News Digest: round-up of news stories from across Europe (5.8.16)

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CZECH REPUBLIC: Compensation deal agreed for Roma victims of holocaust (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "The living survivors of the Czech Romany Holocaust will get 2500 euros each in compensation as a result of negotiations between the Czech and German foreign ministries, Michaela Lagronova, spokeswoman for the Czech ministry, told CTK yesterday.

"The negotiations lasted several months and they ended several days ago," she said.

The compensation may be paid out to 10 to 15 people, Lagronova said.

German authorities earmarked 50 million euros for the compensation by 2018. The same sum of 2500 euros will also be paid to Germans subjected to forced labour during World War Two, including Sudeten Germans who were forced to work in Czech territory."

CZECH REPUBLIC: Financial police to be formed at beginning of 2017 (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "The creation of a financial police body will be the next step to be taken within the National Centre against Organised Crime (NCOZ) on January 1, 2017, Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Social Democrats, CSSD) told journalists yesterday.

Deputy Police President Zdenek Laube said in this respect, the NCOZ would have to agree on the division of work with the customs authority whose powers were recently widened.

"We are ready to negotiate with the Finance Ministry, the customs authority, state attorneys and the professional public," Chovanec said.
The financial police are to primarily focus on tax or "white collar" crime."

ICELAND: Swedish Neo-Nazis Come To Iceland, Seeking Recruits (The Reykjavík Grapevine, link): "The Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) has started actively looking for recruits in Iceland, and their leader is not disclosing who they may be.

RÚV has reported that many Icelanders woke up on Saturday morning to discover flyers delivered to their homes from the NRM, a violent white power movement originating in Sweden, actively looking for Icelandic recruits."

ITALY: Rome boosts security amid heightened terror threat (The Local, link): "Security has been upped at the Colosseum and the Vatican as part of new anti-terrorism measures, and amid persistent threats from the Isis extremist group.

Rome police chief Nicolò D'Angelo said there would be the highest level of security around the Colosseum, with police positioned at public entrance points, as well as the nearby Via del Corso, Rome’s main shopping thoroughfare."

Serb Refugee Villagers Dream of Lost Croatian Homes (Balkan Insight, link): "In the refugee village of Busije, people still cherish the memories of the homes in Croatia that they fled because of the Zagreb military’s Operation Storm in August 1995."

UK Anti-Semitic incidents rise by 11%: political parties and social media responsible - charity (Migrants' Rights Network, link): "Anti-Semitic incidents rose by 11 percent in the first half of 2016 in comparison with the same period of 2015, according to a report published from the Community Security Trust (CST), a charity dedicated to protecting British Jews from anti-Semitism .

CST recorded 557 anti-Semitic incidents in the first six months of this year, in contrast with 500 last year. This marks the second-highest total the charity has ever recorded for the January–June period of any year."

UK: British Muslim woman detained under terror laws after cabin crew report her reading Syrian art book on plane (The Independent, link): "A Muslim NHS worker was detained at a UK airport and questioned under terror laws after a cabin crew member spotted her reading a Syrian culture book on board her honeymoon flight.

Faizah Shaheen, who helps prevent teenage mental health patients from becoming radicalised, was returning from honeymoon in Marmaris, Turkey, when she was stopped by South Yorkshire Police at Doncaster Airport on 25 July."

UK: Code on bomb debris links Scots firms to alleged war crime (The Ferret, link): "A US arms multinational with a factory in Scotland has been linked to an alleged war crime in Yemen via a code found on a bomb fragment."

UK: Colnbrook Detention Centre inspection – a mixed picture and a need for a ‘strict time limit’ (The Detention Forum, link): "In its latest inspection report on Colnbrook detention centre, HM Inspector of Prisons said ‘There should be a strict time limit on the length of detention and caseworkers should act with diligence and expedition.’

Colnbrook detention centre, near Heathrow Airport, detains up to 396 migrants, including 27 women who are held in a separate unit. The centre suffered from a lack of maintenance during the period of management contract transfer from Serco to Mitie a few years ago, resulting in significant deterioration of parts of the centre."

UK: Cops & immigration officers organise sting operation in Deptford with ‘bait immigration van’ (Anti-Raids Network, link): "A van marked ‘Immigration Enforcement’ was parked down a side street. As is often the case, there was no sign of any immigration officers in or near the van. Two people stopped to look at the sight of the ‘racist van’ that had returned yet again to the neighbourhood, before walking on. Seconds later, half a dozen cops dressed as builders – high viz jackets, muddy Timberland boots, paint-spattered clothes, pencil behind the ear – jumped the pair, shouting that they were under arrest for supposedly damaging or tampering with the van. One of the undercover officers had been standing in the street and the others had obviously been hiding behind the wall. There is no evidence of any damage to the van, nor were the people arrested in possession of anything that could cause damage to the vehicle. In fact, video footage clearly shows the van undamaged and being driven off by an officer after the arrests, and many witnesses are recorded as stating that there was simply nothing wrong with it. The arrestees were taken to Lewisham police station and released on bail without charge 10 hours later."

UK: MI5 wrongly told staff it was exempt from privacy safeguards (Computer Weekly, link): "Security service MI5 carried out a rearguard attempt to avoid requirements to seek independent approval for accessing the public’s internet, web, email and phone records

MI5 wrongly claimed it had been granted a unique exemption, by former home secretary Theresa May, from applying privacy safeguards to access databases containing data on the public’s private phone, email and web browsing activities."

UK: Rise In Self-Harm At Asylum Detention Centres (Sky News, link): "The number of asylum seekers self-harming in UK detention centres has more than doubled in the last five years, Sky News has found.

The figures were revealed in a Freedom of Information request by Sky News, as campaigners called for the centres to be closed.

The Home Office says the number of asylum seekers being held in detention centres has increased from 25,904 in 2010 to 32,000 people last year.

Our figures show that in 2010, there were 185 incidents of self-harm in detention centres.

By 2015, that number had more than doubled to 409."

UK: Seriously ill detainee was shackled hours before he died (The Guardian, link): "The Home Office has been forced to disclose the results of a damning internal inquiry into the treatment of a seriously ill immigration detainee who was handcuffed and chained in hospital until shortly before he died.

The report, which has been passed to the Guardian, raises fundamental questions about the treatment of ill and vulnerable detainees. It identifies a failure in the Home Office’s duty of care towards a 43-year-old man with a heart condition who was handcuffed while he was sedated, criticises a “serious breakdown in communication” and calls for significant changes in the use of restraints on detainees in hospital."

USA: Microsoft Pitches Technology That Can Read Facial Expressions at Political Rallies (The Intercept, link): "On the 21st floor of a high-rise hotel in Cleveland, in a room full of political operatives, Microsoft’s Research Division was advertising a technology that could read each facial expression in a massive crowd, analyze the emotions, and report back in real time. “You could use this at a Trump rally,” a sales representative told me."

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