UK news

Handcuffed Jewish boy calls for help by text

By Leon Symons, May 21, 2010

A teenage boy whose family were being robbed at gunpoint alerted neighbours by texting them while his hands were handcuffed behind his back.

The 16-year-old managed to slip his mobile phone from his pocket and type the words: "Call police to my house - we are being robbed."

He even managed to dial the neighbour's number so his mother could lie next to him and whisper into the mouthpiece.

Four men had burst in to the house in Hendon, north west London, on a Saturday night in April, armed with two guns and a screwdriver.

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Orthodox synagogue membership stable

By Simon Rocker, May 21, 2010

The decline in synagogue membership in the UK has slowed down significantly over the past five years, according to a new survey.

The number of Jewish households which belong to a synagogue fell by just 0.3 per cent since 2005 - compared to an overall drop of 16.8 per cent over the two decades from 1990 to 2010.

But the slowdown is mainly due to the growth of the strictly Orthodox communities, say the authors of the report, jointly published by the Board of Deputies and the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR).

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Brooks Newmark MP gets business role

By Robyn Rosen, May 21, 2010

Jewish MP Brooks Newmark has been made Government Whip to the Business Department.

The Conservative has been MP for Braintree since 2005 and was re-elected earlier this month with a 16,121 majority.

His responsibilities, under Business Secretary Vince Cable, will include attending certain ministerial meetings and assisting in the passage of business legislation.

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Second inquest granted for Jeremiah Duggan

By Robyn Rosen, May 21, 2010

The mother of Jeremiah Duggan, the Jewish student who died under suspicious circumstances in Germany, has won the right to a second inquest after a seven year campaign.

Mr Duggan was found dead aged 22 on a highway near Wiesbaden, Germany in March 2003 while attending a youth event organised by the far-right LaRouche group.

The German police ruled his death a suicide but a British coroner rejected the verdict in November 2003 after the London Metropolitan Police testified that the LaRouche movement is a “political cult with sinister and dangerous connections”.

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MP attacks Brazilian president

By Robyn Rosen, May 18, 2010

Denis MacShane, who led the all-Party enquiry in anntisemitism, has criticised the President of Brazil for posing in photographs with Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The Labour Rotherham MP has spoken of his “shock” and “profound sadness” in an open letter to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

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Mike Leigh wins praise at Cannes

By Jessica Elgot, May 18, 2010

Jewish film director Mike Leigh is a strong favourite for the coveted Palm D’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, after a rapturous reception for his new film, Another Year.

If he wins, it would be Mr Leigh’s third award at Cannes; he won the Palm D’Or for his 1996 film Secrets and Lies, and Best Director in 1993 for Naked.

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'Nazi zealot' milkman and father sentenced

By Leon Symons, May 14, 2010

A father and son described as “Nazi zealots” have been jailed for a total of 12 years at Newcastle Crown Court.

Ian Davison, a 41-year-old disc jockey, became the first man in England and Wales to be convicted of a terrorism-related offence involving the lethal poison ricin. He was given 10 years in prison.

Davison, from County Durham, had already pleaded guilty to six offences including production of the ricin.

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Anti-Israel demo planned for David Cameron

By Jessica Elgot, May 14, 2010

Film director Ken Loach, Lib Dem peer Jenny Tonge, comedian Jeremy Hardy and Sir Gerald Kaufman MP are signatories to a petition which will be delivered to Downing St as part of an anti-Israel march this weekend.

It will be the first organised rally outside Downing Street since David Cameron became Prime Minister.

Representatives of the Green Party, UNITE, UNISON, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition and CND are also planning to attend.

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New Jewish ministers and the Miliband rivalry

By Jessica Elgot, May 14, 2010

The one-time BBYO leader, Grant Shapps, has been appointed Housing Minister in David Cameron’s new government.

Mr Shapps, who represents Welwyn and Hatfield, is a former vice-chairman of the Conservative Party. He will be part of the Department for Communities and Local Government, headed by Eric Pickles.

Oliver Letwin, once Shadow Chancellor when Michael Howard led the party, has been made Minister of State for Policy, and will attend cabinet meetings when required.

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Cruel email scam targets Holocaust 'heirs'

By Robyn Rosen, May 13, 2010

An email fraudster has been targeting the community claiming that people with the same surnames as Holocaust victims can collect millions of dollars.

The email tells the recipient there is a dormant bank account belonging to a Holocaust victim with the same name, and urges them to reply within seven days to receive the funds.

The writer claims to be an executive director at the Swiss Banks Settlement, which in reality retrieved $1.25 billion from Swiss banks in 1998. The banks had retained and concealed assets of Holocaust victims.

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