Leaving India and the best shave in the world

  • 16 June 2018
  • From the section India
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe barber who gives the world's 'best shave'

I've never been lithe enough for yoga or patient enough for meditation, but during my time in India I did discover a path to a kind of transcendence: a street shave.

Getting one has become something of a ritual for me on a quiet morning. I'll cycle lazily to the local market and to Balwant Singh.

His stall is just a table with a mirror propped on it under a spreading peepal tree, but he does the best shave in the world.

You sit on the rickety chair and then he takes over. He won't tolerate any distractions. Try and look at your phone and he'll push your head back firmly.

But that's fine by me.

Read full article Leaving India and the best shave in the world

The story barely reported by Indian media

  • 28 May 2018
  • From the section India
A man reading a newspaper in India Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption India languishes towards the bottom of the rankings for press freedom

It is a potential scandal that claims to strike at a key pillar of Indian democracy - the freedom of the press - yet it is barely being reported in the Indian media.

There's a simple reason for that: this alleged scandal involves many of the most powerful media institutions in the country.

Read full article The story barely reported by Indian media

Why are so many people denied the painkillers they need?

  • 21 May 2018
  • From the section India
Dr MR Rajagopal with a patient in a clinic
Image caption Dr MR Rajagopal, has been campaigning for decades to change the law to simplify the rules around opioids

The world is suffering from an invisible epidemic, an epidemic of pain.

As many as 60 million people are reckoned to suffer avoidable agony every year.

Read full article Why are so many people denied the painkillers they need?

Up close and personal with the biggest drone squadron ever

  • 25 March 2018
  • From the section Asia
US military plane over Afghanistan

Before taking office, Donald Trump called the war in Afghanistan a "total disaster". But last August he changed his mind and announced that the US would stay until the war was - in his words - "won". Military commanders see air power as key to the hoped-for victory, and have assembled in the country what they say is the biggest drone squadron ever.

I'm lying in the belly of a KC-135 "stratotanker", peering down at the snowy IS-infested mountains of north-eastern Afghanistan.

Read full article Up close and personal with the biggest drone squadron ever

Russia 'arming the Afghan Taliban', says US

  • 23 March 2018
  • From the section Asia
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionGen John Nicholson: "We know that the Russians are involved"

Russia is supporting and even supplying arms to the Taliban, the head of US forces in Afghanistan has told the BBC.

In an exclusive interview, Gen John Nicholson said he'd seen "destabilising activity by the Russians."

Read full article Russia 'arming the Afghan Taliban', says US

The ancient wisdom the Dalai Lama hopes will enrich the world

  • 13 March 2018
  • From the section India
BBC correspondent Justin Rowlatt (L) meets the Dalai Lama
Image caption BBC correspondent Justin Rowlatt (L) meets the Dalai Lama

It isn't often you meet the leader of a world religion - rarer still that he tweaks your cheek. But that's what happened when I met the 14th Dalai Lama last month.

You know when he has entered a room. First there is a hush and, almost immediately after that, a ripple of infectious laughter. Next, there he is, his face creased into a mischievous smile, his eyes twinkling behind his tinted spectacles.

Read full article The ancient wisdom the Dalai Lama hopes will enrich the world

The Indian coin that set off millions of messages

  • 21 February 2018
  • From the section India
The 10 rupee coins
Image caption Many Indians are refusing to accept 10 rupee coins as legal tender

India's central bank is reckoned to have sent out hundreds of millions of text messages in the last couple of days - all part of a rearguard effort to protect the value of the Indian currency.

Don't be too alarmed, the Indian economy isn't about to tank - not quite yet, anyway. The bank's herculean campaign is only designed to ensure the integrity of the country's humble 10 rupee coin - worth just 10 US cents or 10 UK pence.

Read full article The Indian coin that set off millions of messages

Bangladesh grows tired of the Battling Begums

  • 11 February 2018
  • From the section Asia
Khaleda Zia Image copyright EPA
Image caption Khaleda Zia is expected to appeal after being convicted this week

Move over Machiavelli, step aside Sun Tzu. If you want to know how to defeat your enemies and hold on to power the real playbook should be Bangladeshi politics.

The conviction of the leader of the Bangladeshi opposition, Khaleda Zia, is just the latest gambit in a decades-long battle between the country's two formidable leading ladies.

Read full article Bangladesh grows tired of the Battling Begums

Could Aung San Suu Kyi face Rohingya genocide charges?

  • 18 December 2017
  • From the section Asia
Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi leaves after speaking during the Myanmar Education Development Implementation Seminar at Myanmar International Convention Center (MICC - 2), in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, 8 December 2017 Image copyright EPA

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, is determined that the perpetrators of the horrors committed against the Rohingya face justice.

He's the head of the UN's watchdog for human rights across the world, so his opinions carry weight.

Read full article Could Aung San Suu Kyi face Rohingya genocide charges?

The lonely death of Delhi's jungle prince

  • 5 November 2017
  • From the section Stories
Prince Cyrus

In terms of snobbery it was hard to beat the man who claimed to be the last prince of the royal house of Oudh.

"Don't talk to me about the Mughals," Prince Cyrus once bellowed at a friend of mine. "They were as common as dirt."

Read full article The lonely death of Delhi's jungle prince