From Our Own Correspondent PodcastAuthor: BBC Radio 4
17 Aug 2022

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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    Colombia's countryside not yet at peace

    Kate Adie introduces dispatches from Colombia, Taiwan, Tunisia, Iraq and Germany. Colombia's first-ever left-wing President, the former guerrilla fighter Gustavo Petro, has been sworn in, and questions about the country's peace dividend have sharpened. With the long-running insurgency disarmed, many Colombians hoped they’d soon be able to breathe more freely. Katy Watson visited the Cauca valley, where the benefits of peace have yet to trickle down to the grass roots. The recent furore over Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was a sharp reminder of just how much of a regional flashpoint this island's status can be. Rupert Wingfield Hayes knows this part of the world well – and he's seen its Taiwanese democracy evolve over several decades. Tunisia was the birthplace of the Arab Spring uprisings just over a decade ago. The country ejected its long-time leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and brought in a full parliamentary democracy, but since then it's seen prolonged political stalemate and infighting. The current President, Kais Saied, wrote a new framework which hugely extends the powers of his own office, which was approved by an apparently overwhelming majority at the polls. But the BBC's Middle East correspondent Anna Foster found that not everyone was celebrating. In Baghdad, followers of the Shia cleric-cum-politician Muqtada al-Sadr took over the main parliament building recently. But having central government at a standstill leaves the prospect of finding solutions to Iraq's multiple social problems even further out of reach. The Sadrists insist their leader has the answers and should be enabled to govern unobstructed - Lizzie Porter talked to the demonstrators about what they really want. The energy squeeze applied by rising fuel prices are being felt particularly sharply in Germany, which has historically depended on cheap gas from Russia. Some German regions are now proposing new limits on energy usage. Jenny Hill is in Bavaria, where frugal plans for the winter are very much on the minds of local politicians. Producer: Polly Hope Production Co-Ordinator: Iona Hammond

  • Posted on 13 Aug 2022

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    Kenya goes to the polls

    Kenyans go to the polls to elect a new president. Plus, our correspondent says farewell to the Philippines; the personal consequences of Poland’s strict abortion laws; and how a women-only shopping mall is providing new opportunities in Yemen.

  • Posted on 06 Aug 2022

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    Farewell, Super Mario

    Stories from Italy, Ukraine, Peru and Sri Lanka. We're in Italy, which last week saw the resignation of Mario Draghi as PM after only 18 months in office. Initially a popular choice as PM – Mr Draghi has guided Italy and the eurozone through numerous crises. But having failed to win support for a new economic package among his broad-based unity government, he called a vote of confidence – and lost. Mark Lowen reflects on a very Italian situation. In Ukraine, Dan Johnson visits some of the Soviet era institutions where children and young people with disabilities are confined. He found that many of these residential homes are ill equipped to provide proper care and cope with their complex needs. Human rights investigators say the neglect disabled people face in Ukraine reflects the failings of a system that has been deficient long before the war started. Amid the political and economic crisis in Sri Lanka, we hear from correspondent Aanya Wipulasena about the people growing their own fruit and vegetables to cope with the soaring costs of food. And about the broader impact of the instability on education and people's livelihoods. In Peru, we meet the farmer behind a David and Goliath-style lawsuit, who has taken on Germany energy company over the impact of emissions on the local environment. The case centres on determining the link between climate change and the melting of a nearby glacier, and the risk this poses to the lake it feeds. Olivia Acland followed the story. And finally - Roger Harrabin reflects on his 35 years covering the natural world, focusing, in particular, on the threat posed by human-induced climate change. He reflects on how reporting on this issue has changed over the years.

  • Posted on 30 Jul 2022

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    Valentina’s Kiosk

    Stories from Russia, Ukraine, Lebanon and South Africa Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is now entering its six-month and there’s still no signs of any possible resolution or ceasefire. Russian citizens continue to be fed a daily diet of propaganda on State TV, with fewer and fewer sources of independent news. But the conflict is nevertheless taking its toll on Russian citizens as soldiers go out to the frontline, never to return, which has left families questioning the government line that the Ukraine invasion is necessary. To keep abreast of the Russian point of view, Steve Rosenburg has a daily ritual: buying his newspapers each day from his local newspaper kiosk, run by a woman called Valentina. He tells her story. In Ukraine, a recent missile attack in the city of Vinnytsia, in central-west Ukraine has served as a stark reminder of the indiscriminate nature of Russia's military onslaught. Everyday routines have become fraught with hazard, from a trip to the shops to a walk to school, even in those cities considered to be safe. Sarah Rainsford has been in Vinnytsia and Mykolaiv. The Lebanese economy is in a state of collapse, but the government hopes that the summer tourist season, when many Lebanese living abroad return for a holiday, will provide a much-needed boost. But any visitor must navigate a tangled web of erratic exchange rates, as Angelica Jopson has found. And finally, to South Africa’s West Coast, the site of a large saltwater lagoon situated in a National Park, around 55 miles north of Cape Town. The area, which is also a marine reserve, attracts numerous water birds and sea life, as the Atlantic waves pound its edge. Antonia Quirke went to explore the lagoon. Presenter: Kate Adie Producer: Serena Tarling Production Coordinator: Gemma Ashman Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith

  • Posted on 23 Jul 2022

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    The Crown Prince and the President

    The meeting between US President, Joe Biden and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, at the weekend was closely watched back in Washington. Mr Biden said his visit would focus mainly on human rights and regional security - but a request for an increase in oil output was also on the agenda. Anna Foster was in Jeddah. Beyond the official meetings, Sebastian Usher speaks to artists who are taking part in an exhibition in Qatif, in Saudi Arabia's east, reflecting on some of the lost heritage both there and in the historic quarter of Jeddah, amid the rapid pace of development in the Kingdom. Wildfires have broken out across Europe as a heatwave has brought soaring temperatures. Portugal has seen 30,000 hectares of land destroyed by wildfires already this year, and its leaders have moved quickly to try and avoid repeating the same mistakes they did in the deadly fires of 2017. Alison Roberts has been following the story. We visit the town of Pacific Grove, California which has become renowned for its butterfly visitors over the years, which migrate from the frostier climes of Canada to the Golden State. Ben Wyatt hears about efforts by locals in 'Butterfly Town USA' to help protect the various species of butterflies which are at risk of extinction. Finally, we're in Greenland, which is prioritising tourism as a means of growing its economy, rather than mineral exploration. The island remains a challenging environment in which to travel but is not lacking for luxury, as Tim Ecott finds. On his visit, he discovers a Michelin-starred restaurant on the shores of an Ice Fjord. Presenter: Kate Adie Producer: Serena Tarling Production Coordinator: Gemma Ashman Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith

  • Posted on 21 Jul 2022

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