News Brief

Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky ended his 14-day hunger strike in prison.

Khodorkovsky, the former CEO of the Yukos Oil Co., was Russia’s richest man before being convicted of tax evasion in a case widely criticized as political punishment for his opposition to President Vladimir Putin’s government. The one-time billionaire is imprisoned in Chita, in the Russian Far East

Khodorkovsky, whose father is Jewish, began the hunger strike last month to protest the treatment of business associate Vasily Alexanian, a Yukos vice president who is dying of HIV/AIDS in a Russian hospital. Alexanian claimed that Russian authorities offered to move him to a hospital for treatment if he would testify in further proceedings against Khodorkovsky. Alexanian refused.

Last Friday, now almost blind and reportedly near death, Alexanian was moved to a special clinic, according to a report by Reuters. Khodorkovsky issued a statement Monday through his Web site, khodorkovsky.info, declaring an end to the protest.

“I am sincerely grateful to everyone who has reacted to these outrageous acts of inhuman torture perpetrated on an innocent man in order to force him to give false testimony,” read the statement.

A prestigious Jewish school in London was accused of discrimination for refusing to accept the daughter of a convert.

The JFS, formerly known as the Jewish Free School, rejected the application of a girl whose mother is a convert to Judaism and a teacher in the school, the Times of London reported Tuesday. Her father is an Orthodox Jew.

The office of the chief rabbi, which acts as the school’s religious authority, does not recognize the mother’s conversion, which took place more than 20 years ago under the auspices of the same office.

The parents, David and Kate Lightman, say the north London school has violated British race laws and have requested a judicial review in the High Court regarding the admissions policy of the school, the largest Orthodox Jewish school in Europe with about 2,000 students.

The Times reported that children from two other families were refused admission based on questions about conversions. The school, which receives government funding, says the refusals were based on religion, not race.

The Lightmans have been battling for admission on behalf of their daughter, now 13, for four years.

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