From Our Own Correspondent - 05/02/2011
A magic carpet ride! Correspondents tell their stories from Cairo, Johannesburg, Athens, Lusaka and Toulouse.
With Egypt in tumoil we discover what President Mubarak's sense of timing says about his character.
How the dreams of migrants die on the streets of Athens.
Why a Chinese chicken farmer is ruffling feathers in a Zambian market.
And the bare-knuckle brawlers who fight for honour and glory in rural South Africa.
The looming presence of the Pyramids on the edge of Cairo are a constant reminder of just how ancient civilisation is in that place. They've been doing politics on that stretch of the Nile for thousands of years. But in all that time, there can't have been very many weeks more tense and uncertain than the one that's just passed. We're still a long way from knowing exactly what all the upheaval will mean for Egypt, and the wider Middle East, but Kevin Connolly is watching the story as it unfolds.
Right now, today and every day, on roads out of Africa and Asia, ragged bands of migrants will be making long, difficult journeys in the direction of Europe. They've abandoned desperately poor towns and villages back home. They're chasing dreams of something better in what they imagine to be a land of plenty. But as Malcolm Brabant has seen for himself, some of those who make it to Greece are quickly stripped of their illusions.
China's big, booming economy is constantly hungry. It needs to be fed all the time with oil, iron ore, copper and much else. And we're used to watching China go hunting for these things all over Africa. But it isn't only doing big deals for resources there. An army of Chinese traders has fanned out across the continent looking to settle and do business on a much smaller scale - and as Justin Rowlatt has been finding out, their presence is not always entirely welcome.
I've never eaten truffles, myself, but I'm told that after you've been engulfed by their aroma, you're treated to a taste that somehow brings together the flavours of the finest mushrooms and chocolate. Connoisseurs regard truffles as an extraordinary delicacy - and they're prepared to pay big money for them. So much so that, as Chris Bockman explains, in the fields of France, skulduggery and truffle poaching is a problem.
They say it began long ago in friendly rivalry between herdsmen who shared a watering hole in South Africa's Limpopo Province. They would get into brawls over whose cattle would drink first. But over time the fights became a regular event - a kind of violent, local festival, known as "Musangwe Boxing". It's a big occasion for the people of the sleepy countryside not far from the border with Mozambique. And Hamilton Wende has been watching some of the bloody, bare-knuckle bouts, in which much pride and honour is at stake.
- Broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 11:30AM Sat, 5 Feb 2011
- Available until 12:00AM Thu, 1 Jan 2099
- First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 11:30AM Sat, 5 Feb 2011
- Duration 30 minutes