UK news

I spy - Israel gets spooked

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2010

It's hard to find much optimism about the Middle East peace talks but at least it provides some entertaining hokum for the BBC's spy drama Spooks.

This week's episode featured some clandestine parleying between Israelis and Palestinians in London and an outlandish plot to bump off the American president who was flying in to join them.

Actor Paul Freeman wrestled manfully with his lines in Ivrit as chief Israeli negotiator, the super-semitically named Levi Cohen. But I don't think he will be picked to run a Spiro Ark ulpan.

More..

Naik takes UK ban to the High Court

By Jessica Elgot, October 22, 2010

An Islamic preacher who said Jews were the "staunchest enemies" of Muslims should be allowed into the UK, the High Court heard this week.

Dr Zakir Naik, an Indian-based Islamic activist, was banned from entering the UK by Home Secretary Theresa May in June this year, two days before a planned speaking tour. This week, Dr Naik took the Home Office to the High Court for a judicial review, heard by Mr Justice Cranston.

Announcing the ban in June, Mrs May cited a 2007 speech by Dr Naik about Muslims and Jews as an example of Dr Naik's extreme views.

More..

Analysis: Just how Jewish is the Big Society?

By Martin Bright, October 22, 2010

The full consequences of the Comprehensive Spending Review will take some time to digest. But one implication of the cuts is that the concept of the Big Society will immediately move from the realm of think-tank utopianism into the hard reality of delivery on the ground.

Whether the so-called "third sector" will have the capacity to cope with the fall-out from 500,000 job losses predicted by the government is yet to be seen.

More..

Jewish journalists sweep media awards

By Jennifer Lipman, October 21, 2010

Journalist and JC columnist Daniel Finkelstein has been named political commentator of the year.

Mr Finkelstein, the executive editor of The Times, received the prize at the Editorial Intelligence comment awards 2010 on Thursday morning.

The FT columnist Gideon Rachman won the award for best foreign commentator, while Christopher Hitchens was named magazine commentator of the year.

The Independent editor Simon Kelner, who is launching a new youth title for the paper next week, was awarded the Chair’s Choice prize.

More..

Zionism? To hell with all that, says film director

By Stephen Applebaum and Simon Rocker, October 21, 2010

Mike Leigh, the film-maker and playwright who has cancelled a planned trip to Israel next month, has backed a cultural boycott of the country, calling its policies "suicidal".

In an exclusive and personal outspoken interview in which he justified his decision not to teach a masterclass at a Jerusalem film school, the 67-year-old, Salford-born author said he was now "implicitly part" of the boycott.

More..

Israeli fighter narrowly missed passenger jet

By Jessica Elgot, October 21, 2010

A British flight from Egypt which veered off course into Israeli airspace came close to crashing into an Israeli fighter jet.

The flight from Sharm-el-Sheikh was not supposed to enter Israeli airspace but flew too far north from Egypt's Taba area, over the Sinai Peninsula towards Eilat, flying 13 miles into Israeli airspace.

The plane came close to hitting Israeli Air Force F-16 jets, but an IAF supervising officer noticed the plane in time. The IAF is investigating the incident as a serious security breach.

More..

Rescue robots on show in London

By Jessica Elgot, October 21, 2010

Would you let miniature robots run through your bloodstream? Could a robot take care of your grandmother? Should robot warriors with guns be let loose on the battlefields?

It might sound like science fiction, but these are new developments we might see in our lifetime, according to two academics at Monday's British Technion Society lecture, Dr Alon Wolf and Professor Alan Winfield.

More..

London campus was 'launch pad for Islamist terrorism'

By Jennifer Lipman, October 21, 2010

A university's Islamic society promoted a "hard-line Islamist ideology" which intimidated minorities and struck fear into Jewish students, researchers have revealed.

The counter-radicalism think tank Quilliam, which compiled the report into the Islamic society at London's City University during the past year, said such extremism could provide a "launch-pad for Islamist-inspired terrorism".

More..

X Factor's Katie Waissel: before she was famous

By Jessica Elgot, October 21, 2010

Long before the black eyeliner, the bleached hair and the fake eyelashes, X Factor star Katie Waissel was just a normal Jewish girl.

Now she hopes fans are beginning to see a "stripped-back" version of the girl captured in this 1998 photograph of an RSY summer camp.

Ms Waissel, 24, who is in the final 12 of the ITV 1 competition, said she hoped Jewish fans would get behind her bid for a record contract with Simon Cowell.

More..

Bomber Command back £2m WW2 memorial

By Leon Symons, October 21, 2010

RAF veterans are in a frantic race to raise almost £2 million to ensure the building of a memorial for their dead comrades in Bomber Command.

A total of 55,573 men from Bomber Command died during World War II. Their losses were greater proportionately than those of any other service. It is the only section of the wartime armed forces that does not have a memorial to those who died.

In May this year, planning permission was given to build a memorial in Green Park in central London, costing around £5 million.

More..