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Affairs / Podcast

The Foreign Desk

​Presented by ​Andrew Mueller, Monocle 24’s flagship global-affairs show features​ expert guests ​and in-depth analysis of the big issues of the week. Winner in the ‘best current affairs’ category of the 2018 British Podcast awards.

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Latest episode

China’s surveillance state:

Everybody is subject to a certain amount of surveillance, whether it’s CCTV cameras in our streets or websites monitoring our online movements to better sell advertising. But what happens when governments use this information to learn things we might not even know about ourselves? China is at the forefront of much technological development, and surveillance is no different — the Communist Party of China is rolling out one of the biggest monitoring systems the world has ever seen. When does supervision become spying? Andrew Mueller is joined by Karoline Kan, Kai Strittmatter and Josh Cowls.

Latest episodes

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28415 Jun 2019
30 min

China’s surveillance state: 

Everybody is subject to a certain amount of surveillance, whether it’s CCTV cameras in our streets or websites monitoring our online movements to better sell advertising. But what happens when governments use this information to learn things we might not even know about ourselves? China is at the forefront of much technological development, and surveillance is no different — the Communist Party of China is rolling out one of the biggest monitoring systems the world has ever seen. When does supervision become spying? Andrew Mueller is joined by Karoline Kan, Kai Strittmatter and Josh Cowls.

DownloadPlay
12 Jun 2019
6 min

Explainer 169: What is going on in Moldova?: 

Until last week, Moldova had a crisis caused by a failure to form a government. Now it has a crisis caused by a government being formed. Andrew Mueller explains how events unfolded and looks at what might happen next.

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2838 Jun 2019
30 min

Democracy: the Middle East and north Africa: 

At the start of this decade, thousands of protesters took to the streets across the Arab world seeking to bring down oppressive regimes. But filling the subsequent power vacuums didn't prove easy and many countries have been left with similar problems – corrupt strongman leaders, military dictatorships – or worse ones, including civil war. So why has democracy failed to thrive in the region? And what can be done to break the cycle?

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5 Jun 2019
7 min

Explainer 168: Australia’s first Indigenous minister for Indigenous Australians: 

For the first time in the 50-odd years that the role has existed, Australia’s minister for Indigenous Australians is an indigenous Australian. This may seem surprising; or not, given Australia’s less-than-perfect history on this front. Andrew Mueller asks if this is something to celebrate or if the country needs to use this as another opportunity to take a long hard look at its past.

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2821 Jun 2019
30 min

The war on fake news: 

Since the term “fake news” exploded into the common lexicon in 2016 it has been at the forefront of many political agendas. But thanks to resistance to internet regulation, and a lack of basic knowledge among many internet users, hyper-partisan, extreme or completely fabricated news sites have found space to grow, doing untold damage. As countries scramble to try to find a fix, has Finland found the answer? Andrew Mueller is joined by Vesa Häkkinen, Sue Halpern and James Ball.

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29 May 2019
6 min

Explainer 167: Why has Trump ramped up his war on the environment?: 

As the White House prepares to complete the rollback of the most significant federal effort to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, the latest move in Donald Trump’s attack on the environment, Ed Stocker asks why he has become such a champion of environment-sceptic rhetoric.

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28125 May 2019
30 min

What does the Freedom party scandal mean for Austria?: 

Just days before the European parliament elections, seen by many as a referendum on populist parties across the continent, a video of Austria’s vice-chancellor – and leader of the far right FPO – was leaked, seemingly showing him offering a Russian contact government contracts in return for political favours. But should this have come as a surprise?

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22 May 2019
6 min

Explainer 166: Was Australia’s shock election result really that shocking?: 

As the results of Australia’s federal election were counted on Saturday night, those expecting a win for the left-wing Labor party had a bit of a shock. Despite years of opinion polls suggesting that opposition leader Bill Shorten only had to turn up, power was retained by conservative prime minister Scott Morrison and his Liberal party. But was it really the surprise that it seemed?

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28018 May 2019
32 min

The US vs Iran: why now?: 

The US and Iran have never really been close. But over the past few weeks tensions have flared, leading to fears of open confrontation between the two. But where did the animosity begin and what are they fighting about this time? Andrew Mueller is joined by Azadeh Moaveni, Holly Dagres and John Limbert.

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15 May 2019
6 min

Explainer 165: Trump’s trade war: who stands to lose most?: 

As President Trump continues to fire shots in his ongoing trade war with China, Andrew Mueller asks if there’s any chance of him coming out on top – and who really loses if not.

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27911 May 2019
30 min

Are South Africans losing patience with the ANC?: 

South Africa is gripped by political-corruption scandals, soaring unemployment and a continuation of the racial inequalities that the ANC fought so hard to overcome. Is the ruling party running out of ideas?

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8 May 2019
5 min

Explainer 164: What happened to democracy in Benin?: 

The tiny west African country has been, in recent memory at least, a bastion of democracy. But just before this month’s elections, a new law effectively stopped all political parties but two – both favoured by the president – from running. Was this a bureaucratic fumble gone too far or is something more sinister afoot?

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2784 May 2019
30 min

Coups d’etat: do they ever really work?: 

Coups d’etat have been enjoying something of a renaissance. But who really gains when they go right? What happens when they go wrong? And can it ever be guaranteed that the grass is greener on the other side?

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1 May 2019
6 min

Explainer 163: What is the One Nation party, and why won’t it go away?: 

As Australia prepares for the upcoming federal election, Andrew Mueller discusses one particular party that has endured more than its fair share of controversy – and he doesn’t feel sorry for it.

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27727 Apr 2019
30 min

Ukraine’s new president: who’s laughing now?: 

No Ukrainian election has been as closely watched as last weekend’s presidential run-off. But was comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s landslide victory all about him or was it a rejection of the establishment?

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