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The Documentary Podcast

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The crypto factor: the winners and losers in virtual investment

You can't take money with you when you die.... or can you? In this episode of Assignment the stranger than fiction story that's the latest cryptocurrency scandal to leave tens of thousands of people out of pocket. The news about QuadrigaCX broke almost to the day that crypto-currencies celebrated a decade in existence. On this anniversary, we investigate the current state of the market and uncover how these sometimes tragic events have unfolded both here in the UK and across the world. With the UK government and other countries now considering attempting to regulate the market, we ask if these scandals could have been prevented and could now be avoided in the future. Reporter: Paul Connolly Producer: Kate West Editor: Gail Champion (Image: A broken Bitcoin. Credit: Reuters)
2019-03-21
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India and how it sees Britain

Neil MacGregor visits different countries to talk to leading political, business and cultural figures to find out how they, as individuals and as members of their broader communities, see Britain. In India, Neil meets Gaj Singh, the former Maharaja of Jodhpur; Ram Narasimhan, proprietor of The Hindu Newspaper; professor Kavita Singh of Jawaharlal Nehru University; former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar; and the president of the Confederation of Indian Industry, Shobana Kamineni.
2019-03-20
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Where are you going? - Belfast

One question ? Where are you going? ? reveals hidden truths about the lives of strangers around the world. In this new series, with Brexit fast approaching, Catherine Carr talks to people on the move in Cardiff. Are the people she meets downcast, delighted, or disinterested? At a time of political and social upheaval, we find out what is really on their minds
2019-03-19
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Can you murder a robot?

A couple of years ago a cute little robot was sent out to hitchhike, to prove how well humans and robots could get on. It was an exercise in trust, and it went very wrong. Hitchbot was found decapitated, slumped next to some bins in Philadelphia. The robot?s head has never been found. Neither has the ?killer?. We explore robot torture, and whether there is an ethical issue with harming a machine, other than damage to property.
2019-03-17
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Abandoned in the Amazon

When a light aircraft carrying two families from local Indian tribes disappeared over the Amazon recently, relatives scoured the rainforest for weeks, until hunger and illness forced them to give up. Why did the Brazilian authorities ignore appeals for an official, properly-resourced ground search? And why was there no flight plan to indicate where the plane might have gone? Tim Whewell reports on the dangers of flying in the world?s greatest remaining wilderness - where most flights are clandestine ? and the fears of indigenous communities that the government is increasingly indifferent to their needs. (Image: Before the tragedy - Jeziel Barbosa de Moura, pilot of the vanished plane, minutes before he took off on the doomed flight. Credit: Family archive)
2019-03-14
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Canada and how it sees Britain

Neil MacGregor visits different countries to talk to leading political, business and cultural figures to find out how they, as individuals and as members of their broader communities, see Britain. In Canada, Neil hears from French-Canadian film director, Denys Arcand; writer and Booker Prize nominee, Madeleine Thien; and Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland.
2019-03-13
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Where are you going? - Cardiff

Cardiff in early February is freezing cold but the people have a warm welcome. Catherine Carr meets strangers in the city of Cardiff to find out what people here feeling in the weeks before Brexit. What?s on their minds? At a time of such unprecedented political flux, the simple device of her one question - where are you going? - will work to uncover some of that in people's lives.
2019-03-12
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The Slumlords of Nairobi

In Nairobi?s slums, more than 90% of residents rent a shack from a slum landlord. These so-called slumlords have a less than shining reputation in the popular media, for exploiting the lives of the some of the poorest people in Kenya. Who are the faceless figures who own hundreds of shacks and make massive tax-free profits? Who is bulldozing whole areas of Kibera and leaving hundreds homeless? BBC reporter Anne Soy investigates.
2019-03-10
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The Church of Denmark abuse scandal

How did a priest of the Church of Denmark manage to sexually abuse children for a decade without being detected? Gry Hoffmann investigates the case of Dan Peschack, who is now serving a 10-year prison sentence for the abuse of eight children. Through interviews first recorded for Danish Broadcasting Corporation?s P1 documentary, she discovers ?The Seducer? - a man who used his charisma and the power of his position in the Evangelical Lutheran state church to abuse children in the village of Tømmerup near Kalundborg on the west coast of Denmark. When Peschack was first arrested in 2016, many of the locals didn?t want to believe it, while others had been carrying a terrible secret for years. In graphic accounts, which some listeners may find upsetting, victims describe their experience of Peschack?s abuse. One speaks of his shock at discovering the extent of the assaults and of his anger at the betrayal by a man who he thought was his friend. Parents who were suspicious regret their failure to act, while others realise they were duped into trusting their children to a paedophile. Peschack?s appeal against his sentence has been rejected and he?s been banned from working as a priest, but have lessons been learned by the church authorities, whose priest inflicted on his victims such devastating harm? Reporter: Gry Hoffmann Producer: Sheila Cook Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: Tommerup town name road-sign with church in background. Credit: Gry Hoffmann)
2019-03-07
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Nigeria and how it sees Britain

Neil MacGregor visits different countries to talk to leading political, business and cultural figures to find out how they, as individuals and as members of their broader communities, see Britain. Neil visits Nigeria to meet Nobel Laureate for Literature, Wole Soyinka; Yeni Kuti, dancer, singer and eldest child of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti; and Muhammadu Sanusi II, the Emir of Kano.
2019-03-06
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Where Are You Going? - Glasgow

With Brexit fast approaching, Catherine Carr talks to people on the move in Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast and London. Are the people she meets downcast, delighted, or disinterested? At a time of political and social upheaval, we find out what is really on their minds. In Glasgow, the first programme in the series, we find a city with a festive hangover, still counting the cost of Christmas and facing a cold January.
2019-03-05
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We Intend to Cause Havoc

In the wake of independence an explosive music scene gripped the southern African country of Zambia. Mixing western rock 'n' roll with traditional sounds, enterprising young musicians kick-started a raucous movement that came to be known as Zamrock. Leading this charge was the charismatic frontman Emmanuel 'Jagari' Chanda with his band W.I.T.C.H. Join Jagari as he takes to the streets of Lusaka to tell his remarkable story as Zambia?s first ever rock star, why he is one of the last standing and why, in his advancing years, he is happy to give Mick Jagger a run for his money.
2019-03-02
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Empty Spain and the Caravans of Love

How does a lonely, Spanish shepherd find love when single women have left for the city? Antonio Cerrada lives north of Madrid, in the heart of what?s been nicknamed the, "Lapland of Spain" because its population density is so low. With only a handful of families left in his village, and people continuing to leave for the cities, Antonio struggled to find a partner. Then Maria Carvajal arrived. She came in a bus full of single women ? a ?caravana? - to attend an organised party with men like Antonio. The Caravans of Women - or Caravans of Love as they are known - began as a response to Spain?s epic story of rural depopulation. More than half the country is at risk, and in nearly 600 municipalities there isn?t one resident under the age of 10. And as Linda Pressly finds out, there are many initiatives now to reverse the decline of the Spanish countryside, including a movement of young people ? the "neo-rurales" ? who have begun to occupy abandoned villages. Presenter and producer: Linda Pressly Producer in Spain: Esperanza Escribano (Image: Antonio Cerrada, a shepherd who found love. Credit: BBC, Esperanza Escribano)
2019-02-28
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Egypt and how it sees Britain

Neil MacGregor visits different countries to talk to leading political, business and cultural figures to find out how they, as individuals and as members of their broader communities, see Britain. In Egypt, Neil hears from political historian Said Sadek; magazine publisher and editor Yasmine Shihata; and writer and activist Ahdaf Soueif.
2019-02-27
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Hearing me

(This programme contains audio effects that may cause discomfort to people living with hearing conditions. There is a modified version of this programme, with quieter effects, on this page https://bbc.in/2TrInga) What does life sound like for someone whose hearing has suddenly changed? Carly Sygrove is a British teacher living in Madrid. She was sitting in her school?s auditorium when suddenly her head was filled with a loud screeching sound. Diagnosed as sudden sensorineural hearing loss, Carly no longer has any functional hearing in her left ear, and battles with the whoops, squeals and ringing that comes from having tinnitus. Carly shares her personal story and speaks honestly about how life with hearing in only one ear is far from quiet.
2019-02-26
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The Miracle of St Anthony's

In the late 1960s, parole officer Bob Hurley became basketball coach at St Anthony?s High School in Jersey City, New Jersey. In the years that followed, as the city got poorer and its streets more dangerous, Hurley?s infamously exacting coaching style turned class after class of young men into championship material and put St Anthony?s?a school that didn?t even have its own gym?on the basketball map, winning multiple state championships and hundreds of games. Former NBA basketball player and one-time Democratic Party politician Terry Dehere tells the story of this very special high school with help from several generations of St. Anthony?s players and supporters.
2019-02-24
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Malawi: Life After Death Row

Byson expected to be dead long ago. Now in his sixties, he was given a death sentence quarter of a century ago. But instead of being executed, he?s found himself back at home, looking after his elderly mother, holding down a job, and volunteering to help other prisoners leaving jail. His release was part of a re-sentencing project in Malawi. Anyone who was given the death penalty automatically for killing someone can have their case re-examined. What is known as a mandatory death sentence was ruled to be unconstitutional, so now judges are giving custodial sentences instead, or in some cases inmates are even being freed. Charlotte McDonald travels to the small town of Balaka to visit the Halfway House where Byson mentors former inmates. She visits someone who came out of jail a few years ago and now runs her own business in the village where she was born. And she speaks to one of the last remaining people on death row about their upcoming re-sentencing hearing. Many of those former death row inmates are now back in their communities living and working ? but that doesn?t necessarily mean that ordinary Malawians are ready for the death penalty to be abolished. (Image: Former inmate Byson sits with his mother, Lucy, outside her house. Credit: BBC)
2019-02-21
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As the World Sees Britain: Germany and how it sees Britain

Neil MacGregor visits different countries to talk to leading political, business and cultural figures to find out how they, as individuals and as members of their broader communities, see Britain. In Germany, Neil talks to Wolfgang Schäuble, the president of the Bundestag; TV host, writer and cultural commentator Thea Dorn; and Hartmut Dorgerloh, the new director of Berlin's Humboldt Forum. As the UK prepares to place itself on the world stage as an independent power, he explores the relationship between Germany and Britain.
2019-02-20
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George Weah: The footballing president

George Weah, former World Footballer of the Year and star of AC Milan, Chelsea and Monaco, was elected president of Liberia in a landslide victory just over a year ago. Having been raised in one of Liberia?s worst slums, many saw him as a man who understood the needs of the poor. But some now doubt that he will deliver on campaign promises to help lift people out of poverty. Mike Thomson, who was granted a rare interview with the President, reports from Monrovia.
2019-02-19
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Can we fix it? The inside story of match fixing in tennis

Last month, law enforcement officials in Spain said they had broken up a major match fixing ring in tennis. The Guardia Civil said 28 players competing at the lower levels of tennis were implicated. It's alleged that a group of Armenians had bribed the players to fix matches. Assignment reveals the inside story of how players and betting gangs are seeking to corrupt the lower tiers of the sport. In many cases, a player only has to lose a set or certain games - not the whole match - to get paid. Players and fixers communicate on social media as matches get underway to ensure the correct outcome is achieved. The rewards can be significant with players sometimes being paid thousands of pounds - often much more than they can earn in prize money. For the betting gangs who have placed money on a guaranteed outcome, the pay off can be much greater. Two years after the BBC first revealed concerns about match fixing in the game, Assignment looks at how the tennis authorities have responded to the issue and examines the measures put forward by an independent panel to reduce the risk of corruption. Reporter: Paul Connolly Producer: Paul Grant (Image: A tennis ball on a tennis court. Photo credit: AFP / Getty Images)
2019-02-14
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The Trumped Republicans

Republican insider Ron Christie discovers how Donald Trump's presidency is changing his party. Trump arrived in the White House offering a populist revolt in America, promising to drain what he calls "the swamp that is Washington D.C". So what does his own Republican Party - traditionally a bastion of the nation?s establishment - really make of him? Where is he taking them and what will he leave behind?
2019-02-13
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So where are the aliens?

Vulcans, Daleks, Martians, Grays - our culture is pervaded by alien beings from distant worlds ? some benevolent?most not so much. In our galaxy alone, there should be tens of billions of planets harbouring life, but we have not heard any broadcasts or seen any flashing lights from distant civilisations. Chief astronomer for SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), Seth Shostak, has devoted his career to searching for signs of alien life. In this programme he tackles the fundamental question about whether we are alone in the universe.
2019-02-12
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The Ballads of Emmett Till

**Some listeners may find parts of this programme upsetting** Emmett Till, fourteen and black, was put on the train from Chicago by his mother Mamie in August 1955. She got his corpse back, mutilated and stinking. Emmett had been beaten, shot and dumped in the Tallahatchie River for supposedly whistling at a white woman. His killers would forever escape justice. What Mamie did next helped galvanise the Civil Rights Movement and make Emmett the sacrificial lamb of the movement.
2019-02-10
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The Pledge

On college campuses across the United States, students die every year as a result of ?hazing? - sometimes violent and dangerous rituals designed to initiate new members into a group to which they pledge loyalty. In 2011, Pam and Robert Champion Sr. lost their son Robert to a hazing incident. Robert was a student at Florida A&M University and a drum major in the college?s prestigious marching band, the Marching 100. He was brutally beaten to death by his fellow band members in an initiation rite known as "Crossing Bus C." Even though this ritual was prohibited, it was widely condoned, accepted, even encouraged, and going through it was considered an essential part of band membership. Today hazing remains rife in all types of groups, from sports teams to all-male fraternities and all-female sororities, the so-called ?Greek Letter Organisations? since the names of these social groups are taken from the Greek alphabet. With around 220 deaths attributed to hazing since records began, producer and presenter Nicolas Jackson asks why so many are willing to risk so much in order to become members of a group, and just what can be done to stop it. Producer and presenter: Nicolas Jackson ?The Pledge? is an Afonica production for BBC World Service (Image: Family and friends Of Armando Villa call for an end to fraternity "hazing." Credit: Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
2019-02-07
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My Brexit Dilemma

Adrian Goldberg is a BBC reporter. His father was German and came to the UK on Kindertransport just before the start of the Second World War. For Adrian, Brexit has raised a dilemma: should he get a German passport?
2019-02-06
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Sweeping the World

In Sweeping the World, award-winning poet, Imtiaz Dharker presents a reflective evocation in words, sound and music of the broom in many cultures. Whether it?s dust, spirits or the mythic power of the broom to break free and cause havoc, this programme takes a sweeping look at a never-ending story.
2019-02-05
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The Politics of Mongolian Hip Hop

MC Dizraeli hears how Mongolia?s massive hip hop scene is shaping the country?s future. He finds surprising lyrics that dispense moral advice, worry about alcoholism or praise the taste of fresh yoghurt on the Mongolian steppe. Freestyles and conversations across Ulaanbaatar reveal global hip hop influences and deep resonances with Mongolia?s musical heritage. Hip hop is so popular that Mongolian politicians try to buy up rappers to support their campaigns. However, in the midst of a changing Ulaanbaatar Dizraeli listens to lyrics that are critical of politicians, asking who or what is holding Mongolia back?
2019-02-02
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Japan's Elderly Crime Wave

Elderly pensioners in Japan are committing petty crimes so that they can be sent to prison. One in five of all prisoners in Japan are now over 65. The number has quadrupled in the last two decades, a result it seems of rising elderly poverty and loneliness, as seniors become increasingly cut-off from their over-worked offspring. In jail old people at least get a bed, a routine and a hot meal, and for many, as Ed discovers, the outside world can seem like a threatening place. For the prison authorities it means an increasingly ageing population behind bars and the challenges of dealing with a range of geriatric health issues. Produced and reported by Ed Butler. (Image: Elderly Inmate "Kita-san" at Fuchu Prison, Tokyo. Credit: BBC)
2019-01-31
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Solving Alzheimer's: Living and Dying with Alzheimer's

In the Netherlands, people with dementia can legally chose euthanasia but the debate is going back and forth there. When can dementia patients consent to euthanasia? The answer it turns out - is ethically very complicated and a Dutch doctor is now being prosecuted for performing euthanasia on a patient with advanced Alzheimer?s. In South Korea and the UK we hear from some of the most promising initiatives; and how a dementia friendly society is possible, with action not just from governments and NGOs but crucially from all of us.
2019-01-29
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Songs from the Depths of Hell

Aleksander Kulisiewicz spent six years in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, imprisoned soon after the Nazi invasion and their attempted destruction of Poland. In the camp he found a unique role both as a composer and living tape recorder of the world of the unfree and the damned. Blessed with a photographic memory prisoners, many of whom knew they were to be killed, would ask him to remember their songs. Songs of resistance and defiance, songs of love and home, songs that captured the brutality of life and death in the camps. He would also write 50 of his own songs. Performances would take place in secret, at night, away from the eyes of the SS. Kulisiewicz survived a death march at the war?s end and recovered to become the foremost chronicler, in song, of the world of the Concentration Camps. He would obsessively document memories and songs until the end of his life in 1982. In the 1960s he became an unlikely attraction in festivals of folk song for youth rebelling against the silence of their parents generation. Strumming his guitar liberated from Sachsenhausen, performing in his camp uniform, Kulisiewicz would sing his songs from the depths of hell. Oral historian Alan Dein explores his life and musical legacy.
2019-01-27
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Closing Uganda?s Orphanage

Uganda is a country that has seen massive growth in the number of ?orphanages? providing homes to children, despite the number of orphans there decreasing. It is believed 80% of children now living in orphanages have at least one living parent. The majority of the hundreds of orphanages operating in Uganda are illegal, unregistered and now are in a fight with the government trying to shut them down. Dozens on the government's list for closure are funded by overseas charities and church groups, many of which are based in the UK. With widespread concerns about abuse, trafficking and exploitation of children growing up in orphanages are funders doing enough to make sure their donations aren't doing more harm than good? Reporter: Anna Cavell Producer: Kate West (Image: Ugandan children stand on the banks of the Kagera River. Credit: ISAAC KASAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)
2019-01-24
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Solving Alzheimer's: The Trillion Dollar Disease

Dementia is now a trillion-dollar disease, and with the numbers of patients doubling every 20 years, the burden will fall unevenly on developing countries where the growth rate is fastest. We travel to South Korea, the fastest ageing country in the world, where the country?s president has declared the challenge of Alzheimer?s to be a national crisis. We meet families struggling to look after loved ones with Alzheimer?s and visit the Netherlands, where an innovative approach to Alzheimer?s care offers hope for the future.
2019-01-22
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The Assassination - Part Two

It is one of the world's great unsolved murders. Ten years ago, Pakistan's most prominent politician, a woman people would form human chains to protect from assassins, died in a suicide blast. The intervening years have brought allegations, arrests and a UN inquiry ? but not one murder conviction. The victim was Benazir Bhutto.
2019-01-20
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France, Algeria and the battle for truth

President Emmanuel Macron has recently done something unusual for a French President ? he made a declaration recognising that torture was used by the French military during the Algerian War of Independence. He described a system that allowed people to be arrested, interrogated and sometimes killed. Many families still don?t know what happened to their loved ones. At 87, Josette Audin, has campaigned for more than 60 years for the French state to take responsibility for the disappearance of her husband, Maurice Audin, during the Algerian War. Charlotte McDonald hears Josette?s story and discovers that the Algerian War has had a lasting impact on many more in France. She speaks to historians Malika Rahal and Fabrice Riceputi about their website 1000autres.org, and to war veteran Rémi Serres about his association 4ACG. Producer, Josephine Casserly Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: File photo of Maurice Audin, circa 1950. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
2019-01-17
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Africa?s Drone Experiment

While the idea of retail giants like Amazon dropping parcels from the sky via drone may be a long way off, in East Africa momentum is building over the idea of drone delivery in hard to reach places. In the island of Juma near Mwanza, one of hundreds of remote inhabited islands in the vast expanse of Lake Victoria, an ambitious new drone project called the Lake Victoria Challenge is taking place. Technology reporter Jane Wakefield visits Juma to see first-hand how the concept could work.
2019-01-16
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Solving Alzheimer's: Fear and Stigma

Few of us will escape the impact of Alzheimer?s Disease. The grim pay-back from being healthy, wealthy or lucky enough to live into our late 80s and beyond is dementia. One in three - maybe even one in two of us - will then get dementia and forget almost everything we ever knew. But it is far more than just a personal family tragedy. We explore how fear in some parts of the world is stigmatising those who have it, and denying help to those who need it.
2019-01-15
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The Assassination - Part One

Ten years ago, Benazir Bhutto, a woman people would form human chains to protect from assassins, died in a suicide blast. The intervening years have brought allegations, arrests and a UN inquiry ? but not one murder conviction. It is one of the world's great unsolved murders. Through the mystery of this murder Owen Bennett Jones reveals a little of how Pakistan works.
2019-01-13
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Balkan Border Wars - Serbia and Kosovo

Old enemies Serbia and Kosovo discuss what for some is unthinkable - an ethnic land swap. This dramatic proposal is one of those being talked about as a means of normalising relations between these former foes. Since the bloody Kosovo war ended with NATO intervention in 1999, civility between Belgrade and Pristina has been in short supply. Redrawing borders along ethnic lines is anathema to many, but politicians in Serbia and Kosovo have their eyes on a bigger prize... For Serbia, that is membership of the European Union. But the EU will not accept Serbia until it makes an accommodation with its neighbour. Kosovo wants to join the EU too, but its immediate priority is recognition at the United Nations, and that is unlikely while Serbia's ally, Russia, continues to thwart Kosovo's ambitions there. Both of these Balkan nations want to exit this impasse. And a land-swap, giving each of them much-coveted territory, might just do it. For Assignment, Linda Pressly and producer, Albana Kasapi, visit the two regions at the heart of the proposal - the ethnically Albanian-majority Presevo Valley in Serbia, and the mostly Serb region north of Mitrovica in Kosovo. (PHOTO: Hevzi Imeri, an ethnic Albanian and Danilo Dabetic, a Serb, play together at the basketball club Play 017 in Bujanovac ? one of very few mixed activities for young people in Serbia?s Presevo Valley. BBC photo.)
2019-01-10
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Cuban Voices

Ordinary Cubans reveal what their lives have really been like under Castro?s socialism and, more recently, its transformation into a more capitalistic economy. For some, the Cuban Revolution was the last bastion of the communist dream; for others, a repressive, authoritarian regime. Largely missing from those debates were the voices of ordinary Cubans. Almost 60 years on from the Revolution, professor Elizabeth Dore discovers how people from different walks of life and generations have experienced life, work, housing, racism, sexism and corruption on the island.
2019-01-08
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From the Ground Up

The Central African Republic is one of the least developed countries on earth. Years of conflict have left hundreds of thousands of people displaced. Sexual violence is rife and extreme poverty is endemic. Yet despite this dire humanitarian situation, reporting from CAR is rare. Anna Foster explores the challenges facing this nation from the inside, and hears from those trying to improve its fortunes.
2019-01-05
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The Brazilian Footballer Who Never Was

At 12, Douglas Braga arrived in Rio de Janeiro, a wide-eyed boy, ready to live out the Brazilian dream and become a professional footballer. At 18, he was signed by one of the country?s top teams - but was also starting to realise he couldn?t be true to himself and be a footballer. By 21, he?d quit the game. He knew he was gay and felt there was no place for him in a macho culture where homophobia is commonplace and out gay men are nowhere to be seen. Now, at 36, Douglas lives in a country that just elected a self-styled ?proud homophobe? as president, which some football fans have taken as a licence to step up their homophobic abuse and threats. But Douglas is back on the pitch and - with a growing number of other gay footballers - fighting back. Reporter David Baker Producer: Simon Maybin (Image: Footballer?s legs with rainbow socks. Credit: BBC)
2019-01-03
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New York's Flower Market: Things my Father Loved

New York?s historic 28th Street flower market opens early. The sidewalk is a rush of colour by 5am, packed with cheerful yellow sunflowers, frothy lime-white hydrangeas and vibrant lilies. Office workers pick their way to work round tropical plants and tall leafy palms sway in the city breeze. Cathy FitzGerald hears the market?s stories, and finds out what it takes to make it in this very beautiful - and very tough - business.
2019-01-01
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Childish Gambino: This is 2018

In May 2018 the American actor and singer Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) released what has been described as ?the most talked about music video in recent history?. The controversial video of This is America addresses the issues of gun violence, mass shootings, racism and discrimination in the US. It has been viewed more than four hundred million times on YouTube. It has also spawned covers of the song and, importantly, the video across the world, which have also garnered millions of views. Why and how did This is America become so popular across the globe?
2018-12-30
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Armenia: Return to a Town that Died

Thirty years on from the 1988 earthquake in Armenia, what?s happened to the devastated town of Spitak? Rescuers from all over the world came to help search for survivors ? among them a team of British firefighters. Now, with reporter Tim Whewell, two of those men are returning - to see how the town?s been rebuilt - and to remember a rescue effort that marked a turning point in East-West relations. The disaster came as Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was developing his policy of glasnost (openness) ? and his request for foreign assistance was the first such appeal the Kremlin had made in decades. The firefighters relive the drama, grief and courage of those days ? and renew old friendships. They discover that Spitak has still not fully recovered from the quake, with many living to this day in squalid temporary housing. Reporter Tim Whewell. (Image: Reginald Berry and Paul Burns ? two retired UK firefighters ? revisit Armenia, 30 years after taking part in rescue and recovery efforts after the 1988 earthquake. Credit: BBC/Hakob Hovhannisyan)
2018-12-27
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Christmas with Melania

Melania Trump is the second foreign-born First Lady and Donald Trump?s third wife; an ex-model, 24 years his junior, who once posed pregnant in a gold bikini on the steps of her husband?s jet. It was modelling ? for GQ, Sports Illustrated and others ? that took Melania from small-town Slovenia to New York and her fateful first encounter with the future President. The most notable thing about Melania Trump as First Lady has so far been her absence. It took her five months to relocate from New York to the White House. Friends have described her as someone who likes to stay at home, who often retires early from events and who dislikes being the centre of attention. Some unkind commentators have speculated that she is a kind of hostage, shackled by marriage to Donald and a role in public life which she did not seek and does not enjoy. But others have claimed that far from being a victim of her husband?s success and inimitable style, she is a formidable force in her own right. So who is Melania? What does she believe? And what might she do on the global stage which ? however improbably, given her origins in far away Slovenia ? she now shares with the President of the United States? Lizzie O?Leary speaks to people who know and who follow one of the most recognisable women in the world.
2018-12-25
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Carols of the Times

From the age of eight, Bob Chilcott sang with the world renowned King's College Choir in Cambridge. Every Christmas Eve the choir gather in the chapel to sing for a service that is known and loved across the globe. At 3pm a boy chorister steps forward to sing the opening verse of Once in Royal David City and so begins the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. To mark the centenary of this Christmas tradition, composer Bob Chilcott returns to King's College Chapel to explore the history of the service, to meet the people involved and to reflect on why this sequence of carols and readings has had such a major impact.
2018-12-23
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DNA, Me and the Family Tree

Where do you come from? Tracing your ancestry in the USA is one of the most popular hobbies along with gardening and golf. TV is awash with advertising for the do-it-yourself genetic testing kits which have become much sought after gifts, especially at Christmas time. The kits have revolutionised family tree research and gone are the days of sifting through old documents. But, as Lucy Ash reports, the DNA results are now revealing far more than many had bargained for. How do you react when you find out your mother had a secret affair half a century ago?and the man who raised you isn?t your dad? Produced by Charlotte McDonald. (Image: This chip holds samples of 24 people?s DNA ? one in each box. Credit: BBC)
2018-12-20
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Spy Ship: The Capture of the USS Pueblo

It was a brazen and violent attack by North Korean forces on an American ship sailing in international waters, leading to the death of one sailor and the imprisonment of the remaining 82 crewmen who were confined and tortured for 11 long months. Yet the capture of the spy ship the USS Pueblo, the only active-duty vessel of the US Navy still held captive by a foreign government, remains a largely forgotten chapter in American naval history.
2018-12-18
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Congo: A River Journey

A journey in sound along the mighty Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This adventure transports you to the heart of the country on the eve of long-delayed elections. You?ll encounter busy ports, vibrant markets and rare gorillas. You?ll learn why this mineral-rich country the size of western Europe is so poor. You?ll ride on the river to the soundtrack of its music, meet its wrestlers, its acrobatic fishermen and explore how history has shaped what the Congo is today.
2018-12-15
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China's Hidden Camps

China is accused of locking up as many as a million Uighur Muslims without trial across its western region of Xinjiang. The government denies the claims, saying people willingly attend special "vocational schools" to combat "terrorism and religious extremism". But a BBC investigation has found important new evidence of the reality - a vast and rapidly growing network of detention centres, where the people held inside are humiliated and abused. Using detailed satellite analysis and reporting from a part of the country where journalists are routinely detained and harassed; China correspondent John Sudworth offers his in-depth report on China's Hidden Camps. (Image credit: BBC)
2018-12-13
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En liten tjänst av I'm With Friends. Finns även på engelska.
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