HARDtalk

By BBC World Service

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 Dec 12, 2020


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Stephen Sackur is the best!

Description

In-depth, hard-hitting interviews with newsworthy personalities.

Episode Date
Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah: How should international aid work?
1431
Stephen Sackur speaks to the boss of Oxfam Great Britain, Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah. He took over after Oxfam was hit by scandal with staff abusing their positions and power in Haiti. He promised to reimagine how international aid should be done and to put a new focus on global economic justice. Is his approach working?
Feb 01, 2023
Robert Malley: What next for US policy on Iran?
1408
Stephen Sackur speaks to Robert Malley, US special envoy for Iran. He’s an experienced diplomat facing a looming crisis. The attempt to revive a deal to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions appears to be dead, Tehran is repressing protests at home and arming Putin’s Russia in Ukraine. What can the US and its allies do about it?
Jan 30, 2023
Leopoldo Lopez: Has Venezuela’s opposition been outmanoeuvred?
1426
Stephen Sackur speaks to Leopoldo Lopez, a key leader of Venezuela’s opposition. Once a political prisoner, now in exile in Spain, his efforts to topple the socialist regime led by Nicolas Maduro have been thwarted. Has Venezuela’s pro-democracy movement been outmanoeuvred?
Jan 27, 2023
Dmytro Kuleba: Is the West's hesitation undermining Ukraine?
1409
Stephen Sackur speaks to Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba. The war with Russia has hit a winter stalemate, but what will spring bring? From battle tanks to air defences, Ukraine wants more help from its allies. Is Western wavering undermining Kyiv’s strategic options?
Jan 25, 2023
Ruben Vardanyan: Nagorno-Karabakh and Putin
1448
Stephen Sackur speaks to Ruben Vardanyan, state minister of the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, run by ethnic Armenians but surrounded by Azerbaijan and the subject of years of conflict. The Armenians have traditionally been backed by Russia, but is Putin a reliable ally?
Jan 23, 2023
Celso Amorim: Is Brazil becoming ungovernable?
1427
Brazilian President Lula must figure out whether another assault on government institutions is likely, and hold those responsible to account. All of that while he faces a mountain of economic, social and political challenges. How close is Brazil to being ungovernable? Stephen Sackur interviews Celso Amorim, formerly Brazil's foreign minister, now President Lula’s foreign policy advisor.
Jan 20, 2023
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Is global free trade possible?
1429
Stephen Sackur is in Geneva to speak to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director general of the World Trade Organization. Her job is to maximise free and fair trade across the world. How is that possible in this age of big power tension and increased suspicion of globalisation?
Jan 18, 2023
Jagath Weerasinghe: Sri Lanka's bloody past
1426
Zeinab Badawi is in Sri Lanka to talk to one of the country’s most influential artists and archaeologists, Jagath Weerasinghe. What does his art tell us about Sri Lanka’s bloody and difficult past, and its prospects for a more peaceful future?
Jan 16, 2023
Marilyn Stafford: A life in pictures
1426
What makes a great photograph? In 2019, Stephen Sackur spoke to one of the pioneers of photojournalism, Marilyn Stafford. She was born in the United States but moved to Paris in the 1950s, where she became the protégé of the French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. Like him, Stafford loved to capture intimate portraits of ordinary people. She photographed everything from refugees fleeing war to models on the fashion catwalks. Later in life, her work was discovered and admired by a new generation. This is another chance to listen to the interview with Marilyn Stafford after her recent death aged 97. The interview was updated on 13th January 2023.
Jan 13, 2023
Boris Bondarev: Speaking out against Putin
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to the former Russian diplomat Boris Bondarev, who quit his post and launched a scathing attack on the Putin regime after the invasion of Ukraine. Why haven’t more Moscow insiders followed his lead?
Jan 11, 2023
Waheed Arian: Migration in the Western world
1424
War and extreme poverty drive millions of people from their homes every year. Some of them try to reach the rich Western world, where such inward migration routinely prompts fear and draconian counter-measures. Stephen Sackur interviews Waheed Arian, who fled war in Afghanistan as a child, made it to the UK and is now a doctor running his own medical charity. Do perceptions change when the story of migration is personalised?
Jan 09, 2023
Fawad Chaudhry: Is Pakistan heading for economic meltdown?
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to Fawad Chaudhry, Pakistan’s former information minister and a senior figure in Imran Khan’s opposition PTI party. Pakistan is dealing with rampant inflation, an energy crisis and soaring national debt. Having lost the premiership, Khan is trying to bring down the current coalition government. Could political chaos tip the country into full-scale economic meltdown?
Jan 06, 2023
Evgenia Kara-Murza: Has Putin neutralised his Russian opponents?
1473
Stephen Sackur speaks to the Russian opposition activist Evgenia Kara-Murza, whose husband Vladimir, a prominent opponent of Vladimir Putin, is in prison in Russia having survived two apparent poisonings in recent years. Has Putin’s repression effectively neutralised meaningful opposition?
Jan 04, 2023
Hardtalk in 2022
1430
Passion, pain, tension, denial. This past year we’ve seen it all. Stephen Sackur presents excerpts from some of our most powerful interviews concerning matters of war and peace, human rights (in particular women’s rights), freedom of expression and freedom of information.
Dec 23, 2022
Ericka Huggins: Do the Black Panthers have lessons for Black Lives Matter?
1443
Stephen Sackur is in in Oakland, California, to speak to Ericka Huggins, an original member of the 1960s Black Panther Party. She experienced violence, imprisonment and vilification in the controversial campaign for black power. Do the Panthers have lessons for the Black Lives Matter movement?
Dec 19, 2022
Wes Streeting: Is Britain ready for a new government?
1378
British nurses are striking, and the health service is in trouble. Stephen Sackur speaks to Wes Streeting, a rising star of the UK's Labour party and their shadow health secretary. Does Labour have a credible plan to fix public services and save the UK from a winter of economic discontent?
Dec 16, 2022
Oleksandra Matviichuk and Yan Rachinsky: Fighting for civil rights
1461
Stephen Sackur is in Oslo to talk to two of the three joint winners of this year's Nobel Peace Prize. Oleksandra Matviichuk is the head of the Center for Civil Liberties in Ukraine. Yan Rachinsky is chairman of the human rights group Memorial in Russia. The third winner, pro-democracy activist Ales Bialiatski, is a political prisoner in Belarus. What can civil society activism achieve in the face of authoritarian aggression? Image: Yan Rachinsky (L) and Oleksandra Matviichuk (R) (Credit: NTB/Haakon Mosvold Larsen via Reuters)
Dec 14, 2022
Allen Ault: The most premeditated murder
1440
Another chance to hear Stephen Sackur’s 2014 interview with Allen Ault. As the former Commissioner of Corrections in the US state of Georgia, Ault was responsible for state-sanctioned executions. He organised the killing of criminals until he could stand it no more. What made him leave his post and take up the campaign to end the death penalty?
Dec 09, 2022
David Friedberg: Can tech fix our biggest challenges?
1437
In a special edition from San Francisco, Stephen Sackur speaks to billionaire tech investor David Friedberg. He’s convinced science and technology can fix the world’s biggest challenges – climate, sustainable food, and energy production. But will we use our knowledge wisely?
Dec 07, 2022
Daniel Ellsberg: Does the US military have too much power?
1441
In an exclusive interview from California, Stephen Sackur speaks to Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers whistleblower who exposed US government lies about Vietnam. He helped hasten President Nixon’s downfall and he’s warned Americans about the dangers of unchecked military power ever since. But are they listening?
Dec 06, 2022
London Breed: What does San Francisco reveal about the US?
1423
Stephen Sackur is in the US to speak to San Francisco’s mayor London Breed, a rising star of the Democratic Party. Her city is one of contrasts - vast tech wealth alongside rampant crime, drug use and homelessness. It symbolises America’s urban dysfunction. Can the mayor fix it?
Dec 02, 2022
Rachel Clarke: Talking honestly about the end of life
1424
Stephen Sackur speaks to the palliative care doctor and author Rachel Clarke. She has written thought-provoking, moving accounts of what it's like to be a junior doctor, and how it felt to confront the Covid pandemic. But perhaps her most powerful book focuses on a subject that many doctors, and the public, find it difficult to discuss: Death. In Dear Life, she weaves together the personal story of a daughter facing the terminal cancer illness of her beloved father with that of a doctor who made a deliberate choice to focus her care on the dying. In the process of dying, which will of course be the fate of every one of us, Rachel Clarke finds life lessons which we would all do well to learn. She asks us to consider a tough question: can dying be life affirming?
Nov 30, 2022
Barbara Chase-Riboud: Monuments and controversy
1378
Zeinab Badawi speaks to American artist and writer Barbara Chase-Riboud at the Serpentine Galleries in London. Over a career spanning seven decades, Chase-Riboud has explored public memory and commemorative forms, as well as shone a light on historical perspectives that have been overlooked or neglected. Her work raises fascinating questions about how society deals with public monuments of controversial figures from the past.
Nov 28, 2022
Getachew Reda: Have Tigray's rebels surrendered?
1427
One of the most costly conflicts of the 21st century may be over. Representatives of the Ethiopian government and Tigrayan rebels signed a peace agreement earlier this month. After two years of war, and perhaps half a million civilian deaths, Tigrayan forces are to give up their weapons; the Ethiopian army will take control of Tigray; and aid should begin to reach millions of desperate people. Stephen Sackur speaks to Getachew Reda, who signed the deal on behalf of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. Was this in effect the TPLF’s surrender?
Nov 25, 2022
Chelsea Manning: Does transparency justify leaking state secrets?
1429
Stephen Sackur interviews former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who leaked a trove of military secrets and spent seven years behind bars. Did her actions undermine American security?
Nov 23, 2022
Salome Zourabichvili: How much does Georgia have to fear from Russia?
1413
The war in Ukraine has triggered fears that Vladimir Putin may set his sights on other former Soviet republics. Zeinab Badawi speaks to Salome Zourabichvili, the President of Georgia, whose country shares a long border with Russia. How worried is she?
Nov 21, 2022
Ronald Lamola: Does the ANC have answers for South Africa's problems?
1378
Next month, the ruling ANC in South Africa holds its five-yearly national conference. President Cyril Ramaphosa is seeking re-election as leader of the party, which would him in position to contest nationwide elections in 2024. But South Africa is currently in the midst of a severe economic meltdown, with mass unemployment and crippling power cuts, and many are warning its political culture could bring the state to the point of collapse. Zeinab Badawi speaks to South African justice minister Ronald Lamola, seen as one of the rising stars of the ANC’s younger generation. How does he account for the government’s failure to address the myriad challenges it faces?
Nov 18, 2022
Mark Wolf: Does the world need a new anti-corruption court?
1460
Global leaders often come together to work for what they hope is the greater good, such as tackling climate change, conflict and the economic crisis. But does the world need a new body to put leaders on trial? Zeinab Badawi speaks to the American judge and academic Mark Wolf, who is trying to establish an international anti-corruption court to bring to justice leaders who abuse their power for private gain. Is this an idea whose time has come, or do we already have sufficient levers to bring the kleptocrats to court?
Nov 16, 2022
David Dimbleby: Are journalistic values under threat?
1432
Where do you get your news from, and do you trust it to be true? For many of us, the answers to these questions are changing. Social media is an increasingly dominant source of information; long-established news sources, like the BBC, are in a fight for audiences and for trust too. Stephen Sackur speaks to David Dimbleby, who, in the course of a long broadcasting career, became the face and voice of the BBC on the biggest occasions, from elections to royal ceremonies. Can his journalistic values survive in a world where opinion so often trumps truth?
Nov 11, 2022
Gerard Lyons: Is Britain's economy up to scratch?
1378
The UK economy is in a hole. Inflation is high, interest rates are rising, public debt is soaring and, according to the Bank of England, Britons face two years of recession. Stephen Sackur speaks to Gerard Lyons, an economist and sometime adviser to governing Conservative politicians. Can Britain’s economy bounce back, or is any optimism misplaced?
Nov 09, 2022
Sauli Niinistö: Finland's new strategic direction
1434
Stephen Sackur is in Helsinki for an exclusive interview with Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö. After decades of pragmatic coexistence with Moscow, Finland has made a big strategic decision: to join Nato, back Ukraine with weapons and reinforce their border with Russia. Are Finns ready for potential tension with their giant neighbour to the east?
Nov 07, 2022
Ben Hodges: Is Ukrainian victory inevitable?
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to General Ben Hodges, former commander of the US army in Europe. He claims a Ukrainian victory in the war with Russia is inevitable, maybe within months. But given Putin’s pledge to use all means necessary to prevail, how does victory happen?
Nov 04, 2022
Rafael Grossi: Is nuclear power ever risk-free?
1428
Stephen Sackur speaks to Rafael Grossi, director general of the world’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency. He’s been to Ukraine and has visited Putin in his continuing efforts to avert disaster at Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant. Is the Ukraine war a lesson that nuclear power is never risk-free?
Nov 02, 2022
Dimitar Kovačevski: Can North Macedonia finally join the EU?
1378
In an exclusive interview, Stephen Sackur is in Skopje to speak to North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Dimitar Kovačevski. His nation emerged out of the former Yugoslavia and is now in the queue for EU membership. But progress is slow. Could Brussels’s reluctance to embrace the Balkan candidate nations see this region sink back into dangerous instability?
Oct 31, 2022
Matthew Collins: Taking on the far right
1450
Stephen Sackur speaks to the writer and anti-racism campaigner Matthew Collins. In his youth he was himself a far-right thug, but he changed sides and became an informer. Now he’s a leading activist in the battle against violent extremism. He's written a book - The Walk In - about his experiences. What is the best antidote to today’s peddlers of race hate? This edition of Hardtalk contains references to racist language.
Oct 26, 2022
Audrey Tang: Can Taiwan forge its own path?
1487
Zeinab Badawi is in Taiwan to speak to Audrey Tang, the country's digital minister. The Taipei government says it stands for democracy in the face of increasing belligerence from China, which claims the self-governed island as part of its territory. Can Taiwan really forge its own path?
Oct 24, 2022
Jan Lipavský: Will energy crisis break Europe's stand against Moscow?
1500
Stephen Sackur speaks to Czech foreign minister, Jan Lipavský, an ardent supporter of Ukraine in a country facing an energy and economic crisis this winter. Vladimir Putin thinks Russia’s energy dominance can break Europe’s united stand against Moscow. Is he right?
Oct 20, 2022
German Galushchenko: How vulnerable is Ukraine?
1470
Stephen Sackur speaks to Ukraine’s energy minister, German Galushchenko. His country’s energy and power infrastructure is being targeted by Russian rockets and kamikaze drones. As Putin doubles down on his escalation strategy, how vulnerable is Ukraine?
Oct 19, 2022
Dr Anthony Fauci: What did the US get wrong about Covid?
1445
Stephen Sackur speaks to Dr Anthony Fauci, soon to retire as President Biden’s chief medical adviser. Under Trump, then Biden, Dr Fauci was at the forefront of America’s Covid response, which compares poorly with other rich world nations. What went wrong, and who’s to blame?
Oct 13, 2022
Amin Salam: Is Lebanon heading for meltdown?
1404
Lebanon is experiencing one of the most disastrous economic collapses of the last 100 years. The national economy is less than half the size it was just three years ago, while people are holding up banks in a desperate attempt to get their money out amid rampant inflation and a currency crisis. Stephen Sackur interviews Amin Salam, Minister of Economy and Trade for Lebanon. Politicians have failed the country for decades - will that change before the meltdown is complete?
Oct 12, 2022
Maggie Haberman: Donald Trump and journalistic responsibility
1436
Zeinab Badawi speaks to the award winning American journalist Maggie Haberman. She has published a book that chronicles the rise and fall of Donald Trump, and her revelations are creating sensational headlines in the US. What is the responsibility of a good journalist?
Oct 07, 2022
Boris Grebenshchikov: Culture and protest in Russia
1289
Zeinab Badawi speaks to Russian rock musician Boris Grebenshchikov, who last played in Russia the day before Putin invaded Ukraine. Now living in exile in London, BG (as he is known to his fans) risks prosecution if he returns to Russia for his anti-war comments. The role cultural icons have to play in the politics of protest is a well-trodden one. But do their voices have any impact inside Russia?
Oct 05, 2022
Masih Alinejad: A revolution for Iranian women?
1404
Stephen Sackur speaks to exiled Iranian women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad. The death in police custody of a young woman arrested for showing strands of her hair sparked protests across Iran, led by women, backed by many men. Could repression of women be the regime’s undoing?
Sep 29, 2022
Evgeny Popov: Russia's mobilisation
1406
Stephen Sackur speaks to Russian MP, Putin loyalist and influential state media commentator Evgeny Popov. Amid military reverses, mass mobilisation, and signs of internal dissent in Russia, is Putin’s Ukraine strategy doomed to fail?
Sep 27, 2022
Reverend Richard Coles: Living with grief
1434
For most of us, death and grief remain a private affair. An irreversible, life-altering shock when we lose someone close, for which there is no guide or preparation. Stephen Sackur interviews Reverend Richard Coles, a broadcaster and Church of England vicar, whose frank account of his own grief has struck a chord with many. Why did the death of his husband nearly break him?
Sep 26, 2022
Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze: Can Putin’s threats undermine support for Ukraine?
1456
Stephen Sackur speaks to the Ukrainian MP, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, who currently chairs the Ukrainian parliament’s EU Integration Committee. Kyiv’s battlefield gains have prompted Vladimir Putin to announce a partial mobilisation and ramp up his nuclear threats. What does this mean for Ukraine and for the support it relies on in the west?
Sep 23, 2022
Maria Pevchikh: Where does Russia's anti-Putin movement go from here?
1467
Stephen Sackur speaks to Maria Pevchikh, investigations chief for Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, which is now outlawed in Russia. With Vladimir Putin putting a tighter squeeze on Russian civil society and criticism of the war risking years in prison, where does Russia’s anti-Putin movement go from here?
Sep 12, 2022
Vadym Prystaiko: Can Ukraine count on its allies?
1403
Stephen Sackur speaks to Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine's former foreign minister, who now serves as the country's ambassador to the UK. With the war in Russia becoming protracted and attritional, and with Putin putting an energy squeeze on Europe, can Kyiv count on the staying power of its allies?
Sep 09, 2022
Enrico Letta: Is Italy set to choose a far-right government?
1428
Stephen Sackur speaks to Enrico Letta, leader of Italy’s centre-left Democratic Party. With a momentous General Election looming, can Italians be persuaded against embracing a coalition of the far right?
Sep 07, 2022
Lindsey Graham: Trump and the midterms
1378
In a special edition of HARDtalk from the Ambrosetti Forum in Italy, Stephen Sackur speaks to long-time Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham. He is perhaps the most forceful and voluble defender of former President Donald Trump in Washington DC. The expectation is that Trump will run again for president and try to regain the White House in 2024. But with legal troubles piling up, Republicans must decide: Can they afford to remain the party of Trump?
Sep 04, 2022
Tova Friedman: Learning from history
1434
Stephen Sackur speaks to Tova Friedman, one of the youngest survivors of Auschwitz. Never has it felt more important to remember the lessons of one of history’s greatest crimes, the Nazi genocide of the Jews. Europe is again witnessing a war of aggression, anti-Semitism is on the rise in many countries, and surveys of young people reveal alarming ignorance of the Holocaust. Now in her eighties, Tova Friedman has written a memoir and taken to social media to tell her story. Is the world listening?
Sep 02, 2022
Gwen Adshead: Getting inside the minds of murderers
1435
Zeinab Badawi speaks to Dr Gwen Adshead, a forensic psychiatrist and psychotherapist who has spent more than three decades trying to treat some of the UK’s most violent offenders. Why does she urge compassion and understanding for those who many brand as simply evil?
Aug 30, 2022
Pinchas Goldschmidt: Is the Ukraine war deepening Jewish anxiety?
1462
Stephen Sackur speaks to Pinchas Goldschmidt, who was chief rabbi of Moscow until he fled Russia after the Ukraine invasion and left his post. His fate has exposed the scale of wider Jewish flight from Russia, and divisions within the Jewish community. Why is this war deepening Jewish anxiety?
Aug 29, 2022
Olga Rudenko: Is there room for government critique in Ukraine's fight for survival?
1394
Stephen Sackur speaks to Olga Rudenko, chief editor of the Kyiv Independent - set up by Ukrainian journalists to hold their government to account. Is there room for independent journalism when Ukraine is in a fight for survival against Russian aggression?
Aug 25, 2022
Sir Peter Blake: What keeps his creativity alive?
1431
Stephen Sackur speaks to the artist Sir Peter Blake, whose work came to define the freshness and optimism of the 1960s. Now aged 90, he is still painting. What keeps his creativity alive?
Aug 22, 2022
Krišjānis Kariņš: Is Latvia still vulnerable?
1378
Stephen Sackur is in Riga to speak to the Prime Minister of Latvia, Krišjānis Kariņš. Latvia is now an established member of the EU and NATO, but Putin’s Ukraine invasion has revived fears of Russian expansionism. Three decades on from the collapse of the Soviet Union, is Latvia still vulnerable?
Aug 18, 2022
George Monbiot: Surrounded by fear
1432
Humans face a series of interlinked existential challenges. How do we feed a global population heading towards ten billion? Can it be done without degrading ecosystems and exacerbating climate change to a calamitous extent? Stephen Sackur interviews writer and environmental activist George Monbiot, who has spent decades addressing these questions and framing radical answers. Why are so many politicians and voters seemingly unwilling to listen?
Aug 17, 2022
Shon Faye: The transgender issue
1439
According to research in the US and the UK, roughly one in 100 may be transgender. But the fact that the debate about transgender rights has become a political battleground isn’t driven so much by the numbers but more by conflicting ideologies. Stephen Sackur asks author and journalist Shon Faye if all the attention on issues of sex, gender and identity is making it easier to be trans or not. This programme is subject to clarifications. In the interview with the transgender activist and writer Shon Faye, the presenter said: “There's quite a lot of data now on this, self-harm is a problem for people who are in this situation and suicide is also more common among trans young people than among the rest of the population”. In fact, the overall position is unclear as there is limited data on suicides among young trans people. On the point made by Shon Faye that puberty blockers are reversible, the NHS says little is known about their long term side effects in children with gender dysphoria, and that although the Gender and Identity Service (GIDS) advises this is a physically reversible treatment if stopped, it is not known what the psychological effects may be. Details here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/helpandfeedback/corrections_clarifications/
Aug 15, 2022
Amrullah Saleh: Is resistance in Afghanistan viable?
1477
Stephen Sackur speaks to the former First Vice President of Afghanistan Amrullah Saleh, now a leader of the resistance dedicated to overthrowing the Taliban. A year after the Islamists returned to power, Afghanistan is in the grip of repression and starvation. Is resistance a viable option?
Aug 12, 2022
Albert Woodfox: Freedom after a life inside
1421
There are some human experiences which most of us find it very hard to get our heads around. In 2019, Stephen Sackur spoke to Albert Woodfox, who experienced the unimaginable torment of more than four decades in solitary confinement, in a tiny cell in one of America’s most notorious prisons. He was the victim of ingrained racism and brutality inside America’s system of criminal justice. He was released from prison in 2016 and reflected on the meaning of freedom after everything he’d been through. This is another chance to listen to the interview with Albert Woodfox after his recent death. (Photo: Albert Woodfox, a former member of the Black Panthers, who was put in solitary confinement at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Credit: Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images)
Aug 10, 2022
Gregory Doran: Why does Shakespeare still captivate us?
1436
Stephen Sackur is in Stratford-upon-Avon, interviewing Gregory Doran, artistic director emeritus of the Royal Shakespeare Company. More than 400 years after his death, Shakespeare’s words and stories live on, transcending languages and borders. Why do we continue to make much ado about Shakespeare?
Aug 05, 2022
The Singh Twins: Mixing art and politics
1423
Zeinab Badawi is at the Firstsite gallery in Colchester to speak to acclaimed contemporary British artists the Singh Twins. Their work combines Eastern and Western traditions with sharp political comment. What inspires their artistic vision?
Aug 03, 2022
James Lovelock: The future of life on Earth
1435
In an interview recorded in 2021, Stephen Sackur speaks to one of the past century's most influential environmentalists, James Lovelock. He introduced us to the Gaia hypothesis – the idea that our planet and all the life on it are part of one dynamic, self-regulating system. At the age of 101, Lovelock still had big thoughts about the future of life on Earth. Have we humans sown the seeds of our own destruction? Audio for this episode updated on Monday 1st August 2022.
Aug 01, 2022
Julius Malema: Is South Africa on the brink of chaos?
1423
Stephen Sackur speaks to South Africa’s controversial populist politician Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters. Allegations of political corruption, power cuts and mass unemployment are pushing South Africa to the brink of chaos. Could one of Africa’s richest nations be consumed by insurrectionist violence?
Jul 29, 2022
Fatih Birol: Could short-term panic derail the clean energy transition?
1423
Stephen Sackur speaks to Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, and an influential advocate of the global transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. Has that green transition been hampered or hastened by the Ukraine war and Europe’s deepening energy crisis?
Jul 27, 2022
Sharan Burrow: Do workers have faith in collective action?
1426
Stephen Sackur interviews the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, Sharan Burrow. There are signs of deepening worker discontent around the world; inflation is outstripping wages, and global corporations stand accused of putting profits before people, while many governments see organised labour as a threat. Have workers lost their faith in collective action?
Jul 22, 2022
Omah Lay: Is there a universal message in his music?
1377
Sarah Montague speaks to Afrobeats musician Omah Lay. With its roots in the social activist Afrobeat music pioneered by Fela Kuti, is there a universal message in the music of this young Nigerian singer-songwriter? (Photo: Omah Lay talks to Sarah Montague)
Jul 17, 2022
Meaza Ashenafi: What are the prospects for peace in Ethiopia?
1445
The conflict in Ethiopia between the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front and government forces is one of many challenges to the country’s stability. Now, there is a glimmer of hope, with both sides saying they are willing to start efforts to end the war. Zeinab Badawi speaks to Meaza Ashenafi, the Chief Justice of the Federal Supreme Court of Ethiopia. What are the prospects for peace and justice in a conflict that has killed tens of thousands?
Jul 15, 2022
Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda: Does Christianity in Iraq have a future?
1439
Twenty-five years ago, almost one and a half million Christians lived in Iraq. Now there are around a quarter of a million, and after years of war and communal violence many of them have been displaced from their ancestral homes. Can anything be done to reverse this trend toward extinction? Stephen Sackur speaks to Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda of Erbil, home to the largest remaining Christian community. In a country and a region where Christianity has deep roots, does it have a future?
Jul 13, 2022
Nury Turkel: Will the world stand up for China's Uyghurs?
1377
Stephen Sackur speaks to Nury Turkel, a prominent Uyghur activist in exile and chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. He is a key leader in the effort to pressure China to end the repression of the Uyghurs. But is his campaign doomed to fail? (Photo: Nury Turkel in the Hardtalk studio)
Jul 07, 2022
Ibram X. Kendi: America's unhealed racial wounds
1440
The fractures in American society are widening, over guns, abortion, education and more. But the deepest, most traumatic fracture is surely over race. The US is post-slavery, post-segregation, but definitely not post-racism. Stephen Sackur speaks to Ibram X. Kendi, an influential writer and academic, who argues the only way to not be racist is to be actively anti-racist - a message he says children must hear. But does his approach risk intensifying America’s internal conflict?
Jul 06, 2022
Steve Thompson: Rugby's traumatic legacy
1377
Steve Thompson is a World Cup-winning England rugby player whose brain has been irreparably damaged by years of collisions. His wife Steph helps him deal with a life blighted by early-onset dementia. What happens when the game just isn’t worth it?
Jul 05, 2022
Lord Patten: Were promises to Hong Kong broken?
1378
When the UK handed Hong Kong back to China 25 years ago, the last words of the departing British Governor to the people of the territory were: “Now Hong Kong people are to run Hong Kong. That is the promise. And that is the unshakeable destiny.” Sarah Montague speaks to Lord Patten, the man who made that pledge, to ask if that promise has been broken - and if the UK could have done more to honour it.
Jun 30, 2022
K. Shanmugam: Will Singapore have to choose between the US and China?
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to K. Shanmugam, Singapore’s minister of home affairs. Economically open, socially conservative and highly politically controlled, Singapore has thrived in the era of globalisation, but could rising US/China tensions force it to take sides?
Jun 28, 2022
Henry Huiyao Wang: Is China exposing its vulnerabilities?
1396
Stephen Sackur speaks to China thinktank founder and sometime government adviser Henry Huiyao Wang. From its strategic partnership with Putin’s Russia, to its draconian and economically damaging Covid policy, is Beijing making calls which expose its vulnerabilities?
Jun 24, 2022
João Vale de Almeida: Have UK-EU relations become toxic?
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to João Vale de Almeida, the EU’s Ambassador to the UK, who is at the sharp end of the bitter fight between Boris Johnson’s government and Brussels over Northern Ireland. If Britain backs out of the Brexit deal and the EU retaliates, how toxic could things get?
Jun 21, 2022
Semyon Bychkov: Artists speaking out against Putin
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to one of the world’s great conductors, Semyon Bychkov. Born in the Soviet Union, exiled from Russia, and a fierce critic of Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, does he fear the fall out for artists when nationalism and politics take centre stage?
Jun 19, 2022
Olha Stefanishyna: Will Kyiv get the support it needs?
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to one of Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Ministers, Olha Stefanishyna. The country faces a moment of truth: Russian firepower on the frontline is beginning to tell, as the EU contemplates whether to accept Ukraine as a candidate for membership. Will Kyiv get the support it needs?
Jun 16, 2022
Nicu Popescu: How can Moldova protect itself?
1379
Stephen Sackur speaks to Nicu Popescu, Moldova’s foreign minister and deputy Prime Minister. Poor, beset with corruption and strategically vulnerable, Moldova has reasons to fear that Russia’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine could end on its soil. How does Moldova best protect itself?
Jun 14, 2022
Josef Aschbacher: Is Europe losing the space race?
1433
Stephen Sackur speaks to the head of the European Space Agency, Josef Aschbacher. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine put an end to space cooperation with Moscow, leaving key projects in disarray. Has it also left Europe looking like an also-ran in the space race?
Jun 13, 2022
Vassily Nebenzia: Is Putin's plan failing?
1379
Stephen Sackur speaks to Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia. More than 100 days into its invasion of Ukraine, Russia is locked in attrition, costly fighting in the Donbas, enduring economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation. Is Putin’s plan failing?
Jun 09, 2022
Fawzia Koofi: Do Afghans still have hope?
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to Fawzia Koofi, one of Afghanistan’s most prominent women politicians, who has been in exile since the Taliban returned to power last year. Faced with economic collapse and political repression, can Afghans see any glimmer of light in the darkness? (Photo: Fawzia Koofi in the Hardtalk studio)
Jun 07, 2022
Dr Njoki Ngumi – Artist and film-maker
1379
Zeinab Badawi is in Nairobi to talk to one of Kenya’s most ground-breaking cultural figures Dr Njoki Ngumi. She abandoned a promising career in medicine to help set up an arts collective and believes that creative endeavours can help transform societies. One of the collective’s films exploring homosexuality was banned in Kenya where gay sex is a crime. So how far is Njoki Ngumi shifting opinions? (Photo: Dr Njoki Ngumi)
Jun 05, 2022
Iván Fischer, Conductor and Composer
1379
Stephen Sackur speaks to the world-renowned Hungarian conductor Iván Fischer. He’s one of the most innovative, idiosyncratic maestros in the world of classical music. In the current climate, how easy is it to find the magic in music-making?
Jun 02, 2022
Serhii Plokhy: How Putin weaponises history
1399
Stephen Sackur speaks to internationally renowned Harvard historian Serhii Plokhy, who specialises in the complex histories of Ukraine, Russia and the Soviet Union. Vladimir Putin has tried to weaponise history to undermine Ukrainian identity and nationhood - how does this historian fight back?
Jun 01, 2022
Danica Roem: America's culture wars
1378
Stephen Sackur is in Washington DC to speak to America’s first transgender state lawmaker, Danica Roem. She overcame long odds to win a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. Now she’s a powerful voice in the US culture wars. From trans rights to abortion, are progressives or conservatives in the ascendant?
May 29, 2022
Luis Lacalle Pou: Why is Uruguay moving to the right?
1377
Stephen Sackur speaks to Uruguay’s President Luis Lacalle Pou. He’s a conservative advocate of free market economics and tougher crackdowns on crime. Why is Uruguay going right when so much of Latin America is currently trending to the left?
May 26, 2022
Jens Stoltenberg: Is Nato being undermined by internal divisions?
1379
Stephen Sackur speaks to Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. He claims the West’s military alliance has been steadfast in support of Ukraine since Russian President Putin’s invasion. But in Kyiv, there is increasing frustration. Is Nato being undermined by internal divisions?
May 24, 2022
Iván Duque: Has Colombia's president failed?
1426
Stephen Sackur speaks to the President of Colombia, Iván Duque. His term is coming to an end with the country’s biggest problems unresolved: mass poverty, inequality and alarming levels of violence. Does the Duque Presidency signal the conclusive failure of Colombia’s ruling elite?
May 22, 2022
Franklin Graham: An era of moral decline?
1418
Stephen Sackur speaks to evangelist Franklin Graham, who has followed in his father Billy’s footsteps and become one of the biggest Christian preachers in America. In the intensifying culture war over abortion and LGBTQ rights in the US, have the evangelists and the Republicans joined forces?
May 20, 2022
Stella Moris: Will Julian Assange be extradited to the US?
1417
Stephen Sackur speaks to lawyer Stella Moris, wife of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and mother of two of his children. The British government is about to decide whether to extradite him to the United States to face espionage charges. With his fate on the line, why is Assange such a polarising figure?
May 17, 2022
Inger Ashing: Is the war in Ukraine overshadowing other crises?
1420
Zeinab Badawi speaks to Inger Ashing, CEO of the charity Save the Children International. What is her organisation doing in Ukraine, and is the war with Russia taking the focus off other global hotspots, leaving millions of children in peril?
May 16, 2022
Victoria Spartz: Does her party share her commitment to defeating Putin?
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Stephen Sackur is in Washington to speak to the Ukrainian born Republican Congresswoman Victoria Spartz. She is an ardent advocate of US support for Kyiv in the war with Russia. Does her party and in particular Donald Trump, share her commitment to defeating Putin? (Photo: Victoria Spartz, Republican Congresswoman)
May 13, 2022
Senator Mark Warner: Are we facing a new Cold War?
1429
Stephen Sackur is in Washington DC to speak to the Chairman of the US Senate Intelligence Committee, senior Democrat Senator Mark Warner. America is sending weapons and money to Ukraine to confront Vladimir Putin. But with economic troubles and political polarisation at home, is the US well equipped for a new era of conflict? (Photo: Democrat Senator Mark Warner)
May 11, 2022
Jim Green: Has Nasa lost its way?
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to Jim Green who has just retired as chief scientist of Nasa. He was involved with extraordinary missions to Mars, Jupiter and Mercury but he also saw Nasa funding slashed and ever more reliance on co-operation with billionaire privateers. Has Nasa lost its way? (Photo: Jim Green appears on Hardtalk via videolink)
May 08, 2022
Zoltán Kovács: Whose side is Hungary really on?
1379
Hungary is at odds with fellow Nato and EU members thanks to its close ties to Russia and suspicion of Ukraine’s president Zelensky. Stephen Sackur speaks to Zoltán Kovács, Hungary’s Secretary of State for International Communication. Whose side is Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán really on? (Photo: Zoltán Kovács, Hungary Secretary of State for International Communication)
May 05, 2022
Bill Browder: Sanctioning Russia
1438
Stephen Sackur speaks to Bill Browder, the American investor who made a fortune in post-Soviet Russia before falling foul of Vladimir Putin. Browder has long campaigned for Russia’s economic isolation - his lobbying has been instrumental in the US passing the Magnitsky Act in 2012, which imposed targeted sanctions on Russian individuals directly connected to rights abuses. Thanks to the invasion of Ukraine, Russia is now facing further Western sanctions. But Putin’s war machine hasn't yet ground to a halt and he shows no sign of reversing course. Has Russia’s economic resilience been underestimated? (Photo: Bill Browder in the Hardtalk studio)
May 04, 2022
Eduard Heger, Prime Minister of Slovakia
1379
Stephen Sackur is in Bratislava for an exclusive interview with Slovakia's Prime Minister Eduard Heger. Slovakia is hosting tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees and is shipping arms to Ukraine yet it still relies on Russian gas. The country faces tough choices. What will they do?
May 01, 2022
Frances O'Grady: How can workers defend their interests?
1378
As rising inflation eats into wages, and machine learning and the gig economy transform the world of work, how do workers defend their interests? Stephen Sackur speaks to Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the UK’s Trades Union Congress.
Apr 28, 2022
Slava Vakarchuk: A rock star on the frontline
1379
Stephen Sackur speaks to Slava Vakarchuk, a Ukrainian rock star who has exchanged stadium gigs for a military uniform and morale-boosting visits to the frontline. As Ukraine fights for its survival in the face of Russia’s aggression, what role can this cultural icon play?
Apr 26, 2022
Mikhail Khodorkovsky: Making an enemy of Putin
1460
Stephen Sackur speaks to the the former Russian oligarch turned Putin foe, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. He was once the boss of energy company Yukos and Russia’s richest oligarch. After falling out with President Putin, he spent 10 years in prison. Now he wants tougher western sanctions on Moscow and more arms for Ukraine in the war with Russia. If Putin faces defeat in Ukraine, how will he respond?
Apr 22, 2022
Kylie Moore-Gilbert: 804 days in an Iranian jail
1377
Iran’s rocky relations with the West have cost a host of individuals their freedom. The Islamic republic has imprisoned citizens from the US, Britain and a number of other countries for spying. The charges may be trumped up, but Tehran’s determination to use western prisoners for political purposes is very real. Stephen Sackur speaks to Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who was released from an Iranian jail in 2020 after 804 days behind bars.
Apr 19, 2022
Omid Djalili: Can jokes be funny without being mean?
1378
Comedy challenges taste and convention, and it can arouse strong reactions, as we saw at this year’s Oscars when a joke earned Chris Rock a slap in the face from Will Smith. Stephen Sackur speaks to Omid Djalili, who has spent more than 25 years finding laughs in sometimes unlikely places. He was born in London to Iranian parents, and has thrived as a cross-cultural comedic chameleon. Is it possible to be funny without being mean?
Apr 17, 2022
Dr Njoki Ngumi: Can art change Kenya?
1379
Zeinab Badawi is in Nairobi to talk to one of Kenya’s most ground-breaking cultural figures, Dr Njoki Ngumi. She abandoned a promising career in medicine to help set up an arts collective, and believes that creative endeavours can help transform societies. One of the collective’s films exploring homosexuality was banned in Kenya, where gay sex is a crime. So how far is Njoki Ngumi shifting opinions?
Apr 14, 2022
Sergei Guriev: Is Moscow outmanoeuvring the West's sanctions?
1378
What will it take to end the war Vladimir Putin has initiated in Ukraine? In military terms, Russia now seems intent on a grim campaign of attrition in the east and south - a strategy which is already taking a terrible human toll. Could economic isolation inflict enough pain to force the Kremlin to reconsider? Stephen Sackur speaks to the exiled Russian economist Sergei Guriev. Is Moscow outmanoeuvring the west when it comes to sanctions?
Apr 12, 2022
Tsai Ming-yen: Could Putin’s strategy be a template for China to follow?
1379
While the West says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine must fail, China holds back. Stephen Sackur speaks to a top diplomat from Taiwan, Taipei’s representative to the EU, Tsai Ming-yen. Could Putin’s strategy be a template for Beijing to follow in territory it still claims as its own, namely Taiwan?
Apr 10, 2022
Nikita Mazepin: Sanctions on Russia 'are cancel culture'
1377
Stephen Sackur interviews former Russian F1 driver Nikita Mazepin, who was fired from his F1 team after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. He and his billionaire oligarch father now face EU and UK sanctions. What kind of impact will sporting isolation have on Russia? (Photo: Nikita Mazepin appears on Hardtalk via videolink)
Apr 07, 2022
Dmytro Kuleba: Is diplomacy at a dead end?
1438
Stephen Sackur speaks to Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba. Horrifying evidence of atrocities has emerged from towns around Kyiv recently vacated by Russian troops. Ukraine calls it Putin’s genocide, Moscow says it’s fake. As the war turns ever darker, is diplomacy at a dead end? (Photo: Dmytro Kuleba appears on Hardtalk via videolink from Warsaw)
Apr 05, 2022
Claude Joseph: Can Haiti be saved?
1379
Haiti is one of the world’s most broken nations, and internal fractures are tearing the country apart. Last summer, the president was assassinated, and the perpetrators still haven’t been brought to justice. Elections have been shelved, and Haitians live in grinding poverty amid gang violence and international indifference. Stephen Sackur speaks to Claude Joseph, Haiti’s former foreign minister and briefly acting PM. Can Haiti be saved?
Apr 03, 2022
Maria Butina: What is Russia achieving in Ukraine?
1379
Stephen Sackur speaks to Maria Butina, a pro-Putin member of Russia’s state Duma. Where does Vladimir Putin’s self-styled 'special military operation' in Ukraine go from here? He expected Kyiv to fall quickly; it didn’t. Ukraine’s determination to resist hasn’t crumbled, despite the terrible human cost. Russian losses mount, and its economy is hurting. In the invasion’s second month, what do Russians think it is achieving?
Mar 31, 2022
Mairead McGuinness: How far will the EU go to support Kyiv?
1378
Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine united the EU in shock and outrage. But four weeks into the war, with Ukrainian cities besieged and civilians suffering unimaginable horrors, cracks are already evident in the European response. Stephen Sackur speaks to the EU Commissioner for Financial Services, Mairead McGuinness. How far should sanctions go? Solidarity with Ukraine is one thing, but is the EU prepared to endure real pain to support Kyiv?
Mar 29, 2022
Ilya Ponomarev: A former Russian MP on fighting Putin
1377
Gabriel Gatehouse speaks to Ilya Ponomarev, a former member of the Russian parliament who is fighting in Ukraine – against Russia. Ponomarev has long said he wants to bring down Vladimir Putin, but was once on the Russian government payroll. He has had his feet in many camps: among the Russian elites, inside the popular opposition, and now with Ukraine’s defence forces. What will the repercussions be of this war be, in Ukraine and in Russia?
Mar 25, 2022
Francis Fukuyama: The end of the end of history?
1456
Sarah Montague speaks to the renowned US political scientist Francis Fukuyama. Thirty years ago, the Soviet Union collapsed and communist governments fell across Eastern Europe. Liberal democracy appeared to have won the Cold War and triumphed in the battle of ideas. Dr Fukuyama posed a question – if humanity had arrived at the most effective form of government, were we at the end of history? In the years since, liberal democracy has often seemed in retreat. But when Russia invaded Ukraine the world changed again. Francis Fukuyama is convinced that President Putin has miscalculated and is heading for defeat. What does that mean for the course of history and the progress of liberal democracy?
Mar 23, 2022
Tobias Ellwood: How should the West stand up to Putin?
1379
Russia has launched its most deadly attack on western Ukraine so far, striking a military base just 15 kilometres from the Polish border. This is being seen as a warning to Nato that, in supplying weapons to Ukraine through Poland, it risks an escalation of the war. Zeinab Badawi speaks to the senior British Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, the chair of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee and a former soldier. He believes that Nato and the West need to change radically their stance on the Ukraine war. Does he have a clear strategy to stand up to Putin and save lives?
Mar 16, 2022
Jonas Gahr Støre: Easing Europe off Russian energy
1428
Europe's dependence on Russian energy sits uneasily with Putin’s war in Ukraine. Moscow is financing its invasion through revenues from such exports. One EU leader has said Russian oil and gas is being bought with the blood of the Ukrainian people. Zeinab Badawi speaks to Norway’s Prime Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre. Norway is one of the world’s biggest oil and gas exporters. What can it do to help ease Europe off its addiction to Russian energy supplies, and can this be done quickly enough to starve the Kremlin war machine of funds and save the lives of innocent Ukrainians?
Mar 14, 2022
Jonas Gahr Støre: Easing Europe off Russian energy
1428
Europe's dependence on Russian energy sits uneasily with Putin’s war in Ukraine. Moscow is financing its invasion through revenues from such exports. One EU leader has said Russian oil and gas is being bought with the blood of the Ukrainian people. Zeinab Badawi speaks to Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre. Norway is one of the world’s biggest oil and gas exporters. What can it do to help ease Europe off its addiction to Russian energy supplies and can this be done quickly enough to starve the Kremlin war machine of funds and save the lives of innocent Ukrainians?
Mar 11, 2022
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya: Is the fate of Belarus tied to the fate of Ukraine?
1377
With the world focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it’s easy to overlook one other key element of Vladimir Putin’s Greater Russia strategy: Moscow’s ever tighter grip on Ukraine’s northern neighbour Belarus, now used as a launchpad for the Ukraine assault. Belarus’s authoritarian President Lukashenko seems to be in Putin’s pocket, whether he likes it or not. Stephen Sackur speaks to the exiled leader of the anti-Lukashenko movement, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Is the fate of Belarus now tied to the fate of Ukraine?
Mar 11, 2022
Michael Carpenter: Is this a new age of conflict?
1379
Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine represents the biggest seismic shock to European security since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The US, NATO allies and the EU are now arming the Ukrainian government. Stephen Sackur speaks to Michael Carpenter, US Ambassador to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Are we in a new age of conflict, and will Russia's invasion of Ukraine lead to a new, long-term cold war?
Mar 09, 2022
Arseniy Yatsenyuk: Former Ukrainian PM
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Russia’s invasion hasn’t delivered Moscow a quick decisive victory, but it is taking a terrible toll on Ukraine. How realistic is Kyiv’s insistence that this is a war they’ll ultimately win?
Mar 07, 2022
Andrey Kurkov: Putin's attack on Ukraine's identity
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to Ukrainian novelist Andrey Kurkov. He was born in Russia, writes in Russian and now fears for his life at the hands of Russian troops. What does his personal story tell us about Moscow’s attempt to undermine Ukraine’s independence and identity?
Mar 02, 2022
David Miliband: President of the International Rescue Committee
1410
Stephen Sackur speaks to David Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee and former British foreign secretary. Hour by hour Vladimir Putin intensifies the scale and violence of the Russian military assault on Ukraine. Civilian buildings hit by rocket fire, towns and cities encircled, and the capital Kyiv now facing a vast build-up of Russian firepower. Is the West doing enough in response to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine?
Mar 01, 2022
Iván Fischer: The power and joy of music
1413
Stephen Sackur speaks to the renowned Hungarian conductor and composer Iván Fischer. Much of the world is transitioning from locking down to living with Covid-19. And that means cultural life is returning to cities like London. Performers can return to the stage, audiences can gather again. After the pandemic, how easy is it to find the magic in music-making? (Photo: Iván Fischer)
Feb 28, 2022
Leonid Volkov: How strong is Putin's grip on Russia?
1411
Stephen Sackur speaks to Leonid Volkov, a prominent figure in Russia’s anti-Putin opposition. Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine represents a gamble by the Kremlin - projecting regional supremacy will come at a high price. Just how strong is the president’s grip on Russia?
Feb 25, 2022
Ingrid Betancourt: Can Colombia defeat corruption?
1378
Colombians will elect a new President this year, and amid a crowded field, one candidate has reason to view the coming campaign with mixed emotion. Ingrid Betancourt was running for president 20 years ago when she was captured by Farc guerrillas and held captive in the jungle for more than six years. Colombia’s guerrilla war is over, and now she’s running again, promising a war on corruption. She says she’ll finish what she started - is that possible?
Feb 21, 2022
Jamie Raskin, Democrat Congressman, House Committe to Investigative January 6th Attack
1378
Early last year American democracy came under attack from within. Supporters of defeated President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol and provoked deadly violence. Stephen Sackur speaks to the Democrat Congressman Jamie Raskin, a key player in the subsequent impeachment of Trump and the Congressional investigation into the 6 January assault. All this, as Congressman Raskin has faced up to personal tragedy - what happens when the pillars of personal and political life come crashing down all at once.
Feb 18, 2022
Yuri Vitrenko: Russia, Ukraine and Europe's energy
1433
Russia and Ukraine have powerful ties of geography, history and energy. And when it comes to the geopolitics of the current crisis energy is a key factor. Ukraine has long profited from being the middle-man for Russian gas exports into Europe. Moscow is in the business of changing that reality. Stephen Sackur speaks to Yuri Vitrenko, CEO of Naftogaz, Ukraine's biggest energy company. As Kiev and Moscow face off, where does the economic leverage lie?
Feb 16, 2022
Kiril Petkov: Is Bulgaria ready to stand up to Russia?
1378
Vladimir Putin knows how to probe for weakness in the West. With his troops building up on the Ukrainian border, Russia’s president is testing the unity of NATO. In particular, he is putting pressure on Europe’s eastern flank. How will nations once in the Soviet orbit respond? Stephen Sackur speaks to Kiril Petkov, Prime Minister of Bulgaria, which Moscow says must not host a NATO military presence. This is a big test for a new prime minister in the EU’s poorest country. Is Bulgaria ready to stand up to Russia?
Feb 14, 2022
Michael McCaul: Is Biden up to facing off with Putin?
1309
Republican Congressman Michael McCaul accuses President Biden of failing to stand up to the challenge of Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. After four years of Donald Trump, are Republicans credible when they condemn Biden for foreign policy failure? (Photo: Congressman Michael McCaul appears on Hardtalk via videolink)
Feb 11, 2022
George Takei, Actor
1378
Stephen Sackur talks to George Takei, forever famous as Lieutenant Sulu in Star Trek. Interned as a child in the United States for being of Japanese origin, he now campaigns for gay and immigrant rights. Do the values of Star Trek still resonate?
Feb 09, 2022
Marine Le Pen: France's future president?
1427
Stephen Sackur speaks to the longtime leader of France's far right, Marine Le Pen. She's hoping to win the French presidency for her party, National Rally, in elections this spring. But the far right is now divided, and rivals accuse her of going soft in the defence of French civilisation. Have her efforts to detoxify her party’s image backfired?
Feb 07, 2022
Gabrielius Landsbergis: Tension in Eastern Europe
1379
Russian forces continue to gather close to Ukraine’s eastern and northern borders, and still the world waits to see what Vladimir Putin’s end game is. If the goal is to wring security concessions out of the US and its Nato partners, does he have any chance of success? Stephen Sackur speaks to Gabrielius Landsbergis, who is foreign minister of Lithuania and on the frontline of tensions between Russia and Nato.
Feb 04, 2022
Bassem Youssef: Do we expect too much from satire?
1417
Stephen Sackur speaks to comedian and writer Bassem Youssef. He made his name and won an audience of tens of millions with a satirical comedy show during Egypt’s popular uprising more than a decade ago. But the revolution quickly morphed into authoritarianism and Youssef fled to the US, taking his gift for comedy with him. Did he, and do we still, expect too much from political satire?
Feb 02, 2022
Isabel Allende: What does South America's future hold?
1379
The decisive victory by Gabriel Boric, the left-wing candidate, in Chile’s recent elections has reset the button on the country’s political path. He defeated the right-wing presidential contender in a result which observers believe may be replicated when other Latin American countries go to the polls this year. Zeinab Badawi speaks to Isabel Allende, the acclaimed Chilean writer whose uncle was Salvador Allende, the left-wing Chilean leader removed in a coup in 1973. Isabel Allende has lived in four Latin American countries and knows the continent well. How does she view current trends in South America?
Jan 31, 2022
Mariana Mazzucato: The space race and our economic futures
1419
What is the galvanising force behind transformational economic change? Capitalism encourages us to look to the raw power of markets as the driver of innovation. But is that really true? Stephen Sackur speaks to the economist Mariana Mazzucato. Her faith in the transformational power of the proactive state has made her the go-to adviser to a host of governments. Does her "moonshot" economics ignore some earthly realities?
Jan 28, 2022
Dominic Lee: China's Hong Kong takeover
1430
Stephen Sackur speaks to Hong Kong Legislative Councillor Dominic Lee Tsz-king, a high profile defender of Beijing’s increasingly tight grip on the territory. With China’s increasing crackdown in the city and pro-democracy activists arrested, exiled or cowed into silence, has "one country, two systems" become "one country, one system"?
Jan 26, 2022
Mohammad Marandi: Iran's nuclear negotiations
1379
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the adviser to Iran’s negotiators in Vienna, Mohammad Marandi. Time is running out for negotiators trying to break the impasse between the United States and Iran and revive the deal curbing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Iran is still enriching uranium; the Biden administration is talking of giving up on the current diplomatic track. If a nuclear deal can’t be done, how real is the danger of a catastrophic war in the Middle East?
Jan 24, 2022
Damian Collins: Can Boris Johnson be trusted?
1379
Stephen Sackur interviews British Conservative MP Damian Collins, who has been working on online regulation. After the stream of revelations about lockdown socialising in Downing Street, he and his party colleagues must decide whether they want Boris Johnson to continue as party leader. Is the Prime Minister damaged beyond repair?
Jan 21, 2022
Oleksii Reznikov: An invasion of Ukraine?
1379
Stephen Sackur speaks to Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov. With more than 100,000 Russian troops massed on Ukraine’s border, a Russian military offensive may be imminent. If war comes, what will it mean for Ukraine and the security of Europe?
Jan 19, 2022
Kathleen Stock: The debate about sex, gender and equality
1428
Stephen Sackur speaks to philosopher and author Kathleen Stock whose views on the immutability of biological sex and the limitations of gender self-identity have made her a hate figure for some transgender activists and supporters. Why has debate about sex, gender and identity become a culture war battleground? (Photo: Kathleen Stock in the Hardtalk studio)
Jan 17, 2022
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC: Fighting for equality in British law
1428
Women are still fighting for equality all over the world. Even in long established democracies like the UK plenty of evidence suggests that from the workplace to the law courts there is a long way to go. Stephen Sackur speaks to Baroness Helena Kennedy who has been trying to loosen the grip of the patriarchy in the British legal system for five decades.
Jan 14, 2022
Sathnam Sanghera: Confronting Britain's history
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to author and journalist Sathnam Sanghera, whose bestselling book Empireland takes a critical look at Britain’s imperial past. Confronting truth means challenging cultural norms. Can it be done without opening another front in the culture wars?
Jan 12, 2022
Bryan Stevenson: Will equality ever be more than a dream in the US?
1428
Black and white Americans have always had vastly different experiences within their country’s justice system. You see it in so many different data sets, from police violence to incarceration and sentencing. It's impossible to understand without reference to America’s history of institutionalised racism. But understanding is one thing; the real challenge is how to change it. Stephen Sackur speaks to Bryan Stevenson, civil rights lawyer and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative. Will equality ever be more than a dream?
Jan 10, 2022
Nureldin Satti: Sudan's coup
1431
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Sudanese diplomat Nureldin Satti. It’s surely hard for the people of Sudan to be optimistic about their country’s prospects in 2022. The new year began with the nominal head of the transitional government quitting his post, leaving Sudan, once again, in the grip of the military. Street protests in recent months have left more than fifty people dead. Nureldin Satti was fired from his post as Ambassador in the US after last October's military coup. Will Sudan’s generals ever give up political power?
Jan 07, 2022
Laurence Tribe: Is the US system of government in peril?
1433
Stephen Sackur speaks to Laurence Tribe, Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard University. It’s a year since pro-Trump protesters stormed the US Capitol and unleashed a spasm of violence which left five people dead. While hundreds of people have since been charged, none have been key associates of Donald Trump, and the former president seems to be contemplating another run for the White House while insisting, without evidence, that the 2020 election was stolen. Is partisanship on both sides eroding faith in American democracy?
Jan 05, 2022
Neil deGrasse Tyson: Trust in science
1434
Stephen Sackur speaks to Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of National History in New York. He is one of America’s most popular scientists and shares his fascination with space with millions of Americans. But here on Earth, science is under pressure, from Covid to climate change. Is trust in science dwindling?
Dec 20, 2021
Ernesto Araújo: Has Brazil failed to protect its people?
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to Brazil’s former Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo who was an arch critic of global efforts to contain Covid, calling them communistic. Brazil’s government now stands accused of failing to protect its people. Is that fair? (Photo: Ernesto Araújo appears via video-link on Hardtalk)
Dec 17, 2021
Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov: Fighting for a free press
1430
Stephen Sackur is in Oslo to interview the joint winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Both are independent journalists who have defied threats and repression to continue their work. Maria Ressa, founder of the Rappler news website in the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov, long time editor in chief of Novaya Gazeta in Moscow. Theirs is a fight for freedom of expression. But is it a fight they are losing? (Photo: Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov during the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony. Credit: Stian Lysberg Solum/NTB/Reuters)
Dec 15, 2021
John Kerry: US Special Envoy for Climate
1442
Can America lead an effective global response to the climate change emergency? At last month’s COP26 summit in Glasgow the chorus of concern from world leaders was deafening, but the really tough decisions on deeper emissions cuts to reduce global warming were put off until next year. Stephen Sackur speaks to the US Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry. His mission is to restore American leadership on the biggest existential challenge facing our planet. But is that mission impossible? (Photo: John Kerry in the Hardtalk studio)
Dec 10, 2021
Moeed Yusuf: What will a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan mean for Pakistan?
1379
Stephen Sackur speaks with Moeed Yusuf, National Security Adviser of Pakistan. The Taliban is back in power in neighbouring Afghanistan. US and Nato forces are gone. Pakistan sees opportunities in this new reality but are there grave dangers too? (Photo: Moeed Yusuf appears via videolink on Hardtalk)
Dec 08, 2021
Paul Auster: Is New York still the heartbeat of America?
1379
Stephen Sackur speaks to one of New York City's most famous writers, Paul Auster, whose novels and screenplays have done much to capture the New York state of mind. The city prides itself on being a 24/7 melting pot of glitz, glamour and buzz, but it has been hit hard by Covid; only now are overseas visitors being allowed back in. In this era of pandemic and political polarisation, is New York no longer the heartbeat of America? (Photo: Paul Auster)
Dec 06, 2021
Ken Buck: Big tech and Republican politics
1376
We speak to Republican congressman Ken Buck, a libertarian on issues of gun control and Covid, but a supporter of breaking up America’s big tech giants. Do America’s conservatives have a coherent worldview, and is Donald Trump still at the heart of it?
Dec 01, 2021
Nicolai Tangen: Can Norway move on from fossil fuels?
1377
Stephen Sackur speaks to Nicolai Tangen, head of Norway's $1.4 trillion sovereign wealth fund, the biggest in the world. Fossil fuels have given Norwegians vast wealth. Are they now ready to wean themselves off oil and gas?
Nov 29, 2021
Rana Ayyub: Abuse, intimidation and legal threats
1379
Stephen Sackur speaks to the Indian investigative journalist Rana Ayyub whose determination to dig deep into the past and present of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has prompted abuse, intimidation and legal action. What does her case say about the health of India’s democracy? (Photo: Rana Ayyub appears via videolink on Hardtalk)
Nov 26, 2021
Péter Márki-Zay: Can Viktor Orban be beaten at the ballot box?
1378
Next Spring, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the EU's most controversial leader, will seek a new mandate. His grip on power in Budapest is tight, covering the parliament, the media and the economy. His opponents at home and in Brussels call him an autocrat, but can he beaten at the ballot box? Stephen Sackur speaks to Péter Márki-Zay, who will lead a united opposition front into the election. He’s a small town mayor with big ambition, but is being the candidate who is not Orban enough?
Nov 24, 2021
Ryan Girdusky: Race and education in America
1378
Scratch beneath the surface of everyday American life and you find an increasingly polarised culture. Donald Trump is no longer in the White House, but the culture wars he inflamed are still raging. In a special edition of HARDtalk from New York, Stephen Sackur speaks to an influential conservative activist in the thick of the fight. Ryan Girdusky, the founder of the 1776 Project Political Action Committee, says America’s schoolchildren are being brainwashed about race and he’s out to stop it. What does it say about America that the classroom is now a political battleground?
Nov 22, 2021
George Takei: Growing up in an internment camp
1378
Stephen Sackur talks to George Takei, forever famous as Lieutenant Sulu in Star Trek. Interned as a child in the United States for being of Japanese origin, he now campaigns for gay and immigrant rights. Do the values of Star Trek still resonate?
Nov 17, 2021
Ritchie Torres: Is America ready to embrace progressive politics?
1378
Stephen Sackur is in the south Bronx, New York, to speak to Ritchie Torres, a rising star of the Democratic Party. He is the first gay black man elected to Congress, and a vocal champion for the poorest district in the country. Is America as a whole ready to embrace progressive politics?
Nov 15, 2021
Pawel Jablonski: Could Poland exit the EU?
1373
Poland is the biggest rebel in the European family, and matters are coming to a head over its latest disputes with the EU. Brussels accuses the centre-right government in Warsaw of a blatant disregard for EU law, in particular over changes it wants to make to the judicial system. Zeinab Badawi speaks to Pawel Jablonski, the country's deputy foreign minister. Could Poland follow Britain’s lead and exit the EU? (Photo: Pavel Jablonski appears on Hardtalk via video link)
Nov 12, 2021
Patrice Evra: The flaws in football
1442
Football's global appeal can’t disguise the problems facing the game. Some fans say the sport is being ruined by financial greed, and racism is still to be rooted out. Stephen Sackur speaks to the former Manchester United and France star, Patrice Evra. He’s just done something most footballers never do, by revealing his deep emotional scars. What made him do it?
Nov 10, 2021
Mike Leigh: Art and the cinema
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to Mike Leigh, the acclaimed writer and director of films such as Secrets and Lies, Vera Drake, Happy-Go-Lucky and Mr Turner. For five decades, he has told stories about believable characters facing very human dilemmas. They’re painstakingly put together and not always easy to watch. But is the demand for his kind of artistic vision dwindling?
Nov 08, 2021
Prime Minister Albin Kurti: Is he a source of instability in the Balkans?
1378
Kosovo has enjoyed independent statehood for 13 years but almost half the world does not recognise it. Stephen Sackur speaks to Prime Minister Albin Kurti who has had a turbulent career. He has been a political prisoner, he launched five tear gas attacks on his own parliament and he has a vision of Kosovo unifying with Albania. Is he a source of instability in the Balkans? (Photo: Prime Minister Albin Kurti appears on Hardtalk via videolink)
Nov 05, 2021
Fiona Hill: What did Trump mean for America and the world?
1379
The Trump Presidency challenged many public officials to make a choice: obey directives from the White House against their better judgment, or take a stand and face the wrath of the pro-Trump movement. Fiona Hill, a former Russia adviser at the White House, took a stand. She was a key witness in Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial, and has since had time to reflect on what his presidency meant for America and its geopolitical standing. (Photo: Fiona Hill, the National Security Council’s former senior director for Europe and Russia. Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Nov 03, 2021
Fatih Birol: Can greenhouse gas emissions be eliminated?
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency. He believes greenhouse gas emissions can effectively be eliminated within a generation. But is he ignoring the political realities he’ll encounter at the COP26 summit in Glasgow?
Nov 01, 2021
Bruno Le Maire: Is France looking for a new economic direction?
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to French finance minister Bruno Le Maire. France is in recovery mode after the damaging impact of Covid but is struggling to deliver on long promised economic reform. With a presidential election looming, is France looking for a new direction? (Photo: Bruno Le Maire, Economy and Finance Minister for France. Credit: Oan Valat/EPA)
Oct 28, 2021
Ariel Dorfman: Ghosts of the past
1375
Stephen Sackur speaks to the acclaimed novelist and playwright Ariel Dorfman. His life has been shaped by political upheaval and exile. He fled Chile after General Pinochet seized power in 1973 and his books were banned and burned. Dorfman’s work explores humankind’s capacity for sin and salvation. Do we have it in us to overcome our worst instincts?
Oct 26, 2021
David Baddiel, Comedian and writer
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to writer and comedian David Baddiel, who has a gift for finding the funny in some of the darkest corners of the human psyche. Now he is taking on our often toxic online culture - is comedy becoming a casualty of the culture wars?
Oct 24, 2021
Andrew Forrest: Mega-polluter turned climate revolutionary
1377
Stephen Sackur speaks to Andrew Forrest, an Australian billionaire mining magnate who is using a chunk of his fortune to push a green, hydrogen-based energy solution. In the run up to the Glasgow climate change summit, his conversion to decarbonisation is timely, but is it credible? (Photo: Andrew Forrest in the Hardtalk studio)
Oct 21, 2021
Henry Marsh: A doctor arguing for assisted dying
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to brain surgeon Henry Marsh whose book “Do No Harm” became a bestseller. Now he is confronting his own advanced cancer, and lobbying for the legislation of assisted dying for the terminally ill. Should death ever be the desired outcome for a doctor?
Oct 19, 2021
Philippe Sands: Is international justice working?
1411
When the first Nuremberg trial of Nazi war criminals came to an end, the ground-breaking international tribunal handed down 12 death sentences. Seventy-five years on, is the world any better at delivering justice for the worst of crimes? In the years that followed, there were hopes that an evolving mechanism of international justice would deter and punish further heinous acts of mass murder and genocide. Does it remain an impossible ideal? Stephen Sackur speaks to international lawyer and author Philippe Sands. (Photo: Philippe Sands in the Hardtalk studio)
Oct 18, 2021
Adela Raz, Afghanistan's Ambassador to the US
1377
Stephen Sackur speaks to Adela Raz, still officially Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the United States, though the Taliban disowns her and the Americans ignore her. In the face of a looming humanitarian catastrophe is it time for the outside world to come to terms with Afghanistan’s new rulers? (Photo: Adela Raz appears via videolink on Hardtalk)
Oct 15, 2021
Sergei Ryabkov: Russia and energy security
1447
Stephen Sackur speaks to Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. Moscow is set to be a major beneficiary of the extraordinary spike in fossil fuel energy prices - does that mean Moscow will flex its muscle more aggressively on the world stage?
Oct 13, 2021
Richard Deverell: The battle to save the planet
1443
Do we understand the urgency of the global biodiversity and climate change crisis? Stephen Sackur speaks to the director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, Richard Deverell. Kew Gardens in London is a UNESCO world heritage site and home to one of the largest collections of living plants in the world and an unrivalled repository of preserved specimen plants collected by scientific pioneers such as Charles Darwin. Richard Deverell has big ambitions to put Kew at the centre of the fight to avert environmental catastrophe by helping the public to grasp the scale of the challenges caused by biodiversity loss and a warming planet.
Oct 11, 2021
Richard Thaler: Is a nudge enough to change our behaviour?
1377
From Covid to climate change, governments around the world face challenges which demand modifications of human behaviour. When it comes to getting people to do things differently, what works best: the carrot of persuasion, or the stick of coercion? Stephen Sackur speaks to Richard Thaler, the world renowned economist and behavioural scientist who believes a nudge often works better than a shove when change is needed. Does that hold good when the problems we face become urgent and existential?
Oct 07, 2021
Ben Ferencz, prosecutor at the Nuremberg Nazi Trials
1378
Seventy-five years after the Nuremberg Military Tribunals convicted some of the most senior Nazis of war crimes and crimes against humanity, the last surviving prosecutor from the trials, Ben Ferencz talks to Zeinab Badawi. Does he believe the Nuremberg trials have made genocide and crimes against humanity less likely to be committed in the world today? This programme was first broadcast in 2017. (Photo: Ben Ferencz Hardtalk interview in 2017))
Oct 05, 2021
Michel Barnier on Brexit fallout
1420
The crisis over a lack of supplies in the UK triggered by a shortage of truck drivers has reignited the debate about the consequences of Brexit. This comes on top of concerns about the impact on trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and what it means for the historic peace agreement there. Zeinab Badawi speaks to Michel Barnier, who was the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator and has declared himself a centre-right candidate for the presidential elections in France next year. How does he see the fallout from Brexit and why does he think he’s fit to be the next president of France? (Photo: Michel Barnier in the Hardtalk studio)
Oct 01, 2021
Rafael Grossi - Nuclear fallout
1379
Zeinab Badawi speaks to Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, amid concern about renewed tensions over Iran’s nuclear programme. Tehran insists that it is only developing nuclear power for civilian purposes but now Israel has warned that it crosses all “red lines” and that it won’t allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. This follows warnings by Washington and the EU that Iran must allow international weapons inspectors full access to its workshops. Has the IAEA’s inspection programme failed and dashed all hopes of a diplomatic solution to this crisis? (Photo: Rafael Grossi appears via video link on Hardtalk)
Sep 28, 2021
Nitin Sawhney, Musician and Composer
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to renowned British Indian musician and composer Nitin Sawhney. From a childhood disfigured by racism to the embrace of the UK’s cultural elite, what are the common threads in his remarkable career?
Sep 26, 2021
Roger Deakins: How is technology changing cinema?
1377
Stephen Sackur speaks to one of the world's most celebrated cinematographers, Roger Deakins. He has won Oscars for his work on 1917 and Blade Runner 2049, and also shaped the look of modern classics such as O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Skyfall, The Big Lebowski and The Shawshank Redemption. But is technology, from CGI to the ubiquitous camera phone, changing everything we thought we knew about making films?
Sep 23, 2021
Bryan Hughes: Abortion in Texas
1378
Republicans in Texas have managed to ban abortion in almost all cases in their state. Anyone performing, aiding or abetting the termination of a pregnancy after roughly six weeks can be sued in court. The implications are enormous, not just in Texas but across the US. And it points to a wider phenomenon. Ideological conservatives are using state activism to confront federal power. Stephen Sackur spoke to Texas Republican State Senator Bryan Hughes just hours before the first law suit was filed against a doctor under the new law.
Sep 21, 2021
Carlos Fernando Chamorro: Exiled from Nicaragua
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to Nicaraguan journalist and former revolutionary Carlos Fernando Chamorro. He is currently in exile as President Daniel Ortega intensifies his crackdown on dissent. Why has the country slumped back into authoritarianism?
Sep 19, 2021
Naomi Campbell, supermodel and businesswoman
1377
In an exclusive interview for the BBC’s 100 Women season, Zeinab Badawi speaks to supermodel Naomi Campbell. (Photo: Naomi Campbell smiles at Zeinab Badawi)
Sep 16, 2021
Robin Hanbury-Tenison: An explorer protecting indigenous lands
1379
Stephen Sackur speaks to one of the world’s great modern-day explorers, Robin Hanbury-Tenison. He has committed himself to the protection of indigenous people and their lands, but have his efforts made a difference?
Sep 14, 2021
Former interrogator for the CIA, James Mitchell
1379
American psychologist James Mitchell helped devise the CIA’s enhanced interrogation programme after the 9/11 attacks. He personally interrogated some of the top terrorist suspects using the programme’s techniques, including waterboarding. His critics label him a torturer; he says he has nothing to apologise for and what he did was harsh, but legal and necessary.He speaks to Zeinab Badawi. (Photo: James Mitchell)
Sep 12, 2021
Rudy Giuliani: Reflecting on 9/11
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It’s 20 years since the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center were reduced to dust and ash. This week, the US is again immersed in memories of the attack and what came after. In 2011, on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Stephen Sackur spoke to the man who was mayor of New York City on that fateful day, Rudy Giuliani. His response back then earned him the title “America’s Mayor”; a decade later, HARDtalk invited him to reflect on how he and his country had been changed by the horrifying events of 9/11.
Sep 09, 2021
Nadia Calviño: Is Europe too fragmented to shape the 21st Century?
1436
The covid pandemic and emerging superpower rivalries have presented the EU with troubling questions. Stephen Sackur speaks to Spain's Deputy Prime Minister and Economy minister Nadia Calviño. Is Europe too inward looking and too fragmented to shape the 21st Century? (Photo: Nadia Calviño, Deputy Prime Minister and Economy minister of Spain. Credit: Reuters)
Sep 08, 2021
Lindsey Graham: What is the Republican vision for America?
1436
After the US-led withdrawal from Afghanistan, how does America see itself and its place in the world? Stephen Sackur is at the Ambrosetti Forum in northern Italy to speak to one of the Republican Party's most prominent voices, South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham.
Sep 06, 2021
Omar Zakhilwal: What ideology will prevail in Afghanistan?
1407
Will pragmatism or zealotry prevail in Afghanistan, as the Taliban grapple with the reality of ruling a broken country? Stephen Sackur speaks to former finance minister Omar Zakhilwal, who has been involved in talks with the Taliban.
Sep 01, 2021
Maggi Hambling: An evolving creative vision
1430
Stephen Sackur speaks to the artist Maggi Hambling. Her works have won international acclaim, but some have also stirred controversy, including a sculpture unveiled in London last year for 18th century feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. How has her creative vision evolved over the last six decades?
Aug 30, 2021
Andrei Kelin: Russia, Afghanistan and the UK
1436
The chaotic evacuation operation still underway at Kabul airport has put a harsh spotlight on two decades of US and NATO military commitment in Afghanistan. It looks and feels like a strategic defeat, but what does it tell us about the wider geopolitical balance of power? Stephen Sackur speaks to Russia’s ambassador to the UK, Andrei Kelin. Is this reverse for the US and her allies a positive for Russia?
Aug 26, 2021
Paula Kahumbu: Saving Africa's wild spaces
1436
Stephen Sackur speaks to Paula Kahumbu, CEO for WildlifeDirect, Kenya. Her campaign to protect elephants and other endangered species asks Kenyans to prioritise protection of the country’s wild spaces – is it working?
Aug 25, 2021
Gedion Timothewos: Ethiopia's civil war
1379
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Ethiopia’s Attorney General Gedion Timothewos. The conflict between government forces and Tigrayan rebels has cost thousands of lives and revived the spectre of famine – is there a way to avert catastrophe?
Aug 22, 2021
Kamila Sidiqi: What future do Afghanistan's women face?
1432
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Kamila Sidiqi, a leading Afghan women's rights campaigner, entrepreneur and government adviser under President Ghani. She escaped from Kabul as the Taliban took over. Is her cause now lost and who is to blame?
Aug 20, 2021
Tobias Ellwood: Britain's Afghanistan exit
1429
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to British Conservative MP and former soldier Tobias Ellwood. Two decades after they were expelled from Kabul the hard-line Islamists are back. US and British troops are scrambling to complete a humiliating evacuation. It looks like an historic defeat for western powers. How damaging could the consequences be?
Aug 17, 2021
Aly Raisman: Are gold medals put above athletes' wellbeing?
1414
The athletic excellence seen at the Tokyo Olympics will live long in the memory, but so will the moment the brilliant US gymnast Simone Biles chose not to compete to safeguard her mental and physical health. US gymnastics is still reeling from the repercussions of a sex abuse scandal - what can go wrong when results are put above care of individual athletes? Stephen Sackur speaks to Aly Raisman, a multiple Olympic gold medallist who testified about being abused by the team's former doctor. Is there a wider lesson for elite sport in the shame of American gymnastics?
Aug 16, 2021
Getachew Reda: What is the endgame for Tigray's rebels?
1415
The humanitarian suffering in northern Ethiopia is appalling, as conflict continues on multiple fronts. Tigrayan rebel forces have won a string of victories over the Ethiopian military, and Ethiopia’s prime minister now says all the state's military resources will be deployed to crush the rebels. Stephen Sackur speaks to Getachew Reda, spokesperson for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. With the death toll rising and man-made famine taking hold, what is the endgame for Tigray’s rebels?
Aug 13, 2021
Daryl Davis: Reaching out to the KKK
1416
Stephen Sackur speaks to Daryl Davis, a black musician who has spent four decades trying to talk to America’s most diehard racists, the Ku Klux Klan. He claims to have forged friendships with white supremacists and opened their minds, but is reaching out to the KKK a distraction from the bigger task of dismantling systemic racism?
Aug 11, 2021
Hamid Mir: Is Pakistan a safe place for journalists?
1418
In the last year, there have been a string of attacks on reporters in Pakistan. The perpetrators remain unknown and unpunished. The government insists Pakistan is a bastion of media freedom. Hamid Mir is a high-profile columnist and TV presenter, a survivor of several assassination attempts, and is currently facing accusations of sedition. Is the state out to silence independent journalism?
Aug 09, 2021
Sir Andrew Pollard: The war on Covid-19
1424
Stephen Sackur speaks to Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and a key figure in the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Science has offered up tools to beat the virus - but from vaccine hesitancy to vaccine inequality - are we making the most of them?
Aug 06, 2021
RoseAnne Archibald: Uncovering Canada's dark past
1425
Stephen Sackur speaks to RoseAnne Archibald, newly elected National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Canada. The truth about the deaths of thousands of indigenous children in schools infamous for abuse and neglect has shocked the world. Why has Canada failed to heal the wounds of a dark past?
Aug 04, 2021
Sir Hilary Beckles: Reparations for slavery
1422
Zeinab Badawi speaks to the eminent historian professor Sir Hilary Beckles in Barbados. Over three centuries, Africans were transported to the Caribbean to toil on sugar and cotton plantations - a trade that made Britain rich. For decades there have been calls for compensation to atone for the sins of slavery. Sir Hilary is Chair of the CARICOM Reparations Commission. Can there be justice for the descendants of enslaved Africans?
Aug 02, 2021
Lazarus Chakwera: President of Malawi
1423
Sarah Montague speaks to the President of Malawi, Lazarus Chakwera. The preacher turned politician won power last year pledging to create a million jobs and “clear the rubble” of corruption. But a year on, the economy is being hit hard by the effects of Covid, his government admits it has no idea how many jobs have been created and he’s been accused of nepotism. Can President Chakwera keep the promises he made during the election? (Photo: Lazarus Chakwera, President of Malawi in the Hardtalk studio)
Jul 30, 2021
Péter Szijjártó: Is Hungary undermining European values?
1426
Stephen Sackur speaks to Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó. On a range of issues from press freedom to LGBT rights, Hungary routinely ignores the collective interpretation of EU values. Populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban seems to regard his increasingly toxic relationship with the EU’s institutions as a badge of honour and a political asset. But could Hungary's ongoing row with Brussels cost the country dear? (Photo: Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó appears via video link on Hardtalk)
Jul 28, 2021
Hamdullah Mohib: Can the Afghan government hold out against the Taliban?
1426
Since the United States pulled its troops out of Afghanistan at the beginning of July, the Taliban have continued to retake vast swathes of the country. Reports have emerged that they are once again enforcing the same repressive practices of their past rule; including the closure of girls' schools, public beatings and a prohibition on women travelling unaccompanied outside their homes. Peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government are not making progress and there are real fears of an all out civil war. Sarah Montague speaks to Afghanistan's National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib. Can the Afghan government hold out against the Taliban? Photo: Afghanistan"s National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib in Kabul, Afghanistan, June 2021 Credit: Reuters
Jul 26, 2021
Fikile Mbalula: Is South Africa's government being confronted with its own failure?
1405
South Africa is facing its deepest political crisis of the post-apartheid era. Days of violence and looting saw more than 200 people killed and thousands arrested. Stephen Sackur speaks to Fikile Mbalula, the country's transport minister. Is the ANC government being confronted with its own failure?
Jul 23, 2021
Laurent Lamothe: Can anything be done to end Haiti's suffering?
1428
Stephen Sackur speaks to former Haitian Prime Minister, Laurent Lamothe. Pity the eleven million people of Haiti; it is hard to think of a nation more comprehensively shattered by many decades of misrule and the ravages of natural disaster. In the latest lurch toward chaos the president Jovenel Moïse was assassinated earlier this month. Who ordered the hit is not clear but a protracted struggle for power seems certain. Can anything be done to end Haiti’s suffering? (Photo: Laurent Lamothe appears via video link on Hardtalk)
Jul 21, 2021
Michael Holding: Can sport win its fight against racism?
1430
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Michael Holding, the former West Indies cricket great who is now a prominent voice confronting racism. In England, there’s a fierce debate about how best to root out racism, following vile abuse aimed at black footballers. But it’s an issue confronting many sports. Is this a fight sport can win? Image: Michael Holding (Credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire)
Jul 19, 2021
Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho: Can courage overcome injustice?
1429
Measured by the number of murders Mexico is the most dangerous country in the world to be a journalist. Eight were killed last year; and countless more suffered threats, intimidation and violence. Stephen Sackur speaks to Lydia Cacho - one of Mexico’s most prominent journalists who - after decades of assaults, death threats and at least one assassination attempt - is currently in exile for her own safety. Her particular focus is the violence done to women in Mexico and the failure of those in power to make good on promises of protection. Can courage overcome injustice? (Photo: Lydia Cacho appears via video link on Hardtalk)
Jul 16, 2021
Jess Phillips: What happened to progressive politics?
1424
Stephen Sackur speaks to one of the leading figures in the British Labour party, Jess Phillips MP. She’s a tireless campaigner against domestic violence and has won plaudits for her direct, from-the-heart style of politics. Across continents and cultures there is a common, and corrosive, political phenomenon – rising anger and alienation amongst voters who feel neglected and ignored by the system. Is there a way out of today's polarised politics?
Jul 14, 2021
Writer Lionel Shriver
1420
In our culture of 24/7 news and trending social media reactions, it sometimes takes a novelist’s eye to chart the deeper, current events swirling beneath society’s surface. Lionel Shriver is a British-based American writer whose fiction has addressed school shootings, obesity, economic crisis and in her latest book, voluntary euthanasia. She’s a contrarian, but is she also a combatant in the western world’s culture wars?
Jul 07, 2021
Christian Happi: Can Africa become a world leader in vaccine development?
1419
Zeinab Badawi speaks to Professor Christian Happi whose ground-breaking research is helping tackle diseases that kill thousands every year. He gave up a career at Harvard University in the US and moved back to Africa where is setting up a world-class laboratory in Nigeria which will have a pandemic early detection system. He believes Africa could become a global centre of knowledge about infectious diseases such as Covid-19. How realistic is his vision?
Jul 05, 2021
Victor Gao: 100 years of the Chinese Communist Party
1378
As the Chinese Communist Party marks its 100th anniversary, Stephen Sackur speaks to veteran party loyalist Victor Gao, vice president of the Centre for China and Globalization in Beijing. The party has engineered a remarkable transformation that’s made China a global superpower, but is the level of internal control and repression sustainable?
Jun 30, 2021
Zainab Ahmed: Can Nigeria avert financial meltdown?
1407
Africa is going through its first recession in more than a quarter of a century because of the global downturn caused by the Covid pandemic. The economic crisis is being keenly felt in Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country. Its 200 million people are struggling with long-standing challenges, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic and deteriorating security. Zeinab Badawi speaks to Nigeria’s finance minister, Zainab Ahmed. What is her plan to avert financial meltdown as well as help deliver stability?
Jun 25, 2021
Rawdah Mohamed: Fashion and Muslim women
1407
Somali-born fashion editor Rawdah Mohamed has taken up a senior role at the soon-to-be launched Vogue Scandinavia. After moving to Norway as a child, she became a model, and in April created a social media storm with a post called ‘Hands off my Hijab’. How far can she use fashion to overturn negative stereotypes of Muslim women?
Jun 23, 2021
REM lead singer Michael Stipe
1409
Michael Stipe was the lead singer of one of the most influential bands of the last four decades, REM. He was the figurehead of indie rock, enigmatic, serious, political. Now he’s a visual artist, so how has his creative vision evolved?
Jun 21, 2021
Johan Lundgren, EasyJet CEO: Can his business model survive Covid and climate change?
1378
No industry has been hit harder by the global pandemic than aviation. Cross-border travel is either banned or constrained by tests and quarantines across much of the world. And, in a time full of uncertainty and insecurity, who wants to travel for either business or pleasure? Stephen Sackur speaks to Johan Lundgren, CEO of EasyJet, Europe’s second biggest budget airline. Can his business model survive the double whammy of Covid and climate change? (Photo: Johan Lundgren in the Hardtalk studio)
Jun 17, 2021
Jens Stoltenberg: Is the old alliance ready to tackle new threats?
1445
President Biden says the US is determined to lead NATO's response to evolving geographical and technological threats. But there have been marked disagreements between alliance members on relations with Russia, the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, defence spending and the so-called ‘systemic challenge’ posed by China. Just how united is the West’s military alliance?
Jun 16, 2021
Ben Rhodes: President Biden's foreign policy challenges
1429
Stephen Sackur speaks to former Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama, Ben Rhodes. He has written a new book, After the Fall, reflecting on his time in the White House, the legacy of President Trump and the foreign policy challenges facing President Biden. With the rise of authoritarian, nationalist trends around the world, is the US in any position to lead a much touted global alliance of democracies? (Photo: Ben Rhodes appears via video link on Hardtalk)
Jun 11, 2021
Michael Rosen: Surviving Covid-19
1429
Last March, the author and educator Michael Rosen was placed into an induced coma after contracting Covid-19. He has now released a dark, sad and uplifting memoir about his experience, but how did he find the poetic in a pandemic?
Jun 07, 2021
Tom Kerridge: Has the pandemic changed the way we eat?
1378
How long will it take the hospitality business to recover from the pandemic, and is there a new recognition of the link between our food and our health? Stephen Sackur speaks to British chef Tom Kerridge. (Photo: Tom Kerridge sits in his restaurant with Stephen Sackur)
Jun 03, 2021
John Nkengasong: Can Africa meet its vaccination targets?
1379
Africa appears to have been relatively spared in the pandemic so far, but plans to have at least 30% of the continent's populations vaccinated by the end of 2021 seem far away. Hardtalk speaks to John Nkengasong, the director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Jun 01, 2021
Doug Gurr: Advocating for planet Earth
1412
Stephen Sackur speaks to the new director of London’s world-renowned Natural History Museum, Doug Gurr. They still love their ancient fossils here, but the real focus now is on the fragile future of our planet. Has this become a museum on a mission?
May 31, 2021
Fawad Chaudhry: Is Imran Khan reneging on his promises to Pakistan?
1403
Who holds the reins of power in Pakistan? Prime Minister Imran Khan leads a government elected in 2018; if Pakistan is a genuine democracy, then that’s where power resides. But many government critics say the military dictates much that happens inside the country, particularly when it comes to silencing opposition to the covert power of the so-called deep state. Stephen Sackur speaks to Pakistan’s Information Minister, Fawad Chaudhry. What happened to Imran Khan’s pledge to deliver clean, transparent governance?
May 27, 2021
Tito Mboweni: How much has Covid damaged South Africa?
1414
South Africa is wrestling with a continued health and economic crisis courtesy of Covid-19, but the country’s ruling ANC party is also distracted by internal divisions over corruption. Stephen Sackur speaks to Tito Mboweni, South Africa’s finance minister .
May 26, 2021
Ben Hodges: Is America's global power waning?
1425
Stephen Sackur speaks to retired US general Ben Hodges, former Commander of the US Army in Europe. The 20th century was in many ways shaped by America’s unrivalled power; two decades into the new century, and it's clear the story arc is shifting. China is projecting its power across the globe, Russia is out to reassert its regional supremacy, and the limits of American power have been exposed from Iraq to Afghanistan. Is the US in danger of losing the race to define the 21st century?
May 24, 2021
Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s Ambassador to the EU
1404
Russia’s relations with the West have been poor for some time but now they have reached a new level of hostility. Since the imprisonment of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, new sanctions have been imposed by both the US and EU. The Ukraine conflict, allegations of cyber attack and covert operations – the list of unresolved issues is growing. Stephen Sackur speaks to Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s Ambassador to the EU. Is confrontation with the West, President Putin’s strategic choice?
May 21, 2021
Husam Zomlot: Palestine's balance of power
1379
The latest round of conflict between Israel and militant groups in Gaza has left the Palestinian Authority looking sidelined and powerless. Is this a permanent shift in the Palestinian power dynamic? Stephen Sackur speaks to Husam Zomlot, head of the Palestinian Mission to the UK.
May 19, 2021
Kaja Kallas: Do Nato and the EU have Estonia's back?
1407
When hostility between Russia and the West, is high the Baltic states get nervous. Will membership of the EU and Nato protect Estonia from the possibility of Russian aggression? Hardtalk speaks to Kaja Kallas, the prime minister of Estonia.
May 17, 2021
Tzipi Hotovely: Israel's ambassador to the UK
1379
The escalating violence between Israel and the militant Islamic groups in Gaza has the potential to inflict terrible bloodshed, but will it change any of the underlying realities in this seemingly endless conflict? Stephen Sackur speaks to Israel’s Ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely. (Photo: Tzipi Hotovely in the Hardtalk studio)
May 13, 2021
Harry Theoharis: What is in store for European summer holidays?
1378
We have reached the point in the Covid pandemic where the impacts of the virus are varying wildly. Here in the UK, infection rates have been contained and a rapid vaccine roll out is having its effect, but in many other countries the situation remains critical. In this patchwork pandemic how much scope is there for a resumption of travel and tourism? Stephen Sackur speaks to Greece’s Minister of Tourism Haris Theoharis. (Photo: Haris Theoharis, Greece's Minister of Tourism)
May 11, 2021
Fawzia Koofi: The future for women in Afghanistan
1461
Zeinab Badawi interviews Fawzia Koofi, the first woman to lead a political party in Afghanistan, and is part of an Afghan delegation in talks with the Taliban. Yet she is one of their fiercest critics, endures constant intimidation, and has survived several attempts on her life. Why is Fawzia Koofi so worried about the future stability of Afghanistan and its women?
May 10, 2021
Mohammed Alyahya: Does Saudi Arabia still have America's support?
1405
Month by month, US President Joe Biden is shifting away from Trump-era foreign policy positions. But how dramatic will the pivot be? In the Middle East, there are signs of a changed approach to the region's two oil-rich adversaries Saudi Arabia and Iran; more pressure on the Saudis, more engagement with Tehran. Stephen Sackur speaks to the influential boss of Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya English news channel, Mohamed Alyahya. Have the Saudis forfeited America’s unstinting support? (Photo: Mohamed Alyahya appears via video link on Hardtalk)
May 07, 2021
Mohamedou Ould Slahi: What is the Guantanamo legacy?
1406
Stephen Sackur interviews Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian citizen who was once identified as a high value al-Qaeda terrorist, serving 14 years in America’s Guantanamo Bay prison. He was eventually released without charge, and now a film, The Mauritanian, has been released telling this remarkable story. What is the Guantanamo Bay legacy? (Photo: Mohamedou Ould Slahi appears via videolink on Hardtalk)
May 05, 2021
Artists Gilbert Prousch & George Passmore
1428
Gilbert Prousch and George Passmore first met as art students in London in the late 1960s and ever since then they've been together as a couple and as an artistic duo. From the beginning they’re own physical presence has been central to their work and they see themselves as living sculptures. They appear in most of their work, wearing their distinctive tweed jackets and ties. Their subject matter is the stuff of daily life in London, including the stuff other artists would never dream of using including bodily fluids, faeces and trash. Over the decades they’ve had work exhibited in many of the world's top modern art galleries and have sold works for millions of dollars. Now in London they’ve presented a collection of lockdown era work entitled New Normal pictures but is there anything normal about Gilbert and George?
May 03, 2021
Dmytro Kuleba: Has the Russian threat to Ukraine receded?
1426
Stephen Sackur speaks to Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba. A few days ago, the Ukrainian Government was pleading for international help to confront the threat of a Russian military offensive from the East, but the feared assault never came. Russia declared its military exercise was over, and began to redeploy its forces. What did Ukraine and the outside world learn from this rattling of Russian sabres? (Photo: Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, appears via video link on Hardtalk)
Apr 28, 2021
Sir Peter Westmacott: Are we at peak geopolitical risk?
1461
Russian troops are massing on Ukraine’s border, while China and the US are locked in Cold War-style hostility. Cyberwarfare makes states, systems and individuals feel newly vulnerable. Stephen Sackur interviews Sir Peter Westmacott - he was Britain’s Ambassador in Washington, Paris and Ankara. Does he think we are at peak geopolitical risk?
Apr 26, 2021
Navalny aide Vladimir Ashurkov: Is Putin about to eliminate his most dangerous opponent?
1440
The imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny describes himself as a walking skeleton. He’s refusing food in protest at his medical treatment, and thousands of Russians joined protests to show their solidarity. The Kremlin seems intent on destroying Navalny’s movement, irrespective of internal dissent or international condemnation. Stephen Sackur speaks to Vladimir Ashurkov, a key Navalny ally and executive director of his anti-corruption foundation. Is Putin about to eliminate his most dangerous opponent?
Apr 23, 2021
Michael Mann: The new climate war?
1378
President Biden is promising hundreds of billions of dollars to speed up the decarbonisation of the US economy – the White House wants cooperation with China to make good on the Paris agreement on emissions cuts. Stephen Sackur interviews Michael Mann, one of America’s leading climate scientists. He says a new climate war is unfolding. If so, who are today’s biggest climate enemies?
Apr 20, 2021
Silvia Foti: When truth trumps family loyalty
1406
Stephen Sackur interviews Silvia Foti, an American writer whose grandfather was a Lithuanian man hailed as heroic patriot who paid with his life resisting the Soviets. But according to his granddaughter, Jonas Noreika was no hero - he had the blood of thousands of Jews on his hands. She’s chosen to speak out, angering many in Lithuania. What happens when truth trumps family loyalty?
Apr 16, 2021
Serj Tankian: System of a Down frontman on activism and music
1405
Serj Tankian is the frontman of world-renowned rock band System of a Down, but is also an arch advocate for his family’s homeland, Armenia. His passionate views on genocide, war and corrupt governance have won him millions of fans and numerous enemies. What matters more to him: the politics or the music?
Apr 14, 2021
Tsitsi Dangarembga: Are better days coming for Zimbabwe?
1429
Zeinab Badawi interviews playwright, novelist and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga, one of Zimbabwe’s most influential and acclaimed cultural figures. Arrested for her political activism, she says her art gives her a platform to call for change. Is she optimistic about her country's future? What are the prospects for better days in Zimbabwe, when every day is a struggle?
Apr 12, 2021
Amrullah Saleh: Is the Afghan peace process running out of road?
1409
If Afghanistan is to find a way out of seemingly never-ending war the next few weeks will be critically important. The Biden Administration is pressing the Afghan Government and the Taliban to accept a transition plan based on a ceasefire and power-sharing. It’s a tough sell, given the taliban has intensified its military campaign in recent months. But what’s the alternative? Stephen Sackur speaks to Afghanistan’s First Vice President Amrullah Saleh. Is the Afghan peace process running out of road?
Apr 09, 2021
Ken Rogoff: Does Bidenomics make sense?
1378
The Covid pandemic looks like a watershed moment in global economics. Big Government is back as the failsafe engine of economic growth, as the usual fears such as soaring debt and rising inflation have been pushed aside. Stephen Sackur interviews acclaimed US economist Ken Rogoff, once dubbed ‘the godfather of austerity’. Is he a convert to Bidenomics?
Apr 06, 2021
Barbara Amiel: What do the super-rich owe the rest of the world?
1436
The proportion of wealth owned by a super-rich elite continues to grow in societies around the world. The glaring disparity between the 'have-mosts' and the 'have-nothings' has fuelled a wave of political anger. Stephen Sackur speaks to the former newspaper columnist, editor, and one-time high society hostess Barbara Amiel, whose recent memoir, wittingly or not, paints an extraordinary, even grotesque, picture of the lives of the wealthy.
Apr 05, 2021
Sir Vartan Melkonian: From Beirut street child to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
1416
Sir Vartan Melkonian began his life as an Armenian refugee in Lebanon, spending his early years in an orphanage outside Beirut, followed by living rough on the streets for many years. He is now a renowned musician, conductor and composer. Zeinab Badawi hears his remarkable story.
Apr 02, 2021
Erika Lust: Can porn be feminist?
1378
Porn is one of the biggest drivers of internet traffic and a generator of vast amounts of money, but also an industry in a state of flux. The biggest online porn platforms have been accused of profiting from criminality and abuse. Stephen Sackur interviews Erika Lust - pornographer, feminist and entrepreneur. Is there such a thing as ethical porn?
Mar 30, 2021
Marina Abramović: A remarkable career pushed to the limits
1408
Much of the art we love is presented via a medium - be it a canvas, a recording or celluloid. Stephen Sackur interviews Marina Abramović, an artist whose primary resource is her own body. In the course of a remarkable career, the world's most famous and garlanded performance artist has pushed herself to the very limits of physical endurance and stirred intense reaction from audiences confronting her eye to eye. Her art and life are one; so what do they tell us?
Mar 29, 2021
Jean-Claude Juncker: Is Covid an unprecedented test of EU cohesion?
1407
The Covid-19 pandemic has presented the European Union with an unprecedented test of its cohesion and competence. Right now, the scorecard looks decidedly mixed, with many member states facing a third wave of infection while, the vaccination rollout lags far behind that in post-Brexit Britain. Stephen Sackur speaks to the former president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. He once bemoaned a loss of collective EU libido, but is the problem getting worse?
Mar 26, 2021
Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee: Is the concept of ‘one country, two systems’ dead?
1408
It seems the Biden Administration is putting greater emphasis on human rights issues in its already fraught relationship with China. Will that prompt Beijing to think twice about the crackdown on pro-democracy activism in Hong Kong? Stephen Sackur interviews Regina Ip, Chair of the New People’s Party, member of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council and one of Beijing’s most loyal backers in the territory. Is the concept of ‘one country, two systems’ dead? (Photo: Regina Ip appears via video link on Hardtalk)
Mar 24, 2021
Baroness Minouche Shafik: What do we owe each other?
1379
The idea of a social contract between the individual and the state is a staple of political philosophy. But what happens when that contract is threatened by forces beyond the control of any government, like a climate crisis or, right now, a global pandemic? Stephen Sackur speaks to Baroness Minouche Shafik, director of the London School of Economics and former top official at the World Bank. Is humanity capable of collective action to meet global challenges?
Mar 22, 2021
Stephen King: Are you afraid of the dark?
1409
Millions of readers all over the world are drawn to fiction that explores our fears. Horror sells and no-one does it better or more prolifically than Stephen King. He’s written more than 60 books, sold close to 400 million copies - he is the master manipulator of dark places and the paranormal. If you're not a reader you may have seen the Shining, Carrie, Stand by Me - all films based on his stories. He's been writing for half a century – how has our appetite for fear evolved?
Mar 19, 2021
Vjosa Osmani: Acting President of Kosovo
1409
The legacy of conflict and hate left behind after the collapse of Yugoslavia is not easily overcome. They know that in Kosovo, which declared independent statehood a dozen years ago but has yet to make a lasting peace with neighbouring Serbia. Right now Kosovo is experiencing a major political shift. Stephen Sackur speaks to the country’s Acting President Vjosa Osmani. She is part of a new generation of young, post-war politicians challenging the old guard of the Kosovar independence struggle. She promises clean government and a fresh start, but can she deliver?
Mar 17, 2021
Adar Poonawalla: How to vaccinate the world
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of the biggest vaccine producer in the world, Serum Institute of India. He went all-in on a production deal with Astrazeneca, and for many of us, the jab we get will have been made by him. He’s a super-rich vaccine visionary; is he driven by more than profit?
Mar 15, 2021
Dr Sasa: Does Myanmar have a democratic future?
1410
Dr Sasa has a remarkable life story, which has taken him from a remote mountain village in western Myanmar to a place in the international media spotlight as a key spokesman for the political movement intent on reversing February’s military coup. He is from the Chin people - one of many minorities to have suffered long-term discrimination and persecution in Myanmar, or Burma as it was. He was the first child in his village to go to high school. He went on to train as a doctor and has devoted much of his life to improving medical and educational opportunities for the Chin people. For the past decade he’s been an activist in the National League for Democracy. He was with party leader and national figurehead Aung San Suu Kyi just hours before the generals mounted their coup on February 1. She was detained, along with many members of Myanmar’s Government and parliament. Dr Sasa managed to flee to a neighbouring, but undisclosed country. He’s since been appointed as UN representative of the Committee representing the ousted parliament, and is a leading voice in the pro-democracy movement. But with the military continuing to use lethal force against street protests what options do the opponents of the coup really have?
Mar 12, 2021
Jewher Ilham: Fears for her Uighur family in China
1378
A combination of personal testimony, leaked documents and satellite imagery points to a systematic policy of repression of the Muslim Uighur population of Xinjiang province in China. Jewher Ilham, a young Uighur woman, currently living in America, tells Stephen Sackur about her campaign to save her father who has been imprisoned for the past 7 years. The fate of the Uighurs has become a geopolitical issue - but is anything going to change?
Mar 10, 2021
Evan McMullin: What next for anti-Trump Republicans?
1379
Despite losing the presidency and both Houses of Congress, Donald Trump still seems to have a chokehold on the Republican party. So what will Republican anti-Trumpers do next: continue the fight from within the party, or get out and create a new one? Evan McMullin is one of the most prominent American Republicans determined to loosen President Trump's grip on the Party, and one of the key organisers and strategists behind the Stand Up Republic group of unhappy Republicans.
Mar 08, 2021
Khin Zaw Win: Protests in Myanmar
1378
Mass protests against military rule across Myanmar have been met with increasing force, and the death toll is rising. Stephen Sackur interviews Khin Zaw Win, a prominent political prisoner under the previous junta. What do the people of Myanmar want now - and what are they likely to get?
Mar 05, 2021
Valdis Dombrovskis: Is the EU ready to aggressively defend its interests?
1443
Stephen Sackur speaks to the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President with responsibility for the economy and trade, Valdis Dombrovskis. Protectionism and nationalism are on the rise in global trade. With the US and China locked in strategic competition, is the EU ready to aggressively defend its interests?
Mar 03, 2021
Harvey Goldsmith: Can live music survive Covid?
1378
Stephen Sackur interviews one of the UK’s top live music promoters, Harvey Goldsmith. One of the many costs of the Covid pandemic means that, in much of the world, we can’t gather to enjoy the arts live; the creative world we used to know may be hard to revive. Has the cultural cost of Covid been ignored?
Mar 01, 2021
Dr Seth Berkley: How to ensure the whole world gets a Covid vaccine
1406
Maybe we shouldn't be surprised that a vast gulf is opening up between Covid vaccination rates in the richest countries and the poorest. But still the numbers are shocking. While the UK has given 27% of its population a first dose, many nations have yet to inject a single arm. Hardtalk speaks to Dr Seth Berkley, head of Gavi, the Global Vaccine Alliance and key driver of the effort to ensure the whole world gets Covid protection. It is a great ambition; is it achievable?
Feb 26, 2021
Elizabeth Neumann: The battle for the soul of the US Republican Party
1378
How far does the Republican party need to go to reinvent itself following Donald Trumps defeat in the November Presidential election? Elizabeth Neumann, a former counter terror official in the Trump Administration says she saw America’s far right, white-supremacists as a growing security threat and she felt Donald Trump was fanning the flames of their extremism. In April 2020 she resigned. Now she says she is fighting for what she calls accountability in the Republican party - but has her stand come too late?
Feb 24, 2021
Timothy Snyder: Lessons from history
1438
Stephen Sackur speaks to Timothy Snyder, renowned American historian of totalitarianism and the Holocaust, about the Trump presidency. Professor Snyder believes the former US president and his movement brought America face to face with early stage fascism. Historical parallels may be seductive, but are they useful?
Feb 22, 2021
Douglas Stuart: Stories of tender souls in tough places
1440
Stephen Sackur speaks to the Booker prize-winning author Douglas Stuart. His novel, Shuggie Bain, centres on a boy growing up amid poverty, addiction and intolerance in Glasgow. There are deep parallels with his own life. How does he extract so much love from hardship?
Feb 19, 2021
Yogendra Yadav: Are farmers' protests a defining moment for India?
1438
Thousands of Indian farmers are keeping up their long-running protest against farm law reform. Stephen Sackur interviews Yogendra Yadav, leader of the Swaraj Party and prominent backer of the farmers’ cause. India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has faced down a host of opponents in the past. Is his government versus the farmers a defining moment for India?
Feb 17, 2021
Kirill Dmitriev: Russia's Sputnik V a vaccine for humankind?
1454
Right now the world is seeing two sides of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. The one he wants you to see is the scientifically advanced nation offering the world an effective Covid vaccine known as Sputnik V. The one he’d rather you ignore is the repressive authoritarian state that ruthlessly eliminates those who threaten the status quo. Stephen Sackur speaks to Kirill Dmitriev a Putin ally, the boss of one of Russia’s sovereign wealth funds and a key backer of the Russian vaccine.
Feb 15, 2021
Clément Beaune: Is Covid-19 exposing weaknesses in the EU?
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to France’s Europe Minister, Clément Beaune. The European Union faces a huge Covid challenge. The vaccine rollout has been slow, internal free movement is a concern, and tensions with Britain post-Brexit have risen. Is the virus exposing weaknesses in the EU?
Feb 12, 2021
Laurie Santos: Can we learn how to be happy?
1376
Stephen Sackur speaks to American psychologist Professor Laurie Santos, whose work at Yale University on the science of happiness has won her an audience of millions thanks to her podcast and free online courses. With strict lockdowns in many countries around the world, isolation, economic insecurity, the absence of family and friends, Covid is putting enormous pressure on our mental health. Can we really learn how to be happy?
Feb 10, 2021
Evan Medeiros: How should Biden approach China?
1436
Stephen Sackur speaks to Evan Medeiros, who was President Obama’s top adviser on China policy. Under Donald Trump, US-China relations soured dramatically. A potentially dangerous era of competition and even confrontation beckons. What should President Biden's strategy be towards China?
Feb 08, 2021
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya: Has Belarus’s revolution stalled?
1377
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya says she won last year’s presidential election in Belarus, and she is still intent on toppling Europe’s last de-facto dictator, Alexander Lukashenko. After months of protests and brutal repression, has Belarus’s revolution stalled? (Photo: Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. Credit: Reuters)
Feb 05, 2021
Dr Soumya Swaminathan: Is vaccine inequity undermining the fight against Covid?
1470
The roll out of Covid-19 vaccines has boosted hopes the virus can be tamed. But it will have to be worldwide effort if it is to be effective, and right now the signs aren’t good. While tens of millions have already been vaccinated in the rich west, the world’s poor are facing a very long wait. The phrase ‘vaccine apartheid’ has already been coined. Stephen Sackur speaks to the Chief Scientist at the World Health Organisation Dr Soumya Swaminathan. Is vaccine inequity undermining the fight against Covid?
Feb 03, 2021
Madawi Al-Rasheed: Can the Saudi Crown Prince's authority really be challenged?
1469
President Biden has reportedly paused arms sales to Saudi Arabia as his administration reviews relations with its long-time strategic ally. But is there any prospect of external or internal pressure challenging the authority of Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman? Stephen Sackur speaks to exiled opposition activist Madawi Al-Rasheed. What next for Saudi Arabia, reform, repression, or maybe both?
Feb 01, 2021
Thomas Byrne: Ireland's twin challenge
1452
The new year sees Ireland facing the twin challenges of Covid and post-Brexit economics. How is the country coping? And is Dublin’s strategic vision of Northern Ireland’s future changing? Stephen Sackur interviews Ireland’s Europe Minister, Thomas Byrne.
Jan 30, 2021
Leonid Volkov: Protests on the streets of Russia
1378
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is the most resilient opponent Vladimir Putin has ever faced. Navalny survived assassination by Novichok, returned to Russia and is now in a prison cell. Stephen Sackur speaks to Navalny’s chief of staff Leonid Volkov. The opposition movement has supporters willing to take to the streets in anti-Putin protests in Russian towns and cities; but do they have a strategy capable of forcing Putin out of power? (Photo: Leonid Volkov appears via video link on Hardtalk)
Jan 29, 2021
Yuli Edelstein: Israel's Covid-19 vaccination programme leads the world
1428
Israel is leading the world in the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine. More than a million Israelis have had their second dose, the prime minister claims the vast majority of adults will have been immunised by mid march, allowing the country to ease restrictions. Does the Health Minister, Yuli Edelstein, think Israel has shown responsible and ethical coronavirus management? (Photo: Yuli Edelstein appears via video link on Hardtalk)
Jan 27, 2021
Lina Khan: Can big tech companies be tamed by US antitrust laws?
1449
Can and should anything be done to halt the inexorable rise of the global technology giants such as Amazon, Google and Facebook? Over the past decade we’ve seen these tech titans come to dominate data collection, cloud computing, retail, social media and publishing, but now there is pushback from anti-monopoly lawyers and sceptical politicians. Stephen Sackur speaks to the American lawyer Lina Khan, who is at the forefront of the movement to tame big tech. But whose interest is she serving? (Photo: Lina Khan appears via videolink on Hardtalk)
Jan 21, 2021
Kenneth Chan: Is democracy lost in Hong Kong?
1449
The Chinese government began this year by intensifying its crackdown on the pro-democracy opposition in Hong Kong. Amid mass arrests, the surveillance of the media and academia is there any safe space left for those fighting for Hong Kong’s political autonomy? Stephen Sackur speaks to long-time activist in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, Kenneth Chan. Is the fight for freedom in Hong Kong lost? (Photo: Keneth Chan appears via video link on Hardtalk)
Jan 20, 2021
Tamara Rojo: Ballet in a pandemic
1376
Some of the things the Covid pandemic has taken away are easier to quantify than others. The death toll and the job losses make headlines, but the closed arts venues, the lack of shared creative experiences, not so much. But make no mistake, the arts face an unprecedented crisis. HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur speaks to Tamara Rojo, the internationally renowned dancer and artistic director of the English National Ballet. Can the performing arts withstand the Covid calamity?
Jan 18, 2021
Alan Dershowitz: Trump's second impeachment
1379
Donald Trump has secured a unique place in the history books as the first president in American history to be impeached twice. What that means in practical terms isn't clear. There’ll be no Trump trial in the Senate before Joe Biden moves into the White House, but Democrats insist he will be held to account for the assault on the Capitol. Stephen Sackur speaks to the veteran lawyer Alan Dershowitz, part of the defence team in the first impeachment. Will he get involved in the sequel, and how will it play in a divided America?
Jan 15, 2021
Virologist Barry Schoub: South Africa's covid situation 'is bleak'
1430
South Africa is now grappling with a highly transmissible new strain of Covid-19 that is causing international concern. Stephen Sackur interviews Professor Barry Schoub, virologist and Chair of the South African Government’s Advisory Committee on Covid-19 vaccines. What does the country’s Covid crisis mean for the worldwide effort to end the pandemic? (Photo: Professor Barry Schoub appears via video link on Hardtalk)
Jan 13, 2021
Alan Rusbridger: Fact v fiction
1429
Stephen Sackur interviews Alan Rusbridger, former editor of The Guardian and now a member of Facebook’s Oversight Board. The Covid-19 pandemic is a test of global public health systems, but it also presents a profound challenge to our media and information networks. How do we ensure that fact prevails over fiction? (Photo: Alan Rusbridger appears via video link on Hardtalk)
Jan 11, 2021
Admiral James Stavridis: The aftermath of the capitol riot
1378
The Trump inspired insurrection on Capitol Hill failed. But the wounds to America’s body politic are now raw and deep. The President remains Commander in Chief with his finger on the nuclear button, but is that tenable for the next two weeks? What are the dramatic death throes of the Trump presidency doing to America’s standing in the wider world? Stephen Sackur speaks to retired US admiral and former Supreme Commander of Nato’s armed forces James Stavridis. How deep is the hole America is in?
Jan 08, 2021
Neil Ferguson: Did the UK get its Covid strategy wrong?
1378
Stephen Sackur speaks to British epidemiologist Professor Neil Ferguson, whose early modelling of Covid-19 made him an influential advocate of the lockdown strategy. The UK is back in lockdown and infections are surging. What has gone wrong, and why have other countries done better?
Jan 06, 2021
Hermann Hauser: Is Europe failing to create tech champions?
1458
The tech sector is fast becoming a battleground where the world’s greatest economic powers, the US and China, are competing for power and influence. Where is Europe in this race to shape the digital future? We speak to Hermann Hauser, a tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist who has profoundly shaped Europe and the UK’s technology sector. Is Europe failing to build its own tech champions?
Dec 21, 2020
Christopher Ruddy: Is the media amplifying division in America?
1419
Stephen Sackur speaks to Christopher Ruddy, CEO of the conservative Newsmax media group and close personal friend of Donald Trump. His network has tried to outfox Fox News by being Trumpier than Trump. The President's unfounded claims of a stolen election might have been great for ratings, but what's it done to America’s body politic?
Dec 16, 2020
Bernardine Evaristo: Is British culture changing?
1377
Stephen Sackur speaks to Bernardine Evaristo, the Booker Prize-winning author of Girl, Woman, Other. In any society, the voices that are listened to, and the stories that are shared, say much about who is deemed to belong and who is excluded. On that basis, Britain is changing, but how deep does the cultural change go?
Dec 14, 2020
David Beasley of the World Food Programme: Is the world set for new famines?
1440
This year’s Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the World Food Programme, the UN agency dedicated to feeding the hungry and fending off mass starvation. This week the award was handed to the body's executive director, David Beasley, in recognition of the agency’s worldwide effort to overcome the challenges of conflict and Covid-19. 2020 has been a terrible year for those experiencing extreme hunger; is there a real danger that 2021 will be even worse? (Photo: David Beasley, director of the WFP appears via videolink on Hardtalk)
Dec 11, 2020
Owase Jeelani: Making life and death decisions
1436
Stephen Sackur speaks to the paediatric neurosurgeon Owase Jeelani. Brain surgery carries with it an awesome burden of responsibility. And within neurosurgery there are particular challenges that take the physical and ethical pressure to an extreme. Imagine doing complex brain surgery on small children; then imagine trying to split conjoined twin babies joined at the head. Mr Jeelani's work has made headlines around the world. How does he deal with the stress of life and death decision-making?
Dec 07, 2020
Ishaq Dar: Pakistan's power struggle
1433
Imran Khan won power in Pakistan two years ago with a promise to root out corruption and take on the country’s vested interests. So how's it going? Rising food prices and the Covid pandemic have left many Pakistanis feeling worse off, while the anti-corruption drive has become a political battleground. Stephen Sackur speaks to Ishaq Dar, who was Pakistan's finance minister. The country's anti-corruption body, the National Accountability Bureau, alleges he owned assets beyond his means of income, which he denies. He and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are trying to rally opposition to Imran Khan, but how much credibility do they have?
Dec 02, 2020
Anthony Gardner: How will Joe Biden handle foreign policy?
1379
With Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the presidential election running out of road, attention is increasingly focused on President Elect Biden’s vision of America’s role in the world. Will he revert back to the policies and assumptions that defined the Obama years? Are there lessons to be learnt from Trump's disruption of foreign policy norms? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Anthony Gardner, US ambassador to the EU under Barack Obama. What should the world expect from President Biden?
Nov 30, 2020
Gedion Timothewos: Is Ethiopia sliding into civil war?
1427
Stephen Sackur speaks to Ethiopia’s Attorney General, Gedion Timothewos. Ethiopia’s federal armed forces have launched the final phase of their assault on Tigrayan rebels in the north of the country. International observers have voiced deep concern about possibly devastating humanitarian consequences. This after many hundreds have already been killed, and tens of thousands have been forced to flee three weeks of fighting. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed pledged to bring the country together - why has it gone so horribly wrong? (Photo: Gedion Timothewos appears via videolink on Hardtalk)
Nov 27, 2020
Jeremy Hunt: Britain's battle with Covid-19
1378
The UK has the highest Covid-19 death toll in Europe and one of the steepest declines in economic output. Opinion polls suggest Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s claims of a world-beating governmental response cut little ice with the public. Stephen Sackur speaks to Jeremy Hunt, former Health Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Mr Johnson’s rival for leadership of the Conservative party. Has the pandemic exposed weaknesses in the country and its leader?
Nov 25, 2020
David Nabarro: How can countries minimise Covid damage?
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This is a bittersweet moment in the global fight against the Covid pandemic. Joy that at least two vaccine trials have produced extremely promising results is tempered by the continued spread of the disease across much of the world. To put it bluntly, the global containment effort has had limited success. Stephen Sackur speaks to Dr David Nabarro, the World Health Organisation’s special envoy for Covid-19. Are countries doing enough to minimise the damage done before mass vaccination changes the game?
Nov 23, 2020
Pawel Jablonski: Why is Poland blocking the EU's budget?
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The EU is facing an internal political crisis. Two members, Poland and Hungary, are blocking the passage of a new budget and a post-Covid recovery package, claiming it includes unacceptable conditions. At issue is the EU's ability to tie funds to members' adherence to core EU values, such as the rule of law. Stephen Sackur speaks to Pawel Jablonski, Poland's deputy foreign minister. Can Poland afford to defy Brussels' will?
Nov 20, 2020
Judit Varga: How far is Hungary prepared to go in its defiance of the EU?
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The EU has long threatened to punish the populist nationalist government in Hungary for a failure to uphold core EU values. So far the threats have been empty, but now there’s a concerted effort to link post-Covid financial aid to compliance with core principles on the rule of law. Stephen Sackur speaks to Hungary’s Justice Minister Judit Varga. How far is Hungary prepared to go in its defiance of Brussels institutions and EU norms? (Photo: Judit Varga via video link on Hardtalk)
Nov 18, 2020
Arancha Gonzalez: How much influence does the EU have?
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In the midst of of a pandemic which has inflicted severe damage on the European economy, it is tempting to see the US election victory of Joe Biden as a boost for the EU. After all, Donald Trump seemed to view Europe more as an economic rival than strategic partner. Stephen Sackur speaks to Spain's foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez. What kind of power and influence can the EU wield on the world stage when it is grappling with a covid-recession, Brexit and deep internal division?
Nov 16, 2020
HR McMaster: Trump and the transition
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Donald Trump hasn’t yet accepted it, but he’ll be out of the White House in January next year. Gone but not forgotten. His legacy can be seen in a divided body politic, strained international alliances and deep uncertainty about America’s geopolitical ambition. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Lt. General HR McMaster, who served as Mr Trump’s National Security Adviser until he was fired in 2018. In terms of America’s role in the world, will the Trump years be seen as an aberration or a marker of underlying change?
Nov 13, 2020
Jack Kingston: What is next for Trump?
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Donald Trump can't and won't bring himself to concede that he lost the Presidential election. Amid the talk of legal challenges in a slew of states the Republican party is under strain - most senior figures sticking with the President, some very publicly backing away. Stephen Sackur speaks to the former Congressman and loyal Trump backer Jack Kingston. What longer term lessons should his party be taking from the imminent loss of the White House?
Nov 11, 2020
Leopoldo Lopez: An opposition leader in exile
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The socialist government of Venezuela presides over an economy in meltdown and a population desperate for change. Yet the country's opposition has failed to build a movement capable of bringing down President Nicolas Maduro. Why? In an exclusive interview, Stephen Sackur speaks to Leopoldo Lopez, the founder of the opposition Popular Will party. Last month, he escaped from Venezuela and found refuge in Spain. Is that the action of a man who has lost faith in the opposition's ability to win their struggle?
Nov 09, 2020
Jacob Bleacher: Putting astronauts back on the moon
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Scientists have discovered water on the sunlit surface of the Moon for the first time. Does it matter? Well, maybe it does. The Moon is back in vogue in terms of space exploration – the US says it will put astronauts back on the lunar surface by 2024. It is supposed to be the precursor to a manned mission to Mars. Stephen Sackur speaks to Jacob Bleacher, chief exploration scientist at NASA. In this time of pandemic and climate change here on Earth, is space exploration a potential lifeline or a massive vanity project?
Nov 04, 2020
Perez Hilton: The 2000s' gossip-in-chief
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Gossip, scurrilous rumour, a fascination with the flaws of the rich and famous: these human foibles are as old as the hills, but the age of the internet has amplified their power. Perez Hilton, real name Mario Lavandeira, can lay claim to being the godfather of online gossip and scandal mongering. He created his showbiz gossip blog 16 years ago, and made a pile of money trashing reputations and inflicting misery on the famous. Now he says he’s sorry, but should we believe him?
Nov 02, 2020
Jim Clyburn: Can Biden win?
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According to the polls Joe Biden is strong favourite to be the next President of the United States. But the party’s leaders bear deep scars from 2016. Donald Trump overcame the odds and beat Hillary Clinton and he claims he can do it again next week. Even if Biden wins does America really know what his presidency would look like? Stephen Sackur speaks to one of the most senior Democrats in Congress, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. Is Democratic party confidence more than skin deep? Photo: US House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee Chairman James E. Clyburn Credit: Getty Images
Oct 30, 2020
Dominique Schnapper on secularism in France after Samuel Paty's killing
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The beheading of a teacher by an 18-year-old outside Paris struck a particularly jarring blow to the French psyche. Samuel Paty was murdered for teaching his students, including young Muslims, about freedom of speech, including the freedom to mock religion. His killing was seen by some as an attack on France’s secular values. Stephen Sackur speaks to Dominique Schnapper, president of a council which advises the government on secularism in education. Is France's government getting its response to this tragedy right?
Oct 28, 2020