UK news

Former MP dies at 91

August 22, 2008

Former MP and gay-rights champion Leo Abse has died at the age of 91.

The former Labour MP for Pontypool, and later Torfaen, died at Charing Cross Hospital in West London on Tuesday night after a short illness.

In 1967, Mr Abse guided a Private Member's Bill through Parliament making sex between men legal.

Cardiff-born Mr Abse, elder brother of writer Dannie Abse, was also credited with helping liberalise divorce laws with the 1969 Divorce Reform Act.


Shalit march planned

August 22, 2008
The Zionist Federation is organising a march and meeting in London on September 21 to publicise the plight of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.   


Orthodox community steps up its anti-drugs campaign

By Simon Rocker, August 15, 2008

A strictly Orthodox charity is planning to step up its campaign over the next few weeks to educate its constituency about the risk of drugs.

Talking Matters, a Stamford Hill-based welfare agency specialising in mental-health issues, last autumn published a ground-breaking 128-page guide in Yiddish, Hebrew and English on understanding addictions, ranging from gambling, sugar and "shopaholism" to alcohol and drugs.


Wrapit: no refunds

By Marcus Dysch, August 15, 2008

Newlywed couples and their wedding guests are unlikely to receive money or undelivered presents from collapsed online gift company Wrapit, administrators confirmed this week.

KPMG said it "did not consider funds would be available" for unsecured creditors, including gift-less couples, staff and suppliers.

A full report into the company's failure would be published within the next eight weeks, said the administrator.


United Synagogue removes gag on relatives speaking at funerals

By Simon Rocker, August 15, 2008

The United Synagogue has relaxed one of its most controversial rules that restricted the delivery of funeral eulogies to rabbis or ministers.

A letter has gone out to rabbis from the Rabbinical Council of the United Synagogues recommending that lay people should be allowed to give a hesped (eulogy) on certain occasions at the discretion of the local rabbi.


Coren launches his own assault on Poland

By Candice Krieger, August 15, 2008

The Federation of Poles in Great Britain has lodged a complaint against columnist Giles Coren, over what it calls an "insulting" and "ignorant" article he wrote about Polish immigrants.

Mr Coren wrote a story headlined Two waves of immigration, Poles apart, in The Times on July 26. He discussed two kinds of migration: economic and humanitarian.


Mural pays tribute to stage heroes

August 15, 2008

A mural was unveiled this week to mark the 80th anniversary of a North London theatre with strong links to Jewish writers and performers.

The Embassy Theatre, the home of the Central School of Speech and Drama since 1956, was a centre for new writing about contemporary issues in the 1920s and 1930s. It specialised in plays about the Jewish community, notably The King of the Schnorrers by Israel Zangwill and A Gambler in Brides, performed in 1929, for which the audience were provided with a glossary of Yiddish terms.


Jewish schools celebrate excellent A-level results

By Leon Symons, August 15, 2008

Jewish secondary schools and students were yesterday celebrating another outstanding set of A-level results.

The private Immanuel College achieved a 100 per cent pass rate for the third year running, with 50 per cent at A grade and 82 per cent at grades A and B.

The proportion of A-level examinations passed at the grades required to gain admission to sought-after courses at the best universities has risen to 82 per cent, the highest score in Immanuel's history.


Communal leaders slam anti-Israel comments

By Leon Symons, August 15, 2008

Two Jewish community leaders have hit back at the head of a charity over anti-Israeli remarks he made in a charity magazine interview.

Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies, and Jeremy Newmark, head of the Jewish Leadership Council, wrote to Third Sector warning that "the demonisation of Zionists, Zionism and Israel that is increasingly prevalent in parts of the third-sector/non-governmental organisation community can slip very easily into demonisation of Jews".


Sufi Muslim urges ban on Hizb ut-Tahrir

By Dana Gloger, August 15, 2008

An expert on violent extremism has urged the government to ban Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Haras Rafiq, co-founder and executive director of the Sufi Muslim Council, said the radical group was increasingly targeting younger people and was becoming stronger.

"When Tony Blair was Prime Minister, he said he was going to proscribe them, so they undertook a huge campaign to repackage themselves. But it was all spin," claimed Mr Rafiq.