When we drank our first San Miguel Light on Siargao Island to toast our small victory against the travel overlords, the sense of relief among our group was muted. We'd just reached the Philippines for a two-week beach, spa and city break, just a week after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the centre of the country, 70 kilometres north of our first stop.
A little over a year ago I highlighted the work of PAWA, the Pan Asian Women's Association, which focuses on global development and girls' and women's empowerment across multiple territories. By raising and carefully apportioning funds for credible, manageable-scale local charities, PAWA's work covers 30 countries from Iran to Japan, Indonesia to Kazakhstan.
Rabies is one of the world's most tragic diseases, not only because of the dreadful effects it has on the people and animals who become infected but also because it is entirely preventable. Its greatest burden falls on poor rural communities across Africa and Asia, where it causes one death every 10 minutes and where tragically children under the age of 15 are at a particularly high risk of dying.
India now sits on the brink of a currency crisis. In a rupee avalanche of Himalayan proportions, India's currency has depreciated 14% since the beginning of the year, hitting an all-time low in August of 68 to the dollar. Despite the rejuvenatory efforts of India's new "rockstar" central banker Raghuram Rajan, the rupee's value remains below 60 to the dollar...
Violence against women often appears to be so pervasive and complex that it seems insurmountable. But it is preventable. For the first time, a new UN study on men and violence includes data from men themselves, across a number of countries, that tells us why some men use violence against women and how this can be prevented... We must address power imbalances between men and women and promote ways of being a man that value respect, non-violence and equality. This is possible.
Will air pollution become partly responsible for sedentary lifestyles in the future? Will people avoid going for a run outdoors or perhaps choose the bus to work instead of cycling or walking, in fear of their health? This has been playing on my mind for the past few days now, as more news stories emerged highlighting air pollution levels across the world.
The reason why Europe has fallen behind, quite simply, is money. Whilst funding of many European universities is being eroded all the time, countries like China are investing amounts unimaginable to us in facilities. Their scientific quality generally stills falls short of ours, but their facilities are well ahead.