From Our Own Correspondent Podcast

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Insight, wit and analysis as BBC correspondents, journalists and writers take a closer look at the stories behind the headlines. Presented by Kate Adie and Pascale Harter.

BBC Radio 4


    • Jan 21, 2023 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekdays NEW EPISODES
    • 28m AVG DURATION
    • 514 EPISODES

    4.6 from 312 ratings Listeners of From Our Own Correspondent Podcast that love the show mention: correspondents, bbc, globe, elegant, reporters, programs, reporting, standard, journalism, places, apart, wit, news, american, country, close, story, stories, world, radio.



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    Latest episodes from From Our Own Correspondent Podcast

    Ukraine Dreams Of A Different Future

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 21, 2023 28:23


    Kate Adie presents stories from Ukraine, Nepal, Iraq, Norway and the US Andrew Harding is at the frontline in Eastern Donbas, close to Russian lines, where soldiers share their dreams of the future after the war, as artillery fire rains down on them. The Yeti airlines crash into a gorge in Nepal last Sunday was the worst in 30 years. Rajini Vaidyanathan saw the grim reality of the crash site and spoke to mourners as they prepared to bury their loved ones. From chocolate biscuits, to porcelain to air-conditioning units, Iranian produce lines the shelves of Baghdad's stores. But despite the strong commercial ties and shared cultural influences, political tensions are flaring in the Kurdistan region of Iraq after the death of Mahsa Amini, writes Lizzie Porter. In Arctic Norway, cod fisherman rely on Russian cooperation to share fish stocks in the Barents Sea equally. Hugh Francis Anderson was in Tromso where he spoke to fisherman increasingly wary that souring relations with Russia could impact their livelihoods. Mark Moran reports from Arizona on the water wars in the state, where rural farmers and ranchers are launching a fightback against the move to divert water to the expanding city of Queen's Creek.

    China's Great Reopening

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 14, 2023 28:38


    Kate Adie presents stories from China, Brazil, Sri Lanka, the US and Portugal. China has opened up its borders again ahead of the New Year festival. Late las year, Xi Jinping eased Covid restrictions after anti-Zero Covid protests, which has led to a surge in cases across major cities and provinces. Many in the country are divided about whether to savour their new found freedoms and travel, or stay put to protect elderly relatives, says Stephen McDonnell. The storming of Brazil's congress, presidential palace and supreme court by supporters of Jair Bolsonaro has led many to draw parallels with the attack on the Capitol building in Washington in 2021. Katy Watson looks at who the protestors are and who might be behind them. Zeinab Badawi is in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, where she meets Sinhalese artist, Jagath, whose work mainly focuses on the country's brutal history. She hears the story of how one of his monuments to commemorate those who died in the conflict was destroyed in favour of a new building project. David Adams is in Miami, Florida, where, during a stroll one day, he encounters some iguanas which have fallen from surrounding trees. And although Florida escaped much of the worst of the recent freeze in the US, he reflects on whether these creatures could be a canary in the coal mine for climate change. Alastair Leithead chose to move to southern Portugal for a more settled life, after years on the road as a foreign correspondent. He writes about his experiences of trying to live an off-grid lifestyle - and some of its challenges.

    Brazil: United In Grief, Divided By Politics

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 7, 2023 28:56


    Kate Adie presents stories from Brazil, Russia, the US, South Korea and Italy Brazilians this week mourned the loss of one of their greatest footballers, Pele, with hundreds of thousands going to view his open casket in Santos. Meanwhile, the politics continue to divide the nation as Lula Da Silva returned to power. Katy Watson was in Brasilia for his inauguration and reflects on the challenges ahead. Vladimir Putin used his New Year address this year to rally the nation once more for war, as festive ice sculptures even depicted military figures. The announcement of a ceasefire for Orthodox Christmas appeared incongruous with Putin's rhetoric and was dismissed by Ukrainians as a plot to stay their advances. Steve Rosenberg was in Moscow as Russians were once more put on a war footing. Linda Pressly has a dispatch from Tucson in Arizona where she met a group of committed Christians helping migrants who've crossed from Mexico into the harsh landscape of the Sonoran desert, and lost their way. This comes as President Joe Biden prepares to visit the border next week. John Murphy visits the rooftop apartments of South Korea's capital Seoul to hear why they hold such appeal for young Koreans - and how economic circumstances, and social expectations are causing some to leave the city altogether. Rome was also in mourning for another iconic figure - of the Catholic church. 50 000 mourners reportedly attended the funeral of Pope Benedict in St Peter's Square and tens of thousands more paid homage to him as he lay in state. David Willey has covered the Vatican for half a decade, and says there is a bigger sea change underway.

    A Year in Ukraine

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 31, 2022 28:52


    Kate Adie presents a selection of stories from correspondents who have covered the war, from the invasion of Kyiv to the present day. Fergal Keane remembers the beekeepers of the Donbas who he met in 2014, following Russia's annexation of Crimea. As he witnessed the throngs of Ukrainians fleeing war in February of this year, he wonders if he will meet his friends again. Quentin Sommerville reported close to Russian lines in Kharkiv as it came under attack. He reflects on the realities of war and the decision to show dead bodies in his television reporting - to not show them would be a lie, he says. Yogita Limaye writes on the atrocities which emerged in Bucha after Russian forces withdrew, and her encounter with Irina - a woman trying to rebuild her life after she lost her home, and her husband. In July, Orla Guerin reported on the effects of Russia's propaganda machine, and its influence within Russian-speaking communities in Ukraine. Suspicion and mistrust left some locals wondering on whose side their neighbours were on. And acclaimed Ukrainian writer, Andrey Kurkov reflects on his return to Ukraine to celebrate Christmas after several months in Europe and the somewhat muted festivities as the unpredictability of the war continues. Series Producer: Serena Tarling Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond

    Friendship, Fury and a French Suit

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 24, 2022 29:01


    Kate Adie presents highlights from 2022, beginning in Moscow, where we hear the story of the friendship between BBC Russia editor Steve Rosenberg and Valentina, a vendor at a newspaper kiosk. Earlier this year, Ryanair introduced a compulsory nationality test - in Afrikaans - for South African travellers coming into the UK. Audrey Brown describes what the language means to her as a Black South African and for so many others who grew up under apartheid. Protesters took to the streets in Sri Lanka this year, as the country spiralled into an economic crisis which saw Sri Lankans facing shortages of fuel, food and medicine. Rajini Vaidyanathan was in Colombo. And finally, Emmanuel Macron has been criticised for being out of touch with regular voters, so in the French elections this year he tried a more casual approach - in both manner and attire. Our Paris correspondent, Hugh Schofield, decided upon a makeover of his own, and went in search of a new suit - from the President's own tailor. Series Producer: Serena Tarling Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond

    Haiti: A Gangster's Paradise

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 17, 2022 29:35


    Kate Adie presents stories from Haiti, Germany, Sri Lanka, Morocco and Sweden. Orla Guerin reports from Haiti where gangs now control 60 per cent of the capital and surrounding areas. Hundreds of people have been killed amid reports of kidnapping, gang rape and torture. After a far-right coup on the German government was foiled in recent weeks, Jenny Hill visits one of the 'German kingdoms' which espouses the same conspiracy theories as those who were arrested. 56, 000 children in Sri Lanka are suffering from severe malnutrition, according to the UN. Archana Shukla visits a tea plantation in central Sri Lanka where several families are having to cut back on food amid inflation and shortages. Morocco's World Cup performances have surprised many and led to euphoria on the streets of Rabat, Casablanca and Marrakech. And, despite France beating them in the semi-finals, the team's earlier successes have changed how Moroccans are seen - and how they see themselves, says James Copnall. And finally, Maddy Savage visits the Sami reindeer herders of Sweden's north to hear how the country's switch to more renewable energy presents its challenges for this community. Series Producer: Serena Tarling Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond

    ‘Everything that is good has been taken'

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 10, 2022 29:26


    Kate Adie presents stories from Ukraine, Iran, Niger, Bhutan and Lithuania. Russian troops captured Irpin, north-west of Kyiv, early on in the invasion. When the satellite town was liberated, the atrocities of Russian soldiers were laid bare. Nick Redmayne spoke to the residents who returned home about how they are trying to rebuild their lives. Following the protests which began in mid-September, after the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, news of the first public execution of a protestor in Iran drew international condemnation this week - though protests show no sign of abating. Azadeh Moaveni was in Tehran when the protests began and found the desire for change runs deep in Iranian society. Michela Wrong visits a safe house in Niamey, Niger, where eight elderly Rwandan men are being detained, having been prosecuted for their role in the Rwandan genocide. Four have now been acquitted, and four have served their prison sentences. She hears what happened to them since their trial- and the challenges posed by their rehabilitation. Last year, Bhutan decriminalised homosexuality. Michelle Jana Chan speaks to gay activists, including Miss Universe Bhutan, about how far the population in the Himalayan Kingdom, is keeping step with political change. Lithuania was once the heart of a large empire in the Middle Ages, stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Hundreds of years ago, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania invited members of the Karaim community from Crimea to serve as guards and soldiers of an empire. Simon Broughton attended a festival celebrating their culture in Trakai.

    From Our Own Correspondent

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 3, 2022 28:50


    Kate Adie presents stories from China, Ukraine, Moldova, Zimbabwe and the US. Protests have taken place across China, from Shanghai, to Guangdong to Beijing after a fire in Urumqi killed ten people who were thought to have been under Covid restrictions. Celia Hatton asks whether this is a watershed moment for Xi Jinping and his Zero Covid policy. In Ukraine, a bloody war is being fought in towns and cities in Donetsk, such as Bakhmut and Avdiivka, with high numbers of casualties on both sides. Abdujalil Abdurasulov went to Avdiivka and spoke to some of the 2000 residents who've decided to stay amid intensive shelling, in bombed-out buildings. Joe Inwood goes to neighbouring Moldova where local businesses, including a winery, are trying to switch to renewable energy to avoid the power outages caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Moldova and Ukraine's power infrastructure are intrinsically interlinked, so cities across the country are affected by Russian attacks. In Zimbabwe, despite initial hopes that President Ernest Mnangagwa would bring economic and political stability, the reappearance of road blocks harks back to the regime of Robert Mugabe. Meanwhile inflation is once again soaring, and the country remains locked in an economic spiral, says Kim Chakanetsa. And in Washington DC, the leader of the far-right, anti-government Oath Keepers militia was found guilty of plotting an armed rebellion to stop President Joe Biden from taking office in 2020. Mike Wendling went to Montana to meet the ring leader, Stewart Rhodes' son. Producer: Serena Tarling Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond

    A Bleak Future For Afghanistan's Young Women

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 26, 2022 28:54


    Kate Adie presents stories from Afghanistan, China, Iraq, Colombia and Ireland. The Taliban announced a ban on women going to parks, swimming pools and gyms this month, following one on girls attending secondary schools. Yogita Limaye spoke to one young woman about what life is like in Kabul as these once cherished freedoms disappear. The story of Gao Zhisheng, a Chinese human rights lawyer, who was repeatedly detained for his work defending members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement and Christians, is a cautionary tale of Xi Jinping's China. Michael Bristow followed his story from his initial arrest in 2006. The UN has said Iraq is the world's fifth most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The country's two main rivers, the Euphrates and the Tigris have seen their water levels drop significantly this year as the country experienced one of its worst droughts. Leila Molana Allen spoke to locals about the impact on their livelihoods. Colombia's new leftist president, Gustavo Petro, campaigned on a manifesto of tackling inequality and switching to a greener economy. But rising inflation and a depreciation of the peso has proved a challenge to enforcing his radical agenda. Rohan Montgomery went for a ride with motorcyclists in Medellin and heard their views on life under Petro. The story of the 'Sack of Baltimore', where a village in Ireland's County Cork was ambushed by Barbary pirates, intrigues visitors to the area, in particular to the Algiers Inn. The attack. in 1631, was the worst on Ireland who took their captives back to North Africa and eventually sold them into slavery. Vincent Dowd went to speak to the locals about what happened. Producer: Serena Tarling Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith

    Letters from Russia

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 19, 2022 29:28


    Kate Adie presents stories from Russia, the Netherlands, France, Tunisia and the US. A vocal critic of Putin's invasion of Ukraine writes to Sarah Rainsford from Detention Centre no 5 in Moscow. In those letters, he speaks frankly about the damage wrought by the war and his hopes for a better future after Vladimir Putin. The verdict in the trial of three Russians and one Ukrainian suspected of involvement in the shooting down of passenger jet MH17 disaster in 2014 over Eastern Ukraine, was passed down on Friday. Anna Holligan spoke to families of the victims about whether they felt justice had been done. Lucy Williamson has been on patrol with French border police in Calais and Dunkerque, after a migrant deal was struck between the UK and France this week. Despite the media storm in the UK, she found the view looked very different from the French end. Rob Crossan visits the small Tunisian island of Djerba, where Jews and Muslims co-exist peacefully - something of a rareity in the Arab world - and murals in the winding streets reflect the culture of mutual tolerance. And James Clayton has been getting the word on the street in San Francisco, the home of Twitter, after a turbulent week at the social media platform, and he explores the impact of Elon Musk's takeover. Producers: Serena Tarling and Caroline Bayley Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith

    Kherson: After the Russian Retreat

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2022 28:52


    Kate Adie presents stories from Ukraine, the West Bank, Pakistan, the US and the Faroe Islands. Jeremy Bowen was in Kherson in Ukraine shortly after the Russians retreated, but he found that occupation and liberation can lead to suspicion and division. There is unease among Palestinians living in the hamlets of Masafer Yatta in the occupied West Bank as the new Israeli government takes shape. Yolande Knell spoke to villagers there, who found out earlier this year about the Israeli Supreme Court decision to recognise a military training zone around their homes. Samira Hussain attends one of the rallies of former PM Imran Khan on his March to Islamabad and meets him again after an assassination attempt a fortnight later - wounded but determined to continue his political fight. In New York, there's a population explosion - of rats. The mayor has a plan to tackle the problem but requiring residents to put their refuse out after 8pm each night. But there's more to the expanding rat population than meets the eye, finds Laura Trevelyan. And in the Faroe Islands, Tim Ecott is in amidst a sheep mustering where he learns about the local meat-eating tradition, and the desire to be self-sustainable amid the threat of European recession, inflation and the energy crisis. Producers: Caroline Bayley and Serena Tarling Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond

    The Red Wave That Wasn't

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 12, 2022 28:54


    Kate Adie presents dispatches from the US, Australia, Egypt, Portugal and Slovenia The predicted “giant red wave” of Republican support did not materialise in this week's midterm elections – though they are still poised to regain control of the House of Representatives and could still seize full control of Congress. John Sudworth weighs what the outcome means for Donald Trump's Republicans The death of a 15-year-old Aboriginal boy in Western Australia has triggered a public outcry. Last month, Cassius Turvey was walking home from school with friends, when they were allegedly attacked. Cassius was beaten up and later died in hospital. His death has posed hard questions, about pervasive racism in the country, says Shaimaa Khalil The Egyptian beach resort of Sharm El-Sheikh is this week hosting the UN Climate Change summit. The gathering is often criticised for its lack of progress on climate change targets and its heavy carbon footprint. But Justin Rowlatt says there's a new proposal, which is gaining traction – led by the Prime Minister of Barbados. Portugal's golden visa scheme, which rewarded wealthy foreign investors with citizenship, has pushed house prices up over the last ten years. The government recently announced it plans to end the scheme - but it may be too late for many young people who're still unable to get a foot on the housing ladder, says Natasha Fernandez. In Slovenia, Nick Hunt follows the 'Walk of Peace' trail amid trenches and memorials to fallen soldiers in the First World War. He hears from locals how forest fires last Summer wreaked fresh devastation on the region. Producers: Serena Tarling and Ellie House Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond

    Surviving Mariupol

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 10, 2022 28:27


    Kate Adie presents stories from Ukraine, Nigeria, the US, Mexico and an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. News this week of the discovery of another mass grave in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol has left families with missing relatives, fearing for their plight. And as media access has grown increasingly limited, understanding what really happened in Mariupol has become less clear. Hillary Anderson has spent much of the year trying to find out. In Nigeria, the case of Mubarak Bala, who was sentenced to 24 years in prison for blasphemy, has thrown into the spotlight the limits on freedom of expression. Across the country, atheists, face discrimination at work and even violence. Yemisi Adegoke followed Mubarak's case and learned what can happen to those who decide to live openly without faith. Residents of Jackson, Mississippi have long complained about their failing water system. And this summer, the crisis came to a head. Jackson's residents were faced with dirty brown water coming from their taps, or no water at all - but the crisis is far from over. Nick Judin met some of the city's most vulnerable residents. The UN Secretary General this week warned that the world is on a 'highway to climate hell' as world leaders gathered for COP 27, in Egypt. Kate Vandy travelled to Svalbard – a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, which is warming six times faster than anywhere else on the planet. Every year, the start of November brings the traditional Mexican holiday The Day of the Dead. People paint their faces, wear flowers in their hair, and hang skeleton-themed decorations in the streets. But in Mexico City, Olaf Furniss wonders whether today's festivities are veering from tradition. Presenter: Kate Adie Producers: Ellie House and Serena Tarling Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond

    Albania's Young Migrants

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 5, 2022 28:50


    Albania's Prime Minister this week has accused the UK of scapegoating his country's citizens to excuse its ‘failed policies' on migration. This comes amid a deepening crisis over the UK's handling of asylum seekers. Sara Monetta spoke to people in the suburbs of Tirana about why many of Albania's young people are choosing to leave. Last weekend, young people gathered in the district of Itaewon, in the South Korean capital Seoul, to celebrate Halloween in far greater numbers than usual. The subsequent crush killed more than 150 people. Laila Shahrokhshahi experienced first-hand the force of the crowds before tragedy struck. Voters in Israel chose to return Benjamin Netanyahu to power in this week's election. The big story of his dramatic comeback has been about the rise of Israel's far-right, which he helped cultivate as a parliamentary alliance to boost the numbers for his right-wing bloc in the Knesset. Tom Bateman looks at the emergence of a new kingmaker, Itamar Ben-Gvir. Ahead of the midterm elections, the abortion debate still polarises the US, following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe vs Wade. During those proceedings, there was also talk of Safe Haven laws, which exist in every state, and allow mothers to leave their new-borns at a designated safe site if they feel they are unable to take care of them. In Arizona, Linda Pressly met a family with direct experience of this. Ukraine's President has accused the Kremlin of 'energy terrorism', saying millions of people have been left without power because of Russian attacks on the country's power grid. Hugo Bachega has been living in the city for the past few months, and describes how Kyiv's citizens have once again adapted to rapidly changing circumstances. Presenter: Kate Adie Producers: Serena Tarling and Ellie House Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond

    The return of Lula

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2022 29:11


    Brazil's left-wing Presidential candidate Lula da Silva made a political comeback this week, narrowly beating the incumbent, Jair Bolsonaro. In Lula's victory speech, he promised to tackle hunger, which is affecting more than 33 million people there. Sofia Bettiza travelled to Northeastern Brazil, where many people voted for Lula. This week, Lebanon entered unchartered territory with no president, a caretaker cabinet and deeply divided parliament. And with the Lebanese currency losing around 90 per cent of its value, the country's citizens have been taken matters into their own hands. More than a dozen banks have been raided this year by customers demanding to take out their own money rather than see their savings diminish further. Leila Molana-Allen spoke to several of those affected by the rapidly falling exchange rate. In September, clashes erupted along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The hostilities marked the most serious escalation since 2020, when they fought a bloody war over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. A tentative ceasefire is now in place. But Gabriel Gavin found increasing numbers of Armenian women signing up to defend the country Norway this week put its military on a raised level of alert in response to the war in Ukraine. David Baillie was recently on Norway's border with Russia where he encountered some young students manning the border posts. In Senegal, we hear how a certain food staple introduced by the former French colonisers has become a much-loved feature of the diet of the Serer people. Tim Whewell recently went to seek out the story of how this food item came to be so cherished. Presenter: Kate Adie Producers: Serena Tarling and Ellie House Editor: Simon Watts Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond

    Ukraine's Eastern Frontline

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 29, 2022 28:56


    The battle on Ukraine's eastern frontline, in Donbas, has turned into a protracted artillery war, which Ukraine has described as the biggest on European soil since World War Two. And as battlefields surrender to the frost of Winter, the conditions for soldiers are becoming more perilous. Jeremy Bowen recently embedded with a Ukrainian artillery unit on the front line where, despite months of relentless fighting, soldiers are maintaining their resolve. The conflict in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region has left a population facing one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. And although formal peace talks are currently underway in South Africa, between the Ethiopian government and Tigrayan forces, fighting is still on-going. Catherine Byaruhanga has been speaking to health workers dealing with the fallout of this conflict, who fear, without basic supplies, the situation will only get worse. The southern state of Georgia looks set to be a crucial battleground for Democrats and Republicans in the forthcoming mid-term elections in the United States. The outcome of the Senate race in Georgia is likely to determine which party has control of the upper chamber of Congress. Kayla Epstein has been following the campaign of the high-profile Republican candidate, Herschel Walker. Bullfighting is a centuries old tradition most often associated with Spain and one which arouses passion amongst both its supporters and its detractors. But the traditional arena bull fight is not, in fact, the most common bull-related activity in the country. There are numerous smaller festivals involving bulls which have recently come under the spotlight, after nine people died earlier this year after taking part in bull runs in Northern Valencia. Victor Lloret travelled to Lucena del Cid to find out what happens to the bulls during these local festivities. French overseas territories don't run their own domestic affairs like their British equivalents, but elect representatives to the French parliament and vote for a presidential candidate. This year, the far right leader Marine Le Pen scored her best presidential first round result in Mayotte, a tiny island in the Indian Ocean. Tim Fenton is just back from the island, where he found the politics was almost as striking as its beauty. Presenter: Kate Adie Producers: Serena Tarling and Ellie House Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond

    Brazil votes on the Amazon's future

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2022 29:02


    Kate Adie introduces dispatches from Brazil, Taiwan, Zambia, Sweden and the USA. On Sunday Brazilians vote in the final stage of their presidential election, and the slate offers a very clear choice. Meanwhile, the indigenous peoples of Brazil are facing a host of outside threats, as illegal gold miners flood into their traditional lands to seek their fortunes. While the mining process itself damages the forest, the social effects are also insidious. Katy Watson has been to the world's largest indigenous reserve, territory of the Yanomami people, to hear how the gold rush is playing out. The issue of Taiwan's identity is one of the most vexed geopolitical questions around. On the Chinese mainland, there's no doubt - Taiwan is historically part of China and reunification should happen as soon as possible. On the island itself, most people have very different views. In Taipei, Zeinab Badawi considers the past, present and future of a possible flashpoint for regional conflict. Food prices have been rising almost everywhere, in the wake of the war in Ukraine and several seasons of drought and natural disaster in many of the world's usual 'breadbaskets'. Some feel the effects far more keenly than others. In Zambia, the soaring cost of bottled gas and vegetable oil means even the simplest snack is now out of reach for some. Qasa Alom stopped off in a small town to talk about the price of potato chips with a woman who earns her living selling them from a stall. Most stereotypes of Sweden revolve around ABBA and Ikea, a strong welfare state and political moderation. But the results of the most recent general election shook those certainties, as a far-right nativist party, the Sweden Democrats, gained over a fifth of the votes and became a key part of the new right-wing coalition in government. Matilda Welin's been wondering if it's time for Swedes and others to rethink what the country's really about. Can the United States of America ever really make amends for the sins of its past? Paying reparations to the descendants of enslaved people was a central demand for the Black Lives Matter movement. Calculating the best way to pay out is a challenge to communities and institutions. Mike Wendling reports from Evanston, Illinois, on one scheme which has made some first steps. Producer: Serena Tarling Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith Production Co-ordinator: Iona Hammond

    Nigeria's Flood-hit State

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 22, 2022 29:09


    Nigeria is suffering its worst flooding in a decade with 1.4 million people displaced and more than 600 killed. There are now concerns that the country may face catastrophic levels of hunger. The BBC's West Africa correspondent, Mayeni Jones, visited flood-hit Kogi state and reflects on what her journey revealed about the state of the country. The Netherlands is currently lurching from crisis to crisis - including a tense debate over how to accommodate thousands of asylum seekers. In recent weeks, judges ordered the Dutch government to raise the standards in the reception of refugees in line with the European minimum. Anna Holligan visited a reception centre in the country's rural north. Many who fled Iran after the revolution in 1979 had to find their way in new countries, including Israel. Suzanne Kianpour met with a singer who left Iran for Israel as a child and spoke to her about how she managed to adjust to the different culture and her desire to build bridges between enemy countries. Bhutan has kept its borders firmly closed for two and a half years. Now it's re-opened to tourists, and an additional daily tourist tax is set to make it a much more exclusive. Locals who cater for less extravagant budgets are being hit hard, says Michelle Jana Chan. it was just a normal Friday afternoon when tragedy struck the village of Creeslough in county Donegal in Ireland. An explosion at a petrol station killed ten people - with police describing it as a tragic accident. Members of the local community have pulled together in their grief with small acts of kindness, says Chris Page. Presenter: Kate Adie Producers: Serena Tarling and Ellie House Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond Editor: Emma Rippon Photo credit: Ayo Bello, BBC

    Tracing Ukraine's missing people

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2022 28:55


    In Ukraine, rights groups are reporting growing numbers of missing civilians in areas occupied by Russia. Many are believed to have been taken to Russian prisons, but the husbands, wives and relatives are left behind, scouring news bulletins and online message boards in a desperate attempt to track them down. Bel Trew met some of them. The UK government is being urged to make a formal apology for alleged war crimes by British troops in historical Palestine nearly a century ago. The petition is being brought by an elderly Palestinian business owner who was shot and wounded by UK forces as a boy. Tom Bateman came across the vivid accounts of some of the soldiers. The sinking of a government-owned Senegalese ferry, the Joola, in 2002 took more lives than the infamous Titanic - leaving 1,800 people dead. Subsequent inquiries highlighted poor safety measures and the overcrowding of the boat as major factors in the disaster. Our correspondent, Efrem Gebreab met two of the survivors in Senegal. Sporadic protests have been taking place across Cuba amid a nationwide blackout following Hurricane Ian. Cuba's economy had been brought to its knees due to economic mismanagement and the impact of Covid-19. And the recent disaster at the island's biggest fuel depot meant a powerful hurricane was the last thing the weary Cuban people needed, says Will Grant. Naples in Southern Italy is renowned for its Roman ruins but what about its Greek heritage? Part of an ancient Greek cemetery, discovered under a 19th century palazzo has now been opened to the public. Julia Buckley went to visit the intricately decorated tombs.

    Ukraine: A War of Nerves

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 15, 2022 28:59


    The past week has been one of contrasting emotions in Ukraine. The country celebrated a dramatic and unexpected development: an attack on a key bridge linking Russia with Crimea was seen as a major strategic blow to Vladimir Putin. But days later, Russia launched some of the most widespread missile attacks of the war. Paul Adams, says there is a lingering unease in Ukraine about Putin's next move. Last month, a bold counter-offensive by Ukraine's military in the country's east led to a retreat by Russian forces. But as the Russians left behind cities they occupied for months, allegations of atrocities they committed began to emerge. Sofia Bettiza met some Sri Lankans held captive in the city of Kharkiv. A shocking attack on a nursery in Thailand's north-east stunned the country. Jonathan Head was in the village of Uthai Sawan, and reflects on the part that the hardship of life may have played in the tragedy. After the Soviet Union collapsed, Tajikistan slid into a 5 year civil war which cost 100,000 lives and forced a million people from their homes. Among the pursuits of daily life that has suffered amid the violence is bee-keeping. But, thanks to a conservation initiative, it's seeing a revival says Antonia Bolingbroke Kent. A dream inspires a visit to a fishing village in Romania across the Danube from Ukraine. Its name is Periprava – once the site of a Communist-prison camp, now razed to the ground. Nick Thorpe was given a tour of the secluded, small community, much transformed. But despite its charm, the sound of sirens can still be heard across the waters – and a colder reality breaks the spell. Presenter: Kate Adie Producers: Serena Tarling and Ellie House Editor: Bridget Harney Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond

    Mahsa Amini's Kurdish Heritage

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 13, 2022 29:01


    Protests in Iran, following the death in custody of a Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, are now in their fourth week despite the intensifying crackdown. Mahsa became a symbol of Iranian repression after her arrest by the morality police for allegedly wearing her hijab improperly. Anna Foster met members of Mahsa's family who live across the border in Iraqi Kurdistan. In India, a new extremist Hindu movement - made up mostly of young men- is growing. They call themselves “trads”, short for traditionalists, and share many of the hallmarks of America's alt-right movement and mainly operate online. Reha Kansara met one of them on India's southern coast. Rising inflation is now a global problem, but in Argentina it's a way of life. This year has proved particularly challenging in the country as it teeters on the edge of hyperinflation. Jane Chambers was in Buenos Aires recently and spoke to some of the city's residents about how they are managing. A crush at an Indonesian football stadium in Malang West Java which left 131 people dead is being counted as one of the worst stadium disasters in sporting history. There has been public outcry over the incident, with concerns raised about the heavy-handed response of the police and the lack of safety measures in place, says Aliefia Malik. The UK's frosty relationship with the EU has become an almost permanent backdrop since the Brexit referendum. But in recent weeks, the UK's presence at the European Political Community meeting in Prague, along with other signs of cooperation, have raised diplomatic hopes that a thaw was underway. But does this amount to a genuine shift, ask James Landale. Presenter: Kate Adie Producers: Serena Tarling and Ellie House Editor: Bridget Harney Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond

    Famine looms in Somalia

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 8, 2022 28:53


    A fight for survival is underway in Somalia as the country faces its worst drought in 40 years. Andrew Harding travelled to the southwestern city of Baidoa - one of the worst-affected areas in the country, where people are now flooding to in hope of finding humanitarian assistance. The story of two teenage sisters who were raped and hanged in their village in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has shaken communities there. The case has also been complicated by spurious suggestions by local politicians that there was a religious motivation behind the killings. Geeta Pandy met the family of the victims. Henry Wilkins is in Burkina Faso, where two coups have now taken place this year. The West African country lacks strong democratic institutions and the military have long been dominant. It's also found itself increasingly embroiled in a new cold war rivalry between France and Russia. Set in the hills north of Spoleto in the southern Appenines is the small Italian town of Montefalco. The local grape, the Sagrantino, is known to be one of the tougher varieties to make into wine. Ellie House met one vineyard owner in the region and learnt how the production process is still one based on trial – and a few errors. Saudi Arabia's been burnishing its credentials as host for the world's biggest sporting events this year, with speculation its even lining itself up for an Olympic bid. Steve Bunce considers whether the presence of the world's best athletes can really distract critical eyes, as the kingdom's rulers might hope. Presenter: Kate Adie Producers: Serena Tarling and Ellie House Production coordinator: Iona Hammond Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith

    China's media control

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 6, 2022 28:11


    China's communist party is preparing for a crucial meeting of the annual congress, which is expected to award President, Xi Jinping a third term in office. But amid the tightened security surrounding this event, economic storm clouds are gathering. And investigating and reporting on the effects of this downturn is becoming ever more tricky, as Stephen McDonnell has found. The storm surge triggered by Hurricane Ian engulfed several cities on Florida's Coast. Buildings were torn apart and 600 000 homes and businesses were left without power. Alexandra Ostasiewicz went to a trailer park community in Fort Myers where residents are now trying rebuild their lives and homes. There have been reports this week of a breakthrough by Ukrainian troops fighting in the South of the country in the Kherson region after further gains had been made in the East against the Russians. Abdujalil Abdurasulov was embedded with Ukrainian troops on the southern frontline where a protracted battle is underway. Mexico is known the world over for its vibrant and spicy cuisine. But Will Grant is one of the unlucky few who is unable to savour the country's culinary delights due to losing his sense of taste several months after contracting Covid. He's now resorting to more extreme measures to get it back. Concealed among the algae or and broken seashells on Lithuania's coast are little pieces of drift amber. Its origins can be traced back thousands of years, when resin that fell from trees in vast forests was washed out to sea and transformed into the gemstone on the ocean floor. Heidi Fuller Love went on an amber trail. Presenter: Kate Adie Producer: Serena Tarling and Ellie House Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond

    Flight From Russia

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 1, 2022 28:19


    Russian men have been flooding across the border to escape Vladimir Putin's military draft. Around 10,000 Russian citizens have been entering the republic of Georgia daily since the call-up was announced. Rayhan Demytrie has spoken to Russians crossing the border. As protests continue across Iran, following the death in custody of a young woman after allegedly breaking headscarf rules, Rana Rahimpour reflects on how restrictions on women have evolved since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and her own experience growing up in Tehran. Giorgia Meloni is set to be Italy's next Prime Minister, after winning a convincing victory in last weekend's election. The far-right leader has been quick to denounce the party's fascist links but not all are convinced. Mark Lowen has been looking at how history weighs on Italy – and whether its likely first female Prime Minister will tone down in office. The strategically well-placed Pacific Islands continue to be a battleground for influence for the US and China. Among the island nations they're courting is Fiji - Suranjana Tewari travelled there recently and found the country is looking to a self-sustained future, with the advent of a thriving start up scene. And finally, we're in the forests of Northern Ukraine where the war has not only taken a human toll but has also had a dramatic effect on an oft-forgotten aspect of life in that country: the rare flora and fauna. Moose, deer, lynx and wolves are all known to live in this remote corner of the continent. Our Security Correspondent Frank Gardner travelled to Ukraine's northern forests to visit a part of Europe few visitors ever see.

    Brazil at a crossroads

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 29, 2022 29:10


    Brazilians will vote in the first round of presidential elections on Sunday. The front-runner is former leftist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva – currently, polls suggest he has a healthy lead over the incumbent far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro. Political observers say these will be the most closely watched elections since Brazil returned to democracy in 1989 - and some of the most polarised, as Katy Watson explains Tensions flared up again earlier this month between the former Soviet states of Armenia and Azerbaijan leaving more than 200 people dead. The fighting is linked to decades-old hostilities over control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region. A fragile ceasefire is now in place. Grigor Atenesian spoke to one family who have twice been forced from their home. Singapore recently announced it will repeal its strict laws banning gay sex after years of fierce debate. But even during that period, Singapore's gay bars, nightclubs and festivals continued to thrive and are being showcased in the city-state's first LGBT walking tour. Tessa Wong went for a stroll. In North America, John Murphy watches a game of lacrosse in the region where it first originated, among Native Americans. Following the arrival of European colonisers, the original game was adopted and adapted with indigenous players being excluded. Now, there's a move to reclaim the indigenous game. The Roman emperor Domitian was known for his tyrannical rule. After his death, by assassination, the Roman Senate condemned his memory to oblivion, but not everything was eradicated, as Hugh Levinson discovered on a visit to the walled city of Kotor in Montenegro.

    Putin's Gamble

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 24, 2022 29:16


    Vladimir Putin's announcement of a partial conscription to fight in the war in Ukraine was interpreted by many as an act of desperation. Within Russia, the news sparked protests by Russians who are against fighting a war they don't believe in. Until now many Russians had continued with life almost as normal, unaffected by Putin's so-called special operation. This week changed that, says Sarah Rainsford Iran is facing the most serious challenge to its leadership in years. The death of a young woman in police custody, after she was arrested for allegedly failing to follow hijab rules has triggered nationwide protests in both middle class and working-class areas. Kian Sharifi says these protests show a stiffening resolve. Rajini Vaidyanathan visits a hospital in Sindh Province in Pakistan, which was the worst affected area in recent floods. The World Health Organisation has warned that the country now faces a second disaster amid an outbreak of waterborne diseases. Over the past year, Israel's Ultra-orthodox community has struggled to deal with a series of sex abuse scandals. One of the biggest involved a leading light of the ultra-Orthodox world, Rabbi Chaim Walder who was accused of abusing women and children. Yolande Knell, reports on the shockwaves these revelations have caused. Centuries ago, Getaria, a town on Spain's Atlantic coast, gave birth to a man who changed the world: Juan Sebastián Elkano, the first person to navigate a ship around the globe. Julius Purcell was in Getaria for the anniversary of Elkano's mighty achievement and finds the town caught in a national debate over Spain's imperial legacy.

    A turning point for Ukraine?

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 17, 2022 28:54


    The news of Ukraine's stunning counter-offensive in the country's north-east has raised hopes of a possible turning point in the war with Russia. But tentative celebrations about Ukraine's advances were quickly tempered after the gruesome discovery of a mass grave in Izyum. Hugo Bachega reports. As Pakistan confronts the damage wrought by catastrophic floods in recent weeks, Secunder Kermani reflects on this and other major events he has covered as he leaves the region: the US invasion and withdrawal from Afghanistan, local politics and the Taliban's resurgence. In the US, the use of the death penalty has gradually declined over recent decades. Several states have abolished it altogether but 11 states continue to perform executions including Texas. Maria Margaronis travelled to Livingston, where she met one prisoner with just weeks left before his execution date. Greece has finally emerged from a strict monitoring programme imposed by the EU. This marks the end of a chapter in a debt crisis which was first triggered by the 2008 financial turmoil. Antonia Quirke has been to the Peloponnese region where she met a tourist guide harking back to an era long before the European project. Australia's PM, Anthony Albanese is going to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, despite being an avowed Republican. For many Australians, she become a beloved friend. But, beyond this period of mourning, questions remain about the British Monarch's role as the country's head of state. Nick Bryant explores a rather paradoxical relationship. Presenter: Kate Adie Producer: Serena Tarling Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith Researcher: Ellie House Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond

    Queen Elizabeth II and the World

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 10, 2022 28:59


    From the Commonwealth country of Canada, to the fifth republic of France, we reflect on how the world remembers Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. As Head of the Commonwealth, the Queen had to negotiate the ever-evolving relationship with its member states as they declared independence and as Britain's relationship to its former colonies underwent profound change. The British Monarch remains head of state of 14 countries, from Canada to the Solomon Islands. Lyse Doucet is in Ottawa where Canada's leaders have made warm tributes and reflects back on her own encounters with the Queen. Despite its anti-monarchist history, one of the more powerful tributes to the Queen emerged from French President Emmanuel Macron. He spoke fondly of her as a ‘great head of state' and a ‘kind-hearted queen.' So what was the Queen's relationship to France? In 1972 Queen Elizabeth famously told former President Georges Pompidou 'we are not driving on the same side of the road, but we are going in the same direction', when he lifted the veto to Britain entering the Common Market. Hugh Schofield reflects on a unique relationship. The Oscar-winning film Parasite portrays the story of a low-income South Korean family living in a basement apartment. In one memorable scene, the heavens open and floodwater fills the family home. Last month, in a cruel example of life imitating art, Seoul experienced its heaviest flooding in 100 years. Water rushed into homes, trapping residents inside – four people were killed. The city government has since promised to get rid of the basement apartments and create more social housing. But as Jean Mackenzie has been finding out, this offers little comfort to those who live there. The Gambia is Africa's smallest nation, where the process of reconciliation is proving arduous, five years after the end of a murderous dictatorship. Former President Yahya Jammeh, who fled to Equatorial Guinea in 2017 after losing a re-election bid, is wanted internationally for crimes against humanity, including extrajudicial killings, torture, forced disappearances, and sexual violence. Because he still enjoys a measure of loyalty back home, the nation he left behind is divided. Most of Jammeh's hit men fled when he did, and many Gambians say reconciliation is impossible until they are all brought to justice. When Alexa Dvorson visited the country she witnessed a rare act of contrition. The Republic of Moldova sits on a fault line of geo-politics, with warring Ukraine on one side and Romania, firmly ensconced in the EU and Nato, on the other. Within its borders, is Transnistria, where a Russian-backed separatist war broke out thirty years ago. Today the area is a frozen conflict zone, but Russia still has a military presence. Piggy-in-the-middle between East and West, perhaps nothing tells Moldova's complicated story more clearly than its main industry – wine - as Tessa Dunlop finds. Presenter: Kate Adie Producer: Serena Tarling Production coordinator: Iona Hammond Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith

    'A Monsoon on Steroids'

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 3, 2022 28:35


    Stories about the floods that have submerged a third of Pakistan; the violent clashes in Iraq; Brazil's bizarre bicentennial and farewell to the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev. In Pakistan, heavy rains and floods have submerged a third of the country. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called the calamity “a monsoon on steroids". At least 1100 people have been killed, and an estimated 33 million are now displaced or homeless. Shahzeb Jillani reports from the southern province of Sindh, the worst affected, where victims are disappointed with their politicians, but young people have sprung into action. At least 23 people were killed, and many injured, in some of the worst violence in the Iraqi capital Baghdad in years. Supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr, a powerful Shia Muslim cleric, political leader and militia commander, clashed with Iran-backed armed groups. There'd been a long stand-off following inconclusive parliamentary elections, and then al-Sadr announced his retirement from politics. Shelly Kittleson in Baghdad explains. Next week, it'll be 200 years since Brazil became an independent country, breaking free of its colonial ruler Portugal. There'll be military parades – and more. But one ceremony has already taken place, held to receive a bizarre royal relic from Portugal. Reactions to this occasion seem as divided as the views about what to celebrate, if anything. Julia Carneiro reflects on her country's bicentennial. Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, was liked and admired in the West, for bringing about the end of the Cold War, lifting the Iron Curtain that kept Eastern Europe under Communism, and dissolving the Soviet Union. But in Russia, he is reviled by many for breaking up the Soviet Union. Steve Rosenberg met Mr Gorbachev on several occasions - and got to hear him sing. Presenter: Kate Adie Producer: Arlene Gregorius Production coordinator: Iona Hammond Editor: Hugh Levinson

    Somalia's searing drought

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 27, 2022 29:09


    Stories from Russia, Israel, Thailand, Greece and Somalia, where more than 90% of the country is still enduring extremely dry weather. Since October 2020, four successive rainy seasons have effectively failed. Now human lives are at risk, with more than one and a half million children in the country classified as acutely malnourished. Mercy Juma recently saw just how parched and how hungry the landscape has become. When a car bomb exploded in Moscow last weekend killing Daria Dugina, a Russian TV pundit, the conspiracy theories multiplied. Some suspected perhaps the real target was her father: Alexander Dugin, a prominent conservative philosopher. In the West, some called Mr Dugin “Putin's brain” – or even “Putin's Rasputin”. But that didn't quite ring true, at least not to Gabriel Gatehouse, who has spent many years covering Russia and Ukraine, and who met Alexander Dugin in 2016. The war has also been vexing both Russian and Ukrainian relations with Israel. The Israeli government has spoken out publicly against the war and moved to shelter refugees, while also offering to act as a diplomatic go-between the two sides. Russia's justice ministry is currently seeking to liquidate the Russian branch of the non-profit Jewish Agency, which helps Jews around the world move to Israel. Tim Samuels recently met some of those trying to start again in a new land. The elephant is, famously, a symbol of Thailand – but it's more than symbolic. There are thousands of real live elephants in the country. Around half are kept in captivity as working animals, used either to move earth or timber, or, in a modern twist, to take tourists for rides. As tourism reopens, some Karen communities near the Thai-Myanmar border are trying a new kind of venture, based on a more respectful relationship with the animals. Mark Stratton went to see how it's working out. Many might dream of making a holiday home idyll last longer – perhaps even for good. But staying all year round in a rural village in Europe can be a much more gruelling prospect, if there aren't any local services, shops or even many neighbours to call on. Alba Arikha has been restoring and settling into an old house in a Greek hamlet not far from the town of Kardamyli, on the western coast of the Mani peninsula.

    Brutality in Russia's prisons

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 20, 2022 28:48


    Kate Adie introduces dispatches from Russia, Haiti, North Macedonia, Chile and the Republic of the Congo Allegations of organised brutality in the Russian penitentiary system have circulated for many years. Inmates' accounts of beatings and humiliation were frequent – but more recently, there has also been hard evidence in the form of leaked video footage showing organized physical and sexual abuse. As he spent months investigating the culture of violence inside, Oleg Bodyrev heard shocking stories of torture and sexual assault from former inmates. Haiti is facing multiple crises right now. Chronic instability, dictatorships and natural disasters in recent decades have left it as the poorest nation in the Americas. Still grappling with the Covid pandemic, gang violence has escalated in the capital, Port au Prince, with more than 200 people left dead after ten days of fighting back in July. But as Harold Isaac explains, for Haitians, this is just the backdrop of a much bigger problem, as the country's fuel supply dries up. It's now almost twenty years since the European Union promised membership to the countries of the Western Balkans. But since the Thessaloniki Declaration of 2003, just one country in the region has completed the accession process. Other countries' hopes of joining Croatia have been stuck in different levels of bureaucratic purgatory. North Macedonia and Albania have now formally started membership talks, but it's a still very long way from a done deal. Guy De Launey finds the endless delays have some people in Skopje asking how much they really want to join the club. Chile is gearing up for a referendum vote on the 4th of September – on whether to approve or reject a new constitution. But at the moment, the country is still deeply polarised over its proposed 366 articles - not to mention confused over when, and how they may be finalised. Jane Chambers reports from Santiago. The population in the Republic of Congo is growing fast - it's also predominantly young and extremely urbanised, with over 85 per cent of people living in towns and cities. In this part of the world, the forces of rain and rivers are immense, and tropical storms can reshape the landscape at a stroke. Building homes to resist natural disaster has always been a challenge, so how can the expanding communities of Brazzaville stay safe? Nick Loomis has seen just how dramatic the risks can be.

    Colombia's countryside not yet at peace

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 13, 2022 28:51


    Kate Adie introduces dispatches from Colombia, Taiwan, Tunisia, Iraq and Germany. Colombia's first-ever left-wing President, the former guerrilla fighter Gustavo Petro, has been sworn in, and questions about the country's peace dividend have sharpened. With the long-running insurgency disarmed, many Colombians hoped they'd soon be able to breathe more freely. Katy Watson visited the Cauca valley, where the benefits of peace have yet to trickle down to the grass roots. The recent furore over Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan was a sharp reminder of just how much of a regional flashpoint this island's status can be. Rupert Wingfield Hayes knows this part of the world well – and he's seen its Taiwanese democracy evolve over several decades. Tunisia was the birthplace of the Arab Spring uprisings just over a decade ago. The country ejected its long-time leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and brought in a full parliamentary democracy, but since then it's seen prolonged political stalemate and infighting. The current President, Kais Saied, wrote a new framework which hugely extends the powers of his own office, which was approved by an apparently overwhelming majority at the polls. But the BBC's Middle East correspondent Anna Foster found that not everyone was celebrating. In Baghdad, followers of the Shia cleric-cum-politician Muqtada al-Sadr took over the main parliament building recently. But having central government at a standstill leaves the prospect of finding solutions to Iraq's multiple social problems even further out of reach. The Sadrists insist their leader has the answers and should be enabled to govern unobstructed - Lizzie Porter talked to the demonstrators about what they really want. The energy squeeze applied by rising fuel prices are being felt particularly sharply in Germany, which has historically depended on cheap gas from Russia. Some German regions are now proposing new limits on energy usage. Jenny Hill is in Bavaria, where frugal plans for the winter are very much on the minds of local politicians. Producer: Polly Hope Production Co-Ordinator: Iona Hammond

    Kenya goes to the polls

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 6, 2022 27:56


    Kenyans go to the polls to elect a new president. Plus, our correspondent says farewell to the Philippines; the personal consequences of Poland's strict abortion laws; and how a women-only shopping mall is providing new opportunities in Yemen.

    Farewell, Super Mario

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 30, 2022 28:41


    Stories from Italy, Ukraine, Peru and Sri Lanka. We're in Italy, which last week saw the resignation of Mario Draghi as PM after only 18 months in office. Initially a popular choice as PM – Mr Draghi has guided Italy and the eurozone through numerous crises. But having failed to win support for a new economic package among his broad-based unity government, he called a vote of confidence – and lost. Mark Lowen reflects on a very Italian situation. In Ukraine, Dan Johnson visits some of the Soviet era institutions where children and young people with disabilities are confined. He found that many of these residential homes are ill equipped to provide proper care and cope with their complex needs. Human rights investigators say the neglect disabled people face in Ukraine reflects the failings of a system that has been deficient long before the war started. Amid the political and economic crisis in Sri Lanka, we hear from correspondent Aanya Wipulasena about the people growing their own fruit and vegetables to cope with the soaring costs of food. And about the broader impact of the instability on education and people's livelihoods. In Peru, we meet the farmer behind a David and Goliath-style lawsuit, who has taken on Germany energy company over the impact of emissions on the local environment. The case centres on determining the link between climate change and the melting of a nearby glacier, and the risk this poses to the lake it feeds. Olivia Acland followed the story. And finally - Roger Harrabin reflects on his 35 years covering the natural world, focusing, in particular, on the threat posed by human-induced climate change. He reflects on how reporting on this issue has changed over the years.

    The Prince and the President

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 23, 2022 28:22


    Stories from Saudi Arabia, Portugal, California and Greenland The meeting between US President, Joe Biden and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, at the weekend was closely watched back in Washington. Mr Biden said his visit would focus mainly on human rights and regional security - but a request for an increase in oil output was also on the agenda. Anna Foster was in Jeddah. Beyond the official meetings, Sebastian Usher speaks to artists who are taking part in an exhibition in Qatif, in Saudi Arabia's east, reflecting on some of the lost heritage both there and in the historic quarter of Jeddah, amid the rapid pace of development in the Kingdom. Wildfires have broken out across Europe as a heatwave has brought soaring temperatures. Portugal has seen 30 000 hectares of land destroyed by wildfires already this year, and its leaders have moved quickly to try and avoid repeating the same mistakes they did in the deadly fires of 2017. Alison Roberts has been following the story. Next, we visit the town of Pacific Grove, California which has become renowned for its butterfly visitors over the years - who migrate from the frostier climes of Canada to the Golden State. Ben Wyatt hears about efforts by locals to help protect the various species of butterflies which are at risk of extinction. Finally, we're in Greenland, which is prioritising tourism as a means of growing its economy, rather than mineral exploration. But the island remains a challenging environment in which to travel, as Ben Ecott finds. On his visit, he discovers a Michelin-starred restaurant on the shores of an Ice Fjord. Presenter: Kate Adie Producer: Serena Tarling Production Coordinator: Gemma Ashman Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith

    Valentina's Kiosk

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 23, 2022 29:25


    Stories from Russia, Ukraine, Lebanon and South Africa Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine is now entering its six-month and there's still no signs of any possible resolution or ceasefire. Russian citizens continue to be fed a daily diet of propaganda on State TV, with fewer and fewer sources of independent news. But the conflict is nevertheless taking its toll on Russian citizens as soldiers go out to the frontline, never to return, which has left families questioning the government line that the Ukraine invasion is necessary. To keep abreast of the Russian point of view, Steve Rosenburg has a daily ritual: buying his newspapers each day from his local newspaper kiosk, run by a woman called Valentina. He tells her story. In Ukraine, a recent missile attack in the city of Vinnytsia, in central-west Ukraine has served as a stark reminder of the indiscriminate nature of Russia's military onslaught. Everyday routines have become fraught with hazard, from a trip to the shops to a walk to school, even in those cities considered to be safe. Sarah Rainsford has been in Vinnytsia and Mykolaiv. The Lebanese economy is in a state of collapse, but the government hopes that the summer tourist season, when many Lebanese living abroad return for a holiday, will provide a much-needed boost. But any visitor must navigate a tangled web of erratic exchange rates, as Angelica Jopson has found. And finally, to South Africa's West Coast, the site of a large saltwater lagoon situated in a National Park, around 55 miles north of Cape Town. The area, which is also a marine reserve, attracts numerous water birds and sea life, as the Atlantic waves pound its edge. Antonia Quirke went to explore the lagoon. Presenter: Kate Adie Producer: Serena Tarling Production Coordinator: Gemma Ashman Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith

    The Crown Prince and the President

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 21, 2022 28:21


    The meeting between US President, Joe Biden and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, at the weekend was closely watched back in Washington. Mr Biden said his visit would focus mainly on human rights and regional security - but a request for an increase in oil output was also on the agenda. Anna Foster was in Jeddah. Beyond the official meetings, Sebastian Usher speaks to artists who are taking part in an exhibition in Qatif, in Saudi Arabia's east, reflecting on some of the lost heritage both there and in the historic quarter of Jeddah, amid the rapid pace of development in the Kingdom. Wildfires have broken out across Europe as a heatwave has brought soaring temperatures. Portugal has seen 30,000 hectares of land destroyed by wildfires already this year, and its leaders have moved quickly to try and avoid repeating the same mistakes they did in the deadly fires of 2017. Alison Roberts has been following the story. We visit the town of Pacific Grove, California which has become renowned for its butterfly visitors over the years, which migrate from the frostier climes of Canada to the Golden State. Ben Wyatt hears about efforts by locals in 'Butterfly Town USA' to help protect the various species of butterflies which are at risk of extinction. Finally, we're in Greenland, which is prioritising tourism as a means of growing its economy, rather than mineral exploration. The island remains a challenging environment in which to travel but is not lacking for luxury, as Tim Ecott finds. On his visit, he discovers a Michelin-starred restaurant on the shores of an Ice Fjord. Presenter: Kate Adie Producer: Serena Tarling Production Coordinator: Gemma Ashman Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith

    The legacy of Shinzo Abe

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 16, 2022 28:36


    Japan has been in mourning after the assassination of former prime minister, Shinzo Abe, at an election rally in the Western city of Nara. Mr Abe was a towering figure in Japanese politics. He was known for his efforts to bring Japan out of years of economic stagnation. Yet it was his firm belief that Japan should move away from its pacifist past that proved most divisive. Rupert Wingfield Hayes reflects his legacy. In Ethiopia, the federal government has been in armed conflict with rebel authorities in the northern region of Tigray since November 2020. Tens of thousands of people have been killed. A state of emergency was imposed between last November and in February this year, and the country's human rights watch dog said the period was marked by a significant number of arbitrary arrests and illegal detentions. The Ethiopian government is now saying it plans to negotiate with forces from the Tigray region, but a culture of impunity prevails, says Kalkidan Yibeltal. We visit a mosque and a church in Norway to hear how an agreement between Christian and Muslim leaders, recognising the right to convert between faiths, has affected the respective communities. Maddy Savage is in Oslo. Jamaica has this year set the process in motion to remove the Queen as head of state and become a Republic. Adina Campbell recently visited the country and found the issue was the subject of fervent discussion wherever she went. The Shandur Polo Festival in north-west Pakistan is held each July. The event draws enthusiastic crowds from all the surrounding regions, willing to brave the nerve-wracking journey to the highest polo ground in the world, says Hannah McCarthy. Presenter: Kate Adie Producer: Serena Tarling Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith Production Coordinator: Gemma Ashman

    Suspicions in Soweto

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 14, 2022 29:02


    South Africa saw a spate of violent shootings over the last week triggering conspiracy theories and suspicions. South Africa has been simmering since last Summer, when the country saw some of the worst outbreaks of violence in decades. Andrew Harding says there is a jittery mood in the country. Next, the authorities in Uzbekistan - a former Soviet republic - have declared a state of emergency and a night-time curfew in the region of Karakalpakstan following protests about moves to restrict its autonomy. Although the planned constitutional changes have now been withdrawn, Uzbek authorities have imposed a security clampdown and an information black-out. Joanna Lillis was there. At the local abortion clinics in Arkansas, the recent Supreme Court ruling in the US had an immediate impact, effectively giving states the right to determine their own abortion laws. In the case of Arkansas, the state's Attorney-General then implemented an almost complete ban. Sophie Long was at an abortion clinic in Little Rock when the news broke. We visit one of the most active volcanoes in Central America. An eruption at the Fuego volcano four years ago devastated the surrounding region, killing at least 200 hundred people. Several thousand were displaced, but many have since returned both to live and to farm the mineral rich land in the surrounding area. Isabelle Stanley set up camp on a nearby peak. The Dolomites Marathon in the Italian Alps is one of the major annual cycling events, approximately 86 miles in length, weaving its way through spectacular mountain passes. Dominic Casciani decided to make his return after a twelve-year reprieve. Presenter: Kate Adie Producer: Serena Tarling Production Coordinator: Gemma Ashman Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith

    Sri Lanka on the edge

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 10, 2022 29:00


    Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since independence, with inflation soaring to the highest rate in Asia. The country's energy minister warned at the weekend that the country would soon run out fuel as long queues formed at petrol stations, with many staying for days at a time. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has even sought help from Russia to help import fuel. Rajini Vaidyanathan has been in Colombo speaking to those most affected. Will Grant reflects on dual tragedies in Texas: the shooting in a primary school in Uvalde in Texas and 53 migrant deaths in a people smuggling operation. In both these horrific events, the correspondent heard stories of thwarted hopes – and life ambitions cut short. In Syria, cities like Damascus and Palmyra were once heralded for their history and architectural grandeur but much of their cultural heritage has been destroyed during the years of civil war. Nick Redmayne travelled to Palmyra on a guided tour, one of a few businesses that are trying to revive their fortunes despite an on-going economic crisis. In Algeria, we hear how people are working to restore the land that was burned in wildfires last year, in the country's northeast. Tens of thousands of hectares were destroyed in the flames and much of the natural landscape has morphed into charred remains. Amy Liptrot visited a project which is involved in restoring some of the land that was destroyed by the fires. And finally, we hear about one French farmer who has come up with a cunning plan to help generate a new source of revenue at his family run farm: it's a cabaret show with a difference, far away from the Folies Bergère. Chris Bockman paid it a visit. Presenter: Kate Adie Producer: Serena Tarling Editor: Emma Rippon Production Coordinator: Gemma Ashman

    Confronting racism in China's video market

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 7, 2022 28:46


    We track down a Chinese film maker in Malawi who used local children to film personalised greeting videos, some of which included racist content. These videos were sold on Chinese media and internet platforms – with the communities in Malawi none the wiser about the purpose of the content. Runako Celina reflects on how the attitudes she encountered on this investigation were reminiscent of her own experience as a black woman living in Beijing. Russians have been glued to talk shows presenting an alternative narrative of the invasion of Ukraine: characterising the invasion as a special operation. Frances Scarr speaks to those who believe Putin's actions are legitimate - confronting a perceived aggressor - and necessary. In Catalonia, support for the separatist movement has dwindled in recent years. But it was thrown back in the spotlight during the Pegasus scandal, in which spyware was found to have been used by Spain's authorities to monitor its members. Victor Lloret met someone who was also tracked by Pegasus. Iraqi Airways was once a badge of pride for many people. But the analogue-era service from Iraq's ageing flag carrier is a symptom of the country's state bloat. According to critics, money is spent on hiring huge numbers of staff in government-owned companies rather than investing in much-needed infrastructure. But the flights themselves are at least reliable, says Lizzie Porter. Our correspondent joins a kayak trip in Fajardo, in Puerto Rico's East. The region is famous for its nature reserves and for the coqui frog. The singer, known as Dessa, encountered these frogs on a recent visit to the island.

    Suspicion and mistrust in the Donbas

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 2, 2022 28:49


    Stories from Ukraine, Afghanistan, the US and Rwanda. Russia is focusing its military might on Ukraine's east where some of the locals have been heavily influenced by Vladimir Putin's propaganda machine. Allegiances have become blurred, with Ukrainian informants tipping off Russian soldiers on the whereabouts of their compatriots, says Orla Guerin. People in Afghanistan's Paktika province are trying to rebuild lives from the rubble of the recent earthquake. It's now estimated more than 1,000 people were killed and several villages were destroyed. Secunder Kermani met with some of the survivors who showed both resilience and generosity. Access to abortion will be a critical issue in the US mid-term elections in November: with battle lines drawn in Pennsylvania and many other states between Republican and Democratic candidates who either want to protect the right to abortion or want an outright ban. Christine Spolar is a Pennsylvania native and was back there as the Supreme Court's decision was announced. Rwanda has been in the spotlight as the country hosted a gathering of Commonwealth leaders, and amid controversy over its immigration deal with the UK. President Paul Kagame was eager to present a polished image to the international community, whilst also rebutting any criticisms of his own poor human rights record, says Anne Soy. Before the war, cities like Kyiv and Odessa were known for their bustling cafes and a lively arts scene. But just as they try to spring back to life, Russia fires another deadly missile, reminding the country and its people of the perils of dropping their guard. Nick Beake was in Kremenchuk and Kyiv this week.

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