News Digest: round-up of news stories from across Europe (24.6.16)

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BELGIUM: Belgian police arrested 12 people in overnight counter-terrorism raids (Vice News, link): "Three Belgian nationals arrested overnight have been charged with attempting to commit terrorist murder and with taking part in the activities of a terrorist group, Belgium's federal prosecutor said on Saturday.

Nine other suspects arrested during the major anti-terror operation overnight on Friday have since been released. The operation came amid heightened security in Belgium and France around the Euro 2016 soccer tournament and just three months after extremist bombers wrought carnage in Brussels."

CYPRUS: Combatting terrorism a priority for the government, minister says (Cyprus Mail, link): "Combatting terrorism in cooperation with other players on the international stage is a top priority of the government according to Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou who was speaking in Nicosia at the opening of an international police conference on counter-terrorism on Thursday.

“Dealing with terrorism is one of the highest priorities set by this government. Cyprus is fully aware of the asymmetric terrorist threat and dangers deriving from its geographical position, of the fact that it is close to war zones, of the activities of European and non-European foreign fighters, as well as of the presence of western and other foreign interests in Cyprus” Nicolaou said.

He was speaking on behalf of President Nikos Anastasiades at the opening of the two-day conference entitled Counter-terrorism Policies for Law Enforcement: International and Comparative Perspectives."

EU to adopt new US data rules in July (EUobserver, link): "The European Commission is set to present a new draft of its data-exchange pact with the US, the Privacy Shield, in early July.

EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova told EUobserver in a recent interview that the most contentious issues had been agreed by Washington and Brussels.

These concerned access to data by US security services, bulk collection of people’s personal information and independent oversight."

EU: Europe’s rude awakening to big data politics (EurActiv, link): "To many in the Brussels bubble, the big data revolution came as a rude awakening, with revelations of mass-scale eavesdropping by US intelligence. Although EU policymakers have now embraced the economic potential of big data, privacy fears are never far in the distance."

EU: Jean-Marie Le Pen told to repay €320,000 to European Parliament (EurActiv, link): "The European Parliament is demanding the repayment of €320,000 from MEP Jean-Marie Le Pen over a salary it believes was wrongly paid out to a parliamentary assistant, sources said on Wednesday (22 June).

In a document obtained by AFP, the Secretary General of the European Parliament, Klaus Welle, says the founder of France’s far-right National Front (FN) party should reimburse the money “unduly” paid to him for his parliamentary assistant between 2009 and 2014.

It said Le Pen had offered “neither an explanation for nor any evidence of parliamentary assistance work” carried out by the member of staff."

Germany loosens restrictions on monitoring radicalised teenagers (Reuters, link): "Germany is planning to loosen restrictions that have prevented its intelligence agencies from monitoring radicalised teenagers after several attacks this year by young Islamic extremists exposed flaws in surveillance rules.

According to an amendment to an anti-terror law due to be voted on by parliament on Friday, the age of suspects that Germany's domestic intelligence agency is allowed to track and collect data on will be reduced from 16 to 14."

SCOTLAND: Anguished family of Sheku Bayoh still no closer to knowing what caused his death in police custody 13 months on (The Daily Record, link): "PATHOLOGISTS working on the Sheku Bayoh investigation have still not established how he died 13 months ago.

He was pronounced dead following an altercation with up to nine officers in a street near his home on May 3, 2015.

Pathologists, including two who worked on the Hillsborough inquiry, have carried out extensive tests since then to try to find what caused his death.

Family members believe Sheku, 31, died from positional asphyxiation caused by the actions of the officers involved."

UK: Clegg unaware of GCHQ monitoring parliamentary emails (Computer Weekly, link): "Former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has admitted he was unaware that GCHQ could scan parliamentary emails for national security or crime-detection purposes while he was in office."

US releases Guantanamo inmate to Montenegro (Deutsche Welle, link): "A Yemeni man held at the US detention center in Guantanamo Bay has been released to Montenegro. Seventy-nine prisoners are still being held at the notorious facility the Obama administration has vowed to close down."

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