Joan Smith

Known for her human rights activism and writing on subjects such as atheism and feminism, Joan Smith is a columnist, critic and novelist. An Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society and a regular contributor to BBC radio, she has written five detective novels, two of which have been filmed by the BBC.

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Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s dictator, and the subject of the spoof Sony film

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
Ukipland - a fictional country where the old values are no longer respected and people yearn for vanished certainties

In Ukipland there's a pint waiting for Russell Brand and Nigel Farage

They like to think they're opposites but when it comes to women, I can't help thinking they'd find common ground
Novelist P D James, who died last week at the age of 94

PD James: The warm, inspirational woman I knew

She confronted moral dilemmas with seriousness and a sense of responsibility

The royal dress code can't cloak Prince Charles

Ministers are terrified of the effect on public opinion if the Prince of Wales’s letters are published
The Rosetta Lander Imaging System on the Philae Lander shows the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Rosetta mission represents the very best side of human nature

The forces of darkness are on the march. All the more reason to celebrate Philae, rationality and the march of progress
Fiona Woolf, left, ex-BBC newsreader Martyn Lewis and Lady Brittan

Child abuse inquiry: Children's lives are destroyed by this culture of disbelief

The fiasco surrounding the Woolf inquiry suggests the Home Office still doesn't grasp the size of the problem
Ched Evans has repeatedly denied he did anything wrong

A bit of contrition would help, but appallingly behaved footballers barely see a problem

As sexual violence against women increases, football's authorities should take the same sort of stand that they have on racism

Isis in Kobani: Why Turkey is allowing the town to fall

A history of appalling brutality between the Ankara government and the Kurds is the key to President Erdogan's priorities
Alan Henning’s wife, Barbara, last month appealing for the release of her husband

With Alan Henning's death, the media finally stops playing the terrorists' tune

It took the death of the British aid worker for papers not to publish images of Isis's brutality
The name Abu Qatada has become a byword for ‘crazy human rights’

When did 'human rights' become a source of shame?

It has replaced 'political correctness' as the dinner-party phrase designed to appeal to right-wing prejudice
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A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones