Malta and the West Bank

Alan Johnston presents the stories behind the headlines, from correspondents around the world. In this edition: Jake Wallis Simons joins the debate over Malta's upcoming referendum on allowing divorce, and Gail Simmons learns how Palestinian villages in the West Bank are welcoming visitors following a new hiking trail.

"Church and State here are distinct - but connected"

The Mediterranean island state of Malta is steeped in the culture of Christianity. The faith has ancient roots there. It's believed to have arrived when St Paul was shipwrecked on Malta and converted some of the local people. That was just sixty years after the birth of Christ.

All these centuries on, the Catholic Church continues to wield considerable influence on the island. Jake Wallis Simons has been watching it have its say in the current build-up to a referendum on whether divorce should be permitted in Malta.

Hospitality at the heart of a culture

These days the West Bank is nothing like as violent as it was during the Palestinian uprisings. But the image of the place remains grim: there's stone throwing and teargas, there are arrests and sometimes there are killings. But this is not the whole picture.

Following a new hiking trail and network of places to stay in local homes, Gail Simmons has been exploring the gentler side of life in the West Bank.

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10 minutes

Last on

Fri 27 May 2011 03:50 GMT

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FOOC at 60: Memorable Reports

FOOC at 60: Memorable Reports

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