UK news

Jungle Book Katie Waissel an X Factor hit

By Katie Taylor, October 25, 2010

Jewish singer Katie Waissel has made it through to another round of the X Factor and won praise from the judges.

Her name was the fourth to be called on the results show as she exceeded all expectations over the weekend.

She impressed the judges and the audience with her rendition of the King of the Swingers from Disney’s The Jungle Book for this week’s “guilty pleasures” theme.

Judge Simon Cowell said he was sceptical before her performance: “G-d only knows why she chose this song; it wouldn’t be in my top million.”

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Witness sought for Barnet attempted burglary

By Leon Symons, October 22, 2010

Police in Barnet have launched an appeal to trace a man described as a “Jewish male” who may have vital information about an attempted burglary.

The man, who was wearing a kippah, drove after two men who had been seen leaving an empty flat in Bridge Lane, Golders Green, north west London. Subsequently police said the man saw the suspects drive away in a blue Renault Megane. The “Jewish male” was driving a white or cream-coloured people carrier.

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Where you can catch the Chasidic drug mules

By Jennifer Lipman, October 22, 2010

What do drug-smuggling Chasids, Joan Rivers and a Yiddish version of Shakespeare have in common? They are all coming to London next month as part of the UK Jewish Film Festival.

Now in its 14th year, the 2010 UKJFF has a packed programme, including a Chinese cartoon about Shanghai’s Jewish refugees during the Holocaust and the comic tale of an strictly Orthodox baseball team.

Of the 66 films being screened, nearly 50 are premieres, with the opening-night audience treated to an exclusive preview of The Debt, a thriller starring Helen Mirren as a former Mossad agent.

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Stacey Solomon: X Factor to I'm a Celebrity?

By Jennifer Lipman, October 22, 2010

Former X Factor star Stacey Solomon is expected to be back on reality TV from next month.

The ex-King Solomon High School pupil has been tipped to appear in the new series of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here. Her manager said he would not comment on "speculation".

If she does appear on the programme, which has been running since 2002, she will be joined in the jungle by the presenter Gail Porter and the athlete Linford Christie.

Ms Solomon, 21, came third in the 2009 series of X Factor – a record Jewish singer Katie Waissel is hoping to improve on this year.

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Galloway-backed 'extremist' Tower Hamlets mayor

By Jennifer Lipman, October 22, 2010

A candidate with alleged extremist links and the backing of Respect politician George Galloway has become the first directly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets.

Lutfur Rahman, who was originally Labour’s candidate but was suspended from the party in September because of “serious allegations” about his conduct, won 51.7 per cent of the first-preference votes.

He was nominated as the Labour’s candidate for Tower Hamlets despite local party opposition, but after he was removed as the party’s choice he opted to stand as an independent.

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I spy - Israel gets spooked

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2010

It's hard to find much optimism about the Middle East peace talks but at least it provides some entertaining hokum for the BBC's spy drama Spooks.

This week's episode featured some clandestine parleying between Israelis and Palestinians in London and an outlandish plot to bump off the American president who was flying in to join them.

Actor Paul Freeman wrestled manfully with his lines in Ivrit as chief Israeli negotiator, the super-semitically named Levi Cohen. But I don't think he will be picked to run a Spiro Ark ulpan.

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Naik takes UK ban to the High Court

By Jessica Elgot, October 22, 2010

An Islamic preacher who said Jews were the "staunchest enemies" of Muslims should be allowed into the UK, the High Court heard this week.

Dr Zakir Naik, an Indian-based Islamic activist, was banned from entering the UK by Home Secretary Theresa May in June this year, two days before a planned speaking tour. This week, Dr Naik took the Home Office to the High Court for a judicial review, heard by Mr Justice Cranston.

Announcing the ban in June, Mrs May cited a 2007 speech by Dr Naik about Muslims and Jews as an example of Dr Naik's extreme views.

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Analysis: Just how Jewish is the Big Society?

By Martin Bright, October 22, 2010

The full consequences of the Comprehensive Spending Review will take some time to digest. But one implication of the cuts is that the concept of the Big Society will immediately move from the realm of think-tank utopianism into the hard reality of delivery on the ground.

Whether the so-called "third sector" will have the capacity to cope with the fall-out from 500,000 job losses predicted by the government is yet to be seen.

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Jewish journalists sweep media awards

By Jennifer Lipman, October 21, 2010

Journalist and JC columnist Daniel Finkelstein has been named political commentator of the year.

Mr Finkelstein, the executive editor of The Times, received the prize at the Editorial Intelligence comment awards 2010 on Thursday morning.

The FT columnist Gideon Rachman won the award for best foreign commentator, while Christopher Hitchens was named magazine commentator of the year.

The Independent editor Simon Kelner, who is launching a new youth title for the paper next week, was awarded the Chair’s Choice prize.

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Zionism? To hell with all that, says film director

By Stephen Applebaum and Simon Rocker, October 21, 2010

Mike Leigh, the film-maker and playwright who has cancelled a planned trip to Israel next month, has backed a cultural boycott of the country, calling its policies "suicidal".

In an exclusive and personal outspoken interview in which he justified his decision not to teach a masterclass at a Jerusalem film school, the 67-year-old, Salford-born author said he was now "implicitly part" of the boycott.

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