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Judge denies bail for alleged Silk Road founder Ulbricht

By Emily Flitter NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge on Thursday denied a petition to release alleged Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht from jail before his trial, concluding that the bail proposal his defense team presented was not strong enough to dispel worries that the 29-year-old would try to flee or take violent action. Following the judge's ruling, disappointed sighs were heard from a few members of Ulbricht's family who attended the hearing. "Oh God," said Ulbricht's mother, Lyn LaCava Ulbricht.

Europe's reluctant giant: Germany wary of global leadership role ahead of national polls

BERLIN - Germany boasts the world's most powerful woman, Europe's most powerful economy and an industrial machine that's the envy of the planet. With all that muscle, it seems natural to assume the mantle of Europe's undisputed leader. But Germany is a reluctant giant — and this Sunday's national elections are unlikely to change that.

100,000 Polish unionists protest government labour policies in Warsaw march, threaten to strike

WARSAW, Poland - Threatening a general strike, throwing smoke grenades and blowing whistles, around 100,000 Polish union members marched through Warsaw on Saturday to vent their anger against the government's labour and wage policies. Prime Minister Donald Tusk's government is rapidly losing support after recently raising the retirement age, announcing a reform of the pension system and relaxing some labour code provisions that allow for longer daily and weekly working hours.

Bulgarian Red Army monument painted pink in Prague Spring apology

SOFIA (Reuters) - A Soviet Army monument in Sofia was painted pink in an "artistic apology" for Bulgaria's support of Soviet troops which crushed Czechoslovakia's Prague Spring uprising against its Communist rulers on its 45th anniversary. Echoing earlier protests against Soviet rule, unknown artists painted the sculpture, depicting nine soldiers to commemorate the Red Army advance during World War Two, overnight and wrote "Bulgaria apologizes" in Bulgarian and in Czech.

Merkel defends secret surveillance for security

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday defended the role of secret services in keeping populations safe, but also said she only learnt of the US-run PRISM surveillance programme through media reports. In her most detailed comments yet on the snooping and spying claims made by fugitive former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, she also stressed that the United States remained "Germany's most faithful ally".

German artist protests U.S. 'Stasi' on embassy wall and Web

By Sarah Marsh BERLIN (Reuters) - A German artist who beamed the words "United Stasi of America" onto the wall of the U.S. embassy in Berlin says Washington's spy methods make the former East German secret police look like boy scouts. A video of Oliver Bienkowski's artwork is fast becoming a hit on the Internet in Germany, tapping into widespread outrage over U.S. surveillance programs revealed by fugitive ex-National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

'United Stasi of America' beamed onto Berlin US mission

A German artist has projected the message "United Stasi of America" onto the US embassy in Berlin, likening reported sweeping Internet surveillance by Washington to spying by the former East German secret police. A US embassy spokesperson told AFP: "Very funny. But anyone making such a comparison knows neither the Stasi nor the United States." The reference to the former communist Staatssicherheit or Stasi police was beamed at night onto the US mission by German artist Oliver Bienkowski, in collaboration with Internet tycoon and online activist Kim Dotcom.

Anger over East German medical 'human guinea pigs'

Germany is confronting another chapter from its past -- allegations that Western drug companies used more than 50,000 people in the former communist East as "human guinea pigs" in 1980s medical trials. News magazine Spiegel this week reported that a who's who of big German, Swiss and US pharmaceutical companies made deals with the dictatorship to test medicines, sometimes without the knowledge of the patients.

Developer tears down further stretch of Berlin Wall

A property developer removed more of the Berlin Wall on Wednesday in a surprise dawn move amid a bitter running protest over the dismantling of the once-detested Cold War division. Four segments were taken down from around 5:00 am (0400 GMT) from the Wall's longest surviving stretch, creating a gap of more than six metres (20 feet). But the property company said it was only a temporary measure. Some 250 police were dispatched to the site.

Developer tears down further stretch of Berlin Wall

A property developer removed more of the Berlin Wall Wednesday, police said, in a surprise dawn move amid a bitter running protest over the dismantling of the once-detested Cold War division. Four segments were removed from around 5:00 am local time (0400 GMT) from the Wall's longest surviving stretch, creating a gap around five metres (16 feet) wide where a gate was installed, a police spokeswoman said. Some 250 police were at the site, according to media reports.
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