The Documentary Podcast

The Documentary Podcast

By BBC World Service

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


Being gay in Africa

It’s illegal in around 30 countries in Africa to be in a same-sex relationship and recently there’s been political debate in places such as Uganda and Ghana around stricter laws. We’ve also reported on the BBC in the past few months about violence against LGBT people in Kenya and Egypt, for example. The proposed new law in Uganda is awaiting the president’s assent, and if approved, it may see people who identify as gay, lesbian or queer imprisoned for life. We’ve spent the past few weeks making contact with some of those who are affected.
01/04/23·24m 36s

Heart and Soul: Purity to nudity

Gwen was brought up as a strict evangelical Christian. She was taught that women needed to control the way they dressed and acted to control the behaviour of men. When she was sexually abused, she believed it was her fault. But when she first stepped into a nudist community, she felt free. She was naked, with other naked people, and her nakedness was not making other people molest her. She learnt that her body was not something she had to hide. The BBC’s Josie Le Vay visits Gwen at her home in a nudist community in Florida, USA.
31/03/23·27m 4s

Finland’s uneasy relationship with its neighbour

How has Finland survived so long as an independent European country, up close to Russia, its aggressive neighbour? Over the decades it’s learnt to live with both the Soviet Union and then post-communist Russia next door and to benefit from the cross-border trade it offered. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has changed attitudes in Finland, seen most clearly in its decision to join Nato. In this edition of Assignment, we report from the border towns of Lappeenranta and Imatra – which have gained economically from Russians crossing into Finland as tourists, for trade, to buy property and simply to go shopping. Now Russian tourist visas have been banned by the Finnish Government and the local mayor says the region is losing a million euros every day. The country’s army has male conscription, defence spending is at NATO levels and Finland’s cities have underground shelters to protect its population. Caroline Bayley looks at Finland’s relationship with Russia – past and present – and asks what’s next for these uneasy neighbours. Producer/presenter Caroline Bayley Editor Penny Murphy Studio Engineer Rod Farquhar Production co-ordinator Helena Warwick-Cross (Photo: Almost deserted border post on Finland’s border with Russia. Credit: Caroline Bayley)
30/03/23·28m 34s

Deep Waters: The hidden world of global shipping

Bulk carriers are the ships that keep the modern world going - like the MV Raeda and the MV Olivian Confidence carrying grain from Ukraine to Turkey, and flour to Afghanistan and Yemen. Zig zagging across the oceans for months at a time, bulk carriers keep us all going even in times of war and pandemic. ‘If it didn’t grow in your garden,’ says broker Aysu Gurgan, ‘A bulk carrier brought it to you.’ Steel, sand, coal, cement - the very fabric of the modern world - all of it reaches us on bulkers. Unseen by the very populations that rely on them, each bulker is also a home to international crews who spend half their lives on board.
28/03/23·26m 28s

Iraqis and the consequences of the Iraq War

In March 2003, the United States led an invasion of Iraq that would topple Saddam Hussein's regime, but would have far-reaching consequences for the next two decades. No-one knows exactly how many Iraqis have died as a result of the war. Estimates are all in the hundreds of thousands. The political instability that followed saw the rise of jihadist extremists including Islamic State. There was a civil war and the spread of violent sectarianism across the region. Host James Reynolds brings together Iraqis to share how trauma continues to impact their lives.
25/03/23·27m 1s

Introducing: Love, Janessa

All episodes of our catfishing podcast are now available. You meet someone online. It turns out many others think they have fallen for the same person. It’s the story of the scammers and the unwitting face of a digital con. With host, Hannah Ajala. Search for Love, Janessa wherever you get your podcasts.
24/03/23·2m 55s

My hijab or my sport

It took Salimata Sylla three hours to get to the away fixture she was due to play with her basketball team mates from the Parisian suburb of Aubervilliers. But it was only a few minutes before the match started that she learned she was going to sit the game out on the bench. Despite playing for more than 10 years in the French Championship, the federation that controls her sport decided to apply the rule that forbids female basketball players from wearing the hijab. Reporter Claire Jones goes to Paris to meet Salimata to find out how she can resolve her wish to express her Muslim faith by wearing a hijab with her desire to play the sport she loves.
24/03/23·27m 27s

Killer drug: Fentanyl in the US

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is destroying lives all over the United States. Manufactured illegally and at a huge profit by drug cartels in Mexico, it’s smuggled across the border into southern California and Arizona. The director at one entry point on the border acknowledges that they’re looking for needles in a haystack. And she says that they drug organisations have more money than they do. In the second of a two-part series, Assignment crosses into the US from Mexico to run a rule over the devastation this lethal drug has left in its wake in San Diego County. Presenter / producer: Linda Pressly Producer: Tim Mansel (Photo: The wall between the US and Mexico from the Mexican side. The city of San Diego is in the distance. Credit: Tim Mansel).
23/03/23·28m 8s

Blind faith: Do genetic eye disease ‘treatments' work?

BBC journalist Ramadan Younes investigates the world of genetic eye disease ‘treatments’, where some practitioners claim to cure the incurable. Living with his own visual impairment, Ramadan sets out to explore how clinics around the world, from Sudan to Gaza and from Russia to the United States, target predominantly Arab patients by advertising, selling and conducting procedures that are at best ineffective and can at worst cause total blindness.
22/03/23·27m 23s

Can technology save democracy?

The storming of the Brazilian Parliament and Congress by the supporters of the former president Jair Bolsonaro came almost two years to the day that Donald Trump’s supporters did the same in the United States. And the two events shared another similarity; both sets of supporters were egged-on by social media posts, and mobilised by private messages on apps like WhatsApp and Telegram. They are examples of how technology is being used to erode democracy – but can it also be used to strengthen it?
21/03/23·27m 21s

A choice of horrors

In the aftermath of the disastrous war in Iraq, the lesson seemed clear: the West should never intervene in foreign conflicts. But then came the Syrian civil war, and the invasion of Ukraine, and the withdrawal from Afghanistan. So 20 years on, Caroline Wyatt – who has reported from Iraq, Afghanistan and Russia – takes us back to the choice of horrors the West faced in 2003, and examines how the legacy of that fateful decision shapes foreign policy today, for good or ill.
18/03/23·50m 25s


Everything Everywhere All at Once ensured it was a historic night at the Oscars. And in doing so it put a spotlight on Asian Americans. The film, which centres around a fictional family of Asian Americans, received seven awards with Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh becoming the first Asian woman to win the best actress Oscar. Catherine Byaruhanga hears stories from Asian-Americans, including three actors who discuss attitudes and prejudice towards them in the film industry.
18/03/23·24m 11s

Killer drug – the Mexico connection

Fentanyl is deadly. Thousands of Americans die every year from a drug overdose – the majority of them after using a synthetic opioid like fentanyl. Fentanyl was developed as a legal, and effective, pain killer. Now, fuelled by insatiable US demand, it’s illicitly produced in makeshift laboratories in Mexico by organised crime groups. In the first of a two-part series, Assignment travels to the Mexican Pacific port of Manzanillo. This is one of the main entry points for the chemical ingredients required to make fentanyl. It’s a town where Mexico’s powerful cartels have fought for control, and where the mayor lives under armed guard after a failed assassination attempt. Although the primary destination of Mexican-made fentanyl is the US, Mexico too has a rising number of addicts – especially in Tijuana on the Mexico / US border. Presenter / producer: Linda Pressly Producer: Tim Mansel Producer in Mexico: Ulises Escamilla [Photo: The Navy is in charge of security at Mexico’s seaports in a bid to stop the chemicals used to make fentanyl coming in from Asia. Credit: Tim Mansel]
16/03/23·27m 20s

The boat smugglers

The recent rise in migrant boat crossings between France and the UK is being fuelled, in part, by more sophisticated methods gangs are using to source the boats. The criminal gangs now control the production of inflatables, making it possible to significantly increase profits. Sue Mitchell teams up with former British soldier and aid worker, Rob Lawrie, to investigate how boats used in migrant Chanel crossings are sourced and the huge profits being made.
15/03/23·27m 42s

Somebody is watching me

Since 2020, when the so-called Nth Room scandal revealed how women and children were lured and blackmailed to make explicit videos for distribution through chatrooms, the lucrative online sexual exploitation of women and children has intensified. Sojeong Lee investigates why women in South Korea are so especially vulnerable to online abuse and exploitation and why so little has been achieved by government and police. How have the country’s economic and social characteristics led to this hotbed of digital sex crime?
14/03/23·27m 47s

Life after the earthquakes

It is a month since earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria. Official figures suggest that more than 45,000 people were killed in Turkey; and more than 6,000 in Syria. In reality, the numbers are likely to be higher. Millions are without homes - and the search for proper shelter is difficult. Amid rain, snow and cold weather, many people have remained outdoors, too afraid to go into any buildings that are still standing. Host Catherine Byaruhanga brings together survivors and volunteers to share their stories and to hear what happens immediately after such a life changing event.
11/03/23·24m 22s

Ireland’s Urban Horses

Ireland’s housing estates continue to ring to the sound of horses with patches of grass used for grazing and garages as stables. Horses used to be an integral part of cities across Europe until the middle of the 20th century. But in Ireland, no matter how hard the authorities have tried to dissuade residents from keeping horses, the tradition survives. Although horses have long been associated with the travelling community, Irish people from all backgrounds have a passion for owning them. For those on lower incomes, that’s often in housing estates and even in city centres. Some horses can be bought for the price of a packet of cigarettes and although there are supposedly strict ownership rules, these are routinely flouted. The authorities are caught between trying to protect animal welfare and respecting a key part of Irish culture. For Assignment, Katie Flannery travels to Limerick and Dublin to hear about urban horses there. Produced by Bob Howard. (Photo by Bob Howard)
09/03/23·33m 15s

The long haul of long Covid

Three years after the official declaration of a pandemic, 65 million people - one in 10 who had Covid-19 - still have symptoms. Some are so ill they are yet to return to work. The Economist’s health editor, Natasha Loder, examines the science behind long Covid and hears about the challenges as researchers try to unravel the cause behind a condition associated with around 200 symptoms.
07/03/23·27m 49s


A wooden boat lies broken and wrecked off the coast of Italy after it hit rocks and sank. On board were around 200 people, mostly migrants from countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Many died. The boat had set sail from Turkey and was attempting to cross seas in rough weather on a journey described as the deadliest migration route on the planet. The disaster has again prompted debate about what is being done to address the issue. Hosts James Reynolds and Krupa Padhy hear stories of people who have made similar journeys.
04/03/23·24m 17s

How the Good Friday Agreement helped bring peace to Northern Ireland

This year marks 25 years since the Good Friday Agreement, signed by politicians from Northern Ireland and the British and Irish governments in an attempt to bring peace to Northern Ireland. Over his 26 years at the BBC, Denis Murray reported extensively on the peace process, including this pivotal moment. He explains to Claire Graham how it came about, its legacy and how it's still discussed in today's political battles.
04/03/23·18m 47s

Nigeria's battle against bandits

In the last few years, powerful criminal gangs have terrorised a swathe of north west and central Nigeria. From camps in the forest, gangs of bandits on motorbikes have attacked villages killing and kidnapping men, women and children. So how can Nigeria's new leader restore security? What does it say about the future of security in Africa's most populous nation? Alex Last has been to the north western city of Katsina to meet some of those battling the bandits. Photo: Some of the weapons used by vigilantes in Zamfara state, north west Nigeria, 2019 (Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP via Getty Images) Reporter: Alex Last Producer: Abdullahi Kaura Abubakar Sound mix: Rod Farquhar Series Editor: Penny Murphy Production assistant: Helena Warwick-Cross
02/03/23·26m 28s

Flying Seagulls: Child's play

The Flying Seagull Project travels the world with a simple goal: to enable and empower children in warzones and refugee camps to play. Theirs is a riproaring, irreverent, iridescent carnival that cuts through even the hoariest of cynics - and changes people's lives. From Glastonbury to a primary school in South London and on to a refugee camp in Bulgaria, reporter Georgia Moodie follows Ash Perrin, the founder of the Flying Seagulls as he gets kids from all walks of life to chuckle, yell and play.
28/02/23·27m 56s

No place like 'Nam

March 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the departure of the last American combat troops from Vietnam. Vietnamese journalist Nga Pham uncovers the surprising story of the US veterans who served in Vietnam during the 1960s and early '70s, and have since returned as retirees and decided to make the country their home. Can it just be the cheap housing, affordable healthcare and low cost of living? Or is it a way of healing from the psychological trauma of their experiences serving in the US military during the war in Vietnam?
25/02/23·51m 31s

Women and the war in Ukraine

The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has led to tens of thousands of deaths. And it’s estimated around 8 million Ukrainians left the country to find sanctuary. James Reynolds meets mothers and their daughters who share their experiences of escaping the war and the challenges of making a new life for themselves in the UK. We also hear from three young Ukrainian women, currently living in London. They express the guilt they feel about leaving friends and family behind, while also offering observations on some quirks of British culture.
25/02/23·25m 0s

Ethiopia, Eritrea and border wars

Relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia have historically been difficult. Eritrea won independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a 30-year war. A bitter border war between the two countries began a few years later. But by 2020, Eritrea sent troops to fight alongside the Ethiopian government against rebel forces in its northern Tigray region. Kalkidan Yibeltal is a BBC correspondent in Addis Ababa. He explains the complex history between the two countries, and looks at the tentative peace now emerging in Tigray.
25/02/23·19m 17s

The Parallel Universe of Russia’s War

A year on from the invasion of Ukraine, many Russians now inhabit a parallel world that justifies the conflict. How have they been persuaded to support, or accept, a war against a country they had the closest of personal and historical ties with? Assignment talks to some of the persuaders – a celebrated war correspondent, a top talkshow host, a popular singer and poet, and a volunteer fighter – to understand how Russians’ understanding of the conflict has been forged. What are the memories and fears that have been invoked to convince many that it’s Russia, not Ukraine, that’s fighting for its survival? (Photo of Russian war reporter Alexander Kots)
23/02/23·26m 36s

Fishrot: Clear waters, murky dealings

Two countries a world apart are linked by a multi-million dollar corruption scandal, and it is all about fish. At one end, the southern African nation of Namibia where leading politicians and businessmen are facing trial on racketeering charges, accused of running an elaborate scheme that squandered valuable fish stocks, meant to help people out of poverty. On the other a powerful fishing company under scrutiny in Iceland, a country long credited with the image of transparency and honest dealing.
21/02/23·28m 27s

Nigeria elections

Ahead of the upcoming general election in Nigeria, Alan Kasujja hosts a special conversation from the commercial capital of Lagos. He sat down with around 20 young people to debate and talk about their lives in what many refer to as the “giant of Africa”. Writers, security guards, teachers, web designers and entrepreneurs are among those who join Alan to talk about issues including education, money, safety, corruption and the lack of women in the political landscape.
18/02/23·22m 59s

Sudan’s journey from independence to revolution

A military coup in 1989 brought Omar al-Bashir to power, until being overthrown by the military in the face of mass protests in 2019. During this time, war has raged in Darfur, South Sudan has gained independence and the Sudanese people demanded a return to civil government. BBC journalist Mohanad Hashim grew up in Khartoum and has reported extensively on the Middle East and Africa. He speaks to Claire Graham about Sudan’s journey from independence to revolution.
18/02/23·19m 13s

On the frontline of Brexit

No part of the United Kingdom has felt the impact of Brexit more strongly than Northern Ireland. Home to the country's only land border with the European Union, the province is the focus of passionate debate about Britain's future relationship with Europe. Three years on from Brexit, the temporary agreement, the so called “Protocol,” that was designed to ease the UK's exit from the EU but left Northern Ireland in legal and political limbo is coming to an end. And what might replace it is causing uncertainty and unease there. David Baker travels to Northern Ireland and assesses the impact of Brexit. He meets businesses that have benefited from the agreement and want it to stay and others who say it’s been damaging and feel their identities are threatened. Producer: Jim Frank (Photo by Stephen Barnes via Getty Images)
16/02/23·26m 44s

America's first black bank

The Freedman’s Bank was established in 1865 after the abolition of slavery and the Civil War. The Bank was designed to help newly freed African-Americans in their quest to become financially stable. At its peak, it stretched across huge swathes of America. But what began with huge promise ended in massive failure nine years later, leaving a legacy of distrust in its wake. Szu Ping Chan looks at the history and lessons from the collapse of America's first black bank.
14/02/23·28m 22s

World Wide Waves '23: The sounds of community radio

For World Radio Day, we celebrate four vibrant community radio stations on four continents. Northern Malawi’s Rumphi FM supports the Tumbuka tribe while giving young women a space to speak out against early marriage and for education. From Budapest, Radio Dikh broadcasts “about the Roma, but not just for the Roma,” presenting Romany culture in its own distinctive voice. In Nunavik, Northern Quebec, Inuit radio beams Inuktitut music and talk to 14 remote villages, helping to keep an ancient language and threatened tradition alive. And in Myanmar, brave journalists risk their lives to resist the military dictatorship with news and views sent out from portable transmitters, sometimes under fire.
11/02/23·50m 41s

The earthquake in Turkey and Syria

We have been hearing from people in Turkey and Syria since the earthquake struck the region on Monday. Three survivors tell us about their escape from shaking buildings onto bitterly cold streets, including Canan who was staying in a hotel in Gazientep: “We were in PJs,” she says. “We were barefoot and people were screaming and crying.” It’s an anxious and emotional time for relatives watching from abroad. Germany is home to the largest Turkish diaspora in the world and we bring together Aeyna and Hazal, as well as Khalil, who has close family in Aleppo in Syria.
11/02/23·24m 12s

How Yemen has been engulfed by civil war

After almost a decade of fighting, civil war in Yemen has caused one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. Nawal Al-Maghafi is a Special Correspondent with the BBC who has been reporting on the Middle East since 2012. She explains to Claire Graham how this complex war began between government backed forces and the Houthi rebels.
11/02/23·18m 43s

The great German sausage crisis

In Germany in 2002 there were some 19,000 small, neighbourhood butchers’ shops. They made and sold, among other things, that “great emblem of Germany’s national diet” – sausages. At last count, in 2021, there were fewer than 11,000 shops left. The German butchers’ trade association says there are “massive problems” finding trained staff and young people who want to learn from the bottom up. In Lörrach, in the south-west of Germany, the Chamber of Handcraft, is now looking overseas in order to preserve local culinary traditions. A group of apprentices from India has just started a three-year training programme at the local college and various shops in the vicinity. The decline of the butchers’ shop – and the threat to the sausage – mirrors a problem in many branches across the whole of Germany; in social care, in bakeries, in the building trade: people at the top of an ageing population are leaving the workforce at a higher rate than those entering at the bottom. “The lack of skilled workers is becoming ever more palpable,” says the chamber of trade. They’ll be going back to India later this year to recruit for other industries. Producer/presenter: Tim Mansel
09/02/23·27m 0s

The travelling speech therapist

When speech disorders affect children, it is speech therapists who assist in helping them find their voice, but therapists are rare and it is thought they are largely absent across 75% of the world. Sean Allsop grew up needing speech therapy in the UK. He travels to Turks & Caicos, a place that has no therapists to help its population. He takes the trip with a travelling speech therapist, Mary Weinder who has been asked by the Turks & Caicos Government for help.
07/02/23·27m 52s

Living with power cuts

Around the world, millions of people live with daily electricity blackouts. In recent days in South Africa, protesters – angry that the electricity keeps going off – marched through Johannesburg and Cape Town. Three women in South Africa share their experiences of their daily struggles to get everything done before the power goes off. Two business owners, in Sri Lanka and Nigeria, come together to discuss the financial impact of power cuts.
04/02/23·23m 56s

Who are the Uyghurs and why are they being persecuted?

China has been accused of the mistreatment of the Uyghur people in the north-western region of Xinjiang for a number of years. This Muslim ethnic group are distinct with different culture, language and history to China's ethnic majority, Han Chinese. But why did the government start this crackdown? And what is really going on? Senior correspondent John Sudworth was based in China for nine years, and reported on the treatment of the Uyghur people. He speaks to Claire Graham to help us understand the region and how Xinjiang became a surveillance state.
04/02/23·18m 25s

Uruguay’s Cash Cow

Cattle are part of Uruguay’s DNA. There are around 4 cows to every one of their tiny 3.5 million population of people and beef is their main export. But how do they compete against their mighty, better known neighbours; Argentina and Brazil? In this week’s Assignment Jane Chambers travels to the country’s lush, green pastures to find out about how they keep their cash cow flourishing. She hears from cattle farmers and other people in the beef industry about how they’re carving out a niche for themselves and future proofing against the threats of climate change. Produced and presented by: Jane Chambers Country Producer: Lucinda Elliot Studio Mix: Rod Farquhar Production coordinator: Iona Hammond and Gemma Ashman Series Editor: Penny Murphy
02/02/23·27m 23s

The Night Witches of World War Two

Orna Merchant learns how, during World War Two, a desperate Soviet Union created three all-female aerial combat units. The most celebrated of these was the 588th Night Bomber Regiment. Using Polikarpov Po-2 wooden biplanes, as the aviators approached their target they would cut their engines and glide in to drop their bombs. The eerie sight and sound of this – added to the discovery of them having all women crews - led German forces to nickname them ‘Nachthexen’ - the Night Witches.
31/01/23·27m 10s

A short history of sadness

How do humans cope with sadness? Is it something to be avoided at all costs or part of the human condition? Should we dwell on our sadness, or flee from it? Author Helen Russell explores humanity's history of gloom, and the cultural differences in our approach to tackling it. Helen goes to Lisbon to explore their relationship with melancholy, communicated through a uniquely mournful genre of music called Fado, and an untranslatable word "saudade". She learns about the service which sends a handsome man to wipe away tears in Japan, and hears about joy, sadness and mourning with a Ghanian poet.
28/01/23·48m 29s

Babies and families

Several countries are experiencing a fall in the number of babies being born and this has potentially serious consequences. Japan’s Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, has warned that his country is on the brink of not being able to function as a society. The problem is an increasingly elderly population and not enough younger people to keep the country ticking over. China is seeing record low birth rates and South Korea has the lowest rate of women having babies in the world. Youtubers Sarah and Kyuho in the South Korean capital Seoul, describe some of the pressures and reactions they experienced when they said they are not planning to have kids.
28/01/23·24m 26s

Cuba–United States relations

Cuba and the United States share a long, complex history. From the Spanish-American War of 1898 to Fidel Castro's Cuba, these neighbours have often had an uneasy relationship. Claire Graham speaks with Ana Maria Roura, a BBC World Service journalist and Cuban native, to understand the history between the two nations.
28/01/23·18m 56s

Iran Protests: Tales from the frontline

Why did people take to the streets, risking arrest and a barrage of bullets? After protests turned violent and hundreds of people were killed, four Iranians tell the story of why they risked their lives. What has been happening in Iran to drive them out onto the streets to face bullets? ‘Agrin’ tells Phoebe Keane she’s tired of being objectified as a woman, and having no faith that the authorities will take sexual assault seriously when the police themselves are accused of raping prisoners. Mahsoud tells how he was shot during a protest but feared going to the hospital in case the authorities put him in jail. When plain clothed police loitered outside his family home, he decided to leave Iran. Still bleeding and with a metal pellet lodged in his ear impairing his hearing, he finally made it across the border to Iraq. ‘Nazy’ tells of being arrested by the morality police while walking to work and being shoved in a van as the heels on her shoes were too high. She started to protest every day and now walks through the streets with her hair blowing in the wind, an act of defiance. ‘Farah’ remembers a time in Iran when women could dance and sing in public and protests because she wants her daughter to live a life without fear. Presenter: Phoebe Keane Producers: Ed Butler, Ali Hamedani, Khosro Isfahani and Taraneh Stone Series editor: Penny Murphy
26/01/23·26m 28s

Sierra Leone's children of war

In 2002 photojournalist Caroline Irby and former BBC reporter Tom McKinley arrived in Sierra Leone to cover the fallout from the country’s brutal conflict. They travelled with children caught up in the fighting; as they were reunited with their families. Now, just over two decades on, Caroline returns to West Africa to track them down.
24/01/23·28m 2s

The Black Book

As the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union swept over vast areas of Ukraine and Belorussia from the summer of 1941, over three million Jews were deliberately targeted for annihilation. Shot, hung, butchered, a million and a half Jewish souls were buried in vast pits in Babi Yar, Rumbula, Mariupol, Minsk, Kyiv and Riga. Many accounts began to flood into the Soviet Union where journalist and writer Ilya Ehrenburg began gathering testimonies of the mass murder. This became The Black Book, a chronicle of the Nazi extermination of Soviet Jews. Historian Catherine Merridale travels to Riga, Latvia and Yad Vashem, where the Black Book was smuggled, to uncover this complex story of loss, silence and rediscovery.
21/01/23·50m 28s

Yiddish glory: Jewish refugees in Central Asia

During World War Two, approximately 1.6 million Soviet, Polish and Romanian Jews survived by escaping to Soviet Central Asia and Siberia, avoiding imminent death in ghettos, firing squads and killing centres. Many of them wrote music about these horrors as the Holocaust unfolded. Singer Alice Zawadzski, whose own family found themselves on a similar journey to Central Asia, and historian Anna Shternshis of the University of Toronto, who led the project to bring these songs back to life, travel to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to retrace the journeys of those Jewish refugees who became music composers.
21/01/23·50m 35s

Afghan women

Since the Taliban returned to power some 18 months ago, women in Afghanistan have been removed from nearly all areas of public life. They are barred from secondary schools, universities and most workplaces and cannot even socialise in public parks. As Afghanistan faces a growing humanitarian crisis, we bring together three students in the country to share their experiences of life under Taliban rule. We catch up with three young women who used to compete in Afghanistan. Footballer, Najma, tells us that in the country many girls wish they had been born boys. We speak to two politicians who had fled the country when the Taliban returned to power.
21/01/23·24m 3s

Roe v Wade and abortion in America

Fifty years ago, Jane Roe become the centre of a ruling that would fuel US politics for the following decades. The Roe v Wade case gave women the constitutional right to abortion, until 2022 when it was overturned by the US Supreme Court. Claire Graham speaks with Katty Kay about the 1973 legal case, the legacy of that ruling and how abortion became such a central issue in contemporary American politics.
21/01/23·18m 33s

A return to Paradise

In 2018 the town of Paradise in hills of northern California was wiped out by one of the worst wildfires in California's history. The disaster made headlines around the world - regarded as a symbol of the dangers posed by climate change. So what does the future hold for communities like Paradise in a region increasingly threatened by wildfire? Four years on, Alex Last traveled to Paradise to meet the survivors who are rebuilding their town. Photo: A home burns as the Camp fire tears through Paradise, California on November 8, 2018. (Josh Edelson /AFP via Getty Images) Reporter and producer: Alex Last Sound mix: Rod Farquar Series Editor: Penny Murphy Production coordinator: Iona Hammond
19/01/23·26m 27s

What do you think you are? Part two

There’s growing scientific evidence that many animals are not only conscious but they possess a more profound sense of self. They can learn by experience and make decisions that depend on a sense of the future - in other words they are “sentient” beings with the capacity to feel pain, pleasure and emotions. In the second part of this two-part series, Sue Armstrong reports on the latest scientific research into the minds and consciousness of animals and the ethical implications this has on animal welfare and our relationship with animals.
17/01/23·29m 16s

The price of citizenship

What does it mean to be a citizen? Is it about belonging, or about convenience? Katy Long examines two trends which offer stark alternatives: countries which remove citizenship (or want to), and those which sell it. Sharing stories from Belarus, the Dominican Republic, Malta and Kuwait reveals how very differently different countries think about these questions, about identity, and about the powerful forces shaping our world and our lives, forces over which few of us have any power.
14/01/23·50m 10s

Covid in China

When it came to tackling Covid, China has been among the strictest on the planet. There have been almost three years of travel restrictions, testing and lockdowns. Host James Reynolds also chats with Yanni, Lex and David, who discuss what it has been like to live under China’s ‘zero Covid’ policy and how they have all recently had the disease, following a nationwide surge in cases. We also get a perspective on what’s been happening in China from two foreigners living in the county: Jonathan, a Canadian, and Lee, a South African, who tells us that she has felt unable to leave Beijing for the past three years.
14/01/23·24m 0s

Understanding how Syria's peaceful uprising became a civil war

Inspired by the Arab Spring, peaceful protests began in Syria in early 2011. However, a complex civil war followed which has lasted over a decade and involved many other countries. Lina Sinjab, a BBC Middle East correspondent, explains how the conflict in her native country began. From the arrest and torture of protesting teenagers in Daraa to the rise of the Islamic State (IS), the last 12 years have devastated the country and inflicted immense suffering on the Syrian people. Is there an end to war in sight?
14/01/23·18m 41s

Saving children from the mafia

Southern Italy is home to some of Europe's most powerful criminal organisations; the Sicilian Mafia, the Camorra in Naples and the Ndrangheta based in Calabria. For many, crime is a family business. So a judge in Sicily has come up with a radical plan to prevent young people becoming the next generation of mobsters. He’s been taking children away from Mafia families. This controversial policy is now being considered by other countries around the world. Daniel Gordon travels to Sicily to meet those involved in the programme and find out whether it actually works. Photo: A 17 year-old girl, Letizia, supported by her uncle, addresses an anti-mafia meeting in the Sicilian town of Messina. Her mother is missing and is believed to have been killed by local gangsters. (Rocco Papandrea, Gazzetta del Sud.) Reporter: Daniel Gordon Producer: Alex Last Series Editor: Penny Murphy Sound engineer: Graham Puddifoot Production coordinator: Iona Hammond
12/01/23·26m 29s

What do you think you are?: Part one

There is growing scientific evidence that many animals are not only conscious, but possess a more profound sense of self. They can learn by experience and make decisions that depend on a sense of the future - in other words, they are “sentient” beings with the capacity to feel pain, pleasure and emotions. Sue Armstrong reports on the latest scientific research into the minds and consciousness of animals of all sorts, from chimpanzees to birds, bees and cuttlefish.
10/01/23·26m 49s

Farewell to Pelé

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, or ‘Pelé’ as he became known, is thought by most to have been the greatest footballer to grace this planet. He died on 29th December, aged 82. James Reynolds has been in Santos, Pelé’s adopted hometown. He was among the crowds on the streets at the funeral procession, as they celebrated this sporting legend’s life.
08/01/23·24m 17s

Kids who care

Oritsé Williams became a young carer aged 12, when his mother contracted multiple sclerosis and he had to take responsibility for looking after her and two younger siblings. During his teenage years, he had a dream: to become a singer and make plenty of money so that he could fund research to find a cure for his mum. At least part of that dream came true when Oritsé and his band, JLS, were runners-up in a national talent contest. But Oritsé never forgot his early years as a young, unpaid carer. He meets the next generation of kids who care – in the UK, Uganda and El Salvador. He learns about the challenges these children and teenagers face, but also hears stories of resilience and hope. Among the children are 13-year-old Amber, who looks after two sick and disabled parents; 15-year-old Jordan, whose care role ties him to the house almost completely; and 13-year-old Gloria from Uganda, who looks after four younger siblings all on her own.
03/01/23·24m 15s

Women pro surfers: Battling the waves

Patti Paniccia was a surfer back in the 1970s, determined to create a path to professional surfing for women, as well as men. Together with surf promoter, Fred Hemmings and surfer Randy Rarick, she founded IPS (International Professional Surfing), to create the very first men’s and women’s world tour in 1976. The women’s surf team – Sally Prange, Jericho Poppler, Rell Sunn, Becky Benson, Claudia Kravitz and Patti herself – were met with a barrage of ridicule and blatant sexism, but also had the time of their lives - from surfing the shark infested waters in South Africa, to drawing crowds of 20,000 Brazilians to the beaches in Rio de Janeiro. Together they opened the door for women's competitive professional surfing.
31/12/22·51m 1s

Hope for Alzheimers

Three people caring for loved ones with Alzheimers share their experiences and challenges.
31/12/22·24m 33s

Escape from the Taliban: Point of no return

Sana Safi returns to the story of two Afghan women judges who have had to go into hiding after the Taliban takeover - and are now preparing to be evacuated for a second time. Through encrypted networks and messages, Sana gets unprecedented access to the secretive operatives trying to get the women and their families out of the country. It is a race against time as they now journey to the point of no return.
29/12/22·28m 11s

Fighting 'fat-phobia' in Brazil

As in many countries, obesity in Brazil is a major issue with one in four Brazilians now classified as obese and more than half the population overweight. But rather than focusing just on trying to lower this rate by promoting exercise and healthier ways of eating, campaigners and some city councils are successfully implementing changes, which accept that high rates of obesity are probably here to stay and society should adapt to this. These changes include schools buying bigger chairs and desks, hospitals buying bigger beds and MRI machines and theatres offering wider seats. Brazilian lawyers are starting to make legal challenges, particularly against discrimination in the workplace. Women are holding plus sized beauty contests to celebrate their larger bodies. Schools are hosting discussion clubs where they talk about how body shapes are perceived by their peers and wider society. Even so, campaigners say there is a long way to go for bigger bodies to be culturally accepted in Brazil and overcoming what is known as “gordofobia” – belittling or discriminating against people who are larger than average. Camilla Mota travels to the south-eastern coastal city of Vitoria to meet a plus size influencer and a lawyer campaigning to stop discrimination and trying to make the city more tolerant. She then flies 1500km north to another port city, Recife, where some changes have now taken place. Is this transformation away from the stereo-typical “body beautiful” only skin deep or the shape of things to come across the western world? Presenter: Camilla Mota Producer: Bob Howard
29/12/22·26m 28s

Ukrainians at Christmas

Ukrainians at home and abroad reflect on the turmoil of the past year as they prepare to mark Christmas.
24/12/22·24m 5s

Spain's flamenco on the edge

To many, the passionate music and dance known as flamenco is an important marker of Spanish identity, and perhaps even synonymous with it. So much so, that Unesco has recognised the art form as part of the world’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. Yet its place within the country of its birth is both more complicated – and more precarious - than this might suggest. During the Covid lockdowns, a third of all flamenco venues closed down, and with many yet to reopen, training opportunities for new artists remain in short supply. The pandemic has also exacerbated the struggle of many singers and dancers to make ends meet. Meanwhile, to the outrage of purists, other practitioners see a future in fusing traditional flamenco with new, more commercially viable genres, such as pop and hip-hop. Still others see flamenco as a stereotype, and unhelpful to their country’s modern image. The BBC’s Madrid correspondent Guy Hedgecoe takes us on a colourful journey, reflecting on flamenco’s intriguing origins among the downtrodden folk culture of southern Spain, its difficult present, and its possibly uncertain future. Presenter: Guy Hedgecoe Producer: Mike Gallagher
22/12/22·26m 28s

Sweden's green power struggle

In Sweden’s far north, indigenous Sami people say their traditional culture and way of life is being threatened by the country’s drive to develop carbon-cutting industries. In the Arctic town of Jokkmokk, a controversial new iron-ore mine has been given conditional approval in a reindeer herding area. Supporters of the project argue it is needed to extract materials to build a new green infrastructure in Sweden, and to create new jobs. But the mine is opposed by many Sami, including artist and music producer Maxida Märak. The BBC's Maddy Savage hears both sides of the debate.
20/12/22·29m 18s

The World Service is 90

For 90 years the BBC World Service has been broadcasting in dozens of languages to audiences so huge they are counted in the tens of millions all over the globe. World Service began transmitting on 19 December 1932. It was called the BBC Empire Service, speaking in slow English via crackly short-wave radio to a now-vanished Empire which then ruled a fifth of the globe. The Second World War saw radio services expand massively, broadcasting in more than 40 languages to listeners hungry for truth and facts they could trust. In every crisis and conflict since, individual voices out of the air have offered news, but also drama, music, education and sometimes hope to their audiences. In a special 90th anniversary programme, the broadcaster Nick Rankin, who worked for more than 20 years at the BBC, digs into a treasure trove of sound archive and talks to journalists who made and still make the BBC World Service such a remarkable network.
19/12/22·49m 10s

First contact

For thousands of years we have gazed up at the stars and wondered: is anybody out there? The idea of meeting aliens has been the inspiration for countless books and films; for art and music. But today, thinking about meeting life on, or from, other planets is no longer dismissed as pure make-believe - it is the focus of political consideration and cutting-edge space science. Farrah Jarral presents the story of the fantasy and the reality of preparing for first contact with extra-terrestrials.
17/12/22·51m 13s

Striking workers

The global economy is shrinking but our costs are rising, and as people around the world find things harder, many are deciding to go on strike for better pay and conditions. Around the world, we are seeing the likes of teachers, nurses, postal and transport workers taking industrial action. We bring together some of those workers to hear about their jobs and why they are taking to the picket lines.
17/12/22·24m 46s

Hungary’s Power Dilemma

Paks, a small Hungarian town on the bank of the River Danube has prospered from its nuclear power station, built by the Soviet Union in the mid-1980s. Hungary has prospered too. Paks provides some 40 per cent of the country’s power requirements. But the four reactors are now approaching the end of their lives and are slated for retirement in 2032; so, in 2014 agreement was reached with Russia to build two more, with the help of a Russian loan worth several billion Euros, Russian engineers, and a small army of Ukrainian welders. But the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army in February 2022 has thrown these plans into disarray. Construction has begun, in the sense that bulldozers have been clearing the ground. But the project is already delayed, and there are those who believe that the new reactors will never be built. As Nick Thorpe discovers, people who thought they had a job for life in Paks are worried about their future and the future of a town whose lively shops and restaurants owe everything to the nuclear industry. Now the centre-piece of prime minister Viktor Orban’s energy empire, Paks may soon become the country’s rustbelt.
15/12/22·26m 29s

Asylums of Japan: Makiko's story

Journalist Makiko Segawa who had a terrifying experience when she was sent to a psychiatric hospital when she was a young woman meets other people who have been caught up in the country's controversial mental health system. She hears harrowing stories before challenging the authorities about what's being done to change methods and Japanese attitudes towards mental health.
12/12/22·28m 23s

Living in space

A long-held human ambition may soon become reality - human settlements on another planet, or in a floating space station. People could fulfil their hopes and dreams among the stars. David Baker has been discovering what those settlements in space will be like, who will be there and how they will be organised. He has been hearing from the people shaping human life out in the universe, about their extraordinary plans and ambitions.
10/12/22·51m 4s


Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere and, in the last 15 years, the Caribbean nation has had outbreaks of cholera, a devastating earthquake and continual political upheaval. Last year, its president was assassinated - a crime for which no one has yet been put on trial, and since then violence in Haiti has escalated. According to human rights groups, armed gangs now control at least 60% of the capital, Port au Prince. In October, the UN reported 200 killings and 100 kidnappings. Host James Reynolds hears from Haitians who are dealing with the threats and dangers affecting them.
10/12/22·24m 27s

California's cannabis reparations

In California, cannabis is legal for recreational use and it’s created a multi-billion dollar industry. But who’s been reaping the rewards? For decades people from Black and Latino communities have been disproportionately arrested and imprisoned on cannabis drugs charges – and yet few appeared to benefit from the legal cannabis boom. So to make amends, California has been pioneering a policy to give those targeted in the war on drugs, a chance to share in the new cannabis industry. But is it working? Sharon Hemans has been to the city of Oakland to find out. Photo: Local entrepreneur Julian Nelson at this cannabis delivery store in Oakland. Presenter: Sharon Hemans Producer: Alex Last Sound mix by Neil Churchill Series editor: Penny Murphy Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond
08/12/22·26m 28s

India: Our trains, electric

The railways are incredibly important to life in India and have connected the country since the first line opened in 1863. But now, nearly 160 years later, the Indian rail network is about to take the next step in its existence - going electric. In 2017, national rail body Indian Railways announced that 100% of India's rail network would be electrified by the end of 2023 and then achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030. With just over a year to go, Bhakti Jain finds out if India can meet its ambitious targets.
06/12/22·27m 14s

Being LGBT

Apart from football, the men’s World Cup in Qatar has also led to analysis and discussion around the country’s human rights, including its treatment towards LGBT people. Qatar is far from the only country where someone’s sexuality is considered an issue, so we decided to bring together members of the LGBT community from various countries - including Turkey, Russia, Jordan and the UK - to hear their experiences.
03/12/22·23m 44s

Cold-calling Siberia

Sasha Koltun volunteered to fight in Putin's war against Ukraine, though his mother Yelena begged him not to go. Four days later, he was dead, one of several dozen new recruits from across Russia who never even reached the battlefield. What happened to him - and will his mother, battling official indifference and obstruction, ever discover the truth? With the Kremlin currently restricting access to Russia for Western reporters, Tim Whewell picks up the phone to talk to her and other people in and around the city of Bratsk, in central Siberia, about how the war has affected them. Many are afraid to talk. But others describe their anxiety as they wave goodbye to their menfolk, their confused feelings about the war - a mixture of patriotism and doubt - and the chaotic organisation of the call up. Some recruits have had to buy their own uniform and equipment. Others have suffered as discipline breaks down at some training camps. Tim talks to a former policewoman determined to encourage support for the war, who makes stretchers for wounded Russian soldiers - and to a young woman who believes it was her boyfriend's duty to be a soldier. But Yelena Koltun - who lost her son Sasha - cannot understand what her country is fighting for. Presented and produced by Tim Whewell
01/12/22·27m 15s

Tribal justice

The past few years have been the most politically turbulent for the State of Oklahoma and its Native American, or Indian, population in over a century. A Supreme Court ruling, McGirt v Oklahoma, in July 2020, reaffirmed treaties that have been in place since the early 19th Century. These treaties decreed much of eastern Oklahoma as reservation land, still belonging to the Native American communities who were forcibly moved there in the 19th Century. However an inevitable legal backlash followed the McGirt decision.
29/11/22·27m 15s

The reluctant millionaires

Why would anyone want to pay more tax? Film-maker, activist and multi-millionaire Disney heiress Abigail Disney presents a very personal introduction to the millionaires campaigning against their own wealth. From Morehead, Kentucky to Davos, Switzerland, Washington DC to Orlando, Florida, Abigail tells the story of contemporary wealth inequality, focusing particularly on the United States. What harm is wealth inequality doing to society and democracy and what can be done about it?
26/11/22·50m 50s

Power cuts in Ukraine

Millions of people in Ukraine are having to live with cuts to their electricity, water and heating, as official reports estimate that Russian missile attacks have damaged or destroyed almost half of the country’s energy system. Temperatures are already hovering around freezing in much of the country, and forecasts predict a drop to -20C as winter sets in. As engineers try to restore power, one of the country's biggest energy companies has warned Ukraine could be dealing with blackouts until the end of March. We hear from Ukrainians about the impact of these power cuts on their lives and work.
26/11/22·24m 35s

Trouble in Taiwan?

China’s President Xi Jinping says that Taiwan‘s reunification with the mainland “must and will be fulfilled.” The view from democratic Taiwan is somewhat different. It’s a threat the islanders have been hearing ever since the 1949 Chinese Civil War, when the Government of the Republic of China was forced to relocate to Taiwan allowing the Chinese Communist Party to establish a new Chinese state: the People’s Republic of China. But some sense that the increased rhetoric from China in recent months poses a real and present danger. Taiwanese billionaire Robert Tsao has pledged millions of pounds to train three million ‘civilian warriors’ in three years to defend the island should it be required. But will it come to that? John Murphy is in Taiwan to talk to people there about what they think about the threat from China and whether they’d be prepared to fight to protect what they have. Presenter: John Murphy Producer: Ben Carter Local producer and translator: Joanne Kuo Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond Sound Engineer: James Beard Series Editor: Penny Murphy
24/11/22·26m 28s

Which country should I play for?

In the past couple of years, Fifa eased its rules on allowing players with mixed heritage the opportunity to represent a country, even if you have previously played on the international stage for a different one. But what goes into the tough decision of deciding who to represent? And how persuasive can some countries be? We explore the increasingly common issue of players having to decide who they really represent and why.
22/11/22·27m 46s

Qatar and the fall of Fifa

When Qatar was announced as the host of the men's World Cup in 2022, it sent shockwaves around the football world. The small, spectacularly wealthy country, with a tiny population, little existing infrastructure, massive concerns over human rights and labour rights, and summer temperatures of over 40 degrees, seemed an unlikely candidate. That they had secured the World Cup triggered immense controversy, and an immediate wave of speculation that this would be yet another Fifa scandal, with votes bought and sold. Alex Capstick, the BBC World Service's sport correspondent, follows this story since that fateful announcement.
19/11/22·50m 1s

The health wagon

The health wagon serves remote communities in the Appalachian mountains of south-west Virginia. It's the oldest mobile clinic in the USA, founded in 1980 by a catholic nun in the back of a VW Beetle. Today it is a thriving and innovative non-profit, with five mobile units and three stationary clinics. Nurse practitioners Dr Teresa Tyson and Dr Paula Hill Collins are at the helm. We join them and their team, providing no-cost medical, dental and vision care to one of the most vulnerable, medically underserved areas of the United States.
19/11/22·50m 48s

Qatar World Cup

It’s 12 years since Qatar was announced as the host country for the men’s World Cup football tournament. Awarding the event to Qatar was a controversial decision at the time and still is, on several levels. The country has strict anti-LGBTQ+ laws, and women's rights are the subject of ongoing debate. More recently, treatment of the 30,000 migrant labourers, who built many of the tournament's stadiums and infrastructure has been severely criticised. James Reynolds has been talking to fans around the globe, including gay rights activists, and hears from women living in Qatar, as the eyes of the world turn to their country.
19/11/22·24m 35s

China's accidental activists

A group of women are taking on China’s communist government after their husbands and fathers were jailed as dissidents. The women never wanted to be campaigners but felt compelled to help their loved ones. In China, the women endured detention, surveillance, social isolation and persecution. They’ve now fled to the United States, where they juggle jobs, bringing up children – and political campaigning. The BBC’s Asia-Pacific editor, Michael Bristow, hears their stories that reveal the dark side of China’s communist regime. Presenter: Michael Bristow Producer: Alex Last Photo: Shi Minglei now in the United States (BBC)
17/11/22·26m 28s

Black Roots: DeFord Bailey and country music in Nashville

Musician Rhiannon Giddens explores the home of country music in Nashville to see how black people shaped this genre. How black is Nashville and its music history? Rhiannon uncovers the story of one of the biggest stars of the early country era: the African American ‘Harmonica Wizard’ DeFord Bailey. He was one of the most beloved performers at the Grand Ole Opry and the first black star of the radio age.
16/11/22·28m 7s

Colombia's life-saving pop song

It is 2010 and Colombian Colonel Jose Espejo has a problem. Not only is the Farc increasing its kidnapping activity, targeting police and military hostages, but many of the soldiers already in captivity - some kept in barbed-wire cages and held isolation in for over a decade - are losing hope of ever being rescued. Colonel Espejo knew that in order for future missions to succeed, he’d need to warn the captives that help was coming so they could be ready to make a break for it when the army arrived. But how do you get a message across to military hostages without tipping off their captors and placing them in even greater danger? The unexpected solution - hide the message in a pop song with an interlude in morse code that the military hostages could decipher.
15/11/22·27m 52s

Living with climate change

While world leaders meet in Egypt at the COP27 climate conference, we bring people together to share how the world around them is changing. Three people in the Bahamas, US and UK discuss their experiences of extreme weather. Alexander tells us how he had to wear a respirator when he was driving a taxi in Portland, Oregon, because of the smoke from forest fires. Shavone shares her story of a dramatic escape with her children from a storm in the Bahamas and Lance in the UK explains why he still lives in a house that lost its kitchen to the waves. Tendi Sherpa, who has climbed Everest 14 times and Lalaina Ramaroson, a tour guide in Madagascar, discuss how their countries are changing and the impact of climate change on plants and animals.
12/11/22·24m 31s

Black Roots: Arnold Shultz and bluegrass in Kentucky

Acclaimed musician Rhiannon Giddens explores bluegrass music in Kentucky, the history of the banjo and the story of Arnold Shultz. For many listeners of bluegrass, the story of this music begins in December 1945, when ‘Father of Bluegrass’ Bill Monroe brought his band on stage at the Grand Ole Opry. Yet, Bill Monroe always acknowledged the black fiddler and guitarist Arnold Shultz as one of his major influences. Rhiannon explores how African-American musicians like Shultz were often mentors to white country stars of the time.
09/11/22·27m 50s

The weather changers

For centuries we've made sacrifices, sent prayers to gods and summoned witches, in an attempt to bend the weather to our will. Science suggests now we might actually be able to do it. Weather modifiers are employed to make it rain, suppress hail and enhance snow packs. It is big business, from the UAE to Chile, Thailand to China, interest and investment is global. Kim Chakanetsa asks what the weather changers are actually doing, if it really works and if so, is it problem free?
08/11/22·27m 49s

Voting in the US

Americans are preparing to vote in their midterm elections. The rising cost of living, abortion, immigration, crime and gun rights are all issues that may affect decisions at the ballot box. We bring together two women from Massachusetts: Christine, a self-employed dog walker and Sheena, a single mother of four children aged three, five, seven and 13, who are struggling to afford essentials. In several states, the right to abortion will be on the ballot. We hear from two centres running clinics for women. We also get advice on how to ‘disagree well’ from couples where the partners have different political opinions.
05/11/22·23m 50s

America’s Dropbox Babies

Until Roe vs Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court in June, sweeping away Americans’ constitutional right to abortion, no one gave much thought to Safe Haven laws. These allow a mother to give up her new-born baby for adoption, at a designated site, anonymously and without risk of prosecution. Safe Haven legislation first appeared in the US in 1999 in Texas, in response to a rise in the number of abandoned babies. Now it exists in every state. These laws were never intended as an alternative to abortion. But as the options for unhappily pregnant women diminish, some are anticipating an increase in the number of babies left by desperate mothers in hospitals and specially designed Baby Boxes at local fire stations. Ahead of the US midterm elections, and with the abortion debate still polarising the nation, Assignment reports from Arizona on America’s ‘dropbox babies’. Reporter: Linda Pressly Producer: Tim Mansel
03/11/22·27m 20s

Black Roots: Frank Johnson, Joe Thompson and the fiddle in North Carolina

Acclaimed musician Rhiannon Giddens returns to her home state of North Carolina to explore the lives of two black fiddlers: Joe Thompson and Frank Johnson. Johnson was one of the first black celebrities in the southern states of the US. Born into slavery, he bought freedom for himself and his family on the back of his profits as a musician. More than 2,000 people processed through Wilmington, North Carolina for his funeral in 1871. Though he died before the start of the recording industry, his music was passed down through generations of black fiddlers in the region. The last of these fiddlers was Joe Thompson.
02/11/22·27m 31s

The crime that only women commit

Society drives people, particularly women, in every way to look beautiful. We see it on television, in the movies, and in magazines. The social pressure associated with physical appearance is typically much greater for girls and women than boys and men in almost every society. We tap into different areas of culture and society across the globe to get a diverse range of experience and opinion, and look at what drives this prejudice, and why.
01/11/22·27m 20s

The bleak reality behind the red light district

Amsterdam's red light district hides a secret world of sexual exploitation and human trafficking. People who know what really goes on share their stories.
29/10/22·51m 29s

The UK’s cost of living

Rishi Sunak begins his leadership in a time of crisis. He inherits an economy with inflation at more than 10 percent - its highest rate in 40 years - and rising food prices. During his first address as prime minister, Rishi Sunak warned there was no doubt the UK faced “a profound economic challenge.” James Reynolds speaks to several people struggling to survive. They share their tips for stretching every penny - from batch cooking to freezing bread and defrosting two slices at a time for sandwiches. We also hear from several single mothers who, despite having jobs, are all finding it increasingly difficult to afford everyday necessities.
29/10/22·24m 48s

Svalbard’s climate change fight

Svalbard is the fastest warming place on earth. Deep inside the Arctic Circle, it is home to the world’s northernmost settlement, Longyearbyen, which is estimated to be heating at six times the global average. People living here have a front row seat for the climate crisis - melting glaciers, rising sea levels, avalanches and landslides. Add to this an energy crisis in Europe fuelled by the war in Ukraine, which many experts believe is now undermining the fight against climate change. Nick Beake finds out what is being done to try to save Svalbard as we know it. Producer: Kate Vandy
27/10/22·26m 28s

The scramble for rare earths, part 2

Misha Glenny finds out whether the European Union can end its dependency on China for rare earths and critical raw materials and he discovers that Russia's interest in Ukraine might be partially motivated but the huge mineral deposits there.
26/10/22·28m 24s

Recaptive number 11,407

An astonishing series of documents in Sierra Leone named the Registers of Liberated Africans record details of Africans freed from slavery by the British Royal Navy in the 19th Century. There is one entry in the registers that simply says 'Recaptive Number 11,407, without name, deaf and dumb'. In this documentary mixing poetry and new historical research, award-winning deaf poet Raymond Antrobus goes on a personal journey to Sierra Leone to trace a piece of forgotten history and try to find out what became of this deaf man without a name.
25/10/22·27m 44s

Out of the shadows

Assassination, sabotage, cyberattacks - the undeclared war between Israel and Iran is one of the longest running conflicts in the region. As attempts to create a new deal to limit Iran's nuclear programme fail and Israel makes unprecedented alliances with its Arab neighbours, tensions are rising. Suzanne Kianpour talks to leading players in the region to find out how it all began and where it is heading.
22/10/22·50m 58s

Women in Iran

Sports climber Elnaz Rekabi has become the latest symbol of the anti-government protests, begun and led by women in Iran. She competed in the Asian Championships in South Korea with her hair uncovered, breaking Iran’s strict dress code requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab, or headscarf. Although Ms Rekabi later said her hijab had fallen off "inadvertently", the images had already gone viral. We hear from an Iranian female footballer who was in a similar position a few years ago and speak to a chess referee who took off her own headscarf during a tournament in 2020.
22/10/22·24m 57s

The Brain Drain

Paul Kenyon investigates the ‘brain drain’ of doctors from developing countries to work in the UK. The large scale recruitment of foreign doctors from nations with the greatest need to retain their medical personnel is increasing on a massive scale. What’s more, thousands of doctors are being targeted despite guidance which says recruitment from developing countries should not happen. It is though - because the UK trains too few doctors and nurses and needs these staff to plug the gaps. There are also big concerns about how many of the doctors flown into the UK are expected to work extremely long hours which they say is putting patient safety at risk.
20/10/22·27m 43s

The scramble for rare earths, part 1

Misha Glenny explores the world of rare earth metals and other critical raw materials. They are vital for the future of technology and the green transition. But some see China's monopoly on production as a major global threat. In the first of two episodes, Misha finds out what the 17 rare earth metals are and hears about their weird and wonderful applications. He also discovers how China has managed to dominate the mining and refining of them.
19/10/22·28m 16s

Ojousan power

In Japan the concept of yamato nadeshiko describes the classic ideal of Japanese women: a beautiful but modest female, dedicated to the wellbeing of her family and husband. She is assertive and smart, yet obedient, dependent, and bound to the domestic sphere. But times are changing. In recent years, campaigns such as #MeToo and #KuToo, which saw women petition against wearing high heels to work, have put Japan's gender inequality in the spotlight. Akiko Toya explores the change that is being created in Japan by women forging new partnerships in femtech, politics, sport and media.
18/10/22·28m 25s

Who is Xi Jinping?

Just over a decade ago, President Xi Jinping was a virtual unknown. Few would say that now. In ten years, he’s reworked the Chinese Communist party, the military and the government so that he’s firmly in control. He’s also vanquished all of his obvious rivals. And now, he’s about to extend his time in office. Some say Xi might stay in the top job indefinitely. So how did Xi Jinping do it? Celia Hatton, the BBC’s Asia Pacific editor, speaks to fellow China watchers to find out.
15/10/22·58m 13s

Russians going to war

As missile strikes by Russia have intensified across Ukraine, we bring together Russians to hear their thoughts on the war. President Putin last month also called for a boost to troop numbers through a ”partial mobilisation”, meaning the call up of 300,000 army reservists. Host James Reynolds hears how families are being torn apart due to opposing views on what is happening.
15/10/22·24m 15s

Bye-bye Baguette?

The bakers and farmers trying to wean Senegal off imported wheat. Trotting along on a horse and cart, over the bumpy red dirt roads, through the lush green fields of Senegal’s countryside, Oule carries sacks of cargo back to her village. She is the bread lady of Ndor Ndor and she’s selling French baguettes. As a former French colony, the baguette is such a staple of the Senegalese diet, that 8 million loaves are transported out to remote villages, roadside kiosks and high end city bakeries every morning. But wheat doesn’t grow in the West African country, so they are at the mercy of the global markets. Usually they import the majority of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine, but since the war, there have been immense pressures on availability and prices have been soaring. So much so, the government has stepped in to subsidise wheat to keep the cost of a baguette down. But the war has forced bakers to question whether there could be another way of feeding Senegal’s huge appetite for bread. Tim Whewell meets the bakers experimenting with local grains, like sorghum, millet and fonio, that can grow in Senegal’s climate. But can they convince their customers to change their tastes and say bye-bye baguette? Produced by Phoebe Keane Field producer: Ndeye Borso Tall Additional Research: Azil Momar Lo and Nicolas Negoce Production coordinator: Iona Hammond Editor: Penny Murphy
13/10/22·27m 47s

Father figures

The fathers of Michael Brown and Terence Crutcher, as well as George Floyd's uncle, reflect on the moment that forever altered their families’ lives following the killing of their loved ones by police officers in the US. Poet and songwriter Cornelius Eady navigates sobering and moving first hand accounts of what it means to raise a black man in America today. He learns how three father figures have coped in the face of harrowing loss.
11/10/22·27m 47s

The bread line

From the fields of Ukraine to a bakery in Beirut, we find out what it costs to produce a global staple - bread.
08/10/22·50m 58s

Indonesia stadium disaster

Indonesia continues to search for answers and comfort after more than 130 fans died at a football match. There appears to have been a deadly combination at the Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang, East Java, of over-crowding, tear gas being fired by police and blocked exits during the ensuing panic. The president of Fifa, the game’s world governing body, called it a “dark day” for football. Host James Reynolds has spent the past week hearing from survivors, who describe how they feel lucky to be alive and now want nothing more to do with football. He also brings together two Indonesian sports broadcasters for their assessment of what went wrong.
08/10/22·24m 28s

Leicester: Behind the Divide

Leicester is one of the most diverse cities in England – often presented as a shining example multi-cultural Britain. But tensions between some factions have been brewing in the city for months and boiled over recently when there were violent clashes which led to dozens of arrests. Assignment investigates why sections of the Muslim and Hindu communities that once lived together in harmony are now at odds. Reporter: Datshiane Navanayagam Producer: Hayley Mortimer
06/10/22·26m 28s

Peace and justice: Sexual violence in the DRC

More than a decade after the UN raised the alarm on the scale of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, sexual violence remains a persistent issue. Congolese journalist Ruth Omar investigates the complex issues that continue to feed the problem, and meets local activists fighting for change.
04/10/22·28m 0s

Protests in Iran

The world has witnessed extraordinary protests across Iran during the past fortnight. It followed the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. She was arrested and detained after allegedly breaking rules over covering her hair. She collapsed and fell into a coma at a detention centre, and died three days later in hospital. Her arrest was by the so-called Morality Police: a special police unit, tasked with ensuring the respect of Islamic morals and enforcing a specific dress code. Iranian women - and some men - share their stories. Tara, Sara and Ali are protesting on the streets of Iran, despite knowing the danger that places them in.
01/10/22·24m 27s

Argentina: Life with hyperinflation

Inflation in Argentina is racing towards 100%. In a country where prices are constantly on the move, it’s hard to navigate daily life as salaries slump and the cost-of-living soars. But, after decades of lurching from one economic crisis to another, Argentines have developed their own techniques for dealing with soaring inflation. In this week’s Assignment, Jane Chambers travels to the capital Buenos Aires to find out how people from all walks of life are coping. People in places like Diego Maradona’s hometown have to queue for food parcels to get by. The dollar is increasingly being used as the alternative economy and an outspoken Presidential Candidate has come up with a strategy to deal with the billions of dollars owed to the International Monetary Fund. Presenter/Producer Jane Chambers with help from Buenos Aires based journalists Lucinda Elliott and Isobel McGrigor Studio Manager: Neil Churchill & Rod Farquhar Production Coordinator: Gemma Ashman and Iona Hammond Editor: Penny Murphy Photo Credit: Lucinda Elliot
29/09/22·27m 13s

Going for gold In Ghana

Ghana is Africa's leading producer of gold. The majority of Ghana's gold mining operation is legally undertaken by national and global mining corporations but it is estimated that in recent years as much as 35% is produced by small scale miners, much of it illegally. This practice, known as galamsey, is a danger to the miners and the environment around them and it is estimated that up to 60% of Ghanaian bodies of water are polluted as a result. But when job opportunities are not as available as precious minerals, what options do locals really have?
27/09/22·28m 1s

The future of hip-hop: Atlanta

Cakes Da Killa is in Atlanta, the epicentre of hip-hop and home of trap music. The success of southern queer artists like Lil Nas X and Saucy Santana has brought more diversity into the genre, but boundaries and prejudice are still strong. Despite differences in their backgrounds, lives and music, the performers Cakes speaks to are driven by a common goal – to be creative on their own terms without bowing down to pressure from labels and the industry to conform. Will they succeed to build a more inclusive hip-hop for the future? Featuring artists Latto, Omeretta, Ripparachie and Jamee Cornelia.
24/09/22·50m 58s

Money in Lebanon

All banks in Lebanon have been shut indefinitely. They say it is for safety reasons following a string of raids by customers demanding access to their own money. In one incident, a woman armed with a toy gun staged a bank hold-up to pay family medical bills. Although the authorities have condemned the raids, they have drawn widespread public support. Since the 2019 collapse of Lebanon's financial system, 80% of the population is struggling for money. There are water shortages and frequent power cuts. We speak to Ghida who backs the bank raids because, she says, people are desperate. We hear from Elize, a cancer patient who shares her experiences of trying to get the drugs she needs to stay alive. Her doctor, professor Fadi Nasr, reminds us how hospitals in Lebanon used to be the best in the Middle East but they have now run out of basic supplies.
24/09/22·24m 26s

A ‘Me Too’ Moment for Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox Jews?

Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community is struggling to come to terms with high-profile sex abuse scandals. In the past year, two of its leading lights were accused of taking advantage of their status to sexually assault vulnerable women, men, and children. What has added to the shock is how, after one of the alleged attackers committed suicide, religious leaders in this insular, devout community defended him and even blamed his victims for causing his death by speaking out. The response sparked anger and triggered an unprecedented wave of activism to raise awareness of hidden sex abuse within the ultra-Orthodox world. Some are describing it as a “me-too” moment. The BBC’s Middle East correspondent, Yolande Knell hears from survivors of sexual assault and the campaigners within the ultra-Orthodox community working towards lasting change. Presenter: Yolande Knell Producers: Gabrielle Weiniger and Phoebe Keane Editor: Penny Murphy Photo: A child sex abuse survivor prays at the grave of his alleged abuser)
22/09/22·27m 44s

Finding home in Uganda

In August 1972, Idi Amin publicly condemned Ugandan Asians as ‘the enemy’, enforcing a brutal policy that ordered them to leave the country within 90 days. It is estimated between 60-70,000 South Asians left Uganda in fear for their lives. On the 50th anniversary of the expulsion, BBC reporter Reha Kansara follows her mum and aunt as they return to Uganda together for the first time.
20/09/22·28m 1s

The future of hip-hop: New York

Homophobia and misogyny are ingrained in hip-hop. But a new generation of women and queer artists are determined to challenge the status quo. Cakes Da Killa is an openly gay rapper who has been recording for more than a decade. In this two-part series he talks to female stars like number one artist Latto, and queer rappers like Ripparachie to find out how far they have come, the issues they still face and where they are going next.
17/09/22·51m 6s

The Queen

The Queen is lying in state in Westminster Hall in the UK Parliament. Tens of thousands of people have been queuing to pay their final respects. The line has stretched several kilometres along the River Thames. We talk to some of the mourners who have been waiting overnight, sometimes in the rain, to have the opportunity to view the late monarch’s coffin. We hear from three people who have met the Queen during her 70 years on the throne.
17/09/22·24m 37s

Kentucky flooding

Historic levels of flooding in eastern Kentucky in August caused 37 deaths. The State’s governor described it as the worst natural crisis Kentucky has seen. River levels on the North Fork Kentucky River in Whitesburg reached 21ft (6.4m) compared with the previous record of 14ft (4.2m). The floods have tested the resilience of the people in the former coal-mining region of Appalachia. In towns like Whitesburg, where 56-year-old Val Horn runs a community kitchen - huge numbers of people have lost their homes and Val’s kitchen has been preparing 1500 meals a day.
13/09/22·38m 8s

Britain's cost of living

UK Prime Minister Liz Truss has set out a plan to help with people’s soaring energy bills, food and petrol prices. And then there is the challenge of strikes over pay and a record number of people waiting for treatment by the country’s national health service. Host James Reynolds brings together two public sector workers – Kailee, a care home nurse in Lincoln and Alice, a music teacher in Hertfordshire. Kailee says she can no longer always afford treats for her children and drives slower to save a little money on fuel. Alice, meanwhile, seeks discounts and has begun teaching privately to help make ends meet. James also hears the conversations in the city of Derby – once the heart of the industrial revolution but now facing harsh economic challenges. A hairdresser, ice cream maker and striking postal worker share their experiences of tightening budgets. And three small business owners – who run a shop, a pub and a restaurant – discuss the prospect of fewer customers.
10/09/22·24m 29s

The Texas Tank: A Prison Radio Station Changing Lives

The Allan B. Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas, used to be known as the Terror Dome for its high rates of inmate violence, murder and suicide. Polunsky houses all the men condemned to death in Texas (currently 185) and nearly 3,000 maximum security prisoners. But since the pandemic, a prison radio station almost entirely run by the men themselves has helped to create community--even for those on death row, who spend 23 hours a day locked alone in their cells. The Tank beams all kinds of programmes across the prison complex: conversations both gruff and tender; music from R&B to metal; the soundtracks of old movies; inspirational messages from all faiths and none. The station’s steady signal has saved some men from suicide and many from loneliness; it lets family members and inmates dedicate songs to each other and make special shows for those on their way to execution. Maria Margaronis tunes in to The Tank and meets some of the men who say it's changed their lives—even when those lives have just weeks left to run. Produced by David Goren. Photo credit (Michael Starghill)
07/09/22·27m 53s

Samburu: The fight against child marriage

Samburu county, in northern Kenya, is one of many places where it is normal for girls as young as 11 to be married, often to men more than three times their age. These marriages are additionally traumatic because the child brides are forced to undergo female genital mutilation the day before the wedding. For this documentary Lisa-Marie Misztak meets Josephine Kulea, a remarkable Samburu woman on a quest to stop these practices deeply embedded in her culture. Lisa-Marie also meets the girls Josephine has taken under her wing, who are now rediscovering childhood and getting an education.
06/09/22·27m 53s

The floods in Pakistan

It has been called "a monsoon on steroids" by one United Nations chief after record-breaking rainfall and floods destroyed over a million homes in Pakistan leaving many homeless. Buildings, crops and vital infrastructure have been damaged, destroyed or submerged in water affecting about 33 million Pakistanis. Nauroz Jamali helped start a group to support those in the flooded villages. Abraham Buriro is also a volunteer and host James Reynolds hears what the situation is like for them and where they need the most help.
03/09/22·23m 45s

Global Britain after Boris Johnson

As Boris Johnson prepares to stand down as UK Prime Minister, the BBC’s Ritula Shah asks what his premiership has meant for Britain’s standing in the world. In just three years in office he was a key player in world events – Brexit, the COP 26 climate summit, the war in Ukraine. He championed an idea of ‘Global Britain’ – what did that mean and how will his colourful and controversial leadership be judged in countries around the world?
03/09/22·27m 53s

What next for School no 20?

Max, Alyona, Serhiy, Oleg, Alina and Vladyslav are leaving school this year - six 17 year olds full of dreams. Serhiy plans an epic bike ride; Max pours his heart into music - and they’ve all turned up for the prom that marks their passage into adulthood. But their school, School no. 20 in Chernihiv, has been shelled badly by the Russian army, and the school leavers face a future with none of the old certainties. In the early morning of February 24th, ’My mother came in and said that the war had begun… it was unreal,’ Alyona says ‘I just went back to bed thinking it was cool that I didn't have to go to school and could sleep in. And then, when I finally realised… it was as if someone took the ground from under your feet, and now you’re kind of weightless.’ Alina tells us of the weeks she spent in the cellar, sleeping on a shelf meant for jam and trying to revise by candle light. When the fighting died down, she made her way across her bombed city to charge her phone at a special park bench fitted with solar panels. All six have found themselves changed forever by the last few months. They are thinking deeply about what will happen next. Vlad is still planning to study IT, but who knows? ‘If my country needs me, then so be it. I’ll serve in the army.’ Yet despite it all, they are teenagers still. Toffee popcorn, model dragons, and dresses all feature in a documentary full of life. The teenagers plan to stay in touch with one another in the years to come, even if their lives are scattered. And Assignment plans to stay in touch with them too. Alyona reaches out in this first episode to other teens in Ukraine and the wider world. ‘I want to say to all the people who are safe - don’t feel bad about it. It’s fine that you can eat, or smile, or just go for a walk and enjoy your life in peace. You must live your life!’ With special thanks to Vladyslav Savenok and the staff and pupils at School no. 20, Chernihiv. Presenter: Olga Betko Producer: Monica Whitlock Editor: Penny Murphy Studio Managers: James Beard and Graham Puddifoot Production Coordinator: Gemma Ashman (Image: Leavers from School no 20, Chernihiv, Ukraine. Credit: Vladyslav Savenok)
01/09/22·26m 29s

What are we searching for? Part 2

By examining internet search data, Ben Arogundade discovers the surprising stories of how, from the tiniest villages under attack to major cities hosting thousands of refugees, people are navigating their difficult circumstances and managing to live in the spaces between conflicts.
30/08/22·28m 0s

Ukrainians six months on since the start of war

August 24 is always a significant date for Ukraine, as it marks official independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. This year, however, it also marked six months since Russia invaded the country. Russian officials initially predicted a short campaign but the fighting shows no sign of ending soon. The human cost has been immense – thousands of lives have been lost on both sides. Three women share what it is like to have family members involved directly in the war. We also hear messages from a Ukrainian military sniper, a 20-year-old volunteer military interpreter and a former US marine who is now one of thousands of volunteer fighters in the country. Meanwhile, a Russian woman in Riga describes the impact of the war on her family and a Russian man living in Moscow is calling for truce.
27/08/22·24m 27s

Lacrosse: Reclaiming the Creator’s game

Why are Native Americans striving to ‘reclaim’ the game of lacrosse? Lacrosse may have the reputation as a white elitist sport, played in private schools. In fact, it was originally a Native American game, practiced across North America before European colonisers arrived. As white settlers pushed westwards, taking land and resources, they also took lacrosse as their own. They stopped Native Americans from playing it, alongside prohibiting other spiritual and cultural practices. But now a Native American grassroots movement is aiming to 'reclaim' what they call "the Creator's game". In doing so they want to promote recognition for their peoples and nations. Rhodri Davies travels to Minnesota, in the American Midwest, to talk to Native Americans about how lacrosse is integral to their identity. Producer: John Murphy Editor: Penny Murphy Studio Manager: Rod Farquhar Production Coordinators: Iona Hammond and Gemma Ashman (Image: A game of traditional lacrosse begins with sticks raised and a shout to the Creator. Credit: Rhodri Davies/BBC)
25/08/22·26m 28s

What are we searching for? Part 1

What are people looking for online within the world’s major war zones? By examining internet search data, Ben Arogundade discovers the surprising stories of how, from the tiniest villages under attack to major cities hosting thousands of refugees, people are navigating their difficult circumstances and managing to live in the spaces between conflicts.
23/08/22·24m 23s

How things are done in Odesa

Odesa, legendary Black Sea port city and vital geo-strategic nexus of global trade, is living through Russia's war against Ukraine. Always fiercely independent, both from Moscow and Kiev, its legendary past has given the city a reputation of possibility and promise. A quarter of a million people have left Odesa. Its beloved holiday beaches are closed and mined, yet life has gradually returned to its performance spaces: concerts, opera, spoken word. Recordings made since the first days of the war interweave with the fabulously rich cultural history of the city. Founded in 1794 by Catherine the Great as part of her expanding empire of Novo Rossiya, Odesa began as a dusty boom town of enormous opportunity and possibility that connected the chill of Imperial Russia to the warmth of the wider world. In some ways nothing has changed. A port city possessed of a unique argot - 'Odesski Iazyk' (a fusion of Yiddish and Russian); eternal optimism; a wicked sense of humour; more violinists than you can shake a bow at; poets and writers galore; and a gallery of rogues, real and imagined. Perhaps its most beloved literary son is Isaac Babel. Raised in the Moldovanka- still a place of liminal existence, his Odessa Tales of gangster anti-heroes like Benya Krik are forever interwoven with how Odesites and the wider world imagine the city - beautiful and bad! It is of course only partially true. Film-maker Sergei Eisenstein's Battle Ship Potemkin also put the city on the world map and the first film studios in Russia sprang up there. with its ready supply of sunlight. From foundational boom town days onwards its streets and people could make you rich, or ruin you. In the crumbling days of the Soviet empire it was a place to dream of escape to a world beyond. Babel and Eisenstein are just two among many who, since the 19th Century have helped created the myth of Old Odessa -poets and writers, musicians and comedians who flourished in what was a largely Jewish city until 1941 and the Nazi invasion of Russia. Legendary violinists ever since David Oistrakh are forged there at the Stolyarsky School, now closed due to war. Musician Alec Koypt, who grew up in the mean streets of Molodvanka, shipping proprietor Roman Morgenshtern, journalist Vlad Davidson, translator Boris Dralyuk, poets Boris and Lyudmila Kershonsky and others are our contemporary guides as the voices of the past bring forth their very Odesan genius.
20/08/22·51m 21s

OS Conversations: One year of the Taliban

In August 2021, the Taliban entered the capital Kabul, unchallenged, to take control of Afghanistan, 20 years after the Americans toppled them from power. The country was turned upside down. One year on, the list of challenges is long, including the millions who are facing hunger amid a dire economic and humanitarian situation. As well as warning about malnutrition, the United Nations has urged the world not to forget the plight of the country's women and girls. Three Afghans still living in the country discuss the changes to their lives with host Anna Foster. Two are young women and they reveal the severe restrictions to their rights, education, freedom and choice of clothes. Tens of thousands also fled the country last August, and we bring together Afghans who escaped and are now living in Poland, Germany and the United States. Although grateful for their safety, the emotion and pain remains at having often left loved ones behind. “I miss my home. I miss my mother. I miss my room. I miss my bed,” says Laleh in Berlin. “I miss everything about my country.”
20/08/22·24m 45s

Moldova - East or West?

Sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, the former Soviet Republic of Moldova has recently been awarded EU candidate status. In an echo of what happened in Ukraine, Moldova lost a chunk of its eastern territory to separatists in a short war 30 years ago. The separatists were backed by elements of the Russian army. Since then Transnistria has remained a post-Soviet “frozen conflict.” In recent months almost 500,000 Ukrainian refugees have crossed into Moldova – the highest per capita influx to a neighbouring country. Up to 90,000 have remained in Moldova, one of Europe’s poorest countries. The republic’s president has warned that President Putin has his sights set on her country. Tessa Dunlop travels to Moldova to hear what Moldovans think about the war in Ukraine and their country’s future. Produced by John Murphy (Image: A Russian armoured vehicle at the border crossing with the breakaway enclave of Transnistria in the village of Firladeni, Republic of Moldova. Credit: BBC/John Murphy)
18/08/22·26m 28s

Afghan Stars now

A year on from the Taliban takeover of Kabul on 15th August 2021, Sahar Zand talks to some of the Afghans who featured in her 2019 World Service programme Afghan Stars, which told the story of a ground-breaking TV music talent show in Afghanistan, which was won for the first time by a female singer. The Taliban had singled out the programme for special criticism, as it both promoted music, which their spokesman considered ‘haram’ (forbidden), and because it promoted the voices of women, which, he had said, should not be heard in public. The current situations of the musicians and media personalities whom Sahar has traced are a mirror of what Afghans have experienced in the past twelve months.
16/08/22·28m 20s

Bonus podcast: The Bomb

The man who stole the atomic bomb. Klaus Fuchs is the spy who changed history - why did he give the blueprint to the Soviets? This is season 2, episode 1: A grave matter. Search for The Bomb wherever you get your podcasts.
13/08/22·21m 35s

The Engineers: The future of cars

From the fuel that powers them to the drivers who drive them, engineers are innovating every aspect of the automobile, including solar-powered vehicles, full automation, clean fuel cars and electrification. Three engineers at the forefront of reimagining the car are on a panel hosted by Kevin Fong answering questions from an audience at the Science Museum in London, and on video link across five continents worldwide.
13/08/22·50m 24s

OS Conversations: Drought

We're seeing drought all around the world. Without significant rainfall, lakes and rivers have been drying-up, pastures are becoming dusty deserts and crops are failing to grow. As well as the devastating effect on nature, drought has an economic and human cost - particularly in the poorest parts of the world. The United Nations warns that millions are at risk of severe hunger, in particular in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. We hear from two families in Kenya who are struggling with rising food prices as their own crops fail. Michael tells us about the impact on his mother, who has a small farm, and Odongo worries about the health effects of the drought on the people living in Nairobi. France is experiencing its worst drought since records began. We bring together two French wine growers who are desperate for rain as their crops are suffering. They warn it could be a “huge problem”. Meanwhile, in Iraq, drought continues to be a concern, as temperatures increase. Two Iraqis tell us how they are trying to cope.
13/08/22·24m 44s

After the ‘narco president’: Rebuilding hope in Honduras

When the president stands accused of drug trafficking, what hope is there? From 2014, for eight years Juan Orlando Hernandez ruled Honduras like his personal fiefdom. A Central American strongman comparable with some of the worst from decades past, under his presidency Honduras began a rapid descent into a so-called “narco-state”. The allegations against his government soon started to mount up: human rights violations, corruption and impunity; accusations of torture and extrajudicial killings by the police and military. And at its heart, the claim by US prosecutors of a multi-million dollar drug smuggling ring, overseen from the presidential palace itself. Just weeks after he left power in January 2022, Juan Orlando Hernandez was arrested and extradited to the US to face drug trafficking charges. American prosecutors allege he used his security forces to protect some drugs shipments and eliminate competitors. Will Grant, the BBC’s Central America Correspondent, finds out what life was like under the disgraced president and meets some people trying to instil a little hope in a nation which hasn’t had any for a long time. He meets Norma, the mother of Keyla Martinez, who was killed in a police cell. Initially, the police said she had killed herself but hospital reports later proved this wasn’t the case. Now, can Norma Martinez’s campaign for justice bring a sense of hope to those who don’t trust the authorities and have endured years of rampant corruption and police impunity? Producer: Phoebe Keane Fixer in Honduras: Renato Lacayo
10/08/22·28m 6s

Inheritors of partition

In homes across the UK, partition is not history but a live issue for its young descendants. Over the course of a year, Kavita Puri follows three people as they piece together parts of their complex family history and try to understand the legacy of partition and what it means to them today. She connects with a young man who goes to the Pakistani village where his Hindu grandfather was saved by Muslims; a woman who has always thought of herself as British Pakistani but a DNA test reveals she also has roots in India; a woman with Pakistani heritage and a man with Indian heritage plan their wedding and realise that their families actually originate from within an hour of each other in the Punjab.
09/08/22·28m 13s

Women's football

Women’s football is on an incredible high around the world after a month of five international tournaments with record breaking crowds. Those tournaments have delivered new champions, new interest and new hope. The new champions are Papua New Guinea, South Africa and England. Perhaps more predictably there have also been trophies for the USA and Brazil. The success has created a discussion about how this is a significant moment in the development of the game. Stacey Copeland who was in England Under-18s, former England defender Fern Whelan and BBC World Service Digital and Sport Editor, Anna Doble discuss how Euro 2022 can change the course of women’s sports.
06/08/22·24m 58s

Ukraine: Collaboration and Resistance

Ukrainian forces have launched a counteroffensive to retake Kherson, the largest city captured by Russia in this year's invasion. But the occupiers are redoubling their efforts to integrate the city and surrounding region into Russia - and they need the help of local collaborators. A few Ukrainians are eagerly serving the invaders. But many key workers - teachers, doctors and other state employees - are forced into a cruel choice. They must agree to work according to Russian rules, betraying their country - or else lose their jobs. Tim Whewell reports on life behind Russian lines in Kherson - and talks to some of those who've thrown in their lot with the occupiers, including the eccentric former journalist and fish inspector who's now deputy head of the region's Russian backed administration.
04/08/22·28m 3s

My granny the slave

Writer Claire Hynes goes on a personal journey to uncover the story of an Antiguan foremother, who is thought to be one of the first women to flee a slave plantation in the Caribbean island of Antigua. Claire grew up learning a 200 year-old story passed down through generations about her enslaved ancestor known as Missy Williams. As a young woman Missy risked her life to escape the physical and sexual brutality of plantation life, hiding out in a cave. Inspired by her courage and intelligence, Claire travels to the island of Antigua to find out about Missy’s life, the extreme challenges she faced and how she managed to survive.
03/08/22·28m 31s

Fighting wildfires

Parts of the world, such as Europe, have experienced record temperatures and, amid the heat, wildfires are burning. In the United States, there are several fires across large parts of the country. We bring together three specialist wildland firefighters to share what it’s like to do one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Whitney Lindsay, in Texas, became a firefighter four years ago as part of a special program involving military veterans. Jonathon Golden in Utah retired in 2019 after firefighting for 12 years. Chris Ashby in Oregon is both a firefighter and a crew boss. They discuss with host James Reynolds the impact of climate change, the rewards and the strains of the profession.
30/07/22·23m 57s

The return of the tigers

Tigers are making a remarkable comeback in Nepal. The small Himalayan nation is on track to become the first country to double its wild tiger population in the last decade. A new census will be released on International Tiger Day (29th of July). The recovery is the result of tough anti-poaching measures that have involved the military and the local community. Other iconic species including rhinos and elephant populations have also increased. But this has come at a cost, there has been an increase in tiger attacks on humans. Rebecca Henschke travels to Bardia national park, to find out what’s behind the conservation success and what it means for the community living with the Tigers. (Photo Credit: Deepak Rajbanshi) Presented by Rebecca Henschke Produced by Kevin Kim and Rajan Parajuli, with the BBC Nepali team Studio mix by Neil Churchill Production coordinators Gemma Ashman and Iona Hammond Editor Penny Murphy
28/07/22·26m 28s

Birmingham’s grassroots heroes

The 2022 Commonwealth Games is being hosted by the UK’s central city of Birmingham - ethnically diverse and where the age profile is younger compared to other British cities. It is home to many people with familial links to commonwealth member countries such as India and the Caribbean. As Birmingham welcomes 4,500 athletes from around the world, Nina Robinson talks to the city’s ‘Hometown Heroes’ - locals who have been recognised for their contribution to sport.
26/07/22·27m 17s

Extreme heat

As temperature records are broken around the world. People around world share with host James Reynolds how to negotiate the warm weather and how the heat is affecting their lives. “It’s 37 degrees here right now,” says Allison in Doha, Qatar, “but we’re at 59% humidity so it’s feeling like 52 degrees outside. If you can imagine just stepping outside into a sauna, that’s basically what it’s like.” Allison discusses her experiences with Julia in Brittany, France, and Alia, a doctor in Lahore, Pakistan.
23/07/22·24m 18s

Shanghai lockdown

After two months of a gruelling strict lockdown, Shanghai has emerged a changed city, some residents say. During the 65 toughest days, some were reduced to begging for food and pleading for access to their young children from whom they’d been separated. The regime wasn’t just brutal, some claim, it was largely fruitless, as the omicron strain of Covid continues to spread now. What’s more the economic fallout for China’s commercial capital, and key supply chains across the country and internationally, are only gradually becoming apparent. What’s the legacy of Shanghai’s zero-Covid experiment? Producer and Presenter Ed Butler Studio mix by Neil Churchill Production coordinators Iona Hammond and Gemma Ashman Editor Penny Murphy
21/07/22·26m 29s

Nursing matters

In Zambia, at the Lusaka College of Nursing and Midwifery, college head Dr Priscar Sakala-Mukonka is training the next generation of nurses in their new Critical Care department. Once qualified, her students will join a health care system that is critically short-supplied and short-staffed - not due not to a lack of new nurses, but due to a shortage of paid positions. Despite decades of investment, there is still only 13 nurses per 10,000 people in Zambia, compared to 175 in Switzerland. Many qualified nurses are officially unemployed, and those with jobs do the work of many. Feeling demoralized and undervalued, many have left to pursue nursing careers overseas. What can be done to reverse this trend?
19/07/22·27m 52s

Sri Lanka crisis

In a week where protestors stormed the residences of its leaders, forcing the president to resign, Sri Lanka continues to face its worst economic crisis in more than 70 years. There have been months of shortages - from fuel and cooking gas to food and medicines. We hear from three doctors in the capital Colombo about running out of essentials such as HIV testing kits. Host James Reynolds also hears from two Sri Lankans about coping among constant shortages.
16/07/22·23m 47s

The man who came back from the dead

The incredibly story of Ivan Skyba, the sole survivor of one of the worst atrocities of the war in Ukraine. In March 2022, Russian troops shot dead eight unarmed men in a mass execution in the town of Bucha, outside Kiev. But incredibly, one man who the Russians thought they’d killed , managed to survive the massacre. The BBC’s special correspondent Fergal Keane traveled to Ukraine to uncover what happened and meet Ivan Skyba, the man who came back from the dead. Photo: Ivan Skyba who survived the massacre at 144 Yablunska Street in Bucha, Ukraine (BBC) Reporter: Fergal Keane Producers: Orsi Szoboszlay and Alex Last Fixers: Sofiia Kochmar-Tymoshenko, Viacheslav Shramovych, Rostyslav Kubik Series Editor: Penny Murphy Studio Mix: Graham Puddifoot and Neil Churchill Production Coordinators: Gemma Ashman and Iona Hammond
14/07/22·26m 27s

Shrimps, saris and guns

Deep in the jungles of Bangladesh, a small group of women secretly practise army-style drills. This small team, made exclusively of female village residents, are fighting a global economic force - the world’s insatiable appetite for shrimp. The BBC's Faarea Masud investigates as the demand for shrimp is destroying the land the women have farmed for centuries, and they are willing to do everything they can to protect it from the illegal intensive farming which renders their farmland rapidly unusable. With allegations of payments made to corrupt officials to turn a blind eye, and with little financial clout themselves, the women have taken matters into their own hands in the battle with the global shrimp industry.
12/07/22·27m 20s

Boris Johnson

Less than three years after winning a landslide victory, the UK’s Conservative party Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resigned. It follows a series of political scandals, election defeats and his own party’s loss of trust and confidence in his leadership. During his time in office, Johnson had to deal with a number of unexpected global situations: a pandemic, the economic fallout of war in Ukraine and the ongoing cost of living crisis. But it was questions about his character that brought him down and scandals such as ‘Partygate’ where he attended group gatherings at 10 Downing Street, during lockdowns. Two journalists in Belgium and France discuss Boris Johnson’s reputation abroad and the reaction of European leaders with host James Reynolds.
09/07/22·24m 23s

Ukraine war stories

How would you cope it you were at the centre of a war? In March 2022, the BBC told the stories of four young women whose lives were changed forever by war in Ukraine. They were not soldiers, activists or politicians. They were civilians, not used to war or how to deal with it. They kept audio diaries that told a raw truth about loss, hope and even love. Some packed up and left with their children while others remained in the eye of the storm. Among them, a language teacher in Kyiv called Alexandra who did not know if her parents were still alive in the besieged city of Mariupol. Mari, a model and dancer, who was caught up in shelling in Chernihiv. And Yulia, who gave birth as bombs rained down on Kharkhiv. But what’s happened to them since? Assignment tries to trace them, to discover how their lives have changed in four months of war. (Photo Credit: Mari Margun)
07/07/22·26m 28s

Floating justice

The city of Macapá is in the middle of a river archipelago with around 50 villages and 14,000 inhabitants, where the Amazon meets the Atlantic Ocean. Some of these communities are almost impossible to reach, with dense mangroves and fluctuating water levels making the journey dangerous. For a long time, conflicts were resolved by local leaders, from theft, to land disputes, to rape. The machete was often the quickest recourse to justice. Judge Sueli Pini visited Macapá 20 years ago. Seeing the problem, she founded a system that’s unique in the world, the “floating court.”
05/07/22·27m 19s

Latinos in Texas

It is being described as the deadliest human smuggling incident in US history after more than 50 men, women and children were found dead in an abandoned truck in San Antonio, Texas, in the United States. The temperature inside was close to 40 degrees Celsius - more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. One police chief called it a “crime against humanity”. The incident has once again provoked discussion about those who risk their lives to fulfil their dream of getting into America. Host James Reynolds hears conversations with Latinos in Texas, talking about their experiences of growing up within two cultures.
02/07/22·23m 54s

Ethiopia’s Disinformation War

When President Abiy Ahmed came to power in Ethiopia he was seen as a reformer who was heralding a new era of hope. In 2019 he was even awarded the Nobel Peace prize. But less than a year later he ordered a military offensive against regional forces in Tigray in the north of the country. He said he did so in response to an attack on a military base housing government troops there. It’s a conflict that has been characterised by an almost constant media blackout in Tigray. In the absence of detailed reporting, rumour, denial and misinformation has been rife. But a few dedicated journalists have been working hard to get at the truth. Chloe Hadjimatheou hears from one of them as she tries to unpick fact from fiction in Ethiopia’s information war. Produced and presented by Chloe Hadjimatheou Editor Penny Murphy Studio mix by Neil Churchill Production coordinators Iona Hammond and Gemma Ashman
30/06/22·26m 28s

From Ukraine to Israel: An exodus for our times

Thousands of Ukrainians are fleeing to Israel – joining a million-plus former Soviets who have already moved to this Middle Eastern nation, with profound consequences for both Israel and the region. Tim Samuels investigates this very modern ‘exodus’ of Jews, once again running from Eastern Europe, a journey so many of their ancestors made before. He meets Ukrainian refugees in a Tel Aviv immigration hotel trying to start a new life for themselves after fleeing from the horrors of the conflict, but also finding themselves sharing the same facilities as Russians who have left their country too for Israel. Music featured: Stefan Wesolowski – Love Immortal Onion - Dune Both tracks from the compilation: W snach widzę spokojny Wschód / In my dreams I see a peaceful East, digital album by Various Artists. Published by Palma Foundation.
28/06/22·27m 24s

Life in Kyiv

Back in February, when Russian forces began their invasion of Ukraine, their tanks were heading towards Kyiv. The Russians retreated before making it to the centre of the city, but left devastation in every area that had been fought over in those weeks. In a café in Kyiv, the BBC’s correspondent Joe Inwood met up those now living and working in the city to hear how it is changing and recoverin. The District One Foundation is a 1000-strong team of volunteers dedicated to helping restore damaged homes, schools and hospitals, and give whatever support they can to people returning to live in the city. The work is challenging, but they say it’s energised them and given them a sense of great positivity. He also talks to, two photographers and an artist who how their day to day work has changed, but their art can be put to essential use on social media and beyond, informing the rest of the world about the war and how life is in Ukraine.
25/06/22·24m 7s

Kenya's election hustle

Kenyan politicians are spending millions of dollars on campaigns to win lucrative political office in August's crucial elections. With 75 percent of Kenyans under the age of 35, securing the youth vote will be key. But amid a youth unemployment crisis, many have grown disillusioned about the chance for real change. Dickens Olewe travels to Nairobi to meet the young Kenyans who instead see the election campaign as a new business opportunity, a new "hustle" to extract cash from competing candidates. Photo: Supporters gather at Kenyan election rally. (AFP/Getty Images)
23/06/22·26m 28s

The Interview: Sergei Lavrov

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks to the BBC’s Russia editor, Steve Rosenberg, about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the impact of the war on Russia’s standing in the world. Now that Russian troops have focused on the east of Ukraine, what are Russia’s war aims, and how does the leadership in Moscow justify them?
22/06/22·28m 8s

The climate tipping points

The melting of polar ice sheets, the collapse of the Amazon rainforest, the seizing up of ocean circulation - these are just some of the calamities we risk bringing about through our unabated carbon emissions. Each of these tipping points on its own could have dire consequences for the wellbeing of all life on Earth, including us humans. Justin Rowlatt discovers how global warming may trigger irreversible changes to our planet.
18/06/22·50m 19s

Insecurity in Nigeria

It has a population of 215 million but very few Nigerians have been untouched by incidents of violence and lawlessness which appear to have increased in recent months. Schools, colleges, churches, trains and roads have all been targeted, and people report feeling unsafe wherever they go. We hear the anguish of relatives involved in the recent armed attack on a church in Ondo state in south-west Nigeria, in which 40 people were killed and dozens wounded. A young woman describes the terror of being abducted with her sister and other students.
18/06/22·23m 52s

Ukraine’s homegrown harvest

Ukraine’s farms are under attack. Russian forces are burning or stealing grain and vegetables. The main growing regions in the south are under occupation, cutting off the country from its usual supplies of fresh food. What can the outside world do? Monica Whitlock reports from the village of Brożec in western Poland where farmers have rallied round to send seeds to smallholdings and allotments in Ukraine - ‘Victory Gardens’ in President Zelensky’s words. Each garden feeds far more than one family, as Ukrainian villagers take in internally displaced people from the cities. But as the season for harvest approaches, far more worrying problems face Ukraine’s beleaguered farmers. Producer Monica Whitlock
16/06/22·26m 29s

Don't log off: Keeping going

In Melbourne, Jaswinder describes the epic road trip he made with his fellow members of Sikh Volunteers Australia, to bring healthy food to the victims of severe flooding more than 1000km from their base. Karma is a tour guide through the majestic mountains of Bhutan where he leads treks lasting up to 27 days - but health issues are placing Karma's business in jeopardy. Nearly two years on from the explosion which devastated the city of Beirut, Lebanon is enveloped in an acute economic crisis and Paloma's mum has been telling her to leave. Using social media, Alan Dein connects with people around the world, to hear stories of hope and support, whether in peaceful or unsettled times.
15/06/22·27m 22s

The night Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons

It was a night of intense negotiation which would change the world order as Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons. Thousands of nuclear arms had been left on Ukrainian soil after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But in the years that followed, Ukraine made the decision to denuclearise. Clive Myrie examines what was at stake in Budapest in 1994, how the deal was finally reached and how it went on to shape the world we face today.
14/06/22·27m 21s

Messages for those lost in Ukraine

As the battles continue, following the Russian forces’ attack on Ukraine, we share memories from a few of the thousands of people who have lost friends, family, and colleagues during the war. We have been receiving audio messages for people from all walks of life: a toymaker, a photographer, a city mayor, an engineer, soldiers and journalists. They include one from Tatyana, whose younger brother joined the army to defend his country eight years ago. He died in Mariupol at the age of 34. Gregory, a journalist, pays tribute to a much-loved colleague, Vera, who died in a missile attack on her apartment.
11/06/22·23m 48s

Evacuated to Russia

More than a million Ukrainian civilians from Mariupol and other war-ravaged towns in the east of the country have been transported over the border into the territory of their country’s enemy, Russia. The authorities there have dispersed them into a chain of “temporary accommodation centres” across Russia, some of them thousands of miles from Ukraine. Russia claims it’s rescued the refugees – and says some want to build new lives with Russian citizenship in places as far away as Vladivostok, on the Pacific Ocean. But many of the Ukrainians are trying to avoid or leave the accommodation centres, and get out of Russia – and they’re being helped by a network of volunteers inside and outside the country. Ukraine says many of the “evacuees” have been forcibly deported to Russia against their will – and they’re being subjected to a form of slavery in sealed camps. Tim Whewell talks to refugees in Russia – and others who’ve managed to leave the country – to try to find out what’s really going on.
09/06/22·26m 28s

Don't log off: A different way

An ecological retreat on the edge of the Amazonian rainforest, which has the area's indigenous people as its nearest neighbours. A self declared independent artist's republic in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius with its own flag, currency and constitution. A peace loving community in New Zealand where everyone shares their money and children can safely roam free. Then there is the Argentinian family which travelled the world by vintage car on a journey that lasted for more than 22 years. Alan Dein connects with people around the world who are reaching further, dreaming deeper and seeking a different path in life.
08/06/22·27m 17s

Inside the Kim regime

Have you ever wondered what life is like at the very top of the North Korean regime? Thae Yong-ho was once the Deputy Ambassador of North Korea to the United Kingdom until he defected with his family in 2016. Yong-Ho gives a first-hand account of how and why he risked everything to escape London's North Korean Embassy for a new life in South Korea.
07/06/22·27m 17s

The interview: Tina Brown

Award-winning writer and magazine editor Tina Brown has spent decades chronicling the British royal family. BBC special correspondent Katty Kay meets her.
05/06/22·23m 49s

The rising cost of living: Fuel

Lebanon has been in an economic crisis for almost three years. Beirut is still recovering from an explosion of stored chemicals in 2020, which killed more than 200 people and displaced around 300,000 citizens. Three women talk about how fuel shortages are affecting lives when not everyone can afford to pay the increased cost of energy. Host Karnie Sharp and the OS team also hear from two protestors in Sri Lanka about dealing with power cuts, and if they believe the recent change of government will improve the situation there. As the rising cost of living hits some of the most vulnerable particularly hard, two people in the UK share their experiences: writer and recovering alcoholic Sam Thomas, and Jenny Holden, who has a form of chronic arthritis as well as the long-term health condition fibromyalgia, which causes body pain that gets a lot worse in the cold, and means paying higher fuel bills is becoming increasingly difficult.
04/06/22·24m 31s

Ukraine: The disinformation war

Russia’s response to accusations of war crimes in Ukraine has been to blame the Ukrainians of bombing their own side. Some people in the UK have been sharing this version of the war on social media. Driven by a conviction that Western governments are responsible for many of the world’s ills, these academics, journalists and celebrities have shared misinformation in their attempts to raise questions about the official narrative of the war. Their detractors say they are useful to Vladimir Putin. They claim there’s a McCarthyist witch hunt against them. All wars are fought as much in the information space as on the battle field and Chloe Hadjimatheou looks at where the new red lines are being drawn in an age of disinformation. (Image: Kvitka Perehinets has been following the conflict in her home country of Ukraine, from afar. Credit: Kvitka Perehinets)
02/06/22·26m 28s

Don't log off: Roads less travelled

Alan speaks with Shugofa, an Afghan refugee now living in Rome. He also reconnects with Leo in Moldova, who last spoke with Alan eight years ago and has been on several important journeys since then. As well as them he meets Maureen, a nurse in the Northwest Territories of Canada and Akhil, a blues guitarist in Kolkata, India.
01/06/22·27m 19s

Guarding the art

Baltimore Museum of Art is hosting a bold and ground-breaking exhibition curated entirely by 17 members of the its security staff. Broadcaster and art expert Alvin Hall goes behind the scenes to meet some of the guards working on the show, as they begin to install the pieces in the gallery. It has been more than a year-long process, assisted by the museum's chief curator Asma Naeem and mentor Dr Lowery Stokes Sims. Their choices for the show are deeply personal and reflect not only their rich knowledge of art, bur their wide range of interests and concerns outside of museum security work, including poetry, opera, mythology, and social justice.
31/05/22·28m 3s

The rising cost of living: Food

The head of the World Bank recently warned that the Russian invasion of Ukraine could cause a global recession. There are additional reasons for the global economic crisis of course. We are now more than two years into a pandemic, and every country has its own political situation which may, or may not, contribute to the problem. People from countries including Afghanistan, Lebanon, Indonesia and Turkey share their stories with host James Reynolds about rising prices, as well as shortages of food and medicine.
28/05/22·24m 16s

The Royal diplomat

After 70 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II is the world’s most high profile global figure and a unique exemplar of diplomacy and soft power. Much of her role takes place behind the scenes. She came to the throne in 1952 at a time of crisis and as the British Empire disintegrated in the aftermath of World War Two. The Queen’s role as constitutional monarch and head of the Commonwealth placed her at the heart of global crises. We recall how she visited Ghana, Zambia and South Africa as a diplomatic envoy, helping to mediate in the racial politics of post-colonial Africa. From her first state visit to the US in 1957 to repair the transatlantic relationship after the Suez crisis, to the historic 2011 visit to Ireland, we show how reconciliation has been a major theme of the Queen’s reign.
27/05/22·50m 44s

When rape becomes a crime

Senegal in West Africa recently introduced much tougher sentences for rape. Until 2019 it was deemed a misdemeanour rather than a serious crime and anyone convicted was often released after a few years, or even a few months. Myriam Francois meets rape survivors and both female and male campaigners to see if the new law is changing the lives of women for the better. Myriam hears how the stigma around rape has in the past prevented many women from coming forward to report sexual violence and how the police are opening new facilities to support women. She visits the country’s first Senegalese run hostel for victims of domestic violence. And she meets the pop star who caused a storm when she revealed her own experience of sexual assault. Producer Bob Howard (Image: Woman walking alone in St. Louise, Senegal. Credit:
26/05/22·26m 29s

Don't log off: People are alike all over

For the last decade Alan Dein has crossed the globe via the internet to gather stories from total strangers and occasional old friends. Roberta from Zambia is tending to her chickens when she encounters Alan. She shares stories of her father's commitment to education that has shaped a generation and the pain of loss. Steve, in Kenya, has parked up his taxi with a rooster nearby. He unravels his life story of a boy from the ghetto who found love. In Uganda, Marion the midwife has been picking up the pieces of community life still ravaged by Covid-19. All three stories connect in unusual ways, but show that people are alike all over.
25/05/22·27m 50s

The other side of death row

It is 31 years since Christine Towery's brother Robert killed a man and 10 years since he died at the hands of the state of Arizona by lethal injection. For two decades Christine had to live in the shadow of her brother's death sentence. Christine's confidence and faith was blown to pieces. Through conversations with counsellors, campaigners and her children, Christine examines the impact her brother's crime, conviction and eventual execution has had on her and her family. How do you rebuild? Is it time for the US to acknowledge the pain experienced by these 'other victims’?
24/05/22·27m 49s

How can we live an ethical life?

Is it unethical to eat animals? Can you be a good person if you have spare money and don’t give any of it to charity? What is the moral response to the war in Ukraine? Nuala McGovern is in Los Angeles to talk to Australian Philosopher and Berggruen Prize winner Prof Peter Singer, who has spent his career grappling with these difficult questions. He’s been described as the world’s most influential philosopher and, on one occasion, as the world’s most dangerous man.
22/05/22·51m 13s

The advertising trap

Digital advertising has taken over the world. But is it all based on smoke and mirrors? Ed Butler investigates what some claim is a massive collective deception - a trillion dollar marketing pitch that simply does not deliver value to any of those paying for it. Do online ads actually work, or could it be that some of the biggest names in global tech - from Google to Facebook - are founded on a false prospectus?
21/05/22·50m 19s

The Buffalo shooting

Once again, the United States is discussing race, guns and mass shootings after the killing of 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York State. On Saturday 14 May, an armed young man wearing body armour drove more than three hours across New York State to the city. The 18-year-old suspect, who is white, stopped at a supermarket in a predominantly black district and opened fire. Those who died were black. The crime is believed to be racially motivated. Host Ben James hears the reactions among those living and working in Buffalo.
21/05/22·23m 41s

Love-bombing Estonia’s Russian speakers

Can music and culture help unite Estonia? Guitar riffs lilt through the air and over the narrow river that marks the border between Estonia and Russia. It’s the first time Estonia’s annual festival Tallinn Music Week has been held in Narva, bringing coach loads of musicians from 30 countries around the world to a normally sleepy city. The organiser moved the festival when the war in Ukraine broke out in order to send a message of unity and to encourage Estonians from the capital to mix with people in Narva, where 97% of Estonians have Russian as their mother tongue. Many can barely speak Estonian at all. Across Estonia, one quarter of the population are Russian speakers, prompting many to describe this as a threat. When Putin invaded Ukraine on the premise of liberating Russian speakers there, it lead to many in the press to ask ‘is Narva next?’ but a new generation of Russian speaking Estonians are increasingly frustrated by this rhetoric and say it simply is not true. Russian speakers are even signing up to Estonia’s volunteer defence force, ready to fight to defend Estonia should the worst happen. Their allegiance is clear. But is music and culture enough to unite Estonia’s Russian speakers? Presenter: Lucy Ash Producer: Phoebe Keane (Image: Tallinn Music Week festival lights up Kreenholm, an abandoned 19th century textile factory in Narva, on Estonia’s border with Russia. Credit: Phoebe Keane/BBC) Music credits: Artist: Trad Attack! Track: Sõit Writers: Jalmar Vabarna, Sandra Vabarna, Tõnu Tubli Artist: Gameboy Tetris and Nublu Track: Für Oksana Writers: Pavel Botsarov, Markkus Pulk, Fabry El Androide, Ago Teppand Artist: Pale Alison Track: забывай Writers: Evelina Koop, Nikolay Rudakov Artist: Jaakko Sound Installation: On the Border/Rajalla
19/05/22·28m 24s

Don't log off: Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Alan Dein connects via social media to absolute strangers and old friends to hear how Russia's invasion of Ukraine has blown away their old lives. Some, like Anna, have fled their home town of Dnipro. Others like Verena, from St Petersburg, have fled the secret police whilst in Odesa Roman awaits the fate of his city.
18/05/22·27m 40s

Escape from the Taliban

Sana Safi follows the stories of two Afghan women judges who have had to go into hiding after the Taliban takeover. Through encrypted networks and messages, Sana gets unprecedented access to the secretive operatives trying to get the women and their families out of the country. It is a race against time as the Taliban go door to door looking for the women.
17/05/22·27m 19s

Billionaire ball game

James Montague, award-winning author of the The Billionaire’s Club, tells the story of how the super-rich bought English football and Chelsea FC became a sanctioned asset. From Putin’s oligarchs to hyper-capitalist Americans and oil-rich Middle Eastern royal families, James explores the concerns, crimes and crises that large waves of cash have brought to the home of the beautiful game.
14/05/22·50m 51s

Abortion in the US

Abortion is a deeply divisive issue in the United States that spans the law, religion and women’s rights. It has been a legal right for almost 50 years. Now, the Supreme Court – the top court in the country – is expected to overturn the law and rule that abortions can banned. It’s put abortion back towards the top of the political debate and we reflect some of the conversations taking place among those affected. Two women share their experiences and personal reasons for terminating their pregnancies, including one that resulted from sexual assault.
14/05/22·24m 19s

Hidden Sport: Switch

Kim Tserkezie meets Danny Hibbert, the mastermind behind Switch, a sport of sports consisting of football, basketball, volleyball, netball and handball. She learns how the game is crossing generational and cultural divides in White City, a fast-changing area of west London, and giving opportunities to many, where more established sports are failing. Through speaking to those who Switch has impacted, Kim comes to understand how important Switch, and Danny, are to this diverse community.
14/05/22·18m 38s

Cambodia: Returning the gods

While some countries fight to reclaim antiquities that were stolen centuries ago, Cambodian investigators are dealing with far more recent thefts. Many of the country’s prized treasures were taken by looters in the 1980s and 1990s and then sold on to some of the world’s most prestigious museums, including the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert museum, in London. At the centre of many of the sales was a rogue British art dealer. Celia Hatton joins the Cambodian investigative team and gains unprecedented access to looters who have become government witnesses. The Phnom Penh government has now launched a legal campaign in the UK to get some of its most prized statues back. For many Cambodians these are not simply blocks of stone or pieces of metal, they are living spirits and integral to the Khmer identity. The Gods, they say, are cold and lonely in foreign collections and they want to come home. Producer: John Murphy (Image: Monks at Angkor Wat temple, Cambodia. Credit: BBC)
12/05/22·26m 28s

Don't log off: Daria, love and war

Alan Dein's series of global conversations is now a decade old. Via social media he has crossed the word and heard true stories of love, pain and downright craziness. In those 10 years many of those he first encountered have become digital friends. Now in this time of war and upheaval he reconnects with Daria in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, who has unexpectedly found love.
11/05/22·27m 51s

Grenada: Confronting the past

BBC World News anchor Laura Trevelyan discovered her family’s slave owning past only after the University College London database of slave ownership in the British Caribbean was published in 2013. Back in the 18th Century, the Trevelyan family were known as absentee slave owners on Grenada. The family never set foot on the island, but owned hundreds of slaves and profited for years from the sale of sugar harvested from five different sugar cane plantations. To try and learn more about the legacy of slavery on Grenada and her family’s involvement in the slave trade, Laura Trevelyan and her producer Koralie Barrau go to Grenada.
10/05/22·27m 15s

Hidden Sport: Drone racing

Kim Tserkezie soars into the skies with the drone racers to learn about a technology that is increasingly shaping the world, both for good and bad. With the help of racing pioneers, she discovers how this young sport is accessible to many. Determined to have a go herself, Kim goes in search of "flow state", the out-of-body experience described by so many who fly drones. But will she even be able to take off?
07/05/22·18m 7s

Ukraine mine clearance

Ukrainians have been living with the horrors of war, amid attacks from Russian troops, for more than two months. We hear from three Ukrainian women who have decided to take on a dangerous task, to try and make their country safer. They each decided to do an 18-day training course in Kosovo to learn how to clear landmines. We also cross into Moldova, which is the smallest of seven countries bordering Ukraine. It has taken in more than 437,000 Ukrainian refugees. There have been concerns that its breakaway Russian-controlled region of Transnistria could be where Russia moves in next.
07/05/22·23m 37s

Mexico: The Yaqui fight back

Resistance and division among Mexico’s indigenous Yaqui people. Anabela Carlon is a legal advocate for the indigenous Yaqui of Sonora – a fierce defender of her people’s land. And she is no stranger to the immense dangers that face her in northern Mexico, a region dominated by organised crime. In 2016, she and her husband were kidnapped at gunpoint by masked men. And now one of her biggest cases is representing the families of 10 men from her community who disappeared last year. In Mexico, the Yaqui of Sonora are known as, ‘the undefeated’. In spite of being hunted, enslaved and exiled, they are the only indigenous group never to have surrendered to Spanish colonial forces or the Mexican government. Somehow, eight communities survived along the River Yaqui. But there are deep divisions. Most of all, over whether a gas pipeline should be allowed on their land. Anabela Carlon is adamant it will not happen. Presenter: Linda Pressly Producer: Phoebe Keane Producer in Mexico: Ulises Escamilla (Image: Anabela Carlon, of the Yaqui tribe, stands in the dry bed of the river Yaqui. Credit: BBC)
05/05/22·27m 22s

The Grand Egyptian Museum

More than 10 years and one billion dollars in the making, the Grand Egyptian Museum is the sort of big statement architecture the Pharaohs would surely have respected. Built on a 120-acre site, just 2km from the pyramids of Giza, and housing 55,000 objects, this will be the world’s largest archaeological museum, served by a purpose-built international airport. It is hoped this prestige project will place Cairo back on the global map as the Egyptian government encourages the revival of mass tourism after a turbulent and damaging decade. Will it work?
03/05/22·24m 28s

Ukrainian students

We bring together three Ukrainian students, who studied at different universities in Kyiv before the war, to hear about how they are continuing their education. One decided the solution was to do her exchange year abroad early, but the others have remained in the country and it’s not always easy to study. Plus, three Ukrainian women come together to share their stories of leaving their homes with young children. Single parent Sonia is now in Portugal with her daughter, after driving across multiple countries. Marharya is living in Switzerland with three children while her husband remains in Ukraine. Sonia has also remained in Ukraine but moved to a potentially safer area with her husband’s relatives and their daughter.
30/04/22·24m 0s

War on truth: Ukraine

What is fake, what is real? BBC disinformation reporter Marianna Spring speaks to people caught up in the battle for the truth in the information war over Ukraine. Families and friendships are being torn apart not only by the fighting, but by the radically different versions of reality that Ukrainians and Russians are being presented with, on TV and online. And social media has become a battleground for competing versions of truth.
30/04/22·50m 45s

Zelensky: The making of a president

For weeks Volodymyr Zelensky has been leading his nation against a devastating invasion by Russia. As Ukraine continues to resist one of the most powerful armies in the world, President Zelensky has been lauded as the man of this moment. Yet the man who had spent most of his life telling jokes was a political novice when first elected. The BBC’s correspondent in Ukraine, Jonah Fisher, first met Volodymyr Zelensky in January 2019 when he was known as a comedian and actor. He charts Zelensky's incredible journey from comedian to internationally acclaimed wartime leader of his country.
30/04/22·27m 50s

Hidden Sport: Korfball

Kim Tserkezie discovers the fast-paced sport of korfball, which lays claim to being the only full gender-equal team sport in the world. Kim learns about the positive impact korfball has had and explores what other sports could learn from its pioneering approach to gender equality.
30/04/22·18m 45s

The accordion wars of Lesotho

A form of oral poetry accompanied on the accordion is the basis of a wildly popular form of music in Lesotho, southern Africa. But jealousy between Famo artists has triggered warfare that’s killing hundreds. Some of the genre’s best-known stars became gang bosses, and their rivalry has helped make rural, stunningly beautiful Lesotho the murder capital of Africa, with the sixth highest homicide rate in the world. Musicians, their relatives, producers and DJs have all been gunned down. Whole communities live in fear, and are now demanding action from politicians and police who are accused of protecting the Famo gangsters. Tim Whewell tells the story of a style of music that developed among Basotho migrant workers in the tough world of South African mines. He meets some of Famo's greatest artists - now disgusted by the violence - and talks to the families of victims of a cycle of revenge that the authorities appear unable to end. Presented and produced by Tim Whewell (Image: Famo group leader Ntei Tsehlana was shot at a Democratic Congress (DC) party concert and later died from his injuries. Credit: BBC/Tim Whewell)
28/04/22·26m 51s

Shifting Cultures: From paddock to plate

On Queensland’s Western Downs the Penfold family, Dan, Karen and their four daughters run 40,000 hectares of beef cattle. The farm has been in the family for four generations and with no sons, it is now the girls who will take over the family business and stay on the land. But they plan to do it differently, embracing the shifting cultures of 21st Century agricultural life; caring for the environment, international trade and sustainability.
26/04/22·27m 50s

Ukrainian journalists

Reporting from a war zone is always challenging and accurate information can be hard to establish, but it’s estimated that thousands have been killed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Among them are journalists – more than 20 - from different parts of the world. In this edition, we hear from those who are trying to tell the story of this war as it happens in the place they call home.
23/04/22·24m 3s

Ingenious II

Dr Kat Arney takes a deep dive into our genetic make-up and tells the story of four pieces of human DNA: the fat gene, the Huntington gene, the CCR5 gene associated with HIV resistance, and PAX6, the eyeball gene.
23/04/22·50m 12s

Hidden Sport: Dambe boxing

Kim Tserkezie faces up to her lifelong dislike of combat sports by exploring Dambe boxing, a Nigerian sport with a history that is said to go back as far as the 10th Century. Kim speaks with promoters and fighters from the African Warriors Fighting Championship, as well as their family members, to find out why Dambe boxing is so important to the Hausa community and whether it can one day become one of the world’s global combat sports.
23/04/22·18m 28s

Myanmar: Fighting the might of the junta

Myanmar is now in a state of civil war. What started in February 2021 as a mass protest movement against the military coup is now a nationwide armed uprising. The junta is under attack across the country from a network of civilian militias called the People’s Defence Forces who say they’re fighting to create a democratic Myanmar. The BBC gained rare access to the jungle training camps where young protests are being turned into soldiers. We follow a single mother and a student who have sacrificed everything to join the fight. They're up against a well-trained military that’s willing to use brutal tactics to stay in power. As the death toll mounts and the world looks away, can they restore democracy? Reporter, Rebecca Henschke. Produced with Kelvin Brown, Ko Ko Aung and Banyar Kong Janoi. (Photo: Twenty-year-old Myo left home to join the resistance. Credit: Chit Aye/BBC)
21/04/22·27m 25s

Saving our species

Australia is famous for its unique wildlife and landscapes. But Australia also has the highest mammal extinction rate in the world, and there are big declines in frogs, reptiles, and birds caused by introduced predators and land clearing. Some species are hanging on in small numbers on private land. Could paying farmers and indigenous landowners to return parts of their properties to nature or turn them into carbon farms help solve Australia’s biodiversity crisis? ABC producer Belinda Sommer takes you to the wide plains and sub-tropical forests of Australia to meet the farmers who are combining commerce and conservation.
19/04/22·27m 36s

Saving Ukraine's children

The United Nations’ children agency, Unicef, has said that almost two thirds of Ukraine’s 7.5 million children have been displaced during the six weeks since Russia’s invasion. One of Russia’s key targets has been the southern port city of Mariupol. Thousands of civilians are dead, many more have been left trapped and face an horrendous struggle for survival. Pastor Gennady Mokhnenko is a chaplain from Mariupol. He describes what he has seen and heard in the city, and his efforts to help children to escape. He is joined in conversation by Vasylyna Dubaylo, director of the charity Partnership for Every Child. She’s currently in Poland and has been helping foster children find Ukrainian families. The war has now separated millions of people in Ukraine from loved ones/ Host Ben James introduces us to Olha and Andrii, a young married couple. Olha took an opportunity to leave with her younger siblings, but is now more than five thousand miles away in Canada. Andrii remains in Ukraine, wondering if he will be called upon to fight for his country. Neither of them know when or if they will see each other again, and they discuss how the war has changed their lives. Guidance: Contains graphic content.
16/04/22·23m 55s

Who killed my grandfather?

Beirut, 1974. It is the height of the Cold War. A prominent Yemeni politician is shot dead in his car. Some say, had he lived, Yemen would be a different country today. The killer was never caught, the assassination never investigated. Political assassinations in the Middle East are almost always unsolved, and reliable evidence can be extremely hard to find. The lack of accountability in these cases is often seen as the reason for the pervasiveness of assassinations in the region. In Yemen, power struggles over the last 60 years have left a long list of murdered political figures. One particular case, the unsolved murder of Yemen’s former foreign minister in 1974, sent shockwaves across the country, and was covered widely in the region and then in the West. Mohamed Noman was a liberal and progressive politician who was building a different path for Yemen, away from authoritarian rule. His death at the early age of 41 had arguably paved the way for decades of military rule in Yemen. In this documentary, his granddaughter, Mai Noman, sets off on a mission to investigate who could have been behind his murder, almost 50 years after his death.
16/04/22·1h 1m

Understanding the long history between Russia and Ukraine

Claire Graham talks to former BBC foreign correspondent Kevin Connolly about what has historically bound Russia and Ukraine together, and what has pulled them apart.
16/04/22·18m 27s

Russia's unwelcome new exiles

Hundreds of thousands of Russians have fled abroad since its invasion of Ukraine, afraid of growing repression in their country, and increasing international isolation. Most of the new exiles are young, well-educated professionals – writers, teachers, artists, IT workers – who fear they could be arrested and jailed for expressing opposition to the war, and even drafted into the army. Tens of thousands have escaped to Russia’s neighbour Georgia, where some are involved in humanitarian efforts to help the Ukrainian victims of the war. But Georgia itself, invaded by the Kremlin in 2008, has a tense relationship with Russia. Tim Whewell travels to Tbilisi, Georgia's capital, to meet some of the new exiles, and finds they’re not universally welcome. They’re accused of arrogance, of raising property prices – and possibly providing a pretext for the Kremlin to intervene again in Georgia.
14/04/22·26m 43s

Healing with fire on koala country

In the forests surrounding Biamanga, a sacred mountain for the Yuin people of south-eastern Australia, traditional indigenous fire practitioners are preparing to bring fire back into the landscape. Not the raging fires that threatened to destroy it in the deadly Black Summer bushfires of 2019, but cool fires that will help protect and revitalise the land and help restore habitat for the elusive population of koalas who have survived in this forest against the toughest of odds.
12/04/22·27m 31s

Helping Ukrainians

With Russian forces withdrawing from some areas of Ukraine, details are emerging of the death and destruction they have left behind. In Borodyanka, 60 km north-west of Kyiv, the main road through the town is lined with destroyed and burnt-out buildings, vehicles and tanks. Olga and Ira lived there and have sent us messages, describing how their homes were bombed. We hear from Vitaliy Shevchenko, the Russian Editor for BBC Monitoring, who as well as covering the war for us, has been trying to get his parents out of Ukraine to safety.
09/04/22·24m 10s

The shadow of Algiers

It is 60 years since the Algerian War of Independence. But it still casts a shadow over the present. As France goes to the polls to elect a new president, Edward Stourton presents stories from the country's colonial past which still affect day-to-day life. He tells the surprising story of how, in the 1870s, a tiny insect called phylloxera created the climate for the Algerian War. He hears about the intriguing story of a knife abandoned in a house in Algiers on a night in March 1957. And he talks to the "Milk Bar Bomber", immortalised in the film The Battle of Algiers.
09/04/22·50m 40s

Understanding South Africa’s continuing quest for equality

Claire Graham talks to the former BBC News Africa bureaux chief, Milton Nkosi, to get a better understanding of why the post-apartheid dream of a "Rainbow Nation" has still not materialised.
09/04/22·18m 38s

Dying to hunt in France

Just before Christmas, 2021, Joel Vilard was driving his cousin home on a dual carriageway just south of Rennes in Brittany. Suddenly, a bullet flew through the window and hit the pensioner in the neck. He later died in hospital of injuries accidentally inflicted by a hunter firing a rifle from a few hundred metres away. A year earlier Morgan Keane, was shot dead in his garden, while out chopping wood. The hunter says that he mistook the 25 year old man for a wild boar. Mila Sanchez was so shocked by her friend Morgan’s death that she collected hundreds of thousands of signatures to change the hunting laws. She gave evidence to the French Senate and put the topic on the political agenda. The Green Party is now calling for a ban on hunting on Sundays and Wednesdays. But the Federation National des Chasseurs, which licenses the 1.3 million active hunters across France, is fighting back. It argues hunting is a vital part of rural life and brings the community together. Its members were delighted when President Macron recently halved the cost of annual hunting permits. Yet public opinion, concerned about safety and animal rights, is hardening against hunting and the battle for la France Profonde is on. On the eve of presidential elections, Lucy Ash looks at a country riven with divisions and asks if new laws are needed to ensure ramblers, families, residents and hunters can share the countryside in harmony. Presenter: Lucy Ash Producer: Phoebe Keane Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: Anthony, from the Ile de France branch of the Federations of Hunters, in the forest of Rambouillet west of Paris. Credit: Amélie Le Meur)
07/04/22·27m 30s

A coastal town in fear of the sea

The ocean is central to the Esperance community’s lifestyle and identity. But three fatal shark attacks in three years have had a profound impact on this remote western Australian coastal town. As this small community slowly comes to terms with these recent fatal attacks, they are also navigating their relationship to the ocean and the apex predator that swims within it. ABC producer Fiona Pepper travels to Esperance to hear how this coastal town is grappling with the impact of the great white shark.
05/04/22·27m 41s

Talking to Ukraine's children

An estimated four million people – mostly women and children – have escaped from Ukraine and its war. Host Karnie Sharp hears from two Ukrainian mental health professionals who discuss the impact of war on the minds of children. One is a psychiatrist who remains in the capital Kyiv, and the other a child psychologist who fled the country a few weeks ago and is now safe in Germany with her family.
02/04/22·24m 21s

Understanding the power that Saudi Arabia wields

Claire Graham and guests explain the important, long-running stories that are in the newsClaire Graham talks to the BBC’s Middle East correspondent, Anna Foster, to get a better understanding of how the Saudi Royal family has maintained a strong global influence in spite of events which have drawn worldwide criticism.
02/04/22·18m 48s

Life's big questions

What are the big mysteries that people want to understand about life? How to be happy. How to accept old age and death. Wit questions sent in from all over the world, Buddhist nun Sister Dang Nghiem and Sufi Imam Jamal Rahman offer their wise words on some of life’s eternal questions.
02/04/22·31m 23s


In April 2015, more than 1000 refugees and migrants drowned when the old fishing boat they were travelling on sank in the Mediterranean. It was the area's worst shipwreck since World War Two. But the people who died are not forgotten. Not by their families and friends, and not by a professor of forensic pathology at the University of Milan. “There’s a body that needs to be identified, you identify it. This is the first commandment of forensic medicine,” says Dr Cristina Cattaneo. Assignment tells the story of the raising of the fishing boat from the Mediterranean's seabed, and Dr Cattaneo's efforts to begin to identify the people who lost their lives on that moonless night on the edge of Europe. Producer/presenter: Linda Pressly (This programme was originally broadcast in December 2020) (Image: Ibrahima Senghor, a survivor of the tragedy of 18 April, 2015 - he was prevented from boarding the boat in Libya. Credit: Ibrahima Senghor)
31/03/22·27m 11s

The house that Viktor built

The Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, is running for a fourth consecutive term. The election is on 3 April. But now it is taking place against the background of a war on Hungary’s border, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Mr Orban is proud of the personal relationship he has established with Vladimir Putin, and proud of what he calls the “Hungarian Model”, whereby Hungary has membership of Nato and the EU on the one hand and strong political and economic relations with Russia on the other. Russia, for example, fulfils the vast majority of Hungary’s gas needs. Nick Thorpe, who has lived in Hungary since the 1980s, asks if the edifice that Mr Orban has carefully constructed over the last 12 years is now threatened by the war in Ukraine.
29/03/22·27m 50s

Destroying Ukrainian history

How major news stories are affecting the lives of people around the world
26/03/22·24m 27s

World of Wisdom: Guilt

Guilt can be a nagging sensation that is sometimes very hard to get rid of. Anna, from Switzerland, has experienced this negative feeling since she was very young and constantly feels she has not done enough, for her family, for her work, for the world. She speaks to our new advisor, Rabbi Laibl Wolf, who suggests that focusing on what she can actually do in her life, rather than what is out of her reach, might help her to stop feeling guilty.
26/03/22·19m 0s

Counting them in

Before the war, the Falklands were a distant outpost of Britain, more British than Britain. But these rocky, rural islands were also in decline, losing so many people to emigration, life on the Falklands seemed barely viable. Now the islands are unrecognisable, their politics, economy and infrastructure transformed by lucrative sales of fishing licences to foreign fleets, tourism and the prospect of rich offshore oil deposits. This new prosperity has also attracted newcomers from all over the world – from the Philippines, Chile, Zimbabwe and beyond.
26/03/22·48m 46s

Understanding relations between Taiwan and China

Claire Graham talks to the BBC’s Taiwan correspondent, Cindy Sui, to get a better understanding of China’s reluctance to accept Taiwan’s strengthening independence, and why reunification is so important to China. Audio for this episode was updated on 30 March 2022.
26/03/22·18m 50s

Heartbeats, abortion and Texas

In September, 2021 the state of Texas introduced the most restrictive abortion law in the United States. SB8, also known as the Heartbeat Act, prohibits the termination of pregnancy after around 6 weeks’ gestation – the point at which some claim a heartbeat can be detected. SB8 has given traction to those who advocate for alternatives for women faced with an unplanned pregnancy. Just outside Dallas, a Christian couple are working to bring to fruition a ‘maternity ranch’ to provide homes for pregnant, single mothers. Of course many women don’t even know they are pregnant by the 6 week mark. So the law has promoted vigilance. And countless women hold their breath as they undergo an ultrasound in the state’s few remaining abortion clinics. If they are in time, they can terminate their pregnancy in Texas. If not, they will have to travel to another state. But for some Texans, the law does not go far enough – they want a total ban on abortion. And in towns across the state, pro-life activists have pushed local government to declare their communities, ‘Sanctuaries for the Unborn Child’. Assignment reports from Abilene, where pro-life activists are lobbying to put in place an ordinance that would prohibit abortion within the city limits. So far, 39 Texan towns have outlawed abortion completely. Presenter: Linda Pressly Producer: Tim Mansel (Image: Aubrey Schlackman is planning on opening a ‘maternity ranch’ for single, pregnant mothers in Texas. Credit: Tim Mansel/BBC)
24/03/22·27m 51s

Why are we having less sex?

Author Jerry Barnett investigates why across the western world there has been a recent, steep decline in sexual activity. With the help of experts, activists and the winners and losers in the mating game, Jerry explores this complex issue, and asks where it might lead.
22/03/22·27m 59s

Understanding the rise of Boko Haram

Claire Graham talks to the BBC’s West Africa correspondent, Mayeni Jones, to get a better understanding of how Boko Haram, the militant Islamic group, took hold in northern Nigeria.
19/03/22·18m 27s

Relationships with mothers

Our mothers are at the heart of who we are, whether they are in our lives or not, but this fundamental relationship can be very challenging, with wounds that can last a lifetime. Lucia, from Mexico, asks Buddhist nun Sister Dang Nghiem, how she can find peace with her mother even though they have a difficult relationship. Sister Dang speaks about healing from events that happen during childhood and how a cycle of suffering between parent and child can be broken.
19/03/22·18m 32s

The fate of Russia’s soldiers

Most Russians are getting a distorted picture of what Vladimir Putin calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine. Even the use of the words “war” or “invasion” is prohibited and state controlled TV does not acknowledge that Russian troops are attacking civilians. Yet news is filtering back to thousands of mothers of servicemen in the invasion force. Many say their sons were deceived about their mission and are being treated as cannon fodder. The Russian authorities and military commanders remain tight lipped. But Ukraine has posted pictures and videos of the dead and captured Russian soldiers on the internet. For Assignment, Tim Whewell follows the story of one young prisoner of war. He looked so terrified during an interrogation that a Ukrainian woman took pity on him and helped his family to get in touch, even though her own home in Odessa was shelled by Russian forces. Will the 21-year-old soldier ever be able to return to his family and could the truth about Russia’s defeats and losses change attitudes to the war back home? Producers: Lucy Ash and Yulia Mineeva (Image: Pro-Russian service member in an armoured vehicle in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, March 2022. Credit: Reuters/Alexander Ermochenko)
17/03/22·27m 19s

The Shutdown: Conflict

For over a year a civil war has raged in Ethiopia, a result of decades long ethnic tensions. The northern state of Tigray has been subject to a communications blackout for most of the last year. We investigate the impact of shutdowns on civilians, and consider the ways in which conflict plays out not just on the ground, but also online on social media as different groups seek to promote their own cause.
16/03/22·27m 30s

Bougainville's long road to independence

How do you create a nation from the ruins of conflict and neglect? It is the question asked by local journalist, Louiseanne Laris, as her home island of Bougainville prepares to become the world’s newest country. Bougainville lies on the very eastern edge of the Pacific country of Papua New Guinea. It is a lush tropical island, rich in natural resources and minerals with a long history of colonisation and occupation. In 2019 more than 98% of Bougainville’s population voted to separate from Papua New Guinea and become fully independent. But does the island have the capacity to govern itself after years of neglect?
15/03/22·23m 24s

Welcoming Ukraine's refugees

The United Nations says the war in Ukraine has provoked the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War Two. Leaving their homes and most of their possessions behind, many people have endured long, and often dangerous journeys across the country, before queuing for hours to cross the border. When they reach safety, they are welcomed by family, friends and also the generosity of complete strangers.
12/03/22·27m 15s

Understanding North Korea and the Kim dynasty

Claire Graham talks to the BBC’s Correspondent in Seoul, Laura Bicker, to get a better understanding of North Korea, one of the world’s most secretive countries.
12/03/22·18m 15s

World of Wisdom: Changing expectations

How do we learn to adapt when life doesn't go as we planned? Sometimes the life we believed we should be living and the expectation of the person we would become, no longer matches reality. Max, from Germany, became divorced during the pandemic. Therapist and author Dr Shefali, speaks to him about letting go of the idea of marriage as a ‘happily ever after’ and about how our own ego can stand in the way of personal growth.
12/03/22·18m 17s

Tough Love’ in San Francisco

Last year, San Francisco had twice as many deaths from drug abuse as Covid. In the central ‘Tenderloin’ district alone, where thousands of homeless people have pitched tents, three people a week are dying. Meanwhile drugs, including highly addictive and dangerous fentanyl, are sold and consumed openly on the street. Many types of crime are rising, and the city is struggling to entice people back after the pandemic exodus. The situation has led some politicians to ask if so-called progressive approaches to policing, homelessness and drug-taking are appropriate – or making things worse. In December, San Francisco’s Democratic Party Mayor said the city needed ‘tough love’ – and declared a state of emergency in the Tenderloin. For Assignment, the BBC’s James Clayton meets addicts and their families, politicians, and charities, to tell the story of how one of America’s most beloved cities is having a crisis of confidence. (Image: Homeless people sitting on the street in the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California, United States. Credit: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
10/03/22·27m 6s

The shutdown: Elections

National and regional elections have frequently coincided with internet shutdowns or disruption. Shutdowns can occur whilst polls are open, or are sometimes imposed in response to protests that follow election results. National elections were held on 12 August 2021 in Zambia, and part way through voting, access to WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter was blocked. We hear from young voters in Lusaka about how the social media blocks affected them.
09/03/22·27m 12s

Surviving in Ukraine

The war in Ukraine is bringing much destruction and devastation, with fighting and attacks in multiple cities. Host Karnie Sharp guides us through the stories of men and women who are living through it. Many have been forced to flee to find a safe haven, often leaving relatives behind to stay and fight or because they refuse to move from their homes. Hussain is one person we hear from in Kherson, the first major city to fall to Russian troops. Food is in increasingly short supply and he and his wife are restricting their intake, surviving mostly on water, in order to feed their two year-old daughter. We also hear from a couple who have chosen to remain in Kharkiv – Ukraine’s second largest city - which has been besieged by missiles.
05/03/22·26m 38s

World of Wisdom: Living with losing the one you love

When someone young dies it is very hard for those they leave behind, perhaps even more so when they have taken their own life. Jorge, from Mexico, speaks to Buddhist Nun, Sister Dang Nghiem, about how he struggles to forgive himself after his partner took her own life three years ago. Sister Dang shares her experience of losing her own partner. She suggests that acknowledging part of them lives on within you, and letting that part find peace, might help us deal with the guilt and grief that can arise when a loved one dies.
05/03/22·18m 5s

India's living dead

What would it be like if everyone believed you were dead? Lal Bihari knows exactly what that feels like. When he was 22 years old the Indian farmer was told by his local government office that he was dead and no protestations that he was standing before them would persuade the bureaucrats otherwise – after all, his death certificate was there as proof. Whether the victim of a scam or a clerical error, the end result for Bihari was to lose his business and all the land he was hoping to inherit. It took him more than two decades to reinstate himself among the living during which time he tried everything from going on hunger strike to kidnapping someone in the hopes that the police would be forced to concede that a dead man could not be arrested. Today, more than a quarter of a century later, Bihari runs the Association for the Living Dead of India through which he says he has helped thousands of people who have fallen victim to the same thing. He tells his extraordinary story to Chloe Hadjimatheou for Assignment. Production Team in India: Ajit Sarathi; Kinjal Pandya; Piyush Nagpal and Praveen Mudholkar Editor: Bridget Harney (This programme was originally broadcast in August 2021) (Image: Lal Bihari holding a banner for the Association of the Living Dead. Credit: Piyush Nagpal/BBC)
03/03/22·26m 45s

The shutdown: Misinformation

It is often claimed that shut downs are required to stop the spread of misinformation online, particularly during times of uncertainty or protest. In India, one of the world's largest democracy, internet shutdowns are a regular occurrence. According to data published by Access Now, an international digital rights, non-profit organisation, India has been responsible for more shutdowns each year than any other country. Felicia Anthonio, a campaigner for Access Now, identifies and verifies internet shutdowns as they happen around the world, and works to raise awareness of the human rights implications.
02/03/22·27m 11s

Inside the world's biggest humanitarian warehouse

Each year Unicef, the United Nations children’s charity, procures billions of dollars of goods for delivery to those most in need all over the word. Many of those supplies will either have come from, or been organised by, the men and women working on the outskirts of Copenhagen in the biggest humanitarian warehouse in the world. The world’s disasters roll through here in waves, and as they do the warehouse takes on a purpose of its own.
01/03/22·27m 15s


When the Russian attacks began, after all attempts at diplomacy had failed, Ukrainians were awoken in their beds by the sound of explosions. Host James Reynolds share the stories of ordinary Ukrainians over the course of an extraordinary week. We hear from men and women in different parts of the country as they prepare for war and try to go about their lives as normal while packing emergency bags, filling their cars with petrol and drawing money from banks. Once war begins, Ukrainians describe their fears and hopes for the future - including its effect on families and children.
27/02/22·24m 5s

World of Wisdom: Self-confidence

Is self-love the key to developing confidence? If so, how does it work? Nadia, from Colombia, doesn’t trust in her own ability to succeed, especially in her career and feels trapped by her lack of self-esteem. She speaks to Sufi teacher Iman Jamal Rahman, who shows her ways to help develop self-love. He suggests that by getting used to focusing on the present moment, rather than the past or the future she can become more confident. He also says that by acknowledging painful feelings rather than trying to fix them, she may find that they lose their power.
26/02/22·18m 36s

Subscription scams

From pills that resolve chronic pain issues overnight to diet supplements which promise to help shed pounds in days, the internet is awash with adverts making bold - and often outrageous - claims. Some come with a celebrity endorsement, where household names appear to give their personal stamp of approval to a product. But many of these ads are fake, with customers tricked into parting with more money than they ever intended. For Assignment, Athar Ahmad, investigates the global growth of online subscription scams, where customers are unwittingly signed up to schemes which hit them with hidden charges, unexpected monthly fees and products which are made deliberately difficult to cancel. He hears from victims with chronic illnesses desperately searching for a solution to their ailments, who are instead left out of pocket and he speaks to the celebrities furious their names are being used to endorse such products. The programme sheds light on the creation of this global multi-million pound industry, exposing the tools, tricks and technology designed to scam unwitting customers. And Athar travels to Spain in search of answers about one of these schemes, which has left many customers in the UK feeling they’ve been conned. Reporter: Athar Ahmad Producer: Anna Meisel Editor: Carl Johnston (Image: Using a digital tablet with a credit card. Credit: Natee Meepian)
24/02/22·27m 26s


It is 2020. Covid Britain is in lockdown and the world is working from home. In the depths of the deadly pandemic and when people were at their lowest, someone spots an opportunity. This is the story of how people from all over the world were hired to work for a seemingly glamorous and successful design agency - but the whole thing was fake. Who was behind the con? And what on earth were they trying to achieve? Investigative journalist Catrin Nye and her team expose a tangled web of lies, confronting the boss to get to the truth of what really happened.
22/02/22·27m 37s

Journalists in Mexico

Outside a war zone, Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist. In 2021, seven journalists were murdered. In the first few weeks of this year alone, the killing of five journalists has prompted an outcry and concern. We hear what it is like when your job is to try and tell stories in a country where four people are killed every hour and where violent crimes fill your news-feeds. For Adrián López Ortiz, the CEO and editor of Noroeste newspaper in the state of Sinaloa, north-western Mexico, it is a long standing problem since he still suffers from injuries during an attack in 2014.
19/02/22·24m 6s

Word of Wisdom: Overcoming betrayal

When someone we trust betrays us, the feelings can be corrosive and long-lasting. Nini, from Myanmar, found out a year ago that her husband of 20 years had been cheating on her for a decade and had a child with another woman. They are now divorced. He has moved on with his life, but Nini finds it difficult to let go of a deep resentment. She speaks to writer and teacher Gary Zukav, who suggests that feeling her emotional pain in terms of physical sensations could help her let these feelings go.
19/02/22·18m 32s

Italy’s hidden sins

With the seat of the Catholic Church on its doorstep and the highest number of priests of any country, Italy is a bastion of global Catholicism. And yet, unlike many other countries, it has failed to confront the scourge of clerical sex abuse. It keeps no official statistics on the issue and the number of convictions remains shockingly low. Survivors of abuse have fallen foul of a combination of cover-ups, complicity and legal failings in their search for justice. After a report in France last year found that there had been some 3,200 paedophile priests there since the 1950s, pressure is growing on Italy for a similar reckoning. For Assignment, Mark Lowen has set out to ask how and why abuse has been hidden in Italy, speaking to survivors, confronting those accused and meeting officials working to uncover the dark secrets that the Italian authorities have been unwilling to investigate. Reporter: Mark Lowen Producer: Julian Miglierini in Rome and Michael Gallagher in London (Angel statue, Rome. Credit: iStock/Getty Images Plus)
17/02/22·26m 28s

Dark patterns

Trying to cancel some online accounts can be a maze of searches and false hopes, multiple clicks through a puzzle of seemingly unrelated destinations. This is what has become known as a 'dark pattern'; complex web design that makes it hard for you to do something the website does not want you to do, and employs behavioural psychology to make you do things it does want you to do. It is just one of the techniques used to make us click, buy or subscribe. Journalist and broadcaster Darryl Morris digs into the methods being used to grip your attention, and examines the persuasive power that is being harnessed. What impact is it having on your free will, and is there anything that can be done to resist it?
15/02/22·27m 36s

Women building peace: Colombia

An ex-Farc fighter talks about her struggle to integrate into Colombian society after she laid down arms five years ago. Leading women peace builders discuss whether the historic 2016 peace accord delivered on its promises to help women and communities across the country.
13/02/22·24m 19s

World Wide Waves '22: The sounds of community radio

For World Radio Day 2022, we tune in to radio stations around the world that connect communities, spark conversations, keep traditions alive and give a voice to their listeners. From Aboriginal Koori Radio in Australia to a community station in India run by rural women from the lowest Dalit caste, the airwaves carry intimate wisdom, vital knowledge, beats and tunes that keep reminding us who we are.
12/02/22·50m 50s

Coronavirus: Protesting truckers

For the past fortnight, the world has watched Canadian truckers block roads to protest against Covid restrictions. A rule that required any truckers entering Canada from the US to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or face a 14-day quarantine triggered the demonstations. The protests then grew to include different people who are angry at other Covid restrictions and also at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government. Host Karnie Sharp hears perspectives on the protest in Ottawa, and brings together two residents on what it’s like to live and work in the capital, amid the trucks and the wailing horns.
12/02/22·24m 22s

Nato’s role in the Ukraine crisis

Russia and some Nato member states, including the US, are at odds over the Ukraine crisis. Ros Atkins examines the dynamics at play between Russia and Nato.
12/02/22·10m 11s

World of Wisdom: Regrets

Looking back over a long life can provide cause for regret. Incidents from decades past, seemingly forgotten, can suddenly provoke deep sadness. Richard in Malaysia is troubled by the way he acted as a young man. Writer and therapist Dr Shefali offers him guidance on accepting his flaws and living more in the present moment.
12/02/22·18m 54s

Ukraine’s frontline bakery revisited

Lucy Ash catches up with a warzone bakery comforting people in an east Ukrainian town. She visited in 2017 to tell the story of a small enterprise that was bringing hope to a trapped community living near the frontline. The town of Marinka is in the buffer zone – the ‘grey zone’ - that separates Ukraine from the Dontesk region – now claimed and occupied by Russian backed separatists. For the town’s inhabitants the low-intensity conflict had become an unavoidable part of daily life. But there was one bright spot amidst the gloom – a bakery. It was Ukraine’s first frontline workplace-generating enterprise, and a haven from the politics, propaganda, and violence that had been tearing the town apart. But now, more than four years on, with Russian troops now massing along Ukraine’s eastern border, the threat of all out conflict looms. The bakery’s owner Oleg Tkachenko tells Lucy Ash he hopes there will not be an all out conflict. He fears an invasion could destroy everything that he and his community have built up over the past five years. (Image: Workers in the bakery in Marinka. Credit: Frederick Paxton)
10/02/22·27m 33s

No satisfaction

Sex is everywhere – in popular music and TV programmes, in toothpaste adverts and on social media. Yet in real life, regular sex no longer seems to be such a big priority for people in their 20s. Research in countries including Britain, the United States and Japan has shown that young people are having less sex than previous generations. Twenty-one-year-old student Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty talks to people her own age to find out why. From situationships to demi-sexual or homo-romantic asexual, Anoushka discovers the different ways young people are navigating relationships.
08/02/22·27m 45s

Women building peace: Ethiopia

Women working to help communities caught up in Ethiopia’s brutal war talk about the immense challenges they face on the ground, and we hear the story of "Tsega", who was brutally attacked after she was forced to flee from her home. A co-production by BBC and Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security.
06/02/22·23m 48s

The Winter Olympics

The Winter Games are officially underway as Beijing becomes the first city to host both the summer and winter Olympics. Host Karnie Sharp brings us a conversation between two competitors, who are from countries that don’t traditionally send large teams to snow sports. Manon Ouaiss is the only woman on the three person Lebanon team while Ornella Oettl Reyes is the sole member, and flag bearer, for Peru. Both are alpine skiers and both are aware of the importance of sending a positive message to those who are cheering them on from the countries they represent. These Games are impacted by the Covid pandemic and by politics. Several countries have declared diplomatic boycotts over China’s alleged human rights abuses. One protest concerns the treatment of the Muslim Uyghur population. While China denies any human rights violations, we hear from three Uyghur exiles and activists living in Germany, Australia and Switzerland. They discuss their objection to these Games.
05/02/22·23m 49s

Joe Rogan, Spotify and Covid

The musicians Neil Young and Joni Mitchell have asked Spotify to remove their music from the platform. They have criticised the music streaming service for publishing a podcast that spreads Covid misinformation. It’s sparked a debate about freedom of speech and corporate responsibility. Ros Atkins has been looking into the controversy.
05/02/22·9m 49s

World of Wisdom:The passion for life

The pandemic has caused many people to reassess their lives...but self-reflection is a journey that can bring challenges. Annie, from Australia, feels she has gained wisdom and a deeper insight into life but it has led to her living almost on 'auto-pilot', without the passion she had before. She speaks to Sufi teacher and interfaith minister Imam Jamal Rahman. He suggests ways we might connect with life more deeply.
05/02/22·18m 22s

Dangerous liaisons in Sinaloa

The Mexican state of Sinaloa is synonymous with drug trafficking. With the profits from organised crime a driver of the local economy, the tentacles of ‘narco cultura’ extend deep into people’s lives – especially those of women. In the city of Culiacan, plastic surgeons service demand for the exaggerated feminine silhouette favoured by the men with guns and hard cash. Often women’s surgery will be paid for by a ‘sponsor’ or ‘godfather.’ Meanwhile, a group of women trackers spend their weekends digging in isolated parts of the state, looking for the remains of loved ones who disappear in Sinaloa’s endless cycle of drug-fuelled violence. Producer/presenter: Linda Pressly Producer in Mexico: Ulises Escamilla Editor: Bridget Harney (This programme was originally broadcast in July 2021) (Photo: Lawyer Maria Teresa Guerra advocates for women in Sinaloa. Credit: BBC/Ulises Escamilla)
03/02/22·26m 38s

Pakistan's long game

Owen Bennett-Jones examines how the government in Tehran outwitted the United States in Iraq, which resulted in Tehran having more influence in Baghdad than Washington. He also examines how Islamabad pulled off much the same trick in relation to Afghanistan. But whilst Iran was under US sanctions, Pakistan secured its objectives in Afghanistan whilst simultaneously receiving billions of dollars worth of US aid. As one retired Pakistan intelligence chief bragged – the US was helping secure its own defeat.
01/02/22·27m 20s

Women building peace: Bosnia-Herzegovina

A woman born after her mother was raped during the Bosnian conflict of the 1990s says the struggle for reparation and reconciliation continues 25 years later. Suzanne Kianpour discusses what we can learn from past atrocities to help resolve the current political crisis, with Oscar-nominated Bosnian film director Jasmila Zbanic, and Council of Europe human rights commissioner Dunja Mijatovic.
30/01/22·23m 54s

Music that survived the Nazis: Part two

Featuring extraordinarily rare recordings, historian Shirli Gilbert presents this new history of life and music under Nazi tyranny. This episode focuses on music-making in the camps and ghettos of Nazi Europe, including stories of music at Sachsenhausen, Vilna and Auschwitz. This includes a wealth of different styles, from Yiddish Tango and rousing camp anthems, to partisan songs and string quartets. Contributors include Lloica Czackis, Krzysztof Kulisiewicz, Anita Lasker-Wallfisch,
29/01/22·50m 35s

Women in Ukraine and Russia

There is much international focus on the possibility of a Russian military invasion of its neighbour Ukraine. US President Joe Biden has spoken of “enormous consequences” if that did happen, warning it would “change the world”. Russia has an estimated 100,000 troops on the border with Ukraine but has said it does not want war. While world leaders talk, host Ben James guides us through the discussions among six women in the two countries. In Ukraine, the BBC’s James Reynolds hears from three women in the capital Kyiv about the prospect of war. They include a Olena, a volunteer sniper since 2014 and a professional servicewoman for five years, who is once more prepared to fight for her country.
29/01/22·23m 58s

The rising cost of living

The cost of food and fuel has risen globally. The pandemic has played some part in it but there are other reasons too. Ros Atkins examines what’s behind the rise in the price of goods and services.
29/01/22·9m 54s

World of Wisdom: Judging ourselves harshly

Can we learn to let go of negative thoughts that are bringing us down? Sometimes it can feel as if nothing in life is going the way it should and we judge ourselves for not doing better. Judy is from Thailand and lives in Japan. Her sister has to look after their elderly mother in Thailand alone and Judy is unhappy with herself for not having built a ‘successful’ career in Japan. She speaks to writer and teacher Gary Zukav. He suggests that, even though it sometimes doesn't feel like it, there might be a way to move beyond the control of these negative and damaging feelings.
29/01/22·18m 29s

Hunting the darknet dealers

The high stakes cat and mouse game between police and darknet drug dealers. Police in the UK say they are finally turning the tide on drug dealers selling on the darknet – a secretive part of the internet which has been described as like “online shopping for drugs.” The UK’s National Crime Agency says recent international takedowns of so called dark markets and arrests in multiple countries are a result of new techniques in cyber policing that is giving them the upper hand. However, BBC research suggests that police around the world have an uphill struggle on their hands as many dealers - known as vendors - have survived multiple market place collapses by operating across many different darknet sites. The programme explores the major role played by UK dealers in the global business which is estimated to be worth more than a billion dollars a year. The BBC’s cyber reporter Joe Tidy and BBC data journalist Alison Benjamin journey into this hidden world to speak to vendors and buyers and uncover secrets of the trade. Reporter: Joe Tidy Producer: Paul Grant Editor: Maggie Latham (Image: An ecstasy pill bought on the darknet, being tested at a lab in the UK. Credit: BBC)
27/01/22·27m 21s

Fighting tobacco in Zambia

In Zambia, smoking is on the rise. One woman wants to change that. BBC global health correspondent Tulip Mazumdar follows the story of Brenda Chitindi in her efforts to get tobacco control on the agenda. As tobacco production and consumption increase in Zambia, Brenda and others are campaigning for the introduction of a Tobacco Control Bill to the nation's legislature. It is a campaign they have been fighting for over a decade. With a new government elected in 2021, could this be the moment for change?
25/01/22·27m 30s

Women Building Peace: Afghanistan

"Lama", a student in Afghanistan who fears for her safety since the Taliban takeover, speaks to the country's former education minister Rangina Hamidi, who fled to the United States, and to former US Secretary of State and campaigner for women's rights Hillary Clinton. A co-production by BBC and Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security Presenter: Suzanne Kianpour Produced by Philip Reevell for BBC World Service
23/01/22·23m 56s

Music that survived the Nazis: Part one

There is a common misconception that music under the Nazis was either ‘Degenerate Music’ to be suppressed or propaganda music that was officially sanctioned. Historian Shirli Gilbert shows that there was a wealth of different music-making during this period, including secret sessions by Jewish musicians and others, that managed to evade official scrutiny. In this first episode, she explores the music of the Jewish Culture League, as well as the work of Lukraphon and Semer, two Jewish record labels active at this time.
22/01/22·50m 34s

Coronavirus: Family arguments

Health professionals will tell you that Covid-19 vaccines have saved millions of lives across the globe yet some people continue to doubt their safety and refuse to get a jab. These differences of opinion are being played out within families: some refuse to get a jab, while others are vaccinated. An American in Florida and a French citizen in Ireland share the difficulties they have encountered at home with host James Reynolds. We bring them together to hear how family gatherings can become fraught.
22/01/22·23m 57s

China's Zero-Covid Dilemma

As coronavirus restrictions begin to ease around the world, China is sticking with its Zero-Covid policy. But questions have been raised about how sustainable the strategy is, and how much longer China can keep the virus out. Ros Atkins looks at the dilemma this has created for the country and its leadership.
22/01/22·9m 58s

World of Wisdom: Feeling used

When we feel taken advantage of by people, it can be very hurtful and leave us feeling bitter. Giving a lot to our friends can come with the expectation that the same is offered in return. This is the experience of Jacob, from India. He speaks to Sister Dang Nghiem who suggests that through giving to ourselves and developing self-love, we find we need less appreciation from others.
22/01/22·18m 29s

Hunting Syria's war criminals

Imagine walking down a street in a European capital and meeting your torturer. For many Syrian refugees fleeing war and human rights abuses, Europe was meant to be a sanctuary. So it was a shock when people began bumping into their torturers out shopping or in a cafe. In fact many of those involved in the Syrian government’s notorious interrogation facilities are hiding in plain sight in European cities having used the refugee wave as a “ratline” out of the country. More and more are now being investigated, arrested and put on trial in European courts. But with President Assad firmly in control in Syria the long arm of the state is reaching those willing to testify. For Assignment, Chloe Hadjimatheou and Michael Ertl look at how the Syrian war is continuing to play out in Europe. Presented and produced by Chloe Hadjimatheou and Michael Ertl Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: A woman shows a picture of her Syrian relatives outside the Higher Regional Court in Koblenz, Germany, 13 January 2022. Credit: EPA/Sascha Steinbach)
20/01/22·27m 20s

Silence would be treason

The last writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa from prison in Nigeria to an Irish nun in the run up to his execution in November 1995. Smuggled out of prison in bread baskets, they are the final testament of a man who gave everything he had in the struggle for social and ecological justice. As Ken Saro-Wiwa continues to inspire people and movements across decades and continents, these letters form part of our living history, and give us an immediate link with the man behind the hero.
15/01/22·50m 8s

Coronavirus: Athletes and teachers

The vaccination and visa controversy around Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open tournament has made global headlines all week. It has also put focus on how sports around the world deal with vaccines in this pandemic. Professional athletes often follow a rigorous diet and training schedule to achieve optimum fitness. Not surprisingly, athletes care about what they put in their bodies and in some cases they are delaying or avoiding getting a jab against Covid-19. To discuss how this is playing out in different sports, host James Reynolds brings together an American professional basketball player, currently competing in Istanbul, a sports physician in Mumbai, India and a sports writer in the US. They discuss how the stance of the men's world number one tennis player and other sports stars is having an impact and what might be done to offer reassurance around Covid vaccines.
15/01/22·23m 55s

Djokovic, sport and vaccine mandates

The Covid vaccination status of men's number one tennis player, Novak Djokovic, has caused a political row. Ros Atkins looks at what Djokovic's case could mean for vaccination in sport.
15/01/22·9m 52s

World of Wisdom: Being your true self

Being the real you can be difficult, especially if it means upsetting your family. Folake from Benin tries to be a ‘good girl’ and avoids taking decisions her family would not approve of, but she wants to listen to her heart. She speaks with Dr Shefali, an Indian-born clinical psychologist – now based in New York. She is the author of A Radical Awakening, which aims to lay out a path for women to discover their inner truth.
15/01/22·18m 27s

Montenegro’s Chinese road

It’s been called the priciest piece of tarmac in the world. In 2014 the government of Montenegro signed a contract with a state-owned Chinese company to build part of a 170 kilometre-long highway – a road that would connect its main port with the Serbian border to the north. The price-tag on the first 42 kilometres of asphalt was a staggering $1 billion - most of which has been borrowed from a Chinese bank. In Montenegro, questions continue to be asked about why the project went ahead when some experts said that it was not viable. The River Tara – a UNESCO protected site – has been impacted by the building works, and allegations of corruption and kickbacks have hung around like a bad smell. Meanwhile, the economy has taken a massive hit as a result of the pandemic, and some Montenegrins worry about the country's ability to repay the loan. Worse still, a clause in the road contract states that Montenegro may relinquish sovereignty over unspecified parts of its territory if there is a default. But is everything as it seems? Assignment investigates. Presenter: Linda Pressly Producer: Mike Gallagher Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: A slogan for Chinese construction workers adorns part of Montenegro’s new mountain road. Credit: BBC/Michael Gallagher)
13/01/22·27m 32s

Forest fear

The Amazon is the largest area of rainforest on earth. Bursting with life, it provides us with a wealth of resources. But for each of its potential riches a potential threat is lurking beneath the canopy. Increasing deforestation allows what is hidden within to find a way out, and with it the possibility for wildlife to spread deadly pathogens.
08/01/22·49m 57s

Coronavirus: The vaccinators

The rapid spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is leading to record infection levels in several countries, and vaccination is a key part of the fight against the pandemic. Host James Reynolds brings together vaccination workers in South Africa, Australia, the United States and the UK to share what’s it like to be part of the global effort to vaccinate. We also hear from two people in the US and the UK who turned down a vaccination. After almost dying, they regret their decisions. “I had no idea what was going into me when they [health workers] were saving my life - the same as I don’t know what’s in the vaccine,” says Jade in the UK. “It’s silly isn’t it? You kind of overthink one thing but not the other.”
08/01/22·24m 1s

The storming of the US Capitol: what happened next

The US Capitol riot on January 6, 2021 has been described by President Biden as a dark day in US history. A year on since the attack, Ros Atkins examines the legal and political fall-out from it.
08/01/22·10m 1s

World of Wisdom: Precious time in later life

It can be hard to choose how to spend our precious time. Imam Jamal Rahman, a Sufi spiritual teacher, offers a joyful perspective to Rebecca from the USA.
08/01/22·18m 32s

Turkey's crazy project

A giant new canal for the world’s biggest ships is the most ambitious engineering plan yet proposed by Turkey’s President Erdogan, whose massive infrastructure projects have already changed the face of his country. The proposed waterway would slice through Istanbul, creating in effect a second Bosphorus, the busy shipping lane that is now the only outlet from the Black Sea. The president himself has called the project “crazy”. But he says it would “save the future of Istanbul”, easing traffic in the Bosphorus and reducing the risk of a terrible accident there. But the plan has met a storm of opposition. Istanbul’s mayor says it would “murder” the historic city. Critics claim the canal would be an environmental disaster, cost billions of dollars that Turkey can’t afford – and provoke severe tensions with Russia, which is determined to preserve existing rules on traffic into and out of the Black Sea. Will the canal go ahead? Who would lose – and who would benefit? Tim Whewell reports from a divided Istanbul. (Image: Turkish coastal safety patrol boats in the Bosphorus, Istanbul. Credit: Yörük Işık)
06/01/22·27m 51s

Gone but not forgotten: Syria's missing persons

Wafa Mustafa hasn't heard from her dad since he went missing in July 2013. She, like tens of thousands of others in her position, believes he is being detained by the Syrian government, and is searching for him. In this documentary, she explains how she uses the story of his life to campaign for justice in Syria, and how keeping the memory of her father alive is an act of protest and resistance.
04/01/22·27m 33s

Generation Change: Equality in science and technology

Megha Mohan talks to young people working to diversify science, technology, engineering and maths - fields that will be crucial to the future of our planet, but whose workforces remain predominantly male. She also hears how Nobel Prize-winning astronomer Andrea Ghez overcame gender barriers in her career in science. Generation Change is a co-production of the BBC and Nobel Prize Outreach
04/01/22·27m 22s

Generation Change: Tackling taboos around organ donation

Babita Sharma talks to young people who are trying to save lives by tackling taboos around organ donation in countries including India and the UK. She also speaks to Nobel Prize-winning economist Alvin Roth, who discusses his work on kidney donation. Generation Change is a co-production of the BBC and Nobel Prize Outreach
04/01/22·27m 18s

Generation Change: Fighting hunger

Babita Sharma meets young people trying to solve global food problems, including a Lebanese man who worked to feed people after the deadly bomb blast in 2019, and an American woman whose work connecting charities to excess food from restaurants is spreading around the world. She also learns about the work of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning World Food Programme. Generation Change is a co-production of the BBC and Nobel Prize Outreach
04/01/22·27m 22s

Generation Change: Battling for a sustainable environment

Babita Sharma meets young people from around the world working to fight climate change, including a Kenyan engineer who has designed a solar powered fridge which can be used to transport vaccines on a bike, a Californian teenager who has designed a wind turbine for use in cities, and South Korean protesters taking their Government to court. She also meets Nobel Chemistry Laureate Frances H. Arnold, the co-chair of President Biden’s science commission. Generation Change is a co-production of the BBC and Nobel Prize Outreach
04/01/22·27m 20s

A Wish for Afghanistan: The advocate and the musicians

Another chance to hear from some of the BBC's acclaimed series examining the seismic events shaping Afghanistan before and after this year's return to power of the Taliban. After last week's episode featuring Taliban founder Mullah Zaeef and former President Hamid Karzai, the BBC's chief international correspondent, Lyse Doucet, hears from a younger generation. Shaharzad Akbar was raised in a refugee camp in Pakistan in the 1990s, became the first Afghan woman to get a degree at Oxford University, and went on to run the country's Human Rights Commission. Arson Fahim and Meena Karimi are both gifted composers with no memory of life before the advent of a US-backed democracy in the country. All see their lives shaped by it, and all three have had to flee Kabul since the Taliban took over. What now for the dreams they cherished? Hear the whole series at
02/01/22·51m 13s

A Pyrotechnic History of Humanity: The future

ustin Rowlatt looks at the monumental challenge of weaning ourselves off fossil fuels. Solar and wind could meet all of humanity’s energy needs, but can we switch over before climate disaster strikes? According to clean-tech enthusiast and investor Ramez Naam, we have the means at our disposal. Our fossil-fuelled global economy has enabled a rapid collapse in the cost of renewable energy and electric vehicles. And now we are seeing a snowballing of government action to decarbonise our economies, according to UN climate negotiator Christiana Figueres. But many problems remain. Energy historian Vaclav Smil points out that we still have no easy way to store renewable energy, or use it to make billions of tonnes of cement and steel. Sheffield-based ITM Power hope that their green hydrogen could solve many of these problems. Plus, electricity historian Julie Cohn says another option might be to build a global electricity grid.
01/01/22·24m 4s

BBC OS Conversations: Tracking the pandemic

Two years after the first cases of a mysterious new virus were reported from China, host Nuala McGovern brings together experts in Switzerland, India and Israel who have been tracking the spread and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and providing advice to governments and health officials. What have they learnt about the effects of the pandemic? What happens next and what are the lessons for the future? Nuala talks to Dr Emma Hodcroft, a molecular epidemiologist at the University of Bern in Switzerland, Dr Swapneil Parikh in Mumbai, India, and Professor Manfred Green, an epidemiologist based at the University of Haifa in Israel.
01/01/22·24m 3s

World of Wisdom: Social distance

The pandemic has meant stopping so many of the everyday things we used to do, including not hugging and kissing others. For Susanna from Italy, not being able to connect with people socially in the way she is used to has led to a deep disorientation. Gary Zukav gives his perspective that it is not the pandemic that has led to her feeling more isolated from others, but rather it is fear of what is different.
01/01/22·18m 31s

Peru's left behind children

Peru has been battered by Covid-19. It has the highest known death toll in the world per capita. But behind the figures there’s another hidden pandemic. By the end of April 2021 around 93,000 children had lost a father, mother, grand-parent, or other primary caregiver to the virus - that’s one in every hundred children. For Assignment, Jane Chambers travels to Lima to meet the families struggling to cope. The immediate urgency of the health crisis is masking a much deeper malaise; that of a generation of children mentally and physically scarred by loss and poverty. Reported and produced by Jane Chambers Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: Jhoana Olinda Antón Silva and her children in their home at the shrine they built for their father who died of Covid-19. Credit: Paola Ugaz)
30/12/21·28m 19s

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Reflecting on the life of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the South African priest who became a prominent figure in the fight against apartheid, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.
26/12/21·26m 37s

A Wish for Afghanistan: The Talib and the president

A chance to hear once again from the BBC's acclaimed series examining the seismic events shaping Afghanistan before and after this year's return to power of the Taliban. The BBC's chief international correspondent, Lyse Doucet, hears from two key players who have shaped the country's recent history: Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, a former Afghan diplomat and co-founder of the Taliban movement; and Hamid Karzai, the country's first elected president. Both talk in detail about the events that shaped their lives, their thinking and what they make of the collapse of the US-backed government in the country. Hear the whole series at
26/12/21·50m 38s
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