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Focus

Our Focus programme brings you exclusive reports from around the world. From Monday to Friday at 7.50 am Paris time.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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Our Focus programme brings you exclusive reports from around the world. From Monday to Friday at 7.50 am Paris time.

Under pressure: France's medical students juggle studies and Covid-19 frontline

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The Covid-19 pandemic has upended professional and student life. In some cases, it has even prematurely forced a mixing of the two, as is the case for would-be doctors in France. Many medical students have gone from the classroom to the medical frontline, all while still having to study for exams. This combination can take a toll on their physical and mental health. FRANCE 24’s Cécile Galluccio and Claire Paccalin met two medical students in Poitiers and Paris to find out about the strategies they've developed to deal with the pressure.

Feb 26 2021

6mins

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Looking back at the Arab Spring: The role of art and music

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Ten years ago, the winds of change swept across several Arab nations, from Tunisia to Yemen via Egypt. The desire for political change was also expressed through art and music, which became vehicles for political ideas and the hopes and dreams of millions. Anmar Hijazi and Wassim Cornet look back at some of the highlights from the arts and culture world during the Arab Spring.

Feb 25 2021

4mins

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Wildlife in France: NGOs offer rewards for information on poachers

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Financial rewards for turning in poachers: that's the unusual new approach being adopted by several French animal welfare organisations in a bid to stop people killing protected species such as the lynx. The feline is on the IUCN's "Red List" of endangered species and there are only an estimated 150 of them left in France. Some NGOs are offering up to €50,000 as a reward for information on poachers. But locals are divided on the initiative, as our colleagues at France 2 found out, with FRANCE 24's Emerald Maxwell and Wassim Cornet.

Feb 24 2021

3mins

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Dozens of French children await repatriation from jihadist camps in Syria

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Some 200 children of French jihadists are spending their fourth winter in muddy tents at al-Roj camp in northeastern Syria, where dozens of arrested Europeans have been grouped together. Since the defeat of the Islamic State group two years ago, France has repatriated 35 children, mainly orphans or those in fragile health. Fearing they could still be radicalised, France has barred mothers from returning. As a result, some prefer to keep their children with them, while others have made the difficult choice to let them go. Our France 2 colleagues report, with FRANCE 24's James Vasina.

Feb 23 2021

3mins

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A controversial 'morality brigade' patrols in southern Thailand

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The far south of Thailand, on the border with Malaysia, is a Muslim-majority region in a largely Buddhist country. In the town of Yaha, authorities recently set up patrols to enforce strict Sharia law. Police now search for young people out holding hands or walking together in the street without adult supervision. Local politicians say it's a way to counter what they are calling a "crisis of morality" among the young. FRANCE 24's Didier Gruel, Constantin Simon and Tuwaedaniya Meringing report.

Feb 22 2021

5mins

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India's agricultural reforms: Why farmers are so angry

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In India, thousands of farmers have been camping out on New Delhi's borders for almost three months in what's been called the world's largest protest. The government says its new farming laws are essential to modernise the country's agriculture sector. But farmers, both young and old, say they won't bring their protests to an end until the legislation is repealed. They believe the new laws will end up hurting small farmers, who form 80 percent of the sector. Our correspondents Diya Gupta and Thomas Denis report from New Delhi.

Feb 19 2021

5mins

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South Africa's farmers weary as avocados become ripe targets

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Across the South African provinces of KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga, avocados and macadamia nuts have become prime targets for organised criminals, leading to millions of euros in losses for farmers. Private security companies now patrol the fields night and day to protect them from the gangs, which are becoming increasingly organised. Our South Africa correspondents Caroline Dumay and Sam Bradpiece report.

Feb 18 2021

5mins

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Is Hungary Russia's Trojan horse in Europe?

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EU member state Hungary decided to go it alone and approve Chinese and Russian Covid-19 vaccines before Brussels did. The move came at a tense time for EU-Russia relations, with sanctions mooted over the persecution of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, on top of those still in place due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But the Hungarian government, accused by Brussels of breaking the bloc's rules by attacking the media and the rule of law, seems to be cosying up to Moscow in a whole range of areas. Our correspondents report.

Feb 17 2021

5mins

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Are electric planes the future of aviation?

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It's been a tough 12 months for the airline industry, hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. But there are also ongoing concerns about the environmental impact of air travel. Could electric planes be a way forward? They are already being trialled in Slovenia and fully electric, commercial flights could be ready to take off in just 10 years' time. Our colleagues from France 2 report, with FRANCE 24's James Vasina.

Feb 16 2021

3mins

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Jersey: French fishermen caught up in post-Brexit bureaucratic storm

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Many people breathed a sigh of relief after the UK and EU reached a last-minute post-Brexit trade deal last year. But for French fishermen in Normandy and Brittany opposite the Channel Islands, Brexit spells disaster. The accord nullified their access to fish in Jersey's territorial waters. After pressure from Brussels and France, the island issued temporary licences to French boats – but these are due to expire at the end of April. FRANCE 24's David Gilberg and Julia Kim went to meet fishermen caught up in the post-Brexit bureaucratic storm.

Feb 15 2021

4mins

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Covid-19 vaccines: Is French medical research failing?

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In the race to create a Covid-19 vaccine, two French hopefuls have slipped from frontrunners to laggards. The Pasteur Institute's decision to stop developing its most promising vaccine candidate came on the heels of Sanofi's announcement that its jab would be delayed. A small Franco-Austrian startup called Valneva is now raising hopes. But the two giants' inability to lead the vaccine race has raised questions about the state of medical research in France. Is this failure simply due to bad luck, or is it a sign of wider problems? FRANCE 24's Julia Sieger and Marie Schuster report.

Feb 12 2021

5mins

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Covid-19: German city of Tübingen protects its elderly to avoid another lockdown

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Can we prevent lockdowns by instead taking better care of at-risk and elderly people? Most governments have rejected the idea, but the south-western German city of Tübingen has made it a reality. There, senior citizens are better protected and at-risk people are given extra help to run their daily lives, while the rest of the population is tested regularly to stop infections. The strategy seems to be working: current infection rates in the city are much lower than during the first wave. Our correspondents report.

Feb 11 2021

4mins

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Mali's main student union accused of violence on campus

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In Mali, a student union founded in 1990 was originally set up to improve campus facilities, but today it's seen as a largely corrupt body that's behind deadly clashes. The Organisation for Students in Mali (OSM) is also accused of putting pressure on teachers and university management. Government funding has been suspended as a result, but current members of the organisation say the controversy stems from just a few bad apples in the group. Our Bamako correspondent Anne-Fleur Lespiaut reports.

Feb 10 2021

5mins

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Covid-19: Dubai is open to tourists, despite the risks

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While most countries have opted to close their borders to non-essential travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic, that's not the case in the emirate of Dubai, which relies heavily on tourism. Restaurants, malls, beaches and tourist attractions are well and truly open, although bars have had to close in recent days. In a bid to avoid a rise in coronavirus cases, Dubai has also chosen to power ahead with the free vaccination of its residents. But it's a risky strategy. Our correspondents Sophie Guignon, Nicolas Keraudren and Sylvain Lepetit report.

Feb 09 2021

5mins

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Migrant families brave perilous mountain crossing at France-Italy border

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More and more migrants are crossing treacherously high Alpine passes at night, scaling the peaks between Italy and France. Ill-equipped for the dark, snowy conditions and sometimes with young children, they trek on amid fear of being stopped by the police, hoping to reach a safe future on the other side of the Alps. One family from Afghanistan let a group of reporters walk with them for part of their perilous journey. Our colleagues from France 2 report, with FRANCE 24's Emerald Maxwell.

Feb 08 2021

5mins

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Thailand, a paradise for digital nomads

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This past year has revolutionised the way many of us work. The coronavirus pandemic has exponentially increased "working from home", but many digital nomads are now making the choice to work remotely, sometimes halfway across the globe. Countries like Thailand, with its tropical sandy beaches, are welcoming them with open arms. Our colleagues at France 2 report from the island of Koh Phangan, with FRANCE 24's Wassim Cornet.

Feb 05 2021

4mins

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Victims of incest slowly break code of silence and shame

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One in 10 French people claim to have been a victim of incest, according to a survey that shocked the country in November 2020. This came after a top academic was accused of sexually abusing his stepson for years with impunity. The hashtag #MeTooInceste became a rallying cry, with tens of thousands of people sharing their stories. The French government has now set up an independent commission to combat the ultimate taboo. Shame and the fear of tarnishing the family name are factors that perpetuate a cycle of abuse, secrecy and denial. Our team spoke to several victims of incest.

Feb 04 2021

7mins

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French employees donate their annual leave to help the homeless

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The Covid-19 pandemic is increasing inequality across the world and France is no exception. "The Company of Possibilities", an organisation launched by a businessman in the French city of Lyon, is generating funds to help the most vulnerable by appealing to local businesses and their employees. The latter are given the opportunity to give up a day or more of paid annual leave. Their employer donates that day's pay to "The Company of Possibilities", which uses the money to fund projects that help the homeless. FRANCE 24's Claire Paccalin and Joanna Sitruk report from Lyon.

Feb 03 2021

3mins

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In Russia, supporters of Kremlin critic Navalny undeterred by police crackdown

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On Sunday, two weeks after Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny's return to Russia and arrest at Moscow airport, tens of thousands of people took to the streets across the country to demand his release. The police made more than 5,300 arrests; an unprecedented figure. Thousands of Russians are no longer afraid and are risking their freedom to protest against the regime of Vladimir Putin. Our correspondents followed Navalny's supporters during Sunday's protests in Moscow.

Feb 02 2021

4mins

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Looted art: Pillaged war zones make for a lucrative black market

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The international market for rare archaeological artefacts can be extremely lucrative, providing a huge incentive for looters keen to get rich quick. In recent years, wars and instability in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Egypt have seen priceless artefacts plundered. They have later turned up on the global art market. It then falls to specialist teams to sort the legitimate items from the stolen ones. Our colleagues at France 2 report, with FRANCE 24's James Vasina.

Feb 01 2021

4mins

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I Love These Focus Pieces

By Jack_McCoy - Dec 04 2018
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I love the Focus segments on France 24, which take me to different places around the world. You meet people from other countries and hear their stories. The professionalism in these 5-6 minute pieces is A++. It’s nice to have the segments as podcasts, so you can listen or watch on the go.