Justice will be in the spotlight this week, with the world's first trial of a political leader for his part in the banking crisis, the UN scrutinising events in Libya, and the citizens of Japan demanding answers one year on from the Fukushima disaster. Meanwhile, women push for their rights, and the fight to save Britain's National Health Service continues.
Banking crisis: prime minister in the dock
The trial of Geir Haarde, the former prime minister of Iceland, begins today. When he was forced to resign in 2009, following the collapse of the country's banking system, he left the country in debt to the tune of $86bn – more than six times Iceland's annual GDP. Now, he stands in court accused of criminal negligence, a charge levied by the Icelandic parliament. If found guilty, he could spend two years in prison.
Haarde is the first world leader to be prosecuted for his contribution to the global financial crisis. An important precedent? Former Greek ministers, in particular, should take note.
Women and men are equal, right?
It's International Women's Day on Thursday, and there's increasing confidence among the younger generation in the west that many of the battles have been won. Legislatively – at least from a western perspective – this is true. Yet even in the developed world women are still not paid equally to men, and remain under-represented in almost every top profession. And globally, the battles over rights, education, health and violence are still fought every day.
On Thursday, inspiring women from around the globe will convene in New York for the third annual Women in the World Summit. It will focus on important themes, asking questions such as how the media help women, and how they set them back. The worry, however, is that this will be just another talking shop: no draft action or resolution is expected to arise from the summit.
The fight for justice continues on several fronts. The UN hopes to reach an agreement on additional assistance to Libya and Yemen, where President Saleh's departure from office hasn't stopped fighting. The UN wants to find ways of support the growth of democracy and respect for human rights, while avoiding the mistakes of past interventions. The meeting comes shortly after a UN expert panel concluded that both Gaddafi forces and the rebels committed war crimes in Libya during the uprising last year.
In Britain, the battle to protect the National Health Service continues, with a huge public rally against the government's reform bill on Wednesday. The bill, which critics have described as ushering in a "free market free for all", is already a mess of fudges and compromises, and is fast descending into a political disaster for prime minister David Cameron. Shortly after his spokesman said there would be no more "significant changes", the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, called for further revisions. Countless doctors, patients and citizens' groups have spoken out against the reforms.
Sunday marks one year since the Fukushima disaster. Studies have shown very high levels of soil and food contamination in Fukushima, which puts the health of more than 300,000 children at grave risk. These studies have so far been ignored due to the high cost of implementing their recommendations, but the human cost of living in a radiation zone for a year is far higher. Mothers from Fukushima are taking part in a 10-month sit-in to protect their children's future.
Take action: Sign the petition to support the Fukushima mothers.