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The Documentary Podcast
BBC World Service
Download the latest documentaries Investigating global developments, issues and affairs.
Apr 25, 2019
Bangladesh versus Yaba
Thousands of Bangladeshi addicts are hooked on Yaba - a mix of methamphetamine and caffeine. It's a powerful drug that gives big bangs for small bucks. The Yaba epidemic has ripped through the population of Bangladesh, urban and rural, poor, middle-class and rich. This is a drug that's manufactured in industrial quantities in the jungles of neighbouring Myanmar. As the economy of Bangladesh has boomed, drug lords have worked to create new markets for their product. And the Rohingya crisis - when nearly a million fled Myanmar for Bangladesh - has created further opportunities for the traffickers, as desperate refugees have been employed as drug mules. The Bangladeshi Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, declared a 'war on drugs' last May. Thousands have been arrested. But critics see a disturbing trend - hundreds of suspected Yaba dealers have been killed by law enforcement. Presenter / producer: Linda Pressly with Morshed Ali Khan (Image: Yaba pills being held by a drug-user. Credit: Ye Aung THU / AFP)
Apr 24, 2019
From a US president who is turning the world upside down – with a relish for dismantling global agreements – the message is clear: it’s America first. But where does that leave old European allies? Few expect the transatlantic relationship to go back to where it was before Trump. Europe, says Angela Merkel, now has to shape its own destiny. James Naughtie explores the uncertain future for America's friends.
Apr 23, 2019
South Africa's Born Frees at 25
There's a generation in South Africa who are known as the Born Frees. They were born in 1994, the year of the elections in which black citizens were allowed to vote for the first time. The Born Frees are 25 years old now – graduating from universities, getting established in their careers, or still living in enduring poverty, which has reduced since 1994 but is still profound. The government estimates that 13 million South Africans still live in what they call 'extreme poverty.' This is a major disappointment to many who queued for hours to vote in the 1994 election which brought Nelson Mandela to power. Despite spending twenty-seven years in an Apartheid gaol, Mandela was dedicated to creating a 'rainbow nation', with dignity and opportunity for everyone, regardless of race. BBC correspondent Hugh Sykes has visited South Africa regularly since 1994, and in this programme he tells us about the politics of the country, education, corruption and poverty.
Apr 20, 2019
10, 9, 8, 7
Taking place over just eight months, four perilous and eventful space missions laid the foundations for a successful Moon landing. Each pushed the boundaries of technology and revealed new insights into our own planet. As we count down to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, astronaut Nicole Stott tells the story of the build-up to mankind’s giant leap.
Apr 18, 2019
Restoring Brazil's National Treasure
Brazilians wept when their 200-year-old National Museum went up in flames last September. Twenty million items, many of them irreplaceable, were thought to have been reduced to ash when it was gutted by a massive fire. Staff said the loss to science and history was incalculable - and the tragedy, possibly caused by faulty wiring in the long-underfunded institution, led to much national heart-searching about the country's commitment to its heritage. The museum, housed in Brazil's former Imperial Palace in Rio de Janeiro, held unique collections of fossils, animal specimens, indigenous artefacts, as well as Egyptian and Greek treasures - and the oldest human skull found in the Americas. Some scientists, who saw their entire life's work go up in flames, were in despair - but others vowed to work to rebuild and restock the museum. Now, months on, painstaking archaeological work in the debris has uncovered items that can be restored, while other specialists are setting out on expeditions to acquire new specimens. Tim Whewell reports from Rio on the agonies - and occasional small triumphs - of the slow, exhausting effort to bring a great national institution back to life. (Image: A Brazilian firefighter attempts to extinguish flames during a fire at the National Museum of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Sept 2018. Credit: Getty Images)
Apr 16, 2019
Snooker: Young, cool and Chinese
Once a game associated with the backrooms of British pubs, snooker is now a global sport, with most of its growth coming from China. Seven-time world snooker champion Stephen Hendry presents this exploration into how snooker became so popular in China, and why its future is looking young, cool and Chinese.
Apr 13, 2019
As the 2019 Indian election campaign kicks off, BBC World Service follows journalists from the daily Mumbai Mirror newspaper to get under the skin of the stories that matter to Mumbaikers. From daily editorial meetings to exclusive investigations, this ‘fly-on-the-wall’ radio documentary offers insight into how a newspaper covers the life and news of India’s largest city.
Apr 13, 2019
New York City’s pirates of the air
As the workday winds down across New York, you can tune in to a clandestine world of unlicensed radio stations; a cacophonous sonic wonder of the city. As listeners begin to arrive home, dozens of secret transmitters switch on from rooftops in immigrant enclaves. These stations are often called ‘pirates’ for their practice of commandeering an already licensed frequency. These rogue stations evade detection and take to the air, blanketing their neighbourhoods with the sounds of ancestral lands blending into a new home. They broadcast music and messages to diverse communities – whether from Latin America or the Caribbean, to born-again Christians and Orthodox Jews. Reporter David Goren has long followed these stations from his Brooklyn home. He paints an audio portrait of their world, drawn from the culture of the street. Vivid soundscapes emerge from tangled clouds of invisible signals, nurturing immigrant communities struggling for a foothold in the big city. With thanks to KCRW and the Lost Notes Podcast episode Outlaws of the Airwaves: The Rise of Pirate Radio Station WBAD. Producer/Presenter: David Goren
Apr 13, 2019
The BBC’s parliamentary correspondent Mark D’Arcy reviews the bizarre twists and turns of the extraordinary and chaotic past few weeks of debates and voting on Brexit in the British Parliament, from the record-breaking defeat for the government to the crucial vote prevented by procedural rules dating from 1604. And he examines the role played by the personalities of the controversial characters in this drama, including prime minister Theresa May and the House of Commons speaker John Bercow.
Apr 11, 2019
Poland's partisan ghosts
For some in Poland the Cursed Soldiers are national heroes; for others they are murderers. A march in celebration of a group of Polish partisans fighting the Soviets has become the focus of tension in a small community in one of Europe’s oldest forests. Those taking part believe the partisans – known as the Cursed Soldiers – were national heroes, but others remember atrocities committed by them 70 years ago. Some partisans were responsible for the burning of villages and the murder of men, women and children in and around Poland’s Bialowieza forest. The people living the forest are Orthodox and Catholic, Belorussian and Polish; this march threatens to revive past divisions between them. Many believe that far-right groups have hijacked this piece of history to further their nationalist agenda. For Assignment, Maria Margaronis visits the forest to find out why this is causing tensions now; why the locals feel the march is making them feel threatened; and how this reflects wider political rifts in Poland today. Produced by Charlotte McDonald. (Image: March through the town of Hajnowka to celebrate the Polish partisans known as the Cursed Soldiers. Copyright: BBC)
Apr 9, 2019
India's forbidden love
At a time when religious extremism and honour killings have been dominating the political and social discourse, we take a look at the issues surrounding marriages between inter-faith and inter-caste couples ahead of India’s parliamentary elections. Divya Arya, the BBC’s Women’s Affairs journalist in India tells the story of couples who have fled their homes and communities in fear of their lives in the name of love.
Apr 6, 2019
Will AI kill development?
Ian Goldin asks if robotisation will prevent poorer countries taking the traditional route to prosperity. Since World War Two, nation after nation has more or less followed the same growth path. As the workforce has moved away from farming, they have created low-skilled industrial jobs, utilising their advantage of cheap labour. Gradually they have moved up the value chain, producing more and more sophisticated goods, before moving towards a service economy. But robots can now can replace even a low-paid factory workforce. So what does that mean for countries still struggling near the bottom of the development ladder?
Apr 4, 2019
Nepal Fights Foreign Paedophiles
Hunting western paedophiles is a priority for a new police unit tasked with safeguarding children in Nepal. Mired in poverty and still recovering from a devastating earthquake in 2015, Nepal is increasingly being targeted by foreign paedophiles who recommend it as a destination when they share child abuse tips on the dark web. In recent years a series of western men have been charged with raping or sexually assaulting Nepali boys. Jill McGivering follows the under-resourced police unit, hears the stories of victims and perpetrators and examines what makes Nepal so vulnerable to abuse by western men. This programme contains descriptions of child sexual abuse which some listeners may find distressing. Producer: Caroline Finnigan (Photo: Nepalese children play in Kathmandu. Credit: Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)
Apr 3, 2019
Will China and America go to war?
Will the growing competition between China and the United States inevitably lead to military conflict? One leading American academic created huge attention when in 2017 when he posed the idea of what he called a "Thucydides Trap". Drawing on the work of the ancient Greek historian, he warned that when a rising power (Sparta) threatens an existing power (Athens) they are destined to clash, unless both countries change their policies. He warned that the same pattern could play out with the US and China. Since then, President Trump has engaged in combative rhetoric over trade, while China has fast been modernising and upgrading its military. BBC Diplomatic Correspondent Jonathan Marcus considers whether Washington and Beijing can escape the trap, or whether the growing economic, strategic and technological rivalry between the two nations will inevitably end in conflict. (Photo: US and Chinese freight containers crash into each other. Credit: Getty Images)
Apr 2, 2019
Not #MeToo, I'm French
In 2016 when #MeToo spread around the world, thousands of women followed in France using the hashtag #balancetonporc (expose your pig). Some criticised the aggressive wording of the hashtag itself, others didn’t agree with the call to name perpetrators. Why was #MeToo so controversial in France? Was it lost in translation?
Mar 28, 2019
Unrest in Ukraine’s Little Hungary
Eastern Ukraine has been under assault from Russian backed rebel forces for the past five years, but few have heard of a smaller conflict, which could be brewing in the west of the country, between Ukraine and Hungary. Some have accused the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban of trying to create a breakaway state in impoverished Transcarpathia, once part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Ukraine and Hungary both expelled diplomats from each other’s nations, following a row over passports and a Hungarian cultural centre has been repeatedly firebombed. Lucy Ash meets people in the Ukrainian border town of Berehove and investigates whether deepening tensions could destabilise the region and further dash Ukraine’s hopes of being a unified country inside NATO and the EU. Producer: Josephine Casserly (Image: Pupil at a Hungarian-language secondary school in Berehove in Western Ukraine walks down a corridor bearing a portrait of Lajos Kossuth, the 19th Century political reformer after…
Mar 27, 2019
The Romanian Wave
Romanians are the second largest foreign nationality in the UK. Why did they come and will they stay? One politician famously once said he "would not like to live next door to Romanians." But now they work in the health service, they teach in British universities, pick fruit on farms and wash cars. Yet sensational headlines have described them as "criminal gangs" and "begging Roma." Tessa Dunlop, a Romania-phile historian, uncovers a misunderstood, multi-layered immigrant community and asks why so many now call Britain home.
Mar 26, 2019
Where are you going? - London
Catherine Carr talks to people on the move in London. From the American who left her young children on the other side of the Atlantic, and the Russian buying Soviet propaganda posters at a tube station, to a ‘born and bred’ Londoner who protests that “we all voted out, we should be out”. With the original date for Brexit just days away, we find out what is really on people’s minds.
Mar 24, 2019
Mariko Oi has young children starting school in Singapore, where robots are increasingly being used in education, and ageing parents back in her home country Japan, where they are now assisting in elderly care. She has some understandable concerns about the future, and is setting off to find out just what these machines are being used for, why we need them, and what they’re really capable of.
Mar 21, 2019
The crypto factor: the winners and losers in virtual investment
You can't take money with you when you die.... or can you? In this episode of Assignment the stranger than fiction story that's the latest cryptocurrency scandal to leave tens of thousands of people out of pocket. The news about QuadrigaCX broke almost to the day that crypto-currencies celebrated a decade in existence. On this anniversary, we investigate the current state of the market and uncover how these sometimes tragic events have unfolded both here in the UK and across the world. With the UK government and other countries now considering attempting to regulate the market, we ask if these scandals could have been prevented and could now be avoided in the future. Reporter: Paul Connolly Producer: Kate West Editor: Gail Champion (Image: A broken Bitcoin. Credit: Reuters)
Mar 20, 2019
India and how it sees Britain
Neil MacGregor visits different countries to talk to leading political, business and cultural figures to find out how they, as individuals and as members of their broader communities, see Britain. In India, Neil meets Gaj Singh, the former Maharaja of Jodhpur; Ram Narasimhan, proprietor of The Hindu Newspaper; professor Kavita Singh of Jawaharlal Nehru University; former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar; and the president of the Confederation of Indian Industry, Shobana Kamineni.
Mar 19, 2019
Where are you going? - Belfast
One question – Where are you going? – reveals hidden truths about the lives of strangers around the world. In this new series, with Brexit fast approaching, Catherine Carr talks to people on the move in Cardiff. Are the people she meets downcast, delighted, or disinterested? At a time of political and social upheaval, we find out what is really on their minds
Mar 17, 2019
Can you murder a robot?
A couple of years ago a cute little robot was sent out to hitchhike, to prove how well humans and robots could get on. It was an exercise in trust, and it went very wrong. Hitchbot was found decapitated, slumped next to some bins in Philadelphia. The robot’s head has never been found. Neither has the “killer”. We explore robot torture, and whether there is an ethical issue with harming a machine, other than damage to property.
Mar 14, 2019
Abandoned in the Amazon
When a light aircraft carrying two families from local Indian tribes disappeared over the Amazon recently, relatives scoured the rainforest for weeks, until hunger and illness forced them to give up. Why did the Brazilian authorities ignore appeals for an official, properly-resourced ground search? And why was there no flight plan to indicate where the plane might have gone? Tim Whewell reports on the dangers of flying in the world’s greatest remaining wilderness - where most flights are clandestine – and the fears of indigenous communities that the government is increasingly indifferent to their needs. (Image: Before the tragedy - Jeziel Barbosa de Moura, pilot of the vanished plane, minutes before he took off on the doomed flight. Credit: Family archive)
Mar 13, 2019
Canada and how it sees Britain
Neil MacGregor visits different countries to talk to leading political, business and cultural figures to find out how they, as individuals and as members of their broader communities, see Britain. In Canada, Neil hears from French-Canadian film director, Denys Arcand; writer and Booker Prize nominee, Madeleine Thien; and Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland.
Mar 12, 2019
Where are you going? - Cardiff
Cardiff in early February is freezing cold but the people have a warm welcome. Catherine Carr meets strangers in the city of Cardiff to find out what people here feeling in the weeks before Brexit. What’s on their minds? At a time of such unprecedented political flux, the simple device of her one question - where are you going? - will work to uncover some of that in people's lives.
Mar 9, 2019
The Slumlords of Nairobi
In Nairobi’s slums, more than 90% of residents rent a shack from a slum landlord. These so-called slumlords have a less than shining reputation in the popular media, for exploiting the lives of the some of the poorest people in Kenya. Who are the faceless figures who own hundreds of shacks and make massive tax-free profits? Who is bulldozing whole areas of Kibera and leaving hundreds homeless? BBC reporter Anne Soy investigates.
Mar 7, 2019
The Church of Denmark abuse scandal
How did a priest of the Church of Denmark manage to sexually abuse children for a decade without being detected? Gry Hoffmann investigates the case of Dan Peschack, who is now serving a 10-year prison sentence for the abuse of eight children. Through interviews first recorded for Danish Broadcasting Corporation’s P1 documentary, she discovers “The Seducer” - a man who used his charisma and the power of his position in the Evangelical Lutheran state church to abuse children in the village of Tømmerup near Kalundborg on the west coast of Denmark. When Peschack was first arrested in 2016, many of the locals didn’t want to believe it, while others had been carrying a terrible secret for years. In graphic accounts, which some listeners may find upsetting, victims describe their experience of Peschack’s abuse. One speaks of his shock at discovering the extent of the assaults and of his anger at the betrayal by a man who he thought was his friend. Parents who were suspicious regr…
Mar 6, 2019
Nigeria and how it sees Britain
Neil MacGregor visits different countries to talk to leading political, business and cultural figures to find out how they, as individuals and as members of their broader communities, see Britain. Neil visits Nigeria to meet Nobel Laureate for Literature, Wole Soyinka; Yeni Kuti, dancer, singer and eldest child of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti; and Muhammadu Sanusi II, the Emir of Kano.
Mar 5, 2019
Where Are You Going? - Glasgow
With Brexit fast approaching, Catherine Carr talks to people on the move in Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast and London. Are the people she meets downcast, delighted, or disinterested? At a time of political and social upheaval, we find out what is really on their minds. In Glasgow, the first programme in the series, we find a city with a festive hangover, still counting the cost of Christmas and facing a cold January.
Mar 2, 2019
We Intend to Cause Havoc
In the wake of independence an explosive music scene gripped the southern African country of Zambia. Mixing western rock 'n' roll with traditional sounds, enterprising young musicians kick-started a raucous movement that came to be known as Zamrock. Leading this charge was the charismatic frontman Emmanuel 'Jagari' Chanda with his band W.I.T.C.H. Join Jagari as he takes to the streets of Lusaka to tell his remarkable story as Zambia’s first ever rock star, why he is one of the last standing and why, in his advancing years, he is happy to give Mick Jagger a run for his money.
Feb 28, 2019
Empty Spain and the Caravans of Love
How does a lonely, Spanish shepherd find love when single women have left for the city? Antonio Cerrada lives north of Madrid, in the heart of what’s been nicknamed the, "Lapland of Spain" because its population density is so low. With only a handful of families left in his village, and people continuing to leave for the cities, Antonio struggled to find a partner. Then Maria Carvajal arrived. She came in a bus full of single women – a ‘caravana’ - to attend an organised party with men like Antonio. The Caravans of Women - or Caravans of Love as they are known - began as a response to Spain’s epic story of rural depopulation. More than half the country is at risk, and in nearly 600 municipalities there isn’t one resident under the age of 10. And as Linda Pressly finds out, there are many initiatives now to reverse the decline of the Spanish countryside, including a movement of young people – the "neo-rurales" – who have begun to occupy abandoned villages. Presenter an…
Feb 27, 2019
Egypt and how it sees Britain
Neil MacGregor visits different countries to talk to leading political, business and cultural figures to find out how they, as individuals and as members of their broader communities, see Britain. In Egypt, Neil hears from political historian Said Sadek; magazine publisher and editor Yasmine Shihata; and writer and activist Ahdaf Soueif.
Feb 26, 2019
(This programme contains audio effects that may cause discomfort to people living with hearing conditions. There is a modified version of this programme, with quieter effects, on this page https://bbc.in/2TrInga) What does life sound like for someone whose hearing has suddenly changed? Carly Sygrove is a British teacher living in Madrid. She was sitting in her school’s auditorium when suddenly her head was filled with a loud screeching sound. Diagnosed as sudden sensorineural hearing loss, Carly no longer has any functional hearing in her left ear, and battles with the whoops, squeals and ringing that comes from having tinnitus. Carly shares her personal story and speaks honestly about how life with hearing in only one ear is far from quiet.
Feb 23, 2019
The Miracle of St Anthony's
In the late 1960s, parole officer Bob Hurley became basketball coach at St Anthony’s High School in Jersey City, New Jersey. In the years that followed, as the city got poorer and its streets more dangerous, Hurley’s infamously exacting coaching style turned class after class of young men into championship material and put St Anthony’s—a school that didn’t even have its own gym—on the basketball map, winning multiple state championships and hundreds of games. Former NBA basketball player and one-time Democratic Party politician Terry Dehere tells the story of this very special high school with help from several generations of St. Anthony’s players and supporters.
Feb 21, 2019
Malawi: Life After Death Row
Byson expected to be dead long ago. Now in his sixties, he was given a death sentence quarter of a century ago. But instead of being executed, he’s found himself back at home, looking after his elderly mother, holding down a job, and volunteering to help other prisoners leaving jail. His release was part of a re-sentencing project in Malawi. Anyone who was given the death penalty automatically for killing someone can have their case re-examined. What is known as a mandatory death sentence was ruled to be unconstitutional, so now judges are giving custodial sentences instead, or in some cases inmates are even being freed. Charlotte McDonald travels to the small town of Balaka to visit the Halfway House where Byson mentors former inmates. She visits someone who came out of jail a few years ago and now runs her own business in the village where she was born. And she speaks to one of the last remaining people on death row about their upcoming re-sentencing hearing. Many of those forme…
Feb 20, 2019
As the World Sees Britain: Germany and how it sees Britain
Neil MacGregor visits different countries to talk to leading political, business and cultural figures to find out how they, as individuals and as members of their broader communities, see Britain. In Germany, Neil talks to Wolfgang Schäuble, the president of the Bundestag; TV host, writer and cultural commentator Thea Dorn; and Hartmut Dorgerloh, the new director of Berlin's Humboldt Forum. As the UK prepares to place itself on the world stage as an independent power, he explores the relationship between Germany and Britain.
Feb 19, 2019
George Weah: The footballing president
George Weah, former World Footballer of the Year and star of AC Milan, Chelsea and Monaco, was elected president of Liberia in a landslide victory just over a year ago. Having been raised in one of Liberia’s worst slums, many saw him as a man who understood the needs of the poor. But some now doubt that he will deliver on campaign promises to help lift people out of poverty. Mike Thomson, who was granted a rare interview with the President, reports from Monrovia.
Feb 14, 2019
Can we fix it? The inside story of match fixing in tennis
Last month, law enforcement officials in Spain said they had broken up a major match fixing ring in tennis. The Guardia Civil said 28 players competing at the lower levels of tennis were implicated. It's alleged that a group of Armenians had bribed the players to fix matches. Assignment reveals the inside story of how players and betting gangs are seeking to corrupt the lower tiers of the sport. In many cases, a player only has to lose a set or certain games - not the whole match - to get paid. Players and fixers communicate on social media as matches get underway to ensure the correct outcome is achieved. The rewards can be significant with players sometimes being paid thousands of pounds - often much more than they can earn in prize money. For the betting gangs who have placed money on a guaranteed outcome, the pay off can be much greater. Two years after the BBC first revealed concerns about match fixing in the game, Assignment looks at how the tennis authorities have responded to…
Feb 13, 2019
The Trumped Republicans
Republican insider Ron Christie discovers how Donald Trump's presidency is changing his party. Trump arrived in the White House offering a populist revolt in America, promising to drain what he calls "the swamp that is Washington D.C". So what does his own Republican Party - traditionally a bastion of the nation’s establishment - really make of him? Where is he taking them and what will he leave behind?
Feb 12, 2019
So where are the aliens?
Vulcans, Daleks, Martians, Grays - our culture is pervaded by alien beings from distant worlds – some benevolent…most not so much. In our galaxy alone, there should be tens of billions of planets harbouring life, but we have not heard any broadcasts or seen any flashing lights from distant civilisations. Chief astronomer for SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), Seth Shostak, has devoted his career to searching for signs of alien life. In this programme he tackles the fundamental question about whether we are alone in the universe.
Feb 9, 2019
The Ballads of Emmett Till
**Some listeners may find parts of this programme upsetting** Emmett Till, fourteen and black, was put on the train from Chicago by his mother Mamie in August 1955. She got his corpse back, mutilated and stinking. Emmett had been beaten, shot and dumped in the Tallahatchie River for supposedly whistling at a white woman. His killers would forever escape justice. What Mamie did next helped galvanise the Civil Rights Movement and make Emmett the sacrificial lamb of the movement.
1 hr 9 min
Feb 7, 2019
On college campuses across the United States, students die every year as a result of “hazing” - sometimes violent and dangerous rituals designed to initiate new members into a group to which they pledge loyalty. In 2011, Pam and Robert Champion Sr. lost their son Robert to a hazing incident. Robert was a student at Florida A&M University and a drum major in the college’s prestigious marching band, the Marching 100. He was brutally beaten to death by his fellow band members in an initiation rite known as "Crossing Bus C." Even though this ritual was prohibited, it was widely condoned, accepted, even encouraged, and going through it was considered an essential part of band membership. Today hazing remains rife in all types of groups, from sports teams to all-male fraternities and all-female sororities, the so-called “Greek Letter Organisations” since the names of these social groups are taken from the Greek alphabet. With around 220 deaths attributed to hazing since records…
Feb 6, 2019
My Brexit Dilemma
Adrian Goldberg is a BBC reporter. His father was German and came to the UK on Kindertransport just before the start of the Second World War. For Adrian, Brexit has raised a dilemma: should he get a German passport?
Feb 5, 2019
Sweeping the World
In Sweeping the World, award-winning poet, Imtiaz Dharker presents a reflective evocation in words, sound and music of the broom in many cultures. Whether it’s dust, spirits or the mythic power of the broom to break free and cause havoc, this programme takes a sweeping look at a never-ending story.
Feb 2, 2019
The Politics of Mongolian Hip Hop
MC Dizraeli hears how Mongolia’s massive hip hop scene is shaping the country’s future. He finds surprising lyrics that dispense moral advice, worry about alcoholism or praise the taste of fresh yoghurt on the Mongolian steppe. Freestyles and conversations across Ulaanbaatar reveal global hip hop influences and deep resonances with Mongolia’s musical heritage. Hip hop is so popular that Mongolian politicians try to buy up rappers to support their campaigns. However, in the midst of a changing Ulaanbaatar Dizraeli listens to lyrics that are critical of politicians, asking who or what is holding Mongolia back?
Jan 31, 2019
Japan's Elderly Crime Wave
Elderly pensioners in Japan are committing petty crimes so that they can be sent to prison. One in five of all prisoners in Japan are now over 65. The number has quadrupled in the last two decades, a result it seems of rising elderly poverty and loneliness, as seniors become increasingly cut-off from their over-worked offspring. In jail old people at least get a bed, a routine and a hot meal, and for many, as Ed discovers, the outside world can seem like a threatening place. For the prison authorities it means an increasingly ageing population behind bars and the challenges of dealing with a range of geriatric health issues. Produced and reported by Ed Butler. (Image: Elderly Inmate "Kita-san" at Fuchu Prison, Tokyo. Credit: BBC)
Jan 29, 2019
Solving Alzheimer's: Living and Dying with Alzheimer's
In the Netherlands, people with dementia can legally chose euthanasia but the debate is going back and forth there. When can dementia patients consent to euthanasia? The answer it turns out - is ethically very complicated and a Dutch doctor is now being prosecuted for performing euthanasia on a patient with advanced Alzheimer’s. In South Korea and the UK we hear from some of the most promising initiatives; and how a dementia friendly society is possible, with action not just from governments and NGOs but crucially from all of us.
Jan 26, 2019
Songs from the Depths of Hell
Aleksander Kulisiewicz spent six years in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, imprisoned soon after the Nazi invasion and their attempted destruction of Poland. In the camp he found a unique role both as a composer and living tape recorder of the world of the unfree and the damned. Blessed with a photographic memory prisoners, many of whom knew they were to be killed, would ask him to remember their songs. Songs of resistance and defiance, songs of love and home, songs that captured the brutality of life and death in the camps. He would also write 50 of his own songs. Performances would take place in secret, at night, away from the eyes of the SS. Kulisiewicz survived a death march at the war’s end and recovered to become the foremost chronicler, in song, of the world of the Concentration Camps. He would obsessively document memories and songs until the end of his life in 1982. In the 1960s he became an unlikely attraction in festivals of folk song for youth rebelling against the silen…
Jan 24, 2019
Closing Uganda’s Orphanage
Uganda is a country that has seen massive growth in the number of ‘orphanages’ providing homes to children, despite the number of orphans there decreasing. It is believed 80% of children now living in orphanages have at least one living parent. The majority of the hundreds of orphanages operating in Uganda are illegal, unregistered and now are in a fight with the government trying to shut them down. Dozens on the government's list for closure are funded by overseas charities and church groups, many of which are based in the UK. With widespread concerns about abuse, trafficking and exploitation of children growing up in orphanages are funders doing enough to make sure their donations aren't doing more harm than good? Reporter: Anna Cavell Producer: Kate West (Image: Ugandan children stand on the banks of the Kagera River. Credit: ISAAC KASAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)
Jan 22, 2019
Solving Alzheimer's: The Trillion Dollar Disease
Dementia is now a trillion-dollar disease, and with the numbers of patients doubling every 20 years, the burden will fall unevenly on developing countries where the growth rate is fastest. We travel to South Korea, the fastest ageing country in the world, where the country’s president has declared the challenge of Alzheimer’s to be a national crisis. We meet families struggling to look after loved ones with Alzheimer’s and visit the Netherlands, where an innovative approach to Alzheimer’s care offers hope for the future.
Jan 19, 2019
The Assassination - Part Two
It is one of the world's great unsolved murders. Ten years ago, Pakistan's most prominent politician, a woman people would form human chains to protect from assassins, died in a suicide blast. The intervening years have brought allegations, arrests and a UN inquiry – but not one murder conviction. The victim was Benazir Bhutto.
Jan 17, 2019
France, Algeria and the battle for truth
President Emmanuel Macron has recently done something unusual for a French President – he made a declaration recognising that torture was used by the French military during the Algerian War of Independence. He described a system that allowed people to be arrested, interrogated and sometimes killed. Many families still don’t know what happened to their loved ones. At 87, Josette Audin, has campaigned for more than 60 years for the French state to take responsibility for the disappearance of her husband, Maurice Audin, during the Algerian War. Charlotte McDonald hears Josette’s story and discovers that the Algerian War has had a lasting impact on many more in France. She speaks to historians Malika Rahal and Fabrice Riceputi about their website 1000autres.org, and to war veteran Rémi Serres about his association 4ACG. Producer, Josephine Casserly Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: File photo of Maurice Audin, circa 1950. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Jan 16, 2019
Africa’s Drone Experiment
While the idea of retail giants like Amazon dropping parcels from the sky via drone may be a long way off, in East Africa momentum is building over the idea of drone delivery in hard to reach places. In the island of Juma near Mwanza, one of hundreds of remote inhabited islands in the vast expanse of Lake Victoria, an ambitious new drone project called the Lake Victoria Challenge is taking place. Technology reporter Jane Wakefield visits Juma to see first-hand how the concept could work.
Jan 15, 2019
Solving Alzheimer's: Fear and Stigma
Few of us will escape the impact of Alzheimer’s Disease. The grim pay-back from being healthy, wealthy or lucky enough to live into our late 80s and beyond is dementia. One in three - maybe even one in two of us - will then get dementia and forget almost everything we ever knew. But it is far more than just a personal family tragedy. We explore how fear in some parts of the world is stigmatising those who have it, and denying help to those who need it.
Jan 12, 2019
The Assassination - Part One
Ten years ago, Benazir Bhutto, a woman people would form human chains to protect from assassins, died in a suicide blast. The intervening years have brought allegations, arrests and a UN inquiry – but not one murder conviction. It is one of the world's great unsolved murders. Through the mystery of this murder Owen Bennett Jones reveals a little of how Pakistan works.
Jan 10, 2019
Balkan Border Wars - Serbia and Kosovo
Old enemies Serbia and Kosovo discuss what for some is unthinkable - an ethnic land swap. This dramatic proposal is one of those being talked about as a means of normalising relations between these former foes. Since the bloody Kosovo war ended with NATO intervention in 1999, civility between Belgrade and Pristina has been in short supply. Redrawing borders along ethnic lines is anathema to many, but politicians in Serbia and Kosovo have their eyes on a bigger prize... For Serbia, that is membership of the European Union. But the EU will not accept Serbia until it makes an accommodation with its neighbour. Kosovo wants to join the EU too, but its immediate priority is recognition at the United Nations, and that is unlikely while Serbia's ally, Russia, continues to thwart Kosovo's ambitions there. Both of these Balkan nations want to exit this impasse. And a land-swap, giving each of them much-coveted territory, might just do it. For Assignment, Linda Pressly and producer, Albana Kasapi…
Jan 8, 2019
Ordinary Cubans reveal what their lives have really been like under Castro’s socialism and, more recently, its transformation into a more capitalistic economy. For some, the Cuban Revolution was the last bastion of the communist dream; for others, a repressive, authoritarian regime. Largely missing from those debates were the voices of ordinary Cubans. Almost 60 years on from the Revolution, professor Elizabeth Dore discovers how people from different walks of life and generations have experienced life, work, housing, racism, sexism and corruption on the island.
Jan 5, 2019
From the Ground Up
The Central African Republic is one of the least developed countries on earth. Years of conflict have left hundreds of thousands of people displaced. Sexual violence is rife and extreme poverty is endemic. Yet despite this dire humanitarian situation, reporting from CAR is rare. Anna Foster explores the challenges facing this nation from the inside, and hears from those trying to improve its fortunes.
Jan 3, 2019
The Brazilian Footballer Who Never Was
At 12, Douglas Braga arrived in Rio de Janeiro, a wide-eyed boy, ready to live out the Brazilian dream and become a professional footballer. At 18, he was signed by one of the country’s top teams - but was also starting to realise he couldn’t be true to himself and be a footballer. By 21, he’d quit the game. He knew he was gay and felt there was no place for him in a macho culture where homophobia is commonplace and out gay men are nowhere to be seen. Now, at 36, Douglas lives in a country that just elected a self-styled “proud homophobe” as president, which some football fans have taken as a licence to step up their homophobic abuse and threats. But Douglas is back on the pitch and - with a growing number of other gay footballers - fighting back. Reporter David Baker Producer: Simon Maybin (Image: Footballer’s legs with rainbow socks. Credit: BBC)
Jan 1, 2019
New York's Flower Market: Things my Father Loved
New York’s historic 28th Street flower market opens early. The sidewalk is a rush of colour by 5am, packed with cheerful yellow sunflowers, frothy lime-white hydrangeas and vibrant lilies. Office workers pick their way to work round tropical plants and tall leafy palms sway in the city breeze. Cathy FitzGerald hears the market’s stories, and finds out what it takes to make it in this very beautiful - and very tough - business.
Dec 29, 2018
Childish Gambino: This is 2018
In May 2018 the American actor and singer Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) released what has been described as “the most talked about music video in recent history”. The controversial video of This is America addresses the issues of gun violence, mass shootings, racism and discrimination in the US. It has been viewed more than four hundred million times on YouTube. It has also spawned covers of the song and, importantly, the video across the world, which have also garnered millions of views. Why and how did This is America become so popular across the globe?
Dec 27, 2018
Armenia: Return to a Town that Died
Thirty years on from the 1988 earthquake in Armenia, what’s happened to the devastated town of Spitak? Rescuers from all over the world came to help search for survivors – among them a team of British firefighters. Now, with reporter Tim Whewell, two of those men are returning - to see how the town’s been rebuilt - and to remember a rescue effort that marked a turning point in East-West relations. The disaster came as Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was developing his policy of glasnost (openness) – and his request for foreign assistance was the first such appeal the Kremlin had made in decades. The firefighters relive the drama, grief and courage of those days – and renew old friendships. They discover that Spitak has still not fully recovered from the quake, with many living to this day in squalid temporary housing. Reporter Tim Whewell. (Image: Reginald Berry and Paul Burns – two retired UK firefighters – revisit Armenia, 30 years after taking part in rescue and recov…
Dec 25, 2018
Christmas with Melania
Melania Trump is the second foreign-born First Lady and Donald Trump’s third wife; an ex-model, 24 years his junior, who once posed pregnant in a gold bikini on the steps of her husband’s jet. It was modelling – for GQ, Sports Illustrated and others – that took Melania from small-town Slovenia to New York and her fateful first encounter with the future President. The most notable thing about Melania Trump as First Lady has so far been her absence. It took her five months to relocate from New York to the White House. Friends have described her as someone who likes to stay at home, who often retires early from events and who dislikes being the centre of attention. Some unkind commentators have speculated that she is a kind of hostage, shackled by marriage to Donald and a role in public life which she did not seek and does not enjoy. But others have claimed that far from being a victim of her husband’s success and inimitable style, she is a formidable force in her own right. So…
Dec 22, 2018
Carols of the Times
From the age of eight, Bob Chilcott sang with the world renowned King's College Choir in Cambridge. Every Christmas Eve the choir gather in the chapel to sing for a service that is known and loved across the globe. At 3pm a boy chorister steps forward to sing the opening verse of Once in Royal David City and so begins the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. To mark the centenary of this Christmas tradition, composer Bob Chilcott returns to King's College Chapel to explore the history of the service, to meet the people involved and to reflect on why this sequence of carols and readings has had such a major impact.
Dec 20, 2018
DNA, Me and the Family Tree
Where do you come from? Tracing your ancestry in the USA is one of the most popular hobbies along with gardening and golf. TV is awash with advertising for the do-it-yourself genetic testing kits which have become much sought after gifts, especially at Christmas time. The kits have revolutionised family tree research and gone are the days of sifting through old documents. But, as Lucy Ash reports, the DNA results are now revealing far more than many had bargained for. How do you react when you find out your mother had a secret affair half a century ago…and the man who raised you isn’t your dad? Produced by Charlotte McDonald. (Image: This chip holds samples of 24 people’s DNA – one in each box. Credit: BBC)
Dec 18, 2018
Spy Ship: The Capture of the USS Pueblo
It was a brazen and violent attack by North Korean forces on an American ship sailing in international waters, leading to the death of one sailor and the imprisonment of the remaining 82 crewmen who were confined and tortured for 11 long months. Yet the capture of the spy ship the USS Pueblo, the only active-duty vessel of the US Navy still held captive by a foreign government, remains a largely forgotten chapter in American naval history.
Dec 14, 2018
Congo: A River Journey
A journey in sound along the mighty Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This adventure transports you to the heart of the country on the eve of long-delayed elections. You’ll encounter busy ports, vibrant markets and rare gorillas. You’ll learn why this mineral-rich country the size of western Europe is so poor. You’ll ride on the river to the soundtrack of its music, meet its wrestlers, its acrobatic fishermen and explore how history has shaped what the Congo is today.
Dec 13, 2018
China's Hidden Camps
China is accused of locking up as many as a million Uighur Muslims without trial across its western region of Xinjiang. The government denies the claims, saying people willingly attend special "vocational schools" to combat "terrorism and religious extremism". But a BBC investigation has found important new evidence of the reality - a vast and rapidly growing network of detention centres, where the people held inside are humiliated and abused. Using detailed satellite analysis and reporting from a part of the country where journalists are routinely detained and harassed; China correspondent John Sudworth offers his in-depth report on China's Hidden Camps. (Image credit: BBC)
Dec 12, 2018
Stories on the Rocks
Somaliland’s rich archaeological heritage was practically unknown 15 years ago. Now thanks to Dr. Sada Mire, Somali archaeologist and author, medieval Islamic towns, pre-Islamic Christian burial sites, and pre-historic cave paintings have been uncovered. One of them, Laas Geel, has been described as one of the most important rock-art sites in eastern Africa. Dr Sada Mire takes us there to see astonishing rock paintings more than 5000 years old in near perfect condition.
Dec 11, 2018
When You Tire of Tech
Our lives are consumed more and more by the online world whether it be for entertainment or every day activities. For some people it becomes too much – and here, musician turned broadcaster Ana Matronic meets some young people whose online use has quite literally taken over their lives. She visits a centre in Seattle, Washington, near where she grew up, which has been set up to help people, mainly young men, who feel their relationship with the online and tech world has become too stifling.
Dec 8, 2018
India's battle with online porn
Access to pornography though mobile phones has been sudden and widespread in India: some say way too sudden for a conservative society, and blame this for the sexual violence against women. But when legal attempts are made to ban pornography, a strong resistance emerges in the name of freedom of expression, including sexual expression. Others argue that online pornography is the wrong target, pointing out that around a third of porn viewers in India are women. But what do Indian men themselves make of this? The BBC’s India Women Affairs correspondent Divya Arya travels the country to meet men from all backgrounds to find out.
Dec 6, 2018
Inside Burundi’s Killing Machine
An investigation into the 'killing machine' of one of Africa's most repressive and secretive countries. Three years ago there was widespread unrest in the East African country of Burundi when the country’s president ran for a third term. Protestors said he was violating the constitution that limits presidential terms to just two. Since then street protests have ended but a BBC investigation has now uncovered evidence of government sponsored torture and killings designed to silence dissent. The government has always denied any human rights violations, and declined to comment on the allegations in this programme. Reporter Maud Jullien. Producers Charlotte Atwood and Michael Gallagher. *This programme contains graphic scenes of torture and killing. (Image: A computer generated image of an alleged detention house in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura. A red liquid, which looked like blood, was seen pouring from its gutter. Credit: BBC)
Dec 5, 2018
Vicky Phelan: The Woman who Changed Ireland
This is the story of Vicky Phelan, a mother of two from Limerick, Ireland. Vicky has cancer of the cervix and in 2017 she was given just six months to live. As she battled to save her own life, Vicky uncovered a scandal that rocked the Irish establishment and exposed a country still coming to grips with radical social upheaval. As part of the ‘BBC 100 Women’ season, Helen Devlin meets the woman who changed Ireland.
Dec 4, 2018
Radio La Colifata
How is a radio station in an Argentinian psychiatric hospital changing the way people view mental illness? Radio La Colifata - slang for loon, or crazy person - airs from Hospital Jose Borda in Buenos Aires every Saturday afternoon. In-patients produce and present the shows, discussing everything from Argentinean politics and the economy to their own mental health and treatment. Millions of Argentinians tune in and interact with the show as it goes out live, encouraging a dialogue between the La Colifata team and the outside world which otherwise might not happen.
Nov 29, 2018
A Stark Choice for Cambodia's Surrogates
In a Cambodian hospital, a group of terrified new mothers nurse tiny babies under the watch of police guards. They're surrogates, desperately poor women promised $10,000 to bear children for parents in China. But they were arrested under new anti-trafficking rules, and now they face an agonising choice: either they agree to keep children they didn't want and can't easily afford to bring up, children who aren't genetically theirs - or they honour their surrogacy contracts, and face up to 20 years in jail. Tim Whewell reports on the suffering as country after country in Asia cracks down on commercial surrogacy - and asks whether the detained mothers are criminals - or victims. (Image: Former Cambodian surrogate Va-Tei: "I feel really sad that I had to give the baby away." Credit: BBC)
Nov 28, 2018
Migrants Mean Business
Kim Tserkezie explores how migrants have used their entrepreneurial skills to become part of British communities, and finds out whether the experiences of successful businesses accrued over generations still resonate with migrants arriving today. Kim begins her journey by the golden sands of England’s North East coast, where we hear the Italian family history of England’s ice cream champions. Michael Minchella shares the experiences and struggles of generations of his family setting up and running their seaside business. Some 75 years later, Michael now leads their much loved ice cream empire. We then head to North Yorkshire to meet one of the 8000 Syrian refugees who have arrived in the UK in recent years. Razan, a pharmacist from Syria, explains how she is making a new life as a traditional Yorkshire cheese maker. Kim also travels over the border to Edinburgh to meet Talal and Nour, two Syrians who met for the first time in Edinburgh and went on to recreate a facsimile of the…
Nov 27, 2018
The Surrogates Club
In Canada many women volunteer to give birth to a stranger's child and do not get paid in return. Under Canadian laws, gestational surrogates receive only expenses in exchange for getting pregnant and carrying a baby for nine months. But, why do they do it? We meet the surrogate women to find out. We follow them as they navigate the emotional challenges of giving life to a baby that they will say goodbye to after birth, and we meet the families who will welcome home these special babies.
Nov 24, 2018
Women make up roughly 50% of the world but is the media reporting the issues that matter to them? Do women want to hear more debate around taboo subjects like abortion and domestic violence or do they want to hear more success stories about women in the media? How could the media’s reporting of rape cases be improved? And, as news sources become more diverse, how can the mainstream media reflect the stories being discussed by women on social media?
Nov 24, 2018
The Carnival: 50 Years in St Pauls
Narrated by Bristol’s first poet laureate Miles Chambers, from costumes to sound systems this tale looks at the history of the St Pauls Carnival, meets the family of four generations who all have a stake in it, and follows the new organisation grappling to appease a fractured community in order to put this year’s event on. Failure to do so “will spell the end of carnival forever.”
Nov 22, 2018
Nigeria's Patient 'Prisoners'
Nigerian patients held in hospital because they can’t pay their medical bills. In March 2016, a young woman went into labour. She was rushed to a local, private hospital in south-east Nigeria where she gave birth by caesarean section. But when the hospital discovered this teenage mother didn’t have the money to pay for her treatment, she and her son were unable to leave. They remained there for 16 months – until the police arrived and released them. This is not an isolated case. In Nigeria, very few health services are free of charge, and campaigners estimate that thousands have been detained in hospitals for failing to pay their bills. It’s become an increasingly high-profile issue – one couple have been awarded compensation after going through the courts. For Assignment, Linda Pressly explores a widespread abuse – meeting victims, and the hospital managers attempting to manage their budgets in a health system under enormous pressure, where only 5% of Nigerians are cove…
Nov 21, 2018
The Number One Ladies’ Landmine Agency
We follow a unique group of Sahrawi women working alongside the world’s longest minefield, the 2,700km sand wall or berm built by Morocco across the region. Baba, Minetou, Nora and the team work in temperatures exceeding 42°c (107°f), hundreds of miles from even rudimentary medical care, risking their lives in Western Sahara’s so-called “Liberated Territories” east of the Berm, clearing some of the seven million landmines and unexploded bombs left over from the still unresolved conflict between Morocco and the ethnic Sahrawi liberation movement, the Polisario Front.
Nov 20, 2018
Argentina’s Feminist Tango
Argentina is on the brink of a female-led revolution, and in Buenos Aires women are fighting for an equal footing everywhere from the institutions of government to the Tango hall. Since 2015 political pressure around women’s rights has peaked, following a string of horrifying femicides. It spawned a social media movement #NiUnaMenos, and continent wide strikes and protests. Katy Watson speaks to the activists who started this latest feminist wave and how tango is being re-interpreted with equality in mind.
Nov 17, 2018
The Eternal Life of the Instant Noodle
What is the most traded legal item in US prisons? Instant Noodles. Celia Hatton explores the story behind instant noodles. It's a journey that starts in Japan, at the nation's instant noodle museum, and then takes her to China, still the world's number one market for "convenient noodles" as they're known there. And she hears why instant noodles have emerged as the prisoners' currency of choice.
Nov 16, 2018
Everyday Americans 1: The Opioid ‘Demon’
The opioid epidemic in America is hurting all levels of society – in this three part documentary series we explore its impact, in real-time, on people in one city, Louisville, Kentucky. We work with a team of reporters on the Louisville Courier Journal as they follow opioid stories across the community.
Nov 16, 2018
Everyday Americans 2: Law and Order and Opioids
Exploring how the opioid epidemic in America is impacting the criminal justice system. Through reporters on the Louisville Courier Journal we meet the drug court judge who tells us about her hopes for those going through the court. We attend the drug court graduation ceremony and follow the police as they search for drugs. And, we assess the impact on Louisville's city jail, which runs the state Kentucky's biggest detox centre.
Nov 16, 2018
Everyday Americans 3: Opioids and the Next Generation
In Louisville, Kentucky, drug overdose related deaths are twice the national average. What will the impact be on the next generation? This fly-on the-wall documentary series follows the work of a team of reporters from the Louisville Courier Journal. We hear of babies born addicted as a result of their mothers’ drug use, an inspiring school choir and the families finding ways to face up to the epidemic. A mother is campaigning to hold pharmaceutical companies to account and citizens, faith groups and politicians are responding to the crisis.
1 hr 7 min
Nov 14, 2018
The Last Long Journey of the Herero
In 1904 the Herero people of South West Africa made their final stand against German Colonial troops with their backs against the slopes of Waterberg mountain in today’s Namibia. The battle marked the beginning of what has been called the first genocide of the 20th Century as tens of thousands were killed, driven into the desert to die and thousands more held in concentration camps. The Nama, another indigenous group suffered the same fate soon after. And their deaths fed a bizarre and gruesome trade in body parts, driven by racial anthropologists in Germany intent on proving the superiority of their own race.
Nov 13, 2018
From Truman to Trump
The final interview with the veteran American politician Senator Joe Tydings, with his vivid memories of working with the Kennedy dynasty - and his unhappy relationship with Donald Trump. He recalls the protests, assassinations and political upheaval which marked the 1960s. And we find out why Senator Tydings never forgave Donald Trump for pinching the family crest.
Nov 8, 2018
Saudi's Crown Prince in the spotlight
Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has come under intense scrutiny since the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, with many believing he may have been behind it. Mohammed bin Salman has condemned the act. But a secret source has told the BBC that they believe Khashoggi’s killing wasn’t the first to be carried out by people close to the Crown Prince. With BBC Arabic we investigate these allegations and ask if Mohammed bin Salman can survive the furore over Jamal Khashoggi’s killing. (Image: A protester wears a mask depicting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman with red painted hands. Credit: Yasin AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Nov 7, 2018
George Ellery Hale: Prince of the Sun
A celebration of the amazing work of the little known astronomer (the world’s first astrophysicist) George Ellery Hale. He covered the peak of Mount Wilson with a constellation of instruments for observing the sky. His first objective - to study one particular star, our Sun. Hale’s monumental discovery in 1908 – that the Sun generated powerful magnetic fields - has been a source of inspiration for the world’s astronomer's
Nov 6, 2018
The Unknown Soldier
Moira Stuart tells the astonishing story of the idea of the Unknown Soldier - a powerful prism for national grief, a brilliant interplay between anonymity and universal recognition, an icon which spread across the globe. But even from the beginning the concept of the Unknown Soldier was not without its critics. Some saw it as emblematic of the callousness of states and their governments in wartime - the Unknown could be read as figure of righteous anger, of the terrible, mass anonymity of countless young men lost without trace.
Nov 3, 2018
The Greyhound Diaries
Singer-songwriter Doug Levitt hears the stories of America’s struggling people as they ride across the country on long-haul coaches – and turns their tales into songs. For 12 years and 120,000 miles, he has crossed the United States by Greyhound, guitar on his back, and notebook in his pocket. The people on the margins ride Greyhound, the only form of long distance travel they can afford. It makes for a singular community of people on the move, looking for work, dealing with family emergencies and taking leaps of faith in pursuit of transformation, redemption and healing.
Nov 2, 2018
West Africa’s Fish Famine
Overfishing is blighting traditional livelihoods along the coast of Senegal. Fish catches are collapsing there after years of overfishing, mainly by foreign trawlers, some of whom are fishing illegally. Meanwhile, Senegal’s traditional fishermen have been evicted from the rich waters of neighbouring Mauritania, leading to a vicious circle of rapidly falling catches, economic desperation and yet more overfishing. Some have continued crossing the border, provoking an armed response from Mauritania’s coastguard. Senegal’s main traditional fishing port St Louis has seen anti-Mauritanian violence break out as a result. Alfonso Daniels travels to St Louis to find a community in despair, with some young men now seeing no choice but to join the exodus of migrants trying to reach Europe. He also gains rare access to Mauritania – usually off-limits to foreign journalists – and discovers an insatiable onshore fish processing industry now being encouraged across the region, and consuming…
Oct 30, 2018
The Dark Sides of American Democracy
Giles Edwards travels to North Carolina to investigate whether new voting laws and partisan district maps could swing November’s elections. Over the last two decades the controversy over voting laws has become increasingly bitter. President Trump regularly complains about unfair rules and illegal votes, and North Carolina has become a key location where these arguments play out.
Oct 27, 2018
Young, Cool and Kazakhstani
More than 25 years after independence, young Kazakhstanis are still trying to make sense of their dark history and their place in the new world order. At least half of the 18 million population of Kazakhstan is under 30 - born and raised in the post-Soviet era. Russian journalist Tatyana Movshevich goes to Almaty, the cultural capital of Kazakhstan to meet young Kazakhs and find out how they are moving their country forward, how they navigate their lives under an authoritarian regime and play their part in a global world.
Oct 25, 2018
Serbia’s Femicide Crisis
Violence against women is a persistent problem in Serbia. The numbers aren’t clear, but in the last decade more than 330 women have been murdered by men, mostly partners or close family members. Already this year, more than twenty women have been murdered and countless others abused. According to some studies, 1 in 3 women has experienced physical violence, and almost half of all women have endured psychological violence. In November 2016 the Serbian Parliament adopted a new law on the Prevention Of Domestic Violence, introducing a series of legal and protection measures. The legal aspects were aimed at meeting the standards set by the Council Of Europe Convention On Domestic Violence, ratified by Serbia in 2013. Despite the new law coming into force in June 2017, reported gender-based violence is on the rise. As Serbia continues its negotiations to join the European Union, Nicola Kelly reports from Belgrade on the progress to address violence against women. She speaks to victims o…
Oct 24, 2018
What Happened Last Night in Sweden?
In February 2017, President Trump made a speech to his supporters. He moved on to the topic of immigration and Sweden. "You look at what's happening last night in Sweden," he told the crowd at a rally in Florida. "They took in large numbers; they're having problems like they never thought possible". This confused the Swedes because they had not noticed anything happening that Friday night in their country. But since then there has been a spate of violent crime in Sweden. Ruth Alexander investigates.
Oct 23, 2018
Africa's Big Philanthropy: Home-Grown
With the rise of a wealthy class of high net worth individuals in Africa, home-grown philanthropy is on the rise. We meet some of these rich givers to find out what motivates them. The concept of philanthropy among communities is not new here, but as the economic landscape changes Alan Kasujja looks at what impact Africa’s new wealth might have, the impact of social media on how people donate, and what the future might hold for the concept of philanthropy in Africa.
Oct 18, 2018
Singing for Survival in Cucuta
Down but not out in a Colombian border town, four Venezuelans pin their hopes on music. Cucuta is a desperate place, overflowing with Venezuelans who are streaming across the nearby border, fleeing economic collapse. In among the desperation are glimmers of hope, like the four young musicians busking their way round the city’s restaurants to earn money. Karenina Velandia, who grew up in Venezuela, follows her compatriots’ highs and lows as they try to scrape together enough to survive - not just for themselves, but for the parents, wives, and children they’ve left behind. Presenter: Karenina Velandia Producer: Simon Maybin (Image: The four young musicians who busk round Cucuta. Credit: BBC)
Oct 16, 2018
Africa's Big Philanthropy: Agriculture and Food Security
Around one in four people in sub-Saharan Africa is malnourished, and tackling food insecurity is a huge challenge. Alan Kasujja explores how big philanthropy is putting a lot of money into supporting agriculture to improve livelihoods. He talks to farmers in Kenya about the development of new seeds and scientific solutions like fortified crops. But he also discovers that not all farmers are happy about it.
Oct 11, 2018
Paralympics – Gaming the System?
Last year, Assignment investigated whether some athletes and coaches game the Paralympic classification system in order to win medals. We heard allegations that some competitors had gone to astonishing lengths such as taping up their arms to make their disability appear worse. A parliamentary select committee hearing looked into the way British Paralympic athletes are classified and questions were raised over whether the system was fit for purpose. In this programme, we examine fresh claims of athletes exaggerating or even faking a disability to get ahead in para sports. We look at the case of an athlete where concerns have been raised after they competed in several different disability classifications. A Paralympic gold medallist tells Assignment that he believes that gaming the system in para sports is at a similar level to cheating in able bodied sports and reveals the tell-tale signs that athletes may be trying to get into an easier classification. Reporter Simon Cox speaks to…
Oct 9, 2018
Africa's Big Philanthropy: Health
In 2016 The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged to invest five billion dollars in poverty reduction and health in Africa. Other big givers like the Rockefeller Foundation have spent billions on health, agriculture and livelihood programmes. Some say governments and global agencies have come to depend on the donations of big philanthropic donors for their programmes, but how much influence do they have, and with the rise of home-grown African wealth what is the future is for philanthropy here?
Oct 6, 2018
When someone takes their own life, how does it affect those left behind? Suicide claims the life of someone, somewhere in the world, approximately every 40 seconds, according to the World Health Organisation. And that rate is increasing. The devastating effects on those left behind can go on for generations, especially where suicide is taboo or difficult to talk about. Mark Dowd hears the stories of people bereaved by suicide and reflects on his own experience following the suicide of his brother Chris.
Oct 4, 2018
Don't Shoot, I'm Disabled
Hundreds of people are killed by the police in the US each year. Much of the media attention has been on the race of victims, but there is another disturbing pattern to the deaths. A large number of those killed in interactions with police have a disability, with some research suggesting the figure is as much as half of the total number. Many of the dead had been living with mental illness, learning difficulties or a physical disability and recent incidents include those involving police officers shooting dead people with schizophrenia, autism, Down's Syndrome and deafness. North America Correspondent, Aleem Maqbool dissects some of these cases - reconstructing events, speaking to eye-witnesses and to officers involved in such fatal incidents - to ask why they happen so frequently. What are revealed are some deep-rooted issues concerning not just police culture, but also concerning the attitudes of society as a whole towards the disabled. Producers: Josephine Casserly and Haley Thomas…
Oct 2, 2018
A Life Alone
Christopher de Bellaigue presents an exploration of loneliness – told through a conversation with one woman – his 94 year old aunt, Diana. As she follows her usual routine at her home on Vancouver Island, Diana charts her life story, recounting her abandonment by her parents in the 1920s, her reunion with them years later, a life full of transitory friendships but extraordinary determination and independence.
Sep 30, 2018
The Children of Belsen
In April 1945 a 15-year-old Dutch Jewish girl, Hetty Werkendam, was interviewed by the BBC in the Nazi concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen shortly after its liberation by the British. Mike Lanchin travels to the site of Bergen-Belsen in Germany with the now 88-year-old Hetty and her family. Hetty vividly recalls the deprivations of the camp, and of seeing the dead bodies piling up outside the children’s barracks. Hetty says its a story that needs to be told again and again in order not to be forgotten by the next generation.
Sep 29, 2018
Zika Love Stories
Three years ago, doctors in the north-east of Brazil noticed a worrying new trend - a spate of babies being born with abnormally small heads, or microcephaly. The cause was traced to an outbreak of the Zika virus earlier in 2015. More than 3,000 babies were born with significant disabilities. BBC Brasil’s Julia Carneiro goes back to the state of Pernambuco to meet children affected by congenital Zika syndrome, who are now toddlers. She finds families who have been rocked by adversity but are sustained by a strong sense of solidarity, resilience and love.
Sep 27, 2018
Macedonia: What’s in a Name?
The name ‘Macedonia’ is hotly disputed by two neighbouring nations. The Greek province of Macedonia and the country calling itself the Republic of Macedonia border Lake Prespa. The villagers on the lake’s shores share a language and a culture, but it’s impossible to cross or drive around the lake because of the dispute with Greece over the Republic’s name. After years of stalemate, the governments of the two countries have agreed on a new name, the Republic of Northern Macedonia. But this has sparked angry protests by nationalists on both sides of the border. As The Republic of Macedonia prepares to hold a referendum on its name on 30 September, Maria Margaronis visits both sides of the lake to find out why this issue is so contentious - and how a painful history is being exploited by the far-right, politicians, and other interests on both sides. What do local people - and the lake stand to gain once the dispute is settled? And what’s holding them back? Producer: Chloe Hadj…
Sep 25, 2018
In Paris, aspiring models have to adjust to rather spartan conditions - from sharing a flat with strangers to moving around an unknown city all alone and surviving on a mere 80 euros a week. Despite their best efforts to get a job, most of the girls will leave Paris with empty pockets. Former model and now BBC journalist, Alina Isachenka, follows 17-year-old schoolgirl Anna Vasileva from the city of Nizhny Novgorod in Russia on her challenging journey through tough competition and over-demanding casting directors to the top of the fashion industry.
Sep 20, 2018
Simon Cox is in Austria where the authorities have launched an unprecedented operation against a new far right youth organisation, Generation Identity. They prosecuted members of the group including its leader, Martin Sellner, for being an alleged criminal organisation. They are currently appealing the judge's not guilty verdict. The Austrian group is at the heart of a new pan European movement that is vehemently opposed to Muslims and immigration. GI says it is not racist or violent. In Germany more than 100 offences have been committed by its members in just over a year. And the group's co leader in Britain stepped down after he was revealed to have a Neo Nazi past. Reporter: Simon Cox Producer: Anna Meisel Image: Martin Sellner demonstrating at Kahlenberg Vienna Credit: David Speier/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Sep 19, 2018
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: National International
Editor David Cannadine delves into stories about some of the colourful figures who lurk in the holdings of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, from Archibald Stansfeld Belaney, alias Grey Owl, the impostor conservationist of the early 20th century, to Alice Lucas, the earliest female UK parliamentary candidate, and recent figures from popular culture like Amy Winehouse.
Sep 18, 2018
The Changing Face of Procreation: Assisted Reproduction
How humans make babies could be about to change, thanks to advances in IVF and reproductive technology. Krupa Padhy meets the new kinds of families that could become the norm, and explores how reproductive technology may soon alter the way all of us make babies.
Sep 16, 2018
Iceland: What Happened Next?
Iceland is a small island nation of just 340,000 people, but at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008, it was the scene of one of the biggest banking collapses in history. Ten years on the economy has recovered, thanks to the millions of tourists who now visit every year. But what scars have been left on this close-knit island nation’s collective psyche? Edwin Lane speaks to the Icelanders hit hardest by the crisis, the small-town chief of police charged with pursuing the errant bankers, the new wave of Icelandic politicians agitating for change, and the Icelanders who fear that the lessons of the past haven’t been learned.
Sep 13, 2018
Chile - Sexual Abuse, Secrets and Lies
Dark secrets of Chile's Catholic Church - one of South America's devout congregations
Sep 12, 2018
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Lasting Fame
Editor David Cannadine takes us behind the scenes at the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) to examine why this late Victorian institution, with thousands upon thousands of detailed and vivid entries about the great and the good, is still relevant in the internet age. We hear the processes by which candidates are selected for inclusion, how the style and content have changed over the years, and why, in a period which tries to look beyond the praise of famous men and women, there is still a place for a publication that unashamedly does just that.
Sep 11, 2018
The New World Of Reproduction
Krupa Padhy examines where we have got to after 40 years of IVF. In England, she visits a family made up of white British parents and their three boys, plus a ‘snow baby’: created during an IVF cycle for her Indian-American genetic parents, but adopted as an embryo by her birth family. She hears from ethicists and law makers from around the world about how countries have struggled to adapt to new technological realities, and discovers stories that challenge ideas of what IVF is for, like that of an Indian woman who used her dead son’s sperm to create grandchildren.
Sep 6, 2018
Nevada’s Brothels Face the Axe
In parts of Nevada, prostitution is legal - the only such state in the US. The 'live and let live' mentality is a hangover from the gold rush days; in certain counties, brothels have been officially licensed since 1971. Today, no fewer than seven of them are owned by one man: Dennis Hof, a gun-toting restaurateur, entrepreneur and reality TV star. He calls himself the 'Trump from Pahrump', after a town where he recently won the Republican primaries for the Nevada State Legislature. Now, though, there is a backlash from religious and social activists, who have managed to get a referendum on the ballot during this November’s mid-term elections. Voters in Lyon County will be asked if the legal brothels there should be allowed to continue to operate. Ultimately, the campaigners aim to end legal sex work across the whole state. They say it is an exploitative, abusive trade, and prevents other businesses from investing in the area. But some sex workers are worried that a ban could push…
Sep 4, 2018
How has comedy helped Northern Ireland cope with conflict and move on? -- An atheist is driving in Belfast and he gets stopped by a paramilitary road block. A paramilitary walks up to the window and asks him "Catholic or Protestant?" The atheists looks at him and says "well I'm an atheist" The paramilitary nods "Ah okay, but are you a Catholic or a Protestant atheist?" -- Northern Ireland is renowned for its friendliness and sense of humour but after 40 years of violence how do you keep laughing? The conflict has brought out a very particular brand of humour unique to the country, much darker than the Irish humour and sharper than the Scottish. Comedian Diona Doherty (star of Derry Girls and Soft Border Patrol) finds out what comedy can tell us about healing in conflict and what young people think of the future of NI post Brexit and without a government. Speaking with stars of the past and future she hears how the jokes have changed even if some of the issues haven’t. Along with…
Sep 3, 2018
Uganda's Prison Farms
'He was using prisoners like oxen for ploughing for his own gain'. An ex-convict in Uganda recalls the prison officer in charge of the prison farm he worked on. Uganda has one of the most overcrowded prison systems in Africa. It also has one of the continent’s most developed systems of prison labour. Ed Butler reports from Uganda where most of the country’s 54,000 inmates are now serving an economic purpose, working for the benefit of an elite collection of private farmers and other business interests – even though half of them have not been convicted of any crime. He speaks to current and former prisoners to find out how the system works, and asks: is the country breaking its international pledges on prisoner treatment? Presented and produced by Ed Butler. (Image: Prisoners at Patongo Prison, Uganda. Credit: David Brunetti)
Aug 28, 2018
The Life and Times of Senator John McCain
Few American politicians have carved such a distinctive career as the late John McCain, the Republican Senator for Arizona. Anthony Zurcher, the BBC's North America reporter, looks back at his life, including his military service, during which he endured five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and his two unsuccessful bids for the American presidency. He also examines how McCain gained a reputation as a political maverick, and inflicted one of the most high-profile policy defeats of Donald Trump's presidency to date. Featuring interviews with political journalist and author Elizabeth Drew, political adviser Mark McKinnon, and Brooke Buchanan, Sen. McCain's former press secretary and communications director.
Aug 28, 2018
Over the last seven years as many as a million people in Syria lived under siege, 400,000 of them in Eastern Ghouta alone. Some were trapped for more than four years of bombardment, sniping and near starvation. The walls that stopped them fleeing also prevented many of their stories leaking to the outside world. They could not leave and journalists, along with aid workers and human rights groups, could not get in. Over recent years, Mike Thomson has been using internet links and social media to get inside these isolated and often forgotten places. He has garnered compelling and moving interviews with residents in some of the hardest to reach places. We hear from long besieged Daraya, Eastern Ghouta, and IS surrounded Yarmouk to Eastern Aleppo, Madaya, Homs and Raqqa. With great fortitude and bravery many people told Mike their stories as bombs shook the walls around them. The result is extraordinary picture of everyday life in some of the most frightening and devastated places on earth…
Aug 26, 2018
The Benefits of Nakedness
Some people just love to be naked in public. Dr Keon West travels far and wide to speak to those who enjoy taking their clothes off to find out why they do it, and what the benefits – and disadvantages – might be. His work showed that those of us who are naked in public are more likely to be happier not just with our bodies, but also with our lives more generally.
Aug 23, 2018
'Gone to Foreign' from Jamaica
When someone in Jamaica emigrates to the UK, it is said they have 'gone to foreign'. Over the past 70 years several hundred thousand Jamaicans have done this, following in the footsteps of the so-called 'Windrush generation' who first arrived in Britain in the late 1940s. But the spirit of adventure and optimism those early pioneers bought with them has changed over the years and a recent political scandal now finds some of them unwanted and rejected by Britain. Following changes to immigration law and failing to comply with citizenship requirements, they have been designated illegal immigrants. On returning from holiday in the Caribbean, some of the children of the Windrush generation (now in their 50s and 60s) have been refused entry back to Britain, and others have been deported from Britain back to the Caribbean. For Crossing Continents, Colin Grant travels to Jamaica to meet two men who, despite having lived in the UK for decades, working and paying taxes, find themselves in limbo…
Aug 21, 2018
Leonard Bernstein and Me
Composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein is perhaps the most influential American musician of all time. A champion of cultural inclusivity, he tore down musical barriers to declare the symphony hall open to all and offered the classical music world a dynamic new model of what a maestro could be. As a conductor he achieved early worldwide acclaim, as a composer his work defied genre divisions and brought him popular and critical success, notably with his most well-known work West Side Story. As an educator, he opened up the world of classical music to generations of American children through his long running series of television lectures. On the centenary of his birth, musician and broadcaster Jon Tolansky meets the people who continue to be inspired by Leonard Bernstein’s all-embracing approach to music and life.
Aug 16, 2018
Not Making Babies in South Korea
Why does South Korea have the lowest fertility rate in the world? The average South Korean woman is expected to have 1.05 children in her life - exactly half the rate needed to maintain a population. That means a shrinking workforce paying less taxes and more elderly people who will need expensive care. South Korea's government has pumped tens of billions of pounds into dealing with the problem over the past decade, but the fertility rate is still going down. In this whodunnit, Simon Maybin finds out who's not doing it - and why. Producer: John Murphy Presenter: Simon Maybin. (Image: South Korean school children in class with teacher. Copyright: BBC)
Aug 14, 2018
Where are You Going? Seoul
Catherine Carr travels to the South Korean city of Seoul and invites passers-by to stop for a moment and answer one question - Where are you going? She meets a Korean-American who regrets her decision to move to Seoul – a place her parents call ‘Hell City’ - to a wannabe author with a dark past. And she talks to a political refugee stuck in a passport-less limbo, and a couple in love, who simply cannot live together.
Aug 12, 2018
Mo Salah: Football is Life
The Liverpool and Egypt footballer Mo Salah became a phenomenon last season; breaking records and winning almost every award going in the English Premier League. In his adopted city of Liverpool, football fans of different faith, nationality and club allegiance describe how Salah has broken down the boundaries that divide them. Reporter Nick Garnett travels from the back-streets surrounding Liverpool’s stadium at Anfield to the Pyramids of Egypt to uncover how Salah’s exploits off the pitch may even eclipse his achievements on it.
Aug 9, 2018
Euthanasia - Aurelia's Story
In January, Aurelia Brouwers – a 29 year old Dutch woman, with a history of severe mental illness – lay down on her bed to die. She had been declared eligible for euthanasia a month earlier - Dutch law permits the ending of a life where there is, ‘unbearable suffering’ without hope of relief. Aurelia’s death provoked an outpouring on social media, and widespread discussion within the Netherlands… What if a death wish is part of someone’s illness? And does someone with serious mental health challenges have the capacity to make a decision about their own demise? These are questions now being debated in the Netherlands as a result of Aurelia’s death. Crossing Continents features recordings of Aurelia made in the two weeks before she died, hears from some of the friends closest to her, and explores the complex terrain of euthanasia for people with psychiatric problems in Holland. Reported and produced by Linda Pressly. (Image: Aurelia Brouwers. Credit: RTL Nieuws, Sander…
Aug 7, 2018
Where are you going? Hanoi
An interrupted journey is like a portal into somebody else’s life. In this programme, Catherine Carr invites strangers to pause on their way from A to B and asks them one simple question: ‘Where Are You Going?’ In the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, Catherine meets the feminist teenagers who dream of equality and a jet-setting seven-year-old who is already worried about college. She meets a depressed new mother struggling to cope, and a teenager praying for good exam grades.
Aug 2, 2018
Norway's Silent Scandal
The conviction of a prominent expert in Norway's troubled child protection system - for downloading images of child sex abuse - has put the organisation under scrutiny once again. In April this year a child psychiatrist was convicted of downloading thousands of the images on his computer. Up until his arrest he played a key role in decisions about whether children should be separated from their parents for their own good. But there has been no public discussion in Norway about the implications of his conviction, no outrage in the newspapers, no plans to review cases he was involved in - even though the country's child protection agency, Barnevernet, has been much criticised in recent years for removing children from their families without justification. In April 2016 Tim Whewell reported on the story for Crossing Continents after Barnevernet attracted an international storm of protest over its child protection policies. Tim now returns to Norway to report on this extraordinary twist in…
Jul 31, 2018
Where Are You Going?: Tokyo
Catherine Carr invites strangers to pause on their way from A to B and asks them one simple question: ‘Where Are You Going?’ She heads to Tokyo where she meets a professional pick up artists of Shibuya, an ageing, peace-seeking anarchist, and a couple who love to dress identically in public. The conversations which follow reveal what really keeps people awake at night. Stories of love and loss, regret, ambition and joy.
Jul 28, 2018
Central Park Calling
Is being disagreeable a good thing? Is how we identify becoming more complex? And what is the one thing conservative Republicans are wishing President Trump would do next? They are all topics that were under discussion at this year’s OZY Fest – a summer festival of ideas, music, comedy and food held in New York’s Central Park. This is the best of the two day fest with Lizzie O’Leary.
Jul 27, 2018
The Life, Death and Life of Arkady Babchenko
The resurrection of a murdered Kremlin critic in Ukraine.
Jul 25, 2018
Harold Evans at 90
At a time of unprecedented change and scrutiny of the media, Razia Iqbal interviews and listens again to the archive from British newspaper man Harold Evans, whose name has become a byword for serious investigative journalism. From his flat in New York, she speaks to Sir Harry about giving voice to the voiceless, risking going to prison and changing British law in his lifelong pursuit of the truth.
Jul 24, 2018
Crypto Rico: Blockchain for a Broken Paradise
Hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico is becoming an unlikely launchpad for a blockchain boom. Whilst many thousands of Puerto Ricans are leaving the island after the devastation of hurricane Maria, a small group of wealthy ‘crypto-preneurs’, are moving to this US territory. They harbour hopes to reboot paradise using blockchain technology, the revolutionary idea which helped create digital currencies like bitcoin, and bring prosperity back to this financially struggling island
Jul 23, 2018
Skateboarding is 60
Sixty years ago, a man wandered into a surf shop on the beach in Southern California with a homemade wooden board with four roller-skate wheels attached. An insignificant beginning for a culture that would eventually influence communities all around the world.
Jul 19, 2018
Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
The US is the home of the perfect Hollywood smile, but in one of the world’s richest countries tens of millions of people struggle to pay for a dentist. Natalia Guerrero goes on a dental voyage of discovery across America to investigate the relationship between cavities and cash.
Jul 19, 2018
Kansas Child Politics
There’s an unlikely election campaign underway in the American state of Kansas where several teenagers have joined the race to be Governor. Kansas is the only place in the US with no lower age limit on running for the state’s top job and the youngsters say they want to energise other young people and boost youth involvement in politics. They come from Republican, Democratic and Independent backgrounds but their views, in a very conservative state, range far and wide across the ideological spectrum. On taxes, spending, environmental laws and even gun control, the teenagers often break with party orthodoxy and look for compromise. All this at a time when school children are leading the grass-roots movement against guns, taking on their political elders for the first time in decades. For Assignment, Claire Bolderson travels to Kansas to meet the aspiring politicians, too young to vote even for themselves, to assess the shifting sands of youth politics. Producer: Michael Gallagher (I…
Jul 18, 2018
The Private Cities of Honduras
Luis Fajardo examines a controversial plan to create privatised cities in the impoverished Central American country of Honduras. Nearly a decade ago a US star economist, Paul Romer, proposed “charter cities” as a model for developing countries to escape poverty and violence; new cities with Western-style institutions and laws, to be built and managed by foreigners in semi-autonomous enclaves carved out of the country.
Jul 17, 2018
Soft Power Seduction: China Lures Taiwan’s Youth
Young Taiwanese entrepreneurs working in a start-up hub are offered attractive sweeteners. But this isn’t in California or even Taipei, it’s on the outskirts of Shanghai. The People’s Republic of China is setting its sights on Taiwan’s youth by encouraging them to relocate to the ‘mainland’.
Jul 15, 2018
In Every Dream Home a Heartache
Over the last twenty years or so hundreds of mansions have appeared in the Kharian region of the Punjab. Each mansion represents a successful migration to the West – some to the UK but mostly to Norway. For three or four weeks a year the mansions are holiday homes to the returning migrants and their Norwegian born children. This is often a time when differences and rifts in extended families emerge and a time when young people must assess their futures.
Jul 13, 2018
The Thailand Cave Rescue
The miraculous rescue of the 12 boys and their young football coach, trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand, has been followed around the world. It was a global operation with divers from several different counties. Its chances of success or failure were finely balanced. In the end there was jubilation, tinged with some sadness. The BBC minute team take you back to each day of the past three weeks and reflect on how the drama unfolded.
Jul 12, 2018
The Mafia Under the Spotlight
It is thought to be the most powerful Mafia organisation in the world and yet few people have heard of it. The ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate has used the enormous wealth derived from its control of Cocaine smuggling to spread its tentacles far and wide around the world. The crime organisation began as bandits in the late 19th century in Calabria in southern Italy and is now thought to be operating in 50 countries. The ‘Ndrangheta shuns the limelight but earlier this year a brutal murder brought it unwelcome attention. Investigative reporter Jan Kuciak was shot dead while investigating possible links between the ‘Ndrangheta and the government in his native Slovakia. Suddenly the Mafia was in the news. For Assignment Andrew Hosken travels to Slovakia and Italy to investigate the killing and the ‘Ndrangheta’s global reach and power. Producer: Albana Kasapi (Image: Candles placed in front of a portrait of investigative reporter Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kusnirova. Cre…
Jul 11, 2018
Inside the World of the Financial Dominatrix
Financial domination, or findom, is an increasingly popular sexual fetish revolving around money and power. In this internet-based world, submissives (subs) are known as cash slaves and pay pigs. The financial dominatrices (dommes) humiliate, manipulate, seduce or even blackmail their willing “fiscal slaves” into sending them money or gifts – most have an Amazon wish list connected to their social media profiles. Who engages in such a fetish? How does a dominatrix build her online persona in order to be successful?
Jul 10, 2018
Nye Bevan: The Man Who Made the NHS
The man who built Britain’s world famous and highly regarded National Health Service, Anuerin Bevan, often known as Nye Bevan is retold by Welsh actor Michael Sheen. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the service which granted health care free at the point of delivery for every citizen in the United Kingdom. The first NHS hospital was opened by Anuerin Bevan near Manchester, England in July 1948. But despite years of planning, Doctors had largely been opposed to its birth and Bevan fought a tough battle in the last few months to make it happen.
Jul 5, 2018
Back Home from ISIS
For years, the so-called Islamic State has managed to attract thousands of would-be jihadis and jihadi brides to join their caliphate. The extremist propaganda, online videos and recruiters have seen thousands of people from all over the world flock to Iraq and Syria to join IS; including 850 men, women and children from the UK. The brutality of the terror group is now well known, partly due to their own publicity online. Videos and stories of beheadings, floggings and sex slaves have been released to the public, drawing in a new wave of foreign fighters. It's thought 50% of UK citizens who left to join IS, have now returned home- the rest are dead, detained or missing. What happens to these returnees when they come back? With only a minority being prosecuted and imprisoned, what efforts are being made to de-radicalise the rest? This investigation explores the danger posed by UK returnees, the efforts to de-radicalise and reintegrate them and the difficulties of proving they were ever…
Jul 4, 2018
Winning it Big
Most people have dreamed of winning the lottery. It’s a dream that has become ever more common around the world as jackpots get bigger and lotteries more numerous. But does money really make us happy, and how much does this depend on where we live and how we spend it? To find out the BBC’s, Mike Thomson meets lottery winners from around the globe.
Jul 3, 2018
Only Not Lonely
Even today the stereotype continues that only children are selfish, spoiled and lonely – it’s the so-called “only child syndrome”. But around the world one-child families are becoming more common. So why do some parents decide to have only one child? And how much does it have to do with circumstance and economics?
Jun 30, 2018
Outsider's View of the NHS
The National Health Service is the largest and the oldest single payer healthcare system in the world. It is the largest public employer in England and Scotland with around 1.5 million staff and is constantly in the political spotlight. As it reaches its 70th birthday we explore how it is viewed by those who work within it but trained in another country. Doctors, nurses and administrators give the listeners their view of the unique organisation that is the NHS.
Jun 30, 2018
Back from the Brink
Meet the entrepreneurs facing the toughest of tests. In three vivid stories from across the globe, we hear from individuals who have created businesses and watched them fail. Now, they are picking themselves up, dusting themselves off, and starting all over again.
Jun 28, 2018
Seaweed, Sex and Liberation
In a conservative corner of east Africa, thousands of women have gained more control over their lives thanks to seaweed. In a traditional island village there is a surprisingly high divorce rate and women have safeguarded their interests with earnings from this salty crop which has given them a much needed income and new independence. At first the husbands were outraged – they complained that seaweed farming made women too tired for their matrimonial duties. The women eventually prevailed but their hard won freedom is now threatened by climate change. Lucy Ash meets the seaweed farmers of Paje village and looks at the ways they are fighting to save their livelihood and raise their families. Image Credit: Chloe Hadjimatheou
Jun 27, 2018
Money Clinic: Nairobi
Life coach and author Jennie Karina talks love and money with two couples in Nairobi, Kenya. Weddings, loans, family pressure - it’s all up for discussion in the BBC Money Clinic. It can be hard to talk about money, even with those we’re closest to. And yet with financial disagreements being a major cause of divorce, it’s critical that we do.
Jun 26, 2018
Money Clinic: Miami
It can be hard to talk about money, even with those we’re closest to. And yet with financial disagreements being a major cause of divorce, it’s critical that we do. The BBC Money Clinic is inviting couples to talk honestly and openly about their finances and their relationship with an expert. Financial therapist Jean Theurer will coach two couples in South Florida who want to stop arguing about money. Presenter: Ruth Alexander Producer: Karen Griggs (Photo: Susan and Martin Spinnato Credit: BBC)
Jun 21, 2018
So-called ‘citizenship-by-investment’ – the selling of passports - is a global industry worth billions of dollars and it’s completely legal. The idea is simple – invest huge sums of money in a country you want a passport from and in return acquire residency rights or citizenship, even visa-free access to all European member states. The UK offers residency in exchange for an investment of £2 million / $2.6 million – or for £10 million, the possibility of British citizenship within two years. And across the world, countries are vying to attract the super-rich through these schemes. But they are attracting attention for the wrong reasons. European MEPs have launched an investigation into 'Golden Passport' programmes across Europe - including the UK - amid concerns that they pose a corruption risk. In the US, government financial investigators say individuals are buying citizenship to hide their true identity, in an attempt to flout economic sanctions against Iran. Alys Hart…
Jun 20, 2018
Uganda: The Price of Marriage
In a quest to show off new-found wealth or social status, and in a race to out-do their neighbours, people are going to extremes to put on the most lavish wedding. Ugandan nuptials are now big business with big dresses, big venues and big bills. Having reached marrying age British-Ugandan journalist Mugabi Turya travels to Uganda to find what it really costs to get married.
Jun 19, 2018
What Would You Do With $100?
What do our plans for spending $100 reveal about us and the buying power of money? Lesley Curwen travels to Washington DC where the $100 note is printed. She also meets a former drug user, a former scientist turned entrepreneur, a hospital doctor in Zimbabwe and a maid to find out how they would spend $100.
Jun 17, 2018
What's Mine is Yours?
What does the way you handle your finances say about your relationship?
Jun 14, 2018
Guatemala – After the Fire
On 8th March, 2017 a fire engulfed part of the Virgen de la Asuncion children’s home on the outskirts of Guatemala City. 41 teenaged girls died. A further 15 were seriously injured, and are still recovering from burns. The President of Guatemala, Jimmy Morales, declared 3 days of national mourning. But the story that soon emerged revealed a child protection crisis of epic proportions. Virgen de la Asuncion was supposed to be a refuge for children affected by abuse, neglect or who had become entangled in Guatemala’s gang culture. Often girls were placed in the home for their own protection, to keep them from the clutches of traffickers and drug dealers who operate with impunity in poor neighbourhoods. But conditions at the home were appalling. Designed for 400, it was home to hundreds more boys and girls. And far from being a sanctuary for the children, there was a terrifying culture of abuse – sexual and physical. On 7th March, 2017 more than 100 of the children and young people…
Jun 13, 2018
Sounds of the City
Peter White, who was born without sight, tours the world, navigating primarily with his ears. Where most travellers store up visual images of the places they visit, Peter takes his tape recorder and relies on everything except eyes to guide him. Peter's latest spot of tourism takes him to Moscow, a city he describes as "satisfyingly noisy:"
Jun 12, 2018
President John F. Kennedy was shot dead in Dallas on 22nd November 1963. Shortly afterwards the 24-year-old Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested, initially for the murder of a police officer. Within hours he was charged with assassinating the president. Two days later, although in police custody, Oswald was shot dead by nightclub owner Jack Ruby. The new President Lyndon B. Johnson quickly set up a commission under US Chief Justice Earl Warren. Its job was to investigate the murder of the president and circumstances surrounding it. Burt Griffin, Sam Stern and Howard P.Willens, worked on the report now openly consider its merits and whether it uncovered the truth.
Jun 10, 2018
You Can Handle The Truth
Students in Uganda are the guinea pigs for a new scientific discipline – researchers are teaching them to be the first firewall against alternative facts. Academics from Uganda and Norway worked with 10,000 students in classrooms across Kampala to find out how well children can fight back against false information, in this case about health care.
Jun 7, 2018
A new smuggling route has opened up on the edge of Europe. Every week hundreds of Syrians are risking their lives to leave the continent and return home. Nawal Al-Maghafi joins refugees on the migration route to discover why so many people are choosing life in a warzone over the safety of Europe. Producer: Ben Allen Photo credit: Ben Allen / BBC
Jun 5, 2018
In the US, the National Park Service is leading a project to bring a little hush back to the wild. Cathy FitzGerald hears more on a hike with soundscape specialist, Davyd Betchkal, in Denali National Park, Alaska – a 6,000,000 acre wilderness bisected by a single road. Davyd is part of the Natural Sounds Division, a special team within the National Park Service, tasked with preserving the soundscapes of natural habitats.
May 31, 2018
The Witch Hunts of Papua New Guinea
In Papua New Guinea, people live in fear of persecution. They might be turned on by relatives, chased off their land by neighbours or brutally attacked by a mob. Why? They’re believed to be witches. Assignment, this week, is in the province of Chimbu in the highlands – a witch hunt hotspot. It’s a place where revenge attacks can lead to full-blown tribal warfare and where one accusation can destroy a family for generations. Why do so many people here believe in witchcraft and what is being done to change that? Emily Webb follows one local man – whose motive is intensely personal – on his difficult mission to save the “witches” of Papua New Guinea. Presented by: Emily Webb Photo credit: BBC / Emily Webb
May 30, 2018
Is Eating Plants Wrong?
Plant scientists from around the world are coming up with mind-blowing findings, and claiming that plants cannot just sense, but communicate, learn and remember. In an experiment in Australia, plants appeared to learn to associate a sound with a food source, just like the proverbial Pavlovian dogs linked the sound of a bell with dinner. Botanist James Wong explores these findings and asks whether, if plants can do all these things, and if, as one scientist says, they are a "who" and not a "what", then is it wrong to eat them?
May 29, 2018
Triple Score Wellington
In 2015 Wellington Jighere, a 34-year-old from Nigeria, became Africa’s ‘man of the moment’ when he won the World Scrabble Championship, the first ever African to do so. The youngest of 20 siblings from a rural village in Delta State, Wellington now has bold dreams of how the board game can transform other’s lives in the way it did his own - and even help to remedy the nation’s developmental problems.
May 26, 2018
The Day Hope Died: Remembering Robert Kennedy
Why did Bobby Kennedy leave such a lasting impression on US politics and society? Revered equally across the political spectrum today, his rise to prominence was controversial. He became Attorney General at just 35 and gained a reputation as a tough operator during his brother JFK’s time in the White House. But when he was gunned down in 1968, America was riven by racial and class division as well as doubts over the country’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Senator Robert Kennedy came to embody the hopes and dreams of a generation seeking a fairer and more peaceful country. Fifty years after becoming the target of an assassin in the Ambassador’s Hotel in Los Angeles, Stephen Sackur speaks to some of the people whose lives were changed forever that day. Close aide Paul Schrade, who was himself hit in the skull by one of the assassin’s bullets and Vincent Di Pierro who found himself covered in the senator’s blood as he slumped to the ground give the closest accounts of RFK’s…
May 24, 2018
Zimbabwe - Where's Itai Dzamara?
On 9 March 2015, one of Zimbabwe's most prominent critics of the Mugabe government, Itai Dzamara, was abducted from a barber shop in broad daylight. He hasn't been seen since - and his body hasn’t been discovered. Adding to the mystery is a series of text messages sent to Itai's brother claiming Itai was taken to various locations, then killed, then buried and then exhumed before being dumped in a dam. For Assignment, Kim Chakanetsa chronicles his forced disappearance and asks the new government how the people of Zimbabwe can ever trust that the days of disappearances are over unless this high-profile case is resolved. Itai Dzamara came to the attention of the authorities in 2014 when he started a protest in Harare's Africa Unity Square and delivered in person a petition to the president's office. His demand was simple but blunt: go now Mugabe. We retrace what happened; we find out more about Itai the man from his friends; we explore the impact of his disappearance on his wife and…
May 22, 2018
Many Filipina women working overseas have left children behind and now watch their children grow up over a screen, but does this virtual mothering help maintain their relationship while they spend years apart? Filipina migrant workers in the UK and their children back in the Philippines tell their stories.
May 19, 2018
The Royal Wedding: The Story of the Day
Nuala McGovern brings you highlights from Windsor on the day that saw Prince Harry marry Meghan Markel. From the royal wedding build-up and anticipation to the ceremony and the celebrations beyond.
May 18, 2018
The World’s Marriage Story
As Britain hosts the Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markel, The World's Marriage Story asks why so many people across the world continue to place their faith in this old-age institution. While rates are falling across Europe, in south Asia and China, marriage is near-universal. Mary-Ann Ochota asks, are today’s weddings are a one-to-one expression of romantic love? An explicit message to offspring already born? A sign that cultural and religious orthodoxy is being adopted by today’s young? Or are marriages a desire to please parents and wider family?
May 17, 2018
Shades of Jewish in Israel
Israel gives all Jews the right to citizenship – but has it become less welcoming to African Jews? Since its founding in 1948, after the horrors of the Holocaust, Israel has seen itself as a safe haven for Jews from anywhere in the world to come to escape persecution. But now that policy is under threat. As Jewish communities in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya are finding, a debate has arisen about who is “Jewish enough” to qualify. David Baker investigates claims that decisions are being made not on the basis of ancestry or religious observance but on the colour of people’s skin. Producer: Simon Maybin Presenter: David Baker
May 15, 2018
The Macron Effect
When Emmanuel Macron followed up his victory in France’s presidential election with another win in the parliamentary elections, he looked set to carry out his promise to change France. Journalists wrote articles on how the Macron 'effect' was going to make France one of the world’s major powers and end Germany’s economic dominance of Europe. But the reality of enacting painful economic reforms has led to protests on the streets and a plummeting popularity rating. Lucy Williamson, looks at Macron’s first 12 months in office.
May 13, 2018
My Mixed Up World
Meghan Markle, the Royal bride to be, has spoken of her confusion as a child when asked to describe her race and the impact that has endured as she entered acting - not white enough for the white roles and never black enough for the black ones. Broadcaster Nora Fakim, of Moroccan and Mauritius descent, explores her own experiences and meets others struggling to fit into a particular community.
May 10, 2018
China’s World Cup Dreams
China’s football-loving President Xi Jinping says he wants his country to qualify for, to host and to win the football World Cup by 2050. The men’s national team has recently been defeated 6-0 by Wales, so there’s some way to go yet. But they’re spending billions trying to boost football in the country. Chinese entrepreneurs are also spending vast sums investing in local and foreign clubs, partly to help create a passion for playing football in the Chinese and to bring the latest training techniques back home. For Assignment, Celia Hatton visits a special primary school in Gansu, in China’s far west, which is setting out to turn those World Cup dreams into reality. Made up of “left-behind children,” whose parents have migrated to the cities for work, the school drills the children in football skills each day, to give them direction and purpose, but also in the hope that some of them will use football as route out of poverty and to garner Chinese success on the pitch. Pr…
May 9, 2018
A new digital currency gold rush is sweeping the world but is the bubble about to burst?
May 8, 2018
The Voices of the Amazon
Many anthropologists and researchers have visited the indigenous peoples of the Amazon to analyse their ways of life and culture. But what would these people want to say to us? Tribal leader Takuma Kuikuro guides us through a day in the life of his village, from dawn to dusk. He shares his vision of the future for the Kuikuro people who live in the upper reaches of the Xingu River.
May 3, 2018
The Invisible Man of Britain’s Far Right
Simon Cox investigates the anti-immigration, anti-Muslim organisation Knights Templar International – not to be confused with the medieval Knights Templar organisation. In a recent interview its front man Jim,Dowson described KTI as a "militant Christian organisation". KTI posts regular ads on social media to recruit new members and seek donations to fight what Dowson calls the "war between militant Islam and Christianity". In a recent interview he warned "we are going towards a war in the West. We want to make sure when people hit the streets, militias will form. The Templar way is to train men up in everything - we have training course in video journalism, military stuff". With the money raised KTI buys paramilitary equipment which is sent to places like Northern Kosovo where British troops are still stationed to keep the peace between the Muslim Kosovo Albanian community and Orthodox Christian Serbians. Last year Dowson was banned from Hungary for being a threat to national securi…
Apr 28, 2018
What Men Think: India
In Delhi, Tim Samuels finds an Indian city where masculinity plays out against a backdrop of class, caste and a rapidly changing economy. It is also a country that is searching its soul after a serious of notorious sexual assaults against women. Swati Maliwal from the Delhi Commission for Women reveals how she does not feel safe in her city - where there are six rapes in the capital every day. Meanwhile, a group of men tell Tim how they have faced hardships due to false dowry accusations and a divorce lawyer discloses that the courts are saddled with 50 cases of divorce every day. Image: Sanju (with friends), is one of the men featured in the programme. He was a child worker making electric switches and has had "100 odd jobs since then". He now drives a battery operated free wheeler. Credit: Reduced Listening
Apr 26, 2018
Western Sahara’s Champion Athlete
In the wind-swept desert of south-west Algeria, thousands of athletes prepare to run a marathon through the forgotten land of Western Sahara. The runners will pass through six refugee camps; home to over 200,000 indigenous Saharawi people living under Moroccan occupation. Nicola Kelly travels to the remote outpost of Tindouf to meet champion runner Salah Ameidan. Identified at a young age as a talented cross-country athlete, Salah was forced to run under the Moroccan flag. At the end of a crucial race, victorious, he waved the Saharawi flag – illegal in Morocco – and was immediately exiled from the country. Nicola follows Salah as he returns home to be reunited with his family and friends, many of whom he hasn’t seen since he left several years ago. Through him, she explores the complexities of living under occupation and in exile. She meets landmine victims, youth leaders and members of the Saharawi independence movement, the POLISARIO and asks how running can help its peop…
Apr 25, 2018
With the closing ceremonial of the 2018 London Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting barely over, BBC radio’s Royal Correspondent Jonny Dymond excavates the Commonwealth of Nation’s 19th Century origins in the British Empire and its formal institution in 1949 as a post-colonial worldwide network of states ‘free and equal’ within the organisation. Some have joked that the long shadow of its colonial origins has made it the ‘after-care service of Empire’. And with Her Majesty the Queen as its Head, the Commonwealth in the 1980s and 1990s became a powerful tool in the pursuit of majority rule in Zimbabwe and South Africa. But since then it has struggled to clearly define itself for the closely interconnected 21st Century. Jonny Dymond samples the colour and the conversation of the London summit, visits the institution’s palatial London home, Marlborough House, and talks to Secretary General Patricia Scotland about the Commonwealth’s value in the modern world. (Photo:…
Apr 24, 2018
The Response: China
No reporters, no studios. The Response China hears directly from the citizens of the most populous county on the planet - using the recording power of smartphones. The contributors are normal working people, students, telling stories about the world of work in China, about their relationships, and the influence of family members on their lives. Hear how an online gamer nearly derailed his education, how a young worker in a big company struggled with full time employment, about coping with bipolar disorder and how one woman’s love for a Northern Irish actor has opened up new horizons. The programme was compiled using an initial prompt on social media and all stories were submitted directly from smartphones. Presented by Howard Zhan Photo: The Phoenix Tower which is the highest building inside Shenyang Imperial Palace, China. Credit: Feng Li/Getty Images
Apr 22, 2018
What Men Think: USA
In North Carolina presenter Tim Samuel finds the contradictions and cultural clashes that are playing out across the US – with men often in the middle of the fallout. Heading through the Appalachian mountains – where traditional blue-collar jobs have collapsed - he sees the social ravages of opioid addiction. Indeed, a doctor reveals that for the first time in generations male mortality is starting to move in the wrong direction; we are in the midst of a man crisis, he says.
Apr 21, 2018
Corruption Incorporated: The Odebrecht Story
Odebrecht was one of Brazil’s premier companies – the largest construction firm in Latin America. But some of its success in securing multi-million dollar contracts across the region was built on a policy of colossal bribery. The testimony of Odebrecht executives in plea-bargain agreements with prosecutors continues to have fall-out, especially with former President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva now in jail on charges related to Brazil’s wider corruption scandal. Across the region, heads have rolled in the wake of the revelations. Peru’s president was recently forced to resign and Ecuador’s vice-president is in prison. Linda Pressly visits Panama, where Odebrecht remains in the headlines, and where there are demands to terminate the company’s on-going contracts.
Apr 19, 2018
The Mystery of Russia’s Lost Jihadi Brides
Thousands of young Russian Muslim men were lured to join so-called Islamic State - taking their wives and children with them. But since the "caliphate" fell last year, those families have vanished - and grandmothers back in Russia are desperate for news. The Kremlin wants to bring the children home. It says they've committed no crimes. But finding them and their mothers is hugely difficult. Iraqi authorities say they're holding many IS families - but they won't name them. Gradually though, dramatic scraps of information are emerging - a scribbled note from a prison, whispered phone messages, photos and videos on social media. For months, Tim Whewell has been talking to the grandmothers as they've gathered such clues - and now he travels to Iraq in search of more information, tracing the route the fighters and their families took when they were defeated - and trying to solve the mystery of what happened to them. What was the fate of the men after they surrendered at a remote village sch…
Apr 18, 2018
Bermuda's Change of Heart
In a radical turn of events – Bermuda has become the first country in the world to repeal same-sex marriage. In May 2017, Bermudian lawyer Mark Pettingill and his client Winston Godwin won a case in the Bermuda Supreme Court for marriage equality for all people in the LGBTQ+ community. However, less than a year later – a new government introduced the Domestic Partnership Act - taking away the rights of gay couples to marry, and given them instead the option of civil partnerships.
Apr 17, 2018
Islands on the Front Line
Regina Lepping travels around her homeland – the Solomon Islands – to discover how this remote Commonwealth country in the Pacific is on the front line of climate change. Sea levels here are rising three times faster than the global average, some islands have already been lost and people have had to relocate their homes.
Apr 14, 2018
The King and Kennedy Assassinations
On the 50th anniversary of the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy, presenter Michael Goldfarb tells the story of how they came to be murdered. He speaks with their children and close associates about how the pair’s lives and deaths affected their own pathway. And he looks at how their words and deeds continue to shape America.
Apr 12, 2018
The Child Saver of Mosul
A one-woman whirlwind of passion and energy, Sukayna Muhammad Younes is a unique phenomenon in Iraq. A council official in the half-destroyed city of Mosul, former stronghold of so-called Islamic State, she's on a mission to find and identify the thousands of children who went missing during the conflict – and reunite them with their families. It’s a massive task – and deeply controversial because Sukayna makes no distinction between children who are victims of IS – and those who belonged to IS families. “They're all just children - all innocent,” she says. Tim Whewell follows Sukayna through the rubble of the city, visiting her orphanage, trying to find missing parents, meeting families who want to reclaim children. Can she solve the mystery of Jannat – an abandoned fair-haired girl who may be the daughter of a foreign IS family? Can she help Amal, sister of a dead IS fighter, to adopt her baby niece? How can families afford the expensive DNA tests the authorities requi…
Apr 10, 2018
Lusaka Fire and Rescue
Lusaka, capital of Zambia, has a population of 2.5 million people, and one central fire station to serve them. The city of Paris – of a similar size – has over 80. Nick Miles explores how Zambia’s firefighters try and make that work, in this city of ignored safety regulations and combustible shanty homes. Following them on their daily missions, from house fires in the compounds to industrial accidents in the factories, he finds a fire service capable of some real heroics. Yet it is also burdened with a terrible, city-wide reputation – responsible for all of Lusaka, they simply cannot move fast enough. And while Lusaka’s firefighters are used to the abuse they receive on arrival – from insults to thrown stones – they now find themselves on the frontline of a national political scandal too. For Zambians are protesting on the streets, demanding an explanation for the government’s purchase of 42 new fire trucks - for $42 million dollars. Photo: Firefighters put out flame…
Apr 9, 2018
The King and Kennedy Assassinations
On the 50th anniversary of the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy, presenter Michael Goldfarb tells the story of how they came to be murdered. He speaks with their children and close associates about how the pair’s lives and deaths affected their own pathway. And he looks at how their words and deeds continue to shape America. (Photo: Clergyman and civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King (1929-1968). Credit:Keystone/Getty Images)
Apr 5, 2018
Greece's Haven Hotel
In a rundown neighbourhood in Athens there is a hotel with 4,000 people on its waiting list for rooms. But the roof leaks and the lifts are permanently out of action. None of the guests pay a penny, but everyone's supposed to help with the cooking and cleaning. City Plaza is a seven-storey super squat housing 400 refugees from 16 different countries and the volunteers who support them. The hotel went bankrupt during the financial crisis. It remained locked and empty until 2015, when Europe closed its borders leaving tens of thousands of refugees trapped in Greece. Then a group of activists broke in, reconnected the electricity and water and invited hundreds of migrants from the streets to take up residence with them. The leftist Greek government has so far turned a blind eye and now mainstream NGOs like MSF and even the UNHCR have started cooperating this illegal project. For Crossing Continents, Maria Margaronis finds out how the hotel operates and get to know the people inside. P…
Apr 4, 2018
Telling Tales: The Odyssey
Homer’s epic spoken poem The Odyssey was composed 3000 years ago. It is a tale of Odysseus's ten year long journey home after the battle of Troy with its countless trials and adventures along the way. And alongside the story of Odysseus we hear from contemporary refugees, currently caught in limbo, living in camps in modern day Greece, who speak of their own experiences and challenges as they leave one home and hope to find another.
Apr 3, 2018
Poking the Establishment
Syrian police arrest a number of dead people in a cemetery. Laugh out loud, sharp intake of breath, or both? This is the sort of uncomfortable material produced by young Arab satirists. Since the Arab Spring, hopes for change have been dashed across much of the Arab world, but the revolts have unleashed online satire targeting social injustice, corruption and political leaders. In this programme, journalist Magdi Abdelhadi – himself from Egypt – takes a closer look at satire in the Arab World. Among its rising stars are Andeel, a young Egyptian satirist angrily taking aim at the patriarchal order; the TV show Scenario, made by Syrians in Turkey, which lampoons the Assad regime, with President Assad himself often portrayed as a village fool; and Al Hudood, a satirical news website produced from London and Jordan, responsible for that cemetery sketch. We hear samples of these young satirists’ work, but also discover where the boundaries lie: when asked whether they can ridicule th…
Apr 3, 2018
Digging up the past in Catalonia
Why is troubled Catalonia now opening up civil war mass graves? Spain has the second largest amount of mass graves in the world after Cambodia. Over 100,000 people disappeared during the 1930s civil war and the ensuing Franco dictatorship. Decades later, the vast majority are still unaccounted for. Forgetting Spain's painful past and the disappeared is what allowed democracy and peace to flourish, the argument has long gone. But many have not forgotten - including in the region of Catalonia, where bitter memories of Franco’s rule are just beneath the surface. Before Madrid imposed direct rule last October, the pro-independence Catalan government began an unprecedented plan to excavate civil war mass graves and collect DNA from families looking for their lost relatives. Estelle Doyle travels to the politically troubled region and finds out how, despite direct rule, those seeking answers are more determined than ever to recover the past and to confront Spain's painful history. Othe…
Mar 31, 2018
The Great Egg Freeze
Freezing one's eggs seems the ultimate in planning a family and a career. It is now being offered as a benefit by a growing number of companies including Apple and Facebook, and some UK tech companies are discussing the option. So is this empowering or sinister? Is egg freezing a solution to what is often a social problem? And what do we really know about success rates? This is a complex story – morally and medically. Fi Glover speaks to women who have frozen their eggs - both privately and through a company scheme. She follows the experience of Brigitte Adams, a marketing executive who froze her eggs at 39 and is about to have one of them fertilized and implanted at 45. Brigitte explains how the marketing of egg freezing took the fear out of it, but she has words of warning for women considering this route. We also hear from a former Apple employee who froze her eggs via the company's benefit scheme. Professor Geeta Nargund is an expert in reproductive medicine and the director o…
Mar 28, 2018
Telling Tales: The Sultan's Son and the Rich Man's Daughter
The retelling of an ancient story from the African Islands of Zanzibar. It is a tale packed with intrigue and death defying ingenuity in which a young wife has to use her determination and magical powers to save her own life and persuade her husband of the error of his ways. And in the light of this story, we also hear from modern day Zanzibaris, who reflect on love and marriage, then and now, and share their own personal experiences.
Mar 27, 2018
Skiing Mount Lebanon
Karl Sharro experiences the Middle East from the unique perspective of a Lebanese ski resort, an eye in the hurricane of the surrounding conflicts. Here, different nationalities and religions escape the politics and differences to enjoy a shared passion – winter sports – in mountainous regions that are laden with sacred symbolism for the Lebanese.
Mar 24, 2018
Sisters of the Troubles
The whole world saw the picture of Father Edward Daly waving a bloodied handkerchief as he escorted a dying teenager out of the line of fire on Bloody Sunday; many books have been written about the role of Catholic priests and Protestant clergy during 30 years of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland. But the stories of Catholic Sisters working in schools or living on the Peace Line in Belfast, have not been heard. These are stories of trauma, anger and shaken faith but tales too of laughter, hope and reconciliation.
Mar 22, 2018
Norway - A Community in Recovery
In November 2017, Norwegian police published a report about sexual abuse in a remote municipality north of the Arctic Circle. It made for shocking reading. Tysfjord has a population of just 2,000 people. But after investigating for more than a year, the police identified 151 cases of sexual abuse. The earliest dated from the 1950s, the most recent from 2017. Around two-thirds of the victims and alleged abusers were of indigenous, Sami origin. For Assignment, Linda Pressly travelled to Tysfjord to find out what went wrong, and how this tiny community is recovering in the wake of such devastating revelations. (Photo: Inga Karlsen outside the Lule Sami Cultural Centre in Drag, Tysfjord)
Mar 21, 2018
Telling Tales: The Tohono O’odham Nation
A retelling of an ancient Native American story from the Tohono O’odham Nation, whose traditional lands straddle the border between the United States and Mexico. The story encapsulates the tribe’s close relationship with their land, plants and animals. But their ancient way of life is now under threat from President Trump’s plans to build a fortified wall across their sacred lands. Penny Boreham explores the power of ancient stories by taking three traditional tales and juxtaposing them with contemporary experiences and issues.
Mar 20, 2018
The Magic of Fireflies
Fireflies lit up the evenings of Kashif Qamar’s childhood in Karachi. With his friends he’d collect ‘jugnu’ as they are called in Urdu into a large jar which then became a living lamp in the intense darkness. But the fireflies have gone – artificial light means they disappear and Kashif’s young daughters will never see their flickering magic. Kashif sets out to make a present for his daughters - a collection of memories from history, poetry and music all of which have the jugnu or firefly at their centre.
Mar 15, 2018
India’s Infamous Hospital
On the night of August 10 2017, India went into mourning. 30 patients lost their lives in 24 hours when the oxygen supply to a hospital in Uttar Pradesh was suddenly cut. Images of the dead children and stories of parents trying to resuscitate their loved ones became emblematic of corruption and mismanagement in the country’s public health system. BRD hospital where the tragedy took place is no stranger to high rates of infant mortality. The hospital’s catchment includes some of India’s poorest and most medically vulnerable citizens. A primary centre for treating encephalitis, it’s common to see up to 400 children dying per month in the peak monsoon season. But the events of August 10th were different. With the state authorities now having made arrests and vowing to punish those responsible for the hospital’s lethal dysfunction, Assignment tracks down those who witnessed the original tragedy, to build an illuminating picture of what happened on one infamous night. Reporter:…
Mar 14, 2018
From the Steppes to the Stage
Internationally-acclaimed opera star Ariunbaatar Ganbaataar was born into a family of nomadic herders on the immense Mongolian steppe. In this hypnotic audio portrait, journalist Kate Molleson visits his family's ger to discover whether Mongolia's unique traditional culture – perhaps even its landscape itself – is the secret of his extraordinary vocal alchemy. Kate is treated to a performance of Mongolian longsong - the nation's traditional classical singing art - as well as joining Ariunbaatar on horseback to hear the songs he sang as a young boy, alone in the vast wilderness.
Mar 13, 2018
Grandma, Guyana and Me
Habula Karamat is 81 years old and lives in Guyana. She has eight children – but none of them live in her home country. All eight emigrated, in search of a better life overseas. They include the mother of BBC reporter Tiffany Sweeney, who was born and brought up in the UK. For the first time as an adult, Tiffany travels to Guyana with her mother. She learns about what impelled her mother to leave and what she gained by the transition - but also what was lost.
Mar 8, 2018
Russia’s ‘Fake’ Election
Ksenia Sobchak is young, wealthy and famous. Her father helped bring down the Soviet Union. Now she’s challenging ex-KGB officer Vladimir Putin for the Russian presidency. A perfect pedigree? Perhaps. But some say she’s a fake candidate, running a no-hope race to boost the Kremlin’s democratic credentials. Gabriel Gatehouse travels to Russia to unravel a tale of family loyalties, a death in suspicious circumstances, and double dealings in the quest for power. Producer: Mike Gallagher
Mar 7, 2018
Her Story Made History: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Lyse Doucet travels to Liberia to talk to former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who was the first elected female head of state in Africa.
Mar 6, 2018
South African journalist Gavin Fischer gets exclusive access to newly available recordings from one of the most significant trials in modern political history – The Rivonia Trial. He has a personal connection. His great-uncle Bram Fischer led the defence of Nelson Mandela and his co-accused during the trial in the early 1960s. Gavin looks back on the trial and Bram’s decision to use his white privilege to fight apartheid – rather than be part of it – with Denis Goldberg, one of the last survivors of the trial.
Mar 3, 2018
The Swedish Ambassador's Guide to Britain
Nicola Clase, Swedish Ambassador to the UK for six years until 2016, is fascinated by the British mindset and, unusually for a diplomat, goes out to meet ordinary people in an attempt to understand it better. She travels to all four countries in the UK, talking to farmers, postmen, writers and to some about to adopt British citizenship for the very first time.
Mar 1, 2018
Sierra Leone: Blood Mining
In 2010, a UK-listed company began developing a mining concession in Sierra Leone it said could transform the economic fortunes of the local population. But instead of benefiting the most immediate communities, hundreds found their homes destroyed, their livelihoods uprooted. And among the people who protested, many found themselves violently beaten and detained, and in one or two cases shot at and killed. Ed Butler investigates some of the untold stories of one of west Africa’s most dramatic recent abuses of corporate power. We hear from those who suffered, investigate allegations of police brutality, and look at the supposedly well-regulated system of corporate governance which was supposed to prevent abuses taking place. Presenter: Ed Butler Producer: Anna Meisel Editor: Penny Murphy
Feb 28, 2018
Her Story Made History: Shukria Barakzai
Lyse Doucet meets the redoubtable Shukria Barakzai, Afghanistan's ambassador to Norway. Shukria was appointed a member of the 2003 loya jirga, a body of representatives from all over Afghanistan that was nominated to discuss and pass the new constitution after the fall of the Taliban. In the October 2004 elections she was elected as a member of the House of the People or Wolesi Jirga, the lower house of the National Assembly of Afghanistan. She was one of only a handful of female MPs to speak up for women's rights, and faced death threats for her views.
Feb 27, 2018
Japan: New Ways to Grow - Part Two
Could living in a home designed to deliberately demand more effort from you each day help you stay fitter and more alert in your later years? And could people living with dementia be better integrated in the community through work? Aki Maruyama Leggett examines some of the novel ideas for senior housing and social care emerging in Japan.
Feb 25, 2018
The Lost World of the Suffragettes
In the 1970s, historian Sir Brian Harrison embarked on a huge project to record the experiences of women who had been part of the UK suffrage movement in the early part of the 20th Century. Now in the 100th anniversary year of women in Britain finally being granted the vote, journalist Jane Garvey listens through some of the 205 tapes to get an idea of their lives as well as the risks and sacrifices the women made in their fight for equality.
Feb 22, 2018
Crushing Dissent in Egypt
A well-known blogger and activist jailed for a peaceful protest, a young man imprisoned and tortured for wearing the wrong T- shirt, a young woman abducted by masked police, and now among more than a thousand people who have been forcibly disappeared – these are just some of the alarming stories from the new Egypt. Orla Guerin has spent the last four years reporting from Cairo where she has witnessed a systematic assault on freedoms and human rights. The country's ruler, former army chief, President Abdel Fatah al Sisi is standing for re-election (next month) in a climate of fear and intimidation. Seven years after the euphoria in Tahrir Square, Orla asks what happened to the hope born during the revolution, and reports on the abuses which campaigners say are at the heart of the Sisi regime.
Feb 21, 2018
Her Story Made History: Vigdis Finnbogadottir
In 1980, the tiny country of Iceland did something no other nation had done. They elected a female head of state. BBC chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet travels to Reykjavik to meet Vigdis Finnbogadottir. Now 87, she was president for exactly 16 years and remains the longest-serving elected female head of state of any country to date. "That’s what I have given to the girls of this country," she says: “If she can, I can.”
Feb 20, 2018
Japan: New Ways to Grow Old - Part One
Japan has the fastest ageing society in the world with more than a quarter of its population over the age of 65. It currently has 66,000 centenarians, more than any other country. Toshiko Katayose and Aki Maruyama Leggett explore some of the innovative ways in which Japanese people are adapting to living longer. For over 20 years Toshiko Katayose edited Japan’s most popular magazine for senior readers. Now 67 and facing retirement, she reveals how her generation of baby-boomers born after World War Two, are overturning stereotypes about old age and how businesses are responding to these more demanding silver consumers. She visits Japan’s first supermarket built specifically to serve older shoppers which offers everything from crystal-studded walking sticks to try-before-you-buy coffin experiences. (Photo: A cornucopia of stylish walking sticks at Japan’s first supermarket for older consumers. Credit: Mukti Jain Campion)
Feb 18, 2018
China's Generation Gap: Part Two
Chinese reporter Haining Liu was born into the ‘one-child generation’ in the early 1980s. She explores how these political, social and economic changes have affected the relationship between old and young in China. Haining looks at family life, marriage, divorce, dating, opportunities for women, and how being from the one-child generation has affected her and her peers.
Feb 16, 2018
Cyril Ramaphosa: Son of Soweto
Becky Milligan looks back at the extraordinary life of South Africa’s new president. From humble beginnings, he became a lawyer, established the country’s most powerful trade union organisation and was a key player in negotiating the end of apartheid. After losing out at an earlier attempt to become president, he turned to business and rapidly became one of South Africa’s richest men – while also attracting controversy over allegations about his role during the Marikana massacre of striking miners. As he takes power, what really makes him tick?
Feb 15, 2018
Ukraine’s Stolen Billions and the Riddle of the Helipad
The Parkovy Conference and Exhibition Centre, a huge modernist structure of concrete and glass, stands boldly on the banks of the Dnieper River in central Kiev, a helipad on the roof. It hosted the official after party for last year’s Eurovision Song Contest and was meant to be a symbol of Ukraine’s economic development. Instead, four years after President Yanukovych was overthrown by a people sick of corruption, it has become a focus of efforts to reclaim the billions of dollars said to have been stolen by the ex-president’s regime. In this edition of Assignment, Tim Whewell attempts to unpick the tangled global web of companies behind the building’s ownership. Who does the helipad actually belong to and what does it tell us about Ukraine’s attempts to bring its corrupt politicians to account?
Feb 14, 2018
Her Story Made History: Madeha al-Ajroush
Lyse Doucet travels to Saudi Arabia to meet Madeha al-Ajroush, who battled for 30 years to get women the right to drive. It is a battle she has now won, as women in the kingdom will legally be allowed to drive later this year. As a Saudi woman, she says, "you’ll always be treated like a child and never like an adult. And that was a problem, and it continued till this day - but things are opening up now."
Feb 13, 2018
Goodpath was once an agricultural village but is now home to 61 massive factories and 40,000 migrant workers who came from rural China to better their lives. The migrants work very long hours in poor conditions and then spend the rest of their time in cramped rooms, often sharing living space and beds. However most have been able to buy smart phones from the local mobile phone shop and have set up social media accounts on platforms like QQ, the social media giant in China that provides instant messaging, online social games, music, shopping, microblogging, movies, and group and voice chat software. It is in these online worlds that the rural migrants come close to the modern China they came for.
Feb 11, 2018
China's Generation Gap: Beijing
Chinese reporter Haining Liu travels to Beijing and finds out what it was like for people who grew up during the Cultural Revolution and how those who lived under strict communism relate to their children who have had much more material, individualistic lives. And she hears about new attitudes to work and education as more people choose to study and work and outside the state system.
Feb 9, 2018
Madness of War
In a small cold courtyard in Herat in Afghanistan, two former enemies sit chained together. One is a former warlord, the other a Taliban fighter. Both men are dangerous. Both men are suffering from severe psychiatric conditions. The courtyard is where all 300 inmates of Afghanistan’s only secure psychiatric spend their day; men and women who are too dangerous to be treated in a general hospital. Nearly four decades of war have left a terrible legacy of mental health problems in Afghanistan. In a country where mental illness is often viewed with suspicion and stigma, the challenges of dealing with it are immense. For Assignment, Sahar Zand, gains unprecedented access to the institution, the only one of its kind in the country, where she meets the medical staff trying to deal with Afghanistan’s mental health emergency and the patients, traumatised by decades of conflict.
Feb 7, 2018
Her Story Made History: Monica McWilliams
Monica McWilliams was one of only two local women who were at the table during negotiations which led to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. BBC Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet visits Belfast to hear her story.
Feb 6, 2018
Three Pillars of Trump: Healthcare Reform
Donald Trump campaigned on numerous issues, but when it came time for action in the early days of his administration, healthcare reform was his top legislative priority. “Repealing and replacing” the Democrats’ Obamacare system has proven harder than it seems. Time and time again the Republican-controlled Congress was unable to pass sweeping changes. Anthony Zurcher, examines the challenges facing Donald Trump’s Administration, including efforts to replace Obamacare as well as his handling of the opioid addiction epidemic and efforts to reform the medical system for US veterans.
Feb 1, 2018
Escape from Croatia’s Asylums
Unlike many other nations of Europe, thousands of people with mental illness still live in asylums in Croatia. But not in Osijek… In this small city in the far east, dozens of people have moved from mental institutions into regular apartments in the community. One of the asylums has closed completely. The other has become a centre for recovery and respite, with just a few elderly residents. This process is called ‘de-institutionalisation’: a recognition that people with mental health challenges have human rights too, and are not usually dangerous maniacs who need to be locked away. In Croatia, in spite of a government commitment to change the situation for the thousands still residing in institutions, only Osijek has made this radical move. So what’s life like now for those who have been, ‘liberated’? And does life outside an asylum suit everybody? Photo: Branka Reljan and Drazenko Tevelli outside the abandoned institution of Cepin, where they lived for more than a decade.
Jan 31, 2018
Moving Pictures: The Temptation of Saint Anthony by Joos van Craesbeeck
Explore the dark, demonic landscape of a 17th Century Flemish masterpiece - The Temptation of Saint Anthony - by Joos van Craesbeeck (Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe). A giant screaming head dominates the painting; from its mouth pour tiny devils and the forehead has been peeled back to reveal a miniature artist working inside the brain. Cathy FitzGerald takes a closer look at Craesbeeck’s strange critters in the context of the early modern fascination with curiosity cabinets, monsters – and the devil.
Jan 30, 2018
Three Pillars of Trump: The State Department
What is happening to American diplomacy? It is the job of the State Department to explain to the world what America stands for, and manage the nuts and bolts of its international relations. But President Trump is uninterested in the diplomatic arts; he has proposed drastic cuts to the department and tweets foreign policy pronouncements seemingly on a whim. What does this mean for the way US foreign policy is run, and for American influence in the world?
Jan 28, 2018
The End Zone
Concussion is taking much of the sheen off America’s behemoth national sport and leading to many parents forbidding their children from taking it up. Bill Littlefield asks whether this multi-billion dollar business can survive if so many players turn their backs on the sport. Where will the next generation of players needed come from?
Jan 27, 2018
Oprah – Global Icon
Following her barn-storming speech about sexual harassment at the Golden Globe awards earlier this month, Mark Coles charts the rise of talk show host, philanthropist, media proprietor and actress Oprah Winfrey. With calls urging Winfrey to run for President, close friends and former colleagues recount their favourite moments with her on-set and at home. We learn about the woman behind the screen and her remarkable tale of rags to riches, from clothes made out of potato sacks to one of the richest black women in the world.
Jan 25, 2018
Paralympic Sport – Fair Play?
At its heart is the classification system designed to ensure people of equal impairment compete against each other. The International Paralympic Committee has warned that some athletes are exaggerating their disability - known as intentional misrepresentation - in order to get into a more favourable class. For Assignment, Jane Deith hears from athletes, coaches and officials who are concerned that the system is being abused. Is doubt about the current system threatening trust in the Paralympic movement.
Jan 24, 2018
Moving Pictures: Men of the Docks
Cathy FitzGerald takes us to the Brooklyn docks in New York on an icy day in 1912. That is the setting for George Bellow’s Men of the Docks, an extraordinary masterpiece from the collection of The National Gallery, London. The picture shows longshoremen waiting for work in the steely shadow of a cargo ship. Get up close and see how Bellows creates his cold and misty world - working quickly and fearlessly and using brushes, knives, even his fingers to manipulate the paint. Cathy hears why the artist wanted his masterpiece on display to greet the arrival in New York of the greatest ship in the world – The Titanic.
Jan 23, 2018
Three Pillars of Trump:US Defence
Donald Trump came to office insisting he would end America’s mismanaged wars and invest in defence. In an unusual breach with past practice he chose a general to head up the Pentagon. But how far has defence policy changed in Trump’s first year? Is he likely to take US forces into new confrontations? And what of those who see Mr Trump as having a potentially irresponsible finger on the nuclear button? BBC Defence and Diplomatic correspondent, Jonathan Marcus, examines the relationship between Trump and the Generals.
Jan 20, 2018
Trump: A Year in Tweets
In January it will be 12 months of tweets from Donald Trump since his inauguration last January – a year of tweeting dangerously for his opponents, and potentially for himself. The president has posted about stopping North Korea’s ‘Rocket Man’ leader from acquiring nuclear missiles. At home he has rallied his supporters and lashed out at his critics – as well as his own intelligence services. Some suggest that forthright remarks on Twitter could cause the President legal problems from on-going investigations into Russia’s involvement in last year’s election. The BBC’s Anthony Zurcher reviews a year of the president’s tweets and asks what has been the impact of the way Donald Trump has used Twitter during his first year as president. What can the tweets tell us about the Trump presidency, America and its relationship with the world?
Jan 18, 2018
Degrees of Deception
An investigation into one of the world’s biggest degree mills, a Pakistani company, that has sold over 200,000 bogus qualifications. IT company Axact has created hundreds of websites purporting to be online universities offering a range of academic qualifications from degrees to doctorates. However while a degree can cost just a few thousand dollars this BBC investigation has discovered customers are also being blackmailed for buying them and some have paid over more than $500,000.
Jan 17, 2018
Moving Pictures: Ann West's Patchwork
Cathy FitzGerald invites you to discover new details in old masterpieces, using your phone, tablet or computer. In episode one, stroll along the highstreet of a market town in Regency England – as imagined in a one-of-a-kind patchwork bedcover, held in the collection of the V&A Museum. This needlework masterpiece features tiny applique scenes of everyday life: children flying kites, chimney sweeps heading home from work, a fishwife off to market.
Jan 16, 2018
The End of Innocence in Venezuela
Through the chilling testimonies of two ex-gang members and one school teacher, Margarita Rodriguez of the BBC World Service explores how criminal gangs in Venezuela use children and teenagers as young as 10 years old to fight their wars. Some kids are attracted by what gangs offer them: security, friendships, respect, motorbikes, women, and guns.
Jan 14, 2018
Pandemic: The Story of the 1918 Flu
Professor John Oxford, one of the world’s leading virologists, looks at how the 1918-19 flu pandemic affected every corner of the world. Over 50 million people died in the three outbreaks which hit in 1918 and 1919. It is one of the most devastating pandemics in history and to this day scientists are still trying to pin point its origins in the hope of learning lessons for fighting such catastrophic epidemics in the future.
Jan 13, 2018
Celebrating Life at 117
This is an affectionate portrait of Elizabeth Gathoni Koinange - a woman who celebrated her 117th birthday last year. Her story, and that of her family, is told by Elizabeth's own great granddaughter Priscilla Ng'ethe. The joy of family life is captured when many generations come together.
Jan 11, 2018
Ukraine's Frontline Bakery
Lucy Ash meets the staff and customers of a bakery which is the one bright spot in war-torn east Ukraine. The war there between Russian-backed rebels and the Ukrainian army has dropped out of the headlines and there seems to be little political will to make peace. More than 10,000 people have been killed and as it enters its fourth year, this has become one of the longest conflicts in modern European history. But in the frontline town of Marinka there's one bright spot amidst the gloom - the bakery. It's the first new business in the town since the fighting began and it is bringing some hope and comfort to its traumatised citizens. We meet staff and customers from the bakery to explore a community living on the edge. "The aroma of fresh bread," says the man behind the enterprise, " gives people hope. It smells like normal life." (Photo Credit: Photography by Frederick Paxton)
Jan 9, 2018
The Hackers of Siberia
Since the time of the Tsars intellectuals were banished to the vast inhospitable lands of Siberia. And so was created an astonishing pool of creativity and talent. Generations of such people have been perfecting their skills here ever since. These days the reputation of Russian hackers has reached every corner of the world and Siberian hackers are the best. Are these hackers likely to work for the Russian state? Or is Silicon valley a place to aspire to? Olga Smirnova finds out how these talented young people see their future.
Jan 4, 2018
Black and Proud in Brazil
How black Brazilians are asserting their rights thanks to a controversial education law
Jan 2, 2018
Sarah Marquis, Explorer
In a classic Aboriginal walkabout, Swiss explorer Sarah Marquis fished, foraged and gathered food from the wild. She discusses her Australian odyssey with Steve Backshall – himself a world-class adventurer. In 2015, Sarah spent three months walking across the Kimberley region of Western Australia. In the first few weeks she lost 12 kilos, and realised that she had to prioritise eating over anything else. This was until she struggled to find fresh water and her sense of hunger disappeared as she coped with the severe discomfort of thirst. Sarah was alone until the last week when she was joined by Krystle Wright, a photographer sent to record her adventure. Krystle describes Sarah’s suspicion of her and the frustration of watching her eat the food she had brought along. Image: Sarah Marquis, Credit: Krystle Wright
Dec 28, 2017
Taming the Pilcamayo
A journey up the 'suicidal' Pilcomayo river that separates Paraguay from Argentina... The Pilcomayo is the life-force of one of Latin America's most arid regions. But it is also one of the most heavily silted rivers of the world. As it courses down from the Bolivian Highlands in the months of December and January, half is water, half sand. This means it often causes flooding. Or, it changes course, failing to deliver water to those who depend on it. So in order to benefit communities, this is a river system that needs careful management, and a lot of human input to ensure the water flows. Compounding the fickleness of the Pilcomayo are 3 years of drought in the region. Gabriela Torres travels north from Asuncion up the course of the Pilcomayo during the dry season, visiting communities where the wildlife is dying and the economy under threat. How will the people - and animals - cope this year? (Photo: Feliciano Loveda standing in the dry channel of the Pilcomayo river next to his home…
Dec 26, 2017
Leo Houlding, Rock Climber
Leo Houlding is one of the most famous rock-climbers in the world. He tells adventurer Steve Backshall about the most bizarre and unforgettable experience of his life. In 2012, Leo travelled to a remote corner of Venezuela to make an attempt on the unforgiving table-top mountain Cerro Autana. It’s considered sacred by the local Pieroa people on whose land it stands. They were suspicious of Leo’s motives; they couldn’t understand why he would travel so far simply to climb. Leo says they suspected him of prospecting for diamonds. So, it was important for him to gain their trust - partly because he needed their help to carry equipment and break through the impenetrable rainforest that stood between his team and the mountain. Trust was gained by undertaking a frightening and dangerous ‘yopo’ ceremony. Yopo is a powerful hallucinogenic drug, used in shamanic ritual; it sent Leo on what he describes as a terrifying exorcism. Following the ceremony, Leo – in a fragile state…
Dec 25, 2017
Mugabe's Last Days
An extraordinary ten days as Robert Mugabe stepped down after four decades as president. When it comes to holding onto power few can match the record of the Zimbabwean politician. He famously said, “I’ll leave the presidency when God calls me.” In the end it was the army, the people and his own party that forced him out. It didn’t go as smoothly as they hoped. Image: Robert Mugabe, Credit: Getty Images
Dec 24, 2017
Your Life in a Cup of Coffee
An exploration of the mysterious, fragrant world of fortune-telling with Turkish coffee grounds, a practice popular across the Middle East. The BBC's Nooshin Khavarzamin discovers the history, culture, Sufism and the mystic world of coffee fortune tellers. As a young, stylish, modern and educated woman, Sengel might not fit the stereotypical image of a fortune teller but her accurate readings have made her one of the most famous coffee fortune tellers in Istanbul. Her clients include politicians and world-renowned celebrities. How does she do it? In a backroom of a local public baths, we meet a handful of women who are using their break time to drink Turkish coffee and read each other’s fortunes. This is where we learn that coffee cup reading is not exclusive to people with special powers, but is in fact a pivotal point to gatherings amongst almost all Turkish women - although there are some heated debates about the Islamic morals of this kind of 'superstition'. Meanwhile, Sufi…
Dec 23, 2017
Russia's Exit Dilemma
Stay or go? That's the choice facing Russia’s brightest and best. As the first generation born under Putin approaches voting age, many of Russia's young people are voting with their feet. Lucy Ash meets émigrés, exiles and staunch remainers in London and Berlin, Moscow and Saint Petersburg to weigh up the prospects for the ambitious in Putin's Russia. The push and pull of Russia's exit dilemma plays out in galleries and start-ups, architecture practices and universities. Pussy Riot's Nadya Tolokonnikova, is now campaigning for prison reform, and says her spell behind bars only fuels her sense of mission. "I really do love to be inside of this courageous community, risking their lives by trying to change their country. It gives sense to my life." But others - from Herzen to Lenin to Khodorkovsky - have tried to influence the Russian condition from abroad. Life outside the motherland isn't always the easy option; many struggle with feeling superfluous, with indifference or competiti…
Dec 22, 2017
Thirty-Three Ways to Dispel a Chinese Mistress
There are 33 ways to dispel a mistress according to one of China's top love detectives. An unusual new industry has taken hold in some of the country's top cities. It is called "mistress-dispelling", and it involves hired operatives doing what it takes to separate cheating husbands from their mistresses. With the surge in super-affluent families in China, there has also been an apparent upsurge in the number of men choosing to keep a concubine. And for wives who see divorce as a humiliating option, almost no expense is sometimes spared in seeing off the rival. Ed Butler meets some of these private detectives and "marriage counsellors", heads off on a mistress "stake-out", and asks whether this is all a symptom of a deeper crisis in gender relations in China. Producer: Ed Butler. (Photo: Asian woman with red lipstick and finger showing hush silence sign, isolated on white background Credit: Shutterstock)
Dec 20, 2017
Rite of Passage
No institution defines Israel, inside and out, like the formidable Israeli defence force (IDF). Robert Nicholson explores how military service helps shape Israeli society, and the role the army has to play in Israel’s future. Unlike most modern armies, which tend to be professional armies composed of career soldiers and volunteers, the IDF is comprised mostly of conscripts doing compulsory military service. We hear how the IDF looks to steward their young conscripts – and what happens when this attempt at a national project meets areas of national division, inequality and controversy.
Dec 19, 2017
Tanya Streeter: Free-Diver
Tanya Streeter made a remarkable dive – on just one breath of air – to the unimaginable depth of 160 metres. This was a dive that nearly went very badly wrong. As Tanya tells Steve Backshall – himself a world-class adventurer – she blacked-out seconds before she began the dive; she developed nitrogen narcosis – almost like being drunk – and struggled to remember how to release the pin that would return her to the surface. On the way back up she thinks she blacked out for a second time.
Dec 17, 2017
Who Killed the Circus?
It began in 1871 as P.T. Barnum’s Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan and Hippodrome. It survived the Depression and two world wars as well as rival entertainment such as film, television and radio. But, in January this year, the world’s most historic circus, Ringling, Barnum and Bailey, announced it was closing, sending hundreds of circus performers looking for jobs. Writer and former circus artiste, Dea Birkett, goes behind the scenes with the performers.
Dec 16, 2017
Art for the Millions
In the middle of the greatest crisis it had faced since the Civil War, the American government looked to the arts to both help lift the national spirit and spread the message of the New Deal. That collectively the people could renew American democracy and create a better tomorrow. More practically it was an extension of Federal Relief for 40,000 unemployed actors, musicians, writers and artists across the nation. On the government payroll and under the auspices of Federal One, a host of talents from Jackson Pollock to Arthur Miller, Orson Welles to Zora Neale Hurston helped democratise art; for the people, by the people with the people. The writer Marybeth Hamilton begins her journey through this remarkable but short lived experiment with the fine arts. Across the nation artists painted epic murals in small towns and vast cities that valorised work and workers or America's democratic past. Community art centres brought artists, students and the public together to learn, experiment and…
Dec 14, 2017
Daphne and the Two Maltas
A brutal killing and a divided island. Tim Whewell asks what the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia reveals about Malta.
Dec 13, 2017
Dr Arian fled the war in Afghanistan at the age of 15 and travelled to London. He won a place at Cambridge University and studied medicine, qualifying as a doctor. Just two years from becoming a consultant in radiology, he chose to take a career break so he could help those back home. He has established a network of around 100 volunteer doctors and consultants in the West, who give free advice to hospitals in war zones, by text, What’s App, Skype and email.
Dec 12, 2017
Make America Great Again
For many within the US the word America means one thing - the United States of America. But President Trump’s use of it as a campaign tool sparked anger to the south of the US border. For those from Mexico to Chile “America” is the continent and they too are Americans. Katy Watson explores why the US became America and what it tells us about relations with the rest of the continent in the Trump era.
Dec 10, 2017
The Odyssey of General Anders' Army
By the summer of 1940, a quarter of a million Polish prisoners of war had already been sent to Soviet prison camps. More than a million civilians deemed undesirable by Stalin were packed aboard cattle trucks to the far east of the Soviet Union. Many died on the journey, many more would die in the harshest conditions, toiling, starving and freezing on collective farms or labour camps in Siberia, the Urals or Kazakhstan. But then unlikely salvation came with the opportunity to join Anders' Army.
Dec 7, 2017
Return to China
For years China’s one-child policy meant that many pregnancies were terminated, some people did break the law and had second children, we hear Kati’s story.
Dec 6, 2017
Neurolaw and Order
The latest findings in neuroscience are increasingly affecting the justice system in America. Owen Jones, professor of law and biology at Vanderbilt University, explores where neurolaw is making its mark and where the discipline is heading. One significant finding from MRI scanners is that the adolescent brain continues to develop right into the early- and mid-twenties. The fact that we are not ‘adults’ at age 18 is having big repercussions in the legal system. In San Francisco, the entire way that young offenders of crimes such as armed robbery up to the age of 25 are treated is adapting to the brain data. More and more, neuroscientists are testifying in courts, often to mitigate sentences including the death penalty in juveniles. Other times, they highlight rare brain abnormalities that cause violent and antisocial behaviour, which helps justify a lighter sentence. However, young brains are still malleable. In Wisconsin, brain imaging of juvenile prisoners can detect psychopa…
Dec 5, 2017
The Face of China
Xinyuan Wang looks at the evolving magazine scene in China. With traditional news stands disappearing, what future is there for the many publications in the Chinese market? Xinyuan also looks at what political content is permitted in magazines, and which subjects are considered sensitive. She asks younger readers how they search for material on political topics, and discovers that magazines are unlikely to be their first choice.
Dec 2, 2017
The CIA's Secret War in Laos
Radio producer Peter Lang-Stanton thought his father was a paper-pushing bureaucrat in the State Department. Then one day, his father revealed his double- life as a spy. Much of his father’s past was a lie; he never fought in the Vietnam War, as he said. Instead, he was involved in a covert mission in 1960s Laos under his codename: Pig-Pen. Through deep interviews with ex-CIA and a former Laotian soldier, Peter Lang-Stanton tells a story of lies and half-truths, of pride and regret. Produced by Peter Lang-Stanton and Nick Farago.
1 hr 1 min
Dec 2, 2017
Symphony of the Stones
Ancient history was not silent, so why is our study of it? The oldest-known musical instruments – bone flutes found in southern Germany – date back a little over 40,000 years. But how long humans have been making music in one form or another is a matter of great speculation. What did ‘music’ mean in the context of our Palaeolithic and Neolithic forebears? And, how did the human voice, archaeological artefacts and ancient sites themselves affect the sounds of their world.
Nov 30, 2017
Pride, Passion and Palestinian Horses
Political differences are put to one side as a love for Arabian horses unites Israelis and Palestinians
Nov 29, 2017
Offence, Power and Progress
In 2017, it’s easier than ever to express offence. The angry face icon on Facebook, a sarcasm-loaded tweet or a (comparatively) old fashioned blog post allow us to highlight the insensitivity of others and how they make us feel – in a matter of moments. Increasingly, offence has consequences - people are told what they can and cannot wear, comedy characters are put to bed. So are these new idealists setting a fresh standard for cultural sensitivity?
Nov 28, 2017
Ever since the Vikings, Norwegians have exported stockfish, cod that has been dried on huge wooden frames out in the cold, crisp winter air. Dry as a tree bark but rich in protein and low in fat, it has been the perfect travelling - and trading companion. Today, the top destination for stockfish is, perhaps surprisingly, Nigeria. So why do Nigerians spend millions of dollars each year on Norwegian cod?
Nov 23, 2017
The Tula Toli Massacre
The chilling story of a massacre of Rohingya muslims in a small village in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. On 30 August government soldiers swept through the village setting fire to homes, raping and killing dozens, possibly hundreds of its muslim inhabitants. An ongoing military crackdown in the state has seen more than 500,000 Rohingya muslims flee to neighbouring Bangladesh since late August. The government of Aung San Suu Kyi has faced international condemnation over the crisis. She says the military is responding to attacks by Rohingya militants. But the Rohingya have long been persecuted in Myanmar: denied citizenship, decent healthcare and education. For Assignment, Gabriel Gatehouse investigates the massacre in Tula Toli. Speaking to survivors in camps in Bangladesh, he pieces together a picture of horrific violence, perpetrated in what has been described as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” And he hears evidence that suggests the violence may have been plann…
Nov 22, 2017
Blind Man Roams the Globe: Christchurch
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand. As it strives to recover from the devastation caused by two earthquakes, blind broadcaster Peter White has taken his microphone to the city. He listens to stories of loss, but also of dramatic escapes and the sounds that continue to endure, like the trams and the trains. He explores new buildings, including a paper Cathedral and given the local appetite for dare devil adventures, he agrees to roll up his trousers in search of marine life!
Nov 21, 2017
Europe's Illiberal Democrats: Poland
Is Poland sliding towards autocracy, or just on a different democratic path? The government has been accused of a “systemic threat to the rule of law” and of undermining other democratic values which it signed up to when it joined the European Union in 2004. Earlier this year thousands took to the streets to protest over government plans to reform the judiciary. Critics say the independence of the courts is under threat but the governing Law and Justice Party argues it is simply clearing out the old order, left over from Communist times.
Nov 16, 2017
The Judgement on Mladic
Mark Urban returns to Bosnia to examine the impact Serb General Ratko Mladic had on the lives of thousands of people.
Nov 15, 2017
Blind Man Roams the Globe: Berlin
Peter White explores Berlin through the sounds of a city that is finding new and imaginative ways to mark its troubled past and plan for its fast expanding future. He is struck by how much it is still haunted by the past. He idles on street corners to absorb the voices around him and he is struck by a familiar lament: people worrying about how much longer they will be able to afford to live in a city with fast rising property prices prompted in part by an influx of foreign investors. His guide is a fellow blind-man, entrepreneur Erich Thurner, who shares the concerns as he contemplates his own future in Berlin.
Nov 14, 2017
Europe's Illiberal Democrats: Hungary
Hungary is becoming an “illiberal democracy”, in the words of its Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The government has changed the constitution, electoral law, and refused to take its EU-allocated quota of refugees, while warning of a “Muslim invasion”. The European parliament is so concerned about the perceived breaches of EU values that it has launched a procedure that could culminate in Hungary’s EU voting rights being withdrawn. Yet Hungary feels it is on the right path, a path that others should follow.
Nov 10, 2017
Five Solidarity members reflect on the movement that ended communist rule in Poland
Nov 9, 2017
Namibia’s Missing Millions
David Grossman on the trail of Namibia’s missing tax millions revealed in the massive leak of financial data known as the Paradise Papers.
Nov 9, 2017
The Invisible Hand of Donald Trump
Donald Trump’s surprise elevation to the office of president last November stunned the world and electrified the financial markets. Promises to cut red tape, bring huge infrastructure projects to life, and sort out the byzantine American tax system propelled Wall Street to record highs. He has vowed to build a wall, bring jobs home and tear up trade treaties. Will these promises still be delivered? If they are, what might follow?
Nov 7, 2017
The Last Kamikazes
Mariko Oi meets two of the very last surviving men to have been trained to fly their airplanes straight into enemy ships, ensuring certain death. Ninety-one-year-old Keiichi Kuwahara says “I kept looking back, thinking that it was the last time I would see the land. And as I was doing so, the sun came out and made the horizon shine light pink. And I thought that I have to go in order to defend this beautiful land. That was what I told myself.”
Nov 4, 2017
Donald Trump celebrated a remarkable Presidential election victory a year ago on 8 November 2016. Anthony Zurcher revisits that dramatic night – and asks could he do it again in 2020?
Nov 2, 2017
The Lost Children of ISIS
In Iraq, thousands of children held captive by so-called Islamic State are now being reunited with their families– but many are still missing.
Nov 1, 2017
Before I Go
Four British men and women share something in common with every single one of us across the globe - one day they will die. Alongside the fear and grief that accompanied their diagnosis, these illnesses have also brought reflection, wisdom, opportunities and unexpected happiness. They are helping others, or living their dreams, changing lives and making a difference in the world. In their words, they explain what it means to have a life-limiting condition and approach the end of your time on Earth.
Oct 31, 2017
The Red and the White: Retribution
After the multinational force sailed away from Arkhangelsk, it was payback time for the Whites. Once the Red Army arrived in February of 1920, the mass executions of those who sided with the Allies began. Lucy Ash visits a 17th Century convent outside Arkhangelsk where thousands of so called counter revolutionaries were slaughtered during the Red Terror.
Oct 27, 2017
AKA Mystery Island
What is the fastest growing sector in tourism? It is cruise ship holidays, increasing exponentially and globally. Twenty-five million cruise vacations were taken this year and that will double very soon. International cruise lines want remote, pristine and idyllic places to satisfy the appetite of passengers to be somewhere beautiful, especially in the Pacific. In a remote, tiny community in the southern tip of Vanuatu in the South-West Pacific, a village is earning more than ever through hosting gleaming white giant cruise ships that regularly appear over the horizon. Most months more than 25,000 visitors step ashore. The attraction is Inyeug, marketed to tourists as Mystery Island - a tiny offshore reef-ringed island, fringed by a beautiful beach and surrounded by sparkling clear turquoise shallow water. Susie Emmett listens to villagers as they prepare souvenirs and village tours. She asks the captain of a cruise ship about the effects of the ships on the environment. And she join…
Oct 26, 2017
Sweden’s Child Migrant Mystery
Why do asylum-seeking children in Sweden withdraw from the world & how can they recover?
Oct 25, 2017
Nigeria: Shooting it Like a Woman
Award-winning screen director Tope Oshin celebrates a new generation of Nigerian women film-makers who are currently reinventing Nollywood, the largest and most prolific film industry in Africa. She explores their distinctive approach to telling screen stories that better represent women’s lives and aspirations in Nigeria today.
Oct 24, 2017
The Red and the White: Britain’s Arctic Prison
Back in the Soviet era, boatloads of day-trippers went to the island of Mudyug in the White Sea, to visit a museum. It was based around the remains of a prison camp - and one that is very different from the decaying Gulag camps scattered across north Russia and Siberia. For one thing, it was set up as far back as 1918. Even more remarkably, many jailors were not Russian. They were foreign troops. Bizarrely one French officer at the camp later created the world's most famous scent, Chanel No 5, inspired by his experiences in the Russian Arctic.
Oct 22, 2017
A New Church for the Red State
The Russian Revolution of 1917 brought a radical political change. But at the same time, a lesser-known group of religious reformers were busy plotting a better future for Russia’s souls – and a new, more democratic, Orthodox Church, closer to the people. Caroline Wyatt explores whether they were simply being used by the Bolsheviks, or was there a chance that the Revolution’s answer to Martin Luther could prompt a real Russian Reformation.
Oct 19, 2017
Zanzibar: Spirits and Psychiatry
Thousands of mentally-sick patients in Zanzibar turn to profiteering exorcists for treatment, leaving the island’s only local psychiatrist struggling to cope.
Oct 18, 2017
Brazil is the C-section capital of the world. In a country where caesareans account for over half of all births and 88% in the private sector. BBC correspondent Julia Carneiro investigates what some call the “C-section epidemic” and examines recent government measures to counter a C-section culture which remains dangerously strong.
Oct 17, 2017
The Red and the White: Intervention
In 1918, towards the end of World War One, tens of thousands of foreign troops, Americans and British among them, were ordered to Russia in what became known as the Allied Intervention. Winston Churchill saw the foreign troops as anti-Communists, on a crusade to “strangle at birth the Bolshevik State". Lucy Ash travels to the Arctic port of Archangel to look for evidence of a conflict which took place a century ago and transformed Russia's relations with the West for decades to come.
Oct 13, 2017
I Speak Navajo
"Growing up and not speaking the language, I felt this loss or this void," Nanobah Becker explores what "I Speak Navajo" means today. Nanobah Becker discovered that the voices of her grandfather and great-grandfather were among a collection of recordings in the ethnomusicology department, while she was studying at Columbia University. Knocking on the door that day and asking for them back began a process of cultural realisation for her whole family. Nanobah is a Navajo film maker who didn't learn Navajo. For her parents generation, those who did speak their own language at school were beaten, had their mouths washed out with soap and forced to wear signs around their necks, "I speak Navajo". Today though, "I speak Navajo" is a sign of honour. This resurgence of Navajo culture has created a new pride amongst the Navajo nation, but it is still in a precarious position. With the loss of speaking generations, it is now imperative that this youngest generation learn and pass on to their…
Oct 12, 2017
Behind Closed Doors: Solutions to Domestic Abuse in Indonesia
Indonesia has just conducted its first ever national survey on domestic violence. It found that 41% of women had experienced some form of domestic abuse. We hear about the work of a pioneering crisis and counselling centre offering holistic support, the first organisation of its kind in Indonesia. In Behind Closed Doors Claire Bolderson reports from three different countries: Kenya, Peru and Indonesia. The issue that unites them all is domestic violence. It’s not that the problem is unique to these countries - the World Health Organisation estimates that one third of women worldwide suffer physical or sexual violence by a partner - but in each of the three countries, we hear about different and often inspiring solutions aimed at combating it. Image: Ibu Yanti at her roadside foodstall, Credit: Claire Bolderson
Oct 11, 2017
Behind Closed Doors: Solutions to Domestic Violence in Peru
Rates of domestic violence in the Peruvian Andes are particularly high - nearly double the national average. The shocking case of violence against Arlette Contreras Bautista, was caught on hotel security cameras, led to calls for greater action against domestic violence. In August 2016, tens of thousands of people marched through the Peruvian capital, Lima to protest against the country’s shockingly high rates of violence against women. We hear how some inspiring women are working together to raise awareness about domestic violence and putting pressure on their government to act. In Behind Closed Doors Claire Bolderson reports from three different countries: Kenya, Indonesia and Peru. The issue that unites them all is domestic violence. It’s not that the problem is unique to these countries - the World Health Organisation estimates that one third of women worldwide suffer physical or sexual violence by a partner - but in each of the three countries, we hear about different and o…
Oct 10, 2017
Behind Closed Doors: Solutions to Domestic Abuse in Kenya
Unity is a village without men set up by Samburu women in response to domestic abuse. Claire Bolderson reports from three different countries: Peru, Indonesia and Kenya. The issue that unites them all is domestic violence. It is not that the problem is unique to these countries - the World Health Organisation estimates that one third of women worldwide suffer physical or sexual violence by a partner - but in each of the three countries, we hear about different and often inspiring solutions aimed at combating it.
Oct 5, 2017
Pakistani Media in the UK
Manveen Rana uncovers hate speech, sectarianism and support for Pakistani militant groups in some of Britain's Urdu language newspapers, radio stations and TV channels.
Oct 3, 2017
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara. His face can still be seen all over Cuba. For the Cuban Government, he is a symbol of rebellion and revolution, an icon of socialism and sacrifice. A doctor from Argentina, Guevara fought in the Cuban revolution and became a member of the government. But he left to spread socialist revolution first in the Congo, then in Bolivia where he was executed by a soldier on 9 October 1967. Five decades after his death, how important is El Che for young Cubans today?
Oct 1, 2017
The Silent Forest - Part Two
The Siamese Rosewood tree is now so valuable that two small pieces carried in a rucksack are worth $500. This kind of money means that armed criminal gangs up to a hundred strong have stripped the forests of Thailand bare of the Rosewood. Nearly all of it is destined for the Chinese rosewood ‘hongmu’ furniture market. And, in the north-west of Thailand, the Karen people are trying to create a 'peace park' to preserve their natural habitat. Can they stem the storm of exploitation and destruction and keep their forests alive and vibrant?
Sep 30, 2017
The Fish that Ate Florida
As part of the BBC Life Stories season, exploring our relationship with the natural world, we travel under the sea in pursuit of a major ecological threat to Western Atlantic coasts - the Lionfish. The species, which recently spread from its natural territory in the Pacific to Atlantic waters, is aggressive, exotic and very, very hungry. How did the lionfish go from being an aquarium favourite to the scourge of an aquatic ecosystem that eats everything in its path?
Sep 28, 2017
Africa’s Billion Pound Migrant Trail
Countries from Europe and Africa are joining forces to stop the migrant trade. Can they succeed? And at what human cost?
Sep 27, 2017
Making the Grade
British music schools run the largest instrumental exams around the world, with well over a million candidates each year taking grades from Trinity College London and the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Russell Finch follows an examiner to one of the fastest growing markets for music exams -Thailand - where he meets some of the candidates taking British music exams today. He hears their stories and finds out what they want to get out of their music learning, and why the grading system is important. He explores the reasons why British institutions are dominating music education internationally and the effect of this worldwide, homogenised approach to music learning.
Sep 26, 2017
The Avocado Wall
The avocado is the food that unites a nation but could it be facing the political fight of its life? From guacamole and chips at fast food chains to wellness bloggers and movie stars – avocados are eaten by all demographics in the US. The little fruit are big big business with about four billion consumed a year. But, the US consumer’s appetite depends on imports and the biggest producer is directly south of the border – Mexico. With uncertainty over Nafta (North America Free Trade Agreement) and no weakening of President Trump’s rhetoric over the douthern Border, is the avocado facing a less certain future.
Sep 24, 2017
The Silent Forest - Part One
It is Saturday morning in Pontianak in West Kalimantan in Indonesia, at a songbird competition. In every district across Indonesia you will find these, large and small. This passion for birdsong has swept the country since it was encouraged in the 1970s, by a government keen to build a new leisure activity for Indonesians. But what was once a solitary and poetic pastime, having a songbird in your house or garden, has become an industry in which real money can be made by training a winning bird. It is one of the biggest threats to Indonesia’s forests which have gradually fallen silent as millions of birds every year are trapped and sold illegally. Can the forest survive without birds?