From Our Own Correspondent PodcastAuthor: BBC Radio 4
24 Aug 2019

From Our Own Correspondent Podcast

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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.

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    Fighting white supremacy

    The United States is experiencing a resurgence of far-right extremism. We meet a man trying to challenge the ideology and convert those who have been radicalised. But Aleem Maqbool says he's ploughing a lonely furrow. In Serbia the government has been investing in traditional crafts - carpentry and pottery - in an attempt to sustain rural communities. Nicola Kelly goes to meet the craftsmen and women - and finds offers of the local tipple difficult to refuse. It's not long ago that Zimbabweans were celebrating the political demise of Robert Mugabe, who was president for nearly three decades - during which the country's economy collapsed. But, as Kim Chakanetsa reports after a recent trip to Harare, many there now have an unexpectedly rose-tinted view of the past. Argentina too has had its fair share of economic misery. Results of recent presidential primaries spooked the markets and raised fears of renewed difficulties. Natalio Cosoy hears echoes of the past in Buenos Aires. Petanque, that traditional summer pastime of the French, is undergoing something of a face lift. But the changes - especially the one that outlaws an accompanying glass of pastis - have occasioned more than a few grumbles, as Chris Bockman finds out.

  • Posted on 24 Aug 2019

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    From Our Home Correspondent 18/08/2019

    Mishal Husain introduces pieces reflecting contemporary life across the United Kingdom. Alison Williams would regularly see a young middle-aged woman sitting outside the railway station she used. They returned smiles; Alison wondered about her back story. Then suddenly the woman was gone. What happened next is a parable of our times. Each summer in recent years, Dorset has welcomed children from areas of northern Ukraine and Belarus blighted by the radioactivity released by the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear site in April 1986. During their stay, the children receive health checks and enjoy the hospitality of local families. So how are they faring? Jane Labous has been to meet this year's visitors - and their hosts. Even the idea of Welsh wine to accompany haute cuisine used to bring a smile to many a face, not least in the country itself. But in fact wine-making there dates back to Roman times and is currently undergoing a revival. But can what was once a cottage industry - literally - become a money-spinner? Tim Hartley has been visiting vineyards in both North and South Wales to gauge the prospects. When, fifteen years ago, 23 Chinese cockle pickers tragically lost their lives on north-west England's "wet Sahara" - the vast area of sand and mudflats which is Morecambe Bay - it confirmed its reputation for treacherous tides that can readily catch out the unwary. A new guide to assist crossings to and from the Cumbrian and Lancastrian sides of the Bay has recently been appointed and Tom Edwards decided to take his daughters there to initiate them into its tidal flows. And John Forsyth has been unearthing the mystery of toppling headstones in Scottish cemeteries. He discovers the identity of the perpetrator - and why it is happening. Producer: Simon Coates

  • Posted on 18 Aug 2019

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    Lost Innocence

    The protests at Hong Kong's international airport this week and the violence that resulted have been widely reported. Jonathan Head says not only was this the week that the protest movement lost its innocence, but also that the violence has handed the Chinese authorities a propaganda coup. Reporting from Indian-administered Kashmir has been especially challenging since the Indian government stripped it of its special status: no internet and no telephones. But Yogita Limaye finds one friendly Kashmiri who supplies both hot tea and functional broadband. If you're nervous about snakes then Gombe District in northern Nigeria is best avoided, warns Colin Freeman. He visits a hospital that specialises in treating bites, especially those of the carpet viper, an ever-present danger to the local farmers. Waterproof clothing made from the wool of the Bordaleira sheep has kept Portuguese farmers dry for centuries. Today, it's also the height of fashion, as Margaret Bradley reports; flying off the shelves of smart shops of Lisbon and Porto and in much demand overseas. President Trump surprised Sweden recently when he suggested that the prime minister intervene in the case of a US rapper who'd been arrested in Stockholm on suspicion of assault. Maddy Savage was in court to see the case play out.

  • Posted on 17 Aug 2019

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    Russia Burning

    Fires are blazing in the far reaches of Siberia - an area the size of Belgium is on fire. Steve Rosenberg goes to have a look, a seventeen hour drive through forests of birch and cedar. But is Russia also burning socially and politically? The Italian island of Lampedusa - halfway between Tunisia and Malta - has long been at the centre of the "migrant crisis"; a welcome haven for the occupants of leaky boats. Dr Pietro Bartolo has been working with migrants for many years but now, as Emma Jane Kirby reports, he's adopted a different approach. The announcement from Delhi this week that Kashmir was losing its autonomous status took the world by surprise. The region has since been on lockdown, the residents left with few means of communication with the outside world. Rahul Tandon talks to young Kashmiris in Delhi, who oppose the new policy, and to Indians who support the government's move. Sex is often a delicate subject. Norms are often very different from place to place – and the penalties for living outside the norm can be serious. Shereen El Feki has been working with a team from BBC Arabic to survey and interview people across the Middle East about their attitudes and their desires. A group of Jewish orphans who survived the Nazi concentration camps and were resettled in Britain became known as The Boys, even though there were girls among them. Hannah Gelbart, the grand daughter of one of them, reports on a special reunion in Prague.

  • Posted on 10 Aug 2019

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    A Sorry Century

    Television footage from Idlib in northern Syria continues to provide distressing evidence of civilian suffering. But the world's leading nations are unwilling or unable to intercede. Jeremy Bowen recalls his visits to the region in former, peaceful times but sees no end to the current violence. The protesters have been on the streets of Hong Kong for several months, their fury with their government undiminished. But what are they saying in Beijing, the real centre of power? Celia Hatton says they're preparing death by a thousand cuts. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled Somalia since the outbreak of civil war in the early 1990s. But a few brave souls have been going back to try and start the rebuilding process. Andrew Harding made friends with one of them several years ago, a man who became the mayor of Mogadishu. In Nicaragua it's now 40 years since the Sandinista movement overthrew a hated dictatorship. The man in charge then, Daniel Ortega, is still in charge now. But the movement is now accused of adopting the same autocratic methods of the government it replaced. Will Grant has been talking to opposition figures recently released from prison. In St Petersburg there's a row over the literary legacy of one of the city's best-known writers, Vladimir Nabokov. Chloe Arnold has been meeting those on each side of the argument

  • Posted on 03 Aug 2019

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