Ian Birrell

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

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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?

Conservative party must heed warning from Nick Boles or risk terminal decline

Tories should revive the National Liberal Party brand in order to build coalitions before, rather than after, elections

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta

UN sees off bid to halt Kenyatta’s crimes against humanity trial

So the International Criminal Court can fight on in its struggle to bring tyrants to justice.

Ebrahimi was a disabled man, driven out of his previous house by a mysterious arson attack following complaints from neighbours

How hateful is Britain? Insulted, bullied and murdered – for being disabled

In our supposedly civilised society, people who are ‘different’ still face abuse, vigilante justice and death

‘Blonde angel’: The case of Maria highlights the abuse towards Roma people across Europe

The grim history of the Roma is no fairy tale

The reaction to the discovery of a little blonde girl in a travellers' camp illustrates an age-old – and shameful – persecution of an isolated people

Video footage released last week appeared to show a man claiming to be Boko Haram's leader Abubakar Shekau

Boko Haram insurgency: The conflict in northern Nigeria crying out for more attention – and less violence

The group lives up to its name - which translates as 'Western education is sinful' - by shooting children taking exams and burning down dozens of schools

Kenya shopping mall attack: The West must act judiciously over Somalia if these horrors are to end

Somalia’s problems have been worsened by bungled intervention from outside

Let's open our borders to Syria's refugees

Britain is one of the world’s wealthiest nations, we should set an example

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Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn