Mrs Jeyakumari and her daughter were well known activists who had been among the crowds which mobbed British prime minister David Cameron when he visited the former war zone in Jaffna in November last year. Three months later Mrs Jeyakumari sent me a video address in which she warned that she was being followed and harassed as a result of her campaign.
Sunday saw the largest mobilisation of climate activists and the general public calling for urgent action on climate change in history. The numbers were truly astounding, with over 2,000 events across the globe. More than 40,000 people took part in London and 100,000 in New York, including United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Scotland's majority voted no to becoming a country independent of the UK, yet 45% of people voted yes. With nearly half of the 85% wanting to separate, there is a nevertheless a public mandate for political change. A global referendum on climate change, whether yes or no, could change the landscape of negotiations before climate physics forces politicians to act.
Over the past four weeks the world has watched a humanitarian tragedy unfold in Gaza. For UN staff like me it has been particularly tough. Nine of our schools have been attacked, 11 of my colleagues have been killed. They include Ahmed Mohamed Mohamed Ahmed, a school principal, Inas Shaban Derbas, a 30 year-old teacher and the youngest, Abdallah Naser Khalil Fahajan, who at 21 was a school attendant. UN chief, secretary-general Ban Ki-moon called the most recent attack on Sunday, which took place next to a boys' prep school in Rafah and led to nine deaths including that of a colleague: "a moral outrage and a criminal act."
Ending extreme poverty or getting an agreement to reduce climate change means creating complex trade-offs between the interests of countries, companies and citizens and civil society. It involves detailed forecasts, legal texts and new ideas that will galvanise negotiators to agreement. It means putting the UN back in a position of international leadership.
During the course of my humanitarian work in Syria, I have listened to many children share their perspectives. The death of family members, whether siblings or a parent or other loved one is common. Being displaced from their homes, often more than once, and finding their friends and communities snatched away. Memories of repeated attacks from warring parties that flattened whole neighborhoods, fires that raged through the night stay with them.
Yes, we need to talk about jobs and growth and inequality, but businesses can't afford to ignore climate change any longer. Business holds many of the technologies and solutions that can create the transformation the world needs. And the business case to do so is strong. Business must now scale up the implementation of these solutions.
It is imperative that post-Millennium Development Goals, currently being negotiated, do not overlook the plight of the disabled people and children. It is time for concrete action to ensure that particularly children with disabilities have access to education, protection from violence and abuse; and opportunity to have their voices heard. This is not just a development agenda it is also a human rights issue.
Over the weekend secretary of state John Kerry and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov reached a deal and a framework to dispose of the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal by 2014... Secretary Kerry is headed back to Paris to work with the foreign ministers of France, Britain, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to work out a draft resolution to implement this agreement.
According to Syrian opposition sources, more than 1,300 Syrian citizens have been killed in a chemical weapons attack near Damascus on Wednesday 21 August. The Syrian National Coalition claims toxic gas was used by President Bashar al Assad's forces during a bombardment of rebel-held areas outside the Syrian capital.
We're no longer the same UN. We're more and more in conflict zones. And we've taken certain decisions that mean we're no longer seen as neutral. The UN flag is now a target instead of a shield. That means we have to change how we go about things, because right now our colleagues and their families are paying too high a price.