UK news

Leaders split over David Cameron's Euro allies

By Martin Bright and Simon Rocker, October 8, 2009

The controversial Polish MEP at the heart of the row over David Cameron’s new alliance in Europe has launched a fierce rebuttal of claims that he is an antisemite with a neo-Nazi past.

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EXCLUSIVE Michal Kaminski: 'I'm no antisemite'

By Martin Bright, October 8, 2009

When I finally interview Michal Kaminski he is looking extremely flustered, not to say hounded, by the attention he has received during his flying visit to Conservative Party conference. The controversial leader of David Cameron’s new allies in the European Parliament has been chased into a fringe meeting by a woman from Channel 4 and to the doors of a lunch hosted by Conservative Friends of Israel. Allegations about his far-right past have quite literally pursued him to a suite at Manchester’s Midland Hotel.

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Stamford Hill sex predator fails in bid to clear his name

By James Brewster, October 8, 2009

A man who had sex with a 15-year-old Orthodox Jewish boy has failed to clear his name in the Court of Appeal.

Najibullah Ahmadzai, 25, of Walthamstow, was found guilty at Snaresbrook Crown Court in June last year of sexual activity with a child.

Deemed a danger to the public, he was sentenced to indefinite imprisonment for public protection and ordered to serve at least three-and-a-half years behind bars before he could apply for parole.

He had sex with his victim, a member of the Orthodox Jewish community, after they met at a Stamford Hill internet cafe, where Ahmadzai worked.

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Plymouth synagogue sells off its family silver

By Robyn Rosen, October 8, 2009

The director of the charity Jewish Heritage UK has spoken out against a congregation which is selling its historic collection of silver Judaica.

Rare silver religious ornaments from the Plymouth Synagogue will be sold at auction by Bonhams on November 25. Among the items are a yad (pointer) and a pair of rimmonim (decorative finials for a sefer Torah), thought to have been made in London in 1783 and considered among the most original sets known to exist; and a Torah breastplate, made in Warsaw in about 1820.

The total collection is estimated to sell for between £50,000 and £60,000.

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Teen must pay £1000 after shul vandalism

By Marcus Dysch, October 8, 2009

A Muslim teenager has been ordered to pay a Jewish community compensation after he smashed its synagogue windows with a baseball bat.

Junaid Javed must pay £1,000 to Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation after admitting the attack had been motivated by antisemitism.

But the congregation’s Rabbi David Rose expressed surprise that Javed had instructed his lawyer to tell the court he had visited the shul to apologise after the incident.

Rabbi Rose said he did not recall meeting the teenager.

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Tel Aviv gets bus publicity drive in UK

October 8, 2009

EasyJet’s new flights to Tel Aviv, which start next month, will be promoted by a high-profile campaign in the heart of London next week.

A double-decker bus will tour the capital, bringing the tastes and crafts of a Tel Aviv street market to various locations.

The campaign, jointly mounted by easyJet and the Israeli Embassy, also celebrates the centenary of Tel Aviv.

Ambassador Ron Prosor commented: “Tel Aviv has always been famous for its oranges.

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Matzah price wars: it's Rakusen's vs Tesco

By Marcus Dysch, October 8, 2009

Rakusen’s, one of Britain’s biggest kosher food producers, will no longer supply its products to Tesco supermarkets following a pricing dispute.

The Leeds-based company’s products — including matzah, soups and biscuits — will not be available after current stocks runs out.

Rakusen’s said it had taken the decision following discussions over margins and supply prices. It reached the conclusion, a spokeswoman said, that “Tesco thinks it rules the world, but we are standing up for ourselves, and said no.”

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Solicitor vows to continue BBC Middle East bias battle

By Simon Rocker, October 8, 2009

London solicitor Steven Sugar, despite a legal setback, has vowed to continue his five-year-long campaign to force the BBC to release the Balen Report on its Middle East coverage.

In the High Court last week, Mr Justice Irwin ruled that the BBC was exempt from having to disclose the report under the Freedom of Information Act.

But Mr Sugar said: “Obviously I’m disappointed but we are contemplating an appeal to the Court of Appeal and it is likely that we will do so.”

He added that he was determined to fight for the principle of public accessibility to BBC material.

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Collins apologises for Hitler-birthday diary

By Leon Symons, October 8, 2009

The maker of one of the country’s most popular diaries has pledged that it will never again use Hitler’s birthday as an “interesting fact of the day”.

The April 20 entry in the Collins Debden 2009 diary was spotted by central London art gallery owner Helly Nahmad. But his initial complaint to the company went unanswered so this week he wrote again. The second time the company responded and has now said that the reference was not in next year’s diary and would not appear again.

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How Golders Green got the X Factor... and Stacey Solomon

By Robyn Rosen, October 8, 2009

A music teacher at King Solomon High School has spoken of the “big impression” made on her by X Factor finalist, Stacey Solomon, who this week moved into Golders Green.

Rachel Dickson, who taught Stacey during her music GCSE three years ago, said she was delighted to see Stacey sing one of her exam performance pieces — Somewhere Over the Rainbow — in last week’s programme.

“My first impression of Stacey Solomon was of a chatty, lively girl with a powerful voice and a huge personality,” she said.

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