Richard Walker

Richard Walker is a former Financial Times foreign correspondent.

Sudan: coup, what coup?

Sudan’s army has just dissolved the government, dismissed the prime minister and declared a state of emergency. That certainly sounds like a coup — but it’s not, unless you count the army taking over from itself as a coup. The two uniformed power brokers who effectively controlled Sudan last week (a regular soldier called General

Poverty + anarchy + drug dollars = Mexico

You may not have heard of the Maras. Or Barrio 18. Or the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, or the Zatas, or the Knights Templar, or the Shower Posse. But you should have heard about them, says Ioan Grillo in his new book about transnational drug and crime gangs, because any one of them may have

The real mystery is how it got published

As a boy I spent quite a lot of my free time trying to fake up ancient-looking documents. This hopeless enterprise involved things like staining paper with tea or vinegar, together with plenty of burning, and creasing, and copying of random texts with a scratchy old inkwell pen. Typical silly small boy stuff. Reading this

The pirate myth

Hear the word ‘pirate’ and what picture springs to your mind? I see a richly-bearded geezer in a tricorne hat and a frock coat, with a notched cutlass and bandolier stuffed with pistols. Never mind the real-life pirates of our present day, the maritime robbery-and-kidnap specialists of Somalia and West Africa — they are all

Bookends: Cycle of pain

Reg Harris by Robert Dineen (Ebury Press, £16.99) is about a man who was once Britain’s number one athlete: a professional cycle track sprinter who dominated the worldwide sport for 15 years. And what is cycle track sprinting? It is racing on a prepared track with one or more opponents. It is also a form