The Fragile States Index, produced by The Fund for Peace, is a critical tool in highlighting not only the normal pressures that all states experience, but also in identifying when those pressures are pushing a state towards the brink of failure.

The 2 year old boy who died in December 2013 in Gueckedou, Guinea, is considered the index case of the current outbreak of Ebola virus disease caused by the Zaire species. Up until 2014, the disease was limited to rural areas of east and central Africa, but it has now spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Senegal.

Within Japan, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima is understood as a national experience that sets the country apart from nations that have been spared such devastation. A special phrase the Japanese use to describe their country is yuitsu hibaku kokka, ‘the only country that has experienced atomic bombing’. This phrase has become a powerful cliché for depicting Japan to a national and international audience.

Children and adolescents exposed to armed conflict are at high risk of developing mental health problems. To date, a range of psychosocial approaches and clinical/psychiatric interventions has been used to address mental health needs in these groups.

A Cambodian group has developed a pioneering community-based approach to HIV and TB care and research. Amy Maxmen describes how this powerful model is being expanded to other war-torn countries.

Recent studies have linked climatic and social instabilities in ancient China; the underlying causal mechanisms have, however, often not been quantitatively assessed.

In a recent paper, we documented strong historical linkages between temperature and civil conflict in Africa. Sutton et al. raise two concerns with our findings: that the relationship between temperature and war is based on common trends and is therefore spurious, and that our model appears overly sensitive to small specification changes.

The potential relationship between climate change and conflict is intriguing and warrants rigorous study. However, the proposition by Burke et al. that warming may be a directly causative factor in the risk of civil war in Sub-Saharan Africa seems unlikely. The analysis of Burke et al. (1) suggests instead a tenuous historical association between warming and increased conflict. (Letters)

This publication, which highlights success stories and lessons learned, is aimed at a wide audience. The intent is to further raise awareness of the devastation that an environmental emergency can cause, and to promote advocacy and action in response. It also aims to highlight the strong need to integrate humanitarian and environmental action.

An Associate Laureate of the 2004 Rolex Awards, Jo Thompson was selected for her pioneering efforts to save the bonobo, an endangered ape that dwells only in the Congo Basin region of Africa. During the Congo's war years (1998-2002), Thompson's wildlife project maintainted an active presence within the country.