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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Coffins of children among the adult victims in an hangar of Lampedusa airport

Lampedusa, half way to broken-promise land

There are reports of ships failing to stop if they see migrant boats in trouble

Crude display: Why should women be put up with being objectified every single day?

Porn has changed – for the worse. Even men have noticed

The former editor of a lads' mag has changed his view of pornography, because of the possible effect on his son, but he has forgotten something

In the White Widow we are watching the creation of a modern myth

The media finds Lewthwaite fascinating, as with all female terrorists

The demand of a small number of Muslim women to hide their faces must not usurp the rights of others

Let's face it – the niqab is ridiculous, and the ideology behind it weird

Why everyone is being so polite? Religious expression is not an absolute right, and should be limited if it affects the rights of others

Prince William is taking a year off at a time

Special perks for Duke of Cambridge: Who but Prince William gets a year’s paternity leave?

He is taking a year off at a time when millions of people are struggling to hold on to their jobs

The Delhi bus gang-rape conviction is not the only example of lax cultural attitudes to sexual violence

A study showed almost a quarter of men in the Asia-Pacific region admit rape. It seems sexual violence is regarded by some men as an acceptable part of relations with women

Protesters against the war in Iraq marching in March 2003

MPs are scarred by the war in Iraq

The vote on Syria was dogged by memories of 2003

Syrian children at a refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan

Children pay for our failure over Syria

For too long we have sent mixed messages to the dictator in Damascus

David Cameron and his wife on their holidays

I'm suspicious of words like 'tradition', precisely because they carry a dead weight of expectation

Tories on the right regard David Cameron as modern, but wearing shorts is not enough

Twitter climbdown is too little, too late

How can we believe that men who abuse women online aren't also raping partners?

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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own