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20/01/2011

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 20 January 2011

A grave crisis building in the tangled politics of Lebanon.

The greed of the ruling elite that helped spark Tunisia's revolution.

Communist Vietnam develops a taste for capitalist luxury.

And how teenagers form the toughest streets in France are being given the chance of a fresh start.

This is a dangerous moment for the people of Lebanon. Their government has collapsed over an issue that could hardly be more serious, or more personal for the country's young Prime Minister, Saad Hariri. The row is over who killed his father, Rafic Hariri back in 2005. Some Lebanese fear that the crisis might even lead to civil war, and Jeremy Bowen is watching the situation unfold in Beirut.

All Tunisians will always remember exactly where they were, and what they were doing last Friday evening. That was when word came that President Ben Ali had fled the country. His repressive security forces had a formidable reputation, and they'd killed dozens of protesters. But eventually they'd been overwhelmed, and Mr Ben Ali chose to gather his family and run. My colleague, Adam Mynott travelled to Tunis as the revolution reached its climax.

Every city in Europe has its rougher neighbourhoods - places beset by drugs, crime and gang culture. And France's big urban centres can be as tough as any. The bleaker, more deprived suburbs of Paris are riven with social tensions. And at times they've erupted. Angry youths have rioted and fought with police for days. The authorities are well aware that they have a serious problem. And Christian Fraser has been looking at one attempt to inspire youngsters in the more troubled suburbs - and show them a route to something better.

Last week we brought you a despatch from the south-east Asian nation of Laos. We heard how - after decades of communism - there are signs of change, signs that the country is starting to edge down the capitalist path. Next door Vietnam's communists have also set off down that same road, and as Alastair Leithead has been finding out, they've already travelled quite some distance.

It's easy to be overwhelmed by the vastness of Russia - as the armies of both Napoleon and Hitler found to their cost. And any journalist trying to build up a picture of life all across the sprawling nation has to do a huge amount of travelling. Over the years our Moscow correspondents have filed stories from pretty much every corner of the country. But just recently Steve Rosenberg realised that he'd been missing the chance to do one revealing interview very much closer to home.

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