UK news

Israel "to be blamed" for Dubai passport cloning

March 23, 2010

Israel's embassy in London is poised to hear whether one of its senior diplomats is to be expelled by Britain, as punishment for Israel's alleged involvement in the Dubai assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud Mabhouh in January.

Reports in today's Daily Telegraph say that Ambassador Ron Prosor was summoned to the Foreign Office yesterday and told that Britain formally blames Israel for the cloning of up to 15 British passports during the Dubai operation.

A ministerial statement is due in the House of Commons later today.


Rachel Weisz, Michael Codron triumph at Oliviers

By Jessica Elgot, March 22, 2010

Rachel Weisz has won a prestigious Laurence Olivier award for her performance as fading Southern belle Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams’ a Streetcar named Desire at the Donmar Warehouse.

She beat fellow Hollywood stars Gillian Anderson, Imelda Staunton and Juliet Stevenson to the award for a role which had already won her great critical acclaim.

A delighted Ms Weisz told the Olivier audience: "What a tremendous honour. It means an awful lot. I never thought I would be holding one of these in my lifetime. I'm in such prestigious company.


Ofcom rejects Channel 4 Israel lobby film criticism

By Simon Rocker, March 22, 2010

Ofcom, the broadcasting standards body, has rejected complaints of unfairness against an investigation into Britain’s “Israel lobby” broadcast by Channel 4 in November.

It said it had received 50 complaints about the Dispatches programme presented by journalist Peter Oborne.

Complainants had variously alleged that the programme “was biased against Israel and/or the Israeli government”; did not adequately explain the background to the Middle East situation; was antisemitic; and overly critical of certain lobby groups.


Sacha Baron-Cohen marries Isla Fisher

By Jessica Elgot, March 22, 2010

Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher have finally tied the knot after a six-year engagement.

The couple married under the chuppah in a private ceremony in Paris, with close family in attendance.

The Borat star Mr Baron Cohen and his Australian actress fiancée Ms Fisher, had planned to marry in August 2006 but the wedding was postponed so that Ms Fisher could complete her conversion.

Ms Fisher wrote in an email to friends this weekend: “We did it – we’re married! It was the absolute best day of my life and in so many beautiful moments I missed you all so much.


Fashion designer 'Joseph' dies

By Jessica Elgot, March 22, 2010

The “Joseph” who brought high fashion to the high street, Joseph Ettedgu, has died aged 74.

Mr Ettedgui, from a French-Moroccan Jewish family, arrived in Britain in 1960 as Morocco gained independence and Jewish families left the country in droves for France or Israel.

But Mr Ettedgui “fell in love with London” and set up a hairdressing salon on the King’s Road.


Council officer sacked for Nazi 'fetish'

By Simon Rocker, March 22, 2010

A senior council officer has been sacked for gross misconduct after his involvement in Nazi fetishism was exposed by a Sunday newspaper.

Photos appeared of Gareth Mead, who was in charge of social housing and homelessness for Hammersmith and Fulham Council in south London, posing in Nazi regalia in what was said to be a gay sex website

He also sent text messages to the site saying “turn on the furnaces for those Jewish boys” and “gas the wogs”, the Sunday Mirror revealed.


SNP candidate attacks opponent's Hamas "support"

March 18, 2010

The Scottish Nationalist Party's candidate for the key seat of Glasgow Central in the General Election, Osama Saeed, has attacked his Labour opponent, Anas Sarwar, for his family's alleged connections with Hamas.


Charity Commission backs JNF over will complaint

By Simon Rocker, March 18, 2010

The Charity Commission has rejected a complaint against JNF UK for offering to help draw up wills for free, in return for a bequest to the charity.

It took the charity watchdog 17 months to issue its decision after the JC reported a complaint had been made about the KKL wills service, run by JNF.

The commission said: "The benefits to the charity outweigh any potential disadvantages," adding that they do not plan to take further action.


El Al to help BA travellers

By Leon Symons, March 18, 2010

Israeli airline El Al has stepped in to try to help out people travelling to Israel for Pesach as a result of the threatened British Airways cabin crew strike, run by the Unite union.

El Al has decided to run seven extra flights, between London Luton Airport and Tel Aviv between March 22 and March 27.

A British Airways strike is also planned for the following weekend, but BA will not give details of which flights have been cancelled until the beginning of next week.


Orthodox: Naked airport scans 'a necessity'

By Robyn Rosen, March 18, 2010

The strictly Orthodox community has given its support to new airport security scanners which produce "naked" images, saying it "understands it is a necessity".

Manchester Airport trialled the invasive scanners before the government decided to implement them nationally in February, beginning with Manchester and Heathrow, after the attempt by the so-called "Underwear Bomber" to attack a flight to Detroit.

The scanners produce a three-dimensional image which can reveal concealed weapons and explosives, but the image also shows details of the passenger's naked body.