UK news

Girl died from painkillers she mistook for sweets

By Leon Symons, September 2, 2010

A five-year-old girl died of a drug overdose after mistaking painkillers for jelly beans, an inquest heard this week.

Hanna Collins was believed to have climbed onto a chair to reach what she thought were sweets in a cupboard where her father kept his medication.

Hanna would have been unable to read the "keep out" sign on the packet of Tramadol, Hertfordshire coroners were told.

Her father Andrew was looking after Hanna, her twin sister Lucy, and Amy, on the night of March 18 while their mother Claudia went swimming.

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Parkinson's patients get martial arts medicine

By Robyn Rosen, September 2, 2010

A group of Parkinson's disease patients have pooled their resources to bring an Israeli martial arts expert to London for some off-beat treatment.

Alex Kerten, who holds black belts in several fighting styles, was flown to Britain after Laurie Phillips, 67, had taken his wife to see him in Israel.

The result was a series of workshops which left the wife of one sufferer in tears after she saw her husband, who has been in a wheelchair for 16 months, stand up and dance.

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Lord Sacks ponders issues of faith

By Simon Rocker, September 2, 2010

The Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks says he has put his faith "on the line" for his annual Rosh Hashanah broadcast this year when it goes out on BBC1 onSunday night.

Entitled The Case for God? the programme features him in conversation with four of Britain's "cleverest" critics of religion - as he calls them.

Three are Jewish - Howard Jacobson, Alain de Botton and Lisa Jardine. The fourth, neurobiologist Colin Blakemore, argues that science has made religion irrelevant.

At one point, the Chief Rabbi is asked by Howard Jacobson whether he is sure there is a God.

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TUC likely to push for full Israel boycott

By Marcus Dysch, September 2, 2010

The Trades Union Congress is expected to call on its members at its annual conference to strengthen opposition to Israel by extending boycotts and encouraging disinvestment.

A motion on Israel and the Palestinians, backed by the GMB, the Fire Brigades' Union, the Public and Commercial Services Union and the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association, is expected to propose a full boycott of Israeli goods.

The four-day conference begins in Manchester on September 13.

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Rabbi's rhymes - with a twist

By Simon Rocker, September 2, 2010

It might not seem unusual for a rabbi to translate the Torah - but it is if he does it in verse.

Rabbi Jeffrey Cohen has just published a new poetic version of Genesis in English, rendered into rhyming couplets.

It is a new departure for the rabbi who has previously written many books on Jewish festivals and prayer as well as articles on the Bible in scholarly journals.

Since he has written on Jewish liturgy, and a major part of the liturgy is poetic, he has long been captivated by poetry as a form of religious expression, he explained.

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Chief Rabbi set to represent all faith communities

By Simon Rocker, September 2, 2010

The Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, has been asked to give the response at the Pope's main interfaith meeting during his state visit to Britain in two weeks' time.

Pope Benedict will address leaders of the country's faiths at St Mary's University College, Twickenham, a Catholic teacher training institution that is part of Surrey University.

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Can Pope Benedict soothe pain over Pius beatification?

By Simon Rocker, September 2, 2010

The proposed beatification of controversial wartime Pope Pius XII has shadowed Catholic-Jewish relations for more than 40 years.

Critics of Pius, who died in 1958, accuse him of having failed to use his influence to speak out on behalf of Europe's Jews as the Nazis closed in.

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Analysis: It's been a bumpy road, but this Pope wants to be our ally

By Ed Kessler, September 2, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI started his papacy in 2005, expressing a desire to follow in the footsteps of John Paul II, for whom reconciliation with Jews and Judaism was a high priority. Since then, Catholic-Jewish relations have not received as much Vatican attention although they continue to face significant challenges.

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Tony Blair: Lebanon war was fatal blow

By Marcus Dysch, September 2, 2010

Tony Blair has described in detail how his support of Israel during the 2006 Lebanon war caused him substantial political damage and accelerated his departure as Prime Minister.

In his memoirs, A Journey, released this week, Mr Blair wrote that his reaction to the conflict "probably did me more damage than anything since Iraq. It showed how far I had swung from the mainstream of conventional Western media wisdom and from my own people".

Western leaders had initially "queued up to advise Israel to stand firm and hit hard", he wrote.

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Anti-Israel hackers target UK by mistake

By Jennifer Lipman, September 1, 2010

A group of Algerian hackers who attempted to attack the website of an Israeli tourist attraction found themselves interfering with that of a British castle more used to hosting teddy bears’ picnics.

The target was Belvoir Fortress near the Israeli city of Tiberias. The fortress, constructed by crusaders in the 11th century, was the site of historic battles between Christians, Muslims and Jews.

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