World news

UK 'carrier' blamed for New York mumps outbreak

By Jessica Elgot, February 9, 2010

An 11-year-old boy is at the centre of a potential mumps epidemic among New York’s strictly Orthodox community because he is believed to have been the carrier of the disease after visiting the UK.

More than 300 people, almost all strictly Orthodox, have been diagnosed with mumps in the towns of Monsey and New Square, home to over 7,000 Skverer Chasidim.

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Iran: 'We will build 10 more nuclear plants by 2011'

By Jessica Elgot, February 8, 2010

Iran is planning to build 10 more uranium enrichment plants by March 2011, the country’s Head of Atomic Energy has said.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revealed that the Atomic Energy Organisation has been instructed to produce higher-grade fuel for the Tehran nuclear reactor.

But he also insisted that talks were still ongoing with the West over a possible uranium enrichment outsourcing to France and Russia.

The organisation’s head, Ali Akbar Salehi, said it plans to build 10 new plants over the next Iranian year, which begins on March 21.

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El Al launches Eilat flights to improve poor access

By Jan Shure, Travel Editor, February 8, 2010

El Al has announced it is to operate three daily flights in each direction between Ben Gurion and Eilat, commencing in March.

The airline, which ceased direct flights between the UK and Eilat in 2007, is adding the internal flights to improve access to Israel’s Red Sea resort for visitors flying in to Israel from Britain and other, mainly European, destinations.

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Coroner: Brittany Murphy 'died of pneumonia'

By Robyn Rosen, February 5, 2010

Actress Brittany Murphy, who was married to British Jewish director, Simon Monjack, died of pneumonia, a Los Angeles coroner has ruled.

Ms Murphy, the star of Clueless and 8 Mile, died on December 20 at the Los Angeles home she shared with Mr Monjack.

Iron-deficiency anaemia and drug intoxication, which were all prescription medicines, were secondary factors in the 32-year-old’s death.

The death was declared accidental.

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David de Rothschild's plastic bottle boat

By Jessica Elgot, February 5, 2010

British environmentalist David de Rothschild is planning to sail the Pacific on a boat made of 12,500 drinks bottles.

Mr de Rothschild, 31, the youngest son of renowned financier Sir Evelyn de Rothschild and part of the de Rothschild banking dynasty, will sail his 60-foot catamaran Plastiki from San Francisco to Australia in March.

Mr de Rothschild, a keen explorer and renewable energy campaigner, will use the voyage as a bold publicity stunt to drawn attention to the waste that plastic creates and how little it is recycled.

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Man used yeshivah to launder cash

By Paul Berger, February 4, 2010

The star witness in a sting operation that brought down five rabbis and about two dozen public officials has admitted using his father’s yeshivah to launder money and bribe officials.

Government informant Solomon Dwek, 37, told a court that he funnelled cash through the Deal Yeshivah, in New Jersey, between 1999-2006. He also admitted rigging its annual auction to ensure politicians won lavish prizes.

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Death row inmate requests tefillin

By Paul Berger, February 4, 2010

In ten days, prisoner 089742, Martin Grossman, will leave his 12ft x 7ft cell on Florida’s death row.

Grossman will be strapped to a gurney, wheeled to the execution chamber at Florida State Prison, and hooked up to a heart monitor. Then, at 6pm, he will be given a lethal injection.

Grossman, 45, is on death row for murdering a Florida wildlife officer in 1984.

After years of legal wrangling, Florida governor Charlie Crist finally signed his death warrant last month.

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Imam attacked for being ‘too pro-Jewish’

By Natasha Lehrer, February 4, 2010

A French imam has received death threats for promoting positive relations with the Jewish community.

Hassen Chalghoumi, the clean-shaven imam of Drancy mosque, just outside Paris, has been targeted by a group of young Islamists who object to his position on interfaith relations and to his vocal support for a ban on the wearing of the burka, which he calls a “prison for women, a means for sexist subjugation and a tool for fundamentalist indoctrination”.

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Iran 'is set to go nuclear by 2012'

By Stephen Pollard, February 4, 2010

A senior adviser to the US and Israeli governments has warned that Iran is capable of developing a stockpile of nuclear weapons by as early as 2012.

According to the adviser, who is regarded as one of the world’s leading experts on Iranian defence strategy: “All the evidence is that Iran wants to have enough bombs to be able to threaten Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.”

Unless its current progress is impeded, Iran’s nuclear capacity will increase to a level which will force a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

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Mussolini iPhone withdrawn

By Ruth Ellen Gruber, February 4, 2010

Italy’s best-selling iPhone app is a collection of speeches by the country’s Second World War dictator Benito Mussolini, now withdrawn from sale.

The success of the “iMussolini” app sparked media debate and protests from Holocaust survivors.

“iMussolini” was launched on Italy’s iTunes store on January 21, less than a week before Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is widely marked in Italy. Three days later, it topped the Italian iPhone app sales list.

The app contained audio, video and text of more than 100 speeches of Mussolini dating back to 1914.

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