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai demanded Saturday that all prisoners of war held by UK forces at Bagram Airfield be released into Afghan custody"

UK: Anti-fascists block EDL in Sheffield - again (Socialist Worker)

UK: Bail conditions used to restrict protest (Network for Police Monitoring): "On Saturday 1st June the police arrested 58 people who had been protesting against plans by the British National Party to march to the cenotaph in Westminster. Anti-fascist protesters had breached restrictions imposed on their protest, having refused to be contained within an area designated by the police. Police confronting them used considerable force – eye-witnesses have described officers punching protesters, and one woman was taken to hospital with a broken leg. The police then carried out ‘snatch squad’ style arrests until two buses had been filled with handcuffed people"

UK: BBC 'poisons' airwaves with EDL interview (The Telegraph): "The BBC have been criticised for “poisoning” the airwaves by conducting an “unchallenged” interview with EDL leader Tommy Robinson"

UK: Britain to compensate tortured Kenyans (Inter Press Service): "Britain has agreed to compensate Kenyans tortured during the Mau Mau uprising against colonial rule in the 1950s, Foreign Secretary William Hague said Thursday"

UK: Civil rights campaigners slam Facewatch (IFSEC Global): "The International Working Group on Video Surveillance, an alliance of people and NGOs who are concerned at the increasing use of video surveillance around the world, has launched a scathing attack on the CCTV images sharing service Facewatch"

UK: Climate activists receive sentences for gas-fired power station occupation (The Guardian): "Twenty-one climate change activists were sentenced on Thursday for aggravated trespass after occupying a gas-fired power station last year"

UK: G4S feel the heat at AGM (Stop G4S): "Human rights activists today unfurled a banner proclaiming “Stop G4S” inside the company’s annual meeting and disrupted the meeting with chanting and a noisemaker, before security guards forced them to leave the venue"

UK: Mobile giants to profit from data they hold on millions of phone customers (The Telegraph): "A venture set up by Vodafone, O2 and EE will look to profit from the data they have collected from customers by placing advertisements on behalf of multi-national corporations such as carmakers and food and drink giants"

UK: Surveillance code of practice published (IFSEC Global): "The new Surveillance Camera Code of Practice was published today, with police and public authorities in the UK set to be subject to it. Under the new code they will have to prove that a system’s technical capabilities are "proportionate" to their use." See also: CCTV: new controls on private security cameras to stop homeowners snooping on neighbours (The Telegraph) and Home Office: Surveillance Camera Code of Practice (pdf); Government response to statutory consultation over the surveillance camera code of practice (pdf) and Surveillance camera code of practice - impact assessment (updated and finalised) (pdf)

UK: Woolwich attack: Student sentenced for 'joke' tweet (BBC News): "A student who said on Twitter that people wearing Help for Heroes T-shirts "deserved to be beheaded" was arrested after complaining to police about threatening replies, a court has heard"

USA: Hacking the drone war's secret history (Wired): "In 2008 U.S. troops in Iraq discovered that Shi’ite insurgents had figured out how to tap and record video feeds from overhead American drones. Now you too can hack Washington’s globe-spanning fleet of silent, deadly armed robots — although legally, and only in an historical sense"

UK: Proposed 'reforms' of legal aid in the UK (Human Rights in Ireland)

USA: NSA snooping: Obama under pressure as senator denounces 'act of treason' (The Guardian): "Barack Obama was facing a mounting domestic and international backlash against US surveillance operations on Monday as his administration struggled to contain one of the most explosive national security leaks in US history." See also: US lawmakers urge review of government surveillance activities (Jurist)


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