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Protests in Rome lead to clashes, arrests

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Demonstrators clash with policemen during a protest against austerity measures in downtown Rome April 12, 2014.

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Two people were arrested and 15 policemen were injured on Friday when far-right activists and local residents held a protest over a new centre for asylum-seekers outside Rome.

The protesters tried to block the access road to the reception centre as the first group of 20 migrants arrived by coach and allegedly hurled stones at the police and set fire to bales of hay along the roadside.

The centre’s first residents are asylum-seekers from Bangladesh, Somalia and Etritrea.

Members of the neo-fascist organization Casa Pound Italia on Friday joined the protest against the centre by neighbourhood activists in Casale San Nicola, on the northern outskirts of Rome.

The local activists have been camping outside a former school since May 7 to protest against plans to turn it into a reception centre for about 100 migrants.

“We are not going to move from here. Casale San Nicola must remain in Italian hands. We will defend to the end,” said a deputy leader of the group, Andrea Antonini.

After police forced their way through the blockade, the activists vowed to continue their protest “in a legal and wholly peaceful manner”.

An investigation is due to be opened into Friday’s clashes, sources said.

Rome Prefect Franco Gabrielli — a top interior ministry official who authorised the opening of the migrant centre — said there will be no change of plan. “We will not take any steps back,” Gabrielli said.

Local authorities announced that 101 asylum-seekers being accommodated in an apartment complex in Quinto di Treviso would on Friday be rehoused in a disused military barracks after protests this week by residents in the small town 30 km north of Venice.

“No more refugees will be arriving,” the surrounding Veneto region’s Governor Luca Zaia announced.

Between Wednesday night and Thursday, locals stole furniture from apartments reserved for migrants and set fire to it. Forza Nuova, another neo-Fascist organisation, staged a sit-in in their support.

Italy currently hosts 93,700 refugees, about one per 1,000 inhabitant, against more than 200,000 each for Germany and France, 117,000 for Britain and 142,000 for Sweden, according to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, which has condemned recent acts of intolerance.

In Italy, where the economy remains persistently weak, anti-migrant sentiment is on the rise amid a surge in the number of asylum seekers arriving in the country, most of whom are fleeing conflict and persecution in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Italian Regulators Fine Facebook 10 mn Euros

Facebook Italy recently agreed to "make a payment of more than 100 million euros" to end a fiscal fraud dispute with Italian authorities

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Facebook testing 'LOL' app to woo kids, experts wary. Pixabay

Italian regulators have fined Facebook 10 million euros for selling users’ data without informing them.

The competition watchdog handed Facebook two fines totalling 10 million euros, “also for discouraging users from trying to limit how the company shares their data”, Italian portal The Local reported on Saturday.

Facebook “misleadingly gets people to sign up… without informing them in an immediate and adequate way of how the data they will provide will be harvested for commercial purposes”, read a statement from Italy’s AGCM consumer and market watchdog.

The authority has directed Facebook to publish an apology to users on its website and on its app.

Reacting to this, a Facebook spokesperson said they are reviewing the authority’s decision.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“We hope to work with them to resolve their concerns. This year we made our terms and policies clearer to help people understand how we use data and how our business works,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

“We also made our privacy settings easier to find and use, and we’re continuing to improve them. You own and control your personal information on Facebook,” the statement said.

Facebook Italy recently agreed to “make a payment of more than 100 million euros” to end a fiscal fraud dispute with Italian authorities.

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Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC), which is Facebook’s lead privacy regulator in Europe, in October opened a formal investigation into the fresh Facebook data breach which affected 50 million users, that could result in a fine of $1.63 billion.

“The investigation will examine Facebook’s compliance with its obligation under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure the security and safeguarding of the personal data it processes,” said DPC. (IANS)