Ian Birrell

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

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Six men charged with attempting to kill Rwanda’s former army chief Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa sit in court in Johannesburg. Four of them were convicted of attempted assassination yesterday

Assassins linked to Kagame regime

Rwandan president is implicated in funding hit squad of four men convicted of trying to kill his exiled army chief in  South Africa. Yet Western countries, including Britain, continue to pander to the murderous despot

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

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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there