UK news

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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BBC to host first synagogue 'Any Questions'

By Jessica Elgot, May 21, 2010

The BBC is to host ‘Any Questions in Wimbledon & District Reform synagogue, the first time the programme has been broadcast at a synagogue.

Synagogue council member David Zell led a campaign to get the political show, which has been on air since 1948, to the synagogue.

The BBC have confirmed the programme has never been held in a shul since it began broadcasting 62 years ago.

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Rachel Stevens pregnant with first child

By Jessica Elgot, May 21, 2010

Pop star Rachel Stevens and her husband, the JC MSFL striker Alex Bourne, are expecting their first child.

The former S Club 7 singer, who married Mr Bourne last year, is due to give birth in November.

A spokesman for the couple said: "We are delighted to announce that Rachel Stevens and her husband Alex are expecting their first baby later this year. The happy news comes just a few months before the couple celebrate their first wedding anniversary."

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Late rabbi's Bible is 'wonderful, dramatic'

May 21, 2010

The first translation of the New Testament by a rabbi has been published - though sadly its translator did not live to celebrate his achievement.

Rabbi Sidney Brichto, who died in January 2009, completed the work just four days before he was taken ill.

Over the course of ten years, he also produced several volumes of the Hebrew Bible, including the books of the Torah in a modern English version.

The former vice-president of the Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues was keen to find a new readership for what he often referred to as "the best-seller least read".

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Amnesty steps up its campaign on Israel

By Simon Rocker, May 21, 2010

Amnesty International's UK branch is continuing to highlight Israel's treatment of the Palestinians with an exhibition in London next month directed against its security barrier.

The event follows a meeting last week hosted by Amnesty International UK entitled "Capital Murder: Inside the Israeli authorities' regime of discrimination and control in Occupied East Jerusalem".

Journalist Ben White, author of Israeli Apartheid: A Beginners Guide, described what was happening as "a microcosm of Israeli apartheid".

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Optimism over Conservative faith school plan

May 21, 2010

The head of the Jewish Leadership Council's schools task force is hopeful that planned education reforms could help to relieve the pressure on places at Jewish schools.

One of the key pledges in the Conservative election manifesto was to make it easier for parents to open new schools with state funding.

This cannot come a moment too soon for parents in parts of Hertfordshire and north-west London, where there appears to be a growing shortage of Jewish primary school places.

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Jewish 12th century bones reburied

May 21, 2010

The ancient remains of three 12th century Jews have been reburied during a special ceremony.

The two men and one woman, discovered during routine road works in Northampton in 1992, were interred at the town's Jewish cemetery on
Sunday.

Archaeologists had at first believed that the remains were from the 16th or 17th century, but radio carbon dating tests showed they dated back to 400 years earlier.

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