The Documentary Podcast

By BBC World Service

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 Aug 1, 2018

Sharmake Korane
 Jul 13, 2018
Could be better.

Luciano Pinheiro
 Jul 12, 2018
Deep, informational and global.

 Jul 7, 2018


Download the latest documentaries Investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

Episode Date
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 14, 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 12, 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 Paulus)
Aug 09, 2018
We Might as Well be Finnish
How has Finland been shaped by its two very different neighbours, Sweden and Russia? These days, Finland is considered to be one of the best governed, least corrupt, most educated nations in the world. It has even earned itself the title of 'World’s Happiest Country'. Yet the self-deprecating Finns have long seen Finland as a scrappy underdog wedged between two much bigger countries, Sweden and Russia. How has this Nordic nation has been profoundly shaped by its two much bigger - and very different - neighbours?
Aug 08, 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 07, 2018
Bonus Podcast: My Indian Life Preview
Introducing Kalki Presents: My Indian Life - our new podcast with Bollywood actor, Kalki Koechlin. This preview tells you all about it. It’s raw, it’s painful, it’s joyful. It’s real life in India in the 21st century. Episode 1 will be available from 4 August 2018.
Aug 03, 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 the story and to find out why child protection in one of the world's wealthiest countries appears to be in crisis. Produced and Reported by Tim Whewell. (Image: A row of family shoes. Credit: BBC)
Aug 02, 2018
Fake Marriages for Real Homes
In Mumbai, young couples struggle to rent a flat unless they are married. Nicole and Ajit, both in their mid 20s, met in Mumbai, the city of dreams. They began dreaming of wanting to live together. But as a couple not married to each other, the housing system does not allow them to find a flat to rent together.
Aug 01, 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 31, 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 29, 2018
The Life, Death and Life of Arkady Babchenko
The resurrection of a murdered Kremlin critic in Ukraine.
Jul 27, 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 25, 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 24, 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 23, 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 (Image: 17 year old Tyler Ruzich believes he can become Governor of Kansas. Credit: BBC)
Jul 19, 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 18, 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 17, 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 15, 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 13, 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. Credit:AFP/Getty Images)
Jul 12, 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 11, 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 10, 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 part of the caliphate once they've returned home. Reporter: Paul Kenyon Producer: Kate West (Illustration: A woman wearing a hijab)
Jul 05, 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 04, 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?
Jul 03, 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.
Jul 01, 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 30, 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 28, 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 27, 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 26, 2018
Golden Passports
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 Harte reporting. Image Credit: Shutterstock
Jun 21, 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 20, 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 19, 2018
What's Mine is Yours?
What does the way you handle your finances say about your relationship?
Jun 17, 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 broke out. Most were rounded up in the local area by the police. As punishment, they were locked up. And in protest, in the room where the girls were corralled, one of them set fire to a mattress. Assignment meets families, explores the fate of others who lived at the home, and talks to welfare workers. Why did no one heed the loud warning bells about Virgen de la Asuncion? Presenter Linda Pressly Producer Georgina Hewes Photo title: Heidi Hernandez – her daughter survived the fire with life-changing injuries / Credit: Georgina Hewes BBC
Jun 14, 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 13, 2018
The Commission
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 12, 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 10, 2018
Escaping Europe
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 07, 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.
Jun 05, 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 31, 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 30, 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 29, 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 final moments. Others painting a picture of Kennedy, the man include Peter Edleman, the policy director for his presidential campaign and speechwriters Adam Walinsky and Jeff Greenfield. Meanwhile RFK’s daughter Kerry Kennedy who was eight when her father died, gives us a rare insight into their home life and his role as a husband and father Legendary British interviewer David Frost (famed for his interrogation of Richard Nixon after Watergate) talks about the impact RFK had on him. And contributors speculate if another Kennedy may soon run for the White House with all eyes on RFK’s charismatic grandson, congressman Joe Kennedy who represents Massachusetts.
May 27, 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 children; we hear from lawyers how the initial police investigation took them on a wild goose chase. We question the police on what's the latest on the investigation and ask government how it can hope to restore faith without telling the people of Zimbabwe where Itai is. Producer: Penny Dale Editor: Penny Murphy
May 24, 2018
Virtual Mothering
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 22, 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 19, 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 18, 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 17, 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 15, 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 13, 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. Producer: John Murphy (Image Credit: John Murphy BBC)
May 10, 2018
Magical Money
A new digital currency gold rush is sweeping the world but is the bubble about to burst?
May 09, 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 08, 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 security. The British anti-racism NGO Hope not Hate warns “he (Dowson) and his organisation tread a very fine line between antagonising people’s fears, stirring up and stoking people’s fears. He is the ‘Mr Slippery’ of the far-right world in Europe”. Within the far right community Dowson is a familiar figure but more generally he has kept a fairly low profile and has been dubbed in media reports "the invisible man of Britain's far right". Concern about the activities of Dowson and Knights Templar International is growing across Europe as the organisation recruits more members to its cause and threatens the peace in some of the most volatile regions. Producer: Anna Meisel
May 03, 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 29, 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 people gain a sense of freedom. Reporter: Nicola Kelly **Podcast has been updated**
Apr 26, 2018
Imperial Echo
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: Prime Minister Theresa May chairs a meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) in London, 2018. Credit: Getty Images)
Apr 25, 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 24, 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 22, 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 21, 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 school? And what of the reports that many of the women and children were subsequently abducted by a militia? As the story unfolds, Tim confronts a powerful Shia warlord. Will the jihadis' children be released? What kind of justice will their mothers face? And what will the grandmothers - convinced of their daughters' innocence - do to try to get them back? Presenter Tim Whewell Producers Nick Sturdee & Mike Gallagher
Apr 19, 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 18, 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 17, 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 14, 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 require before families can be reunited? As she tries to solve these problems Sukayna also has to look after her own family of six children - and cope with personal tragedy. Two of her brothers were killed by jihadis; her family home, used as an IS base, is now in ruins. Highly charismatic - Sukayna now wants to go into politics. "I am a mini-Iraq,” she says – her family includes members of many communities - and she believes the country desperately needs more dynamic, tolerant people like her, to bring real change and overcome divisions. But it’s hard to be a high-profile, energetic woman in patriarchal Iraq – and she’s faced death threats both from remaining IS supporters - and those who think she’s too ready to help “terrorist” families. Presenter Tim Whewell Producers Nick Sturdee & Mike Gallagher
Apr 12, 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 flames, Credit: Lusaka Fire Station
Apr 10, 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 09, 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. Producer: Chloe Hadjimatheou. Photo Credit: Maria Margaronis / BBC
Apr 05, 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 04, 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 the Jordanian royal family, there’s a lot of squirming among Al Hudood’s journalists… Arabic satire has a long tradition, rooted amongst other things in poetry using ordinary ‘street Arabic’ to lampoon public figures. Together with expert Clive Holes from Oxford University, Magdi explores some of those traditions and hears some of the most famous sketches of the genre. And he meets one of the biggest names in Arab satire, Karl Sharro from Lebanon, who works in English – taking the genre to the world stage. Image: A man's face behind a printed smile, Credit: Getty Images
Apr 03, 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. Others worry that their actions will only but reopen old wounds and further divide the country. Presenter: Estelle Doyle Producer: John Murphy Photo credit: BBC John Murphy - 'Exhuming a mass grave in El Soleras, Catalonia, Spain' **This podcast has been changed: Correction: El Soleras is in the West of Catalonia, while Catalonia itself is in the North East of Spain**
Apr 03, 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 of Europe’s largest private fertility clinic. She explains why she views egg freezing as the second wave of emancipation for women after the contraceptive pill. Critics suggest though that employer-funded egg freezing sends a message that the corporate preference is for women to delay childbearing. Fi also speaks to obstetrician Susan Bewley who believes encouraging women to freeze their eggs is making risky and unreliable options seem desirable and routine. Fi Glover is personally very familiar with the issues in this documentary. She considered freezing her own eggs and when she was living in the US almost a decade ago when it was still a niche technology. Image: Human egg cell, Credit: Getty Images
Apr 01, 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 28, 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 27, 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 25, 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 22, 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 21, 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 20, 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: Krupa Padhy Producer: Mike Gallagher
Mar 15, 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 14, 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 13, 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 08, 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 07, 2018
Remembering Rivonia
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 06, 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 03, 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
Mar 01, 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 28, 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 27, 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 25, 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 22, 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 21, 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 20, 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 18, 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 17, 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 15, 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 14, 2018
Digital Migration
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 13, 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 11, 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 09, 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 07, 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 06, 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.
Feb 01, 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 31, 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 30, 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 28, 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 27, 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 25, 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 24, 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 23, 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 21, 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 18, 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 17, 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 16, 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 14, 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 13, 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 11, 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 09, 2018
Black and Proud in Brazil
How black Brazilians are asserting their rights thanks to a controversial education law
Jan 04, 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
Jan 02, 2018
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 – he hasn’t used his boat for five years. Credit: Gabriela Torres)
Dec 28, 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 – continued into the jungle on his expedition. The local people, who had been doubtful of him and his motives, were suddenly warm, friendly and helpful. Having battled plague proportions of insects, and hacked their way through almost impenetrable undergrowth, Leo and his team were finally able to attempt to scale this 1220 metre mountain. Image: Leo Houlding, Credit: Alastair Lee
Dec 26, 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 25, 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 master Musa Dede explains where the first coffee drinkers came from and how coffee cup reading came into existence. Produced by Sahar Zand for BBC World Service. Image: A coffee cup and saucer with coffee grounds, Credit: Getty Images
Dec 24, 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 competition. Although the biggest country on earth, space for freedom of expression in Russia has been shrinking. Recently, a propagandist pop song has been urging students to mind their own business. Its lyrics include: "Kid, stay out of politics, and give your brain a shower!", a symptom of the claustrophobic atmosphere that is encroaching on public space and personal life. Some make an exit in search of a reliable environment for their business or propaganda-free schools for their children; others are fleeing homophobia or political danger. Contributors include best-selling author Boris Akunin; the rising star of Russian architecture Boris Bernaskoni; techno producer Philipp Gorbachev; exiled oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky; Nonna Materkova, director of Calvert 22 Foundation; young entrepreneur Asya Parfenova; experimental linguist Natalia Slioussar; Nadya Tolokonnikova from Pussy Riot; Russia's best-known music critic Artemy Troitsky; and curators Dishon Yuldash and Alexander Burenkov. Producer: Dorothy Feaver Image: Lucy Ash in St Petersburg, Credit: BBC
Dec 23, 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 22, 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 20, 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 19, 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 17, 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 explore the possibilities of art for all. You could find art going on at subway stations, sewerage works and public schools and a hospital, school or public institution could loan a work for a few dollars. All of this was to provide employment in a time of crisis and renew American democracy but it raised deep questions about the role of art and who got to own it or see it. For its many critics, programmes like Federal One bred radicalism and dissent- subverting a nation. But for the many touched by those days, it was an unforgettable experiment in art and democracy.
Dec 16, 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 14, 2017
Afghanistan Calling
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 13, 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 12, 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 10, 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 07, 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 psychopathic markers. Once identified, staff can employ techniques to de-programme those antisocial traits and rehabilitate prisoners to ready them for, they hope, a crime-free life outside. And this is simply the first generation of neurolaw – where to next? (Photo: Human head scan, coloured magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of healthy brain. Credit: Getty Images)
Dec 06, 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 05, 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.
Dec 02, 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.
Dec 02, 2017
Pride, Passion and Palestinian Horses
Political differences are put to one side as a love for Arabian horses unites Israelis and Palestinians
Nov 30, 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 29, 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 28, 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 planned in advance. Produced by John Murphy
Nov 23, 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 22, 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 21, 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 16, 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 15, 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 14, 2017
Remembering Solidarity
Five Solidarity members reflect on the movement that ended communist rule in Poland
Nov 10, 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 09, 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 09, 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 07, 2017
Trump Re-Elected
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 04, 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 02, 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.
Nov 01, 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 31, 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 joins tourists as they explore and meets the teams dealing with the debris after their departure. (Photo: Locals hold up their catch from fishing in the island of Inyeug. Credit: Green Shoots)
Oct 28, 2017
Sweden’s Child Migrant Mystery
Why do asylum-seeking children in Sweden withdraw from the world & how can they recover?
Oct 26, 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 25, 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 24, 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 22, 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 19, 2017
C-Section Brazil
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 18, 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 17, 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 children to ensure the survival of the Navajo language. Those of Nanobah’s generation that are struggling the most; without their own language they are often considered “not Navajo enough” by their own clans. She travels from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Window Rock and Tahajilee in the Navajo Nation, to ask what "I speak Navajo" means to remaining generations. They meet musicians, artists and native speakers from a variety of backgrounds, learning along the way that there is real power of language and music. Picture: The landscape at Window Rock, Credit: Hana Walker-Brown
Oct 14, 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 12, 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 often inspiring solutions aimed at combating it. Image: Peruvian women of the Andes, Credit: BBC
Oct 11, 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 10, 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 05, 2017
Che Today
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 03, 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?
Oct 01, 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 30, 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 28, 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 27, 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 26, 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?
Sep 24, 2017
Life After Life
The United States is the only country to sentence children to full life terms in prison. In many states, until recently, under-18s convicted of certain crimes were automatically locked up for life without the possibility of parole. But the US Supreme Court has now banned those mandatory sentences – and the approximately 2,000 Americans who were given them stand a chance of getting out. Elizabeth Davies travels to the United States to meet some of those given life sentences as teenagers. How are they dealing with the prospect of freedom after believing they’d spend their entire lives in prison?
Sep 23, 2017
Panama's Vanishing Islands
Panama’s idyllic islands are threatened by a rising sea, but one community has a plan. Could their efforts provide a model for other communities?
Sep 21, 2017
Forever Young
In 2015 Liz Parrish performed a risky experiment - on herself. She took a gene therapy entirely untested on humans in the hope of “curing” what she says is a disease: ageing. Her gamble was criticised by some in the scientific community, but she is not the only one that thinks scientific advances will help humans live longer healthier lives.
Sep 20, 2017
My First Period
Periods are a taboo subject in many parts of the world. But for some Tanzanians, like BBC reporter Tulanana Bohela, a girl’s first period is celebrated. When she got her first period her female relatives gathered round to shower her with gifts. They sat her down and gave her life lessons on how to be a woman. One of those lessons was that she must keep her periods secret.
Sep 19, 2017
Beats, Rhymes and Justice: Hip Hop on Rikers Island
MC and producer Ryan Burvick takes us behind bars on Rikers Island, New York’s largest and troubled Jail. He leads a music production programme there called Beats, Rhymes and Justice, which helps inmates write rhymes, make music and imagine their future off the island in a different light. We hear from three of its students, all aged between 18-21 and awaiting trial.
Sep 17, 2017
Starting from Scratch in Uganda
Last year Uganda took in more refugees than any other country. But how do the South Sudanese, fleeing civil war, transform the African Bush into a new home? Ruth Alexander reports
Sep 13, 2017
The Flying Colombians
Colombia is a country of passionate cyclists. The first bike races took place in Bogota in 1894 and by 1898 it was one of the first countries to have two purpose built velodromes. In the 1950s the great Vuelta a Colombia, a tour of Colombia, was born - 35 cyclists covered an extraordinary 779 miles in 10 stages. All over the country people listened to the commentary on radios and it began to link up Colombians in a common cause.
Sep 13, 2017
The Gardeners of Kabul
We are all familiar with the picture of the Afghan man with his large beard and Kalashnikov rifle - now meet the men with secateurs and watering cans. Gardening is in their blood and it has been forever. You can see this in Babur’s Garden, which was laid out in the early 16th Century by the man who established the Mughal dynasty in India. Largely destroyed during the civil war of the 1990s, the garden is once more a notable feature of the city, its largest public space.
Sep 12, 2017
Seeking Refuge in Houston
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, refugees and undocumented immigrants, already scared about deportation and the risks of interacting with government, must seek help from the same authorities they fear might seek to look into their immigration status. As Houston comes together, the city’s mosques and Islamic centres have opened their doors to all who need shelter. Volunteers from all backgrounds have been helping those who need rescue and immediate relief. For a brief moment, prejudices seem to melt away. But can it last through what will be a long process of rebuilding?
Sep 10, 2017
Lonely in Lagos
Poet and journalist Wana Udobang travels round her home city, Lagos, speaking to people who are lonely and isolated in Africa's most populous city. She meets a young gay man who opens up about his feelings of isolation in the light of strict laws on homosexuality, meets a group of displaced women who are coming together to combat loneliness in poverty, and visits a cycling club and an elderly community centre.
Sep 08, 2017
Bulgaria on a Cliff Edge
What’s it like to live in the country with the fastest-shrinking population in the world? Ruth Alexander reports.
Sep 07, 2017
The Hundred Million Dollar Question - Part Two
What’s the best way to spend $100 million to fix one huge problem in the world today? That is the challenge laid down by the MacArthur Foundation in Chicago, distributors of the “genius grant”. Ed Butler and a panel of expert guests hear the details of four of the final eight challengers, with ideas to transform the quality of the food we eat and to train eye surgeons to restore sight to vast numbers in Nepal, Ethiopia and Ghana. Is $100 million enough to tackle these challenges and what are the consequences, intended or not, of philanthropy on such a big scale?
Sep 06, 2017
Die Klassen: Die Trennung
In the summer of 2015 tens of thousands of Syrians left their war torn homeland and put their lives in the hands of the smugglers who would help them navigate the hazardous route to Europe. Among the new arrivals were Mohammed Dallal, a man in his late 40s and his 16-year-old daughter Noor. Amy Zayed and Laura Graen have accompanied Mohamed and Noor for nearly two years through the emotional and bureaucratic vagaries of the refugee life. In this programme, we hear whether the family is, at last, together again.
Sep 05, 2017
Abdi in America
A young Somali refugee struggles to live the American dream in the USA's whitest state, during the rise of Donald Trump. Is the dream still possible? In December 2014, in 'Abdi and the Golden Ticket,' the BBC's Leo Hornak followed Somali refugee Abdi Nor Iftin as he battled to make it to America through the US green card lottery. Since then, Abdi been trying to make a new life for himself in the US state of Maine, striving to become a 'real American'. He hopes to get educated and start a career, but the pressures of supporting a family in Mogadishu make this seem ever more difficult. And then there is the plan to have his brother Hassan join him. The state of Maine remains almost entirely white, and amid growing public fear of Muslims and immigration, Abdi's American dream runs into obstacles that he never expected. Using personal conversations and audio diaries recorded over three years, 'Abdi in America' documents the highs and lows of one man's struggle to become American. (Photo: Somali refugee Abdi Nor, in Maine, standing next to a United States flag)
Aug 31, 2017
The Hundred Million Dollar Question - Part One
What is the best way to spend $100 million to fix one huge problem in the world today? That is the challenge laid down by the MacArthur Foundation in Chicago, distributors of the “genius grant”. They created the 100&Change competition to inspire solutions for some of the looming disasters facing people, places or the planet. The prize is one colossal grant of $100 million for the project which can make the most lasting difference to people’s lives.
Aug 30, 2017
South America in the South Atlantic
Britain and Argentina’s competing claims over a small group of islands in the South Atlantic go back almost 250 years. In English they’re known as the Falkland Islands, after the 17th-century British lord Falkland. Matthew Teller explores the enduring connections of history, culture and identity that link the Falkland islands and the continent of South America.
Aug 29, 2017
Reformation 500
Chris Bowlby visits Wittenberg, where Martin Luther started it all in 1517. He discovers how the Reformation transformed life in many different ways, and helped make Germany a nation of singers and book-lovers. But amidst all the culture and kitsch Germany's also grappling with a darker legacy - Luther's anti-Semitism and exploitation by dictators and populists.
Aug 27, 2017
Counting Babies in Niger
Women in Niger have more children, on average, than anywhere else in the world. The government of Niger can’t support such a fast growing population and wants traditions to change
Aug 24, 2017
Going Green in the Oil State
Why has a heavily Republican city in Texas, chock full of climate change sceptics, become the first city in the South to be powered entirely by renewable energy? And why, just a few miles away, has a small town consisting of a lone truck stop and a deserted dirt road they call Main Street, become the richest area in the entire United States? As Donald Trump pulls the US out of the Paris Climate Accords, and talks up the use of fossil fuels, we explore the unexpected reality of the energy industry in the “oil state”.
Aug 23, 2017
Darkness at Noon
Eclipses have inspired dread and awe since antiquity. The earliest Chinese mythology saw solar eclipses as dragons eating the sun. We speak to native American astronomer Nancy Maryboy who tells us about the Navajo and Cherokee beliefs, many of which are still held today. We visit Stonehenge to examine theories that the ancient Aubrey holes, burial pits on the outer edge of the monument, were used to predict eclipses. And, psychologist Dr Kate Russo looks at her own and others obsession with eclipses to examine the reactions so many people report.
Aug 20, 2017
Venezuela - A Week In The Life Of A Country In Chaos
Venezuela has some of the largest oil reserves in the world but incredibly, around four in five Venezuelans live in poverty. The BBC's South America correspondent, Katy Watson, went to cover the unfolding political and economic crisis in Venezuela and found a country divided. (Photo: Anti-government graffiit. Credit: Katy Watson/BBC)
Aug 19, 2017
Romania’s Webcam Boom
Inside Romania’s live, web-camming world – the engine of the online sex industry… Assignment explores the fastest growing sector of so-called, ‘adult’ entertainment.
Aug 17, 2017
Partion Voices: Aftermath
On the 70th anniversary of the partition of India, Kavita Puri hears remarkable testimonies from people who witnessed the drama first hand - and even took part in it. They speak with remarkable clarity about the tumultuous events, whose legacy endures to this day. Witnesses describe the immediate aftermath of partition itself. As the former British territories were divided into two new dominions of India and Pakistan, millions on both sides of the new border found themselves in the wrong place – and fled. Intercommunal violence spread rapidly among Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, and news of the atrocities sparked revenge attacks. Yet even as this brutality shocked the world, some of those who bore witness to it recall many individual acts of courage and humanity.
Aug 16, 2017
Partition Voices: Division
On its 70th anniversary, Kavita Puri hears the untold stories of those who witnessed India’s partition in 1947. The years leading up to partition was a time in which many Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus recalled living together harmoniously. We hear about the calls for independence; the rising clamour for an independent Pakistan; the dread as communal rioting gripped ever more of the sub-continent; how the movement of people began prior to independence; and how independence day was marked on both sides of the border.
Aug 15, 2017
Resistance and Repression in Venezuela
Who are the people hoping to overthrow President Maduro? For Assignment, Vladimir Hernandez reports from Caracas.
Aug 10, 2017
Pakistan, Partition and The Present, Part Two
Has Pakistan has lived up to the vision of its founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah - to create a unified national identity for the country with Islam as the great unifying factor? Pakistan was founded as a homeland for the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent, but religion, nationality and gender have caused faultlines in the region. For women, Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to live in and yet it has also spawned a thriving women’s rights movement with thousands of activists such as Tanveer Jahan, “Societal transformation,” she says, “is a very, very long struggle”. (Photo: Presenter Shahzeb Jillani standing outside in front of a mosque, Pakistan)
Aug 09, 2017
Pakistan, Partition and the Present - Part One
The mass migration of 1947 and what that version of events says about the country now. In Pakistan they are racing against time to record the memories of those who witnessed Partition: people like Syed Afzal Haider, now in his late 80s, who recalls, as a 15-year-old, creeping through the deserted streets of Lahore and watching dogs sniffing around the scattered corpses. Hundreds of thousands died in 1947 as Muslims were driven across the partition line into the newly created Pakistan, and Hindus and Sikhs were forced in the opposite direction. Taha Shaheen and Fakhra Hassan are making sure the stories of 1947 are not forgotten. They are collecting the testimonies of people who remember the carnage. Taha’s grandmother was driven out of her village in the Punjab and could only watch as her mother and brother were cut to pieces on the journey to Pakistan. Fakhra met a man who helped set fire to Sikh houses in Lahore. He was seven years old at the time. But young Pakistanis learn only a partial version of these events, as Shahzeb discovers at a government school in the walled city of Lahore, a school that once carried the name of a local Sikh ruler. The 14-year-olds in the history class are taught that Muslims were the victims of Partition. There’s no mention of the atrocities committed by Muslim mobs against Sikh and Hindus. Shahzeb is disappointed by what he hears. How, he asks, can Pakistanis learn to be tolerant of people of different faiths, if history is distorted in this way? One answer may be the Partition Museum, which will open soon in Lahore, and which will put the stories of Partition on public display. Aaliyah Tayyebi of the Citizens Archive of Pakistan believes this will encourage a true understanding of why Pakistan was created and how it can learn to live at peace with itself and its neighbours. (Photo: Shahzeb Jillani at Lahore station, Pakistan)
Aug 08, 2017
Last Call from Aleppo
In besieged East Aleppo a terrified mother of three makes one last desperate phone call to BBC reporter Mike Thomson. Silence followed. What happened to Om Modar?
Aug 03, 2017
Hadraawi: The Somali Shakespeare
In Hargeisa, the capital of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland, everyone knows the nation's most famous living poet - Hadraawi. They call him their Shakespeare. The poetry of Mohamed Ibrahim Warsame 'Hadraawi' holds a mirror up to all aspects of life. Born in 1943 to a nomadic camel-herding family, forged as a poet in Somalia's liberal years pre-1969, jailed in 1973 for 'anti-revolutionary activities' without trial under the military junta, a campaigner for peace, Hadraawi's poetry tells the story of modern Somalia. (Photo: Hadraawi. Credit: BBC)
Aug 02, 2017
Being Bisexual
More and more people are identifying as bisexual yet bi-phobia is rife and the world's media remains guilty of regular bi-erasure. Journalist and writer Nichi Hodgson who is openly bisexual herself, examines what it is like to be bisexual for both men and women in different parts of the world.
Aug 01, 2017
Inside Transgender Pakistan
Pakistan's Hijra, or third gender, community are resisting a new and emerging transgender identity which they believe threatens their long established culture.
Jul 31, 2017
The Children of Partiition
BBC correspondent Mark Tully travels through India from north to south in search of the echoes of Partition among successive generations of Indian. He examines the legacy of the Partition of India, comparing contemporary memories of the traumatic events of August 1947 with the personal and political tensions today on both national and international stages.
Jul 31, 2017
Who Decides If Gay Is OK?
Why is it OK to be gay in the UK but not in Zambia? In 1967, a turning point for the gay rights movement in the UK, England and Wales decriminalised sex between men. Fifty years on, four out of five British people say they have no problem with homosexuality. Yet it remains a taboo and a crime in many former British colonies, including Zambia. What brought about the change in the UK and why it has not happened in Zambia, which largely inherited the British legal system?
Jul 29, 2017
Yangon Renaissance: Poets, Punks and Painters
We go inside Yangon's booming counter-cultural art scene to reveal the city as seen through the eyes of the young artists on the front line of change. Until censorship was lifted in 2012, dissident artists, musicians and poets lived with the threat of jail for speaking out against the military regime that had gripped Myanmar, or Burma, since 1962 and turned it into a police state. Now, from modern art to punk rock to poetry, a new vibrant youth culture is flourishing - inconceivable only five years ago, when there was no internet, no mobile phones, no freedom of expression. We meet the emerging artists and performers breaking through and forging a new Myanmar.
Jul 26, 2017
Stravinsky in South Africa
In 1962 Igor Stravinsky, the Russian-born composer and conductor, went to South Africa to conduct the state broadcaster SABC Symphony Orchestra in a series of concerts. It was the height of apartheid – and the regime believed classical music was the domain of white people. But in an extraordinary move Stravinsky insisted on also performing his music for a black audience. The concert took place on 27 May 1962 in a town just outside Johannesburg, Kwa Thema.
Jul 25, 2017
Museum of Lost Objects: Delhi's Stolen Seat of Power
Seventy years ago, India and Pakistan became independent nations - but at a cost. People and lands were partitioned, and a once shared heritage was broken apart. In part one, Kanishk Tharoor stretches back to stories of empire well before British rule, and looks at how narratives of conquest and loss still have a powerful hold over South Asians. There’s the spectacular creation - and destruction - of the famed Peacock Throne of the Mughal emperors. It took seven years to make, and seven elephants to cart it away forever. And the forgotten world of the Kushan empire in Pakistan, ruled over by the magnificent King Kanishka. We explore the mystery of what happened to his little bronze box that was said to hold the remains of the Buddha himself. Part two delves into the histories of artefacts and landmarks linked to two of the greatest figures in modern South Asian history – Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, and Rabindranath Tagore, the celebrated Bengali writer. Ziarat Residency, the beautiful sanatorium where Jinnah spent the last three months of his life. Four years ago, it was fire-bombed and burnt to the ground by Balochi insurgents. And Tagore’s missing Nobel Prize Medal. In 1913, Tagore made history by becoming the first non-westerner to win a Nobel award. But just over 10 years ago, the medal was stolen – and still hasn’t been found. We explore how Tagore inspired revolutionaries and reformers in South Asia, and how his suspicion of all nationalisms makes his work relevant today. Produced by Maryam Maruf Contributors: Yuthika Sharma, University of Edinburgh; Vazira Fazila-Yacoubali Zamindar, Brown University; Nayyar Ali Dada; Saher Baloch; Ayesha Jalal, Tufts University; Pasha Haroon; Arunava Sinha; Rahul Tandon; and Saroj Mukherji With thanks to Sussan Babaie, The Courtauld Institute of Art; Fifi Haroon; Minu Tharoor; CS Mukherji; and Sudeshna Guha Image: Persian ruler Nadir Shah on the Peacock Throne after his victory over the Mughals Credit: Alamy
Jul 23, 2017
If You're Going to San Francisco
Fifty years ago, during a few short weeks in the summer of 1967, thousands of hippies descended on San Francisco. The small suburb of Haight-Ashbury became a centre for sexual freedom, freedom to experiment with mind blowing drugs, to debate social and economic utopias and freedom to listen to loud rock music. Marco Werman looks back at those hedonistic times through the music and recollections of people who were there 50 years ago.
Jul 22, 2017
The Battle for Raqqa
On the frontline with the female Kurdish fighters liberating Raqqa from the group that calls itself Islamic State and fighting for recognition of their own rights as women.
Jul 20, 2017
The End of Sand
Yogita Limaye investigates concerns, highlighted in a United Nations study, that vitally important reserves of sand are running out, with serious consequences for human society and the planet. Nearly everything we build in the modern world has a concrete foundation and you cannot make concrete without sand. But it takes thousands of years to form and we’re consuming it faster than it is being replenished.
Jul 20, 2017
Reclaiming Karachi
Razia wants to win Pakistan’s first Olympic gold medal for women’s boxing; student teacher Iqra is a guide on Karachi’s first tourist bus tour; top boy scout Rizwaan started Pakistan’s Youth Parliament and young lawyer Faiza has created Asia’s first female troupe of improvisational comedians. They are just some of the young people determined to put their home city on the map for good reasons rather than bad. In 2013 Karachi was described as the most dangerous mega-city in the world where political gang warfare, terrorist bomb blasts, targeted killings, kidnapping and extortion were everyday occurrences. But in the past two years the security situation has been brought under control and citizen-led activities to reclaim Karachi’s public spaces are blossoming again, particularly by young people under 30 who make up two thirds of Pakistan’s population. Walls that were once covered with political slogans and hate speech are now painted over with murals celebrating the city’s history and diversity. Nightlife is once again booming with arts and culture back on the stage. This spring’s annual all-night Aalmi Mushaira, held in the Karachi Expo Centre, attracted thousands of Urdu poetry lovers of all ages and backgrounds. And the comedy scene is thriving, drawing new audiences and challenging stereotypes with internationally successful acts such as Saad Haroon. Join Karachi radio journalist Noreen Shams Khan to discover a Pakistan that you do not usually hear about. (Photo: A young pupil at Karachi’s first all-girls boxing club. Credit: Culture Wise Productions)
Jul 20, 2017
The Response: America’s Story - My 100 Days
Harrison is a supporter of Donald Trump and a dinner party is about to go spectacularly downhill. Meanwhile a pagan starts covering her tracks. This is the fourth and final episode of The Response: America’s Story, recorded on smartphones across the USA. We find out about people's lives during President Trump's first 100 days. This episode was compiled at Boise State Public Radio, with insights into the city and its politics from KBSX reporters Frankie Barnhill and Samantha Wright. Presenter: Shaimaa Khalil Producers: Kevin Core for the BBC World Service with APM’s Laurie Stern
Jul 19, 2017
The Response: America's Story - Immigration
Police raise their guns, but the migrant they are dealing with does not speak English. This is from just one of the smartphone stories submitted to The Response: America’s Story. The theme of the third episode of the series is immigration. Episode three of four podcasts. These are first-hand, true stories of journeys to America, compiled and recorded at Texas Public Radio in San Antonio. Reporters: Joey Palacios and Jack Morgan. Presenter: Shaimaa Khalil Producers: Kevin Core for the BBC World Service with APM’s Laurie Stern
Jul 18, 2017
The Response: America's Story - Health
Linda discovers she can donate a kidney to her sick partner Reuben and save his life – while taking charge of the TV remote control forever. All the stories to The Response: America's Story were sent via smartphone from across the USA. This is the second of four podcasts and includes insights into the impact of Obamacare. This episode was compiled and recorded in Kansas City and we hear technology and healthcare insights from KCUR reporters Laura Ziegler and Alex Smith. Presenter: Shaimaa Khalil Producers: Kevin Core for the BBC World Service with APM’s Laurie Stern
Jul 17, 2017
The Response: America's Story - President Trump
Americans used smartphones to record their stories from the start of Donald Trump's presidency. A simple conversation in a bar triggers an attack which leads to a prison sentence. This is the first of four podcasts about the real lives of Americans and what they want from their president. The Response: America’s Story is from The BBC World Service with American Public Media. This episode was compiled and recorded in Charleston West Virginia, with insights from Roxy Todd of West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Presenter: Shaimaa Khalil Producers: Kevin Core for the BBC World Service with APM’s Laurie Stern
Jul 16, 2017
Galapagos Islands: A Little World Within Itself
When Charles Darwin first saw the Galapagos Islands he was not impressed – he said that “nothing could be less inviting than the first appearance”. But later he recognised the unique nature of these islands, which he called “a little world within itself”. They set him thinking about how animals change and ultimately inspired his theory of evolution. Sarah Darwin follows in the footsteps of her great, great grandfather in this “little world within itself” to see how the Galapagos islands themselves have evolved and changed since he visited in 1835
Jul 15, 2017
Museum of Lost Objects: Kashmir’s Palladium cinema
Kanishk Tharoor explores artefacts and landmarks caught up in India and Pakistan's independence in 1947. In this episode, the life and times of the Palladium cinema. The Palladium was one of Srinagar’s oldest and most popular movie theatres. It was on Lal Chowk, a square in the heart of the city. From the 1940s, the building was the backdrop to many of Kashmir's major political events. Today it stands in ruins, an unexpected casualty of the ongoing conflict, and now, there are no public cinemas left in Srinagar. Contributors: Neerja Mattoo; Krishna Mishri; Imtiyaz Presented by Kanishk Tharoor Produced by Maryam Maruf With thanks to Andrew Whitehead Image: Cadets during a National Conference rally at Lal Chowk, Srinagar 1944 Credit: India Picture
Jul 15, 2017
Museum of Lost Objects: The Necklace That Divided Two Nations
Seventy years ago, India and Pakistan became independent nations - but at a cost. People and lands were partitioned, and a once shared heritage was broken apart. Kanishk Tharoor explores the tussle for ancient history and the prized artefacts of the Indus Valley civilization. There was a bureaucratic saga over the fates of the priest-king, the dancing girl, and the jade necklace so precious to both India and Pakistan that neither country could let the other have it whole. Presented by Kanishk Tharoor Produced by Maryam Maruf Contributors: Maruf Khwaja; Saroj Mukherji; Vazira Fazila-Yacoubali Zamindar, Brown University; Sudeshna Guha, Shiv Nadar University With thanks to Anwesha Sengupta, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata Image: The Mohenjo Daro jade necklace that was cut in two. India's share on the left, Pakistan's share on the right. Credit: Archaeological Survey of India and Getty Images
Jul 15, 2017
Salam to Queen and Country
When Lance Corporal Jabron Hashmi became the first, and now only, British Muslim soldier to be killed in Afghanistan in 2006, there was an outpouring of sympathy from his local community, but there was criticism from some quarters too. His death highlighted the role of Britain's Muslim soldiers and soon afterwards a plot to kidnap and behead a Muslim soldier was discovered in Birmingham. Zubeida Malik meets Muslim soldiers who speak for the first time about what it is like to serve as a Muslim in the British army.
Jul 13, 2017
Myanmar’s Drug Vigilantes
A vigilante drug squad tackles a heroin epidemic in northern Myanmar’s jade mines, conducting door-to-door raids and forcibly detaining drug users in make-shift rehab centres.
Jul 13, 2017
The Jewish Queens of Bollywood
Bollywood is famous for its songs, dancing, long running times, and racy heroines. But at the beginning, Bollywood did not even have heroine. The earliest silent films were all-male productions, with men wearing saris and playing women’s roles. In the 1920s and '30s, Bombay’s Hindu and Muslim women would not act on screen; there was a taboo against women showing their bodies. But another community in Bombay soon stepped in. Noreen Khan explores the untold story of how Jewish women became the first female superstars of Indian cinema.
Jul 11, 2017
Looking for Aunt Martha's Quilt
Beryl Dennis goes in search of a long-lost quilt her relative Martha Ann Erskine Ricks made for the British Queen Victoria. How did a former slave come to meet the most powerful woman in the world 125 years ago? Newspapers of the time followed in great detail the story of the 'queen and the negress' and her hand-stitched quilt in the design of a coffee tree.
Jul 10, 2017
Pakistan’s Campus Lynching
What drives a mob to climb several flights of stairs, break down a dormitory door and kill the young man inside? Secunder Kermani pieces together the last hours of Mashal Khan, the undergraduate beaten to death by vigilantes in April, 2017. It happened in the small city of Mardan, set on a fertile plain below mountains that form part of the border with Afghanistan. Until recently, this part of Pakistan was officially known as a “frontier”. Here, as in the rest of this huge Muslim country, blasphemy is a crime. And if the police won’t enforce the law, there’s a code. “If you have to kill someone as a punishment, do it in such a way that all connections to his brain are disconnected and there is no pain,” one local politician explained. “Just bury him afterwards.” Mashal Khan was not so lucky. His slow, painful death and subsequent mutilation was captured on mobile phones. The shocking footage spread quickly and reignited the controversy over Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws. There have been rallies in support of the victim’s family. His grave is blanketed in tinsel and flowers from sympathisers. But there’ve been rallies for the alleged killers as well. The BBC’s Secunder Kermani is based in Pakistan and has gone to meet the families and friends on both sides of this story and asks, Who was Mashal Khan? And why did he die?
Jul 06, 2017
Give Back the Land
Give back the Land is the cry from millions of black and brown South African farm workers who have been dispossessed of their land for centuries. They expected to gain an equal share in the wealth of the land when Nelson Mandela was elected in 1994. That has not happened. And their patience is running out, leading to fears of a racial conflagration that the country cannot afford. A white land owner, together with the workers on the farm he inherited, have embarked on a bold project to share ownership of the land they all love and live on.
Jul 04, 2017
Macron's Quest
Emmanuel Macron has become France's youngest-ever President at the age of 39. He created a new political movement out of nothing and defeated the populist Marine Le Pen of the Front National. But who is the former banker and civil servant and how did he rise so far so fast?
Jul 02, 2017
Europe's Drug Wars
Gangland killings in Ireland and death threats to journalists, more than 20 years after the assassination of crime reporter Veronica Guerin, mask a much bigger problem. The bloodshed in Ireland has its tentacles across Europe where law enforcers struggle to contain an out of control drugs war. Crime reporter Paul Williams looks at the continent’s drug crime hotspots and examines the different policies used to control the illegal sale of drugs across Europe.
Jul 01, 2017
Rocking the Stasi
Did music help bring down the Berlin Wall? In 1969, just a rumour of a Rolling Stones concert in on a tower block next to the Wall sent the East German Government authorities into meltdown. In the 1970s and 80s a bizarre alliance between East German punks and local churches was seen by the regime as a pernicious challenge. When David Bowie played a gig in the West, across the fearsome Wall, and listened to by crowds assembling in the East, it caused the Stasi no end of angst. Chris Bowlby uncovers this unheard part of Cold War history. Producer Jim Frank
Jul 01, 2017
Siege at the Holey Artisan Bakery
The terrifying ordeal of the siege at Dhaka's Holey Artisan Bakery in July 2016.
Jun 29, 2017
Blind Man Roams the Globe: London's Square Mile
BBC presenter Peter White explores London’s Square Mile, from the drama of the stock exchange, through to the changing fortunes of streets where traditional traders are being replaced by wealthy investors. “Most people assume that vast cities like London are intimidating for blind people like me, with their noise and bustle, but in fact give me a busy city any time to the countryside. Noise, to me, means useful signals to navigate by, bustle means people to ask for help, and cities normally promise decent transport and plenty of places to buy the things you need".
Jun 28, 2017
Young in Hong Kong
They post-1997 generation are young and have only known Hong Kong as part of China. But under ‘one country, two systems’ these millennial Hong Kongers stand apart from their mainland equivalent. So how do they see themselves and the unique territory where they live?
Jun 27, 2017
Hong Kong: Twenty Years On
John Simpson visits Hong Kong 20 years after reunification with China to find out how much has changed. On 1 July 1997, after 150 years of British rule, Hong Kong rejoined China under the “one country two systems” formula whereby the territory would continue to enjoy much of its autonomy. Twenty years on, Hong Kong continues to prosper but amid political unrest and a growing sense that Beijing is trying to influence Hong Kong affairs.
Jun 25, 2017
Get Out Of Jail Free
Each year 35,000 New Yorkers end up in jail because they can’t afford bail. Campaigners want to end cash bail to preserve the idea that people are innocent until proven guilty.
Jun 22, 2017
Blind Man Roams the Globe: Marrakesh
When Peter White jets, sails or walks into a new city, it is the sounds, not the sights, which assail him. In this programme Peter explores the twists and turns of Marrakesh. He listens to local radio; he takes in the sounds of restaurants, travel systems and the voices of the locals. He also meets other blind people and uses their experiences of an area to understand it better and to appreciate the aural clues which help guide them.
Jun 21, 2017
Germany – Reluctant Giant
Why is Germany such a reluctant military power? Germany’s grown in international influence. And its potential military role has been hitting the headlines. US President Donald Trump’s criticised Germany in particular for not spending enough on defence. And Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that Europe can no longer completely depend on the US - or the UK after Brexit. Germany, she argues, must do more in the military sphere. But Germans themselves are very reluctant to do this. As Chris Bowlby discovers in this documentary, German pacifism has grown since World War Two, when Nazi armies caused such devastation. Today’s German army, the Bundeswehr, was meant to be a model citizen's force. But it’s often poorly funded and treated with suspicion by its own population. Some now say the world of Trump, Putin and Brexit demands major change in German thinking - much more spending, more Bundeswehr deployments abroad, even German nuclear weapons. But most Germans disagree. So could Germany in fact be trying something historically new - becoming a major power without fighting wars?
Jun 20, 2017
Las Vegas Stripped Bare
With its reputation for glitz, glamour and gambling, Las Vegas has become one of the world’s foremost tourist destinations, with over 40 million visitors a year. But the bright lights and breathtaking architecture conceal a murky past. After gambling was legalised in Nevada in the 1930s, a raft of hotel-casinos sprang up under the control of gangsters such as Bugsy Siegel and Frank Costello – a state of affairs that continued well into the 1960s.
Jun 18, 2017
UK Election: Something Happened, but What?
British politics has become unpredictable. As voters were going to the polls in the UK general election on 8 June, many were contemplating a landslide for the Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May – nearly all polls predicted it. And of course Theresa May and the Conservative Party did win - but they are the largest party in what is a hung parliament - they no longer have overall control, so what happened? Why did people vote the way they did?
Jun 15, 2017
Weapons of Mass Surveillance
Middle Eastern governments are using high tech mass surveillance tools to monitor their citizens. Western companies, including Britain’s largest weapons manufacturer, BAE, are among those selling surveillance technology to these governments. The trade is attracting criticism from human rights organisations who question whether a British company should be selling such equipment, much of it classified, to repressive regimes in the Arab world. BBC Arabic’s Nawal Al-Maghafi investigates.
Jun 15, 2017
What Went Wrong with Brazil?
During Brazil’s boom years the country's rising economy created a new middle class of gigantic proportions - tens of millions escaping from poverty. Brazil felt confident and even rich enough to bid for the 2016 Olympic Games. But then the economy turned. In the last two years the country has endured its worst recession on record. Where did it all go wrong?
Jun 14, 2017
The Death of the Cockfighters
Carlos Dews was brought up in a poor area of rural east Texas, travelling every weekend to cockfighting tournaments across the southern states. “I remember,” he says, “limp necks and the lifeless swaying heads of beautiful birds as they were carried by their feet to barrels for burning. I was told not to cry, not to remember these things. But we always remember what we’re told to forget.”
Jun 14, 2017
Return to Aleppo
Zahed Tajeddin is a sculptor and archaeologist whose family have lived in Aleppo for generations. He owned a beautiful medieval courtyard house in a neighbourhood called Jdeideh, part of the city's historic centre. But Zahed was forced to abandon his house in 2012, when Jdeideh became a battleground between government forces and rebel fighters. He makes the emotional and dangerous journey to see whether his home survived the conflict.
Jun 10, 2017
The Driver and the Dictator
Dictator Fulgencio Batista knew staging a Grand Prix in Havana in 1958 was risky. Sabotage in Cuban cities and guerrilla wars in the mountains were attracting global headlines. Keen to distract from the turmoil, he offers the world’s greatest F1 driver, Juan Manuel Fangio, a huge fee to drive. But the event ended with the kidnapping of Juan Manuel Fangio and the death of six bystanders.
Jun 09, 2017
Recycling Beirut
Nidale Abou Mrad reports from her native Lebanon on a crisis of stinking household waste and how citizen activists are stepping in to do the authorities’ job in cleaning up.
Jun 08, 2017
A Very British Election
When London was attacked by terrorists in the final days of the British general election campaign, it was the second attack to take place during the campaign. Susan Glasser, the chief international columnist for Politico, has followed politics in Washington DC for over 20 years – in late May she travelled to the UK to bring an American perspective to the election and to present a documentary about it. The assumption was it would focus on the scale of Theresa May’s anticipated landslide for her Conservative Party. But on May 22nd, as she was packing her bags to fly to London, news began to break of a terrorist attack in the UK that would change all of that. By the time the overnight flight had landed, the campaign had been suspended. A Very British Election is Susan Glasser’s account of the four days after the Manchester bombing when politics stopped in Britain – and how the campaign re-started with the polls tightening – and what this might mean for politics everywhere. (Photo: People pass a mock ballot box erected to encourage people to vote, Bristol, 2012. Credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Jun 06, 2017
Syria’s World Cup Dream
6 years of war and crippling sanctions, yet Syria’s footballers are still dreaming of World Cup glory in Russia. Richard Conway follows the team’s extraordinary story.
Jun 01, 2017
The Origins of the American Dream
The American Dream is back, or at least President Donald Trump says so. Once again every American, regardless of background, race, gender or education, can, through sheer hard work, make it to the very top and become rich. Did the idea of the America Dream, in which nothing is impossible as long as you work hard, evolve with the ‘founding fathers’ of the nation? Is it intrinsic to the country’s identity?
May 31, 2017
Watching my Father
Farmers taking their own lives in India has been in the news for quite some time and this story is about how it has impacted on the mental health of communities. As too much rain or droughts continue to destroy crops making farmers unable to pay debts, families fear that their breadwinners could be the next to kill themselves. Navin Singh Khadka follows families in Marathwada, the worst hit district in the state that saw more than 400 farmers kill themselves last year.
May 30, 2017
Remembering Challenger
On 28 January 1986, people watched in horror as Challenger, one of America's four space shuttles, erupted into a ball of flames just over a minute after lift off, killing everyone on board. Sue MacGregor looks back on one of Nasa's darkest tragedies with Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger space shuttle commander Richard "Dick" Scobee; Steve Nesbitt, Nasa chief commentator; astronaut Norman Thagard; and Allan McDonald, former Morton Thiokol director of the Space Shuttle Rocket Booster Project.
May 28, 2017
The Sex Slaves of Al-Shabaab
In an exclusive investigation for the BBC, Anne Soy discovers that Kenyan women are being abducted and trafficked to Somalia to become sex slaves for the militant group al-Shabaab
May 25, 2017
The Sound of Soweto - Part Two
Johannesburg-based poet Thabiso Mohare explores the music of Soweto from the 1970s onwards, through the unrest that led to democracy in 1994, and takes a look at the music scene today. Featuring interviews with Sipho 'Hotstix' Mabuse, Mandla Mlangeni, BCUC and The Soil.
May 24, 2017
Inside the Israeli Hospital
Tim Samuels spends 24 hours immersed in an extraordinary medical scene - Israeli doctors tending to Syrians who have been smuggled over the border for life-saving treatment into a country Syria is technically still at war with. In the Ziv hospital in the northern Israeli town of Safed, Tim follows two doctors on their rounds as they treat Syrians - both civilians and fighters - who have been seriously wounded in their country's civil war.
May 23, 2017
The Khan Mutiny
Bollywood, the world's biggest film industry had, until recently, largely avoided the inter-faith tensions that surface repeatedly elsewhere in India. Many leading men are Muslims - a fact that has been no apparent impediment to their success. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown explores the history of Muslims in Bollywood through the prism of the number of powerful leading male actors who share the same Muslim surname - Khan. The Khans have quite literally taken over Bollywood. Aamir, Salman, Shah Rukh, Aamer, Saif Ali and Irfan - to name but a few - currently dominate the industry. Almost all are Muslim or of Muslim descent, hugely successful and able to navigate two of the most powerful forces working against them - the puritanism of Islam and the ever-increasing grip of Hindu fundamentalism in India. They are some of the nation's best-loved and most successful actors, brand ambassadors of the official "Incredible India" tourism campaign - and Muslims in a majority-Hindu nation. And many of them are married to Hindus. Prominent actors, writers, directors, producers, composers, film historians, politicians and critics explain how the Khans have managed to successfully carve out their careers as Muslims in a Hindu world, about how they see the future unfolding under the growing Hindu fundamentalist culture of India, as well as against the national and international backdrop of Islamic fundamentalism.
May 21, 2017
The Sound of Soweto - Part One
Johannesburg-based poet Thabiso Mohare looks at the musical heritage of Sophiatown, and talks to Sowetan musicians including Sibongele Khumalo and Jonas Gwangwa, about the intersection in their lives of music and politics, and their memories of streets filled with a rich mix of sounds from gramophones and radios to church choirs, workers choirs, and bands playing music from jazz, mbaqanga and soul to rock.
May 17, 2017
The Robots' Story
How might robots help us live, work and even love in the future? Jane Wakefield meets robots being used in hospitals, factories and even bedrooms and discovers the way humans are using machines. In California, Jane interviews Harmony, a sex robot who will be for sale at the end of the year. She hears how some people are forming relationships with their artificial intelligence, and asks what an increasing dependence on robotics means for our human interaction.
May 16, 2017
Chaplains of the Sea
Port chaplains provide support to the world's 1.5 million merchant seafarers. With the global shipping industry in financial crisis, we join the chaplains on their daily visits to container ships and supply vessels in Antwerp, Immingham and Aberdeen, to find out why the work of chaplains is more crucial than ever.
May 14, 2017
Elephants, politics and Sri Lanka
Religiously and politically potent, elephants in Sri Lanka kill dozens of people each year. How can they live more harmoniously with humans on this small island nation?
May 11, 2017
A Woman Half in Shadow
Zora Neale Hurston was an African-American novelist and folklorist and a queen of the Harlem Renaissance. But when she died in 1960 she was living on welfare and was buried in an unmarked grave. Her name was even misspelt on her death certificate. Scotland's National poet Jackie Kay tells the story of how Zora would later become part of America’s literary canon.
May 10, 2017
The Silent Wound
*** Some viewers may find parts of this report difficult to listen to *** During Colombia’s 53-year internal conflict, around 15,000 military veterans have lived through their own bodies the heart-breaking consequences of a barbaric war. But a considerable part of that group has also sacrificed their masculinity by suffering different forms of genital or urinary trauma. Natalia Guerrero discovers the profound physical and physiological effect genital injuries can have for generations of Colombian soldiers.
May 09, 2017
Subversion, Russia and the West
Complaints that Russia interfered in America’s presidential election are only the latest chapter in a much longer story. Both Moscow and the West have engaged in political subversion over the last 100 years, in an attempt to undermine the other. This dangerous game has largely been played out in the clandestine world of spies but has burst out into the open at regular intervals.
May 06, 2017
Coming Out of the Shadows in Kenya
For generations those who, for biological reasons, don't fit the usual male/female categories have faced violence and stigma in Kenya. Intersex people - as they are commonly known in Kenya - were traditionally seen as a bad omen bringing a curse upon their family and neighbours. Most were kept in hiding and many were killed at birth. But now a new generation of home-grown activists and medical experts are helping intersex people to come out into the open. They're rejecting the old idea that intersex people must be assigned a gender in infancy and stick to it and are calling on the government to instead grant them legal recognition. BBC Africa’s Health Correspondent Anne Soy meets some of the rural families struggling to find acceptance for their intersex children and witnesses the efforts health workers and activists are making to promote understanding of the condition. She also meets a successful gospel singer who recently came out as intersex and hears from those who see the campaign for inter-sex recognition as part of a wider attack on the traditional Kenyan family. Helen Grady producing. (Photo: Apostle Darlan Rukih, an intersex gospel singer)
May 04, 2017
Strangers for Hire
We are getting used to the idea of people renting out their homes for holidays or using their cars as taxis, all via online sites. Perhaps the next wave is going to be hiring people – not just to do work for us, but to do the kinds of things we once expected friends and families to do. Like offering a sympathetic ear to your problems. Nina Robinson reports on some the eyebrow-raising services now available.
May 03, 2017
Cathedral of the Fallen
Giles Tremlett takes us into the fierce battles being fought over The Valle de los Caidos, an enormous memorial to Spain’s civil war dead constructed by the dictator Francisco Franco. For some a great monument, for others a war crime. Today, the battle over how Franco and the Civil War should be remembered is one of the most significant religious and political conflicts in Spain.
May 02, 2017
Nepal: Banished for Bleeding
Getting your period in Nepal is a big deal. Menstruating women face many restrictions – they are not allowed to worship or enter the kitchen. Our young Nepali reporters Divya Shrestha and Nirmala Limbu still remember the shock at suddenly being excluded from festivities for being “impure”. Some menstruating women are banished from home for four days and have to sleep in an open hut. Such beliefs are hard to eradicate, but Divya and Nirmala find that some young women are rebelling.
Apr 30, 2017
South Sudan: A Failure to Act
**Some viewers may find parts of this report difficult to listen to** “Hiding in the bathroom. They’re trying to break down our door. We maybe have about five minutes.” Juba, capital of South Sudan, 11 July 2016. The female aid worker sending this message was among a number of international and local staff taking refuge behind a bullet proof door in the housing compound where they lived. Tensions were running high in South Sudan’s three year civil war and government troops had gone on the rampage attacking the compound. As the soldiers tried to break down the door, the terrified group frantically appealed to United Nations peacekeepers based just over a kilometer away. Using their phones and sending messages via Skype and Facebook their calls for help went unheeded.
Apr 29, 2017
Wives Wanted in the Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are facing a shortage of women of marriageable age. Many of them have left and not returned so men are now travelling to South East Asia looking for love.
Apr 26, 2017
Me and the President
Joe Borelli is a New York City councilman who spoke on behalf of Donald Trump during the presidential campaign - he was thrilled when Trump won the election last November, and approached the Trump presidency with high expectations. Over the first 100 days of the Trump Administration Joe recorded his impressions of the new president, starting with a visit to the Inauguration in Washington on 20 January.
Apr 26, 2017
Dying to Talk
There's only one thing in life that's certain: death. Many people believe that talking about death helps us make more of life. Thousands of Death Cafés have popped up in countries across the globe, challenging people to open up about the deceased and their own thoughts and fears about dying. Cafes are often over subscribed with organisers having to turn away individuals from sell out events. Julian Keane visits some of these Death Cafés to explore if a key part of life should be preparing for death. He explores how people across the world deal with death whilst they're living, and if there's really a need for the conversation. Julian also meets sociologist Bernard Crettaz. He began the concept of Café Mortel (Death Café) at an exhibition called La mort à vivre (Death for life) in his Geneva museum. Bernard shares more about his work, the theories behind his Death Café concept and how he feels knowing the world is embracing his concept.
Apr 23, 2017
Young stars of social media share lessons in life from their grandmothers. What happens when the youth-dominated, image-obsessed world of social media gets a dose of hard-learnt life-advice from older women? The BBC's #GrannyWisdom week will see stars of Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and Facebook posting conversations with their grandmothers, getting their wisdom on topics from love to mental health to overcoming adversity. Featuring highlights from those social media posts as well as discussions between the social media stars about what they learned from the older generation, this programme explores the lessons, tensions and reaction to this big, global social media experiment. Presented by YouTuber Hannah Witton, with contributions from social media stars Ross Smith, Taty Ferreira, Anushree Fadnavis, Megan Gilbride, Steven Chikosi and Kubra Sait. Also listen out for Hannah's, Ross's and Anushree's grannies.
Apr 22, 2017
Cuba’s Cancer Revolution
Cuba’s biotech industry is booming. And in a revolutionary first, its lung cancer treatment is being trialled in the US. So with limited resources, how has Cuba done it?
Apr 20, 2017
Living with the Dead
Since the beginning of time, man has lived in awe and fear of death, and every culture has faced its mystery through intricate and often ancient rituals. Few, however, are as extreme as those of the Torajan people on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Here, the dead are a constant presence, with corpses often kept in family homes for many years. When funerals are eventually held, they don’t mean goodbye. Once every couple of years, the dead are dug back out for a big family reunion.
Apr 19, 2017
From childhood to old age, a journey through life reflected in the mirror - via a series of interviews recorded with people as they confront their reflection. What do they see? How has their face changed? What stories lie behind the wrinkles and scars? We hear the initial wonder of the small child give way to the embarrassment of the teenager and the acceptance of later-life. Created by multi-award-winning documentary-maker, Cathy FitzGerald, this moving programme hops from home to home in contemporary Britain, catching its subjects in bedrooms and bathrooms and lounges, to hold up a mirror to the ageing process itself. Image: A face in a mirror, Credit: Getty Images
Apr 18, 2017
A Soldier's Eye View of Afghanistan
Afghanistan, strategically located between South, Central and West Asia has been invaded and fought over by the world’s superpowers for centuries. Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, the British Empire, the Soviet Union have all tried and failed to control Afghanistan. And war rages in the country today: the US-led military coalition has been fighting in Afghanistan since 2001, and conflict has become the longest war in US history. Dawood Azami talks to the British, Russian, American and Afghan fighters and soldiers who fought in what some historians have called the Graveyard of Empires. He finds out what drew them to this formidable battlefield, what they found there, how they view their enemy and how their experience changed them as soldiers and as individuals. Azami looks for patterns in history: the British fought three wars in Afghanistan in the 19th and 20th Century before they sent in troops after 2001. Some of the British servicemen were aware of their predecessor’s defeats as they came up against stiff Afghan resistance; as were the Taliban fighters. From a US General whose ancestor also governed in Afghanistan in the 19th Century, and an infantryman caught up in a close quarter’s firefight with the Taliban, to a Mujahedeen fighter ambushing a Soviet military convoy in the mountains, Azami follows the twists and turns of conflict in Afghanistan. Image: Afghan security personnel on a military vehicle, Credit: Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty Images
Apr 16, 2017
Walls and Peace
From internal barriers to border fences, do walls built for political purposes create bigger problems than they solve? And what is it like to live next to them, asks Cathy Gormley-Heenan, of Ulster University. She meets residents and experts in Belfast, Israel-West Bank, and on the US-Mexican border, to find out why we are still building walls and what impact they have.
Apr 15, 2017
Extreme Selfies Russian Style
Lucy Ash meets the young Russians taking death-defying photos on top of skyscrapers to gain internet fame and explores why this is a particularly Russian phenomenon.
Apr 13, 2017
Celebrating Life at 117
This is an affectionate portrait of Elizabeth Gathoni Koinange - a woman who lives a short drive outside Nairobi - and who celebrated her 117th birthday this 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. But it is also a short mental journey to the past and more turbulent times, when the British were rounding up suspected Mau Mau independence rebels.
Apr 12, 2017
Project Le Pen
What accounts for Marine Le Pen's popularity? As a populist wave sweeps across the Western world, France is emerging as a key battleground and she is scoring record ratings for a leader of an 'outsider' party and looks set to get through to the second round of the presidential elections. How much is it to do with an increasingly familiar politics which blames global elites and immigrants for economic and social woes? And how much is it a distinctively French form, mixing policies of the left and the right in a brew which harks back to previous generations of Gallic leaders? What turns a party previously seen as fascist into one seriously vying for the highest office in the land? Anand Menon examines how Marine Le Pen has detoxified her father's party and asks what its success says about France's future as one of two anchoring states of the EU.
Apr 11, 2017
When the Shooting Stops
Nearly half of all peace agreements fail. What can be done to stop countries from sliding back into civil war? Sri Lanka and Uganda are two countries that have suffered long and brutal civil wars, but have managed, to keep the peace - at least so far. BBC foreign affairs correspondent, Mike Thomson, who has reported from many conflict zones around the world, investigates how well both countries have managed to heal the wounds of war and what their experiences can teach us about winning the peace.
Apr 09, 2017
Hong Kong’s Secret Dwellings
Last summer the emergency services rescued two children from an out-of-control fire in an old industrial building in the commercial area of Hong Kong. The children were living with their mother inside a storage unit in the building. For Assignment, Charlotte McDonald explores the reasons which would drive a family in one of the wealthiest cities in the world to live illegally in a place not fit for human habitation. It's estimated that around 10,000 people live in industrial buildings - although the true number is not known due to the very fact it is not legal. Hong Kong consistently ranks as one of the most expensive places to rent or buy in the world. Already around 200,000 have been forced to rent in what are known as subdivided flats. But now attention has turned to those in even more dire conditions in industrial blocks. From poor government planning, the loss of industry to mainland China and exploitative landlords, we uncover why people are choosing to live in secrecy in neglected buildings. Charlotte McDonald reporting Alex Burton producing (Photo: Construction workers on site in front of a building, in Hong Kong)
Apr 06, 2017
Myanmar's Sex Vote
When political activists like Daw Sander Min were imprisoned for their campaigns on behalf of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy they were locked up alongside sex workers like Thuzar Win, criminalised by Myanmar's harsh laws against prostitution. Now Sandar Min is an MP and Thuzar Win addresses parliament on behalf of the Sex Workers in Myanmar network. With Myanmar poised to become the new global centre of sex tourism, Sandar Min and Thuzar Win are adamant that the future of the thousands of young people forced into sex work every year, depends upon the decriminalisation of prostitution.
Apr 04, 2017
Reflections on Terror: 50 Years Behind the Headlines
When Peter Taylor stepped nervously onto a plane in 1967, bound for the Middle East, he had no idea it was to be the start of a journalistic mission he would still be pursuing fifty years later. At the time “terrorism” was barely in our vocabulary. In the hundred or so documentaries he has made on the subject since then, Peter has tried to get behind the headlines to understand and explain a phenomenon which has grown to affect us all. Peter has reported the escalation of terrorism from the IRA and its Loyalist counterparts to Al Qaeda and the so called Islamic State. He has met the victims of terror, those involved in perpetrating terrorist acts and members of the intelligence services tasked with stopping them. Revisiting his own extraordinary archive has given Peter the chance to reflect on the evolution of terrorism and to recall some of his most memorable interviews. “There are moments when the interviews are chilling, moments when they're shocking and at other points they provoked a sharp intake of breath – surprising me by how prophetic they were.”
Apr 01, 2017
Brazil’s modern-day Captains of the Sands
Captains of the Sands, a Brazilian novel about street children written 80 years ago, still resonates in the 21st century.
Mar 31, 2017
The Web Sheikh and the Muslim Mums
How much do mums know about the messages being preached to their children? BBC World Service journalist Shaimaa Khalil meets a group of Muslim mums in London to talk about the everyday fears of parents who worry that extreme interpretations of Islam, often via online preachers, may be infecting the minds of their sons and daughters.
Mar 29, 2017
A Failed Revolution
Middle East Correspondent Lina Sinjab – who grew up in Damascus – explores how the initially peaceful protests in Syria six years ago have left a country without hope and a society that is deeply fragmented. Many of the people who ignited the uprising are either dead, in prison or outside of Syria. Lina hears from some of the activists who remain free and asks them what went wrong, whether they have regrets and how their country can rebuild itself.
Mar 28, 2017
Horses for Courses
Horse racing has an ever-growing global following and financial value. For a few days each year the horse racing world descends on a small English town, as it has for over 250 years. Buyers from over 40 countries bid against each other for the best young thoroughbred race horses on earth. Presenter Susie Emmett joins stable hands, breeders sellers, buyers and horses at the Tatersall's Sales.
Mar 26, 2017
Freedom and Fear in Myanmar
Jonah Fisher travels across Myanmar and into neighbouring Bangladesh to investigate claims that Burmese Muslims have suffered rape and murder at the hands of the military.
Mar 23, 2017
It's a Dog's Life
There is unique and ancient bond between humans and dogs, from its early beginnings to the modern day. Ayo Akinwolere explores this bond by visiting 'The Land of the Mutts' - an extraordinary refuge for dogs in Costa Rica, where dogs outnumber people by 100 to one. He investigates the science behind the the bonding and hears individual stories of canine-human relationships.
Mar 19, 2017
The Stem Cell Hard Sell
Pioneering stem cell research is giving hope to patients with incurable conditions from multiple sclerosis to Alzheimer’s that treatment might one day be possible. It is early days but already some clinics are charging sick patients to take part in experimental therapies, including in the United States. Phil Kemp investigates one Florida-based stem cell study and asks if enough is being done to protect vulnerable people in search of a cure. Produced by Anna Meisel (Photo: Assistant Professor of Genetics and Developmental Biology Stormy Chamberlain holds a tray of stem cells at the University of Connecticut`s (UConn) Stem Cell Institute at the UConn Health Center, Credit: Getty Images)
Mar 16, 2017
Songs for the Dead
Keeners were the women of rural Ireland who were traditionally paid to cry, wail and sing over the bodies of the dead at funerals and wakes. With emotions raw from her own recent experience of grief, broadcaster Marie-Louise Muir asks what has been lost with the passing of the keeners.
Mar 15, 2017
Breaking News
The media in the United States is broken. Most journalists and media organisations dismissed the possibility of Trump Presidency. Many backed Hillary Clinton to win. It has left them in a precarious position with serious questions about their credibility, fuelled by the president and his inner circle who have branded them ‘enemies of the state’. Kyle Pope, editor of the Columbia Journalism Review asks how the media should respond to a hostile administration and more importantly how can they gain the trust of the vast numbers of people who think they are hopelessly biased.
Mar 14, 2017
Dying for a Song
The musicians being persecuted for raising their voices against political, cultural or religious repression. Rex Bloomstein talks to artists whose songs have led to their imprisonment, torture and to the continuing threat of violence; artists who have been driven from their homelands, artists who, literally, risk dying for a song. In one recent year alone 30 musicians were killed, seven abducted, and 18 jailed by regimes, political and religious factions and other groups determined to curb the power of music to rally opposition to them. In Syria, singer Ibrahim Quashoush, was found dead in the Orontes River, his vocal chords symbolically ripped out. Rex hears stories of tremendous courage and determination not to be intimidated and silenced. Egyptian singer Ramy Essam tells of how he was brutally tortured after his songs rallied the crowds in Tahir Square during the Arab Spring. Two weeks later, after recovering from his injuries, he was back performing his songs aimed at bringing down the regime of Hosni Mubarak. Iranian singer Shahin Najafi continues to perform around the world despite a fatwa calling for his death, after his songs upset the religious leaders in his home country. He says: "At night I turn to the wall and slowly close my eyes and wait for someone to slit my throat". Amid tales of musical repression in Sudan, Tunisia, Burkina Faso and Lebanon, come stories, more surprisingly, from Norway. Deeyah Kahn reveals how she was forced to flee the country in the face of violent threats aimed at stopping her singing and Sara Marielle Gaup talks of her struggle against repression of the music of the indigenous Sami people in the north of the country - labelled "the devil’s music". Photo: Iranian musician Shahin Najafi, Credit: EPA
Mar 12, 2017
In Search of Henk and Ingrid
Why is the tolerant Netherlands home to a major anti-immigration, anti-Islamic party?
Mar 09, 2017
Where Are You Going?
Catherine Carr travels to Tijuana in Mexico, and asks strangers - where are you going?
Mar 07, 2017
Poland and the Mysterious Murder of Jola Brzeska
The Polish property scandal now being linked to a brutal and unsolved murder
Mar 02, 2017
World Mayor
We visit the mayors of cities from Helsinki to Bogota, from Los Angeles to Rotterdam and Cape Town to discover why citizens are putting their faith in the ability of local government and a charismatic mayor to deliver a better quality of life and solutions to 21st Century problems.
Feb 28, 2017
The Pull of Putin
Why do populist politicians across the West want warmer relations with Russia? Are they just Kremlin agents? Or are they tapping into a growing desire to find common cause with Moscow – and end East-West tension? Tim Whewell travels from Russia to America and across Europe to unravel the many different strands of pro-Moscow thinking, and offer a provocative analysis which challenges conventional thinking about the relationship between Russia and the West.
Feb 26, 2017