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Photo: Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies


At present, the history of Eastern Europe and Eastern European Jewry in particular is a popular field of scientific studies. Our correspondent has had an interview with an expert in this field Oleg Kozerod, Doctor of Historical Sciences, member of the European Association for Jewish Studies (Oxford).


Q.: Dear Dr Kozerod, You are one of a few world's experts in Jewish history in Ukraine. Please tell us about current trends in studying Jewish culture and history of that country.


A.: There is a stable interest in studying Jewish history and culture in Europe and globally. The history of Eastern European Jewry draws typically special attention these days. Eastern Europe is the cradle of the modern Jewish culture. It is actually a focus of attention for everyone who wish to know more about a modern life of People of the Book. Special attention is paid to studying history of specific cities and areas in Russia and Ukraine, and a Jewish cultural heritage that has become a part of contemporary culture in ex-Soviet Republics. I am happy about the fact that European foundations still inject money into research programs on Jewish history in Russia, Ukraine and other countries, regardless of the financial crisis.



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I read an amazing article by Grayson Perry entitled "How art appreciates - it's a class act".

In a nutshell he reckoned that art finds its true monetary value from what the experts say. But I can see something more from what he says.

If a piece of art is to be labeled as having any "value" at all it is what is said about it that establishes it as a work worthy of an individuals attention.

In other words ... if you see a picture and it relates to you in some way (this can be either positively or negatively) - then you should say so ... and write it down.

So once one remark has been made then others will follow ... plus other people will look at the work and make their own minds up about it, and they will also read about what you have said ... and they will include your critique in their weighing up of the image.

I am not necessarily talking only about financial worth, no, here is a far greater opportunity which is all inclusive, wonderfully mutual, and offers the chance for anyone - and everyone ... to add to the worthiness of any piece of art - and eventually to the whole of society. What YOU have to say about a particular artwork is very important ... even vital not only to the work, or the artist, or that particular type of work, or to your locality, or to your region, or to your country ... but to the World! (I am referring here to the butterfly wing beat theory ... if you don't know about it then you must look it up ... it really puts value onto the individual within a world context ... fantastic - but I believe it's true).




The problem of combating xenophobia and anti-semitism is a pressing issue in Eastern Europe. We devoted this interview with Oleg Kozerod, Doctor of Historical Sciences, member of the European Association for Jewish Studies (Oxford), to the specified topic.


Dear Doctor Kozerod,


Q.: You are an expert in Jewish history and anti-semitism, so what is your assessment of the present situation around xenophobia and anti-semitism in Ukraine?


A.: The last report on anti-semitism in Ukraine in January/February 2011 published by experts of the Jewish Forum of Ukraine indicates a notable advance in combating anti-semitism made by our government. Six or seven Ukrainian periodicals that used an aggressive propaganda were closed or suspended publication of their ethnic slurs. Just recall what was going on in the country two years ago. The city was taken over with stalls selling anti-semitic literature.  Now there are none. The level of anti-semitism in Ukraine seems to be declining.


Q.: Do you think the existing anti-semites have reclaimed themselves in one go?


A.: Not much. However, what we see now is a general trend of decrease of this phenomenon. I am sure the trend will be soon appreciated by the US State Department and European governments. There is a real hope that Ukraine will leave the Global Top 3 countries ranked by the level of this disgraceful phenomenon.




This year will be the "make-or-break year" for stalled trade talks which could boost the global economy by more than £100 billion, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.

Mr Cameron issued a challenge to all world leaders to get behind a deal in the Doha Round talks on trade liberalisation, warning: "No one should hold anything back for later," and added that failure to complete the round this year would make a "radical rethink" necessary.

The Prime Minister rejected arguments for protectionist trade policies to defend domestic jobs in the wake of the recession, saying: "Fighting protectionism is a vital part of security, growth and prosperity for us all."

Trade is not a "zero-sum game" in which imports of low-cost goods from China damage the UK by reducing its own opportunity to export, said Mr Cameron. Instead, the UK benefits from increased choice, competition and low prices in the shops.

It is "ridiculous" that the World Trade Organisation negotiations, which began in the Qatari city of Doha in 2001, have still produced no agreement, said the Prime Minister.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he welcomed Friday's publication of the Trade Experts Group's interim report, which found that to be a success, the negotiations must be concluded by the end of 2011.

Completion of the round, which aims to remove barriers to trade and open rich-world markets up to poorer countries, would provide a massive boost to the global recovery from recession, said Mr Cameron.

"Trade is the biggest wealth creator we've ever known," he said. "And it's the biggest stimulus we can give our economies right now. A completed trade round could add 170 billion US dollars (£106 billion) to the world economy."

In a message to other world leaders, Mr Cameron said: "We've been at this Doha Round for far too long. It's frankly ridiculous that it has taken 10 years to do this deal. We simply cannot spend another 10 years going round in circles.

"If we don't get the deal done this year it is hard to see how the Doha process can have any further credibility. If we enter 2012 still stuck on this, real leadership will mean a radical rethink of how we get this done."



Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2010, All Rights Reserved.


Ministers' demands for banks to show restraint in this year's bonus round look set to be defied by taxpayer-backed Lloyds with a £2 million award for its chief executive.

Eric Daniels, who is to leave the bank in March, is reported to be in line for the windfall after waiving any bonus for the past two years.

Cabinet minister Philip Hammond said the award, which follows claims that the Government has backed down in its battle with the banks, was "not welcome news".

Mr Daniels is entitled to a £2.3 million maximum bonus, set at 225% of salary, but any payout of that order will fuel anger over bank handouts.

Downing Street described the £2 million figure reported by the BBC as "speculation" and said the Treasury had not been informed about bonus proposals by Lloyds.



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The UK's powerhouse services sector contracted for the first time in 20 months during December after snow and public sector cuts impacted trading, new research has revealed.

The latest Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) survey - where a reading above 50 indicates growth - slipped to 49.7 in December from 53 in November and also came in well below City expectations.

Arctic weather conditions were blamed for the first fall in new business since mid 2009, with hotels, restaurants, caterers and personal services bearing the brunt of the disruption.

Photo by Jonah G.S.


Free nicotine patches are to be offered on the NHS as part of a major drive to help smokers quit their habit in the New Year.

Coupons giving smokers a week's free trial of the patches will be added to "Quit Kits" for the first time, the Department of Health announced.

The kits, which also contain items such as calming audio downloads and "health and wealth" wheels showing the benefits of giving up, will be available at participating pharmacies across the country.

The Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) patches work by gradually releasing nicotine into the bloodstream without the cancer-causing substances found in cigarettes. Smokers can double their chances of giving up successfully by using them, and research shows that two-thirds of smokers want to stop.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "January is the most popular time of year to try and quit smoking. To give smokers some extra help, we've launched a new Quit Kit with a free one-week trial of NRT patches.

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Are you looking to find your one true love in London? The best way to get out there is to find an online dating site. You can search for locals in your area. Make sure that you are totally honest on these sites. Fill it all out the best you can and tell all about yourself. You can browse other members and see if you like them. Make sure you put a picture up and be honest! Many people will not even look at your profile without a picture posted. If it is not you, then you will end up finding someone looking for someone different. Honesty is always the best policy if you want to find a lasting relationship out of this attempt.

Keep in touch with several people on the site and keep your options open. Get to know them over several e-mails and see if they are someone you want to get to know in a more intimate relationship outside of the internet. Be safe when telling them all of your information until you know this person a bit better. You do not want to let out all your secrets before you even get a chance to meet in person. Remember you can only get to know someone so well this way, so you will learn more when you meet them outside the comforts of the keyboard. Don't be afraid to set up dates with more than one person and feel out which one is best for you!

Once you meet someone you would like to go on a date with, make sure you make the date perfect! Find something you will both enjoy. If you are into the arts, go to a museum. Movies don't make a great first date, because then you don't have to talk. Dinner is always good, but make sure they will enjoy the type of restaurant that you choose to go to that evening. Spend time talking and getting to know each other so you know if this is someone that you are interested in pursuing further. Lunch dates can be nice and a bit less pressure also. There is so much to offer in London so be creative!

There are also many dating agencies in London. You can search the internet or yellow pages to find one that you like. They will help set you up with someone they see as a great match for you! There are so many different kinds of people in London that this can be a great way to meet someone you wouldn't normally cross paths with on a day to day basis.

Just remember to be open to the experience! Try something new. Meet with someone a little out of your comfort zone that normally wouldn't be your type. You could just be dating the wrong type of people and having the assistance of an outside person can help. They might see things about you that you don't even realize about yourself. Have fun and enjoy finding your one true love in London!

Susan Lancaster



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Does London pop up in your travel plans occasionally but you end up putting off a visit to one of the most exciting and historical cities in the world due to cost issues? The biggest consideration might be the cost of your accommodation, which is widely known to be pricey just like everything else in the city.

However, a little research on the cheapest hotels in London would always do you some good in snagging a comfortable yet affordable budget hotel in London, which can be found in almost all parts of London, including Central London as well as the outskirts. Hence, with the countless accommodation options for budget travelers readily available, especially on the Internet, you do not have to spend more than you should on your accommodation in London as the rest of your expenditure is better spent on food, entertainment or business in this vibrant city.

So, where and how do you start researching on these cheap London hotels, you may ask? You can start right here, as I will provide some useful tips on the types of budget accommodation that is available in London, where they can be found, and which website we recommend for booking your hotels in London.


Business Secretary Vince Cable has pledged to take "robust action" on the "scandalous" and "completely unjustified" payouts by banks in Britain.

The Liberal Democrat MP vowed to press ahead with plans to curb City worker's lavish pay and bonuses, despite fears that many financial firms could relocate abroad as a result.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, he said: "The banks shouldn't underestimate our determination to act. They are deluding themselves, really seriously deluding themselves, if they believe the Government is not going to take this seriously."

A defiant Mr Cable insisted he would not be blackmailed by bank bosses threatening to move their bases to more favourable tax regimes, passing some threats off as "not credible".

He also indicated he would accept some firms leaving if it meant a fairer and more stable banking system.

"We're not going to be bullied. I meet all kinds of companies who say, 'give us something or we'll go somewhere else', but you can't just give in the whole time," he said.

"We don't want to lose firms from the UK. But you're dealing with internationally mobile companies and some come and some go."

Chancellor George Osborne and Mr Cable will meet chief executives of the major banks this week for talks in which excessive bonuses and lending to small businesses will be high on the agenda.

Mr Cable said the issue of tackling the culture of secrecy around banking pay would also be discussed.

"We've got to have strong disclosure rules: start shining light on what's actually going on at the top of the leading banking institutions," he added.


Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2010, All Rights Reserved.