UK news

Muslim suing Jew 'joked about religion'

By Jennifer Lipman, July 7, 2010

A Muslim woman suing her former boss for race discrimination had allegedly emailed him Jewish jokes.

Secretary Jasmine Akhtar told a central London employment tribunal that partners at London firm Goodge Law racially abused her and called her a “Paki”.

She is seeking damages for derogatory remarks which she said got worse when she announced her pregnancy.

But Richard Samuel, defending the firm, said partner Michael Greenstein and Ms Akhtar had exchanged “friendly banter” about Mr Greenstein's Jewish background.

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Tributes to 7/7 bomb victims

By Jennifer Lipman, July 7, 2010

Relatives of the July 7 London bombing victims are marking the fifth anniversary of the terror attacks.

John Falding, whose Israeli partner Anat Rosenberg was killed on the Number 30 bus, plans to make a now-annual strip to Tavistock Square with a dozen white lilies to pay tribute to her.

Mr Falding said that his life has been on hold since the former charity worker’s death at 39.

He said: “This is my job now, to look after Anat’s memory.”

Ms Rosenberg, who is buried in Jerusalem, was one of a number of Jewish people injured or killed in the bombings.

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Jewish actor to play Spiderman

By Jennifer Lipman, July 5, 2010

A Jewish actor will be stepping into Spiderman’s suit, 48 years after the superhero was invented by Jewish artist Stan Lee.

Californian actor Andrew Garfield has won the part of Peter Parker in the fourth film in the Spiderman franchise, replacing Tobey Maguire in the role.

The 26-year-old, who grew up in what he has described as a privileged middle class British Jewish home, has previously appeared in war film Lions for Lambs and the opposite Heath Ledger in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. He has also been in three episodes of Doctor Who.

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No change for Pope's Kol Nidre speech

By Jennifer Lipman, July 5, 2010

The Speaker of the House of Lords has called for a key parliamentary speech by Pope Benedict XVI to be moved from Yom Kippur eve.

Former Labour MP Baroness Hélène Hayman has appealed to the Foreign Office to move the address from the possible late afternoon slot so that Jewish dignitaries can attend without compromising their religious observance.

It will not take place on Yom Kippur itself but with sunset at just before 7pm a late start will leave little time for Jewish parliamentarians to eat before the 25-hour fast day.

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Ex-Bnei Akiva chief, 35, dies of leukaemia

By Jessica Elgot, July 2, 2010

Hundreds of people have posted tribute messages on Facebook for fomer Executive Director of Bnei Akiva and co-founder of the London School of Jewish Studies Marc Weinberg, who has died of leukaemia aged 35.

Mr Weinberg, who leaves his wife Natalie and two young children Yona and Maayan, had been ill for three years and had a bone marrow transplant in April.

Mr Weinberg’s mother was former Executive Director of the Chief Rabbi’s office Syma Weinberg. He was mazkir artzi of Bnei Akiva in the UK. Later, Marc was a founder of the Alei Ziyyon minyan in London.

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Two more Brighton activists cleared of factory damage

By Jessica Elgot, July 2, 2010

Two more pro-Palestinian activists who broke into an arms factory in Brighton and caused £180,000 worth of damage have been acquitted after they argued they were trying to prevent war crimes in Gaza.

Elijah Smith, 43, of no known address and Christopher Osmond, 30, of Islington Park Road, Islington were cleared of conspiracy to commit criminal damage.

The defendants' solicitor, Lydia Dagostino, said: "We are delighted at the result.

"It sends a clear indication that sometimes direct action is the only option when all other avenues have failed."

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Deputy leader of BNP resigns

By Leon Symons, July 2, 2010

The deputy leader of the BNP has resigned in a seeming show of support for embattled leader Nick Griffin.

Simon Darby has used his blog to claim that he has sacrificed himself for the good of the BNP . He also says he hopes to try to head off any internal battles ahead of a leadership election, sparked by the party's poor showing in the general and local elections.

A challenge to Mr Griffin's leadership is being mounted by former elections officer Eddy Butler, with Nick Cass, the former Yorkshire regional organiser, as his running mate.

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Saatchi donates £25m worth of art to nation

By Robyn Rosen, July 1, 2010

Art collector Charles Saatchi plans to donate his Saatchi Gallery containing 200 works of art worth £25 million to the British public.

Mr Saatchi, who was born to Iraqi Jewish parents and is married to Nigella Lawson, announced his 70,000 sq ft gallery in Chelsea, home to pieces by Tracey Emin and Jake and Dinos Chapman, will be renamed the Museum of Contemporary Art and will be open free to the public when he retires.

A spokeswoman for the gallery said it was “currently in discussion with potential government departments who would own the works on behalf of the nation.

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Aryan Strike Force: Houses of horror revealed

By Leon Symons, July 1, 2010

They were two anonymous houses in anonymous suburban terraces. But when police arrived with search warrants they found much more than three-piece suites and pictures on the mantelpiece.

Walls were adorned with Nazi flags and rooms were littered with weapons, including knives, a machine gun and rice flails. In one, a Samurai sword hung above a bed and knuckledusters were displayed like trophies.

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Purim knife man talked out of attack

By Leon Symons, July 1, 2010

A member of the Shomrim Jewish security team has spoken for the first time of how he and three colleagues disarmed a man wielding an 8in knife at the height of this year's Purim celebrations.

The man, who asked not to be identified, is in his early 20s and was praised by Barnet police for the way in which he and his team dealt with a potentially dangerous situation.

He said: "The call came through to the Shomrim hotline that there was a man with a knife in Bell Lane, Hendon. I and three colleagues put on anti-knife vests, as we have been trained, and went there.

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