• Syria’s young girls are facing assault, early marriage and being forced into prostitution as the refugee crisis spirals. The IRC, selected by the FT for its 2014 seasonal appeal, is seeking to protect and empower them
• A motley crew of ex businessmen, academics and pro-Russia activists has seized control in Ukraine’s rebel republics Read more
♦ The FT’s partner charity for this year’s Seasonal Appeal is World Child Cancer – Shawn Donnan and Andrew Schipani look at the work it has been doing in Colombia.
♦ The FT’s Jamil Anderlini explains why London gains little from trying to please Beijing.
♦ As territorial disputes escalate in the waters around China, the Chinese government has been asserting ownership over thousands of shipwrecks in the South China Sea, which it says have been in its territorial waters for centuries.
♦ David Sanger at the New York Times analyses the row over the disputed islands: “As in the Cold War, the immediate territorial dispute seems to be an excuse for a far larger question of who will exercise influence over a vast region.”
♦A geopolitical tug of war is pulling Ukraine to the brink of upheaval once more.
♦ German Christmas markets are not what they used to be – gifts and wholesome foods are being replaced by fatty foods and tacky fairground rides. Read more
By Luisa Frey
♦ Instead of euphoria, relief swept through Tehran after the reach of a historic deal over Iran’s nuclear programme. Although the agreement is an interim one, Iran now hopes for an end to its isolation and the revival of its economy. But the FT’s David Gardner comments that sceptics will want proof Iran is becoming ‘a player for peace’ – “given Tehran’s record, it could hardly be otherwise”. Read more
This weekend marked the third anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti.
We asked Orla Ryan to tell us about her trip to the Caribbean country in October last year, where she reported from the capital city Port au Prince, and the coastal town of Jacmel.
Why now? I went to Haiti for the first time in October as part of the FT’s Seasonal Appeal. I was asked to write a series of pieces highlighting the work of the Global Fund for Children, which backs grassroot charities that work with children. It was, in any case, an interesting time to go to Haiti. It was nearly three years since the earthquake had hit, killing more than 300,000 and displacing many more. Big aid organisations had promised a lot but there was a lot of scepticism about what they had actually delivered. It was a chance to see what local organisations did.
Lasting impressions? I was struck by what a beautiful city Port au Prince could be, or people told me, once had been. It is backed into green hills – I was there during the rainy season and am sure it is not always as lush or as muddy – and on a Caribbean island. But mostly, it looked as if it had turned its back on the sea, its residents focused inwards on making a living. Read more