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Rank #30 in Government category

Overall

The Real Story

Updated 2 months ago

Rank #30 in Government category

Overall
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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 Aug 07, 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

49mins

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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

49mins

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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

49mins

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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

49mins

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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

49mins

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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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What is Covid doing to the Amazon?

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The coronavirus pandemic is having a growing impact on life in the Brazilian Amazon. Half a million indigenous people still live in often remote rainforest communities, yet many are still contracting Covid-19 and dying. The Munduruku people have already lost ten of their elders to the virus, a situation observers describe as akin to the destruction of a library or museum - so important are the ‘sábios’ - or sages - in passing on the community’s cultural heritage. The virus is also thought to have harmed anti-logging, anti-burning and anti-mining efforts around the rain-forest, with Brazil’s space agency identifying a large increase in the number of fires burning during the month of July compared to last year. This year the government has authorised the deployment of the military to combat deforestation and forest fires and also banned the setting of fires in the region for 120 days. But President Bolsonaro’s critics accuse him of underplaying the impact of coronavirus on the Amazon region and even exploiting the crisis for political gain. So is enough being done to support the country’s indigenous peoples? Will the Covid-19 speed up the clearing of the rainforest? And how is the crisis adding to the already volatile and polarised Brazilian political landscape? Ritula Shah and a panel of expert guests discuss what the virus is doing to Brazil's Amazon region.

Aug 07 2020

49mins

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Fighting fat to fight Covid-19

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Experts have warned that being obese or overweight puts you at greater risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19. One study suggests the chances of dying from the coronavirus are 90% higher in those who are severely obese. This week British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced sweeping plans to shrink waistlines, saying the virus had been a “wake-up call” on an issue that threatened public health even before the pandemic. According to the World Health Organisation obesity has nearly tripled worldwide since 1975 and is becoming an increasing problem in developing economies. Meanwhile Asian and black populations have been found to have a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease, conditions exacerbated by carrying excess weight. New measures in England include a ban on ‘buy one get one free’ deals, new curbs on the advertising of junk food, and a review of labelling on food and drinks sold in shops. But how much of an impact have these policies made when introduced elsewhere? Governments are increasingly introducing taxes on foods high in sugar in the hope of changing consumer behaviour and encouraging manufacturers to make their products healthier. But do such measures work? And how important is exercise in tackling the global obesity crisis? Join Ritula Shah and guests as they discuss whether fighting fat can help curb the coronavirus.

Jul 31 2020

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Should tax havens help pay for coronavirus?

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While the coronavirus pandemic is raging around the world, discussions over rebuilding the global economy are already underway. Globally, the recovery will cost trillions of dollars. Governments and finance ministries are working around the clock to design financial packages at a time when income from tax has hit rock bottom. There's concern that many governments will have to raise taxes to cope with the shortfall in revenue. But what if they could tap a different source of funding? According to the Tax Justice Network, there are trillions of dollars' worth of cash and other assets tucked away in offshore tax havens belonging to both private individuals and large corporations. Some people are now saying that with the coronavirus crisis, governments can no longer afford to go without the vast amount of tax revenue they lose each year. So, could a small tax on that money fund the global recovery? What challenges need to be overcome to bring together governments and multiple jurisdictions to agree on a framework? Will it be possible to sift through layers of obfuscation to establish the exact amount of money that is held in tax havens – and how will diminishing their prominence change the world? Join Ritula Shah and guests as they discuss whether tax havens should help pay for the pandemic recovery.

Jul 24 2020

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Is the WHO fit for purpose?

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More than six months after the outbreak of the coronavirus, a team from the World Health Organization will - for the first time - be given access to physical samples of the virus inside China. It’s an important moment for the WHO, which has been accused of providing patchy scientific advice and reacting too slowly to the threats posed by the virus. There has been an especially critical reaction from the agency’s biggest donor, the United States. Donald Trump has begun the process of withdrawing the US from the WHO, accusing it of being under the 'total control' of China and of 'misleading the world' about the coronavirus. The WHO chief said the organisation needs to reflect on its role during the pandemic and has launched an independent evaluation. So are the criticisms fair? And what difference will investigations inside China make now? Is the organisation still fulfilling its mandate? How has it changed through the years and crucially, does it need the United States to survive? Join Ritula Shah and guests as they discuss whether the World Health Organization is fit for purpose.

Jul 17 2020

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Lebanon on the brink

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The financial crisis in Lebanon seems to have accelerated rapidly ever since the government defaulted on a ninety-billion-dollar loan in March.The currency has lost nearly eighty percent of its value pushing a large group of its population below the poverty line. A shortage of cash has led many to barter household goods for food on Facebook. Even the Lebanese army has stopped serving meat to its soldiers. And many of its citizen are seeking refuge abroad. At the heart of the crisis is the country’s banking sector. Protesters see it as the embodiment of a corrupt economic system that has enriched the elites who are now unwilling to foot their share of the bill. Now, compounded by the outbreak of the coronavirus, has Lebanon entered its most critical moment since the end of the civil war? As the country stares into the abyss will its disparate political groups be willing to come together to prevent a financial meltdown? Ritula Shah and a panel of expert guests discuss what hope there is for Lebanon.

Jul 10 2020

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Generation Covid?

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Young people may not be the most exposed to the health risks during the global coronavirus pandemic, but right around the world they will pay a high price in lost wages, opportunities and greater public debt - much of which they’ll have to service. Generations are forged through common experiences, and the bigger the shock of Covid-19 to the global economy, the greater the likelihood that it will become a defining event for Millennials, Generation Z and the next generation of young children. How will Covid-19 shape the mindset of those people just starting out in life and what can we learn from the formative events of past generations? How will gains by young people in developing countries be impacted by the pandemic? And as the virus further exposes intergenerational inequalities, could its legacy be a new conversation about how to fix them?

Jul 03 2020

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How will Covid-19 change our cities?

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So far, people in cities have borne the brunt of Covid-19. Coronavirus thrives when humans interact in shared spaces where infections are easily transmitted. Because of this, many column inches have been dedicated to predicting the demise of urban living and a revival of suburbs, towns and villages. But the fact remains the majority of us live in urban settings and people will need to keep seeking out the economic and social opportunities that cities provide. So, if cities are here to stay, how will coronavirus change them? Some aspects of city living that came in for criticism before the virus now seem unviable. Urban density was already a problem with so much cramped and scarce housing. Now, for many, it’s intolerable. Long commutes on dirty, crowded public transport will no longer do. Cars, roads and parking lots claiming vast outdoor areas no longer makes sense if we are to spend more time outdoors. And, in developing world cities, how much longer can poor sanitation and lack of running water be ignored when neglecting basic infrastructure will likely lead to new deadly outbreaks? Policy makers have, in the past, flirted with tackling the big problems in cities - but these problems haven’t gone away. So in the end, will the pandemic force drastic changes to urban design? Ritula Shah is joined by a panel of expert guests.

Jun 26 2020

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Is this the internet we always wanted?

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The internet has proven invaluable during the coronavirus pandemic, allowing us to continue to work and learn from home, disseminating information to concerned citizens and providing desperately needed social contact for those cut off from family and friends. Before the pandemic, it seemed the internet was increasingly becoming an angry and cold place, providing a platform for selfish pursuits and amplifying extreme views and behaviour. That still goes on, of course, but is the pivot to more altruistic activities online an opportunity to consider again the potential of the internet and what it's for? A string of data scandals over recent years has prompted calls for greater regulation of companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon. But three decades on from the creation of the World Wide Web, is now the time to discuss more sweeping reforms? Proposals are now emerging that could radically change the way the internet works, how your data is managed, who’ll be able to make money, and even challenge the very concept that “the internet should be free”. Ritula Shah is joined by a panel of expert guests to discuss whether the coronavirus-era internet that has brought people together and even thrown us a lifeline might be the internet we wanted all along. If so, how can we build on the moment and make it even better?

Jun 19 2020

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Racial justice: Who are the allies?

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Black protesters across the United States and the world have been joined by white people calling for lasting change in the way societies deal with systemic racism. But this isn’t the first time a cross-section of society has voiced its desire for radical action on race. In most instances calls for revolution die down and the moment brings only incremental change. So what else can history teach us? South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission was set up after the fall of apartheid in the 1990's and was praised for its ability to bring to light the facts surrounding black oppression in the country. So are white allies of black and other ethnic minority communities in the US, UK and other countries gripped by protest now willing to engage with their own difficult truths? Will they embrace policies that target racial inequality and a greater redistribution of government funds - polices that would reduce their own families’ access to opportunity? As the economic crisis sparked by the pandemic leaves record numbers out of work, will the coalition of voters taking to the streets still have the same priorities when they go to the polls? When it comes to addressing systemic racism, who are the allies of black activists - and what is their role now?

Jun 12 2020

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What should black Americans do next?

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The death of the African-American man, George Floyd, in police custody - and the subsequent protests and riots - will look familiar to anyone who’s followed American history. This week also marked the 99th anniversary of an incident known as the ‘Tulsa Race Massacre’, in which a white mob killed hundreds of black people in a part of the Oklahoma city referred to as the ‘Black Wall Street’. Decades later, Congress passed civil rights legislation, and in 2008 the United States elected its first black president - superficially, big steps. But since then there has been a wave of police killings of young black men. The anger expressed on the streets of more than 140 US cities this week demonstrates not enough has changed. Ritula Shah is joined by a cross-generational panel of black activists and academics to assess the way forward. Have the tactics used to change minds and laws after previous deaths in police custody had any success? What are the structural obstacles to black progress and how can they be dismantled? Given all the anger and false dawns, what should black Americans do next?

Jun 05 2020

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The privatisation of space travel

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On Saturday a private company will attempt to deliver astronauts into orbit for the first time - with the launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station. Other big space projects planned by private companies include tourism, commercial space stations, a return to the Moon, habitats on Mars and even the mining of asteroids. National space agencies may partner with the private sector to reduce short-term costs and spread risks, but what will be the long-term impact of new technologies and intellectual property being by owned by companies and not states? What laws are in place to police what is and isn’t allowed to be constructed in orbit? And as the United States, Europe, China, Japan and India all compete to pass new milestones in the exploration of our solar system, would a more collaborative approach be of greater value to humanity? Or is Cold War-like competition exactly what’s needed to spark innovation? In the end, will the private sector dominate the future of Space?

May 29 2020

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Covid-19: Balancing risk and staying human

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Many governments are beginning to ease restrictions placed on us aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus. Until a vaccine is widely available, the fear of contracting Covid-19 and becoming seriously ill as a result, will remain a very real one. And as more schools, shops and workplaces begin to re-open, we’re all increasingly going to have to make decisions about the amount of risk we’re willing to take. Our fear of threats and the unknown is part of being human. But so too is our desire to hug our loved ones and meet new people. And yet these once ordinary social activities are now tainted by risk. Will we decide to abandon them? Many parents fear sending their children back to school, but may also worry whether staying at home will harm their education. How should they weigh up the risks? Staying at home for months on end may reduce the risk of becoming infected with the virus, but what are the risks to mental health from taking that more cautious approach? As the lockdowns end, how will managing risk and overcoming fear affect how we live? How will it affect what we understand to be rational, to be normal, and to be human?

May 22 2020

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Will the pandemic benefit mobsters?

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The normal functioning of societies has been strained by the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing curbs on our freedom of movement, commerce, trade and employment. So what impact has Covid-19 had on organised crime? In some communities, gangs have stepped in to provide food, medication and other emergency assistance to families struggling to make ends meet. Money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force, says the pandemic has resulted in an increase in “fraud, cyber-crime, misdirection or exploitation of government funds or international financial assistance”. The United Nations says border closures and flight cancellations have disrupted distribution chains for illegal drugs such as heroin. History tells us criminals can thrive in a crisis. During the Great Depression in the US, the mob moved from bootlegging into gambling and prostitution and the Italian Mafia and Japanese Yakuza grew during the huge displacement of people after World War Two. So, will similar trends emerge in 2020? Ritula Shah and a panel of expert guests discuss how the coronavirus pandemic will change the workings of organised crime.

May 15 2020

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Coronavirus: Will flying ever be the same?

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Most industries around the world have been shaken by the coronavirus, but few have been quite as devastated as the airline industry. IATA, which represents about 290 airlines around the world, says the airline industry could lose $314bn due to the outbreak, as planes are grounded and entire routes abandoned. Aviation employs millions of people and underpins the livelihoods of tens of millions more. So can it recover? Past crises like the 9/11 terror attacks transformed the flying experience and the pandemic will do the same, but how so? Can the world’s airports provide a safe travel experience while keeping passengers moving? What happens to societies - to business trips and leisure activities - when people can no longer be mobilised to and from airports in vast numbers? And what happens to our relationships with each other - and to other places - if the cost of travel becomes unaffordable for most?
Ritula Shah and a panel of expert guests discuss whether air travel will ever been the same.

May 08 2020

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Coronavirus: Is mass surveillance here to stay?

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Governments everywhere are increasing mass surveillance as part of efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Whether it’s a smartphone app that traces who you’ve been in contact with, public sensors that can tell if you’re running a temperature, or cameras equipped with facial recognition technology capable of instantaneously identifying you while walking down the street. In China, drones are being deployed to help police public spaces, while colour codes are used to determine who’s allowed out in public. So, is a loss of personal privacy that accompanies such measures a reasonable price to pay for recovery? A report from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change concludes that it is. But critics are calling for a better debate before our societies become transformed. Ritula Shah and a panel of expert guests discuss whether we are entering an era where constant surveillance becomes the new normal. Are we giving up our privacy too readily? Or is this the only way to defeat a virus that's destroying lives and economies?

May 01 2020

49mins

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Coronavirus: Will China come out on top?

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China was first country to suffer the effects of Coronavirus, but a few months on, it has contained the worst of the outbreak in a way the United States and most European countries have not. The Chinese economy is bracing for the first year on year economic decline for more than forty years, but western countries are projected to fare even worse. Before the pandemic, the US-China trade war had already amplified rivalries between the world’s two biggest economies, so will Covid-19 accelerate the shift in power and influence from west to east? China has been trying to increase the size of its domestic economy but the country is still reliant on exports, especially to the United States and Europe. So will that continue, or will the pandemic end hyper-globalisation and China’s place at the heart of global manufacturing? And will China turn its economy around and help the recovery of the United States and Europe or will it use the crisis to seek economic and strategic advantage? Join Dan Damon and guests as they discuss whether China will come out of the Coronavirus crisis on top.

Apr 24 2020

49mins

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Coronavirus: Ending the lockdowns

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Billions of people across the globe are currently under some form of government-mandated lockdown. The aim is to curb the spread of the coronavirus and prevent health systems from being overrun. But forcing people to stay at home for weeks or months on end is resulting in unprecedented economic shocks to societies around the world. With unemployment figures accelerating, so too is the debate about how and when to end the lockdowns. Several reports have concluded that social distancing measures can only be withdrawn completely once a vaccine against Covid-19 has been developed and deployed. So, until then how do policymakers balance protecting the health and wealth of citizens? Paul Henley and a panel of expert guests discuss the practicalities of getting people back to work before a vaccine arrives. Widespread electronic tracing of our movements is key to restoring our freedoms, but can that testing capacity be met and will people balk at having their movements tracked? And, in this strange new world, which parts of society will be the first to return to some semblance of normality, which might follow, and which will be transformed beyond recognition?

Apr 17 2020

48mins

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Coronavirus: Is Africa ready?

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The Coronavirus pandemic has not yet impacted Africa as much as other parts of the world. But the situation might be hitting a dangerous turning point. Infection rates in some West African countries are rising quickly and this week the number of Covid-19 cases on the continent surpassed 10 thousand. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister has described Coronavirus as an 'existential threat' and senior UN official this week warned of the 'complete collapse of economies and livelihoods' across Africa if the spread of the virus isn’t contained. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to some of the poorest and weakest central governments on Earth - prompting doubts over the ability of health care systems to cope and workers to adapt. Ritula Shah and a panel of expert guest discuss the wide reaching effects of a widespread outbreak across Africa.

Apr 10 2020

49mins

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Coronavirus: How robust is our food chain?

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Panic buying of food has become a feature of the Covid-19 outbreak around the world, stripping supermarket shelves of some items and prompting limits on the number of products customers are allowed to buy. The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation says there could be global food shortages within weeks due to lockdowns and disruptions in areas like shipping and logistics. Governments across the planet have been keen to stress there is enough food to go around and they say supply chains are robust. So, in a globalised world in which much of the food we eat either comes from or is processed elsewhere, just how robust are they? As the number of people sickened by coronavirus increases, will retailers and their suppliers have enough staff to keep up with demand? What impact will national export restrictions have? As restaurants are forced to close and increased numbers of people cook at home, are we about to see a historic amount of food go to waste? And will the upheaval force some of us to return to a simpler - and more localised - food distribution model, even if it does mean giving up on year-round access to certain types of food?

Apr 03 2020

48mins

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Coronavirus: How will it change us?

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The number of people ill and dying from Covid-19 is increasing globally, and whole national economies are grinding to a halt. We are living through a time of great insecurity and uncertainty in which many people will experience suffering and loss. But could the coronavirus outbreak provide humanity with new perspectives? Our politicians are being held accountable in real time in a way that hasn’t happened in decades - their decisions measured in days, not years and not easily spun. As daily life and travel is disrupted, frenetic modern lives are slowing down in a way unseen outside of wartime. Overlooked workers like cleaners and supermarket shelf stackers have been given new value. Many will have no remote working options, but some people are for the first time successfully working from home rather than commuting to work. Parents are coming to grips with the material their children are learning at school. Younger and healthier members of society are introducing themselves to elderly neighbours and offering to do their shopping. Blue skies are emerging over smog cloaked cities. There are even acts of national altruism, as some countries provide others with much-needed supplies to tackle the outbreak. Has coronavirus given us an opportunity to reflect on and change the way we see ourselves, those around us, our relationship to nature and our collective futures? If there is a ‘silver lining’ to the coronavirus outbreak, what is it?

Mar 27 2020

48mins

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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.