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From Our Own Correspondent Podcast

The Desperation of Asylum Seekers on Poland's Border


During the Cold War, the border between NATO countries and the Soviet bloc was heavily fortified, each side fearing the other might one day roll across it in their tanks. Since then, alliances have shifted, and Poland is now firmly within the western military ambit. But that means it is also on the front line in what some call a new Cold War, facing Belarus, a staunch ally of Russia. And these days, Poland is not worrying about tanks crossing any time soon, but people: the asylum seekers who were mustered on the Belarus side. As Nick Beak explains, most seemed desperate to cross over.

There have been several thousand attempts by asylum seekers to cross into Poland from Belarus. Compare that figure to the situation in Turkey, which now plays host to four million people who fled there, most of them escaping the civil war in neighbouring Syria. Turkey and its President won international praise for accepting these new arrivals, and devoted considerable resources to providing them with food and housing. However, it seems the mood is changing. Ayla Jean Yackley says Turks are now ever less willing to see money spent on helping refugees, when their country’s own economy is in poor shape.

The United States plays host to a wide variety of wild animals, such as grizzly bears, alligators and rattle snakes. It was once also home to millions of wild turkeys, a bird seen almost as a symbol of the US, as it is eaten each year for the Thanksgiving Festival. The wild turkey population had declined in recent decades, but a concerted conservation effort has restored some of this lost population. However, Alice Hutton says the birds are now causing havoc in some American cities.

Libya might soon be ruled over by President Gadhafi - not that the late Colonel Gadhafi has been restored to life, nor did it turn out that his death was faked. But Libya is holding presidential elections next month, and among the candidates are one Saif Al Islam Gadhafi, Muammar Gadhafi’s son. He was one of his father’s more strident supporters, and the fact that he is being taken seriously says much about Libya today, according to Orla Guerin.

The coronavirus outbreak and its lockdowns have meant isolation for many people, but few have been affected like sailors in the Royal Navy. They are accustomed to being cut off, being away at sea for long periods. However, with many countries closed to visitors, sailors have no longer been able even to enjoy shore leave the way they did previously, as Hannah King found when she visited one of Britain’s newest aircraft carriers.