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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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  • Brazil at a crossroads
    Brazilians will vote in the first round of presidential elections on Sunday. The front-runner is former leftist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva – currently, polls suggest he has a healthy lead over the incumbent far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro. Political observers say these will be the most closely watched elections since Brazil returned to democracy in 1989 - and some of the most polarised, as Katy Watson explains Tensions flared up again earlier this month between the former Soviet states of Armenia and Azerbaijan leaving more than 200 people dead. The fighting is linked to decades-old hostilities over control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region. A fragile ceasefire is now in place. Grigor Atenesian spoke to one family who have twice been forced from their home. Singapore recently announced it will repeal its strict laws banning gay sex after years of fierce debate. But even during that period, Singapore’s gay bars, nightclubs and festivals continued to thrive and are being showcased in the city-state’s first LGBT walking tour. Tessa Wong went for a stroll. In North America, John Murphy watches a game of lacrosse in the region where it first originated, among Native Americans. Following the arrival of European colonisers, the original game was adopted and adapted with indigenous players being excluded. Now, there’s a move to reclaim the indigenous game. The Roman emperor Domitian was known for his tyrannical rule. After his death, by assassination, the Roman Senate condemned his memory to oblivion, but not everything was eradicated, as Hugh Levinson discovered on a visit to the walled city of Kotor in Montenegro.
  • Putin’s Gamble
    Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a partial conscription to fight in the war in Ukraine was interpreted by many as an act of desperation. Within Russia, the news sparked protests by Russians who are against fighting a war they don’t believe in. Until now many Russians had continued with life almost as normal, unaffected by Putin’s so-called special operation. This week changed that, says Sarah Rainsford Iran is facing the most serious challenge to its leadership in years. The death of a young woman in police custody, after she was arrested for allegedly failing to follow hijab rules has triggered nationwide protests in both middle class and working-class areas. Kian Sharifi says these protests show a stiffening resolve. Rajini Vaidyanathan visits a hospital in Sindh Province in Pakistan, which was the worst affected area in recent floods. The World Health Organisation has warned that the country now faces a second disaster amid an outbreak of waterborne diseases. Over the past year, Israel's Ultra-orthodox community has struggled to deal with a series of sex abuse scandals. One of the biggest involved a leading light of the ultra-Orthodox world, Rabbi Chaim Walder who was accused of abusing women and children. Yolande Knell, reports on the shockwaves these revelations have caused. Centuries ago, Getaria, a town on Spain’s Atlantic coast, gave birth to a man who changed the world: Juan Sebastián Elkano, the first person to navigate a ship around the globe. Julius Purcell was in Getaria for the anniversary of Elkano’s mighty achievement and finds the town caught in a national debate over Spain’s imperial legacy.
  • A turning point for Ukraine?
    The news of Ukraine’s stunning counter-offensive in the country’s north-east has raised hopes of a possible turning point in the war with Russia. But tentative celebrations about Ukraine’s advances were quickly tempered after the gruesome discovery of a mass grave in Izyum. Hugo Bachega reports. As Pakistan confronts the damage wrought by catastrophic floods in recent weeks, Secunder Kermani reflects on this and other major events he has covered as he leaves the region: the US invasion and withdrawal from Afghanistan, local politics and the Taliban’s resurgence. In the US, the use of the death penalty has gradually declined over recent decades. Several states have abolished it altogether but 11 states continue to perform executions including Texas. Maria Margaronis travelled to Livingston, where she met one prisoner with just weeks left before his execution date. Greece has finally emerged from a strict monitoring programme imposed by the EU. This marks the end of a chapter in a debt crisis which was first triggered by the 2008 financial turmoil. Antonia Quirke has been to the Peloponnese region where she met a tourist guide harking back to an era long before the European project. Australia's PM, Anthony Albanese is going to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, despite being an avowed Republican. For many Australians, she become a beloved friend. But, beyond this period of mourning, questions remain about the British Monarch’s role as the country’s head of state. Nick Bryant explores a rather paradoxical relationship. Presenter: Kate Adie Producer: Serena Tarling Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith Researcher: Ellie House Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond
  • Queen Elizabeth II and the World
    From the Commonwealth country of Canada, to the fifth republic of France, we reflect on how the world remembers Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. As Head of the Commonwealth, the Queen had to negotiate the ever-evolving relationship with its member states as they declared independence and as Britain’s relationship to its former colonies underwent profound change. The British Monarch remains head of state of 14 countries, from Canada to the Solomon Islands. Lyse Doucet is in Ottawa where Canada’s leaders have made warm tributes and reflects back on her own encounters with the Queen. Despite its anti-monarchist history, one of the more powerful tributes to the Queen emerged from French President Emmanuel Macron. He spoke fondly of her as a ‘great head of state’ and a ‘kind-hearted queen.’ So what was the Queen’s relationship to France? In 1972 Queen Elizabeth famously told former President Georges Pompidou 'we are not driving on the same side of the road, but we are going in the same direction', when he lifted the veto to Britain entering the Common Market. Hugh Schofield reflects on a unique relationship. The Oscar-winning film Parasite portrays the story of a low-income South Korean family living in a basement apartment. In one memorable scene, the heavens open and floodwater fills the family home. Last month, in a cruel example of life imitating art, Seoul experienced its heaviest flooding in 100 years. Water rushed into homes, trapping residents inside – four people were killed. The city government has since promised to get rid of the basement apartments and create more social housing. But as Jean Mackenzie has been finding out, this offers little comfort to those who live there. The Gambia is Africa’s smallest nation, where the process of reconciliation is proving arduous, five years after the end of a murderous dictatorship. Former President Yahya Jammeh, who fled to Equatorial Guinea in 2017 after losing a re-election bid, is wanted internationally for crimes against humanity, including extrajudicial killings, torture, forced disappearances, and sexual violence. Because he still enjoys a measure of loyalty back home, the nation he left behind is divided. Most of Jammeh’s hit men fled when he did, and many Gambians say reconciliation is impossible until they are all brought to justice. When Alexa Dvorson visited the country she witnessed a rare act of contrition. The Republic of Moldova sits on a fault line of geo-politics, with warring Ukraine on one side and Romania, firmly ensconced in the EU and Nato, on the other. Within its borders, is Transnistria, where a Russian-backed separatist war broke out thirty years ago. Today the area is a frozen conflict zone, but Russia still has a military presence. Piggy-in-the-middle between East and West, perhaps nothing tells Moldova’s complicated story more clearly than its main industry – wine - as Tessa Dunlop finds. Presenter: Kate Adie Producer: Serena Tarling Production coordinator: Iona Hammond Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith
  • 'A Monsoon on Steroids'
    Stories about the floods that have submerged a third of Pakistan; the violent clashes in Iraq; Brazil's bizarre bicentennial and farewell to the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev. In Pakistan, heavy rains and floods have submerged a third of the country. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called the calamity “a monsoon on steroids". At least 1100 people have been killed, and an estimated 33 million are now displaced or homeless. Shahzeb Jillani reports from the southern province of Sindh, the worst affected, where victims are disappointed with their politicians, but young people have sprung into action. At least 23 people were killed, and many injured, in some of the worst violence in the Iraqi capital Baghdad in years. Supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr, a powerful Shia Muslim cleric, political leader and militia commander, clashed with Iran-backed armed groups. There'd been a long stand-off following inconclusive parliamentary elections, and then al-Sadr announced his retirement from politics. Shelly Kittleson in Baghdad explains. Next week, it’ll be 200 years since Brazil became an independent country, breaking free of its colonial ruler Portugal. There’ll be military parades – and more. But one ceremony has already taken place, held to receive a bizarre royal relic from Portugal. Reactions to this occasion seem as divided as the views about what to celebrate, if anything. Julia Carneiro reflects on her country's bicentennial. Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, was liked and admired in the West, for bringing about the end of the Cold War, lifting the Iron Curtain that kept Eastern Europe under Communism, and dissolving the Soviet Union. But in Russia, he is reviled by many for breaking up the Soviet Union. Steve Rosenberg met Mr Gorbachev on several occasions - and got to hear him sing. Presenter: Kate Adie Producer: Arlene Gregorius Production coordinator: Iona Hammond Editor: Hugh Levinson

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