UK news

John Denham interview: let's talk to the Muslim Council but not yet

By Martin Bright, September 24, 2009

Few politicians are as well-mannered and gracious as Communities Secretary John Denham. He is popular with the Labour Party faithful because he is has no airs and is prepared to discuss his ideas openly. In the past decade he has navigated the Blair-Brown sectarian divide with great skill and made an astonishing comeback after resigning from the government over Iraq. But he is not without enemies.

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Holocaust survivor to thank Pope for priest who saved him

By Marcus Dysch, September 24, 2009

A Holocaust survivor whose life was saved by a Catholic priest during the war will visit the Vatican next month to thank the Pope.

Joseph Szlezinger was hidden in a Belgian convent and his mother Gita lived for 18 months in a basement after the priest, Father Clement, agreed to protect them from the Nazis.

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Glowing report for gefilte fish

By Marcus Dysch, September 24, 2009

The traditional choice for a kosher fish supper is chopped and boiled or chopped and fried. But we can reveal a new option — chopped and glow-in-the-dark.

Student Jessica Taylor was shocked to see her late-night gefilte fish snack light up the kitchen of her north London family home by glowing bright green and yellow. Her mother had bought the Hoffman’s product the previous day at Moshe’s Deli in Temple Fortune.

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John Denham: Government were wrong on terror

By Martin Bright, September 24, 2009

The government’s strategy on terrorism following the 7/7 attacks was fundamentally flawed, admits the Cabinet minister now responsible for community cohesion.

Speaking to the JC on the eve of the Labour Party conference, Communities and Local Government Secretary John Denham said the strategy to tackle extremism in the wake of the suicide bombings of 2005 was too centralised, with solutions being sought from Whitehall without reference to the reality on the ground.

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Foreign Office man guilty of racist rant

By Leon Symons, September 24, 2009

Foreign Office civil servant Rowan Laxton has been found guilty of uttering a foul-mouthed anti-Israel rant at a gymnasium during Operation Cast lead in January.

District judge Howard Riddle fined Laxton, 48, £350 with £500 costs at Westminster Magistrates Court.

His counsel, Julian Knowles, said afterwards: “Mr Laxton is very disappointed by the outcome and he will be considering his next steps with his legal team.”

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Ehud Barak to speak at Labour conference

September 23, 2009

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak will speak at the Labour Party Conference next week.

He will be addressing the Labour Friends of Israel at their annual reception on Tuesday afternoon.

The presence of Mr Barak, who is also Israel’s deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party, is certain to be controversial given the hostility of many Labour Party members to Israel, and his role in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza earlier this year.

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Quiet New Year on the security front

By Barry Toberman, September 22, 2009

The Community Security Trust has reported an almost trouble-free Rosh Hashanah at British synagogues.

Only a small number of minor incidents were recorded, mostly abuse being shouted from cars at congregants walking to or from shuls in London, Hertfordshire and Manchester.

CST communications director Mark Gardner said that while the incidents were “disturbing for the victims, overall it was a peaceful weekend”.

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CSC attacks Neo-nazi CDs

By Leon Symons, September 18, 2009

The Centre for Social Cohesion has said it will report the neo-Nazi group Blood & Honour to the police for distributing racially offensive music CDs.

CSC says the CDs would, encourage acts of hatred and terrorism against ethnic minorities that would infringe the Public Order Act 1986 and the Terrorism Act 2000.

A section of the lyrics of a song called “Murder Squad” by a group called Blue Eyed Devils says:

“Traitors are hung and others shot dead
Kill the Jew and cut off his head
Destroy the enemy and his lies
Send the filth to an early demise.”

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Lewis slams Livingstone's Hamas interview

By Leon Symons, September 18, 2009

Foreign office minister Ivan Lewis has criticised former mayor of London Ken Livingstone for “handing a propaganda coup” to the terrorist organisation Hamas.

The latest edition of the New Statesman magazine carried a lengthy interview by Mr Livingstone of Khaled Meshal, the head of Hamas, who lives in exile in Syria.

In a statement, Mr Lewis said: “Ken Livingstone rightly earned praise for his strong and responsible leadership in the aftermath of the 7/7 attacks on London.

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Chagall's Jerusalem Windows sells for £82,000

By Marcus Dysch, September 18, 2009

A set of 12 prints depicting the biblical scene when Jacob blesses his sons on his deathbed have been sold at Christie’s for £82,250.

The Jerusalem Windows (Douze Maquettes de Vitraux pour Jérusalem) were originally designed by Marc Chagall in 1962 for the synagogue attached to the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Centre, Israel’s first hospital.

It was Chagall’s first stained glass work. The designs were later turned into the set of lithographs by Charles Sorlier.

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