North Korea (or DPRK) remains misunderstood by the outside world, partly due to the lack of access by foreign journalists and researchers but also because public opinion about the country has been shaped by overused stereotyping narratives and images. But what I experienced during those two years in DPRK, had nothing to do with the standard stereotypes.
The world's rhinos can't wait. We need to stop arguing about legalising trade, and instead focus on what we all want - greater protection for rhinos through better enforcement and reduced demand. Only then will the world have a chance of reversing the alarming and horrific impacts of poaching on these ancient and majestic creatures.
It seems there is no end in sight for a whole generation of people who continue to suffer as a consequence of the vicious civil war. Children often pay the biggest price in times of conflict, which exposes them to trauma, exploitation and abuse. Syrian children and their families are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the challenging living conditions. Many are without food and water and have found it hard to endure the harsh winter weather. A large number have to work to support themselves and their families; girls are being married off for their 'safety' and boys are being recruited into armed groups.
I've been an environmentalist for 25 years now... Some people might think I'm a bit of a fanatic. Jeremy Clarkson would, no doubt, belittle my desire for a greener, healthier world for this and future generations by saying I'm an 'arty-farty, Lycra-clad cycling leftie-weftie who knits his own muesli' - or, more likely, would just punch me in the face. But I don't care. Because I know that unless every one of us does our bit (and is clearly told what 'our bit' is), we face a very unpleasant future.
The desperate measures that Mr Netanyahu went to to achieve his election victory this week were a shock even to jaded old Middle East observers like me. By re-electing him as prime minister at the head of a right-wing coalition, Israeli voters look more than ever as if they have chosen to model themselves on the English football club Millwall, whose supporters' best known chant at matches is "No one likes us, we don't care."
We may not agree with the rhetoric of President Obama, or disagree with the stylisation or representation of the film. What is difficult to contest is the ability of a well told story to impart huge life lessons, to teach, lead, and position us to walk in our own potential and to 'shape the course of things.'
X plus Y does a great job of mirroring some of my own feelings. I can easily relate to the socially awkward young Nathan, away from home for the first time, in an unfamiliar land. In the true story, one major difference is that I was interested in China since long before the maths competitions. It started at about the age of 13 when I started reading Chinese novels.
Apparently at the height of Victorian optimism, the Royal Geographic Society announced victory in the field of all learning, with the invention of the 'lantern slide' a whacking great projector with a candle behind it which would captivate all future generations of learners. An early version of 'death by powerpoint'.
There is no imminent solution. Some brave, determined Syrians are digging in for the long haul, soberly measuring out the remainder of this conflict in multiples of five years.That doesn't work for me, nor for the team I lead across Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. We are focused on how we can help right here, right now.
Oxfam is in Liberia and Sierra Leone for the long haul. We're continuing to work with communities to build understanding of Ebola treatment and how to stay healthy, providing financial support to help families get back on their feet, and helping them guard against infectious diseases by equipping schools and clinics with clean water and sanitation.
Comic Relief's Operation Health project, the focus of this year's Red Nose Day campaign, will completely renovate a dilapidated health centre in Iyolwa, Uganda. Operation Health is at the centre of a fundraising drive to improve healthcare across Africa by showing how money well spent can be used to improve health systems.
I firmly believe that women possess a wonderful ability to get things done, which is why the theme of this year's International Women's Day - 'Make It Happen' - feels so fitting. I set up my Foundation for Women in 2008, with a focus on empowering women in developing and emerging economies to create and grow their own businesses. I settled on this particular issue because I believe that economic security unlocks huge opportunities for women, enabling them to make positive choices over their own lives and the lives of their children.
If we look at the headlines or the latest horrifying YouTube clip, International Women's Day may seem a bad time to celebrate equality for women. But alongside the stories of extraordinary atrocity and everyday violence lies another reality, one where more girls are in school and more are earning qualifications than ever before; where maternal mortality is at an all-time low; where more women are in leadership positions, and where women are increasingly standing up, speaking out and demanding action.