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The Compass

Updated 5 days ago

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Surprising stories from unusual places. With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about the environment and politics, culture and society.

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Surprising stories from unusual places. With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about the environment and politics, culture and society.

iTunes Ratings

66 Ratings
Average Ratings
51
9
1
1
4

Editing fails

By Jim Sack - Oct 07 2018
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Excellent program! Pathetic editing between programming and inserted commercials/promos. Sheesh.

Great series!

By SinzaS - Dec 02 2017
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Very insightful and informative.

iTunes Ratings

66 Ratings
Average Ratings
51
9
1
1
4

Editing fails

By Jim Sack - Oct 07 2018
Read more
Excellent program! Pathetic editing between programming and inserted commercials/promos. Sheesh.

Great series!

By SinzaS - Dec 02 2017
Read more
Very insightful and informative.
Cover image of The Compass

The Compass

Latest release on Feb 19, 2020

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Surprising stories from unusual places. With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about the environment and politics, culture and society.

Rank #1: Finance

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Trillions of dollars flow through the global economic system every day and intermediaries in the finance sector take a cut on every dollar, euro and yen. But financial technology – “fintech” – is fast-changing how the system works. Philip Coggan of The Economist explores how the coming technical revolution in finance will create new winners and losers – and perhaps a rebalancing of global financial power.
Producer: Ben Carter
(Photo: Tech Globe on hand. Credit: Shutterstock)

Mar 23 2017

26mins

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Rank #2: Ocean Stories: The Atlantic

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1/4 In this first episode we cross the ocean from the Grand Banks to the tip of South Africa via Reykjavik in Iceland meeting those involved in fishing and working along the shores of the Atlantic.
Beneath the waves, oceanographer Jon Copley from Southampton University provides a fascinating underwater commentary, demonstrating how currents and ocean ridges link the lives on every shore of the Atlantic.
The Atlantic Ocean covers more than 100 million square kilometres, stretching from southern Africa to Iceland and from the Americas to Europe. Named after the Greek God Atlantikos and for the area of water near to the Atlas Mountains, it has shaped human history and culture in more ways than any other ocean as a trade route, a slave passage and as a vital source of food.
For centuries it has been a source of wealth and prosperity for those who voyaged across it in search of food, from the Basque sailors who ventured to North America in search of cod and whale meat, to the Vikings who traversed it long before European explorers began exploring and exploiting its peoples and riches.
It was fish that enabled this early travel and it is fish that has continued to sustain populations around the Atlantic ever since, from Newfoundland to Iceland and onward to West Africa. This first episode of our new series exploring the great oceans of the world looks at the communities eking a living from its waters - their culture, their livelihoods and the challenges they face.
Presenter: Liz Bonnin
(Photo: Icebergs off the coast of Canada's Newfoundland Credit: Getty Images)

Nov 22 2017

27mins

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Rank #3: On the Black Sea: The Voyage Begins

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A voyage across a mysterious sea where empires have clashed for centuries and tensions are rising again. By ferry, rowing-boat, horse-drawn wagon, the BBC World Service travels over, around, and under the Black Sea, to discover its ancient and modern secrets. As Russia and Nato build up their naval power in the region, presenter Tim Whewell meets the Istanbul ship-spotter who helped alert the world to the scale of the Kremlin’s military involvement in Syria. Tim embarks on his journey over the sea to Odessa in Ukraine. It is a city in love with the sea. But its character is beginning to change.
Producer: Monica Whitlock
(Photo: Istanbul panorama Credit: Tony Jolliffe/BBC

Jul 19 2017

27mins

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Rank #4: China: The start of the Silk Road

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The sky is hidden by smog in Lanzhou on the Yellow River; this transport and manufacturing hub is pumping Chinese goods out to the world. In this last programme, we find out how the Belt and Road Initiative has brought new people into this growing metropolis and how businesses are benefiting from the new infrastructure.

Presenter: Peter Shevlin and Martin Yip

Jun 26 2019

28mins

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Rank #5: My Perfect Country: Legal Advice in Uganda

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Fi Glover looks at how communities in Uganda have revolutionised the justice system by taking matters into their own hands.

The complexity of the law system in Uganda can be a tough one to follow – and causes particular difficulties for its residents. Solving that problem are the Barefoot Lawyers. In 2012, a technically competent group of legal experts began providing legal advice through social media to anyone who requested it. And it is now an award-winning, non-profit social enterprise assisting 300,000 people every month and answering around 50 enquiries per day. A particular achievement came in winning a sexual assault case for a twelve-year-old girl.

Our local reporter delves into the inner workings of the legal group to hear why they wanted to help and how they have made it work. They hear from the individuals whose lives have been changed as a result – as well as how the country’s official legal system are responding to the group.

Is a DIY law system the basis for a perfect country? Presenter Fi Glover, entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox, professor Henrietta Moore of the Institute for Global prosperity and special studio guests – give their verdict.

(Photo: Gerald Abila, the Managing Director of Barefoot Lawyers, at his office in Kampala. Credit: Isaac Kasamani/AFP/Getty Images)

Mar 10 2016

27mins

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Rank #6: My Perfect Country: Norway

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How has Norway managed to have the lowest rate of prisoners reoffending in Europe, and one of the lowest in the world? Their policy revolves around the fact that the justice system see taking their citizen’s freedom away as punishment enough, and prisoners are expected to carry on a life as similar to normal society as possible. As a result, high-quality education is given to inmates – as well as opportunities to work, to receive mental health support, and remain self-sufficient by cooking their own meals. This support is further strengthened by the prison guards who are some of the most highly-trained in the world and who are encouraged to spend time with inmates. The Norway government also brought in top architects and asked them to redesign prisons from scratch – focusing on decreasing any tension or conflict between inmates. Upon release, inmates are given significant help to reintegrate back into society – as help is provided for them to find both housing and employment.
However, the policy is not without criticism as some detractors view Norway’s prisons as too luxurious, and questions are also raised over why Norway needed to rent space in Dutch prisons in 2015.
(Photo: The interior of a cell at the Norgerhaven prison in Veenhuizen, The Netherlands. Credit: Catrinus van der Veen/AFP)

Jan 31 2018

27mins

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Rank #7: America, Laboratory of Democracy: Drowning Government in a Bathtub

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1/4 America has the world’s oldest continuously operating democracy. Its political institutions have long been a model for democrats everywhere. Yet, American democracy is also troubled. In this four-part series, American historian Gary Gerstle takes a penetrating look at his nation’s democracy and the reasons behind the crisis that besets it today.
In this episode, he goes back to the framing of the US Constitution. This gave only limited powers to the federal government, but by the mid-19th Century, Americans wanted it to do more. Because the Constitution was virtually impossible to change, those who wanted to enlarge the government had to use “secret weapons.” One of these was the Post Office, which as well as delivering mail, was called on to do things like enforce a ban on porn. Another was a Constitutional clause that allowed the government to regulate inter-state commerce.
An Ohio farmer, Roscoe Filburn, challenged this in a key 1942 Supreme Court case, and lost. Since then, the government has relied on the Commerce clause to vastly increase its control over many new areas, such as civil rights.
The subsequent huge expansion of the government has so enraged conservatives that they talk about drowning it in a bathtub. Liberals insist that the use of “secret weapons” offer America its only hope of effective governance. Both sides have powerful arguments. Will they ever be able to compromise, and allow the government to function properly in the interests of all?
(Photo: The farmhouse of Roscoe Filburn, the Ohio farmer at the centre of a 1942 Supreme Court case)

Oct 25 2017

26mins

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Rank #8: The Battle of Ideas in the Middle East - Part One

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Kevin Connolly travels through the Middle East to look at different ways in which the Arab states in the region are confronting the ideas of the so-called Islamic State and how well-equipped they are to fight them.
Through social media sites, a network of sympathetic preachers is promulgating a jihadist vision of Islam and recruiting fighters from across the Middle East. Tunisia and Libya are among the key recruiting grounds and the largest providers of ‘foreign fighters’ in Syria and Iraq.
From the markets of Morocco to the boulevards of Beirut, Kevin Connolly talks to those who are engaged in the frontline of this battle of ideas. He asks if educational systems are helping to promote positive narratives of Islam to combat the underground appeal of IS. He visits a university in Jordan where a touring theatre company is staging a comedy show to fight back against extremism.
In Jordan he meets the imams who have been arguing directly over the internet with representatives of the so-called Islamic state. He also meets the parliamentary speaker left broken hearted when his son was recruited to become an IS suicide bomber. And, after years in which western analysts have talked about the slickness of IS online propaganda, we ask young people in the Arab World what they think of the videos that glorify violence.

Mar 17 2016

27mins

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Rank #9: Encroaching Deserts

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An arranged marriage brought Yin Yuzhen to Inner Mongolia’s Ordos desert. Depressed by the sandstorms and poor productivity of the region, Yuzhen began to plant trees. Over 30 years she has planted a million trees in 70,000 hectares of desert. Those trees improved the soil and served as a barrier, blocking the sandstorms. She’s transformed the region, allowing a whole community to thrive in once uninhabitable conditions.
Didi Akinyelure travels to the Maowusu Desert to meet Yuzhen and the local farmers and officials who see her work as an example to the rest of China, a nation threatened by encroaching deserts and land degradation.
If we’re to feed a growing population then it’s vital that the deserts aren’t just held back but shrunk or adapted to make food production feasible. Didi also talks to the proponents of Africa’s Great Green Wall, designed to battle the march of the Sahara, and to researchers who believe that deserts can be turned into friends for mankind.
Image: Yin Yuzhen

Apr 11 2018

27mins

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Rank #10: Europe’s Challenges: The Road to Rome

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The European Union emerged in the 1950s from a vision of a bright future for a war-ravaged continent – free from conflict, with nations living in harmony, their citizens free to trade and travel without restriction. In the first programme of a three-part series, former BBC Europe correspondent Allan Little hears first-hand from the negotiators who drew up the project’s founding document, the Treaty of Rome, with its key goal of an “ever-closer union”.
The interviews for this series were recorded ten years ago and many of the interviewees have since died.
(Photo: Foreign Ministers of France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Germany and Italy signing two treaties establishing the European Common Market and the atomic energy community at Campidoglio, Rome, 25 March1957. Credit: Keystone/Getty Images)

May 19 2016

27mins

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Rank #11: Technology

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The future of employment is certain to change – and change fast – as robotics and artificial intelligence replace human workers. For many, it’s a future to be feared. But the global economy has continually been revolutionised by technological innovation; innovation which has led to disruption but also further economic progress. In this edition of Economic Tectonics, Andrew McAfee from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – and a tech optimist – explores how he thinks technology could change our economic futures for the better.
Producer: Sandra Kanthal
(Image: Child fixing robot, Credit: Shutterstock)

Apr 06 2017

26mins

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Rank #12: My Perfect Country: Nepal

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Nepal has managed a record achievement for its maternal mortality rates. Between 1991 and 2011, it has seen an 80% decline in the number of women dying in pregnancy, during labour and after childbirth - meaning it is one of the few countries on track to achieve the fifth Millennial Development Goal. The foundation of their achievement comes from an outstanding women’s volunteer programme known as the Female Community Health Volunteers. Currently over 50, 000 women volunteer to distribute life-saving advice and tools to mothers across the country. They administer vaccinations, contraceptives and ensure women understand the importance of self-care in pregnancy. Moreover, Nepal’s government have created a financial incentive programme to ensure women stop giving birth at home, and instead under the guidance and supervision of health professionals in local hospitals.
However, these achievements may be undermined by entrenched problems that lie deep in Nepal’s health and social welfare. Alongside, superstitions and dangerous social customs that have been passed down the generations – Nepal’s alarming rate of child marriages may stop the panel from selecting this policy for their perfect country.
(Photo: A Nepalese resident carries a child through a relief camp for earthquake survivors in Kathmandu. Credit: Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP)

Feb 07 2018

27mins

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Rank #13: Turkey:The Lost Generation

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There as many as half a million Syrian refugee children who are not attending school, leaving them open to exploitation in sweatshops and other forms of abuse. Aid workers call them the "lost generation" and warn that unless they return to the classroom, Syria will lack educated people to help rebuild the country when the war eventually ends.
Tim Whewell meets children as young as nine employed up to 14 hours a day in textile sweatshops - and also a Syrian teacher who has helped rescue some of them from sweatshops by opening a special school for refugee children in Istanbul. Increasing educational opportunities for Syrians in Turkey may persuade some of them to give up their ambition of migrating to Europe but huge investment will be needed.
(Photo: Shaza Barakat and pupils)

Jun 30 2016

26mins

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Rank #14: My Perfect City: Oslo

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Oslo is now the fastest-growing major city in all of Europe. Its growth is attributed to high birth rates and migration. Oslo is keenly aware that as the city expands, it is important to do so in a sustainable way. As a result, they have made a commitment to reducing carbon use and emissions while they grow, which some would say is an impossible challenge. Can Oslo’s plans work? And can it avoid urban pitfalls that may lead to segregation and inequality?

For cities that grow beyond their historic size, numerous problems can occur; from overcrowding, to inequality, to a potential loss of social cohesion as new populations arrive. But Oslo are doing their best to ensure that this does not happen. The city has proposed solutions in three crucial areas - decarbonising the city, ensuring social cohesion and a sense of belonging, and rebranding Oslo both internally for its citizens and as a new global player.

Presenter Fi Glover, Dr Ellie Cosgrave, director of UCL City Leadership Laboratory and urbanist professor Greg Clark perform a rigorous investigation into the city's plans to grow quickly, but intelligently. They scrutinise the policies aimed at reducing fossil fuel emissions and creating a zero-carbon infrastructure, they look at the plans for preventing segregated neighbourhoods, and at how the city intends to ensure that new inhabitants feel welcome and part of the new Oslo identity.

Can Oslo join the list of cities who can prove to be a real example to others around the world?

(Photo: Sculptures by Gustav Vigeland displayed in The Vigeland Park in Oslo. Credit: Rune Hellestad/Corbis/Getty Images)

Nov 17 2019

50mins

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Rank #15: Sounds of the forest

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Nobody ever forgets the first time that they hear or see a tiger. But as Chris Watson discovers when he travels to Corbett National Park in India this is far from easy. What he uncovers is a fascinating relationship between the people and the forest environment in which listening plays a vital role. Amongst the dense vegetation you can hear far more than you can see. As a wildlife sound recordist from North East England, Chis is immediately excited by the range of new sounds he can hear; a soundscape which changes throughout the day and night.

Listening provides vital sound clues as to the activities and whereabouts of the wildlife. Local people learn to recognise and interpret these sounds; for example different species of birds call at different times of the day. And recognising when a tiger is near from the alarm calls of birds in the canopy, could save your life, as could knowing which direction you are travelling by the sounds and direction of the wind. Living with Nature in this way results in extraordinary relationships between the people and the forest.

(Photo: Corbett Tiger Reserve, India. Credit: Chris Watson)

Aug 15 2018

26mins

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Rank #16: On the Black Sea: Truckers

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Black Sea truckers are a tough bunch. Driving thousands of miles through Europe, the Caucasus and eastwards to China, they transport everything from biscuits to fridges to pigs. Tim Whewell joins them on board the huge Black Sea ferry that connects these places, sailing from Odessa to Batumi in Georgia.
The truckers are mainly from the former Soviet Union, many have known each other for years, and once all belonged to one country. The truckers are endlessly inventive as they navigate the fraught geopolitics that shape their lives. The war in Syria, the annexation of Crimea, European visa rules, are just some of the obstacles they overcome. As the they relax for the thousand-kilometre crossing, they make merry, and tell stories of the road.
Producer: Monica Whitlock
Truckers set off by ferry from Istanbul to Odessa. Credit: Monica Whitlock

Aug 02 2017

27mins

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Rank #17: My Perfect Country: Rwanda

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Rwanda has closed its gender gap by 80% since the 1994 genocide. How has the country done it, and should others be following its lead?
Under the leadership of President Paul Kagame, the 2003 Rwandan constitution states that at least 30% of all decision-making jobs in government or public organisations must be held by women. The constitution enshrines the right to equal education opportunities for girls and boys, the right to equal pay in public sector jobs, and the right for women to own and inherit land.
Since 2012 there has also been a drive to get more women into business, and women’s access to financial services such as bank accounts and credit has now more than doubled.
In the Rwandan capital Kigali, Maggie Mutesi reports on the experience and views of a range of women, including Chief Gender Monitor Rose Rwabuhihi and Rwanda’s first woman taxi driver Amina Umuhooza.
With the help of Dr Keetie Roelen, co director of the Centre for Social Protection at the Institute of Development Studies, the team discuss the achievements and shortcomings of Rwanda’s gender policy and whether it should be added to the My Perfect Country policy portfolio.
Fi Glover, Martha Lane Fox and Henrietta Moore from the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London are scouring the globe for more policies that actually work, and using only the functioning bits of our planet they’re attempting to build a perfect country.
Photo: Supporters of the governing Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) walk to a campaign rally in Kigali, on in July 2017. Credit: Marco Longari /AFP/Getty Images

Jan 10 2018

27mins

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Rank #18: The Cold War Legacy: Czechoslovakia

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Thirty years ago, communism suddenly collapsed across central and eastern Europe. Soviet rule, that had seemed ruthless and permanent, was ended by people power. And nowhere did change seem more miraculous than in Czechoslovakia. A ‘velvet revolution’ replaced a stony faced politbureau with a beaming playwright, President Vaclav Havel. There was much talk of democracy, prosperity, and a full embrace of Western values.

Three decades on, Chris Bowlby, who knew Czechoslovakia before and after its revolution and split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, returns to see how that change looks now. How far have the hopes of the 1989 revolutionaries been fulfilled? What role has nationalism – which split Czechoslovakia in two – come to play? What do new generations of Czechs, now on the streets fighting their own political battles, feel about the future as well as the communist past? And as Russian and Chinese influence grows – while the West’s commitment seems more uncertain – how do places like this now fit into a world few could have imagined as the Cold War ended?

(Photo: Members of Diky, ze muzem (Thanks That We Can), celebrating 30 years since the fall of communism in Narodni Street, Prague, scene of pro-democracy protests in 1989. Credit: Lukáš Bíba /Reportér magazín)

Oct 23 2019

27mins

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Rank #19: My Perfect Country: Germany

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Is the way Germany has handled refugee integration a model other countries could follow? In September 2015 the German chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to take in one million mainly Syrian refugees, and over the past three years more refugees have arrived in Germany than anywhere else in the European Union.
But Germany did not just open its doors to those seeking refuge, it recognised that integrating them into society was crucial. The foundation of this is free but compulsory state-run German language and civic orientation courses for qualifying refugees, as well as help finding employment. There are also thousands of volunteer-led and non-governmental refugee projects across the country.
But not everyone in Germany is happy with this approach to newly arrived refugees, and despite a tightening of refugee policy the fallout has resulted in political instability in the country. With the help of professor Christian Dustmann, director of the Centre for Research and Analysis on Migration, the team discuss the achievements and shortcomings of Germany’s refugee integration policy and whether it should be added to the policy portfolio that would build an imaginary perfect country made up of all the world's best policies and schemes.
(Photo: Refugees from Syria hold up signs, one reads: 'We love you. We want to stoday, work and live.' Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Jan 24 2018

27mins

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Rank #20: Sea Levels Rise

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Five of the Solomon Islands have disappeared, many more are becoming uninhabitable. For Kerry and Sally, climate change is not a theory - it is what has made them abandon their island and the graves of their ancestors. They see themselves as lucky - they had family land to move to and the skills to build new homes on stilts - but they are resigned to moving again.
Award-winning journalist Didi Akinyelure visits her home city of Lagos to find out the latest solution to sea level rise in West Africa. The glass towers of the new financial district of Eko Atlantic are protected from the waves by state of the art sea defences. The residents of the luxury apartments should keep their feet dry whatever the climate throws at them. That may be small comfort for their unprotected neighbours in the shanty town on the lagoon, Makoko, but they’re experts in survival against the odds.
(Photo: The sea encroaches on a tropical island. Credit: Getty Images)

Apr 04 2018

27mins

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Poland: Men and gender relations

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It is a time of political change in Poland. The recent general election saw the biggest turnout since 1989 and the end of communism. And gender has become one of the most fraught political issues, with the ruling Law and Justice Party holding up LGBT rights and so-called 'gender ideology' as being enemies to the Polish way of life. Anything that goes against traditional values has the potential of being held as a threat to Polish identity.

Tim Samuels and Anna Holligan travel to Warsaw and meet a young man who is struggling to get custody of his son because of what he sees as the prioritising of mothers over fathers; they look at why the far-right is on the rise among young men in Poland, and they go to a Legia Warsaw game to find out what men in Warsaw are really thinking about at this pivotal point for gender relations in Poland.

(Photo: A man holds a sign reading We are Polish, we have Polish duties, during the March for Life, an anti-abortion march in Warsaw. Credit: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/Getty Images)

Feb 19 2020

27mins

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Poland: Women

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Tim Samuels and Anna Holligan travel to Warsaw to find out what's on the minds of men and women. It's a time of political change in Poland. The recent general election saw the biggest turnout since 1989. Gender has become one of the most fraught political issues, with LGBT rights and so-called 'gender ideology' being held up by prominent politicians as threats to the Polish way of life. It has been a challenging time for many women, with a proposed tightening of abortion laws and many women's organisations under threat.

We go door to door with the social workers implementing Law and Justice's controversial 500+ policy that pulls women out of poverty while reinforcing traditional family values, we travel out of Warsaw to meet a paramilitary troop, and we look at the changing complexion of dating in a country where relations between men and women are subtly shifting.

Producer: Ant Adeane and Barney Rowntree

(Photo: Protesters with banner that reads - Freedom - in Gdansk, Poland, 2018. Credit: Getty Images)

Feb 12 2020

27mins

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Mexico City: Men

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Tim Samuels and Anna Holligan travel to Mexico City. As parts of the world go through something of a gender reckoning, have these forces made much of a dent in Mexico? Last time, Anna spent time with women in this sprawling metropolis, hearing how the ever-present threat of violence lingers below the surface for many. In this episode she hears from men. The first wisps of the MeToo movement have belatedly started to blow into Mexico, but this is unlikely to be fertile soil for an outburst of equality. This is a country where six out of 10 women say they have experienced some kind of violence. We hear from a teacher working in one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods of Mexico City, a psychologist, the editor of a men’s magazine and the father of a girl who was murdered by her boyfriend.

Producers: Barney Rowntree and Ant Adeane

(Photo: Men holding a Mexican flag tinted in red symbolising blood during a march for peace and to protest against a wave of violent crimes. Credit: Pedro Pardo/AFP)

Feb 05 2020

27mins

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Mexico City: Women

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Mexico has always felt like a country where men live on their own terms. A place where women strive for equality - and safety. More than nine are murdered in the country every day, according to UN Women. Tim Samuels and Anna Holligan travel to Mexico City and hear from a sports commentator, a domestic worker, journalists, newspaper editors and aspiring actresses. Mexican women are marching, calling on authorities to do more to combat the high rates of femicide - the murder of a woman because of her gender. Accusations of discrimination and harassment, most of them anonymous and in creative industries, have spread online. But what impact will the #MeToo movement have?

Producers: Barney Rowntree and Ant Adeane
Editor: Gloria Abramoff

(Photo: Feminist students protest against femicide and violence against women in Mexico, Ibero University, Mexico City. Credit: Getty Images)

Jan 29 2020

27mins

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Chinese Dreams: India

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India and China have a complex and troubled modern history – including a fully-fledged war in 1962. Today Indian consumers seem to love all things Chinese, from the cheap plastic toys to smartphones and apps like Tik Tok. Some Indians think this success is a result of unfair trade. They think that Chinese imports are taking advantage of the relatively open Indian economy, while Indian companies are prevented from getting a foothold in China. This creates a huge trade imbalance between the two Asian giants. These flames are fanned by Indian perceptions of Chinese support for both Pakistan and Kashmiri ‘separatists’. An affiliate of the governing BJP party has called on consumers to boycott Chinese goods. And India has refused to sign a regional economic trade agreement to prevent China using it as a backdoor to the Indian market. Shabnam Grewal, a British BBC journalist of Indian descent, investigates the complex feelings that Indians have towards their increasingly rich and powerful neighbour – a combination of admiration, envy and even anger.

Producer: Shabnam Grewal
Editor: Hugh Levinson

(Photo: Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Credit: Kenzaburo Fukuhara/AFP/Getty Images)

Jan 22 2020

27mins

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Chinese Dreams: Kenya

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There has been a lot of media focus on China’s investment in Africa’s physical infrastructure: but what about its play for Africa’s attention? CGTN, China’s state-run international TV station, has steadily increased its footprint on the continent from its African HQ in Nairobi – while Chinese-owned StarTimes is on its way to providing satellite TV access for 10,000 rural villages. Hundreds of African journalists have been trained in China. Does this represent a major shift in international focus, away from Western media sources (including the BBC) and towards well-funded Chinese outlets? Kenyan reporter Frenny Jowi hears of fears these developments will mean less scrutiny of China’s controversial multi-billion dollar deals with her country.

Producer: Rob Walker

(Photo: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Credit: Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Kyodo News Pool/Getty Images)

Jan 15 2020

27mins

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Chinese Dreams: Canada

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Canada has been sucked into a global dispute between the US and China. It started in Vancouver, with arrest on an American warrant of Meng Wanzhou, an executive with the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. China’s furious response caught Canada off guard. Two Canadians have been detained in China – seemingly in response, precipitating an acute foreign policy crisis. Canadian journalist Neal Razzell examines what could be the first of many tests for this nation, in which it is forced to choose between its two biggest trading partners.

(Photo: Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to appear in British Columbia Supreme Court, Vancouver. Credit: Reuters/Lindsey Wasson)

Jan 08 2020

27mins

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Chinese Dreams: Indonesia

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Will the rise of China help or damage Chinese-Indonesians? The ethnic Chinese minority in Indonesia have long suffered discrimination – forbidden from taking jobs in government and the military and targeted during violent riots in 1998. In the city of Yogyakarta they are still not allowed to own land. But some Chinese-Indonesians have benefited economically from the rise of China, as middlemen between the two economies. Today, 8 of the 10 richest Indonesians are thought to be ethnically Chinese. And now more and more Indonesians are studying in China or learning Mandarin. BBC Asia Editor Rebecca Henschke asks if the rise of China and the growing prominence of some ethnic Chinese will create further resentment - or if there can be a happier outcome?

Produced by Arlene Gregorius for the BBC World Service.

Editor: Hugh Levinson.

Chinese Dreams is a five-part series examining how China’s rise is affecting nations around the globe.

(Image: Favian – a young Chinese businessman, standing in the warehouse of his family’s business in the city of Balikpapan in Indonesia. Credit: Yudistira Tribudiman/BBC)

Jan 01 2020

27mins

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Chinese Dreams: Australia

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As China grows in power, there are fears that it is trying to alter the course of Australian politics. The Australian government has legislated against "foreign influence operations" after allegations of Chinese spies making payments to lawmakers. More recently, there have been disputes on university campuses between students supporting the pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong and those loyal to mainland China – with allegations that the latter have the covert support of the Chinese Embassy. Are these genuine concerns, or are they merely the latest expression of covert racism towards Australia’s Chinese minority? Australian reporter Heidi Pett investigates for Chinese Dreams, a 5-part series examining how China’s rise is influencing countries across the globe.

Dec 25 2019

27mins

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Chinese Dreams: The preview

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As China grows richer and more powerful, its values are spreading. But what kind of impact is this having on the rest of the world? This mini-series, Chinese Dreams, visits Australia, Indonesia, Canada, Kenya and India to find out how the expanding reach of the most populous nation on Earth, is affecting the international community. From political policy to life on university campus, its influence is wide-reaching.

Episode one features reporter Heidi Pett, investigating the concerns Australia has over its relationship with China. It is available Wednesday 25 December.

Dec 23 2019

3mins

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The Kids are Alright: Tackling violence

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In the South African town of Atlantis, a group of teenage reporters are speaking out against the rising levels of violence ripping at the fabric of their lives.
Once a week, Temica Bonn, Logan Hansen and Meagan Lubbe broadcast a live show from Radio Atlantis inspiring conversations and educating the community on how gun crime is threatening the way they live. The team have been focusing on this topic for two years in the hope of steering young people away from a path which leads to guns and gangs.

In London, it is knife crime which is scaring the neighbourhood where Shanea Oldham lives. After two violent events which changed the course of her life, she is starting a social enterprise to help young people in her community who are struggling to cope with the challenges that surround them.

Sandra Kanthal meets some very brave and determined teenagers to hear how they are using their voices to fight for change on the streets where they live.

(Photo: Temica Bonn, Logan Hansen, Meagan Lubbe, Monique Hansen. Credit: Sandra Kanthal)

Dec 11 2019

27mins

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The Kids are Alright: Opportunity

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Mohamad Aljounde is an 18-year-old student in Sweden. He is a keen photographer, amateur film-maker, a Syrian refugee and winner of the 2017 International Children’s Peace Prize. When the war in Syria broke out, he and his family fled to Lebanon where they lived for years. Due to a shortage of money, and a lack of school places, Mohamad’s education came to a halt. So, when he couldn’t go to school, he did a remarkable thing - he helped build one, and that school is thriving, providing an education to other Syrian refugees.

On the other side of the world, 15-year-old Taarini Kaur Dang is building a million dollar investment fund in Silicon Valley to try and maximise the social impact one entrepreneurial teenager can achieve.

What both these young adults have in common is a determination to grasp opportunities in the best and worst of circumstances.

Dec 04 2019

26mins

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The Kids are Alright: Environment

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Stella Bowles is a teenage environmental campaigner; one you probably haven’t heard about - yet. But she has sparked real change in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. Her school science project, and a great deal of persistence, led to a 15 million Canadian dollar project to clean up pollution in her local river. Now she is trying to show other teenagers around the world how they too can be guardians of their local waterways.

Teenagers are often dismissed as too young to have an opinion and too inexperienced to make a difference. But throughout history, changes in society have been powered by youthful outrage and determination. Today’s young adults face a new array of dangers which will stretch out over decades. This is their inheritance, and they have a clear incentive to improve it.

This is the first of a three-part series, in which Sandra Kanthal talks to teenagers around the world who are determined to be a voice for change. They are passionate, articulate and determined. Their experiences may provide inspiration to others who are fighting to make their world a better place.

Nov 27 2019

27mins

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The Cold War Legacy: Angola

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Andrew Harding travels to Angola, and the site of Africa’s largest battlefield in the Cold War. When Portugal relinquished its colonies in 1975, it looked as though a Communist-backed government would take over in Angola. Instead, there followed nearly 30 years of fighting: American and South African-backed rebels on one side, Cuban and Soviet-backed forces on the other. Nearly half a million Cubans – soldiers, doctors, teachers and technicians – made the six thousand mile journey to play their part in Angola’s long and bloody civil war.

The Cold War ended thirty years ago, but its proxy in Angola rumbled on for another decade, fuelled as much by the rich resources of oil and minerals as by political ideology. Today, a peaceful Angola is one of the wealthiest countries on the African continent. Yet vast tracts of land are still contaminated by the hidden terror of landmines, and dotted with the rusting hulks of abandoned tanks. What will it take for Angola to be truly free of the legacy of Africa’s Cold War?

Presenter: Andrew Harding
Producer: Rebecca Lipscombe

Picture Credit: BBC

Nov 20 2019

27mins

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My Perfect City: Oslo

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Oslo is now the fastest-growing major city in all of Europe. Its growth is attributed to high birth rates and migration. Oslo is keenly aware that as the city expands, it is important to do so in a sustainable way. As a result, they have made a commitment to reducing carbon use and emissions while they grow, which some would say is an impossible challenge. Can Oslo’s plans work? And can it avoid urban pitfalls that may lead to segregation and inequality?

For cities that grow beyond their historic size, numerous problems can occur; from overcrowding, to inequality, to a potential loss of social cohesion as new populations arrive. But Oslo are doing their best to ensure that this does not happen. The city has proposed solutions in three crucial areas - decarbonising the city, ensuring social cohesion and a sense of belonging, and rebranding Oslo both internally for its citizens and as a new global player.

Presenter Fi Glover, Dr Ellie Cosgrave, director of UCL City Leadership Laboratory and urbanist professor Greg Clark perform a rigorous investigation into the city's plans to grow quickly, but intelligently. They scrutinise the policies aimed at reducing fossil fuel emissions and creating a zero-carbon infrastructure, they look at the plans for preventing segregated neighbourhoods, and at how the city intends to ensure that new inhabitants feel welcome and part of the new Oslo identity.

Can Oslo join the list of cities who can prove to be a real example to others around the world?

(Photo: Sculptures by Gustav Vigeland displayed in The Vigeland Park in Oslo. Credit: Rune Hellestad/Corbis/Getty Images)

Nov 17 2019

50mins

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The Cold War Legacy: India

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Divya Arya looks at what happened in India at the height of the Cold War, and afterwards as the Berlin Wall came down, 30 years ago. She explores the rich politics of a country which chose not to pick a side during the Cold War. Where realpolitik and clever diplomacy have been key components for Indian leaders on the world stage from Jawaharlal Nehru in the 1940s to Narendra Modi today.

As two superpowers fought for power and influence during the Cold War, India played a game of diplomacy, moving between the USA and Soviet Union, whilst trying to prioritise its’ own interests. The Non Aligned Movement was founded in a newly independent India, by the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. It is the position that India took when it formed a coalition of countries which refused to pick a side, instead remaining friendly with both. Nehru believed that in an atomic age, peace was the only guarantee of survival. This stance was tested during the 1950s and 1960s; India signed a quasi-military agreement with the Soviet Union but trade liberalisation has brought India closer to the USA more recently. How is India navigating international relations today? Does it bend to the will of the USA or can it continue to choose its own path as it did during the Cold War?

Presenter: Divya Arya
Producer: Nina Robinson

(Photo: Maharaja Krishna Rasgotra (M K Rasgotra) is an Indian diplomat and former Indian Foreign Secretary under Indira Gandhi)
Credit: Nina Robinson, BBC

Nov 13 2019

27mins

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The Cold War Legacy: Indonesia

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In 1965, in a little known chapter of the Cold War, at least half a million people died in organised military-led killings of suspected communist sympathisers in Indonesia, with the blessing of the United States. For almost 50 years speaking about that time has been taboo, and school history books gloss over the killings. Attempts by the current government to start a process of truth-telling and reconciliation are reopening old wounds and have met fierce resistance from the military and old guard. Communism remains banned in Indonesia and students have been detained for reading Marxist books. But the silence is being broken.

Rebecca Henschke travels across Java to meet some of the killers, those still seeking justice and brave members of the young generation who are seeking out the truth and trying to come to terms with what happened in one of the darkest periods of Indonesia’s history.

(Photo: Pipet’s daughter holding a photo of Pipet’s mum Ani, with others at the detention camp where they were held in the 1960s and 70s) Photo credit: Anindita Pradana – BBC Indonesia

Nov 06 2019

27mins

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The Cold War Legacy: Brazil

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Brazil’s controversial new President, Jair Bolsonaro, has praised the country’s military dictatorship, which took power in 1964 and ruled for 21 years. In an echo of the language used by the generals back then, President Bolsonaro claims he is saving his country from Communism and he has vowed to wipe the reds off the map. His critics say he is a threat to democracy.

In this sharply divided country, some say Brazil is reliving the Cold War. Through history, culture and the classroom, the BBC’s South America correspondent Katy Watson explores Brazil’s Cold War legacy.

Presenter: Katy Watson
Producer: John Murphy

(Photo: Brazilian army tanks arrive at Guanabara Palace, on 01 April 1964 in Rio de Janeiro during the military putsch. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Oct 30 2019

27mins

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The Cold War Legacy: Czechoslovakia

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Thirty years ago, communism suddenly collapsed across central and eastern Europe. Soviet rule, that had seemed ruthless and permanent, was ended by people power. And nowhere did change seem more miraculous than in Czechoslovakia. A ‘velvet revolution’ replaced a stony faced politbureau with a beaming playwright, President Vaclav Havel. There was much talk of democracy, prosperity, and a full embrace of Western values.

Three decades on, Chris Bowlby, who knew Czechoslovakia before and after its revolution and split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, returns to see how that change looks now. How far have the hopes of the 1989 revolutionaries been fulfilled? What role has nationalism – which split Czechoslovakia in two – come to play? What do new generations of Czechs, now on the streets fighting their own political battles, feel about the future as well as the communist past? And as Russian and Chinese influence grows – while the West’s commitment seems more uncertain – how do places like this now fit into a world few could have imagined as the Cold War ended?

(Photo: Members of Diky, ze muzem (Thanks That We Can), celebrating 30 years since the fall of communism in Narodni Street, Prague, scene of pro-democracy protests in 1989. Credit: Lukáš Bíba /Reportér magazín)

Oct 23 2019

27mins

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Dominion: The animals and the poets

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Amidst birds passing over or nesting by the Solway Firth in southern Scotland, writer Kayo Chingonyi explores the role of poetry in bringing humans and non-human animals closer. He asks why we turn to poetry to fill the space between human and animal life and discovers ways in which poetry is a powerful human form for entering into the unstructured, more instinctive world of non –human animals. He walks through the wetlands with poet Isabel Galleymore and poetry scholar Sam Solnick. He also talks to newly appointed professor of poetry at Oxford University, Alice Oswald, along with Joshua Bennett and Onno Oerlemans.

The programme features full readings or extracts from the following poems:
Tame by Sarah Howe
Black Rook in Rainy Weather by Sylvia Plath
To A Mouse by Robert Burns
Pike by Ted Hughes
Otter by Seamus Heaney
The Kingdom of Sediment by Jacob Polley
Dear Whinchat by Belinda Zhawi
Limpet and Drill Tongued Whelk by Isabel Galleymore
Self Portrait as Periplaneta Americana by Joshua Bennett
Flies by Alice Oswald
The Moose by Elizabeth Bishop
Elephants by Les Murray

Producer: Kate Bland

(Photo: Kayo Chingonyi with Isabel Galleymore, Sam Solnick and Brian Morrell at Caeverlokc Wetlands Centre. Credit: Kate Bland)

Oct 16 2019

27mins

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iTunes Ratings

66 Ratings
Average Ratings
51
9
1
1
4

Editing fails

By Jim Sack - Oct 07 2018
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Excellent program! Pathetic editing between programming and inserted commercials/promos. Sheesh.

Great series!

By SinzaS - Dec 02 2017
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Very insightful and informative.