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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
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.

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.

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Cover image of The Real Story

The Real Story

Updated 3 days ago

Read more

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

49mins

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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

49mins

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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

49mins

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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

50mins

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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

51mins

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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

49mins

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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

49mins

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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

50mins

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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

51mins

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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

50mins

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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

49mins

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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

49mins

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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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