Episodes

  • On this week's episode, we catch up with The National’s Hamza Hendawi to talk about the historic move to democracy in Sudan and what he sees as the challenges ahead.
    We also speak to Sara Abduljaleel, a spokeswoman for the Sudanese Professionals Association, one of the leading umbrella groups that organised the protests.
    Catch up on our episode when Hamza was in Sudan after Omar Al Bashir was forced from his 30-year dictatorship.
    Here is the link to the episode:
    Sudan moves on from Omar Al Bashir (https://www.thenational.ae/world/africa/beyond-the-headlines-sudan-moves-on-from-omar-al-bashir-1.856562)

  • Hong Kong is facing one of the biggest crisis since Britain handed the city back to China in 1997. 
    For 10 weeks, protesters have shut down the city, stormed the legislature, and even shut down the airport. 
    Dozens have been arrested, scores of police and protesters have been wounded in clashes.
    In this week's Beyond the Headlines we’re asking why thousands of residents of Hong Kong taking to the streets in increasingly violent protests against the city’s leaders. 
    We’ll hear from one young resident of Hong Kong who attended some of the early protests and also from David Schlesinger, the former editor in chief of Reuter’s news agency and an expert on Hong Kong and China.

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  • On this week's episode we talk to Aya Al-Umari, the sister of Hussein Al-Umari, one of the victims who was gunned down in the Christchurch massacre earlier this year. 
    King Salman of Saudi Arabia has invited her amongst two hundred relatives and survivors of the shooting to perform Hajj. The Hajj is an essential part of Islam and undertaking the pilgrimage can be a difficult though rewarding task. Aya tells us about her experience in Makkah, the feelings of kinship with the millions of Muslims visiting the country for the pilgrimage and how she feels her brother's presence is accompanying her on her journey.

  • This summer has beaten temperature records. Throughout July, Europe sweltered in baking heat. Paris hit 42 degrees centigrade, Berlin 40 and London 39.
    It is projected that at current rates of climate change many cities across the world will be uninhabitable by 2070 due to the heat. 
    Such extremes will become increasingly common until it’s the norm not the exception. So what can we do in the face of increasing temperatures?
    Host James Haines-Young asks how we can heatproof our cities. He speaks to Professor Shipworth, Professor of Energy and the Built Environment at University College London and Karim El Jisr from See Nexus who is already living in a city of the future, built to withstand summer temperatures in the UAE without pumping out masses of Co2.
    While you're here please do subscribe and leave a review.
     Read more on our website:
    • Hitting climate target like landing man on the moon, says Danish ambassador to UAE (https://www.thenational.ae/uae/environment/hitting-climate-target-like-landing-man-on-the-moon-says-danish-ambassador-to-uae-1.892998)
    • Planting 350 million trees, Ethiopia strikes at the roots of climate change (https://www.thenational.ae/opinion/editorial/planting-350-million-trees-ethiopia-strikes-at-the-roots-of-climate-change-1.892620)
    • Temperature records tumble as extreme heatwaves become new reality (https://www.thenational.ae/world/temperature-records-tumble-as-extreme-heatwaves-become-new-reality-1.891201)
    • You think this is hot? The US heatwave has nothing on the UAE summer (https://www.thenational.ae/lifestyle/comment/you-think-this-is-hot-the-us-heatwave-has-nothing-on-the-uae-summer-1.890767)
     

  • Around the world, many governments are starting to take action about carbon emissions, looking at ways to cut greenhouse gases produced each year that are warming up our planet. But action is slow, the choices we face are stark and time is limited.
    Green and renewable energies are increasing and people today are more aware of the need to reuse, reduce and recycle. But to truly make an impact experts tell us cutting emissions is not enough. We must remove carbon dioxide from the air.
    Host James Haines-Young looks into the natural resource Oman has to offer that can do just that. 
    Ibra's rocks and boulders hold the secret to what scientists now think could make a viable, industrial scale carbon capture and storage.
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  • At around 2 am on July 4, the Panamanian flagged Iranian tanker Grace 1 was boarded by British Royal Marines off the coast of Gibraltar at the mouth of the Mediterranean.
    The Marines from 42 Commando division stormed the vessel. some descended onto the ship’s deck by ropes from a Wildcat helicopter. The rest approached the side via speedboat.
    In this episode of Beyond the Headlines, host James Haines-Young, takes a look at the seized ship accused of dodging Syria-sanctions.
    Read more on our website:
    • Vanished Strait of Hormuz tanker 'towed to Iran for repairs', says Tehran (https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/vanished-strait-of-hormuz-tanker-towed-to-iran-for-repairs-says-tehran-1.887211)
    • We will negotiate if US lifts sanctions, says Iranian foreign minister (https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/we-will-negotiate-if-us-lifts-sanctions-says-iranian-foreign-minister-1.886702)
    • Britain wants assurances before releasing Iranian oil tanker, Jeremy Hunt says  (https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/britain-wants-assurances-before-releasing-iranian-oil-tanker-jeremy-hunt-says-1.885851)
    • Panama withdrawing flags from vessels that violate sanctions (https://www.thenational.ae/world/the-americas/panama-withdrawing-flags-from-vessels-that-violate-sanctions-1.885827)

  • In Northern Syria tens of thousands of women and children are now living in squalid, overcrowded camps. Thousands more military aged men have been corralled into Kurdish jails. Hundreds of them had left their homes in Europe and America to join the militants. 
    Publicly, United States President Donald Trump has called for countries to take responsibility for their nationals who joined ISIS in Iraq and Syria and return them home. But how is America handling its extremists?
    A retired former probation officer has lead a deradicalisation programme in Minnesota with a local Somalian community. Can the results be used to counteract the threat of ISIS ideology?
    James Haines-Young speaks to The National's (https://www.thenational.ae/) correspondent Stephen Starr, along with Nikita Malik from the Henry Jackson Society and Colin Clarke from the Soufan Group in New York to find out what the strategies and options are.
    If you would like to listen to our podcast about returning European ISIS fighters you can do so here (https://audioboom.com/posts/7282163-exporting-isis-justice) . 
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  • The first written records of locust swarms are over 3 millennia old. Today, international organisations work to prevent the formation of these swarms that devour their own body weight in food every day. A swarm of desert locusts can build into tens of millions of insects, wreaking havoc on farmland, and are a serious threat to human food security.
    In 2019 swarms have hit Sardinia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Jordan and Yemen.
    In this episode of Beyond the Headlines, host James Haines-Young speaks to Keith Cressman from the FAO Desert Locust Information Service that keeps a watch on all potential locust infestations across the globe and Professor Stephen Simpson AC, the Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre, who has over three decades experience in studying locusts. 
    Read more on our website:
    • Massive locust swarm provides a desert bounty in central Yemen - in pictures (https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/massive-locust-swarm-provides-a-desert-bounty-in-central-yemen-in-pictures-1.878926)
    • Jordan sends out air force to defeat locust swarm (https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/jordan-sends-out-air-force-to-defeat-locust-swarm-1.858046)
    • Like the locusts, the regional response knows no borders (https://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/like-the-locusts-the-regional-response-knows-no-borders-1.826921)
    • Swarms of locusts descend on Al Dhafra in Abu Dhabi (https://www.thenational.ae/uae/environment/swarms-of-locusts-descend-on-al-dhafra-in-abu-dhabi-1.814724)

  • Hundreds of protesters converged on the streets of the southern Iraqi city of Basra last week.
    Demonstrators across the province are calling for structural change to fix rampant corruption, a stagnant economy, high unemployment (https://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/fifteen-years-after-the-us-led-invasion-the-iraqi-state-still-isn-t-getting-the-basics-right-it-is-running-out-of-time-1.752225) and underfunded public utilities.
    Protests in Iraq are common, but last summer's demonstrations saw an escalation into violence. Hundreds were wounded and killed, and many thousands more were arrested after clashes with police forces. Government buildings were set on fire (https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/protesters-set-iranian-consulate-ablaze-in-basra-1.768021) , and the province was on the edge of revolt.
    Despite the violence, little has changed. The government still suffers from mismanagement and fraud. The country's elite have done little to improve conditions for the lower classes.
    As temperatures creep closer to 50°C and the struggling electrical grid (https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/us-still-mulling-waiver-for-critical-iraqi-gas-purchase-from-iran-1.868088) and fresh water supply are strained, many question whether the protests will spiral into similar violence.
    On this week's episode of Beyond the Headlines, host Campbell MacDiarmid (https://www.thenational.ae/topics/Author/Campbell%20MacDiarmid) speaks with Dr Renad Mansour, a research fellow in the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House, and Belkis Wille, the senior Iraq researcher in the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch.
     Read more on our website:
    Southern Iraq: Basra protests resume as temperatures and anger rise (https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/southern-iraq-basra-protests-resume-as-temperatures-and-anger-rise-1.877162)
    Iraq’s electricity ministry subjected to political meddling, minister says (https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/iraq-s-electricity-ministry-subjected-to-political-meddling-minister-says-1.879039)
    After years of war and drought, Iraq's bumper crop is burning (https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/after-years-of-war-and-drought-iraq-s-bumper-crop-is-burning-1.876975)

  • On June 13th, two more tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman, just over a month after four vessels off the coast of the Emirate port at Fujairah. The USA blames Iran for the attacks and has sent one thousand troops to the region to deter any further attacks.
    Host, James Haines-Young looks at the strategic relevance of the Strait of Hormuz where the attacks happened and what the political motivations are behind the attacks.
    He speaks to Jennifer Gnana, The National's energy correspondent and Dr Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi, Research Fellow on the Middle East from the Royal United Services Institute in London to discuss the economic aspects of instability in the region and the origins and outcomes of the current tensions.
    You can listen to our podcast on the rising tension between Iran and the USA in May here (https://audioboom.com/posts/7269301-what-s-next-for-america-and-iran) .
    Find related coverage and more at The National (https://www.thenational.ae/) website. 

  • On October 7, 2001 US forces invaded Afghanistan in response to the devastating 9/11 attacks by Al Qaeda from bases in the Afghan mountains. Although this drove the Taliban from power in a matter of days, 18 years later the bloody conflict is ongoing. 
     
    It is by far the longest US war and the most expensive.
    We speak to Stefanie Glinski in Kabul who has been reporting from across Afghanistan for The National (https://www.thenational.ae/) , speaking to government supporters and Taliban families, reporting on war damaged schools and hearing how people in the cafes of Kabul are trying to build a more hopeful future. 
    Nargis Azaryun who works with Open Society Foundations tells us about what peace talks mean for the societal changes that have occurred since the war started. 
     
    We also hear from Graeme Smith from Crisis group in London who spent years in Afghanistan, about efforts for talks, why they’re taking place now and what might come of it all.
    Read more on our website:
    The hidden lives of children of the Afghan Taliban (https://www.thenational.ae/world/asia/the-hidden-lives-of-children-of-the-afghan-taliban-1.873077)
    'What use is it all': surge in Kabul violence leaves Afghans celebrating Eid in Hospital (https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/what-use-is-it-all-surge-in-kabul-violence-leaves-afghans-celebrating-eid-in-hospital-1.870988)
    America's closing act in Afghanistan is playing out as both tragedy and farce (https://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/america-s-closing-act-in-afghanistan-is-playing-out-as-both-tragedy-and-farce-1.870376)

  • This week on Beyond the Headlines, we look into the growing number of European ISIS fighters captured in Syria and ask what should Europe do with them? 
    France has agreed to allow eleven ISIS fighters to be handed over to Iraq where the penalty for belonging to a terrorist group is death. France is opposed to the death penalty and has campaigned against the punishment globally. 
    Is there a growing change in the European public's appetite for reform and rehabilitation? 
    We speak top Hanif Qadir, who joined Al Qaeda in the early 2000s and has been working on deradicalisation and counter extremism programmes in the UK ever since his return in 2003. 
    Also on the show is Dr Drew Mikhael, a fellow at Queen's University in Belfast who has spent years researching the nature of radicalisation and Anthony Dworkin, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. 
    You can keep up to date with all the headlines, news and more of our podcasts at https://www.thenational.ae/

  • After a photograph of a queue of climbers waiting to summit Mount Everest went viral, we explore what risks this poses for climbers and sherpas.
    Eleven deaths have been recorded on the mountain so far this year, more than double last year's count. 
    Some have attributed the deaths to overcrowding on the mountain. 
    This week on Beyond the Headlines, we’re joined by Lakpa Rita Sherpa, a seasoned sherpa who has led more than 17 expeditions to the summit and Fatima Deryan, the first Lebanese woman to reach the peak.

  • The US has upped the pressure on Iran and since the start of May, tensions across the Middle East have risen. Officials on both sides are publically saying they don’t want a war (https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/threats-from-iran-remain-high-but-have-been-put-on-hold-pentagon-chief-says-1.864604) but have released numerous statements warning of the devastating consequences if the other starts one.
    In recent weeks, there has been an uptick in rockets and weaponized drones launched towards Saudi Arabia from Iran-backed rebels in Yemen, four ships were sabotaged off the coast of the UAE (https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/uae-welcomes-allies-participation-in-tanker-sabotage-investigation-1.865117) , and a rocket landed in the secure Baghdad Green Zone where the US embassy is located.
    Analysts are concerned that despite no one wanting war, a regional game of brinksmanship could lead to a conflict.
    Iran has dozens of proxy forces across the region from Lebanon to Yemen and an increase in US forces in the region being implemented, there is a lot of room for mistakes.
    It doesn’t appear that anyone in the region wants to see the situation spill over (https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/iraq-emerging-as-an-unofficial-iran-us-go-between-1.864538) and several intermediaries – including Iraq and Oman – are stepping forward even if Washington and Tehran say that the time’s not right for talks.
    This week on Beyond the headlines, we’re joined by The National’s Washington Correspondent Joyce Karam (https://www.thenational.ae/topics/Author/Joyce%20%20Karam) to discuss what’s next for the US and Iran and how do parties cool tensions when neither side appears set to talk.

  • Moored off Yemen’s Red Sea Coast is a rusting oil tanker, with a million barrels of crude aboard. 

    It has been described as a 'floating bomb'.

    After going without maintenance for the duration of Yemen’s four-year civil war, the UN says it is now at risk of exploding, potentially unleashing an environmental catastrophe on an historic scale.

    But, with 80 million dollars’ worth of oil involved, Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government have disagreed on what is to be done.

  • For months, the headlines have revolved around the winding down of the Syrian war and what the next phase looks like. 

    In April, US backed and Kurdish led forces retook the once sprawling so called caliphate of ISIS in eastern Syria. Across much of the rest of the country, the regime was consolidating control.  

    But talking about the future has overlooked the fate of nearly 3 million civilians living in the last rebel-held territory that is now largely controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a group of hardline extremists once affiliated to Al Qaeda. 

    In recent weeks, the regime and its backers in Tehran and Moscow have turned their attention to the North eastern province of Idlib. 

    Over 150,000 people have already been displaced and 100 civilians killed in a campaign that those who fled Aleppo and Deraa say is as intense.

  • For three decades, Omar Al Bashir ruled over Sudan. But in April, in the face of growing protests, he was removed from office and the future of the country was suddenly up in the air.
    In this week's episode of Beyond the Headlines, we talk about the changes sweeping Sudan.
    Hamza Hendawi, The National’s Cairo correspondent, has been on the ground in Sudan this week. He tells foreign editor James Haines-Young about the mood in the streets of Khartoum, where since December demonstrations have drawn millions and eventually helped lead to a dramatic end to the ruinous reign of Mr Al Bashir.
    Now, the military along with the main protest group – dubbed the Freedom and Change Forces – are working together to oversee the transition into Sudan's new future.

  • Suicide bombs, 359 dead and an ISIS claim of responsibility. On Sunday, Sri Lanka was hit by the single largest terror attack in its history. Hundreds attending Easter Sunday mass or at high-end Colombo hotels were killed and wounded in a coordinated wave of bombings.

    In the wake of the blasts, communities have undoubtedly rallied together. But the shared grief belies the underlying communal tensions that have existed for years.

    Amid the pain, there is also anger. It appears intelligence received by some government officials could have helped police prevent the attacks. But the documents were not shared with everyone.

    Jack Moore, Deputy Foreign Editor at The National, talks us through the last week in Sri Lanka where he has been reporting.

  • The scale of India’s ongoing election is staggering – nearly 900 million people are registered to cast their ballots.

    And there are many issues at stake, with India's economy on pace to become of the world's five largest this year.

    While many have been concerned about the economy and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s track record of reforms, national security, the rural economy and Hindi nationalism are all issues that have played a central role as Indians go to the polls.

    The National's Ramola Talwar Badam was in Uttar Pradesh, and she brings perspective and analysis with foreign editor James Haines-Young in this week's episode of Beyond the Headlines.