World news

Rare, looted relief finally paid for by Berlin museum

By Leon Symons, December 3, 2009

Israel and Magen David Adom, Israel’s emergency medical service, will benefit from the latest restitution case involving Nazi-looted art.

A 570-year-old alabaster relief of Christ carrying the cross, described as one of the most important medieval portrayals of the Passion, was owned by Harry Fuld of Frankfurt, who made a fortune from telephones and telecommunications equipment.

In 1932 his business, which had passed to his son Harry Jr, was appropriated by the Nazis. In 1936, his art collection met the same fate.

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France unlikely to back EU plan to split Jerusalem

By Jessica Elgot, December 3, 2009

France is unlikely to back Sweden in its drive to push east Jerusalem as the future Palestinian capital.

French ambassador Christophe Bigot told the Jerusalem Post that the proposal was unlikely to be approved by the 27 EU member states in its present form.

EU foreign ministers, including British Foreign Secretary David Miliband will meet on December 7 in Brussels to discuss the proposal.

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Lawyer charged in $1.2b Ponzi scheme

By Ellen Tumposky, December 3, 2009

A prominent Florida lawyer who was a major donor to US politicians and to Chabad has been charged with running a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme.

Scott Rothstein, 47, was arrested on five racketeering and fraud charges and could face up to 100 years in prison. He pleaded not guilty to the charges, which included conspiracy to commit money laundering, mail fraud and wire fraud, and was being held without bail.

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Israel fights EU proposal to divide Jerusalem

By Anshel Pfeffer and Martin Bright, December 3, 2009

Israel is urging EU members to defer the vote on a Swedish proposal to recognise east Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital, due to be tabled at next week’s meeting of foreign ministers.

The UK government, meanwhile, has distanced itself from the Swedish plan, with senior sources saying that Jerusalem is not the place to start negotiations for a peace settlement because the division of the city is “too provocative”.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry says Sweden, which currently holds the EU presidency, and its foreign minister, Carl Bildt, is the main force behind the measure.

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Nazi suspect Demjanjuk's trial suspended

By Jessica Elgot, December 2, 2009

The trial of suspected Nazi John Demjanjuk has been delayed due to his failing health.

The 89-year-old Ukrainian is charged of being an accessory to the murder of 27,900 Jews at the Sobibor death camp.

Presiding Judge Ralph Alt said in a court statement that Demjanjuk had a high fever which had continued to rise despite medication, and that the trial would be delayed until December 21.

Doctors who examined him, two hours before the court hearing in Munich was about to continue, said he had an unidentified infection and a fever.

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Jewish groups criticise Swiss minaret ban

By Jessica Elgot, December 2, 2009

Jewish groups have criticised the result of the Swiss referendum in favour of banning the building of minarets on mosques.

The referendum, called by the far-right Swiss People’s Party, has been criticised by the United Nations, the Swiss government, most Swiss newspapers, the Swiss church and the Vatican.

But it was supported by 57 per cent of Swiss voters, with 20 per cent more voters turning out than expected.

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Demjanjuk 'agreed with Nazis' says prosecutor

By Jessica Elgot, December 1, 2009

The prosecutor in the trial of alleged war criminal John Demjanjuk says the defendant was a willing participant in the murder of 27,900 Jews.

The 89-year-old Ukrainian is charged of being an accessory to the murder of 27,900 Jews at the Sobibor camp.
He arrived at court on a hospital stretcher, lying on his side under a hospital blanket, his face covered with a navy baseball hat.

Demjanjuk did not speak throughout the proceedings; his lawyer, Ulrich Busch, said he was exercising his right to remain silent.

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EU to propose dividing Jerusalem

By Jessica Elgot, December 1, 2009

Israel has slammed a move by the European Union to officially divide Jerusalem as a capital for both Israelis and Palestinians.

A proposed resolution for the EU Council has been drafted by Sweden, the current holders of the EU presidency, Ha’aretz reported. The draft says that the EU should recognise Palestinian statehood with East Jerusalem as its capital.

It states: “The goal is an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable state of Palestine, comprising the West Bank and Gaza and with East Jerusalem as its capital.

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Chelsea Clinton engaged to Jewish beau

By Jessica Elgot, November 30, 2009

Chelsea Clinton is engaged to her Jewish boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky, a spokesman for former President Bill Clinton has confirmed.

Miss Clinton, 29, the daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton, the current Secretary of State, is believed to have become engaged on Thanksgiving to Mr Mezvinsky, 31. The couple have been together for two years.

They were introduced through their parents in 1993 at the Renaissance Weekend, an annual event for political and business leaders. Both attended Stanford University. Mr Mezvinsky currently works as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs.

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Iran funds comic's 'anti-Zionist' film

By Jessica Elgot, November 30, 2009

A French far-right comedian famed for his antisemitic stunts has revealed he has been receiving funding from Iran to make ‘anti-Zionist’ films.

Comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, 43, had previously stood for the European Parliament as head of the Anti-Zionist Party, which he formed with Alain Soral, a former member of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s extreme-right National Front.

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