United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged a gathering of mayors from around the globe to press ahead with their valuable work – building bridges of international cooperation at the community level – to help revitalize the long-term vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.Revitalizing that vision “is the only way to guarantee that these terrible weapons will never be used again,” Mr. Annan said in remarks to a conference of mayors at UN Headquarters in New York. The visit by the “Mayors for Peace,” who are in town to promote their vision of a global ban on nuclear weapons by 2020, coincides with the opening of the 2005 Review Conference of State Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).The group is composed of cities around the world – led by city leaders from Hiroshima and Nagasaki – who have formally united against nuclear weapons. The non-governmental organization (NGO) is now supported by 554 cities in 107 countries and regions, endorsing the 1982 Programme to Promote Solidarity of Cities toward the Total Abolition of Nuclear Weapons.“Your work is very important to us here at the United Nations,” Mr. Annan said. “This UN is a meeting place of national governments, but it also needs the ideas and enthusiasm of local communities around the world.”Welcoming a number of “Hibakusa” – living witnesses to the horrors wrought by the atomic bombs unleashed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 – the Secretary-General urged the mayors to press ahead with their work, even in the face of what might seem to be insurmountable obstacles.If the world’s NPT obligations – ensuring nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy – were to be revitalized, action would be required on all fronts. “Your efforts, of course, are a part of something bigger – the struggle for a freer, fairer and safer world,” Mr. Annan said.At a press conference earlier Tuesday, Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, President of Mayors for Peace, said the interim goal of the so-called “2020 Vision Campaign” was to have a universal nuclear weapons convention prepared by 2010, for consideration by the next NPT review meeting. He said he hoped the discussions over the next few days would be the beginning of a constructive exchange between the custodians of the NPT and the mayors, citizens and NGOs of the world.Mayor Kazunaga Itoh of Nagasaki said that in the 60 years since the horrific attacks on his home city and Hiroshima, many nuclear weapons had no doubt been produced but not one had been used. That was perhaps because the countries that have or those that would like to have such weapons realized what a devastating thing they could be. He added, however, that six decades after the event, one could still identify cases of post-traumatic stress disorder. Calling for the eradication of all nuclear weapons, he said that the effects of the bombs were such that even today, the long-term after-effects were still being felt.
When celebrating the most powerful women of the last 70 years, it may seem natural to host a celebration at Buckingham Palace: home to a Queen who has reigned for generations.But if anyone had hoped Her Majesty might be recognised for her contribution to women’s lives over her long service, they would be disappointed.The BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour Power List, announced on Wednesday, instead recognises Beyoncé, the singer, feminist provocateur Germaine Greer and a fictional character: the love-lorn Bridget Jones. She told guests it was a “huge pleasure to acknowledge this magnificent milestone” and said the programme’s origins as a show just for housewives had been “left far behind”.”It is a living social history charting the changing attitudes to women as well as the changing attitudes of women themselves,” she said.”So it’s not surprising that the number of listeners is higher than ever and that its audience is made up of both women and men.” Baroness Thatcher came in first in the power list It is the first time the list has encompassed a fictional character as well as women no longer with us.Previous winners include Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, campaigner Baroness Lawrence, and the Queen, who won in 2013. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Beyonce, the singer Emma Barnett, chair of judges, said of Lady Thatcher: “Love or loathe her, it is hard to think of another woman who has had more of an impact on British women than Baroness Margaret Thatcher within the last seven decades.“Anyone born in the 80s, and thereafter, grew up thinking it was normal for a woman to run the country; anyone over the age of 18 while she was in charge was shaped by her leadership style and uncompromising policies.“In fact a whole generation of women’s feminism was formed in direct retaliation to her.”Judge Julia Hobsbawm said of the inclusion of Bridget Jones: “Twenty five years ago she ushered in the voice of a woman narrating her own banality as well as her own complexity.”The seven women on the Woman’s Hour Power List 2016:Margaret Thatcher – First female British Prime Minister (1979-1990) and leader of the Conservative Party (1975-1990). Emma Barnett says: “Love or loathe her, it is hard to think of another woman who has had more of an impact on British women than Baroness Margaret Thatcher within the last seven decades. Anyone born in the 80s, and thereafter, grew up thinking it was normal for a woman to run the country; anyone over the age of 18 while she was in charge was shaped by her leadership style and uncompromising policies. In fact a whole generation of women’s feminism was formed in direct retaliation to her.”Helen Brook – Set up Brook Advisory Centres in 1964 offering contraceptive advice to unmarried women. Jill Burridge says: “I think the biggest change [of the past 70 years] was probably contraception, which freed women to think about what they did and what choices they had – in terms of whether they stayed at home or chose to develop their career. Everything has followed on from that –employment, job opportunities, all those things flowed on after the change when the pill became freely available to women.”Barbara Castle – Labour MP for Blackburn (1945-1979), brought in the Equal Pay Act in 1970. Emma Barnett says: “It would be criminal not to put Barbara Castle on that list. Every negotiation I’ve ever had I know I’ve got her standing behind me with what she put into legislation.”Germaine Greer – Australian writer, recognised as one of the major voices of the feminist movement, she published The Female Eunuch in 1970. Abi Morgan says: “She’s a warrior for me – she’s somebody who went to the frontline of feminism and said bring it on.”Jayaben Desai – Prominent leader of the strikers in the Grunwick dispute in London in 1976, campaigning against low pay and poor conditions for women workers. Ayesha Hazarika says: “She highlighted the plight of low paid women, immigrant workers, racism, trade union recognition – but also dignity, humanity and basic human rights.” Bridget Jones – Bridget Jones’s Diary published by Helen Fielding in 1996. Julia Hobsbawm says: “Twenty five years ago she ushered in the voice of a woman narrating her own banality as well as her own complexity.”Beyoncé – American singer-songwriter. Ayesha Hazarika says: “I think Beyoncé managed to do two things. She turned herself into a very successful commercial brand but with that she also put out quite a positive feminist message, right from the start. Particularly now she’s moving into race relations talking about black lives matter. And also from a beauty point of view, being a black woman who is held up as a global beauty icon at a time when beauty and pop culture is still very white.” Barbara Castle shares a cup of tea with the leaders of the female machinists’ strike from the Ford plant in Dagenham in 1968 The Duchess of Cornwall greets Dame Jenni Murray at the Buckingham Palace reception A spokesman for Radio 4 said debate over the selection was to be expected. Lady Thatcher and Miss Jones are joined on the final list by Helen Brook, who founded centres offering contraception to unmarried women, Barbara Castle, the Labour MP who fought for equal pay, and Jayaben Desai, a strike leader in the 1974 Grunwick dispute.Germaine Greer, the feminist and academic who has caused fury among campaigners for recent comments about transgender people, came in fourth place, with judge Abi Morgan hailing her a “warrior”.Beyoncé, the American singer, makes it onto the list at number seven in recognition of her status as a “global beauty icon”. The Duchess of Cornwall meets Germaine Greer Germaine Greer, the feminist and author The list will be announced on Woman’s Hour from 10am on Wednesday, in a programme pre-recorded at Buckingham Palace.Speaking at a reception to celebrate the show’s 70th anniversary, the Duchess of Cornwall told a crowd the programme had been part of the “soundtrack to my life”. The Queen did not make the list, despite her long serviceCredit:Getty Images The list of seven powerful women, selected by a judging panel, was topped by Baroness Thatcher, the late former prime minister who was recognised by the BBC for her impact on British women whether they “love her or loathe her”.The Queen did not make the list, with Theresa May, the current Prime Minister, also omitted along with all modern-day politicians.Instead, Woman’s House chose to honour the star of Helen Fielding’s 1996 novel, Bridget Jones’s Diary, famous for her witty take on the life of a single woman in a world of “smug marrieds”. Alice Feinstein, Woman’s Hour editor, said: “Each year the Woman’s Hour Power List aims to highlight, celebrate and create a discussion around the achievements of women who are pioneering and affecting change for women and in British society at large.“In our anniversary year it felt appropriate to take stock and recognise the women who over the past 70 years have had the biggest impact.“Of course it’s been an impossible task for our judges to compile a final list of seven but I’m pleased that this feels like an appropriately wide-ranging and impressive line-up of those who historically and today are having an impact in terms of the choices available to women in the UK in 2016.”