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tv   Meet the Author  BBC News  December 10, 2017 7:45pm-8:01pm GMT

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abou‘it christmas. is she talking about coming home? she's definitely talking about coming home at christmas. she needs reassurance from me that she will be home by christmas that she's talking in terms of what she will do with her things, she's talking about making things, she's talking about making things for other prisoners so they have something to remember her by and all those nice things you start to talk about when things feel a bit lighter. you were pretty angry about borisjohnson, how do you feel now? that's right, i said some choice things on television and he reminded me of them! it feels like it has been a good weekend, i'm looking forward to catching up tomorrow and to stick in hearing more about what has happened but it feels to me clearly that he's done his best in the past two days and that is all that i can helpful. richard ratcliffe was speaking to james robbins. students in england are being encouraged to study for undergraduate degrees in two years rather than three. the universities ministerjo johnson says these shorter courses
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will save thousands of pounds in tuition fees — even though universities would be able to charge nearly 2,000—pounds more in addition per year. andy moore reports. it was a conservative manifesto promise to introduce more 2—year degree courses. but implementing that plan has proved tough going. the universities say it will mean major changes to their schedules, with the prospect of the same or less money in income. by the government's own admission, the pickup so far has been pitiful, with only 0.2% of students on fast—tracked degrees. the new scheme would see students pay more for each individual year of their course, but more than £5,000 less than they would have done if it had lasted three years. it is a fantastic offer. the same quality degree, quality assured in exactly the same way, provided in a more intensive way. so instead of 30 weeks a year studying over three years, a really driven student, a highly motivated student, could pack in 45 weeks over two years. the government says each student on a 2—year course will save at least £35,000
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if you add in saved living costs and a year's extra earnings to the equation. and they say demand from students will persuade universities to offer the new courses. now on bbc news, it's time for meet the author. this week on meet the authorjim naughtie talks with the writer and historian norman davies about his new book beneath another sky: a globaljourney into history. norman davies has written books before. in his latest book, latest book, he circumnavigates the globe to explore in some of the remotest places — stories of settlement and migration, driven as he puts it by the primeval urge to, "get up and go". welcome. it's one thing to think that we all have an urge to get
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up and go, it's quite another thing to do it. you are not a young man. and you set off and you circumnavigated the globe to all kinds of places that you must never have imagined that you would get to. what drove you on? i've no idea. the primeval urge? you get to a certain age, i received an invitation to australia but i don't like long flights so i decided to go by easy stages and take my time. and then i realised why come back the same way, just keep going, it took several months but it was a tremendous idea at my age! and the story you have followed, really, is the story of human movement, of migration, which of course is a very contemporary problem, obsession, but it is one that you see as fundamental to explaining
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how the world has come to be the way that it is? absolutely. human beings have been migrating, they've been on the move ever since they emerged whatever it was, 2 million years ago. moving from place to place, eventually from continent to continent and their various movements, collisions, interactions, conquests, cohabitations have created the world as we know it, without that, human history would be completely different. your focus has tended to be european in the past. you have written a lot about the slavic portion of europe and also written on the islands,
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and these islands which we sit. how did your perspective change when you began to visit some of these, what europeans would call, remote outposts? well, my choices were to go to places i had never been before and didn't know much about. the idea was more about learning and extending what i already knew. it was a voyage of discovery? exactly. sometimes i went to places whose history coincided, you go to baku, it used to be a part of the russian empire but many of the places were completely foreign to me, so all the more interesting for that. it's a fascinating catalogue. a gazetteer of all of the little known places of the world, what was the first point at which you felt on this journey, you were really on to something here, you didn't know the story
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of this place and it's telling you something you had never thought of before? i had that feeling very often indeed. of course i could communicate better in some places than others. i went to mauritius, an outpost if ever there was one but i found a french creole speaker, which was interesting — that i could speak to people, learn and read books and so on, but less so when you go to malaysia. you were inevitably the outsider? everywhere i was the outsider, but i did nonetheless still get under the skin, often. i went to texas and wrote an essay about the very first american settlers in texas and lo and behold, i was able to spend a day with a descendent of one of the original 300, the first group of american settlers in texas. so i was an outsider, but still i tried to communicate with people as much as possible.
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i spent a0 years writing about a tiny corner of the world. now you've got to see, to get a taste of the rest of it, and the rest is, of course, enormous. so you can't become an expert on these places but you get a feel of how things developed, where peoples came from, what are the relations between the different continents that i went to. you have split your life for a long time between this country and poland. coming back to europe, having undertaken this journey
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and having processed the thoughts that make up this book, has your view of europe changed? inevitably, europe now for me is a much smaller place. i used to think it was almost all the world. now i see that europe is a small peninsula of a very much bigger continent. of course, no—one will ever get to understand all of the complications, but at least while you can still think reasonably clearly, you need to get a sense of the size of the globe and the complexities of human history and so on. when you are talking about migration as such an important component of human history, it puts into perspective the panic and the political difficulty that we've got across europe at the moment, because of migration, there's a consequence of water shortages in africa and war in the middle east. it does tend to say look, there is nothing new under the sun? absolutely. you begin to see yourself
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looking at europeans today like you are watching the romans coming over the rhine in the 4th, 5th century. movements are erratic. most of historical change is not smooth. it happens in leaps and bounds with intervals between. but we are living through a phase where humanity is on the march. our little hard continent is the target destination for many of them at the moment. you've been writing history for half a century now, more or less, this is an extraordinary work to have come up with in the sense that the sheer volume of work that is involved in putting this together in unknown places, you know, dealing with cultures of which you yourself say you knew very little, wanting to get it right, bringing an academic focus to it,
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what a thing to take on? well, i've done that before. i don't know whether i will do it again. it's just what you do? it's what i do and of course it is a learning exercise, preventing ourselves going stale by writing about the same things all the time, which is what some historians do. you end the introduction by quoting tennyson. from ulysses, come my friends, it is not too late to seek a new world. that is what you are doing here? i realised i was in the category of an ageing ulysses who wanted to set sail one more time. yes, that was... whether i will ever have another voyage, i will never know. but you're glad you did? 0h, absolutely. i'm still amazed that i was able to do it and got to the last page. norman davies, author of beneath another sky,
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thank you very much. thank you very much. good evening. a weekend of wintry weather. disruption due to strong winds in the south and also ice and plenty of snow around. the snowiest place was in mid wales, 33 centimetres of committing snow, over one foot. enough to cause disruption to transport and some power networks in some places. ice will be the main hazard tonight is the sleet and snow eases from the south and we see skies clearing, still snow over northern scotland, rain and sleet showers of northern ireland, in the countryside, temperatures between -10 countryside, temperatures between —10 and —i2, countryside, temperatures between —10 and —12,a countryside, temperatures between —10 and —i2, a bitterly cold start to monday. watch out for slippery conditions on untreated roads, ice will be a widespread problem on monday and then our attention turns
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to an area of low pressures, causing disruption to portugal, spain and france, and the northern edge of that low pressure will bring heavy rain to the south—east of england with gales developing as well through the day. as we had away from the south—east, it becomes quieter, less windy, some sunshine but a sharp frost and also those icy stretches, a lot of lying snow around, sunny dry weather across northern england and scotland, and northern ireland, sleet and snow showers set to continue, blown in on that chilly northerly wind. we'll continue to seek wintry showers in the north and west, that could introduce sleet and snow in the west but it could clear away during the last pa rt but it could clear away during the last part of the afternoon. despite the sunshine across many parts of the sunshine across many parts of the country temperatures will struggle to get above freezing. another cold day, and settling another cold night on monday night. as low—pressure clears rain from the
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south east, winds ease and we should see a lot of ice and sharp frost with temperatures in the countryside down around —10 —12 in some areas. another very cold start to tuesday morning, and also some freezing fog patches first thing. some of that frog lingering for much of the day but where you don't see the fog you will see the sunshine, things will eventually tu rn will see the sunshine, things will eventually turn milder in the west with cloud and rain later in the afternoon, temperatures around one 28 degrees. bye bye. this is bbc news. the headlines at 8.00. up to 30cm of snow falls in some areas of the country, affecting travel on the roads and trains, leaving thousands of homes without power and causing cancellations and delays at major airports. there have been no available stands for the planes to pull in to, there have been problems across the airport. the foreign secretary leaves iran without any agreement to release the jailed british—iranian woman, nazanin zaghari—ratcliffe. disgraced celebrity
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publicist max clifford dies in hospital at the age of 7a. he had been serving an eight—year sentence for historical sex offences. qatar signs a £6 billion arms deal with the british defence contractor, bae systems. the brexit secretary warns the uk could still refuse to pay its divorce bill if it doesn't get a trade deal with the eu.
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