UK news

'Nazi fetish' housing chief is suspended

By Simon Rocker, March 18, 2010

A senior council official has been suspended by London's Hammersmith and Fulham Council after newspaper allegations that he was involved in Nazi fetishism.

The Sunday Mirror published photos of Gareth Mead posing in Nazi uniform and in front of swastikas on what was said to be a gay sex website.

According to the newspaper, he also sent text messages to fellow-users of the site which read "Turn on the furnaces for those Jewish boys and let them burn in hell" and "Gas the Wogs".

A council spokesman would say only: "Gareth Mead has been suspended pending a disciplinary hearing."

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Jewish funeral service prepared for atheists and suicides

By Simon Rocker, March 18, 2010

A new funeral service published by the Reform Movement includes alternative material designed specifically for atheists.

As well as traditional prayers for a funeral or tombstone consecration, the book contains a large anthology of readings, with secular writers such as Saul Bellow, quoted alongside rabbis.

It also contains a prayer to be read at the burial of suicides, who are traditionally stigmatised in Jewish law.

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Jewish Museum opened by Nigella Lawson

By Marcus Dysch, March 18, 2010

The new Jewish Museum opened to the public this week following a two-year, £10 million refurbishment project.

Housing one of the world's most impressive Judaica collections, the Camden museum has already received critical acclaim and promises to showcase Jewish life in Britain, cultural diversity and use technology to bring history to life.

It was officially opened on Tuesday by cook and broadcaster Nigella Lawson, and BBC creative director Alan Yentob.

Mr Yentob said it would be a facility "not just for religious Jews, but for people interested in their own past.

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Jack Straw publishes draft for war crimes arrest law change

By Marcus Dysch, March 18, 2010

The Ministry of Justice has published a draft bill aimed at resolving the issue of universal jurisdiction.

A change in the law would make it more difficult for Israeli politicians to be arrested in Britain for alleged war crimes.

It remains unlikely, however, that there will be time to complete the process before the end of the parliamentary term.

The proposal suggests restricting the right to prosecute to the Crown Prosecution Service as being the "most straightforward solution".

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Stag parties at Auschwitz

By Marcus Dysch, March 18, 2010

Holocaust survivors and education groups have attacked the promotion of Auschwitz as a tour destination for stag parties.

Trips to the concentration camp are offered by two British companies providing pre-wedding weekends which also include lap dancing, bar crawls and go-karting.

Party-goers can put together their own tailor-made weekends, choosing from different "activities" or pay for a package trip.

Auschwitz survivor Martin Bennett said: "It is terrible. Auschwitz is not a joyride or a holiday camp. It is a solemn place for people to learn about history.

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Special Report: The decline of Scotland's Jews

By Martin Bright, March 18, 2010

The Scottish government has committed itself to investigating the steep decline in numbers within the Jewish community amid growing concerns about antisemitism north of the border.

Although there were 18,000 Jews in Scotland in the 1950s, there are now only around 10,000.

The move follows a meeting this month between the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) and the Scottish government's head of community safety, Richard Foggo.

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Paedophile who hid in Stamford Hill jailed

By Marcus Dysch, March 16, 2010

A paedophile who fled to London to escape justice in Israel has been jailed for 13 years for raping a teenage boy.

Nachman Stal lived secretly among the Charedi community in Stamford Hill, north London.

He had left Israel in 2006 after being found guilty of sodomy and indecent assault of a minor.

The father-of-nine was only recaptured by chance in May 2008 when police stopped to help him change a punctured tyre in west London.

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BA strike causes Israel Pesach anguish

By Leon Symons, March 16, 2010

Families looking forward to Pesach in Israel may face heartbreak as a result of the proposed British Airways cabin crew strike.

BA has cancelled all flights to Israel this weekend and will not resume until Tuesday. However, the main travel time is the following weekend — March 26 - 28 .

Former United Synagogue property director Alan Koch was one of those whose Pesach plans could be ruined by the strike.

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Ecclestone: Hitler's actions were 'unnecessary'

By Jessica Elgot, March 16, 2010

Bernie Ecclestone, the head of Formula One motor racing, has described the Holocaust as “at best disgusting. And unnecessary”.

In July last year Mr Ecclestone was forced to make a public apology for comments to the Times where he appeared to praise Hitler’s leadership and his ability to “get things done”.

He later apologised in an interview with the JC, in which he said: “I never supported Hitler, I don’t think there’s anybody in this world who could support Hitler and the atrocities they [the Nazis] carried out.”

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Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes split

By Jessica Elgot, March 15, 2010

British film director Sam Mendes and his wife Kate Winslet have parted, the couple’s lawyer has confirmed.
They married in 2003, and have one son, Joe.

Mr Mendes directed her in one of his latest films Revolutionary Road. They met in 2001, when he tried to persuade her to appear in a play at the Donmar Warehouse, in Covent Garden, where he was artistic director. He had already won an Oscar for Best Director for his debut film, American Beauty.

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