UK news

FO man in court on race charges

June 9, 2009

A senior Foreign Office civil servant has appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to a charge of racially aggravated harassment.

Rowan Laxton, 48, appeared at Westminster magistrates’ court today.

He was charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress.

Mr Laxton remains suspended from his post as head of the FO’s South Asia desk. He is due to appear in court again in September 9 for an abuse of process hearing.


Britain’s oldest Jew dies at 106

June 8, 2009

Dolly Phillips, Britain ’s oldest Jew has died at the Heathlands home in Manchester.

Born on May 22 1903, Dolly dedicated her life to community welfare, through the Manchester Jewish Soup Kitchen and kosher meals-on-wheels.

She continued to work on meals-on-wheels until well into her nineties.

Full story in this week’s JC


BNP leader flees Westminster protests

June 8, 2009

BNP leader Nick Griffin was hounded out of Westminster this afternoon by anti-fascist protestors who attacked him with eggs and wooden placards.

In angry and violent scenes opposite the Houses of Parliament, around 100 people chased Griffin and fellow newly-elected MEP Andrew Brons moments after they began a press conference.

Griffin was clearly shaken by the assault after suffering a direct hit from an egg-thrower. One clear blow was landed with a wooden pole as the crowd chanted “Nazi scum, off our streets”.


Election success for BNP

By Leon Symons, June 5, 2009

The BNP has won its first ever county council seat. Sharon Wilkinson won the Padiham and Burnley West district to take a seat on Lancashire County Council, beating Labour’s Marcus Johnstone by 201 votes.

In the result that was declared at lunchtime today (Friday) Ms Wilkinson, who has been a Burnley local councillor for several years, polled 1,155 votes, Mr Johnstone 954, Liberal Democrat Martyn Hurt 927, with Tory Alan Marsden coming fourth with 726.


Sir Alan to become Enterprise Tsar

By Candice Krieger, June 5, 2009

Apprentice star Sir Alan Sugar is to be appointed as Enterprise Tsar to Gordon Brown.

The former Amstrad boss will advise the government on business issues and help the nation out of the current tough times by speaking to small and medium-sized businesses.

Sir Alan, a long-standing friend of the Prime Minister, has been vocal in his support of the Prime Minister, who is reshuffling his Cabinet following the resignation of several Ministers. Sir Alan will not become a minister. Reports suggest he will be rewarded for his new role with a peerage.


Analysis: what the Obama speech means

By Jenni Frazer, June 5, 2009

US analysts say President Obama's Cairo speech shows he stands by Israel, but disappoints on the subject of Iran.

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrachi, founder of the Israel Project organisation, said: "Obama’s address comes at a time when Americans have clearly stated that they stand with Israel by a seven-to-one margin"


Jail terms for cannabis gang

June 4, 2009

Three Israeli drug smugglers have been jailed for their roles in one of the biggest-smuggling plots ever intercepted by British police.

Moshe Kedar, aged 81, and Yehezkel Srebro, 57, were both sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment.

Their accomplice Mordechai Hersh, 67, received an eight-year term.

The men were convicted earlier this week of planning an elaborate operation to bring more than 12 tonnes of cannabis, worth £36 million, into the country using a tugboat.


Exclusive: Mars bars go kosher

By Simon Rocker, June 4, 2009

Rabbis will be soon able to snack on one of the best-loved chocolate products when Mars Bars go under kosher supervison.

The London Beth Din’s kashrut division has signed a contract with Mars to certify products made in its Slough factory.

As well as the popular snack bar, the division has also certified Galaxy Block, Galaxy Ripple, Snickers, Minstrels and three flavours of Tracker Bars.


Nicole Farhi: I thought I was going to die

By Leon Symons, June 4, 2009

The fashion designer Nicole Farhi told a court this week how she feared for her life when two men attacked her as she walked to her front door.
She said she had been attacked as she went to open the front door of her home in Hampstead.

She told Wood Green Crown Court in north London, that she thought: “How stupid to die in front of my house.”

Ms Farhi, wife of the playwright Sir David Hare, said that a hand was placed over her eyes while another squeezed her throat, at which point she passed out.


Fears over Tories’ ‘fascist’ Euro allies

By Leon Symons, June 4, 2009

The Tories have been warned to be on their guard over their European links with Polish and Czech right-wing parties.

Conservative leader David Cameron met leaders of Poland’s Law and Justice party (PiS) at the weekend, as well as Mirek Topolánek, the leader of the Czech Republic’s Civic Democratic Party (ODS). The opposition PiS party is run by twin brothers Jaroslav and Lech Kaczynski.