Ian Birrell

Ian Birrell is a former Deputy Editor of The Independent and co-founder of Africa Express

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Health workers in Zaire, where ebola is feared to have spread, check bodies for signs

When will our politicians realise that Africa has changed? Aid is dead. Trade is the future.

Our politics has been hijacked by celebrity causes when it comes to global development

‘We fought for years, so why should we give up now? Our spirit will never be broken’

Egypt's brutality exemplifies the contortions of confused Western foreign policy

As part of its fight against terror the West is backing a repressive regime that has jailed 40,000 dissidents like Yara Sallam
Rahem Stirling during on of England's matches

World Cup 2014: Foreign players are not to blame for England's early exit

Greg Dyke is wrong. International talent in the Premier League can only improve the standard of everyone’s game

Tony Blair meeting troops in the port of Umm Qasr, Iraq in May, 2003

Tony Blair has moved beyond parody in his latest attempt to absolve himself

Even if you put aside the most obvious flaw in his argument, that the invasion of Iraq and its appallingly bungled aftermath clearly upset the stability of the region

Room Service: The Quin, New York

Beaux-Arts beauty is brought back to life

David and Samantha Cameron voting earlier this week

I really welcomed the coalition, but now...

The horse-trading by the Tories and Lib Dems has been a disappointment, but what follows the election may be even worse
David Cameron and his wife on their holidays

Being one of our political masters is nice work if you can get elected

As MPs prepare for another holiday, it's about time they started thinking more about how their breaks look to voters

As Sepp Blatter, Richard Scudamore and Greg Dyke prove, football's chiefs keep scoring own goals

Presumably Fifa was dazzled by Qatar's reputation as a footballing powerhouse
Mothers of the missing Chibok school girls abducted by Boko Haram Islamists gather to receive information from officials

What can be done about Boko Haram?

Instead of holding up signs on Twitter, our politicians could tackle the pin-striped pimps who corrode communities with their greed

The enemy within: Nixon despised the hippie culture that saw academics, writers and rock stars promoting the use of hallucinogens

High time to end this immoral drugs war

Though he toyed with drug reform, David Cameron abandoned it for fear of hostile headlines. Yet the path from prohibition is a modern, conservative and radical step which makes sense politically, too

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Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?