Beyond the Headlines
How to live longer

How to live longer

June 22, 2022

Steve Jobs once said: "The most precious resource we all have is time." 

For most of history, the average human life expectancy has been about around 70 years. Although average life expectancy has been rising for years, this is because more of us make it that far and many beyond. Fewer of us are dying at birth, in childhood, in the midst of raging battle or being mauled to death by wild animals. Take out those threats and an average human is capable of a 70th birthday.

And now, with breakthroughs in our understanding of genetics and billions of dollars being poured into life sciences research, we may find ways to extend our lives, maybe to even double that number, in the next few decades. 

On this week's Beyond the Headlines host Kelsey Warner looks at the future of ageing and longevity.

How rising prices in the Middle East are pushing people into poverty

How rising prices in the Middle East are pushing people into poverty

June 17, 2022

When you hear of Arab cuisine, what imagery does it conjure up?

Hummus, bulgur wheat, meat, chicken and spices like sumac, cumin and cinnamon. Lavish dinner parties with popular dishes like Egyptian koshary, Jordanian mansaf and Iraqi tashreeb. The bigger the dish, the more generous the host. That is a deeply rooted belief in Arab culture.

Despite the Gulf countries being insulated from the rising costs of living, people in many places in the Middle East - and around the world - are struggling to regularly buy quality raw food ingredients as prices skyrocket.

In this episode of Beyond the Headlines, host Ahmed Maher speaks to people from across the Middle East to see how rising prices are pushing some of them into food poverty.

When and how can America stop the mass shootings?

When and how can America stop the mass shootings?

June 10, 2022

On 14 May, a white gunman in body armour killed 10 black shoppers and workers at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. Ten days later, an attacker shot dead 19 students and their two teachers in their classrooms at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Then, on 1 June, another gunman killed two doctors and two others at an Oklahoma medical building in Tulsa. These are just some of the recent, chilling examples of how gun violence has traumatised America - they’re only the tip of the iceberg.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, the US has suffered at least 246 mass shootings in 2022. Not all of them make the news, so frequent have mass shootings become there. Many Americans have long been calling for action on gun control. So why is it so difficult to bring in reform?

On this week’s Beyond the Headlines, host Suhail Akram looks at what can realistically be done to tackle US gun deaths.

What can be done to stop the tide of dust storms?

What can be done to stop the tide of dust storms?

June 2, 2022

The sky turns orange as a huge cloud of dust rolls toward you. Your vision is impaired and your chest feels tight as you struggle to draw breath. 

You grab a scarf and wrap it around your face as you hurry inside, but the coughing continues long after you reach safety. For those in refugee camps, even this escape is denied. Sand is buffeted against flimsy tents and belongings and residents become swiftly covered in a film of dust.

You may think this is happening to a character in an apocalypse movie, but it's becoming a regular occurrence for people in many parts of the world, and especially the Middle East. 

In spring, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and parts of Israel and Egypt experience the most frequent dust storms. Moving into summer, Iran, Syria and the Gulf will be hit by the flurry of sand and minerals. Many of these countries are sources of the dust as well as feeling the impact of it. 

In this week's Beyond the Headlines, host Taylor Heyman looks at the impact of dust storms on the Middle East and asks what can be done to mitigate them.

Davos 2022 biggest takeaways

Davos 2022 biggest takeaways

May 26, 2022

The Berlin Wall fell more than three decades ago, precipitating a generational collapse of political and economic boundaries in Europe. Now, in 2022, conflict and confusion is on the continent's doorstep once again. Experts and leaders, including around 50 heads of state and government, have gathered in the Swiss resort of Davos this week for the World Economic Forum annual meeting, where they are considering whether history has reached another turning point?

Mustafa Alrawi, The National’s Assistant Editor-in-Chief, and Mina Al-Oraibi, The National's Editor-in-Chief, are joined by CNN anchor Julia Chatterley in Davos to discuss the key takeaways from the WEF annual meeting.

Will the Lebanese election be a turning point?

Will the Lebanese election be a turning point?

May 20, 2022

People across Lebanon cast their votes last Sunday in an election that was meant to be different. 

So much has happened since the last poll, in 2018, when familiar faces were elected from parties largely made up of the same people who had fought the civil war decades earlier. 

First, the economy started to creak - and eventually collapsed. In 2019, hundreds of thousands of people across Lebanon rose up in a popular protest movement, apparently determined to change a political system that seemed to be pushing the country over a precipice.

Then, in August of 2020, a devastating explosion at Beirut’s port killed hundreds, left hundreds of thousands homeless, and caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage in a country that could ill afford to pay the bill. Many blamed the same culture of political mismanagement for the catastrophic explosion.
In this week’s episode of Beyond the Headlines, Finbar Anderson asks: will the Lebanese election be seen as a turning point for an embattled country in desperate need of change? Or was it a sideshow designed to buy the ruling elite time and a false sense of legitimacy?

Sheikh Khalifa’s legacy

Sheikh Khalifa’s legacy

May 14, 2022

President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed died on May 13, 2022, at the age of 73.

He was born in September 1948, before the UAE existed as a single nation and before the discovery of oil in the Emirates.

In his lifetime he saw the rise of the nation from a collection of Bedouin and fishing villages to one of the leading and most competitive economies in the Middle East.

As the eldest son of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa’s involvement in public life began at a very young age.

On this week's Beyond the Headlines host Faisal Salah looks back at the life of Sheikh Khalifa and hears from UAE cultural historian and columnist for The National Peter Hellyer about his legacy.

Is the Covid-19 pandemic over?

Is the Covid-19 pandemic over?

May 13, 2022

On May 16, the European Union will no longer require people to wear masks on planes.

Many countries around the world have already started to relax Covid-19 restrictions.
And some, like Greece, New Zealand and Japan, are preparing to drop all rules in time for summer.

So is it finally time to get back to normal? At least to the way life was before the pandemic. Or is it time to simply embrace the ‘new normal'?

This week on Beyond the Headlines, host Suhail Akram asks experts and health care professionals if the pandemic is truly over.

The desperation that drove refugees from Lebanon to their deaths at sea

The desperation that drove refugees from Lebanon to their deaths at sea

May 6, 2022

Late one Saturday night towards the end of April, a boat set off to sea from near Lebanon’s second city, Tripoli. It was an ageing craft, nearly 50 years old, built to comfortably hold maybe a dozen people, at a push. But on this voyage it was carrying perhaps 60, maybe as many as 80. 

Among those on board were Amid Dandachi, his wife and their three children. In all, around 22 members of the extended Dandachi family were on the boat. The family are from the suburb of Qibbe, one of Tripoli’s poorest neighbourhoods. And Tripoli is one of Lebanon’s poorest cities. With Lebanon's economic crisis ongoing they hoped heading west would offer them a better future

But only an hour or two after they left land, the boat was intercepted. Lebanese naval forces demanded it turn back. The boat’s helmsman tried to make a break for it but the navy crashed into the overcrowded craft towards the bow, splitting the hull. At least six people died and approximately 30 are still missing.

On this week's Beyond The Headlines, Finbar Anderson looks at the story of a tragic shipwreck off the coast of Tripoli, and how it’s an all too familiar fate for thousands of people trying to reach a better life in Europe.

Is Rwanda really the solution to Britain’s migrant issue?

Is Rwanda really the solution to Britain’s migrant issue?

April 29, 2022

Rescued from the choppy seas of the English Channel or landing on the windswept beaches of the east of England, over the last three years thousands of people in small inflatable dinghies have made the perilous crossing from France.

As dozens died making the journey, the UK deployed the coast guard, the navy and the lifeboat service to try and rescue those attempting to make the journey. In 2021, an estimated 28,526 people crossed the channel in small boats. Data for the first half of 2022 showed over 8,000 had made the journey with tens of thousands more expected in the calmer, warmer summer months.

The arrivals have sparked a heated debate.

Some accuse the government of being soft on immigration, turning a blind eye to smugglers and not policing the country’s borders. Others accuse the government of a callous disregard for human life and failing to meet obligations to those fleeing for their lives.

And now, the UK has said “enough”.

On this week's Beyond the Headlines, host James Haines-Young delves into the UK Government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda and asks whether such proposals can even solve the issue.