From Our Own Correspondent Podcast

From Our Own Correspondent Podcast

United Kingdom

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.

Episodes

The All-Seeing Eye  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. With President Putin enjoying sky-high approval ratings, Sarah Rainsford travels to the hear the verdict in the trial of a man hoping to replace Mr. Putin. Just how difficult is it to be in opposition in Russia? In Turkey, there have been tens of thousands of arrests, numerous terrorist attacks, and the government is planning to hold a referendum, aimed at giving the President more powers. Its a time of instability. As a result, as Louise Callaghan has found, people are flocking to the psychics. The scale of the sex trafficking trade is hard to determine, though many governments have now admitted they need to do more about the problem. Often the victims are reluctant to talk. In south east Nigeria, Colin Freeman finds that the belief in a slave goddess is now being exploited by traffickers to instill fear into trafficked women. In Indonesia, Rebecca Henschke is invited to a judge in the annual transgender beauty contest. But amid all the glamour and glitter, there is an underlying worry about growing intolerance in the country. And our man in Paris, Hugh Schofield, says sometimes the cliche that a teacher can change your life is actually true. He reminisces about a man called "Mush" who taught him French, in 1960s Dublin.

From the Vatican to Vienna  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. Christopher Lamb on the opposition to Pope Francis within the Vatican - visible for all to see in the streets. Humphrey Hawksley, on the Taiwanese island of Kinmen, hears how President Trump must understand the importance of face to China. Pay respect and give compliments because no-one wants it to end in blood. Diana Darke is in the southern Lebanese city of Tyre, the birthplace of Queen Dido, where the different communities have grown weary of war and are now seeking to build together. Daniel Pardo marvels at the resilience he witnesses in Chile, in the face of the worst forest fires the country has faced in its recent history. And Bethany Bell, with an intoxicating sense of giddiness, on why the Blue Danube Waltz - now 150 years old - is Austria's second national anthem.

Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. Today: Andrew Harding, in South Africa, says the word "sorry" hasn't had much air time in recent years, despite numerous incidents of corruption and poor governance. Nick Thorpe, with the protests in Romania, remembers earlier - and recent - revolutions in Europe. Lyse Doucet is in Saudi Arabia, where the collapse in the oil price is bringing about some changes - could that include introducing more fun? John Sweeney meets Geert Wilders, the leader of the far-right Freedom Party in the Netherlands and feels distinctly uncomfortable. And Phoebe Smith spots something in the trees in Alaska that traces its roots to more difficult times.

Radio Baa Baa  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. Today, Mike Thomson speaks to an extraordinary man in Idlib, north-west Syria, as he responds to demands from extremists by broadcasting animal noises on his radio station. Amid an escalation of settlement activity in Israel, Yolande Knell sees one Jewish settlement bulldozed while others are given the green light by the Israeli parliament; James Coomarasamy is reminded of characters from 19th century Russian literature as he visits rural Russia. Olivia Acland partakes in a slightly boozy breakfast in Sierra Leone where palm wine is the drink of choice; and Andy Jones is in Loveland, Colorado, with the silver-haired Valentines' elves as they stamp away to bluegrass music.

It's Just Not Cricket  

Bridget Kendall introduces correspondents' stories. Jon Sopel asks if we have got it all wrong about Donald Trump. He's not just a deal maker, he has ideologues standing right behind him. Will Grant, in Mexico City, muses on how President Trump wants to build a wall on the Mexican border and yet a distinctly unsavoury Mexican has been sent back across that border, to the US. North East Nigeria is still in the grip of violence as the military continues its operations against Boko Haram. But Katerina Vittozzi visits a zoo where life is more peaceful and where young lovers can meet - but don't touch. Lucy Daltroff is in Japan, where modern life and screens are getting in the way of getting together, so babies are not being born. And Huw Cordey struggles to find sleep in West Papua because of a pesky insect; and matters soon turn sinister.

"Beautiful, Beautiful Chaos"  

Bridget Kendall introduces correspondents' stories. Today, Tim Hartley hears how politics are forgotten amid the colour and friendship of the African Cup of Nations in Gabon. Nick Sturdee has a fantastical tale of intrigue and murder in Turkey - but where does the trail lead? Hywel Griffith, in Sydney, Australia, is with the 90 year old who is keeping the developers at bay. Emma Levine hunts down Albania's elusive rail network; and phoning home may have been difficult during the Kosovo conflict but Andrew Gray remembers fondly the opportunities and advantages of not being connected.

Mission Accomplishment  

Bridget Kendall introduces correspondents' stories: Justin Rowlatt sees the high cost Afghanistan's soldiers are paying to fight off the Taleban and hears how important American troops are to the NATO mission in the country. The US Marines are training the first female recruits to be deployed to combat units; Hannah King witnesses the gruelling training and hears the ditties. Andrew Harding is in Somalia, where Al-Shabab have launched more attacks this week; he wonders if the country is turning a corner. Jenny Hill is in the Netherlands and Germany, where far right groups hope to make significant gains in elections this year. She hears how the promise of a patriotic spring is being welcomed. And Simon Busch is in Northern Cyprus, where the turtles come ashore and the coast has yet to be covered in concrete. Could that all change with reunification of the island?

More Alternative Facts  

Bridget Kendall introduces correspondents' stories. In The Gambia, Alastair Leithead watched the old president and dictator leaving; and as he waits for the new one to arrive, he wonders if the president will be able to tackle the country's problems. In Germany, they are worried about what impact "fake" or "alternative news" could have on their election. Damien McGuinness says there's an unusual international interest in German domestic politics - and all of it is healthy. Karen Allen remembers shivering one cold evening in Africa, during the birth pains of South Sudan. In Myanmar, Jonah Fisher reflects on how Aung San Suu Kyi's government is so quick to dismiss any stories of abuses committed against the minority Rohingya community as "fake news." And Dany Mitzman is with two of the top four-legged students of a special university in northern Italy as they sniff out some of the world's most expensive delicacy.

Drawing Out the Story  

Bridget Kendall introduces correspondents' stories. Today, Robin Denselow is in one of the most sparsely populated countries on the planet, Namibia, where they are seeking divine intervention in a time of drought. Andrew North uses his sketchbook to weave his way through Soviet memorabilia in Georgia. In Nepal, economic necessity means that families aren't able to look after their older relatives as they once did. Melissa Van der Klugt visits an alien concept in the country - the first old people's home. Rob Stepney is with Austrian archaeologists before they're thrown out, in the ancient Turkish city of Ephesus. And it's the bean-eaters they're focused on. And Tim Mansel is in Leipzig, in eastern Germany, with the football upstarts of RB. But he's careful not to spill the beans over dinner with the old stalwarts of LOK.

This Mortal Coil  

Emily Buchanan introduces correspondents' stories. John Beck meets the policeman who used a special disguise to escape from ISIS killers in Iraq; Rebecca Henschke is outside court to hear why some think Jakarta cannot have a non-Muslim Governor. The first president of Seychelles is given a special burial; Tim Ecott explains why it could be the start of reconciliation in the archipelago. Helier Cheung was right there, singing, when Hong Kong was handed back to China; she hasn't forgotten the sandwiches, even if the politics are now more on her menu. Simon Parker is in a Bolivian market, struggling amid the sights and smells of animal flesh, hearing how the meat trade has survived during the country's worst drought in thirty years.

Striving for Clarity  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories from around the world. John Sudworth is doing his best to tape up the windows of his Beijing flat as he tries to protect his family from the city's dangerous smog. Thomas Fessy remembers his days in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, fondly. But now the dancing in this lively city is more mechanical and there's anxiety that a full-blown insurgency may be about to break out once again. Phoebe Smith is in one of the coldest inhabited places on earth, Svalbard, where the miners have been packing up their picks but new opportunities are opening up. The battle between fact, fiction and "truth" is being fought in the American media. Robert Colls says it's increasingly difficult to tell one from the other. And we have the story of a cat called Django from Will Grant in Havana, Cuba, where being a pet owner is an expensive business; but if you don't do it, who will?

"May it Pass"  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. Today: Mark Lowen takes the increasingly well-trodden path to the mosque for another funeral in Turkey; Vin Ray visits the secretive airbase at the centre of the US's drone warfare, and he speaks to the pilots who juggle family life and fighting; Linda Pressly is in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where heightened security and fear intermingle, and meets up with an old friend and colleague; Richard Dove is in Freetown, Sierra Leone, where you can find everything - as long as you're rich; and with a deep chill in relations between the White House and the Kremlin, Deirdre Finnerty takes shelter from the Washington DC's cold wind in a Russian cafe.

Cooking up 2016  

By any standard, 2016 has been a momentous year, right across the world: unexpected election results, disastrous wars, huge flows of migrants and refugees, major terrorist attacks, the death of memorable people. Some of our correspondents reflect on their region. The BBC's Middle East Editor, Jeremy Bowen, comes across - of all things - a cookbook that, for him, sums up so much of what has been lost in Syria. Carrie Gracie, the BBC's China Editor, is struck by the growing number of Chinese who seem prepared to go against the government's flow and to take the consequences. Nick Thorpe, who has reported extensively on Europe's migrant crisis, and who lives in Budapest, examines Hungary's reaction to the crisis. Karen Allen has been reporting from Africa for 12 years but she's now leaving; she describes some of the memorable changes she's seen. Cuba is one place that's seen a lot of change - and not just because of the death of Fidel Castro. Our man in Havana, Will Grant, goes fishing for what it all means to ordinary Cubans.

Hollywood Smiles and Sweet Memories  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents stories: Mary Harper goes to the Syrian dentist bringing Hollywood smiles to Somaliland; Guy Hedgecoe travels to the highlands of Spanish Catalonia, a stronghold of calls for independence; Melissa Van der Klugt is in clouds of flour in Pune, in western India, where they can't get enough of an English biscuit; Andrew Dickson has gone to the Urals and comes across a new presidential museum asking people to re-consider Russia's wild 90s, when a red-faced Boris Yeltsin was in charge; and Joanna Robertson is in the City of Light, amid thousands of bulbs, spreading their magical fairytale twinkle across Paris.

Rwandan Echoes  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. Memories of Rwanda return to Alastair Leithead in northern Uganda as he watches refugees fleeing from South Sudan's civil war; Gideon Long tries not to lose all his money as he changes cash in Venezuela; President Obama described the new UN Secretary General as having "an extraordinary reputation." Alison Roberts, in Portugal, says he's a man who likes to talk and talk and talk. Uzbekistan has just elected only it's second president in a quarter of a century. Peter Robertson sees some signs that this autocratic country might be changing. There's a cash crisis in India too. Horatio Clare retreats to one place where you're not supposed to need money, though you do have to pay for that privilege.

Vigilantes, Strongmen and Mannequins  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. Jill McGivering investigates the cow protection squads in northern India, some of which have been accused of extreme violence against Muslims. Colin Freeman gets a Blue Feeling moment in Gambia as he explores why so many young men are leaving the country. Turkmenistan has one of the world's most repressive governments, with the president promoting a personality cult and now he's encouraging a nationwide health kick as well. Abdujalil Abdurasulov asks if that means everybody has to jump to it. And Katie Razzall is in West Virginia, in the coal mining areas, where people voted in droves for Donald Trump. They're hoping he'll re-open the mines and bring jobs back to the area but will real life return to the bars and hotels?

Real or Fake?  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories: Katerina Vittozzi is in northeastern Nigeria, where assassinations, bombings and kidnapping are now combined with starvation. But amid the bleakness she also finds ingenuity and survival. Emma Jane Kirby goes to the source of much of the fake news that swirled around social media sites during the US presidential election - and it's nowhere near America. In Nicaragua, Nick Redmayne is shown the proposed route of another huge canal, akin to the Panama canal; and he hears how the country's revolutionary fervour, as symbolized by the Sandinistas in the 1980s, is hard to find nowadays. Austrians could be about to elect the EU's first far right head of state. "I'm not a fighter, I'm a calm man," the far right candidate tells Bethany Bell. But others believe he's a wolf in expensive sheep's clothing. And in California, where anything can happen, Kieran Cooke is invited to a wedding. The catch is....he has to do the marrying.

Real or Fake?  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents stories: Katerina Vittozzi is in northeastern Nigeria, where assassinations, bombings and kidnapping are now combined with starvation. But amid the bleakness she also finds ingenuity and survival. Emma Jane Kirby goes to the source of much of the fake news that swirled around social media sites during the US presidential election - and it's nowhere near America. In Nicaragua, Nick Redmayne is shown the proposed route of another huge canal, akin to the Panama canal; and he hears how the country's revolutionary fervour, as symbolized by the Sandinistas in the 1980s, is hard to find nowadays. Austrians could be about to elect the EU's first far right head of state. "I'm not a fighter, I'm a calm man," the far right candidate tells Bethany Bell. But others believe he's a wolf in expensive sheep's clothing. And in California, where anything can happen, Kieran Cooke is invited to a wedding. The catch is....he has to do the marrying.

Changing Fortunes  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. The move to bigger offices makes Mark Lowen ponder the huge changes in Turkey. In Iraq the army, Kurdish forces and various militia groups have common cause now, to oust Islamic State, but Richard Galpin asks: what happens next? Linda Pressly hurtles through the Albanian countryside and is confronted by the pungent smell of one of the biggest drugs seizures yet. Simon Broughton discusses the power of poetry and literature to encourage free thinking in Bangladesh, all the while surrounded by armed guards. In Uzbekistan, reds bleed into greens, and blues into yellows, as silk weavers revive the art of carpet making.

Neither Love Nor Money  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories: Dan Isaacs is on Aleppo's frontline with the last shopkeeper of the Old City; Soutik Biswas is thwarted in his search for cash in India; Tulip Mazumdar has an uncomfortable encounter with a "cutter" and undergoes a demonstration of what really happens during FGM. A year ago four Italian banks collapsed on the same day; Ruth Sunderland hears how thousands lost their life savings and even those who didn't find little hope in the future. South Korea is a technological giant, seemingly hurtling into the future, but Steve Evans observes how old-fashioned sexism persists across society.

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