Ian Birrell

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

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Is Europe really a safe enough place for my African friend to visit?

Look at our continent and you could see a place cursed by corruption, scarred by communal struggles and riddled with racism

Two cheers for Nick Clegg – at least he’s talking about drugs

He is absolutely right in his analysis that prohibition has failed and addiction must be treated as a health issue

Michael Gove is to relieve chairman Dame Sally Morgan of her duties

Sharpen the axe, minister: There should be more political appointments, not fewer

Why hasn't a government ostensibly committed to serious public and private-sector reform installed its own people in these critical posts already?

With the death of Ariel Sharon, I am left to wonder what happened to the political ideal that drew me to a kibbutz all those years ago

The kibbutz system showed Israel in a different light from how it is perceived today

'Chicken McNuggets' at a McDonalds fast-food restaurant in Yichang, central China's Hubei province

World hunger has dropped greatly – but what do we do about the planet’s expanding waistline?

Body mass index rises alongside economic growth

Paul Kagame has been described as a 'war criminal'

Darling of the West, terror to his opponents: Meet Rwanda’s new scourge - Paul Kagame

Paul Kagame’s rivals keep dying, but Clinton and Blair still shake his hand, writes Ian Birrell

What’s wrong with the Tories? Why aren’t they being more optimistic?

Voters will turn away if they keep hearing sneers and grumbles from Cameron and co

Malian artists Aliou Toure and Bijou at their London album launch. To get here they had to fly to Senegal and wait weeks for visas

Families that need £18,600 to spend Christmas together: The shameful earnings threshold imposed on British citizens wanting to bring their foreign spouses here

As politicians pander to the public’s backlash against immigration, Ian Birrell reports on the new regulations preventing husbands and wives from seeing their children 

The hip of the desert: Africa Express returns

Africa Express has returned from its recent excursion to Mali with a new album and a more direct approach to making music

Robert Mugabe celebrating his birthday in Harare

Should Britain have invaded Zimbabwe?

According to Thabo Mbeki, Tony Blair wanted to overthrow Robert Mugabe by force. The former PM denies this – but would it have been such a bad idea?

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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