Qatar is smaller than the size of Belgium, yet the richest country in the world on a per capital basis. It has one of the world’s fastest growing economies and the third largest gas reserves in the world. Enriched by oil and gas, this tiny Gulf state has embarked on a massive spending spree overseas. The UK is top of its shopping list. Already Qatar owns a list of iconic UK assets that includes swathes of our financial district, a slice of the London Stock Exchange, Harrods, stakes in Barclays, Sainsburys, The Shard and even Camden Market. But its real influence lies in gas — in 2011, Qatar supplied an astounding 85.5% of Britain’s imported Liquified Natural Gas. At a time of falling British North Sea supplies, we are becoming ever dependent on LNG imports. Qatar’s hold over our gas supply is set to strengthen. The story of the rising influence of Qatar over Britain and how so much of our future energy security now lies in the hands of this Middle Eastern desert nation. Read
It’s more than 60 years since the end of the British Empire in India, yet today thousands of British Indians are now returning, leaving behind the UK forever, in the biggest migration since Independence to seek better economic fortunes over there. After decades of suffering a brain drain, India is now drawing the best of our talent. It’s called the Brain Gain. Here is the story of just some of those British Indians who have forsaken recession, rain and economic gloom in Britain for a booming economy and better lifestyle in places like Mumbai or Delhi. Here’s the story in the Mail on Sunday.
As pro-democracy revolution spreads across the Middle East, the birthplace of the so-called “Arab Spring” — Tunisia — seeks to drive forward change. But the problems it faces — riots, political vacuum and an immigration wave to Europe — shows the battle for democratic change is far from complete. Yet again, what happens here could be indicative of what may follow in other Arab countries now in turmoil. Read my piece in the Mail on Sunday review
During Liberia’s civil war, General Butt Naked won notoriety as one of Africa’s most brutal warlords. Claiming responsibility for 20,000 deaths, a self-confessed sacrificer of children and a cannibal, he underwent a transformation in 1996 when he claimed he had an “epiphany” on the battlefield which changed his life forever. Today he is an evangelical preacher. In this interview with me, he openly discusses his past war crimes and says he is willing to go to The Hague to be tried. As he seeks redemption, his story provokes the question: are some sins too great to be atoned for? It is a question he asks himself.
Read his story here. I would welcome your comments on firstname.lastname@example.org
A small British company prepares for the world’s first human trial for foetal stem cell therapy to cure strokes. If it succeeds this could be the beginning of the end of the search for medicine’s holy grail, opening the way for a treatment that could eventually be applied to killer diseases such as Alzheimers and heart attacks. Will this result in an undreamed of healing power or risk horrific results? See link
For the first time one of Britain’s increasingly infulential Deobandi madrassas allows a journalist access inside its school. It is a school founded in the ideology that inspired the Taliban, a strict proponent of sharia law and its influence in Britain is growing. Read my exclusive report for the Mail on Sunday Review which gives a unique insight into these schools which aim to educate the global Muslim leadership of the future. See Link.
On 31 July, I joined a panel of speakers at the Indian Summer Literary Festival in Somerset which kicked off with a discussion on Afghanistan and the terror threat emanating from the wider South Asia region. The discussion, chaired by historian Charles Allen (author of the must-read “God’s Terrorists”), was led by General Sir Michael Rose, LSE Professor Emeritus Lord Meghnad Desai and author Pankaj Mishra. The result was a sobre and chilling insight into the regional threat the Taliban poses as well as the spread of their ideology beyond the Indo Af-Pak region and even as far as Britain itself. The day’s events included discussions with authors Kishwar Desai on her new thriller and Nancy Shields giving an entertaining presentation on English society lady Henrietta Clive’s journey around India in the 1790s, with readings from the “Four Weddings” actress Anna Chancellor. The event was organised by Lady Theresa Waugh for the Gardners’ Memorial School Trust in India.
Read my special report from Athens on the riots against economic reform as Greece seeks to avoid defaulting on its national debt — a crisis which threatens the entire Eurozone. See link
As Cubans seek change and the country faces its toughest time since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the post Fidel-Castro Cuban government is experimenting with economic reforms including capitalist-style bonus payments and desperately seeking foreign investment. See link
Take a look at my exclusive report for the Mail on Sunday’s Review in a cover story on Britain’s sharia courts. Sharia: a way to restore justice to crime-ridden Britain or a threat to our thousand year system of law? See the news link