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

The Miracle at Speedy Motors, by Alexander McCall Smith

Sense and kindness under an African sky

Janet Street-Porter: Welcome to Botswana – the sanitised version

I've read every book about Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's No.1 Lady Detective, and this weekend I will be tuning in to the BBC film based on the books. But listening to the emollient tones of author Alexander McCall Smith on the radio yesterday, I felt queasy. Over the years, his rose-tinted view of life in this corner of Africa has become increasingly hard to stomach, the exploits of traditionally built Precious and her sidekick the plain, bespectacled Mma Makutsi going from whimsically charming to morally dubious – the literary equivalent of eating a can of Delia-approved tinned mince.

Best-selling author attacked over 'tribal stereotypes'

Portrayal of infanticide by 'No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency' writer is condemned

Jill Scott in Africa

The singer and actress, Jill Scott, hadn't visited Africa before she went on location to Botswana for the new film of 'The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency'. She tells Nick Boulos why she will always treasure the experience

Pandora: Breakfast with Soames

Yesterday's breakfasters at the Goring Hotel, by Buckingham Palace, were treated to a dining spectacle worthy of Sir David Attenborough's hushed commentary. On one undersized table for two sat Little and Large: the slim-Jim prospective Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, and his spherical right-wing ally, Nicholas "Fatty" Soames, whose eating habits concern marine conservationists, and whose acclaimed love-making technique is, in the words of one beneficiary, akin to "having a fully loaded wardrobe fall on you with the key still in".

Small Talk: Indian firms put in a hot performance

Indian companies have outperformed on the Alternative Investment Market in the past year, with more set to arrive in London in 2008 as they look for international investment and recognition.

Safari: Kanana camp, Botswana

Anyone who has been on safari in an African game park knows the problem: word goes out that a leopard has been spotted feasting on a springbok, and the next thing you know every Land Rover within 25 miles turns up.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

Al-Qa'ida leader in Iraq who propagated his message by beheading hostages on video

Jersey Royal and Arbroath smokie salad

Serves 4

GOLF: Transsexual to play in the British Open

THE TRANSSEXUAL golfer Mianne Bagger will be able to compete in the women's British Open at Royal Birkdale this summer.

Stephen Corry: Development must respect indigenous people's rights

From a speech to the Royal Society of Arts by the Director of Survival International

Loss of diamond licence could cost Anglo American $500m

The upcoming expiry of a key diamond licence in Botswana could wipe more than $500m (£285m) from Anglo American's profits, according to City analysts.

Curse of Zimbabwe hits southern Africa

Mugabe's regime is damaging the tourist trade in neighbouring countries, says Joanne Watson
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No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor