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Leading Articles

A crime that tests our willingess to stop genocide

Imagine a town about the size of Whitstable or Stirling, with a population of about 30,000. One moment it's there and the next it isn't. All that remains of a once bustling community of schools, hospitals, shops, houses and, above all, people is ash, bodies, charred wood and twisted metal. A couple of survivors, or perhaps looters, sift through the debris amid the smoke. It sounds like the stuff of nightmares or horror movies. But this is not the fruit of someone's dark imagination. As The Independent reports today, horror on this scale has been visited on the town of Abyei in southern Sudan.

Recent Leading Articles

Leading article: Prison won't halt this epidemic of stabbing

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Another day, another stabbing. On Saturday, a budding actor, Robert Knox, 18, was knifed to death in Sidcup, Kent. Yesterday, a 19-year-old was in critical condition after being stabbed in East Ham, east London. Earlier this month, Jimmy Mizen, 16, was stabbed to death at Lee, in south-east London. Fatal knife crimes are losing their power to shock. As the gap between each crime closes, we have less time to absorb what happened. Faces blur. Stabbing is becoming a routine occurrence, at least in London and other cities.

Leading article: Still looking for life

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

The prospect that life exists beyond our planet, as well as a fear of what form it may take, have never lost their hold over the imagination. Once, those longed-for celestial beings took the form of winged gods. Now our hopes are humbler – a speck of living lichen or bacteria would be more than enough. Dare one hope to find the fossil of a larger dead organism, imprisoned for eternity in the unforgiving ice?

Leading article: Only a quick resolution of this crisis can save Brown

Monday, 26 May 2008

After Labour's dismal performance in the Crewe and Nantwich by-election and the bout of febrile speculation about the party leadership that has followed, New Labour is entering one of its most critical phases since it secured power in 1997. The stakes could hardly be higher; one way or another, the party now has to make the key moves and decisions that will last it until the next general election.

Leading article: Lessons for Mbeki

Monday, 26 May 2008

There is a terrible irony in the recent tragic events that have gripped parts of South Africa, where township residents have been turning on economic migrants, killing some and driving away thousands of others.

Leading article: Cruelly discarded

Monday, 26 May 2008

Runners-up in the Champions' League, runners-up in the Premier League. There was a time when a football club that could boast of such a season would be hailing its manager's achievements. The fans might have disappointment to swallow, but would surely still regard the man in charge as a success rather than a failure.

Leading article: They think it's all over. It isn't yet

Sunday, 25 May 2008

By-elections are a distorting lens through which to view British politics. The result in Crewe and Nantwich on Thursday, therefore, could only further unbalance perceptions of the state of play between Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

Leading article: Mr Brown can't be written off yet. But the voters' message is clear

Saturday, 24 May 2008

No one believes that the Conservatives are really heading for a majority of 348 seats at the next general election. The outcome of the by-election in Crewe and Nantwich was an exaggerated measure, therefore, of the feeling of dissatisfaction with Gordon Brown's Government. And it was certainly exaggerated. The Independent's opinion poll on Tuesday was the most accurate of the three surveys conducted in the constituency, possibly because it was the latest snapshot of an electorate on the move, but even that underestimated the scale of the Tory victory.

Leading article: Fair trade is growing – and working

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Fair-trade products will never be the answer to the structural inequalities in the relationship between rich nations and the developing world. But the latest figures show that fair trade is mushrooming all around the world – nowhere more than in the UK where sales of fairly traded goods last year rose by a staggering 70 per cent. What was just two decades ago a prophetic alternative espoused by sandal-wearing beardies now has global sales worth more than £1.6bn. Its projects today touch the lives of seven million people, for the better, across the developing world.

Leading article: Doom and gloom in Cannes

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Just as the state of the economy is linked to the fashion in skirt lengths (the stronger the economy, the shorter the skirt, and vice versa) so movies offer a similar barometer. What people want in an economic downturn is a good escapist comedy. Consider, then, the evidence from Cannes. True, Spielberg & Co cracked their wit with Indiana Jones. And Woody Allen offered a film which was, for his modern oeuvre, uncharacteristically funny. But look to the rest and it's unrelenting grimness: exploited immigrants, smack addicts, women in prison, the Sabra and Shatila massacres, atrocities by the mob in Naples, Bobby Sands's starvation suicide, a mass outbreak of blindness.

Leading article: Soaring prices are a warning that we need to change

Friday, 23 May 2008

Just how high can it go? A year ago, analysts were talking darkly about the prospect of oil breaching $100 a barrel for the first time. It turns out they were too optimistic. The price of a barrel has hit an unprecedented $135 this week. The recent predictions of a $200 barrel of oil suddenly begin to look rather more plausible.

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Columnist Comments


Johann Hari: Let Brown go down with all guns blazing

Brown should lose as the man who said Labour was 'at is best when it is boldest'


Mary Dejevsky: A Eurovision win that is not 'mere' politics

Former Soviet satellites like to keep their big neighbour sweet.


Bruce Anderson: Brown is a prime ministerial nonentity

Comparisons are drawn with John Major. But this is grossly unfair to the Tory PM

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