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Podcast The Compass

The Compass

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  • How to be a former president: Part one
    What happens to presidents and prime ministers when they stop running their countries, and leave politics behind? Giles Edwards has spent 10 years finding out what they do next. He shares some of his conversations with former world leaders, takes us inside their organisations and helps us understand their thinking. Giles begins at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, where he speaks to presidents and prime ministers about how they use their influence, and what they contribute when they speak out. (Photo: Bill Clinton speaks at a Clinton Global Initiative meeting in Manhattan in September 2022. Credit: David Delgado/Reuters)
    11/30/2022
    27:13
  • Stories from the New Silk Road: Mexico
    The town of El Triunfo in Tabasco state is not far from the Mexican border with Guatemala. Translated from Spanish, ‘El Triunfo’ means ‘The Triumph’ and being miles from the nearest city, with just over 5000 inhabitants, it does not usually attract much attention. However, that changed in 2018 when Tren Maya was announced and China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) arrived to help build part of the brand new train line, connecting the ancient Mayan ruins across the Yucatán Peninsula. Seen as the pet project of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Tren Maya is one of the biggest news stories in Mexico, and has had its fair share of opposition from archaeological and environmental groups. The government hopes it will boost tourism, trade and access throughout the regions it traverses, and it has been declared as a project of national importance. Katy Watson, the BBC’s South America correspondent, visits El Triunfo to discover how a town has been transformed, asking if Mexico can ever follow other countries in the region and sign up to China’s Belt and Road initiative? Presenter: Katy Watson Producer: Peter Shevlin A C60Media production for the BBC World Service (Photo: Construction workers prepare the ground forTren Maya. Credit: Peter Shevlin)
    11/23/2022
    28:00
  • Stories from the New Silk Road: Jamaica
    From highways to hospitals, Chinese construction firms continue to work on a number of high-profile projects across Jamaica. In the face of soaring debts they have not proceeded without controversy, with particular criticism of the use of Chinese labour for jobs that Jamaicans might do, and concerns of so-called ‘debt-trap diplomacy’. ‘Highway 2000’ is a 66 kilometre motorway connecting Kingston and Montego Bay funded by a loan of over 700 million dollars, and built by a Chinese contractor. It is just one of a series of Chinese mega-projects in Jamaica, who have received more loans from the Chinese government than any other Caribbean island nation, officially joining China’s Belt and Road initiative in 2019. Meanwhile, the Covid pandemic has led to Jamaica’s deepest economic contraction in decades, due in part to the drop in tourism earnings, which account for more than 30% of GDP and over a third of all jobs. Yet through the ‘Medical Silk Road’, China has helped Jamaica during one of the most turbulent times in its history. The BBC’s South America correspondent Katy Watson explores what impact Chinese aid and infrastructure is having on Jamaica. (Photo: Construction in progress for foundations of hotel development in Jamaica. Credit: Getty Images)
    11/16/2022
    27:56
  • Stories from the New Silk Road: Panama
    The Panama Canal is a great feat of engineering and a place of huge global significance for trade and shipping. An artificial waterway that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, literally dividing North and South America, whilst saving thousands of miles of shipping time round Cape Horn at the very southern tip of South America. The Americans built the canal and operated it for decades, but today there’s a new global superpower hoping to make their mark. In 2017, Panama became the first country in the region to sign up to China’s Belt and Road initiative, shortly after they had cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favour of Beijing. Five years after signing up, what impact has the new Silk Road had on this small Central American nation with strong historical ties to the US? Travelling from one coast to the other, BBC South America correspondent Katy Watson aims to find out. Presenter: Katy Watson Producer: Peter Shevlin A C60Media production for the BBC World Service (Photo: Panama port. Credit: Peter Shevlin)
    11/9/2022
    27:50
  • Stories from the New Silk Road: Ecuador
    The Cordillera del Condor mountain range in the east of Ecuador is where the mountains meets the jungles and the Andes meets the Amazon. In this region a Chinese run copper mine, Mirador, has grabbed the headlines over recent years, leading to controversy, resistance and talk of impending disaster. It has become a huge challenge for a government trying their utmost to support mining projects that might help boost a fragile economy. On the other side of the country, shrimp farms line mile upon mile of Pacific coastline, helping a nation of 17 million people to become the largest exporter of that popular crustacean in the world. Ecuador now provides over half of all the shrimp consumed in China, and as the price of shrimp increases, so does its appeal to modern-day pirates who regularly raid shrimp farms and their workers in the Gulf of Guayaquil, hoping to plunder their precious catch. In the first of a new, four-part series, Katy Watson, the BBC’s South America correspondent explores how China’s ambitious New Silk Road is impacting the lives of people in Latin America and the Caribbean. Beginning in Ecuador, Katy looks at how mining and shrimp farming are helping to drive President Xi Jinping’s ‘Belt and Road’ initiative in one of the most environmentally diverse countries in the world, where the ‘rights of nature’ are protected in the constitution. Presenter: Katy Watson Producer: Peter Shevlin A C60Media production for the BBC World Service (Photo: Ecuador mine. Credit: Peter Shevlin)
    11/2/2022
    27:19

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