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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George Galloway's Israel denial may repel the mainstream, but it further cements his reputation within his religious constituency

Galloway has ended up representing the nearest thing Britain has to a religious party

Oscar Pistorius: The red-tops have a repellent new invention - murder trial porn

Earlier this month, a 17-year-old girl died in hospital after being brutally gang-raped in South Africa. The details are too horrible to repeat and the murder sparked public protests, even if it received less attention outside the country than the recent gang rape of a student in India. South Africa has one of the highest rates of rape in the world, with almost 150 cases reported to the police every day and many more unreported. It also had the highest rate of intimate femicide – murders of women by their partners – according to a 1999 study.

It's 12p for a burger, but you do get some change

Thirteen years ago, a trial in Yorkshire revealed that hundreds of tons of poultry declared unfit for human consumption had entered the food chain. For several years, five men had operated a nationwide scam, selling chicken and turkey destined for pet food to butchers' shops, restaurants and supermarkets. Stomach-churning details emerged of how they'd washed the meat to get rid of mould and faeces, and soaked it in brine to remove the stench. The judge criticised the gang for targeting discount supermarkets serving poorer consumers who couldn't afford more expensive cuts of meat.

For the victim trials can be a second ordeal

Frances Andrade is believed to have killed herself during the trial of Michael Brewer

There's only one Clinton now. She's been great

Hillary Clinton's memoirs end in 2001, just after she was elected to the Senate and eight years before she became Barack Obama's Secretary of State. They're called Living History, but her own political career was still in the future when the Clintons left the White House for the last time. The woman who stepped down as the US's chief diplomat two days ago is living proof that Scott Fitzgerald was wrong when he said there are no second acts in American lives.

Queen of fiction: Hilary Mantel

The Costa Book Award is hers, but let's be frank: Hilary Mantel peddles snobbish period soap operas

These books are heavy on history but light on emotional substance

Women will now play a bigger role in protecting the country, after the Obama administration lifted the ban on women in combat roles

War kills women – in uniform, in civvies

The assumptions that once kept women out of the military have been totally undermined by modern warfare

'Red Ed' looks more like Ed the Ready (for No 10)

Gosh, how would things look if we didn't have a shamelessly partisan right-wing press in this country? The coalition is fractious, the Prime Minister is irritable, the polls are dreadful, and that was before David Cameron had to postpone his big speech on Europe because of the hostage crisis in Algeria. It's time for the Tory papers to swing into action, in other words, and look how well they performed last week.

Tarantino dresses up violence, but violence it is

Quentin Tarantino is a brilliant name for a movie director. "Quentin" sounds a bit cardigan-and-slippers. Then it whams you in the gut – a bit like his films – with a fiery Italian surname. "Tarantino" makes me think of hairy spiders and a manic dance called the tarantella, which gets its name from their bite. I know its actual meaning is prosaic, suggesting his father's family has links with Taranto in southern Italy. (So does the spider.) But that turns out to be rather a good metaphor: both his name and his films promise more than they deliver.

Half of the world's food is thrown away? Come on, supermarkets: give us ‘imperfection’

Special offers that go mouldy in the fridge are partly why people throw so much food away

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Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

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A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?