World news

"Immoral" Bruno banned in the Ukraine

By Jessica Elgot, July 16, 2009

The Ministry for Culture in the Ukraine has banned Sacha Baron Cohen's "Bruno," because it is "morally dangerous."

The Jewish comedian's new movie centres on the misdemeanours of a flamboyant gay fashion journalist from Austria seeking fame in the USA.

But the film's depictions of homosexual sex and and obscene language have seen it banned by the Ukarinian government.

Austrian officials have complained about how their country is portrayed in the film, but have not taken any action against it.

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Blair to speak at Reform convention

By Jessica Elgot, July 15, 2009

Tony Blair will be the star speaker at the North American Reform movement's 2009 biennial conference in Toronto.

The Union of Reform Judaism's conference is being held in November with 5,000 Reform Jews expected to attend.

Mr Blair, the former British Prime Minister, is currently Middle East envoy for the Quartet, which is made up of the United Nations, the US, Russia and the European Union, as part of the Middle East peace process.

Mr Blair met Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu this week to discuss ways to improve the Palestinian economy.

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Obama's pledge to US Jews

By Jessica Elgot, July 14, 2009

President Barack Obama has told US Jews that America is committed to Israel's security and would not pursue any foreign policy which would risk that.

The president was speaking with leading Jewish groups at a hour-long private White House conference.

During the meeting, Mr Obama stressed the importance of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians people and addressed the concerns of the group on appeasing Iran, participants said.

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Retrial after 'light' Halimi murder sentences

By Jessica Elgot, July 14, 2009

A Paris court has ordered the re-trial of a some members of a gang connected to the murder of young Jewish man, because their sentences were "too lenient."

Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie personally intervened to ask the French public prosecutor for longer jail terms.

Those who will eventually be retried will not, however, include Youssouf Fofana, 28, the ringleader of the gang, who was sentenced to a maximum sentence of life in prison, without possibility of parole for 22 years.

Mr. Fofana was the only defendant convicted of murder.

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Obama in talks with US Jewish leaders

By Jessica Elgot, July 13, 2009

President Barack Obama is meeting US Jewish leaders to respond to their concerns over his Middle East policies.

Although ostensibly the leaders have been invited to discuss Mr Obama’s domestic policy, in fact he is understood to be particularly addressing the pressure he is putting on the Israeli government to crack down on illegal Jewish settlements.

Mr Obama has invited representatives from Orthodox, Conservative and Reform groups alongside major American Jewish organisations such as the American Jewish Committee and Hadassah.

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Minister will appeal against Halimi murder sentence

By Jessica Elgot, July 13, 2009

The French Justice Minister has accepted an appeal against the light sentencing of those involved in the murder of Ilan Halimi, which could mean a complete retrial.

Youssouf Fofana, the leader of the self-described French "gang of barbarians" was sentenced to life imprisonment for kidnapping and torturing Ilan Halimi, 23, for more than three weeks, until leaving him to die by some railway tracks.

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Demjanjuk formally charged with 27,900 counts

By Jessica Elgot, July 13, 2009

German prosecutors have formally charged John Demjanjuk with 27,900 counts of being an accessory to murder.

The date of the trial of the Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk, 89, has not yet been confirmed.

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Pope sacks officials over Holocaust-denier

By Jessica Elgot, July 10, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI has sacked two Vatican officials and abolished their department after they persuaded him to reverse the excommunication of a Holocaust-denying British bishop.

Bishop Richard Williamson has repeatedly and publicly denied the existence of Nazi gas chambers and has claimed that no more than 300,000 Jews perished in the Holocaust.

In January, Pope Benedict was persuaded to lift the excommunication of Bishop Williamson who was expelled from the Church by Pope John Paul II for internal Church reasons unrelated to the bishop’s Holocaust beliefs.

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Could the US send Syria a frum envoy?

By Hilary Krieger, Washington, July 9, 2009

The Obama administration is currently deciding who will become America’s next ambassador to Syria.

The diplomatic post is to be filled for the first time in four years, as US efforts to engage with Syria intensify.

The administration is hoping that, through persistent diplomacy, the US will be able to peel Syria out of the orbit of Iran, with whom it has a strategic alliance, and lead it toward a more positive relationship with the West.

This would include a peace treaty with Israel and the cutting of support for Hamas, Hizbollah and other Iranian-financed terror outfits.

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Our ‘future leaders’ set out their visions

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 9, 2009

What are young Jewish “leaders” and “thinkers” interested in?
If the 120 participants in the fourth annual Return On Investment (ROI) Summit last week in Israel are anything to go by, the answer seems to be: the same things as other starry-eyed idealists — student politics, human rights, multiculturalism and volunteering in the developed world. They also want to find other Jewish partners with whom to explore these interests.

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