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The Real Story

Updated 3 days ago

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Global experts and decision makers discuss, debate and analyse a key news story.

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Global experts and decision makers discuss, debate and analyse a key news story.

iTunes Ratings

131 Ratings
Average Ratings
115
7
3
4
2

A bit of overkill lately

By Furpep - Oct 12 2018
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Three straight weeks on climate issues. Let’s mix it up a bit

intelligent analysis

By Zhang.Fei. - May 11 2018
Read more
This stuff is intelligent, interesting and thought-provoking.

iTunes Ratings

131 Ratings
Average Ratings
115
7
3
4
2

A bit of overkill lately

By Furpep - Oct 12 2018
Read more
Three straight weeks on climate issues. Let’s mix it up a bit

intelligent analysis

By Zhang.Fei. - May 11 2018
Read more
This stuff is intelligent, interesting and thought-provoking.
Cover image of The Real Story

The Real Story

Latest release on Jan 24, 2020

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Global experts and decision makers discuss, debate and analyse a key news story.

Rank #1: What Does Steve Bannon Think?

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Steve Bannon is widely seen as one of the most influential – and in some quarters one of the most dangerous - men in President Trump’s administration. He holds the key post of White House Chief Strategist, but who is he and what does he really believe? Join Owen Bennett Jones and his guests on Newshour Extra this week as they consider Mr Bannon's influence in the future direction of policy. How will his mix of right and left-wing views shape President Trump’s economic plans? How might his interest in fringe historical theories impact on social and foreign policy? And what are the consequences of his belief that the Judeo-Christian West is facing an existential crisis in its confrontation with the Islamic world?

Feb 03 2017

51mins

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Rank #2: Trump and Russia: A Long Relationship

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President Trump’s connections with Russia is a story that won’t go away. There are so many allegations flying around that it can be difficult to separate what is actually known and what is rumour. The President and his supporters have one key point - that despite all the coverage and official investigations, there is still no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Nor is there evidence that Trump’s business connections to Russia are other than legitimate. But did Russia try to influence the election outcome? And what about the stream of stories linking members of Trump’s team to Russia? As a special counsel is appointed to oversee the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election, Owen Bennett Jones and panel of expert guests marshal the facts and explain what is known for sure about Donald Trump’s longstanding relationship with Russia.
Photo: Donald Trump in White House talking on phone to President Putin, 28 January 2017. Credit: Getty Images

May 19 2017

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Rank #3: Syria: Has Assad Won?

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It has been over seven years since the uprising in Syria turned first into a civil war and then into a proxy war that has drawn in countries near and far. During that time at least 350,000 people have been killed, over 5 million have fled the country, and over 6 million have lost their homes. The war has seen sieges, artillery barrages and airstrikes on civilian neighbourhoods, hospitals and schools. With the help of Iran, Russia and Hezbollah, the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad has recaptured the major cities. His enemies are, as ever, divided. Rebels cling on to enclaves near the Turkish border in the north and in the north-east the Kurdish dominated SDF still controls about a quarter of the country. But in the south, the Syrian government has this week retaken Deraa province where the uprising began in 2011. So is the war coming to an end? Or is it entering a new phase? This week on The Real Story Chris Morris and a panel of expert guests discuss the Syrian war, how long does it have to go and how can the country start to rebuild?

(Photo: A house burns after Syrian forces shelled it with heavy artillery in the besieged town of Douma by Muhammad Al-Najjar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Aug 03 2018

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Rank #4: What Does Putin Want?

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Major Western powers are united in their conclusion. Russia, they say, carried out the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since World War Two. The attack happened in the English city of Salisbury, where former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent. This Sunday, the Russian people are expected to elect Mr Putin for a fourth consecutive term. So as Russia and the West begin a new diplomatic showdown, what does President Putin want to achieve - for himself, for Russia, and abroad?

(Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin sunbathes during his vacation in the remote Tuva region in southern Siberia by Alexey Nikolsky/AFP/Getty Images)

Mar 16 2018

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Rank #5: What Next For Islamic State?

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'Their fictitious state has fallen,' announced an Iraqi spokesman following the retaking of Mosul this week after a long and brutal battle with Islamic State militants. With IS also in retreat in Raqqa in neighbouring Syria, regarded by the militants as the capital of their caliphate, how will they respond? Will IS dwindle into fragmented criminal gangs or can it regroup, re-arm, and continue to recruit foreign fighters to the cause? Will it continue to inspire militants from Libya to the Philippines? This week on Newshour Extra Owen Bennett Jones and a panel of experts look at the future of one of the most successful Islamist groups of recent times and ask how will IS fight back?
(Photo of man removing Islamic State flag by DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Jul 14 2017

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Rank #6: Is the Nation State in Decline?

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People around the world continue to want a nation to call their own. There have been recent independence referendums in Kurdistan, Catalonia and Scotland. This trend has being going on for a century, as empires have given way to nation states, and those states have further subdivided. For much of the 20th century this made sense. Politics, the economy, and communications were mostly organised at a national scale. National governments had actual powers to manage modern economies. But after many decades of globalisation, have economies and information grown beyond the authority of national governments? How good are nation states at dealing with trans-national threats such as terrorism, migration or global warming? Carrie Gracie and a panel of expert guests discuss whether the nation state is in decline. And if so, what might replace it?

Aug 16 2018

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Rank #7: What's Wrong with Science?

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Science has changed the world - it helps us live longer and more productive lives. It helps us communicate, explore the universe, understand our planet and cure our illnesses. It's so powerful a force that it has undermined confidence in religion and challenged humans to rethink their purpose. Yet some of science's keenest advocates fear that there is a problem with science, that there is something wrong with the way it is currently practiced and this at a time when science is under attack not just from old fashioned creationists but from people opposed to vaccination, climate change deniers and those who are suspicious it serves the interest of big corporations. So, are there fundamental problems with the way science is done today? Join Owen Bennett Jones with his guests this week discussing how science can live up to its promise.
Photo: Cancer research laboratory, Cambridge UK. Credit: Getty Images

May 05 2017

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Rank #8: Trump’s World: 100 Days of Change

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Donald Trump came into the White House promising to tear up the US foreign policy playbook: Russia could be a friend, NATO was ‘obsolete’, and trade deals hurt American jobs. In his first hundred days has President Trump carried out his radical promises or is he beginning to sense the limitations of the most important job in the world? This week on Newshour Extra Owen Bennett Jones and a panel of expert guests discuss Mr Trump’s remaking of American foreign policy.

Apr 28 2017

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Rank #9: How Lehman's Collapse Changed the World

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Ten years ago the US investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed. The event rocked global stock markets and led to the biggest financial crash since the Great Depression. The decade that followed has been extraordinary. We've seen anger and discontent as living standards have fallen in large parts of the developed world. There's been political upheaval with the election of Donald Trump and the UK's vote for Brexit, while populists and demagogues have gained power across Europe. Ritula Shah and a panel of experts discuss the consequences of the 2008 financial crisis: low growth, a fragile global economy and a transformed political landscape. And, in the event of another crash, would governments have the ideas, the resources, and the goodwill to pull the global economy back from the brink?

Sep 14 2018

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Rank #10: Can the EU Survive?

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"The fragility of the EU is increasing," says EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, and, "the cracks are growing in size." The cracks appear in many forms. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel says migration is the issue that "could decide the EU's fate." Her French counterpart, President Emmanuel Macron, wants urgent economic reform and a "profound transformation" of the EU. His solution in part is to "give Europe back to its citizens." But what do European citizen want? Some want out, as seen in Brexit. Many others don't like the way the EU is currently run. That's behind the rise of Eurosceptic governments in Hungary, Poland, and now Italy. Can the gap be closed between French hopes and German fears? Who has the will and the wherewithal to reform the EU before another political or economic crisis engulfs it? And if no change comes is the EU's very survival at risk?

(Photo: EU flag billows all tattered and torn. Credit: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)

Jun 29 2018

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Rank #11: What Justifies Military Intervention?

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The decision by the US, France and Britain to bomb Syria after seeing evidence that President Bashar al-Assad had allegedly used chemical weapons on civilians has divided the international community. Are we living in a world where might, not right determines how states behave, or is a more moral legal framework in the process of being born? This week on the Real Story, Carrie Gracie and a panel of expert guests ask what can justify attacking another country.

Apr 20 2018

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Rank #12: Saudi Arabia's Grand Vision

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This week, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests are looking at a radical new economic and social vision for the country proposed by the Saudi monarchy. It’s not simply a set of proposals to end Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil. Beyond this, it seeks to provide new job opportunities for a generation of frustrated young Saudis, both men and women. With the end of the Saudi oil bonanza in sight, and draining military expenditure on foreign wars, the House of Saud is taking radical steps to maintain growth and stay in power. But can it successfully achieve these changes in the face of strong opposition both within and outside the country?
Photo: Saudi people walk through a sand and dust storm in Riyadh. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

May 20 2016

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Rank #13: Who Should Be Let In?

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Images of crying children separated from their parents at the US border with Mexico have brought a new urgency to the migration debate in the US. After a week of intense scrutiny on the issue, President Trump signed an executive order so that families apprehended trying to enter the US illegally would not be split up while criminal proceedings took place. In Europe, too, the migration debate is testing governments. This week, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, went to battle with her Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, over whether migrants at the German border should be turned away if they had registered elsewhere in the EU. So, as the UNHCR says the world is experiencing record levels of migration, should countries get tougher or adjust to the new reality? Are public concerns justified, or are they fanned by populists hoping to make political gains?

Jun 22 2018

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Rank #14: Trump’s World

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What might American foreign policy look like under a Donald Trump presidency? Based on his rhetoric during the campaign, the scale of the departure from the status quo will be profound. He promises to upend long-standing relationships with both America's traditional allies and its foes; he says Europe and Asia should pay more for their own security; and his plans to defeat so-called Islamic State are bellicose but unfocussed. On this week's Newshour Extra, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests take Trump's campaign promises and hold them up to scrutiny. How much of what he's said does he really intend to implement - and will he be able to put policy into practice?

Photo: Donald Trump on the campaign trail. Credit: Getty Images

Nov 11 2016

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Rank #15: Does the EU Have a Future?

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What does the UK leaving the EU say about the strength of the organisation going forward? Can it perhaps accomplish more with a reluctant partner gone? Or is the ambition of ever-closer political and economic union doomed?
Owen Bennett Jones is in Brussels with a panel of European politicians and experts to reflect on the implications of the UK voting to leave the European Union.
On the panel: journalist Tom Nuttall, Lithuanian MEP Antanas Guoga and Rosa Balfour, senior fellow in the European Programme at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and German MEP Hans-Olaf Henkel.
With contributions from former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt, Italian MEP Laura Ferrara, German MEP Beatrix von Storch,

Jun 24 2016

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Rank #16: What is Fuelling War in Yemen?

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The UN calls Yemen 'the world's worst humanitarian crisis'. It says more than three-fourths of the population - over 22 million people - are in need of humanitarian assistance. Yemenis face hunger, disease, and the terror of a war which has pitted Iran-backed Houthi rebels against a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia. This week marks the end of the third year of that Saudi campaign - with no end in sight. Yemen's Minister of State resigned Wednesday saying Yemen's President, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi was under house arrest in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. So what are the Saudi aims in Yemen and why are Yemeni civilians continuing to suffer so much? Carrie Gracie and a panel of expert guests bring clarity to one of the world's most complex wars.

Mar 23 2018

49mins

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Rank #17: Sweden: Liberalism in Trouble

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For years Sweden has been praised for its generous welfare state and the welcoming hand it held out to refugees. But things are changing. Sweden is approaching the end of its most closely fought election in decades. Polls predict that the long dominant Social Democrats will get the largest share of the vote but not enough to govern alone. As in other European countries, significant numbers of the old working class are turning to an anti-EU anti-immigrant party. The Sweden Democrats are socially conservative, talking tough on immigration, and helped by recent criminal incidents that some are pinning on immigrants. They could get enough support to influence the country's future. President Trump has long been tweeting about Sweden, claiming "large scale immigration" there isn't working. But what's the evidence? Is Sweden suffering from an epidemic of crime caused by immigrants? Has it failed to assimilate the people it welcomed in? Or are these at best half-truths deployed in a tough election campaign? Ritula Shah and a panel of experts discuss whether Sweden has turned its back on its social democratic past?

Sep 07 2018

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Rank #18: Who Should Own South African Land?

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Nearly 25 years on from independence the vast majority of South Africa’s farmland is still owned by the country’s white minority. But now the governing ANC is coming under pressure to change that. In the past the government has tried to find “willing sellers” but that’s only led to the redistribution of 10% of farmland. Now the government is considering more controversial moves. President Cyril Ramaphosa his indicated he would introduce a change to the constitution to allow, if necessary, land expropriation without compensation. White farmers are furious. Investors are worried too. They look at what has happened in neighbouring Zimbabwe where land seizures turned what was the breadbasket of Africa into an agricultural basket case. President Trump, too, has got involved, tweeting that he asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to look into “land and farm seizures” and "killing of farmers", prompting South Africa to accuse Mr Trump of stoking racial divisions. Paul Henley and a panel of expert guests discuss South Africa’s struggle with land reform.

Aug 31 2018

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Rank #19: Water: The Stuff of Life

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Water supplies are coming under pressure in many parts of the world. Too much water is taken out of rivers or pumped from underground aquifers to be sustainable. While water has been used as a weapon of war for centuries, could its scarcity become a cause of future conflicts? With a finite supply of fresh water and increasing demands being placed on it, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss the consequences on food production and social stability of an increasingly strained water supply for the planet's growing population.
(Photo: waterfall Credit: Getty Images)

Jul 28 2017

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Rank #20: America’s Global Challenge

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What might foreign policy look like under the next president of the United States? This week, Ritula Shah presents the programmes from Washington, asking how President Trump or President Clinton might face up to the big global challenges: multi-dimensional war in Syria; Putin flexing his muscles in Russia; Beijing's territorial claims in the South China. These headaches and more await the next occupant of the White House, but how much do we know about how they’ll tackle them?
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Jun 10 2016

49mins

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Can China stop a killer virus spreading?

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A mysterious new virus has emerged from the Chinese city of Wuhan and is rapidly being identified in patients across the globe. Signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Hundreds have been infected and some deaths have already been reported. This isn’t the first potentially deadly virus to emerge from China. In 2002/3, the Sars virus killed nearly 800 people globally and belonged to the same family of virus as the current outbreak. At the time, officials in Beijing were criticised for not acting fast enough and failing to be open and honest about the extent of the crisis. But how much has China’s approach changed? And is the world ready for the next global pandemic, whenever it may come? Celia Hatton and her panel of guests explore whether China has learned its lessons when it comes to dealing with the outbreak of deadly diseases.

Jan 24 2020

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Does philanthropy work?

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Many of the world's rich and powerful will gather at the Swiss resort of Davos next week to discuss the future of the world, including how to make it a more equitable place. According to most estimates, the richest one percent of the world's population owns more than half of its wealth. Overall, the rich have spent billions in projects ranging from healthcare, education and humanitarian assistance to scientific research and good governance. But critics say that in the United States, only a fifth of the money actually went to the poor. So, is there a need to redefine philanthropy for the rich? Who should decide where their money should be spent? And, would their money be better spent by the state through taxation instead of their charitable foundations? Julian Worricker and a panel of expert guests discuss whether philanthropy works.

Jan 17 2020

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The world's housing crisis

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The state of affordable housing in major cities around the world is an issue of increasing concern to politicians - and of course to the growing population of large cities. Next month, the UN's World Urban Forum will discuss rapid urbanisation and the pressures it brings on cities’ infrastructure and housing. In Germany, Berlin is the first city in German history to impose rent controls. In London, an inquiry into the disastrous fire in an inner city high rise block has highlighted the quality and safety concerns surrounding affordable accommodation in the capital. Everywhere urban planners are asking: can large cities provide affordable quality accommodation for residents? Paul Henley and a panel of expert guests discuss the big challenges facing local authorities and city dwellers around the world.

Jan 10 2020

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Can young people change the world?

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2019 has been a year of youth activism. From the Swedish climate change protester Greta Thunberg to Hong Kong’s democracy activist Joshua Wong, young people have been making headlines. Millions of school children and college students all over the world marched for a range of causes, whether it was fighting climate change, supporting girls’ education in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, or ending police brutality in the US. Politicians are being forced to pay attention and address previously ignored issues. But will meaningful change come about? Can young people achieve things in activism that adults can’t? And what does it take to become the next Greta Thunberg? Paul Henley and a panel of experts discuss the young people trying to change the world.

Dec 19 2019

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What next for the UK?

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The Prime Minister's core message during the campaign was simple: "Get Brexit done." It worked, with the Conservative Party enjoying its widest margin of victory since its win under Margaret Thatcher in 1987. The United Kingdom now appears set to leave the European Union by the end of January. The opposition Labour Party, meanwhile, had a historically poor showing in the polls, while nationalist parties made gains in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Dan Damon and a panel of expert guests discuss the big challenges ahead for Boris Johnson following his historic win.

(Photo: Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives back at 10 Downing Street in London on Friday after visiting Buckingham Palace, where he was given permission to form the next government during an audience with Queen Elizabeth II. Credit: Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Dec 13 2019

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The world's languages are dying

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The world’s rich linguistic tapestry is unravelling. Around a third of the world’s languages now have fewer than a thousand speakers left. The UN says more needs to be done and, to raise awareness, it declared 2019 the year of indigenous languages. The numbers of languages heading for extinction number in the thousands and are spoken by small tribes and ethnic groups scattered around the world. In September this year in Russia, a retired professor set himself on fire in protest against the disappearance of his own native language, Udmurt. His tragic death prompted a discussion about the ways of preserving minority languages. But are all indigenous languages worth saving - and at what cost? Which ones should we prioritise and how is that decided? Why do speakers of minority languages feel so deeply about preserving their mother tongue and their culture? Join Julian Worricker and his panel of expert guests as they discuss how we keep the thousands of minority languages alive in an era when just 23 languages accounts for half the world’s population.

Dec 06 2019

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Who runs Iraq?

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Iraq has been gripped by mass public protests for weeks. Thousands of people have been taking to the streets in cities like Baghdad, Basra and Karbala to demand an end to corruption and unemployment, and an improvement in public services. The government has responded with force. More than three hundred people have died during the protests. Iraq is the second biggest oil exporter in the Middle East and yet according to the World Bank, over twenty percent of its citizen lives in poverty; and according to a corruption watchdog, more than three hundred billion dollars have gone missing from the government coffers in the last fifteen years because of graft. Following the 2003 US led invasion that overthrew the regime of Saddam Hussein a series of Shia led governments have struggled to maintain order, and sectarian conflict has torn through the society. Analysts say the nature of post-war politics have paved the way for armed militia groups and religious leaders to exert undue influence in the way the country is run. So how exactly is Iraq governed? What is the balance of power among its ethnic and religious groups? Does the system prevent meritocracy and encourage sectarian patronage? And how disruptive is Iran's presence in Iraq? Pascale Harter and guest discuss who is in charge in Iraq.

Nov 29 2019

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Can algorithms be trusted?

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Algorithms have become a ubiquitous part of modern lives. They suggest films on streaming services, vet loans for approval, shortlist job candidates, even help decide prison sentences and medical care. But there are questions over the way they are applied. The banking giant Goldman Sachs faced criticism after it was alleged that an algorithm used to determine people's credit score was sexist because it gave women a lower credit limit to men. An algorithm used to allocate health care in the United States was accused of bias against black patients. And this week a supreme court judge in Britain called for the creation of a commission to regulate algorithms. So how did the world become so dependent on algorithms and how are they changing people's lives? Paul Henley and a panel of expert guests discuss how algorithms are shaping the modern world.

Nov 22 2019

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The future of oil

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The state owned Saudi oil company, Aramco, is considered to be the most profitable business in the world. In the coming weeks it plans to raise billions by selling shares publicly for the first time. Despite the proliferation of green technologies and a rise in environmentalist movements which are calling for an end to fossil fuel dependency, the International Energy Agency believes that global consumption of oil will continue to grow for another twenty years. Analysts say this is mainly due to the continuing growth of the Asian economies. It's not just Saudi Arabia looking to cash in on the continuing demand for oil. Iran says it too is hoping to earn billions of dollars if it can extract oil from a newly discovered field close to its border with Iraq. So why is the world still so reliant on oil? What is driving the current growth in oil production and how long will it last? Can the countries that rely on oil as their main source of income move onto other things when demand begins to fall? Paul Henley and a panel of expert guests discuss the future of oil.

Nov 15 2019

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India's pollution problem

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At one point this week air pollution in Delhi was so high that monitors could not record the toxicity because it was off the scale. Schools were closed, vehicles restricted, and people were advised to stay indoors. But the situation in Delhi is not the full picture. Fifteen of the world's twenty most polluted cities are in India. And air pollution is just one of several severe environmental challenges in the country. Fast paced industrialisation, poor waste management and badly managed mining projects are all contributing to environmental degradation. So why have India’s pollution problems been so hard to tackle? What are the steps authorities should be taking to improve the situation? And can the country find a path that will enhance people's lives without damaging nature? Join Pascale Harter and a panel of expert guests as they discuss India's environmental future.

Nov 08 2019

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Russia's new internet firewall

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A law is coming into effect in Russia that will redefine the way internet is governed in the country. Russia says the law will allow internet providers to filter content to ‘protect’ its citizens. It wants Russian data to remain within its border and prevent outside forces from disrupting its internal internet infrastructure. Critics say, the law virtually allows the government to disconnect from the outside world and impose total control over the flow of information. They say it will stifle dissent and free speech. It is also argued that the law will put at risk sensitive information of foreign companies doing business there. So is Russia taking a step back from an integrated global internet system? Will its attempt to raise a digital wall inspire other nations to follow suit? How will the changes affect Russian economy, society, and freedom of expression? Will people find a way to undermine that system? And what are the lessons Moscow has learned from China’s ‘great firewall’? James Coomarasamy and guests discuss Russia and its internet.

Nov 01 2019

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Mass protests in Lebanon

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This week millions of people were out on the streets of Lebanon demanding change. A lack of jobs, crumbling public services, rising living costs and rampant inequality had brought out people from all sections of the society. The proposed budget with more taxes, including one on WhatsApp, is seen as the straw that broke the camel’s back. Since the end of a fifteen year long civil war, Lebanon has relied on a unique set of arrangements to maintain peace and a balance of power among its various sects. But under the banner of 'everyone means everyone' the protesters are turning on the political class as a whole and uniting across sectarian divides. So is Lebanon in the midst of a revolution? Julian Worricker and guests discuss what this uprising means for Lebanon and the region.

Oct 25 2019

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Canada at a crossroads

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Canada is a vast country with rich natural resources. For decades it has relied on global trade and a stable international order to prosper. As Canada heads to polls on the 21st of October, it finds itself with challenges at home and abroad that could bring significant changes to the idea of what Canada is. Its more powerful and influential neighbour to the south, the United States, is in turmoil with divisive politics and unpredictable changes to its foreign policy. Relations with Canada’s second biggest trading partner, China, have hit a low with the controversy involving the telecoms company Huawei. Meanwhile, at home, the country is trying to reconcile its relationship with the oil and gas industries with its leadership on the environment. Canada has been at the forefront of global humanitarian efforts, including accepting large numbers of refugees from Syria, but at the same time it faces discontent over immigration and integration. So what does this election mean for Canada? Do the debates over immigration and indigenous rights require a fresh look at the values that Canadians have taken for granted for decades? Is it time for Canada to redefine its foreign policy and trade priorities in light of a rising China? And what should its relations be with a changing United States? Julian Worricker and guests discuss Canada at a crossroads.

Oct 18 2019

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Does the US have a Syria plan?

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Following a late evening phone conversation with the president of Turkey, President Trump approved the Turkish decision to send troops in parts of Syria that are now controlled by American backed Kurdish forces. He said that it is time for the US troops to be pulled out. The announcement caught America’s allies by surprise, and the president’s supporters off guard. The move is seen as a major shift in the US policy which, critics say, will embolden Iran and Russia and might even help the Islamic State group to bounce back. They say the absence of US support will put Kurdish forces - America’s strongest ally in the region - in a vulnerable position and expose them to Turkish attacks. There is also concern about the fate of the thousands of ISIS prisoners held by the Kurds. But this is not the first time president Trump has expressed a desire to end American involvement in Syria. So what exactly is president Trump’s policy towards Syria? Will a US pull-out be a betrayal of its allies in the region? Will it open up new front lines and a return of ISIS? And where does it leave America’s standing in the Middle East? Paul Henley and guests discuss president Trump’s endgame for Syria.

Oct 11 2019

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Is impeachment a fair process?

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In the United States, the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump - only the fourth president to face such an investigation - has become the most talked about issue in Washington. At the centre of it is a phone conversation in which president Trump allegedly solicited the help of the Ukrainian president to undermine a political rival. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the Democratic Party controlled lower house of Congress, says that it had to initiate the impeachment investigation because it could not "ignore what the president did". But is there such a thing as a fair and objective way to impeach a president? How important is the court of public opinion and what do events say about America's political divide? Plus, what are the lessons from history? Paul Henley and a panel of expert guests discuss what it takes and what stands in the way of removing an American president from office.

(Photo: A demonstrator showing support for an impeachment hearing in New York. Credit: Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Oct 04 2019

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Can China tame Hong Kong?

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This week China marks the 70th anniversary of its founding. The great fanfare playing out across the country could be overshadowed by events in the southern territory of Hong Kong, which is part of China but maintains separate judicial and economic freedoms. For months, people there have been taking to the streets every weekend to rally against a controversial extradition bill. These protests have turned into a movement calling for full democracy, and an investigation into allegations of police brutality during the protests. The embattled government of Hong Kong initially shelved and later withdrew the bill. This has not quelled the unrest. The Chinese government has reacted angrily, but it has stepped back from deploying troops. So where do the two sides stand and how will the scenarios play out? Is the standoff just about democracy or a broader series of issues - from wealth inequality to identity? Can Beijing calm the situation without the use of force? And could these protests inspire movements in other parts of China? Celia Hatton and an expert panel of guests discuss the protests and what they say about the rapidly evolving relationship between Hong Kong and China.

Sep 27 2019

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Russia's Africa doctrine

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In October thousands of delegates are expected to arrive in the Russian resort of Sochi for an extraordinary gathering. It will be the first ever conference between Russia and the countries of Africa. President Putin is due to hold meetings with African heads of state to discuss Russia's ties to the continent. Russia is rekindling links with Africa that existed during the Cold War and creating new partnerships with countries which, in the past, had closer ties to the West. Some have already accepted Moscow's military support while others have signed energy and mining deals with Russian companies. So what is Russia's Africa doctrine? Are these budding relationships more about business or diplomacy? What do African nations gain by moving closer to Russia? And, is Moscow trying to join a race that, in fact has already been won by Beijing? Julian Marshall and a panel of expert guests discuss Russia’s future in Africa.

Sep 20 2019

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South Africa's anti-foreigner violence

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South Africa is one of the richest countries in Africa. Its businesses and investments have been a catalyst for growth on the continent and according to the World Bank, African immigrants have made a positive impact on South Africa’s economy. Yet foreign workers come under regular attack in South Africa. In the most recent spate of violence, hundreds of foreign owned businesses were damaged by protestors who said foreigners were taking their jobs. Several people died. The South African government condemned the attacks; but fell short of calling them xenophobic. Others on the continent aren't so sure. From Ethiopia to Zambia to Nigeria the reaction has been fierce. Artists have cancelled events, radio stations have boycotted South African music and hundreds of Nigerians were repatriated to Lagos. Julian Worricker and a panel of expert guests discuss the latest signs of anti-foreigner intolerance in South Africa. Why are immigrants being targeted in the Rainbow Nation and what impact will the negative reaction have on the country?

Sep 13 2019

49mins

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The future of money

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Every summer at a mountain resort in Wyoming, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas hosts a symposium of central bankers and academics to discuss the global economy. This year at Jackson Hole, the outgoing Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, grabbed headlines by calling for a new global monetary system to replace the US dollar as the world’s main currency reserve. A new digital currency, he said, based on a basket of currencies and provided by the public sector, could be more stable and sustainable than the dollar in today’s volatile, multi-polar world. But what would such a shift mean? Is this actually an old idea, revived by our digital age? And how could the rise of the private crypto-currencies such as Facebook’s Libra change the way money - and governments - work? Join Chris Morris and our panel on The Real Story this week as we ask: how is money changing, and could different systems be better for people and countries?

Sep 06 2019

49mins

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Who owns the Amazon?

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The Amazon rainforest is an essential part of maintaining the earth's ecosystem and weather patterns. But this year thousands of fires are ravaging there - the most intense blazes for almost a decade. Brazil's indigenous and environmental groups have raised alarm at the rate of deforestation caused by the fires, many of which are thought to have been started deliberately by farmers and loggers. The G7 group of industrial nations have offered tens of millions of dollars to countries in the region to fight the fires. President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, after initially blaming the environmental groups of overreacting, has deployed soldiers to help fight the blaze. But he has shown little enthusiasm towards the international offer of help, and said that the Amazon was being treated as a colony or no-man's land by countries like France. So what's the best way to decide the future of the Amazon forests? Should they be treated as a world treasure with a global consensus over its preservation? Or, should the Amazon countries have sovereignty over the forests and their natural wealth and have the final say. And what about the rights of the indigenous groups and farmers? Join Paul Henley and a panel of expert guests as they discuss the future of the Amazon.

Aug 30 2019

49mins

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A bit of overkill lately

By Furpep - Oct 12 2018
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Three straight weeks on climate issues. Let’s mix it up a bit

intelligent analysis

By Zhang.Fei. - May 11 2018
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This stuff is intelligent, interesting and thought-provoking.