World news

'More German youths in far-right groups than mainstream parties'

By Toby Axelrod, March 19, 2009

A newly released study suggests urgent measures are needed to combat right-wing tendencies among German youth.

Five percent of German boys aged 15 belong to right-wing extremist groups, according to the study by the Hanover-based Criminal Research Institute.

Most youth were found not to be antisemitic or xenophobic in this extensive survey of 44,610 pupils.

But scientists found that more boys belong to far-right groups than to mainstream political organizations. And that is what has researchers worried, said Christian Pfeiffer, leading scientist on the team.


Australian anger over Iran invite

By Dan Goldberg, March 19, 2009

An invitation to the former president of Iran to speak in Melbourne next week has enraged Jewish community leaders, writes Dan Goldberg.

Mohammed Khatami is due to speak at La Trobe University in Melbourne on March 26.

John Searle, president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, resigned from the university’s dialogue committee in protest against the invitation and said it was “inconceivable” that the Anglican archbishop of Melbourne, Philip Freier, was meeting Khatawi.


Pope: I should have Googled rogue bishop

March 19, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI has expanded on his controversial decision to lift the 1988 excommunication of four bishops, including Holocaust-denier Richard Williamson.

“The discreet gesture of mercy towards four bishops...suddenly appeared as something completely different: as the repudiation of reconciliation between Christians and Jews,” the Pope wrote in a letter to bishops.

He admits that “consulting the information available on the internet” would have helped “perceive the problem early on” and pledged to use the internet more in the future.


'Mini-Madoffs' facing fraud charges in LA

By Tom Tugend, March 19, 2009

Two Jewish business executives in Los Angeles are facing federal fraud charges, further unsettling a Jewish community affected by the fallout from Bernard Madoff’s $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

Both were prominent donors to Jewish and other charities.

Bruce Karatz, until recently one of the highest paid executives in the country, was indicted by a federal grand jury on 20 counts of mail, wire and securities fraud, and making false statements.


Madoff admits fraud charges

By Marcus Dysch, March 12, 2009

Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff has pleaded guilty to all 11 charges in connection with a multi-billion dollar investment fraud.

He arrived at a New York courthouse this morning wearing a bullef-proof vest and is expected to be sentenced to a 150-year jail term on June 16.

Madoff, 70, was charged with four counts of fraud, three counts of money laundering, making false statements, perjury, making a false filing to the US financial watchdog, and theft from an employee benefit plan.


$41m to be paid by Lithuania

March 12, 2009

The Lithuanian government is to pay the Jewish community $41 million (£29.6m) over 10 years in compensation for seized property. The payments are due to start in January 2011, following years of stalled negotiations over the restitution of properties.


Murdoch: Europe has been poisoned by antisemitism

By Daniella Peled - Foreign Editor, March 12, 2009

Rupert Murdoch has warned that Israel’s legitimacy and security are under attack from opponents of “freedom, tolerance and democracy” around the world.

Speaking after receiving the National Human Relations Award from the American Jewish Committee last week, the News Corporation chairman said that European public debate had been “poisoned by an antisemitism we thought had been dispatched to history’s dustbin”.


Israel: Iranian bomb just months away

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 12, 2009

Israel warned the Obama administration this week that the window of opportunity for dealing diplomatically with the Iranian nuclear threat has closed.

At the Israeli cabinet meeting on Sunday, Major General Amos Yadlin, commander of the IDF’s Intelligence Branch, said: “Iran has crossed the technological threshold. It is one strategic decision away from becoming a nuclear-enabled military power.” He indicated that Iran can now build a bomb in a matter of months.


Man fights Nazi crime indictment

March 12, 2009

A man who is alleged to have killed a Jewish teenager during the Second World War is fighting extradition to Hungary in an Australian federal court. Charles Zentai, 87, is accused of torturing and murdering Peter Balazs in Budapest in 1944.


Germans charge Demjanjuk

March 12, 2009

German prosecutors have charged retired car factory worker John Demjanjuk, 88, with 29,000 counts of being an accessory to murder during his time as a guard at the Sobibor concentration camp. They will seek his extradition from the USA.