World news

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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Iran: West provoked us to approve 10 nuclear plants

By Jessica Elgot, November 30, 2009

Iran’s vice-president has accused the UN and the West of “provoking” Iran into building further uranium enrichment facilities.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has slammed the move by the Iranian government to approve the construction of 10 new uranium enrichment plants. He said: “This epitomises the fundamental problem that we face with Iran.

“We have stated over and again that we recognise Iran's right to a civilian nuclear programme, but they must restore international confidence in their intentions.

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Demjanjuk: Trial for 'Nazi' murders begins

By Jessica Elgot, November 30, 2009

The accused Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk has begun his trial in Munich.

The 89-year-old Ukrainian, charged of being an accessory to the murder of 27,900 Jews at the Sobibor camp, arrived at court in a wheelchair, accompanied by two guards and two doctors.

The start of the trial was delayed for 70 minutes after hundreds of people descended upon the Munich courtroom, attempting to gain entry to witness the trial.

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Israelis build 'mini Tel Aviv' in Kiev

By Edward Doks, November 26, 2009

An Israeli company is building a luxury residential complex in Kiev, modelled on the fashionable Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Aviv Gimmel.

Development company Seven Hills, which is owned by Israeli billionaire Benny Steinmetz, is currently the only foreign company to continue building in Kiev despite the credit crunch.

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Brothers of 'starved' Israeli boy are sent to live in UK

By Marcus Dysch and Anshel Pfeffer, November 26, 2009

Three brothers of a boy allegedly starved by his mother in Jerusalem have moved to England, and are now living with their grandparents in London’s strictly Orthodox community.

The boys, aged nine, seven and five, arrived in Stamford Hill last Thursday, the same day their mother gave birth to her sixth child, also a boy.

It is believed they were accompanied on the jouraney by a rabbi from the strictly-Orthodox Edah Charedit faction and that they were sent on the express orders of Rabbi David Kahan, the spiritual leader of the Toldot Aharon Chasidic group to which the family belongs.

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Israeli bomb experts help UK soldiers

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 26, 2009

British bomb experts have received training from the IDF’s central weapons laboratory on the types of bombs used by Islamist terrorists.

The Substances Laboratory, which is part of the IDF Ground Command’s Experiment and Quality Control Unit near Tel Aviv, is a mecca for explosives specialists from around the world. One of the main roles of the lab is to analyse all bombs and ammunition used against Israeli forces and civilians and devise methods of countering them.

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