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This is the Global News podcast from the BBC World Service.
I'm Andrew Peachment, 13 hours GMT on Monday, the 31st of August. These are our main stories. The first ever commercial flight between Israel and the United Arab Emirates has arrived in Abu Dhabi. India says it's followed a Chinese attempt to change the status quo in a disputed border area. Beijing says its troops never crossed the line of control. Sudan has signed a peace deal with rebels to end nearly two decades of conflict in Darfur and the South.
Also in this podcast, Peking University, which is one of China's most famous schools, we've been hearing that cameras have been installed in locations across the university and specifically in dorm buildings.
So why is cutting edge surveillance equipment being installed in Chinese universities?
First, a historic first commercial flight from Israel to the United Arab Emirates has landed at Abu Dhabi International Airport. This was after the two countries agreed a peace deal earlier this month. The Flight Oelwein 971, which represented the UAE international dialing code, was allowed to cross Saudi Arabian airspace normally blocked to Israeli air traffic. There've been many announcements. This was so much more than just a flight. This, for example, from President Trump's son in law, Jared Kushner, just before he boarded the plane.
We are about to board a historic flight, the first commercial flight in history between Israel to a Gulf Arab country. Well, this is a historic flight. We hope that this will start an even more historic journey for the Middle East and beyond.
But is money and business tie ups just as important as the politics here? Our Middle East correspondent is Tom Bateman.
Well, I suppose a cynic might say that it's all about that. I mean, it's certainly one of the very important factors involved because remember that the UAE is a hub for finance in the Middle East.
Israel is the region's security and cyber superpower. So they're coming together in that sense of these two will be significant and it marks a big change. There have been relations like this behind the scenes for quite a while, but this really brings them out into the open. But I think, you know, one of the reasons this has happened or one of the key reasons this has happened is because Donald Trump has throughout his presidency been trying to push for a strategic repositioning in the region.
He wants to push against Iran.
He he saw an opportunity in that Israel in the Sunni Gulf Arab states, all opposed elements of Iran's role in the region. Of course, Israel sees it as its long time enemy, but the Gulf states believe that it is undermining their position in the region. There is effectively a cold war between them. And so this, I think, consolidates that position for Donald Trump. And the two players themselves have quite a lot to gain from this. It marks a key change, a key development for Israel's position vis a vis the Arab world, only the third Arab country in history to formalize its ties with the Israelis.
So could we be seeing the start of normal relations between Israel and the Arab world here?
I don't think so.
But what the Israelis and the Americans are hoping is that this precipitates more Arab states to formalize their links. We might see, say, for example, countries like Oman and Bahrain doing so.
The big prize for the Israelis would be Saudi Arabia, although they so far seem to pretty much ruled that out, at least in public.
But the other key factor here is the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians, because the formalization of these ties really happened is a byproduct of Donald Trump's so-called vision for peace, his plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. It was a deal seen as or a plan seen as heavily weighted towards Israel. And the Palestinians have boycotted it ever since the start. Now, what they say here is that this deal by the immoralities breaks years of Arab solidarity, the Arab condition that formalizing ties with Israel would only happened once Israel ends its occupation of Palestinian territories and that there is a two state solution between the two sides along international parameters.
Now, what you have is the Emirates doing this deal without that happening. And so the Palestinians see this for their part as a betrayal of our Middle East correspondent, Tom Bateman.
Sudan has seen 17 years of conflict that's left hundreds of thousands of people dead and millions forced from their homes. Now, a significant step towards peace has been taken with the signing of a deal between the transitional government and an alliance of rebel groups.
I spoke to the BBC's deputy Africa editor. And Sois, so with attempts at deals in the past having failed, how likely is it that this one will stick?
Well, from the sentiment we are getting on the ground, it might well hold. This is a new government, a transitional government. They seem to have the Buy-In of most of the rebel groups. But important to note that two key rebel groups dropped out of the negotiations. They are not party to the deal that has been signed and therefore that could put into jeopardy the deals that have been agreed on.
And this is a big step, but we're talking about two groups not having agreed and signed to the deal. How likely is it that that will put it in jeopardy? Very likely.
It appears that they may need to go back to to the table to talk to these groups. It's important to note that these groups took up arms because of their dissatisfaction with their relationship with the former governments. And they felt most of the groups in the south southern part of the country, these are none Arab communities. And they felt like outsiders in the government. And therefore, we will see if the current transitional government includes them, one in the sovereign council that is ruling Sudan at the moment.
And then, too, there's been talk of integrating their fighters into the national army. If that happens, that could help convince the other remaining groups to to also sign a deal. But there's still a lot of work that needs to be done.
And will anything that's been agreed here changed life for Sudanese people? It could well change the lives of the people who are displaced. More than two and a half million people fled their homes. More than 300000 were killed. And some of the protocols that have been adopted in the comprehensive peace deal includes power sharing, the resettlement of those who are displaced, justice for those who are affected by the fighting, among many other things. So if they follow through with the agreements that have been signed, that could change the lives of people.
Our deputy Africa editor and Sois with me. Tensions have been escalating between India and China over the disputed border claims in the region of Ladakh. In June, at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed. Now, India says Chinese troops have carried out provocative military movements.
South Asia editor and Barazan at the ranch and told me more about what we hear from the Indian side is that the Chinese troops are trying to move from the positions, what they describe as unilaterally change facts on the ground.
You know, they have been on eyeball to eyeball situation in the northern Ladak region, in the Himalayan part of India. And there are thousands of troops on both sides of the line of actual control, which divides the two armies. And they did not provide any details about whether there were any casualties or any conflict at this point. What simply they said they they thwarted the attempts by the Chinese to move on the ground itself. So this follows a serious escalation in June in which the two sides, you know, went into hand-to-hand combat in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed by the Chinese, said they suffered casualties, but they did not provide any figures.
You know, these are two Asian giants, you know, sharing a border of more than 3500 kilometers. And most areas are demarcated. And these are in the high altitude Himalayan region. And they have competing claims over the border lines. And there seems to be another escalation in the ongoing tensions between the two countries.
And has Beijing acknowledged that this happened? Beijing always maintains that their troops are did not cross the line of actual control. You know, as these areas are not demarcated, both have different perceptions of this line of actual control. And that is the main issue here, because, you know, what the Chinese perceive as line of control is well within the Indian claim, which means that, you know, both sides are claiming into each other's territory.
So what is the perception of the Chinese lines are in different places, in other words, depending on who you ask. Exactly. And the like. For example, India's claim goes up to, you know, a mountain area. The mountains spurs up to point number eight, whereas the Chinese claim up to point number one, which already India holds. So this often leads to tensions. And the Chinese say that, you know, the military commanders on the ground, they are holding talks to diffuse the situation.
But, you know, the talks have been going on since May this year. And what people see this as increasing Chinese assertion at the time of pandemic. It is not simply the border tensions with India.
If you look at what China is doing in the South China Sea, where it is making increasing assertions and also tensions with the U.S., Taiwan and the island dispute with Japan.
So this is part of the global trend where China, with its military and economic, might now, as it say that it wants to reclaim its territory. And it wants. Asserted sovereignty over every inch of land and barazan at the ranch and reporting, while covid-19 continues to cause deep concern across the globe. It's only one of several deadly diseases blighting the Democratic Republic of Congo. A new outbreak of Ebola has hit the west of the country, threatening 11 people in the capital, Kinshasa.
A previous one, which killed more than 2000 people, was only declared to be over in June. As if that wasn't enough, bubonic plague has taken root in eastern Congo, and the world's largest measles epidemic has claimed close to a thousand lives. Mike Thompson reports.
We read the details of this Ebola emergency lines like this one help to finally bring an end to the last Ebola epidemic in eastern Congo, which cost more than 2000 lives. But just a few months on, its back is happening in a vast area.
Emmanuel Lempert is Congo country director for the medical NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres.
It is not limited to one or two health zones. It is now in health zones at the level of a province that is bigger than Great Britain.
This latest Ebola outbreak has hit western Congo, where there's already been more than 100 cases and 44 deaths.
And the concern is that crowded river boats could soon bring the deadly disease to the country's capital city. Dr. Murray Keiter is heading the World Health Organization's Ebola response here. We are really worried, Parkinsonia, because every day there are about living Bhandarkar.
For Kusaka, the passengers are not often all identified and all these passengers then get off in Kinshasa and could spread their Ebola is among themselves a very afraid of Ebola.
But you get a fever and then you are so sick you can't understand anything. There are Ebola is not the only potential killer disease that father of three poor Makhanya commander has to worry about. But the lucky I have three children. They all got sick, one after the other within three days. I was very frightened. You're right. Turn red like pigeons and their bodies were covered in spots. Many children have died in my community and I almost lost my youngest child.
Measles has also been blighting Congo with more than 65000 suspected cases and close to a thousand deaths in just the last eight months alone.
Vaccines are available for both diseases, but in a massive country where frequent heavy rains turn, it's mainly dirt roads into muddy quagmires. Getting them to people is a major challenge.
Few places are harder to access than the violence plaguing Deter, a region in eastern Congo, where an outbreak of bubonic plague has killed 17 people recently. MSF Emmanuel Limpia again get current notification notifications close to 100 cases, with an important death rate close to 20 percent.
How contagious is the plague?
Well, there is intensive antihuman spreads much more than as is documented today with covid-19.
Despite all this on top of 17 million malaria cases last year, combined with 10000 covid-19 infections, Congo's government currently spends little more than one percent of its budget on health. And with nations around the world locked in their own coronavirus battles, outside funding is becoming ever harder to get. Dr. Xavier Crespin of the UN children's agency UNICEF says these factors make fighting disease they're increasingly hard.
Around 50 percent of the population have access to basic health services. Around one million children receive no vaccine at all. And there is no specific strategic plan on how we can better respond to all these zoonotic disease in this country.
Mike Thompson reporting. Still to come in this podcast with there's fighting on public transport or women who are being followed, this technology alerts a human operator via some very sophisticated software. Artificial intelligence is being used as part of a trial to improve the safety for women travelling at night in Australia.
Now, the parliamentary election results in Montenegro are on a knife edge, a group of opposition parties are hoping to oust the dominant governing party for the first time in three decades. Balkans correspondent going to launch. He tell me more.
Well, the results tell us at the moment that it looks like it's going to be the narrowest possible victory for the opposition groups, if you can call it a victory for the opposition groups, because they're not a united bloc.
There are three different opposition groups, but it looks like they might have one seat more than any possible coalition that could be conjured up by President Milosevic and his Democratic Party of socialists.
So that's why we're saying it's on a knife edge, really, because when you've got that sort of narrow margin, things can change.
Now, Montenegro is a relatively small country, but the significance of this election is wider.
How so? Well, there's a few things going on here. It's what's the direction of travel of countries in the region? That's one thing which everybody's looking at here, because one of those opposition parties that I mentioned, it's got very strong ties to Serbia, very strong ties to Russia. It sees a large role for the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro. And that was a key factor in the election and in the large turnout to almost 80 percent that we saw in Sunday's election.
So, of course, people are asking, does Montenegro continue on this European path that's in European Union accession negotiations or does this opposition party get into power and change the path that the country is going in? Then does that have a knock on effect for the rest of the region? On the other hand, you could say it's a very positive sign indeed, because Montenegro was downgraded by the U.S. watchdog Freedom House from a democracy to a hybrid regime earlier this year.
If you've got an opposition grouping, whether they're disparate or not, gaining more votes than somebody who's been in power for 30 years, that's surely a positive sign and an eloquent riposte.
The Balkans correspondent going to launch five years ago today. The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, first used the term the chiffonade Das and in effect opened Germany's doors to hundreds of thousands of people seeking asylum in Europe. Now, Greece, from where many of them first arrived, is toughening its policy towards illegal migrants who try to get to the country by boat. They've been persistent reports that this toughness involves turning back boats crammed with migrants and sending them towards Turkey, something that would be illegal under international law.
Our chief international correspondent, Liz Dissent is on the island of Samos in the eastern Aegean, and she told us how things have changed.
What a stark contrast to 2015 when we were at Greece's northern border with north Macedonian saw that that wave of people that you mentioned, people surging through from so many countries, mainly from Syria, Afghanistan, but others, others, too. And we also saw how Greeks from all walks of life, NGOs, doctors, journalists, government officials, opened their hearts and homes to help the migrants on their way.
But whether it's in northern Greece or here in the island of Samos, where we are now, many officials and local residents tell us that welcome has gone cold. And the conservative government here, which came to power last year, is really toughening its policy, reducing the benefits they give to migrants who become refugees. We saw here in Samar's and it's the same way on other Greek islands, how camps built for hundreds in 2015 are now housing thousands living in squalor.
And as you mentioned, we've been hearing from the United Nations and monitoring groups like the Aegean Boat report that Greece's hard line policy is also illegal, that they're breaking international law by pulling those rafts with migrants back towards Turkey. Greek insists it's acting within the law and within its rights. This is what Notis Mitsotakis, the minister for Migration Asylum, told me.
Greece does not want to be the gateway to Europe. We don't want to repeat the strategy of people coming to Greece and then going to other European Union countries. That will not be the responsible action of a frontline state that we need to protect the European Union borders. And we do so with the cooperation of Frontex and all the member states.
Many of the people arriving here tell us they don't want to they don't want to stay in Greece. They want to go further north. So we met Saturday at the northern border, but mainly young men from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, but also from families from Syria who say they want to go to countries in Western Europe where they believe they'll have a future. They say we don't we can't build a life here. And some say, well, we've been here in Greece for years now.
We haven't been able to find jobs. We haven't been able to support and we haven't been able to pay the rent. They don't give us enough benefits. We don't feel welcome. Welcome here. And so it's the migrants are very determined to try to find a new life. They say they can't go back to their countries, but the Greeks feel that this has lasted too long. I mean, just imagine here under some it's a picture postcard. Ireland tourist, of course, are largely staying away this year because of the global pandemic.
But the refugee camp is right in the middle of of the town. And that's better for for the for the migrants. But it is spilling all through the hills. And the migrants are accused of of creating problems. But we do meet, of course, and Greek NGOs here who believe the migrants are being mistreated, who believe they have to have better access to health care, that the children should go to schools. So it's not a black and white situation, but Greek Greece feels that it's dealing with its own economic problems now and that this migrant crisis should be dealt with.
And quite frankly, the migrants who are here to. I hope that their cases will ever be settled, so everyone everyone wants us to be settled. Whether you're a migrant sitting in a tent at camp or whether you're a Greek person trying to make ends, meet yourself.
Our chief international correspondent leads to set with numbers around the 20 million mark. China has the largest population of university students in the world. And now, as covid figures in the country continue to fall, they're heading back to campus. Life will look different, though. The covid era with potential lockdowns and cutting edge surveillance equipment being installed. Some students have talked on social media about strict rules imposed on how they eat, wash and travel. I've been hearing more from our Asia Pacific editor, Sylvia Hattan.
China announced a few months ago that university campuses would be allowed to reopen in September. Some of the universities actually did open in June and July, but the Ministry of Education went even further and said all university campuses could reopen in September. But they basically then put the onus on the universities themselves to decide what measures they were going to put in place to allow campuses to reopen safely. And so we're seeing now a variety of of measures in place. For example, at Peking University, which is one of China's most famous schools, we've been hearing that cameras have been installed in locations across the university and specifically in dorm buildings, in dormitories where students live.
There have been multiple cameras installed all over while students were away, presumably to be able to track students movements to to be able to to track their their temperatures in leontien. There's a university of Science and technology there. We're hearing about artificial intelligence cameras that can spot people who aren't wearing masks and presumably then allow campus security to go and track them down and tell them to put their masks on. So we're just starting to hear about these different measures that schools have have put into place.
And I'm thinking that young people listening in other parts of the world might be thinking, hang on. I mean, I told the the government or the university even spying on my activities, knowing what I'm up to, which is what this sort of surveillance enables. What sort of reaction of the to in China? That's right.
I did dig up on Chinese social media platforms, students expressing concern about what these cameras were really meant for concern that there were so many cameras. But what's interesting is that there's also the other point of view. You've got to remember that China did have a one child policy in place for so long. Many of these university students are the only children in their family. So, of course, we have a lot of we have 20 million university students in China.
Presumably we've got 40 million anxious parents who are sending their children back to school. And so for them, a lot of these measures are quite reassuring. A lot of these measures are put in place from the university's point of view to show parents, to show students that they have the right measures in place so that the university won't have to be locked down again. It's not going to have to close.
Well, Asia-Pacific editor Celia Hatton, artificial intelligence that can detect threatening behaviour at train stations is part of a new trial to improve safety for women travelling at night in Australia. Researchers are also developing algorithms that they hope will create safe routes for female travellers. My colleague Claire McDonnell spoke to Phil Mercer, who's in Sydney and asked how the technology works for projects.
Claire have been chosen by the state government here in New South Wales. This is an effort to prevent crime using very sophisticated technology. Now, one of the projects chosen uses artificial intelligence in security camera systems. Now, this all automatically detects and reports suspicious and violent incidents. For example, if there's fighting on public transport arguments, people who appear agitated or women who are being followed, this technology alerts a human operator via some very sophisticated software and action is taken.
And John Kion is a researcher at the University of Wollongong here in eastern Australia. And she says that this technology should help to ease situations that she herself finds stressful.
I hate walking in a dark and public transportation that's so unsafe. I take my keys in my hands or I call my friends and I pretend I'm just busy. I think it's a vital issue for equality that we're still facing the 21st century and which is not fair because every woman should have the right to just feel safe to move around. And I think like me working and I really can do this impact and do this change to make my. I'll feel safer with my friends and other fellow women who are in the same situation so as we say, for projects being chosen by the New South Wales state government here in Australia, one team is developing algorithms that create safe routes for female travellers late at night.
Now, researcher Elizabeth Muskat says it will help women at night find the safest way home.
It will give women the opportunity to make better informed choices on the routes they choose. So maybe they would choose to take a route that offers them a higher level of passive surveillance or meaning that a lot more people will be around or businesses will be open. Lighting is improved in that location. The end product could be a mobile application where women can, on their own mobile phones, have a application similar to Google Maps or another route finding app where they could be able to choose which route they want to take home.
I guess what we're looking for fill in the long term is behavior change. But in the medium term, technology is going to help make life safer for an awful lot of women. How optimistic are the authorities that these techniques will actually make public transport safer for women who are travelling late at night?
Well, the New South Wales Transport Minister is a man called Andrew Constance, and he says that the technology has the potential to meaningfully address real safety issues. It would seem that an awful lot of work is needed. Statistics provided by the state government show that 90 per cent of women in Australia experience harassment on the streets. And another telling statistic that a couple of years ago there was research showing that 20 per cent of women in Sydney felt unsafe on public transport.
Now, neither of those two statistics paint Australia in the best of light. So what this technology, these four projects aim to do is to not only make women feel safe, make women be able to go about their business just the same as men and on the public transport system, but hopefully educate men as well. So it is a big, big problem in the New South Wales government is turning to some very sophisticated technology, as we say, firstly to keep women safe, and secondly, to help educate men about the problems that many women experience on public transport late at night.
Phil Mercer in Australia. When the coronavirus pandemic head, live music venues around the world had to close. Thousands of musicians were left with nowhere to perform. A jazz group in Mexico City has found an unusual way of carrying on, though, after being forced out of their normal venue.
Tim Almen reports for the Diego Morato Jazz Trio. The beat goes on. Normally, they play at a local restaurant called El Betye, or the treat from bebop to trad, from swing to the blues. They entertain diners and staff alike. But then the lockdown happened. This.
So they are pioneering what they call Jazz on wheels, playing on the back of a pickup truck, performing for local residents and passers by, harking back to an earlier age when this form of music began, when Cantell Jazz was born on the street, it completely belongs to the street.
Jazz is not academic.
Of course you can study it, but jazz the essence of it.
You don't get in school in a music university. Jazz is this. Jazz is being in the street.
Maybe so, but presumably they want to get back inside a club as soon as possible. The treat has reopened, but only with a reduced capacity. Only when the Diego Morato jazz trio make a proper comeback will they be able to play their smooth sounds in all their glory.
Nice. Tim Almen reporting. And that's all from us for now. There will be an updated version of Global News to download later. If you'd like to comment on this edition and the stories we included, you drop us an email. The address is Global Podcast and BBC Dutko UK. I'm Andrew Page. Thanks for listening. And until next time, goodbye.
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