17/03/2012 17:48 GMT | Updated 17/05/2012 06:12 BST

The Week That Was: World Relations

As mothers across Britain wake up this morning to bunches of flowers, breakfast in bed and handmade cards, it seems appropriate that one of the biggest news stories of the past week was the sharp increase in the number of women taking up board positions across the UK.

I say "sharp increase", in practical terms, the headline-making reality is merely that we are on track to exceed the government's recommendation of 25% of FTSE 100 board positions being filled by women by 2015, hardly a victory for equality, but a step in the right direction if nothing else.

Sadly, the other big story of the week has no positive spin, no matter which way you write it. On Thursday, Syria marked the year anniversary of the country's uprising, a day celebrated with more deaths and no sign of a resolution in sight. A number of Syrians blogged for us on the day, offering their personal insight into the tragic losses of life, but the hope and spirit that remains.

As I type this, news is coming in of yet more violence in Damascus, with numerous more dead or injured after twin attacks on intelligence and security buildings in the capital.

Let us hope that a year from now, we are celebrating peace, not another 12 months of the same destruction.

Elsewhere in the news, in case you spent the past five days in bed without access to radio, TV or internet, it can't have escaped your notice that David and Samantha Cameron were in America this week and, if the photos are to be believed, having a pretty jolly old time of it, what with the private Mumford & Sons gig, the courtside hot-dog scoffing and fashion-off between the two first ladies (Sam Cam, we liked your Victoria Beckham number best).

Serious policy making was off the agenda, bar a joint press conference, confirming the fact British and American troops would move into a "support role" in Afghanistan from next year.

Back at home, Cameron's cabinet were having a slightly more stressful week what with the pre-budget leaks and speculation. Let's hope Dave got plenty of kip on the flight home ahead of Wednesday's official budget announcement - the (alleged) end to the 50p top tax rate could provide a few sleepless nights for his 'quad' team before the big day.

If Cameron couldn't get enough of American hospitality, his fellow Brits seemingly can't get enough of American gadgetry, with the queues snaking out of Apple's flagship store in London testament to our on-going love affair with anything beginning with i. My admiration is for all the switched-on shoppers who just wandered into Currys and Dixons on Tottenham Court Road and bought their New iPad there instead, where the queues were non-existent and the TV cameras and reporters of Regent Street conspicuous by their absence. (And even more admiration for those, like me, who are still quite happy with our retro iPad1!)

My mum will not be getting a New iPad for Mother's Day today, nor an old iPad 1 or 2, although I have promised to show her how to use Pinterest - my favourite American import of the year.