It goes without saying that preventing sexual violence in conflict is not an easy task. The declaration adopted yesterday represents an important step at the political level, which should not be sniffed at. Yet how it translates into action in the DRC peace process, and in funding for those working to prevent and respond to this violence on the ground, will be the test of its rhetoric.
Like most people I have been appalled to read the recently published stories about the terrible conditions in which the builders and workers in Qatar who are constructing the infrastructure that will support the 2022 Fifa World Cup in that country, are being subjected to. It is shocking to hear about their lack of basic human rights and how so many have died working on projects there. The organisers in Qatar say that they share our concerns, as do Fifa, but they must show the world that they are clearly making a massive effort to stop these practices, and ensure the health and dignity of the workers.
India now sits on the brink of a currency crisis. In a rupee avalanche of Himalayan proportions, India's currency has depreciated 14% since the beginning of the year, hitting an all-time low in August of 68 to the dollar. Despite the rejuvenatory efforts of India's new "rockstar" central banker Raghuram Rajan, the rupee's value remains below 60 to the dollar...
Here were pigs on slatted floors, covered in excrement, lame pigs, injured, bleeding pigs, dying pigs, dead pigs left to rot. It was a horror film - but so much worse than seeing a horror movie, because this was reality. So I'm shocked, shocked that any farmer worth that honourable title would treat their pigs like that. I'm shocked that governments, vets and farmers' organisations haven't seen that the law is followed. I'm shocked that the European Commission is only starting to take action.
The eyes of the world are focused on the UN in New York this week in an amazing turnabout in international politics. We could have been in the midst of a Middle East war with the US and France having attacked Syria, triggering resumed fighting across the border of southern Lebanon and Israel. Instead, the UN is back on centre stage, the Security Council is functioning again, and its five permanent powers are in a constructive dialogue over chemical weapons in Syria for the first time in two and a half years.
On 20 October it will be two years since the death of Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi... Cut to the present: Muammar's favourite son Saif al-Islam is about to go on trial for a string of alleged offences (including war crimes) along with 37 others. Pre-trial proceedings began in Tripoli this week. The extravagant cruelty is obviously absent but is the trial of Saif and Co at least likely to be a fair process, the respectable flip-side to the shabby killing of Saif's father? Sadly, no, not really.
Hearing about atrocities and suffering halfway across the world doesn't tend to hit close to home. The people feel distant and the language is foreign; it's too far. Standing at the edge of the Za'atari camp in Jordan listening to the sound of explosions from just across the border in Syria, suddenly it didn't feel so far anymore.
An arms dealer suited and booted in formal black tie walked side-by-side with an injured serviceman on crutches as they entered East London's Troxy Hall for a large charity dinner. It was a curious sight; I couldn't help but wonder whether the two exchanged small talk before being seated. "Shrapnel from a cluster bomb? Decent weapon that one!"...
I used to argue that it would make a welcome change if - just occasionally - politicians answered a question with the words: "I don't know." I didn't expect the President of the United States to take me seriously. Should the US launch a military strike against Syria? Obama: Don't know. Is Russia serious in its chemical weapons initiative? Don't know. There's a part of me that welcomes such refreshing candour. But to be honest, it's only a very small part of me.
Assange, whose WikiLeaks has lost much of its lustre and is now embarrassingly reduced to regurgitating "very sensitive" intelligence emails and publicly available information, says he will press on, that "the WikiLeaks Party will continue for sure," according to the Australian Associated Press. That's not likely to happen, so long as its leader remains in hiding.