News Digest (20 stories, 24.11.15)

Support our work: become a Friend of Statewatch from as little as £1/€1 per month.

Belgian police arrest 16 in anti-terror raid (EUobserver, link): "The Belgian police arrested 16 suspects in a raid on Sunday evening (22 November), but fugitive terror suspect Salah Abdeslam was not among them."

BELGIUM: Terror alert level in Brussels to stay at four (Flanders News, link): "The terror threat level for the Brussels Capital Region is being kept at the maximum of 4. This means that the alert level is “serious”. The terror alert level for the rest of Belgium has been maintained at 3. The Prime Minister Charles Michel (Francophone liberal) made the announcement at a press conference held shortly after 7pm on Monday evening."

Bosnia Ponders Tougher Anti-Terrorism Measures (Balkan Insight, link): "After last week’s shooting of two soldiers in Sarajevo, Bosnian officials said the country needs new legislation to tackle the threat of terrorism."

CYPRUS: Greek-Cypriot Authorities on Alert for Six Suspected Jihadists (Greek Reporter, link): "Six people with French passports were interrogated by Cypriot police, since they were suspected to be involved with extreme Islamic organizations. The six men arrived in Cyprus from France on Sunday night and the officers at the airport control in Larnaca found that the five men were Turkish, while the sixth was Algerian."

Denmark tops EU in use of Europol database (The Copenhagen Post, link): "With the EU justice opt-out referendum coming up on December 3, DR Nyheder has revealed that the Danish police access Europol’s criminal database Europol Information System (EIS) far more than their other EU colleagues.

"On average, the Danish police accesses EIS 200 times every day – or ten times more than other EU member states. In fact Denmark accounts for nearly every fifth EIS search."

DENMARK: Driver licences for drones on the horizon (The Copenhagen Post, link): "The traffic authority Traffikstyrelsen will next year unveil a new driver’s licence for drone operators in order to curb the increasing number of reports of illegal flying."

EU: European Commission refuses to uphold rule of law (EUobserver, link): "The European Parliament must be realising that the EU Commission has sold it a lemon.

"Back in July, the parliament asked the commission to activate the rule of law ‘framework’ in relation to Hungary. The commission’s reply, sent to MEPs on 12 November, is bound to taste bitter."

France installs sensors to prevent attack on water supply at climate summit (The Guardian, link): "Sensors should signal if there is any contamination of the water supply at the summit that begins 30 November, with up to 45,000 people attending"

French far-right sees popularity rise after Paris attacks (France 24, link): "A poll conducted just after the the November 13 Paris shootings has put far-right candidate Marion Maréchal Le Pen well in the lead to win the presidency of the southern Provence-Alpes-Cote-d'Azur region (PACA) in December's regional elections."

Germany discusses sending Bundeswehr troops to Mali (Deutsche Welle, link): "The Paris attacks completely unsettled France, prompting its leaders to ask for help from other EU countries for anti-terror operations abroad. Now Germany is considering sending its army to Mali to hunt terrorists."

ITALY: Cries of 'inquisition' as Vatican tries journalists (The Local, link): "Two journalists and three Vatican officials go on trial Tuesday over the publication of classified documents in a case critics have attacked as having a whiff of the inquisition."

Macedonia Considers Legalising Medical Marijuana (Balkan Insight, link): "Macedonian's health ministry says it is seriously listening to expert opinion about the possible legalisation of marijuana for medical purposes after a poll indicated widespread public support."

UK: Armed police called to reports of gunman at Stevenage station - but find man with sandwich (Evening Standard, link): "Armed police were called to reports of a gunman at a railway station in Hertfordshire - but discovered it was just a man with a sandwich. A commuter dialled 999 after spotting a man acting suspiciously at Stevenage station yesterday afternoon."

UK: Fit-for-work tests may have taken serious toll on mental health – study (The Guardian, link): "Research links additional 590 suicides and 725,000 antidepressant prescriptions over three years to impact of work capability assessment"

UK: Howard League responds to Feltham prison inspection report (Howard League, link): "Inspectors visited Feltham’s ‘A’ side, which holds boys aged 15 to 18, in July and August. They found that the prison had improved since its last inspection."

"There were, however, a number of concerns, particularly related to safety and the time prisoners spend out of their cells. The inspectors noted that “all too often the boys it holds have been written off by community agencies, and the resources and staff Feltham has to meet the needs of the boys held are insufficient for the task”."

UK: How do you prove you are gay? A culture of disbelief is traumatising asylum seekers (The Guardian, link): "A Ugandan man, Robert Kityo, was denied asylum last week on the basis that the Home Office wasn’t sufficiently convinced that he was gay. The question of evidence is the problem facing gay men and lesbians seeking protection in the UK because of persecution due to their sexuality. Often coming from one of the 80 countries where gay relationships are a criminal offence, they are faced with a culture of disbelief when they seek protection here."

UK: Is it lawful to detain immigration detainees in prisons? (Free Movement, link): "The Court of Appeal says “yes”, it is generally lawful to detain immigration detainees in prisons rather than detention centres. The case is R (On the Application Of Idira) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] EWCA Civ 1187 and the Court rules that there is no principle that administrative immigration detention in prison generally breaches Article 5(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to liberty. In giving judgment, though, the Master of the Rolls acknowledges that “detention in an IRC is generally more appropriate for immigrant detainees than detention in prison”."

UK: 'Legal high' use in prison is 'getting worse by the day' (BBC, link): "'Legal highs' are causing an increase in violence in UK prisons, it's claimed."

UK: Mayor of London faces judicial review over Parliament Square fencing (Liberty, link): "Liberty’s client will tomorrow launch a legal challenge against the Mayor of London’s decision to fence off Parliament Square Gardens halfway through a 10-day peaceful protest in October 2014."

UK-EU: MPs to vote on joining European police DNA database (The Guardian, link): "Theresa May hopes Paris attacks will make case for joining Prüm scheme that would give fast-track access to Europe’s DNA and fingerprint records"

Our work is only possible with your support.
Become a Friend of Statewatch from as little as £1/€1 per month.


Spotted an error? If you've spotted a problem with this page, just click once to let us know.

Report error