Statewatch article: RefNo# 35883
News Digest: Round-up of news stories from across the EU (19 items, 23.12.15)
Statewatch News Online, December 2015
BELGIUM: Niqab incident results in 18 month jail sentence (Flanders News, link): "A court in Brussels has sentenced a 27-year-old woman to 18 months in prison after she resisted arrest when she refused to take off her niqab. The wearing of the Muslim full veil in public is banned in Belgium for security reasons."

BULGARIA: Palestinian facing extradition takes refuge in Bulgaria embassy (Electronic Intifada, link): "An escaped political prisoner whose extradition has been sought by Israel has taken refuge in the Palestinian Authority’s embassy in Bulgaria."

BULGARIA-GREECE: Lives for Sale: Bulgaria’s Booming Black Market in Babies for Greeks (Balkan Insight, link): "Pregnant Bulgarians travel to Greece to sell their babies to couples desperate to adopt, a trade that is flourishing while efforts to counter it flounder"

FRANCE: Hollande may fail in bid for emergency powers (The Local, link): "Opposition MPs in France may scupper government plans to enshrine controversial emergency security powers in the constitution, which were to be presented on Wednesday. "

FRANCE: Terrorism: France 'to scrap plan to strip citizenships' (The Local, link): "The French president appears to have backtracked on a flagship plan to strip dual nationals convicted of terrorism of their French citizenship even if they are born in France- a move announced in the aftermath of the November terror attacks."

Greece allows civil partnership for same-sex couples (Reuters, link): "Greece late on Tuesday enacted a human-rights' bill which allows civil partnership agreements between same-sex couples despite protests and opposition from political parties and the powerful Orthodox Church."

Human behaviour still the biggest threat to company security (Help Net Security, link): "Nuix, a security intelligence and information management technology company, had in-depth conversations with chief information security officers and directors from Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies about the dynamic nature of security and how their role is adapting...

"The report found that there’s a greater focus on insider threats since the first report was conducted in 2014. 71% of respondents reported that they have an insider threat program or policy, and 14% said that they allocate 40% or more of their budget to insider threats.

“Managing incident response and insider threats has received greater investment in the past year,” said one respondent. “There’s been a shift in allocation toward looking internally, rather than at the perimeter,” added another."


HUNGARY: From the Charlie Hebdo attack to Hungary’s moral panic (V4 Revue, link): "Since January 2015, the Hungarian government has been creating an atmosphere of fear against refugees and migrants that has quickly led to a moral panic, which in turn has served as justification for strong anti-immigrant measures. This is the conclusion of a scientific paper recently produced by two media researchers. V4Revue interviewed Vera Messing, one of the paper’s authors."

POLAND: Jewish community accuses prominent Polish politician of anti-Semitism (Radio Poland, link): "Poland’s Jewish community has condemned a claim by a prominent politician that a group which has organised anti-government street protests was financed by “a Jewish banker.”"

Poland's government carries through on threat to constitutional court (The Guardian, link): "Poland’s ruling conservative party has passed a law that top legal and opposition figures say will paralyse the country’s highest legislative court and remove important checks on the government’s power.

Following an avalanche of criticism at home and abroad, the approval of the new law raises the bar for constitutional court rulings from a simple majority to a two-thirds majority, while requiring 13 judges to be present instead of nine previously for the most contentious cases."


SERBIA: More Journalists Being Attacked in Serbia, Report (Balkan Insight, link): "A report by the Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia, NUNS, on Tuesday says more attacks on journalists in Serbia were reported in 2015 - and too many cases go unsolved."

Totally unbalanced power (OpenDemocracy, link): "I don’t want to live in a society where everyone can be controlled, their data collected and stored, and then used for whatever purposes private companies want." Interview."

UK: Bijan Ebrahimi murder: family accuse police of institutional racism (The Guardian, link): "PC and community support officer convicted of misconduct in case of man who was set on fire by his neighbour after being mistaken for paedophile"

UK: ‘Expand your range of targets’, says chief inspector in review of illegal working raids (Anti-Raids Network, link): "‘How the Home Office Tackles Illegal Working’ was published on 17th December by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI), David Bolt. ICIBI reports generally provide useful insight into the murky world of immigration enforcement.

Here are some of the report’s main findings and criticisms."


UK: Man arrested in south London on suspicion of terrorism offences (The Guardian, link): "A 31-year-old man has been arrested in south London on suspicion of preparing Islamist terrorist acts, Scotland Yard said."

UK: Resisting police militarisation and state repression (Netpol, link): "Netpol is delighted to co-host a planning meeting on 21 January with Campaign Against Arms Trade, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants and Stop The Arms Fair exploring resistance to the militarisation of policing.

The following briefing by Stop the Arms Fair explains more about next year’s “Security and Policing 2016” trade body event."


US stops British Muslim family from boarding flight to visit Disneyland (The Guardian, link): "A British Muslim family heading for Disneyland was barred from boarding a flight to Los Angeles by US authorities at London’s Gatwick airport amid concerns of an American overreaction to the perceived terrorist threat."

USA: 1950s U.S. Nuclear Target List Offers Chilling Insight (New York Times, link): "WASHINGTON — Target category No. 275 from the nuclear target list for 1959 may be the most chilling. It is called simply “Population.”

For the first time, the National Archives and Records Administration has released a detailed list of the United States’ potential targets for atomic bombers in the event of war with the Soviet Union, showing the number and the variety of targets on its territory, as well as in Eastern Europe and China."

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