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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
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Alan Johnston with insights into world events from BBC correspondents




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,...


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...


If we burn you burn with us

They believe they are fighting for their way of life, for Hong Kong’s very existence, but the protesters know they can’t really win says Paul Adams. Kate Adie introduces this and other stories from around the world: There is a saying in Russia “If he beats you - he loves you” hears Lucy Ash as she visits a refuge for the survivors of domestic violence in Moscow. “Twisted logic, yes, but it is still part of our mentality.” In Ethiopia, Justin Rowlatt gets stung by killer bees as he examines...


A 'wow' moment in Latin America

From coca farmer to president, to political exile - Katy Watson shares the story of Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first elected indigenous leader. Kate Adie introduces this and other stories from correspondents around the world: In Austria, Bethany Bell reveals why the hare with amber eyes has returned to Vienna. Finbarr Anderson is in Lebanon’s second city Tripoli, which is being called the ‘bride of the revolution’ because of its role in protests that have swept the country. Chris Bockman visits...


Stories Matter

What the murder of a Mormon family in Mexico reveals about the country; Will Grant has long chronicled the violence of the ongoing drug war. Kate Adie introduces this and other stories: Rajini Vaidyanathan reflects on the perils of living in Delhi having developed 'pollution anxiety' and become a smoker by proxy. John Kampfner was in Berlin when the Wall fell. Thirty years on he's been back to see how the city has changed. And how does a glass of radioactive water sound? It was once sold in...


Albania's Iranian Guests

From their base in Albania, some 3,000 Iranian exiles are committed to overthrowing the government of Iran. Linda Pressly finds out how some members of the M.E.K - the Mujahedin-e Khalq – are adapting to life in Europe. Kate Adie introduces this and other stories: It's thirty years since the fall of Czechoslovakia's communist regime, but Chris Bowlby finds the ghostly remains of its past still looming large in one former steel town. Long-sleeved shirt, trousers tucked into her socks and...


Rugby and Typhoons

The Rugby World Cup has drawn the attention of the world to Japan for the last six weeks. But the tournament has not been without its difficulties, mostly ones beyond the power of the authorities to control. Rupert Wingfield-Hayes has been sheltering from the storm. Veganism is on the rise in many countries in the world. Switching to a plant-base diet is said to be one of the biggest contributions an individual can make to reducing their impact on the environment. But veganism has its own...


A Modern Day Evita

Argentina has elected a new president at a moment of deep economic crisis. Out goes the centre-left, back come the Peronists. Katy Watson reports on a sense of deja vu, with the role of Eva Peron filled this time by Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, a former president, now returning to power as vice president. The winds of change are blowing through the Vatican, after bishops meeting in Rome voted in favour of relaxing the rules on celibacy among the clergy. David Willey reflects on how Pope...


South Africa's political earthquake

The resignation this week of Mmusi Maimana, the leader of the Democratic Alliance, the main opposition party in South Africa, has exposed deep wounds from the apartheid era. Andrew Harding examines the implications for democracy in the country. Demonstrators have been out in force on the streets of Santiago and other cities across Chile after the government announced it was raising the price of metro tickets. Jane Chambers has been speaking to the pot-banging protesters and says there are...


The Basketball Row

The latest row between China and the US revolves not around trade, but around basketball. It all began with a tweet in support of the Hong Kong protesters by the general manager of the Houston Rockets which, as Robin Brant reports, has made the Chinese authorities deeply unhappy. The people of Lebanon have been out on the streets in anti-government demonstrations for several days. It all started with a proposal, now withdrawn, to impose a tax on internet-based voice calls. But Lizzie Porter...


From Our Home Correspondent 22/10/2019

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. Traditional cider-making is a slow business. But, as the poet Julian May has been discovering this autumn while he collects the variety of apples which ensure its special quality, it is a richly satisfying process which links to Somerset's past, present and future. Anisa Subedar has seen sons leave...