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The Compass Podcast

English, Sciences, 1 season, 310 episodes, 5 days, 21 hours, 5 minutes
Surprising stories from unusual places. With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about the environment and politics, culture and society.
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The sacred song of war

Misha Glenny's final programme on Russia - what it is and where it came from - looks at the country's attitude to war. What has been the long lasting effect of the great patriotic wars against Adolf Hitler and Napoleon Bonaparte? Plus the Poles, the Mongols, and the British in Crimea. With contributions from Antony Beevor, author of Stalingrad, Robert Service, author of the Last Tsar, Kateryna Khinkulova of BBC World Service, former ambassador to Moscow Rhodric Braithwaite, and Dominic Lieven, author of Napoleon against Russia. Producer: Miles Warde (Photo: World War Two, Russian front. Street fight in Stalingrad, October 1942. Credit: Roger Viollet/Getty Images)
3/8/202327 minutes, 44 seconds
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Catherine the Great and the question of Europe

It was Peter the Great who created a new capital on the Baltic, and Catherine the Great who extended Russian influence south and west. Sweden, Poland, and the Ottomans all felt the Russian expansion in a century of geopolitical drama. This, says presenter Misha Glenny, is all part of the build up to today's war in Ukraine. With contributions from Virginia Rounding, biographer of Catherine the Great; Prof Simon Dixon of University College London; Prof Robert Service, author of The Last Tsar; Prof Janet Hartley, author books on the Volga and Siberia; and Dr Sarah Young of the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies. Producer: Miles Warde (Photo: Portrait of Empress Catherine II (1729-1796), 1780s. Artist : Rokotov, Fyodor Stepanovich 1735-1808. Credit: Getty Images)
3/1/202327 minutes, 49 seconds
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The Invention of Russia: The empire strikes back

Russia's massive empire was not like that of Britain or France. It expanded across the land, making it more like the United States of America. And from very small beginnings, it became the biggest contiguous landmass in the world. Presenter Misha Glenny speaks to James Hill of the New York Times about travelling to the edges, and also to Janet Hartley, author of Siberia: A History of the People. Plus further contributions from Ukrainian academic Olesya Khromeychuk, Anna Reid, the author of Borderland and Leningrad, and the Tblisi-based journalist, Natalia Antelava, editor-in-chief at Coda Story. Producer: Miles Warde (Photo: The imperial procession coming out of the Winter Palace to go to the Cathedral, celebrations for the 3rd centenary of the Romanov dynasty, St Petersburg, Russia, photograph by Bulla-Trampus, from L'Illustrazione Italiana, Year XL, No 12, March 23, 1913. Credit: Getty Images)
2/22/202328 minutes, 21 seconds
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The invention of Russia: A tale of two Ivans

Countries look so cohesive on the map - sturdy borders, familiar shapes. Don't be misled. They didn't always look like this. This is the story of Russia, biggest contiguous country on the planet, told from the time when it was still very small. With contributions across the series from Janet Hartley, author of a history of the Volga; Rhodric Braithwaite, former ambassador to Moscow; historian and sociologist, Mischa Gabowitsch; Anthony Beevor; Natalia Antelava; Kateryna Khinkulova; Dominic Lieven; Olesya Khromeychuk; and James Hill of the New York Times. Producer: Miles Warde (Photo: View of the Moskva River and the Moscow Kremlin. Credit: Vlad Karkov/Getty Images)
2/15/202328 minutes, 11 seconds
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Sounds of the city: Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is a bustling place and for a blind person it can be a little daunting, as BBC journalist, Peter White, discovers. The narrow streets in the older parts of town are full of open air cafes, buskers and people visiting the markets and local shops. It is a lively place and Peter's first challenge comes when he tries to navigate the local busses, only to find that without being able to see them approaching, it is virtually impossible to get them to stop! Today signs of expansion are evident in the building works going on everywhere and Peter hears from young people concerned about political, social and environmental pressures. The city is home to some exciting activities, including tandem bike riding, with a local club attracting 70 plus blind and partially sighted members. As he walks around he becomes aware of some of the steps being taken to make things more accessible, including the addition of sound systems on public crossings that at least offer protection from the constant and sometimes fast flowing traffic. In the local parks Peter hears from people about other fun activities offered locally, from outdoor gyms through to long meals taken with friends and family. Younger people he meets share their hopes and dreams and explain what it has been like growing up with a disability in Tel Aviv. (Photo: Peter White and his guide walk along the streets of Tel Aviv)
1/11/202327 minutes, 30 seconds
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Sounds of the city: Los Angeles

In a new series of Sounds of the City Peter White, who has been blind since birth, uses the sounds to guide him as he explores new parts of the globe. In Los Angeles the sea quickly beckons and although it's a struggle, Peter dons a wetsuit and prepares for his first surfing lesson! He also explores the huge metropolis by metro, comes across tales of political intrigue and meets up with a blind friend, who explains how she uses smell as well as sound to guide her on her travels. One thing that’s clear from the moment he arrives, is how many homeless people Peter encounters as he moves around LA. He meets some of those living rough and joins them at an impromptu meal prepared by volunteers from a local church. When he leaves, he threads his way across several blocks to find a charity warehouse where the clothes are stacked high in huge bins. People rummage all day in the hope of finding bargains and gleefully share tips of their greatest finds. (Photo: Peter White surfing.Credit: Peter White)
1/4/202327 minutes, 38 seconds
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Bhopal: Part one

When one of journalist Rajkumar Keswani's friends dies at the Union Carbide plant after exposure to toxic gas, he decides to investigate. Local government officials dismiss him, but safety reports smuggled to him open his eyes to the potential for disaster. Rajkumar Keswani wrote his first article 40 years ago, warning of the dangers posed by safety lapses and poor maintenance at the chemical plant. During a dogged investigation pitting him against political power, corporate money and the indifference of the media and public opinion, he never gave up. This cinematic documentary - narrated by Narinder Samra and featuring key witnesses - tells Keswani's courageous story for the first time. Producer: Neil McCarthy (Death in Ice Valley podcast)
12/21/202227 minutes, 35 seconds
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How to be a former president: Part three

Giles Edwards looks inside the private clubs of former world leaders to see how they are still trying to influence global politics. (Photo: Helen Clark speaks at a 2022 meeting of the Global Leadership Foundation)
12/14/202228 minutes, 15 seconds
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How to be a former president: Part two

Giles Edwards investigates the many opportunities offered by globalisation, and speaks to some of the former presidents and prime ministers who have run, or worked for, international organisations from civil society to the United Nations. (Photo: Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit, June 2022. Credit: Ritzau Scanpix/Philip Davali/Reuters)
12/7/202227 minutes, 15 seconds
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How to be a former president: Part one

What happens to presidents and prime ministers when they stop running their countries, and leave politics behind? Giles Edwards has spent 10 years finding out what they do next. He shares some of his conversations with former world leaders, takes us inside their organisations and helps us understand their thinking. Giles begins at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, where he speaks to presidents and prime ministers about how they use their influence, and what they contribute when they speak out. (Photo: Bill Clinton speaks at a Clinton Global Initiative meeting in Manhattan in September 2022. Credit: David Delgado/Reuters)
11/30/202227 minutes, 13 seconds
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Stories from the New Silk Road: Mexico

The town of El Triunfo in Tabasco state is not far from the Mexican border with Guatemala. Translated from Spanish, ‘El Triunfo’ means ‘The Triumph’ and being miles from the nearest city, with just over 5000 inhabitants, it does not usually attract much attention. However, that changed in 2018 when Tren Maya was announced and China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) arrived to help build part of the brand new train line, connecting the ancient Mayan ruins across the Yucatán Peninsula. Seen as the pet project of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Tren Maya is one of the biggest news stories in Mexico, and has had its fair share of opposition from archaeological and environmental groups. The government hopes it will boost tourism, trade and access throughout the regions it traverses, and it has been declared as a project of national importance. Katy Watson, the BBC’s South America correspondent, visits El Triunfo to discover how a town has been transformed, asking if Mexico can ever follow other countries in the region and sign up to China’s Belt and Road initiative? Presenter: Katy Watson Producer: Peter Shevlin A C60Media production for the BBC World Service (Photo: Construction workers prepare the ground forTren Maya. Credit: Peter Shevlin)
11/23/202228 minutes
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Stories from the New Silk Road: Jamaica

From highways to hospitals, Chinese construction firms continue to work on a number of high-profile projects across Jamaica. In the face of soaring debts they have not proceeded without controversy, with particular criticism of the use of Chinese labour for jobs that Jamaicans might do, and concerns of so-called ‘debt-trap diplomacy’. ‘Highway 2000’ is a 66 kilometre motorway connecting Kingston and Montego Bay funded by a loan of over 700 million dollars, and built by a Chinese contractor. It is just one of a series of Chinese mega-projects in Jamaica, who have received more loans from the Chinese government than any other Caribbean island nation, officially joining China’s Belt and Road initiative in 2019. Meanwhile, the Covid pandemic has led to Jamaica’s deepest economic contraction in decades, due in part to the drop in tourism earnings, which account for more than 30% of GDP and over a third of all jobs. Yet through the ‘Medical Silk Road’, China has helped Jamaica during one of the most turbulent times in its history. The BBC’s South America correspondent Katy Watson explores what impact Chinese aid and infrastructure is having on Jamaica. (Photo: Construction in progress for foundations of hotel development in Jamaica. Credit: Getty Images)
11/16/202227 minutes, 56 seconds
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Stories from the New Silk Road: Panama

The Panama Canal is a great feat of engineering and a place of huge global significance for trade and shipping. An artificial waterway that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, literally dividing North and South America, whilst saving thousands of miles of shipping time round Cape Horn at the very southern tip of South America. The Americans built the canal and operated it for decades, but today there’s a new global superpower hoping to make their mark. In 2017, Panama became the first country in the region to sign up to China’s Belt and Road initiative, shortly after they had cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favour of Beijing. Five years after signing up, what impact has the new Silk Road had on this small Central American nation with strong historical ties to the US? Travelling from one coast to the other, BBC South America correspondent Katy Watson aims to find out. Presenter: Katy Watson Producer: Peter Shevlin A C60Media production for the BBC World Service (Photo: Panama port. Credit: Peter Shevlin)
11/9/202227 minutes, 50 seconds
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Stories from the New Silk Road: Ecuador

The Cordillera del Condor mountain range in the east of Ecuador is where the mountains meets the jungles and the Andes meets the Amazon. In this region a Chinese run copper mine, Mirador, has grabbed the headlines over recent years, leading to controversy, resistance and talk of impending disaster. It has become a huge challenge for a government trying their utmost to support mining projects that might help boost a fragile economy. On the other side of the country, shrimp farms line mile upon mile of Pacific coastline, helping a nation of 17 million people to become the largest exporter of that popular crustacean in the world. Ecuador now provides over half of all the shrimp consumed in China, and as the price of shrimp increases, so does its appeal to modern-day pirates who regularly raid shrimp farms and their workers in the Gulf of Guayaquil, hoping to plunder their precious catch. In the first of a new, four-part series, Katy Watson, the BBC’s South America correspondent explores how China’s ambitious New Silk Road is impacting the lives of people in Latin America and the Caribbean. Beginning in Ecuador, Katy looks at how mining and shrimp farming are helping to drive President Xi Jinping’s ‘Belt and Road’ initiative in one of the most environmentally diverse countries in the world, where the ‘rights of nature’ are protected in the constitution. Presenter: Katy Watson Producer: Peter Shevlin A C60Media production for the BBC World Service (Photo: Ecuador mine. Credit: Peter Shevlin)
11/2/202227 minutes, 19 seconds
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On the Border: Narva

Tim Marshall on Narva where The EU, Europe and Nato meet the Russian Federation. It's a city in Estonia where 95% of the population are ethnically Russian. Identity crises are nothing new in Narva which has found itself on the edge of empires, kingdoms and duchies during its long history. Today residents cannot trace family here back further than the second Word War. That is when Stalin deported the locals and replaced them with Russians. Somehow however the collective memory in Narva, a border town forever on someone else's periphery, has re-asserted itself among the city's population. As a place founded on trading they remain open to everyone but look to themselves.
10/26/202228 minutes, 18 seconds
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On the Border: Kinshasa and Brazzaville

Tim Marshall delves into the strange story of Kinshasa and Brazzaville the only capitals straddling a border. Their peoples share a common culture but were split by Empires and now kept apart by a river border which has no bridge. Presenter: Tim Marshall Producer: Kevin Mousley (Photo: Sapeurs from a group belonging to Papa Griffe, a Sapeur leader, walks on Avenue De La Democratie, in Kinshasa, DRC. Credit: Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images)
10/19/202228 minutes, 18 seconds
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On the Border: Niagara Falls

Tim Marshall considers Niagara Falls, the busiest crossing point on the world’s longest border. The fortunes of the two cities either side of the famous Falls have varied over the years as the advantages of being one side of the line, or the other, have played out. Today it is the Canadian side in ascendance but as Tim finds out, the border continues to shape the communities in different ways as it becomes a less informal, so-called ‘friendly’ border and a more of sophisticated digital one. (Photo: A general view of Niagara Falls State Park in Niagara Falls, Credit: Kevin Mousley)
10/12/202227 minutes, 37 seconds
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On the Border: Maastricht

Tim Marshall profiles Maastricht, the city where 30 years ago the European Union was born. Have these economic measures dented relations between the communities that sit on one of Europe’s linguistic and cultural fault lines? (Photo: Aerial view of the city of Maastricht. Credit: N. Bellegarde/Getty Images)
10/5/202227 minutes, 51 seconds
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Life in soil: Tasting the earth in France

Writer and environmentalist Isabelle Legeron is in France to see how cultivating a healthy soil, teeming with fungi and microbes, can enhance the flavour profile of food and drink - from cheese to coffee to wine. She explores the fundamental role soil plays in the notion of “terroir’ - the conviction that the natural environment in which plants are grown, can be experienced in the taste and texture of the food and drink made from them. Isabelle speaks to a cast of soil microbiologists, land managers and taste experts - Lydia and Claude Bourguignon (France), Anne Biklé (USA), the Le Puy vineyard in Bordeaux, Barry Smith (UK), Darek Trowbridge (USA) and Hans-Peter Schmidt (Switzerland). Presenter: Isabelle Legeron Producer: Sasha Edye-Lindner A Cast Iron Production for BBC World Service (Photo: A vineyard)
9/28/202227 minutes, 48 seconds
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LIfe in soil: The death of soil

Isabelle Legeron travels to Giessen in Germany, to the original laboratory of Justus Von Liebig the brilliant 19th century chemist whose work made way for the 20th century Haber and Bosch process. Liebig joined the spirit of the Industrial Revolution, where technical solutions were set to end starvation; he set out to make the soil more productive, echoed through the 20th century with the Green Revolution. But at what cost to the soil? With Environmentalist, Tony Juniper and Soil Scientists: Margaret Glendining, Aislinn Pearson, Hans-Peter Schmidt, Wogmar Wolters, Gerd Hamscher, Jan Siemens, Christophe Muller and Richard Bardgett. Presenter: Isabelle Legeron Producer: Kate Bland and Anja Krieger A Cast Iron Production for BBC World Service (Photo: Dried, cracked soil in a maize field near Hajduszovat, Hungary. Credit: Zsolt Czegledi/EPA)
9/21/202227 minutes, 51 seconds
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Life in soil: The psychology of soil in California

Isabelle Legeron travels to California, a part of the world whose soil holds a complex history. She meets the indigenous Californians reviving ancestral methods of tending to the land, and the soil scientists exploring the impact of colonisation and agriculture on the soil of the Golden State. With indigenous Californian land steward Redbird (Pomo/Paiute/Wailaki/Wintu), director of the California Indian museum Nicole Lim (Pomo), indigenous ecologist Dr Melissa Nelson (Anishinaabe/Métis/Norwegian), indigenous educator Sara Moncada (Yaqui/Irish), professor Paul Starrs (USA) and soil scientists Suzanne Pierre (India/Haiti/USA), Kenzo Esquivel (Japanese/Mexican/USA) and Yvonne Socolar (USA). Presenter: Isabelle Legeron Producer: Sasha Edye-Lindner/ Kate Bland A Cast Iron production for BBC World Service (Photo: Native crops at Heron Shadow, California. Credit: Sara Moncada)
9/14/202228 minutes
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Green energy: Finance

How is the world going to get to net zero by 2050 and who is paying the bill? Former governor of the Bank of England, and UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance, Mark Carney, recently put the figure we need to spend at 100 trillion dollars at least. Switching to renewable sources of energy, needs the global financial markets to pay for the necessary infrastructure. Costs will come down as the technology improves; take the example of solar panels where the last two decades have seen an astounding 96% drop, from 10 dollars a watt to 25 cents. Allan Little investigates innovate companies investing in green energy; direct air carbon capture technology and a plant producing the greenest aluminium in the world thanks to geothermal power. But the road to net zero is fragile, and vulnerable to geopolitical events. Every solution to global warming has an impact and unintended consequences. What is the real cost of getting to net zero? Presenter: Allan Little Producer: Anna Horsbrugh-Porter Editor: Susan Marling A Just Radio production for BBC World Service (Photo: Solar power plant, in Fujian Province, China. Credit: Getty Images)
8/31/202227 minutes, 52 seconds
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Green energy: Iceland

For over 100 years, Iceland has produced renewable energy from geo-thermal and hydro power to heat its homes and power industry. Iceland harnesses the volcanic hot water under the earth’s crust and the energy from damming its plentiful rivers and waterfalls that run through the island. It produces five times more green energy than its population needs. But decisions Iceland has made in how best to use this surplus energy and the environmental and moral impact on its landscape and population have sparked controversy. There have been protests about the international aluminium companies; heavy users of electricity and the more recent advent of data-processing centres like the bitcoin and crypto-currency companies based there. These companies sell their green credentials to customers while consuming all the country’s excess power. When should Iceland say enough is enough? Presenter: Allan Little Producer: Anna Horsbrugh-Porter Editor: Susan Marling A Just Radio production for BBC World Service (Photo: Allan Little visits a deep drilling project in Iceland. Credit: Anna Horsbrugh-Porter)
8/24/202227 minutes, 47 seconds
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Green energy: Renewables

Allan Little investigates the best way to capture, store and redistribute the renewable sources of energy freely available all over the world – wind, solar and hydro. The sun gives earth enough potential power in one hour to provide the total energy needs of the globe for a year – if only we could catch and store it. From a purely economic angle, the costs of renewables are now cheaper than fossil fuels. So what is holding us back from harnessing the power of the sun and wind to secure our net-zero future? Vested interests in traditional energies for one, but also local controversies over the disruption involved in building big, renewable power stations; they’re often unwelcome and unwanted. Allan heads to one of the windiest places on earth, the Shetland Islands, north-east of the Scottish mainland. A remote, beautiful, isolated collection of archipelagos, Shetland is leading the way for transitioning out of fossil fuels to on and off-shore wind farms, green hydrogen production and the laying of thousands of kilometres of cables under the sea to the mainland. But opposition is vocal and sustained; parts of the local community feel the environmental damage to the natural peatlands, which are natural carbon capture havens, and the physical change to Shetland’s landscape with vast wind farms being put up, are a step too far. They back green energy - but just not the vast amounts being planned. Presenter: Allan Little Producer: Anna Horsbrugh-Porter A Just Radio production for BBC World Service Image: An overhead view of a wind turbine, part of the Burradale wind farm, outside Lerwick in the Shetland Islands on September 8, 2021 (Credit: William Edwards/AFP via Getty Images)
8/17/202228 minutes, 9 seconds
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Green energy: Transport

Allan Little looks at the challenges we face as we wean ourselves off gas and oil to renewable sources powering our cars, trucks, ships and aeroplanes. Green transport is crucial to a net zero future, but how transparent are the supply chains bringing the world the components we need? And how green is the electricity we are using to power electric cars anyway? Cobalt and Lithium, two essential minerals crucial for electric car batteries are mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Chile - and at great human and environmental cost. Transport accounts for over a third of our Carbon Dioxide emissions worldwide; there is no other option but to switch to electric vehicles. However motorists are often still sceptical about electric cars; they’re perceived to be expensive, difficult to recharge and unable to manage long distances. One of the biggest motor companies in the world, Ford, has just launched its first Electric Truck – targeting America’s blue-collar workers with this rugged, powerful, green machine. Will it work? Apart from driving, it is being marketed as offering independence and freedom from the grid; at the flick of a switch the trucks can send electricity back the other way, and can power a home for days. Image: A miner collects small chunks of cobalt inside the CDM (Congo DongFang Mining) Kasulo mine in Kolwezi, Democratic Republic of Congo in 2018 (Credit: Sebastian Meyer via Getty Images)
8/10/202228 minutes, 3 seconds
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The reclaimers: The games people play

As the former ‘British Empire Games’ draws nearer, actor and musician Kema Sikazwe finds out what the world of museums can learn from the communities, artists and curators who are struggling to reclaim global stories about their culture and identity. Kema sees photographer Vanley Burke’s new exhibition, Blood and Fire, curated with Candice Nembhard at Soho House, former home of Matthew Bolton. At the Museum and Gallery, he meets members of We Are Birmingham who have remodelled the iconic round room. With the Commonwealth Games in full swing, Kema also hears how refugees, and members of the LGBT+ communities are ensuring their voices are heard within the cultural festival accompanying the sporting events Presenter: Kema Sikazwe Producer: Will Sadler and Andy Jones A Radio Film production for BBC World Service (Photo: Kema, Gaby and Masharah. Credit: Andy Jones/Radio Film)
8/3/202228 minutes, 22 seconds
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The reclaimers: Into the valley

Travelling from Lusaka to the Gwembe Valley and then on to Kabwe, Kema Sikazwe hears from people living in communities where artefacts were taken. In the shadow of the Kariba Dam, Kema meets people who were forced from their land when the valley was flooded who explain how promises made at the time have not been kept. Finally, at the lead-mining site where the Broken Hill Skull was discovered in Kabwe 1921, Kema meets former workers who describe how their homes remain contaminated, more than 25 years on, the UN estimates they are among 300,000 people living on toxic ground. Producer: Andy Jones and Will Sadler A Radio Film production for BBC World Service (Photo: Kema Sikawaze stands next to the Broken Hill man skull. Credit: Radio Film)
7/27/202227 minutes, 20 seconds
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The reclaimers: Return to Zambia

Returning to Zambia for the first time since he was three years old, Kema Sikazwe continues his journey exploring the impact of colonial legacies through museum collections. Since 1972, Zambians have campaigned to reclaim the ‘Broken Hill Skull’ from Britain. Kema learns what has led to the current stalemate, as the repatriation movement gathers pace. Kema also meets Zambian creatives who are fabricating their own interpretations of history with ‘digital repatriation’ initiatives, creating new artefacts in response to stories inspired by 3D scans and photographs. (Photo: Kema Sikazwe holds up a matchbox designed using motifs inspired by Zambian objects taken from the country. Credit: Radio Film)
7/20/202227 minutes, 9 seconds
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The reclaimers: Bronzes and Birmingham

Actor and musician Kema Sikazwe is on a mission to uncover his own personal history as he leaves the UK to return to his homeland of Zambia for the first time since he was three years old. As Kema travels, he learns how museums are telling the uncomfortable stories behind some of the objects in their collection. He joins pupils from his old primary school learning why The Great North Museum in Newcastle is offering to return an ancient musical instrument to Nigeria. Arriving in Birmingham, Sara Wajid, co-director of Birmingham Museums explains how 'decolonising museums' goes way beyond returning objects. He also meets legendary photographer Vanley Burke, putting together a new exhibition with curator Candice Nembhard at the former home of a famous industrialist in Handsworth. Meeting the young members of We Are Birmingham, Kema hears how they have been challenged to transform the iconic round room at Birmingham’s Museum and Art Gallery, and seeks their advice on how best to approach his own forthcoming journey. Presenter: Kema Sikazwe Producer: Andy Jones and Will Sander A Radio Film production for BBC World Service (Photo: Kema holds up a coin in the Future Coin museum)
7/13/202227 minutes, 9 seconds
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Walking the Iron Curtain: Booming Balkans

The borders of the Balkans have been splintered, cracked and remade countless times over centuries. Suspicions and hatreds, ancient and modern, still scar the landscape. Travelling through the southernmost regions bisected by the Iron Curtain, Mary-Ann Ochota meets the conservationists convinced that a shared love of the region's landscape and wildlife can heal division. From Trieste in Italy, a staging post for generations of refugees- including the Ukranian exodus of 2022- she travels south-east to Lake Prespa where North Macedonia, Greece and Albania meet. Conflict and poverty have driven people from this beautiful place but in their absence nature has thrived. Can joint efforts to protect the region's bears, lynx and endemic fish and flora boost the economy and persuade the young people to stay and the diaspora to return? (Photo: Three Cold War borders meet in the centre of Lake Prespa, one of the most wildlife-rich places in Europe)
6/29/202227 minutes, 10 seconds
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Walking the Iron Curtain: Wild lands reunited

In May 1952 East Germany sealed its entire border with the capitalist west. Over the next 37 years 75,000 people would be arrested trying to flee the Communist East and hundreds would die in the attempt. Today the barbed wire and machine guns are gone and the old border has been transformed into a protected wildlife zone. It's a home to lynx, wolf and wildcat and a vital corridor for migrating birds and mammals. Mary-Ann Ochota begins her journey along the old border, meeting the people doing their bit to turn a birdwatcher's fantasy into the world's longest nature reserve. (Photo: Mary-Ann Ochota walks the route of the Iron Curtain through central Germany)
6/22/202227 minutes, 45 seconds
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Life on the line

Ladakh is a region at the centre of the 50-year-long border dispute between India and China, which flared up again in June 2020. Journalist and broadcaster Ed Douglas speaks to local village leaders whose communities are struggling to preserve their lives and livelihoods amidst perpetual military unrest. He also speaks to former politicians and political experts about the consequences of what happens here for the wider geopolitical stability of Asia’s two biggest countries, and those caught in between. (Photo: Himalaya monks. Credit: Dinesh Deokota)
6/15/202227 minutes, 8 seconds
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Saving Asia’s water towers

If the Himalayan glaciers melt, a billion lives and whole ecosystems will be at risk. Journalist and broadcaster Ed Douglas joins innovative community projects in Ladakh and Nepal looking to mitigate the impact of climate change now and in the future. Their success or failure will determine the future environmental security beyond their local region, to all of Asia. Presenter: Ed Douglas Producer: Clem Hitchcock Editor: Susan Marling A Just Radio production for BBC World Service (Photo: A valley in the Himalaya mountain. Credit: Ed Douglas)
6/8/202227 minutes, 10 seconds
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High lives

Spanning five countries, the Himalaya is home to peoples who have adapted to living in the harshest of conditions. Journalist and broadcaster Ed Douglas, author of the first major history of the Himalaya has been visiting these remote communities for 30 years. Now they are opening up to him about the challenges of living on the roof of the world. Ed's friends from the Sherpa and Rai groups in Nepal reveal how genetically and practically they have evolved to be able to live long term at such altitudes and how seismic political and economic shifts in lands far below are forcing fundamental changes in their way of life up above. Ed also reveals the often overlooked cultures and achievements of the diverse ethnic groups that make up this region including interviews with artists, musicians and record breaking athletes. Presenter: Ed Douglas Producer: Clem Hitchcock A Just Radio Ltd production for BBC World Service (Photo: A Nepali woman in the mountains. Credit: Dinesh Deokota)
6/1/202227 minutes, 49 seconds
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Money, money, money: Power

Do we still have faith in money? Trust expert and fellow at the Said Business School at Oxford University, Rachel Botsman, investigates the shifting power plays in the global management of money, gathering pressures towards decentralisation and optimism in the world of finance. Presenter: Rachel Botsman Producer: Frank Stirling and Leo Schick A Storyglass production for the BBC World Service (Photo: A man uses contactless payment with QR code in supermarket. Crdit: Getty Images)
5/25/202227 minutes, 40 seconds
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Money, money, money: Psychology

Rachel Botsman, a Trust expert and fellow at the Said Business School at Oxford University, looks into the psychology and the morality of money. Among others, she talks to Jain accountant Atul K. Shah, activist and onetime refugee Ghias Aljundi and psychologist and happiness guru Dr. Laurie Santos. Producer: Frank Stirling and Leo Schick (Photo: Businessman reaching out for falling bank notes. Credit: Getty Images) A Storyglass production for BBC World Service
5/18/202227 minutes, 32 seconds
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Money, money, money: Value

In the second episode Rachel explores the subject of value. Beginning with the volatility of Bitcoin, she goes on to find out about growing up in Brazil's years of hyperinflation, living in the gift economy of an Indonesian island and whether money is the root of happiness. Producers: Frank Stirling and Leo Schick (Photo: A representation of the virtual cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Credit: Edgar Su/Reuters) A Storyglass production for the BBC World Service
5/11/202227 minutes, 37 seconds
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Money, money, money: Trust

Do we still have faith in money? Trust expert and Fellow at the Said Business School at Oxford University, Rachel Botsman, talks to people from all over the world about their relationship with cash, with banks, with currencies, with credit cards and crypto. In this first episode she asks how much we should trust money. With politician and former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, economist and author Eshwar Prasad and investor and entrepreneur Soulaima Gourani. (Photo: Thousands of citizens gathered in front of the Greek parliament and around the Constitution Square, to protest against the vote on second bailout reforms. Credit: Dimitrios Sotiriou/Getty Images)
5/4/202227 minutes, 8 seconds
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Slick: 4. The oil thieves

The newest player in the Niger Delta is not a multinational company, it is Nigeria’s enormous illegal oil industry. Oil thieves cut the pipelines, siphoning off oil, which they refine in the bush and sell on the black market. BBC West Africa correspondent Mayeni Jones meets an oil thief king pin, as well as an exuberant local politician, taking on this illegal business and treks deep into the forests of the Niger Delta to visit an underground refinery. And we catch up with Victoria Bera. For decades, she has been in a prolonged legal battle against Shell in courthouses around the world. Will she finally get the justice she seeks? Presenter: Mayeni Jones Producer: Josephine Casserly Editor: Bridget Harney (Photo: Illegal oil refinery in Emuoha, Niger Delta. Credit: Fyneface Dumnamene)
4/27/202227 minutes, 49 seconds
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Slick: 3. Black creeks

BBC West Africa correspondent Mayeni Jones travels to the creeks of the Niger Delta to investigate the impact that oil pollution continues to have on communities and their environment. What she finds is alarming. And she speaks to Shell to ask them who is to blame for the ongoing environmental damage. Presenter: Mayeni Jones. Producer: Josephine Casserly Editor: Bridget Harney (Photo: Landscape destroyed by oil pollution. Image courtesy of Fyneface Dumnamene)
4/20/202227 minutes, 26 seconds
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Slick: 2. On trial

In the 1990s, as oil spills devastate the environment, Shell becomes persona non grata in Ogoniland. Then, when Ken Saro-Wiwa, Ledum Mittee and other activists leading the charge against Shell, are accused of incitement to murder, they come face to face with the power of Nigeria’s military government. BBC West Africa correspondent Mayeni Jones investigates a miscarriage of justice which has become an infamous moment in Nigerian history. Presenter: Mayeni Jones Producer: Josephine Casserly (Photo: Ken Sara Wiwa Credit: Tim Lambon/Greenpeace)
4/13/202227 minutes, 18 seconds
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Slick: 1. The great white hope

When oil company, Shell D’Arcy first struck black gold in Nigeria, there were celebrations on the creeks of the Niger Delta. Many of the locals had no idea what this thick black substance was, but it would go on to shape their lives and those of everyone in the region for decades to come. BBC West Africa correspondent Mayeni Jones hears about how hope and hospitality turned to resentment in the early days of oil in Nigeria. Reporter, Mayeni Jones Producer, Josephine Casserly Editor, Bridget Harney (Photo: A man holds a pool of black oil in the palm of his hands, collected from oil pollution caused by a damaged pumping station in Nigeria. Photographer: George Osodi/Bloomberg, courtesy of Getty Images)
4/6/202227 minutes, 28 seconds
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Emotional Baggage: June Angelides

Psychiatrist Henrietta Bowden Jones talks to June Angelides about how she set up Mums In Tech on maternity leave, and how she was inspired by her entrepreneurial family in Nigeria, and particularly by her late grandmother. June reveals why she gave up a good job to set up the first coding academy in the United Kingdom for young mothers. And talks about the stress it caused but also knew that the time was right for her to do this. June followed in the footsteps of her uncle Ben Murray Bruce, who built the first multiplex in Nigeria and went on to become a senator. For her services to women in technology, she received a MBE in 2020. But it was not always easy growing up in Nigeria, with regime changes and sporadic rioting, as well as living with the fear of home invasion. Presenter: Henrietta Bowden Jones (Photo: June Angelides. Credit: David Aiu Servan-Schreiber,/MTArt Agency)
3/30/202227 minutes, 40 seconds
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Emotional Baggage: Halima Begum

Halima Begum is the CEO of the race equality think tank The Runnymede Trust. Her career as a civil rights campaigner began when she formed Women Against Racism in 1993, which was forged by her experiences of being racially abused by the National Front every day she went to school in East London. She reveals just how her mother coped with the threats that the family received on a daily basis. And it how it contrasted sharply with the welcome and love that Halima received from the teachers in her local school. Her parents had already known conflict in their homeland, as Halima was born two years after the brutal civil war between Bangladesh and Pakistan, which traumatised many Bangladeshis. She tells psychiatrist Henrietta Bowden Jones how those experiences have shaped her life and opinions.
3/23/202240 minutes, 31 seconds
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Emotional Baggage: Maya Youssef

Musician Maya Youssef talks about her painful decision not to return to her parents' house in Damascus when the civil war in Syria began. She reveals how playing music brings back such vivid memories of her homeland that she feels she has returned to her birthplace, even though she has not been there for over a decade. (Photo: Maya Youssef and her qanun. Credit: Igor Studio)
3/16/202232 minutes, 3 seconds
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Emotional Baggage: Dina Nayeri

Psychiatrist Henrietta Bowden-Jones talks to novelist Dina Nayeri about her experience of escaping Iran and seeking asylum. The author of The Ungrateful Refugee reveals why she left her homeland without her father, her "co-conspirator in life", and why that sense of loss that has always stayed with her. (Photo: Iranian American novelist Dina Nayeri during the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2019, Scotland. Credit: Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images)
3/9/202227 minutes, 7 seconds
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It's a Bird's World: Noise pollution

When noise levels rise, birds react. Noise is one of the top environmental hazards to which humans are exposed. It has also been linked to reduced breeding success and population decline in birds. So what happened to birds during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown when our cities fell silent? Many people said they could hear birds as they were singing louder. Did their singing change and if so, how and why? What can we learn about noise pollution and its effects on us from the birds? Presenter: Mya-Rose Craig Producer: Sarah Blunt (Photo: Zebra Finch Zebra Finch - Poephila (also: Taeniopygia) guttata. Credit: Science Photo Library)
3/2/202227 minutes, 6 seconds
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It’s a Bird's World: Viruses and infection

Just like us, birds can become infected with viruses – and some of these can be transferred to us. As we’ve seen with the coronavirus pandemic, there are real challenges when it comes to controlling the spread of viral infections. Any attempt to try and stay one step ahead of a virus requires really good monitoring, especially as many birds travel long distances and migrate. Birds are invaluable as sentinels in our attempt to map and control the spread of infection. In this episode we look at how water birds, poultry, jays and sage grouse have alerted us to the spread of diseases which affect them and us in the environment. (Photo: A chicken)
2/23/202227 minutes, 23 seconds
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It's a Bird's World: Toxic substances

How the deaths of vultures and sparrowhawks have alerted the world to serious environmental problems. Like the canaries which were used to detect toxic gases in coal mines, birds play a vital role in alerting us to substances which can damage a healthy environment. The price they pay to alert us can be losing their lives. Presenter: Mya-Rose Craig Producer: Sarah Blunt (Photo: White-rumped vultures, slender-billed vultures and Himalayan griffons feed on a dead cattle. Credit IUCN/Sarowar Alam)
2/16/202227 minutes, 26 seconds
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Why We Play: Old age

Many of today’s old people grew up in an era when life was hard, retirement short, and opportunities for play limited. But as we live longer, we need to seek out playful activities, for both physical and mental health. We visit a bridge club for older people, where many members started to learn the game after they retired, to keep their brains sharp and give them social opportunities. We visit a care home in Scotland where the management frequently organise play sessions, such as pretend weddings, and where disco bingo is a regular event. And in Jerusalem, we meet two older men, one Arab, one Jewish, who come together over a shared love of backgammon. But will the old people of tomorrow want to move beyond these traditional games, and if so, what will the play of the future look like?
2/2/202227 minutes, 10 seconds
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Adulthood and the importance of play

As an adult you have responsibilities, and life settles into routine. Researchers have found that even in the most boring jobs, workers find ways to introduce elements of play to make the time pass, while people with more creative occupations use play to free their imaginations and release creativity. The Situationist art movement of 1950s Paris thought that play was a political act, and that the city could be used as a playground to rebel against the restrictions of capitalism. Their legacy lives on in the immersive “street games”, such as snakes and ladders played in multi storey car parks and city-wide zombie hunts. But this natural tendency to play is also being co-opted by employers, some of whom want to “gamify” boring jobs, to make workers more productive by turning the tasks into a game, or who encourage their employers to play at work to make them more creative. Can workers really be asked to play on demand, and what happens when they play in ways that the employers never expected or wanted? Presenter: Steffan Powell Producer: Jolyon Jenkins (Photo: Performers of The Free Association. Credit: Lidia Crisafulli)
1/26/202227 minutes, 21 seconds
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Adolescence: Discovering identity through play

As we grow into adolescence, the playfulness of childhood seems to disappear. Teenagers discovering their identity are engaged in a serious quest. There are unwritten rules to learn and to follow, and to be too spontaneous puts you at risk of ridicule. But while teenagers are less playful they are playing nonetheless, the obvious examples being sport and video games. As today’s teenagers live in a culture where the boundaries of the real and virtual are ever more fluid, video games offer a space free of adult supervision, where they can make friends (both on and offline), rehearse their identities, and accumulate “cultural capital”. Far from the stereotypes of the solitary gamer playing violent shooter games, many of today’s successful video games help teenagers to navigate issues of anxiety, depression, and identity. In Lagos, we find researchers using virtual reality games to help schoolchildren to understand and develop empathy for those from different ethnic backgrounds. And we ask whether playfulness can help teenagers and young adults communicate messages to potential partners. Presenter: Steffan Powell. Producer: Jolyon Jenkins (Photo: A teenager smiles as he plays a video game. Credit: Getty Images)
1/19/202227 minutes, 20 seconds
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Childhood: Exploring the world through play

In the earliest years of our lives, play is crucial to building our understanding of our surroundings, culture and even ourselves. The UN considers play to be a fundamental right for every child, and a growing body of interdisciplinary research is leading to greater implementation across the globe. But how do we begin to define something that is so intrinsic to our human nature? We look into the very beginnings of play and how our first interactions with adults have a lasting impact on the way we deal with later life. In Bangladesh, we drop in on Play Labs run by international development organisation BRAC which works to empower preschool children in deprived and fragile communities. We learn about a Boston elementary school which uses guided recess – not only to keep kids physically and mentally well, but to teach them skills such as conflict resolution and leadership. How does play in those first few years of life affect the way we communicate, engage with, and understand the world? What’s at stake if we lose out? Presenter: Steffan Powell Producer: Amelia Parker
1/12/202227 minutes, 20 seconds
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Hope – Amal

The road to democracy is rarely straightforward. There are steps forwards, and backwards, and times when it feels like you’re just not going anywhere at all. So what does the future hold for the countries of the 2011 Arab Spring Revolutions? Where can people look for hope now? Abubakr and Ella al-Shamahi explore if Tunisia’s new democracy is at risk, after what some are calling the coup of July 2021, when the Tunisian President sacked the PM and assumed executive power. They ask what the solutions are for the war-torn countries of the Arab Spring, like Syria and Yemen, and consider what the legacy of 2011 is. Is it the youth who have an awareness of a revolutionary history and how far people will go to gain their freedom? Are the youth where we look for hope now? (Photo: A Tunisian protester sits on top of a gate outside the parliament building in the capital Tunis, July 2021 follow the president's dismissal of Prime Minister, Hichem Mechichi. Credit: EPA)
1/5/202227 minutes, 24 seconds
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Displacement - Tashreed

While movement of people was a feature of the Middle East and North Africa (as it is worldwide) before the revolutions of the Arab Spring, there are now 11.7 million internally displaced people in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, and more than 2.7 million refugees across the region. People are fleeing war and humanitarian disaster, economic problems and political persecution. Many have fled their homelands entirely, and many more have had to leave their homes and move to different parts of their home countries. Brother and sister Abubakr and Ella Al-Shamahi speak to displaced people, all with different reasons for leaving their homes, and with different experiences in the years since 2011 - from a man living in a camp for internally displaced people in the last rebel held area of Syria, to their cousin, a political refugee living in exile in the UK.
12/29/202127 minutes, 25 seconds
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Bread - Khubz

Freedom is important - but what is the use of freedom if you can’t put food on the table? Ella al-Shamahi and Abubakr al-Shamahi look at the importance of the economy in starting the protest movement itself, and how the citizens of these regions view their economic standing a decade on. They speak with young Tunisians who are bearing the brunt of a devastated economy, and investigate how power is still tied up within economic opportunities under the rule of President Al Sisi. And they hear from one of the few monarchies in the region to experience protests - Jordan. (Photo: A protester raises a loaf of bread in protest against police brutality, marginalisation and the economic, social crisis in Tunisia. Credit: Chedly Ben Ibrahim/NurPhoto/Getty Images
12/8/202127 minutes, 34 seconds
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Freedom - Hurriya

Across the region in 2011, protesters in their hundreds and thousands were all asking for the same thing - their freedom. Journalist Abubakr al-Shamahi and presenter Ella al-Shamahi examine how far human rights have progressed in the countries of the Arab Spring, turning first to the country so often held up as the success story of the Spring - Tunisia. Women were central to the mobilisation of protests here; Abubakr and Ella speak to activists and lawmakers to find out whether women are better off now than under Ben Ali’s dictatorship, which crumbled in 2011. Then to Egypt, where quickly after the euphoria that erupted with the ousting of Hosni Mubarak, Egyptians witnessed a military coup that plummeted the country into an even tougher political climate. How do Egyptians keep hope alive now? Producers: Sasha Edye-Lindner and Gaia Caramazza (Photo: Supporters of Nahda Movement attend a rally marking the eighth anniversary of the Arab Spring, Tunis. Credit: Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
12/1/202127 minutes, 32 seconds
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How do refugee crises end?

Katy Long hears stories from refugees who have returned to their homeland, to those who have been resettled, and to those who are still in limbo, she examines how does a refugee crisis end. (Photo: Afghan refugees seen during a protest outside the UNHCR office for various demands, 24 August, 2021, New Delhi, India. Credit: Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times/Getty Images)
11/24/202127 minutes, 14 seconds
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What do we owe refugees?

Katy Long hears stories from refugees and those who work to support them from Rwanda to Russia, and Israel to Paraguay. She asks what do we owe refugees? (Photo: A person holding a "refugees welcome" placard seen in the crowd. Credit: EPA)
11/17/202127 minutes, 11 seconds
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Who is a refugee?

In the aftermath of World War One, as Turkey filled with refugees fleeing a brutal civil war, the first refugee camps appeared and the international community stepped in to appoint the first High Commissioner for Refugees. In this first episode Katy Long hears stories from refugees and those who work to support them from Rwanda, Germany and Russia, as she examines how refugee crises begin, and who is considered a refugee. (Photo: A queue of refugees awaits the assistances of Turkish relief organisations in Pazarkule camp on the border between Turkey and Greece. Credit: Belal Khaled/NurPhoto/Getty Images)
11/10/202127 minutes, 30 seconds
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Back to school

Does the misunderstanding of science begin in schools? Science journalist and former BBC Science correspondent, Sue Nelson visits the UK’s National Space Centre to discover how space is being used to entice children into studying science. She also speaks to teachers around the world about the challenges of ensuring the next generation better understand the scientific and technological world around them. Presenter: Sue Nelson Producer: Richard Hollingham (Photo: Pupils of the Ecole Vivalys elementary school, wearing spacesuits costumes for their project Mission to Mars. Credit: Stefan Wermuth/Getty Images)
11/3/202127 minutes, 28 seconds
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The Public Misunderstanding of Science: Racist robots

Sometimes it’s right to be sceptical about new technologies. US tech reporter Katherine Gorman joins Sue Nelson to report on artificial intelligence and how it’s rapidly pervading our lives. Katherine reports from New York on controversial facial recognition cameras and we hear how regulators are struggling to keep up with innovation. Image: Concept illustration of an electronic eye (Credit: ValeryBrozhinsky/Getty Creative)
10/27/202127 minutes, 9 seconds
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Toxic debates

Across Europe, activists fearful of 5G technology have attacked phone masts. Science journalist and former BBC Science correspondent Sue Nelson teams up with science reporter Hidde Boersma in the Netherlands to find out how conspiracy theories take root and what can be done to combat them. She also hears how scientists can improve their communication and what they have learnt from debates around climate change. (Photo: Protesters march against 5G technology in 2019, The Hague, Netherlands. Credit: Michel Porro/Getty Images)
10/20/202127 minutes, 4 seconds
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Trust: What is the best way to communicate public health messages?

Anti-vaxxers, flat Earthers, 5G arsonists and climate change deniers – why have so many people given up on science and where are governments, scientists and the media going wrong? As Covid-19 continues to affect us all, what is the best way to communicate public health messages, when the bottom line is saving lives? Umaru Fofana reports from Sierra Leone on the Ebola prevention and vaccine campaigns and former BBC science correspondent, Sue Nelson, speaks to public health experts and fact checkers about efforts to combat misinformation. (Photo: Pupils look at an Ebola prevention poster during a sensibilisation campaign provided by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in Abidjan. Credit: Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images)
10/13/202127 minutes, 39 seconds
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Thailand: Asia’s sugar bowl

Lainy Malkani looks into the story of sugar in Thailand, now the second biggest exporter of sugar in the world. We hear how farmers there are coping with climate change, what sustainable production might look like and what sugar cane can be used for once the sweet juice has been removed, from fuel to water bottles. Lainy looks at the future of sugar, talking to those experimenting with sugar to try to make it healthier, like the company Douxmatok, who are hacking sugar crystals at a structural level in an effort to help us eat less of it without compromising on taste. Presenter: Lainy Malkani Producer: Megan Jones
10/6/202127 minutes, 37 seconds
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USA: Plantations and plains

Lainy Malkani focuses on the story of sugar in the USA. From one of the oldest confectionery shops in New Orleans where the local delicacy of pecan nut pralines are made every day, to a former sugar plantation along the Mississippi river, she hears about the role of sugar in the history of Louisiana. She speaks to Khalil Gibran Mohammed about the legacy of sugar and slavery in the region, and hears from the manager of the Whitney plantation about what remains there today. From there to the sugar beet plains of the mid-West, Lainy looks at how sugar has influenced government policy over time, and how the commodity has become central to American culture, its diet and economy today.
9/29/202127 minutes, 11 seconds
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Getting granular

Humans have always been delighted by sweetness. In this three part series Lainy Malkani explores how sugar forged the modern world, from its role in the slave trade and the European colonisation of the Americas, to the consequences of our dependency on it today. For some countries, their past is built on it; for others, their futures depend on it. Across Britain, the USA and Thailand, Lainy digs into the past, present and future of sugar. Beginning in London, Lainy samples sweet treats in Brick Lane with the food writer Ruby Tandoh, examines sugar cane in the tropical Palm House at Kew Gardens with botanist Dr Maria Vorontsova, and traces sugar’s journey from luxury to necessity centuries ago with the historian James Walvin. She visits the West India Docks on the River Thames where sugar - harvested by slaves in the Caribbean – arrived for refining in the early 1800s, and considers how sugar has shaped the city today. (Photo: Spoonful of sugar added to coffee)
9/22/202127 minutes, 37 seconds
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Building a state

A decade after the end of dictatorship, Libya is gearing up for planned elections at the end of this year that many hope will finally bring a peaceful and democratic future. The country is slightly more stable since the end of civil war two years ago. But despite a peace agreement, it is still effectively split in two, politically and militarily. Separate forces control the two halves of the country, backed by different foreign powers. And some think war will break out again. BBC reporter Tim Whewell, travels around Libya to find out what progress is being made towards building a state. He visits a spectacular horse-racing event - a sign of increasing prosperity. Travel around Libya is easier now. Some armed groups have been integrated into official police and army structures. Tim visits a new government checkpoint. But he discovers many people are still terrified of militias that appear to have been "regularised" in name only. Activists and journalists who voice opinions that armed groups dislike can be threatened, and even abducted - with courts often powerless to intervene. One radio station which sprang up as a lively forum for debate after the revolution no longer dares to broadcast talk shows. Tim talks to a former presenter who was jailed and tortured by a militia after taking part in a young people's protest against corruption. He also interviews former interior minister Fathi Bashagha, who hopes to lead Libya after the elections. What is his plan to achieve security and justice? And what can be done to stem the rising numbers of Libyans attempting the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean, seeking a new life in Europe? Presenter: Tim Whewell Producer: Bob Howard (Photo: Traditional Libyan horseman in Misrata, Libya Credit: BBC)
9/15/202127 minutes, 59 seconds
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The rule of the gun

BBC reporter Tim Whewell, who covered the 2011 uprising, returns to the country to ask why plans to integrate the militias into a unified national army came to nothing. He talks to past and present militiamen - including the young man Wadah al-Keesh, who later left his group in disgust - and Mohammed al-Durat, truck-driver turned police commander, who has reunited with a band of friends to fight in every major battle over the last ten years - and believes he will in future too. Tim talks to revolutionary politician Abdul-Rahman al-Suwayhli and famous brigade commander Salah Badi about the lead-up to civil war - and hears too about its human cost from a young woman, Rasha Akhdar, who lost her father in fighting around Tripoli. Back in Britain, he learns the inside story of the UK's failed attempt to train a new Libyan fighting force from senior military officer Hugh Blackman - and asks former foreign secretary William Hague whether foreign powers could have adopted different policies to help stabilise Libya.
9/8/202127 minutes, 30 seconds
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Libya's Revolution: A dream of freedom

In February 2011, the arrest of a human rights lawyer in Libya sparked an uprising against the 42-year dictatorship of Col Muammar Gaddafi. The Revolution spread - supported by foreign airstrikes - and within eight months Gaddafi was killed, his regime overthrown. It was one of the climactic moments of the 'Arab Uprisings’. But what happened afterwards to Libya's Revolution? Ten years on, it is still unfinished. It has brought thousands of deaths, civil war, a strategically vital and oil-rich country still effectively divided in two. BBC reporter Tim Whewell, who covered the 2011 uprising, returns to Libya to find out what went wrong. Tim meets the lawyer Fathi Terbil - the "spark of the revolution", and Iman Bugaighis, spokesperson of the rebel government. Former British foreign secretary William Hague discusses the calculations that led to foreign intervention. Does he still believe the West was right to get involved? (Photo: Libyan rebels and Benghazi residents celebrate the passing of a UN resolution on 18 March, 2011 in Bengazi, Libya.Credit: Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images)
9/1/202127 minutes, 22 seconds
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Can America change?

International economist Jim O’Neill asks economists and historians if President Biden’s ambitions to ‘build back better’ - with a new focus on investing in human capital and addressing racial and financial inequalities - could result in fundamental changes to the characteristics of America’s economic system. Has the resilience that is critical to the DNA of America's economic system - its capacity to weather recurring financial storms and bounce back - survived Covid? (Photo: US President Joe Biden speaks as Vice President Kamala Harris (L) looks on at an event marking the day that families will get their first monthly Child Tax Credit relief payments through the American Rescue Plan. Credit: Alex Edelman/ EPA)
7/28/202127 minutes, 15 seconds
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Inflation and challenges to the dollar

International economist Jim O’Neill explores the implications for the dollar of America’s response to the Covid-driven economic crisis. With help from economists and historians, he asks if China can challenge the dollar's dominant place in the global economy - or whether digital currencies, such as bitoin, could prove more disruptive in the long term? (Photo: Representations of the Ripple, Bitcoin, Etherum and Litecoin virtual currencies on a PC motherboard. Credit: Reuters)
7/21/202127 minutes, 20 seconds
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Covid and economic stimulus

Prior to Covid, the US economy had been declining compared with other countries, and the pandemic itself highlighted existing weaknesses. Now America’s economy is surging, powered by President Joe Biden’s massive financial stimulus plan. International economist Jim O’Neill hears from economists who argue that new fiscal policies could support a transformational moment for America’s economy - and from others who warn that dangerous inflationary pressures are being stoked. (Photo: President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the state of his American Rescue Plan from the State Dining Room at the White House, Washington, D.C. Credit: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
7/14/202127 minutes, 14 seconds
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Gold: What does the future hold?

Jewellery designer, Rajvi Vora discovers more about precious gold as she looks ahead to the future of gold. With cryptocurrency snapping at its heels, can it remain a financial powerhouse? Ravi unearths what goldmines are doing to our planet and to the people who work at them, including the Indonesian families being poisoned by the goldmines on their back doorsteps. But there is a good side to gold too. She hears from the scientists beginning to tap into the potential of using nanogold to treat cancer.
7/7/202127 minutes, 10 seconds
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Gold: Its role around the globe

Jewellery designer Rajvi Vora discovers more about the precious metal that has had such an impact on her life, and the world. Rajvi is learning about gold’s current role across the globe and hoping to understand the many faces of it. From where it starts life in the goldmines of Colombia - hidden in lush forests that serve their communities, to Ghana where illegal goldmines are killing crops and livelihoods. She also speaks to celebrity jewellers making extravagant creations for the rich and famous in LA, and dip down into Dubai’s gold vaults where gold is stashed away as a safe haven investment. (Photo: 818 Vault, Dubai. Credit: Vikram Jethwani)
6/30/202126 minutes, 59 seconds
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23/06/2021 GMT

Throughout time our definition of what is valuable and what is rare changes. Yet as economies boom and bust and fashions come and go, one thing seems to remain both financially valuable and personally precious - gold. Across three episodes for The Compass, we will explore gold's past, present and future and humanity’s obsession with it - from being worshipped in the ancient world, to changing immigration forever during the Gold Rush, and the part it plays in our jewellery, coinage, finance and medicine. Presenting this programme is jewellery designer Rajvi Vora. As a third generation Kenyan of Indian origin, she understands the cultural importance of gold first hand, and takes us on a journey to discover more about this precious metal that continues to shape the world.
6/23/202126 minutes, 59 seconds
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Are we heading for a world without work?

Speaking with a variety of experts and working Americans, Daniel Susskind considers how we might negotiate a world without work. He hears the story of Youngstown, Ohio, where the collapse of the steel industry in the 1970s led to severe job losses and created a perfect storm of societal problems that a fresh wave of rapid automation could replicate on a mass scale. If we’re to avoid such a future, we’re going to have to rethink our attitudes towards taxation, wealth distribution, and even the nature of work itself.
6/16/202127 minutes, 37 seconds
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Automation and the future of jobs

Economist Daniel Susskind asks what the new wave of high-tech automation means for jobs. He hears from a company leading the way in the development of driverless trucks, and a long-haul truck driver who’s deeply worried about it. If jobs like trucking disappear, many of America’s millions of drivers may be forced into sectors like the service industry, but, as we hear on our visit to the world’s first automated restaurant, that isn’t immune to automation either. With technology already encroaching on traditionally white collar jobs as well, there’s only so much education and retraining can do.
6/9/202127 minutes, 19 seconds
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Machines: What they do now that they did not do before

Technology has complemented our work since the invention of the wheel, but we may finally be approaching a point where automation stands to replace some human jobs entirely. Economist Dr Daniel Susskind explores how automation is affecting work in the United States, from fully automated restaurants to driverless trucks, and hears from the people whose livelihoods are being affected. A world without work could be a utopia, but without the correct policy to ensure people still have incomes and a sense of purpose, it could look more like a nightmare. Daniel discovers just how advanced the field of robotic is becoming with a visit to the Oxford Robotics Institute, before heading to the US to hear how automation is already everywhere you look. He delves into the surprising history of automation in supermarkets, from the first forays of the 1930s to the fully automated shops we are starting to see today, and hear how the advancement of artificial intelligence has brought us to this point. Finally, we visit the Tyson Manufacturing Research Centre to hear how in America’s enormous meatpacking industry robots are increasingly doing work that until very recently could only be done by humans. Producer: Ned Carter Miles
6/2/202127 minutes, 13 seconds
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Gambling: A sure bet? USA

Native American Tribes have flipped their fortunes by building casinos on their land, but that is under threat from the new players in the market - the online sports betting companies. Dr Heather Wardle meets Greg Sarris, Chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria in Northern California, who shows her why his tribe’s casino is a lifeline to the local community, and how online betting on smartphones is the new threat to his tribe’s survival. (Photo: USA Graton Casino, owned by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria)
5/5/202126 minutes, 59 seconds
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Gambling: A Sure Bet? Albania

Albania was plagued by problems caused by gambling; high levels of debt, divorce and suicide triggered the government to ban it. But it did not have the desired effect. Instead the ban sent the industry underground and into the hands of organised criminal gangs. Dr Heather Wardle sets Fatjona Mejdini, a journalist who writes about Albania’s development, the task of investigating the state of gambling in her country and asks whether banning betting can solve the problems caused by it.
4/28/202127 minutes, 17 seconds
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Gambling: A Sure Bet? Kenya

Jonah is a university student, and a gambler. For him it is the only way he can earn a living. He explains why there are so few opportunities for young Kenyans like him and why betting on foreign football matches has become such an attractive and easy way to make money to fund his university studies. Gambling behaviour expert, Dr Heather Wardle, wants tougher laws on gambling but she wonders how that might impact the University students who need the money they earn from betting. Producer: Lydia Thomas (Photo: Jonah betting on the Premier League with his friends)
4/21/202127 minutes, 33 seconds
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Water is at the heart of many of the most serious ecological crises we face, including the biggest one of all: the climate emergency. Alok Jha shows how water itself may offer solutions to give us hope. Alok witnesses nuclear fusion in action at an experimental reactor in England. Simple seawater provides the fuel for this futuristic technology that has the potential to solve the world’s energy problems and eliminate fossil fuel power generation. Meanwhile chemist Fernando Romo walks us through the fascinating science of artificial photosynthesis, which allows humans to mimic plants, drawing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and storing energy in the process. But water historian Terje Tvedt cautions that the more reliant human societies become on water technologies, the more vulnerable we make ourselves to changes in the water landscape. An innovative 3D mapping project by activist geographer Hindou Ibrahim shows how technology must be married to grassroots organising and political action if it is to break out of the lab and help secure our water future. (Photo: Water droplets on a leaf. Credit: Getty Images)
4/14/202127 minutes
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Ecological crises

Journalist Alok Jha argues that if humans are to survive and thrive for the rest of the 21st Century we must urgently transform our relationship with water. Many of the serious geopolitical tensions over water as a resource that we looked at in the previous episode of this series are rooted in worsening ecological crises. In this episode, Alok shows how the global water crisis is inextricably linked to the climate crisis – and how neither can be dealt with alone. In Bangalore, we hear how incredible pollution levels led to a lake catching fire, before revealing how local water management decisions play into the global groundwater emergency. Then former Nasa scientist Jay Famiglietti provides a satellite perspective on the problem, showing how water disasters are both a result of the climate crisis and help fuel it. Back on earth, we hear what this means for Hindou Ibrahim’s pastoralist cattle herder community living on the edge of the rapidly shrinking Lake Chad, and Alok puts water lobbyist Maggie White on the spot to ask why water is not the urgent global priority it should be for leading politicians and policymakers. (Photo: Aerial photo of the Lake Chad, in the Bol region, 200km from Chad capital city N'Djamena. Credit: Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images)
4/7/202127 minutes, 1 second
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Water as a resource

Journalist Alok Jha shows how the way we are using freshwater has made it a precious finite resource. And it’s a resource on the edge of collapse. By 2050, over half the world’s population will live in a water-scarce region. But rather than working together to manage crucial water supplies, powerful states are manoeuvring to control the remaining stocks for themselves. Beginning with one family’s well drying up in the desert of Arizona, and following the story all the way to political tensions in the Middle East, Alok argues that we need to recognise water as the most important shared resource in the world and take advantage of its cross-border nature to encourage international cooperation. (Photo: The Jordan river on mountainside. Credit: Getty Images)
3/31/202126 minutes, 59 seconds
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How water shaped us

Journalist Alok Jha argues that if humans are to survive and thrive for the rest of the 21st Century we must urgently transform our relationship with water. To change that relationship, we first need to understand how the relationship evolved. Alok looks at cultural history to understand how water shaped our deepest psychology. Alok finds that our relationship with water – always struggling for a balance between too much and not enough – fundamentally influenced the religious and spiritual worldviews of early civilisations. And we still feel the effects of this in our attitudes towards water today. Alok uncovers a dark and compelling story of child sacrifice in 15th-Century Peru, hears how the water landscapes of Mesopotamia and Scandinavia shaped very different religious beliefs, and learns that many Islamic teachings about water have been echoed by modern science hundreds of years later. (Photo: Waterfall in a rainforest near Palenque, Mexico. Credit: Getty Images)
3/24/202127 minutes
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Forests of hope and the future

Writer Jessica J Lee, sets out to describe the myriad ways that forests operate in our lives and the life of the planet. In the final part of ‘Under The Canopy’, Jessica looks for stories of hope to set against the headlines depicting the mass deforestation that continues to take place around the world. She speaks with a variety of groups - in Canada, Burkina Faso, Brazil, Germany and Great Britain - who are finding different ways to re-invigorate forests, whether through peaceful protest, re-forestation programmes or internet start-ups. Jessica considers the best ways of re-building the strong, mixed forests that will prove so important in our battle against climate change. Forest sounds appear courtesy of the 'Sounds of the Forest' project Original musical composition: Erland Cooper Spells written by Robert Macfarlane and these are read by Maxine Peake and the Bird sisters Photo credit: Geoff A Bird
3/3/202127 minutes, 24 seconds
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Forests of folktale and imagination

Jessica unpicks the profound role that forests play in our imaginative life. We know of course that they feature heavily in the fairy tales and myths we use to navigate life as children, and as we hear from writers like Max Porter, Richard Powers and Melissa Harrison, they also offer ways of understanding the complexities of desire, politics and history in our adult lives. Poet Carl Phillips describes how forests mirror the wilderness within us, while Jinni Reddy tells of how she found beauty in the forest through facing down her fears. Forest sounds appear courtesy of the 'Sounds of the Forest' project Original musical composition: Erland Cooper Spells written by Robert Macfarlane and these are read by Maxine Peake and the Bird sisters Photo credit: Geoff Bird
3/3/202127 minutes, 10 seconds
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Forests of science and knowledge

Writer Jessica J Lee, sets out to describe the myriad ways that forests operate in our lives and the life of the planet. She outlines the exciting developments that have taken place in our understanding of the ways forests work over recent decades, with science offering radical new ways of recognising these places as communities of mutually supportive trees rather than competitive spaces where individual trees fight one another for survival. She speaks with Peter Wohlleben who is one of the chief communicators of this ‘Wood Wide Web’ idea, and also expert on fungi Merlin Sheldrake about the crucial importance of mycorrhizzal networks in forest life. Jessica also hears from biologist Diana Beresford Kroeger and Haida leader Miles Richardson about how this new science is built on the back of much older, traditional knowledge held within indigenous communities. Forest sounds appear courtesy of the 'Sounds of the Forest' project Original musical composition: Erland Cooper Spells written by Robert Macfarlane and these are read by Maxine Peake and the Bird sisters Photo credit: Geoff Bird
3/3/202127 minutes, 36 seconds
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The New Arctic: Power

Contrary to popular opinion, the Arctic is not a pristine, empty white desert. It is home to four million people distributed across eight distinct nation states: The USA, Canada, Kingdom of Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Russian Federation. Allan Little looks at how the region is fast becoming fraught with geopolitical tensions. Despite all sides stressing this is still an area of low tension, Russia is building up its military presence and capabilities, with Nato countries responding with large-scale Arctic training exercises. China’s interest in the region is also creating new security concerns. But at a local level, we discover a very different story - Norwegian and Russian border communities maintain long-standing friendships. Many argue that a new cold war is unlikely and geopolitics are overshadowing more urgent security issues facing the region. Future disputes are predicted over resource management and lucrative new shipping routes but not all-out war. And how important is the Arctic Council as the primary forum for dialogue and inclusion of indigenous voices, who must play a key role in the future of the region. (Photo: A family in the Tundra. Credit: Stine Barlindhaug)
2/24/202127 minutes, 32 seconds
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The New Arctic: Tourism

Allan Little looks at the growing tourism industry above the Arctic circle which is raising complex social, economic and environmental consequences for remote communities. On the one hand, there are sustainable, indigenous-operated businesses that benefit from increasing numbers of visitors in search of authentic reindeer experiences and the Northern Lights, but other regions are experiencing the problem of mass tourism. On the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, we see how the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of a seasonal tourism-based economy, as operators now fight for survival. Paradoxically, tourists are often drawn north to witness the Arctic before it melts, while their carbon footprint is only adding to the problem. We meet several tourism businesses providing greener, more sustainable alternatives, including the world’s first hybrid-electric whale watching vessel. Producer: Victoria Ferran (Photo credit:: Victoria Ferran)
2/17/202127 minutes, 29 seconds
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The New Arctic: Resource extraction

Global warming is happening twice as fast in the Arctic. As the ice melts, it poses an existential threat to local communities and indigneous culture, whilst opening up possibilities of economic opportunities. What is the future of mining, of green energy, of tourism in a world that climate change is making accessible for the first time in millennia? And where does power lie? Who will control the rapidly changing icy far north as it thaws? The US Geological Survey estimated the Arctic may be home to 30% of the planet's undiscovered natural gas reserves and 13% of its undiscovered oil. Russia for example, views its vast Arctic resources as a key driver of its future economy. On the other hand, the melting ice will cause trillions of dollars worth of climate change-related damage, globally, over the coming decades. But for the communities who live above the Arctic Circle, it’s not a simple debate over preservation versus production - there is a need for jobs and sustainable local economic growth. (Photo credit: Victpria Ferran.)
2/10/202127 minutes, 28 seconds
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The New Arctic: Communities under threat

Allan Little investigates how the climate crisis is impacting different communities above the Arctic circle, from infrastructure damage to loss of life, eroding land and endangering thousand-year-old cultures and traditional knowledge. They are our eyes and ears on the speed with which our planet is changing. We look at Nenets reindeer herding on the Siberian tundra, infrastructure damage in Longyearbyen (the world’s most northern town on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard), and a pioneering environmental program in Kotzebue, Alaska. For communities such as Pond Inlet (Mittimatalik) in Nunavut, Canada, climate change compounds existing challenges caused by colonialism and lack of economic development.
2/2/202127 minutes, 37 seconds
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My Perfect City: Communities in Barcelona

Barcelona has always put strong communities as a key aim of its urban planning. What has it got right, and should other cities follow suit? In the 19th century, Barcelona instigated the City Market system. Every neighbourhood had its own food market, where locals met and mingled, but some fell into disrepair, and new areas didn’t have them. A renewed interest in the past 20 years has seen new ones built and old ones invested in. In another major push, pilot schemes to reclaim public space by permanently pedestrianising streets have shown some success. These so-called “superblocks” have become car-less zones, with cafes, restaurants and children’s playgrounds reclaiming the streets which were once choked with traffic. Plans are afoot to broaden the initiative across the city’s more central districts. Fi Glover and panellists Dr Ellie Cosgrave, director of the UCL Urban Laboratory, and Professor Greg Clark, urbanist and global city adviser, test the credentials of the Barcelona “village city” model. Should it be added to the perfect city portfolio? The team also considers Addis Ababa’s attempts to build brand new liveable condominiums.
1/27/202127 minutes, 21 seconds
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My Perfect City: Women entrepreneurs in Kochi

The cosmopolitan port city of Kochi is the commercial capital of the southern state of Kerala, which has a special track record when it comes to gender equality. Female literacy and life expectancy rates are among the highest in India, and greater access to economic opportunities has made Kochi a hub for women-led businesses, which not only boosts the economy but has lasting development benefits for society as a whole. The newly elected Mayor of Kochi, M Anil Kumar, is keen to make female entrepreneurship a flagship policy by increasing access to funding, startup and incubation programmes. We also hear how women’s safety is key to ensuring they have equal access to the workplace. But how far does India’s deep-seated gender discrimination cast a shadow? Fi Glover is joined by urbanists Abha Joshi-Ghani and Dr Ellie Cosgrave to assess Kochi’s achievements. Is it a model for a perfect city? The team also consider Stockholm’s record on promoting women entrepreneurs. Featuring Pinky Jayaprakash, CEO and co-founder of edtech digital assessment platform SkEdu; Vinodini Isaac, president of the Women’s Entrepreneur Network; Dr Shoba Arun, reader in sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University; and EK Bharat Bhushan, Kerala’s former chief secretary.
1/20/202127 minutes, 40 seconds
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My Perfect City: Integration in Rotterdam

Rotterdam is lauded for its policies on integrating immigrant populations into the city. What exactly has it got right? The second biggest city in The Netherlands is like many port cities. Over the decades it has been a magnet for immigrant workers, whose descendants now number more than 50 percent of the population and tend to live in certain neighbourhoods. Racial tensions brought the problem of integration to the top of the political agenda. Today, holistic approaches tackle education and employment, as well as quite radical policies on housing. Fi Glover and panellists Professor Greg Clark, urbanist and global city adviser, and Liz Ogbu, social innovator and spatial justice activist, test the credentials of the Rotterdam desegregation model. Should it be added to the perfect city portfolio? The team also consider Durban’s path to desegregation.
1/13/202127 minutes, 21 seconds
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My Perfect City: Housing in Vienna

In Vienna housing is considered a basic human right. Is it a model other cities should follow? In the Austrian capital, 60% of citizens live in subsidised social housing. Rent is affordable and developments are built to a high design and environmental specification. Many include swimming pools, schools, medical and sports facilities, while people from all walks of life live side by side, encouraging social cohesion. Fi Glover and panellists Greg Clark, urbanist and global city adviser, and urban designer Pooja Agrawal test the credentials of the Viennese housing model. Should it be added to the perfect city portfolio? The team also consider Kigali’s public housing achievements.
1/6/202127 minutes, 8 seconds
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My Perfect City: Mental health in Singapore

People who live in cities are more likely to experience mental health problems than their rural counterparts. Has Singapore found a solution to improving its citizens’ wellbeing that other cities should follow? Greening urban areas, creating therapeutic gardens and high amenity public spaces, encouraging physical exercise as well as housing security and social services aim to reduce rates of common disorders such as OCD, anxiety and depression. Fi Glover and panellists Dr Ellie Cosgrave, director of the UCL Urban Laboratory, and urbanist Abha Joshi Ghani test the credentials of Singapore’s initiatives. Is it a mental health blueprint for our imagined urban utopia? The team also consider Dubai’s ambition to be the “world’s happiest city”.
12/30/202027 minutes, 36 seconds
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My Perfect City: Employment in Toronto

Fi Glover returns with panellists Dr Ellie Cosgrave, director of the UCL Urban Laboratory, and global city adviser Greg Clark to test the credentials of the most pioneering city initiatives around the world. Who is leading the way when it comes to solving humanity’s most pressing problems? With unemployment rising around the world in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the team assesses Toronto’s long-term strategy to boost employment. Following the decline of the manufacturing sector in Canada, its largest city Toronto faced high unemployment levels. But over the last 30 years it has taken steps to increase its labour market, diversify its employment sector and attract large numbers of people into work. Is it a model other cities should follow? The team also consider Taipei’s employment record.
12/23/202027 minutes, 50 seconds
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Finders Keepers: A house that came home

What chance do communities have of getting looted artefacts back, and what lessons do the world's museums need to learn? Stijn Schoonderwoerd and Wayne Modest describe how the Netherlands are trying to decolonise their museums. Maori elders Sir Hirini Moko Mead and judge Layne Harvey led a successful campaign for the return of a sacred tribal meeting house, stolen over a hundred years before - what can others learn from their experience?
12/16/202027 minutes, 29 seconds
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Finders Keepers: Icons and empire

Calls for the return of objects, looted from around the world are growing ever louder. Actor and musician Kema Sikazwe travels to London to see the Broken Hill Skull at the Natural History Museum. At the launch of the Return of the Icons campaign, V&A director Tristram Hunt explains how he is responding to Ethiopia’s formal restitution claim. Children’s author, Kandace Chimbiri describes how her writing fills gaping historical hole and French art historian Didier Rykner is convinced that President Macron’s approach, is fundamentally flawed. Should priceless parts of history be returned? And if so, what’s at stake? Theme music composed by Kema Sikazwe aka Kema Kay (Photo: Presenter, Kema Sikazwe in front of the Broken Hill Skull (which Zambia is trying to have repatriated from the UK) at the Natural History Museum. Credit: Will Sadler)
12/9/202027 minutes, 31 seconds
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Finders Keepers: A photograph, a pipe and a skull

Actor and musician Kema Sikazwe is no historical expert. A young Zambian who now lives in northern England, he hasn’t even set foot inside a museum since he was ten years old. All that changes when Kema learns about the movement to return stolen objects back to where they came from. Should these priceless parts of history be returned? And if so, what’s at stake? Kema measures the scale of the problem on a visit to Newcastle’s Great North Museum. Curator JC Niala shares her experience of seeing a photograph of her grandfather on display in a Kenyan exhibition, and Kema’s father tells him about an ongoing dispute between Britain and Zambia. Theme music composed by Kema Sikazwe aka Kema Kay Programme produced by Scattered Pictures
12/2/202027 minutes, 24 seconds
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Can Germany Save the World?: Stepping up on the world stage

Because of its war history, Germany remains frightened of being assertive on its own. Yet it holds the key to enabling Europe to become the third global pole to China and America. This programme looks at Germany’s current place in the world: the facts, the psychology and the consequences. John Kampfner visits Duisburg in the gritty Ruhr area with its ambition to become “China City”. He goes to the former East, where businesses are desperate for closer ties with their former ally, Russia. He discusses the dilemmas Germany faces in its dealings with Russia: tensions over the poisoning of the opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and questions over the completion of the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. He looks at the pressure Germany is under to increase defence spending, and asks whether the country is ready to be more assertive and to take its place on the world stage. And then there is the question of what Germany represents. Today, one quarter of those living there have a non-German ethnic background. It used to be the crossroads between East and West. Now it’s a magnet for the global south. Germany looks and feels different. This final programme assesses whether, through its foreign policy and increasingly diverse population, Germany could become the standard bearer for liberal democracy in a more uncertain and often authoritarian world. How confident is the country as it looks ahead to a time without Angela Merkel at the helm? Produced by Caroline Bayley
11/25/202027 minutes, 20 seconds
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Can Germany Save the World?: Building a post-Covid society

As governments around the world rethink their economies and societies after Covid, addressing the environment, towns and cities and the way we live, is it possible that Germany is closer to finding the answers? In this programme, John Kampfner looks at where they’re getting it right, and where they are going wrong. The contradictions are many. Why is a country with one of the most powerful and longest-established green parties struggling to meet its climate emissions targets? Given their strength in engineering and science, why have they fallen behind on some of the basics of tech? And in spite of the emphasis on social responsibility, why have there been so many high-profile corporate scandals? There’s another curiosity. It’s sometimes called 'entschleunigung' - work-life balance. But it’s more than that. Germans have generally shunned what they see as the sharp-elbowed culture of the Anglo-Saxon world. Where else would the disused Tempelhof airport in the centre of Berlin be kept for the enjoyment of local roller-bladers, cyclists and walkers rather than be developed into real estate? And what other capital city is toying with the possibility of giant property companies being forced to hand back private apartments to the state? Could this more eccentric form of communal capitalism present a model for the future?
11/18/202027 minutes, 57 seconds
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Can Germany Save the World?: Mutti and her crisis management

A year ago, many Germans were dismissing Angela Merkel as beyond her sell-by date. Her motto, "langsam aber sicher" (slow but sure), was seen as outdated. Covid has transformed that. It is not that she has particularly changed, it is just that the world has come to respect traits that had previously been derided. Germany has now dealt with three crises with extraordinary agility – from unification 30 years ago, to the influx of a million refugees in 2015 and now the pandemic. John Kampfner looks at these crises and how Germany and Merkel have responded to them. Through the experiences of people across the country, he finds that there is much that can be learned from the way Germany faces its challenges. Is Angela Merkel’s true strength as Germany’s Chancellor her ability to handle a crisis?
11/11/202027 minutes, 30 seconds
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Climate Wars: Central and Northern America

Will Robson investigates the impact climate change is having on human security in Central and Northern America. He examines how global warming is leading to mass migration across the region, and how a spike in freak weather events is undermining basic social infrastructures. He also hears why the avocado has become a “conflict commodity” in Mexico, and how climate change threatens the resilience of the USA’s power grid and its nuclear weapons arsenal.
11/4/202027 minutes, 33 seconds
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Climate Wars: The Sahel

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report identified the Sahel as a ‘climate change hot spot’, a region where human security is particularly threatened by the effects of global warming. Will Robson explores the area’s war-torn history and investigates how climate change is acting as the catalyst to migration, violent disputes over water and the growth of brutal armed extremists. He hears from those caught in the middle of conflicts in Mali and the Lake Chad region and discovers how drought and rapid desertification are fanning the flames of violence. Produced by Simon Jarvis and Tom Roseingrave. A Whistledown Production for the BBC World Service.
10/28/202028 minutes, 59 seconds
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Climate Wars: The new Cold War

Temperatures in the Arctic are rising at more than twice the global average, and as the ice pack melts, battle lines are being drawn between global superpowers eager to lay claim to newly uncovered mineral resources and trade routes. Will Robson examines the ratcheting up of tensions between Russia and the United States, as a growing number of military bases, missile tests and military exercises threaten the area’s stability. He also reveals how China has entered the fray – labelling itself as a “near-Arctic state” and investing in icebreakers and scientific research in an effort to gain access to the “polar silk road” – an increasingly ice-free and potentially profitable trade route across the Arctic ocean. Is the area set to become the battleground for a new Cold War?
10/21/202028 minutes, 9 seconds
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Climate Wars: Water conflicts

India and Pakistan are on the front line of climate change and are two of the most water-stressed countries in the world. Drought has already caused violent clashes, deadly protests and a spate of farmer suicides. Now tensions between the two nations have been ratcheted up by an acrimonious dispute over a proposed dam on the River Indus. Will Robson looks at how these conflicts over mankind’s most precious resource threaten the stability of the whole region. He starts at the local and interprovincial level, where the absence of formal dispute resolution mechanisms has led to an escalating threat of violence. He will also explore the geopolitical tensions surrounding the Indus River that runs from China through India and Pakistan, and at how climate change is threatening to derail historical treaties between these nuclear armed states.
10/14/202028 minutes, 41 seconds
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Climate Wars: Darfur

In a five-part series for the Compass, former Army Major Will Robson investigates how climate change is fuelling conflict across the globe, from guerrilla raids on farmer-herders in Africa to a chilling new Cold War in the Arctic. He’ll be speaking to both climate and conflict experts to unravel the complicated threads that connect climatic changes, violence, war and global insecurity. In the first episode, he focuses on what has often described as the first climate change war – the conflict in Darfur in Western Sudan – and hears from farmers and pastoralists who have returned to their war-ravaged lands to try to rebuild among the challenges of desertification and climate change. Image: Internally displaced Sudanese people prepare to collect water from a tap near their makeshift shelter within the Kalma camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Darfur, Sudan April 26, 2019 (Credit:Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters)
10/7/202027 minutes, 41 seconds
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The senses: Synaesthesia: When senses merge

Neurologist Dr Guy Leschziner explores the extraordinary sensory experiences of individuals with synaesthesia - a mash-up of senses where one sense automatically triggers another. Some synaesthetes hear colours, others feel sound. We meet James who perceives the world differently from most people, due to his brain’s unusual wiring. Whenever he hears a word he immediately gets a taste and texture in his mouth. As a child, he’d go by train to school with his mum, reading out loud the stations they passed through. His favourite was Tottenham Court Road because the word sounds taste of sausage, crispy fried egg and toast. Whilst James tastes words, 23 year-old synaesthete Valeria sees colours and feels textures when she hears music. She assumes everyone has that sensory experience until, at aged 14, she sees her dad’s astonished reaction! For Valeria, some music is so utterly exquisite it causes her intense, physical pain. Such variations in perception can also affect our internal world as Sheri, a painter from Canada, illustrates. After a stroke in her twenties she can no longer picture images in her mind. The condition, aphantasia (meaning ‘without a mind’s eye’) is so devastating Sheri calls it “internal blindness”. Our understanding of reality comes from how we perceive the world around us. But as we discover in this programme and throughout this series, each of us experiences a unique reality constructed by our brain and our sensory system. Leading us to question what is real and what is an illusion. (Valeria in the garden.Image taken by her brother Simone Perboni) .
8/26/202027 minutes, 26 seconds
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The senses: Smell and taste

Imagine spraying yourself with a flowery fragrance but all you can smell is rotting flesh? Our senses can be surprisingly strange, especially when they malfunction due to injury, disease or genetic abnormalities. In this episode, neurologist Dr Guy Leschziner, explores two senses, smell and taste - separate yet inextricably linked. We meet Joanne, whose sense of smell is so distorted after a heavy cold, even freshly-cut grass smells repulsive. We also hear from Walter who loves to cook and eat German cuisine but finds that pleasure is ruined when everything, even fine wine, tastes of metal. By contrast, 15 year-old Abi’s sense of taste is working properly. She can tell if her food is sweet or salty. But Abi was born without a sense of smell (anosmia), which also means anything she eats has no flavour – because that’s created by smell and taste working together. Loss of smell, an early symptom of coronavirus, has raised awareness of this important, yet neglected sense, often only appreciated when it’s gone. Yet so vital it’s wired directly to parts of the brain responsible for memories and emotion. Produced by Sally Abrahams for the BBC World Service. Photo: Abi in a field of yellow flowers. Credit BBC
8/19/202027 minutes, 44 seconds
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The senses: Hearing

From a whisper to the roar of thunder, every sound creates vibrations in our ears which the brain decodes, to tell us what we’re hearing. But as neurologist, Dr Guy Leschziner explains, when disruptions occur along the way, extraordinary things can happen, changing how we perceive the world. We meet Mark, who can’t hear his friends in a noisy pub but can hear the sound of every bodily function amplified in his head. Kelly gets spinning attacks that send her falling to the floor. The sensation lasts for hours and with every attack she loses hearing. She’s been told it’s Ménière's disease - an inner ear disorder that affects balance. Keen bird-watcher Bill recognises his hearing loss when he can no longer pick out the call of the smallest birds, but can hear elaborate musical tunes when there’s nothing playing. These astonishing cases show how tiny changes in our bodies can turn our understanding of the world upside down, leading us to question our own version of reality. Produced by Sally Abrahams for the BBC World Service. Photo: Kelly, who has been diagnosed with Ménière's disease Credit: BBC
8/12/202027 minutes, 55 seconds
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The senses: Vision

Vision is a complex process involving light rays, special nerve cells and electrical signals sent to the brain, which processes the information and tells us what we’re seeing. But even tiny disruptions to any part of this system can result in remarkable visual problems. Neurologist, Dr Guy Leschziner, meets 25-year-old filmmaker Oli, who’s only recently discovered something alarming: he’s missing half his vision in one eye - probably caused by a stroke he never knew he had. We hear from Dawn, whose eyes are working properly and yet she’s almost completely blind. Her visual problems are caused by damage to a vital nerve connecting her eyeballs and her brain. Susan describes how her epilepsy is causing visual distortions that mean she can see through a person as if they were transparent. And we meet Nina who’s been robbed of her sight after two separate accidents. And yet, she sees colours and terrifying images of zombie faces. She discovers she has Charles Bonnet Syndrome – visual hallucinations caused by loss of sight Through the extraordinary experiences of these individuals, we learn how vision is not like a video camera, a straightforward process of turning light into a picture. Produced by Sally Abrahams for the BBC World Service. Photo: Dawn with her dog in the garden.Credit: BBC
8/5/202027 minutes, 34 seconds
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The senses: Touch

Our skin contains millions of nerve endings and touch sensors that collect information about different sensations like temperature, pressure, vibration, pain and send it to the brain for processing and reaction. But it’s when our sensory system goes wrong that we learn most about how our senses help us understand the world around us. Neurologist Dr Guy Leschziner talks to Alison, whose delicious seafood dinner sends her nervous system haywire. Poisoned by fish contaminated with ciguatera toxin, her sense of temperature is turned upside down – so hot feels cold and the cold floor tiles burn the soles of her feet. We hear from Dawn, whose damaged nerve triggers excruciating pain down the side of her face – illustrating how our senses can trick us about the source of our agony. We meet Paul, who has broken every bone in his body, yet never feels a jot of pain. His rare genetic condition, congenital insensitivity to pain, means his brain never receives signals warning of damage to his flesh and bones. And whilst a pain-free life might sound appealing, we find out it has serious physical and psychological consequences. And through Rahel we learn about a lesser-known touch sensation, called proprioception. When it is not working, it affects our co-ordination. And for Rahel, that means she struggles to stay upright when it is dark. Produced by Sally Abrahams for the BBC World Service. Photo: Vicki and Paul Waters Courtesy of the Waters family
7/29/202027 minutes, 31 seconds
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Rethinking: The pandemic that changed the world

What will the world look like post-Covid? In an age of increasingly inward focus can a spirit of multilateralism prevail to meet the challenges posed by the reconstruction of national economies as well as the needs of poorer countries and the international organisations? And does the post-Coronavirus moment provide an opportunity to think differently about other global challenges, the foremost being climate change? Will we be able to “build back better”? Ian Goldin, Oxford University’s professor of globalisation and development draws on his experience as economic advisor to Nelson Mandela and vice president at the World Bank to argue that the gravest threat to humanity in a generation could be turned into an opportunity. But the challenges are many. He discusses them with - among others - pandemic expert Larry Brilliant; Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz; the editor of The Economist, Zanny Minton Beddoes; and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the chair of GAVI, the vaccine alliance.
7/22/202027 minutes, 34 seconds
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Remedies: The pandemic that changed the world

How should governments respond to the pandemic? The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc both to health systems and economies. Above all it has served to expose inequalities both within nations and between them. Hardest hit are countries in the developing world, where government finances do not permit the level of support to citizens or the private sector that has been provided by richer governments. Ian Goldin, professor of globalisation and development at Oxford University, sees the crisis as marking a turning point in relations between the state and the private sector. Even so, he asks whether governments are doing enough to address the economic impact of the pandemic and the resulting inequalities. He hears powerful testimony from his guests who include the economist Joseph Stiglitz, novelist and activist Arundhati Roy, Achim Steiner, the head of the United Nations Development Programme, and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the chair of GAVI, the vaccine alliance. Producer: Tim Mansel
7/16/202027 minutes, 29 seconds
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Reasons: The pandemic that changed the world

Why did coronavirus strike so fast and so hard? There was plenty of warning that a pandemic was inevitable, but when a new virus emerged in a wet market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the world proved powerless to prevent it spreading. The finger has been pointed in various directions: a failure by the Chinese authorities to communicate, a sluggish response from the World Health Organisation, an ignorance of history, and what Ian Goldin, professor of globalisation and development at Oxford University, has termed the ‘Butterfly Defect’ of globalisation. In this episode, Professor Goldin explores what he sees as the complacency of governments and a declining commitment to multilateralism as reasons for the new pandemic and its unprecedented economic consequences. He hears from, among others, IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva; the man who identified the Ebola virus, Peter Piot; and the historian Margaret MacMillan. Producer: Tim Mansel
7/8/202027 minutes, 43 seconds
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Window on the universe

The Hubble space telescope has transformed our view of the universe and put our lives on Earth into a truly cosmic perspective. As we celebrate thirty years of Hubble’s achievements, we look to the future of the space telescope and the potential of its ambitious successor. Hubble has produced a multitude of scientific discoveries, but it has also influenced our culture, art and music. It’s easy to forget that following its April 1990 launch, the space telescope was derided as NASA’s greatest failure. A faulty mirror meant it only produced blurred images and a daring Space Shuttle mission had to be scrambled to fix it. Hubble’s successor, the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), has had a similarly troubled start. Due for launch next year, the JWST has come close to being cancelled several times. Its budget has rocketed from $1 billion and it’s faced a succession of delays. With a final location 1.5 million kilometres from Earth, fixing any mistakes won’t be an option. But if it succeeds, the JWST will be powerful enough to look back to the very dawn of time. With mirrors so precise they can capture single photons, the telescope has the potential to reveal new planets in distant star systems and even whether they might be habitable. In The Compass: Window on the Universe, space journalist and author Sue Nelson examines the achievements of Hubble and what it has taught us. She talks to Hubble’s chief scientist about the space telescope’s future, as well as researchers and engineers working on the JWST. What difference will this new telescope make to humanity and our perspective on the universe? Image: A model of the James Webb Space Telescope at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland (Credit: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)
4/22/202028 minutes, 38 seconds
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Tech companies and free speech

Tech companies now find themselves in the firing line of free speech debate. To what extent can they duck the issue given their global coverage? Is it up to them to police what people say from the dangerous privacy of their own keyboards? And with truth and fake news being trumpeted by the highest powers in many lands can they be held responsible for drawing the lines in debates about what should or shouldn’t be said, posted or tweeted? And at the heart of the series is a desire to test the absolute conviction of those who would espouse free speech and see it as a basic human right? (Photo: Social media apps on a phone. Credit: Getty Images)
4/15/202027 minutes, 12 seconds
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Journalists: Free speech v personal safety

Robin talks to fellow journalists around the world who have to walk the fine line between an espousal of free speech rights and their own safety. Is there reason to be optimistic about the future? He travels to Paris to the former office of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine which saw many of its cartoonists and journalist murdered by jihadist gunmen. He meets the editor of the magazine which is currently forced to operate from a secret location for security reasons. On the streets of Hong Kong he joins journalists working for small online publications, reporting from the front line of the clashes between protesters and police in an environment where the larger press organisations are increasingly believed to be under the influence of Beijing. (Photo: Man sits in a cafe reading Charlie Hebdo, a satirical French magazine. Credit: Reuters)
4/8/202027 minutes
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Blasphemy or free speech?

Robin goes back to his own days as a young reporter when he covered the last blasphemy trial ever held in the UK. At the time it appeared archaic and the end of an era, but blasphemy still exists in many countries across the world. In many ways it is the oldest of all challenges to free speech, so can religions ever truly countenance a world in which free speech is held to be sacred? (Photo: Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death in Pakistan for blasphemy in 2010 and acquitted by the Supreme Court in 2018. Credit: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images)
4/1/202023 minutes, 49 seconds
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Freedom of speech in universities: Who draws the line?

Robin visits universities in Hong Kong, Oxford and Washington to establish how important free speech is to them and whether moves to block controversial speakers is compatible with what appears a fundamental freedom of expression in places where all ideas are encouraged and tested. Robin explores where the line is drawn regarding freedom of speech in universities, who draws it and what happens to those who cross it. Presenter/reporter: Robin Lustig Producer: Tom Alban and Neil McCarthy Editor: Philip Sellars (Photo: Hong Kong Polytechnic University campus, in Hong Kong, 2019. Credit: Getty Images)
3/25/202026 minutes, 59 seconds
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Courts and the right to free speech

Robin Lustig begins his journey in Washington DC where the first amendment is housed in the National Archive and serves as an almost sacred document. In this programme he asks how Courts around the world make decisions on Free speech. Can they find a line in the sand that shouldn’t be crossed? How do they decide what is, in the modern parlance, ‘hate speech’ and what is merely strongly expressed personal opinion? And can they ever be more than extensions of the political environment they inhabit? (Photo: The US Supreme Court, 5 February, 2009, Washington, DC. Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)
3/18/202027 minutes, 27 seconds
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What is the secret to a longer life?

Why do people who live in five communities around the world – known as Blue Zones- consistently outlive the rest of us on the planet? Professor Cregan-Reid goes in search of the secret of a long life. He visits Sardinia home to one of those long lived communities where several villages boast dozens of people aged 100 or more. What used to kill us routinely no longer does so - at least not in such numbers. By rights many, many more of us should be emulating the residents of the Blue Zones and living well beyond 100. Instead we are succumbing to lifestyle diseases and longevity could even be about to fall for future generations. The good news is researchers in the Blue Zones have identified seven easily adapted rules for a longer life! (Photo: Ushi Okushima, a 105-year-old woman from the village of Ogimi, Okinawa, Japan. The village is known as "longevity village" due to the long life span of residents there. Credit: Mie Kohiyama/AFP/Getty Images)
3/11/202027 minutes, 36 seconds
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Is height all in the mind?

Professor Cregan-Reid explores why we have all grown so fast recently. For four millennia we barely grew an extra inch but in the 20th Century pretty much every nation in the world shot up by between three and six inches. But it is not a uniform story; the Dutch have carried on growing and today their men and women tower over the world but in the US and the UK, height plateaued decades ago. And is being tall good for you? Yes, it seems, if you are a politician or industrialist; less so if you hanker after a career in entertainment. The orthodox thinking says nutrition is the key but Professor Cregan-Reid hears about new thinking which claims height is determined by how optimistic society feels about the future- is it really all in the mind? (Photo: A tall and small businessman look at each other. Credit: Getty Images)
3/4/202027 minutes, 41 seconds
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How modern life affects our sleep

For two million years we evolved in synch with our environment and our bodies were perfectly adapted for a physically rigorous outdoor life. That all changed when the Industrial Revolution brought about a transformation in how we lived and worked for which our bodies were unprepared. Professor Vybarr Cregan-Reid, describes how the great move indoors to a more comfortable but sedentary experience was changing our feet, our faces and our backs. In this second series he considers how modern life has impacted on the whole body experience, specifically on our sleep, our height and our longevity. In the first episode about sleep, he learns that sleep is not just good for us but the bedrock of our health. The modern world has helped us sleep better in some ways; our homes are more secure, our beds more comfortable and we can control our sleeping environment more effectively than in the past. But, we live in a noisy world. The electric light has banished true night, our jobs mean many of us are at work when we should be asleep and we have become dependent on personal devices that make it harder for us to drop off and to get a good night's sleep. Professor Vybarr Cregan-Reid speaks to some of the world's leading researchers about how sleep has changed and learns what we can do to achieve a good night's sleep and thus a longer life. (Photo: Young sleepy female using mobile phone, yawning late at night, lying in bed. Credit: Getty Images)
2/26/202027 minutes, 7 seconds
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Poland: Men and gender relations

It is a time of political change in Poland. The recent general election saw the biggest turnout since 1989 and the end of communism. And gender has become one of the most fraught political issues, with the ruling Law and Justice Party holding up LGBT rights and so-called 'gender ideology' as being enemies to the Polish way of life. Anything that goes against traditional values has the potential of being held as a threat to Polish identity. Tim Samuels and Anna Holligan travel to Warsaw and meet a young man who is struggling to get custody of his son because of what he sees as the prioritising of mothers over fathers; they look at why the far-right is on the rise among young men in Poland, and they go to a Legia Warsaw game to find out what men in Warsaw are really thinking about at this pivotal point for gender relations in Poland. (Photo: A man holds a sign reading We are Polish, we have Polish duties, during the March for Life, an anti-abortion march in Warsaw. Credit: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/Getty Images)
2/19/202027 minutes, 29 seconds
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Poland: Women

Tim Samuels and Anna Holligan travel to Warsaw to find out what's on the minds of men and women. It's a time of political change in Poland. The recent general election saw the biggest turnout since 1989. Gender has become one of the most fraught political issues, with LGBT rights and so-called 'gender ideology' being held up by prominent politicians as threats to the Polish way of life. It has been a challenging time for many women, with a proposed tightening of abortion laws and many women's organisations under threat. We go door to door with the social workers implementing Law and Justice's controversial 500+ policy that pulls women out of poverty while reinforcing traditional family values, we travel out of Warsaw to meet a paramilitary troop, and we look at the changing complexion of dating in a country where relations between men and women are subtly shifting. Producer: Ant Adeane and Barney Rowntree (Photo: Protesters with banner that reads - Freedom - in Gdansk, Poland, 2018. Credit: Getty Images)
2/12/202027 minutes, 28 seconds
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Mexico City: Men

Tim Samuels and Anna Holligan travel to Mexico City. As parts of the world go through something of a gender reckoning, have these forces made much of a dent in Mexico? Last time, Anna spent time with women in this sprawling metropolis, hearing how the ever-present threat of violence lingers below the surface for many. In this episode she hears from men. The first wisps of the MeToo movement have belatedly started to blow into Mexico, but this is unlikely to be fertile soil for an outburst of equality. This is a country where six out of 10 women say they have experienced some kind of violence. We hear from a teacher working in one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods of Mexico City, a psychologist, the editor of a men’s magazine and the father of a girl who was murdered by her boyfriend. Producers: Barney Rowntree and Ant Adeane (Photo: Men holding a Mexican flag tinted in red symbolising blood during a march for peace and to protest against a wave of violent crimes. Credit: Pedro Pardo/AFP)
2/5/202027 minutes, 56 seconds
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Mexico City: Women

Mexico has always felt like a country where men live on their own terms. A place where women strive for equality - and safety. More than nine are murdered in the country every day, according to UN Women. Tim Samuels and Anna Holligan travel to Mexico City and hear from a sports commentator, a domestic worker, journalists, newspaper editors and aspiring actresses. Mexican women are marching, calling on authorities to do more to combat the high rates of femicide - the murder of a woman because of her gender. Accusations of discrimination and harassment, most of them anonymous and in creative industries, have spread online. But what impact will the #MeToo movement have? Producers: Barney Rowntree and Ant Adeane Editor: Gloria Abramoff (Photo: Feminist students protest against femicide and violence against women in Mexico, Ibero University, Mexico City. Credit: Getty Images)
1/29/202027 minutes, 52 seconds
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Chinese Dreams: India

India and China have a complex and troubled modern history – including a fully-fledged war in 1962. Today Indian consumers seem to love all things Chinese, from the cheap plastic toys to smartphones and apps like Tik Tok. Some Indians think this success is a result of unfair trade. They think that Chinese imports are taking advantage of the relatively open Indian economy, while Indian companies are prevented from getting a foothold in China. This creates a huge trade imbalance between the two Asian giants. These flames are fanned by Indian perceptions of Chinese support for both Pakistan and Kashmiri ‘separatists’. An affiliate of the governing BJP party has called on consumers to boycott Chinese goods. And India has refused to sign a regional economic trade agreement to prevent China using it as a backdoor to the Indian market. Shabnam Grewal, a British BBC journalist of Indian descent, investigates the complex feelings that Indians have towards their increasingly rich and powerful neighbour – a combination of admiration, envy and even anger. Producer: Shabnam Grewal Editor: Hugh Levinson (Photo: Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Credit: Kenzaburo Fukuhara/AFP/Getty Images)
1/22/202027 minutes, 17 seconds
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Chinese Dreams: Kenya

There has been a lot of media focus on China’s investment in Africa’s physical infrastructure: but what about its play for Africa’s attention? CGTN, China’s state-run international TV station, has steadily increased its footprint on the continent from its African HQ in Nairobi – while Chinese-owned StarTimes is on its way to providing satellite TV access for 10,000 rural villages. Hundreds of African journalists have been trained in China. Does this represent a major shift in international focus, away from Western media sources (including the BBC) and towards well-funded Chinese outlets? Kenyan reporter Frenny Jowi hears of fears these developments will mean less scrutiny of China’s controversial multi-billion dollar deals with her country. Producer: Rob Walker (Photo: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Credit: Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Kyodo News Pool/Getty Images)
1/15/202027 minutes, 15 seconds
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Chinese Dreams: Canada

Canada has been sucked into a global dispute between the US and China. It started in Vancouver, with arrest on an American warrant of Meng Wanzhou, an executive with the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. China’s furious response caught Canada off guard. Two Canadians have been detained in China – seemingly in response, precipitating an acute foreign policy crisis. Canadian journalist Neal Razzell examines what could be the first of many tests for this nation, in which it is forced to choose between its two biggest trading partners. (Photo: Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to appear in British Columbia Supreme Court, Vancouver. Credit: Reuters/Lindsey Wasson)
1/8/202027 minutes, 23 seconds
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Chinese Dreams: Indonesia

Will the rise of China help or damage Chinese-Indonesians? The ethnic Chinese minority in Indonesia have long suffered discrimination – forbidden from taking jobs in government and the military and targeted during violent riots in 1998. In the city of Yogyakarta they are still not allowed to own land. But some Chinese-Indonesians have benefited economically from the rise of China, as middlemen between the two economies. Today, 8 of the 10 richest Indonesians are thought to be ethnically Chinese. And now more and more Indonesians are studying in China or learning Mandarin. BBC Asia Editor Rebecca Henschke asks if the rise of China and the growing prominence of some ethnic Chinese will create further resentment - or if there can be a happier outcome? Produced by Arlene Gregorius for the BBC World Service. Editor: Hugh Levinson. Chinese Dreams is a five-part series examining how China’s rise is affecting nations around the globe. (Image: Favian – a young Chinese businessman, standing in the warehouse of his family’s business in the city of Balikpapan in Indonesia. Credit: Yudistira Tribudiman/BBC)
1/1/202027 minutes, 20 seconds
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Chinese Dreams: Australia

As China grows in power, there are fears that it is trying to alter the course of Australian politics. The Australian government has legislated against "foreign influence operations" after allegations of Chinese spies making payments to lawmakers. More recently, there have been disputes on university campuses between students supporting the pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong and those loyal to mainland China – with allegations that the latter have the covert support of the Chinese Embassy. Are these genuine concerns, or are they merely the latest expression of covert racism towards Australia’s Chinese minority? Australian reporter Heidi Pett investigates for Chinese Dreams, a 5-part series examining how China’s rise is influencing countries across the globe.
12/25/201927 minutes, 20 seconds
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Chinese Dreams: The preview

As China grows richer and more powerful, its values are spreading. But what kind of impact is this having on the rest of the world? This mini-series, Chinese Dreams, visits Australia, Indonesia, Canada, Kenya and India to find out how the expanding reach of the most populous nation on Earth, is affecting the international community. From political policy to life on university campus, its influence is wide-reaching. Episode one features reporter Heidi Pett, investigating the concerns Australia has over its relationship with China. It is available Wednesday 25 December.
12/23/20193 minutes, 9 seconds
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The Kids are Alright: Tackling violence

In the South African town of Atlantis, a group of teenage reporters are speaking out against the rising levels of violence ripping at the fabric of their lives. Once a week, Temica Bonn, Logan Hansen and Meagan Lubbe broadcast a live show from Radio Atlantis inspiring conversations and educating the community on how gun crime is threatening the way they live. The team have been focusing on this topic for two years in the hope of steering young people away from a path which leads to guns and gangs. In London, it is knife crime which is scaring the neighbourhood where Shanea Oldham lives. After two violent events which changed the course of her life, she is starting a social enterprise to help young people in her community who are struggling to cope with the challenges that surround them. Sandra Kanthal meets some very brave and determined teenagers to hear how they are using their voices to fight for change on the streets where they live. (Photo: Temica Bonn, Logan Hansen, Meagan Lubbe, Monique Hansen. Credit: Sandra Kanthal)
12/11/201927 minutes, 6 seconds
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The Kids are Alright: Opportunity

Mohamad Aljounde is an 18-year-old student in Sweden. He is a keen photographer, amateur film-maker, a Syrian refugee and winner of the 2017 International Children’s Peace Prize. When the war in Syria broke out, he and his family fled to Lebanon where they lived for years. Due to a shortage of money, and a lack of school places, Mohamad’s education came to a halt. So, when he couldn’t go to school, he did a remarkable thing - he helped build one, and that school is thriving, providing an education to other Syrian refugees. On the other side of the world, 15-year-old Taarini Kaur Dang is building a million dollar investment fund in Silicon Valley to try and maximise the social impact one entrepreneurial teenager can achieve. What both these young adults have in common is a determination to grasp opportunities in the best and worst of circumstances.
12/4/201926 minutes, 30 seconds
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The Kids are Alright: Environment

Stella Bowles is a teenage environmental campaigner; one you probably haven’t heard about - yet. But she has sparked real change in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. Her school science project, and a great deal of persistence, led to a 15 million Canadian dollar project to clean up pollution in her local river. Now she is trying to show other teenagers around the world how they too can be guardians of their local waterways. Teenagers are often dismissed as too young to have an opinion and too inexperienced to make a difference. But throughout history, changes in society have been powered by youthful outrage and determination. Today’s young adults face a new array of dangers which will stretch out over decades. This is their inheritance, and they have a clear incentive to improve it. This is the first of a three-part series, in which Sandra Kanthal talks to teenagers around the world who are determined to be a voice for change. They are passionate, articulate and determined. Their experiences may provide inspiration to others who are fighting to make their world a better place.
11/27/201927 minutes, 38 seconds
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The Cold War Legacy: Angola

Andrew Harding travels to Angola, and the site of Africa’s largest battlefield in the Cold War. When Portugal relinquished its colonies in 1975, it looked as though a Communist-backed government would take over in Angola. Instead, there followed nearly 30 years of fighting: American and South African-backed rebels on one side, Cuban and Soviet-backed forces on the other. Nearly half a million Cubans – soldiers, doctors, teachers and technicians – made the six thousand mile journey to play their part in Angola’s long and bloody civil war. The Cold War ended thirty years ago, but its proxy in Angola rumbled on for another decade, fuelled as much by the rich resources of oil and minerals as by political ideology. Today, a peaceful Angola is one of the wealthiest countries on the African continent. Yet vast tracts of land are still contaminated by the hidden terror of landmines, and dotted with the rusting hulks of abandoned tanks. What will it take for Angola to be truly free of the legacy of Africa’s Cold War? Presenter: Andrew Harding Producer: Rebecca Lipscombe Picture Credit: BBC
11/20/201927 minutes, 25 seconds
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My Perfect City: Oslo

Oslo is now the fastest-growing major city in all of Europe. Its growth is attributed to high birth rates and migration. Oslo is keenly aware that as the city expands, it is important to do so in a sustainable way. As a result, they have made a commitment to reducing carbon use and emissions while they grow, which some would say is an impossible challenge. Can Oslo’s plans work? And can it avoid urban pitfalls that may lead to segregation and inequality? For cities that grow beyond their historic size, numerous problems can occur; from overcrowding, to inequality, to a potential loss of social cohesion as new populations arrive. But Oslo are doing their best to ensure that this does not happen. The city has proposed solutions in three crucial areas - decarbonising the city, ensuring social cohesion and a sense of belonging, and rebranding Oslo both internally for its citizens and as a new global player. Presenter Fi Glover, Dr Ellie Cosgrave, director of UCL City Leadership Laboratory and urbanist professor Greg Clark perform a rigorous investigation into the city's plans to grow quickly, but intelligently. They scrutinise the policies aimed at reducing fossil fuel emissions and creating a zero-carbon infrastructure, they look at the plans for preventing segregated neighbourhoods, and at how the city intends to ensure that new inhabitants feel welcome and part of the new Oslo identity. Can Oslo join the list of cities who can prove to be a real example to others around the world? (Photo: Sculptures by Gustav Vigeland displayed in The Vigeland Park in Oslo. Credit: Rune Hellestad/Corbis/Getty Images)
11/17/201950 minutes, 27 seconds
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The Cold War Legacy: India

Divya Arya looks at what happened in India at the height of the Cold War, and afterwards as the Berlin Wall came down, 30 years ago. She explores the rich politics of a country which chose not to pick a side during the Cold War. Where realpolitik and clever diplomacy have been key components for Indian leaders on the world stage from Jawaharlal Nehru in the 1940s to Narendra Modi today. As two superpowers fought for power and influence during the Cold War, India played a game of diplomacy, moving between the USA and Soviet Union, whilst trying to prioritise its’ own interests. The Non Aligned Movement was founded in a newly independent India, by the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. It is the position that India took when it formed a coalition of countries which refused to pick a side, instead remaining friendly with both. Nehru believed that in an atomic age, peace was the only guarantee of survival. This stance was tested during the 1950s and 1960s; India signed a quasi-military agreement with the Soviet Union but trade liberalisation has brought India closer to the USA more recently. How is India navigating international relations today? Does it bend to the will of the USA or can it continue to choose its own path as it did during the Cold War? Presenter: Divya Arya Producer: Nina Robinson (Photo: Maharaja Krishna Rasgotra (M K Rasgotra) is an Indian diplomat and former Indian Foreign Secretary under Indira Gandhi) Credit: Nina Robinson, BBC
11/13/201927 minutes, 38 seconds
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The Cold War Legacy: Indonesia

In 1965, in a little known chapter of the Cold War, at least half a million people died in organised military-led killings of suspected communist sympathisers in Indonesia, with the blessing of the United States. For almost 50 years speaking about that time has been taboo, and school history books gloss over the killings. Attempts by the current government to start a process of truth-telling and reconciliation are reopening old wounds and have met fierce resistance from the military and old guard. Communism remains banned in Indonesia and students have been detained for reading Marxist books. But the silence is being broken. Rebecca Henschke travels across Java to meet some of the killers, those still seeking justice and brave members of the young generation who are seeking out the truth and trying to come to terms with what happened in one of the darkest periods of Indonesia’s history. (Photo: Pipet’s daughter holding a photo of Pipet’s mum Ani, with others at the detention camp where they were held in the 1960s and 70s) Photo credit: Anindita Pradana – BBC Indonesia
11/6/201927 minutes, 12 seconds
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The Cold War Legacy: Brazil

Brazil’s controversial new President, Jair Bolsonaro, has praised the country’s military dictatorship, which took power in 1964 and ruled for 21 years. In an echo of the language used by the generals back then, President Bolsonaro claims he is saving his country from Communism and he has vowed to wipe the reds off the map. His critics say he is a threat to democracy. In this sharply divided country, some say Brazil is reliving the Cold War. Through history, culture and the classroom, the BBC’s South America correspondent Katy Watson explores Brazil’s Cold War legacy. Presenter: Katy Watson Producer: John Murphy (Photo: Brazilian army tanks arrive at Guanabara Palace, on 01 April 1964 in Rio de Janeiro during the military putsch. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
10/30/201927 minutes, 57 seconds
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The Cold War Legacy: Czechoslovakia

Thirty years ago, communism suddenly collapsed across central and eastern Europe. Soviet rule, that had seemed ruthless and permanent, was ended by people power. And nowhere did change seem more miraculous than in Czechoslovakia. A ‘velvet revolution’ replaced a stony faced politbureau with a beaming playwright, President Vaclav Havel. There was much talk of democracy, prosperity, and a full embrace of Western values. Three decades on, Chris Bowlby, who knew Czechoslovakia before and after its revolution and split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, returns to see how that change looks now. How far have the hopes of the 1989 revolutionaries been fulfilled? What role has nationalism – which split Czechoslovakia in two – come to play? What do new generations of Czechs, now on the streets fighting their own political battles, feel about the future as well as the communist past? And as Russian and Chinese influence grows – while the West’s commitment seems more uncertain – how do places like this now fit into a world few could have imagined as the Cold War ended? (Photo: Members of Diky, ze muzem (Thanks That We Can), celebrating 30 years since the fall of communism in Narodni Street, Prague, scene of pro-democracy protests in 1989. Credit: Lukáš Bíba /Reportér magazín)
10/23/201927 minutes, 14 seconds
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Dominion: The animals and the poets

Amidst birds passing over or nesting by the Solway Firth in southern Scotland, writer Kayo Chingonyi explores the role of poetry in bringing humans and non-human animals closer. He asks why we turn to poetry to fill the space between human and animal life and discovers ways in which poetry is a powerful human form for entering into the unstructured, more instinctive world of non –human animals. He walks through the wetlands with poet Isabel Galleymore and poetry scholar Sam Solnick. He also talks to newly appointed professor of poetry at Oxford University, Alice Oswald, along with Joshua Bennett and Onno Oerlemans. The programme features full readings or extracts from the following poems: Tame by Sarah Howe Black Rook in Rainy Weather by Sylvia Plath To A Mouse by Robert Burns Pike by Ted Hughes Otter by Seamus Heaney The Kingdom of Sediment by Jacob Polley Dear Whinchat by Belinda Zhawi Limpet and Drill Tongued Whelk by Isabel Galleymore Self Portrait as Periplaneta Americana by Joshua Bennett Flies by Alice Oswald The Moose by Elizabeth Bishop Elephants by Les Murray Producer: Kate Bland (Photo: Kayo Chingonyi with Isabel Galleymore, Sam Solnick and Brian Morrell at Caeverlokc Wetlands Centre. Credit: Kate Bland)
10/16/201927 minutes, 30 seconds
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Dominion: The animals and the philosophers

Environmental journalist Gayathri Vaidyanathan considers the impact of Philosophy and Religion on animals as food. In and around Chennai in India, she reveals how India is managing a terrible dilemma in the massive rise of buffalo meat production next to the catastrophe of animal welfare and environmental pollution. She talks to Jains, Hindus and Buddhists and visits fast food restaurants where young people associate eating burgers with independence and modernity. She also spends time at a pioneering dairy along with one of the many animal sanctuaries in the city. Producer: Rose de Larrabeiti and Kate Bland (Photo: Buffalo market in Chennai)
10/9/201927 minutes, 7 seconds
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Dominion: The animals and the linguists

Zimbabwean author and essayist Panashe Chigumadzi asks what part Language plays in our regard for other animals. In wild animal reserves in the south of the country, she talks to ethologists to understand lions, rhinos and vultures. She asks if our greatest problem in entering the mind of another animal has been its inability to communicate as we do? She looks to her ancestral culture of animal totems and praise poems, and the relatively recent explosion of scientific interest in the animal’s point of view Contributors include animal behaviourists Frans de Waal, Peter Mundy, Noxolo Mguni, Beks Ndlovo, Francoise Wemelsfelder, Ian Harmer and Anele Matshisela. Producer: Kate Bland (Photo: Panashe Chigumadzi and rhinos in Matopos Park, Zimbabwe)
10/2/201927 minutes, 40 seconds
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Dominion: The animals and the lawyers

Science writer Heidi Ledford travels to the Hague, centre of political power in the Netherlands and home to the Party for the Animals. She’s shown around the House of Representatives by Marianne Thieme, leader of the party, who describes the resistance to her work, and the terrible impact of factory farming on climate change. She is passionate to represent the voiceless in society: “Once you have them covered, everyone is protected.” Along with exploring ways in which laws protect animals collectively, Heidi turns to the work of animal rights lawyers who are seeking ways for animals to be considered persons, at which point they stop being ‘things’. She considers Happy, the 48-year-old Asian elephant who lives alone in the Bronx Zoo, who is at the centre of an important case of legal personhood. The hard work has been in the hands of Steven Wise, a non-human animal rights lawyer, who has been working for the recognition of animals as persons for 30 years. Wise draws attention to the fact that many animals meet the criteria of personhood, and must be awarded certain rights and protections or the rest of law becomes a nonsense. Producer: Kate Bland and Victoria Shepherd Image: A baby Asian elephant walking with its herd at the Minneriya National Park in north central Sri Lanka (Credit: Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)
9/25/201927 minutes, 55 seconds
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Media Front: USA

With 14 months to go until the next US presidential election, former foreign correspondent Andrea Catherwood finds out how the American media is preparing for the forthcoming onslaught. In this programme, looking at current media issues in countries around the world, Andrea hears from key media insiders about how Donald Trump will control his message, what power remains with local media players and how Facebook will play its part in determining the next leader of the most powerful nation on earth. Andrea is joined by Emily Bell, a professor at Columbia Journalism School, to discuss what lessons have been learned by the American media from the last presidential election and considers what media channels and communication methods will be exploited by politicians in next year's race for the White House. (Photo: Donald Trump argues with CNN journalist Jim Acosta in November 2018. Credit: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
9/18/201927 minutes, 27 seconds
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Media Front: Ukraine

Former International Correspondent for CNBC and ITN Andrea Catherwood hears from journalists on both sides of the information war in Ukraine. The war in Ukraine began in April 2014 after the country elected a pro-Western leadership and Moscow supported uprisings in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking eastern provinces which culminated in Donetsk and Luhansk declaring themselves as breakaway independent ‘republics’. From the beginning Russia’s powerful propaganda machine played a crucial role in the conflict. Casting the government in Kiev as a fascist ‘junta’ it helped fan the flames of unrest that quickly grew into a full scale war, supported with men and weapons shipped in from Russia. Five years on, 13,000 people have been killed in the fighting, which despite international peace efforts still grinds on, and the propaganda war is as bitter as ever. In the third programme of this series examining some of the big issues facing journalists around the world, Andrea Catherwood considers how media organisations maintain ethical standards in a such a polarised information environment. We head to the Ministry of Information Policy—the government department tasked with the job of protecting Ukraine’s information space—to meet First Deputy Minister Emine Dzhaparova. Behind the frontline, in Russian speaking Luhansk and Donetsk, where Ukrainian television is blocked, a local journalist shares their perspective and experience. In July this year Reporters Without Borders warned that the editorial independence of Ukraine’s news media was under threat after 400 journalists resigned over concerns that their new boss was using censorship and media manipulation to try to bring Ukraine back into the area of Russian political influence. We hear the first hand account of one of those who resigned. (Photo: Activists of Ukrainian far-rignt party National Corps demand closure of pro-Russian TV channels outside the State Commitee for Television and Radio Broadcasting for Ukraine in Kiev, 2019. Credit: Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images)
9/11/201928 minutes, 1 second
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Media Front: Philippines

It has been three years since Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte won a landslide victory off the back of a promise to wipe out drug abuse. Since then thousands of people have been killed in his so called "war on drugs" and the president stands accused of personally spearheading an attack against critical voices in the media. Former international correspondent Andrea Catherwood takes us to the frontline of the battle for press freedom in the country. She goes behind the scenes at Rappler, one of the countries most popular online news sites, to meet CEO Maria Ressa, who faces a lengthy prison term if convicted under libel law, in a case she claims is politically motivated. Ed Lingao, a television news anchorman and one of the most well known faces in the Philippines, shares his experience of being accused of being part of a plot to bring down the president. And with the country's biggest television network ABS-CBN awaiting congressional approval and presidential sign-off of its franchise renewal, press freedom advocate Melinda de Jesus considers the impact of President Duterte’s public spat with the media giant. Andrea is joined by Columbia Journalism School’s Emily Bell and Richard Heydarian, Filipino political analyst and author of The Rise of Duterte: A Populist Revolt of Elite Democracy. Together they examine the allegations against the administration and the media and find out how journalists in the Philippines are adapting to the challenges and fighting back. Producer: Emily Williams Executive producer: Will Yates (Photo: Filipina journalist Maria Ressa, CEO of online news outfit Rappler, participates in a protest by press and media groups calling for press freedom in Manila, Philippines. Credit: Getty Images)
9/4/201927 minutes, 5 seconds
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Media Front: India - The future of journalism

India's ruling party the BJP won a landslide victory in the country's May general election. The party bypassed traditional media channels and exploited India's love of social media to deliver their message direct to voters. Andrea Catherwood is a former international correspondent for CNBC and ITN. In the age of the unmediated political leader she asks - what's the future for journalism in India? Prime Minister Narendra Modi has his own radio show, his own app and is among the most popular global leaders on Twitter. Meanwhile, many traditional media outlets, already struggling in a mobile first country, are dependent on the Government which is their largest advertiser. Some observers fear that the result is a subservient and unchallenging media. We hear about the real dangers for journalists who speak out against the Indian government and its supporters, consider how journalists and the media landscape will fare during the next five years of Modi's premiership and discuss the current media climate with a BJP supporting Indian politician and journalist. Andrea Catherwood is joined by Emily Bell, a professor at Columbia Journalism School, for whom these issues have global resonance. (Photo: Indian men read newspaper outside a polling station in Agra Uttar Pradesh. Credit: Nasir Kachroo/Getty Images)
8/28/201927 minutes, 35 seconds
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Ground Shift: Sustainability and the millennial farmers

Anna Jones asks young farmers how they plan to feed the world while protecting the land they have inherited. Can we balance commercial food production with the needs of our increasingly fragile natural environment? In New Zealand, dairy farmer Richard Fowler talks about the epiphany which changed his whole approach to farming, and why he is willing to accept less milk for more grass and better soil. In Iowa, USA, Wade Dooley is planting cover crops and returning livestock to worn-out fields that have grown only grain for decades. In a bid to save his soils and improve water quality, he’s learning to do more with less. There is a shift in the mind-set of the Millennial farmer; whereas the past was about productivity, the future is about sustainability. But the mood is different in Ghana, west Africa. Here the focus is on food security and driving productivity. Far from easing off on the chemicals, smallholder farmers are being urged to use more – and that comes from the top of Government. Anna sits down with the Minister for Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto. And in the Australian outback, a land hit by years of drought followed by catastrophic flooding, Anna asks how farmers will remain resilient in the face of climate change. What does the future hold for our Millennial farmers? (Photo: Dried-up river bed in Olga Downs, Australia. Credit: Anna Jones)
8/21/201927 minutes, 21 seconds
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Ground Shift: Scale and modern farming models

From Big Ag and "factory farming" to urban micro farms, Anna Jones explores dramatic differences in the scale of modern agriculture. Looking out across the New York City skyline, Anna hears how food can be produced sustainably, affordably and even abundantly on a rooftop in the heart of one of the world’s biggest cities. Urban farmer Ben Flanner swapped an engineering career in Manhattan for growing vegetables on top of an 11th storey building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He believes Millennials are reconnecting with fresh ingredients, grown locally, and rejecting sugary, processed food – much of which contains corn syrup derived from the field corn grown under America’s industrial farming model. But on his combine in Iowa, rolling through 4,500 acres at the height of the corn harvest, 28-year-old Brandon Pickard says farms have expanded in order to survive. He believes industrial farming is the consequence of a shrinking farming population and expansion is the natural evolution of a successful business. He’s proud of his corn crop and says it’s helping to feed the world. And Anna visits an organic farm in New York state which is making agriculture more diverse in terms of the crops they grow and the farmers that grow them. Rise & Root Farm is owned and run by four women – two of them are black and two of them are gay. Producer: Anna Jones (Photo: Brooklyn Grange Farm. Credit: Anna Jones/BBC)
8/14/201926 minutes, 30 seconds
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Ground Shift: Digital technology and rural communities

Anna Jones looks at how digital and mobile phone technology is changing farming and boosting prosperity in rural communities around the world. Anna goes on a road trip through Ghana with young entrepreneur Peter Awin, transporting animal vaccines from the capital Accra to the remote northern region. Peter has developed a mobile app called Cowtribe, which connects some of West Africa’s poorest smallholder farmers with vital animal health and veterinary services. For the first time ever they can prevent their animals from getting sick - and all because of a mobile phone. In north-west Queensland, Anna hears how one farmer is bringing super-fast internet speeds to some of the most isolated communities in the world. With Australian families leaving the outback due to poor connectivity, William Harrington’s Wi-Sky internet is helping to keep bush communities alive. But who owns all this data? As Millennials' pull agriculture into the 21st Century, are farmers ready for the changes that come with it? (Photo: Internet tower in rural Australia)
8/7/201927 minutes, 25 seconds
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Ground Shift: Survival for millennial farmers

Anna Jones explores the challenges facing family farms in the American Midwest and the outback of Australia, and discovers how Millennial farmers are embracing change to ensure their survival. In Iowa, Anna meets two young corn and soybean growers - Brandon Pickard, 28, and Wade Dooley, 35. Both are struggling to make a living from poor grain prices but coming up with very different ways of earning extra income. Pork or popcorn anyone? In North West Queensland, Anna heads to a remote cattle station to meet a family that believes digital technology is the key to their future. The Harringtons run 2,000 cattle on 44,000 acres but it is not big enough to support two families. William Harrington, the fourth generation, had to try something new in order stay in the family business, so he invented a surveillance camera that monitors water troughs – saving farmers huge amounts of time and money. William’s electronics are now more profitable than the cattle. But some things on a cattle station never change – it’s mustering season and Anna finds herself in the thick of the action. (Photo: Cattle on the muster in Australia. Credit: Olga Downs)
7/31/201926 minutes, 31 seconds
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China: The start of the Silk Road

The sky is hidden by smog in Lanzhou on the Yellow River; this transport and manufacturing hub is pumping Chinese goods out to the world. In this last programme, we find out how the Belt and Road Initiative has brought new people into this growing metropolis and how businesses are benefiting from the new infrastructure. Presenter: Peter Shevlin and Martin Yip
6/26/201928 minutes, 1 second
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Cambodia: New riches on the coast

When it comes to South-East Asia, China’s presence is most felt in Sihanoukville. Cambodia’s once sleepy backpacker resort has been transformed by Chinese investment – the sheer speed of development has divided local opinion. Chatting to everyone from bus drivers to market stall holders about their experiences of a changing town, we ask, how has the Chinese influx affected the people of Sihanoukville? Presenter: Scarlett Sok and Peter Shevlin Producer: Peter Shevlin (Photo: Public square with building construction in the background in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Credit: Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP/Getty Images)
6/19/201927 minutes, 56 seconds
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Kazakhstan: A port in the sand

Khorgas in Kazakhstan is going through an economic boom and Chinese trains stop here and their loads are shifted on to the Kazakh trains. This region was the gateway of the ancient Silk Road, a meeting place of cultures and languages. We meet nomads who have called this land home for centuries and pioneers developing a city for the future. Presenter: Rose Kudabayeva and Peter Shevlin Producer: Monica Whitlock (Photo: The KTZE-Khorgos Gateway dry port, a logistics hub on the Kazakh side of the Kazakhstan-Chinese. Credit: Getty Images)
6/12/201926 minutes, 29 seconds
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Raha: The joy of the train

The new Chinese Mombasa–Nairobi railway has finally overturned over 100 years of history by replacing the British-built Uganda Railway - the most strategically important conduit in the scramble for Africa. Cutting the time between Mombasa and Nairobi from 10 hours to 4.5 hours. Chinese interests may be at the centre of these investments - but the impact is regional, how is the Kenyan population benefiting from this new service? Presenter: Larry Madowo and Peter Shevlin (Photo: The inaugural journey of the Standard Gauge Railway, from Mombasa to Nairobi, Kenya, on May 30, 2017 Credit: Getty Images)
6/5/201926 minutes, 29 seconds
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How modern living is changing our faces

Dr Vybarr Cregan-Reid looks at how modern living is changing our faces. With the help of professor Saw Seang Mei in Singapore and the UK's top ophthalmologist, professor Chris Hammond, he tells the story of how baffled scientists sought to understand the rocketing rates of myopia in the Far East, where more than 80% of teenagers are short-sighted. Dr Cregan-Reid learns about the various theories put forward before Australian researchers cracked the mystery in 2004. Spoiler alert: It is not to do with screens. Evolutionary biologist Professor Noreen von Cramon-Taubadel, from New York State University, tells Dr Cregan-Reid about how our jaws have been reacting to changes in our diet. They are getting shorter and less dense, but our teeth are erupting as if it is still 50,000 years BC. At London's Natural History Museum, Professor Fred Spoor takes us through the impact the modern world is having on our teeth and the shape of our mouths. Back in Singapore, the country's leading plastic surgeon, who spends most of his day reshaping people's jaws, tells Dr Cregan-Reid he thinks our faces are getting shorter but wider because of what we eat and the impact of stress on facial muscles. In the third and final part of Changing World, Changing Bodies, we learn why the 'you' that you see in the mirror most days may not be the 'you' that your DNA had planned. (Photo: Multi ethnic montage of teenage male portrait. Credit: Getty Images)
5/29/201927 minutes, 32 seconds
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How modern life is changing our backs

Dr Vybarr Cregan-Reid investigates what the last 250 years has done to our backs. What is it about modern life that has promoted back pain, especially lower back pain, from a rarity to the number one cause of pain and disability in the world? In the remote Kenyan Village of Pemja, Dr Cregan-Reid meets people with such excellent backs that they are the subject of international study. He hears from pain-wracked workers in Nairobi whose backs today are a pale version of those of their grandparents' and at the London Design museum he comes face-to-face with the artefact that has done most to weaken our backs - the chair. Chairs with backs are now so ubiquitous it is reckoned there are around 10 for each of us but as recently as 1800 they were a rarity. Not that we have much choice but to sit down today. At the start of the 19th Century fractions of one per cent of people sat down for a living but today three quarters work in offices or drive for a living. We put our spines into positions they were not designed to sustain for hours on end. He discusses with Australian academics their research which claims that half of back pain is in the mind and why simple movement is probably more effective than surgery, manipulation and powerful painkillers in getting to the bottom of back pain. (Photo: A woman rubs her lower back. Credit: Getty Images)
5/22/201928 minutes, 2 seconds
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How modern life is changing our feet

For nearly two million years we evolved in close sync with our environment but 250 years ago the industrial revolution happened and changed everything. The innovation and technology it brought had many benefits but there was a physical cost as progress also designed out movement from our lives. From spending hours on our feet outdoors, our jobs have moved indoors and largely involve sitting down for most of the day in offices, factories or driver cabs. It has resulted in feet that are getting flatter, backs that are weaker and eyes that cannot see very much without help. Dr Vybarr Cregan-Reid hears from evolutionary biologists, academics, anatomists and public health professionals in Singapore, Kenya, Australia, the UK and the United States; about the impact of modern life on our physical self and what we can do to return our bodies to the state that nature intended. The good news is there is no need to spend hours on treadmills or pumping iron, in fact we would injure ourselves a lot less if we were a bit more cautious when exercising. Our bodies are marvellously adaptable and reintroducing small movements into our daily lives in most cases will do the trick! (Photo: Womens' feets splashing in a pool. Credit: Getty Images)
5/15/201928 minutes, 27 seconds
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Medellin, Colombia: Slums and urban regeneration

Medellin used to be one of the world's most dangerous cities, with a sprawling network of slums and a serious crime problem fueled by drug trafficking. During the 1990s, there was a dramatic transformation. By integrating the city's plumbing and transportation into the barrios, renovating the homes of tens of thousands of families and creating open public spaces, the city has been transformed. Fi Glover returns with Dr Ellie Cosgrave, director of UCL City Leadership Laboratory and urbanist professor Greg Clark to look for the most inspirational cities, from those tackling environmental issues and urban violence. This week they consider Morocco’s urban development model. (Photo: The Metrocable in Santo Domingo Savio neighbourhood, in Medellin, Colombia. Credit: Getty Images)
5/8/201926 minutes, 31 seconds
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Knife crime: Glasgow, Scotland

It is said that by 2050 cities will be home to 6.4 billion people. They stand at the centre of the world’s most pressing challenges. Presenter Fi Glover is joined by Dr Ellie Cosgrave, director of UCL City Leadership Laboratory, and urbanist professor Greg Clark. They scour the world looking for the most inspirational cities, from those tackling environmental issues and urban violence, to encouraging political participation and transforming slums. This week they look at the city of Glasgow, which has one of the highest murder rates in western Europe, and how it has tackled knife crime. Could it be a model for other cities to follow? (Photo: A Glaswegian prostitute shows a kitchen knife that she carries around for protection. Credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
5/1/201926 minutes, 54 seconds
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Participatory budgeting: Paris, France

Presenter Fi Glover, Dr Ellie Cosgrave, director of UCL City Leadership Laboratory and urbanist professor Greg Clark, analyse and critique the participatory budgeting of Paris, where citizens vote on how to spend part of the city’s budget. They also look at how Valletta in Malta regularly tops 90% voter turnout in political elections. Are they models other cities should follow? Image: Hotel de Ville, Paris (Credit: Getty Images)
4/24/201926 minutes, 52 seconds
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The 24-hour city: London, UK

As investment in the night-time economy rises, we look at how this is working in London. Is anywhere else doing a better job? Presenter Fi Glover returns with two new panellists to analyse and critique the best policies from global cities: Dr Ellie Cosgrave, Director of UCL City Leadership Laboratory; and urbanist Professor Greg Clark. The team scour the world looking for the most inspirational cities, from those tackling environmental issues and urban violence, to encouraging political participation and transforming slums. Are they models other cities should follow? Image: The City of London at night (Credit: Neil Hall/European Photopress Agency)
4/17/201926 minutes, 30 seconds
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The smart city: Seoul, South Korea

How is data being used to help Seoul run smoothly? And how have 20,000 sensors transformed life in Santander, Spain? Both cities have implemented innovative policies that are solving pressing challenges to city life. Presenter Fi Glover returns with two new panellists to analyse and critique the best policies from global cities: Dr Ellie Cosgrave, Director of UCL City Leadership Laboratory; and urbanist Professor Greg Clark. The team scour the world looking for the most inspirational cities, from those tackling environmental issues and urban violence, to encouraging political participation and transforming slums. Are they models other cities should follow? Image: Songpagu district in Seoul at night (Credit: Getty Images)
4/10/201926 minutes, 29 seconds
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The green city: San Francisco, USA

San Francisco’s mandatory recycling scheme and sustainable public transport come under the spotlight. The panel also consider the town of Kamikatsu in Japan, which aims to be 100% zero-waste by 2020. Are they models other cities should follow? Presenter Fi Glover returns with two new panellists to analyse and critique the best policies from global cities: Dr Ellie Cosgrave, director of UCL City Leadership Laboratory; and urbanist professor Greg Clark. The team scour the world looking for the most inspirational cities, from those tackling environmental issues and urban violence, to encouraging political participation and transforming slums. (Photo: David Wicks (R) and Glendon Johnson (L) with the San Francisco Water Power and Sewer's SFGreasecycle, a program that collects used cooking oil from San Francisco restaurants to be recycled into biofuels. Credit: Getty Images)
4/3/201926 minutes, 30 seconds
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The History of Wastefulness: The Tipping Point

After exploring our wasteful past and the reality of today’s trash challenge, Australian journalist Alexandra Spring asks if we are on the tipping point of a rubbish free future. Alexandra joins blogger Kathryn Kellogg to find out more about San Francisco’s growing zero waste ambitions. Encased in one single mason jar, Kathryn describes the tiny amount of waste she created over two years and how living without a trace has changed her life. Then, Alexandra meets the inventor Veena Sahajwalla, who shares her belief that we should consider our rubbish to be a resource for the future. As Alex discovers, this attitude and Veena’s engineering skills have stopped millions of tyres from ending up in rubbish dumps, and could lead to cities around the world being built from recycled materials. Producer: Chelsea Dickenson and Ben Cartwright. (Photo: A jar full of all the garbage blogger Kathryn Kellogg threw away in two years. Credit: Audio Always)
1/23/201926 minutes, 31 seconds
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The History of Wastefulness: Rubbish Through the Ages

Alexandra Spring continues her exploration of how our relationship with rubbish has evolved through time at the foot of Monte Testaccio in Rome - a hill built of 53 million discarded olive oil amphorae, which were thrown away nearly 2000 years ago. She meets the architect Tom Rankin, who shares how this ‘dump’ is indicative of the Roman spirit to waste. Moving through the decades, the historian Agnes Sandras takes Alexandra back to France in 1883, when Parisian Prefect Eugene Poubelle sparked public outcry by forcing citizens to buy a box in which they would place their waste. They discuss how this early form of a modern day ‘bin’, or ‘poubelle’ in French, shaped how people viewed litter. Then, sharing her view on how our attitudes to waste have changed throughout the last century, professor of history Eiko Maruko Siniawer explains to Alexandra how a shift in ideology to embrace modern luxuries saw waste spiralling out of control at the end of the World War Two. Producers: Chelsea Dickenson and Ben Cartwright. (Photo: A woman holds pieces of ancient amphorae at Monte di Coccio alias Monte Testaccio ( Mountain of Crock), in Rome. Credit: Getty Images)
1/16/201926 minutes, 31 seconds
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Making a Difference

For three series, My Perfect Country has sought to build the perfect country. Inspired by positive thinking, it takes policies from around the world that actually work and have solved global problems. We ask why they work, and whether they could work anywhere. Out of this comes a forensic analysis of what good global policy should look like. In this one-off special, the My Perfect Country team travel to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where they join a group of bright, curious, switched-on students who use the past three series of My Perfect Country in their learning of global policy. Elizabeth Schmidt, professor of practice at the School of Public Policy, uses the My Perfect Country series to inspire and educate her students. The course explores strategies for designing and measuring successful policies, as well as strategies for convincing others that proven policies are worth pursuing. Across three days, Fi Glover meets all 19 students and hears the direct impact that the My Perfect Country series has had. Fi picks three stand-out issues from the past three series that have particular resonance in the USA today: Japan’s eradication of gun control policies; Norway’s prisoner rehabilitation scheme; and Uganda’s incredible access to justice programme under Barefoot Law. Fi asks the students to question why these policies work, and whether they could also be successful in the USA. She also brings in delegates of each policy to answer the students' questions: crime writer of over 20 years Jake Adelstein, and Barefoot Law’s founding director Gerald Abila. Producer: Anishka Sharma
1/9/201927 minutes, 44 seconds
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The History of Wastefulness: Today’s Trash Challenge

Alexandra Spring explores how our relationship with rubbish has evolved over time, beginning on a boat, sailing across the Pacific, with Ocean Conservancy’s Chief Scientist George Leonard. Together, they discuss how trillions of micro plastic particles have created a sea-sized portion of plastic soup, and how poor waste management across the world has led to a garbage emergency. The conversation continues with author Gay Hawkins, who believes an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude is shaping our psychological relationship with trash. Then, Alexandra speaks to the photojournalist Kadir van Lohuizen, who has witnessed our human wasteful ways at six major dumps around the world. He shares how litter is not only destroying, but saving some local communities. Producers: Chelsea Dickenson and Ben Cartwright
1/9/201926 minutes, 31 seconds
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The Sun, Our Star: Health and beauty

The Sun’s light defines what we mean by day and night, how we tell time and how we apportion our time, both consciously and unconsciously. The turning of the Earth that wheels us in and out of the Sun every 24 hours seeps into every aspect of our biology. In the final programme, Dava Sobel recalls the 25 days she spent as a human subject in a study of circadian rhythm. The lab was housed at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, NY, but it could have been anywhere, sealed and self-contained as it was. We’ll hear what happens when you are light deprived. To know the Sun is an age-old dream of humankind. For centuries, astronomers contented themselves with analysing small sips of sunlight collected through specialised instruments. They chased after eclipses that exposed otherwise hidden layers of the Sun’s substance, and they launched Earth and Sun-orbiting observatories to monitor our star from space. Today, several satellites ‘watch’ our star from outer space. In August 2018, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, set off on a mission to go so far as to ‘touch the sun’ for the first time. Our view of the sun from here is relatively murky, but it’s a trade-off we Earthlings have to accept: the protective bubble of the Earth’s magnetic sphere and atmosphere provides air to breathe and a shield against harmful radiation, but it distorts our view of the heavens. Nevertheless, astronomers have managed to piece together an understanding of the stars, and especially the Sun itself: how it’s constructed, how it behaves, how it came to be, forming from a vast cloud of cold hydrogen gas and the dust of older stars in a sparsely populated region of the Milky Way. In five programmes, author Dava Sobel orbits the sun, getting as close as she dares, to understand the immense relationship we have with our nearest star. Music composed by Chris O'Shaughnessy. Producer: Kate Bland A Cast Iron Radio production for the BBC World Service. Audio for this programme was updated on 29 September 2020. Image: Tacita Dean, Eclipse (still from Antigone, 2017)
1/2/201927 minutes, 1 second
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The Sun, Our Star: Space weather

At any moment, the predictions of your local weather forecaster might be suddenly superseded by space weather, a special breed of storms fomented on the Sun and launched toward Earth with potentially devastating consequences. Most of the time, the solar wind billowing out from the Sun blows right past our planet without causing any ill effects whatsoever, but today, with our navigation and communications technology dependent on satellite based systems, a downdraft of space weather could disrupt entire countries. Dava Sobel turns to Aditya L1, a new satellite under construction in India, to learn how many countries are developing their own eyes to watch the sun from space. To know the Sun is an age-old dream of humankind. For centuries, astronomers contented themselves with analysing small sips of sunlight collected through specialised instruments. They chased after eclipses that exposed otherwise hidden layers of the Sun’s substance, and they launched Earth and Sun-orbiting observatories to monitor our star from space. Today, several satellites ‘watch’ our star from outer space. In August 2018, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, set off on a mission to go so far as to ‘touch the sun’ for the first time. Our view of the sun from here is relatively murky, but it’s a trade-off we Earthlings have to accept: the protective bubble of the Earth’s magnetic sphere and atmosphere provides air to breathe and a shield against harmful radiation, but it distorts our view of the heavens. Nevertheless, astronomers have managed to piece together an understanding of the stars, and especially the Sun itself: how it’s constructed, how it behaves, how it came to be, forming from a vast cloud of cold hydrogen gas and the dust of older stars in a sparsely populated region of the Milky Way. In five programmes, author Dava Sobel orbits the sun, getting as close as she dares, to understand the immense relationship we have with our nearest star. Music composed by Chris O'Shaughnessy. Producer: Jeremy Mortimer and Dakshiani Palicha Audio for this programme was updated on 21 September 2020. (Photo: An M9-class solar flare erupting on the Sun's northeastern hemisphere. Credit: Nasa/Solar Dynamics Observatory via AFP/Getty Images)
12/26/201827 minutes, 7 seconds
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The Sun, Our Star: Ancient sun

Inspired by the Chariot of the Sun, a beautiful artefact of sun worship, Dava Sobel island hops in Denmark to explore the cult of the Sun, before science, during the Nordic Bronze Age. Ancient people would not have needed an eclipse to make them see the Sun as an all-powerful force. The Sun’s life-giving light and heat inspired rituals and relics dating back to the earliest humans. Music composed by Chris O'Shaughnessy. Producer: Kate Bland and Kate Rea Audio for this programme was updated on 9 September 2020. (Photo: Chariot of the Sun. Credit: National Museum of Denmark)
12/19/201827 minutes, 39 seconds
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The Sun, Our Star: Energy

The Sun, our star, produces its prodigious energy by a process of nuclear fusion at its core. We are unable to mimic that trick here on Earth: our nuclear reactors work by splitting atoms, not fusing them, and generate a lot of toxic waste. With a free standing solar mini grid in Kenya and the problems of the old grid system in California, Dava Sobel explores the progress being made in tapping the Sun for its inexhaustible supply of free, clean energy. Music composed by Chris O'Shaughnessy. Co-produced with Tom Roseingrave. Audio for this programme was updated on 8th September 2020. (Photo: Solar panels on the Kitonyoni grid are cleaned. Credit: BBC)
12/12/201827 minutes, 23 seconds
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The Sun, Our Star

The Sun, our star, the source and sustainer of all life on Earth, is also a death star in the making. To know the Sun is an age-old dream of humankind. For centuries, astronomers contented themselves with analysing small sips of sunlight collected through specialised instruments. They chased after eclipses that exposed otherwise hidden layers of the Sun’s substance, and they launched Earth and Sun-orbiting observatories to monitor our star from space. Today, several satellites ‘watch’ our star from outer space. In August 2018, Nasa’s Parker Solar Probe set off on a mission to go so far as to ‘touch the sun’ for the first time. Our view of the sun from here is relatively murky. Nevertheless, astronomers have managed to piece together an understanding of the stars, and especially the Sun itself - how it’s constructed, how it behaves, how it came to be, forming from a vast cloud of cold hydrogen gas and the dust of older stars in a sparsely populated region of the Milky Way. Dava Sobel orbits the Sun, getting as close as she dares, to understand the immense relationship we have with our nearest star. She begins by piecing together what we know of the Sun, visiting the world’s most powerful solar observatory, Big Bear in California. Music composed by Chris O'Shaughnessy A Cast Iron Radio production for the BBC World Service Audio for this programme was updated on 1st September 2020. Image: Artist's impression of the Parker Solar Probe approaching the Sun (Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben via European Photopress Agency)
12/5/201827 minutes, 9 seconds
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The Great Unravelling: Trade and China

China has been described as the greatest threat to the World Trade Organisation, and its biggest champion. The WTO wasn’t designed to handle China, and its entry has had seismic consequences. If China won’t change, can the WTO adapt? Without reform, could China break the WTO? And finally, can the post-war rules and institutions survive in a recognisable form, or are we already witnessing the birth of a very different world? Journalist and former barrister Afua Hirsch talks to a wide range of historians, politicians and thinkers and asks if the world order forged after World War Two is coming apart.
11/28/201826 minutes, 31 seconds
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The Great Unravelling: Trade and Trump

The World Trade Organisation was established in 1995, building on earlier global trade mechanisms. Did this represent a capture of the systems by neoliberals after the Cold War? Now President Trump is waging a trade war on China and sidelining the WTO. Does he have a point – and can the system survive?
11/21/201826 minutes, 30 seconds
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The Great Unravelling: Self Determination

Afua Hirsch examines the principle of self-determination, which Franklin Roosevelt insisted on including in the Atlantic Charter. It was a powerful force behind the liberation struggles which peaked in the 1950s and '60s as a wave of decolonisation swept the world and countries such as Tunisia, Jamaica, Nigeria and Guyana achieved independence. But it is not the same as a right to separate and form your own country, as the Catalans have recently been reminded. And it has a forgotten dark side as a justification for population transfer, going back to 1923 when Greece and Turkey agreed to uproot two million people in a forced population exchange. Presenter: Afua Hirsch Producer: Lucy Bailey (Photo: Illustration of a knitted ball resembling Earth unravelling. Credit: Nadia Akingbule)
11/14/201826 minutes, 30 seconds
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The Great Unravelling: War

The UN Charter and Security Council were supposed to prevent aggressive wars. Who has broken the rules, and how much damage has that done? It is often said that the great powers have always done what they wanted and ignored international law. But will new forms of war present even more of a challenge? Presenter: Afua Hirsch Producer: Lucy Bailey (Photo: Illustration of a knitted ball resembling Earth unravelling. Credit: Nadia Akingbule)
11/7/201826 minutes, 30 seconds
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The Great Unravelling: Human Rights

In early August 1941 Franklin D Roosevelt and Winston Churchill met on a US flagship off Newfoundland and drew up The Atlantic Charter. It laid the foundations of an international system that has been in place ever since. But is it now under unbearable strain? Has the international human rights machinery worked? What about the global human rights movement? Many believe we are now at a crisis point, with populism and the rise of China both challenging the project. Others think the human rights movement is itself partly to blame. Journalist and former barrister Afua Hirsch talks to a wide range of international lawyers, historians and thinkers and asks if the world order forged after World War Two is coming apart. Presenter: Afua Hirsch Producer: Lucy Bailey (Photo: Illustration of a knitted ball resembling Earth unravelling. Credit: Nadia Akingbule)
10/31/201826 minutes, 30 seconds
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After the Crash: The Future

Ten years ago the world financial system had a heart attack. Gripped by panic, banks stopped lending, cash ran out and the world came to the edge of a financial precipice. Professor Ian Goldin questions whether lessons have really been learned from what happened a decade ago and asks whether we are now better prepared to identify and prevent the next one? He talks about the threat that climate change might pose with Lord Nick Stern, asks Peter Piot – the man who discovered Ebola – how problematic a pandemic might be and questions whether financial innovation is really a good thing with Anat Admati, co-author of The Bankers’ New Clothes. Presenter: Ian Goldin Producer: Ben Carter (Photo: Bitcoin. Credit: Omar Marques/Getty Images)
10/24/201826 minutes, 31 seconds
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After the Crash: Rethinking Economics

As the world dealt with the fallout of the 2008 financial crash the hunt began for someone to blame. One group of people was suddenly thrust into the spotlight - economists. If they could not see such a catastrophe coming, had the world’s economists been asleep on the job, inept, or just blind to the crucial warning signs? As an economist himself, professor Ian Goldin thinks economists deserve a share of the blame. He looks at the ways the financial crash led to a crisis in his own profession, and to huge changes in the way economics is thought about and taught. Why should we care? Remember these are the people who steer the financial systems on which we all depend. If they give bad advice, it can wreck your economy. Ian argues that economics needs to get away from some of its old ideas about treating human behaviour as a rational, rather macho science, and open itself up to ideas from across the whole world. But in the end, should we all try harder to be economically literate and better able to spot dangers on the horizon? Guests include the head of the IMF Christine Lagarde, Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane, former World Bank managing director and finance minister of Nigeria Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, author of Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner? Katrine Marçal, and Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. (Photo: Business man with his head in his hands. Credit: Getty Images)
10/17/201826 minutes, 29 seconds
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After the Crash: Power Shift

In 2008 when the financial systems of the world’s richest countries crashed, others did not. Asian nations, especially China, bounced back quickly from the crisis, and were able to capitalise on their financial power to build up their reputation as global players. Professor Ian Goldin looks at how this has led to a shift in power from West to East, the ripples of which can be seen in everything from the founding of the G20, to Chinese foreign investment in Africa, to a rise in confidence in developing countries. With this massive change in world power still underway, should we be worried or excited? Professor Goldin hears from guests including Amnesty International secretary general Kumi Naidoo, head of the IMF Christine Lagarde, professor of public policy at the National University of Singapore Kishore Mahbubani, and former World Bank managing director and finance minister of Nigeria Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
10/10/201826 minutes, 29 seconds
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After the Crash: Austerity and Consequences

Did Governments’ handling of the 2008 financial crisis – when some chose to implement austerity and some didn’t - make things better or worse? Ian Goldin, professor of Globalisation and Development at Oxford University, visits Illinois in the US to find out how people were affected by the collapse in the housing market. He also talks to Christine Lagarde – the head of the International Monetary Fund – about how austerity measures were implemented in Europe. And Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the former Minister of Finance in Nigeria, talks about how the crisis was felt in Africa. Presenter: Ian Goldin Producer: Ben Carter (Photo: Child with banner, Credit: Getty Images)
10/3/201826 minutes, 30 seconds
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After the Crash: Authority and Trust

In 2008 the world financial system had a heart attack. Gripped by panic, banks stopped lending, cash ran out and the world came to the edge of a financial precipice. As millions of people lost their jobs and as the shock that started in Wall Street reverberated around the world, the crisis led to a collapse of the Greek, Spanish, Icelandic and other economies. Professor Ian Goldin looks at the origins of the crash and he examines how it affected our trust in authorities and experts. He travels to New York to talk to some of the world’s leading academics including Joseph Stiglitz, Jeffrey Sachs and Adam Tooze and he hears from a former Lehman Brothers employee about the final days of the troubled business whose collapse led to the financial crisis. Presenter: Ian Goldin Producer: Ben Carter (Photo: Two employees of Christie's auction house manoeuvre the Lehman Brothers corporate logo in London Credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
9/26/201826 minutes, 31 seconds
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Sounds of the forest

Nobody ever forgets the first time that they hear or see a tiger. But as Chris Watson discovers when he travels to Corbett National Park in India this is far from easy. What he uncovers is a fascinating relationship between the people and the forest environment in which listening plays a vital role. Amongst the dense vegetation you can hear far more than you can see. As a wildlife sound recordist from North East England, Chis is immediately excited by the range of new sounds he can hear; a soundscape which changes throughout the day and night. Listening provides vital sound clues as to the activities and whereabouts of the wildlife. Local people learn to recognise and interpret these sounds; for example different species of birds call at different times of the day. And recognising when a tiger is near from the alarm calls of birds in the canopy, could save your life, as could knowing which direction you are travelling by the sounds and direction of the wind. Living with Nature in this way results in extraordinary relationships between the people and the forest. (Photo: Corbett Tiger Reserve, India. Credit: Chris Watson)
8/15/201826 minutes, 30 seconds
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The sounds of the Lofoten Islands

Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson accompanies Sami Joiker, Andé Sombe, on a journey up a mountain on the Lofoten islands in Norway to explore the relationship between the sounds of the mountain, the people and the wildlife. As Chris discovers, for many Norwegians the soundscape is part of the fascination and attraction of the mountains. The mountains offer an escape from urban and man-made noise to Nature’s symphony which is composed amongst other things of the sounds of running water produced by the glacial streams, the whisper and roar of the wind, the chorus of song birds and the cry of soaring ravens high overhead. Looking around Chris is reminded that this is an Arctic landscape but in recent years the glacial ice has been melting in some of Norway’s highest mountains and we learn how a team of archaeologists have been recovering thousands of artefacts, some of which date back 6,000 years. But it is also the quality of the sounds here that intrigues Chris, and during the climb gradually he begins to understand something of the deeper more spiritual connection with the earth which is so intrinsic to the Sami culture. For Andé the mountain soundscape and his relationship to the wolves which were once so prevalent here, inspires a joik, a Sami chant, which he performs at the peak of their climb. (Photo: Mountain lake and crater Lofotens Islands, Norway. Credit: Chris Watson)
8/8/201827 minutes, 2 seconds
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The sounds of the Namib Desert

Beginning with a few solo notes from a group of birds (including sparrow doves and finches) before the first light of day and ending with the sounds of the wind in the darkness of the night, wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson presents a journey in sound from dawn to dusk in the Namib Desert in southern Africa. The Namib is dominated by two features; the sand and the wind. Both of these are constantly shifting and changing and so too are the sounds they produce. The wind is hugely significant to the local community, the San, for whom it is linked with ideas of the spirit and breath of life and with scents and smells. The wind is a carrier of messages. There are good winds and bad winds. The sounds carried on the wind are an aural guide to life in the landscape. The wind of course carries other sounds with it, and as on the Plains (the first programme in this series), local people use sound to survive here; to identify the whereabouts of predators and prey. What is also fascinating about the desert are the micro-sounds that you can hear, including sand grains being blown by the wind, ants scurrying inside an acacia tree, and the slither of a side-winder snake as it buries itself in the dune. Then there are louder sounds, like the Namaqua Sandgrouse which gather to drink and bathe, or the night chorus of barking geckos; small reptiles that live in individual burrows which they use to amplify their songs, which then ring out across the desert and into the night. And all the time, there is the wind, the sand and the eerie shifting sounds of the dunes.
8/1/201826 minutes, 30 seconds
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The sounds of the Maasai Mara

From the moment “you wake up in the morning become aware of sounds, the sounds of Africa“ says Saba Douglas Hamilton, a conservationist who was born and brought up in the Great Rift Valley. In the first of four programmes, wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson guides us on a journey in sound across the Plains to hear the world as you’ve never heard it before and explores the relationship between the soundscape, the people and the wildlife. The great savannah wilderness of the Maasai Mara in Kenya is filled with sound even before the sun rises above the horizon. There are the sounds of the wildlife and the elements; the wind and the rain. Sound is used by animals to communicate with one another, to attract a mate, and warn off predators. Being able to interpret this soundscape is as important to the animals who live here as the people. From a very young age Saba has been aware of the changing soundscape around her. And as we discover, for both Saba and Jackson Looseyia, a local Maasai, being able to identify the individual sounds in this changing soundscape is crucial to their survival; for example, recognising the alarm calls of a bird when a predator is nearby. And it is not only the sounds of the wildlife that fill these plains but also the elements - the wind and the rain. The rains “mean life” explains Saba as vast herds of wildebeest follow the rains on their annual cycle in search of food. We also hear about the signature sound of Africa – the roar of a lion. But for Chris Watson, the most memorable sound was of elephants sleeping; a sound which you feel as well as hear! (Photo: Sunset in the Masai Mara. Credit: Chris Watson)
7/27/201826 minutes, 30 seconds
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What do we do when antibiotics don’t work? Since the discovery of Penicillin antibiotics have come to underpin all of modern medicine – birth by Cesarean section, hip replacements, organ transplantation, caring for wounds on diabetic patients. None of this would be possible without effective antibiotics. But the medicines we depend are under threat. Decades of overuse has allowed the bacteria that makes us ill to evolve to resist treatment - and this resistance is spreading. In the very near future we may find ourselves living in a world where a simple scratch could have devastating consequences. Aleks Krotoski and Ben Hammersley visit a hospital to learn which disease control protocols we should be using in our daily lives and uncover why the food we eat, and even the air we breathe may contain resistant bacteria, seek out alternative treatments we could use, and find out how the next generation of scientists can use new techniques to search the natural world for the next wave of antibiotics. (Photo: Neutrophil white blood cell (green) engulfing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (MRSA, pink). Credit: Science Photo Library)
7/18/201826 minutes, 31 seconds
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Flesh is Weak, so Upgrade

We all only get one body, and that has to see us through our entire lives. The idea of failing health is a very visceral fear for the majority of people in the world. It is inevitable, is it not? But with advances in medicine and technology the future might not involve simply growing old gracefully. We might upgrade in order to level up our natural abilities, extend our lives or consign pain and infirmity to history. Aleks Krotoski and Ben Hammersley find out how to future proof our actual selves, clambering into exoskeletons that could give us all inhuman strength, investigating how far we could hack our own biology, and discover if we will upgrade purely because we want to enjoy our lives to the fullest, or whether it will be necessary to keep up with the demands of future society. (Photo: Ted Kilroy uses eLegs - artificially intelligent, bionic exoskeletons that give wheelchair users the freedom to stand and take independent steps. Credit: Getty Images)
7/18/201826 minutes, 29 seconds
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Who Owns Your Data?

Big Data has been called the new crude oil, a seemingly inexhaustible resource that can use this data to make our lives better. Data can be used to create smart cities that make life easier for all of us, or to spur on new discoveries in medical science and even stop the next pandemic in its tracks. If used correctly it will be a boom for humanity. But behind Big Data are millions of individual people - including you and me. From the most innocuous picture on Instagram, to how many steps you rack up in a day, to the most intimate conversations you have with loved ones online. Everything about you has been converted into data, which is now stored, used, and sold on without you every knowing to what end… or how it might impact on your life. Aleks Krotoski and Ben Hammersley investigate how you can future proof your own digital shadow, discover just how much information about you is amassed day to day, how it can be used by authoritarian states to control its citizens and how to win the arms race against tech companies that are always trying to extract more information from their users. Image: Illustration of a digital shield (Credit: Getty Images)
7/11/201826 minutes, 30 seconds
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What humans do to earn a living has always evolved to suit the needs of society, and the capabilities of the technology at our disposal. But thanks to the rapid development of artificial intelligence and automation we are on the cusp of a whole new Industrial Revolution. Manual and low skilled labour are already feeling the impact of automation – Amazon is experimenting with delivery drones, the fast food industry may soon be staffed with burger-flipping bots, and driverless vehicles are already taking to the road. But those with high skill jobs should not rest on their laurels – legal services, medical care, and academia are all set to change as computers take over all the data crunching. People are either going to have to find new things to do, or risk being left behind as the world of work changes. Aleks Krotoski and Ben Hammersley find out how we can all continue to be gainfully employed for years to come. They investigate which jobs will remain in high demand, how developing our uniquely human abilities will help people stay one step ahead of the machines, how to acquire the skills necessary for jobs we cannot even imagine yet. (Photo: A robot that can understand Chinese, English and Russian to provide information for guests works at the Media Center of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Qingdao. Credit: Getty Images)
7/4/201826 minutes, 31 seconds
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Aleks Krotoski and Ben Hammersley discover how to prepare for the social, economic and technological changes that are coming in the next few decades so we can all thrive in the future. In the past the only places you were likely to see robots was on the big screen or on the factory floor, but now they are entering the home. In fact you may already have an Alexa to play a favourite tune or settle a debate with a quick Google search. If you are lucky there is a Roomba programmed to clean the floor. Perhaps your child already has a toy that can talk back to them? But are we really prepared for a world full of such machines? These will not be mindless automatons - we are talking about robots that will be part of the fabric of our homes, robots designed to interact with us like social beings, robots that will be constantly monitoring their owners and learning everything about us. Aleks and Ben learn how you can use robots as an extension of your own body, and how they can also influence how we feel and behave without us even being aware of it. They find out how our homes will have to be changed to make the human environment robot friendly. And they discover that in the very near future robots may no longer be mere tools, but will become our friends and partners. (Photo: Japanese lady walks around Tokyo with her robot)
6/21/201827 minutes, 15 seconds
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Too Much English?

The series ends with Robin Lustig asking if you can have too much English. From India he hears how English can divide people as powerfully as it brings them together. In the US he meets speakers of Native American languages who want to keep their linguistic traditions alive. And in East Africa Robin asks whether a requirement to speak good English prevents millions from accessing the best jobs and universities. Some see English as a 'killer language' which threatens the existence of less widely-spoken languages. But not everyone sees English as a linguistic thug. To a Shanghai entrepreneur, it is the glue in the global economy, for others a ladder of opportunity, while some claim English may soon be in retreat. In an age of linguistic giants including Spanish, Mandarin and Arabic, Robin concludes by looking to the future to ask whether English will continue to dominate or decline, diminish lives and cultures or enrich them. Producer: Mohini Patel (Photo: Navajo family attend the Denver March Powwow 2017. Credit: Joe Amon/Getty Images)
6/13/201827 minutes, 2 seconds
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Changing British English

Have you used the words antwacky, jarg and squinny recently? Presenter Robin Lustig examines linguistic change and continuity in British English. He visits the Oxford English Dictionary, he gets a lesson in regional slang. In Portsmouth, on the south coast of England, Robin hears some of that language on the streets as he meets young people who blend local slang with the global influence of social media and music. As he travels around the city, Robin sees how British English relates to the wider world as he meets speakers of Arabic, Chinese and Spanish learning English as well as English teens learning Hinglish, a combination of English and Hindi. As he considers its future place in the world, Robin asks whether British English will still matter in a post-colonial, post-Brexit world. Producer: Julia Johnson. (Photo: Man learning English via a computer. Credit: Getty Images)
6/6/201826 minutes, 58 seconds
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Dialects and Evolution

Robin Lustig explores language change and diversity, as he asks whether English is fragmenting into multiple dialects or becoming increasingly uniform. In Kampala Robin polishes up his Uglish and he finds out how Hinglish, Tamglish and Spanglish are evolving in India and the US. And everywhere he goes, Robin seeks out new words and phrases as he tracks linguistic change from social media and the streets through a California campus to the corridors of the Oxford English Dictionary. Sorting his memes from his muggles, spotting milkshake ducks and phubbing, Robin explores the future of English in the virtual world and the real one. (Photo: A Spanglish sign which reads Vote Aqui Hoy. Credit: Getty Images)
5/30/201827 minutes, 5 seconds
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From Language to Algorithm

Whether you learnt it at your mother's knee, at school or from a smartphone app, more than one and a half billion of us are speakers or students of English. It is the world's most widely used language but in the 21st Century English is being transformed. To investigate its diversity, vitality and future direction, Robin Lustig travels the world to find out if English is set to dominate or decline. Robin begins his journey in the speech artificial intelligence labs of Silicon Valley and in conversation with tech entrepreneurs in Shanghai as he asks how computer scientists are engineering new ways of using and learning English. On campus at Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley, Robin asks whether advances in neural machine translation might one day replace English as a global lingua franca. However, although technology is making English more accessible, it could one day break its grip on the globe. As Robin discovers, the future of English may be very different in an era when AI-powered ‘hearables’ can simultaneously translate between multiple languages. (Photo: Woman with a smart phone selecting an English dictionary app on screen, while resting at home. Credit: Getty Images)
5/23/201827 minutes, 5 seconds
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Abortion in America: Washington

Could abortion be banned in the United States? Since the election of President Trump the question has taken on a new urgency, for both sides of America’s abortion wars. Philippa Thomas travels to two states which perfectly capture the debate – Texas and Kentucky – to explore, the past, present and future of this most controversial debate. Finishing her journey in Washington, DC, in the third programme Philippa Thomas meets lobbyists on both sides of this issue, and visits the Supreme Court to watch the nine judges hear the latest major abortion case. (Photo: Pro-life demonstrators (R) confront pro-choice counterparts (L). Credit: Karen Bleier/AFP)
5/16/201826 minutes, 31 seconds
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Abortion in America: Kentucky

Could abortion be banned in the United States? Since the election of President Trump the question has taken on a new urgency, for both sides of America’s abortion wars. Philippa Thomas travels to Kentucky, where a legal case is under way aimed at closing that state’s last clinic. She visits the lawyer trying to keep it open, and the opponents fervently praying for it to close. And she is invited to a smart suburb to see for herself one answer to the question often asked of anti-abortion activists: ‘well, what would you do?’ (Photo: Pro-choice advocates (right) and anti-abortion advocates (left) rally outside of the Supreme Court, Washington DC. Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
5/9/201826 minutes, 30 seconds
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Abortion in America: Texas

Could abortion be banned in the United States? Since the election of President Trump the question has taken on a new urgency, for both sides of America’s abortion wars. Philippa Thomas travels to two states which perfectly capture the debate – Texas and Kentucky – to explore, the past, present and future of this most controversial debate. In the first programme Philippa visits abortion clinics in Texas to hear from women who have had abortions, and protesters who would like to stop them, about why this issue is so important. She hears from a doctor who performs abortions, a state lawmaker who would like to stop him, and an activist who wants to remove the shame about abortion. In the state capital, Austin, Philippa meets Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who argued the famous Roe versus Wade case which made abortion legal across America, and she hears how the reaction against that judgement helped create modern conservatism, modern liberalism, and elect President Trump. Excerpts from Sarah Weddington’s oral argument in the Roe versus Wade case are provided by Oyez, a free law project by Justia and the Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School, at Photo: Pro-choice and pro-life activists demonstrate on the steps of the United States Supreme Court, 2016. Credit: Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
5/2/201826 minutes, 30 seconds
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Half of the world’s river systems host hydro-electric dams. They offer reliable electricity but their construction forces people from their homes and disrupts the natural life of the river. Scores of dams already span the Mekong River, the great waterway linking China to Vietnam. They’ve brought power and jobs to some of the most undeveloped parts of South-East Asia and the building boom shows no sign of ending. But the impact of the massive building programme on those living in the Mekong Delta and along the river is immense: silt deposits are disrupted and fish populations are displaced, as are many of the millions of people that depend on them. Reporter Peter Hadfield sails up the Mekong to meet those communities living with the dams on their doorstep and discover how their lives are impacted. Meanwhile, presenter Didi Akinyelure is in western Europe to find out why the countries that pioneered hydro-power are now turning their backs on it. In Switzerland they are releasing floodwater from their dams to bring life back to a tamed mountain wilderness. In France dams are actually being dismantled to revive fish life on Normandy’s rivers. So how should we feel about dams? Do developing countries need the reliable low-carbon electricity they provide? Can they be built in less damaging ways or should we call a halt to the age of the mega-dam? (Photo: Ota Khami, 55, stands where his home use to be before it was bulldozed to make way for the Sesan 2 dam in Stung Treng, Cambodia. Credit: Getty Images)
4/25/201827 minutes, 41 seconds
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Life in the Himalayas is tough at the best of times. Crops are dependent on the seasonal melt-water from the mountain glaciers. If climate change wipes out the glaciers then the people will be forced to move. As the global population increases and climate change tightens its grip the struggle for land intensifies. The tension over the ownership and the use of land creates new conflicts and inflames existing struggles. It also inspires creative thinking and fresh approaches to agriculture, development and conservation. Nigerian journalist, Didi Akinyelure meets the innovators determined to maintain their traditional ways of life in the face of the worst that the climate can throw at them. In the Himalayas the locals are building their own artificial glaciers. Known as ice stupas, these mounds of ice modelled on Buddhist meditation structures can hold water for agriculture right through the summer. Meanwhile, in the Alps, villagers are determined to save the glaciers that provide their groundwater and attract tourists. They have hired a scientist who plans to spray the glacier with artificial snow in order to deflect the heat of the summer sun. (Photo: Didi Akinyelure on a glacier in the Swiss Alps)
4/18/201827 minutes, 34 seconds
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Encroaching Deserts

An arranged marriage brought Yin Yuzhen to Inner Mongolia’s Ordos desert. Depressed by the sandstorms and poor productivity of the region, Yuzhen began to plant trees. Over 30 years she has planted a million trees in 70,000 hectares of desert. Those trees improved the soil and served as a barrier, blocking the sandstorms. She’s transformed the region, allowing a whole community to thrive in once uninhabitable conditions. Didi Akinyelure travels to the Maowusu Desert to meet Yuzhen and the local farmers and officials who see her work as an example to the rest of China, a nation threatened by encroaching deserts and land degradation. If we’re to feed a growing population then it’s vital that the deserts aren’t just held back but shrunk or adapted to make food production feasible. Didi also talks to the proponents of Africa’s Great Green Wall, designed to battle the march of the Sahara, and to researchers who believe that deserts can be turned into friends for mankind. Image: Yin Yuzhen
4/11/201827 minutes, 21 seconds
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Sea Levels Rise

Five of the Solomon Islands have disappeared, many more are becoming uninhabitable. For Kerry and Sally, climate change is not a theory - it is what has made them abandon their island and the graves of their ancestors. They see themselves as lucky - they had family land to move to and the skills to build new homes on stilts - but they are resigned to moving again. Award-winning journalist Didi Akinyelure visits her home city of Lagos to find out the latest solution to sea level rise in West Africa. The glass towers of the new financial district of Eko Atlantic are protected from the waves by state of the art sea defences. The residents of the luxury apartments should keep their feet dry whatever the climate throws at them. That may be small comfort for their unprotected neighbours in the shanty town on the lagoon, Makoko, but they’re experts in survival against the odds. (Photo: The sea encroaches on a tropical island. Credit: Getty Images)
4/4/201827 minutes, 9 seconds
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My Perfect Country: Which Policies will Work?

Fi Glover, Martha Lane Fox and Henrietta Moore are on the hunt for solutions to the world’s problems. Their aim is to create the perfect country made up of the best global policies that actually work. In this episode, the panel hear the voices, opinions and criticisms of the World Service audience. Together, they debate how the perfect country is shaping up. The policies include: Rwanda reducing the gender pay gap, Cuba’s disaster preparedness, Germany’s refugee integration, Norway’s prison system, Nepal’s maternal healthcare, and Canada’s sustainable fishing programme. Listeners who have first-hand experience of these policies give their own personal reflection of living through them – and direct feedback to the verdicts from the My Perfect Country panel. Members of the audience from vastly different nations give their views of whether the policies could work where they are. And, in cases where they might not – listeners offer alternative suggestions for the countries they would look to instead.
2/21/201827 minutes, 9 seconds
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My Perfect Country: Canada

Fi Glover, Martha Lane Fox and Henrietta Moore from the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London are building an imagined utopia made up of the best solutions to the world’s problems. They look at a sustainable fishing scheme in British Columbia in Canada called catch share, a quota system based on dedicating a secure share of fish to individual fishermen, co-operatives or fishing communities. It means fishermen have the ability to catch a certain amount of fish each year and are responsible for not exceeding that amount, promoting stewardship of the seas. Just outside Vancouver, local reporter Madeline Taylor goes to meet the fishermen who spearheaded the scheme at the British Columbia groundfish fishery, which has evolved over the last 40 years from an open access, high discard fishery to a full retention, fully monitored fishery that accounts for all catch whether retained or released. Could it work elsewhere? With the help of Erin Priddle from the Environmental Defense Fund, the team discuss the achievements and shortcomings of this model for sustainable commercial fishing and whether it should be adopted as a policy for an imagined perfect country. (Photo: A commercial fishing boat on British Columbia's West Coast. Credit: Getty Images)
2/14/201827 minutes, 20 seconds
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My Perfect Country: Nepal

Nepal has managed a record achievement for its maternal mortality rates. Between 1991 and 2011, it has seen an 80% decline in the number of women dying in pregnancy, during labour and after childbirth - meaning it is one of the few countries on track to achieve the fifth Millennial Development Goal. The foundation of their achievement comes from an outstanding women’s volunteer programme known as the Female Community Health Volunteers. Currently over 50, 000 women volunteer to distribute life-saving advice and tools to mothers across the country. They administer vaccinations, contraceptives and ensure women understand the importance of self-care in pregnancy. Moreover, Nepal’s government have created a financial incentive programme to ensure women stop giving birth at home, and instead under the guidance and supervision of health professionals in local hospitals. However, these achievements may be undermined by entrenched problems that lie deep in Nepal’s health and social welfare. Alongside, superstitions and dangerous social customs that have been passed down the generations – Nepal’s alarming rate of child marriages may stop the panel from selecting this policy for their perfect country. (Photo: A Nepalese resident carries a child through a relief camp for earthquake survivors in Kathmandu. Credit: Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP)
2/7/201827 minutes, 17 seconds
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My Perfect Country: Norway

How has Norway managed to have the lowest rate of prisoners reoffending in Europe, and one of the lowest in the world? Their policy revolves around the fact that the justice system see taking their citizen’s freedom away as punishment enough, and prisoners are expected to carry on a life as similar to normal society as possible. As a result, high-quality education is given to inmates – as well as opportunities to work, to receive mental health support, and remain self-sufficient by cooking their own meals. This support is further strengthened by the prison guards who are some of the most highly-trained in the world and who are encouraged to spend time with inmates. The Norway government also brought in top architects and asked them to redesign prisons from scratch – focusing on decreasing any tension or conflict between inmates. Upon release, inmates are given significant help to reintegrate back into society – as help is provided for them to find both housing and employment. However, the policy is not without criticism as some detractors view Norway’s prisons as too luxurious, and questions are also raised over why Norway needed to rent space in Dutch prisons in 2015. (Photo: The interior of a cell at the Norgerhaven prison in Veenhuizen, The Netherlands. Credit: Catrinus van der Veen/AFP)
1/31/201827 minutes, 27 seconds
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My Perfect Country: Germany

Is the way Germany has handled refugee integration a model other countries could follow? In September 2015 the German chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to take in one million mainly Syrian refugees, and over the past three years more refugees have arrived in Germany than anywhere else in the European Union. But Germany did not just open its doors to those seeking refuge, it recognised that integrating them into society was crucial. The foundation of this is free but compulsory state-run German language and civic orientation courses for qualifying refugees, as well as help finding employment. There are also thousands of volunteer-led and non-governmental refugee projects across the country. But not everyone in Germany is happy with this approach to newly arrived refugees, and despite a tightening of refugee policy the fallout has resulted in political instability in the country. With the help of professor Christian Dustmann, director of the Centre for Research and Analysis on Migration, the team discuss the achievements and shortcomings of Germany’s refugee integration policy and whether it should be added to the policy portfolio that would build an imaginary perfect country made up of all the world's best policies and schemes. (Photo: Refugees from Syria hold up signs, one reads: 'We love you. We want to stoday, work and live.' Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
1/24/201827 minutes, 20 seconds
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My Perfect Country: Cuba

After 2017 brought a string of hyper-active and destructive hurricanes in the so-called Atlantic Hurricane Season, it is said that Cuba is a world leader in both hurricane preparedness and recovery, as it has one of the lowest fatality rates. It has been a cornerstone of their government for decades – at the heart of the model is the promotion of local level decision-making that relies on co-ordinated early warning systems, high-quality weather forecasting and community preparedness. Most notably, when disaster hits, every Cuban at every level of society has a role to play. Children are educated from a very young age of what to do in the event of a hurricane and there is an annual nationwide training to ensure plans are kept up to date. As the country also gives a particular focus to vulnerable members of society, other Caribbean countries are starting to take notice of Cuba’s policy – and this model could be implemented globally. However, Cuba’s achievements may be under threat as Hurricane Irma in 2017 took Cuba by surprise and shook the foundation of its policy. Efforts to rebuild and bring the country back to order are still taking place – with some critics doubting Cuba’s priorities. Fi Glover, Martha Lane Fox and Henrietta Moore ask whether Cuba’s lack of action in the aftermath prevents this policy getting their stamp of approval. (Photo: Cubans flags are hung from balconies to dry during the cleanup after Hurricane Irma in Havana, 2017. Credit: Yamil Lage/AFP)
1/17/201827 minutes, 23 seconds
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My Perfect Country: Rwanda

Rwanda has closed its gender gap by 80% since the 1994 genocide. How has the country done it, and should others be following its lead? Under the leadership of President Paul Kagame, the 2003 Rwandan constitution states that at least 30% of all decision-making jobs in government or public organisations must be held by women. The constitution enshrines the right to equal education opportunities for girls and boys, the right to equal pay in public sector jobs, and the right for women to own and inherit land. Since 2012 there has also been a drive to get more women into business, and women’s access to financial services such as bank accounts and credit has now more than doubled. In the Rwandan capital Kigali, Maggie Mutesi reports on the experience and views of a range of women, including Chief Gender Monitor Rose Rwabuhihi and Rwanda’s first woman taxi driver Amina Umuhooza. With the help of Dr Keetie Roelen, co director of the Centre for Social Protection at the Institute of Development Studies, the team discuss the achievements and shortcomings of Rwanda’s gender policy and whether it should be added to the My Perfect Country policy portfolio. Fi Glover, Martha Lane Fox and Henrietta Moore from the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London are scouring the globe for more policies that actually work, and using only the functioning bits of our planet they’re attempting to build a perfect country. Photo: Supporters of the governing Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) walk to a campaign rally in Kigali, on in July 2017. Credit: Marco Longari /AFP/Getty Images
1/10/201827 minutes, 26 seconds
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What Happened Next: Ebola

In Sierra Leone, the Ebola outbreak in 2014-16 caught everyone, including the World Health Organisation, completely unprepared. Award-winning reporter Umaru Fofana talks to Tulip Mazumdar about his own experience of the outbreak; plus we hear from both local and western doctors and aid workers about the fight to bring the disease under control. Central to this was persuading grieving families – with the help of social scientists – to change their burial practices. (Photo: Health workers carry a stretcher at the Kenama Ebola treatment centre run by the Red Cross, 2014. Credit: Francisco Leong/AFP/Getty Images)
1/3/201826 minutes, 40 seconds
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What Happened Next: Rana Plaza

When the Rana Plaza building collapsed in 2013, it drew worldwide attention to the horrific conditions for workers in the garment industry. Over a thousand people were killed one day after the building’s owners ignored warnings about cracks. Four years later, contributors on the ground wonder if anything has changed in the rush for profit in Bangladesh. (Photo: A Bangladeshi worker who was rescued from the collapsed poses on the site of the former Rana Plaza garment complex poses at the former site. Credit: Getty Images)
12/27/201727 minutes, 5 seconds
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What Happened Next: The Japanese Tsunami, 2011

In the most earthquake ready country on earth – Japan - a massive tsunami in 2011 hit two schools in Kamaishi and Okawa. At one everyone survived; at the other 74 children were killed. What went wrong? We hear gripping contributions from pupils at both schools, including Mai Ogasawara and Tetsuya Tadano; location recordings from Mai Nishiyama and Yu Wada Dimmer on the aftermath of the giant wave; plus interviews with Richard Lloyd Parry, author of Ghosts of the Tsunami and Robert Muir-Wood, author of the Cure for Catastrophe. (Photo: Cherry blossom covers trees amid tsunami devastation in Kamaishi City, 2011. Credit: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP)
12/20/201727 minutes, 22 seconds
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Ocean Stories: The Pacific Ocean

4/4 The shores of the Pacific are irresistible to tourists. From the coral wonders of Australia’s Gold Coast to the loneliest South Pacific atoll, local people make their living from the beauty of their surroundings. In the final edition of our series on the world’s oceans we explore how native traditions and the booming business of tourism co-exist. Many Solomon Islanders would like to see more tourists but worry about the loss of native culture. We meet local people anxious to hang on to traditions like shark-calling and shell money. Will more tourists help or hinder their cause? Diving on the Great Barrier Reef we hear how tour operators who once denied the coral was in decline now invest money in research to find a ‘super coral’ that can survive warming waters and the pressures of development. The Philippines is increasingly dependent on tourism and plenty of locals are attracted by the jobs that come with the construction of large scale resorts. Can they be built without destroying the delicate marine life of this stunning corner of the Pacific Ocean? We ask our oceans to provide an extraordinary range of services, from absorbing our carbon dioxide to providing a stunning backdrop for sunbathing and sipping cocktails. The more pressure we add, the more fascinating stories will emerge from life on the shore. (Photo: A reef in the Solomon Islands. Credit: Ellen Husain)
12/13/201727 minutes, 14 seconds
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Ocean Stories: The Arctic and Southern Oceans

3/4 As the ice of the Arctic and Southern Oceans melts, its composition changes completely. Ships can now sail through the Arctic from China to Europe; seals, walrus and polar bears have to move further north and find different prey. In the third edition of our series on the world’s oceans we visit Svalbard and Alaska to discover what change means for the people of the Arctic as the warming climate brings more trade, more tourists and new species. In the Norwegian territory of Svalbard residents find the doors and windows of their homes warping as the permafrost melts. In Alaska the traditional Inuit freezer cabinets - essentially deep holes cut into the ice - no longer keep whale meat fresh through the summer. The Southern Ocean, wrapped around a vast frozen continent, faces the same warming trends but here the witnesses are penguins and the scientists who monitor them, fishermen and the toothfish and krill that are increasingly easy to catch for a hungry world. Beneath the waves, oceanographer Jon Copley from Southampton University provides a fascinating underwater commentary, demonstrating how the Southern Ocean can lay claim to being the ‘mother of all oceans’.
12/6/201727 minutes, 17 seconds
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Ocean Stories: The Indian Ocean

2/4 Only now is deep sea exploration beginning in remote parts of the Indian Ocean to reveal what lies on the ocean floor, what treasures can be found that could be used for scientific and technological development. Underwater mining for minerals is being carried out by several nations and there’s a huge rush around the ocean rim to promote what’s called the Blue Economy, profiting from the ocean and its riches. We travel around the Indian Ocean from South Africa to Mauritius and North West Australia via the Indonesian island on the edge of the Indian and Pacific oceans to meet people who are developing enterprising ways of profiting from the ocean, whilst being careful not to further damage the fragile Eco systems that have been depleted over decades through over-fishing and climate change. A fascinating underwater commentary is provided by oceanographer, Jon Copley from Southampton University, explaining the geology and currents that link the shores of the Indian Ocean. Photo: Coral reef in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Kenya Credit: Tony Karumba//AFP/Getty Images
11/29/201726 minutes, 52 seconds
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Ocean Stories: The Atlantic

1/4 In this first episode we cross the ocean from the Grand Banks to the tip of South Africa via Reykjavik in Iceland meeting those involved in fishing and working along the shores of the Atlantic. Beneath the waves, oceanographer Jon Copley from Southampton University provides a fascinating underwater commentary, demonstrating how currents and ocean ridges link the lives on every shore of the Atlantic. The Atlantic Ocean covers more than 100 million square kilometres, stretching from southern Africa to Iceland and from the Americas to Europe. Named after the Greek God Atlantikos and for the area of water near to the Atlas Mountains, it has shaped human history and culture in more ways than any other ocean as a trade route, a slave passage and as a vital source of food. For centuries it has been a source of wealth and prosperity for those who voyaged across it in search of food, from the Basque sailors who ventured to North America in search of cod and whale meat, to the Vikings who traversed it long before European explorers began exploring and exploiting its peoples and riches. It was fish that enabled this early travel and it is fish that has continued to sustain populations around the Atlantic ever since, from Newfoundland to Iceland and onward to West Africa. This first episode of our new series exploring the great oceans of the world looks at the communities eking a living from its waters - their culture, their livelihoods and the challenges they face. Presenter: Liz Bonnin (Photo: Icebergs off the coast of Canada's Newfoundland Credit: Getty Images)
11/22/201727 minutes, 17 seconds
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America Laboratory of Democracy: Insurgent Nation

4/4 American democracy can easily frustrate change. The country’s Constitution is almost impossible to amend. The many interest groups swirling through Congress often paralyse or colonise it; and corralling 50 states is often beyond the capacity of the most able president. Yet America has been home to a string of popular movements across the last two centuries that have brought vigour and change to what otherwise might have been a sclerotic political system. It mattered, of course, that the country was born in revolution, meaning that popular resistance, beginning with the original Tea Party in Boston Harbour, is part of the nation’s DNA. We encounter the passion of America’s insurgents and the turbulence their movements generated. We begin with the struggle by African-Americans to end slavery. We continue with the titanic battles between labour and capital in the 1930s over the rights of workers and the obligations of government to regulate the economy in the public interest. And we conclude with an exploration of two 21st-Century movements: the modern-day Tea Party and the campaign for gay rights and same-sex marriage. We hear from veterans of these struggles in Ohio, California, Michigan, and New York; with museum curators in Cincinnati and Boston who are preserving and interpreting the history of past struggles; and with historians and other experts who can help us to make sense of the successes and failures of these movements, and of their role in sustaining, convulsing, and changing American democracy. (Photo: Protesters in Times Square against President Trump's decision to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals serving in the military. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
11/15/201726 minutes, 30 seconds
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America, Laboratory of Democracy: Little Leviathans

3/4 One of the most fascinating, and least understood, features of American democracy is that individual states possessed a scope of power much greater than what was given to the central government in Washington. On so many issues, the states went their own way. Whether to teach religion in schools; legalise or outlaw slavery; allow divorce or the sale of alcohol or the sale of firecrackers; permit birth control, pornography, or gambling - on all these matters, and many others, it was up to the individual states to decide. This episode examines the enormous powers possessed by these little leviathans and the diverse ways in which they used them. We visit Dayton, Tennessee, the site of the famous 1924 Scopes Trial, which put before a judge the question of whether the state of Tennessee had the right to ban the teaching of Charles Darwin and evolution from the schools (it did). We talk to experts on the history of marriage in America to understand why some states banned interracial unions while others didn’t seem to care. And we talk to Californians who see in the recent rebirth of states’ rights the best hope of sustaining a liberal politics in America on matters such as climate control, social welfare and racial equality. (Photo: American teacher John Thomas Scopes (1900 - 1970) (2nd from left) standing in the courtroom during his trial for teaching Darwin's Theory of Evolution in his high school science class, Dayton, Tennessee, 1925. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
11/8/201727 minutes, 1 second
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America, Laboratory of Democracy: Money -the Lifeblood of American Democracy

2/4 The usual way to tell the story of money and democracy in America is in terms of a fall from grace. Once upon a time, democracy was pure, with little corruption, and rich Americans had no influence upon policymakers. The truth is more complicated. By the mid-19th Century, America had the largest, densest, and most labour-intensive democracy in the world. None of this had been anticipated by the country’s founders, who had made no provision in the Constitution for funding an electoral system that, because of its vastness, had become enormously expensive. When government failed, private entrepreneurs rushed in, inventing a new institution - the political party - to organise America’s intricate system of elections. These entrepreneurs took money wherever they found it - from wealthy individuals who wanted to become judges; from corporations who wanted to influence policy; from those who were expected to pay an “assessment” for the privilege of working for the party or in government. Tammany Hall in New York was the first of these powerful party organisations. We visit the Courthouse that “Boss Tweed” built, and the saloon, McSorley’s, where many Tammany deals were struck. And we examine the many efforts to reform America’s electoral system, beginning 100 years ago, continuing with the Watergate reforms of the 1970s, and concluding with the efforts by Bernie Sanders and others today to roll back Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court decision that has sent a new avalanche of money cascading into American politics. Separating American democracy from its money, its lifeblood, is as difficult a task today as it was a century ago. (Photo: Old photographs hang on a wall at McSorley's Old Ale House in the East Village, New York City 2012. The East Village has been home to famous artists, musicians and waves of immigrants from the 19th century on. Credit: Getty Images)
11/1/201726 minutes, 31 seconds
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America, Laboratory of Democracy: Drowning Government in a Bathtub

1/4 America has the world’s oldest continuously operating democracy. Its political institutions have long been a model for democrats everywhere. Yet, American democracy is also troubled. In this four-part series, American historian Gary Gerstle takes a penetrating look at his nation’s democracy and the reasons behind the crisis that besets it today. In this episode, he goes back to the framing of the US Constitution. This gave only limited powers to the federal government, but by the mid-19th Century, Americans wanted it to do more. Because the Constitution was virtually impossible to change, those who wanted to enlarge the government had to use “secret weapons.” One of these was the Post Office, which as well as delivering mail, was called on to do things like enforce a ban on porn. Another was a Constitutional clause that allowed the government to regulate inter-state commerce. An Ohio farmer, Roscoe Filburn, challenged this in a key 1942 Supreme Court case, and lost. Since then, the government has relied on the Commerce clause to vastly increase its control over many new areas, such as civil rights. The subsequent huge expansion of the government has so enraged conservatives that they talk about drowning it in a bathtub. Liberals insist that the use of “secret weapons” offer America its only hope of effective governance. Both sides have powerful arguments. Will they ever be able to compromise, and allow the government to function properly in the interests of all? (Photo: The farmhouse of Roscoe Filburn, the Ohio farmer at the centre of a 1942 Supreme Court case)
10/25/201726 minutes, 30 seconds
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Making it Work: Agriculture in India and Kenya

4/4 Angela Saini is on a farm in a rural corner of Karnataka in south India, meeting the team behind Akshayakalpa – a kind of Farm in a Box. When you are on a low income, how can you possibly find a way to raise the funds you need to get into farming, or simply keep your existing farm afloat? Angela meets an entrepreneur who thinks she has found the answer. Angela heads back to Nairobi to catch up with the founder of OkHi – the app that lets you find any address in the city, which we discussed earlier in the series. How are they getting on? Finally, she meets budding agricultural entrepreneurs in Nairobi and talk to the Agriculture Minister Willy Bett. (Photo: Cows in a field, Nyandarua County, Kenya)
10/18/201726 minutes, 35 seconds
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Making it Work: Navigating Kenya's Streets with Technology

3/4 OkHi is a new navigation device which runs on your mobile phone and allows you to find an address, however remote, with GPS coordinates and a photo. It should be accurate to within ten metres and copes without the usual massive infrastructure changes required by sat nav systems. Just outside Bengaluru in India, we take a look at the problems of getting access to banking services in remote communities and the solution being offered by a new company called Sub-K, and their human ATMs. Finally, Angela calls in again on the creators of BRCK internet to learn about their major ambitions for the future. Image: Wes Chege, founder of OkHi, Credit: Whistledown
10/11/201726 minutes, 36 seconds
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Making it Work: Rugged Tablets for African Schools

2/4 A Kenyan company is planning to bring reliable stable internet and rugged tablets to remote schools with the help of BRCK, a solution to internet problems in the shape of a brick. Part two of four. In the northern Indian state of Assam, people have the lowest access to good quality eye care in the whole of India – 18% of all cataracts happen in this one state. ERC Eyecare has a business solution aimed at changing all that. We also return to visit the stethoscope creators from last week’s episode. Things have moved on for the company Taal and it is now trying to drum up business – how are sales going? (Photo: Boy looks up from a Kio Kit tablet used in a school in Kenya)
10/4/201726 minutes, 36 seconds
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Making it Work: Affordable Medical Equipment in India

1/4 Exploring the reality of being an entrepreneur serving the “bottom billion” – a new mini-series from The Compass. In India around a fifth of people still live below the poverty line, according to the most recent World Bank estimates. Businesses selling to this market need to keep prices low. In the famous tech city of Bengaluru, south India, we visit a veterinary clinic for pets, the unlikely home of a surprising young start-up, which is set to revolutionise one of the most common medical devices on the planet - the stethoscope. In a village in Mathura, about three hours' drive from New Delhi we take a look at the installation of a new affordable solution to providing solar energy. We then head to Kenya to meet a young entrepreneur who is looking at the success of firms like Amazon and has developed his own similar internet based delivery system for Kenya’s low-income customers. (Photo: Taal component board)
9/27/201726 minutes, 34 seconds
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Stargazing: South Africa's New Generation Astronomers

The scientist running the Square Kilometre Array, the world's biggest telescope. Episode five of five. The telescope's antennae spiral across the African continent. In the remote North Karoo town of Carnarvon in South Africa, the next generation of astronomers is training to run this major telescope facility. (Photo: South Africa’s Karoo-based KAT-7 radio telescope array are pictured at sunset at The Square Kilometre Array. Credit: Alexander Joe/AFP)
9/20/201726 minutes, 31 seconds
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Stargazing: Faith versus Science in Hawaii

Science writer and author Dava Sobell travels to Hawaii to ascend mount Mauna Kea. Among the observatories on the summit is the proposed Thirty Metre Telescope. Episode four of five. Dava discovers the plans are creating a rift between astronomers and local Hawaiians. TMT will be able to discern gases in the most remote atmospheres, which may indicate extra terrestrial life but the site is sacred for the native Hawaiian community. The story echoes the tension between science and faith that has played out for centuries. (Photo: Astrophotography of The Great Orion Nebula, in the constellation Orion. Credit: Getty Images)
9/13/201726 minutes, 31 seconds
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Stargazing: A New Vision of Our Cosmic Origins

Dava Sobel travels to Edinburgh, to catch sight of the most ambitious telescope being made. Episode three of five. This time next year, the James Webb Space Telescope will begin its long journey to a stable orbit at a place called L-2, one million miles beyond the Moon. It will unfold the components of its huge, intricate body and look back in time, to probe events that occurred nearly 14 billion years ago. The James Webb is a Nasa-led project, with the telescope named after the Nasa administrator who ran the space agency during the Apollo program of the 1960s. This is also a landmark collaboration between the European and Canadian Space Agencies, in all elements of its design and construction. Dava learns about the intricacies of the British component being made, the MIRI – the Mid Infrared Instrument – which will intercept invisible light waves in the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum, to study the earliest stars and galaxies and ultimately discover how our universe came to be. (Photo: A full scale model of the James Webb Space Telescope sits on the National Mall, 2007,Washington, DC. Credit: Getty Images)
9/6/201726 minutes, 31 seconds
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Stargazing: Astronomy from the Edge of the World

Dava Sobel hears from telescope operators at ALMA, the remote observatory high in the Atacama Desert in Chile, talking to us with their oxygen tanks at the ready. Episode two of five. As we hear, the ‘radio sky’ presents an alternate universe, in which the Moon and planets are barely detectable. In their place are clouds of interstellar gas and other exotic celestial sources which reveal different aspects of our history and astronomy. At ALMA, the radio astronomers do not need to wait until dark to make their observations but can work at any hour, day or night. (Photo: The ALMA Observatory is located in the Chajnantor Plateau over 5,000 metres above sea level. Credit: ALMA/ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)
8/30/201726 minutes, 29 seconds
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Stargazing: Copernicus' Heavenly Spheres

Dava Sobel uncovers the brilliance of her hero, the 16th century Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who revealed the true model of the universe by putting the Sun, rather than the Earth, at its hub. Episode one of five. In the Cathedral town of Frombork on the Baltic Sea in Northern Poland, we hear how he served his entire career in the church and how he kept his astronomical findings a secret, fearful of being denounced by the Catholic Church. On his deathbed, he published his life’s work, "On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres". (Photo: Monument of great astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, Torun, Poland. Credit: Getty Images)
8/23/201726 minutes, 32 seconds
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On the Black Sea: Sailors of Sevastopol

The Crimean coast is so important that Russia seized it from Ukraine. But what have been the costs of gaining this valuable prize? The final leg of our five-episode journey across and around the Black Sea takes us to the port of Sevastopol. And we also reveal details about the next mini-series from The Compass. Producer Monica Whitlock. Photo: The embankment of Sevastopol, Crimea, Ukraine Credit: Getty Images
8/16/201727 minutes, 32 seconds
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On the Black Sea: a Land Forgotten

Ghost states like Abkhazia have the trappings of independence, but are unrecognised by most of the world. On the far north-east shore of the Black Sea, the region is determined to preserve its independence and ancient culture, including a pagan religion based around animal sacrifices, but the price of statehood is deep isolation. Presenter Tim Whewell discovers what life is like in Abkhazia. He begins his journey at the Abkhaz border and continues by horse-drawn wagon - the only available transport. Produced by Monica Whitlock. This is the fourth part of five. (Photo: Abkhaz veterans of the World War II, Credit: Monica Whitlock)
8/9/201727 minutes, 11 seconds
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On the Black Sea: Truckers

Black Sea truckers are a tough bunch. Driving thousands of miles through Europe, the Caucasus and eastwards to China, they transport everything from biscuits to fridges to pigs. Tim Whewell joins them on board the huge Black Sea ferry that connects these places, sailing from Odessa to Batumi in Georgia. The truckers are mainly from the former Soviet Union, many have known each other for years, and once all belonged to one country. The truckers are endlessly inventive as they navigate the fraught geopolitics that shape their lives. The war in Syria, the annexation of Crimea, European visa rules, are just some of the obstacles they overcome. As the they relax for the thousand-kilometre crossing, they make merry, and tell stories of the road. Producer: Monica Whitlock Truckers set off by ferry from Istanbul to Odessa. Credit: Monica Whitlock
8/2/201727 minutes, 13 seconds
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On the Black Sea: Diving Deep

The unique properties of the Black Sea make it an archaeologist’s dream but an ecologist’s nightmare. Most of its water is almost devoid of life, so medieval shipwrecks are perfectly preserved. But wildlife is under threat. On his journey across the sea, presenter Tim Whewell dives under the waves to explore its layers of history – and layers of life and death. He joins marine archaeologists investigating the secrets of a prehistoric settlement and meets the biologists counting dolphins. They say growing political tensions are blocking vital conservation efforts. Producer Monica Whitlock Photo: The stern of an Ottoman shipwreck discovered under water Credit: Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (MAP)
7/24/201727 minutes, 5 seconds
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On the Black Sea: The Voyage Begins

A voyage across a mysterious sea where empires have clashed for centuries and tensions are rising again. By ferry, rowing-boat, horse-drawn wagon, the BBC World Service travels over, around, and under the Black Sea, to discover its ancient and modern secrets. As Russia and Nato build up their naval power in the region, presenter Tim Whewell meets the Istanbul ship-spotter who helped alert the world to the scale of the Kremlin’s military involvement in Syria. Tim embarks on his journey over the sea to Odessa in Ukraine. It is a city in love with the sea. But its character is beginning to change. Producer: Monica Whitlock (Photo: Istanbul panorama Credit: Tony Jolliffe/BBC
7/19/201727 minutes, 51 seconds
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A Tale of Two Rivers: Kuala Lumpur

In Kuala Lumpur the regeneration of the city’s Klang River is seen as a key element in the modernisation of the whole country. The capital city is keen to attract talent workers and tourists from all over Asia and beyond. But the historic downtown heart of Kuala Lumpur has become run down, the home to migrant workers from Bangladesh and Myanmar, while the economic focus has moved to the ring of steel and glass skyscrapers on the outskirts. Regenerate the Klang, the thinking goes, and downtown will come to life again. So, as with Los Angeles, there are serious moves to clean up the river, to encourage citizens to walk and cycle sections of its banks and to educate people to think differently about the river in ways that will lessen pollution. But questions remain. How to secure vital community involvement? How to make public/private partnerships and also protect the rights of local people? How to get city workers out of their cars? And, how to sustain government funding? (Photo: Local politician Ong Kian Ming on the Klang River, Kuala Lumpur)
7/5/201726 minutes, 52 seconds
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A Tale of Two Rivers: Los Angeles

In Los Angeles Susan Marling speaks to Frank Gehry. The famous architect has been charged with creating a master plan for the improvement of the Los Angeles River. It is a tough job. Since the 1930s when the river was straightened and lined with concrete to mitigate flooding, the waterway has been a hidden, polluted channel that many Angelenos did not even know existed. But now the money and the political will (we speak to mayor of LA, Eric Garcetti) are in place to ‘green’ the river, create parks, continue the development of cycle paths and to spark a swathe of new housing and connections between neighbourhoods. The big question is whether this can be done without displacing the poorer people and the small businesses who currently live and work close to the river. And if LA becomes host of the 2024 summer Olympics, will it have a new clean river to show the world? Producer: Victoria Ferran (Photo: The Los Angeles River)
6/28/201726 minutes, 52 seconds
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A Young World - Sierra Leone

How do young people in Sierra Leone cope faced with staggering rates of youth unemployment of over 50%? Umaru Fofana talks to young people in the capital, Freetown, as they struggle to make a living. He meets the young men who look after graves in the hopes of getting a handout from grieving relatives, and a young woman who was asked for sexual favours in return for employment. And he asks whether the education system is really preparing his young fellow countrymen for the world of work. (Image: Young people in a cemetery in Freetown, Credit: BBC)
5/17/201726 minutes, 28 seconds
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A Young World - Uganda

The struggle to get a good education, in an overpopulated school system. With a median age of under 16 years old, Uganda is one of the most youthful countries in the world, but the sheer number of young people means that many struggle to get a good education. A disturbing number are entirely unschooled, or have dropped out of class due to poverty or for other reasons. Others are impressive, with their determination to succeed, even in difficult circumstances. The BBC’s Alan Kasujja travels back to the country of his birth to meet young people at various stages of learning. Image: A boy at a desk in a Ugandan school, Credit: AFP/Getty Images
5/10/201726 minutes, 50 seconds
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The future of employment is certain to change – and change fast – as robotics and artificial intelligence replace human workers. For many, it’s a future to be feared. But the global economy has continually been revolutionised by technological innovation; innovation which has led to disruption but also further economic progress. In this edition of Economic Tectonics, Andrew McAfee from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – and a tech optimist – explores how he thinks technology could change our economic futures for the better. Producer: Sandra Kanthal (Image: Child fixing robot, Credit: Shutterstock)
4/6/201726 minutes, 51 seconds
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Without the most basic resources – water, food and energy – the global economy could not function. Much of the world has grown used the ready supply of all three. But that might be changing. Demographics and climate change are likely to transform how we value and use essential resources. In this edition of Economic Tectonics, Joanna Haigh – a professor at London’s Grantham Institute at Imperial College – explores how, in her view, such changes could have profound consequences for the future economy. Producer: Sandra Kanthal (Image: Map made of food, Credit: Shutterstock)
3/29/201726 minutes, 49 seconds
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Trillions of dollars flow through the global economic system every day and intermediaries in the finance sector take a cut on every dollar, euro and yen. But financial technology – “fintech” – is fast-changing how the system works. Philip Coggan of The Economist explores how the coming technical revolution in finance will create new winners and losers – and perhaps a rebalancing of global financial power. Producer: Ben Carter (Photo: Tech Globe on hand. Credit: Shutterstock)
3/23/201726 minutes, 49 seconds
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Who we are, how many of us there are and where we live will change the economies of the future. Africa’s population will boom spectacularly, creating a huge new workforce in countries like Nigeria. That’s a great opportunity, but one with serious risks attached. Europe will shrink. Asia is ageing. In this edition of Economic Tectonics, Ruth Alexander looks at the near future – a future we can already see, thanks to accurate statistical modelling – to find out how economic power will shift as the world’s population changes. Producer: Ben Carter (Image: People gathered as an arrow, Credit: Arthimedes/Shutterstock)
3/16/201726 minutes, 49 seconds
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Ten years ago a Harvard economist suggested that it might not be possible to combine democracy, national sovereignty and economic integration forever. Something would have to give. 2016 might just have proved him right. In this edition of Economic Tectonics, Martin Sandbu from The Financial Times explores how –in his view – today’s fractious politics might change the global economy of the future. Producer: Sandra Kanthal (Image: Child at Protest holding placard, Credit: Shutterstock)
3/10/201726 minutes, 49 seconds
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Shanghai City of Youth - Part Three

Shanghai aims to become a global capital of finance and technology by 2020, but it’s also becoming a city of culture - a cosmopolitan draw for young people seeking a lifestyle mixing the ideas of East and West. The newly-regenerated waterfront area is now lined with art galleries and boutique shops and Shanghai millennials hang out in the former colonial French Concession, which bustles with hip cocktail bars and fancy bakeries. Adrenalin sports such as ‘free jumping’ are among the global pursuits which attract young people to live here. But will China’s political system allow this huge city to rival other urban centres of the and can it secure its place as a city of the world? Image: Three people pose for a selfie in front of Shanghai's waterfront, Credit: Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images
3/2/201726 minutes, 51 seconds
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Shanghai, City of Youth - Part Two

Haining Liu explores the pressure on China's one-child generation to marry and start a family. At the ‘marriage market’ in central Shanghai she meets the anxious parents desperate to find a suitable match for their single offspring and drops in on a speed dating event in the city where young men and women are hoping to find a life partner. But young people are increasingly also choosing a career or the single life over the traditional family, and despite the stigma of being unmarried over 30, Haining explores a new trend for women to freeze their eggs so they can delay marriage and motherhood. (Photo: Visitors participate in speed dating at the Shanghai Marriage Expo 2012. Credit: Peter Parks/AFP)
2/23/201726 minutes, 52 seconds
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Shanghai, City of Youth - Part One

Haining Liu visits Shanghai to discover its growing allure for young people. Home to over 25 million people Shanghai is China's most populous city. Haining Liu discovers what draws those in their 20s and 30s to live, work and study in the city, and asks whether the cosmopolitan lifestyle is enough to keep them here in the face of rising property prices. China’s leaders have big ambitions to make Shanghai a major global capital by 2020, hoping it will rival the likes of New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo and London in finance, culture and business. Glass sky scrapers, including the world's second tallest building, the Shanghai Tower, now make up the city’s iconic financial skyline, while its historic waterfront is being regenerated as a bustling cultural hub. But life can be tough in this crowded metropolis. High property prices, pollution and the pressure to juggle a career and family life are real challenges for young people. Haining meets the Chinese entrepreneurs who have returned from America's Silicon Valley to grow their technology company, and she visits a shared living community for young people hoping to tackle high rent prices. Nearly half of Shanghai’s population are migrants who come here to find work. Haining also travels around the city with the young delivery workers who have recently arrived from rural China, and finds out what life is like for those who come here to realise their dreams. (Photo: A group of young Chinese walk past a billboard showing the Pudong financial district in Shanghai. Credit: Mark Falston/AFP/Getty Images)
2/16/201726 minutes, 52 seconds
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My Perfect Country: The Debate

Fi Glover, Martha Lane Fox and Henrietta Moore are on the hunt for solutions to the world’s problems. Their aim is to create the perfect country made up of the best global policies that actually work. In this episode, the panel hear the voices, opinions and criticisms of the World Service audience. Together, they debate how the perfect country is shaping up. The policies include: Bermuda’s water policy, Peru’s housing revolution, Japan’s gun control, Tunisian women’s rights, Shanghai’s numeracy education and Australia’s anti-smoking laws. Listeners who have first-hand experience of these policies give their own personal reflection of living through them – and direct feedback to the verdicts from the My Perfect Country panel. Members of the audience from vastly different nations give their views of whether the policies could work where they are. And, in cases where they might not – listeners offer alternative suggestions for the countries they would look to instead. The team also hear new material from the roving radio reporters that summarised each policy – they update the panel on new developments as well as any unforeseen changes that could threaten their country’s achievements. Listeners also discuss what the perfect flag for the perfect country would look like – and offer their own unique compositions for a universal national anthem.
2/2/201726 minutes, 48 seconds
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My Perfect Country: Curbing Smoking in Australia

Today, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. It leads to around six million deaths per year, and trends show that will rise to more than eight million by 2030. Australians are ditching cigarettes at record levels, and it is down to the fact that they have some of the world’s toughest anti-smoking laws. Each year they clamp down further on smoking in public places. They now target the tiny corners that other nations might overlook – from playgrounds to railway platforms to taxi ranks. They also have some of the world’s most expensive cigarette prices, strict laws on plain packaging and a heavily curated, million dollar media campaign. Most recently, the government have invested in a digital mobile phone app that acts as a personal support buddy on a smoker’s journey to quitting. However, these laws are under fire from critics who question the right of governments to control behaviours. They are seen as infringements on rights to freedom and privacy – and lead smokers to feel marginalised from society. This criticism reached a climax when recent attempts to ban smoking in prisons led to some of the worst riots in recent history. Drawing evidence from experts and the smokers across Sydney who are affected by these policies, Martha Lane Fox and Henrietta Moore – together with Sara Hitchman of the International Tobacco Control Project - debate whether Australia have cracked the solution to curb smoking. (Photo: Tar figures placed in the CBD, Sydney, to raise awareness of the damage smoking causes to the body, 2011. Credit: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
1/26/201726 minutes, 49 seconds
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My Perfect Country: Shanghai's Model for Teaching Maths

In Shanghai, students are better at maths than anywhere else in the world. According to the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment, Shanghai maths students are three years ahead of the PISA average. That means a 15-year-old in Shanghai is better at maths than most 18-year-olds in the UK. And, 55% of students are considered ‘top performers’. Behind these impressive results is the Shanghai ‘mastery’ approach to teaching maths, which assumes every pupil can be a maths master. There is no streaming according to ability, the highly trained, specialist teacher moves slowly through topics and does not move on until every single pupil gets it. And, so the foundations are laid for a rock solid mathematical understanding. But with criticisms levelled at the high-pressure Asian schooling system, where success is often underpinned by hours of homework and extra tuition, is the mastery maths method an approach our imagined perfect country should adopt? Based on the testimonies of teachers, parents and pupils recorded in Shanghai, as well as in a UK school that has adopted the Shanghai mastery maths method, the team discuss the pros and cons with the help of Anne Watson, emeritus professor of Mathematics Education at Oxford University. (Photo: Schoolboys solving a math problem in class at the Shanghai Number Eight High School. Credit: Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)
1/19/201726 minutes, 49 seconds
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My Perfect Country: 'State Feminism' in Tunisia

Tunisia comes under the spotlight, because it is rewriting the rules about what women can and can’t do in an Islamic country. Should it be a role model for its Muslim neighbours? Women have more rights in Tunisia than in any other Islamic country. Since independence in 1956, the Code of Personal Status banned polygamy, gave women almost the same rights in law as men - the freedom to divorce them - and the right to be educated. Following this came the right to vote, stand for office, set up a business, demand equal pay, and the right to an abortion eight years before American women won their right to choose. But has society kept pace with these advances in the law? A recent report indicating that 53% of Tunisian women experience violent attacks in their lifetime suggests legal equality is only part of the story. Based on the testimonies and experience of women (and some men) recorded in Tunisia, including rapper Boutheina ‘Medusa’ El Alouadi and Sayida Ounissi, deputy minister for employment, the team debate whether Tunisia’s ‘state feminism’ joins the My Perfect Country portfolio with the help of Dina Mansour-Ille from the Institute for Overseas Development. (Photo: Tunisian women, one (L) wearing a 'burkini', at Ghar El Melh beach near Bizerte, north-east of Tunis. Credit: Fethi Belaid/AFP/Getty Images)
1/12/201726 minutes, 49 seconds
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My Perfect Country: Gun Control in Japan

Gun control is a policy that fiercely divides nations – on the one hand there are the countries that enshrine the use of guns - while a host of others seek to eliminate them from society. One country that has dramatically reduced gun violence is Japan. It has one of the world’s lowest homicide rates to the extent that shooting deaths per year are in the single digits. These are the results of a rigorous gun control policy. Citizens cannot even hold guns in their hands without meeting strict protocols. These include all day classes, written exams, shooting range tests and military style background checks to ensure they have no affiliation with extremist groups. But the biggest factor of all is the decision for all police forces to abandon guns. Instead – they rely heavily on martial arts to combat criminals. However, Japan’s achievements may be under threat. A key element to the success of this policy is the pacifist culture that has shaped the country since World War Two. Now current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to increase militarisation to counter-terrorism. Fi Glover, professor Henrietta Moore and Martha Lane Fox – together with Iain Overton, the Executive Director of Action on Armed Violence – question whether these laws could work in countries across the world and whether increasing militarisation across the world poses a threat to gun laws. (Photo: A man handles a fake gun on show at the Japan Models and Hobby Show 2016. Credit: Getty Images)
1/5/201726 minutes, 51 seconds
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My Perfect Country: Cutting Poverty in Peru

How has Peru cut its poverty rate in half in just ten years? Building on decades of economic growth, a policy of inclusive economics has meant many of the poorest in the country have shared in the prosperity created by the boom. Government schemes to extend basic services such as piped water, sanitation and electricity to slum areas, underpinned by social programmes for children, families and the over 65s, have helped to lift 7 million people out of poverty in the last five years alone. Low-income communities have played a vital role in the speed and extent to which this has been rolled out, putting pressure on successive governments through direct action such as protests and roadblocks. But there are problems. Rural poverty rates remain high, many people are still slipping through the net, and more investment in health and education is needed. Corruption is endemic, and Peru’s largely informal economy means the improvement in people’s living conditions is precarious, particularly as the country’s economy is now slowing down. Image: A woman pushes a child in a pram, Credit: Getty Images So should Peru’s poverty reduction be added to the My Perfect Country pile of policies? Fi Glover, Martha Lane Fox and Henrietta Moore, the team imagining building a nation from the policies that are making the world a better place, debate the pros and cons with the help of Jelke Boesten from King’s College London.
1/3/201726 minutes, 48 seconds
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My Perfect Country: Solving Water Scarcity in Bermuda

The solution to the world’s water scarcity problem could lie in the tiny, remote island of Bermuda. The island has battled water saving problems since its colonisation as it has no natural water resources – and therefore no natural pure water. It relies on one source alone – rain water. That limited availability has created a nation of pioneering inventors who produced the Bermudian Roof. It catches every drop of rain, purifies it and stores it for daily use. As each Bermudian citizen is in charge of their own water supply – they have an ingrained sense of water conservation. Could other countries learn from their stringent attitude towards water – or could the Bermudian roof be installed across the world? But there are some obstacles to overcome along the way – unlike Bermuda, other nations give most of their water supply to the production of agriculture and some countries ban rainwater harvesting completely. The pros and cons of this resourceful nation are digested and analysed by Fi Glover who is regularly joined by internet entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox and Professor Henrietta Moore of the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London. Also adding his voice to the debate is special guest and water saving expert Roger Calow of the Overseas Development Institute. Together, and with the help of the worldwide audience – they decide whether the perfect country adopts this water conservation strategy. Image: A water droplet drips from a leaf, Credit: Thinkstock
12/22/201626 minutes, 51 seconds
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Islam, People and Power: Reflections

Presenter Safa al Ahmad is joined by a panel of experts to reflect on the issues raised in her documentary series 'Islam People and Power'. Her guests in the studio are: Dr Maha Azzam, former Associate Fellow of Chatham House, now Head of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council. Dr Hazem Kandil, Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge and author of Inside The Brotherhood. Hassan Hassan, Fellow of The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy and author of ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror. Editor: Innes Bowen (Image: Safa al Ahmad in the studio. Credit: BBC)
12/9/201627 minutes
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Islam, People and Power: The Shia

Within Shi’ism there is a high level disagreement about the role of Islam in government. Shia-dominated Iran is an Islamic republic, led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a senior Islamic cleric. But the Iranian model of government - a theocratic state - is not supported by Shi’ism’s most senior Islamic cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani who is based in the Iraqi city of Najaf. “Khamenei is the head of Iranian army. Sistani is not the head of Iraqi army,” explains Iraqi politician Walid al-Hilli. But, as presenter Safa al-Ahmad discovers on a visit to Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Sistani has significant influence on the way Iraq is governed. (Photo: A V-sign for victory is flashed in front of a portrait of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Credit: Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images)
12/8/201626 minutes, 32 seconds
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Islam, People and Power: The Islamists

What should the relationship be between Islam and the state? This is the question which dominates political debate in the Arab world. Many traditional Islamic scholars believe in the separation of religion and politics. For the Muslim Brotherhood though – the Arab world’s foremost social and political movement - the goal is to create an Islamic state. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood was elected to power after the Arab uprisings. But its plans quickly ended in failure. After just a year in office, the Brotherhood government faced mass protests before it was deposed by a military coup. As presenter Safa Al Ahmad discovers, these events have caused an unprecedented level of debate between members past and present. She talks to a Brotherhood veteran who believes the Brotherhood should have remained a social movement rather than entering politics and to young members who believe it should be more revolutionary. (Image: Muslim Brotherhood supporter holds a banner with the Arabic slogan 'Islam is the Solution' during a demonstration in Cairo 08 November 2005. Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images)
12/1/201626 minutes, 34 seconds
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Islam, People and Power: The Salafis

Wahhabism is the most misunderstood brand of Islam. It is more correctly called Salafism and is a fundamentalist interpretation of the faith, often associated with Saudi Arabia. The salafis have long been split between jihadists who justify violently overthrowing their rulers and quietists who believe that even oppressive governments should be obeyed. Since the Arab uprisings, two new groups – salafi democrats and salafi revolutionaries – have come to the fore too. Presenter Safa Al Ahmad talks to representatives of all positions in the current debate within salafi Islam about the relationship between religion and politics. (Photo: Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh. Credit: Hassan Ammar/AFP/Getty Images)
11/24/201626 minutes, 46 seconds
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Islam, People and Power: The Sunni Traditionalists

The anti-government protests that began in the Arab world in 2010 triggered division between the religious scholars of Islam’s largest branch – the traditional Sunnis. Some of the most senior Sunni scholars in the world held fast to the idea that revolution, and even simple protest, was forbidden in Islam. Others decided to back armed groups in Syria, though not the global jihadists of al-Qaeda and ISIS. Presenter Safa Al Ahmad travels to Egypt to meet Dr Abbas Shouman, one of the most senior scholars at Islam’s most famous seat of learning, Al Azhar University. She also tells the story of Sheikh Ramadan al-Bouti, a famous Syrian Islamic scholar whose stance on the uprisings cost him his life. (Photo: Anti-Government protesters in Cairo. Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
11/17/201626 minutes, 28 seconds
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A New Cold War?

Russia’s actions in the Crimea and Ukraine, and the modernising of its armed forces at home, are causing anxiety in the High North. Current tensions in East-West relations threaten to jeopardise the fragile stability of the region. In Oslo, defence has been high on the government’s agenda with increased spending on the Norwegian Armed Forces proposed for 2017-2020. Are we entering a new Cold War? It is a vexed question, as defence expert Mats Berdal discovers when he canvasses opinions in Oslo, Moscow, Brussels, London and US. (Photo: President Vladimir Putin holds a replica Tupolev-160 strategic bomber jet at the at the Olenogorsk military airport, near Murmansk, 2005. Credit: Vladimir Rodionov/AFP/Getty Images)
11/10/201626 minutes, 49 seconds
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Our Friends, the Russians

Russia’s actions in the Crimea and Ukraine, and the modernising of its armed forces at home, are causing anxiety in the High North. Here Norwegian (as well as broader Western) security and economic interests converge with those of Russia, and can conflict. Will the High North be the next flashpoint in a new Cold War? Norway is adept at walking the tightrope between co-operation and self-protection in its relations with the former Soviet Union. A founding member of Nato, this tiny oil-rich state has been a key player in promoting stability in the region. Defence expert Mats Berdal, a Norwegian national now living in London, travels to Kirkenes in the High North to meet those who live and work along the Russian border. (Photo: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Norwegian Foreign Minster Boerge Brende attend a wreath ceremony at the Russia Monument, Kirkenes, 2014. Credit: Berit Roald/AFP/Getty Images)
11/3/201626 minutes, 51 seconds
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DisUnited Kingdom: Londonderry, Northern Ireland

What will the United Kingdom vote to leave the EU mean for Northern Ireland – and the rest of Ireland? BBC correspondent Edward Stourton revisits the city of Londonderry - or Derry - an area where people voted strongly to remain in the European Union, against the tide of the rest of the UK. There he discovers how locals fear that a border across the island of Ireland, between the Irish Republic which is still an EU member, and a post-Brexit Northern Ireland outside the EU, will disrupt their lives. Will the Northern Ireland peace process also be affected? And does the Brexit vote mean the survival of the United Kingdom itself is now in question? (Photo: The Union Jack flag shattered and broken. Credit: Shutterstock)
10/20/201626 minutes, 50 seconds
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disUnited Kingdom: Stirling, Scotland

The BBC’s Imogen Foulkes returns to Stirling in central Scotland, where she grew up and went to school. In an area where people voted strongly to remain in the European Union, against the tide of the rest of the United Kingdom, what effect has this had on how people feel about their relationship with their biggest neighbour - England. She hears how the Brexit vote has caused divisions within families and from people who are now concerned that leaving the EU could be the lever that takes Scotland out of the United Kingdom altogether. (Photo: The Union Jack flag shattered and broken. Credit: Shutterstock)
10/13/201622 minutes, 54 seconds
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disUnited Kingdom: Wrexham, Wales

The people of Wales received hundreds of millions in EU grants to regenerate areas depressed by de-industrialisation. Yet Wales, like England, voted to leave the EU. In many cases, the areas voting most strongly for leave were those receiving the most EU money. Bethan Kilfoil, a former BBC Wales correspondent in Brussels, and now a resident in Ireland, travels home to North Wales to find out why people voted the way they did. She explores what Brexit may mean for Wales in the future, and what the differences in patterns of voting between Welsh and English speaking areas tell us. (Photo: The Union Jack flag shattered and broken. Credit: Shutterstock)
10/6/201627 minutes
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disUnited Kingom: Birmingham, England

What has the European Union referendum vote revealed about the divisions within the UK? And what might this mean for the cohesion of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland? Birmingham in the West Midlands, one of the biggest cities to vote leave, has been lauded as a success for multiculturalism but the result has brought tensions to the fore. A spike in hate crime, a petrol bombed halal butchers and racist graffiti were some of the short term effects. A 15 minute drive from the centre of Birmingham is the town of Walsall – where Nina Robinson was born and brought up, where immigrant communities have settled from South Asia but where a large majority voted to leave. Nina returns from London (which voted strongly the other way) to investigate why her family and other locals are disillusioned with politics and politicians and how they want their vote to translate into radical change. She talks to the people building bridges post-Brexit - the UKIP councillor visiting Muslim schools, the residents reaching out to their neighbours and the Muslim street artist known as ‘Birmingham’s Banksy’. What does Brexit from Birmingham tell us about being British in 2016? (Photo: The Union Jack flag shattered and broken. Credit: Shutterstock)
10/3/201626 minutes, 49 seconds
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Exploring Culture and Mental Health

Christopher Harding is joined by a panel of experts to discuss the influence that culture has on mental illness and mental health treatment. The questions being answered are a culmination of the series in which he explored depression in Japan, adolescent mental health in Sweden, the change in how those who hear voices in the UK are treated and the treatment of mental health in Ghana. (Photo: A border crossing. Credit: Shutterstock)
9/8/201626 minutes, 29 seconds
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Healing in Ghana

What options do people in Ghana have when a person suffers mental illness? In this religious country, most people seek out spiritual interpretations or traditional methods of healing. Despite there being only 18 trained psychiatrists in the whole of Ghana, advocates of Western-style practices have been pushing for the use of medication and the human rights of the mentally ill. In this final programme of a four-part series, Christopher Harding asks whether spiritual and biological interpretations and treatments for mental illness can ever get along. (Photo: A street in Ghana)
9/1/201626 minutes, 28 seconds
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Hearing Voices in the UK

For years, hearing voices served as a symbol of a fear we all share - losing our minds. But voice hearing is now known to be an experience of almost limitless range, from cruel distress to creativity and meaning. The UK is at the forefront of a movement that has changed the way patients and psychiatrists view the voices that some people hear. Christopher Harding is in his adopted homeland of Scotland to explore how our ideas about the mind, and about reality shape these experiences and what life is like for voice hearers in the UK today. (Photo: Silouhette of man sitting on top of a hill under a tree. Credit: Shutterstock)
8/28/201626 minutes, 51 seconds
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Increase in Mental Health Issues Among Teenagers in Sweden

Despite Sweden's reputation as an ideal place to grow up, the mental health of its adolescents has become a public health concern, with more young people reporting problems and seeking psychiatric help. Is it down to a tougher economic climate, school stress, social media, so-called "curling parents"? Christopher Harding investigates and asks whether Sweden is struggling to strike a balance between good mental health awareness and the creation of a medicalized culture of vulnerability with young people hung up on everyday troubles and traumas, dwelling on their reactions as pathological. Producer: Keith Moore (A group of teenagers. Credit to IStock)
8/18/201626 minutes, 29 seconds
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Depression in Japan

Up until the late 1990s, depression was all but unknown in Japanese society and pharmaceutical companies had given up on trying to sell anti-depressants there. Fast forward to today and court cases alleging overwork depression and overwork suicide, reassuring commercial branding of depression as a "cold of the soul" and increased media attention have turned Japan into a highly medicated society. In the first episode of a five-part series about mental health and culture, Christopher Harding explores how in just a few years, psychiatrists, lawyers and the pharmaceutical companies helped introduce 'depression' to Japan. Producer: Keith Moore (Photo by Tori Sugari)
8/11/201626 minutes, 28 seconds
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Final Thoughts

The migration experience across Europe has demanded resilience, spirit and endless patience from the millions on the move from the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Those tasked with finding solutions whether government or volunteer would probably say the same has been demanded of them. Chris Bowlby hosts a discussion about some of the issues and ideas arising from the series Destination Europe - why the asylum process is taking so long, how geography and law can dictate a migrant’s ultimate fate and whether individual governments are being selective over their share of responsibility. And, what of the future – as incidents of violence raise security and anxiety levels across the continent, what hope there is for successful integration and a happy ending? Joining Chris Bowlby are - Alexander Betts, director of the Refugee Study Centre and professor of Forced Migration at Oxford University; Autumn Brennan, former aid worker for Nurture Project International on Chios, Greece; Hashi Mohamed, barrister and broadcaster; Saloua Mohammed, social worker for Caritas in Bonn, Germany. (Photo: A Syrian girl looks on during sunrise after arriving on an inflatable boat with other refugees. Credit: Shutterstock)
8/4/201626 minutes, 50 seconds
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Germany: The Decision Makers

Germany was where hundreds of thousands of migrants arrived last year. But the atmosphere is now very different from the ‘welcome culture’ that greeted them. The German government has been accused of losing control. And huge numbers are still waiting to hear whether they will be allowed to stay permanently. So how will Germany deal with this? Chris Bowlby is given a unique insight at a new fast-track government processing centre in Bonn - where individuals and families discover their future in a matter of hours. (Photo: Migrants and refugees seeking asylum in Germany line up while their asylum applications are processed. Credit: GettyImages)
7/28/201626 minutes, 28 seconds
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UK: From Syria To Yorkshire

As part of the World Service ‘Destination Europe’ series, the BBC’s Owen Bennett-Jones is finding out how Syrian refugees are settling in the northern English city of Bradford in Yorkshire. They were flown directly to Britain as part of a scheme to help the vulnerable living in the Syrian border region. The former British Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to help 20,000 of these people over a five year period, rather than taking those who had made the perilous journey to Europe through smuggler’s routes. So in Bradford, Owen meets people like Nadia, flown to the UK from Iraq – a single mother to a teenager who dreams of her former life in Damascus where she owned a shopping mall and was rich, but who now lives in a damp flat and whose possessions are sparse. Then there is Ayham and his family who became eligible to settle in Britain from Cairo after his younger brother was diagnosed with cancer. Their remarkable stories paint a vivid picture of war-torn Syria and the tragedies they have faced but also of their bravery and hope for a new beginning as they embark on finding their way in Britain. (Photo: Owen in front of the Bradford factory)
7/21/201626 minutes, 28 seconds
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Italy: The Priest and The Mayor

It’s become much harder for migrants from Asia and Africa to reach Europe via the Greek route, but the numbers of those reaching Italy have not declined. Those rescued at sea are mostly taken to Sicily, and also to Calabria, the toe of Italy. Calabria is one of Italy’s poorest regions, more used to emigration than immigration, and the newcomers lives vary starkly. Hashi Mohamed meets a priest, Don Roberto Meduri, who in the near-absence of official support in his area has taken it upon himself to help migrants living in desperate conditions in an abandoned factory and in a tent city. He has looked after “thousands”, he says, getting mattresses from a prison, fixing power cuts at the tent city and guiding the refugees through the processes to get their residence permits and health cards. Less than an hour’s drive away, in the small town of Gioiosa Ionica, things are very different. Here the local mayor, Salvatore Fuda, has volunteered to take 75 asylum seekers as part of a government scheme that pays the town 35 euros per migrant per day to look after them. The money goes to the town, not the migrants. For Fuda this is a win-win situation: the local community gets a significant economic boost, and the migrants get to live in houses rented for them, get job placements and language classes. (Photo: Notes given to migrants for use in Gioiosa Ionica)
7/14/201626 minutes, 28 seconds
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My Perfect Country: The UN Debate

In a radio first, the World Service programme which analyses ground-breaking global policies, is part of a sitting session of the UN’s Economic and Social Council and includes contributions from some of the 58 delegate countries. The programme is introduced by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and features contributions from Gerald Abila, a Ugandan lawyer who has introduced a free legal advice scheme through mobiles and social media, KC Mishra who has tackled sanitation issues in India with innovative approaches to toilets and human waste disposal, Monica Araya who has been one of the driving forces behind Costa Rica’s approach to renewable energy, and Hannes Astok who has been pushing the boundaries of the digital state in Estonia. Also joining the discussion is internet entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox.
7/9/201649 minutes, 47 seconds
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Greece: The Warehouse of Souls

The Balkan route is closed, the fragile EU-Turkey deal is in effect, the Pope has been and gone, the traffickers are turning their attention to Italy & so is much of the media. But Greece continues to be the epicentre of a slow emergency. In a country in advanced economic meltdown more than 50,000 refugees & migrants, 'people on the move', are stuck. On the islands, the asylum processing "hotspots" funded by the EU are often grim affairs, like the one on Chios made out of repurposed shipping containers. Outside Thessaloniki, in a place where the railroad tracks run into grass, stands an abandoned toilet paper factory: no windows, no light, and tents huddled under the low roof. But, for a desperately stretched Greek government, this is better than the dark anarchy of the recently cleared camp at Idomeni, or the petrol station where children play in the still-working forecourt & the car wash has tents inside. The deportations back to Turkey of some 8,500 people who came since the deal was done have started (as have the suicide attempts). For the more than 40,000 refugees and migrants who arrived before March 20th and now have no place to go, another long, gruelling story is beginning. The left-wing Syriza government is having to contemplate just how long these refugees will be stuck there. Minister of Migration Yannis Mouzalas knows that the much criticised EU-Turkey deal is the only thing preventing another wave of refugees reaching the shores of Greek islands that are already struggling to cope: "This is not Greece's crisis, this is Europe's crisis." In the second episode of Destination Europe, Maria Margaronis explores the hopes & fears of refugees, islanders & Greek politicians & asks whether Greece is becoming Europe's "warehouse of souls." Producer: Mark Burman (Image: A Syrian woman in Greece)
7/7/201626 minutes, 29 seconds
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Turkey: The Lost Generation

There as many as half a million Syrian refugee children who are not attending school, leaving them open to exploitation in sweatshops and other forms of abuse. Aid workers call them the "lost generation" and warn that unless they return to the classroom, Syria will lack educated people to help rebuild the country when the war eventually ends. Tim Whewell meets children as young as nine employed up to 14 hours a day in textile sweatshops - and also a Syrian teacher who has helped rescue some of them from sweatshops by opening a special school for refugee children in Istanbul. Increasing educational opportunities for Syrians in Turkey may persuade some of them to give up their ambition of migrating to Europe but huge investment will be needed. (Photo: Shaza Barakat and pupils)
6/30/201626 minutes, 49 seconds
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Europe’s Challenges: The Union in Crisis

The European Union is at a critical moment in its history, with Britain preparing to vote on whether to leave. In the third of a three-part series, the BBC’s Europe correspondent Chris Morris examines the multiple crises facing the EU. The economic crisis in the Eurozone is still not solved and an influx of refugees and migrants is threatening the future of Europe’s open internal borders. On top of this now comes the possibility of ‘Brexit’. Chris speaks to politicians and people across Europe and asks whether the EU will survive. (Photo: Families gather at the barbed wire fence at the Greek-Macedonia border 2016. Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
6/3/201626 minutes, 48 seconds
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Europe's Challenges: Expanding the Union

The European Union is at critical moment in its history, with Britain preparing to vote on whether to leave. In the second of a three-part series, the BBC’s former Europe Correspondent Allan Little tells the story of how a club that started with just six members opened its doors until the six became 28. We hear how the European Union helped countries to make the transition from dictatorship to democracy – from Spain and Portugal in the South to Poland and Lithuania in the East. The sacred goal of the European Union’s founding fathers was “ever closer union”, but as it has expanded to welcome countries with very different values and histories, is that goal still desirable or even possible? Some of the interviews for this series were recorded ten years ago. (Photo: Flags of the European Union member states stand inside the Council of the EU's Lex building. Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
5/26/201627 minutes, 3 seconds
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Europe’s Challenges: The Road to Rome

The European Union emerged in the 1950s from a vision of a bright future for a war-ravaged continent – free from conflict, with nations living in harmony, their citizens free to trade and travel without restriction. In the first programme of a three-part series, former BBC Europe correspondent Allan Little hears first-hand from the negotiators who drew up the project’s founding document, the Treaty of Rome, with its key goal of an “ever-closer union”. The interviews for this series were recorded ten years ago and many of the interviewees have since died. (Photo: Foreign Ministers of France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Germany and Italy signing two treaties establishing the European Common Market and the atomic energy community at Campidoglio, Rome, 25 March1957. Credit: Keystone/Getty Images)
5/19/201627 minutes, 6 seconds
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Shakespeare in the World - South Africa

If we think of William Shakespeare as exclusively English, we should think again. People around the world have adopted his work and made it something that speaks to their own culture. Writer and academic Nadia Davids takes us to Cape Town and Johannesburg to hear how Shakespeare has played an important role in the politics of a troubled country, and how he still matters in post-Apartheid South Africa. (Photo: A man carries a volume of Shakespeare's complete works. Credit: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)
5/12/201627 minutes, 3 seconds
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Shakespeare in the World - India

Nikki Bedi explores how India has taken the works of an Englishman brought to them by British colonists in the 18th Century and adapted them for modern audiences everywhere. From the Bollywood screen to storytellers in remote villages, Nikki looks at how people are using Shakespeare’s stories of love, power and revenge to speak to the concerns of contemporary India.
5/5/201627 minutes, 3 seconds
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Shakespeare and the American Dream - Part Two

Robert McCrum travels to the United States in search of Shakespeare and the American Dream and hears how he became part of the very fabric of early American life soon after the colonists arrived in New England and has remained an important cultural reference point for Americans. Robert talks to composer Stephen Sondheim and actor Alec Baldwin along the way. As author James Shapiro puts it: “Americans use Shakespeare to talk about the things that divide us or that we don’t want to talk about”. Photo: Leonardo Dicaprio is Romeo In the movie adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. (Credit: Getty Images)
4/28/201627 minutes, 4 seconds
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Shakespeare and the American Dream - Part One

Robert McCrum travels to the United States in search of Shakespeare and the American Dream and hears how he became part of the very fabric of early American life soon after the colonists arrived in New England and has remained an important cultural reference point for Americans. Robert’s journey takes him to New York, Washington and Nashville to speak to various Americans who use Shakespeare as a way of addressing issues such as race and politics. As author James Shapiro puts it “Americans use Shakespeare to talk about the things that divide us or that we don’t want to talk about”. (Photo: Members of an amateur dramatic society rehearse Shakespeare's Twelfth Night in Queens, New York City circa 1950. Credit: Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images)
4/21/201627 minutes, 5 seconds
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Soul Music: Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez

Written by Joaquin Rodrigo in 1939, the Concierto de Aranjuez is a guitar classic. It was written amid the chaos of the Spanish Civil War, and in circumstances of poverty and personal tragedy. Soul Music explores how the piece touches and changes people's lives. The composer's daughter Cecilia Rodrigo explains how the blind composer was inspired by the fountains and gardens of the palace of Aranjuez. Nelício Faria de Sales recounts an unforgettable performance deep inside one of Brazil's largest caves, while David B Katague remembers how the piece got him through a difficult period of separation from his family in the Philippines. Guitarist Craig Ogden explains the magic of the piece for a performer, and actor Simon Callow recalls how hearing the piece was a formative experience for him during his schooldays, when it turned rural Berkshire into a piece of Spain. (Photo: Blind Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo (1901 - 1999) playing the piano at his home in Madrid. Credit: Keystone/Getty Images)
3/31/201627 minutes, 3 seconds
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The Battle of Ideas - Part Two

Kevin Connolly travels to Morocco, which sees itself as a beacon of moderate Islam, to visit the institute for training imams, which has been set up to create a new generation of Islamic teachers and leaders from the West African states of Nigeria, Mali and Guinea. They are being prepared to fight on the front line of a battle of ideas and being equipped to take on the teachings of extremists who support the so-called Islamic State, both online and face-to-face in their own mosques. We ask whether mainstream and establishment political and religious organisations are likely to have the technical know-how and the presentational skills to compete with the slick video processing and focussed messaging of IS. Kevin also travels to Tunisia, which five years ago was the cradle of the Arab Spring. It is the ideal vantage point to ask whether the political and cultural stagnation of the decades before the Arab Spring helped to create the conditions for the rise of IS. We assess whether a lack of prosperity and hope is driving young men into the arms of extremist organisations. If the main driver of the rise of IS was a long accumulation of economic and political failures does that mean a problem that took decades to create might take decades to fix? (Photo: Young Imams from West Africa learning how to combat extremism)
3/24/201627 minutes, 2 seconds
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The Battle of Ideas in the Middle East - Part One

Kevin Connolly travels through the Middle East to look at different ways in which the Arab states in the region are confronting the ideas of the so-called Islamic State and how well-equipped they are to fight them. Through social media sites, a network of sympathetic preachers is promulgating a jihadist vision of Islam and recruiting fighters from across the Middle East. Tunisia and Libya are among the key recruiting grounds and the largest providers of ‘foreign fighters’ in Syria and Iraq. From the markets of Morocco to the boulevards of Beirut, Kevin Connolly talks to those who are engaged in the frontline of this battle of ideas. He asks if educational systems are helping to promote positive narratives of Islam to combat the underground appeal of IS. He visits a university in Jordan where a touring theatre company is staging a comedy show to fight back against extremism. In Jordan he meets the imams who have been arguing directly over the internet with representatives of the so-called Islamic state. He also meets the parliamentary speaker left broken hearted when his son was recruited to become an IS suicide bomber. And, after years in which western analysts have talked about the slickness of IS online propaganda, we ask young people in the Arab World what they think of the videos that glorify violence.
3/17/201627 minutes, 4 seconds
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My Perfect Country: Legal Advice in Uganda

Fi Glover looks at how communities in Uganda have revolutionised the justice system by taking matters into their own hands. The complexity of the law system in Uganda can be a tough one to follow – and causes particular difficulties for its residents. Solving that problem are the Barefoot Lawyers. In 2012, a technically competent group of legal experts began providing legal advice through social media to anyone who requested it. And it is now an award-winning, non-profit social enterprise assisting 300,000 people every month and answering around 50 enquiries per day. A particular achievement came in winning a sexual assault case for a twelve-year-old girl. Our local reporter delves into the inner workings of the legal group to hear why they wanted to help and how they have made it work. They hear from the individuals whose lives have been changed as a result – as well as how the country’s official legal system are responding to the group. Is a DIY law system the basis for a perfect country? Presenter Fi Glover, entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox, professor Henrietta Moore of the Institute for Global prosperity and special studio guests – give their verdict. (Photo: Gerald Abila, the Managing Director of Barefoot Lawyers, at his office in Kampala. Credit: Isaac Kasamani/AFP/Getty Images)
3/10/201627 minutes, 1 second
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My Perfect Country: Sanitation for Women in India

Fi Glover examines India’s pioneering work on sanitation for women. With stories from the workers who are inventing simple systems alongside active campaigning, she follows the changing attitudes towards women’s rights and their wellbeing. Our local reporter explores the corridors of universities to hear the young women who are putting themselves in charge of their own future – and whether those in charge of inspiring change nationwide are taking note. She puts the findings to entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox and professor Henrietta Moore of the Institute for Global prosperity. Together, they determine whether global nations should take on both the practice and the inspiration from India into their own communities. (Photo: The founder of the Indian sanitation charity Sulabh International Bindeshwar Pathak (C) demonstrates his low-cost and environmentally-friendly two-pit toilet technology. Credit: Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images)
3/3/201627 minutes, 2 seconds
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My Perfect Country: Preventing Suicide in Michigan, USA

In 2001, the American state of Michigan had a suicide rate of 89 per 100,000 amongst mental health patients. By 2013 this had dropped to just 16 per 100,000 and shines against the US national average of 230. One network of hospitals in particular – The Henry Ford Group – registered zero suicides per 100,000 patients and branded its scheme as the zero-suicide model. Its achievement comes from offering mental health screenings at earlier stages for patients. Local reporter Colin McNulty speaks to the doctors who developed the system and how they have sustained it. He also follows the wider network of patients, friends and relatives who have all benefited from the scheme. What this ground-breaking healthcare service offers is weighed up byFi Glover, entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox and Professor Henrietta Moore of the Institute for Global Prosperity. And with the estimation that global annual suicide fatalities could rise to 1.5 million by 2020 – is it a staple addition to the perfect country or a one-off success story? Image: a man walks by street art in Detroit, Michigan Credit: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
2/25/201627 minutes, 3 seconds
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My Perfect Country: Drug Decriminalisation in Portugal

In 2001 the use of all drugs was decriminalised meaning possession of drugs was now identified as a public health issue rather than a criminal offence. Today, whilst drugs remain illegal, users do not receive a criminal record and are instead referred to rehabilitation and treatment programmes. Drug related deaths, HIV infection rates and use of legal highs are at an all-time low. My Perfect Country traces the development of the policy over the last 15 years and asks whether other countries should use this model for their own legislation on drug control. The architect of Portugal’s policy Joao Goulao explains how the policy was implemented and Doctor Rodrigo Coutinho explains how it was taken on by health services. Our roving ambassador hears from the volunteers of mobile units that does not wait for patients to come to them and hears emotional recovery stories from former users. Presenter Fi Glover, academic Henrietta Moore, professor Alex Stevens from Kent University andTony Duffin of the Ana Liffey drug project in Ireland discuss how far Portugal’s policy has been successful and whether it would work in the perfect country. (Photo: A Portuguese flag flies above a demonstration against austerity, Lisbon, 2013. Credit: Patricia de Melo Moreira/AFP/Getty Images)
2/18/201627 minutes, 3 seconds
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My Perfect Country: Green Energy in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has implemented a progressive energy policy that is leading the way in the race to be carbon neutral. Although the country covers only 0.1% of the world’s landmass, it is home to 5% of its biodiversity, and has the greatest density of species in the world. A quarter of the country is protected land, including 26 national parks. While lucrative timber logging once eroded the country’s forests, using a programme of financial incentives from the government, deforestation was reversed. Costa Rica went from having one of the worst rates in the world to almost zero by 2005. In 2007 the government announced Costa Rica would be the first carbon-neutral country by 2021 – a race that includes Iceland, Norway and New Zealand. In 2015 this small Central American republic achieved another environmental milestone by generating all its electricity using 99% renewable energy. Do Costa Rica's green credentials make it a contender for the perfect country policy pile? Fi Glover and digital entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox debate, with the help of professor Henrietta Moore from the Institute for Global Prosperity and Ilimi Granoff from the Overseas Development Institute. (Photo: The hydroelectric dam in Cachi, Cartago, 40 km west San Jose. Costa Rica expects to conclude an energy matrix made in a 97.1% of renewable sources, making the country one of the cleanest in the world. Credit: Ezequiel Becerra/AFP/Getty Images)
2/11/201627 minutes, 2 seconds
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My Perfect Country: Estonia's Digital Society

Fi Glover and digital guru Martha Lane Fox look at the digital revolution pioneered by the government in Estonia – where people vote, get their medical prescriptions even pay for their parking, online. With the help of Professor Henrietta Moore from the Institute for Global Prosperity and Taavet Hinrikus from Transferwise they ask - could it work where you are? Estonia’s digital services have revolutionised the country since its independence from the Soviet Union with 600 services now being available online. E-Estonia has the fastest broadband speeds in the world, was the first to allow online voting in a general election, all classrooms are online, all medical records online, and it has more start ups per person than Silicon Valley in California. But does the networked society come at a price? (Photo: People gathered on 20 August 2010 in Toila, Estonia for the world's first ever digital song festival. Credit: Raigo Paulla /AFP/Getty Images)
2/4/201627 minutes
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America in Black and White: Looking Ahead

How are black Americans represented and what does it mean to be black in America today? Rajini Vaidyanathan discusses with those involved in politics, culture and activism.Travelling widely across the country she hears from families in Atlanta, activists in Missouri and academics in New York City. She speaks to the artist Kehinde Wiley about his subversive attempts to literally paint power differently; to the poet Tracy K. Smith about the vital role stories can play in encouraging empathy and hears from the civil rights icon John Lewis why he is using comic books to tell his story.Rajini discusses what is taught in schools, what is shown on TV, and how the reality of being black in America means new black migrants to the United States are increasingly retaining their immigrant identity to avoid being considered ‘African American’. She discusses the next generation of leadership, who can authentically lead the Black Lives Matter movement, and attends a remarkable convention in Baltimore encouraging Americans to have ‘courageous conversations about race.’Image: Eyshana Webster (L) and other students from John McDonogh Senior High School in New Orleans, Louisiana. Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images
1/25/201627 minutes
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America in Black and White: Segregation

Rajini Vaidyanathan examines segregation. The Brown versus the Board of Education case and the civil rights movement were supposed to have brought Americans together, but in Kansas City Rajini sees for herself the much more complicated legacy of desegregation. On the one hand, splintering solidarity in the black community; on the other a city where white and black Americans still live quite separate lives. Demographers suggest America is becoming less segregated, but in Atlanta, one of the big southern cities supposedly driving the desegregation, she finds the reality doesn’t quite match the statistics. Catching up with a family featured throughout the series, she finds estate agents steering black families away from white neighbourhoods. She discusses that with Julian Castro, the US Housing Secretary, and hears about his new rules to get communities integrating. And in Connecticut she sees a community which has spent 20 years integrating its schools, without requiring it of anyone.Rally in Brooklyn, New York City 2015 against documentation that showed that black and hispanic students are increasingly confined to worst performing schools. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
1/14/201627 minutes, 2 seconds
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America in Black and White: Economic Opportunity

Rajini Vaidyanathan explores economic opportunity – or lack of it - amongst black Americans. She speaks to the academic whose study suggests employers think being black is as bad as having a criminal record but that they weren’t trying to be racist, and hears from senior corporate executives who have witnessed the subtle ways racial prejudice operates in the workplace.In Kansas City she explains how government rules established during the New Deal locked black Americans out of home ownership for a generation, in west Philadelphia she meets the civic leaders with a comprehensive plan to improve the city’s poor, black neighbourhoods, and she hears from the San Francisco non-profit trying to reduce the very high cost of being poor.(Photo: A man and woman on a street in Baltimore, Maryland. Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
1/14/201627 minutes, 1 second
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America in Black and White: Criminal Justice

Rajini investigates the criminal justice system. In Nebraska she visits the conservative politician promoting laws to reduce the number of people behind bars. Will that help black Americans? “I hope so” he answers.Elsewhere she hears from critics who argue that the system can never be reformed, only broken; that the system is not fair, the police need to be disarmed. She visits the police chief advising President Obama on the way forward, who acknowledges the problem but argues that “all black lives matter”, including those killed by crime, and that protesters must accept that the police are part of the solution. Rajini also spends time with the police force teaching all its officers how to be ‘ethical protectors’.Protests against shootings of young black men by the police have pushed the issue of race to the top of the public agenda in the United States. Now BBC Washington correspondent Rajini Vaidyanathan, who has covered many of the recent protests, sets out to examine some of the deep, underlying structural issues which America still has with race. (Photo: A 19-year-old resident of Cleveland (holding sign), marches with other activists on St Clair Ave, Cleveland, Ohio, 2015. Credit: by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)
1/7/201627 minutes, 1 second
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Local Warming: California

During the last four years California has been ravaged by drought and wildfire that has left people without homes and farmers without crops. Unlike a lot of American states most Californians acknowledge climate change is contributing to serious environmental problems and Governor Jerry Brown is leading the way in developing strategies to try and combat it. In the final programme in the Local Warming series presenter Sasha Khokha takes a trip around her home state of California to see what climate change means to people and how far they are willing to go to address it.(Photo: Interviewee Jessica Pyska infront of her burnt home. Credit: Sasha Khokha)
12/3/201527 minutes
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Local Warming: The Philippines

Extreme weather has claimed many lives in the Philippines. The archipelago has been battered by so-called ‘Super Typhoons’ and only last month, Super Typhoon Koppu wreaked havoc in the northern island of Luzon, killing 60 and leaving hundreds of thousands evacuated from their homes. Another storm two years ago left thousands dead. Meanwhile, climate change is said to be impacting crops and reducing yields. So it might come as a surprise that Filipinos, as a nation, are far from the most climate aware people on earth. Indeed some of the most vulnerable, living in isolated rural areas, might know little about the issues around emissions and global warming. In this programme, Filipino reporter Nicole Jacinto asks why, and meets some of those determined to change the situation.(Photo: A man shelters from the wind in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan. Credit: Getty Images)
11/26/201526 minutes, 59 seconds
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Local Warming: Nigeria

The first episode focuses on Nigeria, where migration caused by desertification is leading to bloodshed as cattle herders move south from their traditional routes and into conflict with settled farmers. Meanwhile, increasingly intense rainfall in southern Nigeria causes flooding and creates enormous gulleys which are swallowing houses, farmland and even schools. Presented by Ugochi Oluigbo - a business and environment correspondent and news anchor for TVC News in Nigeria – the programme asks how far Nigerians can afford to take action over global matters like climate change. Yet somehow the country has to adapt. Ugochi explores how climate change is making an impact on women in rural Nigeria. She also discovers how young people in Nigeria are engaging with the issue. (Image: Ugochi Oluigbo and Prof. Damian Asawalam examine an erosion gulley in Imo State, Nigeria. Credit: BBC)
11/19/201527 minutes, 3 seconds
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Waithood: Could Delaying Adulthood be a Good Thing?

Is prolonged adolescence actually a good thing? Jake Wallis Simons explores whether life choices offered up by delaying financial independence, marriage and forming a family are actually better for you. We hear how the transition to adulthood in the UK has extended over the last 50 years with young people having the opportunity to develop their own selves, travel and form their own identities. Jake also looks at what role class and wealth play in shaping the life choices and the waiting period for young people.(Photo: Jack from Camberwell, London, UK. Credit: Sophie Wedgwood)
11/12/201527 minutes, 5 seconds
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Waithood: Trying to Grow Up in Italy and Spain

A trip to Italy where one of Ghana’s most respected hip-hop artists, Sarkodie, is set to perform in Modena. It is home to a large Ghanaian diaspora but what is life like for young Ghanaians who have moved abroad? We also hear from young people in Italy where almost a third of adults live with their parents, and in Barcelona where the economic crisis is still affecting the young, who discuss what it means to become a grown up in the 21st Century.
11/5/201527 minutes, 4 seconds
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Waithood: The Passage to Adulthood in Ghana

What does it mean to be a grown-up in the 21st Century? If the path to maturity is about stable work, marriage and a home for your family where does that leave those who haven't achieved these goals? In the first of three programmes Jake Wallis Simons meets young graduates in Ghana who dream of greater things but find the passage to adulthood blocked. Jobs are hard to come by and one student, Kwabena Ankrah, tells us that if you are a graduate in Ghana, you are in the wrong place. If you don’t have a job then it is hard to attract a wife. And, if you do not have a wife you are seen as irresponsible, impotent. For Dr Samuel Ntewusu from the University of Ghana, the problems of waithood are caused by impatience and consumerism. He feels that many would not accept jobs in the north or west of the country - instead they feel their futures lies elsewhere. A large proportion of Ghana’s young hope to leave for Europe and America but do their dreams match the reality?(Photo: Eric and David, bus driver and his apprentice in Ghana)
10/29/201527 minutes, 27 seconds