This morning I woke up to a brilliantly sunny day here in Vilnius, Lithuania, and for the first time I can remember, I cursed the good weather. That is because I am in the Lithuanian capital to protest against today's neo-Nazi/ultranationalist march, one which is a stark reminder of the dark days of the Holocaust in this country...
Three years ago, a group of school-children scrawled political graffiti on a wall in the remote Syrian town of Daraa. Their subsequent arrest and torture was the spark that ignited the civil war now ravaging Syria and devastating the lives of so many of its 22 million people. This civil war is now thought to have spawned the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
Imagine the horrors of healthcare in a warzone: children having limbs amputated because of a lack of medical supplies and equipment to treat their wounds. Patients knocked out with iron bars, rather than face an operation without anaesthetic. A newborn baby dying in an incubator because of power-cuts... For millions of people inside Syria - this is the reality of their lives now.
In a statement on 4 March 2014, Foreign Minister William Hague deceived the House of Commons about the legitimacy of the new regime in Ukraine... He led the House to believe that the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, had removed President Yanukovich from power on 22 February in accordance with the Ukrainian constitution.
This government has made no secret of its strong support for the Commonwealth. But no institution today can be complacent. People rightly want to know why institutions exist and what they achieve. The European Union is familiar with this sort of scrutiny - and in recent times, the UK and others across Europe have been asking how it can become more competitive, more flexible and more democratically accountable. The Commonwealth's challenge is very different. It has to explain to all of us how it can be relevant to us in a 21st century world, a world of competing bodies and organisations covering every area of international activity.
Increasingly the attention on girls and women at the heart of social and economic development means that how girls are educated and what skills women bring to the workplace come to the fore. I have just returned from a remote and rural part of northern Ghana where I travelled with Sport Relief to see how the education projects they support - Voluntary Service Overseas and Afrikids, are making a difference for marginalised and vulnerable children.
Given the precarious legal and constitutional framework on which the current status of Crimea has been built since the Soviet period, a purely legal "solution" taking recourse to past institutional arrangements is unlikely to be possible or even desirable. What is required is first and foremost a political decision and a commitment to put it on a sound legal and constitutionally as well as internationally agreed basis.
When I visited a refugee registration centre in Lebanon recently, I heard stories of young children who have been through shocking experiences. Syrian boys and girls have fled conflict, lost their homes and watched friends and family members being killed. And now these children are facing another threat - the often hidden horror of sexual violence.
Forget about Putin. His personality is way too fascinating - in a sinister kind of way - to discuss issues as they are, without letting emotions come into play. In fact, forget about Russia at all. Let's think Ukraine and let's think democracy, as that is the major value the EU is meant to be bringing to this born-again country.
We are connected to this world in more ways than imaginable, in the ground and in the air; everything is made up of the basic building blocks of life, carbon, oxygen and nitrogen. Trees are one of these givers of life, and how humans and trees correspond to give each other life is one of the most fundamental, yet essential aspects of ecology that much of the world lets slip from their minds...