Stories from the West Bank, Germany, Brazil, the US and the heart of the European Union. President Trump’s plan for peace in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories would allow Israel to apply its sovereignty to all the Jewish settlements as well as swathes of strategic land in the West Bank. The Palestinian leadership has rejected the plan outright saying it would create a "Swiss cheese state". Our Middle East Correspondent Tom Bateman spent time on two sides of a fence that separates an Israeli settlement from a Palestinian family with its own checkpoint.
Regional elections take place tomorrow in Hamburg at one of the most worrying times in recent Germany history. After this week’s right-wing terror attack in Hanau, near Frankfurt, John Kampfner says many are wondering whether the security forces and indeed the constitution are strong enough to cope.
Carnival in Brazil is one of the world's biggest, brashest parties. Millions will flock to the streets this week to dance, strut their stuff and watch the parades. But under Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, there has been increase in police raids in poor neighbourhoods adding a tinge of bitterness to the party spirit.
The average American made ten trips to a library in 2019, about twice as many times as they went to the movies. The Front Row presenter Kirsty Lang recently moved to the home of American cinema and was surprised to find that Los Angeles has a much loved and well-funded library system.
Shortly after Britain voted to leave the EU, the Polish chair of the European parliament’s constitutional affairs committee, was categorical. “If we don’t have the UK, we don’t have English”, she told a news conference. But perhaps it’s not that clear cut says Kevin Connolly.
Locust Swarm Chasers
Stories from Kenya, Italy, Russia, Syria and Portugal. For the past few months, swarms of desert locusts have been eating their way across the Middle East and Africa. As Joe Inwood finds, stopping the swarms has so far proved nigh on impossible for people in the region - with many resorting to yelling, blowing whistles or even firing guns at them.
Italy’s anti-mafia police do their best to catch the big shots in clans like the Camorra. Dominic Casciani spent an evening with battle-hardened officers in unmarked patrol cars tackling organised crime in Naples.
In the southern Russian city of Rostov on Don, Anastasia Shevchenko is facing six years in prison for political activism. Several human rights groups have declared the activist a prisoner of conscience and now the Russian authorities have eased the conditions of her detention in her small flat. Sarah Rainsford witnessed Anastasia’s first taste of freedom.
Last October President Trump abruptly withdrew US forces from North East Syria, abandoning the Kurds, who had been a key American ally in the defeat of so-called Islamic State. Turkey took advantage of the power vacuum by launching an air and ground offensive to occupy Kurdish territory. An estimated 300,000 people were forced to flee their homes. Since then, some have tried to go back but as Nick Sturdee discovered with dire consequences.
In the early 16th century, Jews made up a fifth of the population of Portugal - most of whom were forcibly converted. Margaret Bradley finds a remote Jewish community which, against all the odds, remained secretly faithful to their religion.
Presenter: Kate Adie
Producer: Lucy Ash
From Our Home Correspondent 16/02/2020
In the latest programme of the monthly series, Mishal Husain introduces dispatches from journalists and writers around the United Kingdom reflecting the range of contemporary life in the country.
Emma Jane Kirby, in Birmingham, reports on the seeds of magic sown by teachers there in schools serving deprived neighbourhoods - but also on the sometimes shocking realities of daily life at home for a number of the pupils.
In Carmarthenshire, David Baker explores the wide range of renewable energy projects being pioneered locally amidst a rich range of Welsh natural resources - and also witnesses a minor drama on his visit to a wind turbine. But who caused it?
Nearly thirty years after her aunt took her own life after living with depression for decades, Sima Kotecha reflects on daily life for those living with mental illness and those relatives and friends who witness it. She also considers how hard it remains for those in some South Asian communities to open up about their conditions and what the prospects are for that to change.
With buses seemingly now back in political favour across Britain, Christine Finn returns to the Channel Islands to discover how well-connected bus services are on her native Jersey - and embarks on an ambitious journey round the island to find out if she can circumnavigate it entirely on public transport in one day.
And Shaun Ley describes what it was like to be greeted by an unwelcome rodent in his home and the steps taken to deal with the visitor. But why are there seemingly more rats in our midst and why have they become bigger and bolder? The local rat catcher has some thought-provoking ideas...
Producer: Simon Coates
Malta and the Mafia
French prosecutors announced this week that say they have started an investigation into the business activities of the Maltese magnate charged with complicity to murder the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. It’s just the latest development in a scandal that shocked Europe and led to the resignation of Malta’s prime minister last month. The inquiry in Paris is a response to allegations by the reporter’s family that, Jorgen Fenech, one of the island richest businessmen, used cash from property deals and racehorses in France to bribe Maltese officials. Juliet Rix is a frequent visitor to Malta. She reflects on how the European Union’s smallest country has changed …and not for the better.
The coronavirus epidemic is adding to tensions in Hong Kong, a city already riven by seven months of anti government protests. As the number of infections rise, many are clamouring for the territory to seal itself off from the Chinese mainland. Last week, public hospital employees went on strike to try and force the authorities to close all border crossings. Some Mandarin speaking mainlanders feel unwelcome and relations with Hong Kongers are increasingly strained as Vincent Ni discovered at a delicious but difficult dinner party.
India’s once tigerish economy is flagging. And there’ve been suggestions that growth figures were over-estimated for years, hiding what’s been called by one leading economist ‘the great slowdown.’ But the government of Narendra Modi’s BJP party remains relentlessly optimistic. Lesley Curwen who’s just back from Delhi and Hyderabad has been testing the water.
Pope Francis dampened hopes among reformist Catholics that he was on the point of relaxing the centuries-old celibacy rule for the clergy – despite a shortage of priests in many parts of the world including the Amazon. There was even speculation that he might allow women to celebrate Mass. But there was no mention of such changes in the papal document. It seems, says David Willey, that Pope Francis has opted to focus not on the internal issue of celibacy but the external challenge of climate change.
There has been much soul searching about how smartphones have killed the art of conversation. The texting culture, the argument goes, is making us lazier, shallower and less literate. But sooner or later slang ends up in the Oxford English Dictionary. Andrew Harding grudgingly admits that language evolves and that common usage eventually becomes correct usage unless you’re a dyed-in-the-wool pedant.
The residents of an ordinary Moscow apartment block were recently tricked into showing what they really think of their president by a prankster who installed a massive portrait of Vladimir Putin in their lift. Some of the reactions were incredulous, some angry and a few unprintable ..and they had the whole country in stitches. Yet many Russians are confused rather than amused about proposed changes to their constitution. When President Putin dropped his bombshell announcement last month about rearranging Russia's power structure, some wondered if he was looking for a smooth exit or rather that he wanted to stay in charge of his country for life. Steve Rosenberg has been to Russia’s industrial heartland to canvass opinions.
Yesterday the left wing senator Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire Democratic primary contest. He declared the night “the beginning of the end” of Donald Trump but it is just one stage in the race to unseat the President and win the White House in November. Away from the campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire voters in New Jersey tend towards the centre ground of American politics. And they’re a savvy bunch in the Garden State. Sandra Kanthal says the best place to hear about the twists and turns of the 2020 US elections is over the countertop of the venerable diner in her home town.
This week China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak has drawn comparisons with the way in which the Soviet authorities handled the Chernobyl disaster of 1986. Had the USSR sounded the alarm sooner, the global ramifications of the accident would perhaps not have been so severe. When Li Wenliang, a doctor in Wuhan first tried to warn of the outbreak of the coronavirus in December, he was investigated by police and accused of scaremongering. Now he has been killed by the virus which has been declared a global health emergency. Many foreigners have left China on specially chartered flights but Andy Bostock has stayed behind in Suzhou, a city near Shanghai.
Mali may have a reputation for armed Islamic extremists, bombs, kidnapping and violence between Fulani herdsmen and sedentary farmers. But the country is also known for its photographers and one of Africa's largest photography festivals, Bamako Encounters, which is held in the capital every two years. Now celebrating its 25th birthday, the festival is at a turning point says Fleur Macdonald with work shown not only in museums and galleries but also in people's homes.
Life in Ladakh, a region administered by India in the Western Himalayas is often harsh. Remote villages lack transport links communication and many other basic facilities. Getting an education has long been a challenge, especially if your parents are nomadic goat herders. But Andrew Eames has been to visit a boarding school determined to boost the life chances of its young Ladakhi pupils.