300 episodes

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.

From Our Own Correspondent Podcast BBC

    • News
    • 4.8 • 4 Ratings

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.

    Making peace with Israel

    Making peace with Israel

    The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed agreements to normalise relations with Israel, this week, motivated by a desire to build a united front against Iran. Palestinians have condemned the move as a betrayal. Yolande Knell reports on out how the deal has gone down with young Emiratis and Israelis.
    Wildfires continue to rage across the West Coast region of the United States. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes as over four and a half million acres of land have now been scorched. President Trump visited this week and blamed “poor forest management” for the conflagrations. California’s governor insisted they’re due to climate change. Peter Bowes knows the devastation and destruction of these fires all too well....
    On the Greek island of Lesbos, efforts have begun to move thousands of migrants and refugees from the fire-gutted Moria camp to a new tent city nearby. The camp had become overcrowded and squalid, and now many would prefer to leave Lesbos altogether. But where can they go, asks Bethany Bell.
    In Romania, the small Transylvanian village of Viscri has become a magnet for tourists, including the Prince of Wales. Stephen McGrath has been finding out why, and what impact it's been having.
    It would normally be peak safari season in the Serengeti region in northern Tanzania at this time of year, with carloads of tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of a giraffe, an elephant or even a pride of lions. But this year the visitors have stayed away because of the coronavirus. Well, not all of them. Michelle Jana Chan did go, and got a front row seat seeing some of nature’s grandest spectacles.

    Presenter: Kate Adie
    Producer: Arlene Gregorius

    • 28 min
    Can India cope with Covid-19?

    Can India cope with Covid-19?

    India now has the second highest number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the world, having overtaken Brazil. This is placing huge demands on hospitals and ambulances. The medical services, particularly in smaller cities and rural areas, can find it hard to cope, sometimes leading to what relatives think were preventable deaths, as Yogita Limaye reports.
    Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, Shinzo Abe, is retiring. His politically conservative party will elect his successor on Monday. Mr Abe has taken his observers by surprise more than once. Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Tokyo looks at the effect of those surprises, and at his legacy.
    In Poland, some politicians’ hostility to gay rights has become a flash-point in a culture war pitting the religious right against the more liberal-minded. Last month the EU denied funding to six Polish towns which had declared themselves “LGBT ideology-free zones”. Lucy Ash has been to one of them, Tuchow.
    Wildfires have raged through central and northern Argentina for most of the year. Apart from forests and grasslands, about half a million acres of wetlands next to the mighty Parana river have been lost in the worst fires in over a decade. This has endangered livelihoods and sparked concern among environmentalists, as Natalio Cosoy reports.
    Cap d'Agde on the French Mediterranean coast is home to the biggest nudist resort in Europe. But with France’s recent surge in coronavirus cases, how have the naturists and also the considerable number of swingers there fared with the restrictions? Chris Bockman went to find out.

    Presenter: Kate Adie
    Producer: Arlene Gregorius

    • 28 min
    “You must come with us!”

    “You must come with us!”

    This week’s dispatches, introduced by Kate Adie, are:

    Steve Rosenberg in Belarus reflects on the history he shares with President Lukashenko, recently re-elected in a poll widely regarded as fradulent. It’s based on their separate links with a small town in the countryside. Yet even these didn’t prevent him from being detained by the regime’s police force.

    Phil Mercer in Sydney considers the strains being placed on Australia’s cohesion as many of its principal states and territories close their borders to each other. From the maintenance of urgent medical care to opportunistic flits across the country, the restrictions are causing hardship and leading to disaffection.

    A deal has been initialled in Sudan between its transitional government and the main rebel alliance designed to bring peace to the long-troubled North African state. Hailed by outside governments, the agreement has, however, yet to be endorsed by all parties to the Sudanese conflict. Anne Soy reported on widespread protests in the country last year and considers whether this third peace deal will prove more durable than the preceding ones.

    Five years after a million migrants and putative refugees arrived in Europe, Nick Thorpe in Budapest assesses how the Hungarian government has handled the flow of people since then – and discovers how some of those he met in 2015 seeking to start new lives in Europe have fared.

    And finally carol singers and Father Christmases appear each summer on a peculiar day in Boston’s calendar – notably not disrupted by Covid-19 this year – when nearly three-quarters of those who rent their homes in the US city move house. Recent arrival there, Alice Hutton, went to meet her new neighbours to find out what it was all about.

    Producer Simon Coates

    • 27 min
    The Kremlin and its opponents

    The Kremlin and its opponents

    This week, as the leading opposition figure in Russia, Alexei Navalny, lies comatose in Berlin’s Charité hospital, Sarah Rainsford in Moscow considers the Kremlin’s peculiar hate and fear of its critics and the methods it is widely thought to have employed in dealing with them.

    Gabriel Gatehouse in Beirut observes the sharp generational divide that characterises post-civil war Lebanon – and wonders what it might portend for the country's future.

    North America Correspondent, Jane O’Brien, checks in to the “virtual” Republican party convention centred on the White House and detects a new confidence and a different style in the Trump – and Republican – campaigns for November’s US elections. What explains the shift?

    Sebastien Ash in the Swabian town of Heidenheim, southern Germany, reveals the significance of a face-off of statues linked to the so-called “Desert Fox” – Erwin Rommel, the well-known general of the Nazi era, noted for his role in World War Two’s North Africa campaign.

    And Christine Finn takes the plunge on the Paris-plages – and discovers that the fellow-bathers at the pools at and near the river Seine whom she encounters give a contemporary twist to the national motto of liberty, equality and fraternity – although not perhaps in quite the way we might expect.

    • 28 min
    From Our Home Correspondent 25/08/2020

    From Our Home Correspondent 25/08/2020

    Mishal Husain presents a range of perspectives on Britain today.

    Edinburgh is usually thronged with crowds and alive with performers from around the world at Festival time. But the Scottish capital is in decidedly unfamiliar guise this August. Long-time resident, James Naughtie, experiences a city that is not itself.

    Sparked by the shift in living patterns during lockdown, councils in England have implemented low traffic neigbourhoods aimed at cutting the number of vehicles on busy streets. But, as Tom Edwards, BBC London's Transport Correspondent, discovers, while residents like the respite, for motorists the new measures add to already time-consuming journeys.

    Deep in the Cotswolds lies an opera house popular with aficionados for miles around. This summer, though, silence - not music - has reigned there. Gillian Powell, part of Longborough Festival Opera's team, reflects on what she has been missing, what's still been possible to do and what she might be able to look forward to next year.

    During the Hindu festival of Janmastimi - a time of family reunion and celebration - Harshad Mistry received particularly sad and unwelcome news - the passing of his Motabhai or big brother. It has prompted not only poignant memories but also thoughts about ambition, kinship and community.

    And Ian McMillan reveals his youthful attempts with a friend at breaking the time barrier in Barnsley - with the help of a hill of sand and a baked bean tin - and explains why it's something that still preoccupies him.

    Producer: Simon Coates

    • 27 min
    The Democrats unconventional convention

    The Democrats unconventional convention

    Former US Vice-president Joe Biden accepted the Democratic party’s nomination for the presidency via video-link from his home in Wilmington, Delaware. The party convention was going to be a big celebratory event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with balloons and standing ovations. But not during the pandemic. Laura Trevelyan reports from this unconventional convention.
    South Africa banned alcohol to help keep hospital beds free for Covid-19 patients. So many have a drinking problem in the country that over 62,000 deaths a year are attributed to alcohol. But banning it damages the drinks industry. Vumani Mkhize reports on that dilemma and looks back at his own experiences with alcohol.
    There have been protests and strikes in Belarus since the contested elections of 9 August. And now the long-term ruler Alexander Lukashenko has given orders to end the unrest. The official result gave him 80% of the vote while the opposition denounced the poll as fraudulent. But where do they go from here, asks Jonah Fisher in the capital Minsk.
    The blast in Beirut cost many lives and caused thousands of injuries. One of those whose wounds still haven't healed is Leila Morana-Allen. But during the first days after the explosion, it wasn't just her injuries she was worried about, but her pet dog. Was he lost? Did he die? Would Lebanon's networks of dog-lovers be able to help?
    Being a foreign correspondent may sound glamorous to some, but the reality is working long hours with lots of short-notice travel. Correspondents accept that as part of the deal. But what's harder to deal with is the separation from loved ones. And now, as Shaimaa Khalil is finding in Sydney, due to pandemic travel restrictions she may not see her husband for a year.
    Presenter: Kate Adie
    Producer: Arlene Gregorius

    • 28 min

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