The Irish Times' unrivalled foreign affairs coverage, now brought to you in weekly podcast form. Hosted by Chris Dooley with regular contributors Patrick Smyth, Denis Staunton, Lara Marlowe, Suzanne Lynch, Derek Scally, Tom Hennigan, Clifford Coonan and Ruadhan Mac Cormaic.
India's covid catastrophe
In the Indian capital of New Delhi, one person is reportedly dying of Covid-19 every four minutes. With a population of 1.3 billion, the surge in new infections has pushed the country’s health system to breaking point, with hospitals running out of critical supplies of oxygen and available beds to treat the seriously ill. In this episode Irish Times India correspondent Rahul Bedi describes the scenes in New Delhi and a country struggling to cope with a deadly second wave.
Could Welsh Independence actually happen?
Recent polls of Welsh voters show growing support for the idea. To find out what's behind the trend and what it would take for it to become a reality, we talk to Denis Staunton.
Merkel succession battle threatens CDU/CSU alliance
Angela Merkel is on her last lap as German Chancellor and will stand down when September’s federal election ends her fourth and final term in office. Meanwhile her party, the ruling Christian Democratic Union, is trapped in a high-stakes stand-off with its Bavarian ally, the Christian Social Union. The impasse? Which of their leaders should guide their centre-right alliance through the upcoming election campaign, the first in over two decades without Mrs Merkel at the helm. In this episode, the Irish Times Berlin correspondent Derek Scally has the latest in Germany's unfolding political drama.
Why is Russia sending troops to the border with Ukraine?
Dan McLaughlin explains the background to a new flare-up in the war in eastern Ukraine between the government in Kiev and Russian-backed separatists, and the news that Russia has sent troops and tanks to its border with Ukraine for what it insists are military exercises. Why is trouble in the region increasing now, and is the threat of a major escalation real?
Brazil's health and democracy are both on the brink
Brazil's Covid-19 case numbers and deaths have hit staggering new highs in the past month: over 60,000 died in March alone. Now it is facing a political crisis to match its health crisis. President Jair Bolsonaro, his authority undermined by the raging pandemic, sacked his defence minister and three top military chiefs in what looks like a struggle for control over the armed forces. Tom Hennigan in Sao Paolo reports.
Israel's election leaves Netanyahu needing unlikely allies
Voters in Israel went to the polls this week in a bid to free the country of the political stalemate that has seen it hold four elections in two years.
But after another cliffhanger result, the deadlock continues and it may be weeks before it becomes clear if prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be able to form another government.
Exit polls after Tuesday’s vote indicated it might be possible for Netanyahu - or Bibi as he is known to some – to form a wafer-thin majority if he could persuade the right-wing Ya-mina party to come on board.
But that was before the anti-Zionist Arab party, Ra’am, surprised pundits by crossing the threshold needed to win a place in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.
Ra’am’s projected five seats means the support of Ya-mina will no longer be enough to keep Netanyahu in power – he will need the support of both. An unlikely prospect, given that Ra’am and Ya-mina would seem very unlikely to countenance going into government with each other.
To find out more, we talk to our correspondent in Jerusalem Mark Weiss.
Great podcast, very informative.