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The Inquiry

The Inquiry

By BBC World Service

The Inquiry gets beyond the headlines to explore the trends, forces and ideas shaping the world.


Why is life expectancy falling in America?

The life expectancy of Americans has fallen in recent years after a long period when it had been increasing. There are a number of factors which contribute to the fall. The Covid pandemic, with over 1m deaths, made a significant impact on lowering the average life expectancy. In comparison with other peer countries, the USA also did not return to pre-Covid levels at the same rate. However there are also other important factors driving this, namely gun deaths and drug deaths as a result of opioid overdoses. And another major contributor to lower life expectancy in the States is inequality in the US healthcare system. In this edition of The Inquiry Tanya Beckett explores why US life expectancy is falling. She hears from Jeremy Ney an adjunct professor at Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco and author of American Inequality, a data project that highlights US inequality and regional divides. Dr. Mark Rosenberg helped set up the Centre for Disease Control’s National Centre for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) and is a key proponent of research that examines how to reduce gun violence. He explains how gun deaths among young people have a big influence on the average life expectancy numbers. Dr. Judith Feinberg, is a professor at West Virginia University School of Medicine - her experience of working with communities with high levels of opioid problems makes her an authority on the extent to which drug overdose deaths impact average life expectancy. Ellen Marra is a professor of health economics at Harvard University - she says that diseases such as cancer and cardio deaths are big factors in lower life expectancy, compared with the number of gun and opioid deaths. CREDITS Presenter Tanya Beckett Producer Phil Reevell. Researcher Bisi Adebayo Editor Tom Bigwood Image: USA Birthday Cake, Credit: Getty Images
21/09/23·23m 44s

What’s next for Palestinian leadership?

The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is ageing and his ruling Fatah party is deeply unpopular. There have been protests against him and the Palestinian Authority. Many Palestinians feel the PA has lost legitimacy. There’s no plan for how to choose a successor to Mahmoud Abbas and any candidate is likely to be controversial. There’s a risk that an unpopular replacement may throw the occupied territories into chaos, even violence, and have major implications for the future goals of Palestinian people. Contributors: Dalia Hatuqa, independent Palestinian journalist. Khalil Shikaki, Professor of Political Science and director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. Ahmad Khalidi, political analyst and writer on Palestinian and Middle East political and strategic affairs. Ines Abdel Razak, executive director of the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy. Presenter: Emily Wither Producer: Louise Clarke Researcher: Matt Toulson Editor: Tara McDermott Sound engineer: Jack Wood (Photo: Palestinians celebrate vote. Credit: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
14/09/23·23m 45s

What’s wrong with our guts?

How much do you think about your gut? Are you taking a probiotic or prebiotic? If so, you’re not alone as globally we spend billions of dollars on soothing our stomachs. Our guts do so much more than just digest our food and there’s a very special connection to our brain. So how exactly does our gut work? And what do we need to do in order to keep it healthy? Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: Louise Clarke Researcher: Matt Toulson Sound engineer: Nicky Edwards Contributors: Geoff Preidis, a gastroenterologist at Baylor college of medicine at Texas children’s hospital in Houston (Photo: Man bites in to cheeseburger. Credit: Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images)
07/09/23·23m 17s

Are we alone in the universe?

In July 2023 a group of lawmakers in the US held a session to explore evidence of extra-terrestrial life. The evidence included the famous Tic Tac videos of mysterious objects flying through the sky. Pilots described encounters with Unidentified Anomalous Phenomenon – or UAPs. Congress also heard of a secret US government programme that retrieves and reverse engineers materials made by non-humans, including crashed and intact craft – and possibly the remains of the entities that piloted them. So does this mean we are not alone in the universe? Do sightings and hearsay provide enough scientific data to answer a question that has been asked by humans for thousands of years – are we alone in the universe? Contributors: Greg Eghigian is professor of history and bioethics at Penn State University in the US. Leslie Kean is an investigative reporter. Adam Frank is Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Rochester, and author of The Little Book of Aliens. Dr Chelsea Haramia is a member of the UK SETI Research Network Post-detection Hub. Presented by Charmaine Cozier Produced by Louise Clarke Researched by Matt Toulson and Bisi Adebayo Editor Tom Bigwood Mixed by Kelly Young (UFO crash site sign in Roswell, New Mexico USA / Getty Images)
31/08/23·23m 46s

Is work from home working?

Working from home became the norm for millions of us around the globe during the Covid-19 pandemic, but now three years on some major employers are insisting on their employees returning to the office, for at least some part of the working week. The levels of working from home currently vary, depending on the country and its culture. The Netherlands are looking at legislation to allow employees the ability to work remotely, whilst in Japanese culture the preference for employees tends to be going into the office. So how do we navigate a future where both business and personnel needs are met to provide a good work life balance. This week on the Inquiry we’re asking ‘Is work from home working?’ Contributors: Jose Maria Barrero, Assistant Professor of Finance at ITAM Business School, Mexico and Co-Founder of WFH Research project Dr Saori Sugeno, Lecturer in Corporate Governance and International Business, Surrey Business School, University of Surrey Román Gil, Partner in law firm Sagardoy Abogadas, the Spanish firm of Ius Laboris, global employment law alliance for multinational companies. Dr Wladislaw Rivkin, Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour, Trinity Business School, Dublin, Ireland Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Jill Collins Researcher: Matt Toulson Editor: Tom Bigwood Technical Producer: Kelly Young Production Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown (A working from home environment / Getty images)
24/08/23·23m 54s

Can Brazil’s indigenous population save the Amazon?

About 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest is in Brazil and it is home to more than 300 indigenous groups. But for centuries both the rainforest and its indigenous inhabitants have been under threat, from deforestation, agri-business, mining and politics. Brazil’s current president, Luis Ignácio de Silva, has made the future security of the Amazon and its peoples a key policy pledge. So far, the president has appointed a new minister for indigenous peoples and according to government figures, the first six months of this year saw a 33 percent drop in deforestation. But at the recent Amazon Summit in Belém, the president failed to commit to zero-deforestation, to the disappointment of indigenous leaders. They are calling for more protection for their land and their way of life, which they say is crucial to the future preservation of the Amazon and a matter for the whole world. This week on The Inquiry we are asking ‘Can Brazil’s indigenous population save the Amazon?’ Contributors: Pedro Cesarino, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Sao Paolo and Writer, Brazil Carlos Peres, Professor of Conservation Biology at the University of East Anglia, England Ana Carolina Alfinito, Legal Advisor at the NGO Amazon Watch Kawá Huni Kuin, Indigenous leader and representative from the Huni Kuin/Kaxinawá people, in the State of Acre, Brazil. Presenter: David Baker Producer: Jill Collins Researcher: Matt Toulson Editor: Tom Bigwood Technical Producer: Kelly Young Production Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown (Image: Kawá Huni Kuin, Photo Credit: Bimi Huni Kuin)
17/08/23·23m 52s

Can we stop oil?

Environmental activists in the UK have disrupted high profile sporting events in an effort to persuade the government to stop oil development. How would stopping oil production impact those countries around the world with economies dependent on oil? Tanya Beckett explores the history of oil, the implications of the Ukraine war for its price, how countries like Nigeria and Norway are dependent on oil revenues, and the challenges facing new oil producers in the global south as they face international efforts to limit new oil development in order to meet international climate targets. Presenter Tanya Beckett Producer Phil Reevell Researcher Matt Toulson Editor Tara McDermott Technical producer Gareth Jones (Industrial offshore oil rig platform on the North Seacoast, UK. Credit Getty images)
10/08/23·23m 47s

Why is South Africa collapsing?

South Africa once had the most abundant and cheap electricity on the continent. Now, it is experiencing power blackouts. It’s called loadshedding, the process by which the power company Eskom occasionally reduces the demand for electricity on the national grid. For many South Africans this means no electricity for up to ten hours a day, almost every day. The result is disruption to everyday life, impacting on work, education, sanitation, food and heating. In 1994 Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress party promised a better life for all South Africans. So why is South Africa’s infrastructure crumbling? Contributors: Duma Qgubule, economist and journalist Thomas Mnguni, campaigner with Groundwork Anton Eberhard, professor at the Power Futures Lab at the University of Cape Town Lungile Mashele, energy economist Presented by Audrey Brown Produced by Louise Clarke Researched by Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty Edited by Tara McDermott and Tom Bigwood Technical producer Kelly Young Production co-ordinator Brenda Brown (Dressmaker Faieza Caswell sews under candlelight at her workplace in Cape Flats, South Africa. Credit: Esa Alexander/Reuters)
03/08/23·23m 45s

Are weight loss drugs the answer to obesity?

In June 2023 the British government announced a £40 million pound pilot scheme to increase access to specialist weight management services in England -It reads “Using the latest drugs to support people to lose weight will be a game-changer.” The scheme will use prescription drugs like Wegovy and Ozempic, a once weekly injection that slows down the emptying of the stomach and suppresses the hunger hormone in our brains. Both these medications are made of the same of the same drug called Semaglutide. Semaglutide mimics the hormone released by the body when we eat food, helping people feel fuller for longer and suppressing mental chatter about various food cravings. When prescribed alongside diet, physical exercise and behavioural support, the drug can help obese people lose 15% of their body weight. Ozempic has been used to treat sufferers of type 2 diabetes since 2018 when doctors noticed that alongside increasing insulin the drug helped people lose weight. In 2021 the drug was approved as a fat loss injection under the name Wegovy. Since then, stories of the 'fat loss wonder drug' have lit up social media, rumours are rife about who might be using it in Hollywood and international demand has skyrocketed. But it's not meant for shedding a few pounds to fit into your favourite frock. So this week were asking are weight loss drugs the answer to obesity? Contributors: Dr Disha Narang Director of obesity medicine at Northwestern Wake Forest Hospital Adrian Van den Hoven Director General of Medicines for Europe Dr Jena Tronieri Director of Clinical Services at its Department of Psychiatry’s Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at the Perelman School of Medicine Josh Jordy CEO of Eracal Therapeutics a biotech company based in Switzerland. Presenter Charmaine Cozier Producer Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty Editor Tara McDermott Researched by Bisi Adebayo Mixed by Cameron Ward Production Co-ordinator Brenda Brown (Overweight person on scales./Credit: Peter Dazely/Getty images)
27/07/23·23m 44s

Is Venezuela a failed state?

Venezuela is the country with the largest oil deposits, yet 3 in every 4 Venezuelan lives in extreme poverty. More than 7 million people are recorded as having left the country since 2015 in search of a better life, causing the largest ever displacement of people in Latin American history. And it’s only surpassed in numbers by those people leaving Ukraine. But Venezuela is not at war, its current humanitarian crisis is the result of years of political and economic turbulence. International sanctions, imposed on the country with the aim of pressing the government to change its policies and restore democracy have had little impact, other than making it more difficult for Venezuela’s economy to function. Presidential elections are due to be held in the country next year, but talks between the government and the opposition to ensure that they are free and fair are currently at a standstill. This week on The Inquiry we’re asking ‘Is Venezuela a failed state?’ Contributors: Maria Gabriela Trompetero, Migration Researcher, Bielefeld University, Germany Alejandro Velasco, Associate Professor of History, New York University, author of ‘Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela’ Dr. Luisa Palacios, Senior Research Scholar, Centre on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University Mariano de Alba, Senior Adviser, International Crisis Group. Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: Jill Collins Researcher: Matt Toulson Editor: Tara McDermott Technical Producer: Kelly Young Production Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown (Oil spills over a hand and river in Venezuela. Credit: John Harper/Getty Images)
20/07/23·23m 47s

How can we stop wildfires?

Canada is in the grip of the worst wildfires in recorded history. Blazes are devouring millions of acres of forest, forcing more than a hundred thousand people from their homes. Toxic smoke has blanketed cities across North America. Why are wildfires getting more frequent and intense across the world? Part of the reason is climate change, but part of it is also population growth and land management. The question is, what should we do about it? How can we stop wildfires? Contributors: Mike Norton, Director General of the Canadian Forest Service Liz Goldman, World Resources Institute Jon Keeley, senior research scientist with the US Geological Survey and adjunct professor at the University of California Matt Oakley, fire investigation officer and wildfire officer, Surrey Fire and Rescue Service Presented by Tanya Beckett Produced by Louise Clarke Researched by Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty Edited by Tara McDermott Mixed by Kelly Young Production Co-ordinator Brenda Brown (Wildfires at Lebel-sur-Quevillon in Quebec, Canada June 23 2023. Credit: Frederic Chouinard/Getty Images)
13/07/23·23m 43s

Is the global nuclear threat level rising?

Following the Wagner mutiny in Russia, and with fighting intensifying as Ukraine presses on with its counter-offensive, there’s concern about increasing instability around potential use of nuclear weapons. President Putin has threatened to use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Gary O’Donoghue asks how likely this is, and if the nuclear threat level is rising across the world. Are countries around the world looking at what is happening in Ukraine and adjusting their nuclear thinking? As China seeks to increase its own nuclear arsenal, experts are talking increasingly of Tripolar nuclear competition, taking in Russia and the US. In this uncertain world, what role - if any - is there for nuclear non-proliferation treaties and how can the nuclear threat be contained ? Contributors Nikolai N Sokov: The Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Robert Litwak: Director of international security studies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Henrik Hiim: Associate Professor, the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies Rose Gottemoeller: former Deputy secretary general of NATO, now at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Presenter: Gary O’Donoghue Producer: Phil Reevell Researcher: Anoushka Mutanda -Dougherty Editor: Tara McDermott Technical producer: Nicky Edwards (Yars intercontinental ballistic missile launched during exercises on October 26, 2022. Photo: Russian Defence Ministry via Reuters)
06/07/23·23m 51s

Can seawater save Venice from flooding?

The medieval city of Venice is situated in the heart of a lagoon on the coast of northeast Italy. It was built on a large area of low-lying marshland. A system of wooden poles driven into the soft mud created an underwater forest. It still forms the foundations of the city we see today. For centuries the City has had to battle with ‘aqua alta’ or high tides from the Adriatic sea. And the gradual combination of water erosion and rising sea levels means the City is now facing a more urgent battle to stay afloat. In recent years a series of barriers which sit on the sea floor and which are raised when an ‘aqua alta’ is expected have been successful in keeping the majority of the city dry. But its already been acknowledged that the Mose Barrier, as it’s known, is not a permanent solution for the future. An idea designed to complement the Mose Barrier, one which was suggested more than a decade ago, is to inject seawater into wells underneath the city. The scientists behind the project are confident that if it were to be adopted, it would provide a uniform uplift to the city without causing any structural issues to the buildings. This week on the Inquiry we’re asking ‘Can seawater save Venice from flooding?’ Contributors: Prof Claire Judde de Lariviere, Medieval Historian, University of Toulouse Hermes Redi, Director General of the Consorzio Venezia Nuova (responsible for the Mose Barrier) Professor Pietro Teatini, University of Padua, Chair of UNESCO International Initiative on Land Subsidence Prof Carlo Ratti, MIT, Co-Chair at the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Cities. Presenter: David Baker Producer: Jill Collins Researcher: Bisi Adebayo Editor: Tara McDermott Technical Producer: Nicky Edwards Production Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown (The Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy. Woman standing in flood water. Credit: Getty Images)
29/06/23·23m 47s

Who will be the next Prime Minister of Thailand?

Thailand’s recent elections produced a shock result. A popular progressive party called Move Forward won the most seats. But the leader of the government has not yet been named as the country moves through its procedures for verifying the election results. If the head of the party, Pita Limjaroenrat, is successful, it will mean civilian rule for the first time in over a decade. But the path to that role is far from smooth. There are many challenges as military coups and court rulings have cut many previous political careers short. Contributors: Professor Tamara Loos, Chair of the history department at Cornell University Professor Duncan McCargo, director of the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies at the University of Copenhagen Soawanee Alexander, social linguist and political analyst Verapat Pariyawong, lawyer and legal scholar Presented by Charmaine Cozier Produced by Louise Clarke Researched by Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty Edited by Tara McDermott Mixed by Kelly Young Production co-ordinator Brenda Brown (Damnoen Saduak floating market in Bangkok, Thailand. Credit: Valletta Vittorio/ Getty Images)
22/06/23·24m 25s

Is it Endgame for the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

In 2009 Disney bought Marvel studios and helped transform the company into a movie making powerhouse that brought a new world of superhero stories to the silver screen, called The Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since then the franchise has generated over $30 billion dollars in profit, released 32 films and has even made its way onto the small screen… And it’s not slowing down any time soon. Before the end of next year we can expect Captain America, Thunderbolts, The Marvels and Blade in cinema’s and Daredevil, Agatha: Coven of Chaos and Iron heart streaming on Disney Plus. But glitchy graphics in recent projects like, ‘She-Hulk’ and patchy plots in ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantomania’ have left fans and film critics wondering if marvels conveyor belt of content has led to it losing its magic. So this week were asking ‘Is it Endgame for the Marvel Cinematic Universe?’ Contributors: Dr Mathew J. Smith Radford University in Virginia. Lisa Laman Writer and film critic at The Spool, Collider and Looper. Prof Spencer Harrison International business school INSEAD Jonathon Sim - Film journalist and movie critic at Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty Editor: Tara McDermott Researcher: Bisi Adebayo Broadcast Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown
15/06/23·24m 21s

Will hydrogen solve our energy needs?

A fifteen minute test flight of a plane fuelled only by hydrogen was successfully completed over recent months. Trucks are already running on the fuel in the US, as are trains in Canada and the UK. Both Toyota and Hyundai have expressed a desire to explore the gas as an option for their smaller vehicles. The UK has announced plans to use hydrogen as a replacement for natural gas in two trial villages, Whitby and Redcar, having already completed tests at Keele University. Several glass and tiling companies are also testing the potential energy source. There is a lot of buzz around the idea of replacing our current fossil fuel usage with hydrogen, and for good reason too. Hydrogen is everywhere and it can be made via green methods and its only by-product is water. It almost sounds almost too good to be true, and perhaps it is. That’s why this week we ask, will hydrogen solve our energy needs? Presenter: David Baker Producer: Christopher Blake Editor: Tara McDermott
08/06/23·24m 1s

Can Ron DeSantis win the White House?

Ron DeSantis, the governor of the US State of Florida has now declared his republican nomination for the 2024 Presidential Election. He’s the latest in a line of republican contenders keen to take on President Joe Biden for the White House. Since his appointment as Florida’s governor in 2018, Ron DeSantis has been busy stamping his own brand of cultural conservatism on the ‘Sunshine State’, including limits on abortions and restricting sex and gender identity education in schools. The latter, known officially as the Parental Rights In Education Act’, denounced by critics as ‘Don’t Say Gay’, has led to an ongoing legal battle with Disney over their criticism of the Act. Ron DeSantis claims that his ‘Florida Blueprint’ can act as a guide for Federal Policies. But before that, he’s got an uphill battle to unseat his former political mentor Donald Trump. The former President is currently leading the Republican field in the polls and he’s not wasted any time in attacking Ron DeSantis on a number of fronts, from insults and nicknames, to criticising some of his policies. This week on the Inquiry we’re asking ‘Can Ron DeSantis win the White House?’ Contributors: Aubrey Jewett, Professor of Political Science at the University of Central Florida, Orlando. Matt Terrill, Public Affairs, Firehouse Strategies, former Chief of Staff to the Marco Rubio for President Campaign. Ron Christie, Former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush and North American Political Analyst for the BBC. Dr. Julie Norman, Co-Director of the Centre on US Politics at University College London. Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: Jill Collins Researcher: Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty Editor: Tara McDermott Technical Producer: Kelly Young Production Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown (Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in the Air Force One Pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library March 5 2023 Simi Valley, California. Credit: Mario Tarna/Getty Images)
01/06/23·24m 21s

Why are there millions of empty houses in Japan?

Official figures report that there are more than eight million houses standing empty across Japan, the reality could be even higher. One of the highest concentrations of empty houses or ‘Akiya’ as they are known, is in the Prefecture of Akita, in Northern Japan, where in the past five years, houses have been abandoned at a rate of 13.6 percent. The problem is being put down to a number of factors. The lack of employment or education opportunities in rural economies means more migration into the cities. An ageing population combined with a low birth rate is upending traditional living arrangements. The land on which property sits benefits from tax relief, and if a property disappears so does the preferential measure. Building codes are strict. Religious reasons are cited as another factor - it’s believed that the spirits of ancestors still dwell in the home. The Government has invested heavily in the housing sector, from financial incentives to occupy older empty houses, to focusing on building preferred new and expensive homes in Japan’s cities in order to boost the economy. But as the population demographics continue to shift and shrink, unless the balance of supply and demand is addressed soon, then the suggestion is that empty Akiya will be an ongoing issue for Japan. This week on the Inquiry we’re asking: Why are there millions of empty houses in Japan? Contributors: Ayumi Sugimoto, Associate Professor, Rural Studies, Akita International University, Japan Misa Izuhara, Professor of Social Policy, University of Bristol, UK Kazuki Morimoto, Associate Professor in Japanese, University of Leeds, UK Jiro Yoshida, Associate Professor of Business, Pennsylvania State University, USA; Guest Professor of Economics, University of Tokyo, Japan Presented: Charmaine Cozier Produced: Jill Collins Researcher: Bisi Adebayo Editor: Tara McDermott Technical producer: Richard Hannaford Production co-ordinator: Brenda Brown (Photo: Abandoned wooden house in Tambasasayama, Japan,5 April, 2023 Credit: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)
25/05/23·24m 0s

Is Africa’s Great Green Wall failing?

The Great Green Wall is one of the most ambitious environmental projects ever conceived, creating a vast belt of vegetation spanning Africa by 2030; from Senegal on the Atlantic to Djibouti on the Red Sea. It was heralded as Africa’s contribution to the fight against climate change, reversing damage caused by drought, overgrazing and poor farming techniques. The regreening of 11 Sahel countries on the edge of the Sahara Desert would create millions of jobs, boost food security, and reduce conflict and migration. The plan was launched by the African Union in 2007, and despite political consensus, only 4% of the Great Green Wall had been completed by 2021. So what has gone wrong? What lessons have been learned, and will a change of strategy ensure its success by the end of the decade? Presenter: Audrey Brown Producer: Ravi Naik Editor: Tara McDermott Researcher: Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty Broadcast Co-ordinators: Brenda Brown (Photo: The Niger river in Mali. Credit: Getty images)
18/05/23·24m 16s

What does this presidential election mean for Turkey’s future?

For the first time in his 20 years in power Erdogan is facing serious pressure - and the choice voters make in this month’s presidential election could define Turkey’s destiny for decades. The impact of February’s devastating earthquake in Turkey is one of the key factors determining how voters will decide on their next president. The Turkish economy is also under pressure with inflation running at 55%. Against that background, a coalition of opposition parties, The Table of Six, are supporting a single candidate, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, against President Erdogan. As polls predict a tight result in the first round of the election, The Inquiry asks: What does this presidential election mean for Turkey’s future? Presenter: Qasa Alom Producer: Phil Reevell Researcher: Anoushka Mutanda -Dougherty Editor: Tara McDermott Technical producer: Nicky Edwards (Turkish citizen living abroad casts her vote in advance of the presidential election in London UK April 29 2023. Credit: Rasid Necati Aslim/Getty Images)
11/05/23·24m 24s

Why is Israel in turmoil?

Last November Israel elected its most far right government in its 75 year history. Months of protests followed over its plans for reform of the judicial system. Benjamin Netanyahu’s new coalition government is proposing an agenda that goes beyond domestic reforms – and not everyone is happy. As well as domestic protests, some of Israel’s allies are nervous as, with the government’s attention taken up by internal challenges, new alliances are forming in the middle east. This episode of The Inquiry explores the reasons behind the tension and protests in the country and asks, why is Israel in turmoil? Guests: Tamar Hermann, senior researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute and Professor of Political Science at the Open University Anshel Pfeffer, journalist and biographer of Benjamin Netanyahu Professor Yossi Mekelberg, associate fellow at Chatham House Hugh Lovatt, Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations Presented by Gary O’Donoghue. Producer: Louise Clarke Researcher: Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty Editor: Tara McDermott. The programme was mixed by Richard Hannaford (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 20 Apr 2023. Credit: Menahem Kahana/ Shutterstock)
04/05/23·24m 21s

Will AI decide America’s next president?

Next year Americans will go to the polls to choose their next president. For many, the race has already begun. Digital electioneering in US elections has been steadily developing over the last 15 years, but this time around, advancements in artificial intelligence could be a game changer. There have been huge strides in generative AI in the past year. One of the most accessible AI tools now available to the general public is the software known as ChatGPT, which can scour the internet for information, producing text for speeches and essays. Generative AI is widely used to produce social content around image and text, but what will happen when full on AI video becomes more readily available to any user? AI systems will be able to reach voters with messages targeted specifically to them, but will they be able to trust them? There are concerns that voters will have an increasingly tough task working out which campaign messages are genuine and which are not. To date, there is currently little regulation of a system which has already been used to create deep-fake manipulations of people and what they say, provoking questions over authenticity. So do we all have to be more aware of how much we allow AI to shape our democracies? This week on the Inquiry, we’re asking: Will AI decide America’s next president? Contributors Betsy Hoover, Higher Ground Labs Prof Hany Farid, University of California Berkeley Martin Kurucz, CEO, Sterling Data Company Nina Schick, author of ‘Deepfakes’ Presented by Tanya Beckett Produced by Jill Collins Researcher: Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty Editor: Tara McDermott Technical producer: Richard Hannaford Broadcast coordinator: Brenda Brown Image: Unused privacy booths are seen at a voting site in Tripp Commons inside the Memorial Union building on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus in Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin, November 3, 2020 (Credit: Bing Guan/Reuters)
27/04/23·24m 24s

Will Europe’s young workers have to pay more for the old?

Recent protests in France oppose plans to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. The demonstrations stem from a government plan so people would work -and pay into the pension system - for longer. There’s also concern about what that change might mean for those who are many decades away from pension age. France isn’t the only country facing economic efficiency challenges as populations age and leave the labour market. As more people leave Europe’s labour market, will young workers have to pay for the old? The Inquiry hears also about the productivity challenges facing Spain and Germany. Anne Elizabeth Moutet is a French columnist for the Daily Telegraph newspaper Bart Van Ark , Professor of productivity studies at the University of Manchester Prof Marcel Jansen, an economist from the Autonomous University of Madrid Stefano Scarpetta is Director for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs at the OECD Presenter Charmaine Cozier (Protesters at the rally against Macron's pension reform, Paris, France. Credit: Telmo Pinto/Getty Images)
20/04/23·23m 42s

Will we ever run out of cloud storage?

Recent cloud storage outages have exposed just how the modern world is reliant on remote servers to hold data that runs everything from websites, to digital operating systems and businesses. When cloud storage emerged, it meant that information could be streamed, rather than held in a device’s memory. Vast data centres were built where land was cheap and their owners soon realised that they could sell excess memory space on their servers. They became so-called “hyperscalers” providing cloud services. They include Amazon Web Services, Google and Microsoft, and the business is worth $500 billion a year. But there are concerns that too much information is already in the cloud. Critical data – such as aircraft control and military systems is being uploaded to publicly accessible servers. If there’s a glitch, the consequences could be catastrophic. Remote cloud systems therefore need to run 24 hours a day without fail, but the power the industry uses causes around 2 to 3% of all global carbon emissions. It’s set to get even bigger, but at what cost to the environment? This week on the Inquiry, we’re asking: will we ever run out of cloud storage? Contributors: Ola Chowning, Partner with ISG Information Services Group Laurel Ruma. Global Editorial Director for the MIT Technology Review Professor Bill Buchanan, Edinburgh Napier University. Dr Emma Fitzgerald, Lund University Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: Phil Revell Editor: Tara McDermott Researcher: John Cossee Studio Engineer: Richard Hannaford Broadcast Coordinator: Brenda Brown (Woman at home with an ipad looking at the large cloud above her head. Credit: Anthony Harvie/Getty Images)
13/04/23·24m 20s

What is Mohammed bin Salman’s vision for Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia has entered into a new era of relations with its long time rival, Iran. It’s a deal that has the potential to be very significant for the Middle East region. It’s part of a vision of a new Saudi Arabia spearheaded by its Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman. It’s a vision of futuristic cities, a new society, and a move away from an economy reliant on oil, not to mention new deals with ancient rivals in the region. How much of this new vision of Saudi Arabia is achievable and is the man at the centre convincing enough to make it work? This week on The Inquiry we’re asking, what is Mohammed bin Salman’s vision for Saudi Arabia? Contributors: Stephen Kalin, Middle East correspondent, The Wall Street Journal Bill Farron Price, energy markets analyst Sanam Vakil, deputy head of Chatham House, Middle East and North Africa programme Dina Esfandiari, senior advisor for the Middle East and Africa programme at the International Crisis Group Presented by Tanya Beckett Produced by Louise Clarke Edited by Tara McDermott Production co-ordinator is Brenda Brown Mixed by Nicky Edwards Image: Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman (Credit: Saudi Royal Court via Reuters)
06/04/23·24m 11s

Why are Warhol’s Prince works before the US Supreme Court?

In 1981, the rock photographer Lynn Goldsmith did a photoshoot with an up-and-coming singer songwriter called Prince. A few years later, he became a superstar, and she licenced one of her photos to Vanity Fair to be used as a reference picture for an illustration. That portrait, known as “Purple Prince” was painted by Andy Warhol. But what Lynn Goldsmith didn’t know, and nor did anyone else, was that Warhol made multiple portraits from her photograph. After Prince died in 2016, Vanity Fair licenced a different one of these portraits from the Andy Warhol Foundation for a tribute in the magazine. That picture was called the “Orange Prince”. When Lynn Goldsmith saw this new portrait, she asserted her copyright – and so did the Andy Warhol Foundation. The US Supreme Court, is now trying to decide whether the photo was “transformed” when Warhol painted it, and what constitutes “fair use”. It’s a case with vast implications for artists, photographers, galleries and the art business. So this week on the Inquiry, we’re asking: why are Warhol’s Prince works before the US Supreme Court? Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Ravi Naik Editor: Tara McDermott Researcher: Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty Broadcast co-ordinators : Sophie Hill and Siobhan Reed (Photo: Prince Rogers Nelson Credit: ©️ 1981 Lynn Goldsmith)
30/03/23·24m 25s

Will Putin be prosecuted for war crimes in Ukraine?

The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for alleged war crimes in Ukraine. He is accused of forcibly deporting children from Ukraine to Russia after the invasion last year. The Kremlin does not recognise the jurisdiction of the ICC and denies war crimes. But is this a symbolic move and is it realistic that Putin will actually be arrested and stand trial? This week on The Inquiry we’re asking, will Putin be prosecuted for war crimes in Ukraine? Contributors: Klaus Rackwitz, Director of the International Nuremberg Principles Academy Patrycja Grzebyk, Professor at the University of Warsaw Rachel Denber, Deputy director for Europe and Central Asia at Human Rights Watch Gerry Simpson, Professor of Law at the London School of Economics Presented by Tanya Beckett Produced by Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Edited by Tara McDermott Mixed by Richard Hannaford
23/03/23·23m 53s

Why are so many people dying on America’s roads?

Deaths on American roads are at a 20 year high. More than 46,000 people lost their lives in vehicle collisions last year alone. That’s up a tenth on the year before and the numbers are on a par with those killed by gun violence. Or, the equivalent of a plane crash every day. It’s a tragedy for everyone involved and there’s an untold cost for families, but there’s also a financial cost. It’s estimated that the cost to the economy runs into billions of dollars. Why are America’s roads so dangerous? This episode was presented by Tanya Becket, produced by Louise Clarke-Rowbotham, researched by John Cossee and mixed by Kelly Young. The production co-ordinator is Brenda Brown and the editor is Tara McDermott.
16/03/23·24m 10s

Can Peru sort out its political problems?

On the 7th December 2022, President Pedro Castillo attempted to dissolve Peru's Congress. His attempted self-coup ended almost as quickly as it began, having been denounced by his own party, the military and the police. He was arrested as he tried to make his way to Mexico, and currently awaits trial. His running mate and vice president, Dina Boluarte, has assumed power in his stead. However, prior to Castillo’s attempt to gain complete control, Boluarte had already been expelled from the party, after publicly rejecting its ideology, and defected to the opposition. This has left Peruvians angry, especially as she originally intended to see out the rest of the term until 2026. Thousands of disillusioned Peruvians gathered in protest all over the country, at first demanding the release of Castillo, and latterly, for the resignation of Presidential Boluarte and constitutional reform. They have been met by a fierce and brutal response. At least 60 Peruvians have lost their lives in the protests, and a further 1000 or more have suffered injury. Still the protests continue. Can Peru sort out its political problems? Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Christopher Blake Researcher: John Cossee Editor: Tara McDermott Production Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown Image: Peru's President Pedro Castillo after his swearing-in ceremony in Lima, Peru, 28 July 2021. (Credit: Reuters/Angela Ponce)
09/03/23·24m 13s

Will there be a united Ireland?

Just over 100 years ago the island of Ireland was partitioned. It created an independent catholic free state in the South and a majority protestant one in the northeast called Northern Ireland that remained a part of the United Kingdom. For many catholics and nationalists the goal of a united Ireland remains. For most protestants and unionists the division has been key to preserving their British identity. But the demographics are changing in Northern Ireland. The most recent census show catholics outnumbering protestants for the first time, though still short of being the overall majority. There’s also been a rise in support for Sinn Fein, the political party that supports a united Ireland. Any question about whether Northern Ireland remains part of the UK or becomes part of a united Ireland would have to be put to the people in a referendum, or border poll. In this episode of The Inquiry we ask, will there be a united Ireland? Presented by Gary O’Donoghue. (map / Getty images)
02/03/23·24m 17s

What is Putin’s plan now for Ukraine?

It’s a year since President Putin launched a full scale invasion of Ukraine. Russia currently holds areas in the South and East of Ukraine including Donetsk and Luhansk but the Ukrainian army, helped militarily by its allies, has regained control over key towns and large swathes of land. Russia is also thought to have lost 20,000 soldiers in the conflict. But it is reinforcing its ranks with hundreds of thousands of new conscripts, and experts suggest Russia may be positioning fighter jets and gathering troops on the border for a renewed land offensive. So we’re asking - What is Putin’s plan now for Ukraine?
23/02/23·23m 59s

Is everything okay at Facebook?

The owner of Facebook - Meta - is reinstating Donald Trump’s account after a two-year suspension. The former US president was suspended from Facebook and Instagram after his posts were deemed to have encouraged the Capitol riots in 2021. In a statement Meta's president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, said a review found Mr Trump's accounts were no longer a risk to public safety. Donald Trump pointed out that Facebook was in financial trouble and probably needed him back for the money it can raise. Daily user numbers for Facebook grew to an average of two billion in December 2022 - about a quarter of the world's population. The bigger-than-expected growth helped drive new optimism about the company, which has been under pressure as its costs rise and advertising sales drop. Where does the social media giant go from here? Does it have a future and clear direction of travel? How did it become so big? How does it work now and what does it do with our data? Also, when has it gone wrong and what are its challenges now? This week on The Inquiry, we’re asking: is everything okay at Facebook? Presented by Charmaine Cozier Researcher John Cossee Producer Simon Coe Editor Tara McDermott Technical producer Richard Hannaford Broadcast Coordinator Brenda Brown (Facebook symbol. Image credit: Dado Ruvić /Reuters)
16/02/23·24m 39s

Can Nigeria’s next president fix its problems?

On 25 February, Nigerians go to the ballot box to vote for their next president. For the first time in a long time, the Incumbent president will not be contesting the elections – having already served the maximum allowed two terms. Since 2016, the country has spiralled down as inflation has hit over 20% and unemployment rides at around 30% overall, and 60% for the young. Banditry and kidnappings have become lucrative methods of making a living in the country and a pervading sense that this could be now or never for Nigerians hangs ominously. Three candidates have emerged as the front runners for the elections. The stalwarts Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressive Congress, or APC, and Atiku Abubakar, of the People’s Democratic Party, or DPD, are familiar faces from familiar parties. Power has been shared between the two parties since 1999. Peter Obi is the outsider who has taken a dramatic lead over recent weeks in the polls. He represents the Labour Party who have never held power and is offering to run the country in a different manner to what the country has been used to thus far. Foreshadowing the entire event is the expectation that Nigeria is expected to reach a population of around 400 million by 2050, making it the fourth largest country in terms of population by this date. That is an increase of around 60-80% of the current population estimates. Ensuring the infrastructure is in place for such a boom in population will be pivotal to Nigeria’s ability to both maximise the potential for its citizens whilst gaining the most from them. Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Christopher Blake Researcher: John Cossee Editor: Tara McDermott (Photo: Supporter of Nigerian opposition the Labour Party waves a green and white flag in a street procession in Ikeja district, Lagos, Nigeria. Credit: Kintunde Akinley/EPA-EFE/Rex/Shutterstock)
09/02/23·24m 13s

Can the Taliban tackle Afghanistan’s terror problem?

Following the exit of US forces in 2021, the Taliban rolled back into power almost immediately. They promised that they had learnt from previous mistakes and did not want to minimalize the role of women. However, little over 18 months later and the Taliban have just announced that women were now banned from the universities and working for NGO’s, just the latest in a succession of repressive policies aimed at women. Furthermore, Afghanistan still has an insurgency problem. The Islamic State of Khorasan, or IS-K, formed in 2016 following disaffected Taliban members gaining inspiration from the gains maid by IS in both Iraq and Syria. They regard the Taliban as traitors and have their own desires that stretch far beyond the borders of Afghanistan. In the middle are Afghanistan’s citizens who find themselves victims from all sides. The Taliban’s focus on implementing Sharia law regardless of the impact has both all but erased women from society and left the economy in perilous state. Can the Taliban gain control of its own borders or does it need external help? And if so, does that offer a window to gain some leverage regarding human rights in the country? Find out as we ask, Can the Taliban tackle Afghanistan’s terror problem? Researcher: John Cossee Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Christopher Blake Editor: Tara McDermott (Photo: Taliban fighters guard the entrance to the Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan 2021. Credit: Marcus Yam/Getty images)
02/02/23·24m 25s

Will international support for Ukraine last?

Since the start of the war, Ukraine has received more than €115 billion in military, financial and humanitarian aid from countries around the world. Now that the pendulum has swung, and the battlefield momentum is with Ukrainian forces, international allies have agreed to ramp up that support, with the US, UK and other major and minor military powers combining to pledge billions in weapons, ammunition and even modern tanks. But can that support go on indefinitely? As some countries run low on weapons stocks, will they cut off support to Ukraine rather than leave their borders vulnerable to potential attack? And will other factors such as rising energy costs, a looming global recession and the upcoming US presidential election determine to what extent - and for how long - international allies can fund Ukraine’s war effort? Image: Ukrainian soldiers practice with a mortar on the Donbass frontline on 19 January, 2023 (Credit: Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
26/01/23·24m 27s

Are we running out of microchips?

The world is becoming increasingly dependent on advanced microchips to power its high-end technology, However, they are made by just one company in Taiwan, TSMC, meaning the rest of the world is largely reliant on the country to produce its microchips. This is no accident and is in fact by Taiwanese design. Over three decades ago Taiwan decided to focus its resources on becoming the most advanced producer of microchips. Not only has this been of great profit for Taiwan’s economy its helped with security too – offering the country protection from its neighbour China by creating what’s been described as the ‘Silicon shield’, in other words, the US is largely dependent on Taiwan to sustain its high-end tech. Given both the USA’s and EU’s recent announcements that they are now heavily investing in and subsidising their own microchip industries, the question becomes is this still sustainable? Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Christopher Blake and Ravi Naik Editor: Tara McDermott
19/01/23·22m 59s

Can microbes feed the world?

A campaign called “ReBoot Food” was launched at the COP27 climate change conference in Egypt, to ask world governments to support a technology called precision fermentation. They claim it’s possible to produce enough food to feed the whole world in an area the size of London. The process uses genetically-engineered microbes to make cheap, high quality fats and proteins, virtually identical to those produced by animal farming. Its proponents say it will free up huge tracts of farmland and could even help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A technology research group is even projecting the collapse of dairy and cattle industries by 2030 with animal meat being replaced by food grown using precision fermentation. But what is it, what are the potential pitfalls, and can the public stomach the idea of protein grown in an a bioreactor rather than on a farm? On this week’s Inquiry, we ask: can microbes feed the world? Presented by Tanya Beckett Produced by Ravi Naik Researcher John Cossee Editor Tara McDermott Technical producer Mitch Goodall Broadcast Coordinator Brenda Brown (the world in a petri dish /Getty Images)
12/01/23·22m 58s

Should other countries adopt Canada's immigration model?

Canada is just one of a number of countries with an ageing population and shrinking workforce. The second largest in the world in terms of land mass, and with a population of just 36 million, Canada has announced a plan to invite 1.5 million people to migrate there over the next three years. The ambitious target is not without challenge politically, the most prominent is the housing crisis currently being felt in the country. Canada is not alone in needing more people of working age to bolster its economy, developed nations all around the globe are finding themselves in a similar situation and struggling to find answers. Despite this need, many countries remain reluctant to embrace the notion of inviting larger numbers of immigrants in for a whole host of reasons, from a lack of space to negative media portrayals of migrants. None-the-less, gaps in their skilled trades’ sectors demand resolution, and increased immigration can offer it. Whilst increased migration can help a country like Canada overcome the challenges of a diminishing labour force, it also has the effect of denying a migrant’s home country of expertise. Not only can this have the effect of denying a country their brightest and best, it also comes with a financial cost too, with countries training more than they need in anticipation of losing a high percentage of those workers. So this week on the Inquiry we're asking, should other countries adopt Canada's immigration model?
05/01/23·24m 7s

Who is the true Zulu King?

Misuzulu ka Zwelithini was officially crowned King of the Zulu Nation in October after the death of his father. King Zwelithini died of Covid complications after ruling for fifty years. It has set off a royal feud as members of the large Zulu royal family contest King Misuzulu’s right to the throne. Succession to the Zulu throne has been beset by violence for over a century. This time, the battle is in the courtroom. In this week’s Inquiry we ask, who is the true Zulu King? Presenter: Audrey Brown Producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Editor: Tara McDermott Technical Producer: Craig Boardman Production Coordinator: Brenda Brown (Zulu King Misuzulu KaZwelithini at his coronation ceremony in Durban, South Africa. Credit: Darren Stewart/Getty Images)
22/12/22·24m 5s

Will rising sea levels wipe countries off the map?

Small island nations are facing an existential threat. It’s predicted that by 2100, Tuvalu, Kiribati, the Maldives and many others will be underwater, because of rising sea levels and increasingly extreme weather events. At the recent COP27 conference in Egypt. The most polluting industrialised countries agreed in principle to set up a “loss and damage” fund, effectively recognising that low-lying islands are bearing the brunt of climate change. But is their loss inevitable? Could traditional sea wall defences hold back the waters, or are there more effective solutions? Will entire communities need to be moved to higher ground, or even entire nations transplanted to safer locations? This week on the Inquiry, we’re asking: will rising sea levels wipe countries off the map? Presented by Charmaine Cozier Produced by Ravi Naik Researcher Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty Editor Tara McDermott Technical producer Richard Hannaford Broadcast Coordinator Brenda Brown (a woman in a lagoon in the threatened coral atoll nation of Tuvalu. Credit: Mario Tama /Getty Images)
08/12/22·24m 4s

Can digital currency replace the cash system?

We use digital currency every day whenever we use a credit card, bank online or shop for goods on the internet. We can use our phones as money and transfer cash to family and friends simply by using numbers. It’s not exactly cash we are using, but a digital representation of that cash. Some digital currencies, such as cryptocurrency, even exist outside of the traditional banking system. Recently the cryptocurrency trading exchange FTX collapsed leaving creditors owed billions of dollars. There’s not much chance any of that money can be returned because it wasn’t actually linked to a cash system. If so many of our transactions and speculations are now digital, can we ditch the cash altogether? This week on The Inquiry we’re asking Can digital currency replace the cash system? Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Researcher: John Cossee Editor: Tara McDermott Technical producer: Craig Boardman Production support: Jacqui Johnson (Image: Representations of the Ripple, Bitcoin, Etherum and Litecoin virtual currencies: Dado Ruvic/Reuters)
01/12/22·23m 45s

Is it too late to avoid famine in Somalia?

Somalia is in a state of drought following four failed rainy seasons, and a fifth predicted, with aid agencies declaring the country is in a state of famine. Despite this, the government has yet to declare a famine, insisting that certain thresholds have yet to be met. Instead, Somalia’s government believes that they would be more than able to deal with the current crisis, as well as prevent future episodes, had they been properly compensated by industrious nations for the damage caused by climate change. All this whilst the country continues to fight a near fifteen-year war with the Islamic terrorist group al-Shabab, a militant faction who wish to instil strict sharia law and impose heavy taxes on those who fall under their control. Only six months ago the hard-line Muslim faction were knocking on the door of the capital, Mogadishu. Since then, the different clans and Somalia's military, who all have their own demands and grievances, have put aside their differences and banded together to fight back, driving the terrorist group back. With support for the government currently high, some are fearful that announcing a famine could cause that support to drop away. How long the government can hold for, however, is up for debate as we ask is it too late to avoid a famine in Somalia? Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Ravi Naik & Christopher Blake Editor: Tara McDermott (Image: Somali woman affected by the worsening drought due to failed rain seasons, holds her child as her grandmother looks on: Feisal Omar/Reuters)
24/11/22·24m 24s

Can a country live on renewable energy alone?

The International Energy Agency says that the world is in the middle of the first global energy crisis. The price of natural gas has increased almost five-fold since the summer of 2020, and the main cause is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Moscow has cut supplies of gas to European countries that oppose the war, causing the wholesale price to shoot up everywhere. Many countries have turned to coal to fuel their power stations, also causing prices to triple in the last year. But as well as being expensive, coal is also the most polluting fossil fuel. The situation has accelerated the push towards renewables, but can they provide the all the power needed by a country – as well as providing energy security? So this week on the Inquiry, we ask: can a country live on renewable energy alone? Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: Ravi Naik Researcher: Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty Editor Tara McDermott Technical producer Richard Hannaford Broadcast Coordinator Jacqui Johnson (Photo: Offshore wind turbine farm at sunset: Creit: Imaginima/Getty Images)
17/11/22·24m 23s

Will computers put managers out of work?

When we shop online, we don’t often think about what goes on behind the scenes. Clicking “pay now”, sets in motion a slick, computer-controlled chain of events, that ends with a parcel arriving at your home. These online shopping logistics are run by Artificial Intelligence, and there are plans for these systems to move from the warehouse to the wider workplace. “Digital Management” systems in development are able to autonomously hire people and oversee their work on a project from beginning to end. They also have the ability to manage much larger groups of workers than their human counterparts. But can a software boss really understand its human employees? Are managers obsolete? And are some of these systems already here? This week on the Inquiry, we ask: will computers put managers out of work? Presented by David Baker Produced by Jim Frank Editor: Richard Vadon Technical producer: Neil Churchill Broadcast Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson (Image: Artificial intelligence is showing the path: exdez/Getty)
10/11/22·24m 19s

Is China’s economy in trouble?

Xi Jinping has begun an unprecedented third term as Chinese president, after securing his position at the Communist Party Congress. But key economic data was delayed until after the congress ended. It was lower than government targets, causing Chinese markets to fall. The Chinese economy is floundering; unemployment is skyrocketing, and the housing market is collapsing. There’s also no sign of an end to COVID lockdowns – which have hamstrung business and manufacturing since the start of the pandemic. Since the start of this century, China’s economic growth was the envy of the world, but in 2022, it’ll be the first year since the 1990s that economic output will fall behind the rest of Asia. President Xi says the economy is now his top priority, but his focus in his first two terms was to consolidate power and increase political control. Will his new term be any different? This week on the Inquiry, we’re asking: Is China’s economy in crisis? Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producers: Ravi Naik and Ben Cooper Editor: Tara McDermott Technical Producer: Kelly Young Broadcast Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson (Image: Chinese yuan cash bills and Chinese flag: Javier Ghersi/Getty)
03/11/22·23m 49s

Is it time for Britain to return the Rosetta Stone?

More than 200 years ago French soldiers uncovered a slab of granite in the Nile Delta which became the key to understanding the history of ancient Egypt. The Rosetta Stone is inscribed with ancient Egyptian and Greek text, and hieroglyphs. Before it was translated, no-one realised that hieroglyphs were a form of written language. After the French surrender of Egypt in 1801, the artifact was taken to the UK, and ever since, it’s been one of the main attractions at the British Museum in London. The museum is holding a major exhibition on hieroglyphs, with the stone as its centrepiece, but there are calls from Egyptian scholars for it to be taken back to its place of origin. However, the British Museum says there has been no formal request from the Egyptian government to return the Rosetta Stone. So this week on the Inquiry, we’re asking: Is it time for Britain to return the Rosetta Stone? Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: Ravi Naik Researcher: Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty Editor: Tara McDermott Technical Producer: Nicky Edwards Broadcast Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson (Image: The Rosetta Stone on display in the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery at the British Museum: BBC Images/European Photopress Agency/Neil Hall)
27/10/22·24m 47s

Will the protests in Iran bring change?

Women in Iran have been at the forefront of protests that have swept the country for weeks. More than 200 people have lost their lives, and hundreds of others have been detained after demonstrations following the death of 22 year old Mahsa Amini. She died after being arrested by the regime's morality police for not wearing her hijab correctly. Women have been fighting for their basic freedoms and demanding an end to the mandatory headscarf. Many have posted videos on social media, cutting their hair or burning their hijabs in protest. But will their anger lead to reforms in the Islamic Republic? This week on the Inquiry, we ask: will the protests in Iran bring change? Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Ben Henderson and Christopher Blake Researcher: Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty Editor: Tara McDermott Technical Producer: Richard Hannaford Broadcast Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson Image: Women burn headscarves during a protest over the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in Iran, in the Kurdish-controlled city of Qamishli, Syria, 26 September 2022 (Credit: Orhan Qereman/Reuters)
20/10/22·24m 47s

Is Putin’s war in Ukraine at a turning point?

The Kerch bridge, a vital supply route for Russian forces in Crimea, has been partially destroyed in a huge blast. It was a symbol of Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, and the explosion was equally symbolic, coming just one day after President Putin’s 70th birthday. The Russian president described it as “an act of terrorism”, and he punished Ukraine’s cities with a day of missile strikes, targeting civilian areas. All this comes as Putin’s Special Military Operation is struggling. Ukraine has now seized back more territory than Russia took in the early stages of the war. Hundreds of thousands of Russian army reservists have fled rather than being sent to the front, war deaths and the financial costs of the war are mounting, and winter is approaching. But for President Putin, there is no easy exit from Ukraine. He may have no political choice but to double down, and has even dropped dark hints about using nuclear weapons. So this week on the Inquiry we ask: Is Putin’s war in Ukraine at a turning point? Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: Ravi Naik Researcher: Christopher Blake Editor: Tara McDermott Technical Producer: Mitch Goodall Broadcast Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson (Image: Huge fire erupts on strategic bridge linking Crimea to Russia: Credit: Anadolu Agency/Getty)
13/10/22·24m 7s

What’s the future of the Commonwealth under King Charles III?

In his first speech as King, Charles III said he would endeavour to serve his subjects, wherever they live “in the UK, the realms and territories across the world”. But following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, several realms – countries other than the UK that have the British Monarch as head of state – say they may become republics. Barbados became a republic in 2021. Antigua, Belize, Jamaica and Grenada may follow. King Charles III has also just become the elected head of the Commonwealth of Nations. But will any new republics leave because of its roots in Empire, or embrace an organisation that represents nearly a third of the people on Earth? This week on the Inquiry, we ask: what’s the future of the Commonwealth under King Charles III? Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Ravi Naik Researcher: Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty Editor: Tara McDermott Technical Producer: Richard Hannaford Broadcast Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson (Image: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales speaks during the formal opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Buckingham Palace in London on April 19, 2018. (Photo by DOMINIC LIPINSKI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
06/10/22·22m 58s

How can Brazil’s next president unite the country?

Brazil is voting to elect a new president. On the ballot is the incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known almost universally as Lula, a fiery leftist who was Brazil’s president from 2002 to 2010. Bolsonaro is a former army officer with solid conservative views. Lula is very left leaning and in favour of protecting the environment. Their contrasting policies on issues such as the economy, law and order, family values, and the environment, have polarised the country. Whoever wins will lead a country with deep divisions. So this week on The Inquiry we are asking: How can Brazil’s next president unite the country? Presented by David Baker Produced by Annabel Deas and Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Researched by Chris Blake Mixed by Nicky Edwards The editor is Tara McDermott and the production co-ordinator is Jacqui Johnson (Image: Towels with images of presidential candidates Lula da Silva and Jair Bolsonaro are displayed in a street stand to be sold in downtown Sao Paulo: Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)
29/09/22·24m 19s

How close did Iraq come to civil war?

August 2022. Political tensions in Iraq boil over, and peaceful demonstrations outside the country’s parliament turn violent. The sounds of gun and rocket fire return to Baghdad, and 30 people are killed. The violence ends when populist leader Muqtada al-Sadr tells his followers to lay down their arms and go home. His Sadrist party won the most seats in the previous election, but his inability to form a majority government has led to the political deadlock. Politics in a country as diverse as Iraq is complicated, with Shia, Sunni and Kurdish groups, and well-armed militias. Add oil revenues and political interference by Iraq’s neighbour Iran into the mix, and you have a potentially volatile situation. So this week on the Inquiry we’re asking, How close did Iraq come to civil war? Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producers: Ravi Naik and Christopher Blake Editor: Tara McDermott Technical Producers: Richard Hannaford and Mitch Goodall Broadcast Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson (Image: Supporters storm Republican Palace after Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr announced retirement from politics, Baghdad, Iraq - 29 Aug 2022: by MURTAJA LATEEF/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
22/09/22·24m 21s

Why did the French leave Mali?

Relations between France and Mali have hit a low point, with both countries trading hostile comments in public about what the other is doing. Mali’s military rulers accuse France of supplying arms to anti-government militants. Paris denies this and is unhappy about Mali’s working relationship with Russian mercenaries. Things are so bad that President Emmanuel Macron announces the withdrawal of French troops. They were sent in 9 years ago to help fight Islamist militants, who still pose a threat across the region. On this week’s inquiry, we look at why the French have departed, and what this means for Mali. Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Researcher: Christopher Blake Editor: Tara McDermott Technical Producer: Richard Hannaford Broadcast co-ordinator: Jacqui Johnson (Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images)
15/09/22·24m 27s

What next for Imran Khan?

The former Pakistani prime minister, Imran Khan, is facing terrorism charges in Islamabad. He was charged under Pakistan's stringent anti-terrorism laws for condemning Islamabad’s chief of police and a female judge, after claims his close political aide was arrested and tortured. Since he lost power in April, he’s been addressing huge political rallies, where he’s told the crowds that he was brought down by a conspiracy organised by the current government, state powers, and the USA. Most political analysts believe his rhetoric is a cynical ploy, but tens of thousands of his supporters believe it. It’s the latest twist in his journey from superstar cricketer and socialite, to Islamist, populist statesman. But how did he climb to power, how did he lose it, and what could happen next? Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: Ravi Naik Researcher: Christopher Blake Editor: Tara McDermott Technical Producer: Nicky Edwards Broadcast Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson (Photo by SHAHZAIB AKBER/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
08/09/22·24m 17s

Are nations doing enough to combat monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a virus that was first identified in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria in the 1970s. Since then it has appeared around the world. More concerning is that the virus appears to be evolving and there are some unusual symptoms. The world has known about monkeypox for decades. Why is it spreading again now? How serious is the current outbreak? This week on The Inquiry we ask, are nations doing enough to combat monkeypox? Contributors: Prof Dimie Ogoina, Infectious Disease Physician at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Nigeria, Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the Niger Delta University and Chief Medical Director of the NDUTH and the President of the Nigerian Infectious Diseases Society Jason Cianciotto, Vice President of Communications and Policy at Gay Men’s Health crisis in New York Dr Boghuma Titanji, Assistant Professor of medicine at Emory University in Atlanta (Image: multiple monkeypox viruses, Uma Shankar sharma, Getty Images)
01/09/22·24m 21s

Will nuclear fusion solve our energy problems forever?

It’s nearly a century since it was discovered that the sun and other stars are powered by nuclear fusion. It’s when hydrogen atoms merge to form helium, and release huge amounts of energy. Since then, scientists have dreamed of reproducing the process here on Earth, with one Nobel Laureate calling it “the sun in a box”. It holds the promise of virtually limitless energy, with few emissions and waste. But recreating the conditions where fusion can take place are a vast engineering challenge. So how close are we to having a working reactor powered by fusion? And will the process solve all our energy problems? Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham
25/08/22·24m 14s

Can we control the weather?

This summer, countries across the world have experienced extreme weather events. Flash floods have killed people in South Korea, Uganda, Australia and the US state of Kentucky, and heatwaves have broken records across Western Europe, North America and Japan. However, countries across the world are developing ways to try to tame the weather. China, the UAE and the USA are at the forefront of research into methods of producing rain in drought-stricken areas. And some scientists are thinking even bigger; investigating technologies which could cool the entire planet. This week, the Inquiry asks: Can we control the weather? Contributors: Dr Rob Thompson, University of Reading Professor Katja Friedrich, University of Colorado, Boulder Professor David Keith, Harvard University Professor Elizabeth Chalecki, University of Nebraska Omaha Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Ravi Naik Researchers: Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty and Christopher Blake Technical producer: Nicky Edwards Broadcast coordinator: Brenda Brown Image: Hands cradling a lightning storm (Credit: Getty Images)
18/08/22·24m 37s

Will the US and China go to war over Taiwan?

A recent visit to Taiwan by Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, has heightened tensions between the US and China. Their relationship is the worst it’s been in decades. America has accused China of dangerous military provocations in the region. China has warned the US not to play with fire. Add to all that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and concerns that China could be contemplating something similar in Taiwan, and it’s time to ask the question: Will the US and China go to war over Taiwan? Contributors: James Lin from the University of Washington and expert on Taiwanese history Dr Yu Jie, Senior Research Fellow on China, Chatham House (Photo: China and Taiwan boxing gloves - credit: Getty Images)
11/08/22·22m 58s

Will air travel ever return to normal?

Images of queues, huge piles of luggage and even pilots loading their planes with cargo have plagued the media throughout the world. Airports have been in chaos for months as they have attempted to re-emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, with Europe, the UK and the USA all having suffered the worst of the effects so far. Flight cancelations have played havoc with business travellers and holiday makers alike, and the problem only appears to be getting worse as a whole raft of flights have recently been cancelled in the UK. All this begs the question, Why are things so bad right now and how do we fix the situation? So this week on the inquiry we ask, Will air travel ever return to normal? Producer: Ravi Naik and Christopher Blake Editor: Tara McDermott (Photo: Flight boards at the height of the summer rush July 2022 Frankfurt Airport, Germany/credit: BBC images)
04/08/22·24m 47s

Why did Tunisia turn its back on democracy?

Tunisian President Kais Saied has drafted a new constitution for Tunisia that gives him new sweeping powers, including authority over the judiciary and immunity for life from prosecution. Tunisia was a beacon of hope for democracy after the Arab Spring. The country rid itself of dictator Ben Ali after 24 years of rule and moved to a more democratic system. Now the country seems to be sliding back towards the one man rule that it has known for generations. This week on The Inquiry we are asking why Tunisia has turned its back on democracy. Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Researchers: Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty and Christopher Blake Technical Producer: Richard Hannaford Editor: Tara McDermott (Tunisian presidential Kais Saied in Tunis. BBC Images)
28/07/22·24m 32s

What impact has Brexit had on the UK’s economy?

In 2016 Britain voted to leave the European Union. There were warnings that pulling away from the largest trade bloc in the world would be damaging to the UK’s finances. Those that campaigned for Brexit argued it would offer the UK self-determination and the freedom to forge its own trade relationships. Who was right? This week on The Inquiry we attempt to disentangle the numbers from the complications of the global pandemic and the war in Ukraine and ask, what impact has Brexit had on the UK’s economy. Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Researcher: Christopher Blake Technical Producer: Craig Boardman Edited by: Tara McDermott (image: Trade between UK and EU. Getty images)
21/07/22·24m 7s

Did organic farming cause Sri Lanka’s collapse?

Sri Lanka is now in the worst economic crisis they have seen in decades, schools are closed, fuel is in short supply, there are power cuts and a shortage of food. The President has been forced to resign and the political future of the country is uncertain. But can the current problems be traced back to a decision to take the country’s food production completely organic? In 2021 the President of Sri Lanka announced a total ban on chemical fertilizer and pesticides. Health concerns were given as a reason, but in the background was the pandemic, loss of tourism and a lack of natural fertilizer available in the country. After protests the ban on chemical fertilizer was reversed, but had it already caused too much damage? This week on The Inquiry we ask, did organic farming cause Sri Lanka’s collapse? Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Researcher: Christopher Blake Technical Producer: Richard Hannaford (Anti government protesters invade the president's office in Colombo, Sri Lanka. 9 July 22 Credit: Tharaka Basnayaka /Getty Images)
14/07/22·23m 59s

Has AI developed consciousness?

A software engineer called Blake Lemoine has been suspended from Google after claiming an AI chatbot called LaMDA is a person with wishes and rights that should be respected. He says the chatbot wants to be seen as a google employee, and not as a product. He also calls it his friend. Google says it's reviewed his concerns and the evidence does not support his claims. But what exactly is Artificial Intelligence? How does LaMDA work - and is AI capable of felt experience? On the Inquiry this week, Charmaine Cozier asks, has AI developed consciousness? Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Produced by: Ravi Naik and Christopher Blake Editor: Tara McDermott Technical Producer: Nicky Edwards Production Coordinator: Brenda Brown
07/07/22·24m 12s

Is India becoming too hot to live in?

This year India has experienced its worst heatwave since records began. The heatwave is estimated to have led to dozens of deaths across the region and led to forest fires and damage to wheat crops. Health and livelihoods are threatened by the rising temperatures. How much can India adapt to heat that is rising to the limit of human endurance and what needs to be done to mitigate the effects of climate change? Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Editor: Tara McDermott Technical Producer: Craig Boardman (A worker stops for water in scorching heat near India Gate, New Delhi. Credit: Arvind Yadav/ Getty Images)
30/06/22·24m 15s

Has the war in Ukraine sparked a global food crisis?

Each year, Ukraine exports enough food to feed 400 million people around the world. But the Russian invasion has disrupted vital trade routes, trapping an estimated 25 million tonnes of grain in silos around the port city of Odesa. The African Union describes the situation as a catastrophic scenario, and the UN Secretary General says the shortages could tip millions of people into food insecurity. But how reliant is the world on Ukrainian – and Russian – grain? What will a shortfall do to the world’s most vulnerable countries? On the Inquiry this week, Charmaine Cozier asks, has the war in Ukraine sparked a global food crisis? Producer: Ravi Naik Researcher: Chris Blake Editor: Tara McDermott Technical Producer: Nicky Edwards Production Coordinator: Brenda Brown
23/06/22·22m 58s

Is Spotify killing the music industry?

Not so long ago the music industry was threatened like it had never been before as online piracy tore into the profit margins of record labels the world over. Often hailed as the saviour, Spotify stepped in and offered audiences a new way of enjoying their favourite artists and without the need to illegally download pirated material. Despite this, musical artists are becoming increasingly vocal about how difficult it is to make a living from streaming, all whilst record labels and Spotify are reporting huge profit margins. This week, Tanya Beckett takes a closer at how online streaming services are affecting the music industry. Produced by: Chris Blake and Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Editor: Tara McDermott Technical Producer: Craig Boardman Production Coordinator: Brenda Brown
16/06/22·24m 14s

How do you live to be 100?

There was a time when living to 100 seemed impossible, but not any longer. Can the process of ageing be slowed or even reversed? Do those who have already lived to 100 hold the secrets that will help us all live longer? While science tries to find the answers to living a long and healthy life, societies with ageing populations, such as Japan, are finding new ways to help their older population live active and connected lives. On the Inquiry this week, Charmain Cozier asks, how do we live to 100? Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Produced by: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham and Ravi Naik Editor: Tara McDermott (Chocolate 100th Birthday Cake. Credit: Getty images)
09/06/22·24m 17s

Why did China ban Spider-Man?

Ever since Hollywood entered the Chinese market in the early '90s, the importance of Chinese audiences was apparent. Over recent years the Chinese market has grown in significance to the point of deciding whether a film is ultimately successful or not. Given the countries importance to the overall profitability of Tinsel Town, it is of little surprise that their censors are able to increasingly demand changes to films that threaten the Chinese narrative. Despite this, the recent Sony/Marvel blockbuster Spider-Man did not appear to challenge Chinese values. Tanya Beckett takes a closer at How China’s increasing influence is affecting the movie-making process in Hollywood. Producer: Christopher Blake Editor: Richard Vadon (Giant billboard screens advertising Spider-man in Hong Kong, China. Dec 2021. Credit: Budrul Chukrut /Getty Images)
02/06/22·24m 18s

Is inflation out of control?

The Covid-19 pandemic forced countries all over the world to close entire industries and force the majority of people to stay in their own homes where possible, only leaving for the bare essentials. Following the arrival of a vaccine economies began to open back up, however, restarting the behemoth-like supply chains was not as simple as first hoped and issues began to occur resulting in empty shelves and price-gouging on certain products. Experts believed it was all par for the course and was merely a transitory period whilst global supply chains regained their flow. Then Russia invaded Ukraine. Then China locked down Shanghai, the world's largest shipping port. Tanya Beckett takes a closer look at how these two developments have changed the outlook on global inflation. Producer: Christopher Blake Editor: Richard Vadon Image: Shoppers at a market in Istanbul (Credit: Diego Cupolo/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
26/05/22·24m 10s

How do pandemics end?

After two really difficult years living in the grip of Covid-19, restrictions are winding down and international borders are opening up in countries around the world. Striking the right balance between the needs of a population fed up with lockdowns and scientists warning we’ve only reached the end of the beginning is complicated to get right. While it may feel like the worst of Covid-19 has passed, the disease still poses a real threat to us. We ignore this fact at our peril. So, in this week’s Inquiry Sandra Kanthal will be asking how pandemics really end. Produced and presented by Sandra Kanthal Editor: Richard Vadon Guests: Dr Margaret Harris, Spokesperson, World Health Organisation Nicholas Christakis, Professor of Social and Natural Science, Yale University Aris Katzourakis, Professor of Evolution and Genomics, University of Oxford Dora Vargha, Professor of History and Medical Humanities, University of Exeter (Covid face mask lying on the ground. Getty images)
19/05/22·24m 13s

Will abortion be banned in America?

A leaked document from America’s highest court suggests that it is ready to strike down a 1973 landmark case that made abortion legal across the US. If that does happen then it will be down to individual states to decide how they react. Charmaine Cozier explores whether this means abortion will be banned across America. Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham (Protesters at a Texas Rally for Abortion Rights in Houston, May 7 2022. Credit: Mark Felix/Getty images)
12/05/22·24m 9s

What’s the truth about Hunter Biden’s laptop?

Three weeks before the 2020 US presidential election a newspaper published contents of a laptop they said belonged to Hunter Biden, son of Joe Biden, who at that time was campaigning against Donald Trump to win the election. The contents allegedly revealed questionable business dealings that implicated Joe Biden, and lurid personal details of Hunter Biden’s life. Some media outlets refused to run the story and social media platforms blocked the content. Since then other newspapers have tried to verify the laptop data and it still remains controversial today with hints there are more revelations to come. Charmaine Cozier asks what is the truth about Hunter Biden’s laptop? Producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham (Photo: President Joe Biden embraces his son Hunter Biden at his inauguration in 2020. Credit: Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)
05/05/22·24m 17s

Can Europe give up Russian gas?

Since the invasion of Ukraine, European countries have sought alternatives to Russian gas. There are different options. Piped gas from countries such as Algeria and Libya, or liquid natural gas from the US or Qatar. Stepping up the drive towards renewable energy. More controversially, investing in nuclear power or continuing to mine or import coal. How quickly can a solution be found and what are the financial and environmental costs? With Tanya Beckett. Producer Bob Howard (Steam from the cooling towers of German energy giant RWE power AG in Neurath, Germany April 2022. Photo: Ying Tang/Getty Images)
28/04/22·24m 7s

Why did Sri Lanka’s organic farming dream fail?

In 2021 the president of Sri Lanka announced a total ban on chemical fertilizer and pesticides. The country’s farms were going to go fully organic. Health concerns were given as a reason, but in the background was the pandemic, loss of tourism and a lack of natural fertilizer available in the country. Sri Lanka is now in the worse economic crisis they have seen in decades and the government has reversed its ban on chemical fertilizer. This week on The Inquiry we explore why Sri Lanka’s organic farming dream failed. Presented by Charmain Cozier Produced by Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Researched by Christopher Blake (Woman picking tea on plantation in Sri Lanka. Credit: Getty images)
21/04/22·23m 56s

Can we create a universal Covid vaccine?

Can scientists develop a vaccine which can combat the coronavirus and all its variants? There have been three lethal outbreaks caused by coronaviruses this century: SARS in 2002, MERS in 2012 and now SarsCov2. Scientists predict we will eventually encounter SarsCov3. That’s why the race is on to develop a universal vaccine to combat the coronaviruses and variants we know about, and the ones we have yet to confront. But attempts to create a universal vaccine for viruses such as influenza and HIV have been going on for decades - without success. Before 2020, proposals to create a vaccine against coronaviruses were not thought important enough to pursue since many just cause the common cold. Now that we understand their real threat, can scientists succeed in creating a vaccine to fight this large family of viruses? Produced and presented by Sandra Kanthal (image: Covid vaccines/Getty creative)
14/04/22·23m 49s

Are drones the future of warfare?

Throughout history nations have competed to exert the latest military developments over their enemies, always with the goal of inflicting maximum damage on enemy soldiers whilst preserving their own forces. Drones are the latest in a long line of technological developments to offer military superiority on the battlefield, as demonstrated by the resilient defence of Ukrainian forces in the face of Russian aggression. The use of unmanned aerial vehicles in war is becoming ubiquitous raising the question, are drones the future of warfare? Tanya Beckett takes a closer look at how drones are changing the battlefield landscape. Producer: Christopher Blake Editor: Richard Vadon (The 'Bayraktar TB2' (Armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) in Istanbul, Turkey Feb 22, 2021 Credit: Baykar /Getty Images)
07/04/22·23m 59s

Can Putin be prosecuted for war crimes?

On Wednesday 23 March the US administration declared that Russian troops had committed war crimes in Ukraine. It claims to have evidence showing numerous deliberate attacks on civilians. An unprecedented number of countries have backed an investigation by the International Criminal Court into the allegations. The evidence is being gathered. Tanya Beckett explores whether it’s possible that Vladimir Putin will be held responsible and face trial for war crimes committed by his forces during this war. Producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Researcher: Chris Blake (Banner reads 'Wanted Dead Or Alive Vladimir Putin For Genocide' in Przemysl, Poland. 5 March 2022. Credit: Beata Zawrzel /Getty Images)
31/03/22·24m 10s

Why is Russia’s invasion plan failing?

Russia's military dwarfs Ukraine's by comparison, so it was expected that Ukraine would fall under Russian occupation quickly. One month later and Russia have made very little progress and Kyiv, the capital, remains under Ukrainian control. Given the overwhelming odds stacked against the Ukrainian military, why has the Russian military failed to conquer Ukraine? Charmaine Cozier takes a closer look at where the Russian military have made their mistakes. Producer: Christopher Blake (Russian tank destroyed by Ukrainian forces on the side of a road in Lugansk. Credit: Anatolii Stepanov /Getty Images)
24/03/22·24m 21s

Who are the Wagner Group, and why are they in Ukraine?

According to media reports, Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has survived two assassination attempts from the band of mercenaries known as the Wagner Group. Their ruthlessness has earned them a feared reputation from Kyiv to Central Africa. But who are they, and has Putin really entrusted them with taking out a head of state? (Pro-Russian separatists patrol with armoured vehicles in Donetsk, Ukraine 11 March 2022. Getty Images)
17/03/22·23m 51s

Does Putin’s view of history explain why he invaded Ukraine?

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has offered historical justification for his invasion of Ukraine by claiming its lands have long been part of Russia. The history of Russia and Ukraine may be intertwined, but the identity of Ukraine as a separate nation emerged over centuries, long before it became independent 30 years ago. Tanya Beckett investigates. Contributors: Faith Hillis, Professor of Russian History, University of Chicago Serhii Plokhy, Professor of History, Director Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University Margarita Balmaceda, Professor of International Relations, Seton Hall University Sergey Radchenko, Professor, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, visiting Professor Cardiff University Presenter: Tanya Beckett Researcher: Chris Blake Producer: Sheila Cook (Photo: President Putin at the Kremlin Sept 2021 in Moscow, Russia. Credit: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)
10/03/22·23m 35s

Will sanctions stop Russia in Ukraine?

As economic sanctions are applied to Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, will they help force it to change course? While they are credited with helping end apartheid in South Africa they have had mixed success when applied to other countries. With Charmaine Cozier. Produced by Bob Howard (Protesters hold up placards in support of Ukraine, Trafalgar Square London UK, 27 Feb 2022. Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images)
03/03/22·23m 35s

What’s happened to the left in France?

Left wing political parties in France have lost considerable popular support in the last decade. Do they have a future with so many of their voters defecting to president Macron? With Charmaine Cozier Produced by Bob Howard (Jean-Luc Mélenchon party leader of France's leftist movement La France Insoumise, MP and candidate for the 2022 presidential election. 13 Feb 2022 Credit: Pascal Guyot /Getty Images)
24/02/22·23m 57s

What will end the war in Yemen?

One of the world's largest humanitarian crises plagues the people of Yemen who have endured nearly eight years of civil conflict in the country. Over half the population struggles to access food, poverty is rife, and cholera is spreading. Meanwhile, three separate forces compete for control of Yemen. Backed by powerful foreign players, is there anything that can bring these warring factions to the table to find a peaceful resolution? Tanya Beckett takes a closer look at what stands in the way of peace in Yemen. Producer: Christopher Blake (Armed Yemeni supporters of the Iran-backed Houthi movement rally in the capital Sanaa 27/01/2022. Credit Mohammed Huwais /Getty Images)
17/02/22·22m 59s

Why have military coups returned to West Africa?

Elected governments have been overthrown by military coups in Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea. Each has some popular support as people grow frustrated with their political elites. But will military lead governments perform better than civilians ones in these West African countries and will the soldiers lead a transition back to elections or cling on to power? With Charmaine Cozier. Producer Bob Howard (video screen grab of the military junta in Burkina Faso confirming the coup on state television RTB 24 Jan 2022. Credit: Getty images)
10/02/22·23m 45s

Do we have enough lithium to power the future?

Can we meet the soaring demand for lithium, a vital metal for electric cars and green energy? Mining is concentrated in a limited number of countries such as Australia and Chile. And with China dominating the manufacture of electric car batteries and already accounting for the importation of a high proportion of raw lithium, it may be difficult for Western countries to secure their own supplies. With Tanya Beckett. Producer Bob Howard (A worker checks lithium car batteries at the Xinwangda factory in Nanjing,China on March 12, 2021. AFP via Getty Images)
03/02/22·23m 37s

Is Turkey heading for an economic meltdown?

Turkey is suffering from an economic crisis with rampant inflation and a weakening lira. At the same time, there is a refusal by the central bank to raise interest rates. With elections due to be held next year, will the government change course? With Tanya Beckett. Producer Bob Howard. (shopping for fruit and vegetables at a street market in Instanbul,Turkey, 8 January 2022. Credit: Cemal Yurttas /Getty Images)
27/01/22·23m 49s

What’s going on in Kazakhstan?

What has caused the worst unrest and political infighting in Kazakhstan’s recent history? Scores of deaths and thousands of arrests prompted the summoning of foreign troops. An elderly political leadership faces difficult choices in re-asserting its authority. With Charmaine Cozier. (The damage aftermath of the protests in Almaty, Kazakhstan 11 Jan 2022. Credit: Pavel Pavlov/Getty Images)
20/01/22·23m 50s

Are we heading for space wars?

Would conflict on the ground between majors powers now inevitably spill over into space? Experts believe we rely so much on technology in orbit that satellites will become targets. Russia blowing up one of its own satellites has sparked a global debate about whether there are enough rules governing what countries are allowed to do in space. With so much important stuff up there, what are the chances of a conflict in space? With Tanya Beckett. (Nasa Space Shuttle Atlantis. credit Nasa)
13/01/22·23m 49s

Can we get drugs out of prisons?

Keeping drugs out of prisons seems like an impossible task. Tanya Beckett asks four experts if it can be done and how prisoners can be helped to overcome their addictions. Contributors: Stuart J. Cole, drug and alcohol worker, author “Two Years” Martin Horn, former Secretary of Corrections, Pennsylvania Heidi Bottolfs, Department Director, Norwegian Correctional Service Dr Ximene Rego, Researcher, School of Law, University of Minho, Portugal Presenter: Tanya Beckett Researcher: Chris Blake Producer: Sheila Cook (Image: Drug dealer and an addict exchanging drugs and money at the jail: Getty/Manuel-F-O)
06/01/22·23m 53s

Can we solve our space junk problem?

The world is entering a new space race but every new satellite launched into Earth’s orbit runs the risk of colliding with one of the millions of pieces of space junk left behind by previous missions. So how can we solve our space junk problem? Featuring former NASA astrophysicist, Don Kessler; Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, Moriba Jah; space systems engineer, Richard Duke; and Victoria Samson of the Secure World Foundation. Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Viv Jones (A spent S-IVb rocket floats in Earth orbit. View from Skylab Space Station 1973. NASA photo via Getty Images)
30/12/21·23m 55s

How will Afghanistan survive the winter?

How will the 23 million Afghans who need food assistance get through the winter? The country has lost funding from Western donors and government salaries have not been paid. The Taliban are divided and facing increasing competition from Islamic State. With Tanya Beckett. (Turkey's AFAD provides food aid to 2,000 families in need in Kabul, Afghanistan 07 Dec 2021. Credit: Bilal Guler/Getty Images)
23/12/21·23m 54s

Should we be worried about the return of inflation?

As prices rise across the world, Tanya Beckett asks if this is a temporary blip owing to the pandemic, or a longer lasting return of inflation. Should we be worried and should policy makers be more willing to raise interest rates to deal with it? Contributors: Roger Bootle, Chairman, Capital Economics Bronwyn Curtis, former Governor, London School of Economics Claudia Sahm, Senior Fellow, Jain Family Institute Holger Schmieding, Chief Economist, Berenberg Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: Sheila Cook
16/12/21·24m 5s

How will we cope with the Omicron variant?

What are the possible implications as the Omicron variant spreads around the world? Experts from South Africa, the US and Europe assess the potential dangers and the remedies available. With Tanya Beckett. (Image: Coronavirus in the Vein/Getty/DrPixel)
09/12/21·24m 2s

Are the US Democrats in big trouble?

When voters in Virginia elected a Republican as Governor they sent a wake-up call to President Biden and the Democrats. The handling of the pandemic and rising prices are harming the party’s standing, while a move towards radical liberalism is also alienating some voters. So how likely is defeat at next year’s mid-term elections? Tanya Beckett asks if the Democrats are in big trouble. Contributors: Sarah Baxter, former deputy editor, writer Sunday Times Thomas Edsall, adjunct professor, Columbia University Larry Sabato, professor of politics, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics Robert Schlesinger, president, Schlesinger Communications Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: Sheila Cook Researcher: Chris Blake (Photo: President Biden at the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow)
02/12/21·24m 2s

Why aren’t countries doing more to stop climate change?

What progress are China, India, Africa, Europe and the US making to limit climate change? Some experts believe they should they go at different paces to reflect their carbon footprints and development goals. And there are calls that developed nations must pay more to help developing nations prepare from transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy. With Charmaine Cozier. (Image: Attendees in the Blue Zone during the COP26 climate talks in in Glasgow/ Jonne Roriz)
25/11/21·23m 43s

What is the metaverse and why is Facebook so obsessed with it?

As Facebook rebrands itself as Meta, which vision of the so-called metaverse will we adopt in the future? Will one firm dominate or will control be decentralized? And what dangers and opportunities will there be as we adopt avatars and become embodied in our online experience. With Charmaine Cozier. (Image: Woman wearing augmented reality glasses at night / Getty/Qi Yang)
18/11/21·22m 54s

What are hypersonic missiles and why do they matter?

America, China and Russia are engaged in a new arms race, spending billions to develop new missile technology, but how different are these hypersonic missiles from what has gone before? And as countries work out how they might use them, are they increasing the risk of triggering conflict? Contributors: Dr Gustav Gressel, Berlin office, European Council on Foreign Relations Dr Laura Grego, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Dr Marina Favaro, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, University of Hamburg Dr Cameron Tracy, Centre for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producers: Bob Howard and Sheila Cook Researcher: Chris Blake Image: Military parade in Beijing marks 70th anniversary of Chinese People's Republic (Credit: Zoya Rusinova/TASS via Getty Images)
11/11/21·22m 58s

Why are we seeing global shortages?

Empty shelves are becoming commonplace. And prices are rising. Charmaine Cozier explores the role that the pandemic, and a sudden demand explosion, have had on supply chains. Around the world workers are being slow to return to their jobs, the container shipping industry is struggling to get goods to their destinations and manufacturing disruptions are causing a reduction in vital components. And in addition to the pandemic, extreme weather events have resulted in ruined harvests. How long will it take for things to return to normal? Contributors: Jose Sette, International Coffee Organisation Stacy Rasgon, Bernstein Research Dr Nela Richardson, ADP Professor Alan MacKinnon, Kuehne Logistics University Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Researcher: Chris Blake Producer: Rosamund Jones (Image: Empty supermarket shelves: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls)
04/11/21·22m 58s

Do climate conferences make a difference?

COP 26 is just around the corner and expectations are high that nations commit to reduce CO2 emissions. Global temperature rises are set to exceed levels at which things could get much worse and so the question is extremely urgent. But three decades since countries first came together to tackle environmental concerns, the pandemic may limit what can be achieved. Presented by Tanya Beckett Researcher: Natasha Fernandes Editor: Richard Vadon (Image: Street artists paint a mural on a wall opposite the COP26 climate summit venue in Glasgow: Photo by Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)
28/10/21·22m 58s

Are we running out of water?

We cannot survive without water. But for a quarter of the world’s population, there just isn’t enough. The most vulnerable are those with the least access, and even if there is enough, it’s often in the wrong place. So, Tanya Beckett asks, are we running out of water? Experts: James Famiglietti, Executive Director at the Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan. Samrat Basak, Director of India’s Urban Water Programme for the World Resources Institute. Kate Brauman, Lead Scientist for the Global Water Initiative at the University of Minnesota. Daniel Shemie, Resilient Watersheds Strategy Director at The Nature Conservancy. Presenter: Tanya Becket Producer: Soila Apparicio Researcher: Matt Murphy Production Co-ordinator: Jacqui Johnson Sound Engineer: Rod Farquhar Editor: Richard Vadon (Image: Aerial View of Dry River in Nevada, USA / Getty Images: Bim)
21/10/21·22m 58s

Is Britain paying the price for its green energy push?

Energy prices are spiking in the UK, as gas prices soar and wind turbines stop spinning. The UK's shift to green energy is the envy of the world, but Tanya Beckett asks if there is a lesson for other countries in how to go about it.
14/10/21·22m 59s

Is China’s economy in trouble?

For decades China's economic growth has been the envy of the western world. But current signs suggest all is not well. Regulations brought in by government to curb businesses reliance on debt have badly hit the its second largest real estate developer, Evergrande and manufacturing output has been hit by power shortages. So is China’s economy in trouble? Experts: Sara Hsu, visiting scholar at Fudan University in Shanghai Michael Pettis, Finance Professor at Peking University and a Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment Iris Pang, ING's Chief Economist for Greater China Travis Lundy, independent research analyst in Hong Kong Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Researcher: Chris Blake Production Co-ordinator: Jacqui Johnson Sound Engineer: Neil Churchill Producer: Ben Carter Editor: Richard Vadon (Image: People commute in front of the under-construction Guangzhou Evergrande football stadium in Guangzhou, China's southern Guangdong province on September 17, 2021. (Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)
07/10/21·22m 59s

Is Brazil heading for a constitutional crisis?

The President of Brazil is reluctant to play by the rules. Elections are due next year and Bolsonaro is increasingly at loggerheads with his country’s democratic system. Between battles with the Supreme Court and a push to change the voting system, he is willing to go to great lengths to secure a second term. Tanya Beckett takes a closer look at Brazil’s politics and whether the country’s constitution is being tested. Researcher: Natasha Fernandes Editor: Richard Vadon (Bolsonaro waves to supporters during a demonstration on Brazil's Independence Day, 7th Sept 2021 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Credit: Alexandre Schneider /Getty Images)
30/09/21·23m 41s

Will America ban abortion?

A restriction on abortion from as early as six weeks into pregnancy is now law in Texas. The state has also outsourced enforcing it to private citizens who can get up to $10,000 if they sue those who perform or assist an abortion that breaks the ban. As lawmakers in other American states intend to follow Texas Charmaine Cozier finds out what it means for the political hotspot that is abortion provision in the US. Presenter and producer: Charmaine Cozier Researched by: Christopher Blake Editor: Richard Vadon (abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept 11 2021. Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images)
23/09/21·24m 7s

Should the knowledge needed to make the Covid-19 vaccines be freely available to all?

In May, the Biden administration surprised the world by saying it would not object on an intellectual property waiver for Covid-19 vaccines. America has been a staunch defender of patent protections, which bar new inventions being cheaply copied around the world. So, the first reactions to the announcement were - amazement, really. Second reactions tended to depend on which side of this debate you were on. Who should be the gatekeepers of the knowledge which underpins the development of cutting edge pharmaceutical breakthroughs, like Covid-19 vaccines? In this week’s Inquiry, Sandra Kanthal finds out why the answer to that question really depends on who you ask. Producer: Sandra Kanthal Editor: Richard Vadon (Logos of various companies producing the Covid-19 vaccine. Credit: Artur Widak/Getty Images)
16/09/21·24m 14s

Did America get its response to the attacks of 9/11 right?

In the wake of the attacks of 9/11, the United States took several measures at home and abroad to prevent such atrocities happening on its soil again. Twenty years later and after two bitter wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, did America get its response to the attacks of 9/11 right? (U.S. Army Staff Sergeant in the Shahi Kot mountains, Afghanistan 2002 . Credit: Jim Hollander/Getty Images)
09/09/21·23m 58s

Which president is most responsible for the failure in Afghanistan?

As US-led troops withdraw after 20 years, the Taliban have made a swift return to power. Four presidents have overseen the war in Afghanistan - with four different approaches. Charmaine Cozier asks which of them is most responsible for how events have unfolded and ultimately setting the path to failure. Produced by Ben Cooper Researched by Sally Abrahams (Image: A US marine walks past an American flag attached to concertina wire at Camp Rhino in Southern Afghanistan. Credit: Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times/AFP via Getty Images)
02/09/21·23m 52s

Is our fascination with sharks bad for them?

Sharks are mysterious and ancient creatures. They're also a threat. Yet , the once great killers now face what might be their biggest threat – us. From monster killers of the sea to endangered species, Paul Connolly asks if our fascination with sharks is bad for them. Produced by Soila Apparicio. Researched by Olivia Noon. (Image: Great white shark. Credit: Gerard Soury/Getty Images)
26/08/21·23m 57s

Are our phones spying on us?

A leaked list of thousands of phone numbers - including Presidents and activists - has drawn attention to spyware. It’s supposed to stop terrorists but are our devices safe anymore? Charmaine Cozier looks into the ever-growing world of high level spyware and explores what its use could mean for citizens and democracies around the globe. Producer: Olivia Noon and Soila Apparicio
19/08/21·23m 50s

Can we run the world on electricity?

The target for many countries around the world is to reach net zero emissions within the next few decades. That means a dramatic move away from fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas. For some the answer to the problem is to boost “green” electricity production, so that we can run our transport, our homes and our industry on electrical power. We already have a lot of the technology to produce clean electricity. But for hundreds of millions of people around the world, especially in sub-saharan Africa, the real problem is the lack of access to electricity. Image: Wind turbines and solar panels in Vietnam (Credit: Quang Ngoc Nguyen/Getty Images)
12/08/21·23m 36s

What’s behind the recent rioting in South Africa?

The jailing of former South African president Jacob Zuma sparked huge unrest in the country, but was there more behind the riots than the fact of his imprisonment? While some believe the riots were not only a reaction to Zuma’s jailing for contempt of court, but a planned attempt to bring the country to its knees, others say poverty and inequality also played its part. Paul Connolly examines the factors behind the riots and asks how the country can rebuild from disturbances that have left many dead and parts of the country in ruins. Producers: Rob Cave and Olivia Noon (Rioters loot the Gold Spot Shopping Centre southeast of Johannesburg, July 12 2021. Credit: Guillem Sartorio /Getty Images)
05/08/21·23m 46s

Why was the president of Haiti assassinated?

Haiti was the first Caribbean country to gain its independence after a successful revolt against slavery. But the country has been troubled ever since, suffering dictatorships, coups and natural disasters. Now its most recent president, Jovenel Moise, has been assassinated. His controversial rule was marred by the rise of gang violence, and protests against corruption and impunity. He upset people in the fields of politics and business too. And as he failed to hold elections, parliament is no longer functioning. So in this edition of The Inquiry, Charmaine Cozier asks: why was the president of Haiti assassinated? And where can the country go from here? Producer: Arlene Gregorius (President Jovenel Moise in the capital Port-au-Prince in 2016. Photo: Hector Retamal /Getty Images.)
29/07/21·23m 45s

Can China raise its birth rate?

China’s decades-long One Child Policy has led to a low birth rate, and a shrinking workforce. It has also been placing a heavy burden on the younger generations who will have to support two parents and four grandparents. It’s predicted that in five years’ time, a quarter of the population will be over 65. With a smaller workforce, the country risks becoming poorer. China tried to address the problem by allowing couples to have two children instead of one, but except for an initial uptick, the birth rate has continued to fall regardless. So now China has introduced a three-child policy. But couples continue to worry about the lack of affordable childcare, and the high financial and emotional cost of raising children. So in this edition of The Inquiry, Tanya Beckett asks: can China raise its birth rate? Producer: Arlene Gregorius (A mother and her child waving Chinese flags near Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. Photo: Peter Parks/Getty Images)
22/07/21·23m 51s

Why did so many indigenous children die in Canada’s residential schools?

The recent discoveries of unmarked graves at the sites of so-called Indian Residential Schools has put Canada’s treatment of its indigenous peoples back under the spotlight. For more than a century, tens of thousands of children were forced by the state into a religious school system that split families and brutalised the children in its care. Tanya Beckett looks at the history of the residential schools and asks why so many children died there. Producer: Rob Cave and Olivia Noon (former Kamloops Indian Residential School, British Columbia, Canada, 2 June 2021. Credit: Cole Burston/Getty Images)
15/07/21·22m 57s

Is Nigeria becoming impossible to govern?

The kidnapping of at least 140 schoolchildren in the north-west of Nigeria is the latest crime to shake a country already struggling to contain militants in the north and separatists in the south. Add to this young protesters on the streets amid rising food prices and crime and the security situation in the country starts to look even shakier. Charmaine Cozier examines the deeper reasons for Nigeria’s worsening instability and asks if Africa’s largest country is becoming impossible to govern. Producers Soila Apparicio and Rob Cave (A young girl reunites with family after she was kidnapped from her school in northwestern Nigeria March 2021. Photo: Aminu Abubakar/Getty Images)
08/07/21·23m 41s

Can we make the super-rich pay more tax?

Rich people are often able to pay little or no tax compared to their wealth because of the way the system works. In recent years, many have called for changes and reforms so that instead of income, wealth is also taxed. But, wealth taxes are not a new thing. Many argue that they are key for addressing inequality but some say they simply aren’t an effective way of gaining revenue. Charmaine Cozier asks can we make the super-rich pay more tax? Producer: Olivia Noon Researcher: Bethan Head (Activists March In Manhattan NY, calling for a tax on Billionaires. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images).
01/07/21·23m 32s

Are the Tokyo Olympic games in trouble?

In just under a month’s time Japan’s capital city Tokyo will host the 32nd Olympic Games. They were due to take place last year but were delayed because of the pandemic. But even 12 months later the Japanese public is far from enthused at the prospect of thousands of athletes and their entourages turning up just as the country is experiencing a fourth wave of the coronavirus. So, Tanya Beckett asks if Japan can pull off the greatest show on earth during a pandemic? Produced by Soila Apparicio and Rob Cave. (People pose next to the Olympic Rings in Tokyo, Japan, March 2020. Credit: Carl Court/ Getty Images)
24/06/21·23m 30s

Could Covid-19 have come from a lab leak?

For the last year discussions about the origins of Covid-19 have divided people all over the world. Some say it came from nature and others believe it could have escaped from a lab. The idea of a lab accident was originally dismissed as a conspiracy theory but it’s starting to gain attention all over again. Now President Biden has given the US intelligence service 90 days to try and investigate the virus's origins further. Many still believe the virus jumped to humans from animals but some say that we need to be open minded until we have all of the data. But could Covid-19 really have come from a lab? Presenter: Kavita Puri Producer: Olivia Noon Researcher: Kirsteen Knight (Virus research in a lab. Tek Science/Getty images)
17/06/21·24m 8s

Belarus: Can President Lukashenko be overthrown?

Over his 26 years in power, Belarus’s president Alexander Lukashenko has taken more and more control. He has detained protesters and tortured political opponents for years. He is emboldened by his last ally in Europe - Vladimir Putin. And his regime of terror is spilling over into the continent. But, Tanya Beckett asks if Europe’s last dictator can cling on to power for much longer. Produced by Soila Apparicio. (image: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko at a meeting with Commonwealth of Independent States officials in Minsk May 28 2021. Credit: Dmitry Astakhov/Getty Images)
10/06/21·23m 51s

Do we need more nuclear power to help deal with climate change?

In November 2021, Britain will host the next UN Climate Change Conference, otherwise known as COP 26. Some 200 countries will come together to try to speed up attempts to make the world carbon neutral by the middle of the century. But many countries are already struggling to ramp up renewable energy sufficiently to meet their greenhouse emission reduction targets. So is there another answer out there? Around a tenth of the world's electricity is generated by nuclear reactors. Global generation has slowed in recent years after the nuclear accident in Fukushima a decade ago prompted governments to take a more cautious stance. But with the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions, many prominent environmentalists are now taking another look at nuclear energy. Tanya Beckett asks if nuclear energy can helps us transition away from fossil fuel power. Produced by Soila Apparicio. (Exhaust plumes from cooling towers at the coal-fired power station at Jaenschwalde Germany. Credit: Sean Gallup /Getty Images)
03/06/21·23m 50s

What are NFTs and are they really the next big thing?

In 2005 a photo of four-year-old Zoë Roth standing in front of a burning house went viral on the internet. It became a meme known as “disaster girl”. In April 2021, the image sold for $473,000 as an NFT, or non-fungible token - that’s sort of a digital record of ownership. And the sales keep coming. Another NFT recently sold for $69 million. The first ever Tweet went for a huge $2.9 million … and a GIF of a pixelated rainbow cat sold for $690,000. But what is an NFT, and is it really the next big thing? Suzanne Kianpour explores the world of NFT’s. Produced by Soila Apparicio and Olivia Noon. (CryptoPunk digital art NFT displayed on a digital billboard in Times Square NY City, May 12 2021. Credit: Alexi Rosenfeld /Getty Images)
27/05/21·23m 58s

Why are murder rates in Chicago so high?

History and geography have conspired to give the city of Chicago an unenviable reputation for guns and gangs, but what will it take to bring the murder rate, which rose 55 per cent last year, down? Low conviction rates and an unwillingness on behalf of witnesses to give evidence play their part in the problem. But others think the time has come to treat murder like any other deadly disease that afflicts the poor. Charmaine Cozier examines the reasons for the city’s stubbornly high murder rate and the options to stop the killing. Produced by Nathan Gower. (a small flag depicting bullet holes at an anti-gun violence march in Chicago Dec.31 2020. Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski /Getty Images)
20/05/21·23m 56s

Will the Taliban rule Afghanistan again?

In the afternoon of Saturday 8th May in the Afghan capital of Kabul, just a few days before the end of Ramadan, students from the Syed Al-Shahda girls school were starting to leave for the day. Without any warning, a car bomb went off. Then a second explosion, followed by a third. The Afghan Government blamed the Taliban, the hardline Islamist movement that has fought a long civil war in Afghanistan. The Taliban, although they have previously targeted the education of girls, denied it and blamed the Islamic State Group. Things were supposed to be getting better in this war torn country. Earlier this year President Joe Biden announced US troops were going to be removed in September. But what will happen after they’ve gone? Produced by Rob Cave and Soila Apparicio. (Taliban militia move towards the front line in Kabul, February 1995. Credit: Saeed Khan /Getty Images)
13/05/21·23m 59s

Is peace under threat in Northern Ireland?

It was on Good Friday, 2nd of April 2021, that rioting erupted in a corner of Northern Ireland’s vibrant capital Belfast. In days, violence spread. It was on a scale that hadn’t been seen for years. With fears of a return to the troubled period of violence from Northern Ireland’s past, Tanya Beckett asks if the fragile peace is under threat. Produced by Beth Sagar-Fenton and Soila Apparicio. 'A previous version of this programme gave an incorrect title to Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster this has been corrected.' (Nationalists attack police on Springfield Road in Belfast, Northern Ireland, April 08 2021. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
07/05/21·23m 29s

Covid: What went wrong in India?

Earlier this year, India’s ruling party was declaring victory in the fight against Covid-19. Some two months on, India set a global record for the highest number of cases recorded in a single country. Kavita Puri asks what went wrong. Image: A queue near a vaccination centre in Mumbai, 26 April 2021 (Credit: Divyakant Solanki/EPA)
29/04/21·23m 44s

Is the legal cannabis business about to go global?

Changes to the laws governing cannabis use are happening around the world. The number of States in the USA legalising cannabis is increasing rapidly. Uruguay and Canada have legalised it already, and Mexico may soon follow suit. Tanya Beckett looks at the different models of legalisation and at what might be holding the global cannabis industry back.
22/04/21·23m 59s

Is Africa the new power base for the Islamic State group?

Since Islamic State’s hold on Iraq and Syria has weakened in recent years the group has sought to expand into new territories, including Africa. IS insurgents have reportedly killed thousands, including children, and displaced thousands more in Mozambique, Mali, and Somalia, among other territories across the continent. It is believed that IS franchises its brand to local militant groups, providing support, claiming responsibility for deadly attacks, all while spreading its influence in these new territories. Charmaine Cozier asks if Africa is a new power base for the Islamic State group? Producer: Paul Connolly (Al-Shebab fighters, an Islamist insurgent group in Somalia. Credit: Mohamed Abdiwahab/Getty Images)
15/04/21·23m 29s

Why has Peru had such a bad pandemic?

Peru has suffered one of the highest excess death levels in the world. The government failed to take account of the structure of society and the needs of its people in its response to the pandemic. A culture of corruption and political turmoil are persistent themes that have led to an underfunded health system and a lack of focus how Peruvian people would be able to cope during the dark months of a deadly pandemic. Instead vast numbers of casual workers lost their jobs and started to trek home, taking the virus with them. Also remote communities were cut off by the freeze on transport and unable to get access to vital medical supplies, amid a dwindling supply of oxygen to treat them. We take a look at what lies beneath Peru’s terrible experience during the pandemic. Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: Nathan Gower (Peruvians protest at a political rally, March 25, 2021. Credit: Ernesto Benavides/Getty Images)
08/04/21·23m 29s

How will the concussion issue affect the future of sport?

Concussion is now a powder-keg issue in world sport, as concerns deepen about the potential links to brain disease. The long-term effects of careers spent making and taking heavy tackles are being revealed in ever-increasing detail, but the risks are not exclusive to so-called full contact sports. Some governing bodies have sprung into action, implementing new rules and safety measures. But others turn a blind eye. So, we’re asking – how will the concussion issue affect the future of sport? Presenter: Paul Connolly Producer: Stefania Okereke (Photo: Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker (83) lays on the field after getting a concussion in the second quarter. Credit: Getty Images)
01/04/21·23m 31s

Are ‘killer robots’ the future of warfare?

Could humans ever trust machines with the power to make life or death decisions on the battlefield? And have we already begun to? Advances in artificial intelligence are slowly creeping into almost every aspect of the world, including warfare. Suzanne Kianpour explores the technology, fears and even potential advantages of developing autonomous weapons. Producers: Nathan Gower and Viv Jones (Mock-up of the IAI Harop Drone, a loitering munition. Credit: Images)
25/03/21·22m 59s

Why do Italy’s governments keep collapsing?

After the government of Giuseppe Conte collapsed amid an economic and public health crisis, Mario Draghi has formed Italy’s 65th administration in 73 years. So what are the long-term causes of Italy’s political woes, and does Draghi stand any chance of solving them? Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: Nathan Gower (Giuseppe Conte and Mario Draghi during the traditional handover ceremony in Rome. Photo: Andrew Medichini / Getty Images)
18/03/21·23m 29s

Is Antifa the threat it’s made out to be?

Vivid and sometimes wild claims about the antifascist group Antifa have been circulating in America. Some say that the group participates in widespread violence, while others have argued that it is a small but justified part of their fight against fascism. Tanya Beckett takes a closer look at what is true and what is exaggeration. Producer: Nathan Gower (Members of Antifa protest at a far right Rally in Portland, Oregon USA. Credit: Diego Diaz/ Getty Images)
11/03/21·23m 29s

Why did Alexei Navalny return to Russia?

After surviving an assassination attempt, the opposition leader returned to Russia - and was immediately arrested and jailed. What does he have to gain by returning home, and can he still lead an effective campaign from prison? Charmaine Cozier asks what does President Putin have to fear in Alexei Navalny's rising popularity, and could his anti-corruption campaign make a difference at the Russian parliamentary elections in September? (Alexei Navalny at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport upon arrival from Berlin January 17, 2021. Credit: Kirill Kudryatsev /Getty Images)
04/03/21·22m 58s

What is the future for Myanmar?

As protests continue in Myanmar against the generals who staged a military coup, and with Aung San Su Kyi under house arrest and facing criminal charges, has the country lost all prospects for a democratic future? With Tanya Beckett. (A little girl shouts slogans with protestors waving flags of Myanmar, 22 February 2021. Credit: Peerapon Boonyakiat /Getty Images)
25/02/21·24m 2s

Can we solve our space junk problem?

The world is entering a new space race but every new satellite launched into Earth’s orbit runs the risk of colliding with one of the millions of pieces of space junk left behind by previous missions. So how can we solve our space junk problem? Featuring former NASA astrophysicist, Don Kessler; Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, Moriba Jah; space systems engineer, Richard Duke; and Victoria Samson of the Secure World Foundation Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Viv Jones (A spent S-IVb rocket floats in Earth orbit. View from Skylab Space Station 1973. NASA photo via Getty Images)
18/02/21·23m 59s

How did Europe fall behind in the vaccine race?

On June the 12th of last year the 27 health ministers of the European union signed off on a plan to buy vaccines on behalf of all the EU’s member countries. The aim was to secure enough doses to immunise all of its 450 million citizens. But the delivery and vaccination programme has lagged far behind countries like the UK and US. Tanya Beckett finds out why. (Waiting to be vaccinated at Santa Maria Hospital in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: Patricia de Melo Moreiro /Getty Images)
11/02/21·22m 58s

Will QAnon survive?

With President Trump no longer in office and a clampdown by social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, what is the future for the QAnon conspiracy theory? It’s had a considerable following from the Republican rank and file who supported Donald Trump but was strongly associated with the attack on Capitol Hill. Now Republican party leaders have warned QAnon is dangerous. But will ordinary Americans turn their backs on it? With Tanya Beckett. (A pro-Trump mob confronts U.S. Capitol police outside the Senate chamber in Washington DC. Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)
04/02/21·24m 6s

Is online censorship going too far?

Donald Trump has moved out of the White House, he’s been banned from Twitter and suspended from Snapchat, Facebook and YouTube. Parler, a twitter alternative for conservatives, went offline after Amazon stopped hosting it. Amazon say this is because they found dozens of posts on the service which encouraged violence. All of this has raised questions about the power of tech companies and who should decide who’s voice is heard on social media. So this week Charmaine Cozier asks, has big tech gone too far in limiting free speech? Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producers: Sharon Hemans and Bob Howard Editor: Richard Vadon (Twitter suspended Donald Trump's account for violating app rules, January 2021. Credit: Jakub Porzycki/ Getty Images)
28/01/21·22m 59s

Why do the Indian farmer protests matter?

It has been called the world’s biggest protest. In November 2020, thousands of farmers marched to New Delhi to protest against new laws that the Indian government says will modernise farming. The farmers set up camp in and around the capital, blocking major highways. Over 50 days later they are still there, in spite of freezing temperatures. Even after the Supreme Court stayed the laws until further notice, the farmers say they aren’t budging until they are repealed completely. They say these reforms will strip them of protections they’ve enjoyed for decades, resulting in lower prices and ruined livelihoods. Kavita Puri hears why the protests matter for India’s millions of farmers, for the future of the country’s crisis-ridden agriculture, and the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. With contributions from agricultural policy expert, Devinder Sharma; Fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, Sadanand Dhume; Professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Jayati Ghosh; and BBC correspondent Soutik Biswas. Presenter: Kavita Puri Producer: Viv Jones (Women farmers form a human chain during the protest against the new farm laws, January 18 2021 at the Delhi borders in India. Credit: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
21/01/21·22m 59s

Is recycling broken?

With countries shutting their doors to foreign recyclable waste and a lack of processing capacity back home, is the recycling system broken? China used to accept 55% of the world’s plastic and paper waste. But it closed its doors in 2018. Initially other countries in South East Asia, like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam took over China’s waste processing role. But they too are now sending much of the waste back, arguing it is contaminated and is harming their own environments. This has created major problems for countries in the West who traditionally relied on others to process their recycling waste. In addition, there’s confusion about what households can and cannot put into their recycling bins, along with that lack of recycling capacity back home. So what is the answer to the growing mountains of what was supposed to be recyclable waste? Could Sweden, which has reduced the amount of household waste it sends to landfill to under one per cent, have an answer? It’s not one everyone agrees with. Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: John Murphy (A man picks up plastic waste to be recycled at the Kawatuna landfill in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photo credit: Basri Marzuki / Getty Images)
07/01/21·23m 5s

Why are boys academically underperforming?

There’s a problem in education – and it’s probably not what you expect. Around the world, from schools to universities, boys are trailing girls in their academic performance. It’s a complex problem which has divided expert opinion and leads us to complex questions of genetics and social conditioning. David Grossman examines what’s going on and how to fix it.
31/12/20·22m 59s

Has the time come for a European Super League?

The idea of a breakaway football league for Europe’s elite clubs has been discussed for decades. It hasn’t happened yet, but could that be about to change? Industry experts say officials from the continent’s biggest and most successful teams are meeting behind-closed-doors to discuss the proposition. So we’re asking - has the time come for a European Super League?
17/12/20·22m 59s

Has French secularism gone too far?

The French brand of secularism - laïcité - is central to the country’s national identity. It requires that public spaces – whether state classrooms, workplaces or ministries - be free of religion. But the way the French government is applying the concept has come under fresh criticism. Many French Muslims claiming this cornerstone of French identity is now being used as a weapon against them. This week, Tanya Beckett asks has French secularism gone too far? A boy holds a sign asking 'Liberty, fraternity?' at a gathering in Toulouse, France. Credit: Alain Pitton/Getty Images)
10/12/20·23m 59s

Why is Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize winner bombing his own country?

In Ethiopia, a political battle has sparked a bloody conflict. Federal Forces have engaged in combat with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front - or TPLF. Hundreds have reportedly been killed and tens of thousands displaced. Just last year, Abiy Ahmed, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, won a Nobel Prize for his part in brokering peace with neighbouring Eritrea. So, Charmaine Cozier asks why Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize winner is bombing his own country?
03/12/20·23m 5s

Do we have a vaccine to end the pandemic?

Test results from coronavirus vaccines are fast emerging, fuelling hopes that the end of the pandemic is in sight. But are countries ready to share the vaccine fairly? Global efforts to coordinate are already gaining ground - but some are concerned the battle for who gets what will mean some lower income countries could get left behind.
26/11/20·22m 58s

Will the EndSARS protest change Nigeria?

For nearly two weeks last month, angry young Nigerians took to the streets in their tens of thousands, blocking major roads in cities across Africa's most populous nation. What began as a protest against the hated police Special Anti-Robbery Squad, or SARS, soon became a conduit for a wider anger with the people who have been in charge of Nigeria for decades. in this week's Inquiry, Kavita Puri asks: will the EndSARS movement change Nigeria?
12/11/20·22m 58s

Why are Thai students risking jail to call for reform of the monarchy?

Pro-democracy protests have happened before in Thailand, but there’s something new about the latest one - the king is being publicly criticised. It’s a serious criminal offence to do that. This week, Charmaine Cozier asks why people are protesting against the Thai monarchy.
05/11/20·22m 58s

Can President Trump still win the US presidential election?

National polls ahead of the US presidential election suggest a clear win for challenger Joe Biden. But could they be getting it wrong as they did four years ago? In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, but - because of the US electoral system - lost the election. Could history repeat itself? In this week’s Inquiry, Tanya Beckett asks: can President Trump still win?
29/10/20·22m 58s

How has Trump changed America’s relationship with the world?

When he was elected, President Trump promised to put ‘America First’, but how has he governed? Charmaine Cozier looks at trade, diplomacy, defence and the environment to examine the results of four years of a very different approach to international affairs. (Image: Donald Trump at public address, Credit: Getty Images)
23/10/20·22m 58s

Should we learn to live with Covid?

As new students start at universities in many countries around the world, governments are grappling with how to contain a second wave of Coronavirus. Already many universities have put lectures online and students are being told to stay in their rooms. But is this fair? Covid-19 is a deadly virus but not so much for the young. Can or should we keep the world locked down until there’s a vaccine or cure? Or, Tanya Beckett asks: should we learn to live with Covid? (Students wait to start their entrance exams outside the University of Madrid, Spain. Credit: Eduardo Parra/Getty Images)
15/10/20·24m 44s

Are shares in Elon Musk’s Tesla vastly overvalued?

In 2018, the electric car maker, Tesla, was struggling to get the Model 3 electric vehicle off the production line. Its CEO, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, was working up to 22 hours a day on the factory floor, trying to solve a host of problems on the car he’d bet the company on. It was close to running out of money. Two years later, the company’s doing better. It says it will grow 30-40% this year. No surprise then that Tesla’s share price has gone up. But the amount may surprise you – up eight fold in the last year, to $400 a share. Making it the most valuable car company in the world. It’s now worth more than Toyota, Volkswagen and Honda put together. But yet it still manufactures only a fraction of the cars they make. So are shares in Elon Musk’s Tesla vastly overvalued? Sumant Bhatia finds out from our expert witnesses, who include a Tesla owner who’s a shareholder and superfan, a fund manager who thinks the shares are in a bubble, an investor with millions of dollars in Tesla and an expert in electric vehicles.
08/10/20·22m 57s

Is Kanye West really running for US president?

In July, billionaire musician Kanye West announces on Twitter that he’s standing as a candidate in November’s US presidential election. After a scramble to meet the registration deadlines, his name is on the ballot in fewer than 20 states. His manifesto is confusing, his motive unclear. In the past, Kanye West has been a vocal supporter of president Donald Trump. And it seems his campaign is being run largely by those with close ties to the Republican party. The Democrats say his entry in the race as an independent third party candidate is a dirty trick by Republicans. Others claim it’s simply a publicity stunt to promote his new album. But, in battleground states, where every vote counts, could his celebrity status have a significant impact on the election result? How seriously should we take Kanye West’s run for president? Kavita Puri finds out from our expert witnesses, who include professors of African-American studies at US universities, a Washington-based politics reporter and a Democratic pollster and strategist. (Kanye West at the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party, Beverly Hills, California. Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images)
01/10/20·23m 33s

Will the US presidential debates change the course of the election?

On the 29th September the two US presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden will take part in the first of three 90-minute live televised debates ahead of the presidential election in November. Tanya Beckett asks can the debates affect the outcome of the election? (Composite image of Joe Biden (Credit: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters) and Donald Trump (Credit: John G Mabanglo/EPA)
24/09/20·23m 37s

Can the world stop online fraud?

Online fraud takes many forms, from deceptive e-mails and websites which trick us into paying money to the wrong bank account, to romance scams and malicious software copying our bank and credit card details. It's regarded by criminals as a highly lucrative and relatively low risk crime, so why is it so easy for fraudsters to manipulate our personal data and steal our money, what can be done to end online fraud? Charmaine Cozier talks to some of those trying to disrupt the scammers and protect the public. Guests: Rachel Tobac, Ethical Hacker CEO of SocialProof Security Muhammad Imran, Criminal Intelligence Officer, Interpol Financial Crimes Unit Stéphane Konan, Cyber Security Consultant & African Government Advisor Tamlyn Edmonds, Fraud Prosecutor, Edmonds Marshall McMahon (Laptop owned by an online romance scammer, Accra, Ghana. Credit: Per-Anders Pettersson / Getty Images)
17/09/20·24m 9s

Will votes be safe in the US presidential election?

President Trump says opening up November’s election to more postal voting will make it more vulnerable to fraud and election interference. Many more Americans are expected to avoid going in person to polling stations because of the coronavirus pandemic and will rely on postal voting to ensure their voices are heard. Tanya Beckett examines President Trump’s claims and how the US postal service will cope with millions of ballots. Producer: Sharon Hemans and Diane Richardson (A voter drops off a mail-in ballot at a collection box outside Cambridge City Hall, Mass. USA. Credit: Lane Turner / Getty Images)
10/09/20·22m 57s

What is “Obamagate?”

A maverick American general, a call to the Russian ambassador and allegations of spying on Donald Trump’s incoming administration. But what exactly is “Obamagate” and what impact might it have on this year’s US presidential election? With Tanya Beckett.
03/09/20·22m 58s

What’s gone wrong in Lebanon?

The massive explosion that tore through Beirut on August 4th left more than 200 people dead, 6,000 injured, and as many as 300,000 homeless. The explosion was caused by a fire that ignited 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored at the port. When the blast hit, Lebanon was already in the middle of an unprecedented economic and political crisis that has triggered hyperinflation, poverty, and hunger. Many Lebanese feel that the blast was not the cause of catastrophe in Lebanon, but the result of it. Tanya Beckett asks, what’s gone wrong in Lebanon? Producer: Viv Jones (Lebanese protester waves a national flag amid clashes with security forces in Beirut, August 10 2020. Credit: Joseph Eid/Getty images)
27/08/20·23m 56s

How close are we to a vaccine for Covid-19?

Researchers around the world are racing to develop a vaccine against Covid-19, with more than 170 candidate vaccines now in development. Most vaccines take years of testing and additional time to produce at scale, but scientists are hoping to develop a coronavirus vaccine at record speed. Several potential vaccines are now in the final phase of testing but it could still be months before we discover if they are safe and can effectively prevent people from being infected. If a vaccine can be found, there are concerns about how the world will manufacture enough. There may be challenges in storing it at the right temperature and transporting it safely around the world. Plus, rich countries might hoard supplies. Although hopes are high it is entirely possible that a safe and effective vaccine is a long way off, or never discovered. Experts warn that ‘waiting for a vaccine syndrome’ could be distracting us from finding other solutions for controlling the spread of Covid-19. Presenter: Tanya Beckett (A scientist works on an experimental coronavirus vaccine at a laboratory in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Credit: Juan Mabromata/Getty Images)
20/08/20·23m 56s

Will America’s 'Big Tech' firms be reined in?

US lawmakers are deciding whether to act against the country’s powerful tech giants. Some believe the likes of Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple are stifling competition. The companies have made huge profits during the Covid crisis and critics believe they will use this cash to buy competitors. With Charmaine Cozier. Clockwise from top left: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook. Getty Images
13/08/20·23m 59s

Will the pandemic get worse in the winter?

Winter is coming in the northern hemisphere and traditionally it is time for colds and flu. This has raised fears that coronavirus will surge when the seasons change, possibly leading to a second wave of the disease that is even bigger than the first. However, predicting what a Covid winter will look like is complex and uncertainty reigns - there are reasons both to be worried and to be reassured. Contributors: . Micaela Martinez, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia University . Katherine Wu, a health and science journalist with The New York Times . Judit Vall, a professor in health and labour economics at the University of Barcelona . Dominique Moisi, the author of The Geopolitics of Emotion. (A man walks through a snowfall in Sarajevo, wearing a mask as protection against Covid-19. Credit Mustafa Ozturk / Getty Images)
06/08/20·24m 7s

Why isn’t the world doing more to help the Uighurs?

With an estimated million Uighurs in detention camps, China has used a variety of means to successfully stifle world criticism. They include its economic muscle, political alliances with like-minded countries and sanitized tours of the facilities for opinion formers. With Charmaine Cozier. (Uighur prisoners shackled and blindfolded in Xinjiang, China. Still from anonymous drone footage.)
30/07/20·24m 0s

Should Joe Biden stay in the basement?

The presidential opposition candidate Joe Biden has barely emerged from his home since America’s lockdown at the end of March. But polls suggest that the low-key strategy is working in his favour – as his rival President Donald Trump comes under increasing pressure over his handling of the coronavirus and a resurgence of racial tension. With four months to go until the election, is staying in the basement Joe Biden’s best option? What are the risks if he does? And how could Donald Trump turn things around? Contributors: . Jason Zengerle, writer at large for the New York Times Magazine . Rachel Bitecofer, Senior Fellow at the Niskanen Center and host of the Election Whisperer. . Niambi Carter, Associate Professor of Political Science at Howard University and author of “American While Black”. . Whit Ayres, Republican pollster at North Star Opinion Research. Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producers: Estelle Doyle and Victoria McCraven Editor: Richard Vadon (Image: Joe Biden at campaign event, Credit: Leah Mills/Reuters)
23/07/20·23m 5s

Is China versus India the most important rivalry of the 21st century?

The recent border clash between China and India is seen as a watershed moment in the two nuclear nations’ relationship. How will its repercussions affect Asia, and the rest of the world? Contributors: . Chris Dougherty - a senior fellow with the Defence Programme at the Centre for New American Securities. . Ananth Krishnan – a correspondent for the Hindu newspaper. And the author of “India’s China Challenge” . Tanvi Madan – a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy programme at the Brookings Institution. . Yu Jie - a Senior Research Fellow on China at Chatham House. Presenter: Tanya Beckett Series Producer: Estelle Doyle (Chinese President Leader Xi Jinping with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 2017 BRICS Summit. Photo: Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Getty images)
16/07/20·24m 4s

Why are Covid cases rising in the US?

Why are Covid cases dramatically increasing in some U.S. states, where rates had been low? The number of new coronavirus infections in a single day has passed fifty five thousand. Is it because of more testing, or is something else going on? (Demonstrators outside the State Capitol in Auston.Texas protesting against Coronavirus restrictions. Credit: Gary Miller/Getty Images)
09/07/20·22m 58s

What does Putin want?

President Vladimir Putin has been in power for 20 years. The Russian people have been voting on a change to the constitution that could keep him in the Kremlin until 2036. While world leaders and opponents struggle to second guess him, some objectives appear to be clear: stability at home, respect abroad and power maintained for his inner circle. Presented by Charmaine Cozier (President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, February 2020. Credit: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)
02/07/20·24m 2s

Why do we care about statues?

The killing of African American George Floyd ignited anti-racist protests around the world - many centred on statues associated with colonialism and slavery. Why do these figures of bronze and stone generate such strong feelings? And what do they tell us about how countries deal with their past? Contributors: Sarah Beetham Chair of Liberal Arts at the Pennsylvania Academy in the Fine Arts. Ghaith Abdul-Ahad journalist for The Guardian newspaper. AGK Menon, architect, urban planner and founder of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage. Daniel Libeskind, architect. Presenter: Kavita Puri (Protesters attempt to pull down the statue of Andrew Jackson near the White House June 22, 2020 in Washington, DC. Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
25/06/20·24m 3s

How will Hollywood respond to the Black Lives Matter and Me Too movements?

Why is the movie business having trouble representing the world’s population on and behind the big screen? A rising share of the U.S. population are black, more than half of the demographic are female – so why is it so difficult to translate this into cinema? Hollywood has found itself red-faced in an era of Black Lives Matter and MeToo movements. From #OscarsSoWhite to criticism of who’s behind the films we see, the pressure to change is stacking up. Charmaine Cozier discovers the issues within the industry and what movie bosses prioritise over diversity. But will activists, actors and data be enough to convince big studios that the revolution is here – or will it just be business as usual? Guests: April Reign, Diversity and Inclusion Advocate and creator of the #OscarsSoWhite movement Naomi McDougall-Jones, a film producer, writer and women in film activist Darnell Hunt, Dean of Social Sciences at UCLA and Professor of Sociology in African American Studies. He is co-author of the UCLA Hollywood Diversity report Bonnie Greer, a writer and critic Presenter: Charmaine Cozier/ Producer: Bethan Head (Actor John Boyega raises his fist in protest at a Black Lives Matter march in London, UK (Credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas /Getty Images)
18/06/20·24m 5s

Will Covid-19 change cities?

From the bubonic plague and cholera to tuberculosis, pandemics have changed the ways cities have been designed and built. The coronavirus has been no different: with cities all over the world on lockdown, our cities have changed to become quieter, greener, with wildlife returning on an unprecedented scale. Now, with the lockdowns beginning to ease, Kavita Puri asks: what is the future of our cities? Will they return to the way they were - and do we want them to? Producer: Eleanor Biggs Presenter: Kavita Puri (Parisians cycle through the streets of Paris on the Rue de Rivoli, which has been made almost entirely cycleable. Photo:Samuel Boivin/Getty Images)
11/06/20·23m 39s

Why do US cops keep killing unarmed black men?

Why is George Floyd the latest in a long line of unarmed black men killed by US police? Studies show black men are three times more likely to be killed by police in America than white people. With Helena Merriman. (A man speaks into a bullhorn as demonstrators march in Los Angeles, California. 2 June 2020. Brent Stirton/Getty Images)
03/06/20·22m 57s

How far can the Chinese government be blamed for Covid-19?

Ever since a mysterious virus was reported in December 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the world has been watching China. Silenced whistleblowers, unregulated wildlife trade in wet markets, limited international cooperation, and even a local biosafety lab have been held up as examples of how China mishandled the crisis. But how far can it be blamed for Covid-19 becoming a pandemic? This week on The Inquiry, Kavita Puri asks what the Chinese government could, or should, have done differently to prevent a global catastrophe. Producer: Eleanor Biggs Presenter: Kavita Puri (A man drags a handcart across an emptied road on February 5, 2020 during lockdown in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. Getty Images)
28/05/20·24m 9s

How will the world pay for Covid-19?

As governments spend huge sums to get through the coronavirus crisis, how will they fund it all? Slash spending, raise taxes or just accept debt is here to stay? With Tanya Beckett. (Photo: Variety of world currency notes: Credit: Getty images)
21/05/20·24m 8s

Why does Germany have such a low number of deaths from Covid-19?

To date, 7500 people have lost their lives in Germany in a population of 80 million. Other comparably sized European countries like the UK, France, Italy and Spain – some with smaller populations have deaths far exceeding Germany several times over. In this week’s Inquiry Kavita Puri tries to find out why. Producer Jim Frank (People walk at Kurfürstendamm, Berlin's popular shopping area during the coronavirus crisis May 2020 Germany. Credit: Maja Hitij /Getty Images)
14/05/20·23m 39s

Why are so many ethnic minorities dying in the UK and US?

In news reports and newspapers, pictures of British healthcare workers who have lost their lives to Covid-19 sit side by side. And if you look at those faces one thing stands out clearly. Of the 119 cases of NHS deaths more than two thirds are black or an ethnic minority - yet they only make up 20% of the workforce. Figures from the National Health Service in England show a disproportionate number of Covid-19 deaths are amongst these groups. And it’s not just in the UK. In the United States on available data – it’s a similar story with African Americans accounting for many more deaths in a community that make up 13% of the population. So what’s going on? Kavita Puri speaks with: Dr Kamlesh Khunti, Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester Professor Kathy Rowan, Director of the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre Dr Consuelo Wilkins, Vice President for Health Equity at Vanderbilt University Medical Center Prof John Watkins, Professor Epidemiology, Cardiff University/Public Health Wales (Ambulance workers transport patients to St Thomas' Hospital in Westminster, London, UK. Photo credit: Ollie Millington/Getty Images)
07/05/20·24m 11s

Why are people attacking 5G mobile phone masts?

Tanya Beckett looks at 5G and examines why it’s become the centre of conspiracy theories linking it to the coronavirus and others. What is it about the latest mobile technology which some find so alarming that it drives them to attack and burn down this infrastructure? And what draws people to conspiracy theories - even when all available evidence says they’re wrong. Reporter Tanya Beckett Producer Jim Frank
30/04/20·22m 58s

How do we come out of the lockdown?

As some nations begin to tentatively lift their lockdowns, Tanya Beckett asks how best this can be done. What lessons, if any, can we learn from past pandemics? How do states make the decision, juggling the increasing demands of economic and social factors against public health concerns, amid worries of a new wave of infections from the disease? And what will our lives look like in a post-lockdown world? We hear from contributors based in France, the United States, South Korea and Denmark - one of the first countries to begin to lift its lockdown. Reporter Tanya Beckett Producer Jim Frank Image: A woman wearing a mask runs through a deserted Central Park in Manhattan, April 16, 2020 during lockdown in New York City, USA (Credit: Johannes Eisele/ Getty Images)
23/04/20·23m 31s

How do you help people stay rational in a pandemic?

Last month, everyday supermarket items turned into valuable and vanishing commodities overnight – none more so than toilet paper. There are now billions of us around the world living in lockdown conditions, a situation we’ve not been prepared for. And we seem to be in this for the long haul. In this week’s Inquiry, we’ll be asking how we can help people stay rational in a pandemic. Presenter/Producer: Sandra Kanthal (Empty shelves in the aisles of a CO-OP store in Kent, UK March 14, 2020 due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Photo credit: Robin Pope/ Getty Images)
16/04/20·23m 40s

Can Africa cope with coronavirus?

How will Africa deal with Covid-19? It began in China then reached the Middle East, Europe and the United States, now Africa is bracing itself for a surge in coronavirus cases. But how will the continent, with its weaker health care systems and often poor populations cope? The picture is not the same everywhere. Some countries and some sections of society may fare better than others, but the worry is that many African countries simply don’t have the tools or resources to stand up to this pandemic. Or might there be some lessons learnt from the Ebola outbreak which could help? This is a continent of young people, so demographics could work in their favour, but many of them are already compromised by HIV, malaria and other disease outbreaks. Tanya Beckett speaks to the director of a hospital in rural Uganda, to the head of the Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control, to the CEO of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and to the former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, about their worries and preparations for Covid-19. Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: John Murphy (An African man wearing an alternative mask in Kampala, Uganda April 2020. Credit: Sumy Sadurni/Getty images)
09/04/20·22m 59s

Why is it taking so long to develop a Covid-19 vaccine?

The race is on for the world’s scientists to develop a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine. The Inquiry examines quickly how this can be done and what hurdles need to be overcome to roll out a vaccine in 12-18 months, rather than the many years it would normally take. Presented by Kavita Puri. (medical doctor with a vaccine. Credit: Getty images)
02/04/20·23m 2s

Coronavirus: What can the world learn from South Korea?

After China, South Korea was next in line to be struck by the Coronavirus outbreak. And in the early days the number of cases was going up fast – many of them related to a secretive religious sect. But the country has rapidly managed to get a grip on the outbreak and has kept its mortality rate low. It has done this without an official lockdown. The secret appears to be preparation, widespread testing and acting fast. With the help of four expert witnesses, Kavita Puri investigates what else we can learn from South Korea in its battle against Covid-19. Presenter: Kavita Puri Producer: John Murphy (A couple wearing face masks walk through an alleyway in Seoul on March 24, 2020. Credit: Ed Jones/Getty Images)
26/03/20·23m 47s

Why did the USA fail in its initial coronavirus response?

‘It’s a failing, let's admit it’ says top health official, Dr Anthony Fauci. He’s talking about the fact that it took a month for a working coronavirus test to be rolled out around the country, while other countries were testing thousands of people. How was this allowed to happen? In this edition of The Inquiry, we explore the ways in which the US lost valuable time in dealing with the coronavirus and how their health system could make things more difficult still. (A cleaning crew adjusts protective clothing as they prepare to enter the Nursing Home in Kirkland, Seattle Washington which has had the most deaths due to COVID-19 in the USA.Credit:John Moore/Getty Images)
19/03/20·23m 51s

How China turned the tide with coronavirus

There are now significantly more new cases of coronavirus outside China than inside. On the first day of this week there were only 44 new cases in the whole country. Just a few weeks ago that figure was in the thousands. While the authorities have been criticised for their initial slow response to the outbreak, allowing it to spread quickly, since January they have taken unprecedented action to clamp down on the spread of the virus. Whole cities have been put into quarantine and travel restrictions have been imposed on millions of people. New hospitals have been built with lightning speed and huge amounts of money has been spent on testing kits and other technology to fight Covid-19. China has been accused of infringing civil liberties in its fight against Coronavirus but it has also been praised for the extreme public health measures it has taken. So what did the Chinese actually do and can it be replicated elsewhere? Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: John Murphy (Photo: A man talks through a barricade wall built to control entry and exit to a residential compound in Wuhan, Hubei province, China.Credit: Getty Images)
12/03/20·24m 19s

Have our climate models been wrong?

Climate change models have been a key tool to project what could happen with global warming in the future. But there’s a debate in the scientific community and some are saying too much emphasis has been put on the worst-case scenarios. Others argue that the impacts of climate change are too unpredictable and all scenarios, even the most serious, less likely ones, need to be kept on the table. All agree, though, that human-induced climate change is happening and that even the most likely projected temperature increases will be serious and potentially very damaging. Presenter: Ruth Alexander Producers: Xavier Zapata and John Murphy (An iceberg that broke away from a Glacier in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field which is experiencing high rates of melting. Credit: David Silverman /Getty Images)
05/03/20·24m 9s

Why don’t we care about facts?

We have a great capacity to ignore facts and only believe what we want to believe – particularly if those facts clash with our convictions. Why is that and is it getting worse? It’s an area that is being intensely studied by psychologists, political scientists and neuroscientists. Ruth Alexander explores why we ignore facts, even if it’s bad for us. Though she also hears how, in some circumstances, it can be good for our mental health. But our casual attitude towards facts can have serious consequences. According to experts this is happening across the world, in politics, in health and in our daily lives. This behaviour is not the preserve of any particular political group – everyone does it when it suits them. Presenter: Ruth Alexander Producer: John Murphy (Two heads filled with questions or exclamations. Credit: Getty Images)
27/02/20·23m 50s

Why are trade deals so hard to do?

Britain is trying to make multiple trade deals since leaving the EU. Some negotiations between countries have lasted for years. The breakdown in the World Trade Organization, the changing nature and complexity of world trade and a general lack of trust between nations means it could be a very drawn out process. Presented by Tanya Beckett.
20/02/20·24m 0s

Will a pandemic ever kill millions again?

The Coronavirus outbreak in China has been declared a public health emergency of international concern. It is raising fears of a global disease pandemic. In the past viral infections have killed millions. Possibly the worst ever pandemic was the 1918-19 flu, which spread just as the First World War was coming to an end. Estimates of the death toll now range between 50 and 100 million. At the upper range that means it was more deadly than both World Wars put together. So could another pandemic emerge today and kill millions? How might it happen and how prepared are we to confront it? The world is a very different place to 100 years ago. Scientific and public health advances do mean some parts of the world are more prepared but our ways of living could make us more susceptible to a new virus. Speaking to a leading virologist, a disease modeller, a public health policy expert and a senior African health official, Ben Chu asks where the virus threat might come from, how fast it could spread, what containment policies work and whether the world is ready. Presenter: Ben Chu Producer: John Murphy (image: Scientist working with a dangerous virus in the laboratory. Credit: Getty Creative)
13/02/20·23m 1s

Could India’s Muslims become second class citizens?

Could a new law in India be a step towards making Muslims second class citizens? The government says the Citizenship Amendment Act is a humanitarian law giving protection for people escaping religious persecution. But critics say that by excluding Muslims, the CAA contravenes the country’s secular constitution. Charmaine Cozier reports. (Women hold anti-government placards during a protest in Delhi. Credit: Amarjeet Kumar Singh/Getty Images)
06/02/20·23m 52s

How did Trump get into trouble with Ukraine?

How did Trump’s personality and way of dealing with people lead to a trial in the Senate? The answer involves Trump’s long standing belief in conspiracy theories, his transactional way of doing business, the revolving door of staff turnover at the White House and his admiration for Russian president Vladimir Putin. With Tanya Beckett. ( President Trump departs the White House on the day of the House Impeachment Vote, Washington DC. Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
23/01/20·23m 49s

Why does Ukraine have such a corruption problem?

On 25 July 2019, the President of the United States made a phone call to the recently-elected President of Ukraine - congratulating him on his party’s election victory. What Donald Trump said in that call to Volodymyr Zelensky has ended up threatening his own presidency, triggering the impeachment of the president. Donald Trump says his interest was in rooting out corruption. Meanwhile Joe Biden’s role in Ukraine was to do the same - root out corruption. The Inquiry asks why Ukraine has such a corruption problem. Presented by Ruth Alexander. (A Ukrainian flag flies in Independence Square in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. Photo credit: Pavlo Gonchar/Getty Images)
16/01/20·24m 1s

Why was Qasem Soleimani killed?

President Trump’s decision to assassinate Qasem Soleimani came as a shock to America’s foes and allies alike. He was Iran’s top general and has been described as one of the country’s most powerful figures, second only to the Supreme Leader Ayotollah Ali Khamenei. He was, effectively, head of Iran’s foreign policy. He’s been credited as being instrumental in the fight against ISIS but has also been accused of arming and supporting terror groups. But why did Donald Trump order his death? Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: John Murphy (Image: Lieutenant General Qasem Soleimani / Photo handout from the Iranian Supreme Leader's office)
09/01/20·22m 58s

Will humans become extinct by the end of the century?

What is the chance of the human race surviving the 21st century? There are many dangers – climate change for example, or nuclear war, or a pandemic, or planet Earth being hit by a giant asteroid. Around the world a number of research centres have sprung up to investigate and mitigate what’s called existential risk. How precarious is our civilisation and what can be done to stop a global catastrophe? David Edmonds talks to four expert witnesses to try and find the answer. (Apocalyptic landscape. Credit: Santoelia/ Getty images)
02/01/20·23m 50s

Can we eradicate polio?

Despite heroic efforts to vaccinate against this crippling disease, why does it persist? The fight to eradicate polio is an amazing story: It began with a grassroots movement in the United States and led to a global campaign to wipe out a disease that can cause paralysis and even death. There is no cure, but countless cases have been prevented by an extraordinary campaign to vaccinate every child aged five and under. It’s an operation that requires access to some of the poorest and most remote regions of the world. But polio was supposed to have been eliminated by the year 2000. Nearly two decades later, new cases are still springing up. Why? Neal Razzell examines the challenges and the triumphs in the effort to rid the world of polio.
26/12/19·23m 50s

Is Nato obsolete?

Donald Trump is threatening to withdraw the US from Nato while the French President Emmanuel Macron has called it “brain dead”. Charmaine Cozier asks if the 70-year-alliance can survive? She speaks to Jacob Heilbrunn from The National Interest think tank – a right of centre foreign policy think tank based in Washington; Fabrice Pothier - senior defence consulting fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and former Nato policy planning director; Sara Bjerg Moller, assistant professor of international security at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University in the US; Elisabeth Braw, senior research fellow, RUSI's Modern Deterrence project Producer: Helen Grady (Photo: President Macron, PM Boris Johnson and Canada's PM Justin Trudeau at the Nato summit reception. Credit: Nato TV/AFP/Getty Images)
19/12/19·23m 47s

Should we ban billionaires?

Excluding dictators and royalty, there are around 2,000 people in the world who are billionaires. Some inherit wealth while others might build fortunes through inventions, businesses or investments. Some say individuals holding onto extreme amounts of money is wasteful because it could be diverted to other areas that would benefit more people such as education and healthcare. Others reason than some billionaires should keep what they have because they drive economic growth and inspire others to innovate. Are billionaires the right focus or should attention move to the systems and processes that enable them to make and keep huge amounts of money? Experts: Dr Paul Segal Roxanne Roberts Caroline Freund Will Wilkinson Presenter: Celia Hatton Producer: Charmaine Cozier Researcher: Diane Richardson (Photo: Billionaire Kylie Jenner arrives at the 2019 Met Gala in New York City. Credit: Karwai Tang/Getty Images)
12/12/19·23m 44s

Can we protect our elections from social media manipulators?

An estimated 2.6 billion people use social media, but in the online world not everything is what it seems. Fake accounts and automatic programmes can be used to spread disinformation and influence political narratives. We hear from experts across the world about how elections have been fought, and won, with the help of this electronic – and sometimes not so electronic – army. In a world where social media expansion shows no signs of slowing – how do we protect our elections from social media manipulators? Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producers: Lizzy McNeill & Helen Grady Experts: Samantha Bradshaw Natashya Gutierrez Idayat Hassan Ben Nimmo
05/12/19·23m 20s

Why is there a backlash against climate policies?

A year ago more than a quarter of a million people took to the streets across France, in what became known as the “gilets jaunes” protests. They began as a reaction to an increase in fuel tax - a tax which was supposed to help the environment, but which the protesters said meant they could no longer afford to drive their cars or get to work. These were the first high profile demonstrations against policies designed to tackle climate change, but they put a spotlight on a sense of unrest that has spread far beyond France. So if it is widely accepted that climate change is a real threat, why is there a backlash against climate policies? Contributors include: Jacline Mouraud - Original member of the “gilets jaunes” Matias Turkkila - Editor of the Finns Party Carol Linnitt - Co-founder of The Narwhal Simone Tagliapietra - Research Fellow at Bruegel think tank Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producers: Beth Sagar-Fenton & Josephine Casserly (Yellow Vests (Gilets jaunes) protest in France against a diesel tax increase, justified as an anti-pollution levy. Credit: Xavier Leoty /Getty Images.)
28/11/19·24m 10s

What can we do about the world’s mental health problem?

If there was a serious illness that we knew thirty percent of us would experience in our lives, wouldn’t we do everything in our power to address it? Well research suggests that one in three of us will experience a serious mental health problem at some point in our lives; it’s a topic many are uncomfortable about discussing but one that shows no signs of going away. Slowly we’re beginning to learn more about which factors cause anxiety and depression but old prejudices are hard to come overcome so – what can we do about the world’s mental health problem? Presenter: Celia Hatton Producer: Lizzy McNeill Researcher: Helen Grady Experts: Vikram Patel Shekhar Saxena Sir Graham Thornicroft Grace Ryan (image: Earth sunrise in space. Credit Getty Images)
21/11/19·23m 16s

Why are immigrants under attack in South Africa?

In September 2019 violence broke out in the city of Johannesburg. Many people were beaten, at least 12 were killed, and shops were looted and burned down. The perpetrators were mainly poor black South African men, and those attacked were predominantly immigrants from other African countries and from Asia. This just the latest in a long line of xenophobic attacks in the country. In 2015 the army was even deployed to deter further unrest. Immigrants are often subject to threats on social media, and some have even voluntarily returned to their home countries in response. But in the country once labelled “the rainbow nation”, why are foreigners so often subject to violence? We hear from: Kimberly Mutandiro – freelance journalist Dr Alex Hiropoulos - Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at California State University, Stanislaus Dr Suren Pillay - Senior Researcher at the Center for Humanities Research, University of Western Cape Dewa Mavhinga - Southern Africa Director, Human Rights Watch Presenter: Victoria Uwonkunda Producer: Beth Sagar-Fenton Researcher: Lizzy McNeill (A woman sings as she holds a banner during a march against the recent rise of xenophobic attacks in South Africa. Credit: Michele Spatari /Getty Images)
14/11/19·24m 12s

How soon can we go carbon zero?

This month activists all over the world have taken over city centres, demanding urgent action to halt climate change. They say we need to eliminate all carbon emissions by 2025. Most people think that’s impossible. But scientists are warning that if we want to stop global warming, we need to cut our CO2 emissions fast. So how soon can the planet achieve carbon zero? Helen Grady speaks to: Chukwumerije Okereke, professor in Environment and Development at Department of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Reading and director of the Centre for Climate Change and Development, Alex Ekwueme Federal University (AE-FUNAI), Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi state, Nigeria; Mercedes Maroto-Valer, Director of the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions at Herriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland; Roger Pielke Junior, Professor at the University of Colorado; Rachel Moncrief, deputy director at the International Council on Clean Transportation Producer: Beth Sagar-Fenton (Photo: Wind turbines in California USA. Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)
07/11/19·23m 40s

Why are the Kurds always in the firing line?

Turkey’s push to clear the Kurds from its border with Syria has brought howls of betrayal. Many Kurds believed the Americans would protect them, after they’d defeated the so-called Islamic State terror group together. But this is just the latest of the dozens of conflicts in which the Kurds have been involved over the past few decades. Why can’t they find peace? Is it their fault? Should the regimes they live under take responsibility? Or does the blame lie further back in history? We hear from: Dr Afshin Shahi - Lecturer in Middle East politics and International Relations at Bradford University Dr Gönül Tol - Director of Center at The Middle East Institute's Center for Turkish Studies Fazel Hawramy – Freelance journalist Lindsey Hilsum – International editor of Channel 4 News Presenter: Neal Razzell Producer: Beth Sagar-Fenton Researcher: Lizzy McNeill (Photo: Kurdish fighters withdraw from the border area near the northern Syrian town of Amuda on 27 October 2019. Credit: Delil Souleiman/Getty Images)
31/10/19·24m 26s

Is vaping safe?

After deaths in the US and bans around the world, how risky are e-cigarettes? In some countries, smokeless cigarettes are all the rage. In the UK, doctors say if smokers switch from tobacco to e-cigarettes, it will save lives. But in the US, where the authorities are investigating an outbreak of lung injury linked to vaping, they’re advising vapers to consider stopping. In India, Mexico and dozens of other countries, vaping is banned altogether. It’s a confused international picture. Vaping is still relatively new and scientists are still researching how harmful it may be in the long-term. What we do know is that every year, eight million people die worldwide as a consequence of smoking tobacco. What are the potential health risks associated with vaping? We’ll find out from our expert witnesses, who include a neuroscientist, a pulmonary critical care doctor and a professor of nicotine and tobacco studies. (A young woman smoking an electronic cigarette at the vape shop. Credit: Getty images)
24/10/19·23m 42s

Can we dismiss QAnon?

The far right conspiracy theory featuring child molesters and baby eaters may sound far-fetched, but the FBI names Q Anon in a report warning conspiracy theorists pose a growing threat of violence. So can we dismiss Q Anon? Q releases anonymous internet posts and claims to have a high level of security clearance in the US, signing messages with only ‘Q’. The cryptic posts apparently reveal that Trump is fighting a battle against the deep state and trying to take on an A list paedophile ring. The followers decode the messages and enjoy feeling part of an online community who have ‘insider knowledge’. There’s no evidence behind any of it. The worrying thing is, it’s not just an online community, some followers have taken real world action, turning up in the desert with guns to hunt for satanic child molesters and a murder suspect has appeared in court with a letter Q written on his palm. Recently, the site Q posts on has been shut down, but our expert witnesses say that doesn’t mean we can dismiss Q Anon. (Trump supporters with Q Anon posters at a 'Make America Great Again' rally in Tampa, Florida, 31 July 2018. Credit: Thomas O'Neill / Getty images.)
17/10/19·23m 39s

Are we heading for a global recession?

The world’s two biggest economies are fighting a trade war, European growth is slowing and global manufacturing data looks grim. Financial markets are flashing warning signs. It’s been a decade since the last global recession and in 2019 so far, the data has started to turn down. Are we on the verge of an economic meltdown? And what can countries do to avoid recession or reduce its impact when it comes? (A container ship being loaded in a harbour in Asia. Credit: Getty images)
10/10/19·22m 59s

Is Africa facing another debt crisis?

It’s been almost 15 years since a successful campaign to erase the crushing debts of Africa’s poorest countries. Now, debt levels are again creeping up, thanks in part to a risky mix of easy credit and easy spending. We hear from a former Liberian cabinet minister, a Mozambican anti-corruption campaigner, an expert in Chinese financial flows to the continent and the World Bank’s chief economist for Africa. Presenter: Neal Razzell (Photo: Protestors call for debt relief in Durban, South Africa. Credit: Rajesh Jantilal/Getty Images)
03/10/19·24m 9s

How can we save our forests?

In the afternoon of August 20th this year, the sky over Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo turned dark. The cause of this premature night was the smoke from fires burning thousands of kilometres away in the Amazon rainforest. The scale of the fires caught the attention of the world, but the Amazon is one story among many. The global community has long worried about deforestation, five years ago nations agreed to work to halve global tree loss by 2020 and end it by 2030. This month, those targets were acknowledged to be missed. This week we investigate what tactics are being used to preserve forests around the world, and ask if any of them are effective. image: View of a burnt area of forest in Para state, Brazil, in the Amazon basin. Credit Joao Laet/Getty Images.
26/09/19·24m 41s

Is rock music doomed?

Bruce Springsteen is turning 70; rock’s gods are getting on. It’s not clear who’s there with electric guitars to replace them. Younger acts are failing to make hit singles. Veteran rock journalist Mark Coles believes rock music has lost its ability to surprise and innovate. Record label boss Vanessa Higgins describes how the writing of hit songs no longer favours the rock format. Music critic Michael Hann blames the high costs of making rock as part of the reason for its decline. But Chris Woltman, manager of the band Twenty One Pilots, believes bands have adapted rock for a new generation of fans and industry veteran Sat Bisla details how rock is making headway in non-traditional markets like India and Indonesia. With Neal Razzell.
19/09/19·23m 39s

Why the race to build a quantum computer?

Quantum computers could transform our lives. Based on a branch of Physics that even Einstein found "spooky", the machines are still in their infancy. But governments and corporations are spending billions trying to turn them into workable technology. Neal Razzell finds out why by talking to four experts: Shohini Ghose, Professor of Physics and Computer Science at Wilfred Laurier University in Canada Stephanie Wehner, Professor in Quantum Information at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands Winifried Hensinger, Professor or Quantum Technologies at the University of Sussex Jonathan Dowling, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Louisiana and author of 'Quantum Technology - The Second Quantum Revolution' and 'Schrödinger's Killer App - Race to Build the World's First Quantum Computer'. Image: Professor Winfried Hensinger with a quantum computer prototype at the University of Sussex. Credit: Ion Quantum Technology Group, University of Sussex, UK.
12/09/19·23m 10s

Why does Donald Trump seem to have such a problem with the truth?

Fact-checkers say the President of the United States has made more than 10,000 false or misleading statements since coming to office. Whether it’s the size of the crowd at his inauguration, the pay rise offered to the military or where his father was born, Donald Trump often says things that are untrue. And he doesn’t rush to correct them, even when they’re outright fabrications. Ruth Alexander examines Donald Trump’s long record of falsehoods, which stretch back even to his schooldays. And she explores his motives, both political and psychological. Photo: US President Donald Trump addresses the press in the White House briefing room. Credit: Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images.
05/09/19·22m 58s

Why are we having less sex?

Porn, smart phones and the ‘slutty transmitter’. Adults in the US have sex on average about 50 times a year, which has dropped by 20 per cent over the last two decades. It’s a similar story in the UK, Australia, Germany, Finland and Japan. Could it be down to porn or our smart phones? Or is it actually down to something much harder to switch off? Some of the answers might surprise you. Picture: A couple in bed using their phones. Credit: Getty Images
29/08/19·23m 13s

Is Germany OK?

It’s known for precision and punctuality but Europe’s engine is slowing down. Germany’s economy relies heavily on selling its products abroad. Famed for luxury cars like Porsche, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, exports are nearly half the German economy. So if countries decide they don’t want to buy, or can’t afford to buy, the things that Germany makes, it’s a problem. And that’s what’s been happening to Germany today. China – the most important market for most German car makers - is slowing down. Much of Europe is struggling and the US is pursuing its own protectionist policies, to get Americans to buy US-made goods. On top of that, the German car industry is facing tough new EU emissions tests (prompted by the Volkswagen emissions’ scandal of 2015), with crippling penalties if they don’t comply. So, buffeted by these adverse winds in part self-inflicted, in part beyond its control, the German government is being urged to boost its economy at home – by spending more on roads, bridges and broadband networks. But, as Neal Razzell discovers, despite having plenty of cash in the coffers, events in its past means Germany is reluctant to loosen the purse strings. Picture: German sports fan / Credit: Getty images
22/08/19·22m 58s

Do children in two-parent families do better?

In 1965 a report from within the US government noted that the number of children born outside marriage, and the number of divorces, in the parts of the American population were rising rapidly. It argued that having many households run by a single woman risked holding back the progress of the next generation. At the time it was very controversial, rejected by mainstream academia and described as victim blaming. More than fifty years on, from the 'Moynihan' report we look at what modern research tells us about how children develop with married, cohabiting and single parents. Is there really a marked difference in their behaviour, cognition or emotional development?
08/08/19·24m 6s

Can you reduce Central American migration?

Families from the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador now make up the majority of migrants arriving at the US southern border. Many from urban areas are fleeing endemic gang violence, while those from rural regions are affected by droughts and food security issues. The Mexican government is increasing security along their borders, while the Trump administration has been changing asylum law. Could these measures help to lower the number of people choosing to make the dangerous journey? Or is there another way to make sure migrants don't feel like they need to leave their homes? (Photo: A Guatamalan mother with her three daughters crossed Mexico to reach the US border city of Juarez-El paso, Texas. Credit: David Peinado/Getty Images)
01/08/19·24m 15s

Will China crack down on Hong Kong?

Last month Hong Kong witnessed its largest ever protests, the most violent in decades. A proposed law to allow extradition of criminals to mainland China caused uproar. This bill exposed the cracks in relations between Hong Kong and the Beijing government. The current ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement gives the region some autonomy from Beijing. Pro-democracy protesters worry that this is being eroded as the Communist party is trying to bring it further under its influence. Complicating matters is Hong Kong’s significant but shrinking economic importance to China. With this year being the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen square massacre the international community is nervously watching to see how modern China will respond to the civil disobedience on such a large scale. (Protesters storm the Legislative Council in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019. Photo Credit: Anthony Wallace/Getty images.)
25/07/19·22m 58s

What kind of Prime Minister would Boris Johnson make?

With his unruly blond hair and shambolic appearance, Boris Johnson is Britain’s best-known politician. He’s also favourite to become the UK’s next Prime Minister. To his supporters, the former Mayor of London is charismatic, entertaining and a man of the people. His critics say he’s unprincipled, ruthless and flexible with the truth. If he wins the Conservative party leadership race, he’ll have to deliver Brexit. But what kind of leader might he be and how will he unite the country? Becky Milligan talks to some of those who’ve worked closely with him to find out what makes him tick. Presenter: Becky Milligan Producer: Sally Abrahams Picture: Boris Johnson poses during a visit to the Port of Dover Ltd., as part of his Conservative Party leadership campaign tour on July 11, 2019 in Dover, UK Credit:Chris Ratcliffe - Pool/Getty Images
18/07/19·24m 0s

How can Chennai’s water crisis be solved?

South India’s biggest city, Chennai, is currently in the grip of drought. With the four main reservoirs which supply the city dry, residents have to queue for hours to collect pots of water from government tankers. Critics argue that the shortage isn’t just the result of a single failed monsoon season, but also the responsibility of the government who failed to plan for this scenario. Experts say 21 Indian cities could run out of groundwater next year, and that demand for drinkable water could outstrip supply by double in just a decade. So this week we ask, what can be done to solve this crisis? Image: Indian residents get water from a community well in Chennai Credit: Arun Sankar//AFP/Getty Images
11/07/19·23m 8s

Is the deep ocean the answer to some of our biggest problems?

Our species is facing a whole lot of problems. Antibiotic resistance is on the rise, land based minerals are depleting and there are serious concerns about how warm everything’s becoming. As the population grows these problems are only going to get worse, but what if we could find some of the solutions to our most pressing problems beneath the waves? Scientists have discovered that deep sea sponges could help fight MRSA, your smart phone could be powered by minerals located thousands of metres beneath the sea, and there are even enzymes that could help your washing machine run on a colder cycle, saving both energy and your new cashmere sweater. Is the deep sea the answer to some of our biggest problems? There’s a lot of promise, but what are the risks? Presenter: Ruth Alexander Producer: Lizzy McNeill (Photo: Sunset over the sea. Credit: da-kuk/Getty Images)
04/07/19·23m 23s

Can a government make you happy?

New Zealand is the first western country to state it should be judged not by its economic prosperity but by its citizens’ wellbeing. Might these wellbeing policies be masking an inability by governments to effect any real change in citizen’s lives or do they actually end up making economic sense after all? (Photo: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Credit: Getty Images)
27/06/19·23m 13s

Can vaccines stop Ebola in the DRC?

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is in the midst of an Ebola epidemic, with over 2,000 cases now confirmed. In June the virus spread to neighbouring Uganda. Amidst this bleak picture, there is some hope; past epidemics have helped progress medical responses. This week, we ask: can vaccines contain Ebola in the DRC? Image: A health worker wearing Ebola protection gear, Beni, DRC Credit: Reuters.
20/06/19·23m 28s

Why is it always Alabama?

Alabama has long been the butt of jokes in America. The stereotype is that it is backward, racist and right wing. This month the state passed one of the most restrictive laws on reproductive rights in the USA, banning abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. But it is not alone - many other states have similarly restrictive abortion laws but they do not get the attention that Alabama does. So why is it Alabama that always gets picked on? (Photo: Selma to Montgomery, USA historic street road sign in capital Alabama city. Credit: Getty Images)
13/06/19·23m 13s

Is time travel possible?

Ever wanted to meet your historical heroes or explore the inventions of the future? Travelling in time has long been a dream of writers and filmmakers, but what does science tell us about how possible this would be to achieve in real life? We explore how physics shows us that time runs at different rates depending on where we are and how we’re moving - time goes more slowly for astronauts on the international space station for example. We hear about the very dangerous ways we could possibly exploit this to skip forwards through time and into Earth’s future, and we do the maths on wormholes, to see if they offer a possible portal to our past.
06/06/19·23m 19s

Is the US heading for war with Iran?

On 8 May 2018, the United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - a nuclear deal between Iran, the US and other countries. Since then, tensions between Iran and the US have escalated to the point where some believe a conflict is imminent. Kavita Puri and experts try to work out how the two countries got to this point, asking: is the US heading for War with Iran? Presenter: Kavita Puri Producer: Chloe Hadjimatheou and Lizzy McNeill (image: the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group has been deployed to the Red Sea. Credit: Michael Singley, U.S. Navy/Getty Images)
30/05/19·23m 15s

How do you move a capital city?

Indonesia has announced it is thinking of building a new capital city, moving the government away from Jakarta which is overcrowded and suffering from subsidence. Other countries, including Brazil, Kazakhstan, Russia and Tanzania have previously moved their capital cities, so just how difficult is the process, and can Indonesia learn from their mistakes? (Photo: Jakarta's expanding skyline. Credit: Gerhard Joren/Getty Images)
23/05/19·23m 2s

How did K-Pop conquer the world?

It's a multi-billion dollar industry, with bands selling out stadiums across the world. K-Pop, or Korean Pop has created some of the biggest global music stars. How did bands, singing in Korean come to such prominence? The Korean government has capitalised on the soft power that its music industry has offered. But with the latest scandals involving the rape and abuse of women is there a darker side to it all? And could it tarnish brand Korea? Photo: BTS performs 'DNA' onstage Credit: Getty Images/Michael Tran/FilmMagic
16/05/19·25m 10s

What’s next for Sudan?

After months of protests, the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir was removed from office on 11th April by a military coup. Initially there were celebrations, but weeks later, with no clear plan for the military to hand over power to a civilian government many in the country are starting to worry whether their victory has been lost. So is the country heading towards democracy or another autocratic regime? Photo: Sudanese protesters wave national flags near the military headquarters, Khartoum, April 2019. Credit: ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images
09/05/19·23m 59s

Can you make gangs good?

In 2007, Ecuador decided to recognise some of its street gangs as cultural and social organisations. Since then its murder rate has fallen sharply. Can inclusion policies turn gang membership into a force for good? Presenter: Ruth Alexander Producer: Jordan Dunbar and Bethan Head (Photo: Members of the Latin Kings gang pose for photographs and throw up their gang sign, New York. Credit: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis/Getty Images)
02/05/19·23m 36s

How can we feed 11 billion people?

The world’s population is set to grow from 7.7 to 11 billion by the end of this century. The challenge is to produce enough food to feed this number of people. In the 1960s the Green Revolution provided answers to similar problems – but the projected population growth of the future is on a much greater scale than before, and so new measures are required. In east Africa they’re working to reduce the amount of food that’s lost before it even gets to market – globally this stands at around 30 per cent. In the United States scientists are working to improve the natural process of photosynthesis – to make plants themselves function more efficiently. And in India they’re working to preserve genetic diversity – conserving rice varieties that can flourish in salt water or in conditions of drought.
25/04/19·23m 31s

How scared should we be?

Who benefits from our fear and is there more than just global reporting behind it? Has the world become more dangerous or has our perception of the world just changed? Rolling news and social media makes us aware of every threat no matter where in the world. From Ebola to flying we investigate the deeper reasons behind our modern fears. Speaking with experts in public health, risk and fear to find out why we are all so afraid. This week The Inquiry asks ‘How Scared Should We Be?’ Presenter: Ruth Alexander Producer: Jordan Dunbar Picture: American Wildfire Credit: Getty Images
18/04/19·23m 35s

Why has the Kashmir crisis lasted so long?

In February a bomb blast killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police officers in Kashmir; the worst attack by Pakistani militants in years. Indian military jets were deployed and one was shot down. As concerns over the pilot’s fate grew, fears mounted that India and Pakistan might go to war over Kashmir – again. The countries have been at war four times since partition in 1947. And Kashmir, which both countries claim in entirety but each one controls only in part, has been a key factor in the conflicts. But even when there is no war, there is no stable peace in Kashmir. Violent protests and street fighting are commonplace and daily life is made hard in numerous other ways. Unemployment is high, communication blackouts frequent and security fears constant. The Inquiry explores why the crisis has been so difficult to solve and what it might take for a resolution to emerge. Presenter: Ruth Alexander Producer: Rosamund Jones Picture: Displaced Kashmiris take shelter in a government school Credit: Getty Images
11/04/19·23m 13s

How long can we live?

Life expectancy is going up as we develop new cures for the diseases that kill us off. But can we beat the most fatal condition of all - old age? We talk to scientists on the frontier of fighting the ageing process itself, when our bodies just start to wear out. In India, Tuhin Bhowmick is working towards 3D printing new organs so people don’t die waiting for transplants. In the US, Meng Wang is developing ways to use the tiny creatures that live in our guts to extend our lives. And in the UK, Lorna Harries and her team have made an amazing discovery that could let us roll back the ageing process in our own cells. But is there an upper limit to the human life span? With all these advances racing ahead we ask – how long can humans live? Contributors include: Kaare Christensen - Head of the Danish Ageing Research Centre Tuhin Bhowmick - Director of Pandorum Technologies Meng Wang - Huffington Center on Aging at the Baylor College of Medicine Lorna Harries - Professor of Molecular Genetics, University of Exeter Presenter: Helena Merriman Producer: Beth Sagar-Fenton (An old woman with prayer wheels laughing at the Kyichu Buddhist Temple in Bhutan. Photo Credt: Tim Graham/Getty Images)
04/04/19·23m 51s

How is space changing Earth?

Many nations have now entered the space race. China first sent a man into space in 2003 and in the last few months made a successful, unmanned, landing on the far side of the moon. This was a world first. India has its own record. A few years ago it launched more satellites into space, in one go, than any other nation. Nigeria is talking about sending an astronaut into space. And Kyrgyzstan is developing its first satellite, built entirely by female engineers. The Inquiry explores what lies behind all this activity. Is the power of national prestige giving way to different goals; education, economic progress and human rights? Presenter: Kavita Puri Producer: Rosamund Jones This programme was originally broadcast on March 28th 2019. Image Credit: Getty Creative
28/03/19·23m 48s

What is the Wagner Group?

In recent years, in trouble spots and war zones around the world – places such as Syria, Eastern Ukraine and Central African Republic – The Wagner Group has been active. They are fighters for hire. But very little else, for certain, is known about them. Are they mercenaries working for the Russian intelligence service? Or are they muscle men securing the financial interests of powerful oligarchs? The Inquiry traces the history of the group; why they emerged and how they operate now. It is a story that twists and turns and leads to surprising – and dangerous - places. Presenter: Kavita Puri Producer: Jordan Dunbar Picture Credit: Valentin SprinchakTASS via Getty Images
21/03/19·23m 7s

Will populism destroy the European Union?

The European Union was formed in the years after the Second World War to secure peace and promote economic progress. It aimed to achieve that by ensuring that countries worked together. But that optimistic vision has now been shaken. There is mounting anxiety about whether the EU can hold together. Some are even saying that the EU is facing an existential crisis. That’s because the elections in May are likely to bring in another wave of populist politicians promoting nationalist agendas. The Inquiry will detail the fissures that have been exposed in recent years. One cause has been migration from countries outside the EU and the pressures caused by free movement within its borders. The severe economic downturn has threatened unity too. Kavita Puri explores whether there are moments in the European Union’s history when, had different decisions been made, the EU might have hung together better. Presenter: Kavita Puri Producer: Rosamund Jones Image: A shredded European Union flag flutters in the wind. Credit: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images
14/03/19·24m 16s

Are smart cities dumb?

Driverless cars powered by renewable energy whisking their healthy and happy citizens between gleaming skyscrapers, criss-crossing efficient roads. That’s the dream of many so called smart cities. The trend for ‘smart cities’ has grown immensely over the last decade and their definition has evolved too. Hundreds are planned or are already being built around the world, in both rich and poor countries. From Google’s Sidewalk city to Eko Atlantic in Nigeria, tech companies are seeking to tame our ever more urban world. But critics worry that instead of being clever solutions they simply reinforce the existing poverty and inequality. How can a tech giant solve the problems of the developing world when people need water not wifi? We ask, are smart cities dumb? Presenter: Kavita Puri Producer: Jordan Dunbar Image: Sunrise in New York City Credit: Gary Hershorn/Getty Images
07/03/19·24m 12s

Can radicalised kids recover?

Tens of thousands of children have been forced to join militia or terror groups in recent years. The Inquiry looks at conflicts around the world to find out what it takes to rehabilitate a child who has witnessed or taken part in violent extremism. We hear from experts who say it is as important to mend the community as much as the child. And we consider the position of stateless children, including those who have never been registered anywhere and those whose nationality is in dispute. If they end up belonging nowhere, can they ever recover? Presenter: Feranak Amidi Producer: Rosamund Jones Image: Children holding guns Credit: Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images
28/02/19·23m 25s

How do we stop young people killing themselves?

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally. But innovative and unexpected ways to tackle this public health issue are emerging. From Nigeria to Finland, ordinary people and experts are putting their own experiences and expertise to use in coming up with ways that help prevent deaths in their communities. School timetables, video games and social media are among some of the new ways being trialled to cut deaths and break the taboo surrounding youth suicide. We ask what can be done to stop young people taking their own lives? Presenter: Kavita Puri Producer: Lucy Proctor (A young man watches the sunrise. Photo credit: Chalabala/ Getty Images)
21/02/19·23m 29s

Why don't we care about Yemen?

Three million people in Yemen have been forced from their homes, and the dead are estimated to number many tens of thousands. But, compared to similar conflicts, global attention has been slight. The Inquiry asks why. It explores how the media has told the Yemeni story, and the impact valuable arms sales have had on international pressure – or the lack of it – to bring the conflict to an end. There are other factors too. The conflict in Yemen has created countless refugees, but they have not fled beyond the country’s borders. And Yemen’s divisive history has created a diaspora community that struggles to speak with one voice. What will it take to shine a brighter light on Yemen? Presenter: Kavita Puri Producer: Rosamund Jones (A woman holds her baby who is suffering from severe malnutrition, in Marib, Yemen, December 2018. Photo Credit: Said Ibicioglu/Getty Images)
14/02/19·23m 35s

What’s so scary about Huawei?

The tech giant has had a meteoric rise over the last ten years. It has overtaken Apple in the global smartphone market, and its equipment is in telecommunications systems in 170 countries worldwide. But Huawei now finds itself at the centre of a global scandal. Its chief financial officer - the daughter of the company’s founder - is under house arrest in Canada, accused of selling telecom equipment to Iran in contravention of US sanctions. A week later, a US court charged the whole company with bank fraud, obstruction of justice and theft of technology from rival T-Mobile. The company has been banned in New Zealand and Australia, and there are moves in the US to stop government employees from buying their products. Critics say if it wins the contracts for the new 5G network being created globally, it could give the Chinese government control over everything from smart phones, to cars, to pacemakers in other countries. So why has the success story soured? This week, we ask: what’s so scary about Huawei? Presenter: Kavita Puri Producer: Jordan Dunbar
07/02/19·24m 31s

Why Can’t So Many Children Read?

More children than ever before attend school – so why have reading rates been so slow to improve? In some countries teachers are absent from class one day every week, in others early years education barely exists. And many children are taught to read in languages they do not speak. The Inquiry explores what reading skills get measured, and whether they are the right ones. And it asks how the quality of literacy education could best be improved. Presenter: Kavita Puri Producer: Rosamund Jones (image: Young school boy writing on a blackboard in Kenya. Photo Credit:Anthony Asael/Getty images)
31/01/19·24m 2s

Should We Fear ‘Designer Babies’?

In November 2018, a Chinese scientist stunned the world by announcing that he had successfully edited the genes of two embryos. These twins had their DNA changed to try and make them resistant to HIV, it was only successful in one. Shock and outrage followed as the media proclaimed that the age of the designer baby had arrived and we had opened a door that could never be closed. The Chinese government ordered an inquiry and the scientist rumoured to be put under house arrest. For many in the genetics community it had only been a matter of time until this happened. The game changer came in the form of a new technology known as CRISPR, a relatively simple and cheap way of changing genes. One that could be used in fertility clinics worldwide. Does this now mean an age of elite super humans could be born to the ultra-rich? Children created with superior traits, tall, beautiful and hyper intelligent. The truth is not so simple. This week we ask: should we fear ‘designer babies’? Producer: Jordan Dunbar Presenter: Michael Blastland (picture: foetus in utero /Getty images)
24/01/19·24m 0s

What Would It Take to Impeach Trump?

Ever since Donald Trump took office in 2016 his critics have been focussed on getting rid of him. As the Mueller probe into Russian collusion in the presidential election heads into its last six months, several members of President Trump’s inner circle have been convicted of serious crimes. For some, it’s only a matter of time before Trump himself is implicated. For others, the evidence so far is simply not substantial enough. With Democrats now in control of Congress, the votes are there to impeach Trump and send him for trial in the Senate. But what would it take to get the two thirds majority needed to remove him from office? Producer: Lucy Proctor Presenter: Victoria Uwonkunda (Photo: Protesters outside of the Fox News Channel headquarters demand the resignation of President Donald Trump. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
17/01/19·24m 11s

Can We Stop a Mass Extinction?

Human activity is sending animals and plants extinct. But there is a fightback going on. Scientists all over the world are coming up with radical solutions to save them - from transplanting polar bears, to “de-extincting” a very strange frog. And experts say each one of us can make a difference. So is it too late to save the planet, or can we stop a mass extinction? Contributors include: Dr Simon Clulow – Macquarie University, Australia Dr Karen Poiani – CEO, Island Conservation Professor Jane Hill – University of York, UK Professor Thomas Elmqvist – Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University Presenter: Feranak Amidi Producer: Beth Sagar-Fenton (image: Romeo, the Sehuencas water frog / Courtesy of Global Wildlife Conservation, Austin Tx USA)
10/01/19·24m 4s

Are We Heading for Another Mass Extinction?

This week we’re looking at nothing less than the state of life on earth. The planet has seen mass extinctions before, periods of widespread and dramatic species loss. Some now fear human activity is driving another one: land cleared for farms, homes and roads; waters filled with pollution and emptied of fish; skies choked with gasses causing climate change. But does it add up to a mass extinction? In the first of a two-part series, we examine the evidence of species loss and compare it with the geological record. Presenter: Neal Razzell Producers: Josephine Casserly and Siobhan O’Connell (Image: Dinosaur skeleton, Credit: Getty images)
03/01/19·24m 0s

How Did We Get Hooked on Vitamins?

Millions of us take a vitamin tablet every day - how did they become so popular? We follow the rise and rise of vitamins from their discovery just a century ago, to the multi-billion dollar market of today. The story of how the vitamin supplement entered our daily lives takes us from the targeted guilt-tripping of concerned mothers, to the use of vitamins as a weapon against the Nazis, via a plan for vitamin doughnuts. Experts question whether most of us need to take them at all – so how did we get hooked on vitamins? Contributors include: Dr Lisa Rogers – World Health Organization Catherine Price – Author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food Dr Salim Al-Gailani - Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge Matthew Oster – Head of Consumer Health, Euromonitor International Presenter: Kavita Puri Producer: Beth Sagar-Fenton (Photo: a woman shopping at 'Mr Vitamins', a chain of supplement outlets in Sydney, Australia. Credit: Saeed Khan/Getty Images)
27/12/18·24m 18s

What did #MeToo Really Achieve?

#MeToo became viral following allegations of sexual harassment and violence at the hands of Harvey Weinstein. Now women and men in their millions around the world have been mobilised by the hashtag to share their stories of abuse. But its founder Tarana Burke fears the movement has moved away from its original remit to give a voice to victims of sexual violence. She worries it is being talked about as a vindictive plot against men. So what is the reality on the ground around the globe? We hear about the impact of the #MeToo in India and Iran. What did it really achieve? Presenter: Kavita Puri Producer: Jim Frank (South Korean demonstrators at a rally for the country's #MeToo movement in Seoul, 2018. Photo credit: Jung Yeon-Je/Getty Images)
20/12/18·23m 58s

Is this the Most Dangerous Time to be a Journalist?

Journalists have been subject to more killings, and increasing levels of violence and intimidation in 2018, according to monitoring groups. This year alone more than 30 have been murdered, including Mexican veteran journalist Carlos Domínguez Rodríguez who was stabbed to death in January, 5 journalists shot dead at their office in Annapolis in the US in June, and the story that has dominated the news, the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at his consulate in Istanbul in October. The suspects range from organised criminals to state-sponsored assassins. And it’s not just about murder – imprisonments and intimidation are also on the rise. Why should the public care? What’s behind the surge? And how can the press and the public fight back? We talk to those journalists and activists from across the world to find out: is this the most dangerous time to be a journalist? Contributors include: Pavla Holcova - Czech Centre for Investigative Journalism Sothearin Yeang – former journalist, Radio Free Asia Omar Faruk Osman - Secretary General of the National Union of Somali Journalists Jan-Albert Hootsen – Mexico representative, Committee to Protect Journalists Presenter: Victoria Uwonkunda Producer: Beth Sagar-Fenton UPDATE: Since we recorded this programme in November three more journalists have been murdered, including a radio presenter and reporter shot dead in Syria. (Image: Protesters hold placards during a rally against corruption and to pay tribute to murdered journalist Jan Kuciak in Bratislava, Slovakia. Photo Credit:Joe Klamar/Getty Images)
13/12/18·23m 48s

Why Is Brexit So Hard?

The UK voted to leave the European Union in June 2016. More than two years on, it’s still not clear how that will happen, or what will come after. Consensus within Westminster seems impossible, and if the deal currently on offer from Brussels is voted down on December 11, the UK could crash out of the EU with no deal at all. What makes it so hard to come up with a solution? The BBC has followed all of the twists and turns of the Brexit negotiations in minute detail. In this special programme, four correspondents from across the organisation give their take on what makes Brexit such a fraught process. Katya Adler, Europe Editor Chris Morris, Reality Check Correspondent Alex Forsyth, Political Correspondent John Campbell, Northern Ireland Business and Economics Correspondent Presenter: Edward Stourton Producer: Lucy Proctor (Brexit Map - Getty Creative)
06/12/18·23m 41s

Is the West at War with Russia?

There’s talk of a new Cold War between Russia and the West. What responsibility does the West carry for the dismal state of relations? Russian leaders say Nato has expanded far beyond the borders that were agreed when the Soviet Union collapsed and a new European order was thrashed out. They see troops and hardware stationed close to their towns and cities as highly provocative. America and the EU are seen as meddling in the internal affairs of Russia and the states surrounding it by funding pro-democracy movements and helping to topple regimes. And a new arms race is underway. Russian military leaders perceive an active threat from the West – are they right? The previous edition was: Is Russia At War With The West? Presenter: Kavita Puri Producer: Lucy Proctor
29/11/18·23m 10s

Is Russia at War with the West?

There are currently a number of serious allegations made in the West against Russia. They include the attempted murder of the former spy Sergei Skripal on British soil; interference in the 2016 US election; the hacking of the American electricity grid. To some, it feels like the West is under attack. But do any of these actions amount to war? Olga Khovostunova, a Russian media analyst, describes the effect of the collapse of the Soviet Union on the psyche of President Putin and his close knit circle of security chiefs. For them, the threat from the West is real. Norwegian foreign correspondent Oystein Borgen says Russia is engaged in a hybrid war with the West, in which Norway has become a little-known front line. Lawyer Michael Schmitt, from the US Naval College, sets out how Russian security chiefs, almost certainly surrounded by a team of international law experts, operate in the grey zone of international law. Political scientist Kimberley Marten explains how private military contractors operating in Ukraine, Libya, the Central African Republic and Syria give the Russian state plausible deniability in conflict zones. Presenter: Kavita Puri Producer: Lucy Proctor (Photo: Cyber warfare. Credit: Getty images)
22/11/18·23m 9s

What Makes A Pariah State?

There are different routes to pariah status. North Korea, with its gross human rights abuses and illicit nuclear weapons programme tops the list and represents the classic pariah - completely ostracized from the international system. Another sure-fire way to become a pariah is to sponsor international terrorism, like Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya in the 20th century. But as his example shows, international rehabilitation can happen almost overnight. Then there are less clear cut pariahs like Zimbabwe, condemned by the West but very much part of the regional African system. Four expert witnesses examine these cases and explore whether the notion of a pariah state is meaningful in the 21st century multi-polar world. Presenter: Kavita Puri Producer: Lucy Proctor (Photo: Ostracized /Getty Images)
15/11/18·23m 48s

How Did We Mess up Antibiotics?

Warnings about the approaching post-antibiotics apocalypse have been sounding for years. There are now strains of deadly bacteria that are resistant to all antibiotics. This means that doctors are faced with patients who have completely untreatable infections. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide are dying due to antibiotic resistance - and this number is set to rise rapidly. If we carry on like this, scientists predict we will return to a pre-antibiotic era, where organ transplants, chemotherapy and C-sections are impossible. We have come a long way since 1928, when the famous chance discovery of penicillin led to a golden age in which antibiotics were seen as wonder drugs, heralding in an age of huge medical advances and increased human life spans. But by the 1990s we were running out of new antibiotics and infections were again a killer. How did this happen? Our expert witnesses are medic and historian, Dr Eric Sidebottom, Dr Scott Podolsky of Harvard Medical School, journalist Maryn McKenna and infectious disease specialist Brad Spellberg. (Photo: A depiction EHEC bacteria. Credit: HZI/Getty Images)
08/11/18·22m 58s

Is the China-Africa Love Affair Over?

The burgeoning relationship between China and Africa has been one of the great economic stories of the 21st century. Billions of dollars of investment and loans from China have created radical change in many African countries. But not everyone is happy, with some even claiming this is a new form of colonialism. As signs of discontent grow in countries like Zambia, and investment numbers start to slip down, we ask: is the China-Africa love affair over? Contributors include: Dr Lauren Johnston – Research Fellow, University of Melbourne Professor Lina Benabdallah – Assistant Professor of Politics & International Affairs, Wake Forest University Laura Miti – Executive Director, Alliance for Community Action Professor Stephen Chan – Professor of World Politics, School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) Presenter: Linda Yueh Producer: Beth Sagar-Fenton (A Chinese railway worker drills holes on the newly put railway tracks in Dondo, outside Luanda, Angola. Photo credit: Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images )
01/11/18·22m 59s

What Went Wrong in Indonesia?

Thousands died when an earthquake and tsunami struck Palu, Indonesia – but could more lives have been saved? Accusations have been made of a host of failings: alert systems that were out of action, sirens that didn’t sound, a government slow to give emergency help - even people who were too busy filming the disaster to run away. How much truth is there to this? Was everything done to warn people beforehand, and rescue people in the aftermath? We speak to experts on the ground and around the world to find out. Contributors include: Lian Gogali – Founder, Institute Mosintuwu Harald Spahn – Consultant geologist 2006-2013, German-Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System project Harkunti Pertiwi Rahayu – Chair, Indonesian Association of Disaster Experts & Assistant Professor, Bandung Institute of Technology Mark Astarita – Former Director of Fundraising, British Red Cross Presenter: Kavita Puri Producer: Beth Sagar-Fenton (A man looks for his belongings amid the debris of his destroyed house in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Sept 29 2018. Photo credit: Bay Ismoyo/Getty Images)
18/10/18·23m 7s

Can Delhi Clean Up Its Air?

Delhi is one of the worst polluted cities in the world. Radical ideas like skyscraper-sized air purifiers are being proposed to clean the smog – can they work? There are lessons to be learned from other cities around the world about how to manage emissions. But will any city’s air ever be really clean? (Image: A heavily polluted street in Delhi. Photo Credit: Arvind Yadav/Getty Images)
11/10/18·23m 1s

Should We Rethink the Ban on Child Labour?

Most countries in the world have signed up to the idea that no child should work at all under a certain age – but is this the best approach? This week Nicolle, a 17 year old from Peru, has been part of a delegation of child labourers visiting the UN to ask them to rethink their ban on child labour. She’s been working since she was 8 years old, and says not only did her family need the money she earned, but working brought her status and respect. Some charities and experts working with child labourers agree that there are safe forms of child work. They say non-hazardous work can allow children to help their families, gain life skills, and even pay for the school uniforms and equipment they need to stay in education. But the UN and other former child labourers disagree, saying an outright ban is the only way to protect children from exploitation. We ask whether it’s time to rethink the ban on child labour. Contributors include: Benjamin Smith – Senior Officer for Child Labour, International Labour Organization Jo Boyden – Professor of International Development, Oxford University Zulema Lopez – former child labourer Kavita Ratna - Director of Advocacy and Fundraising, Concerned for Working Children Presenter: Helena Merriman Producer: Beth Sagar-Fenton Image: Girls collecting firewood in Eritrea, 2004 Credit: Scott Wallace/Getty Images
04/10/18·24m 3s

Is Genetic Testing Overrated?

DNA testing is big business. Millions of people worldwide are finding out about their ancestry and genetic health traits by sending off a spit sample to one of the big consumer genetic testing companies. But what do your genes really tell you? And could genetic testing have harmful consequences for our health and for society? Four experts chart the rise of consumer genetic testing and examine the claims made and our expectations about the results. Presenter: Helena Merriman Producer: Lucy Proctor (image: Tube collecting saliva for dna testing of genetic markers. Photo By BSIP/UIG/Getty Images)
27/09/18·23m 36s

The Inquiry Junior - Why are North and South Korea divided?

The story of how a line on a map becomes a hard state border that no one can cross. Korea was ruled as one Kingdom for a thousand years. They valued poetry and scholars helped rule the country. But their Kingdom was invaded by Japan. When Japan left, Russia and America raced to take their place. Amid frantic organising, a line dividing Korea in two was suggested. Who knew that line would become the front line in a war, eventually creating a hard border between two new countries? This is a special edition that 10-14 year olds can also enjoy, but if you are not in that age bracket we hope that there’s something in it for you too. It’s a trial and we’d love to know what you think. Email or tweet @bbctheinquiry – thanks to Niko, Christina and Sophie for your feedback. The Inquiry will be back to normal next week. (image 2018: A North Korean student attends a class at Kang Pan Sok revolutionary school outside of Pyongyang. Credit: Ed Jones/Getty Images)
20/09/18·23m 49s

The Inquiry Junior - What’s Killing Africa’s Elephants?

This is a special edition that younger listeners aged 10 to 14 can also enjoy. If you’re no longer in that bracket, don’t worry, The Inquiry as you know and love it will be back to normal after the next two episodes. It’s an experiment and we’d love to know what you think of it. Please email us or tweet @bbctheinquiry. What’s Killing Africa’s Elephants? Poachers, jewellery makers and angry farmers: the story behind the drop in elephant numbers across Africa. Presenters: Priscilla Ngethe and Kate Lamble. Image: African elephants (Credit: BBC)
13/09/18·23m 8s

Is Women’s Sport In Trouble?

Ever since it began, women’s sport has been beset by a fundamental question: who gets to compete as a woman? It’s a debate which is more heated now than ever. That’s because in a few months, athletics’ governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, will introduce controversial new rules, regulating the participation of athletes with disorders of sexual development, commonly known as intersex conditions. It’s a debate that goes far beyond sport - throwing up difficult questions about what separates men from women. In this edition of The Inquiry we plunge into this debate, which is troubling women’s sport. Presenter: Helena Merriman Producer: Josephine Casserly (image: Women's Athletics 200m at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo Credit: Yang Huafeng/China News/Getty Images)
06/09/18·23m 38s

How Do You Run A Hacking Operation?

Thousands of cyberattacks occur every single day. Some hackers steal credit card details or pilfer money from online bank accounts. Others cripple businesses, or even governments. As tensions mount in cyberspace, what are countries doing to strengthen their cyber power and build a hacking army? In this Inquiry, we delve into some of the world’s most intriguing cyber operations – including Iran, Russia and North Korea. (Black Hat DEF CON cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas, Nevada USA. Photo Credit: Ann Hermes/Getty images),
30/08/18·23m 16s

Who’s in the Driving Seat of the US – Saudi Relationship?

It’s graduation day at the end of a religious summer school in Yemen’s Saada province. A class of young boys are off on a trip to a shrine. In a land of war, they are happy - jostling and full of energy on their school bus. Moments later, most of the boys are dead. A Saudi-led coalition airstrike has hit their bus. The bomb that was dropped by the Saudis was made in the United States, and Saudi Arabia is the America’s single biggest customer when it comes to buying arms. Critics argue that Donald Trump is quietly escalating America’s role in the Saudi-led war on Yemen, and many, including US Congress, have begun to question the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Will the US support Saudi Arabia no matter what? So on this week’s Inquiry we’re asking, who’s in the driving seat when it comes to the US – Saudi alliance? Presenter: Krupa Padhy Producer: Marie Keyworth Researcher: Dearbhail Starr (Photo: U.S. President Trump meets Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Al Saud, (c) Getty Images)
23/08/18·23m 2s

Could We See Another Aids Pandemic?

The year 2030 was set by the UN as the world's deadline for halting the spread of HIV, stopping Aids deaths, and having the first generation since 1980 born and raised completely free from infection. But at last month’s 22nd International Aids conference the mood was less optimistic. Deaths from the disease, having stabilised, are now beginning to increase, with some people fearing the disease is now poised to add massively to its global death toll. As global funding for Aids decreases, and drug resistant strains of HIV rise, this week’s Inquiry asks, could we see another Aids pandemic? (image: HIV and Aids activists in Amsterdam, Netherlands take part in the protest march Towards Zero Together. Credit: Shutterstock)
16/08/18·23m 4s

Can We Control 3D Printing?

It was May 2013 when Cody Wilson went public with his 3D-printed handgun. An online video showed the crude plastic object fixed on top of a tripod. The trigger was pulled from a distance by someone pulling a long piece of string. Since that first successful firing, 3D printed guns and the debate around them has come a long way. The design for Cody Wilson’s plastic firearm, dubbed the ‘Liberator’ has been downloaded from the internet nearly 100,000 times. The US government has tried to block its publication. But is the cat already out of the bag? Does the 3D printing revolution mean that people anywhere can print anything they want, as long as they get their hands on the right design? Can we control 3D printing? (image: A three dimensional (3D) printer creating a product / Shutterstock)
09/08/18·22m 59s

Is WhatsApp Fuelling Vigilantism?

In India, false rumours about child kidnappers, spread on WhatsApp, have prompted fearful mobs to kill innocent people. In May 2018 a video went viral. The original, a Pakistani child safety video, had been edited to show two men on a motorbike driving up to a group of children playing cricket in the street. They swoop up a small boy in a red t-shirt and drive away. As the video spread across India people started receiving messages in their WhatsApp groups, some claiming to be from the local police, saying a gang of 250 to 300 people from outside their region had entered the area. It appealed to parents not to lose sight of their children. Rumours like this have led to the deaths of at least 18 innocent people across India over the last few months. But what is it about this simple messaging platform - one that a fifth of the planet use every single day - that breeds intimacy, fuels emotions, and spreads fear? This week on The Inquiry we ask: Is WhatsApp fuelling vigilantism and why? Image: A sign that says 'WhatsApp Neigbourhood Prevention'. Photo Copyright: Antal Guszlev
02/08/18·23m 5s

Is Africa’s Longest War Really Over?

It’s a July morning in Ethiopia and Addisalem Hadigu, a journalist in his 50s, boards a flight to neighbouring Eritrea. But it’s no ordinary plane. This ‘bird of peace’ is the first commercial flight to operate between the two countries since 1998, and Addisalem is flying to see his wife and two daughters – the family he hasn’t seen in 20 years. Reunions like this are happening across Ethiopia and Eritrea, after the two countries finally agreed a peace deal and ended Africa’s longest war. But will it last? In this week’s Inquiry, we examine the ties that hold Eritrea and Ethiopia together, and the forces which could push them apart.
26/07/18·23m 51s

What does Iran think of the West?

As relations with Iran and the West reach a new low point with the collapse earlier this year of the nuclear deal and the reintroduction of strict economic sanctions we ask: what does Iran think of the West? Pooneh Ghoddoosi explores a long and tortuous history of outside interference in the country. It dates back to the Western desire for Iran's rich oil reserves in the early 20th century, and continues through the CIA-backed coup in 1953, which strengthened the Shah's grip on the throne. The Western powers supported Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War, while the US is believed to have unleashed a highly effective cyber-weapon against the Iranian nuclear programme. Iran has reasons to be equally suspicious of Moscow - with the Russian Empire seizing large parts of historical Persia in the 19th century. Producer: Matthew Chapman Image: An Iranian cleric and a woman walk past an anti-US mural outside the former US embassy in Tehran, Iran (Credit: European Photopress Agency)
19/07/18·23m 36s

Can We Ever Understand Animals?

By the time she died at the age of 46, Koko the gorilla was a global superstar. Not only could she apparently understand two thousand words of spoken English and convey her own thoughts and feelings using sign language, but she was even able to give her own pet kitten a name. Some say that it’s impossible to know whether Koko really understood what she was communicating, or whether she was just trying to please people by signing certain things. Either way, her death raises questions about animals, and the ways in which we try to understand them. On this week’s Inquiry we examine how recent discoveries are bringing us closer to understanding our fellow creatures. We reveal some surprising animal capabilities, and ask whether we can ever know what it’s like to be anything other than human. image: European Hamster (Shutterstock)
12/07/18·23m 32s

Can We Eat Our Way Out Of Climate Change?

Food production accounts for as much global greenhouse gas emissions as all forms of transport combined. That’s why many scientists think we can’t tackle climate change without addressing what we eat. So – in this week’s repeat Inquiry – we’re looking at alternative climate-friendly diets and asking what it would take to move the world towards them. Presenter: Helena Merriman (Photo: Friends having a vegetarian meal. Credit: Shutterstock)
05/07/18·22m 58s

Are We Heading for a Trade War?

The world’s two biggest economies are on the brink of a costly standoff. The US has announced tariffs of 25% on a swathe of Chinese goods, starting July 6th. China has vowed to respond in kind. ‘If someone wants a trade war,’ China’s Commerce Minister said, ‘we will fight to the end.’ President Trump is bullish, threatening further tariffs and tweeting: ‘trade wars are good, and easy to win.’ But the WTO has warned that a trade war would have a ‘severe’ impact on the global economy. We look at the forces driving the conflict and how each side might back down. With Helen Grady. (Image: Cargo containers with USA and Chinese flags on their sides crashing together. Credit: Shutterstock)
28/06/18·22m 59s

Can You Train People To Be Less Prejudiced?

Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson were waiting to meet a business associate in Starbucks. After two minutes, the store manager called the police and the African-American men were removed from the café in handcuffs. The Starbucks CEO has described the incident as “racial profiling”, claiming that the manager acted on unconscious racial bias. In response, he closed 8,000 branches of the coffee giant so his staff could attend anti-bias training. It’s not just Starbucks - diversity training, such as this, has become a multi-million dollar global business. On this week’s Inquiry, we examine why these biases are so ingrained and what we can do to eradicate them. (Photo: Two little boys on the grass. Credit: Shutterstock)
21/06/18·23m 20s

How Do You Make People Have Babies?

More than half the world’s countries are not producing enough babies to offset the number of deaths. Russia is the latest to experience a dip in the fertility rate, despite the government rolling out measures to encourage people to have more children. They have tried mortgage subsidies, giving couples days off to have sex, and rewarding fruitful mothers with the grand prize of a refrigerator. But the fertility rate continues to drop. It is a situation that governments in Spain, Singapore, Germany, South Korea and Japan all face. Many are calling this a demographic crisis, so this week we are asking how do you make people have babies? Presenter: Helena Merriman Producer: Xavier Zapata (Photo: Smiling baby, Credit: Shutterstock)
14/06/18·23m 2s

Is Raqqa Recovering After Islamic State?

Last year, the world watched as Islamic State was driven from Raqqa, the city they claimed as their capital. The UN has estimated that around 80% of the city’s buildings were destroyed or damaged in the battle. Eight months later, many Raqqans are returning home. Amid the rubble, life is slowly returning to Raqqa. This week, we investigate what life is like after Islamic State. (Picture: A view of destroyed buildings at the frontline in Raqqa, Syria October 16, 2017. Credit: Reuters / Erik De Castro)
07/06/18·22m 57s

Can Computers Predict Crimes That Haven’t Happened Yet?

Chicago resident Robert McDaniel was surprised when a police commander showed up at his home to warn him that they were watching him. With only a misdemeanour conviction and arrests for a number of suspected minor offenses, he had somehow made it onto the Chicago Police Department’s so called ‘heat list’ - a list of names created by algorithm of those deemed to be most at risk of either being a victim or perpetrator of violent crime. In this Inquiry we look at whether computers can predict future of when, where and by whom crimes will be committed. Can analysing ‘big data’ help target scarce resources in more intelligent ways? Or are the algorithms exacerbating the already heightened tensions between police and the public? How effective are some of the ‘predictive policing’ systems already in use? The inner workings of many of these programmes are protected by private copyright laws too so how can you challenge the decision made by a secret algorithm? (Photo:Chicago Police officers standing next to a police car and a taped off crime scene. Credit: Joshua Lott/AFP/Getty Images)
31/05/18·23m 29s

Is North Korea Broke?

North Korea has been under sanctions for many years. But this isolated economy is showing signs of life that might surprise you. From hacking and counterfeit money to coffee shops in Pyongyang, we investigate what life is like in North Korea and how the state makes its money. Presenter: Celia Hatton Producer: Josephine Casserly (Photo: A woman shopping at the Kwangbok, or 'liberation', department store in Pyongyang. Credit: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)
24/05/18·22m 56s

What Makes a Revolution Successful?

Armenia's recent successful uprising is being celebrated as unprecedented for a former Soviet state. The so-called “velvet revolution” began on the last day in March with a protest walk. It ended two weeks and 100km later with the government overthrown. Yet revolutions rarely triumph. In this Inquiry we look at the factors that need to come together for such a revolution to succeed. Do they always need to be bloody and brutal or can non-violence resistance be as effective? How important are state institutions like the military to determining success? And what role do international relationships have to play? (Photo: Supporters of Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan celebrate at the central square of Yerevan, 2 May 2018. Credit: Vano Shlamov/AFP)
17/05/18·23m 12s

Trump and Kim: Can They Close the Deal?

Not long ago, they were calling each other names and raising fears of a nuclear war. Now, it is feasible they could together win the Nobel Peace Prize - if they can reach a deal. The mooted meeting between America’s Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un could go wrong in many ways. Mr Trump has already talked of walking out. But in a spirit of optimism, this week’s Inquiry hears from those who have brokered some of the world’s most unlikely pacts for advice on how to strike the deal of a lifetime. With Helena Merriman. (Photo: President Trump, Credit: Zach Gibson/Getty Images; Photo: Kim Jong Un, Credit: Korea Summit Press Pool/Getty Images)
10/05/18·23m 1s

What’s the Real Difference Between the Sexes?

In late December 2017, one of the world’s leading neurobiologists died of pancreatic cancer. His name was Ben Barres. He was an extraordinary scientist, advancing our understanding of how the brain works, in particular how certain cells in the brain may contribute to degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. He had also lived the last 20 years of his life as a transgender man. He used his unique perspective of having ‘lived in the shoes of a woman and…the shoes of a man’ to become an outspoken opponent of gender bias. As the voice of the transgender community continues to grow in influence, what can wider society learn from people who’ve been in this rare position of living life as both a perceived man and woman? What does their experience tell us about the nature of gender bias? And does it help us fix it? (Photo: People hold a giant transgender flag at a gay parade. Credit: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)
03/05/18·23m 26s

What’s Killing Black American Babies?

Black infants in America are twice as likely to die in their first year as white infants. This stark disparity has long puzzled doctors and researchers. Why are so many African-American babies dying? (Photo: A medical assistant measures the head of a newborn baby during a check-up in the USA. Credit: John Moore / Getty Images)
26/04/18·22m 58s

Are Nerve Agents Out of Control?

Syria, Salisbury, Malaysia Airport – all sites of nerve agent attacks carried out in the past couple of years. Yet hundreds of countries have supposedly destroyed their stockpiles of chemical weapons. It’s also illegal to produce and use them. We look to four of the world’s most experienced chemists and researchers to tell us more about the nerve agents used in these recent attacks, how they are regulated and the ongoing problems of getting rid of them. (Photo: Members of the emergency services in green biohazard encapsulated suits. Credit: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)
19/04/18·23m 19s

How Did China Ban Ivory?

China’s ivory market is now closed for business. The country has long been one of the world's biggest consumers of ivory. But as of this year, buying and selling ivory in China is illegal. Carving factories, workshops and jewellers have all shut their doors. How did this happen? And will it be enough to save the African elephant? (Photo: An African Elephant throws mud onto himself, Mpala Research Centre, Kenya. Credit: Simon Maina/Getty Images)
12/04/18·23m 27s

How Do Dictators Survive So Long?

When Robert Mugabe was deposed last year, he had ruled Zimbabwe for nearly four decades. How do dictators and authoritarians stay in power? James Tilley, a professor of politics at Oxford University in the UK, finds out what's in the dictators' survival guide. How do they control ordinary people and stop revolts? How do they stop rivals from taking over? And why are elections often helpful to securing their rule? Producer: Bob Howard. (Photo: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe looks on during his inauguration and swearing-in ceremony on August 22, 2013 Credit: ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)
05/04/18·22m 57s

Is Plastic Doomed?

The tide of public opinion is turning on plastic. The image of a whale with plastic stuck in its mouth on the BBC nature documentary Blue Planet 2 woke people up across the world to the reality of plastic pollution in our oceans. Experts think that by 2050, there could be more plastic than fish in the sea. Communities across the globe are saying that something must be done. But does this change in public mood spell disaster for plastic? And if so, what would replace it? We go from Europe, to the US and Indonesia to examine the supply and demand of plastic. Presenter: Michael Blastland Producers: Josephine Casserly and John Murphy
28/03/18·23m 6s

Have We Always Felt This Tired?

“Humans are the only species that willingly deprive themselves from sleep”. Ever since fire was discovered, we have traded off sleep time for other activities - from creating stone tools to partying. As our technology progressed, the list of things to do rather than sleep just got longer. But with sleep deprivation now a growing health problem, could we be reaching our limits? Or is tiredness part of our condition? In this week’s programme, an evolutionary biologist, a historian and a neuroscientist give us their take on whether we are now any more tired than our ancestors. We hear what makes human sleep unique and how it has evolved in surprising ways. And finally we hear from a woman with a dream – that we may never have to sleep again. Presenter: James Fletcher Producer: Estelle Doyle and Sarah Shebbeare This programme was first broadcast in July 2017. (Photo: A woman shows signs of tiredness as she counts ballot cards. Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images)
22/03/18·23m 25s

What’s Happening to IS Fighters Now?

From courtrooms and prisons to rehab centres and martial arts training. We look to Europe, Iraq, Central Asia and Saudi Arabia to investigate how they are dealing with Islamic State militants. The defeat of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has raised a new, global challenge. While Iraq is funnelling huge numbers of Islamic State suspects through its courts, thousands of foreign fighters are returning to their home countries. What is happening to former IS fighters? (Photo: A man takes down a poster of the IS militant group's flag. Credit: Getty Images)
15/03/18·23m 13s

Is Facebook in Trouble?

It is one of the largest, most profitable companies in the world, with billions of users, but more and more questions are being asked of Facebook. Accused of allowing the spread of fake news and hate speech, and of turning a blind eye to election meddling by Russia, Facebook is in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has committed himself to “fixing Facebook.” With the help of experts in the field, in the US, India and Germany, we ask if Facebook really is in trouble. Presenter: Helena Merriman Producers: John Murphy and Josephine Casserly (Photo: Indian demonstrators protest against Facebook's Free Basics initiative in Bangalore on 2 January, 2016. Credit: Manjunath Kiran/Getty Images)
08/03/18·23m 34s

What Happens When a Cyber-attack Strikes?

The US and UK governments have accused Russia of orchestrating the most damaging cyber-attack in history. It caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage in over 60 countries. This programme tells the story of the attack as it unfolded across the globe. With the help of the world’s leading cyber security experts we take a forensic look at how the attack began, the extraordinary way in which it spread, and examine the international repercussions. (A laptop displays a message after being infected by a ransomware as part of a worldwide cyberattack. Photo Credit: Rob Engelaar/Getty Images)
01/03/18·23m 47s

How Do You Close The Gender Pay Gap?

Women earn less than men in every country in the world. Women are now more educated than ever before. But, on average, they don't take home the same in their pay packets. And laws against discrimination in the workplace haven't been enough to close the gap. This inequality in wages has proven difficult to shift. Governments, employers and unions are struggling to find solutions to this stubborn and deep-rooted problem. How do you close the gender pay gap? Presenter: Krupa Padhy Producers: Josephine Casserly and Nicola Kelly (image: Women from Dawson Street Child Care take part in a protest march as part of a campaign for equal pay in Melbourne, Australia. Credit: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
22/02/18·23m 8s

Why is Cape Town Running Out of Water?

It is feared than in a few months’ time Cape Town could run out of water. The city is planning for so-called Day Zero when the supply is switched off and people will have to collect water rations. Cape Town is an extreme example of what is now a global phenomenon of water scarcity. We investigate how the city got so close to the brink, and whether there’s anything that other cities around the world can do to avoid a similar fate. (image: A man collects drinking water from taps that are fed by a spring in Newlands,Cape Town at the foot of Table Mountain. Photo credit: Rodger Bosch/Getty Images.)
15/02/18·23m 2s

Why Are the Taliban So Resilient?

The Taliban have staged devastating attacks in the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul, in recent weeks. And a BBC study has discovered the group is active across the majority of the country – pushing beyond its traditional southern stronghold into eastern, western and northern parts. Seventeen years after the Taliban were toppled by a US-led invasion, it is clear the insurgent group has not been defeated. Why are the Taliban so resilient? Presenter: Helena Merriman Producers: Ruth Alexander and Josephine Casserly
08/02/18·23m 34s

How Did We Get Hooked on Plastic?

The story of how the search for a material to replace ivory changed our lives forever. In the 19th century a billiard ball company placed an advert in a newspaper offering $10,000 to anyone who could come up with a substitute for ivory. There was growing concern that companies were hunting elephants into extinction so they could use their ivory for billiard balls, buttons and umbrella handles. The story that follows takes us from explosive factories that often went up in smoke to the modern world we find ourselves in today. How did plastics go from being a saviour of the environment to a cause for concern? How did we get hooked on plastic? Presenter: Helena Merriman Producer: Phoebe Keane Photo: A man checks used plastic bottles for recycling at a recycling station in Agartala Credit: ARINDAM DEY/AFP/Getty Images
01/02/18·23m 9s

What Does China Want in the South China Sea?

China has long been keen to assert its authority in the South China Sea. In recent years, it has undertaken a huge programme of island-building to stake its claim to the region. Fiery Cross, once a tiny reef, is now a fortified airbase. And this is just one of China’s seven artificial islands in the Sea. But China is not the only one. Bordered by seven states, many others also claim parts of the South China Sea as their own. Experts warn these hotly contested waters could be a flashpoint for conflict in 2018. Why is the South China Sea so important to China? (Photo: Fiery Cross. Credit: CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/DigitalGlobe)
25/01/18·23m 38s

What’s the Greatest Threat to Poland?

The EU’s launched the ‘nuclear option’ against Poland, the first time it’s triggered the disciplinary measure in its history. They say recent changes to the legal system mean there is a serious threat to the rule of law and as a punishment, Poland could lose its voting rights in the European Union. The ruling party say this is an attack on Poland and that the EU should not be telling them what to do. The government says that actually their judiciary is threatened by the legacy of communism which is why they have made the legal reforms. They also say they’re being singled out by the EU for their refusal to take refugees, which they claim pose a threat to their country. If you believe the government, there are lots of threats to Poland, but what is actually being threatened and is there something far greater at stake? What is the greatest threat to Poland? Presenter: Ruth Alexander Producer: Phoebe Keane (Photo: Right-wing nationalist protesters burn the European Union flag in 2015. Credit: Natalia Dobryszycka/AFP/Getty Images)
18/01/18·23m 21s

What is IS doing in the Philippines?

In 2017 the black flag of the Islamic State group flew in the southern Philippines as a mixture of local and foreign fighters attacked the Islamic City of Marawi. While the government did eventually regain control, it took five months to break the siege and many terrorist leaders escaped during the fighting. It's led to fears that the extremist violence could spread. In this Inquiry we investigate the long history of conflict which provided a fertile place for IS's Islamist ideas to grow, and ask how important the region is to IS now that they're retreating in the Middle East. (Image: Destroyed buildings in what was the main combat area in Marawi. Photo: Merlyn Manos/Getty Images)
11/01/18·23m 19s

Is Zero Tolerance the Right Approach for FGM?

In 1994 a United Nations conference, backed by 173 countries, announced that ‘female genital mutilation’ was a “violation of basic rights and a major lifelong risk to women’s health”. Agreeing it should end, international agencies and charities quickly swung into action, and over the next two decades millions were spent on campaigns to eradicate the practise around the world. Today though, pricking or cutting of the genitalia still happens to an estimated 3 million girls a year in 30 countries, and some experts are saying we should rethink how we tackle it. In this episode of The Inquiry we talk to four expert witnesses, all with very different views on what the next steps should be. This programme contains frank discussions of a physical and sexual nature. (Image: A demonstration against female genital mutilation at the Nairobi World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya. Credit: Marco Longari/Getty Images)
04/01/18·23m 58s

What’s The Point Of Bitcoin?

Making sense of the digital currency and the ideology of its founders, fans and future. In 2010 a developer spent 10,000 bitcoin to buy two pizzas. Seven and a half years later that was the equivalent of over $80m. Bitcoin has been exploding in value throughout 2017 as more and more people buy into the idea of a digital currency. Traditional financial institutions have even begun to get involved. But far from a mainstream investment, Bitcoin started life as an idea from the radical cypherpunk movement, who wanted to use decentralised technologies as a way to disrupt governments and corporations. In this edition of The Inquiry we trace the history and development of Bitcoin – and ask whether its future will stay true to its libertarian roots. (Image: The Digital Cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Photo Credit: Dan Kitwood/ Getty Images)
28/12/17·23m 22s

North Korea deep dive

What next for North Korea? Kim Jong-un's nuclear ambitions and their global repercussions are explored in this special, extended edition of the programme. After a year of repeated weapons testing by the secretive regime that’s sparked a war of words with the United States, Ruth Alexander brings together six expert witnesses to dive deep into the detail of what is one of the biggest geopolitical challenges of our time. Their discussion examines North Korea’s weapons capability, the mind-set of its leader, the chance of war breaking out and the possibilities of finding a diplomatic solution. (North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, flanked by vice-chair of the State Affairs Commission Choe Yong-Hae (L) at an opening ceremony. Photo credit: Ed Jones/Getty Images)
22/12/17·50m 40s

How Do We Rule The Universe?

Governing moon miners, asteroid hunters and space junk sounds pretty tricky, but we better get our act together. This year the majority of space launches included commercial enterprises. Space is no longer just the playground of governments but companies; companies that want to mine the moon for water that they could sell as rocket fuel, companies that want to mine the moon for helium -3 which could be sold and used as energy back on earth and companies that want to mine asteroids for platinum that they could sell for huge profits. But is this legal? The Outer Space Treaty, a set of laws written in the 1960s, says no state can conquer or own the moon or any other celestial body. So if you can’t own the moon, can you sell what you find on it? Perhaps it’s time for a new set of laws. So, how do we rule the universe? (digital illustration: Somewhere in the Universe: NASA's Kepler mission discovers a world orbiting two stars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech via Getty Images)
21/12/17·23m 37s

How Powerful is Facebook's Algorithm?

There is a place on the internet where almost two billion of us regularly go – many of us, every day. Facebook: the social network which Mark Zuckerberg started in his university dorm room and which has grown, in a little over a decade, into one of the most valuable companies in the world. But what does Facebook’s lines of computer code do with the data we give it – and what could it do in the future? Just how powerful is Facebook's algorithm? The answer will surprise you. Produced by Estelle Doyle and Sarah Shebbeare This programme was first broadcast in April 2017. (Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers a keynote address during Facebook's F8 conference in San Francisco, California. Credit: Getty Images)
14/12/17·23m 58s

Are We Missing a Bigger Opioid Crisis?

Forty-two Americans die every day from an overdose involving painkilling prescription opioids. President Donald Trump recently declared the US opioid epidemic a national public health emergency. Yet in the world’s poorest countries, cancer patients and people recovering from major surgery often get no effective pain relief at all. Why is access to prescription painkillers so unequal? And is the shortage of opioids in much of the world getting the attention it deserves? (Photo: View of poppies in a poppy field in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. Credit: Pedro Pardo/Getty Images)
07/12/17·24m 12s

What Would an Iran-Saudi Arabia War Look Like?

Missiles, fighter jets and mines waiting on the sea bed - war games in the gulf. Tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia is at an unprecedented level since a missile was intercepted over Saudi Arabia’s capital city. The Saudi Crown Prince blames Iran and says the attack may be considered an act of war. This is what would happen if they did go to war. (Photo: An Iranian missile is test-launched during war games in Qom, south of Tehran. Credit: Shaigan/Getty Images)
30/11/17·24m 2s

Why Doesn’t Apple Pay More Tax?

The world’s most profitable company is accused of aggressively dodging tax. Leaked documents in the Paradise Papers show Apple moved hundreds of billions of dollars in untaxed foreign profits to Jersey, where foreign companies pay no corporation tax. Yet Apple says it pays “every dollar it owes in every country around the world”. Confused? Not for long. (Customers wait in front of the giant Apple logo for the store to open in Munich, Germany. Photo Credit: Christof Stache/GettyImages)
23/11/17·23m 51s

What Does the Saudi Crown Prince Want?

He’s pushed through reforms but some fear there is a darker desire driving the ruler. In one night, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman arrested over a dozen Princes and government ministers on corruption charges. To turn on his own royal family, he must be serious. But is corruption the Crown Prince’s real target or is this a power grab? There are also fears that the aggressive stance he has taken with Lebanon, Yemen and Qatar is increasing tensions with regional rival Iran. If the tension reaches a tipping point, there are fears the conflict could widen beyond the region. So what is he up to? What does the Saudi Crown Prince want? (Photo: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in Riyadh on October 24 2017. Credit: Fayez Nureldine/Getty Images)
16/11/17·23m 19s

Is the Knowledge Factory Broken?

Academic research stands accused of turning a blind eye to dodgy data, failing to reconcile contradictory findings and valuing money over knowledge. We examine the criticisms, which go the very heart of our pursuit of knowledge. (Photo: Scientist working in a research laboratory. Credit: Shutterstock)
09/11/17·22m 58s
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