News Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's motorcade commander has been arrested for allegedly smuggling 300kg of cannabis

The commander of the Liberian President’s motorcade has been arrested for allegedly smuggling 300kg of cannabis.

Leading article: Nigeria's desperate plight

If the trial of the Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab for attempting to blow up a plane over Detroit draws some attention to his country of origin it can only be for the better. For more than a month now one of Africa's richest and most important states has been without an effective leadership, as its president Umaru Yar'Adua, has disappeared abroad, reportedly to a hospital in Saud Arabia where he lies virtually incommunicado.

Talent 2010: The photographer, Tim Hetherington

"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."

Time to clip the wings of the vultures?

This week vulture funds hit another desperately poor country with a multimillion-dollar lawsuit. Charities want a new law to stop them, reports James Moore

Comic relief: Zadie Smith's passion for British comedy

Once a prodigy of fiction, Zadie Smith has grown into a writer, critic and teacher with an international outlook - and a lasting passion for British comedy. Boyd Tonkin meets her

Johnny Mad Dog, Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire, 97 mins, (15)

The terrifying childishness of war emerges in this unflinching account of an unnamed civil conflict

Money and Mandarin lessons fuel China's African invasion

From Liberia to Ethiopia, Beijing is constructing a 21st century empire thousands of miles from home

Gareth Thomas: Basic healthcare for the world's poor should be a right, not a luxury

Last week I was in Sierra Leone, where I met Aisata Jabbie, an 18 year old mother in agony after complications during a home birth. She couldn't afford to give birth in the local hospital.

Research highlights needless death of a million babies

More than than a million newborn babies are dying needlessly every year around the world because of lack of care in their first month of their life, according to research.

Art in Paris: Big Sister is watching you

This weekend hundreds of immense pairs of eyes will be gazing at the river boats on the Seine. They belong to heroic women from the world's worst trouble spots. John Lichfield meets the artist

Hilary Clinton wins hearts as she concludes African tour

In Liberia, Hillary Clinton brought out the crowds despite torrential rain.

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf: We will not rest until the gains of peace are felt by all Liberians

When, on 16 January 2006, I spoke to the nation, I recognised that the vote for me was a vote for change. More than that, it was a vote for peace, security and stability; a vote for individual and national prosperity; a vote for healing and leadership. I expressed humility in the enormity of the challenges that lay ahead – to heal our nation's wounds, redefine and strengthen its purpose, make democracy a living and effective experiment, promote economic growth, create jobs, revitalise our health and education facilities and services, and quicken the pace of social progress and individual prosperity in our country.

Raped eight-year-old shunned by family

A refugee girl aged eight who was gang-raped in a shed by four boys from her homeland, Liberia, has been shunned by her family.

Taylor denies Sierra Leone invasion

Former Liberian president Charles Taylor has told a war crimes court in The Hague that he played no part in forming the guerrilla force that invaded Sierra Leone in the early 1990s.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links