UK news

Exclusive: Christian Aid made to apologise for sex abuse claim

By Marcus Dysch, May 27, 2010

Christian Aid has apologised “unreservedly” after it claimed Israeli settlers had sexually abused Palestinian children in Hebron.

The false allegations came after Miranda Pinch, a social worker from Winchester, had travelled to the West Bank town in January to “monitor human rights abuses” as part of an accompaniment programme part-funded by the charity.

The 59-year-old, who converted from Judaism to Christianity, returned from the trip and told Christian Aid that a Palestinian headmistress had made allegations of verbal abuse.

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Toby Cohen and his flying succah

By Jessica Elgot, May 27, 2010

The pictures of photographer Toby Cohen seem to capture impossible moments.

In one, three Chasidim leap off Masada. In another, a flying succah delicately hovers above an Israeli forest and yet another recreates Fiddler on the Roof.

The former paparazzo, used to taking split-second shots, has reinvented himself as a photographic artist, creating extraordinary scenes against grand Israeli landscapes.

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Livingstone, you have libelled me. Apologise

By Martin Bright, May 27, 2010

Dear Ken:

I was shocked to see that you had called me “a bit of an Islamophobe” on the Iranian state TV channel Press TV in an interview with Andrew Gilligan. There is no evidence for your claim, which is highly defamatory, deeply upsetting and potentially dangerous.

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X Factor star records debut single

By Jennifer Lipman, May 25, 2010

Stacey Solomon has recorded the 1940s song ‘At Last’ as her first solo single.

The X Factor star and former King Solomon High School pupil is to release a version of the classic tune in aid of the Royal Air Force.

The 20-year-old is fronting a campaign to reunite members of the Squadronaires, an RAF band formed during the Second World War.

“My cousin's serving at the moment and my granddad was actually in the RAF as well, so it means quite a lot to me,” she said.

Stacey previously performed the song during the Diva Week of the 2009 series of X Factor.

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Matt Lucas wins privacy payout

By Jennifer Lipman, May 25, 2010

Little Britain star Matt Lucas has won substantial damages from Express Newspapers over reports published soon after the suicide of his former partner.

The Jewish actor has accepted an undisclosed sum for articles in the Daily Star in 2009, following the death of Kevin McGee.

The couple had married in a civil partnership in 2006 but were divorced when McGee, 32, was found hanged at his Edinburgh flat in October.

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Ed Miliband first to be nominated for Labour leadership

By Jennifer Lipman, May 25, 2010

Ed Miliband has edged out his older brother to become the first contender for the Labour leadership with enough nominations to stand.

The former Energy and Climate Change Secretary is leading the six-way race to take charge of the Labour Party, having scooped up five more than the 38 signatures needed for a leadership bid.

But the 40-year-old will face a tough challenge in the contest, which will be decided at the Labour Party conference in September.

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Nick Griffin standing down as BNP leader

By Robyn Rosen, May 24, 2010

Nick Griffin has announced he will step down as leader of the BNP after the far-right party lost all its London seats.

Mr Griffin said he would end his leadership in 2013 to “make way for a younger person who does not have any baggage which can be used against the party”.

He said he wanted to concentrate on getting re-elected to the European Parliament in the 2014 elections.

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Philanthropist Lord Wolfson dies at 82

By Jessica Elgot, May 24, 2010

Businessman and philanthropist Lord Wolfson, founder trustee of the Wolfson Foundation, has died aged 82.

During his lifetime, the Wolfson Foundation donated more than £1 billion for academic projects, equipment, and studies at hospitals and universities in arts, science and health. Israeli universities benefited greatly from the foundation, including projects at the Technion Institute in Haifa and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where the Wolfson Foundation supported the Wolfson Centre for Applied Structural Biology.

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Dismore needs cash to challenge result

By Leon Symons, May 24, 2010

Former Hendon Labour MP Andrew Dismore is agonising over whether or not he can afford to mount a legal challenge to the General Election result that cost him his seat by just 106 votes.

Mr Dismore held a lengthy meeting with his legal representatives on Friday evening and said afterwards: “I would like to mount a challenge. The advice I have been given is that I have a good case if you put together all the things that went wrong with the election. But it is a very costly business.

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Oona King set for mayoral challenge

By Jennifer Lipman, May 24, 2010

Former MP Oona King is expected to announce this week that she will challenge Ken Livingstone to become Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London.

If selected she would be taking on current Conservative Mayor, Boris Johnson, at the election in May 2012.

The contest will take place during Labour’s conference in September, the same week the Miliband brothers will be battling it out for the party leadership.

King, who has a Jewish mother, lost her Bethnal Green and Bow seat in the 2005 general election to Respect’s George Galloway by just 823 votes.

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