Whether it's sipping a glass of cold sangria after a long trek up a hill in Barcelona, paragliding off of a cliff in Turkey (this IS refreshing, I promise) or the cold shower after an extensive day of sight seeing, camera snapping or for the more traditional out there, map reading, I bet there's something about going abroad, into the unknown that quenches this thirst.
Besides all the drama currently taking place in West Africa, miracles sporadically happen right before our eyes. Just like this Ebola epidemic will write history, since last week our Ebola case management centre in Foya will probably also appear in history books. We are glad to announce that so far in Foya we discharged both the youngest, and the oldest recovered Ebola patient.
For the moment, Japan seems intent on launching its plan for a new 'scientific' whaling programme in the Southern Ocean. Whilst it has some allies, the issue drives a wedge between Japan and many other nations. Japan may be able to deflect charges against whaling, including that it is cruel, by casting such criticism as a form of anti-Japanese cultural imperialism. Our only hope is that, given the ICJ ruling is above any rhetoric or politics, perhaps those in power in Japan will be better able to see that commercial whaling is ecologically unsound, uneconomic and, in terms of international relations, disastrous.
Six weeks ago, I wrote: "We should be in no doubt: we, the West, are back in Iraq." And so it has come to pass. It is difficult to see how it could have been otherwise, once the murderers of Islamic State (or Isis or Isil, take your pick) started killing American and British journalists and aid workers on video. ... We have entered a bizarre Alice in Wonderland world in which Washington, Tehran, Damascus, Riyadh and Doha all seem to be lining up on the same side. The Saudis, Qataris and Emiratis even seem to have deployed some of their own aircraft, which I suppose at least proves that they do know what they're for.
To save lives and protect human rights, the genocidal fundamentalists of ISIS must be stopped. But not by the West and not for the reasons often advanced by David Cameron and Barack Obama... The truth is that if the US and UK are serious about fighting ISIS they should start by aiding the people on the ground who know the region best, have local roots and who are already leading the fight against the jihadist menace - the peshmerga army of the Kurdish regional government in Iraq and guerrillas from the Kurdistan Workers Party and allied movements in Syria.
As I was leaving Sierra Leone, the president declared a public health emergency. He'd finally acknowledged that his country was in crisis. Now we're six months into the outbreak and the CDC are predicting as many as 500,000 Ebola cases by the end of January. What was very much an avoidable epidemic may now become endemic in a part of the world already crippled by poverty.
Research shows that if you empower a woman, you empower a family, a community, and indeed a nation. This is because women invest 90% of what they earn back into their families' health and education, making a lasting difference. Yet while there are so many smart and hard-working women out there, many of them struggle in particular with access to banks and loans. Today, more than 2.5 billion adults in the developing world are considered 'financially excluded'. This means that they do not have access to basic financial services, such as savings, bank accounts, or credit. The majority are women.
If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by what we are - can all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about. It's about freedom. I want men to take up this mantle. So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too - reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves... I am inviting you to step forward, to be seen to speak up, To be the he for she. And to ask yourself if not me, who, if not now when.
New global data from Unicef shows that millions of children around the world suffer physical violence every day. Around 120million girls under the age of 20 (about one in 10) have been subjected to forced sexual intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point in their lives; boys are also at risk, although there is no global estimate due to the lack of comparable data in most countries... I hope very much that the world leaders, starting to gather in the chambers of the UN as I write, will make a commitment over the next year to champion a target to end abuse, exploitation and violence against children.
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.