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Belarus and France

10 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 02 May 2011

Tony Grant presents insight, wit and analysis from BBC correspondents around the world. In this edition: David Stern on Belarus and Hugh Schofield in France.

Secrets, suspicions and silence

In the former Soviet republic of Belarus there's an ongoing crackdown against the political opposition. More than forty opponents of President Alexander Lukashenko are facing extended prison sentences, and a number of independent newspapers have been closed down.

One of them had suggested the government itself might have been behind the bombing of a metro station in the capital, Minsk, last month. David Stern has just been there to investigate, but found more questions than answers.

Is communal living more considerate?

The old proverb may claim that "an Englishman's home is his castle" but the reality, in these austere days, is often rather different. In urbanised northern Europe there's a sharp divide between those who aspire to living in their own houses and those who opt for the more communal approach and settle in apartment buildings.

Hugh Schofield has been living in flats in Paris since the 1990s and tells us that apartment dwellers develop their own sets of rules and customs.


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