UK news

Jerusalem summons British envoy over Livni

By Jessica Elgot, December 15, 2009

Israel has expressed fury at the attempt to arrest opposition leader Tzipi Livni who was due in London on Sunday as the guest speaker for the JNF annual conference.

In a day of intense diplomatic activity, British ambassador to Israel Tom Phillips was summoned to the Israeli foreign ministry in Jerusalem while in London, the Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor went to see Foreign Secretary David Miliband in Whitehall.


Leeds United ex-director in court

By Jessica Elgot, December 15, 2009

Former property magnate and director of Leeds United Simon Morris has appeared at Leeds magistrates court charged with conspiracy to blackmail a man over a £100,000 debt.

Mr Morris, 32, who is jointly accused with Jonathan Ashworth, 49, from Hyde, Cheshire, was charged after a long investigation by West Yorkshire police into the demise of Mr Morris’ business.

He was declared bankrupt a year after his business empire, SRM Holdings Group, collapsed with debts of around £50 million.


Arrest warrant issued for Tzipi Livni

By Marcus Dysch, December 15, 2009

An arrest warrant was issued for Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni by a London court, but was later annulled after Ms Livni cancelled her scheduled visit and did not enter Britain.

Ms Livni had been due to speak at Sunday’s JNF Vision 2010 conference in Hendon, north-west London, but cancelled over fears she would be arrested for alleged war crimes.

It is believed Westminster Magistrates’ Court issued the warrant at the request of pro-Palestinian lawyers acting on behalf of those affected by Israel’s action in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.


Rabbi's finger bitten off at Chanucah celebration

By Beth Alexander in Vienna, December 15, 2009

A man is alleged to have bitten off a rabbi’s finger at a public Chanucah celebration in Vienna.

Rabbi Dov Grussman was responding to apparent antisemitic jibes from the Muslim man, who is said to have hurled himself at the Chabad Rabbi and punched him.

During the struggle, the man is alleged to have bitten the rabbi, severing part of his finger. He was later arrested by Austrian police.

Rabbi Grussman was taken to hospital where doctors attempted to reattach the severed finger. He is currently being monitored for infection from the injury.


Confusion over Livni's cancelled visit to UK

By Marcus Dysch, December 14, 2009

There is confusion over the exact grounds for Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni cancelling a trip to Britain.

Ms Livni, who had been due to speak at Sunday’s JNF Vision 2010 conference in Hendon, north-west London, said through her office that she had cancelled the trip a fortnight ago for scheduling reasons.

It had been thought she would meet Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and possibly Foreign Secretary David Miliband, for private talks.


Livni cancels JNF visit to UK

By Marcus Dysch, December 14, 2009

Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni cancelled a visit to Britain this weekend over fears pro-Palestinian lawyers would seek to have her arrested.

Ms Livni had been due to speak at Sunday’s JNF Vision 2010 conference in Hendon, north-west London. She had also been expected to meet Prime Minister Gordon Brown for private talks.

But she pulled out of the trip for fear of lawyers obtaining an arrest warrant.


Cowell: Stacey Solomon 'too much like Leona'

December 13, 2009

X Factor judge Simon Cowell blamed her mentor Dannii Minogue for ruining Stacey Solomon’s chances of winning the competition.

She narrowly missed out on being in the final and Simon said Dannii’s made a tactical error by making herappear too much like previous winner Leona Lewis.

“If Stacey were to win the show, we would have to go right back to where she started from when we first saw her,” he was reported as telling the News of the World.


Stacey Solomon out of X Factor

By Jessica Elgot, December 12, 2009

Stacey Solomon has finished in third place in the final of X Factor, which was watched by 20 million viewers.

Stacey, who was mentored by Dannii Minogue, was voted out of the ITV show despite never having been in the bottom two of the competition.

Speaking after the vote, Stacey said: "I came third, that's really good. I'm really proud. I've had the time of my life. Thanks to everyone who kept me here to the final."


Israel and UK row over settlement labels

By Marcus Dysch, December 11, 2009

The Israeli government has accused Britain of encouraging a boycott of goods from West Bank settlements.

The two countries are locked in a diplomatic row after the British government released new guidelines for supermarkets on labelling of foods from settlements and products made by Palestinians.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has issued voluntary guidance to UK stores stating that labels should differentiate between “Israeli settlement produce” and “Palestinian produce”. Currently, foods are labeled “Produce of the West Bank”.


Israelis win honorary MBEs in Queen's honours list

By Marcus Dysch, December 10, 2009

Two Israelis have been awarded honorary MBEs by the Queen in recognition of their work in strengthening British ties with the Jewish state.

Natie Shevel, UJIA regional director for Israel, was recognised for his “outstanding achievement” and services to the charity, and for local efforts which “stand out as an example to others”.

Sonia Feldman, who has worked as science education manager at the British Council office in Tel Aviv for 37 years, is recognised for promoting UK science in Israel.

South African-born Mr Shevel, 42, said: “It’s taken me completely by surprise.