Over the past three years (apart from nine months during pregnancy) my weight has been at its lowest since teenagerdom. The weird thing is that, while I was trying to diet and exercise I languished at a weight two stone heavier than at present.
Instead of Barack Obama, it could have been Eliot Spitzer sitting in the Oval Office right now.
As Attorney General of New York state and then as Governor, Spitzer declared a crackdown on the very bankers who were the cause of the global recession, targeting their bonus culture, and proclaiming himself the "Sheriff of Wall Street".
It is the photograph that means more to Anwar Sadat's widow than any other. A family portrait taken on the eve of the former Egyptian president's departure to Israel to address the Knesset on November 19 1977. A landmark moment for the Middle East, and for his wife who was convinced she would never see him again.
In June 1967, Israel crushed Egypt in the Six Day War. However, what is less known was the part played by British mercenaries and Israelis who helped the Royalist forces confront the Egyptian-backed rebels in the civil conflict which ravaged the Yemen from 1962 to 1968.
For years, Avraham Carmi felt a debt of gratitude to the Pole who saved his life. Like an angel the kind man swooped into his life, helped him in his hour of need and disappeared without revealing anything about himself.
Then one day - years later - Carmi found out his saviour's name, where to find him and the man's staggering secret.
Three days before the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, 10-year-old Carmi, or Abrash Stohlbach-Weinberger as he was called back then, went with his mother from their home town of Krzeszowice to nearby Warsaw, which she thought was safer.
How did we get to this point? Is life a crap shoot? Who is in charge? Do we get any smarter as we get older? Does anyone know what they are doing?
Ruby Wax is addressing some serious questions in her new show, Losing It. An odd move, possibly, for someone best known as a wise-cracking comedian, but these days Wax is more interested in serious matters, particularly concerning mental health, than easy laughs.
There is a moment in The King's Speech, the multi-Oscar-nominated British film, when Queen Elizabeth, played by an icy Helena Bonham Carter, meets speech therapist Lionel Logue for the first time to discuss her husband's chronic stammer - before Logue realises his future patient is a royal. She explains: "My husband's job requires a lot of public speaking." Geoffrey Rush's Logue retorts: "Then he should change job."
But the future King George VI, played by Colin Firth, cannot change job. His job is to be the voice of the nation on the eve of the Second World War.
Esther Oliver's house backs on to a creek in Brisbane, Australia's third-largest city and the capital of the beleaguered state of Queensland. Last Wednesday, Ms Oliver, a former teacher at a Jewish school in Melbourne who sits on the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies, looked on anxiously as the flood waters began inching towards her house. When it started flooding her garden, she began to panic.
"I was watching it coming. It was seeping. I fully expected it to flood the house. I expected snakes. I was scared."