UK news

Phil Woolas: 'I'm out' as he loses Oldham East election challenge

By Jennifer Lipman, December 3, 2010

A by-election will be held in the Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency after Labour’s former immigration minister Phil Woolas lost a legal challenge to keep his parliamentary seat.

The High Court today rejected Mr Woolas’ attempt to overturn a ruling which found him guilty of lying about a rival and voided the result of the May election which returned him as the constituency’s MP.

The initial result was challenged by the Liberal Democrat candidate Elwyn Watkins, who lost by just 103 votes.


Blind date pests leave family in a blind rage

December 2, 2010

Police are baffled by the months-long doorstep harassment of a London Jewish family.

Widower Solomon David, from Southgate, says he is afraid to answer the door after receiving visits from different men, sometimes up to three times a day, for three months, each claiming to be meeting a blind date at the Davids' home.

Mr David, who was a full-time carer for his wife, Susanna, until she died in October, said: "Every time the doorbell rings, my heart starts beating. I'm afraid to put the lights on at night because I don't want to let people know we're here.


How Ashkenazim can aid cancer study

December 2, 2010

Scientists are hoping to use pioneering new technology to combat bowel cancer - a disease to which Ashkenazi Jews are disproportionately vulnerable.

While the risk of contracting it is one in 20 in the general population, it is up to one in 10 among Ashkenazis.

For three years, a group has been researching the genetic profile of the disease by studying Ashkenazim DNA samples. Now they believe they can advance their knowledge through a technique known as next-generation sequencing, which involves studying the actual cancer itself.


Reprieve for Halifax Palestinian

December 2, 2010

A Palestinian facing deportation has been granted a last-minute reprieve, claiming he had been tortured in an Israeli prison.

Belal Amleh, 25, who has lived in Halifax since 2008, was due to be deported this week.

His partner Suzanne Allott, a local pro-Palestinian activist, said Mr Amleh had been tortured and imprisoned for refusing to become an Israeli informer.

She claims he was beaten with wooden batons and gun butts and had his feet broken.


Church rethink on Old Testament art

By Simon Rocker, December 2, 2010

The Church of England this week agreed to reconsider the future of a set of historic paintings linked to Jewish emancipation in the UK after concerted opposition to their sale.

The portraits of Jacob and his 12 sons by the Spanish artist Francisco de Zurbaran - now believed to be worth £15 million - have hung since 1756 in Auckland Castle in Bishop Auckland, the official residence of the Bishop of Durham.

But local campaigners have earned the pictures a partial reprieve after plans by the Church to put them up for auction came to light last month.


Museum stalls Quaker history

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 2, 2010

A man whose family was saved from the Holocaust by the Quaker movement has accused Yad Vashem of failing to record the historical rescue.

Peter Kurer, 79, from Manchester, was brought to England in 1938 from Vienna by Quakers in a mass rescue operation of Jews from Germany and Austria. Their father, Jacob, a dentist, came to Britain in 1936 seeking contacts to help his family and met Horatio and Mary Goodwin, a Quaker couple in Whalley Range, south Manchester.


Satmar couple are held over daughter 'kidnap'

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 2, 2010

A man and woman from the Satmar community in Stamford Hill were arrested last week at Ben Gurion Airport on suspicion that they were trying to take their 21-year-old daughter out of the country against her will. The pair were charged on Sunday at Tel Aviv District Court with attempted kidnap.

The daughter, who also has Israeli citizenship, and her parents arrived in Israel three months ago, with her brother who studies at a yeshivah in Jerusalem.


Duggan family asks for answers to death

December 2, 2010

The family of a Jewish student who died in Germany under suspicious circumstances seven years ago are demanding answers now that his inquest has been indefinitely adjourned.

Jeremiah Duggan, from Golders Green, north west London, was found dead, aged 22, on a highway near Wiesbaden, Germany, in March 2003, while attending a youth event organised by the far-right LaRouche group.


That's your lot! Christie's drop 'hate' cartoon

By Leon Symons, December 2, 2010

Top auctioneer Christie's has withdrawn a cartoon from a sale due to be held next week after a complaint that its inclusion might break race and religious hatred laws.

The auction house sought guidance from Scotland Yard's arts and antiques squad after a complaint by a Jewish amateur antiques dealer. Christie's asked if the cartoon, Dumped in London, would breach race hate laws.


Fears expressed on daylight saving bill

By Jessica Elgot, December 2, 2010

MPs will debate the Daylight Savings Bill today (Friday) which opponents warn could prevent people from attending morning services - especially in the north of England and Scotland.

Opponents say having an extra hour's darkness in winter mornings, to give an extra hour's daylight in the evening, will make it impossible to recite the morning prayers with a minyan before having to leave for work.

In winter, the earliest time for morning prayers is around seven am, but if the changes are made, it would mean eight o'clock in London and not until nine o'clock in the north.