UK news

UCU ‘in internal court war’

By Leon Symons, May 14, 2009

Reports of a legal clash between the trustees of the University and College Union and its executive were circulating on Wednesday afternoon.

The JC was told that the trustees had gone to the High Court ahead of publication, due on Thursday, of the list of motions to be debated at UCU’s annual congress in Bournemouth at the end of the month. It is understood that the trustees were seeking an injunction to prevent publication of the list in case it contained an anti-Israel boycott motion.

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Solicitor fights bribe charges

By Leon Symons, May 14, 2009

A London solicitor will know next month if his fight against extradition to America has been successful.

Jeffrey Tesler, 60, has been named in a 29-page indictment for his alleged participation in a decade-long scheme to bribe Nigerian government officials. The apparent intention was to obtain contracts to build liquefied natural gas facilities on Bonny Island, Nigeria, valued at £3.9 billion.

Mr Tesler’s legal representatives told the Guardian that “he strongly denies any wrongdoing and has acted at all times within the law”.

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JFS entry case is appealed

By Simon Rocker, May 14, 2009

An Appeal Court case opened this week into whether the entry policy of Britain’s largest Orthodox school breaches anti-discrimination laws.

It has been brought on behalf of “M”, a boy who was refused a place by JFS in London for September 2007 because his mother was converted by a non-Orthodox rabbi and therefore considered not Jewish by the school’s religious authority, the Chief Rabbi.

Lawyers for the boy maintain that to decide entry on the basis of whether a child’s mother is Jewish or not is racially discriminatory.

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Dimbleby backs Bowen

By Leon Symons, May 14, 2009

The TV and radio presenter Jonathan Dimbleby has leapt to the defence of the BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen.

Complaints of inaccuracy and bias against Mr Bowen were partially upheld last month by the editorial standards committee (ESC) of the BBC Trust. They related to an online article about the Six-Day War and a radio broadcast about an Israeli settlement. The committee rejected other complaints after taking the views of historians Sir Martin Gilbert and Professor Avi Shlaim.

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The gospel according to David

By Keren David, May 14, 2009

The room is bland and stuffy, a portable air-conditioning unit blasting out hot air. David Abrahams, the Newcastle tycoon at the centre of the Labour Party’s 2007 Donorgate row, is telling me about the beautiful view from his flat many storeys above us — right over Regent’s Park, all the way to the London Eye — and setting out framed photographs on the polished table before us, to make the impersonal meeting room “more homely”.

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Gateshead shooter sentenced

By Marcus Dysch, May 13, 2009

A man who shot an Orthodox Jew with a pellet from a toy gun has been sentenced to a curfew order.

Kris Cherry, 20, must not leave his home in Bensham, Gateshead, between 8pm and 7am for the next three months after admitting he carried out the attack because he “didn’t like Jews”.

His victim, who has not been named, was not injured in the March 14 shooting despite being hit on the arm.

Unemployed Cherry fired the gun from a car “for a laugh” while travelling through Bensham, home to the North East’s largest Jewish community.

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Foreign Office man bailed

By Leon Symons, May 12, 2009

A senior Foreign Office civil servant has been charged with racially aggravated harassment and bailed to appear at City of Westminster magistrates’ court next week.

Rowan Laxton, 48, of Cleveland Square, Bayswater, has been charged under sections of the Public Order Act 1986 and the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

Mr Laxton was arrested in January following an incident in a gymnasium in Regent’s Park. He is head of the South Asia group at the Foreign Office.

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Counter-terror plans under way

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 11, 2009

A counter-terrorism strategy aimed at encouraging Manchester’s Jewish community to report suspected terror activity is being developed. It may include opening terrorism reporting facilities locally in Jewish offices and a kosher bakery.

More than 30 people, including counter-terrorism police officers and community members, met at a closed meeting hosted by the Community Security Trust. It was organised by the Greater Manchester Police Authority, the watchdog which oversees policing in the region, as part of an ongoing consultation project to engage the public’s help.

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Embassy clashes: more held

By Leon Symons, May 8, 2009

Another six men have been arrested in connection with demonstrations outside the Israeli embassy in west London in January.

This brings to 93 the total number of people held in connection with a number of offences alleged to have been committed in two protests held on January 3 and 10 about Israel’s actions in Gaza.

The arrests were part of the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Ute and were carried out by a team created to investigate the disturbances that took place, which included attacks on police officers and a number of shop windows being smashed.

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Oxford blocks Neturei talk

By Marcus Dysch, May 7, 2009

A lecture by the leader of the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta sect was relocated after Oxford University’s largest graduate college refused to let him speak on campus.

Ahron Cohen was the guest speaker at the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford’s (MECO) monthly forum on Thursday last week.

The event had been due to take place at Wolfson College but was relocated to a private venue after the college cancelled the booking.

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