OwlTail

Cover image of The Inquiry

The Inquiry

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

Popular episodes

All episodes

The best episodes ranked using user listens.

Podcast cover

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

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

23mins

23 Aug 2018

Rank #1

Podcast cover

Is Kanye West really running for US president?

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

23mins

1 Oct 2020

Rank #2

Similar Podcasts

Podcast cover

Do we have a vaccine to end the pandemic?

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

22mins

26 Nov 2020

Rank #3

Podcast cover

Why is there a backlash against climate policies?

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

24mins

28 Nov 2019

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

Podcast cover

Is Inequality About to Get Unimaginably Worse?

Yuval Noah Harari, the author of Sapiens and Homo Deus, explores the long history of inequality – from the Stone Age onwards – and asks whether we are on the brink of creating a huge “economically useless” underclass, unable to keep up with enhanced humans, the owners of increasingly valuable data and, eventually, artificial intelligence. Presenter: Ruth Alexander Producer: Estelle Doyle Editor: Richard Knight (Photo: Yuval Noah Harari, Credit: Daniel Thomas Smith)

23mins

27 Apr 2017

Rank #5

Podcast cover

Should we learn to live with Covid?

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

24mins

15 Oct 2020

Rank #6

Podcast cover

Will QAnon survive?

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

24mins

4 Feb 2021

Rank #7

Podcast cover

What’s Killing Black American Babies?

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

22mins

26 Apr 2018

Rank #8

Podcast cover

Is online censorship going too far?

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

22mins

28 Jan 2021

Rank #9

Podcast cover

What does Putin want?

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

24mins

2 Jul 2020

Rank #10

Podcast cover

Do children in two-parent families do better?

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

24mins

8 Aug 2019

Rank #11

Podcast cover

What’s The Point Of Bitcoin?

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

23mins

28 Dec 2017

Rank #12

Podcast cover

What would war with North Korea look like?

Alarm about North Korea has spiked. Earlier this month, the North claimed to have successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit Alaska. Some experts estimate that North Korea is now 18 to 36 months away from launching a missile able to reach Los Angeles. President Trump has warned that a "major, major conflict" with North Korea is possible. His closest advisers have said that "the era of strategic patience is over".So, in this week's Inquiry, we take a look at the two sides' war plans and ask: what would war with North Korea look like? Producer: Sarah ShebbearePresenter: Neal Razzell(image: A combined fire demonstration of the North Korean People's Army celebrating their 85th anniversary on 26 April 2017. Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

23mins

27 Jul 2017

Rank #13

Podcast cover

What Happens When You Legalise Cannabis?

In 2014 marijuana was legalised for recreational use in Colorado and Washington states in the US. Oregon, Alaska, California, Nevada and Massachusetts have all followed. These votes were the result of fierce campaigns. Activists argued that changing the law would eliminate the black market in marijuana; creating a legitimate, taxable industry and allowing the police to focus on more serious crime. Opponents feared more people would become cannabis addicts and predicted an uptick in health problems and robberies. So – three years in – what happened?Presenter: Ruth AlexanderProducers: Kate Lamble and Phoebe Keane(Photo: Jars full of medical marijuana are seen at Sunset Junction medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles, California. Credit: Getty Images)

23mins

13 Apr 2017

Rank #14

Podcast cover

How do we come out of the lockdown?

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

23mins

23 Apr 2020

Rank #15

Podcast cover

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

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

23mins

2 Apr 2020

Rank #16

Podcast cover

Is Germany OK?

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

22mins

22 Aug 2019

Rank #17