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From Our Own Correspondent


Alan Johnston with insights into world events from BBC correspondents

Alan Johnston with insights into world events from BBC correspondents


United Kingdom


World News




Alan Johnston with insights into world events from BBC correspondents




From Our Home Correspondent 16/02/2020

In the latest programme of the monthly series, Mishal Husain introduces dispatches from journalists and writers around the United Kingdom reflecting the range of contemporary life in the country. Emma Jane Kirby, in Birmingham, reports on the seeds of magic sown by teachers there in schools serving deprived neighbourhoods - but also on the sometimes shocking realities of daily life at home for a number of the pupils. In Carmarthenshire, David Baker explores the wide range of renewable energy...


Malta and the Mafia

French prosecutors announced this week that say they have started an investigation into the business activities of the Maltese magnate charged with complicity to murder the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. It’s just the latest development in a scandal that shocked Europe and led to the resignation of Malta’s prime minister last month. The inquiry in Paris is a response to allegations by the reporter’s family that, Jorgen Fenech, one of the island richest businessmen, used cash from...


Putin Forever

The residents of an ordinary Moscow apartment block were recently tricked into showing what they really think of their president by a prankster who installed a massive portrait of Vladimir Putin in their lift. Some of the reactions were incredulous, some angry and a few unprintable ..and they had the whole country in stitches. Yet many Russians are confused rather than amused about proposed changes to their constitution. When President Putin dropped his bombshell announcement last month...


Jacob Zuma's Sick Note

South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma has been charged with a string of crimes including corruption, racketeering and money-laundering. He denies all allegations of wrongdoing and earlier this week didn’t attend his trial saying he was too sick. But photos posted on social media suggest otherwise and Andrew Harding says its South Africans who are really sick - sick of Zuma’s excuses. A self-described ''Asian man who's good at math”, Andrew Yang is a very long-shot for the White House....


Baffled in Brittany

In Brittany there’s been some concern about how the UK’s long goodbye to the European Union will affect it’s fishing fleets. Last weekend France reminded Britain that the UK exports most of its fish production to EU countries. Post-Brexit negotiations about fishing rights, security arrangements and a host of other issues promise to be far from straight forward. But Julia Langdon finds many people in the historic port of St Malo are not that bothered about what’s just happened on the other...


Distorting the Past

Much thought this week on borders, on nationality and how we get on with our neighbours even at the commemorations to mark the liberation of Auschwitz. The Nazis murdered 1.1 million people at the death camp - ninety per cent of them Jews, but also Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, and people from the Roma and Sinti minorities. Two hundred survivors and world leaders from 60 countries. United in remembering but, 75 years on says Adam Easton, the anniversary was overshadowed by disagreements...


Lockdown in China

Hundreds of foreign nationals are being evacuated from Wuhan, the centre of China's coronavirus outbreak, as more deaths and cases are confirmed. British citizens being flown back to the UK from the city will be put in quarantine for two weeks. Stephen McDonnell was recently in Hubei province where the disease was first identified and is now back in Beijing. He too has been told to stay at home for a fortnight and he reflects on how even the Chinese capital feels eerily deserted. This month,...


Salvini and The Sardines

The anti-nationalist protesters in Italy and the man they are trying to stop - Mark Lowen meets members of the Sardines as well the hard-line politician Matteo Salvini who is hoping to become Prime Minister. Kate Adie introduces this and other stories: In Cape Verde, Colin Freeman finds out why Europe’s drug problem is also a problem for the Atlantic islands. In Greece, Tulip Mazumdar visits the Lesbos migrant camp built for 2,000 people and now home to more than 18,000. In China, Yvonne...


Angola's Asymmetrical Billionaire

Isabel dos Santos is the billionaire daughter of the former president of Angola and Africa’s richest woman. She claims to be a self-made businesswoman. But more than 700,000 documents, recently leaked from her business empire, suggest otherwise. The emails, charts, contracts, audits, and accounts in the so-called Luanda Leaks have put her under intense scrutiny by her bank and the Angolan government. But in an interview with Andrew Harding she batted aside allegations of corruption and...


From Our Home Correspondent 19/01/2020

In the latest programme of the monthly series, Mishal Husain introduces dispatches from: Vincent Ni on a Chinese man who, like him, has come to Britain and is in his mid-thirties - but there the similarities abruptly end. What does living here undocumented mean in practical terms and why does he do it? With the approach of Holocaust Memorial Day, which this year marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Adam Shaw reflects on the striking contemporary...


Japanese Justice and the Fugitive CEO

When Carlos Ghosn skipped bail in Tokyo last month the world was flabbergasted. Despite being under intense surveillance while out on bail, with undercover agents tailing him whenever he left his house, the ex-Nissan boss somehow hot-footed it onto a private jet and made it to Lebanon. Now that the dust has settled, the spotlight has been turned onto what some call, Japan’s "hostage justice" system. The country has an enviably low crime rate which is often attributed to a small income gap...


Iran's Divided Loyalties

The Iranian government held an official funeral on Tuesday for General Qassem Soleimani killed by a US airstrike in Baghdad. There were emotional speeches in the general’s home town of Kerman in southeast Iran and so many mourners turned out that at least 50 were killed in the crush. On Twitter the Iranian Foreign Minister had a message for President Donald Trump: "Have you seen such a sea of humanity in your life?... Do you still think you can break the will of a great nation and its...


Death In Baghdad

The assassination in a US air strike of the senior Iranian general Qasem Soleimani raises the prospect of a response from Teheran that few can predict. Jim Muir reports on the significance of the US target and what might happen next. Thirty years ago the United States acted to remove another foreign threat, this time closer to home. Following the US invasion of Panama shortly before Christmas, the country's military leader General Manuel Noriega surrendered to US troops on January the 3rd,...


The Meaning of Home

Until recently, a small, independent and politically neutral Syrian radio station was broadcasting in exile from Istanbul. But Radio Alwan was forced to close when the Trump administration made the decision last year to pull $200m of funding for Syria’s stabilisation projects, knocking the station off air. Some of the station’s staff are scattered across Europe and those who have remained in Turkey say they now feel vulnerable following the Turkish offensive in NE Syria and what they see as...


Taiwan's Bright Ideas

Recent events in Hong Kong have made many people in Taiwan jumpy. Duncan Hewitt talks to a Taiwanese hacker and activist turned government minister who is full of ideas about how to improve life on the island. He finds an increasingly pluralistic and confident society, now more inclined to stand up to China. Our main focus this week is on the natural world and we begin at the South Pole where Justin Rowlatt is holed up in a research station eating chips and patiently waiting for a change in...


The despair over India's failure to confront sexual violence. Why are the victims blamed?

India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, announced a zero tolerance policy towards violence against women when he took office. But Rajini Vaidyanathan says that for many victims his promises ring hollow. According to the latest figures from India's National Crime Records Bureau there were 33,658 female rape victims in 2017 which means one woman was raped every 15 minutes - and those are just the official figures. Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been defending her government from...


The fragile peace on the frontline in Eastern Ukraine

When Russian forces took over parts of Ukraine in spring 2014, much of the world held its breath. Would Western countries side with Ukraine, and could the fighting spread further into Eastern Europe? While that kind of escalation did not happen, life in Eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed rebel forces and Ukraine’s army are still facing off, still looks something like wartime. As Jonah Fisher recently found, in this terrain, politicians, as well as soldiers, have to tread carefully. This...


Shunned in Sri Lanka

Throughout Sri Lanka's decades long conflict, attention has focused on the confrontation between the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamils. The country’s Muslims, who are just 10 per cent of the population and see themselves as a separate ethnic group, have often been ignored. But that changed after this year's Easter Sunday attacks, carried out by a small cell of Sri Lankan Islamists, which claimed 250 lives. Since then many Muslims feel they have been demonised and ostracised. Our...


Zimbabwe's excuses run dry

It’s now two years since Robert Mugabe was pushed out of office by the military and replaced by Emerson Mnangagwa. For many Zimbabweans economic conditions- already dire - have actually got worse. Now to add to their misery, there are water shortages and alarming evidence of the negative effect of climate change. But corruption and mismanagement have contributed to the power crisis and evening blackouts - it is no good just blaming the drought says Stephen Sackur. When the Buddha stipulated...


From Our Home Correspondent 17/11/2019

In the latest programme of the monthly series, Mishal Husain introduces dispatches from journalists and writers reflecting the range of contemporary life in the United Kingdom. Dan Johnson reports direct from the flooded River Don in South Yorkshire where feelings are running high among locals about the response to the latest inundation. As the rain returns after an all-too-brief respite, he reflects on the area's carbon-generating past and the effects of climate change. In Hartlepool, the...