Alex Duval Smith

Alex Duval Smith is a freelance foreign correspondent based in South Africa

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Sierra Leone denies film's corruption claims

The Sierra Leone government held crisis meetings last week after undercover film-makers claimed to have exposed a chain of corruption and deceit linked to illegal logging which is destroying the west African country's environment.

Desmond Tutu: 'It is insulting to all South Africans to be asked to stomach legislation that could be used to outlaw whistle-blowing and investigative journalism'

Critics condemn new South African secrecy law

South African MPs yesterday passed a secrecy law that critics say harks back to apartheid legislation, criminalises investigative journalism and could be used to conceal corruption.

Alex Duval Smith: Self-styled spokesman for the poor will be back

For now, he would be happy to be premier of Limpopo Province and to concentrate on getting rich
Julius Malema is very popular among the poor and can pick up his political career later

Zuma casts out firebrand Malema with shock suspension from ANC

Leader of youth wing hits out after being handed five-year ban for bringing party into disrepute

President Jacob Zuma in leopard skin

Zulus urged to change spots to save leopards

If new, cheap fake fur takes off in South Africa, decline of endangered cats could be halted

Obituary: Gnassingbe Eyadema

Long-serving President of Togo

Our Woman In Paris: Ectoplasm ain't what it used to be

The fact that Parisians refer to the Phantom of the Opera by his real name, Erik, says it all. Fairies are out of fashion, levitation has fallen flat and ectoplasm is not emanating from mediums like it used to. In this era, in which ghosts have a negative effect on property prices, it is years since anyone admitted to attending a good séance.

Our Woman In Paris: A giant leap for the city's new icon

Her image is plastered around every Métro station in town, but the identity of the athlete chosen to adorn the official poster for the World Athletics Championships, which start this Saturday in Paris, has until recently remained a mystery.

Film: The liar king of Zaire

Lethal Weapon IV is most South Africans' idea of a good night out. So why are they fighting to see a documentary about a dead president? By Alex Duval Smith

Frontline Lagos: Taking the negotiation out of aviation

LAGOS AIRPORT is one of the world's least favourite places for airlines. It was never worse than earlier this year when it had its first aircraft hold-up. A Kenya Airways jet, taxiing to take-off, was blocked by bandits who opened a hatch and carried away baggage as crew and passengers looked down in disbelief.
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital