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News digest: 11 March 2013

CZECH REPUBLIC: Zeman pledges to fight mafia, neo-Nazis and some media (Prague Daily Monitor): "Milos Zeman said he wants to fight "Godfathers' mafias," neo-Nazis and a substantial of part of the media that focuses on "brainwashing," in his presidential inauguration speech in the Vladislav Hall of Prague Castle Friday"

DENMARK: US criticises Denmark for letting former Guantanamo detainee "return to jihad"
(The Copenhagen Post): "Slimane Hadj Abderrahmane, who recently died in action in Syria, was released from Guantanamo on the condition that Denmark ensured he didn't return to fighting"

EU body will investigate use of pseudonymisation to reduce businesses' data protection responsibilities (Out-Law.com): "A working party of officials from justice departments across the EU has been asked to explore to what extent the pseudonymisation of personal data can be used to "calibrate" businesses' obligations to data protection"

EU: Germany keeps Romanians, Bulgarians out of Schengen (Deutsche Welle): " Germany remains opposed to Romania and Bulgaria joining the European open-border Schengen area. Critics say it is an attempt to stop Roma from those countries from making their way to the West." See also: Romania, Bulgaria rebuffed from Schengen zone (Balkan Insight) and German Ambassador links Romanian Schengen accession to EC's justice reports (Romania Insider)

EU: Holland, Britain, Germany, Austria join forces to fight 'welfare tourism' (Dutch News): "EU citizens who have never worked in the Netherlands should not be allowed to claim welfare benefits (bijstand), junior justice minister Fred Teeven said on Thursday." See also: Berlin wants EU action against welfare abuse (Deutsche Welle)

EU: Security issues on the agenda of a European-Algerian meeting (EU NEighbourhood Info Centre): "The European Counter-terrorism coordinator, Mr. Gilles de Kerchove, paid an official visit to Algiers last week. During his visit, Mr. de Kerchove discussed security issues with his Algerian counterparts"

EU: Spaniards and Greek protest against austerity measures (New Europe): " Spaniards took to the streets on Sunday in more than 60 cities across the country. The nation's trade union confederations, CCOO and UGT, and many other organisations and NGOs called for the demonstrations to protest against a series of government austerity measures." See also: Tens of thousands march throughout Spain (euronews)

FRANCE: Police hurt in clash with French workers over Goodyear tyre plant closure (The Independent): "Nineteen police officers were injured when redundancy-threatened workers bombarded them with burning tyres and paintballs outside the French headquarters of the American tyre company, Goodyear"

FRANCE: Roma in France face multiple evictions (European Roma Rights Centre): "Roma from Aubervilliers have faced multiple evictions, with disproportionate use of police force, after their settlement was burned down last month. The European Roma Rights Centre and Médecins du Monde sent a letter to French authorities asking them to provide assistance for the families"

German jitters over cyber attacks (Deutsche Welle): " Alarmed by the pervasiveness of cyber hacking, the German business community and the government have been spurred into action. But the threats evolve constantly and hackers are becoming increasingly malicious"

GERMANY: Opposition criticizes Merkel for arms sales to Arab states (Press TV): "The German opposition parties have harshly criticized Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government over lifting longtime restrictions of arms exports to the Middle East, as sales to the Persian Gulf soared last year"

GERMANY: The fragility of trust: Neo-Nazi victims seek peace with Germany (Spiegel Online): "Semiya Simsek's family was torn apart 13 years ago when her father was murdered in Nuremberg by a neo-Nazi terror cell. Even worse, German authorities for years suspected the family had been involved. Now, as one of the killing spree's perpetrators is set to go on trial, the Simseks are trying to find peace with Germany"

GREECE: Fleeing war, Syrians face new misery in Greece (Ekathimerini): "Syrian shopkeeper Osama fled the fighting in Aleppo convinced he would be welcomed in Europe. Five months later, he is stuck in near-bankrupt Greece, where money and sympathy are scarce"

GREECE: Gold mine protesters clash with police again (Greek Reporter): "Just weeks after arsonists set fire to equipment at a gold mine project in northern Greece – which led the pro-development government to swiftly give approval for the work to proceed – protesters who say it will harm the environment and tourism battled with riot police again." See also: Skouries mine dispute intensifies as riot police move in on nearby village (Ekathimerini)

GREECE: Indignants return to Syntagma Square, riot police respond with tear gas (Ekathimerini): "An estimated 1,000 so-called “Indignants” gathered in Syntagma Square on Sunday to protest the government’s austerity measures"

HUNGARY: Hungary law reform sparks protest, criticism (EUobserver): " Hungarian lawmakers are set to vote in 14 pages of constitutional amendments on Monday (11 March) which critics say may undermine rule of law." See also: Hungary erupts in protest after PM Viktor Orbán is accused of assault on democracy (The Independent); Ex-president Sólyom urges successor to veto constitutional changes; slams Fidesz use of basic law for “daily” political goals; Thousands demonstrate against new constitutional amendments in Budapest; and Riots redux: Will there be blood in Budapest? (Politics.hu)

Macedonia riot police thwart violent protest (Balkan Insight): "Police stopped around 200 stone-throwing Albanian protesters reaching the government building amid a new outbreak of ethnically-charged violence in Skopje"

MALTA: Online anger after police enforce media blackout (Times of Malta): "Blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia’s arrest on Friday night for breaching the pre-election media blackout prompted social media users to openly defy the law yesterday at the risk of a maximum six-month jail term." See also: Police silent over day of reflection enforcement

MALTA: Workshops plan to combat island’s ‘fear of black people’ (Times of Malta): "Since his arrival in Malta Abdulahi Hassan has wanted to do something about the “fear of black people” on the island, so when two local NGOs launched intercultural workshops with students, he seized the opportunity"

NETHERLANDS: One in five police officers fails new fitness test, half fail to take it at all (Dutch News): "Some 20% of Dutch police officers did not pass their compulsory fitness test last year, RTL news reported at the weekend"

NETHERLANDS: Stop and search rules need an overhaul to allow selection, says mayor (Dutch News): "The current stop and search legislation needs to be changed so police can select who to search, Utrecht mayor Aleid Wolfson says in an interview with the Telegraaf"

NORTHERN IRELAND: Question marks over integrity of forensic exhibits in Massereene murder trial (The Detail): "The trial of a Co Derry man accused of assisting the killers of two British army soldiers at Massereene has heard police experts concede that crucial evidence may have been contaminated by a failure to properly ensure its forensic integrity"

NORWAY: Cyber spies targeting Norway (Barents Observer): "Attacks on Norwegian industry and Norwegian interests in the High North have increased significantly during the last few years"

Poland cornered over its secret prisons (Inter Press Service): "A Polish official investigation into the existence of a secret CIA prison on its territory is being stalled, according to official sources, while pressure on the country to tell the truth mounts"

POLAND: Lech Walesa criticises minorities (New Poland Express): "Solidarity legend and former president Lech Walesa found himself at the centre of controversy this week with comments about homosexuals and civil partnerships that were reported worldwide and provoked some to call for the Nobel Peace Prize winner to return his award."

PORTUGAL: Nationwide anti-government protests go off peacefully (The Portugal News): "The song ‘Grândola, Vila Morena’, one of the symbols of Portugal’s April 1974 revolution, was sung throughout the country on Saturday in demonstrations against the government’s austerity policies, organised by the ‘Screw the troika’ movement"

Romanian MPs immunity under debate (SETimes.com): "Romania's parliament is drafting a new law that covers the immunity of the country's MPs after the Constitutional court struck down the assembly's previous attempt as unconstitutional"

Serbia pledges special prosecutors for sports thugs (Balkan Insight): "As violence at sports events continues in Serbia, the authorities say they will introduce special courts and prosecutors to help root out hooliganism"

Sweden will not amend 'wife import' rules (The Local): "Equality Minister Maria Arnholm wants Sweden to keep the right to deport women whose relationships with Swedish spouses end within two years of their arrival in Sweden"

SWEDEN: Muslim discrimination 'too common' in Sweden (The Local): "Swedish Muslims have slammed the government for failing to combat discrimination, submitting a report to the UN with a list of proposed measures, such as setting up an inquiry into the abuse of Somali migrants in the tiny town of Forserum."

SWEDEN: Stockholm police end 'racial profiling' push (The Local): "Swedish police announced on Friday that officers would no longer be asking public transport users for identification, after their past efforts to deport undocumented migrants were branded as racial profiling"

UK: British minister: UK might quit European rights court (EUobserver): "Interior minister Theresa May has said the UK should consider leaving the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg for the sake of national security and British sovereignty"

UK: Let's talk about stop & search (The Justice Gap): "Since the riots of Summer 2011, stop and search and poor relations between young people and the police in Tottenham have been prominent in the news, write Sophie Hostick-Boakye and Catherine Russell. However, too often young people’s voices are missing from these debates, finding themselves spoken about, rather than to." See: Full report (The Young Foundation, pdf)

UK: Nine out of 10 oppose criminal tendering plan (The Law Society Gazette): "Nearly 90% of solicitors are opposed to price-competitive tendering (PCT) for criminal defence work, a Law Society survey has revealed, after the government announced accelerated plans for its introduction"

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