News Digest (16 stories, 9.11.15)

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Albania MPs Vote to Form Civil Society Council (Balkan Insight, link): "Albania's parliament has voted to set up a National Council for Civil Society in an attempt to create an organized structure that includes the voice of civil society in the policy-making process."

Croatia’s right wins vote, heading toward hung parliament (New Europe, link): "Croatia’s conservative opposition won the country’s first election since it joined the European Union in 2013, partial results from Sunday’s election showed, but its narrow victory meant lengthy coalition talks were likely to follow in the next days or weeks."

CZECH REPUBLIC: Court rules on ID checks (The Prague Post, link): "Czech police officers cannot demand that a person produce his identity documents during a routine check unless they have a clear and proper reason, and these reasons are clearly defined in the police law, according to verdict issued by the Regional Court in Brno and available to the Czech News Agency."

EU Plans To Step Up Fight Against Russian Propaganda (Radio Free Europe, link): "The European Union aims to counter Russian propaganda by boosting support for independent media in "Eastern Neighborhood" countries and increasing awareness of "disinformation activities by external actors," according to a strategic communications action plan seen by RFE/RL."

France inaugurates new defence ministry, the 'Hexagon' (France 24, link): "French President François Hollande inaugurated France's version of the Pentagon on Thursday, a massive new defence ministry complex with walls designed to withstand a missile strike and a highly secure operational room hidden underground."

FRANCE: French police raid home of National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen (France 24, link): "French police and investigators raided the offices and home of far-right National Front party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen on Wednesday searching for evidence of alleged tax evasion through foreign bank accounts."

POLAND: 'Nazi gold train' hunters to begin excavating site in Poland (The Independent, link): "The hunt for a possible "Nazi gold train" will begin next week with experts inspecting the suspected site for the first time."

Russian Spies, Suspicious Books, and the New Cold War Emerging in Europe (Vice News, link): "On December 9, during a routine session of the European Parliament in Brussels, someone snuck into the building, probably through an inner parking garage, and quietly placed copies of the same thick paperback book into the private mailboxes of all 751 parliamentarians."

SLOVAKIA: Slovak far-right party sues NGO for anti-Nazi exhibition (Prague Post, link): "The far-right People's Party Our Slovakia (LSNS) of Marian Kotleba has filed a criminal complaint against an exhibition on resistance during World War II that took place in the town of Banská Bystrica in October, arguing that it promoted Zionism which was a crime."

SPAIN: Catalonia MPs to vote on secession plan in showdown with Spain's government (The Guardian, link): "Catalonia’s pro-independence regional parliament is expected to launch a secession process in Spain’s wealthiest region on Monday, in a showdown with the central government in Madrid."

UK: Former spy chiefs to meet financiers at Gleneagles (The Guardian, link): "The former heads of MI6 and GCHQ, Sir John Sawers and Sir Iain Lobban, are scheduled to appear together at an exclusive dinner at the luxury five-star Gleneagles estate in Scotland."

UK Home Secretary Says Don't Worry About Collection Of Metadata; FOIA Request Made For Her Metadata (TechDirt, link)

UK: Little Public Support For Abolishing The Human Rights Act (Welfare Weekly, link): "Only one in ten say scrapping the Human Rights Act should be a Government priority."

UK: Pressure in Scotland to adopt Irish 'radical shift' to decriminalisation of drugs (Herald Scotland, link): "SCOTLAND must start the debate on decriminalising drugs, campaigners, MSPs and former government advisers have said.

"The call follows an announcement by the Irish government that it plans a “radical culture shift” which will see possession of drugs decriminalised in ordered to focus on offering helping to addicts and users rather than punishing them with criminal convictions and prison."

UK: Russian plane crash: Philip Hammond raises prospect of 'Belfast-style' security checks for airports (The Independent, link): "Airport security across the world will have to be overhauled – leading to higher fares and increased delays if it is proved the Sinai air crash was caused by a bomb, the Government has said."

UK: Strangeways prison smugglers crash drone delivering drugs and mobile phones (The Telegraph, link): "Investigation after four-propeller aircraft being used to smuggle contraband to inmates at HMP Manchester crashes in exercise yard"

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