From Our Own Correspondent

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Synopsis

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.

Episodes

  • Thailand's youth protest movement stalls

    10/06/2021 Duration: 28min

    Not long ago, a wave of unprecedented public protests in Thailand over royal privileges and youth concerns made some Thais feel they were on the brink of change. Now the picture is very different: many of the movement's leading figures are in jail or awaiting trial and their dreams seem to have been deferred. Jonathan Head considers what the youth protest movement has achieved, and what sort of a precedent its fate sets for others in Southeast Asia - most notably for Myanmar. Colombia is currently living through its own wave of street protests - over everything from tax policy to austerity, job opportunities to racism. Demonstrators and police have faced off in cities across the country, sometimes with lethal results. Daniel Pardo reports from Cali, one of the focal points of the the nationwide 'resistance' - and hears worries that the country's sliding back into division. In the Czech Republic, moves to abolish the rules dictating the correct form for women's surnames are gaining ground. From Praque, Rob C

  • A new coalition in Israel's Knesset

    05/06/2021 Duration: 28min

    Benjamin Netanyahu has outsmarted many attempts to drive him from power - but a new alliance is manoeuvring to unseat him. Tom Bateman reports from Jerusalem on the unusual array of parties now teaming up in coalition - ranging from right-wing Jewish nationalists to a religious party for Muslim Israelis of Palestinian heritage. Sarah Rainsford has reported on several waves of repression in Belarus for the BBC. But her most recent visit to Minsk revealed a pall of fear settling over the country's news media, dissidents and protesters. The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently visited Costa Rica to talk migration and development aid with the foreign ministers of Central America. What changes in policy is the Biden administration considering - and what does it have to offer the region to deter people from trying to make it to the Mexico/US border? Will Grant was in San Jose to see what was on the table. Japan is a nation famous for its team spirit, its hospitality, and its love of a big event. But as

  • Somaliland's can-do spirit

    03/06/2021 Duration: 28min

    Somaliland claims to be an independent republic, though it is not internationally recognised and Somalia still claims the territory. It issues passports, has its own army, flag and president - and this week it held long-delayed elections. Mary Harper, a regular visitor, explains what the polls meant to Somaliland's people - especially some of its most marginalised. This weekend, Peruvian voters have to choose between two candidates for the Presidency - after a fragmented and confusing first round, the contest is now a neck-and-neck race between Pedro Castillo and Keiko Fujimori. In Lima, Dan Collyns senses the mood polarising - and hears how heated the rhetoric has become. Iraq's Jewish community was once hundreds of thousands strong - but it's been whittled away drastically since the 1940s by persecution, emigration and ageing. Lizzie Porter has witnessed how Jewish sites across the country have changed, and how many are crumbling into disuse and neglect. But there are also people working to preserve this un

  • Zuma on Trial

    29/05/2021 Duration: 28min

    Former President Jacob Zuma's long-delayed fraud trial saw a surge in interest this week as the accused arrived to plead not guilty to all charges. Andrew Harding has been following this intricate case for years and was in court in Pietermaritzburg. The worst of the pandemic may have passed in India's megacities, but the virus is still spreading fast in rural areas - and leaving lasting grief and trauma across the country. Rajini Vaidyanathan reflects from Delhi on the sadness now permeating all levels of society. Chinese consumers have been knocking back Australian wine with gusto in recent years, even as political relations between Beijing and Canberra have grown ever more strained. But the export boom might not last. Shaimaa Khalil reports from the Barossa Valley in South Australia, where they're bracing for the impact of new Chinese tariffs on imports. In Canada, a Catholic archdiocese has been found liable for damages to be awarded to several survivors of physical and sexual abuse in a Church-run orph

  • Caught in the crossfire along the Thailand/Myanmar border

    27/05/2021 Duration: 28min

    : Laura Bicker reports from a remote corner of Thailand’s border with Myanmar, where villagers’ lives are being disrupted as the Burmese military pursues insurgent groups. Since the generals' takeover in February, hundreds of people have died in Myanmar's cities after mass protests. In rural areas, several rebel militias – most formed by ethnic minorities – which have been resisting the military for decades are renewing their fight. Last weekend the diversion of a Ryanair flight to Minsk in Belarus – though it was meant to be going to Lithuania – caused generalised outrage. After an alleged bomb threat, the plane had to land straight away. But it seems the real target on board was a young critic of the Belarusian government, James Landale analyses the shock felt across Europe as other countries judge how to respond. After Idriss Deby, Chad's longtime head of state, was reportedly killed in battle in April, many hoped his death might offer a chance to hold free and fair elections. Instead Mr Déby’s son, a gen

  • The bravery and anger of Afghanistan's schoolgirls

    22/05/2021 Duration: 28min

    The attack on a Kabul school on May 8th heightened fears about what will happen when US and NATO troops fully withdraw from the country. More than 80 people were killed – most of them schoolgirls. It was in an area west of the city, home to many from the minority Hazara community, often targeted for attack. Lyse Doucet talked to some of the survivors and heard of their anger at the failure to protect them. In East Jerusalem, a battle over property has channelled long-held tensions and unresolved grievances. In the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, protestors have been trying to stop Israel evicting eight Palestinian families. Israel’s Supreme Court has delayed a hearing on the evictions, but the case, along with complaints of heavy-handed policing of the Al Aqsa compound during Ramadan, ignited the recent round of violence in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel. Paul Adams visited the streets at the heart of the dispute. Indonesia's capital Jakarta is one of the world’s most polluted cities. Now some of its residents h

  • A change of pace in the White House

    20/05/2021 Duration: 28min

    President Biden’s administration has plenty to do – and has gone about doing it at a less hectic pace than its predecessor. The Democrats say their plans are all about ‘rebuilding America’ with proposals for huge infrastructure projects as well as social care reform. Senior Republicans have called it “the most socialist agenda” Congress has ever voted on. Anthony Zurcher has been feeling a different mood in DC. The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno Karabakh last year cost Armenia dear, in territory and lives. A truce deal, backed by Russia, was meant to get all prisoners of war back home. But Armenia says around 200 of its citizens are still in captivity. Rayhan Demytrie reports. Nick Thorpe, the BBC’s correspondent in Budapest, is no stranger to the River Danube. He’s travelled its length twice, has written a book and made a series of documentary films on it. But this week, he met his match - a hardy couple of adventurers who've been paddling upstream for weeks, only leaving the water to

  • A Spiral of Violence

    15/05/2021 Duration: 28min

    As missiles have rained down on Gaza and on Israel, violence at street level has also been at its worst for years. There have been clashes between Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel within Israel’s own borders. There have been confrontations between security forces and Palestinians in the West Bank. On a far greater scale, Gaza has been under heavy rocket fire as the Israeli Defence Forces struck back against what they identify as control centres for Hamas. Jeremy Bowen weighs up the damage. In Brazil, Congress is conducting an inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic. But the president still has keen backers, who admire his energy and instinct for confrontation. Mark Lowen is just back from Brazil and reflects on Jair Bolsonaro's playbook - and its echoes of another leader whose tactics he knows well. The number of boats carrying migrants keen to reach the shores of Europe is on the rise again. Enforcement is stricter across the Mediterranean so other routes are getting busier. But the journe

  • India’s pandemic politics

    08/05/2021 Duration: 29min

    The pandemic’s impact on politics is being picked over in India after a disappointment for the BJP in West Bengal's state election. Mark Tully was born in India in 1935 and reported from across the subcontinent for the BBC for many years - working as the chief of its Delhi bureau for some of that time. He still lives in the city and has recently been shielding at home – and sent us this long view of how Narendra Modi’s government has dealt with this emergency. After a sluggish start – and some concerns about public reluctance - Germany’s vaccination campaign is gathering pace. The government has agreed to lift some restrictions for vaccinated people. But the new social divide between the vaxxed and the un-vaxxed is sparking some awkward new emotions — and some new German words to describe them. Damien McGuinness reports from Berlin. During the last twenty years, a new generation of Afghan girls have grown up aspiring to work outside the home – some even daring to start up their own businesses. But the past

  • Iran’s internal rivalries

    01/05/2021 Duration: 28min

    A leaked recording has startled observers of Iran’s government and military. Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was caught out when an interview meant for the archive of a state-sponsored think-tank found its way to the media. Jeremy Bowen explains what it revealed about how the country really works. President Biden has issued an official statement that the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks from 1915 onwards were a “genocide” - a term that's always enraged Turkish nationalists. Biden’s statement was welcomed in Armenia and by the Armenian diaspora, but roundly rejected by Turkey’s President Erdogan. Orla Guerin reports on the impact of the White House’s verdict on history. It has been three weeks since the volcano in St Vincent, La Soufriere, erupted. Ash rained down on the northern part of the island; more than a tenth of its people had to to shelter elsewhere and most crops have been ruined. Will Grant reached the red zone and saw how much needs to be rebuilt. Chile has had one of the w

  • The US and China edge closer on climate

    24/04/2021 Duration: 28min

    Relations between the US and China are going through a rough patch. On trade, diplomacy and military matters the superpowers are at odds; they still have entirely different visions of the world and its future. Yet the world’s two biggest carbon emitters have pledged to cooperate more closely on cutting their emissions. Celia Hatton explores how the promises were hammered out and what it means for the rest of the planet.; Early in 2021 many hoped India might escape the worst of the pandemic, with a vaccine roll-out under way and infection rates dropping. But Covid cases and deaths have soared. The surge in patient numbers, and severe shortages of oxygen, have overwhelmed the health system in some places. In Delhi, Rajini Vaidyanathan sensed a marked shift in mood.; Brazil is also hard hit. Its President Jair Bolsonaro has scoffed at the virus, and clashed repeatedly with regional governors who wanted to impose stricter lockdowns and other measures. In the northeastern town of Lencois, Richard Lapper gauges the

  • A Taliban show of force in Afghanistan

    17/04/2021 Duration: 29min

    The White House has announced a deadline for US troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and the government in Kabul looks isolated. The Taliban are in control of large parts of the country, running a parallel administration. Secunder Kermani visited a Taliban-controlled zone in Balkh province to hear how Talib commanders and fighters have reacted to the American plan. Russia seems to be concentrating military resources along its border with Ukraine, but why? And how can or should Ukraine prepare to respond? Jonah Fisher has been to the trenches and artillery-damaged villages of eastern Ukraine and sensed a nervy game of 'wait and see'. The city of Minneapolis has been at the centre of continuing debate over race, crime and policing in the United States. Just as the world's media moved in to cover the trial of Derek Chauvin over the death of George Floyd in 2020, news came on Sunday of the death of Daunte Wright, aged 20, shot and killed by a police officer. Larry Madowo reflects on how much anger and sadness the

  • Jordan’s palace intrigues

    10/04/2021 Duration: 29min

    Jordan is often portrayed as a stable, moderate country whose royal family have guided it wisely through turbulent times in a dangerous neighbourhood. But that royal family has rifts of its own and they burst into full view in recent weeks, as a public feud broke out between King Abdullah and his half-brother, the former Crown Prince Hamza. The BBC’s Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen, has his own memories of the country’s intimate power struggles – past and present. In Rwanda, a man once seen around the world as a hero is now standing trial accused of terrorism. Paul Rusesabagina, a former hotel manager, sheltered hundreds of people from the killers during the 1994 genocide. But he became a critic in exile of the government of Rwanda's President, Paul Kagame - and apparently a target for Rwandan intelligence. Michaela Wrong has spent years investigating the complex background to the story. As the military crackdown on strikers and demonstrators goes on in Myanmar, journalists are also being targeted as they

  • Merkel’s Balancing Act

    03/04/2021 Duration: 28min

    The German Chancellor is widely respected as good at crisis management, but public confidence in her government's pandemic policies is ebbing away. How will her party, the CDU, campaign during this autumn's general election - is it possible the next Chancellor could be a Green? Jenny Hill reports from Berlin on power struggles and shifting opinions. While the Christian Democrats confront their future, the German state is still carrying on talks with the government of Namibia about its colonial past. Land rights, official apologies and reparations have all been discussed . So has the treatment of the Herero and Nama peoples in the early 1900s, which some historians now consider "the first genocide of the 20th century". Tim Whewell met black and white Namibians still viewing their heritage though very different lenses. In Armenia the public mood is mutinous, in the aftermath of the most recent round of conflict over Nagorno Karabakh. A ceasefire agreement is holding, but there's grief and anger on the streets

  • The EU and The Vaccine

    27/03/2021 Duration: 28min

    The EU’s vaccination programme has had several setbacks with repeated delays and safety concerns. The commission has blamed pharmaceutical companies for failing to deliver promised jabs, and has tightened export controls. Kevin Connolly reflects on the twists and turns of the vaccine saga – and how history may offer some insight into what happens next. Israel has held its fourth election in two years - yielding yet another inconclusive result. Neither Benjamin Netanyahu nor his challengers secured a governing majority. Some analysts say the stalemate is further alienating Israelis from the political system. Joel Greenberg says the outcome could turn on an unlikely kingmaker. The recent shooting of six Asian Americans in Georgia has highlighted entrenched prejudice in the US. In the last year there has been a spike in reports of attacks and other abuse directed against people of Asian descent. Annie Phrommayon is in San Francisco and reflects on how racist attitudes have become normalised. Germany has gone

  • Poland’s LGBT Crackdown

    25/03/2021 Duration: 28min

    Rules have been tightening for same sex couples in Poland in recent years. Civil unions are not legally recognized and same sex couples are barred from adopting children, but a loophole currently allows applicants to adopt as single parents. Now the government wants to close that loophole. Adam Easton has spoken to the people affected, some of whom are now considering leaving. Lebanon's second city, Tripoli, gained notoriety for its flamboyant anti-government protests in 2019 over the severe economic decline seen across the country. Despite the extreme poverty, and the impact of the pandemic, some of the city's residents are keen to be part of an economic revival, finds Lemma Shehadi. In Taiwan, we hear the stories of couples who were married under the traditional simpua system. The practice, where a family would adopt a pre-adolescent girl as a future bride for their son, eventually phased out in the sixties and seventies, largely due to the economic boom. Sally Howard spoke to some of the men and women w

  • Hong Kong’s Exodus

    20/03/2021 Duration: 28min

    Hong Kong is seeing a wave of departures amid concerns about the erosion of democratic freedoms. China's national security law, imposed in July last year, has been used to clamp down on dissent prompting many to considering leaving. The UK's visa scheme will allow many Hong Kong residents to start a new life in Britain. Danny Vincent spoke to some of the people preparing to leave the territory. One year ago, New York City was the one of the epicentres of the coronavirus outbreak. Now a massive vaccination effort is underway. Restaurants are allowed to open at half capacity and, helped by the relief package, the city is gradually springing back to life. But some people are wary of the vaccine, says Laura Trevelyan. In Australia allegations of sexual assault in the corridors of power in Canberra are dominating headlines. Tens of thousands of people have protested in the major cities. The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has so far refused to hold an independent inquiry, but the allegations have triggered a

  • Rebuilding Raqqa

    18/03/2021 Duration: 28min

    More than 380 000 people have been killed and over half the population has been uprooted from their homes in Syria's ten-year civil conflict. Residents of the city of Raqqa experienced terror and brutality under the control of so-called Islamic State. Meanwhile airstrikes and shelling destroyed civilian infrastructure and homes. Now the city is trying to rebuild. Leila Molana-Allen met with one of the original protesters , along with those who are working to restore the city. The Venezuelan diaspora stretches from Texas to Brussels to Nairobi, and those within it are now trying to help people back home battling the pandemic and a collapsing economy. Vladimir Hernandez lives in Nairobi, and describes how Venezuelan friends and relatives are issuing pleas for help via messaging apps. The murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall in 2017 on board a Danish submarine shocked the world. It was recently in the spotlight again when a television dramatization of the case, The Investigation, was aired on the BBC and

  • The Pope and the Ayatollah

    13/03/2021 Duration: 28min

    Pope Francis' recent visit to Iraq was the first by a pontiff to the country. It was aimed at boosting the moral of the persecuted Christian minority and promoting inter-religious dialogue. Mark Lowen travelled with the papal delegation and witnessed the moment the Pope met the most powerful Shia cleric in Iraq - the Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani. In Mozambique the government is struggling to deal with armed groups whose motives are often unclear. So as reports started coming in, in recent years, of an Islamist insurgency in the far north –– it wasn’t easy to know who the players were. Since 2017 there have been repeated accounts of attacks – and military reprisals – in Cabo Delgado province. Andrew Harding visited the region. Singapore has taken pride in its track and trace technology throughout the pandemic. Now, it is in the midst of a mass vaccination drive and has chosen to prioritise workers in the aviation and maritime industries. Karishma Vaswani went to Singapore’s main airport which has dedicated

  • Remembering Fukushima

    11/03/2021 Duration: 28min

    Ten years ago a magnitude 9 earthquake struck off the north east coast of Honshu, triggering a devastating tsunami which left 20,000 dead and more than half a million without homes. It also triggered a meltdown at the nuclear plant in Fukushima. There were fears the contamination would spread just as it did with Chernobyl. Rupert Wingfield Hayes revisited the nuclear zone. The mass kidnappings of children in Nigeria have made repeated headlines recently. In the past three months alone there have been four such abductions. This dramatic escalation has led many to conclude that kidnapping children has become a business in Nigeria. Mayeni Jones looks at whether the media is part of the problem. A fresh wave of sex scandals in France is forcing the country to confront widespread sexual abuse and, in particular, incest. There is now a push to reform laws surrounding rape and child abuse and, for the first time in France, to set a legal age of consent. Joanna Robertson reflects on the culture that has tolerated a l

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