Thirty UK government departments were targeted in a cyber-attack during the summer, writes William Hague in the new issue of The World Today. In an article outlining the efforts Britain is making to deny criminal hackers safe havens around the world, the Foreign Secretary says it was only due to 'the very best security' that sensitive information was not accessed.

Reflecting on fifty years since Dean Acheson’s remark that 'Britain has lost an empire and not yet found a role', Gideon Rachman argues that the enduring British tendency to look towards the English-speaking world – rather than Europe – is more than post-imperial nostalgia. 'The existence of an "Anglosphere" enlarges Britain's foreign policy options,' he says. 'It ensures that there is a distinctive British approach to the world that is different from those of its European partners.'

Some major foreign policy headaches await in 2013. With nuclear talks set to resume next week in Tehran, former UK Ambassador to Iran Sir Richard Dalton outlines how a deal could be reached, but says bad habits must be changed on both sides. Tensions in the South China Sea, where a maritime arms race is underway, also require careful diplomacy: the appointment of a UN Special Representative would be a good start, argues Lord Williams of Baglan.

As New York reflects on the damage wrought by Superstorm Sandy, Cleo Paskal, an associate fellow at Chatham House, gives warning that other low-lying financial centres, including London, Shanghai and Mumbai, are at increasing risk from storm surges which could trigger systemic market failures.

Finally, one man who is adapting to the changing world is Britain’s Ambassador in Beirut, Tom Fletcher, who reveals himself as the 'Naked Diplomat', equipped not with a Rolls-Royce and letters of credence but a smartphone and an open mind.

Notes to Editors

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