World news

Larry King leaving TV show

By Jennifer Lipman, June 30, 2010

American television presenter Larry King has announced he will be calling it a day this autumn.

The 76 year old, who has been a star interviewer for CNN for a quarter of a century, told his followers on Twitter that “it’s time to hang up my nightly suspenders.” He is famed for wearing red braces while on air.

He said his departure would give him more time for his wife and children, although added that he would still present special programmes and remain “part of the CNN family”.

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Julia Gillard: Israel views my own

By Jennifer Lipman, June 29, 2010

Australia’s first female Prime Minister has denied claims her stance on Israel is influenced by her partner’s connection to a Jewish businessman.

Jewish groups have also denounced the smear against Julia Gillard by a former Australian ambassador to Israel.

The Welsh-born politician, who won the leadership after ousting fellow Labour politician Kevin Rudd, was accused by diplomat Ross Burns of being "remarkably taciturn on the excesses of Israeli actions."

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Swiss Jewish leader mourned

By Jennifer Lipman, June 29, 2010

The former president of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG) has died in hospital at 78.

Alfred Donath, a professor of nuclear medicine, was a tireless campaigner for Jewish causes.

He headed SIG from 2000 until 2008, and was committed to the organisation for many years before that.

Among the issues he championed was the campaign to help the relatives of Nazi victims retrieve money from Swiss banks.

He was the SIG vice president in 1998 when the banks finally reached an out-of-court settlement and paid heirs more than £800 million.

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Kagan hearings start in Washington

By Jennifer Lipman, June 29, 2010

Hearings have begun in Washington to confirm a Jewish woman as a judge on America’s highest court.

US President Barack Obama nominated his solicitor-general Elena Kagan for a position on the Supreme Court in May 2010. She faces at least two days of questions from a panel of 19 Democrats and Republicans.

If she is confirmed - and Republican critics have promised she will face tough questioning – a third of the nine Supreme Court justices would be Jewish. The other six members are Catholic.

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Spielberg slips down celebrity list

By Jennifer Lipman, June 29, 2010

Film director Steven Spielberg has seen his star power plummet in the last year according to the Forbes Celebrity 100 list.

Mr Spielberg, who directed the Oscar winning film version of Schindler’s List, was ranked 22nd on the annual list which ranks stars according to their earnings, web hits and media coverage, falling from the seventh spot in 2009.

However the 63-year-old director, one of several Jewish names who made the list, still commanded an impressive $100 million pay (£66 million) in the past year between June 2009 and 2010.

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Elie Wiesel campaigns for Russian prisoner

By Jennifer Lipman, June 29, 2010

Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel has launched a campaign in support of a Russian Jewish businessman facing embezzlement charges.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former head of the Yukos oil company and once known as Russia's richest man, is already serving an eight year prison sentence and could face another 22 years behind bars if he is convicted in a related theft case.

But Mr Wiesel, a prominent human rights campaigner, said he considers Mr Khodorkovsky a political prisoner and believed that the case was political.

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Tourists detained for stealing from Auschwitz

By Jennifer Lipman, June 28, 2010

Polish police have questioned two Canadian teachers who allegedly stole parts from the Auschwitz-Birkenau train tracks.

The pair, both said to be men in their 20s, were detained after security guards found them in possession of spikes from the railway which carried Jews and other Nazi victims to the concentration camp.

They have been released and police have not said whether they will face charges. A Polish radio station reported that the men were looking for a memento of their visit.

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New Zealand DJ suspended for Nazi joke

By Jennifer Lipman, June 28, 2010

A New Zealand radio presenter has been suspended after he said that “Jews were expendable” and made another Nazi jibe.

Breakfast show DJ and television personality David Fane also told audiences at a media event that "Hitler had a right" and that HIV sufferers deserved to be "roasted".

His words have caused outrage amongst members of the Jewish and gay communities in New Zealand.

Stephen Goodman, president of the New Zealand Jewish Council, called the comments “very antisemitic”.

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Analysis: Kosher meat ban can affect all of us

By Henry Grunwald, June 24, 2010

I suppose Neville Chamberlain might have described New Zealand as "a small, far-away country" but New Zealand's new animal welfare code could have a major effect on this side of the world.

The code requires animals slaughtered for commercial consumption to be stunned prior to slaughter to ensure they are treated "humanely and in accordance with good practice and scientific knowledge". Stunning disqualifies animals from being kosher and the code is an insult to shechitah, which is at least as humane as any other method of slaughter.

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Legal challenge to kosher meat ban

By Dan Goldberg, June 24, 2010

New Zealand's Prime Minister appears to be heading for a legal showdown with the Jewish community over a new law that bans the kosher slaughtering of animals.

The crisis, triggered by the May 27 decision to outlaw shechitah, prompted Jewish leaders to request an urgent meeting with Jewish-born John Key in an attempt to resolve the crisis. But the 30-minute meeting in Auckland last Friday concluded with the six-person delegation informing Mr Key that the small community would be left with "no option" but to take legal action "if there was no solution forthcoming".

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