The Saudi teenager Rahaf al-Qunun was spared deportation after details of her plight were spread on social media while she barricaded herself in a hotel room in Thailand. She feared being killed by her family if she was forced to return to Kuwait. She was saved not by her passport but by her phone, observes Jonathan Head.
Kate Adie introduces this and other stories from correspondents around the world:
Olivia Acland reflects on why the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo may have to wait a little longer than expected to celebrate their country’s first ever democratic transfer of power.
Nick Sturdee examines the split between the Ukrainian and Russian branches of the Orthodox church and has a strange encounter involving a black-robed priest, alleged KGB stooges and a mysterious man in a white car.
Jane Wakefield has a glimpse of what may turn out to be the future – drones delivering much-needed medicines and other supplies to remote African villages.
And Rob Cameron uncovers a disturbing secret about Prague’s cobblestoned streets.
Life In Lockdown
“Something once whole, broken into so many pieces,” Anna Foster reflects on the toll conflict in the Central African Republic is having on its people. In the capital Bangui, she visits PK5 a Muslim enclave in the mainly Christian city and scene of regular violence.
Kate Adie introduces this and other stories from correspondents around the world.
As a proudly homophobic, far-right president assumes office in Brazil, Simon Maybin meets some of the country’s gay footballers.
Chris Bowlby visits a bastion of loyal Protestantism in the Republic of Ireland. The Orange Order hall may have been refurbished with money from Dublin but it is proudly British.
Peter Robertson heads to the hills in Uzbekistan to try and get a clear view of what’s changed there under Shavkat Mirziyoyev who became President following Islam Karimov's death.
And Vivienne Nunis encounters a scarlet snouted, goblin-like spirit as she examines the damage caused by a recent typhoon in Japan.
Fairytales and Memorable Meetings
Winter’s majestic carpet may transform Karabash into a fairytale land that seems sprinkled with icing sugar, says Steve Rosenberg, but the reality is far from magical. There he meets a man who might just be a Russian spy.
Kate Adie introduces some of the many memorable meetings our correspondents have shared in 2018.
Mathew Charles spends a twitchy night out in the company of a drug cartel killer and dealer who explains how Colombia’s narco trade is changing.
Helen Nianias has coffee with a man who left Kosovo to fight jihad in Syria, but who was back less than two weeks later - before his mum even realised he'd gone.
Aisha Gani stumbles across a rave in a refugee camp in Bangladesh – home to some of the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who’ve fled violence in neighbouring Myanmar.
And Gabriel Gatehouse has a strange and mysterious encounter with a troll in Sweden.
From Our Home Correspondent 23/12/2018
In the Christmas edition, Mishal Husain introduces dispatches from journalists and writers around the United Kingdom which reflect the range of contemporary life in the country.
Ian McMillan tells a story known with subtle variations across the country - the Christmas card that's received each year but which can't be acknowledged because you've lost the address of the people who send it. They aren't relatives, they're not friends and they're not really acquaintances. But their card says something profound beyond the sentiments it contains.
Meanwhile, Jane Labous joins the Special Constables on Christmas patrol. They're part of the police force in England, Scotland and Wales and yet not for they are volunteers who have the power to detain and fine those who break the law. At a time of tight police budgets in Dorset, the regular police tell Jane, without the Specials there would be many fewer arrests. But who are the Specials and what is the essential job they perform for no salary?
Those who are single at Christmas may be thinking the best present they could have is a partner to shower them with affection and maybe the odd gift. Increasingly, they are turning to technology to find that special one and Melanie Abbott discovers if online dating is delivering for them.
With the seasonal party season in full flood, Datshiane Navanayagam reveals that while she loves make-up, she'd rather wear it indoors, unseen by the rest of us, and then wipe it off and go to bed than show it in public. Can a celebrity make-up artist she approaches change her mind?
And Garry Owen explains why a rude horse is coming to call more frequently in Wales at this time of year and how she should be greeted if there's a knock at your door.
Producer: Simon Coates
Fighting Hungary's 'Slave Law'
A controversial law in Hungary will allow employers to demand 400 hours of overtime from their workers and defer payment for three years. Nick Thorpe examines the rationale behind it, and watches as more than ten thousand people take to the streets in protest.
Kate Adie introduces this and other stories from around the world:
Lorraine Mallinder shares a story of survival and escape from Cameroon’s English-speaking regions, where hundreds of thousands of people have tried to flee violence between local separatists and the military.
Jonah Fisher has the tale of a Ukrainian woman who thought her son had finally been found in Afghanistan. He went missing more than 30 years ago when serving in the Soviet military there.
Jeremy Bristow meets a man trying to preserve the language spoken by Jesus and his followers as he visits some of the shrinking communities of Syriac Christians who still live in Turkey.
And it’s the same procedure as every year for Joanna Robertson in Germany where New Year’s Eve is celebrated with a bang.