Thirteen years after 9/11, an English speaking voice articulates the beheading of an American hostage. There are hundreds of western Muslims in the ranks of Islamic State (IS). In waging unwise and horrific war themselves in Iraq, western powers have forfeited their capacity overtly to bolster moderate regional forces in Syria and Iraq.
This cannot go on. Humans live in Gaza, remarkably like us. They laugh, they cry, they die. But too many of them die before their time. And that is true for those 29 Israeli military boys who have died, none older than his 20s. Cannot their end be the starting point for something revolutionarily new? Getting inside each others heads, understanding the other, or is it all just too late?
I well remember my first days in my boarding school - the wolf whistles from the prefects' open windows as we passed in and out of our boarding quarters. Prettier boys were openly rated as desirable. It was in my second term, when I was 13 years old, that I first received a note from a 17-year-old in the school rugby team asking would I meet him for a smoke. This was a euphemism for intended sexual contact.
I just heard she's died. I just lost an amazing friend. Maya Angelou was far larger than life: a vast life force. Tall, somewhere around six foot, with a voice that ranged from deep baritone to high contralto. She could recite, sing, dance, laugh, cry, speak, and above all write. She wrote her life from birth to near death. It was a life that etched the beginnings of an understanding of civil rights through to the great moment of the anointing of a black president in 2008.
Love it? Haven't seen it? Bored of talking about it? Everyone's on a Game of Thrones thing so why not drink like it. Whether you're digging it or not check out BarChick's cocktail guide, Game of Thrones-style; drink your way around the Seven Kingdoms, live like a Lannister or kick back Khaleesi-style, the choice is yours, but we say try the lot.
Remember flailing your arms around and howling is despair when that cold bastard Roose Bolton plunged his blade into poor old Robb Stark's chest? Remember your heart dropping when his wife and unborn child were slaughtered before his eyes? Season three of Game of Thrones was pretty gross, pretty traumatic and a lot devastating. It was also incredible television. And now the show's back for more.
We are amid the greatest revolution human life has ever known - the liberation of communication - in the hands of the many as well as that dangerous few. Yes of course the danger is there - the danger that what we call news maybe hijacked, distorted, lied about, propogandised. But today I argue that we stand at the dawn of the golden age of what we have come to describe as journalism. The mediation of information by individuals, collectives, groups, whom WE have the very individual powers to choose.
In Jon Snow's interview with Russell Brand last week the presenter accused the comedian of inconsistency for rallying against parliamentary democracy while asking people to sign a government e-petition. I think Jon missed the point. Russell Brand didn't play by the rules of our parliamentary system, he hacked it.