UK news

Raid turns up guns, drugs ... and tusks

By Marcus Dysch, March 26, 2009

Evidence of paedophilia, firearms possession, drug trafficking and prostitution have been uncovered by police conducting an investigation into the criminal use of safety deposit boxes.

Police are now conducting over 1,000 spin-off investigations and believe they have inflicted a substantial blow to global crime networks.

Among the items discovered in the 3,554 seized boxes were millions of pounds, euros and US dollars in cash; illegal elephant tusks; drugs including ketamine and pure cocaine; forged passports and numerous firearms.

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Lost German artworks go to auction in UK

By James Martin, March 26, 2009

A collection of artworks by the daughter of a prominent Nazi-era German Jewish political activist, which was found in a trunk in a London attic, is to be auctioned next month.

They are 22 drawings and paintings by Dodo Burgner, most of which may have been published by Ulk magazine, a satirical publication edited by her father, Theodor Wolff. He was an eminent Jewish art critic and editor who founded the German Liberal Democrat Party in 1918.

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Wrapit: 'gets relaunch'

By James Martin, March 26, 2009

The Jewish owner of an online wedding gift firm that went bust in August last year has offered her “heartfelt sympathy” to the hundreds of couples who never received presents. This week the company, Wrapit, relaunched under a new name.

Pepita Diamand, who founded Wrapit eight years ago, said: “I’m sorry for customers who were affected and I well understand that the re-emergence of the company leaves them with a sour taste in their mouths.” She said: “I was invited to participate in the new business and flatly refused.”

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Apprentice drop-out says: I ran for my wife

By Jan Shure, March 26, 2009

The contestant who dropped out of The Apprentice because he could not face being apart from his wife and young children for up to three months has said the decision to leave was the hardest one he has ever made.

Adam Freeman, 31, who lives in Chigwell, Essex, with his wife Joanna and their daughters, Sienna and Peyton, was due to be one of 16 candidates in the current series of the hit BBC1 reality TV show which began on Wednesday.

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Sect tries to buy a church

By Simon Rocker, March 26, 2009

The Manchester Jewish Representative Council has protested against the proposed sale of a local church to the breakaway Catholic sect to which Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson belongs.

Council president Barbara Goldstone said allowing the Society for Saint Pius X (SSPX) to buy St George’s, a disused Anglican church in Gorton, would “only destroy the religious harmony in the city of which we are very proud”.

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MSPs seek envoy’s expulsion

By Marcus Dysch, March 26, 2009

Israel’s ambassador to the UK, Ron Prosor, should be expelled from Britain until Israel “shows it is not above international law”, according to members of the Scottish Parliament.

A session of Holyrood’s Public Petitions Committee has urged the UK government to have Mr Prosor removed, following pressure from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

But foreign policy matters remain under Westminster’s jurisdiction, and the Scottish government said it was “not minded” to support the call for Mr Prosor’s expulsion.

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George Galloway to defy Canada ban

By Marcus Dysch, March 26, 2009

Controversial British MP George Galloway has vowed to do whatever is possible to enter Canada after its government banned him over fears he could threaten national security.

The decision to stop him entering for a speaking tour was taken after the Jewish Defence League of Canada wrote to the government highlighting Mr Galloway’s support for Hamas.

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Storm over latest Hizbollah UK visit

By Leon Symons, March 26, 2009

The Board of Deputies will ask the Home Office to exclude a former Hizbollah fighter and leader of a radical Muslim group in Belgium who has been invited to speak in Britain.

Dyab Abou Jahjah has been invited to speak at a meeting of the Stop The War Coalition on Monday evening in central London. It is thought that he will also be present on Tuesday at the launch of a British branch of International Union for Parliamentarians for Palestine, of which he was made operational director in May last year.

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Back-door boycott fears over labelling

By Leon Symons, March 26, 2009

Jewish groups fear a government-backed meeting about the labelling of products from the West Bank may lead to a new “back-door” boycott of Israeli exports to Britain.

The meeting is scheduled to be held in the Cabinet Office on Tuesday and invitations have gone out to major retailers, consumer groups and a small number of NGOs. Oxfam is the only group believed to have confirmed that it will attend.

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Ministers’ ‘U-turn on war-crime law’

By Anshel Pfeffer and Marcus Dysch, March 26, 2009

Senior Israeli officials have attacked the British government for reneging on its promise to change a law that allows private citizens to bring war crimes charges against Israeli officers.

The failure to alter the legislation effectively bars Israeli top brass from entering Britain for fear they would be arrested on arrival.

“Both the Blair and Brown governments promised us that they would bring the necessary legislation to Parliament,” said a senior Israeli diplomat. “But it is clear now that they never really meant to fulfil that promise.”

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