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Beyond the Headlines

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Dive deeper into the week's biggest stories from the Middle East and around the world with The National's foreign desk. Nuances are often missed in day-to-day headlines. We go Beyond the Headlines by bringing together the voices of experts and those living the news to provide a clearer picture of the region's shifting political and social landscape.

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Dive deeper into the week's biggest stories from the Middle East and around the world with The National's foreign desk. Nuances are often missed in day-to-day headlines. We go Beyond the Headlines by bringing together the voices of experts and those living the news to provide a clearer picture of the region's shifting political and social landscape.

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Cover image of Beyond the Headlines

Beyond the Headlines

Latest release on Oct 22, 2020

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Dive deeper into the week's biggest stories from the Middle East and around the world with The National's foreign desk. Nuances are often missed in day-to-day headlines. We go Beyond the Headlines by bringing together the voices of experts and those living the news to provide a clearer picture of the region's shifting political and social landscape.

Rank #1: Taliban bombings in Afghanistan's election

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For the first time in ten years, Afghans took to the polling stations to elect candidates to National Assembly and take part in the future of their country. But a series of violent attacks have put a damper on the democratic turnout. Afghan security forces claimed more than 100 attacks took place in the week leading up to the elections and on the day, killing 23 and wounding hundreds. The Taliban claimed most of the attacks, including bombing the office of one of the candidates in the south of the country.

The events represent a political reality in strife. The Taliban, who along with other insurgent groups control vast swathes of the country, attempted to curtail the elections. The attacks, which included suicide bombings, could be responsible for the low turnout. Of the 9 million registered to vote in the country, around 4 million showed up. Nonetheless, after years of delays and months of negotiations, the country has voted for the first time in a decade.

On this episode, we're joined by Ruchi Kumar to answer two questions: what does this mean for the future of the country? And how will this affect the ongoing US negotiations with the Taliban over a potential peace deal?

Oct 24 2018

18mins

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Rank #2: The Pope's visit to Abu Dhabi

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Pope Francis's visit to the UAE was the first time a Catholic pontiff stepped foot in the Arabian Peninsula.

During his Mass, he prayed for his devotees at Sports Zayed City Stadium and for everyone in the region.

On this episode of Beyond the Headlines, Naser Al Wasmi talks to those who attended the Mass and discusses how the visit impacts the region.

Feb 06 2019

10mins

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Rank #3: What shape will US-Middle East affairs take post-midterm elections?

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US President Donald Trump’s Republican party can no longer claim complete control of a two-branch Congress, after his rival Democratic party last week won control of the House of Representatives. The Senate, however, is still controlled by the Republicans.

Newly empowered Democrats are expected to take Trump to task on many issues domestically, but to what extent will Trump's foreign policy be affected? Specifically, how might Trump's agenda in the Middle East change?

We ask an expert on US-Middle Eastern affairs that question and more in this week's episode of Beyond the Headlines.

Danielle Pletka, the senior vice-president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, spoke with The National's Naser Al Wasmi, and explained the influence of a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives on Trump's Middle Eastern agenda. Will his tough stance on Iran strengthen or wane? Will new checks to his Republican party hinder the administration's goals for the region?

Nov 14 2018

20mins

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Rank #4: A summer of reform in the UAE

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Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, announced the Tomorrow 2021 plan this week. It includes 50 initiatives to spur growth in areas such investment, jobs creation and improving the overall quality of life in the emirate.  

The announcement was the culmination of a summer full of reforms for the UAE. Mina Aldroubi and Rory Reynolds, The National's news editor, discuss what this means for the country's future in this week's episode of Beyond the Headlines.

Also this week, we discuss the conflict in Syria, which has swung heavily in President Bashar Al Assad’s favour. If Idlib is taken by the government, it would leave the rebels with a few pockets of territory scattered across the country, effectively signalling their defeat. The National correspondent Richard Harris analyses the situation.

Sep 19 2018

15mins

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Rank #5: The view from Hajj; Rohingya refugee update

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This week Beyond the Headlines hosts two interviews from two different corners of the Muslim world — celebration at Hajj, and an update on the ongoing Rohingya crisis. 

In Makkah, where over two million Muslims are fulfilling their Islamic duties for Hajj, The National's Naser Al Wasmi gives a firsthand account from Saudi Arabia. How are pilgrims adjusting to the high temperatures, and what tips can we give to others who look to descend on Makkah?

Also, Campbell MacDiarmid returns from a week-long trip to Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh to provide an update on how over 700,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are surviving in increasingly desperate conditions.

Aug 22 2018

23mins

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Rank #6: Fake news in the Middle East with the BBC's Jamie Angus

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Today we’re bringing you an interview with Jamie Angus, director of the BBC World Service Group. He spoke to The National’s Nick Webster in our Abu Dhabi studio about the BBC’s efforts to curb the proliferation of fake news.

The Middle East is regarded as prime territory to cause further division and increase tension for online fraudsters. So what can established news organisations do to help consumers tell the difference between what is real and what is not?

Mr Angus tells us how the BBC is taking a proactive approach to curb the spread of fake news.

Aug 02 2018

12mins

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Rank #7: Israel puts Iran's nuclear ambitions into question ahead of Trump's decision

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday claimed Iran was developing a "secret" nuclear weapons programme in breach of the 2015 deal agreed with world powers. Iran responded by saying an alleged archive of tens of thousands of records was merely part of a "ridiculous propaganda" machine.

We analyse the situation between Israel and Iran and how it pertains to the Iranian nuclear deal in this week's Beyond the Headlines podcast. We spoke to Robert Kelley, who was director of the International Atomic Energy Agency programme in Iraq in 1992 and again in 2001.

Mr Kelly has experience in over 20 countries working on disarmament and more than 35 years working in the US of Energy nuclear weapons complex. He gave us his thoughts on what impact this will have on President Donald Trump’s impending decision on the United States's involvement in the deal, and how old intelligence documents can be used to push a political agenda.

May 02 2018

17mins

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Rank #8: Hodeidah's importance to victory in Yemen

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Yemen's military is within striking distance of one of their biggest victories since civil war began in 2015. The forces, backed by the Arab coalition, was last reported to be within 10km of Yemen’s third largest city, Hodeidah.

We analyse what this could mean for the future of the four-year civil war in Yemen with Fatima Alasrar, a senior analyst at Washington-based Arabia Foundation. 

The city of Hodeidah lies on the Red Sea coast, and is home to the country’s largest port. Much of the country’s food is imported through the city. But it’s been under Houthi-rebel control since the takeover four years ago.

The Arab Coalition, which includes the UAE and Saudi Arabia, intervened in the conflict in Yemen shortly after the rebel coup. They were asked to fight the Houthis on behalf of the internationally recognized government. Hodeidah, though, has remained out of reach. Until now.

May 30 2018

20mins

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Rank #9: The Qatar crisis from the perspective of Dr Anwar Gargash

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This week, The National spoke to Dr Anwar Gargash, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. He talked about how the Arab world has changed significantly a year since the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt cut all diplomatic and travel links with Qatar.The worst diplomatic crisis to ever hit the GCC has changed regional dynamics in the region. 

The four nations insist that to normalize relations with Qatar, Doha will have to change what the quartet claims are troubling grievances. But as the crisis enters its second year, it’s difficult to tell just how long, or if, the GCC's most significant diplomatic crisis will ever be resolved.

Jun 07 2018

19mins

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Rank #10: Iraq's future following Moqtada Al Sadr's resounding victory

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Shia cleric Moqtada Al Sadr wants a government that is inclusive of all Iraqis. His coalition won the largest number of seats in Iraq’s latest parliamentary elections. But Mr Al Sadr didn’t win enough to form a majority. This prompts weeks, if not months, of negotiations with different factions to form a government.

His victory comes as a surprise to many. Prime Minister Haidar Al Abadi, whose bloc finished third, is now talking to the cleric. Mr Al Abadi, who claims ISIL’s defeat as his own doing, met with Al Sadr after the election. They assured the Iraqi people that their government will take care of them.

On this episode of Beyond the Headlines, Mina Al Droubi, an Iraqi-British journalist at The National, explains the nuances of the new government. And Campbell MacDiarmid, an editor on the foreign desk, joins the show to relay his findings on the latest elections. 

May 23 2018

15mins

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Rank #11: Who is Imran Khan?

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The newly elected prime minister in Pakistan is not a new name in the country. Imran Khan has led he country to cricket glory and been a longtime politician and philanthropist, and last week won a contentious election to become the country's new prime minister.

Now, as Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party attempts to build a coalition, we ask how this man-of-the-people will achieve his many promises, and if the country can finally find some political stability under his stead.

In this episode of Beyond the Headlines, host Naser Al Wasmi talks with Ben Farmer, who covered the election for The National, and ESPN cricinfo's Osman Samiuddin about how Khan's lofty status as a sportsman can equate to the political arena.

Aug 01 2018

25mins

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Rank #12: Massacre in Gaza

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As Israeli and American officials celebrated the controversial move of the United States' embassy to Jerusalem, Israeli soldiers were murdering peaceful Palestinian protestors.

This week, host Naser Al Wasmi looks at the latest atrocities carried about by a newly empowered Israel against their Palestinian neighbours. Jack Moore and Willy Lowry, who have each spent time in Gaza and the West Bank, give their perspectives.

#Gaza #Israel #Palestine #MiddleEast #News

May 16 2018

24mins

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Rank #13: A tale of two prime ministers in Sri Lanka 

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There's been political trouble in Sri Lanka over the past two weeks after President Maithripala Sirisena dismissed prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed former president Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place.

It is not clear that the president had the authority to make such a decision though, and Mr Wickremesinghe has refused to vacate the prime minister's residence.

Which has left Sri Lanka in the unusual position of having two men claiming to be prime minister.

Nov 07 2018

22mins

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Rank #14: Why the Strait of Hormuz is so important

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Maritime oil trade from the Arabian Peninsula relies exclusively on two strategic chokepoints: The Strait of Hormuz, to the UAE’s north, and Bab Al Mandeb to the south.

Despite efforts to diversify the GCC countries’ economy, oil trade remains a lifeline. More than a third of the world’s petroleum trade by sea passes through the Strait of Hormuz. At its most narrow, The Strait of Hormuz is just 54 KM wide. It connects the Arabian Gulf to the Indian Ocean, separating the shores of Oman and Iran.

It’s one of the most strategically important waterways in the world. But with tensions between Iran and some of the GCC countries rising, the Strait of Hormuz might also be the GCC’s biggest strategic vulnerability.

This week, we spoke to Clement Therme, who is a research fellow for Iran at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He’s based in Bahrain where he helps analyse Iran’s political trajectory.

Aug 15 2018

14mins

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Rank #15: Dr Anwar Gargash on Iran, Yemen, Trump and more

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Last week, The National spoke to Dr Anwar Gargash, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. We bring you the second part of that interview in this edition of Beyond the Headlines. Listen to part 1 for his take on the Qatar crisis.

Dr Gargash discusses the wider Arab world and the ever-shifting dynamics of the region, from the war in Yemen, Iran’s influence in the region, and Donald Trump's relationship with the GCC. 

Listen to Part 1.

Subscribe to Beyond the Headlines for free on Apple Podcasts.

Jun 13 2018

24mins

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Rank #16: Saddam Hussein's fall, 15 years on

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In 2002, a 12-metre statue of Saddam Hussein was erected in Baghdad's Firdos Square, right in the middle of one of the Iraqi capital’s many roundabouts. It depicted the Iraqi dictator standing heels together with his right arm outstretched in an open palm. It was a symbol of Saddam’s confidence and his ruthless grip on the country.

A year later, Operation Iraqi Freedom was just a few weeks underway when the statue was torn down by US coalition forces, as some Iraqi citizens cheered. That was 15 years ago this week. On this episode of Beyond the Headlines, we look at where Iraq is now from those who remember the statue's symbolic fall.

Rasha Al Aqeedi was in Mosul at the time. Today, she works as a researcher in Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre in Dubai. She talks about the fall of Saddam as both a moment of joy and great concern for the country.

Mina Al Droubi, a reporter on the National’s foreign desk, was in London when she saw the news in April 2003. Although only 14, she remembers the event as sparking a reaction that still marks the politics of Iraq today.

Beyond the Headlines, produced by Kevin Jeffers, is The National's weekly podcast for analysis and insight from the Middle East. Follow, subscribe and rate us at Apple Podcasts, Audioboom, Pocket Cast or your favourite podcasting app.

Apr 04 2018

21mins

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Rank #17: Iraq's parliament starts off on wrong foot; the US-Palestine relationship

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The first day of Iraq's new parliament was a chaotic one. Where does the new government go from here? Also, the US administration is proposing a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, but it's one that has been out of favour for a long time. Why has the US-Palestine relationship become so fraught?

We discuss both Iraq's new parliament and the US-Palestine situation with The National's foreign desk in this episode of Beyond the Headlines.

Sep 05 2018

18mins

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Rank #18: The cultural importance of rebuilding Mosul; Child mortality rates in Afghanistan on the rise

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Iraq needs two billion dollars to revive its cultural heritage and renovate areas destroyed by ISIS. But the country says it does not have the capacity to rebuild without support from the international community. How are the UAE and other foreign allies helping? Mina Al Droubi joins us from the Unesco conference in Paris to tell us. 

And in war-torn Afghanistan, child violence is on the rise more than 15 years after the US war in the country began. Preethi Nallu tells us firsthand how dire the situation has become for Afghan children.

We discuss both stories in this week's Beyond the Headlines podcast.

Sep 12 2018

17mins

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Rank #19: The China-UAE bond strengthens

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In a week-long series of events, the UAE will host Chinese President Xi Jinping for his first trip to the country. The tour will look to further develop bilateral relations between the two countries. China is already the UAE's top trade partner, and now both countries are looking further strengthen their bond through diplomacy and a sharing of cultures.

We look at the Chinese-UAE relationship in this week's Beyond the Headlines. 

Host Naser Al Wasmi speaks to Ali Al Dhaheri, the UAE Ambassador to China. He is in the UAE this week to help welcome the Chinese President. The ambassador says the deepening ties between the two countries will provide for unparalleled cultural, diplomatic and trade growth. 

We also speak with The National's Haneen Al Dajani following her return from a trip to China. She tells us what both countries are doing to break down the language barrier and how Chinese television may be the next big thing in the Middle East.

Jul 18 2018

20mins

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Rank #20: Turkey's future under an empowered Erdogan

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With a decisive — however manufactured — election result, incumbent Turkish president Recep Tayipp Erdoğan now moves forward with a mandate to form a new government in Turkey.

Though there are many questions from the opposition and humanitarian groups about the legitimacy of the democratic process, Erdogan will lead Turkey for at least another five years. How will this government take shape, with the role of prime minister being phased out and a consolidation of executive power to Erdogan's office?

In this episode of Beyond the Headlines, we assess how a newly empowered Erdogan will shape the Turkish government. We also hear from Reem Al Hashimy, the UAE's Minister of State for Humanitarian Coordination, about the UAE humanitarian effort in Yemen.

Jun 27 2018

16mins

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Arab Americans vote in divisive presidential election

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Arab-Americans make up a tiny fraction of America’s 300 plus million people. But in three key swing states: Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania they are a significant enough voting block that they could help determine the outcome of the November 3rd Presidential election.
Willy Lowry and Sophie Tremblay takes us through the heart of Arab America to look at the issues important to the growing community and which way they’ll vote.

Oct 22 2020

17mins

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A year of revolution in Lebanon between fires, crisis and blast

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The fires didn’t start the revolution, but you could say it was the kindling. The country suffers fires every year, but these were different. In this week's Beyond the Headlines, host James Haines-Young, looks back at a turbulent year in Lebanon from fires, to revolution to a massive explosion.

Oct 15 2020

26mins

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The challenges of finding a Covid-19 vaccine

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News update: Since publishing this podcast China announced on October 9 that it has joined Covax, the global scheme for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine backed by the World Health Organisation.
There are currently more than 150 Covid-19 vaccines in development. Billions of dollars are being pumped into research in the hope that a viable drug can reach the market in record time and ease the effects of the pandemic on individuals, societies and the global economy. 
This week we talk about the challenges in the race to find a coronavirus vaccine. We hear from Dr Jeremy Rossman, a virologist at the University of Kent, and Daniel Bardsley, who writes about the coronavirus for The National.

Hosted by Suhail Akram.

Oct 08 2020

24mins

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Iraq's year of protests, assassinations and foreign interference

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On October the 1st 2019, protestors took to the streets of Iraq demonstrating against unemployment, government corruption and poor public services, such as electricity and clean water. As Iraqis mark the one year anniversary of the October protests, demonstrators have vowed to keep the protests going unless their demands of a peaceful and prosperous homeland are met.

Renad Mansour, senior research fellow in the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House, and Inas Jabbar, human rights activist from Baghdad, tells us what has changed since the October protests started and whether protesting is achieving anything.

Hosted by Suhail Akram.

Sep 30 2020

17mins

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Saudi Arabia at 90, an evolution from Bedouin culture to leading power

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Nadia Abdulwahab, Lecturer in English Literature at Umm Al Qura University, and Marcel Kupershoek, author and senior humanities research fellow at NYU Abu Dhabi takes us through the evolution of Saudi Arabia and its people, since the founding of the kingdom. We also hear from Ahmed Al Saleh, a 25-year old Saudi student, and Salma Ibrahim, a 27-year old electrical engineer, about the changes they see in the kingdom and their excitement for the future of Saudi. 

Hosted by Balquees Basalom.

Sep 23 2020

16mins

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The Abraham Accord between Israel and the UAE

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On the 15th of September, the UAE signed the historic Abraham Accord with Israel at a ceremony in Washington DC, in the first such agreement between an Arab country and Israel in over a quarter of a century.

We hear from Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, UAE’s permanent representative to the United Nations, and Omar Ghobash, UAE's assistant minister for cultural affairs and public diplomacy, about the UAE’s groundbreaking decision.

Ambassador Dennis Ross, who served under President Barack Obama, President Clinton and President George H. W. Bush, and Ambassador Barbara Leaf, former US Ambassador to the UAE, give their takes on the agreement and what it means for the region.

Sep 15 2020

16mins

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Social media and the freedom of speech

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Free speech is part of the US bill of rights, which was ratified in 1791. It grants the freedom to express any opinion, without any restrictions or penalty from the government. However, there are restrictions to this right, in law. These include speech that incites violence, is part of criminal conduct or commercial advertising. As social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter don't have to enforce freedom of speech, many feel they should. 

This week, we hear from Mathew Ingram, chief digital writer for the Columbia Journalism Review, and Dr. Peter Yacobucci, an associate professor of political science at Buffalo State University. With the US presidential election fast approaching, they tell us how social media giants are grappling with freedom of speech.

Hosted by Cody Combs

Sep 10 2020

20mins

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How gas exploration in the Mediterranean is pitting Turkey against Europe

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News update. Since publishing this podcast Greece and Turkey have agreed to talks to avoid military escalation and accidents in the Eastern Mediterranean, Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on September 3.

On the 14th of August 2020, Greek and Turkish warships in the eastern Mediterranean collided. What was deemed a minor incident, prompted a virtual meeting of all 27 EU member states, and a statement was issued hinting at the possibility of sanctions in the future if Turkey failed to de-escalate.
Turkey’s foreign minister responded by saying, "Instead of indulging Greece and giving unconditional support, the EU should invite Athens to act with reason." 
As Turkey announced maritime training exercises in the Mediterreanean, viewed in Europe as an aggressive move, France and Italy said they would also be heading into the waters for joint naval exercises with Greece and Cyprus. 
On the 2nd of September, US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo called for all parties involved to reduce tensions in the easter mediterranean.
In this week's Beyond the Headlines, host Sulaiman Hakemy, takes a look at the rising tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Sep 03 2020

19mins

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How do people become radicalised online and can we stop it?

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This week on Beyond the Headlines, we ask Athina Tzemprin from Moonshot CVE, an organisation that works to prevent radicalisation of people online, and Jesse Morton a former recruiter for Al Qaeda, who now works for Parallel Networks Inc, how people get radicalised on the internet.

We also hear from Chelsea Daymon, a terrorism researcher and PhD candidate at the American University in Washington DC about her research which involved joining ISIS groups on social media platforms to learn more about them.
Hosted by Taylor Heyman.

Aug 26 2020

25mins

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What is long-haul Covid and is it real?

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‘Long haulers’ or ‘Long-termers’ are people who have recovered from the coronavirus but weeks or even months later, are still experiencing symptoms.

Diana Berrent, founder of Survivor Corps - a Facebook group with 90,000 members who discuss Covid-19 and its symptoms and seek each other's help, tells us about her experience with long-term symptoms from Covid-19. Dr. Natalie Lambert, associate research professor of medicine at Indiana University, partnered with Survivor Corps to research about these long-haul cases. She explains why we need to take cues from patient experiences and carefully understand what they need to recover. 

We also hear from Marcus Tomoff, a member of Survivor Corps, who contracted the virus and later on became a long-hauler. He describes how his life changed ever since he got a false negative.

This podcast is hosted by Suhail Akram.

Aug 20 2020

18mins

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Lebanon explosion: What will Lebanon do now?

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In this episode, we talk to Bassam ZaaZaa, a reporter with The National, and Zina Malas, a student at the American University of Beirut about their experience of the explosion. We also talk to Marianne Samaha, programme director for aid agency Plan International, who tells us who is most affected by the explosion.

Hosted by James Haines Young

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Aug 13 2020

24mins

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What happened when Beirut exploded?

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James Haines Young pieces together the explosion and the immediate aftermath.

He talks to The National’s Sunniva Rose and Lina Mokadden, a resident in Lebanon, who explain what the explosion felt like and the aftermath. We also hear from Najat Aoun Saliba, Professor of Analytical Chemistry at the American University of Beirut, and Professor Andrew Tyas, an academic at the University of Sheffield specialising in blast and impact engineering, about the effects of the explosion. Mona Harb, a Professor of Urban Studies, tells us why Beirut didn't just lose lives, but also it's heritage.
To watch the explosion, click here.

Aug 06 2020

24mins

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How Hajj will be different during the coronavirus pandemic

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In this episode, we talk to Mohammed Mushfiq Uddin, a lead guide and scholar for a UK Hajj and Umrah operator, and Balquees Basalom, a social media journalist at The National, who is in Makkah about Hajj and how it will be different this year. We also speak to Dr. Adnan Al-Shareef, Professor of History and Islamic civilization at Umm Al Qurua University in Makkah. Also, Faridah Bint Bakti Yahra, tells us about how she was granted permission to perform Hajj. Dr Yusra Abdullah who volunteers every year during the Hajj explains her pain in missing a special moment. 

This podcast is hosted by Suhail Akram.

Jul 29 2020

23mins

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The global sand trade: Are we running out of sand?

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This week, we talk to Vince Beiser, author of the book The World in a Grain of Sand and Arora Torres, fellow at the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) & Michigan State University about the global sand trade and shortage.

Hosted by James Haines Young.

Jul 23 2020

21mins

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The Hope Probe: UAE's mission to Mars

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In July 2020, UAE’s Hope Probe will blast off from Japan to study Mars.
This week, Mohsen Al Alwahdi, the Mission Systems Engineer at Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre tells host Suhail Rather what it took to get to this point and explains the journey the probe will take to the Red Planet. Historian Simon Ings and Sarwat Nasir, a senior reporter at The National, explain the significance of such a mission.

Jul 16 2020

17mins

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USA: The world's epicentre of the coronavirus

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The United States of America is setting grim records. The number of daily cases of the coronavirus in the US are ahead of every other country in the world. It took the US over 3 months to reach 1 million Covid-19 cases on April  28, another 44 days until June 11 to reach to 2 million. Just 26 days after that, to pass 3 million on July 8.

We talk to Amish Adalja, senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center, and Ethan Fosse, an assistant professor in Sociology at The University of Toronto about why the US became the world’s epicentre of the coronavirus.  
Hosted by James Haines Young

Jul 09 2020

22mins

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How do you solve the great Nile Dam dispute?

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The Nile is Egypt and Egypt, for many, is the Nile. For over 8,000 years, this historic River has nurtured civilization. But now, Cairo says that’s under threat. Hundreds of kilometres upstream, Ethiopia has built a mega dam. It stands over 155 metres tall and nearly 1800 meters long.  Host James Haines-Young talks to Hamza Hendawi, The National’s Cairo correspondent, and William Davison, a senior analyst based in Ethiopia for Crisis Group. We also speak to Hafsa Halawa, a non resident scholar at the Middle East Institute about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

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Jul 02 2020

24mins

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Should internet access be declared a human right?

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On the 1st of October 2019 mass protests spread through Iraq. People demanded an end to widespread corruption and access to basic services, like water and electricity and access to jobs. Within days hundreds of protesters were injured and there were dozens of fatalities… Then the information halted - the Iraqi government had imposed a near blackout of the internet. 

Iraq is not alone. Some 33 countries have tried to shut down or throttle the internet in 2019 alone. India was a leader in the practice with 121 shutdowns that year. With a global pandemic raging, limiting access to the internet can have real health consequences. Should access to the internet be a human right?

This week we speak to Berhan Taye, senior policy analyst at Access Now and Dr Merten Reglitz, lecturer in global ethics at Birmingham University. This podcast is hosted by Taylor Heyman.

Jun 25 2020

18mins

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Who will help the abandoned Ethiopian workers in Lebanon?

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In Beirut, a white saloon car comes to a swift halt outside the Ethiopian Embassy in the south west of the city. A woman climbs out, and the car speeds off. The Ethiopian woman is one of many domestic workers being abandoned by their employers.
Lebanon is in an economic crisis. There are over 250,000 foreign domestic workers in Lebanon with Ethiopians being by far the largest nationality. Employers say they can no longer afford to pay their domestic help, nor can they afford to buy the women a flight back to their home country. On top of that, there is now a quarantine charge for the women when they land in Ethiopia. On this week's Beyond the Headlines we look at why dozens of domestic workers being abandoned in Lebanon and who will help them?

Jun 18 2020

16mins

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George Floyd and how social media is changing social justice

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On the evening of May 25th, George Floyd Jr walked into a shop in Minneapolis and tried to use a $20 note. Within half an hour, his limp body was loaded into an ambulance. What happened in between has been viewed across social media platforms, and news channels around the world, millions of times. On this week's Beyond the Headlines, Archer Hill, social media journalist at The National looks at how phone cameras, and social media, have affected racial progress in the US, and globally. We speak to Nicol Turner Lee, Senior Fellow at the Center for Technology Innovation at The Brookings Institution about the way videos and telecommunications have progressed from the civil rights movement to George Floyd and what lies ahead.

Jun 11 2020

24mins

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