Cows lying down, red skies in the morning and a feeling in your bones. Must be rain on the way. But hang on, what happens if only half the cows in a field are lying down - are they giving a 50 per cent chance of rain? Who taught the cows to predict the weather in the first place? Hmm, is there actually any truth in weather lore?
Military action might make us feel better about ourselves and it might even "degrade" Isis but it won't "destroy" it (to use Obama's preferred terminology). How will dropping bombs destroy the hate-filled ideology behind the terrorist group? How will air strikes prevent foreign fighters returning home to the west to carry out revenge attacks?
This is not a vote just for one time, this is a vote for all time. Because this vote cannot be undone or redone, this cannot be a vote just for us, this generation and this time. When there's no going back I have to take into account my children, our future and the century ahead. And so if you have any doubts about the future unresolved, any questions unanswered, any risks unexplained, if you don't know, then you have to vote 'No'.
It is now more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in modern conflict... Throughout history, the abuse of women has been seen as an inevitable by-product of conflict and it wasn't until the late 90s when the international community recognised the use of sexual violence as a crime of war and against humanity.
Tawfik Ben Saoud, one of Benghazi's most prominent activists, summed it up by saying, "A military movement alone can't solve the crisis; there must a civil movement that works parallel to it. If youth are given a chance, they can find a peaceful solution. My message to Libya's youth is, you are powerful and you can make change. You just need to take the opportunity and act."
Fighting ISIL on the homefront is perhaps the most challenging mission of all. We have already seen that both American Citizens and British Subjects have not only been the victims of ISIL, some have left their homes and joined the fight on the side of ISIL. Both president Obama and prime minister Cameron are feeling the public pressure to respond to this home grown threat.
Farmers are committing suicide as you read this article. In countries like India, the rate of farmer suicides has become a national crisis. The World Health Organization (WHO) is particularly concerned with farmer suicides because of the impact it is having on families. WHO estimates that one person commits suicide every 13.3 minutes.
The strategy of "degrading and destroying" ISIS this way is therefore likely to fail without a comprehensive political solution involving an equitable share of power for the Sunni population in Iraq, a withdrawal of American support for Syrian rebels, and the forcing of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other Gulf states to stop sponsoring Islamist terrorist groups throughout the region.
While the eyes of the world rightly look towards global crises in Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Ukraine and West Africa, there is a serious and worsening humanitarian disaster almost going unnoticed in South Sudan. It is deeply saddening to see a country that was once so full of hope for the future, now embroiled in such a painful and destructive war with itself. When I first visited South Sudan less than two years ago I was struck by the optimism and hope that filled the air but today it is an entirely different story.
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.
We recognise the appeal of separate nationhood, but the choice is about much more than that: the everyday lives of the people of these islands, our collective future security, our jobs and our livelihoods. Cutting Scotland out of the UK would cause massive upheaval and risk for both Scots and all other Britons.
Before this conflict started in December, there was no inspiring and unifying vision of what South Sudan could be. The hope and optimism that came with independence is gone. Instead, there is now fear, mistrust and disillusionment between the people of South Sudan. An amazing opportunity has been squandered. It may take years to re-build a sense of unity.
The largest security services firm in the world, British company G4S, has accepted a £71million contract to run "base support operating services" at Guantánamo Bay... The UK government cannot turn a blind eye at a British company running a torture facility. The British public deserves an explanation.
It's a bicycle. The only thing I see under the stairs of one small home in the Gaza strip. A girl's small blue bicycle. A bit battered, had seen better days, but just a bicycle. Ahmad*, whose home it is, continues to point at it. I'm thoroughly bewildered. He stares at the bicycle. Then sits down heavily and starts speaking in slow, measured tones...
I followed up concerns I had expressed at that meeting with a letter to Blair on 12 November, arguing that there had to be a political strategy involving the Kurds to help topple Saddam Hussein. Blair replied: 'We are not working to bring down Saddam Hussein and his regime. It is not for us to say who should be President of Iraq, however much we might prefer to see a different government in Baghdad.' This exchange encapsulated the UK's particular problem...
New research from Plan shows the shocking truth about adolescent girls in developing countries. In one of the largest studies ever undertaken of its kind, we talked to 7000 adolescent girls and boys in 11 countries about girls' opportunities. The findings are overwhelming. These girls are some of the most disadvantaged people on earth.
I can't think of anywhere that would have been less appropriate as a venue for this week's Nato summit than the UK. A United Kingdom that within the next couple of weeks may become shatteringly disunited... Inward-looking, backward-looking, suspicious of its neighbours: everything that Nato is meant not to be. And this at a time when the world is a more dangerous place than it's been in decades. So why are Western leaders - because it's not just David Cameron - so dismally unable to confront the dangers?
It is undoubtedly true that there are some barbaric extremists who pervert the meaning of Islam - many of whom may now be associated with ISIS in Iraq and Syria. All the more reason, then, for us to identify our friends in the Islamic world, and treat them well. Why, then, did the British authorities treat my friend Nebeel Rajab, his wife, his 16-year-old son, and his 12-year-old daughter so badly?