UK news

Sir Philip in TV deal with Cowell

June 24, 2009

Sir Philip Green has joined forces with Simon Cowell to form a global entertainment company to create TV programmes on both sides of the Atlantic.

It is understood this will involve the creation of a holding company for all of the X-Factor star’s entertainment interests and provide a springboard for new programmes devised or produced by Mr Cowell, with Sir Philip providing business advice.

The new company, as yet unnamed, will provide a potentially lucrative merchandising opportunity, for Sir Philip, according to the Financial Times.


Hunt angry at Sugar's Apprentice role

June 19, 2009

Shadow Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has made a formal complaint to the BBC over its decision to allow Sir Alan Sugar to continue to present The Apprentice despite being a government adviser.

He had earlier said that the businessman could not combine his roles of BBC presenter and government adviser and questioned “the strength of the BBC’s rules on political impartiality”.


Sex offender’s appeal rejected

June 19, 2009

A convicted sex offender who fled Israel before facing jail had his extradition appeal rejected in the High Court today, despite claiming that returning to Israel would leave him at risk from being nuked by Iran .

Orthodox Jew, Nachman Natal Stal, fled Israel in May 2006 after being found guilty in a Tel Aviv-Jaffa court of sodomy and indecent assault of a minor, relating to an incident in his car in Tel Aviv in 1998.

The married father-of-nine had been in hiding in Stamford Hill until he was recaptured by British Police last May while changing a tyre on the A40 in west London .


Jewish academics appointed privy counsellors

June 19, 2009

Two of British Jewry’s most eminent academics, Sir Martin Gilbert and Sir Lawrence Freedman, have been appointed to the government’s committee of inquiry into the Iraq War.

Sir Lawrence, Vice-Principal and Professor of War Studies at King’s College, London and Sir Martin, whose numerous books include histories of the First and Second World Wars, will both be made privy counsellors.
The inquiry, which, controversially, will sit behind closed doors, will begin next month and is expected to last a year.


Birthday honours for top activists

By Marcus Dysch and Sasha Brenner, June 18, 2009

Communal activists feature prominently in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, with accolades for former Board of Deputies’ president Henry Grunwald, human rights campaigner June Jacobs, Lubavitch rabbi Aryeh Sufrin and Manchester leader Joy Wolfe.

Mr Grunwald described his OBE for services to the Jewish community and interfaith relations as “a wonderful surprise. When I became president, the first new-start appointment we made was of an interfaith officer. I always made it a priority that we build and maintain the good relations we enjoy with other communities.”


Sher wears his art on his sleeve at 60

By Julia Weiner, June 18, 2009

A massive painting depicting 130 people who have influenced the life of Sir Antony Sher is the centrepiece of an exhibition of the actor’s work at the National Theatre to mark his 60th birthday.

The painting, The Audience, fulfils a long-held ambition. “I had been wanting to paint it for years but my studio in London is far too small.

But last year Greg Doran [his partner and RSC chief associate director] had a season in Stratford directing David Tennant in Hamlet and Love’s Labour’s Lost.


MP challenges insurers

By James Martin, June 18, 2009

Diane Abbott has written to the chief executives of two major medical insurers to demand an end to a postcode boycott of Jews.

The Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington noted that “thousands of members of the Stamford Hill Jewish community were being discriminated against” by HSA and the Western Provident Association.

Ms Abbott — who also contacted the Financial Services Authority — wrote after being informed by a constituent, Rabbi Avraham Pinter, that WPA was not offering quotes on cash plans to people in the E5, N15, N16 and NW11 postcodes.


Shul’s plans for pub

By Marcus Dysch, June 18, 2009

Moves to convert a Stamford Hill pub into a synagogue have advanced after the Jewish group which owns the building submitted a planning application.

The Swan closed earlier this year after being bought for around £1 million by members of the strictly Orthodox Bobov sect.


Light relief in fight on Shabbat sensors

By Simon Rocker, June 18, 2009

An Orthodox couple have made a claim for religious discrimination over sensor-operated lights outside their flat which they say stops them leaving it on Shabbat.

Gordon Coleman, the former chief executive of the Federation of Synagogues, and his wife Dena, the headteacher of Yavneh College in Hertfordshire, are suing the Embassy Court Residential Management Company in Bournemouth County Court.


Chef is All Write

June 18, 2009

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks described his new book, Future Tense, as “the most important I have written” at a reception in London on Tuesday to mark its publication. Based on a lecture series given last year which was extracted in the JC, the book outlines his vision for Jews, Judaism and Israel.