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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.
168 Episodes
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 SFX provided by: Ramston ( :
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 ( .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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