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From Our Own Correspondent

From Our Own Correspondent

Podcast From Our Own Correspondent
Podcast From Our Own Correspondent

From Our Own Correspondent

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  • Disappeared: The Women Gone Missing in Afghanistan's Prisons
    First hand reports from Afghanistan, Cambodia, Estonia, Lebanon and the German village of Oberammergau. Taliban promises to respect women's rights seem to be fading. Reports have emerged of Afghan women being arrested for alleged “moral crimes,” and thrown in prison without charge. Ramita Navai managed to get into one of the prisons where these women are being held. Cambodia has some of the greatest Buddhist sites in the world, but many of these have suffered at the hand of looters. As Celia Hatton discovered, some of this theft has occurred very recently. Estonia is attempting to win over its Russian-speaking minority. One third of the country speak Russian as their first language, and in some regions, almost everyone does. Could Vladimir Putin use an alleged attack on Russian speakers’ rights as an excuse to intervene? Estonia's innovative strategy is to offer them a series of fun events in the Estonian language, which Lucy Ash went to watch. The politics of Lebanon are complex, and often bitterly divided. Lebanon held an election last weekend, against a backdrop of economic collapse. Leila Molana-Allen found many voters hoping that this time round, change may be afoot, although predictable cynicism was also evident. This year, there is a new donkey for the Oberammergau Passion Play. In a tradition going back to the Seventeenth Century, two thousand residents of this small village in Bavaria present the tale of Jesus Christ and the crucifixion, for one season, every decade. Obergammerau has once again welcomed spectators to what is a unique performance. Adrian Bridge went to meet the cast.
    5/21/2022
    29:04
  • Lockdown Life in Shanghai
    China has been warned by the World Health Organisation that its so-called 'zero covid' approach is unsustainable. Hundreds of millions of people have been kept under lockdown in cities across the country, leaving the economy severely jolted, and critics calling it an abuse of human rights. However, the Chinese authorities seem determined to carry on as before, and have announced that the city of Shanghai will be placed under its tightest restrictions yet. The news came as a disappointment to Rebecca Kanthor, who has already gone through seven weeks of lockdown. Choosing what to wear in El Salvador can be literally a matter of life or death. The country is plagued by gang violence, with eighty people murdered over just one weekend this year. The government has promised a crackdown, passing new laws which allow police to lock up suspected gang members as young as 12. Mike Lanchin lived in El Salvador during the 1990s, and when he returned for a visit with his family, he quickly learned the value of covering up. More than five million people have now fled Ukraine, and have been taken in by countries across Europe. Switzerland has offered homes to tens of thousands, giving them an immediate right to work, and other benefits too. Yet this hospitality has left refugees from other countries questioning what they see as double standards. As Imogen Foulkes explains, plenty have run from war and persecution elsewhere, and yet have not found the Swiss to be quite so accepting. Germany has been commemorating the end of World War Two - a complicated anniversary, remembering both the country's dead, but with an eye to its Nazi past. This year’s anniversary comes amidst Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and furious arguments in Germany about how far to intervene. John Kampfner was invited to one remembrance ceremony in the old East Berlin, where Germany’s complex relationship with Russia was to the fore. Women’s boxing celebrated its biggest night ever recently, as Ireland’s Katy Taylor defended her world lightweight title against Amanda Serrano from Puerto Rico, at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Women’s boxing has always struggled to win recognition, but women have fought hard to prove it is not just a men’s sport. Steve Bunce was ring-side at the recent bout.
    5/14/2022
    29:01
  • The Story of a Russian War Crime
    The small city of Bucha, not far from Kyiv, has experienced some of the worst atrocities of the Russian invasion so far. It's understood that hundreds of civilians have been tortured, raped and murdered by Russian forces. Yogita Limaye has been hearing the story of one woman who experienced this horror first hand. The war in Ukraine has caused particular worry in Finland, which shares a long border - and turbulent history - with Russia. Finland only became independent from Russia in 1917, and, historically, the price of sustaining that independence was neutrality. Joining other European countries in NATO was out of the question - and by and large, most Finns were not interested anyway. But what a difference a few weeks make, as Allan Little found. As far as Singapore’s prosecutors were concerned, he was a drug smuggler, pure and simple. His mother though insisted he was a victim, a man of limited intelligence, who’d been tricked into carrying a small amount of heroin across the border from his home in Malaysia. Whatever the truth, the execution of Nagaenthran Dharmalingam was provided a moment of reflection in Singapore when it comes to the country's tough justice system, reports Suranjana Tewari. Journalism has long been a risky business in The Philippines - nearly a hundred journalists have been murdered there in the past decade. So when one receives a death threat there, they know it’s to be taken seriously. And that’s what happened to Howard Johnson, as the country's presidential election starts to heat up. He has found himself under fire from internet trolls who have taken exception to his attempt to pose the tough questions to election front-runner Bong Bong Marcos - son of the late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos. Somalia is a country which has suffered its fair share of problems – and to outsiders, it is seen perhaps as a country savaged by war. And yet, there is a side to Somalia and Somalian people which we never get to see, says Mary Harper. For a start, she says, wherever they settle, one thing you can be sure of is there’ll be a place to get a bit of personal pampering – and with it, the chance to learn more about the reality of Somalian culture.
    5/7/2022
    27:47
  • Tackling the Cocaine Trade in Honduras
    The former President of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernandez was voted out of power in January, and within weeks was arrested, accused of being part of a major international drugs ring. This month, Mr Hernandez was extradited to the US, where he will face charges of drug trafficking and money laundering - charges he denies. Meanwhile, back in Honduras, police say they are now trying to destroy the drug industry, and invited our correspondent Will Grant along to show how. A British man was killed this week while fighting in Ukraine, emphasising the international aspect of the crisis. Thousands of foreigners have travelled to Ukraine to take up arms, encouraged by the country’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky. But why would someone travel to a distant country, to fight in towns and cities they may have struggled to find on a map? Hugh Barnes found a wide variety of reasons - and people - who have answered the call. Across Ukraine, there are reminders of the warm relationship the country once had with its neighbour, Russia. The southern city of Odessa had a particular closeness, many of its population being native Russian speakers. But Odessa has been hit by Russian missiles, and with significant civilian casualties. Jen Stout tried to find out what local attitudes are now. One of the tragedies of climate change is that those who will suffer worst from its consequences are often those who played little role in causing it - he West African island nation of Sao Tome and Principe is particularly exposed, a poor place made poorer still by environmental damage. Now it may have a chance to alleviate some of that poverty, by selling the oil which some believe lies under its ocean. Yet it is burning oil which has caused the country's climate problems in the first place, presenting a dilemma which Tamasine Forde witnessed first hand. As Emmanuel Macron savours victory in the French election, some will be putting it down in part to the studied attempt to change his image and look more casual. Often depicted as stuck up and aloof, Monsieur Macron appeared in a much-publicised, and indeed much-mocked photograph, with no jacket and an open-neck shirt. However, while the re-elected President may have swapped his tie for tufts of very-visible chest hair, the same cannot be said of his staff. Indeed, the 'Macronistas' seem keen to preserve France’s international reputation for sartorial suaveness. Our correspondent, Hugh Schofield, found himself wondering whether he should follow their lead.
    4/30/2022
    28:43
  • The Threat of Rising Waters in Bangladesh
    Rivers and the sea have long-battered waterfront villages in Bangladesh, but this is a problem now made worse by climate change. Many people have had to flee several times, as land erodes and their homes crumble. Qasa Alom went to meet those forced to repeatedly restart their lives, and joins locals working on a solution to provide more permanent sanctuary. Morocco was once home to a thriving Jewish community, who began an exodus from the country in the 1950s as relations deteriorated between the Arab world and Israel. At its peak, there were several hundred thousand Jews living in the country, many in the coastal town of Essouira. With diplomatic relations between Morocco and Israel now restored, some citizens of Essouira are reaching out to Israelis. Elizabeth Gowing found herself wondering whether tensions of the recent past really can be replaced by fonder memories of a one-time shared communal history. When the US and its allies overthrew Saddam Hussein, they promised a new era for the people of Iraq, providing democracy, freedom, and also the rule of law. Iraq does now have a functioning legal system, with police, lawyers, and courts to try cases. But when Shelly Kittleson bumped into an old acquaintance, she was reminded of how justice often works in practice, for those caught up in what is an overburdened system, fraught with delays, lack of training and sometimes corruption too. People from Ireland have often suffered from negative stereotypes, and sometimes from outright discrimination. However, there is one group which claims to be on the receiving end of particular contempt: Irish travellers. That prejudice is not just found abroad, but also in Ireland itself, they say, with reduced access to education, to healthcare and employment. Chris Page has been hearing stories of one man from an old Irish travelling family. Vladimir Putin has sought to justify his invasion of Ukraine by citing those in the country who speak Russian as their first language. Russian-speakers, Mr Putin claims, actually see themselves as Russian, rather than Ukrainian. It is a claim which has been rejected by Ukraine, and yet it potentially threatens the position of Russian-speakers elsewhere in Eastern Europe: is their loyalty to Moscow first, some ask? Latvia has around half a million Russian speakers, and relations are not always easy, discovers Beth Timmins.
    4/23/2022
    29:01

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