World news

Virgin Atlantic "in talks" with El Al

By Jessica Elgot, August 13, 2009

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic is reported to be in talks with El Al about a possible deal between the two airlines.

A number of options were under consideration and a takeover or substantial investment in El Al by Virgin Atlantic had not been ruled out, a source told Globes Online

But Shoma Amin, a spokeswoman for Virgin Atlantic was quick to deny rumours.She said: "We explore many opportunities but can confirm we will not be taking over or investing in El Al."

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David Mamet to make Anne Frank film

By Jessica Elgot, August 13, 2009

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Jewish writer David Mamet is to script a new film version of the diary of Anne Frank.

The film, produced by Walt Disney, will be closely based on the diary of 15-year-old Anne, who died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp after hiding in Nazi-occupied Holland for two years with her family.

Mr Mamet won the Pulitzer Prize for his play Glengarry Glen Ross, which was later turned into film starring Al Pacino.

More recently, Mr Mamet received Oscar nominations for his screenplays and The Verdict

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American Jews ‘losing their faith’

By Simon Rocker, August 13, 2009

The number of American Jews who regard themselves as culturally rather than religiously Jewish has almost doubled in a decade, according to new research.

American Jews who identify by ethnicity have increased from 20 per cent to 37 per cent of the American Jewish population since 1990, while the proportion of those who follow any of the streams of Judaism has dropped by more than a fifth in the same period.

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Anger over Hizbollah TV go-ahead

By Dan Goldberg, Sydney, August 13, 2009

Jewish leaders in Australia are outraged that a television station sponsored by Hizbollah has been permitted to broadcast.

The move last week by the Australian Communications and Media Authority to allow Al-Manar TV access to Australia reverses two previous decisions to ban it.

Dr Colin Rubenstein, executive director of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, blasted ACMA’s decision that Al-Manar did not violate the government’s amended anti-terror laws as “regrettable, if unsurprising.

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Nazi killer gets life in jail — 65 years late

By Toby Axelrod, Berlin, August 13, 2009

A Munich court has sentenced a former German Wehrmacht lieutenant to spend the rest of his life in jail for ordering the killings of Italian villagers in June 1944. Josef Scheungraber, 90, was found guilty of ten of the 14 murders with which he had been charged.

He had been living for decades in a town outside Munich, where he served on the town council.

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Envoy could be sacked after Israeli policy attack

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 13, 2009

An Israeli diplomat could be forced to resign following the publication of a letter he wrote criticising the government’s foreign policy.

The consul in Boston, Nadav Tamir, wrote in his letter that the government’s current attitude towards the American administration was causing Israel “strategic damage” and harming the “special relationship” between the countries.

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Date turns sour for Sex and the City star Kristin Davis

By Marcus Dysch, August 13, 2009

Playing the role of Charlotte in Sex and the City, Kristin Davis’s biggest concern was finding Mr Right. But this week she found herself at the centre of a bigger problem — an international row over West Bank settlements.

Ms Davis, whose character in the TV series converted to Judaism to marry lawyer Harry Goldenblatt, has worked as a goodwill ambassador for Oxfam since 2005, visiting HIV and Aids projects in Mozambique, Uganda and South Africa.

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NY crash pilot was Jewish businessman

By Jessica Elgot, August 11, 2009

The pilot killed in this weekend's New York plane and helicopter collision was a wealthy Jewish philanthropist who used the plane in which he died in to transport sick people to hospital for charity.

Steven Altman, 60, a property tycoon from Ambler, near Philadelphia, was flying the plane in clear weather, with his brother Daniel and his 15-year-old nephew Douglas when he hit a helicopter and crashed into the Hudson River, Manhattan.

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Ex-Nazi commander jailed for Italy massacre

By Jessica Elgot, August 11, 2009

A 90-year-old former Nazi commander has been jailed for life in Munich for ordering the deaths of 14 people in an Italian village during the second world war.

Josef Scheungraber, as a 25-year-old Wehrmacht lieutenant, ordered the massacre of the civilians in 1944 in the Italian village of Falzano di Cortona in Tuscany.

He denied he explicitly told the military police to kill the victims, 11 of whom were locked into a farmhouse which was set alight.

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Woman pays $32,000 for dog to fly business class

By Jessica Elgot, August 10, 2009

An Israeli woman has paid El Al $32,000 to reserve the whole of a business class section from Paris to Tel Aviv for herself and her “baby”.

But her baby is boxer dog “Or”, whom she refused to leave alone in the hold, in case he became anxious or scared during the flight.

The 60-year-old woman, named only as “Rivkah,” said she wanted to make sure that she would be able to calm him down.

The airline reportedly removed seats in business class to make room for Or’s cage, and Rivkah also hired a vet to accompany them on the flight.

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