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A new documentary on blood diamonds from Lars von Trier's company is as controversial as anything the director has done himself
A notorious former warlord has emerged as "kingmaker" in a Liberian election that grabbed the attention of the world this week when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the President running for a second term.
Once he ordered torture. Now, he tells Daniel Howden, he controls the future of Liberia
Liberia goes to the polls tomorrow in a tense contest that pits this year's Nobel Peace prize-winner against a former world footballer of the year in a country still recovering from a prolonged and savage civil war. The incumbent, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, must see off a strong challenge from an opposition counting on the popularity of its vice-presidential candidate George Weah, who has a passionate grassroots following.
Ivory Coast has been plunged back into civil war after a slow-burning election crisis developed into violence with forces loyal to the internationally recognised president-elect, Alassane Ouattara, poised to take the capital.
Troubled West African nation sliding back towards another civil war.
Warwick Prize shortlisted author Aminatta Forna tells Matthew Bell why she keeps returning to the conflicts of her past
Ivory Coast appeared to be sliding back into civil war yesterday as foreign nationals were warned to leave the country, while government-backed "death squads" were reported to be abducting opposition supporters.
It's not unusual in West Africa to see dancing "devils" entertaining a crowd of amused local people. Tim Butcher encountered one shortly after crossing the border between Sierra Leone and Liberia, and he describes it in his new book as a masked figure – the headpiece carved from a single piece of jet-black wood – with a floor-length raffia skirt. Everyone knows there's a human being underneath, but the "devil" is accompanied by a young man who keeps brushing its skirt flat to maintain the illusion.
Fury in Moscow after Washington wins battle to put suspected arms dealer Viktor Bout on trial. Andrew Buncombe reports
The group biography is a daunting task. Chronicling the life of a single subject is an exhausting feat of research, tact and elision. Bundling half a dozen lives in some factitious intertwining is asking for chaos. Only the freakishly energetic Humphrey Carpenter ever seemed to relish the experience, as he charted the heyday of Waugh, Powell, Betjeman and co in The Brideshead Generation.
For the man right at the very back of the room in the dark suit and the expensive grey tie, the appearance of Naomi Campbell in court in The Hague yesterday must have been a welcome relief. For the past three years the focus in the courtroom has been fairly unremittingly on him. He is Charles Taylor, the man accused of war crimes in Sierra Leone.
Moira Buffini is only the second woman to have a new work staged in the Olivier and no one could accuse her of failing to rise to the challenge. Her predecessor, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, dramatised the suffragette struggle for the vote in Her Naked Skin. Buffini, giving a modern twist to Greek myth and Attic tragedy, explores the plight of a female protagonist who becomes the first democratic president of a third-world country that is emerging from a brutal civil war. Ancient Thebes is re-imagined as a present-day African state, strongly reminiscent of Liberia. The play speculates on what would happen if Creon's wife, Eurydice, assumed power in an update of Sophocles' Antigone.
Naomi Campbell, Mia Farrow and Nelson Mandela in a tale of midnight assignations and blood diamonds delivered at bedroom doorways. The latest fantastical Hollywood screenplay? No, it's the latest twist in the bid to bring the west African dictator Charles Taylor to justice for war crimes.
Since 2007 the VICE travel guides have brought us some of the most unusual travel films around: From Beirut to Bulgaria, Chernobyl to Congo the guides have taken the viewer on journeys to surreal and often dangerous places.
"Photography is dead in its traditional form," says Tim Hetherington. With the proliferation of digital culture, his view is that authenticity is now more important than style. "Many people can take pictures as good as mine but mine are more authentic because of my experience."