After branding social media a "scourge" at the height of the Gezi Park protests in June, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has had a change of heart. The ruling AKP government recently hired a 6,000-strong brigade of social media operatives to direct public opinion and win hearts and minds.
When we think of a humanitarian emergency, we don't necessarily think first of education. We think of immediate, life-saving needs, like clean water, health care and shelter. Of course, in Syria and across the region, these supplies and services are absolutely vital for children and families living with the daily consequences of conflict and displacement. However, learning is just as urgent. Almost two million Syrian children have been forced to drop out of school over the past year. For refugee children, being in school offers a safe space to remember that they are children, to feel hope for the future, to play and to begin the process of healing the emotional damage of all they have experienced.
my online petition, www.change.org/CivetCoffee, has been signed by 45,000 people in the six days since it launched. It's aim: to persuade Harrods to discontinue their involvement in this cruel and corrupt trade. Will they listen? Judging by their current reaction, no. At least, not yet. Maybe we'll have to shout louder...
Today, 2 October, FEMEN writes an open letter to the Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto for being directly responsible of the cruel dictatorship that Mexico is currently living. Disguised as a false democracy, Mexico lives oppressed, terrified and threatened, with no possibility to express freely, no political opposition and a non-existent separation of powers.
There was some good news last week as the government has announced it will significantly increase its support for the Global Fund over the next three years - subject to other countries following its lead. The UK is doing sterling work to champion the fight against three of the world's biggest, preventable killer diseases - Aids, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria. This support will enable hundreds of millions of lives to be transformed and help give families, communities and entire countries the chance to thrive and reach their potential.
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.