Alex Duval Smith

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

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Focus: Carving a brighter future in Mozambique

ISMAEL JOSE carves elephants from the wood of the Mozambican mafourera tree. It is a humble craft but ever since the earth movers rolled on to his ancestral land last year, Mr Jose, 24, has felt like a lottery winner. "I have moved my family from a reed hut to a brick house with glass in the windows and burglar bars,'' he said.

Letter from Johannesburg: Crime shadow over Games

IN A burst of sound and laser light, South Africa launched its bid for football's 2006 World Cup. Well, not officially. The impressive Johannesburg Stadium extravaganza on Friday was the opening ceremony of the seventh All Africa Games - 6,000 athletes from 51 nations gathered for 10 days of competition.

Frontline: Freetown: Curfew time in `a world of tin roofs'

EVERY DAY at 7.30pm, the capital of Sierra Leone becomes frantic. There are dinners to eat and friends to run home - all in the half hour before the road-block sand bags go up and freedom of movement becomes reserved to well-connected prostitutes and a few privileged military who know that night's curfew password.

Trapped in the devil's lair

Alex Duval Smith in Freetown on the savage politics that led to the seizing of the British hostages

Five Britons are seized in Sierra Leone

Alex Duval Smith reports from Freetown as rebels abduct soldiers on a UN mission to rescue child hostages

Return of the rebels

The war in Sierra Leone has claimed 50,000 lives and ruined countless others. So why is the leader whose forces have torn the country apart being returned to power? And why is the British Government backing the deal?

40,000 women fight in bloody war of attrition

FRONTLINE: TSORONA, ERITREA-ETHIOPIA BORDER

Zimbabwe in crisis as Nkomo is laid to rest

THE GOVERNMENT of Zimbabwe used the burial yesterday of Vice-President Joshua Nkomo to deflect attention from the worst crisis facing the country since independence 19 years ago.

Congo peace role for Mandela

THE FORMER South African president, Nelson Mandela, is next week expected to make his first appearance in the unofficial role of international peace-broker at a summit in Zambia aimed at ending the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Successor Mbeki's Communist roots

PRESIDENT NELSON Mandela has been described as the hardest act to follow since Abraham Lincoln. The man chosen by the ANC for the task is Thabo Mbeki, 56, who has the anti-apartheid struggle in his blood and a Sussex University economics degree on his CV.
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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee