• On October 1st, young Iraqis took to the streets in Iraq’s southern provinces to demand basic services like clean water and electricity, job creation and an end to widespread corruption. The government response to the protests was swift and brutal, killing over 100 people and leaving a further 6,000 wounded. Demonstrators said they were set upon by armed forces and attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and sniper fire. Anger at the violence meted out against demonstrators only served to inflame the situation further, driving more Iraqis out to protest and garnering global attention to their cause. Just as their cause seemed to be gaining momentum, the protests came to an abrupt stop. But young protestors are planning to get back to the streets.
    Host Taylor Heyman, assistant foreign editor at The National, looks at what is driving the protests and where they are heading.

  • On the afternoon of October 6, US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the more than 8 year Syrian civil war.
    That one phone call upended nearly five years of US policy in Syria.
    Shortly afterwards, the White House released a statement announcing their withdrawal from the country and Erdogan's plans to launch an offensive across the Northern border. 
    Host James Haines-Young looks at why Donald Trump stood aside for a Turkish invasion of Syria and why does Ankara want a new war.

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  • At 2.59pm UAE time on Thursday the 3rd of October 2019 Hazza Al Mansouri, the first Emirati in space touched down on Earth after spending 8 days at the international space station.
    For the last eight days Al Mansouri was speeding around the earth at 7.66km/hour completing approximately 16 orbits a day. During his time there in zero gravity, Hazza conducted experiments relating to the perception of time in microgravity and the effects of space on the body’s cardiovascular system. 
    But now he’s back. And his visit sparked the imagination of a country. Host Suhail Rather looks at the mission and what is next for the UAE. He spoke to James Langton, contributor for The National who was in Kazakhstan covering the departure of Hazza from Baikonur and Salem Al Marri, Assistant Director General for Scientific and Technical Affairs at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre about their objectives and their plans for Mars. He also spoke to Mikolaj Zielinski, a UAE resident from Poland and a Mars One candidate. Mars One is a Netherlands based project that is raising money to be one of the first to send humans to Mars on a one way trip to colonise the red planet.

  • On the 27th of September 2019, Hazza Al Mansouri became the first Emirati to go to space. He did it from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, from the same spot that Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, started his journey over 58 years ago. 
    Back then, in the early years of the space race, Cold War rivals The Soviet Union and the United States were in a technological battle to achieve spaceflight capability, in hopes to secure their scientific and symbolic superiority. Yuri Gagarin went into space ten years before the UAE was formed in 1971. Since then 40 more nationalities have left the earth’s atmosphere, the 40th being the UAE. Although few nations have their own technology to make the journey, the desire to take part in humanity’s expedition into the cold, hostile environment is vast, with many nations spending millions of dollars to take part in the privilege. What does space offer them? Why does it capture the human imagination and what does it mean for a nation?
    Host Suhail Rather looks at the UAE space programme and where it’s headed. With a human colony on Mars planned for 2117 and a probe headed for the red planet next year we take a look at what Hazza’s mission means for the local population.

  • The United Nations General Assembly is the pinnacle of global diplomacy. For one week every year more than 190 world leaders gather in New York City.
    Some of the big news stories from the UN General Assembly so far have been the impassioned speech given by 16 year old Greta Thunberg and the much more listless speech from Donald Trump. Trump addressed his anti-globalist agenda and the US relationship with Iran. Multimedia producer and host, Willy Lowry, is in the big apple reporting on events as they unfold. He speaks to The National’s Editor-in-Chief, Mina Al-Oraibi and Damien McElroy, our London Bureau-Chief about the events so far. 
    To read more about the United Nations General Assembly visit www.thenational.ae (http://www.thenational.ae/)

  • What does Israel’s second election in 2019 mean for Netanyahu, the Jewish population and the Arabs and Palestinians? Deputy foreign editor, Jack Moore, takes a look at the results of the vote and speaks to people in the region about the ramifications for the state and those living inside it. Can Israel’s titan, Benjamin Netanyahu, hold on to power and what does Benny Gantz offer as an alternative? With Natanyahu facing corruption charges is it possible he is looking for immunity more than power? And what hope does the Joint List offer Arab Israelis or the Palestinians in the occupied territories?
    Jack speaks to Miriam Berger, freelance journalist in Jerusalem, Hugh Lovatt, Middle East and North Africa policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations and Tareq Baconi, Ramallah-based Israel/Palestine analyst for The Crisis Group to get an insight into the prospects for the country.

  • US National Security Advisor John Bolton has been fired. Or perhaps he resigned.
    On Twitter Donald Trump says he fired him whilst Bolton claims he quit.
    The hawkish security advisor has been one of Iran’s most vocal critics so what does his departure mean for the Middle East?
    Host James Haines-Young speaks to Douglas Silliman, former US Ambassador to Iraq, and Joyce Karan, The National’s Washington correspondent, about what Bolton’s role was in the Trump administration and what his departure might bring.

  • In the first 26 days of August alone, 1,114 square kilometres of Brazil's Amazon rainforest, an area equivalent to the size of Hong Kong was on fire. 
    Tens of thousands of fires, far more than last year, have broken out and nbunrned off hundred of kilometres of one of the world's most diverse and unique habitats.
    But this isn't a natural distaster. 
    James Haines-Young speaks to prominent climate scientist, Carlos Nobre, and Natalie Unterstell, Director of policy at Talanoa solutions in Brazil about who is starting these fires and why. 

  • This week, we ask if Israel is stepping up its campaign against Iran and will it spark a war with Hezbollah.
    We talk to Sunniva Rose, the National's Beirut correspondent and Joseph Haboush, the national editor of The Daily Star, Lebanon's only english language newspaper. 
    The National's deputy foreign editor, Jack Moore, joins James to talk about why this is all happening and how it's being seen from Beirut and Tel Aviv.

  • 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.

  • 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.
    Subscribe for free to receive new episodes every week:
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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) . 
    Subscribe for free to receive new episodes every week:
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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)