Monday is Holocaust Memorial Day. I am sometimes asked if we still need to remember those who died in the Holocaust - after all, it was such a long time ago. Isn't it time we all moved on? And surely more recent events should take up more of our attention? My answer is an emphatic 'No!'. In fact, the occurrence of genocides since the Holocaust demonstrates how very important it is to commemorate the attempted annihilation of Europe's Jewish population, and all victims of Nazi Persecution. There have been genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur - showing all too clearly that lessons have not been learnt from the past. There is an even greater need to remember, inform and raise awareness of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.
I want to say a massive thank you to all of you who supported our epetition and helped us reach over 100,000 signatures. The great British public stood with survivors and recognized the importance of this campaign. You have spoken out to say that FGM is child abuse and one of the worst forms of violence against women and you have asked the Government to put an end to it.
When the moment finally arrived, Leyla Hussein was asleep. Since July last year, along with her anti-FGM colleagues, she's been tirelessly campaigning to secure the 100,000 signatures necessary to qualify her petition for a Parliamentary debate on Female Genital Mutilation. Then at about 4am on Friday morning, the campaign finally crossed that particular finishing line.
I wonder if I can persuade you that, despite the utter horror of this week's headlines from Syria, we are lucky to live in an era of unprecedented human progress. Yes, I'm going to try to convince you that for more people, in more places, the world has more to offer now than at any time in the history of our species.
While the seasons and the landscape change in Syria, so much about the country's protracted conflict is unchanging and unrelenting. Thousands of people killed each month, atrocities on both sides, and thousands more fleeing the country as refugees. Millions living in limbo, some out of reach of humanitarian aid, when all they want is peace and a chance for normal life to resume.
Security forces in Russia are frantically searching for four women thought to be suicide terrorists hiding out in the run up to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Ruzanna Ibragimova--one of the four--is believed to have already penetrated the "iron ring" of Putin's security perimeter drawn in the radius around Sochi--waiting to attack.
"If you can't stop the war then at least send us steel shelters so children have somewhere to hide, and send us some food so that people don't starve. The children in Syria are so hungry they are eating mud." These are the stark words of 12-year-old Syrian refugee Zeina to world leaders ahead of peace talks this week, which will determine her country's fate.
Today, I write to you from Davos, Switzerland, home of the World Economic Forum Annual meeting. Here, global business leaders, heads of state and other leading religious and academic figures converge in their thousands on this remote and very picturesque mountain top to discuss the macro socio-economic issues of the day.
Some of the most memorable headlines of 2013 involved personal privacy, data security and intelligence gathering issues from all corners of the globe - from the US to Brazil, from Australia to India. But what has bothered me about the conversation to date is the way it has been framed by some defenders of mass surveillance programmes. We must choose, they say, between security or privacy, protection or liberties.
Bobi was a political pawn, used by the media to condemn the RSPCA. In this case, the two charities in question were both doing the right thing in relation to the remit of their policies. The media hysteria, public bias and negative publicity meant that the death of Bobi would have haunted the RSPCA in 2014.
Recently, British courts have rivalled their counterparts across the pond in competing for the most senseless judgment. The latest example came just yesterday, when three British judges said they could not rule on whether British officials were complicit in murdering Pakistani civilians in US drone strikes because that might embarrass our friends in America.
Irrespective of whether Hollande was involved in another relationship or not, for I am not here to cast judgement, the question of integrity is one to raise on the basis of Hollande's choices to hide behind and use as an excuse French cultural ways, rather than stand as a true leader and be completely transparent.
When Afsana Lachaux left her job as a senior civil servant four years ago in London it was as a newly wed to start afresh in Dubai, but she could never have imagined how that dream would swiftly turn into a nightmare. A victim of domestic abuse, Afsana took her baby and bravely left her partner three years ago, but has been trapped in Dubai ever since...
China's ivory stockpile destruction was significant because it is the world's largest ivory marketplace. Ivory carving and sales are legal in China and this has provided a cover for the trade there. An estimated 30,000 African elephants were illegally killed last year for their tusks; at this rate, the remaining 400,000 African elephants will be wiped out in two decades.
The scale of the violence, which has intensified since November, has escalated rapidly. More than 1,000 people have died in the last month alone. A widespread culture of impunity has rendered women particularly vulnerable and sexual violence is being used to terrorise groups within the country. A million people have fled or been displaced from their homes, compounding the already desperate humanitarian crisis. Amidst the horror, there is also confusion - from those struggling to make sense of a conflict in a country where Christian and Muslim communities have coexisted peacefully in the past and where, now, intense religious division is leading to horrific violence.
As Britain approaches the end of its combat operations in Afghanistan, the usual fanfare associated with victory in war will be notably absent. No triumphal parades, no formal surrender ceremony, and no heroic march into an enemy's capital. As Churchill wrote in 1897, "the victory must be looked for in the results."
An anti-government protester blows a whistle as he walks past a cartoon and a banner insulting Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra near the Government House in Bangkok, on Dec. 8, 2013. The bumper stickers on the effigy of Yingluck say, "Get out, idiot". The cardboard banner says, "Paying taxes for a whore to travel"