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The Briefing Room

Podcast The Briefing Room
Podcast The Briefing Room

The Briefing Room


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  • China's winter of discontent
    Chants of ‘Xi Jinping step down’ were heard on the lips of some demonstrators in China last weekend. A rare example of dissent against the Chinese leader. The cause of the protestors fury is pretty clear – nearly three years of the government’s zero-Covid policy has proved too much to bear for many Chinese. The Chinese Communist Party acted quickly by sending police to protest sites and increasing online censorship. But on Tuesday some local health officials began suggesting that they needed to lift lockdowns ‘as quickly as possible’. Will that be enough to prevent further protests in China, and how will Xi Jinping and his government respond to recent events? Joining David Aaronovitch in The Briefing Room are: David Rennie, Beijing bureau chief at The Economist Kerry Allen, Chinese media analyst at BBC News Dr Yu Jie, senior research fellow on China in the Asia-Pacific programme at Chatham House Professor Steven Tsang, director at SOAS China Institute Producers: Ben Carter, Kirsteen Knight and Daniel Gordon Editor: Simon Watts Studio manager: Graham Puddifoot Production co-ordinators: Siobhan Reed & Helena Warwick-Cross
  • UK Trade Deals
    ‘We will now open a new chapter in our national story, striking free trade deals around the world’ said Boris Johnson in December 2020 after the UK struck a deal with the European Union for relations after Brexit. The government say these new deals will help level up the UK, cut red tape, provide better investment opportunities and open new digital markets. But, nearly three years after leaving the EU, what deals have we negotiated, are they providing the benefits we were promised and what challenges lie ahead? Joining David Aaronovitch in The Briefing Room are: Dharshini David, BBC Global Trade correspondent Sam Lowe, partner at Flint Global, a business advisory service where he runs the trade and market access practice David Henig, Director of the UK Trade Policy Project Peter Foster, Public Policy Editor of the Financial Times Producers: Ben Carter, Kirsteen Knight and Daniel Gordon Editor: Simon Watts Studio manager: Rod Farquhar Production co-ordinators: Siobhan Reed & Helena Warwick-Cross
  • Could Vladimir Putin use nuclear weapons?
    The Russians are on the back foot in the war in Ukraine and have just evacuated the occupied Ukrainian city of Kherson. The setbacks for Moscow have led to increasing concern in western capitals about the prospect of President Vladimir Putin using a nuclear weapon. But what are the real chances of Russia moving from nuclear threats to nuclear action. And how might the NATO powers respond? Joining David Aaronovitch in The Briefing Room are: Sir Lawrence Freedman, Emeritus Professor of War Studies, King's College, London. Matthew Kroenig, Professor of Government at Georgetown University and Acting Director, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council Patricia Lewis, Director of the International Security Programme at Chatham House. Producers: Kirsteen Knight, Daniel Gordon and Simon Watts Editor: Penny Murphy Sound engineer: Neil Churchill Production co-ordinator: Siobhan Reed and Helena Warwick-Cross Image: Russian President Vladimir Putin. Credit: Mikhail Svetlov / Getty Images
  • Public Spending
    The volatility on the financial markets is continuing in the wake of the chancellor's announcement of massive tax cuts last month. The government's current plan is to announce full details of how it will fund those cuts and balance the books on October 31st. One of its options is to rein in public spending - the expenditure that goes on healthcare, schools, welfare, infrastructure and much more, So what is the level of public spending right now, how does it compare historically and what would be the impact on our services and benefits of any cuts? Joining David Aaronovitch in The Briefing Room are: Paul Johnson, Director of the Institute For Fiscal Studies Soumaya Keynes, UK Economics Editor at The Economist Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research at the Health Foundation Gemma Tetlow, Chief Economist at The Institute For Government PHOTO: The chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng (Getty Images)
  • Protests in Iran
    Since mid-September, women and girls in Iran have been staging demonstrations against the regime. Social media has been full of images of female protestors cutting off their hair and removing their Islamic head-covering in open defiance of the security forces. These protests have their roots in the arrest of a young woman called Mahsa Amini for minor infractions of the Islamic Republic’s dress code and her subsequent death in custody. But there have been several waves of protest since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 - all of which have been successfully repressed. So, this time is it different? Is a regime that’s been in power for decades seriously under threat? Joining David Aaronovitch in The Briefing Room are: Khosro Kalbasi, Iran analyst at BBC Monitoring. Azadeh Moaveni, Journalist and author of Lipstick Jihad. Eskandar Sadeghi, Lecturer in Contemporary Politics and Modern History of the Middle East at Goldsmith's, University of London Ali Ansari, Professor of History at St Andrews University. Sanam Vakil, Deputy Director of the Middle East programme at Chatham House. PHOTO: Demonstrators in the Iraqi region of Kurdistan holding pictures of Mahsa Amini (Getty Images)

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