So I was excited to read this year's letter from Bill and Melinda Gates, as they have drawn attention specifically to these diseases which are part of a group called Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). Neglected, not just because people haven't heard of them but because they are diseases of the most neglected people.
Digital currency Bitcoin is the worst performing major asset class of 2014. At the start of the year one Bitcoin bought 770 US dollars, now a Bitcoin is only worth $330 USD. Even the Russian rouble has performed better: it's only declined forty-five per cent against the dollar, whereas Bitcoin has fallen by near to 60 per cent.
Some years ago when I was living and working in rural Uganda I got malaria. As I took the long bus journey to the hospital, shivering and sweating, I was asking myself would I get there in time? Would the local hospital have the right treatment available for me? Why hadn't I been able to prevent myself getting malaria?
I wonder if I can persuade you that, despite the utter horror of this week's headlines from Syria, we are lucky to live in an era of unprecedented human progress. Yes, I'm going to try to convince you that for more people, in more places, the world has more to offer now than at any time in the history of our species.