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In The News

In The News is a podcast from The Irish Times that takes a close look at the stories that matter, in Ireland and around the world. Hosted by Sorcha Pollak and Conor Pope.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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A notorious people smuggler escapes justice

Last month, an infamous Eritrean human trafficker was sentenced to life in prison without parole in absentia in Ethiopia. Kidane Zekarias Habtemariam, known as Kidane, who absconded from custody in February, oversaw an extensive smuggling operation in Libya where he is alleged to have extorted money from thousands of victims as they attempted to make their way to Europe. Sally Hayden has reported on the 21st century slave trade on Europe’s doorstep for The Irish Times for a number of years, interviewing victims of Kidane and his associate knows as “Walid”. She talks to Conor Pope about the horrors of the North African smuggling trade and why she felt it was important to report on this story.Produced by Declan Conlon, Jennifer Ryan and Suzanne Brennan.Opening music by Hugh Rodgers.www.irishtimes.com/podcasts See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

23mins

23 Jul 2021

Rank #1

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Boris Johnson's Covid gamble

By removing practically all remaining Covid-19 restrictions in England, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has gambled that the resulting wave of infection will be bearable and that voters will find the end result was worth it. But pitfalls on his short cut out of the pandemic are already appearing. Denis Staunton explains what's going on.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

23mins

21 Jul 2021

Rank #2

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Ireland's phone scam plague

A lot of us have experienced it at least once by now: a fraudulent call from someone claiming to work for the Gardaí or the Department of Social Protection, looking for personal details. But how do these scams work? We hear a conversation with one of the scammers that takes an unexpected turn. A victim of phone fraud tells a story that shows why the tech-savvy among us aren't immune. And an expert explains what the scammers are up to and how we might someday bring an end to them. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

21mins

19 Jul 2021

Rank #3

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How Poland's right-wing politicians are reshaping society

Earlier this month, former European Council president Donald Tusk was elected head of Poland's Civic Platform, the opposition party he co-founded 20 years ago. Mr Tusk said he was returning to politics in his home country, where he was prime minister from 2007-2014, in order to help fight the “evil” of the ruling right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party. Since it took power in 2015, PiS has introduced controversial reforms to the judiciary, clamped down on LGBTQ+ rights and essentially outlawed abortion. Irish Times Berlin correspondent Derek Scally, who regularly writes about Poland, talks to Sorcha Pollak about these reforms and how they are reshaping Polish society.Produced by Declan Conlon, Jennifer Ryan and Suzanne Brennan.Opening music by Hugh Rodgers.www.irishtimes.com/podcasts See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

24mins

14 Jul 2021

Rank #4

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How Ireland's eating disorder patients have been forgotten by the health service

Rachel, a young student nurse from Dublin, was just twenty years old, when her mother Sam began to notice the first signs of an eating disorder. Six years on, after multiple hospitalisations and ten months spent in a specialised unit in London, Sam is still struggling to get Rachel the help she needs. The mother of five, shares her story and the impact the lack of specialist services in Ireland is having on patients and their families. Also, Social Affairs correspondent Kitty Holland tells her personal experience of living with an eating disorder.Cared Ireland can be reached at caredireland@gmail.comBodywhys can be contacted at 01-2107906 or alex@bodywhys.ieProduced by Declan Conlon, Jennifer Ryan and Suzanne Brennan.Opening music by Hugh Rodgers.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

25mins

12 Jul 2021

Rank #5

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Why are MEPs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly in trouble at the European Parliament?

Irish MEPs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly were recently formally sanctioned by the European Parliament’s Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group for what were deemed to be unofficial election observation trips in Venezuela and Ecuador. In a statement, Daly and Wallace rejected the rebuke and said they will be challenging it. But their censure by the European Parliament comes amid increasing discomfort with the pair’s foreign policy positions including within their own Left group, where they were recently accused by a Dutch MEP of echoing pro-Putin talking points.The Irish Times Europe correspondent Naomi O’Reilly talks to Conor Pope about the background to this story.Produced by Declan Conlon, Jennifer Ryan and Suzanne Brennan.Music by Hugh Rodgers.www.irishtimes.com/podcasts See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

24mins

9 Jul 2021

Rank #6

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What will happen in Afghanistan when the US withdraws its troops?

In April, US president Joe Biden announced all remaining troops in Afghanistan would be withdrawn, ending what he described as “America's longest war”. However, what will the US departure mean for the people of Afghanistan and the future of their country? With Taliban insurgents stepping up attacks on the Afghan government, a new wave of violence is leading to concerns of civil war. In this episode, Sorcha Pollak speaks to historian and former military advisor Dr Carter Malkasian and Afghan human rights activist Horia Mosadiq.Produced by Declan Conlon, Jennifer Ryan and Suzanne Brennan.Music by Hugh Rodgers.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

24mins

7 Jul 2021

Rank #7

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Amazon's dark side: what might it mean for Ireland?

Amazon, the company founded by Jeff Bezos in a Seattle garage more than a quarter of a century ago, is building one of its massive fulfilment centres in Ireland. While that will mean faster deliveries, easier returns and greater choice for Irish customers, the arrival of an amazon.ie is not without its dark sides. In this episode, Conor Pope talks to US journalist and author Alec MacGillis, who has been documenting the growth of Amazon, about what it takes – or what it costs – to work in one of the online retail giant’s warehouses.Produced by Declan Conlon, Jennifer Ryan and Suzanne Brennan.Presented by Conor Pope.Music by Hugh Rodgers. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

23mins

2 Jul 2021

Rank #8

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What's happening in the Dublin Bay South byelection?

Next Thursday, on July 8th, voters in Dublin Bay South will cast their votes in a byelection widely seen as the first major electoral test for the coalition Government. Fine Gael's James Geoghegan is currently in the lead based on Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll results. But the survey, carried out over the weekend, also shows Labour's Ivana Bacik may still be in with a chance of taking the seat. Sorcha Pollak talks to The Irish Times political editor Pat Leahy about the race for the Dublin Bay South seat, the main issues dominating the debate and the national significance of next week's vote. Produced by Declan Conlon, Jennifer Ryan and Suzanne Brennan.Presented by Sorcha Pollak.Music by Hugh Rodgers.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

25mins

29 Jun 2021

Rank #9

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Can the rest of Europe do anything about Hungary's anti-LGBTQ law?

Last week Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban was confronted by other EU leaders about a new law that prohibits the promotion of homosexuality to under-18s, with Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte going as far as to tell Orban that Hungary should leave the EU. But what can the EU actually do about this discriminatory law? Naomi O'Leary is Europe correspondent for The Irish Times.Produced by Declan Conlon, Jennifer Ryan and Suzanne Brennan.Presented by Conor PopeMusic by Hugh Rodgers.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

20mins

28 Jun 2021

Rank #10