The Documentary Podcast

By BBC World Service

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

Episode Date
Dance divas: 1978-1988
2981
We meet Yvonne Turner, Rebecca Mackenzie, Carol Cooper, Gail Sky King and Sharon White who were all Paradise Garage regulars from its opening in the late 70s. We follow their first steps in the music business, after the death of disco. But in a cut-throat music industry, many women, including Martha, had to fight to get proper credit for their work and recognition for their achievements is long overdue. Now in their 60s, we follow their remarkable stories over several decades, as underground dance music evolved from disco into house, striving for success in an environment which was often hostile to women.
Apr 17, 2021
Dance divas: 1978-1988
2981
Meet the pioneering women DJs, producers, vocalists and remixers who were part of the New York underground dance scene from disco onwards. Presented by the Queen of Clubland herself, Martha Wash, whose vocals feature on 12 number one Billboard Dance chart hits to date. All the women are linked by one nightclub, the Paradise Garage, which alongside underground clubs in Chicago and Detroit would help lay the foundation for modern dance music. Underground DJ's, clubs, and producers were not only important in breaking mainstream hits, they were also a safe haven for LGBTQ+ People of Colour. We meet Yvonne Turner, Rebecca Mackenzie, Carol Cooper, Gail Sky King and Sharon White, who were all Paradise Garage regulars from its opening in the late 70s. We follow their first steps in the music business, after the death of disco. In a cut-throat music industry, many women, including Martha, had to fight to get proper credit for their work, and recognition for their achievements is long overdue. Now in their 60s, we follow their remarkable stories over several decades, as underground dance music evolved from disco into house, striving for success in an environment which was often hostile to women. At the same time, the NYC underground scene was hit by the Aids crisis, gentrification, and the rise of hip-hop. Presenter: Martha Wash Producer: Victoria Ferran
Apr 17, 2021
Coronavirus: Surviving isolation
1417
The pandemic has caused many people to feel lonely and isolated. For three women, the isolation is as a result of travelling and having to quarantine in hotels on arrival - Michelle in Australia, Amanda in Indonesia and Charlotte in New Zealand. They tell host Nuala McGovern how they are passing the time and share recommendations. It’s not just people living alone who can feel isolated, of course, and three single parents from the Philippines, the United States and the UK share their experiences - both the highs and lows - of living with their children 24/7. For theatre artist Floyd in Manila, it has resulted in singing regularly with his ten year old son.
Apr 17, 2021
The day I met Prince Philip
2914
Over his seven decades of service to Queen Elizabeth the Second, to the United Kingdom, her 15 other realms, and to the Commonwealth, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, met many millions of people. They all have stories to tell about those meetings and in this special programme Winifred Robinson hears some of them. The stories reflect on the Prince’s many passions, the charities he was involved with, his commitment to individuals and causes and also his support for the Queen and the Commonwealth. We also hear about his sharp wit and sense of humour.
Apr 17, 2021
Sexual healing in the Israeli military
1588
Soldiers returning from the line of duty with injuries affecting sexual performance are universal to all militaries around the world, but Israeli psychologist Dr Ronit Aloni set about making hers the only nation that offers a unique therapeutic approach to restoring the sexuality of their troops as a matter of course: surrogate partner therapy (SPT), or sexual surrogacy. After studying the niche treatment in the US in the early nineties, Dr Aloni conducted studies, lobbied the government and met with religious leaders in order to make this therapy, considered fringe and often taboo in other nations, available to those who need it via Ministry of Defense funding. But why is Israel alone in this? The therapy is best described as traditional psychotherapy combined with intimate sexual therapy with a surrogate lover, in every form that can mean, and it was Dr Aloni’s dogged belief in its life-changing benefits for her clients that caused her to pursue provision for the troops. For Assignment, Yolande Knell tells the story of that policy through Dr Aloni’s work and her Tel Aviv clinic, the work of surrogate partner Seraphina, and two military veterans who have accessed the service: one of the first to be offered it on the Defense Ministry’s time in the late nineties, and one a conscripted young man paralysed by his injuries who after years of begging for death, says the therapy “restored his humanity.” Producer: Philip Marzouk Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: Hand being held in a gesture of comfort. Credit: PeopleImages via Getty)
Apr 15, 2021
Don't log off: My life, my world
1625
Alan Dein follows 25-year-old entrepreneur Fahad in Dhaka, Bangladesh who has to deal with the pressures of running multiple businesses during the pandemic – and has over 200 employees depending on him for their livelihoods.
Apr 13, 2021
Coronavirus: Loss of smell and taste
1420
The loss of smell and taste is now considered one of the major symptoms of Covid-19 and it can have a huge impact on people’s lives - especially when these senses do not return after someone has recovered from the disease. Host Nuala McGovern hears from people in Costa Rica, the US and the UK about how it has affected their lives - from coffee that has become too pungent to drink and steak that tastes metallic - to being unable to smell fresh paint or the natural scent of a child.
Apr 10, 2021
The other caliphate
3017
For five brutal months in 2017 the black flag of so-called Islamic State fluttered over a captured city, and thousands of lives were destroyed. But rather than Iraq or Syria, this was a reality in Marawi, in the Philippines. Anna Foster travels to the heart of a devastated community - still off-limits to most - where ruined buildings cut through with shrapnel and bullet-holes are all that’s left of a once-thriving city.
Apr 10, 2021
HRH Prince Philip: A celebration of a life
2967
Buckingham Palace has announced the death of Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II. He was 99 years old. Tuppence Middleton presents a celebration of his life, and looks back through the BBC archive to find out more about the projects and causes to which he was dedicated.
Apr 10, 2021
HRH Prince Philip: Links with the armed forces
1588
Jonny Dymond looks back at Prince Philip's links with the armed forces, and his time as an officer in the Royal Navy. He tells the story of the Duke of Edinburgh's lifelong love of the sea, and his service during World War Two.
Apr 10, 2021
HRH Prince Philip: His work with charity
1588
Kate Humble looks at the impact Prince Philip made on the world through his work with international charities. She learns how the Duke of Edinburgh's Award championed youth achievement, and how he promoted conservation of the environment through his work with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature.
Apr 10, 2021
The life of Prince Philip
2968
Buckingham Palace has announced the death of Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II. He was 99 years old. Edward Stourton tells the story of his life.
Apr 10, 2021
Denmark: Goodbye to mink
1673
Can Denmark's mink industry rise again? Denmark was the world's top producer of mink for the luxury market. Last year a coronavirus variant was found in the animals, and transmitted to people. There was a fear the variant - Cluster 5 - might interfere with the efficacy of any vaccine developed for humans. So in November, the Danish government ordered a cull of all 17 million farmed mink. But questions have continued to be asked about the decision to effectively end production. Was it driven by an anti-fur, political agenda? Was the science reliable? For Assignment Linda Pressly and Danish journalist, Rikke Bolander, meet some of those with skin in the game. What are the chances of a revival of Denmark's mink business? Producers/presenters: Linda Pressly and Rikke Bolander Editor, Bridget Harney (Image: A mink in a cage on a Danish fur farm. Credit: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)
Apr 08, 2021
Don’t log off: My life, my world
1629
Alan Dein follows Margaret in Uganda, who cares for nine children orphaned by Aids and who has HIV herself. Told through interviews and her own smartphone recordings, it’s an inspiring story of hope and resilience as Margaret deals with lockdown and the loss of loved ones.
Apr 06, 2021
Coronavirus: Brazilian doctors
1419
Brazil's health service has been pushed to the brink as coronavirus cases continue to climb. Some 66,570 people died of Covid-19 in March, more than double the previous monthly record, and the total number of Covid-19 related deaths is over 320,000. Yet President Jair Bolsonaro continues to oppose lockdowns and has been heavily criticised for his handling of the pandemic. There have also been problems with the rollout of Covid vaccines. Two Brazilian doctors, in Sao Paolo and the southern city of Porto Alegre, share their experiences during these challenging times.
Apr 03, 2021
Namibia: The price of genocide
1588
More than a century after its brutal colonisation of Namibia, including what it now accepts was the genocide of the Herero and Nama peoples, Germany is negotiating with the country’s government to heal the wounds of the past. The eventual deal may set a precedent for what other nations expect from former colonisers. But how do you make up for the destruction of entire societies? Germany has agreed to apologise - but Namibia also wants some form of material compensation. What should that be, and who should benefit? Namibians are now divided about how the talks are being conducted - and some in the country’s German-speaking minority, descendants of the original colonists, question the very idea of compensation. Tim Whewell travels to Namibia to ask how far full reconciliation - with Germany, and within the country - is possible. Producer and presenter: Tim Whewell Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: Laidlaw Peringanda at the Swakopmund Genocide Memorial. Credit: Tim Whewell/BBC)
Apr 01, 2021
Women dying for work
1631
Karoshi, or death from overwork, has been common in Japan for decades. It is often seen as part of ‘salary man’ culture where men commit themselves above all else to their employer. However little is ever said about women who die from Karoshi. Now the plight of women is coming more into focus following high profile deaths and signs more women are suffering. Yoshie Matsumoto examines how an overwork culture is affecting women in Japan. It is not just about climbing the corporate ladder but also about upholding traditions, including managing the home, prioritising male domestic needs and rearing children responsibly. If you have been affected by the issues in this programme, there is information at help.befrienders.org.
Mar 30, 2021
The coronavirus and your money
3015
After a year of lockdowns and Covid restrictions, Manuela Saragosa and Devina Gupta take a global look at jobs, pay and financial wellbeing. They look at the support packages from governments around the world and revisit some of those who spoke to the programme a year ago. How have they fared in the past 12 months?
Mar 28, 2021
Joe Biden's border challenge
579
As a presidential candidate, Joe Biden promised a more humane approach to migration on the US-Mexico border. But right now, more than 17,000 unaccompanied children are being held in migration facilities. Ros Atkins considers the challenge facing the Biden administration (Photo: Dareli Matamoros, a girl from Honduras, holds a sign asking President Biden to let her in during a migrant demonstration demanding clearer United States migration policies.
Mar 27, 2021
Coronavirus: Homelessness
1418
The coronavirus has changed almost everyone’s lives and for some losing their jobs has led to homelessness. Edward in the United States had to sleep in the New York subway and train stations before finding help from a mission, while Walter spent five months homeless in South Africa - even for a stint, on the famous Table Mountain. Host Nuala McGovern also hears how families in Rome are approaching the renewed restrictions. Nuala also considers the future workplace and how the pandemic has been good for robots.
Mar 27, 2021
Shipping’s dirty secret
1588
The shipping industry is worth millions to the world economy and we depend on it for most of our goods. Assignment lifts the lid on the dangerous and polluting world of shipbreaking and investigates why ships once owned by UK companies end their lives on beaches in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. (Image: Bangladeshi labourers and docked ships at a shipbreaking yard. Credit: Farjana Khan Godhuly/AFP via Getty Images)
Mar 25, 2021
A constitutional conversation
1627
How do you solve a problem like America? A land where speech is free - but hate rules the airwaves. A land of opportunity - where 40 million people live in poverty. A land of democracy - where the majority of Americans are under-represented in national government. Award winning journalist Brian Palmer asks if the near sacred text is fit for modern governance. Does the electoral college deliver adequate representation for everybody? Is the Constitution key to solving America’s ills?
Mar 23, 2021
World of wisdom: Love
3019
Eckhart Tolle, Dr Shefali Tsabary and Sister Dang Nghiem offer advice to members of the public from across the world as they respond to the challenge of the pandemic. In a series of intimate pone explore more life-lessons in this series of two programmes. In a series of intimate one to one conversations presented by the BBC’s Nuala McGovern, for the BBC World Service Festival they explore life-lesson on recovering from trauma, coping with kids in lockdown, personal growth after bereavement and learning to love yourself.
Mar 21, 2021
World of wisdom: Breathe
3017
Eckhart Tolle, Dr Shefali Tsabary and Sister Dang Nghiem offer advice to members of the public from across the world as they explore life-lessons in this series of two programmes. The last year has brought challenges like no other year, leading to dramatic personal changes all over the world. People struggle to endure the restrictions, or to cope with grief, or perhaps they wonder suddenly see their life in a new way. In a series of intimate conversations presented by Nuala McGovern, people ask for guidance on anxiety, recovering from illness, children’s screen dependence and how to learn from lockdown.
Mar 20, 2021
What happened with the AstraZeneca vaccine?
580
Some of the European Union's biggest nations have restarted their roll-out of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine after the medicines regulator concluded it was safe and effective. Ros Atkins considers how a vaccine initially hailed as a "gamechanger", has ended up in the middle of a scientific and political storm.
Mar 20, 2021
Coronavirus: Reporting Covid-19
3011
During the last year hundreds of people across the globe have shared their experiences on the programme about living during a pandemic. This time, we view this challenging situation through a journalist’s lens. Reporters from India, Brazil, the United States, Italy, South Africa, Rwanda and New Zealand share, with host Nuala McGovern, what it’s like to work on possibly the most important story of their careers. They reveal the difficulties of obtaining accurate information, the influence of governments, and how they now deal with misinformation.
Mar 20, 2021
Scotland's contested identity
1603
For over three hundred years the union of England and Scotland has held firm through war and poverty but in recent years some people north of the border have asked for a divorce. Elections in May to Scotland’s devolved parliament could return a majority for the ruling Scottish National Party which is seeking a mandate for a second referendum on seceding from the UK. Only seven years ago those wanting independence failed to win a poll on the issue but since then Brexit and the handling of the Covid pandemic have radicalised some voters, especially the young. For Assignment, Lucy Ash visits several communities in Scotland to hear their new arguments for and against the union, and to learn about the differing interpretations of Scottish history, identity and political culture that underpin them. From the east coast city of Dundee which voted so decisively for independence in the last referendum that it was dubbed the “Yes City” she travels to Stirling, the so-called Gateway to the Highlands. Finally, she flies to the isles of Orkney, which have vowed to become independent themselves if the rest of the country does secede from the UK – a sign that the centrifugal forces at work all over Europe could well apply to Scotland itself. Producer: Mike Gallagher Editor: Bridget Harney (Demonstrator, with a Saltire bodysuit and flag, at a Pro-Scottish Independence rally in Glasgow, 05 February 2021. The Scottish National Party has adopted the Saltire as its symbol but Unionists say they have just as much ownership of the country’s blue and white flag, also known as the St Andrew’s Cross. Credit: Reuters)
Mar 18, 2021
What does the future hold? Covid, women and the US economy
1621
From women in senior management positions, to women-owned start-ups, to low income families, Covid poses difficult questions about how to adapt to an uncertain future. Nada Tawfik explores some of the strategies being adopted by women in the US economy to adjust to a vastly changed economic landscape.
Mar 16, 2021
The Royal Family’s missed chance
579
It has been a turbulent week for the British royal family following Harry and Meghan's explosive sit-down with Oprah Winfrey. On Thursday, Prince William said the British Royal family is not racist - in his first public response to allegations made in the US television interview, where the Duchess of Sussex claimed her husband had been asked how dark the skin of their first baby might be. Ros Atkins looks at the fallout from the interview and asks if the rift marks a missed opportunity for the Royal family?
Mar 13, 2021
Coronavirus: Resilience during a year of the pandemic
3014
One year ago, the World Health Organisation announced that Covid-19 was spreading across different countries at such an alarming rate that it needed to be classed as a pandemic. It has been a challenging year for everyone and host Nuala McGovern shares conversations with people who perhaps don’t always receive public recognition for their work or actions. This includes one of the researchers who helped make the first vaccine to be approved for use around the world and two of the volunteers who took part in successful vaccine trials. We also hear from supermarket workers in South Africa, the US and the UK about the stress keeping shelves full while working with hundreds of customers - some of whom don’t always respect their jobs or safety during a pandemic.
Mar 13, 2021
The disinformation dragon
1622
Prior to the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement and the Covid 19 pandemic, China’s presence on social media was largely to promote a positive image of its country – trying to ‘change the climate’ rather than seeking to sow confusion and division. But this is changing. In this investigation for Assignment Paul Kenyon and Krassimira Twigg examine China’s new strategy of aggressively pushing disinformation on social media platforms through the use of ‘wolf warrior’ diplomats, internet bots, ‘the 50-cent army’ of loyal Chinese netizens and a longer term goal of inventing a new type of internet where authoritarian governments can control its users. Editor: Lucy Proctor (Image: Checking a smartphone, lit-up against a dark background. Credit:d3sign/Getty)
Mar 11, 2021
The empty desk: Women, Covid and the US economy
1620
A year ago American women out-numbered men in the workforce for the first time. Now, after a year of Covid pandemic that process has gone into reverse with more women than men leaving the workforce. Nada Tawfik hears how women are experiencing disproportionate job losses due to Covid recession and hears how working from home has changed work for many women.
Mar 09, 2021
The Saudis and the superpower
589
Joe Biden promised to be tough on Saudi Arabia. But this week, he stopped short of punishing the kingdom's crown prince despite US intelligence holding him responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Ros Atkins looks at the President's first foreign policy test, and the Washington-Riyadh alliance.
Mar 06, 2021
Coronavirus: War and Covid trauma
1391
We hear from two US veterans who served during the war in Vietnam about the similarities between their experiences and the trauma experienced by many during the pandemic. Covid vaccines are bringing renewed hope across the world when it comes to Covid-19 but thousands of people are continuing to die from the disease on a daily basis. The emotional toll of losing loved ones is being felt by so many around the world. Three people struggling with grief - from Bangladesh, Sweden and the United States - share their experiences.
Mar 06, 2021
Biden's world
1634
President Biden claims “America is back”. He plans to put diplomacy first and restore long-standing American alliances. His predecessor, President Trump, left behind a very different world from the one he greeted in 2016. Fresh crises confront the Biden Administration, including the Myanmar coup and political unrest in Russia. And climate change is now an urgent global problem. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki are tasked with repositioning America in that shifting world. Can they bring America back, to assume a leadership role in this complex new world?
Mar 04, 2021
A year of Covid
1631
In March 2020 the UK was gearing up to face the Covid-19 pandemic. Cases were increasing rapidly and by the end of month the country was in full lockdown with medics facing their toughest ever test. A group of doctors and nurses in intensive care units recorded audio diaries for the BBC which illustrated the true scale of the professional and personal challenge they faced. The UK was to become one of the worst hit countries for Covid-19 deaths in Europe. One year on – in the midst of a second wave - and a third lockdown - reporter Jane Deith revisits some of those doctors and nurses to find out how they are surviving the biggest challenge of their careers. Producer: Rob Cave
Mar 02, 2021
Facebook's global power and influence
605
After a series of damaging scandals, many critics believe the social media giant has become too powerful and should be broken up. This week, Ros Atkins will consider Facebook's influence in Myanmar, its role in the storming of the Capitol building in Washington, and its decision to temporarily ban news in Australia.
Feb 27, 2021
Coronavirus: Venezuela's hospitals
1450
Venezuela’s hospitals are dealing with a pandemic at a time when the country is already in an economic crisis. Many hospitals don’t have running water and there are shortages of oxygen and other medical supplies to treat Covid patients. Two doctors in the capital Caracas share their stories with host Nuala McGovern. In the United States, more than 500,000 lives have now been lost due to Covid-19. A reverend and deacon from a baptist church in New York, at one point the epicentre of the disease, reflect on how their community is coping almost a year after the pandemic was first declared.
Feb 27, 2021
Kenya’s unhappy doctors and nurses
1603
All over the world, frontline health workers have paid the ultimate price during the coronavirus pandemic. But in Kenya the story of one young doctor’s heroism has made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Twenty eight year-old Stephen Mogusu died from Covid 19 in December 2020, after working on an isolation ward and complaining that he lacked adequate protective clothing. Despite his vital service, he hadn’t been paid a salary for five months. Stephen’s tragedy also exposes a wider malaise in Kenya’s health provision: A corruption scandal involving overpriced masks, aprons and other protective clothing. Meanwhile, across the country, a series of on-off strikes have disrupted care, as doctors, nurses and clinicians have made sporadic protests against alleged mismanagement and a devolved power structure they say is dysfunctional. For Assignment, Lucy Ash finds out what’s ailing Kenya’s healthcare system. Producer: Michael Gallagher Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: Healthcare workers light candles next to a photograph of Doctor Stephen Mogusu. Credit: Dennis Sigwe/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Feb 25, 2021
I am Robert Chelsea
1654
Robert Chelsea suffered horrific burns after his stationary car was hit by a truck with a drunk driver at the wheel, in Los Angeles in 2013. He survived and went ahead with a series of demanding surgical operations at a Boston hospital in an attempt to restore his appearance. A shortage of black donors meant it was a long wait for his doctors to find even a partial match for his skin colour. The operation was a success. Although he still has difficulty speaking, he can now eat and drink without difficulty. In a moving narrative, Robert, his friends, family and doctors reflect on his remarkable journey.
Feb 23, 2021
How the Irish shaped Britain
3057
With migration, integration and assimilation dominating much public debate, Fergal Keane explores the profound influence, over many centuries, of the Irish in Britain. Whether it is 19th Century theatre or verse, or today’s pop culture, Irish migrants and their descendants have deeply influenced and steered the UK’s literature and arts. Fergal Keane examines the impact of the longest and biggest immigrant story in the history of the United Kingdom.
Feb 21, 2021
Covid-19: The cost of keeping schools closed during a pandemic
550
With thousands of schools still closed around the world, there are increasingly urgent warnings about the impact this pandemic is having on millions of children. Ros Atkins looks at risks of reopening classrooms and the consequences of not doing so.
Feb 20, 2021
Coronavirus: Living in a refugee camp
1388
Tasneem recently graduated from university. Like everyone else, her future is on hold because of coronavirus. But for Tasneem it is a particularly uncertain time, as she has been living in Jordan at one of the world’s largest refugee camps, since leaving Syria with her family in 2013. Host Nuala McGovern has a conversation with her and her father about life in a refugee camp during the pandemic. We also hear why Tanzania is denying its people are dying from Covid-19; and how sniffer dogs in Finland can be trained to detect the virus among passengers arriving at Helsinki airport - with unprecedented success.
Feb 20, 2021
Drug-free in Norway?
1588
Can Norwegians with psychosis benefit from radical, drug-free treatment? In a challenge to the foundations of western psychiatry, a handful of Norway’s mental health facilities are offering medication-free treatment to people with serious psychiatric conditions. But five years after the scheme began it is still being questioned by the health establishment. For Assignment, Lucy Proctor hears the testimony of Norwegian psychiatric patients, and the doctors who have aligned themselves on either side of the debate. Why is this happening in Norway? And how much power should people with debilitating psychosis have over their own lives? Presenter: Lucy Proctor Producer: Linda Pressly (Image: Artwork depicting a young woman, with her head in her hands. Credit: Malin Rossi)
Feb 18, 2021
Inside the brain of Jeff Bezos
1658
David Baker reveals the thinking and the values that made Jeff Bezos the richest man on the planet, and Amazon the most wildly successful company, even in a year when the global economy faces catastrophe. Speaking to senior colleagues within his businesses, longstanding business partners and analysts, David Baker learns the secrets to Amazon's success. As the billionaire creates a huge philanthropic foundation, the programme examines the impact of Jeff Bezos' ideas on the fight against global climate change and the exploration of the solar system, as well as his impact on the media.
Feb 16, 2021
World Wide Waves: The sounds of community radio
3066
We may think we live in a digital age, but only half the world is currently online. Across the globe, small radio stations bind remote communities, play a dazzling array of music, educate, entertain and empower people to make change. Cameroon’s Radio Taboo, Radio Civic Sfantu Gheorghe in the Danube Delta, Tamil Nadu’s Kadal Osai (“the sound of the ocean”), Radio Pio Doce in Bolivia and KTNN, the Voice of the Navajo Nation continue to lift their listeners' spirits up.
Feb 14, 2021
The slow search for the origin of Covid-19
550
As scientists from the World Health Organisation release the findings of their latest visit to Wuhan, Ros Atkins looks at the reasons why so much remains unknown about the start of the pandemic, and the central role China is playing in shaping the investigations.
Feb 13, 2021
Coronavirus: The vaccinated
1388
Around the world, millions of people are receiving their first dose of vaccines against Covid-19. Healthcare workers are often prioritised and today we introduce two hospital workers; a porter here in the UK and a cleaner in the US. They share their feelings about what it’s like doing a job that comes with a high risk of catching Covid-19. We also hear from two young adults in the UK. They have just received their first vaccine because they are clinically vulnerable. Meanwhile, Israel extended its vaccinations to 16-18-year-olds to enable them to return to school. We hear from two teenagers about the growing prospect of going back to some form of normality.
Feb 13, 2021
Unmasked: Stories from the PPE frontline
1588
Personal protective equipment like masks and gloves are the last line of defence for healthcare workers on the frontline, preventing them from getting infected by the Covid patients they care for. But how protected are the factory workers who make these products? Phil Kemp investigates claims that exhausted migrant workers in Malaysia have worked up to 12 hours a day, 29 days a month to produce the gloves so desperately needed in hospitals around the world, with some exposed to outbreaks themselves at work. Reporter: Phil Kemp Producer: Anna Meisel (Image: A worker inspects newly-made gloves. Credit: Reuters/Lim Huey Teng)
Feb 11, 2021
Coronavirus Front Line: The search for a vaccine - part two
1597
The medical teams at Bradford investigate the hesitancy over the Covid-19 vaccine. A team of young ambassadors is recruited to help build trust locally and medical teams follow up with those who appear reluctant for a variety of reasons. Abdul Majeed is one of those doubters, even though his uncle, Nawab Ali, has died from Covid and his father, Abdul Saboor, had been gravely ill in intensive care with Covid-19 for two months.
Feb 09, 2021
Coronavirus: Guilty mums
1455
Many parents are finding it hard to be a teacher and a parent at the same time during this pandemic. Two mums - Priya in India and Mputle in South Africa - share their experiences. Host Nuala McGovern also hears the urgent appeal being sent to medics to help in Portugal’s intensive care units, as the country undergoes a worrying spike in cases. “We need you,” is the message sent to one nurse, who is being drafted into ICU for the first time. Plus, three women in Germany, Australia and the United States come together to explain why the pandemic has led them to sell naked images and videos of themselves online.
Feb 06, 2021
Trump impeachment: The Republicans' dilemma
610
As Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial approaches, Ros Atkins looks at the decisions that Republicans face over the former US president’s role in the storming of the Capitol and in the future of their party.
Feb 06, 2021
Europe’s most dangerous capital
1588
Bucharest, in Romania, is arguably Europe’s most dangerous capital city. It’s not the crime that’s the problem – it’s the buildings. Many of them don’t comply with basic laws and building regulations. Permits are regularly faked. And yet Bucharest is the most earthquake prone European capital. A serious quake would cause many of the buildings to collapse, with a potential loss of life into the thousands. Some years ago a red dot was put on a number of buildings in the city which were in danger of collapse. Nothing else has happened since. A microcosm of the problem is a type of building called ‘camine de nefamilisti’, or ‘homes for those without families’. These were built during the Ceaucescu era to temporarily house workers brought in from the countryside and people who were still single after university. The single room flats, the size of a prison cell, with a communal shower and toilet on each floor were never meant for families. But after the fall of Communism many of these ‘matchboxes’ ended up in private hands and conditions deteriorated, with whole families moved into spaces designed for a single person. Simona Rata grew up in one of these buildings. For Assignment, she returns to the ‘camine de nefamilisti’ and finds little has changed since her childhood. Reporter and producer: Simona Rata Assistant editor: John Murphy Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: Abandoned building on Calea Mosilor, a busy street in the centre of Bucharest. Credit: Simona Rata/BBC)
Feb 04, 2021
Coronavirus Front Line: The search for a vaccine
1663
Over the last few months the race has been on to create and test a vaccine for Covid -19. Over 200 are in development and some are now licensed and given to protect some of the most vulnerable in society and those caring for them. Winifred Robinson has been alongside medical teams at a UK hospital recording as events unfold. She tracks vaccine development through the trial stages and examines what happens when it comes to eventual distribution.
Feb 02, 2021
Compassion fatigue
3022
Compassion fatigue has long been an issue for people in the medical and humanitarian professions. People often enter those worlds because of a desire to care, and to be compassionate towards others, but often compassion is tested to the limits. What does compassion fatigue mean for both those suffering from emotional burnout, and those on the receiving end? We hear from doctors, humanitarians, and experts who explain why compassion is a finite resource.
Jan 31, 2021
Coronavirus: Vaccine hesitancy among ethnic minorities
1437
Millions of people across the world are currently being vaccinated against Covid-19. Black, Asian and Latino groups have been the hardest hit by the first wave of the pandemic and yet people within these groups are more reluctant to take up the offer of the coronavirus vaccine. Two doctors in the United States and the United Kingdom counteract the misinformation and share their experiences of patients’ vaccine mistrust with host Nuala McGovern.
Jan 30, 2021
The exiles: Hong Kong at a crossroads
1588
Over a year ago, two young men who met over the internet as Hong Kong was gripped by months of pro-democracy protests. They shared a common interest in martial arts and a burning desire to resist China’s tightening grip on their lives. Now in the wake of a sweeping national security law, imposed by Beijing, they need to decide… are they going stay and continue to protest or flee to the United Kingdom, a country offering them a way out. In a move that infuriated China, Britain has introduced a new visa that will give 70% of its former colony’s population – 5.4m people - the right to live in the UK, and eventually become citizens. So what will they decide? Grace Tsoi, Wei Wang and Rebecca Henschke follow their story. Produced and presented by Rebecca Henschke in London and Grace Tsoi in Hong Kong Sound recordings by Wei Wang Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: A Hong Kong pro-democracy protestor who has decided to flee to the United Kingdom. Credit: BBC/Wei Wang)
Jan 28, 2021
Donald Trump and me
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In one of America’s reddest states, Idaho, local Republicans reflect on Donald Trump’s rise to the White House. What were their hopes for the most unconventional president in living history, what was gained over the past four years – and what has now been lost? Presenter Heath Druzin is a reporter with Boise State Public Radio who covers conservative politics, guns and far right movements in the American West. How are the 74 million people who voted for Donald Trump now coming to terms with the fact that the person who championed their vision of America has now been dethroned?
Jan 26, 2021
Voices from the Ghetto
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Codenamed Oyneg Shabbat (Joy of the Sabbath), a team of 'researchers' wrote and collected documents detailing life and death inside the ghetto. The secret project was conducted inside the Warsaw Ghetto during World War Two. Led by the historian, Emanuel Ringelblum, the archive included surveys on schooling, smuggling, the life of the streets, the bitter jokes, the price of bread. Members of the project gathered posters, songs, newspapers, pamphlets and even tram tickets that together convey the essence of the Ghetto.
Jan 24, 2021
President Biden: Call for unity
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The new US President Joe Biden inherits a deeply divided country - whether by politics, race or religion. We hear from evangelical Christians in Ohio and Seattle about whether the church can support a president who’s a practising Catholic and about the rifts within their faith. Nuala McGovern also hosts conversations with a Republican couple in Nevada and with Black Lives Matter supporters in Kentucky and North Carolina about the challenges that lie ahead for the Biden presidency.
Jan 23, 2021
Lisa Montgomery: The road to execution
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Lisa Montgomery’s crime was an especially abominable murder: In 2004 in the small mid-West American town of Skidmore, she strangled an expectant mother, Bobbie Jo Stinnett. She then cut open her victim’s womb and kidnapped her baby, who survived the ordeal. Her lawyers argued that she was mentally ill at the time – as a consequence of appalling abuse she had suffered in childhood, including gang rape and torture. They said she was also brain-damaged and delusional. Nevertheless, in the final days of Donald Trump’s presidency, she paid for her actions with her own life - the first female to be executed by the US federal government in almost seven decades. As a new President assumes office, promising reform of America’s criminal justice system, Hilary Andersson charts the story of this unsettling case, from Lisa Montgomery’s tragic beginnings to her final moments, and finds a nation deeply divided over the issue. Warning: Disturbing content Producer: Michael Gallagher Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: Lisa Montgomery. Credit: Wyandotte County Sheriff / via EPA)
Jan 21, 2021
President-elect Joe Biden
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On Wednesday, 20 January Joe Biden will be sworn in as America’s 46th president of the United States, after scoring a record-breaking victory on his third attempt at winning the White House. After 36 years in the Senate, and Barack Obama’s VP for eight more, Joe Biden is Washington Man epitomised – though has always presented himself as the common man. BBC special correspondent James Naughtie charts Joe Biden’s blue-collar roots and political career, and asks what can he and the Democratic Party offer America, following one of the most divisive periods in American history.
Jan 19, 2021
My viral video and me
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Colm Flynn tracks down the internet's original viral video superstars and reveals how becoming an online sensation changed their life. So many people spend their time chasing the allure of fame, however, very few ever reach the level of world-wide recognition that viral phenomena obtain almost overnight. Colm tracks down the people he watched online growing up, to find out what happened to them after their initial viral fame faded.
Jan 17, 2021
Coronavirus: Young widows
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Each Covid-19 death has a tremendous personal impact on loved ones. Host Nuala McGovern talks to three women who have lost their husbands to the disease. Their Facebook group 'Young Widows and Widowers of Covid-19’ is supporting others in the same situation. They call it “the club that nobody wants to join”. We also hear from three people in South Africa, Australia and the US who share the unexpected social consequences - both positive and negative - of wearing face masks when you have a facial disfigurement or difference.
Jan 16, 2021
Social influencers and the perfect body
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In the age of social media and the selfie, the perfect look is everything. That's what online influencers tell their followers. Some are also happy to provide a 'how-to’ guide to obtaining the perfect body through cosmetic surgery. Often though, they are cashing in – taking payment and perks to promote certain clinics – and not always declaring the fact. Those who read their reviews and watch their videos can easily be misled into thinking that their recommendations are impartial. What’s more, the surgical procedures that influencers push can be risky or even downright dangerous. For Assignment, Joice Etutu hears from women whose lives have been changed after booking surgery in Turkey through one clinic where procedures have gone wrong – and where influencers themselves regret ever getting involved. Producer: Kate West Reporter: Joice Etutu Editor: Gail Champion (Image: Plastic surgeon marking a woman’s body for plastic surgery. Credit: Getty Images)
Jan 14, 2021
The digital human: Sacred
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Sacred objects and places are often imbued with memories - memories we cherish, which define who we are. Aleks Krotoski asks if technology can be a conduit for sacredness and give us a greater understanding of our relationship with the sacred.
Jan 13, 2021
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris
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The California senator has made history in three ways – as the first woman, first black person and first person of Indian origin to be elected as vice president. Many observers believe she will be one of the most influential vice presidents in recent history. But what makes Kamala Harris tick? Mark Coles presents a profile of a leader who has been praised for her determination to address social injustice – but has also faced criticism for her sometimes tough policies on law and order.
Jan 12, 2021
Coronavirus: Intensive care
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As vaccines begin to be administered in several countries, many places are experiencing worrying rises in cases and deaths from Covid-19. One effect is that hospitals have to try and cope with the increasing number of patients. Host Nuala McGovern hears from three doctors working in ICUs in South Africa, Brazil and the United States on the stressful frontline of intensive care.
Jan 09, 2021
Libya's Brothers from Hell
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Amid the anarchy of post-Revolution Libya, seven brothers from an obscure background gradually took over their home town near Tripoli. They're accused of murdering entire families to instill fear and to build power and wealth. They created their own militia which threw in its lot, at different times, with various forces in Libya's ongoing conflict. And they grew rich by levying taxes on the human and fuel traffickers crossing their territory. Now, the full horror of their reign of terror is being exposed: since they were driven out in June, more and more mass graves are being discovered. The Libyan authorities - and the International Criminal Court - are investigating what happened. But the four surviving Kani brothers have fled. Will they ever face justice? And what does their story tell us about why the 2011 overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi brought not democracy, but chaos, to Libya? Tim Whewell reports. Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: A defaced mural depicting Mohsen al-Kani in the town of Tarhuna. Credit: Mahmud Turkia/AFP via Getty Images)
Jan 07, 2021
The Digital Human: Ghoul
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Violent content online has rightly been condemned, yet while we criticise those facilitating the supply we rarely talk about the demand. Aleks Krotoski asks who views it and why.
Jan 06, 2021
Donald Trump: The political record
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What is Donald Trump’s political and policy legacy? Nada Tawfik explores how four years of the Trump presidency has challenged US policy conventions and re-written the narrative of American political discourse. The audio for this podcast was updated on 8 January 2021.
Jan 05, 2021
Donald Trump: The man
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Donald Trump was the businessman and TV show host who became the 45th President of the United States, with huge power and resources at his fingertips. Rob Watson tells the life story of one of the most extraordinary people to occupy the Oval Office.
Jan 05, 2021
Coronavirus: Forgotten voices
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Host Nuala McGovern checks in with two so-called Covid-19 ''long-haulers'', who are still enduring symptoms several months after catching the disease. We also hear from residents living in some of the world’s poorest communities in Kenya, India and Brazil, and a parent living in Chile who is bringing up a child with autism. Three mothers from three different countries also speak to Nuala again. They faced the daunting prospect of giving birth in 2020, as medical staff were under pressure due to the virus. The women reflect on their birth experiences, the first few months with their new babies and how the current situation has left them feeling more isolated. Thanks to BBC OS Conversations, they have now formed their own virtual support group
Jan 02, 2021
BBC correspondents' look ahead
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There were times in 2020 when the world felt like an out of control carousel and we could all have been forgiven for just wanting to get off and to wait for normality to return. But will 2021 be any less dramatic? Joe Biden will be inaugurated in January but will Donald Trump have left the White House by then? And vaccines are promised to help tackle the Covid19 pandemic but how successful will they be and how do global leaders go about trying to repair the economic damage the virus has caused? So many big questions but luckily we have some big hitters to provide plenty of answers. Presenter: Lyse Doucet Panel: Anne Soy, Gabriel Gatehouse, Larry Madowo, Vincent Ni and Yogita Limaye Producer: Ben Carter Editor: Ravin Sampat
Jan 01, 2021
Breakthrough: The race for the Covid vaccine
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Dr Kevin Fong talks to the people who have seemingly achieved the impossible and created a coronavirus vaccine in a matter of months. Speaking to the scientists who’ve spent the past 12 months with the eyes of the world on them, Kevin wants to know how they tackled the science and what are the biggest barriers they’ve faced. There have been tensions along the way between science and politics, science and morality. But through it all, do we enter a new year with our faith in science been renewed?
Jan 01, 2021
Searching for Wisdom in Lagos
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A young woman is desperately searching for her brother in Lagos. On the night of 20th October, Nigerian soldiers opened fire at a peaceful demonstration camped at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos. The government say they fired into the air, but witnesses insist that unarmed protesters came under deliberate attack. Amnesty International says that 12 people died. The incident has traumatised a highly popular political reform movement that began as a demand to close down the S.A.R.S., a notoriously corrupt and brutal police squad. In the aftermath, many of the movement’s young supporters are keeping a low profile. Some have had their bank accounts frozen and passports seized. Others have even fled overseas, in fear of their lives. The BBC’s Nigeria correspondent Mayeni Jones has been talking to some of them, including a witness to the Lekki shooting, and Peace, who is tirelessly searching for her brother, Wisdom, who is still missing after attending the demonstration. Mayeni finds a country whose traditionally deferential society and elderly leadership seem suddenly vulnerable; shaken by a perfect storm of youthful idealism, social media activism, and the crippling economic fallout of the Covid pandemic. Producers: Naomi Scherbel-Ball & Michael Gallagher With additional research by Jonelle Awomoyi Editor: Bridget Harney
Dec 31, 2020
The Digital Human: Subservience
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Aleks Krotoski finds out if how we treat our subservient robots impacts how we treat one another. As with any new invention, domestic robots illuminate issues within human society that we may not have noticed before. Are we projecting old social norms of hierarchy and gender onto this new technology?
Dec 30, 2020
The Hindu bard
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In 1914 a 19-year-old Indian student caused a sensation when she was awarded the top prize - the bardic chair - at the 1914 University College of Wales Eisteddfod held in Aberystwyth. All the entries in the prestigious Welsh language and literature contest were submitted under pseudonyms. When the winner was awarded to "Shita", for an ode written in English, Dorothy Bonarjee revealed herself as the author, and received a "deafening ovation". It was the first time ever that the competition had been won by a non-European, or even by a woman.
Dec 29, 2020
Revolution of the senses
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Four radio producers present intimate stories of people across Europe, revealing the effect of Covid 19 on their experience of touch, sight, sound, smell and taste. In a year where movement was restricted, physical contact was prevented (or fraught with risk) and screens mediated our social interactions, our new conditions for living have created new relationships with our senses. From Italy, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Scotland and beyond, we hear individuals and communities as they try to make sense of these new circumstances, and to rebuild and redefine their relationship with the external world and the people in it.
Dec 27, 2020
Coronavirus: Surviving the pandemic
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After hearing so many incredibly moving stories since the pandemic was first declared, we’ve decided to return to some of those people to hear how their lives have changed - from two residents in Wuhan, China - to the English couple who had a lockdown wedding and decided to ‘elope’ to save guests from getting the virus. Two women in Canada and the United States share how they’ve been faring without human contact and how appearing on BBC OS produced the start of a blossoming friendship. Host Nuala McGovern also talks to two chaplains who share their experiences of the meaning and purpose of life and how to grasp small moments of joy.
Dec 26, 2020
Shipwreck
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In April 2015, more than 1000 refugees and migrants drowned when the old fishing boat they were travelling on sank in the Mediterranean. It was the area's worst shipwreck since World War Two. But the people who died are not forgotten. Not by their families and friends, and not by a professor of forensic pathology at the University of Milan. “There’s a body that needs to be identified, you identify it. This is the first commandment of forensic medicine,” says Dr Cristina Cattaneo. Assignment tells the story of the raising of the fishing boat from the Mediterranean's seabed, and Dr Cattaneo's efforts to begin to identify the people who lost their lives on that moonless night on the edge of Europe. Producer/presenter: Linda Pressly (Image: Ibrahima Senghor, a survivor of the tragedy of 18 April, 2015 - he was prevented from boarding the boat in Libya. Credit: Ibrahima Senghor)
Dec 24, 2020
The Digital Human: Messiah
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Why do so many of us treat Silicon Valley billionaires like our new messiahs? For some, people like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and engineer Elon Musk are the charismatic high priests for this new dark age. But how did we get to this point? And where will our adoration for technologies and those who create them lead us?
Dec 23, 2020
Warrior elephant guardians
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In a remote part of Northern Kenya, former Samburu warriors have become elephant keepers, rescuing and raising baby elephants in what’s thought to be Africa’s first community owned and run elephant sanctuary. At Reteti Elephant Sanctuary they rescue baby elephants that have been injured, orphaned or abandoned. They look after them, rehabilitate them and release them back to the wild. It is transforming the way local communities relate to elephants, and is a catalyst for peace, bringing tribes together from all over Northern Kenya, that normally fight over land and resources.
Dec 22, 2020
Coronavirus: Spikes and Santas
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We are in the biggest holiday season for large parts of the world but many countries are experiencing a rise in Covid cases. It’s worrying for those in South Korea's capital Seoul, where around half the country’s 52 million population live. So far there has not been a national lockdown, but this may be about to change as the authorities deal with a third spike in cases. Since around one in three South Koreans are Christians, Christmas will bring potential risks. Host Nuala McGovern hears from three people who live in South Korea about their experiences during the pandemic. Also, ski instructors in Europe discuss the uncertainty of resort closures during the winter season. And three Santas from Finland, the UK and the United States discuss how they are safely dispensing Christmas cheer during a pandemic.
Dec 19, 2020
Darfur: A precarious peace
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After 17 years of conflict costing 300,000 lives, a peace agreement offers new hope to Sudan’s troubled Darfur region. It comes as UNAMID, the United Nations and African Union peacekeeping force, prepares to finally pull out at the end of December. But with nearly two million displaced people still living in camps and some armed groups yet to sign the agreement, who will protect civilians if the peace fails? For Assignment, Mike Thomson gains rare access to Darfur to hear the stories of those still living with deep uncertainty. Producer: Bob Howard Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: UN peacekeepers on patrol in Darfur, Sudan. Credit: Bob Howard/BBC)
Dec 17, 2020
Don't Log Off: Opportunity
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Alan hears stories from people who’ve transformed their lives and are helping others to do the same against the backdrop of the pandemic. He speaks to Alhaji in Sierra Leone who’s building a house for his parents from the money he’s earned working in the United States. He hears from Tiffany in India who helps visually impaired people become more independent, after her own challenging childhood. Alan also connects with Al in the United States who aims to inspire young people in a tough area of Chicago. And he catches up with Ibrahim who, at the start of the pandemic, was homeless on the streets of Athens.
Dec 16, 2020
Coronavirus: Vaccines, frustrations and hope
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Two doctors in Nairobi tell host Nuala McGovern why conditions for health workers in Nairobi are leading to calls for a strike. They include rising death rates, unpaid salaries and lack of a comprehensive medical insurance. We’ll also hear from two members of US President-elect Joe Biden’s Covid task force about combatting vaccine hesitancy after the United States recorded the highest daily death toll in the world so far. And as vaccines make people think about a possible return to normality, we hear from those who have had to move in with their parents during the pandemic
Dec 12, 2020
Syria's soldiers of fortune
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The bitter war between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasian region of Nagorno Karabakh may have come to an end, but the business of fighting may continue for at least some of its combatants. There’s growing evidence that hundreds of soldiers in this war were mercenaries recruited from mostly rebel-held regions in northern Syria - even though that's strongly denied by Azerbaijan. In this week’s Assignment Ed Butler hears testimony from a number of young Syrians, who say they fought in a war which in most cases they didn't realise they were signing up for. Some speak of shame at having to work this way – a symptom of the increasing economic desperation that's affecting the embattled regions of northern Syria where they live. Produced and presented by Ed Butler. (Image: Men in the same fatigues as SNA fighters photographed in Azerbaijan stand in front of a border sign written in Armenian, Russian and English. Credit: Telegram channel of Jarablus News)
Dec 10, 2020
Don't log off: Grounded
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Alan Dein searches for the nspiring and moving stories of how the pandemic has changed people's lives on every continent. Today, airline pilot Peter in Australia talks about deciding to become a bus driver after the pandemic forced him to stop flying. And wedding planner Vithika in India discusses the dramatic impact of the pandemic on her industry. Plus, Chun Wing, a ballet dancer at the Paris Opera shares the frustrations of not being able to perform. Alan also speaks to Shira who lives in an orthodox community in Israel and he catches up with doctor Ahmed in Sudan who’s just made a major life decision.
Dec 09, 2020
Belarus across the barricades - part two
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For 100 days and counting protesters are calling for an end to the 26-year long rule of Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus. Poet Valzhyna Mort records first-hand stories from her friends who are out protesting week after week; ordinary people making extraordinary choices. Obsessively, she reads the social media posts flooding her phone. In her hands, these tiny messages are poetry themselves, the oral history of our time captured on thousands of phones
Dec 08, 2020
Back down to Earth
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Since November 2000, humans have been living in space on the International Space Station (ISS). Although the ISS is a remarkable engineering achievement, human space exploration has proven dangerous and costly. There is no air, gravity or food, and water has to be recycled from sweat, stale breath and urine. As we return to the Moon and aim for Mars, some argue that space colonisation is also immoral, psychologically and socially damaging and unnecessarily expensive. Beatriz De La Pava talks to astronauts, anthropologists, scientists, doctors and philosophers to investigate if it is time to abandon the dream of human space travel and come back down to Earth.
Dec 05, 2020
Coronavirus: Vaccine approved
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Nuala McGovern talks to Kerry. She has muscular dystrophy and has been shielding, or isolating, at home in England since March. We also hear from Dr Joseph Varon, Chief of Critical Care at the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas. He has been working without a break for 258 days. A photo of him cradling an elderly man on a Covid ward went viral this week. He explains the picture and shares his experiences of working non-stop due to the virus. Joe Biden has this week called on Americans to wear masks for his first 100 days as US president. Nuala also talks to two campaigners in the US who are sceptical of face coverings and other coronavirus restrictions.
Dec 05, 2020
Me and my trolls
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Internet trolls are harassing and bullying people like never before. That’s according to research carried out in the UK which found abuse rising as the world spends more and more time online thanks to the Covid pandemic. But who are the people behind these often anonymous attacks? How do they get involved in persecuting people they don’t even know? And what can their victims do about it? British Journalist, Sali Hughes, has been a target herself. In this edition of Assignment, she sets out to discover how trolls justify their actions, and what motivates them. She speaks to other women who have suffered online abuse and hears about the devastating impact it can have. And, she goes face to face with one of her own former tormentors to make a sobering discovery: those provoking conflict in cyberspace include the most normal people in real life. Producer: Paul Grant (Image: Anonymous internet-user in a mask. Credit: Peter Dazeley/Getty)
Dec 03, 2020
The state of the planet
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Ahead of a crucial year in the battle to control climate change, presenter Lucy Hockings is joined by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. He is warning that "our planet is broken". We'll hear a live discussion as he answers questions from activists around the world and talks solutions to the problems we face.
Dec 02, 2020
Don't Log Off: Searching for hope
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Alan Dein searches for the stories that connect us in a changed world. Inspiring and moving stories of how the pandemic has changed people's lives on every continent. Today, Liana in Armenia celebrates her 30th birthday as her country finds itself at war with Azerbaijan - as well as Covid-19. We also catch up with 25-year-old entrepreneur Fahad in Bangladesh, who Alan first spoke to in March when it looked like he might lose his hard-earned fortune. Plus, Ugandan midwife Marion faces the toughest year of her career and Fish in China describes how lockdown is affecting her fellow students’ mental health
Dec 02, 2020
Belarus across the barricades - part one
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Lucy Ash explores the world of the security forces that keep Lukashenko in power, peeling back the ubiquitous balaclavas to find the men and women beneath. Minsk, early December. A wall of masked men in black body armour, beating their truncheons on steel shields. In front of them stand women bundled in winter coats and teenagers wrapped in red and white flags. They are singing a protest song once heard in the revolutionary shipyards of Gdansk a generation before - an anthem for democracy and change.
Dec 01, 2020
100 Women: Women in power
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Mary Ann Sieghart asks what it takes to be a powerful woman and what holds so many back. Sexism, appearance and encouraging fathers are all up for discussion as Mary Ann talks to former Prime Ministers Jadranka Kosor and Julia Gillard, former Chair of the US Federal Reserve Janet Yellen, architect Yasmeen Lari, author Bernardine Evaristo and many others.
Nov 29, 2020
Coronavirus: Festive celebrations
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The arrival of winter for many countries brings the threat of increased infections as people gather indoors to escape the cold. It’s also a time for celebrating religious festivals and holidays. Host Nuala McGovern shares conversations with an American family in Indiana about Thanksgiving, and two young women in Gaza relate their experiences of curfew during the pandemic. Plus, three people living in Japan discuss why they think cases are rising, the implications for Japanese New Year and whether the Olympics should still go ahead in 2021.
Nov 28, 2020
The Mapuche – fighting for their right to heal
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The Mapuche are Chile’s largest indigenous group – a population of more than 2 million people. And, they are fighting for their right to heal. They want Chileans to value their unique approach to healthcare and give them control of land and their own destiny. But, it’s a tough sell when there’s so much distrust and violence between the two communities. Jane Chambers travels to their homeland in the Araucania region in the south of Chile, where she’s given rare access to traditional healers and political leaders. Presenter / producer: Jane Chambers Producer in London: Linda Pressly Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: Machi Juana at her home by her sacred altar. Credit: Jane Chambers/BBC)
Nov 26, 2020
Don't Log Off: Resilience
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Throughout the pandemic Alan Dein has been hearing inspiring and moving accounts of how people’s lives have been transformed by the pandemic. Today, Alan connects with Sakie in Myanmar, who tells of a heroic 24-hour journey from his remote village in order to save his mother’s life. He also catches up with Maria Ester in Ecuador, who he first spoke to six months ago when it looked as if her family business was on the verge of collapse. Alan also connects with Mursalina in Afghanistan, Mohammed in Gaza and wildlife photographer Jahawi who describes the wonders of the underwater world.
Nov 25, 2020
100 Women: The mushroom woman
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This is the story of Chido Govera aka The Mushroom Woman. It is a story about her home, Zimbabwe. And it is also a story about mushrooms. It never should have happened. Chido, an orphan, became the provider in her family aged seven. At 10 she was destined to marry a man 30 years older than her. But a chance encounter led her to discover the almost magical science of mushroom cultivation at a local university, and set her life on a very different course.
Nov 23, 2020
Coronavirus: Mental and physical toll
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Women in Ecuador, Peru and Brazil reveal the frightening effect of the pandemic and lockdowns on women in Latin America. Many are living with their aggressors and are unable to escape to a safe place. Many countries are now dealing with a new rise in coronavirus cases. Host Nuala McGovern hears from medical professionals from Madrid, Paris and New York, as they share how the stress of dealing with patients is taking its toll on the mental health of doctors, nurses and paramedics. Plus, two Swedes offer different views on how the outbreak has been handled in their country.
Nov 21, 2020
Martinique: The poisoning of paradise
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“First we were enslaved. Then we were poisoned.” That’s how many on Martinique see the history of their French Caribbean island that, to tourists, means sun, rum, and palm-fringed beaches. Slavery was abolished in 1848. But today the islanders are victims again – of a toxic pesticide called chlordecone that’s poisoned the soil and water and been linked by scientists to unusually high rates of prostate cancer. For more than 10 years chlordecone was authorised for use in banana plantations – though its harmful effects were already known. Now, more than 90% of Martinicans have traces of it in their blood. The pollution means many can't grow vegetables in their gardens - and fish caught close to the shore are too dangerous to eat. French President Emmanuel Macron has called it an ‘environmental scandal’ and said the state ‘must take responsibility’. But some activists on the island want to raise wider questions about why the pesticide was used for so long – and on an island divided between a black majority and a small white minority, it’s lost on no-one that the banana farmers who used the toxic chemical and still enjoy considerable economic power are, in many cases, descendants of the slave owners who once ran Martinique. Reporting from the island for Assignment, Tim Whewell asks how much has changed there. Is Martinique really an equal part of France? And is there equality between descendants of slaves and the descendants of their masters, even now? Produced and presented by Tim Whewell Editor, Bridget Harney (Image: Sunset on a beach in Martinique. Credit: DeAgostini/Getty Images)
Nov 19, 2020
The five-day election
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Philippa Thomas hears from voters across the United States on the agony and ecstasy of waiting for results of the unusually protracted presidential election.
Nov 18, 2020
Obesity crisis In Thai temples
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Obesity is a growing problem in Thailand. As the country becomes more affluent, its citizens are working more and cooking less which means that they are buying more convenience foods containing high levels of fat and sugar. In the Thai population at large, one in three men is obese but the numbers are worse in Thai temples where one in two Buddhist monks is obese. They eat the same food as the Thai population and they only eat in the mornings so what is the problem? Sucheera Maguire has been to Bangkok to talk to those who give and receive alms and she takes a look at some of the ingenious solutions that Thai nutritionists have come up with to combat the obesity crisis in Thai temples.
Nov 17, 2020
Blood lands
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At dusk on a warm evening in 2016, two men arrive, unexpectedly, at a remote South African farmhouse. The frenzy that follows will come to haunt a community, destroying families, turning neighbours into "traitors", prompting street protests and threats of violence, and dividing the small farming and tourist town of Parys along racial lines. Correspondent Andrew Harding has followed every twist of the police’s hunt for the killers, the betrayals that opened the door to an explosive trial, and the fortunes of all those involved – from the dead men’s families to the handful of men controversially selected for prosecution.
Nov 15, 2020
US election: A test of democracy
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Joe Biden is the projected winner of the race to be the next president of the United States. Donald Trump, however, refuses to concede the election and many of his supporters continue to believe that he will remain in power after the inauguration in January. Host Ben James shares conversations among Trump supporters in Georgia, Florida and Washington DC, who believe President Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of voting fraud. One of them changed from a Democrat because she felt Trump treated immigrants better. Plus women from both political sides come together to consider the impact of Kamala Harris as America’s first female Vice-President elect.
Nov 14, 2020
The burning scar
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Indonesia is the world’s largest exporter of palm oil, a product found in everything from shampoo to soup; in the last two decades vast areas of forests have been cleared to make way for plantations. The remote province of Papua, home to Asia’s largest remaining rainforests has escaped fairly untouched...until now. It's the new frontier for unfair palm oil expansion. In this remote region Rebecca Henschke and Ayomi Amindoni investigate allegations of unfair land deals, violations of indigenous rights and illegal burning. (Image: Tadius Butipo, 30 years old, with his son, in a oil palm plantation. Credit: Albertus Vembrianto/BBC)
Nov 12, 2020
India's missing children
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In India, a child goes missing every eight minutes. BBC South Asia Correspondent Rajini Vaidyanathan meets the family of one of those children and follows their attempts to trace their daughter. It’s a journey that takes us into the murky world of human trafficking, where children are bought and sold as commodities – forced to work long hours in factories, brothels or as domestic servants. And far from slowing the trade, the Coronavirus has fuelled demand for child labour and led to an increase in child trafficking as ‘middle-men’ target communities worst-hit by the pandemic.
Nov 10, 2020
US election: Divided nation
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The US election has amplified political and racial divisions across the nation, so how do voters feel about the splits in their society? Host Nuala McGovern is in Reno, Nevada, speaking to people across the political spectrum to hear how they feel about the vote and the state of their nation. In this election assumptions have been overturned and expectations upended. Double the number of Black voters are believed to have supported President Trump at the polls compared to 2016, and several prominent Republicans publicly declared they were voting for Joe Biden, instead of the leader of their own party. Among our conversations, we hear from three Black Trump supporters about why they voted for him, and two women from opposing sides of the political fence on the controversy surrounding the voting and counting.
Nov 07, 2020
Sicily’s prisoner fishermen
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Eighteen fishermen from Sicily are in jail in Benghazi, accused of fishing in Libya’s waters. And in this part of the Mediterranean, rich in the highly-prized and lucrative red prawn, these kinds of arrests are frequent. Usually the Libyans release the men after negotiations. This time it’s different. General Khalifa Haftar – the warlord with authority over the east of Libya – is demanding a prisoner swap: the freeing of four Libyans in jail in Sicily convicted of human trafficking and implicated in the deaths of 49 migrants, in return for the fishermen. For Assignment, Linda Pressly explores a little-known conflict in the Mediterranean - the so-called, ‘Red Prawn War’ and its fall-out. (Image: Domenico Asaro, a third generation fishermen from Mazara del Vallo who has been arrested at sea by Libya three times. Credit: BBC)
Nov 05, 2020
Missing and murdered: America’s forgotten native girls
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Native American women are trafficked, murdered and raped at five to ten times the national rate of other American women. The figures are gruelling. Each year, hundreds of girls and women go missing. Many end up dead. A complex system of tribal, state and federal law means many of these women are often failed by law enforcement when it comes to investigating their disappearances. LeAndra Nephin, from the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, tells the story of America’s forgotten native girls, and how a new generation of warrior women is fighting back against abuse. Developed from a story outline by Melissa Olson.
Nov 03, 2020
US election: Race and policing
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As the presidential election campaign nears its conclusion, another American city witnesses protests for racial justice after police officers shoot dead a black man on the streets of Philadelphia. Host Nuala McGovern shares several conversations on the prominence of race in this election campaign including two police officers from New York and Missouri and several Black Lives Matter protesters in Charlotte, North Carolina. After the presidential debates promoted controversy around white supremacy groups, we also hear the individual stories of a man and woman who joined Neo Nazi groups in the US and their fears for post-election America.
Oct 31, 2020
US election: Socially distant
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Ahead of the US presidential election on 3 November, two socially distanced views of the pre-election political landscape of America, explore different perspectives on key issues and themes from the last four years of the Trump presidency and a campaign curtailed by Covid-19 restrictions. Susan Glasser writes a Letter from Trump’s Washington column for the New Yorker magazine. She has been critical of the way Donald Trump has governed. Joe Borelli is a New York City Council member, a Republican who represents Staten Island. He is a regular contributor to talk radio and TV and is an outspoken critic of the Covid-19 policies of the city’s mayor Bill de Blasio and New York’s Governor Cuomo.
Oct 29, 2020
China's rocket man
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Qian Xuesen is widely celebrated in China as the father of the country’s rocket programme, and the man who kick-started its exploration of space. China is now second only to the US in terms of its dominance among the stars. But Qian also had an important part to play in the early scientific advances, before World War Two, that would eventually take the US to the moon. However, he is almost entirely forgotten by the country that nurtured his talent for decades, before anti-communist persecution sent him back to China, the land of his birth. Kavita Puri traces the rise and fall - and rise again - of an extraordinary life.
Oct 27, 2020
Fighting together in Korea
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Seventy years ago tens of thousands of North Korean troops invaded South Korea. Over the next three years one of the bloodiest conflicts of the 20th Century claimed millions of lives. On a more positive note, though, the Korean War helped precipitate social change in the United States. Following President Truman’s Executive Order 9981, the Korean conflict became the first in which US armed forces were desegregated. It was not a smooth process but it did precede civil rights advances back home where segregation was still widespread, especially in the southern states. This is the story of why President Truman, who had himself expressed clear racist views earlier in his career, took the decision to issue his executive order to desegregate the armed forces.
Oct 25, 2020
US election: Trucking and farming
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Nuala McGovern speaks with truck drivers and farmers in the United States as they share their thoughts on how their lives and livelihoods have been under the past four years of the Trump presidency. Wisconsin is known as America’s Dairyland. It’s an important state in this election, where the vote could go either way, and where more than one in ten of the electorate are farmers. Three farmers in Wisconsin explain how trade deals by the US have impacted what happens on their farms and how that affects their votes this time. And three truckers -Michael in Arizona, Pat in Indianapolis and Sunny in California - describe what they have seen driving across the country over the past four years.
Oct 24, 2020
The British and their fish
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By the middle of the 20th century, the English town of Grimsby was the biggest fishing port in the world. When the catch was good “fishermen could live like rock stars”, says Kurt Christensen who first went to sea aged 15. He was instantly addicted to a tough and dangerous life on the waves. But from the 1970s onwards, the industry went into decline. Today it contributes just a tenth of one percent to Britain’s GDP – less than Harrods, London best known department store. So how can such a tiny industry cause so much political havoc and threaten to scupper a post Brexit deal with Europe? Fishing communities have often blamed EU membership - and the foreign boats that have arrived as a result - for a steep fall in catches over the last half century. Many coastal towns voted overwhelmingly for Britain to leave the European Union. Now, Grimsby’s recently-elected Conservative MP – the first non-socialist the town has sent to Westminster in nearly 100 years - has spoken of a modern fleet and fresh opportunities. For Assignment, Lucy Ash travels to Grimsby to hear how fishing towns like this, ignored for decades by London’s political elite, now hope finally to turn a corner. She explores the huge place fishing plays in the British psyche and asks if the cold, stormy seas around Britain really can make coastal communities rich once again. Producer Mike Gallagher (Image: A trader examines a haddock at the daily Grimsby Fish Market auction. Credit: Bethany Clarke/Getty Images)
Oct 22, 2020
A perfect match
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Thirteen years ago, journalist Ibby Caputo underwent a bone marrow transplant in the US to treat an aggressive form of leukaemia. Because she is of Northern European descent, she believes she had a greater chance of survival, after finding a donor who was "a perfect match." Her friend, Terika Haughton, who was Jamaican, died of transplant-related causes in 2017. Terika did not have a perfect match, and after she died, Ibby explores how much that lack of a perfect match may have played a part in her death. Through these contrasting stories, Ibby explores race and ethnic disparities in healthcare.
Oct 20, 2020
The TikTok election
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TikTok has become one of the political stories in the run up to the US elections, exposing America's distrust of China. But its users and influencers could help decide who takes the White House. Journalist Sophia Smith Galer enters the hype houses of TikTok to find out how influential it really is.
Oct 18, 2020
The Response USA: The return
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As an election approaches in America, we return to a unique experiment which took the temperature of the USA after the surprise election of Donald Trump. In 2016 the BBC World Service, in association with American Public Media, focused on areas which the media had neglected – but made all the difference. We asked for smartphone voice recordings from key areas in the middle of America about their lives now, about why they voted the way they did, and their hopes for the future. Now, in 2020, we return to those contributors to see how their lives changed in the last four years. What do they want to happen now?
Oct 17, 2020
US election: Losing your job
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Our conversations reflect the impact Covid-19 has had on the US economy and on people’s jobs and wellbeing. We hear from a cook in northern California and a PBX switchboard operator in Massachusetts, who both lost their jobs and are struggling to make ends meet and pay the bills. They talk about how they feel forgotten, how the social system isn’t working for them, and how the main presidential candidates are not talking to them. And we hear from three flight attendants, who all lost their jobs after an economic relief plan in Congress stalled. One of them, Breaunna Ross, posted a video of her emotional farewell to passengers on her final flight, which has been viewed more than two million times on YouTube.
Oct 17, 2020
Reza's story
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A death-defying migrant's story... Said Reza Adib was a TV journalist in Afghanistan. In 2016, about to break a story about the sexual abuse of children by Afghan men in authority, he received a threat to his life. Reza fled across the border to Iran. But journalism was in his blood, and in Iran he began to investigate sensitive stories related to the war in Syria. When Iranian authorities confiscated his laptop, he knew his life was again in danger. That same day, with his wife and two small children, he began a perilous journey to safety in Finland – an odyssey that would last four years. The family would survive shooting on the Turkish border, a voyage across the Aegean Sea on an overcrowded makeshift vessel with fake lifejackets, and then the nightmare of refugee camps in Greece. It was here that Chloe Hadjimatheou met Reza, and for Assignment she tells the story of a remarkable journalist who’s continued to ply his trade - in spite of the odds stacked against him. Producer: Linda Pressly (Image: Said Reza Adib. Credit: Sayed Ahmadzia Ebrahimi)
Oct 15, 2020
Dyslexia: Into adulthood
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Stella Sabin, who has dyslexia herself, looks at the impact of the condition in adult life, and asks what difference does it make to know the name of what you are experiencing? Dyslexic people are disproportionally represented in low paying jobs and in the US and the UK 50% of the prison population are dyslexic. She visits the intelligence and security organisation GCHQ who are positively recruiting dyslexic thinkers, who are able to find unusual and imaginative solutions to complex problems…like cracking codes.
Oct 13, 2020
Spitfire stories
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In September 1940, in two factories in Southampton, one of the most iconic planes of World War Two was being painstakingly assembled, piece by piece. This sleek and beautiful fighter, with record breaking top speeds and a deadly reputation for precision, was to be Britain’s most notorious weapon against the Nazi air invasion. But, the factory making them was about to be destroyed by devastating German bombing raids. How could the Battle of Britain be fought without the Spitfire? With the factory a smoking ruin, a plan was hatched to keep the planes coming, against some pretty extraordinary odds
Oct 11, 2020
US election: Testing positive for Covid-19
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The President of the United States is recovering from Covid-19, after a week when the world watched him leaving hospital briefly in a motorcade to wave supporters and - on his return to the White House - moving his mask on a balcony. Donald Trump then told the country there was nothing to fear from the disease. So how were his words received by the Americans across the country? Nuala McGovern hears from those in California, Iowa and Alabama who were thrilled by the president's show of strength against Covid-19 and from others less enamoured by his attitude.
Oct 10, 2020
Portland, prisons and white supremacy - part two
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The second part of this two-part documentary continues the story of Portland, Oregon and its struggle with white supremacists. Portland has a reputation as one of the United States’ most liberal and tolerant cities. Since the death of George Floyd, it has been at the forefront of protests and violence as anti-racist demonstrators and far right groups have battled with each other and with the police. Yet, in 2016, the killing of a young black man sparked a national debate about race hatred. Nineteen year old Larnell Bruce died after a white man called Russell Courtier drove his car at him. A trial for murder and a hate crime followed, and exposed a culture of white supremacy in Oregon, rooted in the state’s history and which endures today despite its easy-going image. In this two-part documentary for Assignment, Mobeen Azhar follows the trial of Russell Courtier and investigates the issues it exposed. Part Two follows Mobeen as he leaves the courtroom to meet Portland’s white supremacists and find out how they operate. He discovers that violent gangs are thriving because of the very institution meant to prevent crime – the prison system. Then, it is time for the verdict. (This programme was adapted for radio from the feature-length TV documentary, “A Black & White Killing: The Case That Shook America”, made by Expectation Entertainment.) (Photo: Prisoner being escorted by guards. Credit: BBC)
Oct 08, 2020
Dyslexia: Language and childhood
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Toby Withers who is dyslexic himself, reveals the challenges of learning English, with all its inconsistent rules and odd spellings. He talks to the subject of a ground-breaking study into bilingual dyslexic children – Alex - who is dyslexic in English but not in Japanese. From Hong Kong University he discovers how dyslexia in character-based language systems is different to dyslexia in English.
Oct 06, 2020
US Election 2020: Trump and coronavirus
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The coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 200,000 lives in the US and there are more than 7 million confirmed cases. President Trump, whose approach to the virus divides opinion, has now himself tested positive. As Americans prepare to vote for a new president or give Donald Trump four more years, coronavirus is one of the issues that will inform voters' thinking. During the election campaign Nuala McGovern will be hearing from those Americans right across the country.
Oct 05, 2020
Portland, prisons and white supremacy - part one
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Portland, Oregon, has a reputation as one of the United States’ most liberal and tolerant cities. Since the death of George Floyd, it has been at the forefront of protests and violence as anti-racist demonstrators and far right groups have battled with each other and with the police. Yet these tensions are nothing new. In 2016, the killing of a young black man sparked a national debate about white supremacy. Nineteen year old Larnell Bruce died after a white man called Russell Courtier deliberately drove his car at him. A trial for murder and a hate crime followed, and exposed a culture of white supremacy in Oregon, rooted in the state’s history and thriving today despite its easy-going image. In this two-part documentary for Assignment, Mobeen Azhar follows the trial of Russell Courtier and investigates how the prison system has become a recruitment ground for racist gangs. Part one reveals the disturbing details of what happened to Larnell Bruce when he encountered Russell Courtier outside a convenience store in one of Portland’s most deprived neighbourhoods. Then, as the murder trial gets underway, we learn that Russell Courtier had once joined a white supremacist gang and continued to bear its insignia on his clothes, and tattooed on his body. However, new evidence emerges to suggest that the case might not be as straightforward as it first appeared. (Image: Safely behind bars? Some white prisoners have found themselves targeted by gangs. Image: Prisoner being escorted by guards. Credit: BBC)
Oct 01, 2020
Songs of the Humpback Whale
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Songs of the Humpback Whale was released in 1970 and went multi-platinum, becoming the best selling environmental album of all time. But it also became emblematic of the West’s shifting attitudes towards environmentalism, inspiring a global movement to save the whales which continues to this day. Marking the 50th anniversary of bio-acoustician Roger Payne’s unlikely smash hit, this programme considers the legacy of sounds that caught the imagination of the world. With contributions from the world of music, science and ecology, including the folk singer Judy Collins, Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner Willie Mackenzie, Greenlandic musician Peter Tussi Motzfeldt, marine biologist and electronic musician Sara Niksic, music writer Simon Reynolds and Roger Payne.
Sep 29, 2020
What has Nobel done for the World?
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Brilliance is a must to win a Nobel Prize, but is that the only requirement? What else does it take to become a laureate? Ruth Alexander tells the stories of those who have been overlooked – in some instances, astonishingly so. Why do some countries, and some academic institutions have a bountiful number of laureates and others none at all?
Sep 27, 2020
Coronavirus: Back to normal in Wuhan?
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What is life like now in the Chinese city where Covid-19 was first detected? Officials have declared Wuhan virus-free. Lots of people have been sharing pictures from bars in the city, which suggest life has gone back to the way it was before. Two people who live in Wuhan tell Nuala McGovern about their newly restored freedoms. In the Czech Republic, "farewell" to coronavirus parties were held at the end of June. As cases surge again, one of the organisers of that party talks about their tolerance for restrictions and how their lives have been changed. Meanwhile, people in Panama have just emerged from one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, which had one unusual feature. Men and women were allowed out of their homes on alternate days. We hear how three Panamanians feel about what they've been through and the implications for the future.
Sep 26, 2020
Poland's gay pride and prejudice
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A number of small towns in Poland have been campaigning against what they call 'homosexual ideology'. Local authorities in the provinces have passed resolutions against perceived threats such as sex education and gay rights. LGBT activists complain that they are stoking homophobia and effectively declaring ‘gay-free zones’. Both sides argue that they are protecting the universal values of free speech and justice. But the row has attracted international condemnation. The European Union has withheld funds to six of the towns involved, and some of their twinning partners in Europe have broken off ties. Meanwhile, politicians within Poland’s conservative ruling coalition stand accused of exploiting the divisions to further a reactionary social agenda. Presenter: Lucy Ash Producer: Mike Gallagher (Image: A woman wears a rainbow face mask at a pro-LGBT demonstration in Poland. Credit: European Photopress Agency/Andrzej Grygiel Poland Out)
Sep 24, 2020
Coronavirus: Friendships during lockdown
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Covid-19 is affecting our relationships - some are better, others are more challenging. A jewellery designer in India and a lawyer in the United States share their experiences and discover they have a lot in common when it comes to changing friendships and building your ‘Covid tribe’. For those wishing to meet someone special, this is an especially difficult time. Three single people from Zimbabwe and the US discuss dating during a pandemic. And an Israeli doctor airs concerns about the social effects of isolation, as the country becomes the first in the world to undergo a second national lockdown.
Sep 19, 2020
The trouble with Dutch cows
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The Netherlands - small and overcrowded - is facing fundamental questions about how to use its land, following a historic court judgment forcing the state to take more urgent action to limit nitrogen emissions. Dutch nitrogen emissions - damaging the climate and biodiversity - are the highest in Europe per capita. And though traffic and building are also partly to blame, farmers say the government is principally looking to agriculture to make the necessary reductions. They've staged a series of protests - what they call a farmers' uprising - in response to a suggestion from a leading politician that the number of farm animals in the country should be cut by half. This is meant to bring down levels of ammonia, a nitrogen compound produced by dung and urine. The proposal comes even though their cows, pigs and chickens have helped make the tiny Netherlands into the world's second biggest exporter of food. Farmers think they're being sacrificed so that the construction industry, also responsible for some nitrogen pollution, can have free rein to keep building, as the country's population, boosted by immigration, grows relentlessly. What do the Dutch want most - cows or houses? Will there be any room in the future for the ever-shrinking patches of nature? And in a hungry world, shouldn't the country concentrate on one of the things it's best at - feeding people? Tim Whewell travels through a country that must make big choices, quickly. (image: Dutch dairy farmer Erik Luiten feeds a new calf. Credit: Tim Whewell/BBC)
Sep 17, 2020
The shepherd and the settler
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Muhammad is a Bedouin shepherd in a remote corner of the West Bank called Rashash. His family has been herding sheep and goats in Rashash for 30 years and in Palestine for generations. But since Israeli settlers recently moved in nearby it has become difficult for Muhammad to graze his flock undisturbed. When producer Max Freedman visits Rashash, he sees this conflict in action. One settler tries to scatter the sheep by driving towards them in an all-terrain vehicle. Another chases after the flock on horseback. An Israeli activist tries to use his body as a human shield. After leaving Rashash, Max sets out to understand what he saw there. Presenter/reporter: Max Freedman Producer: Max Freedman, Ilana Levinson, and Emily Bell Editor: Ilana Levinson
Sep 16, 2020
Remembering those lost to Covid-19
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It is six months since the outbreak of a new coronavirus was declared a global pandemic. Very few lives around the world have not been affected by Covid-19. More than 27 million people have been infected. More than 900,000 have died with the virus and the numbers increase daily. Behind every case, there is a story. Since March, BBC OS has been hearing those stories. Presenter Nuala McGovern guides you through the personal tributes and remembers the names and the stories of those we have lost, through the words of those who love them.
Sep 11, 2020
South Africa moonshine
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Pineapple beer is the universal homebrew in South Africa and pineapple prices trebled when the government imposed a ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco during the coronavirus pandemic. South Africa has recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases in Africa and the government introduced the ban to ease the pressure on hospitals. With the infection rate now falling the ban has been lifted although some restrictions remain in place. Ed Butler and Vauldi Carelse have been hearing from the brewers, both legal and illegal, on the impact the ban has had on their livelihoods and on people’s health, and since the ban has ended, from those considering what lessons the nation might learn from its experiment with being ‘dry’. (Image: Barman working at a bar which has re-opened under new regulations in Val, South Africa, 07 August 2020. Credit: EPA/Kim Ludbrook)
Sep 10, 2020
Accused of hacking the Pentagon
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Seven years ago in a sleepy English village a doorbell rang. In that moment, Lauri Love’s life changed completely. Lauri was arrested at the door. He was accused of hacking into US government websites and sharing employee data as part of an Anonymous protest. He faced extradition and 99 years in US jail. That extradition request was denied seven years ago, but the allegation against him still stands. Producer Alice Homewood first met Lauri Love through friends in 2013. Alice tries to understand how her gentle friend came to be accused of one of the biggest cyber-crimes in history.
Sep 09, 2020
Why India is mad for motorbikes
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What is behind the deep-seated and increasing passion for motorcycling in India?The hosts of the podcast Biker Radio Rodcast, explore what drives the love for the two-wheeler. Sunny and Shandy travel from a republic day parade in Delhi to a biker festival in Goa, meeting motor cycle enthusiasts along the way. Through the adventures of these motorcyclists, from mass breakfast rides and long distance tours, to races against the odds and nostalgia, we learn how this generation are taking to motorcycling in their own unique way.
Sep 08, 2020
BBC OS Conversations: Covid-free nations
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Vanuatu, Micronesia and the Solomon Islands are among a handful of nations that have no registered coronavirus cases. Yet, despite this enviable status, the pandemic is introducing other problems with people suffering from economic and psychological distress. But for two couples in the United States, the pandemic has produced an unexpected positive. Chloe Tilley meets those who found love during lockdown. In Europe, the recent rise in coronavirus cases across the continent is causing some doctors to be concerned about a second wave. We share conversations with doctors in Italy and France, who are especially worried about the number of young people now being infected.
Sep 07, 2020
Naziha Syed Ali: Pakistan’s fearless female reporter
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Journalist Naziha Syed Ali has made a career out of investigating sometimes scandalous abuses of power in her native Pakistan. Publishing in the country’s main English-language daily newspaper, “Dawn”, she has reported – often undercover – on land confiscation, illegal organ harvesting and sectarian violence. Her work has prompted significant action against wrongdoers, most notably when she exposed malpractice in a major Karachi property development, resulting in a Supreme Court case and payments worth billions of dollars. Being female, she says, can help - if only because Pakistan’s patriarchal society is so sceptical about women’s ability to make an impact, which can lull male subjects into a false sense of security. Nevertheless, her job is arduous and frequently dangerous. In this interview for Assignment with Owen Bennett-Jones, she explains what drives her to work in one of the world’s toughest journalistic beats. Producer: Michael Gallagher Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: Naziha Syed Ali gives an interview at a journalism conference in 2017. Credit: Glenn Chong)
Sep 03, 2020
Rulebreakers: A beautiful prison
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Greenland has been detangling its colonised relationship with Denmark since World War Two. Along the way, each state service and law needs to be rewritten. In 1948, three young Danes were sent to research and write Greenland’s first Criminal Law. They hoped they were writing a blueprint for the world’s first modern prison-less society. Instead their social experiment put the nation in a 70-year-long limbo.
Sep 02, 2020
The Soviet Feminist Army
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The Soviet women spreading ideas on women’s equality in Afghanistan They were highly trained, focused on their mission and dedicated to their goal of promoting women’s equality in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, they found women activists who had already taken up the struggle for female education and women’s rights.
Sep 01, 2020
Coronavirus: Children with special needs
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Children around the world are starting to return to school after months of absence because of the coronavirus pandemic. Nuala McGovern talks to Unathi in South Africa and Jamie in the US - both have a child with special educational needs - about the unique challenges their families have faced during this period. They are joined by Tzofia, a teacher at a special education high school in Jerusalem. We also hear a conversation with mental health professionals from the US, Canada and Sweden about how school closures have affected children.
Aug 30, 2020
August in Minsk
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August in Minsk tells the story of the popular uprising in Belarus this August; a fast-changing revolt against the Soviet-style regime of Alexander Lukashenko. He’s been in power for 26 years and claimed victory in yet another election on August 9th. We're telling the story as it happens, with Minsk reporter Ilya Kuzniatsou.
Aug 29, 2020
Hugh Sykes: Reporting from the frontlines
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Hugh Sykes has reported for the BBC since the 1970s and has travelled far and wide to witness some of the most significant events of our age. Here, in conversation with Owen Bennett-Jones, he discusses what some of those stories mean to him, and explains the journalistic values he applied to them. From the historic British coal miners’ strike of 1984-5 to the insurgency in Iraq, Sykes has faced down danger, surviving respectively an attack by angry strikers who threatened to throw him into a canal, and a roadside bomb. Yet he has always insisted on keeping his own feelings out of the story, in order to let his subjects communicate directly to listeners. Meanwhile, we hear too about his love of Iran, formed by years spent there as a child, about his preference for the medium of radio over television – and about how high spirits in the studio once nearly landed him in trouble with BBC bosses. Producer: Michael Gallagher Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: Hugh Sykes files a report on location – watched by a donkey. Credit: Hugh Sykes’ collection)
Aug 27, 2020
Rulebreakers: Veteran on the tracks
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There is a secret map passed down from hobo to hobo. You can’t buy it in stores or download it online but if you’re lucky enough to get a copy you can travel anywhere in America by freight train. They call it The Crew Change Guide and it is a sacred document for those who still ride in boxcars like the hobos looking for work in the great depression. This state by state guide has grown from one man’s obsession into a network of everything you need to get from Aliceville, Alabama to Wendover, Wyoming - all for “low or no dollars”.
Aug 26, 2020
Red State refugees
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President Trump has dramatically reduced the numbers of refugees arriving in the United States, vowing to protect native-born Americans’ interests. But there’s a catch - some of the nation’s reddest communities may not survive without them. Katy Long telsl the story of one small, poor, conservative town — Cactus, Texas — where hundreds of refugees have settled, drawn by the well-paid jobs in meatpacking, shifting the demographics of the community, shaping the refugees’ perspective and saving the town from disaster. Cactus is a town which would have died altogether, taking the meatpacking plant and the jobs there with it, had it not been for these refugees. And so this story begs the question: if you drastically reduce immigration and stop refugee resettlement – as the Governor of Texas has recently announce – what happens to these towns, to the meatpacking industry, and to the idea of beef-and-oil-Texas?
Aug 25, 2020
BBC OS Conversations: Covid-19 'long-haulers'
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Thousands of people across the globe are experiencing a worrying cycle of Covid-19 symptoms months after recovering from the disease. Four of the so-called 'Covid long-haulers’ - from South Africa, Canada, Bangladesh and New Zealand - share their persistent symptoms, from dizziness to brain fog, with Nuala McGovern. Education is also a long-term concern and US parents discuss the different paths they’ve chosen for returning their children to school during a pandemic. For one teacher in Arizona, however, it resulted in a difficult decision to resign rather than return to the classroom.
Aug 23, 2020
Barbara Demick: True stories from North Korea
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North Korea and Tibet are two of the most tightly-controlled societies on earth, and as a consequence their peoples are often misunderstood by the world’s media, caricatured respectively as aggressive communists and spiritual hermits. But Barbara Demick, former Los Angeles Times correspondent in Seoul and Beijing, confesses that she likes a challenge, and so set out to build a more nuanced picture of individuals’ real lives in both places. Moreover, she did this with minimal location reporting; indeed in the case of North Korea, she never visited the city she wrote about at all. Using an almost forensic level of investigation, Demick conducted lengthy and highly detailed interviews with people who had left both places, cross-referencing testimonies and drawing on additional research to corroborate their accounts. She then used the resulting material to inform a vivid, factual storytelling style that she calls narrative non-fiction. As she explains in conversation with Owen Bennett-Jones, it is a difficult process, but one that yields fascinating insight into places whose repressive leaders would rather we knew far less about. Producer: Michael Gallagher Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: Soldiers at a military parade in North Korea. Credit: EPA/How Hwee Young)
Aug 20, 2020
Rulebreakers: How I disappear
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In Japan, if you want to disappear from your life, you can just pick up the phone and a ‘night moving company’ will turn you into one of the country’s ‘johatsu,’ or literally ‘evaporated people.’ You can cease to exist. Meet the people who choose to disappear and the people who are left behind.
Aug 19, 2020
Vaccines, money and politics
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Sandra Kanthal looks at what strategies are being put in place to transport a vaccine to countries around the world, who will be the first in those countries to get the vaccine, and, once it is available, how to convince people to take it.
Aug 18, 2020
BBC OS Conversations: Addiction during a pandemic
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Nuala McGovern considers alcohol and drug addiction relapse during the pandemic. We hear from two men, in Kenya and the United States, about how they have fought their addictions while under lockdown. Nuala also talks about the importance of family in these times and hears how one man travelled more than 2,000 km across the US to play his trombone for his brother, who was recovering in a rehab centre after a fall. She also talks about how hobbies are helping us and joins a wrestler, a dancer and a musician in conversation about social distancing.
Aug 16, 2020
Stitching souls
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The women of Gee’s Bend have held on to their creative traditions, passed down from mother to daughter: spine-tingling gospel singing, and a unique style of bold, improvised quilting. Made from old clothes out of necessity for generations, used for insulation and burned to keep off mosquitoes, the quilts brought Gee’s Bend fame after they were “discovered” by an art collector in the 1990s and shown in major museums in Houston and New York. Maria Margaronis hears the voices of this small community.
Aug 16, 2020
Milton Nkosi: The apartheid child who changed Africa’s story
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As a child of Soweto, apartheid South Africa’s most notorious black township, Milton Nkosi could easily have become an embittered adult; in June 1976 he witnessed the Soweto uprising in which white police brutally suppressed protests by black schoolchildren, leading to many deaths. Yet, as apartheid began to collapse in the early 1990s, Milton found himself drawn into TV journalism; enabling him to question his former tormentors and helping viewers around the world to see the moral case for change. So began a career that took him from translator and fixer to producer and eventually, the head of bureau for the BBC’s news operation in South Africa, where he then sought to diversify coverage of a fast-changing continent. As Milton explains in this conversation with Owen Bennett-Jones, his humble beginnings turned out to be an asset: Among his childhood neighbours in Soweto were anti-apartheid activists including Nelson Mandela’s wife and children, many of whom would become valuable contacts. However, after the transition to democracy in 1994, Milton also had to ask uncomfortable questions of some of them, as claims of corruption emerged within the ANC government. Moral dilemmas such as this defined his working life: Is it even possible to be an impartial reporter when your subject might be a close associate? For Milton, the issues need to be seen in context. As he points out: “Nobody can ever justify apartheid based on the mistakes of the post-apartheid leaders”. Produced by Michael Gallagher Editor Bridget Harney Image: (Milton Nkosi) Christian Parkinson
Aug 13, 2020
Fighting talk: How language can make us better
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When we talk about cancer it’s often hard to find the right words. As we search for the perfect thing to say, we find ourselves reaching for familiar metaphors; the inspiring people fighting or battling their cancer. Cara Hoofe is currently in remission from Stage 3 bowel cancer, she says it would be easy for her to say she has beaten cancer. Cara asks experts what impact these militaristic metaphors actually have on those living with cancer, and asks current and former patients what we should talk about when we talk about cancer.
Aug 12, 2020
Vaccines, money and politics
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Nearly every person on the planet is vulnerable to the new coronavirus, SarsCoV2. That’s why there are more than 100 projects around the world racing towards the goal of creating a safe and effective vaccine for the disease it causes, Covid-19, in the next 12 to 18 months. But this is just the first part of a long and complex process, working at a pace and scale never attempted before. In Vaccines, Money and Politics, Sandra Kanthal looks at the vast ecosystem needed to deliver a vaccination programme to the world in record time.
Aug 11, 2020
BBC OS Conversations: After the Beirut explosion
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Beirut has been left destroyed by this week’s massive explosion: more than a hundred are dead; thousands injured and hundreds of thousands have been left homeless. It has devastated lives, belongings, buildings, businesses. Lebanon was already struggling from challenges on several fronts, including Covid-19. With many questions still to be answered, it is unclear what the longer term effect of this week’s tragedy will be. Nuala McGovern talks to people in Beirut. She hears from eye witnesses who experienced the blast, three young adults who share their fears for the future of Lebanon, and the doctor who helped a mother give birth after the hospital was badly hit by the blast.
Aug 09, 2020
Worlds Apart
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The pandemic has accelerated de-globalisation. Governments worry now about the length and strength of medical supply chains and cross-border trade and travel. But globalisation has had its critics for quite a time. Nationalism has been powered in many countries by the belief that a globalised world has led to rising inequality and fewer middle income jobs in richer countries. And our global institutions - the IMF, World Bank and World Trade Organisation - are under attack too. Philip Coggan considers the long view, looking back to the last great wave of globalisation that ended abruptly with the Great War of 1914-1918.
Aug 09, 2020
Soft Jihad Assignment
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In the United States a small but increasingly vocal group of people believe that members of the country's Muslim community are working from within to turn America into an Islamic state. This group of right wing thinkers believe this so-called 'Soft Jihad' is being carried out in schools, universities and other institutions across the country and they want to put a stop to it. In Assignment, Pascale Harter travels to America to find out how this fear is finding a foothold in public opinion there and hears from some of those accused of being the 'soft jihadists'.
Aug 07, 2020
Algeria's plague revisited
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A mysterious illness appears out of nowhere. The number of cases rises exponentially, as the authorities attempt to downplay the severity of the disease. There is a shortage of medical staff, equipment and arguments about whether people should wear masks. People are forbidden to leave their homes and many are left stranded in unfamiliar places, separated from loved ones. Albert Camus’ novel The Plague set in the Algerian city of Oran under French colonial rule was published more than 70 years ago. But today it almost reads like a current news bulletin and seems more relevant than ever. This edition of Assignment revisits Oran in the age of the coronavirus and investigates the parallels between now and then. For the time being, it seems the pandemic has achieved something the authorities have tried but failed to do for the past year – clear the streets of protesters. Lucy Ash investigates Algeria’s plague of authoritarianism and finds that the government has been using Covid-19 as an excuse to crack down harder on dissent. Reporter: Lucy Ash Producer: Neil Kisserli Editor: Bridget Harney (Photo: Man using an Algerian flag as a mask at an anti-government demonstration in Algiers on 13 March, 2020. Credit: Ryad Kramdi/AFP/Getty Images)
Aug 06, 2020
Karachi's ambulance drivers
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In Karachi, with a population of around 20 million people, ambulance drivers are on the front lines of this megacity’s shifting conflicts. Samira Shackle joins one of these drivers, Muhammad Safdar, on his relentless round of call-outs. As a first-responder for more than 15 years, Safdar has witnessed Karachi wracked by gang wars, political violence and terrorism. At the height of the unrest, the number of fatalities was often overwhelming. With no state ambulance service in Pakistan, the Edhi Foundation, set up by the late Abdul Sattar Edhi in 1954, stepped in to offer services to the poor. Safdar drives one of its fleet of 400 ambulances: rudimentary converted vans with basic emergency provision. His missions bring him to many of Karachi’s most deprived and troubled areas, revealing the complex social and economic problems at the heart of the country.
Aug 04, 2020
BBC OS Conversations: Spain's tourism industry
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During a period of huge uncertainty, Spain's tourism industry suffers a setback while musicians in South Africa, Denmark and the United States share creative challenges and how they are reconnecting with audiences during the coronavirus pandemic
Aug 01, 2020
Venezuela's 'Bay of Piglets'
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A failed coup in Venezuela - a story of hubris, incompetence, and treachery… At the beginning of May, the government of Nicolas Maduro announced the armed forces had repelled an attempted landing by exiled Venezuelans on the coast north of Caracas. Some were killed, others captured. This was Operation Gideon – an incursion involving a few dozen, poorly-equipped men, and two former US Special Forces soldiers. The hair brained plan to depose Nicolas Maduro, and force a transition in Caracas was conceived by Venezuela's political opposition in neighbouring Colombia, the United States and Venezuela. Command and control of Operation Gideon allegedly lay with another former US Special Forces soldier, Jordan Goudreau. But why would men with decades of military experience between them join a plan that, from the outset, looked like a suicide mission? For Assignment, Linda Pressly goes in search of answers. Presenter / producer: Linda Pressly Producer in Venezuela: Vanessa Silva Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: Jordan Goudreau and Javier Nieto address the Venezuelan people on 3 May, 2020. Credit: Javier Nieto)
Jul 30, 2020
Ingenious: The milkshake and the cyclops gene
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The Milkshake Gene - (LCTL) - More than 90% of people in some parts of the world are unable to properly digest milk, cheese and other dairy products. Most other animals are also unable to drink milk once they leave babyhood behind. So why did some of us evolve the ability to tuck into cheese, butter and cream with a vengeance? The answer lies in the history of human evolution and the early days of farming. The Cyclops Gene - (SHH) Building a baby is a complicated business, with thousands of genes to be turned on or off at exactly the right time and in the right place. One of them is Sonic Hedgehog – named after the computer game character – which has its genetic fingers in all kinds of developmental processes. Sonic Hedgehog helps to decide how many bits you have, where they go, and whether you’re symmetrical, so it’s not surprising that any mistakes can have potentially devastating consequences.
Jul 29, 2020
Karachi's ambulance drivers
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In Karachi, with a population of around 20 million people, ambulance drivers are on the front lines of this megacity’s shifting conflicts. Samira Shackle joins one of these drivers, Muhammad Safdar, on his relentless round of call-outs. As a first-responder for more than fifteen years, Safdar has witnessed Karachi wracked by gang wars, political violence and terrorism. At the height of the unrest, the number of fatalities was often overwhelming.
Jul 28, 2020
Death of Elijah McClain
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Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old black man, was killed after an encounter with police in Colorado last year. He had been put in a chokehold and injected with ketamine. No-one has been punished over what happened. Following the outcry over the killing of George Floyd, a petition gathered millions of signatures calling for justice for Elijah McClain. The state of Colorado has now said it is re-examining what happened. Elijah's mother, Sheneen McClain, explains what happened to her son. And a conversation with two women - both white - with a shared experience of adopting a black child
Jul 26, 2020
The most important, least important thing
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Why is watching sport so important to us as a species? And what happens when that experience is taken away from us? Award-winning sports journalist and broadcaster Clare Balding explores why sport plays such a crucial role in shaping society, speaking to a field of global experts and elite sportspeople, including the sociologists Akilah Carter-Francique, Mahfoud Amara and Ramachandra Guha; anthropologist Leila Zaki Chakravarty; and philosophers Heather Reid and Andy Martin.
Jul 26, 2020
The many colours of Raqqa
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The untold story of Abood Hamam, perhaps the only photojournalist to have worked under every major force in Syria's war - and lived to tell the tale. At the start of the uprising he was head of photography for the state news agency, SANA, taking official shots of President Assad and his wife Asma by day - and secretly filming opposition attacks by night. Later he defected and returned to his home town, Raqqa, where various rebel groups were competing for control. Other journalists fled when the terrorists of so-called Islamic State (IS) took over, but Abood stayed - and was asked by IS to film its victory parade. He sent pictures of life under IS to agencies all over the world - using a pseudonym. As the bombing campaign by the anti-IS coalition intensified, Abood moved away - but returned later to record the heartbreaking destruction - but also the slow return of life, and colour, to the streets. For months, he roamed through the ruins with his camera, seeing himself as ”the guardian of the city." Raqqa's future is still very uncertain, but Abood now wants everyone to see his pictures, which he posts on Facebook, and know his real name. He hopes the colours he's showing will tempt the thousands of families who've fled Raqqa to return home, and rebuild their lives, and their city. Reporter: Tim Whewell Producer: Mohamad Chreyteh Sound mix: James Beard Production coordinator: Gemma Ashman Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: Children running in Raqqa, 2019. Credit: Abood Hamam)
Jul 23, 2020
Ingenious: The ginger gene and breast cancer gene
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A particular version of the ginger gene MC1R underpins the fiery hair and freckled complexion of redheads, famed and feared in many cultures. But it is also linked to increased pain sensitivity and skin cancer risk. So where did it come from? And are redheads really endangered? As far back as the 19th Century, doctors realised that some types of cancer seemed to run in families, but it was not until the last decades of the 20th Century that scientists started to pin down the genetic culprits. Faults in two of these genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, significantly increase the chances of developing breast, ovarian or prostate cancer.
Jul 22, 2020
The confined: A story of hidden children
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In 1942 in Nazi occupied France Jews were hunted and those helping them could be sent to concentration camps. Despite the dangers a Catholic nun took a stand that saved the lives of 82 Jewish children. Led by Sister Denise Bergon they hid the children for two years in the convent boarding school of Notre Dame de Massip. Out of around 15 nuns, only four knew the identities of the children taking shelter. Three survivors talk of their unique bond with Sister Denise and how they escaped the clutches of French collaborators and an SS Division which would become notorious for its massacres in the area.
Jul 21, 2020
South Africa’s alcohol ban
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For the second time during its Covid-19 outbreak, South Africa has decided to ban sales of alcohol. How does that have an impact on the workload of doctors in hospitals treating coronavirus patients? In Colombia, the economic impact of the pandemic is so desperate in poorer neighbourhoods that some people are hanging red flags outside their homes as a cry for help. Bergamo in Italy was once at the epicentre of the global outbreak as coronavirus spread into Europe. But after 137 days, the intensive care unit at one of the main hospitals now has no Covid-19 patients. We speak to the doctor in charge.
Jul 19, 2020
Embankment baby
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Tony May was only weeks old when he was abandoned as a baby on the Victoria Embankment in London in 1942. There was no clue to who he was or why he was left by the river Thames in the middle of World War Two. Raised by loving adopted parents who named him, Tony has never been able to discover the identity of his birth parents. Now in his 70s, Tony may finally be able to solve the mystery thanks to advances in DNA testing and painstaking detective work by genealogist Julia Bell. Will Tony be happy with the answers he finds?
Jul 19, 2020
Coronavirus and Africa
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The terrible choice between hunger and infection, police imposing lockdowns with brutality and the unexpected positives to come out of the pandemic in Africa. Presenter Toyosi Ogunseye in Lagos examines these issues with panellists Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa; Bright Simons, social entrepreneur based in Congo and president of mPedigree, Ghana; Sabina Chege MP, Health Select Committee Chair, Kenya; Ralph Mathekga, political analyst and writer, South Africa.
Jul 18, 2020
What the sediment revealed in Lebanon
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The discovery of a mysterious delivery of defective, sediment-heavy fuel intended to generate electricity in Lebanon has sparked a huge scandal in the country. More than two dozen people, including senior officials, have been charged with various alleged crimes including bribery, fraud, money-laundering and forging documents. Lebanon has already been in uproar since last autumn, with hundreds of thousands of people involved in street protests demanding the overthrow of the entire political elite – and now the country’s suffering its worst economic crisis in decades. The national currency has collapsed and more than a third of the workforce is unemployed. Electricity shortages – long a problem in Lebanon - have become still more acute, with whole towns plunged into darkness for long periods – and the row over the suspect oil delivery has exacerbated the problem. Now the investigation into the tainted fuel has raised questions about the original deal to import heavy fuel oil – and Lebanese hope it will eventually help explain why they’ve suffered black-outs for so long. Did officials try to cover up the presence of sediment in the shipment? How did the original much-criticised 2005 fuel contract come about? And what do the revelations tell us about the shadowy world of oil trading that the world relies on? Reporters Tim Whewell and Mohamad Chreyteh investigate. (Image: Zouk power station, Lebanon – where the tainted fuel shipment was first discovered. Credit: Joseph Eid/AFP via Getty Images)
Jul 16, 2020
DNA and me
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Want to know who you really are? Take an at-home DNA test, just like over 26 million others have around the globe. But the question is: why? For many, it’s just a bit of fun; for others it might be for medical insight. But for everyone, it promises to tell you who you really are – and for many, those results might come as a surprise. For BBC reporter Sophia Smith Galer and her father, an innocent at-home kit led to a series of shocking discoveries about their family
Jul 14, 2020
Black America speaks
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We listen in to four black-owned radio stations in the United States to find out how they are covering the killing of George Floyd and the waves of protest since. From Philadelphia, Houston, Los Angeles and Chicago, we hear discussions on preparing young people for encounters with police, on access to finance and housing and on black identity and activism. We also bring the hosts together, in conversation with Chloe Tilley, to find out what it means to be behind the mic on a black-owned station. How is it different to working elsewhere in the US media?
Jul 12, 2020
The Coronavirus Frontline special
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This series comes from the Bradford Royal Infirmary, in the North of England, with recordings made by Dr John Wright, who works there. He is an epidemiologist and as he helps the hospital prepare and cope with a huge influx of patients, he’s also searching for answers about Covid-19.
Jul 12, 2020
The missing bodies of Guayaquil
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In March and April, Guayaquil in Ecuador was the epicentre of the Covid pandemic in Latin America. The city’s health services began to collapse fast – hospitals, cemeteries and morgues were overwhelmed. As the bodies of the dead were not collected, hundreds of desperate families kept the remains of their loved ones at home, or deposited them on the streets. Eventually they were picked up. But in the chaos, some corpses went missing. For Assignment, Mike Lanchin teams up with Guayaquil journalist Blanca Moncada, to follow the story of one woman in her dramatic search for the body of her late husband. (Image: Funeral workers with a coffin in the back of a pick-up truck outside Los Ceibos hospital in Guayaquil. Credit: Reuters/Santiago Arcos)
Jul 09, 2020
Unmapped world
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Maps are the scaffolding of the digital age. Without them, and their associated data, a technological revolution is impossible. Vast swathes of Africa are still not mapped to a true local scale. That means governments face huge problems when tackling rapid urbanisation on this fast changing continent – they simply don’t know where people are. It also means that when outbreaks of disease occur, mapping the spread of infections is all but impossible. Katie Prescott travels to Rwanda, to Kigali, which is rapidly changing its layout and erasing signs of the past, to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the maps just seem to stop, and to Tanzania’s commercial hub of Dar Es Salaam, to hear how community mapping projects run by students are helping to tackle flooding, and outbreaks of cholera.
Jul 07, 2020
Race in America: My enslaved ancestors
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As Americans call for change following the killing of George Floyd, three women share the history of slavery in their families and discuss its impact on society today. Sharon Leslie Morgan in Mississippi is the founder of Our Black Ancestry Foundation, which provides resources for African American genealogical research. She's also co-written a book on the subject called Gather at the Table. Bernice Alexander Bennett is a blogger and radio host in Silverspring, Maryland. Shonda Brooks is a therapist in New Jersey. They've been reflecting with Nuala McGovern on what they uncovered when they researched their own family trees.
Jul 04, 2020
Wuhan: City of silence
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The BBC’s China correspondent, John Sudworth, travels to Wuhan – the city on the banks of the Yangtze river where Covid-19 first emerged. As the city returns to life, he examines one of the biggest questions on everyone’s mind: did the virus emerge naturally or could it have been leaked, as the US alleges, from a Wuhan lab, where work was being carried out to research bat viruses? As John and his team discover, asking questions and getting answers in Wuhan is no easy task. Reporter: John Sudworth Producer: Kathy Long Photo: Two motorcyclists in Wuhan, China - June 2020 Credit: Getty Images
Jul 02, 2020
The 'grandma benches' of Zimbabwe
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Zimbabwe has over 14 million people but fewer than 20 psychiatrists. After years of economic turmoil, unemployment and HIV, mental health is a huge challenge and doctors estimate one in four Zimbabweans battles with depression or anxiety. Lucia is one of the 700 grandmothers in the country turning the nation around. She sits on a wooden bench using a gentle form of cognitive behavioural or talking therapy with her community. This is one of 250 Friendship Benches set up by Zimbabwean psychiatrist Dr Dixon Chibanda, who believed that after a few weeks of simple training, grandmothers could become lay health workers for their communities. Lucia has the time, wisdom and respect to help the people who come to her. She understands them and has direct experience of their problems. Presenter Kim Chakanetsa hears the grandmothers are having astounding results. They have helped over 50,000 people and are breaking down the stigma around mental health. Dixon Chibanda explains how he is facing up to the pandemic, moving his idea online and giving the world access to a virtual Friendship Bench.
Jun 30, 2020
Coronavirus: The economic shock
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In a few short months the coronavirus has turned the world upside down. Alongside the tragedy of hundreds of thousands of deaths, the world is now bracing itself for a brutal economic impact. Whether it is components for manufacturing, our food and medical supplies or the contents of our shop shelves and our fridges we depend on complex global economic relationships which now look shakier than ever. The BBC’s business editor Simon Jack talks to some of the world’s most influential economic and business thinkers on how they think the Covid-19 crisis is changing the worldwide business and economic landscape and what they think the world might be like when the crisis is over.
Jun 28, 2020
Coronavirus conversations: What next?
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Health experts and listeners from Ghana, the US, Canada, China, Switzerland and Italy share their views of life in a post-pandemic world.
Jun 28, 2020
World debate: Re-engineering the future
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All over the world engineers are being called on to re-purpose and solve the problems the global pandemic creates. We bring together an audience of engineers and the general public from six continents to share insights to inspire innovation worldwide. How are engineers reinventing our world to fight the virus? What can they do to re-imagine the everyday and make life safer and easier across the globe? Presenter Kevin Fong is joined by a panel of four leading engineers from around the world who respond to questions, comments and first-hand accounts from a global audience linked by Zoom. The panel: Luke Leung: Director of Sustainability at international architecture and engineering firm SOM Linda Miller: Transport infrastructure engineer at the major engineering and construction firm Bechtel Rebecca Shipley: Director of UCL’s Institute for Healthcare Engineering Carlo Ratti: Director of MIT’s Senseable Lab This is a special edition of an annual event series staged in partnership with the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851.
Jun 27, 2020
Kenya’s locust hunters
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East Africa has seen the worst invasion of desert locusts for decades and there are warnings of even larger swarms to come. Millions of people across the region, who are already feeling the impact of coronavirus and floods, will now face increased hunger and poverty. Just an average swarm can eat the same in a day as 2,500 people for a year. For Assignment, the BBC’s Senior Africa Correspondent Anne Soy joins Albert the Samburu herdsman turned locust hunter as he struggles to track the pests who have been decimating crops and pastures across his native northern Kenya. It is a race against time to exterminate this generation before they breed another, larger, more voracious generation. Producer: Charlotte Atwood Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: Man chasing away a swarm of desert locusts in Samburu County, Kenya. Credit: Fredrik Lerneryd/Getty Images)
Jun 25, 2020
New York Covid-19 diary
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Public health leader Dr Tom Frieden reflects on the ongoing global pandemic. An expert on infectious disease, Dr Frieden is a former director of the US States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He was a leading figure in the global response to the Ebola outbreak and he now heads Resolve to Save Lives, an Initiative of Vital Strategies, an organisation dedicated to the prevention of epidemics. From his New York apartment, Dr Frieden provides his unique insight on the unfolding international situation. He records his response to key moments in the development of the pandemic and the measures being taken to face it in the United States, Africa and across the world.
Jun 23, 2020
Rethink: The edge of change
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BBC Media editor Amol Rajan and a panel of guests analyse how the coronavirus pandemic has created new opportunities to change our world. They range across topics including geopolitics and the rise of China; the role of technology and ownership of information; and perceived and genuine inequality. Guests will include: Kevin Rudd, former Australian prime minister Michelle Bachelet, former president of Chile George Osborne, former UK chancellor Zoltan Kovacs, Hungarian secretary of state for public diplomacy
Jun 22, 2020
Reporting Covid-19
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As the pandemic continues to impact the world, BBC World Service's Nina Robinson, talks to journalists from two daily newspapers in India and the United States as we explore its impact on people in their regions. Working with experienced editors and reporters from the daily Mumbai Mirror and Kentucky’s Courier Journal, this documentary gets under the skin of two newsrooms during this time of great uncertainty as each country comes to terms with coronavirus, handling lockdowns, hospital admissions and the unequal impact the virus is having on the poor and on ethnic minorities.
Jun 21, 2020
Rethink: Class of Covid-19 - Should I go to university?
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The pandemic has led to job cuts and reduced salaries, so does going to university still make financial sense? And if you took a cut in wages during lockdown but are now back at work, how should you talk to your boss about pay? Listeners share their stories and get expert advice on managing money in the time of coronavirus, including: - How to increase your chances of getting a job in the post-pandemic world. - Whether a change of career is a good idea right now. - And where you can get financial help if you are struggling to survive.
Jun 20, 2020
Coronavirus conversations: Another Beijing lockdown
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We speak to people in China's capital, Beijing, where a fresh spike of Covid-19 cases has been detected. Fan Fan and Richard tell us what it feels like to go through lockdown all over again. Meanwhile, the most intense outbreaks are now in Latin America. We hear accounts of how communities in countries including Peru and Colombia are dealing with the disease. As restrictions ease elsewhere, businesses are preparing to open again in a very different world. We bring together business owners in Botswana, Turkey and the United States to talk about the challenges they face and their hopes for the future.
Jun 20, 2020
The 5G con that could make you sick
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Since the outbreak of coronavirus something strange has been happening – attacks on telephone masts and telecom workers are being reported all across the world. That’s because some people think that 5G can make you sick – from coronavirus to cancer and a whole host of other symptoms. Even more worryingly, some scientists say they can prove that it’s harmful. But at a time when many businesses are struggling, could this apparent threat be helping to fuel a whole industry of strange and expensive products? And worse, could stoking these fears actually be damaging people’s health? Assignment investigates how bad science could be making you sick. Presenter: Tom Wright Producer: Chloe Hadjimatheou (Image: A banner draped across a Place Royale statue during an anti-5G protest in Nantes, France. Credit: Estelle Ruiz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Jun 18, 2020
My fake news whodunnit
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When a name very similar to journalist Michelle Madsen’s was used as the cover for a fake news hatchet job on a Senegalese politician, she found herself entangled in a web of deception that she is seeking to unravel.
Jun 14, 2020
Coronavirus and Latin America
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How has Latin America dealt with the pandemic? The lockdown, the needs of the economy, cash pay-outs to the poor, culture, tradition and safety in a time of crisis are all discussed with an expert panel and questions from the public across the region. Presenter Jonny Dymond is joined by Dr Denise Dresser - political scientist, Mexico. Luiz Philippe de Orleans e Braganca - Chamber of Representatives, Social Liberal Party, Brazil, Laura Alonso - former head of Argentina's Anti-Corruption office. Margarita Lopez Maya - Venezuelan historian and Dr Marcus Espinal - Pan American Health Organisation.
Jun 13, 2020
Conversations on race and change
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In the days since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on 25 May, we have witnessed many things from police officers marching alongside protesters; to the political debate about US police reform; to the toppling of statues that symbolise the history of slavery and racism. Nuala McGovern takes you through conversations with some of the people involved in the global discussion that is taking place.
Jun 13, 2020
The seafarers stranded on the high seas
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There are currently 200,000 seafarers stuck working on vessels across the globe and unable to be relieved of their duties. These are the men and women responsible for transporting 90% of the world's trade, from the food we eat to the clothes we wear. While goods are still flowing, the people transporting these goods are struggling. Every month, 100,000 seafarers leave their ships and are replaced by others. But due to covid-19, most of these crew changes have been cancelled for several months. Seafarers are in effect prisoners unable to leave the ship. Maritime unions and ships owners are warning that covid-19 restrictions could lead to a “humanitarian crisis” as seafarers’ mental health and performance worsen in the face of increasing fatigue – in a profession, which already had a high prevalence of accidents, depression and suicide pre-pandemic. What will it take to bring seafarers home? Assignment hears from the men and women stuck on board and those trying to help them; offering a unique insight into the often-forgotten human story of the global sea trade. Presented and produced by Estelle Doyle (Image: Seafarer looking out to sea. Credit: Artem Radchenko)
Jun 11, 2020
Lockdown: Tales from Panama and Brazil
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There is a sense of fatigue around the lockdown. Ray Gillenwater owns a gym, and explains that if he’s ordered to close down again – he will civilly resist. Kody Siegal explains how the tight restrictions of Panama are not quite as tough as you would expect, and Luiza Marchiori from Florianopolis returns to explain how the worst case scenario predicted by many in Brazil appears to be coming true.
Jun 09, 2020
Killer Mike - The rapper turned speech maker
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Riots and protests have broken out in cities across the USA following the death of George Floyd after his arrest by white police officers in Minneapolis. But one black American’s impassioned plea for calm has gone viral in the midst of the violence. Atlanta-based rapper Killer Mike made an impromptu speech calling on his fellow citizens not to burn their city but to organise and mobilise and to use their votes to bring about change. Mark Coles has been speaking to people who know Killer Mike well, and finding out more about his past, his music and his life in Atlanta.
Jun 07, 2020
In my present isolation
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Six authors on different continents, write across distances, to convey thoughts and preoccupations, during their present isolation. While the world is held in the grip of this pandemic, there's nowhere to go, no escape, all the exterior space has been taken. The only refuge is inside, a home, a room.. in the interior of the psyche, surfing the seas and landscapes of the mind. In this moment of social distancing and reliance on social media, a group of writers are reverting to an earlier form of communication – to letter writing.
Jun 06, 2020
Conversations about race in America
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The death of George Floyd has provoked a global response and galvanised opinion. We bring together African Americans to discuss race and share experiences of racism in the US. We hear from people who have sought justice from police aggression, from those attempting reconciliation and from police officers themselves. What changes do they want to see to move America in the right direction?
Jun 06, 2020
America beyond black and white
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With America engulfed again by protests against police brutality and racial discrimination, Rajini Vaidyanathan brings together a group of African-American thinkers to discuss how America might move beyond its current racial turmoil. In 2016 Rajini travelled the United States to report, for BBC World Service, on America’s problem with racism. In this discussion Rajini brings together people to find out how much has changed, and how little; and to ask how Americans might come together to heal the wounds of racism.
Jun 06, 2020
The Chechen blogger on the run
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In February this year, a Chechen blogger in hiding in Sweden was viciously assaulted by a man with a hammer as he slept. In the fight that followed, Tumso Abdurakhmanov managed to grab the hammer and defend himself, and filmed the aftermath of the attack and his interrogation of his assailant. Tumso was the third Chechen to be attacked in Europe in just a few months; he was the only one to survive. All three men were critics and opponents of the pro-Moscow regime in Chechnya, an area in Russia’s volatile North Caucasus mountains where the authorities are accused of serious human rights abuses and violations. For Assignment, Nick Sturdee investigates who may have sent Tumso’s attacker, and explores the blogger’s relations with the Chechen government and leader Ramzan Kadyrov. What are the parallels with another recent attack, in Berlin, where former Chechen fighter Zelimkhan Khangoshvili was shot dead? A case where the Bellingcat investigative team has identified the killer and revealed his close connections to the Russian Security Services, the FSB. Produced and presented by Nick Sturdee (Image: Tumso Abdurakhmanov takes a selfie in Stockholm. Credit: Tumso Abdurakhmanov)
Jun 04, 2020
Abortion under lockdown
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Abortion clinics in Texas were forced to close their doors during the coronavirus lockdown. For several weeks, women wanting abortions could not get them. So what happened, and how did medical staff help? And, with a major Supreme Court decision on access to abortion due this summer, Philippa Thomas hears from the activists concerned that this period, with abortion unavailable for thousands of Texan women, could be a harbinger of the future.
Jun 02, 2020
The Covid generation
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Tens of millions of young people are leaving school and university only to find themselves job hunting in what could be one of the worst recessions in living memory. With widespread recruitment freezes and redundancies, what hope is there of the class of 2020 finding employment? Ruth Alexander speaks to young people from all over the world about their struggle to find work,
May 31, 2020
Coronavirus Global Conversations: Life in lockdown with autism
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What is the pandemic like for people with autism? We hear from three parents in Chile, Spain and India who discuss the impact lockdown has had on their children with autism. They explain how their children seem happier away from the social environment of school, but that they are also concerned about the impact on their social skills. Plus, three American editors who work on newspaper pages writing obituaries of people who have died with coronavirus.
May 31, 2020
The orgasm gap
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What did you learn about sexual pleasure when you were growing up? Chances are, you didn't learn much in school. And if the latest research is anything to go by, we still have a lot to learn now. According to a US based study, 90% of heterosexual men said they climaxed during sex, while only 60% of heterosexual women said the same. In the UK, when the new sex education guidelines are introduced in September 2020, pleasure will remain off the agenda. In this programme, we talk to people in the UK and Rwanda to explore how society and culture influence how we experience pleasure. We look at what we were, or weren't, taught about sex at school and meet a man who is finding ways to close the gender pleasure gap outside of the classroom. In Rwanda we find out about a cultural practice that allegedly puts female pleasure first, but is also linked to a controversial form of female genital modification. The World Health Organisation does not explicitly mention labial elongation as a form of female genital mutilation. It periodically reviews the typology and classification of certain practices and the next review is envisioned for 2020-2021. In this documentary, we look at competing attitudes when it comes to female sexual pleasure and explore the collision zone between individual rights and preserving cultural practices.
May 30, 2020
The Miracle of Istanbul
3093
The 2020 Champions League final was due to be held at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium on Saturday 30 May, exactly 15 years after the most extraordinary night in the competition's history, when Liverpool completed “The Miracle of Istanbul”. AC Milan had a star-studded line up and were overwhelming favourites, especially after they raced into a 3-0 lead. However Liverpool launched the most amazing second-half comeback that culminated in winning the trophy in a penalty shootout. To mark that anniversary, we take you back to that iconic night with those who were there - including penalty-saving hero, Jerzy Dudek.
May 30, 2020
Don't log off - part eight
1445
Alan Dein connects with people who are experiencing sleepless nights during the coronavirus pandemic. Salina is a Nepalese student stranded in Bangkok after the borders were closed. With no income, she’s kept awake in her stifling, windowless room as her money runs out. Meanwhile, Keenya is a hairdresser in Detroit, anxious about feeding her seven children as Covid-19 spreads through her community. And Mursalina in Afghanistan worries about increasing poverty on the streets of Kabul in the midst of the pandemic.
May 30, 2020
Belarus: Masking the virus
1620
Belarus’s all-powerful President has focused global attention on his country by ostentatiously downplaying the coronavirus pandemic. Alexander Lukashenko has allowed shops, markets and restaurants and football stadiums to remain open and is encouraging people to go out to work. In early May he laid on a grand military spectacle celebrating victory in WW2, in defiance of social distancing advice. He told Belarussians they could stay healthy by drinking vodka and driving tractors in the fields and dismissed concerns over the virus as “psychosis.” But medics and bereaved families say otherwise. And with a doubling of infections every two or three days, there is not much to laugh about in Belarus. Medical staff have allegedly been sacked and even detained for speaking out about poor conditions in hospitals and the inaccurate death certificates. Assignment explores what lies behind President Lukashenko’s position. We hear from community activists, war veterans, tech-wizards and many other diverse people in Belarus. Lucy Ash pieces it all together with reporting by Ilya Kuziatsou. Produced by Monica Whitlock (Image: Jana Shostak’s Angry Mask. Human Constanta, a Belarusian human rights organisation, asked eight artists to design facemasks focusing on the coronavirus pandemic. Credit: Jakub Jasiukiewicz)
May 28, 2020
The Death Row book club
1648
When Anthony Ray Hinton was sentenced to death for a double murder, he used his time behind bars to create a book club for his fellow death row inmates. It was to get him through 28 years of solitary confinement. Now a free man after the State of Alabama dropped all charges against him, he takes listeners back to the echoing corridors of death row and introduces them to his book club.
May 26, 2020
Coronavirus Global Conversations: Giving birth during a pandemic
1668
Giving birth is an emotional experience, but what about during this pandemic? And then there is bringing a baby into a world of lockdowns and restrictions. We hear from new mums in New York, Dublin and London. What is it like to be in prison and pregnant?
May 24, 2020
Recycling Chile, recycling Spain
3035
Leena Vuotovesi, the leader of environmental work in Europe’s greenest town, Ii in Finland, travels to Chile and Spain to compare recycling practices. First she visits La Pintana - Chile’s unlikely climate champion: an impoverished neighbourhood plagued by crime and violence that recycles more than any other town in Chile. Leena then goes to a pristine part of southern Spain - a country where municipal recycling rates lag way behind EU targets. She speaks to children, teachers and waste management experts to find out why Spanish people don’t appear to care about recycling and to see what could be done to reduce environmental and economic damage.
May 23, 2020
Don't log off - part seven
1452
In Mumbai, Chinu has been has been providing food to the city’s migrant and daily labourers who have been unable to work since the country’s lockdown. Getting up at 4.30am each day, he has served over 415,000 hot meals so far. In Nigeria, optometry student Ismail has been sleeping in a mosque since his college closed its doors three and a half months ago, but is holding on to his dreams of working for the WHO or UN. And deep in the Amazon rainforest, Tatiana, a state politician and academic forecasts trouble ahead.
May 23, 2020
New York stories with Joe Pascal
2938
The story of how chef Marcus Samuelsson made Harlem his home is nothing short of remarkable. He was born in a tiny village in Ethiopia, too small to even appear on maps. Aged two, he contracted TB. His mum carried him for 75 miles to the capital for treatment. She died, but he survived and was adopted by a Swedish family who taught him a love of cooking. Marcus is now a leading light of New York cuisine running an international restaurant chain but with his heart firmly grounded in the stories of Harlem. Jaylene Clark Owens is a spoken word artist, actor and born and bred Harlemite. She’s woven the story of her changing neighbourhood into a play - Renaissance in the Belly of a Killer Whale. Cultural historian John T Reddick gives us a personal tour of his neighbourhood. And Martina da Silva and John Thomas share their musical tribute to Harlem.
May 23, 2020
SOS from the Mediterranean
1624
People crossing the Central Mediterranean in rubber boats are always putting their lives in danger. Now a bleak situation is made worse by Covid 19 as ports in Malta and Italy are closed to migrants and coastguards are reluctant to mount rescue operations. Over the Easter weekend several boats set out from the Libyan coast. Some made it to Sicily themselves. Two others drifted for days. The engines were broken and the people, including children and babies, ran out of food and water. Twelve people died. Dozens of others were picked up and taken back to Libya where they now languish in hellish detention centres. Others made it to Europe. This is the story of that weekend, told through recordings of distress calls from the boats and the testimony of a network of activists as they monitored the desperate situation. Producer and presenter: Lucy Proctor (Image: Migrants in a dinghy at sea. Credit: Reuters/Yannis Behrakis)
May 21, 2020
Migrant medics
1663
More than 17,000 people have died in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus. Among them are frontline medical staff. Dr Adil El Tayar, a British-Sudanese doctor, became the first working medic to die of coronavirus in the UK. His story is illustrative of the many international medics who even now are battling Covid-19. A vast number of doctors, nurses and others have come to Britain and other Western countries after training in the developing world. Naturally, they want to improve their standards of living and work in more sophisticated medical systems. But is it fair for the rich world to benefit by effectively cherry-picking the brightest and best from poorer countries?
May 20, 2020
Lockdown: Tales from Lebanon, Australia, Atlanta and India
1666
Lina Mounzer in Lebanon speaks about the protests which have seen people take to the streets despite lockdown. John McRae shares some good news from Australia and Matthew Krupczak from Atlanta, Georgia, tells us why he is worried that the easing of restrictions in his neighbourhood could mean the sacrifices so far could be for nothing. And Rajesh Kumar Shaw gives us his insights from The Sundarbans in India, where the return of migrant labourers could mean the spread of Covid -19 in an area with only basic medical help.
May 19, 2020
Seven dead, 46 injured: One Chicago weekend
2963
On Monday 5 August last year the Chicago Sun Times newspaper carried this headline: “Seven deaths, 46 wounded in Chicago Weekend Shootings.” It was referring to the casualty list after one summer weekend in Chicago. This programme reconstructs those three days. Narrated by Clarke Peters (The Wire’s Detective Lester Freamon), and with a specially composed music and sound design, this immersive documentary uses the words of the city newspaper updates on the violence, alongside eyewitness accounts and the sad personal stories of relatives and friends who lost loved ones. ** This programme audio has been updated to reflect the latest events - 28 July 2020
May 17, 2020
Coronavirus Global Conversations: Making people laugh
1663
We speak to comedian Sarah Cooper in New York - her President Trump lip-syncs have gone viral on TikTok. Also, Waylene Beukes in Namibia and Anna Piper Scott in Melbourne, who was about to start a full-time comedy career as the pandemic hit. We also hear about the impact of lockdown restrictions for those living alone. Three people: in Manitoba, Canada; Perth, Australia; and New Orleans in the United States come together and tell us how they are miss human touch.
May 17, 2020
Stimulus cheques and sending money home
3031
How does the financial help on offer where you are compare to other parts of the world? Listeners share their stories and get expert advice on how to survive the financial fallout from Covid-19: The partners separated by lockdown, the divorcing couple forced into quarantine together and marital tips from a lawyer in India. Plus how to adapt your business during the pandemic and where to turn if you can’t afford to pay your bills.
May 16, 2020
Don't log off - part six
1430
Alan Dein connects with people who are anxious about their family business during the coronavirus pandemic. Maria Ester in Ecuador is worried about her family’s heavy machinery business while trying to keep her 81-year-old mother safe in one of the Latin America’s worst affected cities. And young farmer Rohan in Jamaica recalls his late father’s wisdom as he tries to keep the family farm running in the midst of a drought and Covid-19. Meanwhile, Sami in Iraq misses his beloved bookshop which has had to close its doors because of lockdown. Plus, Alan speaks to a woman working in one place on earth which is free from the virus - Antarctica.
May 16, 2020
Boris Johnson and Britain’s Covid-19 crisis
1588
Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has led his country’s efforts to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. At one level it turned into a very personal mission. At the beginning of April he was hospitalised having tested positive for the virus and spent three days in intensive care fighting for his life. Jonny Dymond asks how this happened and what it reveals about Mr Johnson’s style of leadership and politics. (Image: Boris Johnson as he gives a statement outside 10 Downing Street on 27 April 27 2020 on his return to work after being hospitalised with the Covid-19 virus. Credit: Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/AFP via Getty Images)
May 14, 2020
Wuhan: The beginning of coronavirus Covid-19
1662
It is week one of the coronavirus. In this critical time, decisions were made that set the entire trajectory of the crisis. The program uses exclusive interviews with a cast of characters who were on the ground at the hospital in the very beginning. Their stories, combined with striking audio from the heat of the moment, brings listeners into the critical turning-points that defined the crisis to come. We meet Dr Li, the head of the ICU in Wuhan and one of the first doctors to intubate a patient with Covid-19. As his hospital became overrun with patients, he and his colleagues debated just how contagious the virus was, what should be told to the general populace, and the proper government response.
May 12, 2020
One hundred days of Brexit
3037
How ‘get Brexit done’ turned into ‘StayatHome’ through the experiences of four first time MPs. They represent constituencies across the North of England – places where voters had switched traditional allegiances in great numbers. Conservative MP Simon Fell, won in Barrow-in-Furness, Olivia Blake, the newly elected Labour MP for Sheffield Hallam, Charlotte Nichols who held on narrowly against the Brexit tide in Warrington North and Richard Holden who took the North West Durham seat from Labour.
May 10, 2020
Coronavirus Global Conversations: Haircuts after lockdown
1663
We bring together three hairdressers from around the world to talk about how their lives have changed because of the pandemic. Marcel in Jerusalem and Marion in Berlin can cut their clients' hair again - but with restrictions. Tamsyn in Johannesburg has only been allowed to open her salon to sell hair products so far. So what is the future of cutting hair while the world is dealing with Covid-19?
May 10, 2020
Coronavirus and Asia
3047
The impact of Covid-19 on Asia is explored with a panel of leading public health experts, politicians and analysts from across the region. What can be done to slow down the spread of the virus? And how should countries balance the needs of their economies with the need to save lives?
May 09, 2020
Don't log off - part five
1451
Across every continent, people are trying to make sense of a new world – one that happens mostly behind closed doors and often alone. Alan Dein connects with seven individuals whose lives have shifted under the coronavirus pandemic as they nervously anticipate what will come next in an uncertain future.
May 08, 2020
Hanging by a thread: Bangladesh’s garment workers
1630
In March, Aafiyah was told the garment factory where she worked would be closing. And like many other garment workers, she was left destitute in the slums of Dhaka. Bangladesh’s garment industry employs millions of workers, mainly women, who make clothes for high street brands in Europe and the US. Western retailers, who have seen sales plummet due to the pandemic, have cancelled or suspended more than 3 billion dollars’ worth of orders from Bangladeshi garment factories. Over a million jobs in the sector could now be at risk. For Assignment, Caroline Bayley and Morshed Ali Khan hear Aafiyah’s story, and talk to factory owners and the British Retail Consortium about the huge challenges facing Bangladesh's main export industry. Producer: Josephine Casserly (Image: Women, wearing masks, work in a garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Credit: Reuters/Mohammad Ponir Hossain)
May 07, 2020
The Response: Coronavirus - Lockdown tales from Brazil, Germany and Australia
1660
Listeners from Brazil, Germany, Rwanda, Australia and Norway report on their experiences of lockdown, from reaction to Jair Bolsanaro's coronavirus policies to the partial easing of lockdown in Germany, to racial abuse experienced by Chinese residents in Australia. By emailing a voice memo recorded on their smartphones listeners from different countries offer their unique perspectives on a global crisis,
May 05, 2020
Coronavirus Global Conversations: Remembering medics who have died from Covid-19
1660
We hear about Sophie Fagan, a nurse in London for over 50 years; Dr. J Ronald Verrier, a critical care surgeon in New York; and Vicenzo Leone, a beloved GP in Northern Italy. Their relatives talk about their enduring pride, but also the shock of losing them to Covid-19. And hospital chaplains talk to us about the religious, spiritual and emotional support they are providing for patients and their loved ones. Also, mothers in Spain tell us how the 40-day lockdown is emotionally impacting their children.
May 03, 2020
Spain’s care home nightmare
1620
Why did so many people die in just one elderly care home in Madrid? After Covid-19 smashed its way across the globe, Spain - one of the worst-hit nations of Europe - is beginning to take stock of the devastation the virus has left in its wake. Most painful perhaps, will be an assessment of how the deadly contagion was able to rip through Spanish care homes at such speed, killing thousands of elderly people. In March 2020, the alarm was first sounded in a privately run institution, Monte Hermoso in Madrid. It is a story that has stayed with the BBC’s producer in Spain, Esperanza Escribano. She was in the capital when the reports of deaths at Monte Hermoso came to light. For Assignment, she joins Linda Pressly, to piece together the story of what happened within the care home’s red brick walls. Editor: Bridget Harney (Photo: Isabel Costales and her husband Ramon Hernandez. Isabel died during the coronavirus pandemic in a care home in Madrid. Photo Credit: Paula Panera)
Apr 30, 2020
Universal Basic Income: Alaska style
2269
There is growing interest in the idea of giving every member of society a Basic Income, as a way of tackling extreme poverty and the loss of jobs caused by automation. Pilot projects have been seen across the world - from India to Finland and Namibia to Canada - and there is talk of a one possibly happening here in the UK, in the city of Hull. So, attention is being paid to the Alaskan model. The Arctic American state has been paying out an annual dividend to every one of its permanent residents - man, woman and child - for almost 40 years.
Apr 29, 2020
Who cares
1662
Well over 400,000 elderly and disabled people in Britain rely on home care, and many of the care workers are from other parts of the world: Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and Eastern Europe. Some are highly qualified professionals, but have moved into badly paid care roles because they are finding it hard to gain a foothold in their own professions in the UK. As the population ages, these care workers are providing an ever more vital service. Yet their voices are very rarely heard. Blanche Girouard accompanies some of them on their rounds to hear their stories.
Apr 28, 2020
Coronavirus Global Conversations - Care home workers and Covid-19 vaccine volunteers
1669
People from all over the world discuss our shared experience of the epidemic; from nurses in intensive care and vaccine researchers, to pregnant women and couples getting married in a lockdown. With host Nuala McGovern, they talk together about how they are living with the impact of these extraordinary times in different countries and how they are trying to get through it. This week: Paramedics and care home workers, living in slums during a pandemic, and the Covid-19 vaccine volunteers hoping to save lives.
Apr 26, 2020
Don't log off - part four
1669
Alan Dein talks to people around the world about the challenges of family life in lockdown. He connects with Margaret in Uganda who has adopted many children orphaned by HIV. And he reaches out to Alezz in Peru, a trans non-binary person who is confined to their bedroom as their parents struggle to accept them. He also speaks to Pawel who got trapped in Poland at the start of January and does not know when he will be able to return home to his wife in China.
Apr 25, 2020
Saving Zimbabwe’s forests
1588
Honey bees, cow dung and mulch; how a company in Zimbabwe is protecting forests in order to offset the carbon emissions of people around the world. Even though many flights are grounded at the moment, there is still a need to reduce the amount of carbon we pump into the atmosphere. But what happens when you can’t reduce it any further? You can offset it. Charlotte Ashton discovers a company based in Zimbabwe that runs one of the largest projects of its kind in the world and finds out where your money goes if you choose to offset your carbon emissions. Carbon Green Africa’s project focuses on protecting Zimbabwe’s existing forests, rather than planting new trees and her journey takes her to some surprising places. In a programme recorded last November, Charlotte finds that preventing deforestation not only helps her assuage her flight shame, but helps give people in a remote part of Zimbabwe new jobs, more food and an oven powered by cow dung! Presenter: Charlotte Ashton Producer: Phoebe Keane (Image: Forests in Guruve district, Zimbabwe. Credit: BBC/Phoebe Keane)
Apr 23, 2020
China and the virus
1667
Has the coronavirus epidemic weakened or strengthened the grip of China’s Communist Party? In the early stages of the outbreak in the city of Wuhan, authorities there downplayed its significance. A doctor who sounded the alarm was forced to contradict himself. He later contracted Covid-19 and died from it. Medical facilities were initially unprepared. Mark Mardell assesses how President Xi and his government will emerge from the crisis.
Apr 22, 2020
In search of the quarter-life crisis
3048
We’re told that our twenties are a time when we’re meant to be finding ourselves, having fun, living our best lives and making the most of our freedom before settling down. But are the twenties really like this for millennials around the world? You might have heard of the midlife crisis, said to hit anywhere between a person’s forties and early fifties. But in this programme, we’re trying to find out whether there’s such a thing as a quarter-life crisis. We’ll hear from young people about their experiences of the crisis and the pressures they say led them to it, from finding a fulfilling job, to landing the perfect partner, to fears they’ll never be able to buy a house and start to actually ‘adult’. We’ll hear experiences from Moscow, Cairo, New York, and London to see if this really is a worldwide issue. We’ll speak to experts about the evidence for whether it actually exists, including a pscyhologist who calls the quarter-life crisis a ‘global phenomenon’. Is this true, or are millennials just moaning and trying to find a new label for problems every generation has faced? We’ll dig in to the reasons people are feeling in crisis, and hear words of wisdom from those who have overcome it. This documentary is airing as part of Life Changes, a series of programmes and features across the BBC’s global networks exploring the theme of change - how we change ourselves, our lives, and how we respond to changes in the world around us. Reporting from across the world - from Ethiopia, Korea, Rwanda and Paraguay to Egypt, the US and Russia – it covers everything from sexuality to sustainability, from peace to war, and from neurodiversity to migration. Presented by Katerina Venediktova. Produced by Eleanor Layhe for BBC World Service.
Apr 21, 2020
The Response: Coronavirus - Lockdown tales from Riyadh, Hangzhou and Accra
1664
The first episode includes concerns about the impact of a full lockdown in Ghana, the impact of the closure of public buildings on one man in Mississippi, there’s an insight from Hangzhou in China as the restrictions end and a woman in the UK explains how she felt as the symptoms of Covid 19 became clear.
Apr 21, 2020
Togetherness: Coronavirus Global Conversations - Dealing with grief
1638
Shaye in the US, Ana in Spain and Elliot in the UK remember the parents they have lost to Covid-19 and the impact it is having on their lives. African Americans in New York, Massachusetts and Georgia consider why black communities in the United States are suffering so much during this health emergency. While social distancing meant Liat and Amir in Israel and Emine and Jon in the UK had to rip up their original wedding plans and come up with new ways to get married.
Apr 19, 2020
Personal finance for the pandemic
2984
As coronavirus spreads people are worrying about their money as well as their health. What can you do to protect your finances and what are governments doing to help? You’ve been sharing your stories and advice with Manuela Saragosa and Paul Lewis who are joined by: Professor Ricardo Reis, from the London School of Economics Professor Ila Patnaik, a former economic advisor to the Indian government Oluwatosin Olaseinde, founder of Money Africa in Nigeria Bola Sokunbi, the founder of Clever Girl finance in the US Jürgen Stock, the Secretary General of Interpol.
Apr 18, 2020
Don't log off - part three
1637
Across every continent, lives have been put on hold, and people are looking to the day when they can pick up and restart after lockdown. In Mexico, Lucia has spent the past seven years searching for her kidnapped son – one of thousands of disappeared children in the country. For now she has been forced to put that on hold. Captain Jens aboard a vast container ship has not been on land for three months – and does not know when he will next see his family, but he is finding solace in the logs of his ancestors. In Nigeria, student Babatunde Ismail Bale is sheltering in a mosque after his college closed its doors – but is still finding ways to study. And in the Philippine’s capital Manila, armed soldiers on the streets are bringing back fearful memories of martial law in the 1970s.
Apr 18, 2020
Chile: An education for all
1624
A much anticipated referendum in Chile on a new constitution has been postponed till the autumn amid safety concerns over the spread of the coronavirus. President Sebastian Piñera had agreed to the vote and a range of reforms following months of civil unrest. Since last autumn, the country has been experiencing a wave of protests with people on the streets angry at the level of inequality in the country. Amongst them thousands of university students, teachers and school children – who have been prepared to face tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets – in a bid to change the education system in Chile. They say a privileged few have access to all the best jobs and the rest are given a substandard schooling with leaky roofs in winter, boiling hot classrooms in summer and inadequate teaching. For Assignment, Jane Chambers spent time with the protestors calling for a fairer education for all. Presented and produced by Jane Chambers Edited by Bridget Harney (Image: A demonstrator kicks a tear gas canister at a police car during a protest about the education system in Chile. Credit: Reuters/Ivan Alvarado)
Apr 16, 2020
What we can do with our waste
3019
Every year we produce over 2 billion tonnes of solid waste worldwide. Most of it ends up in dumps or landfills, or is thrown into the oceans, or is burned. Only a small fraction is ever recycled. But are there other, more creative uses for all that rubbish? To try and find some answers, BBC Mundo reporter Lucia Blasco visits Paraguay to meet the inspiring young musicians of the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, whose instruments are made out of rubbish from the city's main landfill; and she travels to the city of Linköping in southern Sweden, where almost all the houses are heated by energy produced by incinerating waste. This documentary is airing as part of Life Changes, a series of programmes and features across the BBC’s global TV, radio, social and online networks exploring the theme of change - how we change ourselves, our lives, and how we respond to changes in the world around us. Reporting from across the world - from Ethiopia, Korea, Rwanda and Paraguay to Egypt, the US and Russia – the documentaries and digital stories will cover a diverse range of topics, from sexuality to sustainability, from peace to war, and from neurodiversity to migration.
Apr 14, 2020
Togetherness: Coronavirus Global Conversations
1418
A place to talk about the impact of the disease on you, your family and your communities.
Apr 12, 2020
Coronavirus and Europe
3013
Experts discuss the challenges posed by and the consequences of the outbreak of Covid-19 in Europe. BBC correspondent Jonny Dymond is joined by a panel of experts from across the continent who answer questions from the public. The panel: Dunja Mijatovic: Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe Margaret Harris: World Health Organisation Richard Horton: Editor in Chief of The Lancet Nathalie Tocci: Political analyst and Director of the Institute of International Affairs Danae Kyriakopoulou: Economist from OMFIF, the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum, an independent financial think tank BBC World Questions is a series of international events created in partnership with the British Council.
Apr 11, 2020
Women of the World
3006
Kim Chakanetsa for an hour of conversation with the acclaimed authors Isabel Allende and Edna O’Brien. Isabel talks about finding love in her 70s and how she is coping with isolation and Covid-19. Edna, now 89, talks about her latest Novel, Girl, which took her to Nigeria - and she too discusses dealing with loneliness and the power of literature in the midst of crisis.
Apr 11, 2020
Don't log off - part two
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Alan Dein connects with people around the world trying to find moments of calm during the coronavirus pandemic. He speaks to Jens, the captain of a container ship in the middle of the Indian Ocean who is unsure when he may be able to get his crew back home, and Sujatha, an 85-year-old in India who is philosophical about being confined to her home in Delhi. South of Delhi, Alan reaches out to Chinu who is feeding Mumbai's urban poor as the Indian government imposes a lockdown. And he speak to Benedetta, who is eight months pregnant in an anxious and eerily quiet Rome. He also catches up with 16-year-old Ibrahim who was homeless on the streets of Athens when they last spoke - but now has some good news to share.
Apr 11, 2020
Extreme measures
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Can extremists be de-radicalised? For Assignment, Adrian Goldberg, hears from the ‘intervention providers’ in the United Kingdom tasked with turning offenders away from violence. Usman Khan was released from prison in 2018 for plotting a terror attack. He’d undertaken two de-radicalisation programmes designed to turn him away from violent extremism. Yet despite efforts to rehabilitate him, Khan launched an attack near London Bridge, in the capital, killing two people – one of them was Jack Merritt. It was the first of two violent attacks involving convicted extremists in the space of two months. So just how effective are these schemes designed to de-radicalise extremists? We hear from closely people involved in them. Some say offenders can cheat the system and convince the authorities they’ve changed their ways. A serving prisoner in a maximum security jail tells Adrian that convicted terrorists are ‘gaming’ the system by pretending to comply and he warns that non terrorist offenders are being dangerously radicalised. Reporter: Adrian Goldberg Researcher: Luke Radcliff Producer, Helen Clifton Editor: Carl Johnston (Photo: Jack Merritt courtesy of the Merritt family)
Apr 09, 2020
ADHD and me
1637
For many years ADHD was dismissed by sceptics as a dubious condition. Later, when it achieved recognition, if not acceptance, the focus was very much on the negative impact it had on the lives of people it affected and their close ones. As Saeedeh Hashemi - herself diagnosed with ADHD - will show, there is now increasing understanding that living with the condition also brings positives. Saeedeh will meet others who, for all the downsides of the disorder, feel that life without it would be like “living cramped within a frame” and who would not give it up as it has fundamentally shaped their personalities. She will also talk to top medical professionals to hear how they are seeking to recognise the positive potential of ADHD and what innovative ways of treating the condition they’re suggesting. The modern working environment has shifted and employers are finally embracing neuro-diversity as a vital tool in building effective teams. Saeedeh will explore what it actually means, how the thinking about workflow, work space and team work reflects the needs of people with the condition and allows them to grow to the best of their potential and to the benefit of business. The programme, of course, certainly won’t suggest that ADHD is entirely a gift. It will, however, seek to emphasise that alongside negatives come strengths and qualities that can help propel individuals to enormous personal success, and how society and businesses are beginning to see it as an opportunity rather than a disadvantage. This documentary is airing as part of Life Changes, a series of programmes and features across the BBC’s global TV, radio, social and online networks exploring the theme of change - how we change ourselves, our lives, and how we respond to changes in the world around us. Reporting from across the world - from Ethiopia, Korea, Rwanda and Paraguay to Egypt, the US and Russia – the documentaries and digital stories will cover a diverse range of topics, from sexuality to sustainability, from peace to war, and from neurodiversity to migration.
Apr 08, 2020
Melbourne: The sounds of the city
1628
Peter's latest spot of tourism takes him to Melbourne. As a huge sports fan, he is used to listening on his crackly radio to cricket commentaries. So he heads to the Melbourne cricket ground, as a first stop. In the spirit of the Ashes, he went with David, another blind cricket nut and a native of the city. His next stop is Melbourne’s version of the golden mile, where Peter indulged another obsession - funfairs. But the real joy of Melbourne is the outdoors, and the delight of wandering around with a microphone chatting to people.
Apr 07, 2020
Togetherness: Coronavirus Global Conversations
1418
Coronavirus Global Conversations is a place to talk about the impact of the disease.
Apr 05, 2020
Germany's refugee teachers
3010
Five years on from the refugee crisis of 2015, Germany is now home to over a million refugees. Naomi Scherbel-Ball explores a classroom experiment with a difference: a scheme to retrain refugee teachers and place them in German schools, to help the country with a shortage of 40,000 teachers. Naomi visits a school in Mönchengladbach in Western Germany, where Mustafa Hammal teaches English. Mustafa, an English teacher with eight years of experience, fled the civil war in Syria with his family in 2015. Arriving in Germany, he discovered a teacher retraining programme designed to harness the skills that refugee teachers bring with them. Miriam Vock, an educational psychologist at Potsdam University, transports us back to the summer of 2015. Amidst the chaos of the refugee crisis, she wondered if there might be some teachers among the refugees arriving in Germany. A year later, the first refugee teacher retraining course was launched - an idea that inspired a number of other pilot courses across Germany. Retraining as a teacher in a system with rigid set qualifications is particularly challenging, however, and graduates are finding it difficult to find work. The success of the far-right Alternative for Germany, now the country’s main opposition party, has raised the stakes for refugees trying to integrate. As Germany struggles with an ageing population and a severe labour shortage, Naomi asks if refugees can fill the gap. This documentary is airing as part of Life Changes, a series of programmes and features across the BBC’s global TV, radio, social and online networks exploring the theme of change - how we change ourselves, our lives, and how we respond to changes in the world around us. Reporting from across the world - from Ethiopia, Korea, Rwanda and Paraguay to Egypt, the US and Russia – the documentaries and digital stories will cover a diverse range of topics, from sexuality to sustainability, from peace to war, and from neurodiversity to migration.
Apr 04, 2020
Don't Log Off
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Alan Dein connects with seven individuals whose lives have shifted under the coronavirus pandemic as they nervously anticipate what will come next in an uncertain future. In Tehran, Golnar, an Iranian who describes herself as ‘constant traveller’ is inside her apartment – all future trips postponed. Across the town is the hostel she set up with a friend. Forced to close in the city’s lockdown it is now serving a crucial role. In Dhaka, as the pandemic takes hold, entrepreneur Fahad worries for the successful delivery business he has spent years building up and the future for his parents. In Greece, Ibrahim is homeless, sheltering in an abandoned building. His friend Mikki is self-isolating and cannot help him.
Apr 04, 2020
The man who died for trees
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Romania's forests are the Amazon of Europe - with large wilderness areas under constant pressure from loggers. For years, corrupt authorities turned a blind eye to illegal felling. But now a series of killings in the woods has intensified demands across the continent to end the destruction. Six rangers - who defend forests from illegal cutting – have been killed in as many years. Two died in the space of just a few weeks late last year. The latest victim, Liviu Pop, father of three young girls, was shot as he confronted men he thought were stealing timber. But the men weren’t arrested. They say the ranger shot himself. And in the remote region of Maramures, where many people are involved in logging, that version is widely believed. Locals are afraid to talk about what happened. Is the lucrative logging business protected by powerful interests who turn a blind eye to murder? And are rangers sometimes complicit in the rape of the forest? For Assignment, Tim Whewell tries to find out exactly how a young man employed to protect nature met his death. And he asks how Romania can save its wilderness when more than half the trees cut down are felled illegally? Reporter: Tim Whewell Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: Forest guards stand next to wooden crosses bearing the names of their killed colleagues, including Liviu Pop. Credit: Daniel Mihailescu/AFP via Getty Images)
Apr 02, 2020
Miami: The sounds of the city
1645
Peter White, who was born without sight, takes a tour of Miami, navigating primarily with his ears. Peter joins a new blind friend, George, who takes him on a relaxed stroll around a well-heeled area on a sunny afternoon. Peter talks to Carlos, a homeless man trudging the streets each day looking for work. And, on the outskirts of Miami, Peter meets his first alligator.
Mar 31, 2020
Ethiopia and Eritrea: Rebirth at the border
3010
In September 2018, the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea was opened for the first time in 20 years. Physical travel between the two countries and even telephone communication had been next to impossible, separating families and devastating businesses in borderland towns such as Zalambessa in Ethiopia. The communities on either side have had the opportunity to reconnect, rebuild and move on with their lives. The town is undergoing a transformation. Now, family events and religious ceremonies are celebrated with renewed joy as relatives come together to mark life’s milestones. In this programme, we immerse ourselves in the baptism of a new baby boy, born to first-time parents, and find out if their Eritrean relatives are able to cross the border to join the celebrations as they hope. But there’s a twist. While informal cross border movement continues on foot, the official border checkpoint in the town is closed again for trade and vehicles due to political uncertainty. There’s a construction boom in the region because of the optimism that once prevailed, but for many, their hope has been replaced by despair as business is stagnating once again. This is a programme about how lives are changing in all kinds of ways, and about the hope people hold on to for a better future. We share in both joy and frustration; a conflicted situation that remains to be resolved.
Mar 30, 2020
North Korea's celebrity defectors
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According to South Korea’s Ministry of Unification, there are more than 30,000 North Korean defectors living in the South. The lack of access to North Korea makes defectors one of the few windows to what life is like in the secretive regime. As a result, the defectors and their stories have become a hugely valuable commodity in South Korea’s popular culture and media. There are a number of popular reality TV programmes starring North Korean defectors. Hyun-joo Yu is one of the most established stars on Now on My Way to Meet You, a popular and long running variety programme. The show features emotional North Korean defectors sharing their stories and performing to dramatic music. At the same time, the South Korean celebrity guests provide commentary and sometimes jokes. Meanwhile, on the Internet, dozens of North Korean defectors have gained popularity through live streaming, telling stories about their lives in the North on YouTube and Instagram. These defector-celebrities, like 21-year-old Nara Kang, are mostly young, attractive women. Representing a younger generation of defectors, Nara Kang is tapping into an audience with no living memory of the North. Capitalising on their status as defectors to gain fame, these celebrities cannot move on from being defined by their past. They strive to fit into South Korean society, while emphasising their otherness to South Korean audiences.
Mar 26, 2020
Indonesia: Not cool to date
1612
Saying no to dating is part of a growing ultraconservative social movement in Indonesia being spread through Instagram and WhatsApp. “When I look at couples, I see my old self, how I used to be affectionate in public, holding hands, hugging,” says 23-year-old Yati, “and now I think that’s disgusting.” When Yati broke up with her ex, she didn’t just swear off dating; she joined Indonesia’s anti-dating movement - Indonesia Without Dating. Its leaders say dating is expensive, gets in the way of study, and - most importantly - is against religious teaching. For Assignment, Simon Maybin discovers it is part of a wider youth-led surge in conservative Islam in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country. Opponents see the phenomenon as a backwards step for women and a threat to Indonesia’s religious pluralism. Presenter: Simon Maybin Producer: Josephine Casserly Editor: Bridget Harney Music at the end of the programme was Tubuhku Otoritasku by Tika and The Dissidents (Image: Yati at an “Indonesia Without Dating” demo. Copyright: Simon Maybin/BBC)
Mar 26, 2020
The importance of Jurgen Klopp
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The manager of Liverpool Football Club, who lead them to victory in the Champions League. But Jurgen Klopp has not always been this successful. When he was a young footballer at Mainz 05 in Germany, his former team mate Guido Shafer says he 'had no talent'. So what can we learn from his childhood in Germany's Black Forest? How did he become the manager he is today?
Mar 24, 2020
New York Stories with Joe Pascal
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He’s the DMC in the legendary Run-DMC, a titan of the music industry. The group became known as the movie stars of rap. Busta Rhymes said of them “They didn’t just change music, they changed everything.” Presenter Joe Pascal meets the Devastating Mic Controller himself - Darryl 'DMC' McDaniels. He grew up in Hollis Queens and was at the forefront of revolutionary change in the New York music scene with the explosion of hip hop. He was there, watching, from the early days, with the DJs and MCs at the neighbourhood block parties. And then, alongside Run and Jam Master Jay, they became a music phenomenon – with their new kind of rap bringing hip hop to the masses. They had their own look, their own style. DMC talks us through those early years and his later battles with alcoholism and depression. What gave him solace in that time was a song, a pop ballad that he listened to for an entire year. He would take it everywhere he went and play it, every day, morning to night. DMC’s other passion is comic books, they fuelled his imagination and education and ultimately gave him the superpower he needed to get up on stage.
Mar 22, 2020
Ireland’s housing hunger
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Ireland has booming investment and lots of new jobs. But Chris Bowlby discovers how a huge housing crisis is haunting the country’s young people in particular. Anger about poor housing, and fear of mass emigration by the young are issues with deep roots in Irish memory. And the housing crisis was a crucial factor in the recent Irish election which shocked the main parties and saw big gains for the nationalists of Sinn Fein . Chris travels to the city of Cork in the southwest of the country. He traces the roots of the crisis in a crazy house buying boom a few years ago. And he hears how a lack of good, affordable housing is affecting everyone from students to young families to Ireland’s many younger migrants who hope to stay in Ireland, but have nowhere to call home. Presenter/Producer: Chris Bowlby Image: Student rent strike in Cork. Credit: Chris Bowlby/BBC
Mar 19, 2020
Funeral punks
1653
A new wave of end of life rituals is emerging across northern England. As funeral costs increase, the influence of the traditional undertaker is declining. Communities are building pyramids containing their dead loved one's ashes and a growing number of people are choosing to organise their own bespoke events.
Mar 17, 2020
Behind the Hong Kong protests
3043
What motivated the demonstrators on the city’s streets – and their opponents? It all began as a peace movement to block a piece of legislation. Millions of people came out onto public spaces calling for greater democracy. Protests have ended in violence between protesters and the police. Thousands have been arrested. Laura Westbrook travels to her birthplace to find out what’s behind the protests, which are now continuing on a smaller scale because of the outbreak of coronavirus.
Mar 15, 2020
The trees that bleed
1588
The rosewood tree is one of the most trafficked wild products on earth. When it is cut it bleeds a blood red sap. Having exhausted stocks elsewhere, Chinese traders have turned to West Africa to feed demand back home where the hardwood is prized for use in traditional Chinese furniture. In Senegal it is illegal to fell or export a rosewood tree. And yet they are being logged and smuggled at an alarming rate from the forests of Casamance, through the port of neighbouring Gambia and all the way to China. For Assignment, Umaru Fofana and BBC Africa Eye have been investigating the trade in trafficked rosewood worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Producer: Charlotte Attwood (Image: A "bleeding" rosewood tree. Credit: BBC/Maxime Le Hegarat)
Mar 12, 2020
She2He2She
1677
Nele and Ellie are detransitioners too. In their early 20s, they were brought up as girls, and began to identify as transmen in their teens. To present as more masculine, both took testosterone and had their breasts removed in double mastectomy surgery. Connecting online, these two young women are now supporting each other to re-identify as female.
Mar 10, 2020
Introducing 13 Minutes to the Moon Season 2
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Jump on-board a doomed mission to the Moon. Apollo 13: the extraordinary story, told by the people who flew it and saved it. Search for 13 Minutes to the Moon wherever you get your podcasts. #13MinutestotheMoon
Mar 09, 2020
Something In The Air?
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How safe is the air inside airline cabins? In January 2020, a British Airways flight from Athens to London issued a mayday emergency call when the pilot flying the plane became incapacitated during a "fume event". The airline industry does not reveal how often fume events happen, but according to some estimates they occur every day. Pilots and cabin crew say that sudden fume events and long term low level exposure to toxic cabin air are making them seriously ill and in some cases causing premature deaths. The industry insists that serious leaks of toxic gas into cockpits and cabins are relatively very rare, given the number of flights each day. And that no causal link between toxic cabin air and health problems has yet been proven. But airlines face multiple court cases later this year. For Assignment, Mike Powell talks to a representative of the airline industry about fume events, lack of transparency and claims that the health of hundreds of pilots, cabin crew and frequent fliers is being put at risk. Presenter: Mike Powell Producer: Paul Waters
Mar 05, 2020
The Detransitioners: He2She2He
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Brian Belovitch was born a boy, and then transitioned and lived for more than a decade as Natalia – a performer, club hostess and glamorous party animal. Then at a crisis point in his life he made a momentous decision – to live again as Brian. These are not easy choices. Daniel was brought up male, then had gender reassignment surgery and became Danielle. Now he has detransitioned, married a woman, and is awaiting a complex operation to reconstruct his male genitalia. They tell their stories.
Mar 03, 2020
Beats, rhymes and justice: Hip-hop on Rikers Island - Part two
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We are back on Rikers island – New York’s largest and most notorious jail where Ryan Burvik works with inmates on a unique hip hop program. We hear Ryan working with Mikey MTA and Zig on raps that express their regrets and their ambition for the future. What is new is the inclusion of women using hip hop as a way of telling their story. We hear from the talented Remy who used her skill as a performer during her three years in jail to leverage visits from her six-year-old daughter. We also follow some of the students once they have been released. Not just Remy but Angel and Trigger and Enterprise Wise are all enrolled on Ryan’s internship at his studio in West Queens.
Mar 01, 2020
Confessions of a mafia boss
1593
Across Italy hundreds of mafia leaders, hitmen and drug-traffickers are being jailed thanks to the most powerful weapon now in the hands of Italy’s anti-mafia investigators: the words of one clan against another. Italy’s state collaborator scheme has seen mafia chiefs breaking the code of silence - in return for a lifetime in witness protection, rather than a life behind bars. For Assignment, Dominic Casciani gets exclusive access to an anti-mafia prison to meet one of Naples' most important “Penitents” - a boss and killer whose evidence has jailed his associates. In the city itself, he witnesses, alongside hardened investigators, the ongoing nightly battle against the Camorra - and also hears voices of hope across the city that the tide has finally turned. Presenter: Dominic Casciani Producer: Sheila Cook Image: Gennaro Panzuto Credit: Private
Feb 27, 2020
Don't log off - part two
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Alan Dein connects with strangers across the world via social media, exploring the things that unite people across cultures and borders. He connects with people who are all seeking fulfilment in their lives. This week Alan reaches out to people in Afghanistan, the Philippines, Sierra Leone and beyond - exploring what it means to belong. He hears people yearning for a better life elsewhere - and those determined to make a go of it where they are.
Feb 26, 2020
Houston, we have a new criminal justice system
1630
One year ago, voters in Houston, Texas, elected a slate of liberal Democrats to their local courthouse. These new judges promised to remake justice in America’s fourth-largest city, together with the liberal District Attorney, herself elected just two years earlier. Marshall Project criminal justice reporter Keri Blakinger, who lives and works in Houston, asks how far they have been able to make good on their promises of reform, and whether that has been a good thing.
Feb 25, 2020
Beats, rhymes and justice: Hip-hop on Rikers Island - Part one
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MC and producer Ryan Burvick takes us behind bars on Rikers Island, New York’s largest and troubled jail. He leads a music production programme there called Beats, Rhymes and Justice, which helps inmates write rhymes, make music and imagine their future off the island in a different light. Ayosay has been on Rikers for five months. He is an experienced rapper from New York who dreams of making it in hip hop. Trigger is working on two tracks that express his desire to make a better life for his four-year-old daughter. Suave, a former student from the Beats, Rhymes and Justice programme, has recently been released after spending over two years in jail and is trying to adapt to life at home with his mother in the Bronx.
Feb 23, 2020
Riding the Motel 22: Homeless in California
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‘Motel 22’ is an unusual shelter for California’s homeless people. The state is one of the wealthiest in America yet it has the largest population of homeless people – more than 151,000 - in the US. In the Silicon Valley the bus route 22 runs an endless loop from Palo Alto to the Valley’s biggest city, San Jose. Along the way it passes some of the world’s biggest tech giants: Google, Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Facebook. It is the Valley’s only all night bus and many of its night-time passengers ride to keep warm and sleep. For Assignment, Sarah Svoboda takes a ride on the bus, known to many as ‘Motel 22’, to hear the stories of its travellers. (Image: Homeless people riding bus route 22. Credit: Sarah Svoboda/BBC)
Feb 20, 2020
Don't log off: Part one
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Alan Dein connects with strangers across the world via social media, exploring the things that unite people across cultures and borders. He speaks to a young gay man in China troubled by homophobia, and an Egyptian woman determined to resist the religious extremism she witnesses in her small city. He also reaches out to an Iranian man struggling to pursue his passion for foreign languages against the odds, and a jobless Nigerian distressed by his inability to provide for his family.
Feb 19, 2020
Crossing Divides: The exchange
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Casey Spradley is a beef rancher in New Mexico – and runs a sustainable business with a responsible approach to irrigating the land. Thousands of miles away in Free State South Africa, Tracy Khothule Marobobo is a beef farmer, on land redistributed as part of a post-apartheid settlement. She now faces the challenge of establishing a business in an increasingly difficult climate. Open minded and willing to share their knowledge, the pair begin a digital dialogue that spans continents. Two countries, two women, both with an eye on learning more about each other and their approach to farming land.
Feb 18, 2020
Gospel meets hip-hop
3034
Some of the biggest rappers in the world like Kanye West, Chance the Rapper and Stormzy are combining gospel and hip-hop in their music. It is bringing attention to ‘gospel hip-hop’. Gospel and hip-hop are closely related, but the relationship hasn’t always been an easy one. UK rapper Guvna B has been making faith-based hip-hop for the past 10 years and wants to find out what’s behind this shift. He travels to the USA to meet gospel legends Donald Lawrence and Kierra Sheard, Lecrae and Andy Mineo, Muyiwa Olarewuju and soul singer Samm Henshaw, whose single Church topped the UK charts.
Feb 16, 2020
Reinventing Miss America
3039
How can beauty pageants, a competition steeped in tradition, reinvent itself in the wake of a seismic shift in women’s rights? The #MeToo movement has rocked Hollywood in a way that could not have been imagined a decade ago. It resulted in a new all-female leadership team at Miss America who are busy trying to reform their organisation. But is there really a place for pageants in today’s society? Can a competition known for its glitz and glamour really reinvent its image?
Feb 15, 2020
El Salvador: the story of Karla Turcios
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On 14th April 2018 El Salvadorean journalist Karla Turcios was brutally murdered. Twelve days later prosecutors pressed charges against her husband for aggravated femicide. Across the country, her murder triggered outrage and the President of El Salvador announced a national crisis. In El Salvador – which has the highest rate of femicide in Latin America - a woman is killed every 3 days. Six months after Karla’s death, Patricia Sulbaran travelled to El Salvador to tell her story and speak to her family. She also visited the country’s biggest prison to meet Karla’s husband, Mario Hueso. Ever since, Patricia has been following the criminal case against him. Can justice be served in a country where crimes for femicide so often go unpunished? Producer: Poppy Damon (Image: A photograph showing a drawing of Karla Turcios smiling. Credit: BBC/Patricia Sulbarán Lovera)
Feb 13, 2020
Blasian love
1652
Ithra and Tumelo have the world at their feet. Both 24, both in the last year of medical school, both from loving families, and in love. Ithra is Asian and Tumelo black, and both are born in post-apartheid South Africa (part of the Born Free generation). But is love enough to keep them together as they prepare to introduce their families to each other for the first time?
Feb 11, 2020
Life on the line
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Billions of people across the world live in an area that runs along a fault line, where everyday life is balanced with a constant risk of an earthquake rocking their community. Journalist Tabinda Kokab knows how this feels after the devastating 2005 Kashmir earthquake killed more than 70,000 people, including her brother. In this documentary she explores the emotional and psychological impact of living life on the line, discovering the risks and rewards for people who go about their daily lives with a quake in the back of their minds.
Feb 09, 2020
Tony's Freehold Grill: Politics on the side
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The best place to hear about the twists and turns of the 2020 presidential election is over the countertop at an iconic New Jersey diner. Sandra Kanthal returns to Freehold to hear what the regulars at Tony’s Grill have to say about the presidential candidates, their campaigns and whatever else comes up for discussion regarding the state of politics in America. They have some astute observations and colourful tales to tell, though stories may be interrupted by important things like the arrival of coffee, ham and eggs or the daily special.
Feb 08, 2020
Panic in Bulgaria
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Schools in Roma districts of Bulgaria emptied in minutes in a mass panic recently. Parents dragged their children out of class, fearing that if they stayed, they would be abducted by social workers, and possibly sent for adoption abroad. Meanwhile many other parents are protesting against a draft law they say puts 70% of children at similar risk. Are they right to be scared? Or have rumours and fake news spread hysteria about the power of the state? Suddenly, campaigns to defend the “traditional family” are gathering strength in Bulgaria – and across eastern Europe. What’s behind them? And why do they treat one Western country – Norway – as the ultimate source of evil? Tim Whewell investigates. (Image: Protestors in Sofia, Bulgaria, demand the return of Katerina, a Bulgarian baby taken into care by social services in Germany. Credit: BBC/Tim Whewell)
Feb 06, 2020
Vanuatu’s stolen generation
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On the tiny island of Tanna in Vanuatu in the South Pacific the ocean is a huge part of everyday life. The Tannanese rely on the sea for their livelihood and the beach for cultural ceremony. But 150 years ago something happened on their beaches. In the 1860s throughout the Pacific Islands tens of thousands of boys and young men were kidnapped and coerced from beaches and put onto boats. They were then taken thousands of kilometres away to Australia. On arrival they were made to work on sugar cane plantations.
Feb 05, 2020
Polygamous marriage in modern Malaysia
1652
Muslim Malaysians often have complex and tangled views about polygamy. Their feelings and beliefs are not always mirrored by their actions. What role does pragmatism play? What role does faith play? ABC producer Damien Carrick meets an adventure sportsman, an academic researcher, a feminist activist and Malaysia's first female Shariah High Court judge and examines the different attitudes towards polygamy.
Feb 04, 2020
Colombia’s new cocaine war
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Colombia produced a record 1.5 million kilograms of cocaine last year - about 70% of the world’s supply. In the regions where coca is grown, gangs fight for control of territory and smuggling routes, killing anyone who stands in their way. These are some of the most dangerous places in South America. A peace deal signed in 2016 with the FARC rebel group was meant to reduce coca growing by offering farmers alternatives. But instead, cocaine production has rocketed, flooding markets in the US and Europe. In this Assignment, Michael Buchanan investigates what’s behind Colombia’s booming cocaine trade. He gains rare access to smugglers and producers, as well as meeting the indigenous people who are standing up to the traffickers, and often paying with their lives. Producers: Josephine Casserly and Almudena Garcia Parrado Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: Farmer picking coca leaves. Credit: BBC)
Jan 30, 2020
Survival and revival in the Torres Strait
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Climate change is lapping at the shores of Poruma, a tropical island in Australia’s Torres Strait. It is a dot in the Pacific Ocean, just two kilometres long and 300 metres wide, that sits halfway between the northern tip of Australia and the south of Papua New Guinea. Christianity came to the Torres Strait in the late 1800s and it has been embraced by the Islanders. But when the people of Poruma gained this faith, they lost parts of their culture and language. Siobhan Hegarty journeys to the Torres Strait where the locals are fighting to save their land, their language and their cultural traditions – before it’s too late.
Jan 29, 2020
South Korea’s hope in hell
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Academic expectations, job competition and financial pressures are forcing some young South Koreans to give up on relationships, marriage and kids. This phenomenon is known as the ‘sampo’ or ‘give up’ generation. The daily struggle to succeed within a patriotic and competitive culture is a shared experience. The suicide rate in Korea is the second highest among developed countries. In recent years, the quality of life reached such a low point, young people started referring to the country as, ‘hell Joseon’.
Jan 28, 2020
The remarkable resistance of Lilo
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In the heart of Hitler’s Nazi Germany, members of the Resistance worked tirelessly and at great risk to themselves to help those whose lives were threatened. Amongst them was Elisabeth Charlotte Gloeden – known as Liselotte or “Lilo” – who, along with her husband Erich, hid Jews in their home in Berlin, before arranging safe passage for them out of Germany. The couple’s efforts went undetected until 1944 when they took in General Fritz Lindemann, who was being hunted by the Gestapo for being part of the plot to assassinate Hitler.
Jan 24, 2020
Finland's race to go carbon neutral
1613
How do you achieve net-zero carbon emissions in just fifteen years? In Finland, a fisherman-turned-climate scientist believes he has part of the answer: re-wilding the country’s peat fields. Gabriel Gatehouse travels to the country's frozen north to meet Tero Mustonen, as he battles lobbyists and vested interests in government and the peat industry, in a race to mitigate the consequences of climate change. Producer: Michael Gallagher Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: A boat in a lake - Lakeland, Finland. Credit: DeAgostini/Getty Images)
Jan 23, 2020
Disagreeing better
1646
Why do we hold our opponents in contempt? Former British politician Douglas Alexander believes that disagreement is good - it is how the best arguments get refined. But, today, public discourse has become so ill-tempered, snide and lacking in respect that we are no longer engaged in a battle of ideas but a slanging match. Time to dial down the rhetoric, rein in the insults - they will persuade no-one that your opinion is worth listening to - and pay attention.
Jan 22, 2020
My father the killer
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“Did you actually kill hundreds of people, Dad?” This is certainly not a question that many people feel the need to ask their parents. But for a group of young women in Argentina, it was one they could no longer ignore. Their fathers have been accused, held under trial and in some cases sentenced for some of the worst crimes in Argentina’s history – all members of the military and police forces during the country’s last military regime, that kidnapped, tortured and killed thousands of people over a period of seven years. Forty years later, these women have come together and decided to speak up against their fathers. The BBC’s Valeria Perasso followed them on their journey to become a voice in the ongoing public conversation about human rights to help heal the country – and themselves.
Jan 21, 2020
Greenland: Why music matters
3037
Kate Molleson visits the world’s largest island to explore the role of traditional and new music for its communities today. Between the capital of Nuuk and smaller fishing town of Maniitsoq, Kate encounters drum dancers resurrecting a traditional Inuit practice which almost died out on Greenland’s west coast, discovers the political and sonic influence of the Greenlandic language on music from hymn singing to hip-hop, meets artists using their lyrics to engage with issues from the climate to the country’s deep-rooted social problems, and visits a music school offering a safe space to young people.
Jan 19, 2020
Ayahuasca: Fear and healing in the Amazon
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Psychedelic plants, the spiritual tourism backlash - and sexual abuse. Increasing numbers of tourists are travelling to the Peruvian Amazon to drink ayahuasca, a traditional plant medicine said to bring about a higher state of consciousness. Foreigners come looking for spiritual enlightenment or help with mental health problems like trauma, depression, and addiction. But not everyone is happy about Peru’s booming ayahuasca tourism industry. A group of indigenous healers are fighting back against what they see as the exploitation and appropriation of their cultural heritage by foreigners - who run most of the ayahuasca retreats popular with tourists. This coming together of cultures has thrown up another serious problem too: vulnerable women being sexually abused while under the influence of charismatic healers and this powerful psychedelic. Reporter: Simon Maybin Producer: Josephine Casserly Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: Forest canopy, Peru. Credit: Getty Creative)
Jan 16, 2020
The Coffin Club
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In 2010, Katie Williams – a former palliative care nurse – started the first Coffin Club in her garage. The idea was that elderly New Zealanders would come together to sand, assemble and decorate their own coffins. Word got around and now - nearly a decade later - The Coffin Club, Rotorua, is a huge success and has inspired spin-offs around the world. Award-winning documentary-maker Cathy FitzGerald visits Katie and meets club members.
Jan 14, 2020
Germany: Justice and memory
3014
This year, 2020, sees the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two. Its legacy remains. Nowhere more so than in Germany, where the rise of Nazism led to the war, and terrible crimes against humanity. Chris Bowlby explores how post-war Germans have faced this inheritance and discovers how a search for justice in relation to Nazi crimes has continued, despite heavy pressure to stop.
Jan 12, 2020