News Digest: round up of news stories from across the EU (26.8.16)

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- Czech and German secret services release publication about Prague Spring (Prague Daily Monitor, link)

"The Czech and German secret services have released a publication dealing with the work of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) during the reform Prague Spring in 1968, Jaroslav Hrbek, Office for Foreign Relations and Information (UZSI) spokesman, said yesterday.

In it, there are the original documents and so far unpublished photos from the German secret service archives that relate to the Prague Spring and Czechoslovakia's occupation by Warsaw Pact troops, Hrbek said."

- Germany to tell people to stockpile food and water in case of attacks: FAS (Reuters, link)

"For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the German government plans to tell citizens to stockpile food and water in case of an attack or catastrophe, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper reported on Sunday.

Germany is currently on high alert after two Islamist attacks and a shooting rampage by a mentally unstable teenager last month. Berlin announced measures earlier this month to spend considerably more on its police and security forces and to create a special unit to counter cyber crime and terrorism."

- UK: Belfast: Neighbour 'picked up pipe bomb' after racist attack in Atlantic Avenue (BBC News, link):

"A man has said he picked up a pipe bomb and carried it away from a house in north Belfast after his neighbours' home was targeted in a racist attack.

A Slovakian family were in their house in Atlantic Avenue when a rock was thrown overnight, smashing a window.

A pipe bomb was later found in the area and police have linked the two attacks."

- UK: Defendant told to put up with racist abuse in Colchester or face further punishment (Braintree & Witham Times, link):

"A MAN who shouted back after allegedly being subjected to a torrent of vile racist abuse was told to put up with it and “button his lip” by magistrates.

Bilal Zubair admitted two public order offences for disorderly behaviour at Colchester Magistrates’ Court yesterday."

- USA: Why Are We Still Wasting Billions on Homeland Security Projects That Don’t Make Us Safer? (ProPublica, link)

"Certainly, some of the government programs created to address vulnerabilities exposed by the 9/11 attacks were long overdue. The U.S. needed a much better system for screening air travelers, one that did not allow people to board airplanes with lethal weapons in hand. And it made sense to harden New York’s underwater subway tunnels to limit the damage a bomb could do to both passengers and the city’s infrastructure.

But for every valid effort, it seems like the terrorism-industrial complex came up with an array of boondoggles that were profitable for the companies involved but added little to the security of ordinary Americans. The upwards of $47 billion spent on FirstNet, the troubled effort to make sure firefighters and police could talk to each other in an emergency, staggers the imagination. Altogether, Brill calculates, the government has spent $100 to $150 billion on equipment and programs that do not work. What might have been accomplished if all of that money had been spent on, say, reducing the cost of a college education for poor and middle-class kids?"

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