UK news

Jewish community attacks government on Goldstone

By Jessica Elgot, November 5, 2009

The UK Jewish community has explicitly criticised Britain’s position on the Goldstone Report, in an unprecedented move.

In a joint statement issued by the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies, British Jews expressed their dismay over the lack of action by the British government regarding the report, which is being debated at the UN General Assembly today.

Their statement demanded nothing less than a ‘No’ vote by Britain at the UN, calling the report “a sustained political attack upon Israel”.

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Peep Show's David Mitchell in Anne Frank row

By Jessica Elgot, November 4, 2009

Peep Show star David Mitchell has drawn complaints to the BBC after a joke he made about Anne Frank.

Mr Mitchell told a joke on his new Radio 4 show, The Unbelievable Truth, where he said: “There is absolutely no truth in the rumour that the last line in Anne Frank’s diary reads: ‘Today is my birthday and my dad bought me a drum kit.’”

Almost 50 complaints were received by the BBC about the “insensitive” nature of the joke.

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Alan Sugar: Small business are 'moaners'

By Jessica Elgot, November 4, 2009

Alan Sugar has faced calls for his resignation as government enterprise 'tsar' over derogatory comments he made at a conference about small businesses, callling them "moaners".

Lord Sugar, who is the star of the BBC's The Apprentice, came under fire from the Federation of Small Businesses Liberal Democrats after the comments, made at a conference in Manchester for small to medium businesses.

He allegedly told the delegates: "I can honestly say a lot of problems you hear from people who are moaning [about the recession] are from companies I wouldn't lend a penny to.

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Lord Steinberg dies at Ritz Hotel, London

By Jessica Elgot, November 4, 2009

The tycoon Lord Steinberg has died at the Ritz Hotel, London, where he was staying before attending the House of Lords.

The former Leonard Steinberg, 73, a Conservative life peer and president of the Northern Ireland Friends of Israel, died suddenly in his room in London's Picadilly.

His body was escorted back to his home in Hale by the Manchester Chevra Kadisha and the funeral was at Dunham Lawn cemetery in Altrincham today.

Lord Steinberg, who was born in Belfast, made his fortune in the gambling industry, as the founder and non-executive chairman of Stanley Leisure.

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Goldstone: Franco-British initiative

By Martin Bright, Political Editor, November 3, 2009

Britain and France have today delivered a new proposal to the United Nations calling on Israel and the Palestinians to launch an immediate inquiry into allegations of war crimes during the war in Gaza.

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Novelist Lionel Davidson dies

November 3, 2009

Tributes have been paid to Lionel Davidson, the thriller writers' thriller writer, who has died aged 87. Davidson, born in Hull in 1922, was praised by Graham Greene as the first contemporary storyteller to have recaptured the high adventure of Rider Haggard.

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Queen's Music Master manager jailed

By Marcus Dysch, November 2, 2009

The former manager of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen’s Music, has been jailed for defrauding the 75-year-old composer of more than £500,000.

Michael Arnold, 76, was Sir Peter’s manager for more than 30 years and was entrusted with his finances.

He was jailed for 18 months at Kingston Crown Court on Monday.

The self-confessed gambler had earlier admitted one charge of false accounting involving £522,333.

Arnold, who walks with a stick, was spared a longer sentence because of his age and ill-health.

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Rabbis attack conspiracy website

By Robyn Rosen, November 2, 2009

Rabbis across the country have spoken out against a new antisemitic website which denies the Holocaust, calls Jews “Satan worshippers” and lists addresses of all UK synagogues.

The site, entitled UK Lockdown, lists various Jewish conspiracy theories and claims that Jews were responsible for the economic downturn, MPs’ expenses scandals and 9/11 attacks.

UK Lockdown, registered to Michael Samuel, living in Tottenham, includes videos and newspaper articles and refers to Jews as “the enemy”, “satanic”, “vampires” and the “devil mercy”.

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Equality watchdog: JFS admissions are racist

By Simon Rocker, October 30, 2009

Britain’s equality watchdog has weighed into the JFS court case, arguing that it should remain unlawful for Jewish schools to select children on the basis of whether their parents are Jewish.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission told the Supreme Court this week that it considered using parental descent to decide admissions as racial discrimination.

The commission “considers that all rules based on a person’s descent from a particular class of persons are properly considered to be racial rules,” it stated in a written submission to the court.

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School in radical Islam link

By Simon Rocker, October 29, 2009

Haringey Council has suspended funding to an Islamic primary school whose backers have been linked to the radical group Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HUT).

The Islamic Shaksiyah Foundation, which runs schools in Tottenham, north London, and in Slough, received £113,411 of government educational grants in 2007/8, according to a report from the Centre for Social Cohesion due out this week.

It named ISF trustees Farah Ahmed and Yusra Hamilton as members of HUT, a group which Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said he would ban.

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