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In today's programme..

The man who's shaking the foundations of Egyptian politics.

We're with Maoist rebels in the jungles of India.

The endless, agonising wait for those who went missing in Lebanon's civil war.

And a earthquake warning rattles the nerves of our man in Los Angeles...

President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt has been in power for nearly thirty years. His rule has not been a triumph for democracy. The great weight of the state has often been brought down on his opponents. It's believed that the ageing Mr Mubarak either wants -- yet again -- to renew his term in office next year..or allow his son, Gamal to take over. The President's critics accuse him of governing Egypt in the style of a modern Pharoah. But as Christian Fraser explains, quite suddenly a new challenger has begun to stir the country's stagnant political waters..

They call it the "Red Corridor". It's the swathe of central and eastern India where Maoists rebels are fighting a guerrilla war. There are attacks on police stations, bomb blasts and skirmishes with security forces. The rebellion first surfaced more than forty years ago, and it's cost several thousand lives. The Maoists say they're fighting for the rural poor...people marginalised and exploited by the state. India's leaders are worried. They've called the insurgency the country's "biggest internal security challenge". And they've thrown a-hundred-thousand extra soldiers and police into the fight. Alpa Shah has been spending time with the Maoists in the jungles of Jharkhand state ..

When mounting tensions finally erupted, Lebanon moved from peace to war in the space of just a few hours. A church was shot at and a bus was ambushed..and so a decade-and-a-half of conflict began. It all happened one day thirty-five years ago. Two-hundred thousand people died in the war, and half-a-million more were injured. But others simply went missing. And Dahlila Mahdawi reflects now on the anguish of those who..all these years on..still wait for sons and daughters who never came home...

Everywhere, the sense of anticipation and excitement is rising. We're now just five weeks from the start of the great festival of football that is the World Cup. Once the tournament's underway the host nation, South Africa will feel like the centre of the universe. Inevitably, some have questioned how well the country will cope with the pressure. But Hamilton Wende believes that..whatever happens on the field..South Africa will be a winner..

The continual, nagging fear of earthquakes casts a shadow over life in the sunshine of California. Everybody there knows that vast and dangerous forces could be building in the earth just beneath their feet. Nobody forgets how the great city of San Francisco was once laid waste. And like everyone else, David Willis in Los Angeles wonders when the next "big one" will strike..It is the most deadly serious question, but even so..he can see the funny side of his bleak predicament..

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30 minutes

Last on

Sat 1 May 2010 11:30

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