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News digest: 20 December 2012

CZECH REPUBLIC: False victim of Roma attack sentenced to community work (Prague Daily Monitor): "The boy, 16, who falsely claimed to have been brutally beaten by three Czech Romanies last year, must execute 20 hours of community work, state attorney Tomas Foldyna told CTK yesterday"

CZECH REPUBLIC: Local authorities may get right to ban repeat offenders (Prague Daily Monitor): "Czech local authorities will be allowed to impose up to three-month bans of stay for repeated minor offences such as prostitution and public alcohol drinking as the Chamber of Deputies definitively passed the respective law, overriding President Vaclav Klaus's veto yesterday"

EU privacy watchdogs probe 'consequences' of changes to Microsoft service user terms (Out-Law.com): "EU privacy regulators in France and Luxembourg are leading an investigation into changes Microsoft made to its user terms and conditions earlier this year, the UK's data protection watchdog has said"

EU: Big Brother is listening - with tools Europe sold him? (Radio Netherlands Worldwide): "Are emails, cell phone records and SMS transcripts the latest additions to the tyrant’s arsenal?"

Finland ratifies Croatia's EU Treaty (Balkan Insight)

German weapon registry to take effect in 2013 (Deutsche Welle): "How many weapons are in private possession in Germany? The question has emerged again after the shooting spree in Newtown, CT. A central registry aims to minimize the danger of similar incidents in the future in Germany"

GERMANY: After failed bomb, Germans discuss surveillance (Deutsche Welle): "After an attempted bomb attack at Bonn train station, Germany's interior minister has called for more surveillance cameras in public places. But not everyone believes that this is the right way to go." See also: Doubts as to CCTV efficacy in Big Brother Britain (Deutsche Welle)

GERMANY: Privacy champions hand Facebook an ultimatum (Spiegel Online): "A German state privacy protection authority issued an ultimatum to Facebook this week: The company can either stop forcing members to use their real names, or face fines. The social networking site says it will fight the demands by Schleswig-Holstein, calling the measures a "waste of German taxypayer money."" See also: Germany orders changes to Facebook real name policy (BBC News)

GREECE: Amnesty International slams Greece over treatment of migrants, asylum seekers (Ekatherimini): "The treatment of migrants and asylum seekers in Greece makes a “mockery” of the Nobel Peace Prize award to the European Union, Amnesty International said on Thursday." See: Greece's treatment of migrants shameful, says Amnesty (BBC News) and: Full report (pdf)

GREECE: Council of Europe worried about rise of xenophobia (Ekathimerini): "The Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, Nils Muiznieks, has expressed concern about the rise of “xenophobic and anti-migrant discourse” and attacks on human rights activists in Europe, particularly Greece"

GREECE: ND joins coalition partners in blocking Golden Dawn at Council of Europe (Ekathimerini): "New Democracy has joined its coalition partners, PASOK and Democratic Left, in asking for neofascist Golden Dawn to be excluded from the Greek representation at the Council of Europe"

GREECE: Police raid squat near central Athens, detain eight people (Ekathimerini): "Police have detained eight people after raiding a squat near central Athens on Thursday"

GREECE: The "Triangle of Sin" that rules Greece (Greek Reporter): "Despite international aid that has made Greece dependent on bailout loans to keep its economy from collapsing and effectively ceded much of its sovereignty, the country is still being controlled by the iron grip of politicians, the rich and a mass media mostly in the hands of those using it to push their own aims, according to a report from the news agency Reuters"

IRELAND: Israeli embassy removes Facebook post (Irish Times): "The Israeli embassy in Dublin has apologised for a post on its Facebook page which said if Mary and Jesus were alive today they would "probably end up being lynched in Bethlehem by hostile Palestinians""

Italian court bans conjugal visitors for prison inmates (Gazzetta del Sud): "Ruling says sexual visits upset security and order"

ITALY: Documents reveal Italian National Police plans for October 15th 2011 demonstration (Associated Whistleblowing Press): "The document sent on October 14th 2011 by the Italian National Police to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and other national security forces, such as the Carabinieri, Polizia Stradale and Polizia Ferroviaria, reveals the organization of a task-force to control and inhibit the massive demonstration that was going to take place one day after in Rome."

Montenegro: On the highway to Brussels (Balkan Insight): "Rallies failed to shake the government, Montenegro opened membership talks with the EU, and the ruling party retained its grip in an October election"

NETHERLANDS: Judges criticise 'targets' and the erosion of Dutch legal system (Dutch News): "Several hundred Dutch judges have signed a manifesto protesting at the ‘erosion’ of the Dutch legal system, the Volkskrant reports on Tuesday. It is the first time judges have been so openly critical of conditions within the legal system, the paper says"

NETHERLANDS: Military union says not enough soldiers can use Patriot system (Dutch News)

NETHERLANDS: Somali refugees in Amsterdam: 'In Mogadishu you're either a terrorist or a statistic (The Amsterdam Herald): "Somali asylum seekers who have moved into a church in Amsterdam for the winter have reacted angrily to a claim by junior justice minister Fred Teeven that their home country is safe to return to"

POLAND: Economic success makes Poland destination for immigrants (BBC News): "Poland is Europe's least multicultural society, but could be on the cusp of becoming a destination for a new wave of migrants"

Sahel insecurity poses global threat, study finds (Magharebia): "Mali-based terrorists are now a greater threat to European security than al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, a recent report claims"

SPAIN: Immigrants temporarily regain right to free healthcare in Basque Country (El Pais): "The Constitutional Court has lifted part of the suspension of a decree approved by the then Basque government of Socialist Patxi López that sought to circumvent legislation passed by the conservative Popular Party government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy withdrawing free healthcare to immigrants without papers, judiciary sources said Monday." See also: PP unfazed by court ruling over free healthcare for immigrants (El Pais)

Sweden Democrat lived off benefits (The Local): "Sweden Democrat MP Johnny Skalin, whose party describes unemployed immigrants as being "a burden on society", has lived on state benefits most of his adult life"

UK: A cockroach in the baby's bottle: asylum-seeker housing by security giant G4S (OpenDemocracy): "Angela and her baby are among thousands of vulnerable people being forcibly re-housed as the UK government converts asylum-seeker housing into a profitable business"

UK: New prosecution guidance on offensive speech online: sensible, but the law is still out of date (UK Human Rights Blog): "The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has published interim guidance on when to prosecute people for grossly offensive and obscene messages they send on social media. The guidelines are now subject to a full public consultation"

UK: Roma children: Britain's hidden care problem (BBC News): "The decision by Rotherham council to remove three foster children from a couple because of their support of UKIP provoked intense criticism, but one important detail which emerged is that the children were from a Roma family - one of a growing number coming into contact with social services in the UK"

UK: Tony Stock: One of the most outrageous miscarriages of justice of modern times (The Justice Gap)

USA: Benghazi Comission practically demands pain rays at embassies (Wired): "Want to stop the next riot at a U.S. embassy? The commission into the September assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi has an unexpected suggestion: load them up with exotic, supposedly non-lethal weaponry. Not that the commission has much confidence in the security personnel who’d operate the controversial gear"

USA: Watch Darpa's headless robotic mule respond to voice commands (Wired)

USA: While report on CIA abuse stays secret, senators blast Tinseltown torture (Wired): "Three senators are furious at how the new movie on the manhunt for Osama bin Laden portrays torture. Unlike other critics of the film, they have the power to actually correct the record, by declassifying a major Senate inquiry into the CIA’s torture program. Only they’re not doing it... Feinstein says the report will remain classified until President Obama and “key executive branch officials” review it. Then her committee will consider declassifying it. So the report that could settle the debate about torture won’t settle the debate about torture until the self-interested parties who’ve stymied accountability for torture decide it’s safe to settle the debate about torture."



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