UK news

New Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander's Middle East history

By Jennifer Lipman, January 21, 2011

The chair of Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) has said he is looking forward to working with the new Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander, who was appointed following the resignation of Alan Johnson from the front bench.

Labour leader Ed Miliband appointed Douglas Alexander to replace Yvette Cooper yesterday, moving him from his role as Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary.

Mr Alexander, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, was first elected in 1997 in Tony Blair’s landslide victory.

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Alastair Campbell: what Brits really thought about Netanyahu

By Jennifer Lipman, January 20, 2011

Benjamin Netanyahu is an "armour-plated bull****ter" – or so was the view of Britain’s Foreign Office in 1998.

Alastair Campbell, the former Labour party spin doctor, has revealed that this was what “some of the Foreign Office guys” thought of Mr Netanyahu at the time of Tony Blair’s first official visit to Israel in April 1998.

At the time Mr Netanyahu was serving his first term as prime minister of Israel.

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Family's Holocaust-era letters to be translated

By Robyn Rosen, January 20, 2011

A Southampton historian has received a £9,000 grant to translate and catalogue thousands of newly-discovered letters between an exiled German Jew and his family in Nazi Germany.

The collection of 2,500 letters was found by Daniel Schwab in his parents’ garage in Johannesburg and is now the subject of a research project by Dr Shirli Gilbert of the University of Southampton.

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Tory treasurer becomes Lord Fink

By Jennifer Lipman, January 20, 2011

Stanley Fink has entered the House of Lords

The co-treasurer of the Conservative Party took up his seat as Lord Fink today.

The man described as "the Godfather" of the hedge fund industry, Lord Fink runs hedge fund International Standard Asset Management and was the chief executive of the MAN Group. He has donated more than donated £1.9 million to his party in the last eight years.

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'Nigeria 'bribe' lawyer loses extradition-appeal

By James Brewster, January 20, 2011

A British solicitor has failed in a High Court bid to block his extradition to the United States where he faces charges of aiding and abetting an enormous corruption plot.

Jeffrey Tesler, 62, is accused by the American authorities of involvement in an international conspiracy to channel bribes to senior officials in Nigeria.

Mr Tesler, who works for a legal practice in Tottenham, north London, argued that the alleged conduct complained of did not occur in America, and there were “insufficiently substantial links” between it and the US to legally justify extradition.

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Lithuania to look at its wartime record

By Simon Rocker, January 20, 2011

The Lithuanian Embassy in London is jointly sponsoring a conference next month which will address "sensitive" questions about the country's wartime record.

Daiva Parulskiene, the embassy's cultural attaché, said it was the first time it had been involved with such an event, to be held at University College London on February 6-7.

Ms Parulskiene said: "Its main purpose is to gather academicians and specialists to try to understand the reason behind extreme violence on the part of Lithuanians in 1941 and who was involved in pogroms.

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Girl 'groped' in Shabbat sex game

January 20, 2011

An Orthodox student sexually assaulted a 17-year-old Austrian tourist during a heated game of spin the bottle.

Israeli-born Menachem Chaim Unger, 21, groped the girl at his friend's flat after being dared to go into a room alone with her during the game, Hendon Magistrates heard.

After a Shabbat dinner at the Golders Green Hillel House, Unger went to the house of a friend, Leonie Ettinger, to meet two Austrian girls. He had arranged for them to stay with Ms Ettinger in Golders Green.

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We will block arrest change: PSC pledge

By Marcus Dysch, January 20, 2011

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign has pledged to do everything possible to block the government's proposed change to universal jurisdiction legislation.

Speaking at a rally to mark the second anniversary of Israel's Operation Cast Lead, PSC campaigns director Sarah Colborne urged supporters to pressure their MPs and recruit friends to the campaign.

She said: "We want to send a very clear message. Don't fête war criminals. We will find other routes to bring you to justice. We will not stop until we bring those responsible for war crimes to justice."

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Fears over who runs Middle East Centre

By Robyn Rosen, January 20, 2011

A research group which aims to "strengthen" academic relations with the Middle East is managed by active supporters of the academic boycott.

LSE's Middle East Centre - a multidisciplinary research centre focusing on modern Middle Eastern cultures, societies, economies and international relations - opened in October.

Among its listed aims are strengthening relations between LSE and Middle East universities and increasing LSE's capability to engage with countries in the Middle East.

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LSE 'vote' strikes a blow at the boycotters

By Robyn Rosen, January 20, 2011

A motion calling for an academic boycott of Israel has been overwhelmingly rejected at a debate at the London School of Economics (LSE).

The motion, "This house believes in an academic boycott of Israel", was debated on Thursday in front of a packed audience.

Consultant oncologist Professor Daniel Hochhauser argued against the motion and Dr John Chalcraft, Reader in history and politics, argued in favour.

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