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.
Just as President Obama was ready to take his plans for a US strike on Bashar Assad's regime in Syria to Congress, the Russian Kremlin has jumped in to call his bluff. The threat of force coming from the White House has caused widespread international concern, prompting President Putin to conjure up an alternative offer - what if President Assad was to give up his chemical weapons?
Violence against women often appears to be so pervasive and complex that it seems insurmountable. But it is preventable. For the first time, a new UN study on men and violence includes data from men themselves, across a number of countries, that tells us why some men use violence against women and how this can be prevented... We must address power imbalances between men and women and promote ways of being a man that value respect, non-violence and equality. This is possible.