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Beyond the Headlines

Author: The National UAE

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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.
163 Episodes
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
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. SFX Provided by: MarcMatthewsMusic ( ( ES335-001 ( ( wjoojoo ( ( gerainsan ( (
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.
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?
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.
The Coronavirus has spread around the world … infecting millions of people in nearly every country. As doctors and scientists race to discover a vaccine, prevention measures are promoted. It’s agreed that wearing face masks, social distancing, washing hands frequently and good hygiene are the best defence against coronavirus. But in the world’s refugee camps these measures are nearly impossible to enforce. This week, host Willy Lowry talks to Athena Rayburn, Save the Children's head of advocacy, and Sally Thomas, Deputy Head of Medecins San Frontiere - Syria, about the threat of coronavirus in the world’s refugee camps.
There are 228 million cases worldwide every year. Many of them are fatal. It's for this reason, governments, international organisations and the UN spend billions trying to stop a disease that has plagued mankind since the dawn of time. This week on Beyond the headlines, host James Haines-Young speaks to Timothy Winegard, author of The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator, and Jerremy Herren, lead researcher at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi about mankind's battle with Malaria. SFX provided by: fisu ( ( lizellekleynhans ( (
A group of Indian workers, walking back to their villages after losing their jobs, were so tired from walking all night, they lay down on an empty railway track and fell asleep. India was under lockdown and no public transport was running. At about 5 in the morning on May 8, a freight train crashed into them, killing 16 people. It was not the coronavirus that killed them but what this virus has brought with it for many of the world’s poor – job losses, their inability to pay their rents, and a sheer apathy towards them by many of the world’s governments. On this week's edition of Beyond the Headlines, host Suhail Akram talks to Taniya Dutta, The National's correspondent in India, and Shankar Gopalakrishnan, an activist and a researcher based in India. We also hear from Rajiv G, assistant editor with The Times of India, about the "Kerala Model" and Samaan Lateef, a journalist from Kashmir who tells us how the people of Kashmir are affected by the pandemic.
From Island paradises to mountainous kingdoms… A few countries and territories sprinkled around the world have somehow remained COVID free. Or have they?  This week, we talk to Martin Mckee, a professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and David Watchorn, manager at Extra Divers Christmas Island. We also speak to Emmanuel Samoglou, a journalist and former multimedia editor at The National, about visiting the Cook Islands in the pacific when borders started to close. Hosted by Willy Lowry. SFX provided by: GaryEdstrom ( ( Doc Jon ( (
Top scientists across the world are putting their best foot forward to produce a vaccine for Covid-19 as soon as possible. There are more than 90 vaccines for the virus at different stages of development. At least six of these are already being tested for safety in people. What remains to be seen is which of these vaccines will be ready first and which one will be the most effective. We talk to a senior lecturer in virology at the University of Kent, Dr Jeremy Rossman, and a visiting professor of science at Aston University in Birmingham, Robert Matthews about the search for an effective vaccine. This podcast was hosted by Suhail Akram.
This year the holy month of Ramadan comes at an unprecedented time. Covid-19 has impacted just about everything and Ramadan is no different. The usual scenes of mosques buzzing with worshippers and bazaar’s bustling with shoppers are missing. This Ramadan, those fasting are indoors like everybody else. While the fear of the virus lurks in the streets, inside their houses, most of the world's 1.8 billion Muslims are seeking help and peace in their solitary prayers. Host Suhail Akram talks to Khola Hassan, a religious scholar in the UK and Dr. Saad Al Ameri, an Emirati doctor treating coronavirus patients in the UAE. We also hear from The National's correspondents, Sunniva Rose in Lebanon and Hamza Hendawi in Egypt, about how life is different for Muslims this Ramadan.
What is cloud seeding?

What is cloud seeding?


This week, host Willy Lowry looks at how the UAE harnesses the rain with cloud seeding and Australia's effort to save the Great Barrier Reef through cloud brightening. We hear from Dr Deon Terblanche, a consultant in weather and climate at the World Bank, and Omar Al Yazeedi from the National Centre for Meteorology. We also speak to Daniel Harrison at the Sydney Institute of Marine Science. SFX provided by: test_sound ( : Sandermotions ( :
Everyone has been affected in some way by the coronavirus pandemic. But some have had the most significant moments of their lives dramatically altered by the times. In a special edition of Beyond the Headlines, we look at births, marriages and deaths with three special stories. Host Willy Lowry talks to his sister, Alexis, who gave birth to her first child on March 26 just outside New York City, the epicenter of the pandemic in America. Izbel Mengel was supposed to get married on Easter day but had her dream wedding stolen when lockdown meant her 500 guests couldn't travel. Peter Wheeland lost his father Kenneth to Covid-19. Tight restrictions at the nursing home meant he didn't know if he would be allowed to be with his father when the time came. We also hear from Jo Beddington, a celebrant based in London who recently conducted a virtual funeral. SFX provided by: YleArkisto ( ( coetzee_megan12 ( (
The unprecedented lockdown in Wuhan, China lifted at the stroke of midnight on April 8th. The city of Wuhan, where the Covid-19 pandemic began, has re-opened to the world. In this is a hope, not just for China but for the entire world battling the coronavirus outbreak. With its widespread testing, severe restrictions on movement, social distancing and the use of technology, China managed to flatten the curve and significantly slow the spread of the coronavirus.  This week on Beyond The Headlines, host Suhail Akram talks to Dr Xi Chen, assistant professor of Public Health at Yale School of Medicine, about how China brought the coronavirus outbreak under control in just 100 days and what lessons can be learned from it. We also hear from Raymond Ferguson, an Irish national who lives in China’s Guangzhou city, and Ajlan Al Zaki, a UAE doctor at Stanford University's hospital in California.
In this week's Beyond the Headlines podcast host Willy Lowry speaks to fellow Canadian Chris Hadfield. The astronaut has been into space three times and worked as an astronaut, training in extreme conditions and preparing physically and mentally to be cooped up in the International Space Station. What does he have to say about our current state of self isolation, the fear of the pandemic and the break from our normal life patterns?
This week James Haines-Young, foreign editor at The National, talks about how a slow response and official denials turned Iran’s Covid-19 outbreak into a national emergency. We also speak to Ali Alfoneh, senior fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.
It’s the word on everyone’s lips, and has been for months now -coronavirus. We haven’t seen an international response to a crisis on this scale before. One in which every single one of the world’s 195 countries are at risk. Nations are closing their borders, halting flights, limiting social interaction and closing workplaces... except for the most essential. The world's stock market has tumbled and shows no signs of stability. These are unprecedented times, when fake news and panic travel faster than the virus. Host Suhail Akram talks to Dr Tarik Jarasevic of World Health Organisation and science historian Simon Ings about the Coronavirus. We also hear from Dr Thoraiya Kanafani, a clinical psychologist, and Ali Khawaja, a self-proclaimed prepper based in the UAE.
The dull thud of bullets smacking into water, followed by the panicked cries of desperate people trying to get to Europe. That was the scene off the coast of Bodrum, Turkey when the Greek Coast Guard confronted refugees and migrants. It’s an extreme example of scenes that have been playing out daily on land and sea. Host Willy Lowry looks at the latest wave of refugees and migrants trying to get into Europe and why Turkey is encouraging them. We talk to Fadi Hakura, an analyst at Chatham House, Kareem Shaheen, a journalist based in Canada, and Rami Jarrah, a Syrian-British journalist. We also hear from Tony Rigopoulos, who works for the Athens-based newspaper Documento, Andreas Mountzourlias and Pål Nesse from the Norwegian Council for Refugees.
The United States has just signed a deal with the Taliban that it hopes will end nearly two decades of fighting in Afghanistan. The US government has spent $2 trillion on the conflict. At least a hundred thousand Afghans have been killed or wounded in the last ten years of the war. At least 3,500 American and NATO coalition troops have lost their lives since the US invasion. To understand how long the United States has been in Afghanistan, consider this: the youngest American troops being sent to Afghanistan these days were born after the 9/11 attacks. Many of the Taliban fighters they’re battling don’t know a time before the US invasion. Will the new deal with the Taliban bring peace to the country? Host Suhail Akram speaks to Jasmine Bhatia, research fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies London, and Stefanie Glinksi, reporting for The National in Afghanistan. We also hear from Afghan-American Sulaiman Hakemy, the Deputy Comment Editor at The National.
The new coronavirus has spread far and wide - shutting schools, businesses and impacting international travel. The new coronavirus, COVID-19, has already spread to nearly 40 countries after it was first reported in Wuhan, China on December 31, 2019. Experts say the disease could be a potential pandemic if it’s not stopped. But there are many crucial pieces to this puzzle that need to be solved. This week on Beyond the Headlines, host Suhail Akram, video journalist at The National talks to Dr Angela Rasmussen, virologist at Columbia University and Dr Kamran Khan, founder of Bluedot, about how close we are to a vaccine for the new coronavirus.
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