Foreign Correspondent

The 2024 season starts next Monday (March 18) on ABC Australia across Asia-Pacific region, with the Faking It episode.

Sikhs, spies and murder

Thursday 21 March 8.00pm

When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood up and accused India of being behind the killing of a Sikh activist on Canadian soil last year, the world took notice.

To have a head of state call out another country for effectively a state sponsored assassination was eye popping.

Then, months later, US authorities said an Indian agent was involved in a murder attempt on an American Sikh in New York.

Now Foreign Correspondent can reveal Australian authorities are also speaking to the Sikh community here.

This week, South Asia correspondent Avani Dias travels to Punjab where tensions are high and the authorities are watching.

This is the Sikh homeland where a banned separatist movement is fighting to create its own independent nation of Khalistan.

Avani visits the family home of the man murdered in Canada, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, and learns of unusual activity in the lead up to his killing.

She also gains rare access to the movement’s leaders, viewed as extremists by Indian officials, who are in no doubt the Modi government is targeting Sikh separatists around the world including Australia.

Watch Sikhs, Spies and Murder on Foreign Correspondent, Thursday 21 March at 8pm AEDT on ABC TV, ABC iview, ABC News Facebook and the ABC News In-Depth YouTube channel.

Italy’s One Euro House Dream

Thursday 28 March 8.00pm

For many people, living in an historic town in Italy seems like an unaffordable dream.

But thanks to an ambitious social experiment you can live la dolce vita in Sicily for just one euro!

This week on Foreign Correspondent reporter Natalie Whiting travels to the Sicilian towns where people are arriving from all over the world to snap up abandoned houses for virtually nothing.

And their arrival is helping to solve one of Italy’s biggest problems.

The country has the oldest population in Europe with deaths now far outstripping births and huge numbers of young people are leaving for better work opportunities.

The one-euro house scheme aims to fix the vanishing population problem by enticing new residents to reinvigorate the struggling towns.

Natalie meets the newcomers with ambitious plans of turning their rundown purchases into Italian dream homes, she talks to the locals, some of whom are still not sure about their new neighbours.

And she meets the optimists who are confident an affordable real estate boom can not only breathe new life into these old towns but create a new community and forge new friendships.

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A Crack in the Mountain

Thursday 4 April at 8pm

Deep in the jungle of central Vietnam lies a magnificent underground kingdom. Hang Son Doong which translates as ‘mountain river cave,’ is the largest cave passage in the world and a place of spectacular beauty. It remained undisturbed for millions of years until its discovery was revealed in 2009. Small scale tours of the cave began in 2013 with visitors restricted to just 1,000 people a year. But it wasn’t long before Son Doong’s future was thrown into doubt when plans were announced to build a cable car into the cave.

This week Foreign Correspondent travels to the small town of Phong Nha, one of the poorest provinces in Vietnam, where the cave is located. Over the last decade plans to make the area a tourist mecca have sparked intense debate. Locals there support the development of the region and the opportunities it will bring. But environmental activists fear large scale tourism will forever destroy the natural beauty of Son Doong.

This film takes you deep inside this magnificent underground kingdom and explores the underlying tension between the economic benefits of development versus the importance of safeguarding one of the world’s greatest natural wonders.

Time Bomb - the Pacific

Thursday 11 April at 8pm

More than eight decades ago in the 1940s, World War II raged across the Pacific as ferocious battles took place between the Allies and Japan. One of the most significant events was at Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands where the Japanese advance on the Pacific was stopped by the Allies and where around 30,000 lives were lost. Just over eight decades later, the deadly legacy of the battle continues. On Foreign Correspondent this week reporter Stephanie March meets the Solomon Islanders who are still being severely impacted by the war in the Pacific.

On land, the islands are littered with unexploded devices – almost 50,000 have been discovered since 2011. Accidental detonations of the bombs and other munitions have caused deaths and injuries and survivors are left to struggle for themselves with very little support. In the water surrounding the islands hundreds of corroding shipwrecks from the war still contain trapped oil supplies which some describe as a ticking timebomb. A major oil spill from one of these rusting wrecks could be a massive disaster.

The Solomon Islanders believe those who fought a war on their land should be doing more to clean up the mess they left behind. In the worlds of one local: “When the war ended US, Japanese and allied forces went home in peace. We still do not have peace, until we are safe here in the Solomon Islands.”

Sumo Sisters

Thursday 18 April 8:00pm

Across the world female athletes have been revolutionising sport, pushing for recognition and pay to put them on an equal footing with their male equivalent. In Japan the ancient sport of sumo is wrestling with how to accept women competitors on an equal footing, challenging deeply held customs and traditions.

On Foreign Correspondent Thursday 18 April at 8pm on ABC TV and ABC iview, the ABC’s North Asia correspondent James Oaten meets the women who are leading the charge to modernise attitudes and change the sport they love. The world of sumo can be a secretive one, off limits to outsiders and the media. But James is given a rare opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes in the sumo stable and to understand why there is such strong resistance to change.