Friday, March 6, 2009

News of Interest 3/06/09

Caught on film and stored on database: how police keep tabs on activists

At 11:37am on August 8 last year, two police surveillance officers sat in a patrol car in Kent and switched on their Sony digital video camera.

When the tape started to roll, they stated they were "evidence gatherer" surveillance officers and
explained the purpose of the operation. A lead surveillance officer and his assistant, they were on duty to help police the Climate Camp demonstration, an environmental protest against the nearby Kingsnorth coal-fired power station.

What the pair did not know when, 20 minutes later, they stood on a grass verge at the entrance to the camp and started work, was that their surveillance
footage would be obtained by the Guardian. It would provide evidence of the crude monitoring methods u sed to glean information about campaigners and would prove that journalists are being targeted by police surveillance units.
-The Guardian

Arsonists Torch Berlin Porsches, BMWs on Economic Woe

When Berlin resident Simone Klostermann returned from vacation and couldn’t find her Mercedes SLK, she thought it had been towed. Police told her the 35,000- euro ($45,000) car had been torched.

“They’d squirted something flammable into the car’s engine block in the gap between the windshield and the hood,” said Klostermann. “The engine was completely destroyed.”

The 34-year-old’s experience isn’t unique in the German capital. At least 29 vehicles were destroyed in arson attacks this year, most of them luxury cars, according to police. The number is already about 30 percent of the total for 2008. The latest to go up in flames was a Porsche, on Feb. 14, two days after a Mercedes was set alight in a public car park.

Climate change protest disrupts flights at Aberdeen airport

Flights at one of Scotland's busiest airports were disrupted today when climate change protesters dressed as Donald Trump played golf on a taxiway.

Nine demonstrators from the Plane Stupid campaign group cut through Aberdeen airport's perimeter fence at around 2.15am in protest at BAA's plans to expand the airport.

Seven protesters who had put up a "wire fortress" on a taxiway for North Sea helicopters handed themselves over to Grampian police at about 8.20am. Two others on the terminal roof surrendered to police at about 9.30am.

-The Guardian

7.3 million people in US prisons in '07

A record high-number of 7.3 million Americans were behind bars or under a correction system in the US in 2007, according to a research.

The record-high number, one in every 31 adults, includes people in prison or jail, and on probation or parole.

The results of the research conducted by Pew Center further indicated on Monday that America's prison population has skyrocketed over the past quarter century.
-Press TV

Mobile prison cells will cage criminals on the beat

The "mobile urban jails" will be used in targeted areas such as tho se rife with knife crime and anti-social behaviour or where there is no police station nearby.

They will allow officers to process criminals, fingerprint them and issue, on-the-spot fines, bail or court summons without having to go back to a police station.

A satellite link will even allow a custody sergeants to charge offenders via video while offenders could be held for up to six hours.

-Daily Telegraph

Mutiny at the Market

A tenants' mutiny at Grand Central Market was resolved last week after a group of merchants who had withheld their February rents came to an agreement with the landlord and paid up.

As part of the resolution with landlord The Yellin Company, rents will be lowered and advertising fees charged to the tenants will be eliminated.

The fracas, which resulted in many rents being paid two weeks or more late, is yet another sign of the financial hardships stemming from the national recession. Although most visitors to the Downtown Los Angeles landmark were unaware of the situation, several tenants said their future survival is in question.
-Los Angeles Downtown News

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