Voices Germany’s ‘Bild am Sonntag’ newspaper claims that President Obama knew that Ms Merkel’s phone had been tapped as early as 2010

About a year ago, I began to recieve a wonderful series of calls from America and London

Travel Agenda: Vinopolis; Zambezi Queen; Lumiere festival; Mandarin Oriental

Today: For the Caribbean closer to home, make for Vinopolis in London, where the Caribbean Tourism Organisation is hosting a showcase with food, music, drinks and an appearance by Levi Roots (caribbean.co.uk).

McCall Smith makes monkey out of Macbeth

Author's first foray into opera recasts Shakespearean characters as baboons

Botswana's President Khama wins new term

Botswana's President Ian Khama secured a new five-year term today, extending his rule over the world's largest diamond producer, after his governing BDP party swept to victory in a parliamentary election.

Leading article: The merits of a strong opposition

It is to be hoped that the opposition gets more seats in today's elections in Botswana than in previous years. This is not because the incumbent, President Seretse Khama, is not a good thing. He runs perhaps the most politically and economically stable country in Africa – and took over mid-term, after being vice-president, in a smooth transition of power in a country where every election since independence has been deemed free and fair. He is one of the few African leaders to have spoken out against Robert Mugabe's state-sponsored violence in neighbouring Zimbabwe.

Critics fear all is not well in the darling of Africa on eve of election

Botswana President's disciplinarian tendencies 'are shading into autocracy'

Hilary Mantel: 'I am sympathetic to politicians'

Man Booker winner Hilary Mantel has injected new life into Tudor turmoils but, as Boyd Tonkin discovers, she has first-hand experience of living in the shadow of arbitrary power

Something to declare: Santorini; free museums in France; train trouble

Where to go, how to save, what to avoid

Five best walking safaris

Forego the comforts of hotel and 4x4, and take a walk on Africa's wild side, says Mike Unwin

Five Aquatic Abodes

Splash out and drink in the views at these alluring waterside hotels. By Aoife O'Riordain

Tsvangirai rules out foul play in wife's fatal accident

Party officials remain suspicious as leader says it was not attempt on his life

Zimbabwe: A beautiful land in need of a change of fortune

Visitors once flocked to Zimbabwe, but abhorrence for President Mugabe's regime has all but destroyed tourism in the country. When will the tourists be tempted back?

The Taint of Midas, By Anne Zouroudi

An uncanny Greek sleuth cracks his second case

Raymond Whitaker: We can reach Zimbabwe's people

As Mugabe recruits thugs with the promise of a square meal, spreading the truth is the watching world's most powerful weapon

Zimbabwe activist 'torture' to be investigated

A Zimbabwean human rights activist missing for three weeks was taken to court accused, according to state media, of plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe.

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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital