World news

James Franco to play Wizard of Oz

By Jennifer Lipman, May 18, 2011

James Franco is to star as the Wizard of Oz in a new Disney retelling of the classic story.

The actor will be joined by fellow Jewish stars Rachel Weisz and Mila Kunis, of Black Swan fame, as the wicked witches of the West and the East.

The film, titled Oz, the Great and Powerful, is to be directed by Spiderman director Sam Raimi.

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Lars Von Trier tells Cannes he understands Hitler

By Jennifer Lipman, May 18, 2011

Danish filmmaker Lars Von Trier has told a Cannes press conference that he sympathises with Hitler and that Israel was "a pain".

Mr Von Trier, whose film Melancholia premieres there today, made the bizarre comments in response to a question about his family background.

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Google gagged: Injunction won over antisemitic websites

By Jennifer Lipman, May 18, 2011

The umbrella group for Argentinean Jewry, the DAIA, has won an injunction against internet giant Google demanding that it stop recommending antisemitic websites to browsers.

Google operates a "suggested search" function, drawing users' attention to popular or relevant sites.

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No sympathy for Dominique Strauss-Kahn from Michael Bloomberg

By Jennifer Lipman, May 18, 2011

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has weighed into the ongoing scandal involving IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

In the four days since news broke that Mr Strauss-Kahn had been arrested in Manhattan for the "criminal sexual act, unlawful imprisonment, and attempted rape" of a 32-year-old hotel maid, a number of well-known figures have commented on the case.

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Broadway show for Woody Allen and Coen brother

By Jennifer Lipman, May 18, 2011

Woody Allen has revealed plans to write a new Broadway show.

He told the New York Times that he was working on a one-act play, to be staged on Broadway from September alongside another by filmmaker Ethan Coen.

The comedies will be shown with a third act written by Primary Colours screenwriter Elaine May.

The show will be directed by Hollywood actor John Turturro.

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Facebook's Zuckerberg beats Winklevoss twins - again

By Jennifer Lipman, May 17, 2011

The twins who claimed Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for Facebook have lost their latest bid for an appeal to overturn an earlier multimillion dollar settlement.

In 2008 identical twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss accepted a deal with Mr Zuckerberg worth £12.2 million and a partial ownership of the company.

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Tunisian Jews cut Lag B'Omer festivities over security fears

By Jennifer Lipman, May 17, 2011

Security concerns have led to the cancellation of the main part of an annual Tunisian Jewish pilgrimage for the first time in 20 years.

Tunisian Jews have long marked Lag B'Omer with a mass visit to the historic El Ghriba synagogue on the island of Djerba.

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Rahm Emanuel sworn in as Chicago mayor

By Jennifer Lipman, May 16, 2011

Rahm Emanuel has been sworn in as the first Jewish mayor of Chicago.

The former chief of staff to President Barack Obama officially replaced long-time incumbent Richard Daley on Monday afternoon following his victory in February's bitterly fought election.

Mr Emanuel, whose father fought for Israel during the war of independence, also previously worked for President Bill Clinton.

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Italy upgrades Palestinian delegation to mission

By Jennifer Lipman, May 16, 2011

Italy is to follow in the footsteps of the United Kingdom, France and Spain and upgrade the status of the Palestinian delegation in Rome to a full diplomatic mission.

The announcement by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano comes just days after Silvio Berlusconi pledged that Italy would not accept a unilateral declaration of statehood by the Palestinians.

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Coen Brothers: Israel boycott not a solution

By Jennifer Lipman, May 16, 2011

The Coen Brothers have criticised the reasoning of artists who boycott the state of Israel.

The Academy-Award winning filmmakers, whose successes have included the recent western True Grit and the reworking of the biblical Job story A Serious Man, made the comments while in Israel for an award ceremony.

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