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News digest: 12 September 2013

AUSTRIA: Roma kids allegations (Austrian Independent): " The department of city councillor Christian Oxonitsch gets no peace: the head of the youth welfare, which is part of the magistrate 11, provoked a debate about minors from abroad in an interview in the newspaper "Der Standard""

BALKANS: Western Balkans intensify security co-operation (SETimes.com): "The Western Balkan countries have made significant progress in improving regional security and EU integration processes, concluded security experts and participants at the international NATO conference on regional security in the Western Balkans recently held in Struga, but agreed on forwarding regional initiatives for co-operation, bilateral and multilateral agreements in defence and security." See also: Serbian and Bulgarian police "pursue fugitives" during drill (b92)

CROATIA: EU official slams croatia over arrest warrants (Balkan Insight): "European justice commissioner Viviane Reding criticised the Croatian government’s reluctance to change its law on arrest warrants to meet EU requirements"

CZECH REPUBLIC: Government unveils national strategy to tackle homelessness in the Czech Republic (Radio Praha)

DENMARK: Ombudsman criticises Defence Ministry for delay in supplying documents (The Copenhagen Post): "Journalist waited nearly two years for access to information about Iraq and still came away empty handed"

DENMARK: Secret police may be investigated over lavish dinner expenses (The Copenhagen Post): "A 10,000 kroner going-away dinner for a secret police boss could lead to a state auditor's investigation into how spy organisation PET spends its money"

EU leaves Bulgaria to handle Syrian refugees (Balkan Insight): "Although more and more Syrians are entering Bulgaria from Turkey, Brussels has declined a plea to provide cash to help address their needs." See also: Bulgaria finds more beds for Syrian refugees (Balkan Insight)

EU: Letta: European decision-making too complex, too long (BBC News): "HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur talks to Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta. He has has been in power for five months but already faces stiff tests at home and abroad. He is battling to keep his coalition government together and find a coherent European position on the crisis in Syria"

EU: Parliament backs rules allowing suspension of visa-free travel only as a last resort (European Parliament, press release): "Reciprocity rules enabling the EU to reimpose visa requirements for nationals of countries that still impose them on EU citizens were adopted by Parliament on Thursday, in a revision of the EU visa regulation. Under the new rules, the EU will also be able to temporarily suspend its visa-free travel arrangements with third countries to halt substantial and sudden increases in irregular migrant numbers or unfounded asylum requests, but only as a last resort"

FINLAND: Yle: Police look into human trafficking allegations after request by berry pickers (Helsinki Times)

FRANCE: Syrian asylum-seekers face a tough path in France (France 24): "Nearly two million Syrians have fled the conflict in their homeland, heading mostly for neighbouring countries. The lucky ones manage to make it to West European countries such as France. But the struggle is not over when they arrive"

German Islamists increasingly going to Syria (Deutsche Welle): " Germany's domestic security agency has recorded what experts regard as an alarming trend. A growing number of young Germans are traveling to Syria to aid the opposition, potentially getting radicalized along the way." See also: EU seeks increased surveillance of travel and social media to deal with "foreign fighters" (Statewatch News Online)

Germany grapples with day-to-day racism (Deutsche Welle): "The German constitution forbids racial discrimination, but a legal framework remains missing to actively prevent it. DW looks at how Germany is dealing with the problem of racism in everyday life"

Germany may underestimate right-wing victims (Deutsche Welle): "Journalists and info centers believe the number of those killed by right-wing extremists is double the official figure. After the shocking mistakes of the NSU murder investigations, old cases are now being re-examined"

GERMANY: City made to re-hanf far-right campaign posters (Spiegel Online): "A city in Germany removed a campaign poster of the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) because it found it discriminating. The party, described by security authorities as anti-Semitic, racist and xenophobic, sought a legal injunction against the decision and won"

GERMANY: Neo-Nazis' model plane stuffed with explosives is seized by German police (The Independent): "German police have seized a bomb-loaded model plane they say neo-Nazis planned to use in an attack against left-wing activists"

GERMANY: Opposition banks on NSA in German elections (Deutsche Welle): " Many have described the election campaigns in Germany as dull. But the NSA scandal offers a strong and controversial point of debate. How is the topic being incorporated into various campaigns?" See also: NSA affair: Germans conduct helicopter flyover of US consulate (Spiegel Online)

GERMANY: 'Project 6': CIA spies operating in the heart of Germany (Spiegel Online): "The Neuss undercover agents referred to their operation as "Project 6" or just "P6," and to this day only a few dozen German intelligence agents are even aware of the project. In 2005, as part of the fight against Islamist terrorism, the unit began developing a database containing personal information associated with what is believed to be thousands of people, including photos, license plate numbers, Internet search histories and telephone connection data. The information was intended to provide the intelligence agencies with a better understanding of the web of relationships among presumed jihadists"

GERMANY: Syrian refugees to be helped in Germany (Deutsche Welle): "Germany has agreed to accept 5,000 Syrian refugees who will allowed to stay for at least two years. They've been carefully chosen and will be introduced to German life via a two-week crash course." See also: 'Is Hanover near the sea?': First Syrian refugees land in Germany (Spiegel Online)

Greece braces for more refugees (SETimes.com): "A spike in the number of undocumented migrants landing on the eastern Aegean island of Chios from the opposite Turkish coast last month, many of whom reportedly declared themselves as Syrian nationals, again raised concerns in Greece of a wave of refugees fleeing war-torn Syria"

GREECE: Counterterrorism officer believed to be behind forgery ring (Ekathimerini): "A 46-year-old member of the police’s counterterrorism department is believed to have played a leading role in a racket of fraudsters issuing forged passports and other documents to unidentified beneficiaries, Kathimerini has learned"

GREECE: Chronicle of a state crime (diktio.org): "Referring to the “accidental” death of Lamis Abounahi and her two children, 3-year-old Undai and 9-month-old Layal, due to a fire on the mountains of Samos"

GREECE: Journalist faces trial for reporting near Nato base at Souda (Enet English): "Police charge Marios Dionellis for filming from a nearby hill frequently used by journalists as a backdrop when reporting on the Nato military base"

GREECE: PAOK fans attack Golden Dawn HQ (Greek Reporter): "The “war” between the fans of the Thessalonian association football club PAOK FC and Golden Dawn seems to have gotten even worse after the incident with the Albanian footballer Ergys Kace"

GREECE: Roma set fire in Menidi (Greek Reporter): "The decision of the Municipality of Acharne in Athens to demolish illegal properties in the area, most of which belong to the Roma, caused their intense reaction"

GREECE: Samos hospital staff who stopped Golden Dawn blood donation face prosecutor (Ekathimerini): "Employees of a hospital on the eastern Aegean island of Samos have been indicted to appear before a court of first instance prosecutor for trying to avert a voluntary blood donation initiative organized in April by the ultra-right Golden Dawn"

GREECE: Supreme Court judge orders probe into new prisons construction costs (Ekathimerini): "Supreme Court judge Efterpi Goutzamani has ordered a brobe regarding the construction cost of six new prison facilities across Greece"

Greek National Intelligence Service staff salaries remain classifed (Ekathimerini)

HUNGARY: Gov’t moves to amend homeless bill (Politics.hu): "The government amendment on homelessness is not designed to penalise living in the street, a government official said on Wednesday. It aims instead to make sure that rough sleepers “do not make life for the non-homeless more difficult"

HUNGARY: New law enforcement legislation in pipeline to meet social needs, says minister (Politics.hu): "New law-enforcement legislation is being drafted since the 1979 law is no longer fit to meet modern social needs or European Union norms, Sandor Pinter, the interior minister, said on Friday"

HUNGARY: Outrage as parents of Roma children not told of new school opening (Politics.hu): "The parents of Roma (Gypsy) children in a village in Hungary’s Northern Great Plain region were not informed of the opening of a new local public school, effectively shutting them out, online portal Index reported earlier this week"

HUNGARY: Roma research centre inaugurated in Budapest (Politics.hu): "A Roma research institute has started its activities in Budapest with a staff of 11 sponsored by European funds, head of the Roma Self-government and ruling Fidesz MP Florian Farkas said on Wednesday"

Internet experts want security revamp after NSA revelations (Reuters): "Internet security experts are calling for a campaign to rewrite Web security in the wake of disclosures that the U.S. National Security Agency has developed the capability to break encryption protecting millions of sites"

IRELAND: Eight Shell to Sea protesters due in court over public order offences (The Journal): "Eight Shell to Sea campaigners are due to appear in Belmullet District Court today, charged in relation to a number of offences during protests against the Corrib Gas Project"

IRELAND: Investigating criminal gardaí (Human Rights in Ireland)

IRELAND: Police data abuses difficult to safeguard despite new systems (Irish Times): "According to reports earlier this year, some gardaí apparently used the Pulse computer system to look up details of individuals who had carried out no criminal offences or, indeed, to expunge penalty points from motorists’ licences"

Italians are among the most deprived in Europe (The Local): "Eleven percent of Italians have no access to basic necessities, such as heating, double the number in France, Germany and the UK, according to an EU report"

ITALY: PD calls for halt to 'Fascist' initiatives in Veneto (Gazzetta del Sud): "Regional councillors from the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) in the northern Veneto region on Tuesday asked Governor Luca Zaia - a member of the anti-immigrant Northern League - and his administration to snuff out Fascist events and other initiatives that "offend values of the Resistance and the Italian Constitution""

ITALY: School row as parents 'flee' over foreign pupils (The Local): "A tiny school in northern Italy has become the focus of a row after it was claimed that almost all Italian parents had withdrawn their children in protest at the number of foreign pupils. But the town's mayor has denied that the school has a problem." See also: Italians removing children from racially mixed schools (The Independent)

MALTA: Commissioner Cecilia Malmström urges the Maltese authorities to take action (Europa, press release)

MALTA: Seminar on politico-military aspects of security in the Med (Malta Independent): " A seminar on the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security for the Mediterranean Region was held today"

Montenegro urged to investigate attacks against journalists (SETimes.com): "Allegations that Montenegro's police organised beatings of journalists, government critics and opponents could be a turning point for the media to gain a higher degree of freedom, media observers said"

MONTENEGRO: 15,000 verdicts not enforced in Montenegro (Balkan Insight): "Montenegro’s justice minister said that the huge number of court verdicts that remain unenforced was a threat to the credibility of the country’s legal system"

NETHERLANDS: Experts warn budget cuts may paralyse the security service (Dutch News)

NETHERLANDS: More Dutch money for Syrian refugees (Dutch News): "The Netherlands has donated a further €17m to the United Nations' refugee organisation to help people fleeing the violence in Syria"

NETHERLANDS: The Netherlands apologises for Indonesia executions (Dutch News): "The Dutch ambassador to Indonesia has made a formal apology for all the summary executions carried out by the Dutch army between 1945 and 1947 in the former Dutch Indies"

NETHERLANDS: Utrecht presses ahead with 'legal' cannabis experiments (Dutch News): "Utrecht city council is pressing ahead with two projects involving cannabis: one based on a private cultivation club and one to supply marijuana to people with psychiatric problems"

NORTHERN IRELAND: Amnesty: Victims of the Troubles ‘have been failed’ (Irish Independent): "Troubles victims have been failed by a flawed and fragmented approach to dealing with Northern Ireland's bloody past, Amnesty International has said"

NORTHERN IRELAND: Britain rules out public inquiry into Omagh bomb (Irish Times): "The Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers today has rejected calls for a public cross-Border inquiry into the 1998 Real IRA Omagh bombing that claimed the lives of 29 people including a woman pregnant with twins." See also: Omagh families pledge legal action and Report 'showed security blunders' (Irish Independent)

Norway Child Ombudsman censures asylum seekers’ daycare rights differences (The Foreigner): " Norway is in violation of the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) regarding equal daycare attendance rights for child asylum seekers and Norwegian ones, the Children’s Ombudsman says"

Norway election: Conservative Erna Solberg triumphs (BBC News): "Norwegian centre-right leader Erna Solberg is set to form a new government after Labour Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg admitted election defeat." See also: Tough talking as new Norwegian PM tries to form government; Norway election results: Anti-immigrant party with links to mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik set to enter government under Conservative leader Erna Solberg (The Independent) and Italy sparks row over 'Breivik Party' reports (The Local)

POLAND: Southern Polish town wants rid of Roma community (The News): "“The Anti-Roma Movement of Andrychów” Facebook account received 1,500 fans in just 24 hours after it called for the 140-strong Roma community to be banished from the town in southern Poland, with a population of around 20,000"

ROMANIA: Work on US base in Romania to start soon (Balkan Insight): "Romania’s Defence Minister, Mircea Dus, said work on installing US missile interceptors at the Deveselu military base in the south of the country will start next month"

Romanian gold rush cancelled as protesters defeat Europe's biggest mine (The Independent): "Romania’s Prime Minister has conceded that his efforts to end a 14-year deadlock and open Europe’s biggest goldmine were likely to fail, after the project provoked nationwide protests against the use of cyanide in the Transylvanian mountains"

SPAIN: Drone designers disguise hawk-eyed craft as eagles (The Guardian): "A Spanish company plans to dress up spy drones as avian predators and sell them to armed forces across the world"

SPAIN: Hundreds of thousands form human chain for Catalan independence (El País): "Hundreds of thousands of people joined hands to form a human chain across Catalonia in a massive show of support for the independence movement as the region celebrated its national day on Wednesday"

SWEDEN: Man and toddler beaten up in Malmö hate crime (The Local): "A man and his 18-month-old son were badly beaten and nearly thrown off a bridge in Malmö in what police are describing as a race-related hate crime"

SWEDEN: NSA may hold key to Dag Hammarskjöld mystery (The Local): "Investigators into Swedish diplomat Dag Hammarskjöld's mysterious death have appealed to the US National Security Agency (NSA) for intercepted radio communications from the Swede's fatal plane crash in Zambia, 1961"

SWEDEN: Pub cleared for rejecting 'Asian looking' women (The Local): "A pub in south central Sweden has been cleared of discrimination charges after bouncers denied entry to several women of Asian appearance in what owners claimed was an attempt to cut down on prostitution"

SWEDEN: Swedes sound off on privacy: 'I don't care' (The Local): "Following reports that a Swedish intelligence agency may have aided the NSA's controversial surveillance activities, The Local took to the streets of Stockholm to gauge Swedes' attitudes towards internet privacy"

SWITZERLAND: Execution drugs face export restrictions (swissinfo.ch): "The Swiss parliament wants to prevent pharmaceutical companies from supplying drugs used for the execution of prisoners. Such exports have been restricted by the European Union since 2011"

SWITZERLAND: Intelligence service taken to task over breach (swissinfo.ch): "A special commission investigating a data breach which took place at the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) in 2012 said on Thursday that Swiss intelligence seriously compromised its information security before and after the incident"

SWITZERLAND: Swiss MPs say yes to Swedish Gripen jets (The Local): "The lower house of the Swiss parliament gave its blessing Wednesday to a controversial deal to purchase 22 Swedish fighter jets." See also: Public continues to reject Gripens (swissinfo.ch)

SWITZERLAND: Threat management system premieres in Solothurn (swissinfo.ch): "“Identify, assess, disarm” is the principle guiding the threat management system operating in canton Solothurn since the beginning of the year. The project was presented at the first Swiss Symposium on Threat Management, held on Monday in Olten"

SWITZERLAND: When going home becomes a nightmare (swissinfo.ch): "A refugee cannot be sent back to a country if there is a risk of persecution or torture. However, risk assessments by the authorities are not always done correctly, say human rights organisations." See also: Repatriations suspended to Sri Lanka

Turkey clashes continue into third night (BBC News): "Police have clashed with anti-government demonstrators for a third night in cities across Turkey. Protesters threw stones at the police, who responded with water cannon and tear gas." See: Turkish protester Ahmet Atakan's death sparks clashes (BBC News)

UK: Inside the world's largest arms fair (The Kernel): "The Kernel’s James Cook was escorted around DSEI, a massive international weapons conference held bi-annually in London. Here’s what he found." See also: DSEi guest list reveals government will host dictators at arms fair; Campaigners 'Occupy the arms fair' (CAAT press releases); and Companies ejected from arms fair after Lucas raises questions in Parliament (Caroline Lucas MP)

UK: More developments under Schedule 7 (UK Human Rights Blog): "In a judgment with implications for the detention of David Miranda, the High Court has today dismissed an appeal against a conviction for wilfully failing to comply with a duty imposed by virtue of Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000"

UK: Outrage as UKBA tells asylum-seekers: let us help you go home (Herald Scotland): "The controversial campaign, which has been descirbed as offensive and insensitive, asks immigrants how hard their lives are in Scotland and says: "Let us help you go home"." See also: Sturgeon hits out at asylum 'help to leave' campaign (Herald Scotland)

UK: New report: Still at Risk: A review of support for trafficked children (The Children's Society): Summary and Full report (pdf)

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