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Bluster, Brazenness and Charm

Saudi Arabia's investment conference put on a show. Plus, Afghan airport security, the building sites sheltering IDPs in Erbil, Mexican mezcal makers' woes and a Paris art auction

Kate Adie introduces stories from around the world.

Saudi Arabia's investment conference put on quite a show - and unlike many foreign investors scared off by the aftershocks of Jamal Khashoggi's death, Sebastian Usher was there to see it for himself.

Lyse Doucet was in Afghanistan to cover its parliamentary elections, and found many changes to the streetscape in Kabul - as the city survives a rising tide of attacks. Airport security measures provided clues of their own to the way life is changing.

Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan, was sometimes hyped as the "next Dubai" in the 2000s - but Samira Shackle found that many of its building sites, supposed to give rise to four-star opulence, are now abandoned shells occupied by internally displaced people who fled the advance of the so-called Islamic State.

Tequila? No, mezcal - a smoother, smokier, and arguably more authentically Mexican product. Graeme Green takes a tipple or two in the state of Oaxaca, to hear how its aficionados and producers are torn between excitement and apprehension as their drink grows more famous abroad.

And BANG goes the auctioneer's whalebone hammer at the Hotel Druot, a storied Paris auction house which sells everything from randomly-baled belongings from house clearances to great works of art. Hugh Schofield went along ... and picked up a thing or two.

Photo: Portraits of Saudi King Salman and his son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) on a billboard in Riyadh (FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)
Producer: Polly Hope

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