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In Search of Happiness
The summer fighting season has begun in Afghanistan and, as Justin Rowlatt discovers, there is already a shortage of coffins following a Taliban attack. As the world worries about North Korea, Nick Danziger gets a glimpse of life in Pyongyang; designer coats, European football shirts and courting couples furiously tapping away on locally-manufactured mobile phones were not what he was expecting. In Uzbekistan, it’s the crunch of crinoline and sound of snapping cameras that surprise Caroline Eden – because now is wedding season in the former Soviet state. In the UAE, Julia Wheeler discovers a road named ‘Happiness Street’, a Minister of State for Happiness and fines for those who aren’t quite happy enough. And Mark Stratton goes to Sao Tome and Principe to see how a new approach to the cocoa trade is replacing the bitter legacy of the slave trade.
Birthday cakes, icons of cool and the candidate coining new words in the French election. Kate Adie introduces correspondents’ stories from around the world. On the campaign trail in France, Hugh Schofield finds visions of a new world and calls to ‘“get em out’ ahead of the election on Sunday. Alastair Leithead asses the political turmoil in South Africa - not by speaking with protesters, but by mingling with party-goers at a presidential birthday-bash. In Argentina, Newsnight’s Stephen Smith meets Che Guevara’s younger brother and discovers that the revolutionary's legacy is probably not what he would have hoped for. As President Donald Trump approaches his 100th day in office Shaimaa Khalil has been on a road trip across middle-America, visiting the states that helped get him elected. And in Kabul Nanna Muus Steffensen meets that young student asking herself ‘should I stay and be part of Afghanistan’s future or get out while I can?’
Stamina of the Strongmen
Controversial votes in Turkey and Kashmir, and a university challenged in Hungary. Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories: Justin Rowlatt is in Kashmir on election day where he sees plenty of police and protestors, but where are the voters? In Turkey Mark Lowen finds that paranoia has reached the level of absurdity ahead of the country’s referendum. Not only are TV chefs accused of being spies, but our own correspondent comes under suspicion of being a foreign agent, though thankfully not for long. In Cuba Linda Pressly meets the scientists behind a cancer vaccine now being trialled in the US; they owe everything to Fidel Castro, they tell her. As part of the World Service Life Stories season, Sahar Zand meets the Toraja people of Eastern Indonesia for whom death doesn’t always mean goodbye. And in Hungary Nick Thorpe dips his toe into the stream of controversy that surrounds the government’s ongoing war against liberalism.
Excitement and disgust
Pastry police, pardoned bulls and pricey pigeons. Correspondents’ stories with Kate Adie. Stephen Sackur's visit to Venezuela ends rather more abruptly than he'd intended, foreign journalists are rarely welcome he discovers. In Spain the debate about the ethics of bullfighting has started its annual dance and Antonia Quirke finds both excitement and disgust. One hundred years after the Russian Revolution, a President Lenin will soon take office in Ecuador. Joe Gerlach watches election day unfold from an airport lounge in the capital. Flora Bradley-Watson is among the pigeon fanciers of Istanbul talking politics and feathered friends. And Owen Bennett-Jones finds himself answering, rather than asking, questions as he gets to know the Somali Americans living in Minneapolis.
Robbery, extortion, kidnapping; bananas with everything; and a monkey cascade. Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories: Tom Stevenson is in the Libyan capital Tripoli, where the lights are out, the militias are enriching themselves, and chaos reigns. Matthew Brunwasser tells the story of the man fighting for justice in Serbia, 17 years after his three brothers were murdered. Gemma Newby tucks into bananas for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Dominican Republic as she visits a now crumbling town built by one of the banana giants; Kieran Cooke is in the town in the West of Ireland which used to have the highest pub to people ratio in the country. That, and much else, has changed but the spirit remains undiminished. And in Ethiopia's Highlands, the writer Tim Butcher witnesses the extraordinary and heart-warming spectacle of the great African monkey cascade