Round-up of news stories from across the EU
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DENMARK: Danish inmates should have more access to mobile phones, says support group (The Copenhagen Post, link): "The prisoner support group Kriminalforsorgsforeningen believes that restricting mobile phone for all inmates is the wrong way to go.
Kriminalforsorgsforeningen chairperson John Hatting was speaking to DR Nyheder following reports that Søren Pind, the justice minister, will start a number of initiatives to counter mobile phones being smuggled into prisoners.
It was revealed yesterday that four inmates serving time for their involvement in last Februarys attacks on Krudttønden and a Copenhagen synagogue have had access to seven mobile phones at different times."
DENMARK: Precrime arrests soaring in Denmark (The Copenhagen Post, link): "The number of preventative arrests taking suspects into custody before they commit a crime, which has been permitted since 2004 has soared in the last three years."
E-voting won't solve the problem of voter apathy (Open Rights Group, link): "As the old English proverb has it the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Such thoughts spring to mind with the launch of the report Secure Voting by campaigning group WebRoots Democracy. WebRoots are volunteers who campaign for the introduction of online voting in Local and General Elections. We know where they stand on this issue, but how informed is their argument that online voting can be secure?"
EU: Human rights at the World Forum for Democracy 2015 (OpenDemocracy, link): "The Council for Europe's commissioner for human rights warns that Europes new security-oriented turn restricts fundamental human rights, a success for terrorists who want us to abandon our lifestyle and live in fear. Short interview."
EU: European External Action Service: Statement by the spokesperson on alleged wrongdoings by EUFOR RCAs personnel in Central African Republic (EEAS, link): "On 19 January 2016, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights informed the EU about allegations of possible sexual exploitation and abuse by some operation personnel of EUFOR RCA, which closed in March 2015."
EU-USA: Data privacy bill in Congress, trans-Atlantic deal elusive (Reuters, link): "A U.S. Senate panel approved measures on Thursday that were causing concern in Europe among negotiators hammering out a new trans-Atlantic pact on electronic data transfer, an issue for many companies such as Facebook and Microsoft.
In a step toward addressing global concerns about data privacy, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation, headed next to the full Senate for a vote, that would give some Europeans the right to sue in the United States over allegations of electronic data privacy violations.
But amendments were added at the last minute that raised questions from the European Union in Brussels."
FRANCE: Top French court rejects suspending state of emergency (France 24, link): "The Conseil dÉtat, Frances highest court on administrative justice, on Wednesday rejected an appeal to suspend a state of emergency imposed after the November 13 Paris attacks.
The appeal, filed by the Paris-based Human Rights League (known by its French acronym, LDH)) suggested that if the state of emergency could not be suspended, the Conseil dÉtat should at the very least suspend some of its measures, such as house searches and the ban on public gatherings."
HUNGARY: Socialists: Fidesz using Communist era style show trials to increase popularity (Politics.hu, link): "The Socialist Party on Thursday said the Fidesz party is organising show trials reminiscent of methods used in Hungarys darkest dictatorship to increase its popularity. Gergely Bárándy, the Socialist deputy head of Parliaments legislative committee,told a press conference that the embezzlement trial of Miklós Hagyó, in which the former Socialist deputy mayor of Budapest was given two-year prison sentence, suspended for four years, revealed that charges against Hagyó were based on lies and that he never received bribes. Hagyó was accused of running a criminal gang and causing huge damages to municipal public transport company BKV in the years before August 2008. He was acquitted of the main corruption charges but the court ruled that he had instigated embezzlement."
LIBYA: Einsteinian insanity: momentum grows to bomb Libya again (Drone Wars UK, link): "Despite the catastrophic effects of the 2011 military intervention, momentum seems to be growing among western governments for further air strikes in Libya, this time against ISIS."
UK: Drones in four near-misses at major UK airports, air investigators reveal (The Guardian, link): "Drones almost collided with planes near major UK airports in four separate recent incidents, including one near-miss with a passenger jet taking off from London Stansted.
The pilot of a Boeing 737 passenger jet taking off from Stansted in September said a 6ft (2-metre) long remote-controlled plane pass less than 15ft above its path, at 4,000ft, in controlled airspace where any drone flight is illegal."
UK: Fears Over More Powers For Police Volunteers (Sky News, link): "A move to give police volunteers more powers is dangerous, the body which represents rank-and-file officers has warned.
The criticism by the Police Federation is in response to an announcement by Home Secretary Theresa May that police chiefs would get the power to give more responsibility to support staff and unpaid helpers, without becoming a special constable.
It will open the way for members of the public, who are experts in computing or accountancy, to be recruited to help tackle cyber or financial crime." And see: Probationers and specials could be issued with taser (Police Oracle, free account required)
UK: For richer, not for poorer (The Economist, link): "THE Conservative Party promised ahead of its election victory in 2010 that it would bring annual net migration below 100,000 a year. As the economy has grown, sucking in foreign workers, the government has conspicuously failed to meet this goal: net migration in the year to June 2015 was 336,000, a record. However, one small but socially significant subsection has declined and remained low: immigration by Britons foreign spouses."
UK: 4 February 2016, London: Free Public Lecture: FREE HER! Women Political Prisoners (Haldane Society, link)
UK: Heterosexual couple lose civil partnership court challenge (BBC News, link): "A heterosexual couple who want to enter into a civil partnership have lost a legal challenge at London's High Court.
Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, from London, were told in 2014 that they could not enter into a civil partnership because they were a man and a woman.
They brought a legal challenge, saying the law discriminated against them."
UK: Home Office lost its workers' completed security vetting forms (The Register, link): "The Home Office has admitted to The Register that among its data breach incidents last year was one in which security vetting documents disappeared from within secured government premises.
Through the Freedom of Information Act, The Register has learned that the Home Office responsible for the UK's domestic counter-intelligence and security agency, MI5 lost documents containing "sensitive personal information relating to security vetting." In a separate incident, at least one birth certificate was lost."
UK-USA: Report: US and UK spied on Israeli drones for years (AP, link): "U.S and British intelligence cracked the codes of Israeli drones operating in the Middle East and monitored their surveillance feeds for almost 20 years, according to documents leaked by an American whistleblower and published in international media on Friday.
Reports by the German daily Der Spiegel and the investigative website The Intercept said the details emerged from documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked millions of documents about U.S. government surveillance in 2013."
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