Paul Vallely

Paul Vallely is Associate Editor of The Independent where he writes on social, ethical, political and cultural issues. He writes leaders, features and has a weekly column in the Independent on Sunday. He was co-author of the report of the Commission for Africa and has chaired several development charities.

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Bruce Reynolds, leader of the 'Great Train Robbery' gang, outside Linslade Court, Buckinghamshire in 1968

Bruce Reynolds, mastermind behind Great Train Robbery, dies aged 81

Violent criminal reoffended after 10-year sentence for his part in a robbery that shook the world in 1963

Cardinal Keith O'Brien has been sacked by the Pope, rather than left to retire

At last winds of change blow through the Vatican

Do the math: peace is cheaper than war

War destroys people, roads, farms, water supplies... and creates havens for terrorists
Benedict XVI appears at the main balcony of St Peter’s Basilica after being elected the 265th pope on 19 April 2005

Legacy of the German shepherd: Benedict XVI turned out to be a pope of surprises – a tradition he maintained with his shock decision to resign

Greatest weakness may have been loyalty to the church’s old clandestine self-protective culture

Neglected: A memorial to Stafford hospital patients

Don't blame me. I'm only the boss

No one will be punished for the deaths at Stafford – it was the fault of 'the culture'. And those in charge at the time have been... promoted

Centre forward: David Beckham enjoys the limelight – and does good out of sight

Paradox player who is modestly vain

David Beckham's move to France is the latest of his self-promoting gestures. Or is it the engaging act of a thoroughly nice guy?

Comic timing: 'I started out as father of the event, and now I feel like the grandfather,' says Curtis

Richard Curtis: Twenty-five years of laughing in the face of tragedy

The creator of Comic Relief hopes that in another quarter of a century it may not be necessary. Until then, it's red noses all round. Paul Vallely meets Richard Curtis

Political tinkering is the enemy of education

'For a self-styled visionary Mr Gove demonstrates a paucity of imagination

A mother holding her child and a French soldier stand in front of charred pickup trucks used by Islamist rebels in Diabaly

Police move in to guard safe haven for 66 rescued child soldiers in Central African Republic (CAR)

The Independent's campaign has raised over £225,000. But as the latest news makes clear, the problems facing children in the CAR have not gone away

Under orders: French soldiers being instructed at their Malian air base last week

Don't go to war over a band of zealots

Alarming as the hostage crisis in Algeria is, memories of Iraq teach us that this is no reason to make an already volatile area more unstable

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The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution