UK news

Hate preacher banned from UK

By Leon Symons, June 18, 2010

Muslim preacher Zakir Naik has been banned by Home Secretary Theresa May from coming to Britain.

Mrs May said: “I have excluded Dr Naik from the UK. Numerous comments made by Dr Naik are evidence to me of his unacceptable behaviour.

“Coming to the UK is a privilege, not a right, and I am not willing to allow those who might not be conducive to the public good to enter the UK. Exclusion powers are very serious and no decision is taken lightly or as a method of stopping open debate on issues.”

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Grandmother, 63, put on eBay

By Robyn Rosen, June 18, 2010

When 63-year-old grandmother Sandi Firth asked her son to put her dining room table on eBay for her, she had no idea it was not the only thing he was planning to sell.

The next day he called to tell her that he had placed another item in the Collectibles category on the auction website - his very own "Yiddishe Momma".

James Doyan, a 38-year-old management consultant, said he decided to auction his mother, who lives in Leeds, after "having enough of her exploits in trying to find love".

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Boy cautioned for attack on Israeli dep ambassador

By Marcus Dysch and Jonathan Kalmus, June 18, 2010

The Israeli Embassy has criticised the decision to caution a 16-year-old boy who attempted to attack its deputy ambassador at a university campus.

The embassy called for a stricter punishment, saying the teenager had "crossed a line" when he climbed on the bonnet of Talya Lador-Fresher's car and attempted to smash the windscreen. The deputy ambassador said she had feared she would be physically assaulted.

Ms Lador-Fresher had been speaking to members of Manchester University's Politics Society in April. Around 40 demonstrators had gathered at the venue.

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Parliament discusses Gaza flotilla fall-out

By Marcus Dysch and Jessica Elgot, June 17, 2010

British and European parliamentarians took part in a trio of debates this week to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and wider Middle East issues.

On Monday evening, the House of Commons discussed the government's policy on the region. Most of the debate centred on the fall-out from the Gaza flotilla incident.

There were calls for the government to ban arms sales to Israel and impose boycott, divestment and sanctions policies. James Arbuthnot, chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel, admitted that Israel "makes mistakes" and criticised settlement building.

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Peer attacks 'moral relativism' of debate surrounding Israel

By Faga Speker, June 17, 2010

One of Britain's newest peers is set to question the "moral relativism" relating to discussion of Israel when he reaches the House of Lords.

Leading Newcastle lawyer Sir Jeremy Beecham, 65, was made a life peer by the outgoing government in the Dissolution Honours, and is likely to take his seat as Baron Beecham of Benwell. He has represented Benwell ward on Newcastle City Council for 43 years.

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Uproar over Methodist Israel report

By Simon Rocker, June 17, 2010

Jewish leaders have condemned a "skewed" report on Israel prepared by the Methodist Church, warning it could set back interfaith relations for years.

The report, which is to be debated at the church's national conference later this month, calls for a boycott of goods from "illegal" West Bank settlements, and political lobbying to end Israel's occupation and the "siege of Gaza".

Over the past few days, Jewish organisations in London and Manchester have protested about its contents in meetings with Methodist representatives.

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Chabad triumph at mikveh victory

June 17, 2010

A long-running battle to open Cambridge's first mikveh has moved closer to resolution after the local Lubavitch centre won its appeal this week to build it.

Rabbi Reuven Leigh, director of Chabad House, said that he was "ecstatic" at the news, after more than two years of "stress and aggravation".

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BBC's new man in Jerusalem

By Jessica Elgot, June 17, 2010

The BBC's North America correspondent, Kevin Connolly, is to succeed Tim Franks as the corporation's reporter in Jerusalem.

Mr Connolly has had a long career as a foreign correspondent, but has never previously worked in the Middle East.

An Oxford graduate, he worked in print journalism before joining the BBC in 1984.

In 1987, he was posted to Dublin to be the BBC's Irish correspondent, but moved to Warsaw only a year later. He then spent four years as Moscow correspondent, during which he covered the collapse of the Soviet Union and conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and Chechnya.

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Internet duo: We're proud to be neo-Nazis

By Leon Symons, June 17, 2010

Two men whose avowed aim was to eradicate Jews from Britain have gone on trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

Trevor Hannington, 58, from South Wales, and Michael Heaton, 42, from Manchester, have been accused of soliciting people to kill Jews through postings on a website.

Hannington denied one count of soliciting to murder, while Heaton is on trial for four comments he made on a website run by an organisation called the Aryan Strike Force (ASF) between January and April, 2008.

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New play to probe Nazi 'humanity'

By James Lewis and John Fisher, June 17, 2010

A controversial play about the Holocaust is set to open next week at Leeds Town Hall.

Playwright Jayson Bartlett, 49, who is not Jewish, spent five years researching and interviewing survivors in Eastern Europe for his play, The Interview, which has already been staged in Dewsbury, Yorkshire.

But he has taken an unusual approach. His heroine is an 85-year-old survivor whose life story is revealed in an interview with a reporter whose grandfather was a camp guard.

Mr Bartlett said he felt it was "unfair" only to think of the guards as inhumane.

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