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News digest: 19 October 2012

Albania police win power to break up hunger strike (Balkan Insight): "Tirana court on Wednesday gives police powers to disperse a hunger strike by former political prisoners, seeking faster reparations for their incarceration under the Communists"

Bulgaria, Romania to jointly overcome Schengen setback (Novinite)

Bulgarian far-right want country to exit NATO (Novinite): "Bulgaria's marginal far-right Ataka (Attack) party wants the upcoming referendum in the fate of the Belene Nuclear Power Plant project to include a question on whether the country should leave NATO"

Bulgarian Socialists: 95% of wiretaps did not reach court (Novinite): "95% of the special surveillance devices have not reached court and are not used for convictions, according to Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP)"

CZECH REPUBLIC: Court acquits eight members of far-right group (Prague Daily Monitor): "A Czech court yesterday acquitted eight people charged with promoting neo-Nazism by supporting the National Resistance (NO) movement and organising neo-Nazi meetings over the lack of evidence"

CZECH REPUBLIC: Gov't approves bill enabling asylum holders to travel (Prague Daily Monitor): "The Czech government approved an amendment that would enable asylum holders staying in the Czech Republic for some time to travel in the European Union, according to information form CTK source. The bill will harmonise the Czech asylum system with that of the EU"

DENMARK: UPDATED: Racism charges against teacher dropped (The Copenhagen Post): "Shaib Mansoor, the father of one of the children racially rebuked by headteacher Birgitte Sonsby and the man who reported Sonsby to the police, has dropped his charges. Mansoor said that the media attention around the charges succeeded in creating a debate about the issue. And even though he has dropped the charges, he still expects that Sonsby get sacked from her job"

EU: Data protection watchdog calls for clear definition of cyber security and cyber threats terms (Out-Law.com): "The European Commission should more clearly define what cyber security incidents and threats organisations have to guard against under proposed new laws, an EU privacy body has said." See: EDPS comments on DG Connect's public consultation on improving network and information security (NIS) in the EU (pdf)

FRANCE: Google threatens French media ban over proposed law (BBC News): "Google has threatened to exclude French media sites from search results if France goes ahead with plans to make search engines pay for content"

FRANCE: The Paris massacre that time forgot, 51 years on (France 24): "Exactly 51 years after one of the murkiest episodes in recent French history, French President François Hollande recognised on Wednesday the "bloody repression" of Algerian protesters by French police that took place in the heart of Paris on October 17, 1961"

GERMANY: Security agent 'warned KKK' of phone tap (The Local): "Connections between German domestic security services and the racist Ku-Klux-Klan (KKK) run deeper than previously thought, say media reports which point to a possible cover-up of foul play"

GERMANY: Twitter blocks neo-Nazi account to users in Germany (BBC News): "It is the first time the social networking site has implemented its local censorship policy, which came into force in January"

GREECE: Alarm at Greek police 'collusion' with far-right Golden Dawn (BBC News): "Greece's far-right party, Golden Dawn, won 18 parliamentary seats in the June election with a campaign openly hostile to illegal immigrants and there are now allegations that some Greek police are supporting the party"

GREECE: Golden Dawn MP's racist remarks spark complaints (Ekathimerini): "Eleni Zaroulia, the wife of Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos and an MP with the neo-Nazi party, prompted complaints in Parliament on Thursday when she referred to migrants as “subhumans” who are “carrying all kinds of diseases""

GREECE: Protester's death casts pall over rally (Ekathimerini): "Three mostly peaceful rallies held in central Athens on Thursday to protest a new austerity package being hammered out by the government and the troika were overshadowed by the death of a 65-year-old demonstrator who suffered a heart attack shortly after scuffles broke out between riot police and protesters." See also: Tens of thousands gather in Athens to protest wage, pension cuts (Ekathimerini)

NETHERLANDS: Gerd Leers' new immigration plan irritates VVD (Dutch News): "The plan by caretaker immigration minister Gerd Leers to allow local mayors a say in deportations has irritated the liberal VVD, according to the Telegraaf. Leers wants a pre-printed list of questions to be sent to mayors to find out if a failed asylum seeker contributes to the local community. In distressing cases and under the discretionary powers of the immigration minister, this information would be used to decide if the deportation order can be overturned"

NETHERLANDS: Judges to focus on human trafficking (Dutch News)

NETHERLANDS: Some 21,000 people in the Netherlands are 'hidden slaves' (Dutch News)

NORTHERN IRELAND-USA: US court blocks handover of secret IRA tapes (The Guardian): "Lawyers for journalists and historians behind an oral history project involving former IRA and loyalist paramilitaries have won a court case in the US that temporarily stops the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) from seizing their highly sensitive material"

Serbia adds hate crime to criminal code (Balkan Insight)

SPAIN: Students revolts across Spain (euronews): "Thousands of students protested against education cuts on Wednesday. On the second day of a three-day secondary school strike, University students joined in to protest against the rise in tuition fees and the reduction of scholarships"

SPAIN: Top cop lays out plan to prevent recording of police actions (El Pais): "The director general of police, Ignacio Cosidó, announced on Thursday that the authorities are studying the possibility that the next update to the Public Security Law could include an article prohibiting the recording, processing or circulation on the internet of police officers performing their duties, if doing so would endanger them or the operation in which they were engaged"

SPAIN-MOROCCO: Over 1,000 migrants lined up along border ready to jump into Melilla (El Pais): "Around 1,000 people were queued along Spain’s border with Morocco on Wednesday, readying a fresh attempt to jump the fence into the Spanish exclave of Melilla, government sources reported"

UK: Blacklisted workers shock: 60,000 could have been singled out on secret files (The Mirror): "Up to 60,000 industrial workers may have been on shady secret blacklists which labelled them troublemakers. The alarming revelation emerged after a Government watchdog admitted it left behind 95% of files during a raid on a dodgy consulting firm two years ago"

UK: Criminals could avoid surveillance of their communications even under expanded regime, says Information Commissioner (Out-Law.com): "Serious criminals will be able to avoid details of their communications being monitored under an expanded intelligence gathering regime proposed by the Government, the UK's data protection watchdog has warned." See also: Snoopers charter will only target 'incompetent criminals' (Wired)

UK: Human trafficking to UK is rising (The Guardian): "A report published by the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on human trafficking found that 946 potential victims of human trafficking were referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) last year. Of these, 712 were adults and 234 were children." See: First annual report of the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on Human Trafficking (pdf)

It is worth noting that the figure that has made headlines is based on the number of people referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), which is the procedure for determining whether people suspected of being trafficking victims actually are trafficking victims. The number of people who went through the NRM and were identified as victims is not mentioned in the report.

UK: Police force pays £120,000 penalty for data breach (Information Commissioner's Office): "An ICO investigation into a data breach at Greater Manchester Police has concluded with the force being fined for failing to take appropriate measures against the loss of personal data"

UK: Police Taser blind man mistaking his white stick for a samurai sword (The Guardian): "Colin Farmer, 61, was hit after reports of a man walking through Chorley, Lancashire, early on Friday evening, with a sword. He said he initially thought he was being attacked by hooligans when he was struck by the Taser." See also: Blind man Tasered by police: I was terrified - video (The Guardian)

USA: Pannetta warns cyberspace in "pre-9/11", reveals more aggressive stance (Defence IQ): "U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta outlined a new, more “aggressive” cyber policy during a speech to industry at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York over the weekend"

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