Vikram Chandra <em>Faber & Faber, 915pp, £17.99</em>
Andrey Kurkov on Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus
<strong>China Syndrome: the true story of the 21st century's first great epidemic</strong>
Ali M Ansari on Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran
Lucy Ash on Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan
Xiao Jia Gu on Hu Jintao of China
Jasper Becker on Kim Jong-il of North Korea
You won't have heard of Hermie Marquesa. He lived in the town of Tandag, about 500 miles south of Manila, and he was an activist in a farmers' group called the Peasant Movement of the Philippines. A few nights ago some men with rifles forced their way into his house and shot him dead.
The half-million residents of the Jaffna peninsula are stranded and their supplies of food, water and medicine are dwindling. According to the UN Refugee Agency at least 170,000 others have been displaced and thousands of them lack food and shelter.
In the last weekend of July, a group of British Muslims flocked in their thousands to attend a convention in Alton, Hampshire. Most were of Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Indian origin.
Burma has other woes besides a cruel dictatorship. The country is a patchwork of ethnic groups which
Beneath the political hurly-burly in Burma, there exist several threatened traditional ways of life that maintain the serene soul of a nation. Regrettably, most of this idyllic world is gone for ever after years of misrule by successive military juntas.
When the New Statesman asked me to submit a nomination for a poll of "heroes of our time" a few months ago, Aung San Suu Kyi was my instant choice.
<strong>The Zero Train</strong>
Yuri Buida <em>Dedalus, 140pp, £6.99</em>
It is a society infested with spies, where people live in terror of a hardline military regime, yet
By this October, my courageous sister and fellow Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi will have spent 11 years of her life in detention in Burma. Eleven years that she has sacrificed and dedicated to the freedom of her people.
It was the sight of saffron-robed monks whipping overexcited fans back into their seats at an outdoor gig in Bagan that first turned me on to one of the oddest hybrids in world contemporary music: the Burmese rap scene. The shaven-headed holy men had sticks and were in earnest.
Focusing on Aung San Suu Kyi may not be the best way to bring democracy to Burma, argues Maung Zarni
A romantic view persists of a country of silk and temples
Pioneered by bearded hippies running clapped-out vans on recycled chip fat, biofuels now mean big bu
The Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen was once famously described as the "conscience of his
In the heart of Iran, Rory MacLean finds 1960s travellers have left a lasting - and controversial -
High oil prices have given Russia renewed power, frightening the west but bringing hope to ordinary
MTV has been "Indianised" - but is it still an American brand at heart? Emily Jeal investigates
<strong>What the Chinese Don't Eat
</strong>Xinran <em>Vintage, 224pp, £7.99</em>