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News digest: 11 January 2013

Czech authorities reject most citizenship applicants in EU (Prague Daily Monitor): "The number of foreigners based in the Czech Republic has been growing, but only 2000 applicants are annually granted citizenship and Czech authorities reject more applicants than other EU countries, according to the Eurostat, the Czech Statistical Office (CSU) and the Interior Ministry"

CZECH REPUBLIC: Proposal to abolish part of amnesty to be filed on Monday (Prague Daily Monitor): "The proposal that a part of the amnesty that Czech President Vaclav Klaus has declared be abolished will be sent to the Constitutional Court (US) on Monday, the initiator of the move, senator Alena Dernerova (for Severocesi.cz), told CTK Wednesday." See also: Ministers criticise Czech Television's allegedly racist info on amnesty and Czechs from turbulent area protest against Klaus's amnesty

EU: Closing Europe's borders becomes big business (Inter Press Service): "The European Union is implementing a new border management system with tougher migration control the core aim. Major security and weapons companies are already reaping the benefits." See also: People pay for research against migrants

EU: Dutch likely to block Bulgarian, Romanian Schengen bids (Balkan Insight): "Diplomats in the European Commission have told Bulgaria's Focus news agency that expansion of the passport-free Schengen area may not feature on the agenda of the next Justice and Home Affairs Council in March. If it does, sources say The Netherlands is likely to again veto the accession of Bulgaria and Romania on the grounds that they have not undertaken sufficient reforms in the fight against corruption and organised crime"

EU: Online giants in firing line on EU data privacy law (EUobserver): "MEPs are set to come under industry pressure from the likes of Facebook and Google over legislation restricting their right to use and sell personal data collected online"

EU: Slovenia pressured not to delay Croatia's EU accession (Balkan Insight)

EU: US cloud snoops pose questions for EU cybercrime body (EUobserver): "The EU's new cybercrime centre is to be officially launched at the end of the week, but privacy specialists say the Union is failing to protect personal data." See also: European Parliament study: Fighting cyber crime and protecting privacy in the cloud (pdf)

FRANCE: French police say Kurdish activists executed (Al Jazeera): "Fatal shooting of three women comes as Turkish government conducts negotiations with Kurdistan Workers Party." See also: Police hunt killers of PKK co-founder Sakine Cansiz (BBC News) and Kurdish activists: Paris murders cast shadow over Turkish peace process (The Guardian)

GERMANY: Beate Zschäpe keeps her silence (Deutsche Welle): "Lawyers for the woman alleged to have been closely involved in a far-right murder campaign say that she was not a member of the terrorist group. Prosecutors are pinning their hopes on evidence found in an exploded house"

GREECE: Angry protesters occupy DIMAR office (Greek Reporter): "A group of about 50 protesters occupied the offices of the Democratic Left, (DIMAR) one of the Greek goverment’s coalition partners, in downtown Athens on Jan. 9 before police intervened and removed them"

GREECE: Fool's Gold (Schnews): "The rapid expansion of Greece's homegrown neo-nazi movement, the Golden Dawn, should set alarm bells ringing for anti-fascists across Europe. On Saturday 19th January, Athens will see a massive anti-fa demonstration as over 24 organisations spanning the political spectrum assemble. Greek anti-fascists have called for international solidarity and on the same day demonstrations will be held outside Greek embassies across the world. In London supporters can gather outside the Greek embassy, 1A Holland Park, Notting Hill from 12 noon"

GREECE: Makeshift bombs explode outside homes of Greek journalists (AlertNet): "Small makeshift bombs exploded early on Friday outside the Athens homes of five Greek journalists working for major media outlets, in an apparent protest over coverage of events linked to the country's economic crisis, police said." Homemade bombs target journalists (Ekathimerini)

GREECE: Multiple memory sticks raise new Lagarde list questions (Ekathimerini): "Following a series of developments in the Lagarde list probe that suggest the existence of at least three memory sticks containing the details of some 2,000 Greeks with deposits at a Swiss branch of HSBC, authorities are hoping that the additional testimony former Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) chief, Yiannis Diotis, is to give on Monday will shed some light on the affair"

GREECE: Prosecutor charges 92 squatters arrested at Villa Amalia (Ekathimerini): "A prosecutor on Thursday issued one charge of felony and two of misdemeanor against each of the 92 people that were arrested trying to retake the Villa Amalia squat in central Athens after it had been cleared by riot police." See also: Riot police arrest dozens at central Athens squat [Update]

GREECE: The tourists held by Greek police as illegal migrants (BBC News): "Greek police have stepped up efforts to catch illegal immigrants in recent months, launching a new operation to check the papers of people who look foreign. But tourists have also been picked up in the sweeps - and at least two have been badly beaten"

NETHERLANDS: The Netherlands joins US, Canada in UN telecom treaty protest (Dutch News): "The Netherlands will refuse to ratify a new United Nations treaty on telecommunications because it 'stands in the way of a free and open internet', economic affairs minister Henk Kamp has told parliament"

NORTH AFRICA: Security issues top Maghreb agenda (Magharebia): "The prime ministers of Tunisia, Libya and Algeria are set to meet in Ghadames on Saturday (January 12th) to discuss regional border security"

NORTHERN IRELAND: Racial hate crime legislation urged (Belfast Telegraph): "An offence of racially aggravated crime should be introduced in Northern Ireland, campaigners have said."

Slovenia's uprising (Eurozine): "Protests at the end of 2012 in Slovenia caught the attention of international newspapers. Boris Vezjak asks what the goal of this "uprising" – suddenly a universally popular concept – is, and whether it might represent more than merely an isolated incident"

SPAIN: Twitterer called to testify in Spain for Gramsci quote (Global Voices): "A Twitter user and activist with the 15M “indignant” movement, @almu_en_lucha, has been called to testify before the Spanish police's Technology Crime Squad regarding the content of some of her Tweets"

UK: An accessible version of the Draft Anti-Social Behaviour Bill (Spy Blog)

UK: Helmand veterans dispatched to defend Falklands (The Telegraph): "British veterans of a hotbed of the Taliban insurgency are being dispatched for a tour of duty in the Falklands amid increased tensions with Argentina over the islands"

UK: Probe launched: Did drive to track illegal immigrants breach data laws? (The Independent): "The information watchdog has launched an investigation into a drive to track down people who are in the country illegally, which was contracted out by the UK Border Agency to private company Capita"

UK: Protesters halt new £94m Bexhill to Hastings link road (The Argus): "Protesters have promised a “second battle of Hastings” over the building of a controversial link road." See also: Middle-class protesters who stopped bulldozers creating new Hastings bypass arrested (The Telegraph)

USA: Government unable to define 'Homeland Security' (Wired): "What is “homeland security?” The federal bureaucracy doesn’t know, and that’s problematic for a government that has been fighting the ill-defined “war on terror” following 9/11, according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service"

USA: Iraqis win $5.8m from US firm in Abu Ghraib torture lawsuit (The Independent): "Iraqi prisoners who allege they were tortured in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq are being paid $5.8m by the subsidiary of a US defence contractor accused of complicity in their mistreatment." See also: UK pays out millions to Iraqi torture victims (Al Jazeera)

USA: Obama puts US drone program back into deadly high gear (Common Dreams): "The recent surge in U.S. strikes in Pakistan amounts to the heaviest concentration of strikes in the country since last August and signals that the menacing presence of U.S. drones in the skies of Pakistan are on a troubling increase and not, as some had speculated, on a decline"



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