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News digest: 11 October 2012

BOSNIA-NETHERLANDS: Srebrenica victims to file appeal in European court (Balkan Insight): "More than 100 survivors of the Srebrenica genocide are in Strasbourg to file an appeal at the European Court of Human Rights against a verdict which freed Dutch UN peacekeepers of responsibility for failing to prevent the 1995 massacre"

CZECH REPUBLIC: Czech lawyer punished over anti-Semitism (Prague Daily Monitor): "The Czech Bar Association (CAK) Wednesday gave a one-year professional ban to lawyer Petr Koci as he raised a bias objection to a court expert because he is of Jewish origin, CAK spokeswoman Iva Chaloupkova has told journalists"

CZECH REPUBLIC: Far-right set to suceed in regional elections in Ústí (The Prague Post): "Some 70 people took part in a protest march against socially "unadaptable" citizens passing by dormitories inhabited mainly by members of the Roma minority in Ústí nad Labem Oct. 6. The march was led by the DSSS (Workers Party of Social Justice), an extra-parliamentary rightist extremist party"

CZECH REPUBLIC: NGOs criticize draft bill on Czech citizenship as too harsh on immigrants (Radio Praha): "The Czech government has approved a new bill on acquiring Czech citizenship which, among other issues, introduces several new conditions for those interested in becoming Czech citizens"

Denmark criticises NATO's Libya mission (The Copenhagen Post): "NATO's lack of military intelligence hampered Denmark's bombing campaign in Libya in 2011, according to a confidential report"

EU: Asylum seeker reprieve following ECHR ruling (New Europe): "The case of Singh and Others v Belgium (application no. 33210/11) at the European Court of Human Rights means it is now a breach of Articles 3 (freedom from torture or inhuman/degrading treatment) and 13 (right to effective legal remedies) to dismiss a claim without attempting to verify the seeker's documents. The consequence of this recent ruling is far-reaching and a case is already being reexamined by the UK Border Agency." See: Judgment in Singh and others vs. Belgium (available only in French, pdf)

EU: Commission needs to lead on human rights says Amnesty (New Europe): "Amnesty International called on the European Commission to act adopt a more consistent and thorough approach to its efforts to uphold human rights principles within its borders"

EU: Commission urges to apply DNT standard (New Europe): "Do Not Track (DNT) is... a mechanism that would signal whether a user wants online advertisers and websites to track his/her online activities. The European Commission engaged in the discussions of this system in June, calling all interested parties to come to the standardisation table"

EU: Criticism of Serbia and Turkey in EU enlargement report (Euronews): "Serbia cannot begin accession talks with the EU until it deals the its problematic relationship with Kosovo." See: European Commission: Enlargement strategy and main challenges 2012-2013 (pdf) and 2012 strategy and progress reports

EU: First annual report shows 51 severe cyber security incidents (New Europe): "The 2011 report was based on information received from 29 countries (all EU countries, and some of the EFTA and EU candidate countries) and found out that eleven countries reported in total 51 significant cyber incidents, while 9 countries reported there were no incidents. The total number of users in these 20 countries was 166 million." See: European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA): Annual Incident Report 2011 (pdf)

EU: Telefónica to sell 'insights' gleaned from anonymised mobile phone location data (Out-Law.com): "Telefónica is to sell "analytical insights" about individuals' behaviour in shopping centres and other areas on the basis of location data it gleans from its mobile network customers, the company has announced"

FINLAND: Caught in the middle between Kosovo's two communities and Finnish immigration authorities (Helsingin Sanomat)

FRANCE: Bomb kit found in Paris car park after terror arrests (The Independent): "Police have found bomb-making materials in a car park near Paris as part of an investigation into an “extremely dangerous terrorist cell” linked to an attack on a kosher grocery." See also: French police release five terror suspects (BBC News) and Ex-Portsmouth footballer among 11 held in France on terror charges (The Independent)

GERMANY: New German resettlement policy lets refugees stay (Deutsche Welle): "Resettlement means a new start - for 300 refugees this year, who will be allowed to stay in Germany forever, as well as for Germany. The country is charting new territory in its refugee policies"

GERMANY: Racism allegations taint Hamburg's Reeperbahn (Deutsche Welle): "Many migrants in Germany complain of pervasive discrimination. Black and Middle-Eastern men are more likely to be denied entry to clubs, a recent test indicated. But is it necessarily a black and white issue?"

Germany: EU police mission in Kosovo is a failure

GREECE: New general strike on October 18 (Greek Reporter): "Two leading Greek unions, Gsee and Abedy – representing respectively private sector and state employees – have called a 24-hour general strike next Thursday, October 18, to coincide with a European summit in Brussels, local media reported citing union sources"

GREECE: Protesters arrested at rally on Tuesday face prosecutor (Ekathimerini): "A total of 24 Greeks arrested during Tuesday’s anti-austerity rally in central Athens faced a prosecutor on Wednesday on a string of charges including disturbing the peace, resisting arrest, causing grievous bodily harm and illegal weapons’ possesion"

GREECE: Self-styled anarchists clash with Golden Dawn supporters in Patra (Ekathimerini): "Violence erupted in the western port city of Patra in the early hours of Thursday as self-styled anarchists clashed with supporters of the neofascist Golden Dawn party, reports said." See also: This is Athens (Dissident Voice, video) and Golden Dawn's ultra-violence (Submedia, video)

GREECE: Survey ranks Greece worst offender of human rights (Greek Reporter): "An independent survey conducted by the London-based organization Fair Trials International and the international law firm Clifford Chance, revealed that Greece is among the worst countries at delivering justice through trials right after Poland, Romania and Bulgaria." See: Defence rights in the EU: Full report (Fair Trials International, pdf) and interactive map: Justice in Europe

Greece's right-wing Golden Dawn party threatens privacy and safety of children (Privacy International): "Greek newspaper To Vima reported late last night that Golden Dawn MP Ilias Panagiotaros has requested the exact data of “foreign infants and young children, by country of origin, who are in nursery schools” in Greece from the Greek Ministry of Interior (the equivalent of the British Home Office or US State Department). To Vima’s headline read 'Taking a leaf out of Herod’s book'"

Greek police fire tear gas as 40,000 vent a nation's anger during Merkel's visit (The Independent): "Crowds burn swastikas and throw rocks at officers in Athens as they blame Germany for austerity crisis"

Greek state on life support (Inter Press Service): "Like a person on life support whose vital functions are failing, the Greek economy is slowly but surely shutting down as radiation from the so-called ‘austerity plan’ erodes public institutions. When German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived here on Tuesday morning for an economic assessment of the debt-ravaged country, she did not see the things that, for thousands, have become commonplace: cancer patients dying outside clinics, unable to access the treatment they need, or kindergartens turning students away due to overcapacity"

ITALY-FRANCE-BAHRAIN: Spyware leaves trail to beaten activist through Microsoft flaw (Bloomberg): "On a Monday in July, Ahmed Mansoor sat in his study in Dubai and made the mistake of clicking on a Microsoft Word attachment that arrived in an e-mail, labeled “very important” in Arabic, from a sender he thought he recognized. With that click, the pro-democracy activist unwittingly downloaded spyware that seized on a flaw in the Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) program to take over his computer and record every keystroke. The hackers infiltrated his digital life so deeply they still accessed his personal e-mail even after he changed his password." See: Backdoors are forever: Hacking team and the targeting of dissent? (Citizen Lab, pdf)

IRELAND: Concern expressed over alleged abuse by gardaí (Irish Times): "An official report has expressed concern about a serious allegation of mistreatment by gardaí during the return of a young person to the State’s only detention centre for children"

IRELAND: Garda top be spared assault conviction (Irish Times): "A probationer garda will be spared a criminal conviction and a possible jail sentence for attacking two female colleagues, who intervened when a drunken “mess” fight got out of hand, if he pays €1,000 to charity"

LITHUANIA: Zakharchenko's last hope for asylum to be decided tomorrow (The Lithuania Tribune): "The fate of the Belarusian soldier’s asylum request, Stepan Zakharchenko, is being decided tomorrow by Vilnius Regional Administrative Court. Zakharchenko, age 22, is a Belarusian army deserter who is currently petitioning the court to reconsider its earlier rejected asylum application"

MALTA: Security, economy dominate '5+5' summit (Magharebia): "Heads of state and government of ten Mediterranean countries concluded the two-day summit in Malta on Saturday (October 6th) with calls for strengthening trans-continental collaboration in the fields of security, defence, immigration and economy"

NORWAY: Proposes designated city zones for begging (Norway Post): "Justice Minister Grete Faremo suggests changing the law so that police may be in control of where and when begging should be permitted"

NORWAY: Sudanese charged with refugee espionage (Norway Post): "The Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) has arrested a Sudanese man at his home in Trondheim, charging him with spying on refugees from Sudan"

Spain and France hold high-level meeting on homeland security in Paris (Diplo News)

Spain, Morocco sign co-operation deals (Magharebia): "Spain and Morocco signed eight co-operation agreements during a top-level Spanish visit, AFP reported. Security was high on the agenda of the October 3rd meeting in Rabat. The accords also covered simplifying visa procedures, co-operation in tourism, sport, education and transport"

SPAIN: Pain in Spain as Red Cross launches appeal to feed the nation's hungry (Euronews)

SPAIN: What to make of the "silent majority" (El Pais): "Many are outraged at Rajoy's attempts to speak on behalf of those who don't come out to protest"

UK: Arms manufacturer halts National Gallery sponsorship after protests (The Guardian): "Finmeccanica ends sponsorship a year early as campaigners criticise use of gallery for arms trade functions"

UK: Cheap, and far from free: The migrant army building Britain (Balkan Insight): "The men gather in the shadow of the Wickes hardware store, looking out for the odd jobs that keep them in the UK and for the police that periodically moves them along. As day labourers on the margins of Britain’s sprawling construction sector, they provide a ready supply of cheap manpower, useful yet often unwelcome"

UK: 'Cut the military visits to schools' (Oxford Mail): "Concerns have been voiced about armed forces visits to Oxfordshire schools"

UK: IRIS border control system dies a slow death (Planet Biometrics): "The marmite-style (you either love them or hate them) iris recognition-enabled automated border gates installed in the UK - IRIS - face a slow death after almost seven years of operation"

UK: Jack Straw accused of misleading MPs over torture of Libyan dissidents (The Guardian): "Former foreign secretary named in legal documents concerning Gaddafi opponents held after MI6 tip-offs"

UK: Twelve weeks in prison for sick jokes on Facebook? Really? (UK Human Rights Blog): "A 20-year-old has been sent to prison for twelve weeks for posting offensive and derogatory comments about missing five-year-old April Jones on his Facebook page. His attempts at humour were undoubtedly stupid, offensive and exhibited incredibly poor taste and timing. But is a long spell in prison really the way we should be dealing with offensive idiots? Is a law which was passed before social media existed now placing a significant chill on our freedom of expression rights?"



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