Global experts and decision makers discuss, debate and analyse a key news story.
Here's the Latest Episode from The Real Story – BBC World Service:
As evidence of climate change and mass extinctions becomes ever harder to ignore, a new tide of eco-activism is making waves. Schoolchildren across the world have been coming out on strike, with Swedish student climate activist Greta Thunberg meeting Pope Francis this week. Meanwhile, a movement calling itself Extinction Rebellion continues to occupy key locations in central London and elsewhere, stopping traffic, gluing themselves to things, even smashing the occasional oil company window. Their message is clear – they want action on climate change and they want it now. But the answers are not simple, and the approach can be divisive. So what are the best tactics and strategies for such an epic fight? Is the latest wave just a western phenomenon, or are the developing countries most at risk from climate change also on board? How important are arguments about social justice, and human rights? Are governments actually paying attention? And what lessons have been learnt from the eco-warriors of the past?Ritula Shah is joined by a panel of activists and experts to discuss the new green activism.
Has what’s happened since the Brexit referendum revealed serious problems with the way the UK is governed? Was the big mistake to have a referendum on such a complex issue in the first place, challenging the sovereignty of parliament and our representative system? Are UK politicians ignorant of the art of compromise, and if so, would proportional representation change the political culture? Do there need to be reforms, even a written constitution? Or is the problem not the system, but the failures of a few key people to understand the rules?Paul Henley is joined by a panel to discuss the UK's constitutional crisis.Picture: Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow during a debate on the second reading of the European Union Withdrawal (No. 5) Bill, April 3, 2019. Credit: Mark Duffy/AFP/Getty Images
Since the inception of the ICC 20 years ago it has been controversial. Supporters see it as a guarantor of justice, ready to step in when states are unable or unwilling to prosecute crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes. But to many the Court has now fallen from grace, having spent an estimated $1.7 bn but secured only three convictions for core crimes. The superpowers still show no signs of joining – with the US recently imposing sanctions on officials after the Prosecutor began examining US actions in Afghanistan. So is the ICC just on a long learning curve, at a time when support for multilateral institutions is on the wane? Will the Court ever convict sitting leaders, or citizens of powerful states? Has it already dangerously overextended itself? And if it has failed in its own terms to address impunity, can and should it survive?Ritula Shah is joined by a panel to discuss the health of the International Criminal Court.Picture: Fatou Bensouda, the ICC prosecutor. Credit: Reuters.
Battle lines have been drawn, alliances are being firmed up, and the electoral machine has kicked into action. With over 900 million eligible voters, the 2019 parliamentary elections in India will be the biggest exercise of democracy in the world. Voting will begin on 11 April and will be held in seven stages across India’s 29 states.Five years ago, the Hindu nationalist BJP won its first ever landslide victory, but can Narendra Modi’s party win again this time? The BJP says it is the party of economic success and national security, but it has also been widely accused of unleashing ethnic tensions and restricting human rights. The main opposition Congress party has accused the BJP of destroying India’s secular ideals, and say this vote is a battle for India’s soul. So what is at stake in India’s election? Ritula Shah is joined by a panel to discuss the challenges and choices facing India in this election year.Photo: Boy holding an Indian flag. Crediti: Saikat Paul/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images)
The terror attack on Muslims worshipping in Christchurch, New Zealand has focused minds around the world on the threat from racist far-right extremists. The man responsible cited influences from the US and UK among others, and claimed to be motivated by white supremacist ideas. So, who are these extremists? What do they believe and why? And what role might politics and media play in planting the roots of extremism in society? Ritula Shah is joined by a panel of experts to discuss the nature and challenge of far-right extremism.(Photo: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hugs a female member of the Muslim community in Christchurch, 16 March 2019. Credit: Boris Jancic/European Photopress Agency)
The number of undocumented migrants captured at the US Mexico border has reached a decade-long high, with the government predicting that the number will continue to rise. President Trump says the situation at the border is a national emergency. So, is he right? Ritula Shah is joined by three expert guests to discuss what’s going on at America’s southern border. How many people are really crossing it. And - is the asylum system working, or broken, or just under strain?(Photo: Mexican children at the US border. Credited: Herika Martinez/AFP/Getty Images)
This week thousands of delegates from across China arrived in Beijing for the biggest political gathering of the year. But this time, the government’s message about the economy is less upbeat than it has been before. The growth forecast has been reduced, again. A new plan to boost the economy includes greater government spending, increasing foreign firms' access to the Chinese market, and billions of dollars in tax cuts. But will the measures work? There is more trouble on the horizon, as industries struggle to find skilled workers, and deal with the fallout of the trade war with the United States. Celia Hatton is joined by a panel of expert guests to discuss whether the Chinese economy is robust enough to weather the challenges.(Photo: A female worker in a textile factory in Lianyungang in China's eastern Jiangsu province, February 2019. Credit: AFP/ Getty Images)
What's next for the thousands of foreign women who have been living with Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria? The situation was highlighted after a British and an American woman expressed the desire to return to their countries of origin. With the Islamic State's rapidly shrinking territory, thousands of foreign born women - many with children - have fled the fighting and are sheltering in refugee camps. Ritula Shah and a panel of expert guests discuss what should happen to them now. Do they deserve to be resettled in their countries of origin? Or are their governments right to reject their citizenship? And what will happen to the children of IS fighters who have a right to reside in Europe or America?(Photo: A fighter with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces keeps watch near veiled women standing on a field in Syria by Fadel Senna / AFP/Getty Images)
This week was another dramatic one in the long-running saga of Brexit, with the possibility of a second referendum to solve the political impasse created by the first still widely discussed. Meanwhile on Sunday in Cuba, which is of course not a democracy, citizens will get to vote in a constitutional referendum that is expected to legitimise private business and open the door - if not positively support - gay marriage, and abortion has now been available in Ireland for two months, after Ireland’s ground-breaking vote last year. In a world in which referendums, plebiscites and citizens initiatives are more common than ever, are these forms of direct democracy really an answer to our political problems? Do they enhance or damage representative democracy? Do they satisfy an important right to be heard, or create deeper divisions in society?This week on The Real Story with Ruth Alexander we ask: Are referendums ever a good idea?
This week was another bad one for the environment, with a major scientific review predicting a mass extinction of insects within a century if current trends continue. Meanwhile, the news on climate change gets more alarming by the day. But when we talk about causes and solutions, do we often miss the big picture? Is the capitalist system underpinning the globalised economy the main culprit in both crises? If so, can those catastrophes only be avoided if capitalism is tamed, or radically reformed? Is the so-called Green New Deal the answer? Or is capitalism the only system that can produce the innovation we now desperately need?This week on The Real Story with Ritula Shah we ask: Is capitalism killing our planet, or is it our only hope?
The Iranian Revolution of 1979 was a defining moment of the 20th Century. What began as a popular movement to oust the Western backed monarchy, later turned Iran into the world's first Islamic republic. Since then, the Iranian government has been accused of rights abuses, destabilising the region, supporting terrorists and trying to develop nuclear weapons. There have been waves of protests, for differing reasons, at home. And a recent upturn of economic optimism has vanished following President Trump's unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal, with the US reimposing far-reaching sanctions.But despite all the internal tensions and international pressure, the system has survived. How come? What kind of country is Iran today? And does the outside world really understand the country and its people? Ritula Shah is joined by a panel of experts to discuss the state of Iran, years after the revolution.
The United States and the Taliban say they have made significant progress towards ending the war in Afghanistan, with the deal expected to include a withdrawal of foreign forces. In return, the Taliban would agree not to shelter terrorists. But what will that mean for Afghan society? The Taliban’s denial of women's rights is well documented. With foreign forces gone, will women's hard-won rights survive? Can outsiders protect those rights once they have left, or is Afghan civil society now strong enough to take up the fight?This week Ritula Shah is joined by a panel of experts to discuss how the US pullout will leave Afghan women.
Sudan has been witnessing the biggest anti-government protests in years. They began over a month ago when the government announced plans to reduce subsidies on staples like bread and fuel. But a heavy-handed response by the authorities has led to dozens of deaths and hundreds of arrests. Many are now calling for the resignation of president Omar al-Bashir. With the demonstrations becoming a regular feature across the country, is president Bashir facing the most serious threat to his power? This week, Ritula Shah, is joined by a group of experts to discuss Sudan's popular anger.
Donald Trump’s first foreign trip as US president was to Saudi Arabia - and this week his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited the Kingdom. Despite increased strains on the relationship, including the controversial war in Yemen and the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Trump Administration has shown no signs of breaking with Riyadh. Is this fully explained by the trade in oil and arms – or are other factors at work? How important is a shared antipathy to Iran? Are human rights always expendable when trade and strategic interests are in the mix? And why and how did the two countries become so entwined?This week Celia Hatton asks a panel of experts what is keeping the United States and Saudi Arabia close.
It's an old question, but despite many estimates - based on Frank Drake's famous equation - that our own Milky Way galaxy could contain up to a million alien civilisations, the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence begun in 1961 has so far failed. Funding for SETI - as it's known - has also been a problem, although private money has partly filled the gap. But SETI scientists are now hopeful that, after a 25-year pause, the US Congress will mandate NASA to spend ten million dollars a year, for the next two years, renewing the search.And it's not all about intelligence, as everyone agrees the discovery of life of any kind on another planet would be astounding - with some of the most exciting developments in this field much closer to home.This week on The Real Story we ask a panel of space scientists: are we any closer to finding extra-terrestrial life? What new approaches are showing promise? How will we know if we've found it? And what might that life be like?(Photo: VLA Radio Telescope, New Mexico. Credit: Education Images/UIG/Getty Images)
How do you look ahead in a world which constantly takes us by surprise, sometimes shocks us, often makes us ask 'what happens next?' Who would have predicted that President Trump would, to use his words, fall in love with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, whose country he had threatened to totally destroy? Who could have imagined that a prominent Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, would be murdered and dismembered in a Saudi Consulate? And, on a happier note, we’re relieved that, as the year ends, a climate change conference in Poland did manage to save the Paris pact, and maybe our world. The BBC's chief international correspondent, Lyse Doucet talks to correspondents from around the globe about what might happen in the world in 2019.Guests: Katya Adler, Europe editor Yolande Knell, Middle East correspondent James Robbins, Diplomatic correspondent Steve Rosenberg, Moscow Correspondent Jon Sopel, North America editor Producer: Ben Carter Editor: Penny Murphy(Image: King Mohammed VI, Melania Trump, Donald Trump, Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and Brigitte Macron. Credit: EPA/BENOIT TESSIER / POOL MAXPPP OUT)
After weeks of protests and violence, France's President Emmanuel Macron has bowed to the yellow vests protestors. First he made an televised address to the nation in which he admitted he had made mistakes. Now he has issued a new budget with financial giveaways. It is not just that he has been spooked by weeks of demonstrations - not unknown in French life - but also that protestors have enjoyed high levels of public support. Their demands combine elements from the left and the right: calls for huge increases in government spending and in wages, coupled with the halving of taxes and tough restrictions on migration. But behind these demands, some people detect the grievances of France's left-behinds, either in small towns or in the countryside, and those at the wrong end of globalisation. Ruth Alexander and a panel of experts discuss Macron's options. Can his concessions satisfy the yellow vests, and if not, where does he go from here? The protestors want to have little to do with politicians but are they playing in to the hands of Marine Le Pen and the far right?
In 2014, the Chinese government issued a document aimed at increasing the amount of 'trust' in society. Today this emerging system is known as China's social credit system - like a credit score but tracking more than financial transactions. China's central government wants to have the system in place across China by 2020, using a range of information -- including shopping habits, driving fines and even what's written on social media -- to rate and rank individuals. People with poor scores could find themselves unable to get bank loans or buy plane tickets. Advocates claim that a system is necessary in a country where few people have credit ratings. But detractors see it as a kind of dystopic super-surveillance. Celia Hatton and a panel of expert guests weighs up the costs and benefits of social credit.(Photo: A Chinese woman walks along the street holding a broom and dustpan. Credit: Getty Images)
There's only one question in Britain these days: what will happen with Brexit? On Tuesday, the future of the country is at stake when the British parliament takes a historic vote on the withdrawal deal that the Prime Minister, Theresa May, has negotiated with the European Union. As it stands, the odds are on parliament voting the deal down. And with the clock to Britain's exit from the EU ticking down, the consequences of the Prime Minister losing the vote are far from certain. Could she go back to Brussels and get a better deal? Could the government fall? Could those who have been hoping to stop Brexit altogether finally get a new referendum? And, what happens if Britain crashes out of the EU in March 2019 with no deal? Chris Morris and a panel of experts discuss the costs and benefits of May's deal, no deal, no Brexit - and everything in-between.
On Saturday, Mexico gets a new president. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador - or AMLO as he's known. He won a landslide victory and now controls both houses of Congress. Born in poverty, AMLO is promising to eliminate corruption, champion the poor, and stand up to big business. His vision is not just government as usual but Mexico's 'fourth transformation', a kind of national renewal. He has already cut his own salary and that of senior civil servants and he has spooked the financial markets by cancelling Mexico City's new airport. But how realistic is his vision? The country is the second most unequal in Latin America, parts of it are controlled by drug traffickers and gripped by violence. And in his first week in power he'll have to deal with the migrant protest on the US border. So, will he change Mexico or will Mexico change him? Ritula Shah and a panel of expert guests profile Mexico's new president and discuss his vision and the challenges he faces.
The largest money laundering scandal yet uncovered has been back in the spotlight. 200 billion Euros were allegedly laundered through a tiny Estonian branch of the Danish Danske Bank between 2007 and 2015. The whistleblower who first alerted Denmark's biggest bank to the problem testified in front of the Danish parliament this week. Once upon a time, money laundering meant setting up pizzerias as fronts and building blocks of flats to rent. But things have become more sophisticated. Today's perpetrators are smurfing - investing small amounts in many small businesses, moving dirty money around with crypto currencies and setting up companies within companies within companies. Ruth Alexander and a panel of expert guests discuss how money laundering is done and the ways the authorities can take control of the problem.(Photo: Rolled up US dollars. Credit: Getty Images)
In the two years since the election of Donald Trump the world has heard a lot about 'fake news'. It's a term the president often uses to go after the media and his opponents. But 'fake news' can mean a lot of things. It can refer to inaccurate stories pumped out to generate online ad revenue. It can also describe the sort of political disinformation that Russia used to try to influence the 2016 US election. While propaganda and disinformation have been deployed at home and abroad for centuries - Hitler and Stalin were past masters - the internet has made the dissemination of such lies much easier. So, if trust in information corrodes, what happens to democracy? Ritula Shah and a panel of experts look at what fakes of all kinds are doing to our public life and what solutions are available.(Photo: Fact or Fake concept, change wooden cube. Credit: Getty Image)
Germany, the biggest and richest country in the European Union, is going through a period of considerable political turbulence. After Chancellor Angela Merkel's party, the CDU, performed badly in state elections, she said she would not seek re-election. Much has been said about the threat posed to her party from the right by the emergence of the Euro-sceptic anti-immigrant AfD. But there's another emerging force - the internationalist and environmentalist Greens. In the recent elections in both Bavaria and Hesse, the Greens came second with a big gain in seats - and polls now have the party polling in second place nationally. Paul Henley and a panel of experts discuss what's behind the rise of the Greens and what it means for the country at the heart of Europe.
As the world’s population continues to rise, the numbers of children born per woman is still falling. Worldwide there’s now around 2.49 live births per woman, not far above replacement rate. Many couples are choosing to have smaller families and contraception is helping. But meanwhile, infertility in both men and women, in rich and poorer countries, is increasing. Fifty million couples worldwide cannot have children without medical help. So, what is going on? Celia Hatton and a panel of expert guests discuss why so many men and women are struggling to have children. Are they simply leaving it too late or are other factors, such as diet or pollution, having an effect?(Photo: Couple in consultation with a doctor. Credit: BSIP/UIG/Getty Images)
This weekend, if the polls are right, Brazilians are expected to elect an obscure far-right politician as their next president. Jair Bolsonaro has spent over 20 years in Congress in a variety of fringe parties to very little effect. Now he is promising to root out the corruption that's endemic in Brazilian politics and crack down on crime. Brazil has some of the highest murder rates in the world and Bolsonaro wants to loosen gun laws and make it easier for the police to shoot to kill criminals. His opponents accuse him of supporting extra-judicial killings as well promoting homophobic and misogynistic views. Ritula Shah and a panel of expert guests looks at what Jair Bolsonaro is proposing for Brazil. How has he come to prominence? Who are his backers? And can a man who speaks so fondly of Brazil's military dictatorship really be trusted with its democracy?
In many democracies people are demanding attention based on their identity, on their race, sex, or sexual orientation. We see groups such as Black Lives Matter, or movements for white power or LGBT rights. Are these demands for redress legitimate — assuming their claims are credible — or do they undermine social cohesion by attacking a sense of shared belonging? Is the increase in identity politics a danger for democracy? Or is ‘identity politics’ a new name for an old fact, a name given by the powerful to belittle the struggles of the powerless? As the US mid-term elections approach, Ritula Shah and a panel of experts examine identity politics, left and right, and ask whether identity politics corrodes or empowers democracy.(Photo: Counter-protesters march at the University of Virginia, ahead of the one year anniversary of the 2017 Charlottesville Unite the Right protests, in Charlottesville, Virginia, US. Credit: Jim Urquhart/Reuters)
On Monday the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its latest report. The IPCC looked at keeping to a 1.5C rise above pre-industrial temperatures. Scientists say that we can still do it. But there's a lot of work to be done. It will need "rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society". It will also mean a major reallocation of funds. It will cost about 2.5% of global gross domestic product (GDP), every year for twenty years. But how is that going to happen? While the cost of wind turbines and solar panels have fallen, the global economy still relies on burning fossil fuels. Will politicians grasp the nettle and make the changes outlined in this report or will they, and we private citizens, ignore it and wait for disaster to strike? This week on The Real Story Ritula Shah looks at the economics and politics of climate change. Do developed countries have to give up growth to mitigate climate change? Can democracies sell the necessary sacrifices to their citizens? And will new technology save the day?Image: A woman walking through floodwaters in front of the Grand Palace near the Chao Praya river in Bangkok in October 2011 (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
We know that to keep our climate safe we need to stop burning fossil fuels and move to renewables. But how? Leading scientists and government delegates have been asking that question this week at a gathering in South Korea. Perhaps inspiration can be found in Tromso, in the Norwegian Arctic. Norway sees itself as a leading opponent of climate change. It already generates most of its electricity from hydropower and it's looking to turn some of its mountains and rivers into a giant green battery, storing power generated by wind turbines and solar cells elsewhere in Europe, then sending electricity back when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind blow. But Norway is still a major oil exporter. While its North Sea fields begin to run dry, Norway is continuing to dole out exploration permits for the Arctic waters. Ritula Shah and a panel of experts and politicians in Tromso debate Norway's energy future and ask what lessons the country has for the rest of the world.(Photo: Midnight sun over the Arctic Ocean at Svalbard, Spitsbergen, Norway. Credit: Arterra/UIG via Getty Images)
Air is all around us. It's invisible and most of the time we don't think much about it. But when the air is polluted, it's deadly. Even when it doesn't kill us, polluted air increases respiratory illnesses, strokes, and Alzheimers; it may even be making us dumb. Air pollution is behind the deaths of at least 4.5million people a year worldwide, the vast majority harmed by tiny particles of soot emitted by burning fossil fuels in cars and factories or by burning wood or coal for cooking. So what can we do? Ritula Shah talks to health and public policy experts about the risks posed by polluted air. How can we clean up our air to have healthier bodies and brains and build better communities?
Twenty years after the signing of The Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland, Brexit has unleashed new uncertainty about the island's future. In 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union but Northern Ireland voted to remain. Irish nationalists in the north are unhappy about the possibility that controls on the land border with the Republic of Ireland could return. Supporters of a united Ireland have seized on this to argue that by joining the Republic, Northern Ireland would be able to get back into the EU. The Good Friday Agreement includes a provision for a referendum on unification known as a border poll. Whether nationalists could win is unclear but a mixture of worries about Brexit and demographic change suggest a future border poll would be much tighter than would have been the case ten years ago. Ritula Shah and a panel of experts discuss whether Brexit has opened the door to a united Ireland.(Photo: Farmer standing on the border separating Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Credit: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Ten years ago the US investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed. The event rocked global stock markets and led to the biggest financial crash since the Great Depression. The decade that followed has been extraordinary. We've seen anger and discontent as living standards have fallen in large parts of the developed world. There's been political upheaval with the election of Donald Trump and the UK's vote for Brexit, while populists and demagogues have gained power across Europe. Ritula Shah and a panel of experts discuss the consequences of the 2008 financial crisis: low growth, a fragile global economy and a transformed political landscape. And, in the event of another crash, would governments have the ideas, the resources, and the goodwill to pull the global economy back from the brink?
For years Sweden has been praised for its generous welfare state and the welcoming hand it held out to refugees. But things are changing. Sweden is approaching the end of its most closely fought election in decades. Polls predict that the long dominant Social Democrats will get the largest share of the vote but not enough to govern alone. As in other European countries, significant numbers of the old working class are turning to an anti-EU anti-immigrant party. The Sweden Democrats are socially conservative, talking tough on immigration, and helped by recent criminal incidents that some are pinning on immigrants. They could get enough support to influence the country's future. President Trump has long been tweeting about Sweden, claiming "large scale immigration" there isn't working. But what's the evidence? Is Sweden suffering from an epidemic of crime caused by immigrants? Has it failed to assimilate the people it welcomed in? Or are these at best half-truths deployed in a tough election campaign? Ritula Shah and a panel of experts discuss whether Sweden has turned its back on its social democratic past?
Nearly 25 years on from independence the vast majority of South Africa’s farmland is still owned by the country’s white minority. But now the governing ANC is coming under pressure to change that. In the past the government has tried to find “willing sellers” but that’s only led to the redistribution of 10% of farmland. Now the government is considering more controversial moves. President Cyril Ramaphosa his indicated he would introduce a change to the constitution to allow, if necessary, land expropriation without compensation. White farmers are furious. Investors are worried too. They look at what has happened in neighbouring Zimbabwe where land seizures turned what was the breadbasket of Africa into an agricultural basket case. President Trump, too, has got involved, tweeting that he asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to look into “land and farm seizures” and "killing of farmers", prompting South Africa to accuse Mr Trump of stoking racial divisions. Paul Henley and a panel of expert guests discuss South Africa’s struggle with land reform.
LSD, magic mushrooms, mescaline, peyote - just some of the most well known psychedelic drugs. Most of them are illegal around the world. Research into psychedelic medicine was virtually shut down in the West because psychedelics were considered mind-altering substances open to abuse. This perception is changing. There is a growing body of evidence that some psychedelic drugs can be used to treat a variety of medical conditions. There have been clinical trials of psilocybin - the active ingredient in magic mushrooms - for treatment-resistant depression. Just one dose was found to help people with life-threatening cancer face death. James Coomarasamy and a panel of expert guests discuss the evidence that psychedelics have transformative and beneficial properties. Are most authorities right to continue to ban them or should they be considered for wider use - and if so, under what conditions?
People around the world continue to want a nation to call their own. There have been recent independence referendums in Kurdistan, Catalonia and Scotland. This trend has being going on for a century, as empires have given way to nation states, and those states have further subdivided. For much of the 20th century this made sense. Politics, the economy, and communications were mostly organised at a national scale. National governments had actual powers to manage modern economies. But after many decades of globalisation, have economies and information grown beyond the authority of national governments? How good are nation states at dealing with trans-national threats such as terrorism, migration or global warming? Carrie Gracie and a panel of expert guests discuss whether the nation state is in decline. And if so, what might replace it?
In many parts of the world this has been a season of extreme heat. Records have been broken from North America to Europe, from the Middle East to Japan and Korea. We know the climate is changing, and that many of the reasons are man-made. International commitments to limit the average rise in global temperature - to less than two degrees above pre-industrial levels - demand concerted action around the world. Chris Morris and a panel of expert guests discuss the science behind extreme heat. What are the political solutions and the new technologies that may be able to help us? And even if we can mitigate against extreme temperatures, are heatwaves going to become the new normal?(Photo: Cameroonian Girl sweating and drinking water from a green jerry can. Credit: Getty Images)
It has been over seven years since the uprising in Syria turned first into a civil war and then into a proxy war that has drawn in countries near and far. During that time at least 350,000 people have been killed, over 5 million have fled the country, and over 6 million have lost their homes. The war has seen sieges, artillery barrages and airstrikes on civilian neighbourhoods, hospitals and schools. With the help of Iran, Russia and Hezbollah, the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad has recaptured the major cities. His enemies are, as ever, divided. Rebels cling on to enclaves near the Turkish border in the north and in the north-east the Kurdish dominated SDF still controls about a quarter of the country. But in the south, the Syrian government has this week retaken Deraa province where the uprising began in 2011. So is the war coming to an end? Or is it entering a new phase? This week on The Real Story Chris Morris and a panel of expert guests discuss the Syrian war, how long does it have to go and how can the country start to rebuild?(Photo: A house burns after Syrian forces shelled it with heavy artillery in the besieged town of Douma by Muhammad Al-Najjar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
On Monday Zimbabwe will hold elections - the first to take place since former President Robert Mugabe was forced to stand down by the military after nearly 40 years in office. Under his rule the southern African country went from being one of the brightest economies in the region to one of the weakest. Opposition parties were repeatedly frustrated at the polls with violence and intimidation. The country is currently being led by former minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, nicknamed "the crocodile", who is leading public opinion polls. Julian Marshall is joined by government, opposition and expert guests to discuss whether these elections represent a clean break with the Mugabe years and what it will now take for Zimbabwe to attract the investment needed for stability, prosperity, and jobs.(Photo: A man wears a Zimbabwean flag after a rally by Movement for Democratic Change leader and opposition presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa. Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
It has been a torrid week for US-Russian relations. Days after Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for interfering in the 2016 US presidential election, President Trump met President Putin in Helsinki. In an extraordinary press conference Mr Trump said he preferred to believe Mr Putin rather than US intelligence agencies when it came to accusations of Russian meddling in the US election. Mr Trump’s comments have caused outrage across the US political spectrum – and led to a rare climb-down from Mr Trump, who said he ‘misspoke’.Next week Mr Trump’s former campaign chief Paul Manafort goes on trial for tax evasion. Mr Trump’s links with Russia have long dogged him but will they now damage him? He has made it clear that he sees the Mueller investigation as biased, in his words ‘a rigged witch hunt’. With the US mid-term elections on the horizon, the fate of the Mueller investigation and Mr Trump’s political future both hang in the balance. Ritula Shah looks at the Mueller investigation and asks what it is doing, what has it discovered, and whether it is political.(Photo: Special counsel Robert Mueller leaves after a closed meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Donald Trump has arrived in England but he's not getting the red carpet treatment a US president might expect. Big protests are planned in London, featuring a march to Trafalgar Square and a six metre high balloon of Donald Trump as a snarling orange baby. The protests may let people vent their feelings about the US president’s controversial style and policies, but few expect much change as a result. So, while protests still occupy a prominent place in the drama of democracy, do they really achieve anything anymore?How have cultural forces and social media changed the way protests are organised? And can non-violent protests still force elected politicians to change?Presenter: Ritula Shah
Poland is one of Europe's economic success stories - and after Brexit, Poland stands to become the EU's fifth-largest state. France and Germany had hoped Poland would work with them to find solutions to the EU's big challenges, such as migration. But Poland is taking a different path. Since taking power in 2015, the Law and Justice Party has attacked EU institutions and criticised the German government in particular for being too welcoming to migrants. Tensions came to a head this week with the implementation of a new law in Poland that requires judges to retire when they turn sixty-five. The European Commission has accused Poland of undermining the independence of its judiciary and has launched legal action against the government in Warsaw. So, is Poland implementing necessary reforms or slipping towards authoritarianism?
"The fragility of the EU is increasing," says EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, and, "the cracks are growing in size." The cracks appear in many forms. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel says migration is the issue that "could decide the EU's fate." Her French counterpart, President Emmanuel Macron, wants urgent economic reform and a "profound transformation" of the EU. His solution in part is to "give Europe back to its citizens." But what do European citizen want? Some want out, as seen in Brexit. Many others don't like the way the EU is currently run. That's behind the rise of Eurosceptic governments in Hungary, Poland, and now Italy. Can the gap be closed between French hopes and German fears? Who has the will and the wherewithal to reform the EU before another political or economic crisis engulfs it? And if no change comes is the EU's very survival at risk?(Photo: EU flag billows all tattered and torn. Credit: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)
Images of crying children separated from their parents at the US border with Mexico have brought a new urgency to the migration debate in the US. After a week of intense scrutiny on the issue, President Trump signed an executive order so that families apprehended trying to enter the US illegally would not be split up while criminal proceedings took place. In Europe, too, the migration debate is testing governments. This week, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, went to battle with her Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, over whether migrants at the German border should be turned away if they had registered elsewhere in the EU. So, as the UNHCR says the world is experiencing record levels of migration, should countries get tougher or adjust to the new reality? Are public concerns justified, or are they fanned by populists hoping to make political gains?
What is Donald Trump thinking? In one week he calls Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ‘dishonest and weak’ and then proceeds to boast of his ‘terrific relationship’ with the dictator Kim Jong-Un. In just a few days, he riles America’s closest allies at the G7 summit and then signs a nuclear deal with the country considered one of the biggest threats to international security. The president’s critics say he is tearing up the rule book without considering the consequences. His supporters say a new approach to international diplomacy is long overdue. So which is it? Has President Trump decided to abandon the military and political alliances that structured the post-World War II liberal order – or is he simply reminding old allies not to take the United States for granted? Is ‘the West’ dead – or is the alliance mutating into one where the US has more space to put itself ‘first’. On the Real Story this week, Ritula Shah and a panel of guests considers how we have arrived at this great disruption of the international order – and where the world is heading.(Photo credit: Reuters)
All eyes will be on Russia shortly as it hosts the FIFA World Cup, one of the world's great sporting occasions. The country will get a boost as tourists visit Russia's many far flung cities and spend freely in hotels and restaurants. But staging the event is not cheap. Russia will be spending at least $12 billion at a time when its economy is suffering from sanctions. And - once the teams and their fans leave, the clean-up is expensive and the legacy uncertain. This week Ritula Shah and a panel of experts ask what's to gain from hosting the beautiful game's greatest showcase.
After nearly three months of negotiations and disputes, Italy has a new government. The country that road-tested Trump-style populist politics before the Donald has handed power to a pair of anti-establishment parties, The League and the 5 Star Movement. Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, had blocked the coalition's choice of finance minister, Paolo Savona, claiming his views imperilled Italy's position in the Eurozone. But the coalition has backed down. Its new choice for finance minister has been accepted by the president. Nonetheless, Italy is entering uncharted waters. Its coalition is unhappy with the Eurozone's rules and Italian voters are looking for relief from unemployment, a massive debt, and what the 5 Star Movement calls "the sea taxi service" bringing migrants to Italy's shores. Ritula Shah and a panel of politicians and analysts unpick what lies behind Italy's divisions and discuss whether Italians are ready to risk leaving the Eurozone. (Photo of two boys on a bicycle carrying the Italian flag. Getty Images)
Ebola is back. In 2014, it killed over 11,000 people in West Africa. Now the disease has struck once again in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This time doctors are better equipped, with a vaccine and immunisation campaign but the outbreak highlights the ever-present dangers posed by infectious diseases. One hundred years ago the Spanish flu killed over 50 million people in just one year. And doctors now say the next pandemic will be upon us in a matter of decades. We don't know where it will start but in a hyper-connected world we know it will spread easily. Ritula Shah asks a panel of expert guests about the scenarios that keep them up at night and whether global health infrastructure is ready for the coming pandemic.
Hundreds of millions around the world will watch live coverage of the latest British Royal wedding. Queen Elizabeth's grandson Prince Harry is marrying Meghan Markle, an American actress. Divorced and biracial, she wouldn't have been considered British princess material 50 years ago. But times have changed and the British monarchy has had to change with them. The popularity of the Harry-Meghan match appears to show a recipe for a successful modern monarchy - equal parts tradition and change. So, is that the formula to keep constitutional monarchies afloat in Britain, Western Europe, and the Arab World? Ritula Shah and a panel of guests explore the forces working against monarchies and discuss how they manage to survive.(Photo of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle by Eddie Mulholland - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
"This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made," said President Trump as he pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear deal. "It didn't bring calm, it didn't bring peace, and it never will." So what now for Iran, for the stability of the Middle East, and for future nuclear deals? So far Iran's President Rouhani has reacted cautiously but will the country's hardliners force him to resume enriching uranium, paving the way for a nuclear weapon? How will Iran's regional rivals Israel and Saudi Arabia react? Can the European Union, Russia, and China still keep Iran within the deal? And if they can't, what will the effect be on the outcome of any future nuclear deals. That's The Real Story with James Coomarasamy this week.
Thousands of Nicaraguans have been taking to the streets this week to protest against the killing of anti-government demonstrators. They say Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista Front (FSLN) has betrayed the people in whose name it once fought. For President Ortega - a one-time revolutionary icon - the demonstrations highlight a significant shift. With the Castros out of power in Cuba, and other giants of the Left dead or in jail, Mr Ortega is the last of a generation of Latin American revolutionaries still in office. Ritula Shah and her guests discuss why left-wing politics lost ground in Latin America, and what the future holds for leftist politics in the region.
The world's population is ageing. According to the UN the number of people aged 60 or over is growing faster than all younger age groups. This is putting new pressures on relationships between generations. In richer countries, younger people are not accumulating the wealth their predecessors did and that's causing tensions. In the developing world, urbanisation and technology are challenging traditional family dynamics. So, how can the young and the old stay connected in a fast changing world? As part of the BBC's Crossing Divides season, Carrie Gracie is joined by a panel of expert guests in front of an audience of international students.
The decision by the US, France and Britain to bomb Syria after seeing evidence that President Bashar al-Assad had allegedly used chemical weapons on civilians has divided the international community. Are we living in a world where might, not right determines how states behave, or is a more moral legal framework in the process of being born? This week on the Real Story, Carrie Gracie and a panel of expert guests ask what can justify attacking another country.
The French President, Emmanuel Macron is taking on the country's powerful unions. The response to his proposed labour reforms has been a wave of public sector strikes across France. It's a battle that has played out many times over recent years in industrialised nations and trades unions have, without doubt, been losing influence globally. Why is this happening? Do workers no longer regard unions as an effective way of representing their interests? Have unions failed to adapt to the changing way we work? That's the Real Story this week with James Coomarasamy as he and his guests discuss the future of unions in the 21st Century.
We have a problem with plastic. We're making too much of it and not re-using and re-cycling enough of it. Plastic is contaminating our oceans and polluting our world. Until this year China took two thirds of the world's plastic waste, but now it's saying it will no longer be the world's dumping ground. The Chinese ban on low quality plastic has begun to bite with policy makers urgently looking for new solutions. So what happens now? What has the situation done to expose the way our plastics are recycled? And will developments result in a watershed moment where we finally re-evaluate our plastic consumption? Join Carrie Gracie and a panel of experts discuss how we cure our addiction to plastic.
When the first website went live just over 25 years ago, there was hope that the internet would change life for the better. These days, though, there is deep unease about the direction the internet is taking. Allegations that data firm Cambridge Analytica used personal information harvested from more than 50 million Facebook users without their permission to target US voters with tailored - sometimes misleading - messaging highlights how technology is infiltrating democracy. This week the US Federal Trade Commission said it would investigate Facebook's privacy practices and the company said it would overhaul its privacy tools. The internet is now controlled by a handful of companies and how they acquire and use personal data is poorly understood. They have disrupted the way we shop, work, and live. So how did we get to a place where so few players have so much power, and are these companies still serving the public interest? Carrie Gracie and a panel of experts discuss whether we can change direction. And if we did want to build a different internet from the one we're hurtling towards, what would it look like anyway?
The UN calls Yemen 'the world's worst humanitarian crisis'. It says more than three-fourths of the population - over 22 million people - are in need of humanitarian assistance. Yemenis face hunger, disease, and the terror of a war which has pitted Iran-backed Houthi rebels against a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia. This week marks the end of the third year of that Saudi campaign - with no end in sight. Yemen's Minister of State resigned Wednesday saying Yemen's President, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi was under house arrest in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. So what are the Saudi aims in Yemen and why are Yemeni civilians continuing to suffer so much? Carrie Gracie and a panel of expert guests bring clarity to one of the world's most complex wars.
Major Western powers are united in their conclusion. Russia, they say, carried out the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since World War Two. The attack happened in the English city of Salisbury, where former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent. This Sunday, the Russian people are expected to elect Mr Putin for a fourth consecutive term. So as Russia and the West begin a new diplomatic showdown, what does President Putin want to achieve - for himself, for Russia, and abroad?(Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin sunbathes during his vacation in the remote Tuva region in southern Siberia by Alexey Nikolsky/AFP/Getty Images)
Donald Trump campaigned on a pledge to put 'America first'. In his first year in office the policy was pursued in a number of areas including immigration and national security, but, when it came to the economy, despite threats, the status quo more or less remained the same. Now that's changed. President Trump has signed an order imposing a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminium imports. So will the move rebuild and protect the US steel industry, as the president has pledged? Will it result in a trade war? And is American economic nationalism pushing its closest trading partners away from the US - towards free trade with each other?(Photo: Getty Images)
The announcement was low key but the implications are big. The Communist Party of China has recommended that the constitution be amended to allow President Xi Jinping to serve longer than the currently mandated two terms. The move would sweep aside a system of power-sharing that's been in place for decades and the 64 year-old could now be China's president for life. So, what is behind the decision? Is it a legitimate attempt to safeguard and bolster Xi's campaign against corruption and ensure essential economic reforms? Or is it a big step towards authoritarian leadership? Xi has created a powerful cult of personality, but as the example of Chairman Mao suggests, a charismatic ruler for life can bring disaster to China. Carrie Gracie and a panel of expert guests unpick the latest developments inside one of the most opaque nations on Earth.(Photo of a decorative plate featuring an image of Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen behind a statue of late communist leader Mao Zedong by Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)
The first edition with our new name: Newshour Extra is now The Real Story with Carrie Gracie.Has Russia changed the rules of the game with the use of fake accounts on social media to meddle in the 2016 US presidential election? The US Special Counsel Robert Mueller has now filed numerous charges against Russian individuals and entities in connection with Donald Trump's presidential campaign. But US spy agencies have themselves practised disinformation and interference in other countries over many decades and so critics say Russia is now delivering the US a dose of its own medicine. Has Moscow transformed modern information warfare? And behind the headlines, what other countries and forces are manipulating information and politics in open societies? Answering these questions is our challenge on the real story this week with Carrie Gracie and her panel of expert guests.Photo: Computer hacker typing on keyboard with binary code abstract background. Credit: Getty images
As European intelligence chiefs meet in Germany calling for greater co-operation to tackle common security threats, we take a look Europe's move towards a more unified defence strategy. Since the Second World War, the NATO alliance has provided the West's defence umbrella. But there are those within Europe calling for the greater integration of national forces and less reliance on the United States and NATO to resolve Europe's defence problems. Russia's annexation of Crimea and the influx of migrants across Europe's southern borders have renewed this security debate on the continent. Would a Trump administration in the US provide NATO military support for crises such as these in the future? What role will Britain play in Europe's common defence policy after Brexit? This week on Newshour Extra, James Coomarasamy and a panel of guests discuss whether greater European military integration is really feasible - or even desirable.Photo: a Polish officer follows a military training exercise, the 'Strong Europe Tank Challenge' in southern Germany. Credit: Getty Images
Our pay is still largely a private matter - but why is that? What would happen if pay was transparent? Would it be good or bad for business? Would employers have to address inequality and discrimination? Would workers feel demoralized or empowered? And what effect would such a cultural shift have on society? On Newshour Extra this week Ritula Shah and a panel of experts consider what happens when companies or entire countries dare to reveal all.
January has been bloody in the Afghan capital Kabul, where more than 130 civilians have been killed and many more wounded in a series of attacks by the Taliban and the Islamic State group. Suicide bombers have targeted not only security forces but also a hotel, and a crowded shopping street. Does this latest spike in violence mean their tactics have changed, and if so why? The US has recently committed a few more troops to Afghanistan, but after 16 years of fighting, is a military solution credible? Is it time, once and for all, to make peace with the Taliban? At what price, to whom? Does any answer inevitably depend on Pakistan? On Newshour Extra this week Razia Iqbal and a panel of experts discuss the war in Afghanistan and the prospects for peace.(Photo: an Afghan man holds a wounded child, after a car bomb exploded near the old Interior Ministry building in Kabul on January 27, 2018. Credit: Getty Images)
Turkey has sent tanks and warplanes into northern Syria. Their stated target is a Kurdish militia group, the YPG, regarded by Ankara as a terrorist organisation allied to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, the PKK, which has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey for decades. It's an indication of the complexity of this conflict is that while Turkey regards the YPG as a serious threat, the same group has been a key ally of the United States in the battle against the so-called Islamic State in Syria. If Turkey were to achieve its stated aim of destroying the YPG - or even just loosen its hold in the border region - who would fill the vacuum? On Newshour Extra this week Ritula Shah and her guests discuss Turkey's war aims in Syria and ask whether Ankara can persuade Washington to abandon the Kurds.Photo: a Syrian woman and child who fled from the Turkish offensive on the Afrin enclave. Credit: Getty Images
President Trump says he is a friend of coal country. He promised to end the "war on coal" and bring back jobs in the coal mines. A year on from his inauguration and he seems to have made good on some of his pledges. Late last year his administration overturned several Obama-era regulations on mining and energy production. But can coal really make a comeback? Coal production remains a source of cheap electricity around the world but it's up against the rising availability of natural gas and increasingly competitive renewable energy. Could clean coal technology help re-brand a dirty fossil fuel? And how will China's move away from coal affect the picture?(Photo: a coal miner in Ukraine. Credit: Getty Images)
Gaming is big business. More that 2 billion gamers around the world generated more than 100 billion dollars in game revenues last year. But for some people all the fun is coming at a cost. The World Health Organization wants to classify gaming addiction as a mental health condition for the first time. The addiction is described as a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour that takes 'precedence over other life interests'. So how concerned should we be? What's the evidence that people can become addicted? And how severe can the addiction become? Do the types of games that are played - role playing vs. shoot'em up - and the environments they're played in make a difference? And how will improvements to augmented and virtual reality technology change the picture? This week on Newshour Extra Jonny Dymond and a panel of experts look at gaming addiction: serious problem or moral panic?(Photo of addicted gamer by Getty Images)
It's the first week of the new year, which means many people are recovering from consuming large quantities of meat over the festive season. In fact, people around the world are eating more meat than ever. The average American man now eats more than his own weight in meat every year. And in China meat-eating is rising sharply as people grow richer. But all this meat comes at a cost. The WHO has linked red and processed meats to cancer, and the intensive raising of livestock and the growing of the grains required to feed the animals is doing significant damage to the environment. So what should be done? Calls are coming for meat taxes and a move to more sustainable farming. Meanwhile, entrepreneurs are looking into lab grown meat and meat substitutes. But others point out that animal products can be part of a healthy diet and that livestock can eat things that people can't. Razia Iqbal and a panel of experts discuss whether the pleasures of eating meat are worth the costs.(Photo: A butcher holding up cuts of meat during a pre-Christmas meat sale at a market in London. Credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images)
Donald Trump's announcement that he's formally recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and setting in motion a plan to move the US embassy there has been condemned by many world leaders. So where does it leave the Palestinians? The decision has motivated some to take to the streets in protest. Others wonder how peace can now be achieved. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, has said that the US has lost its right to act as a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, and Saeb Erekat, his chief peace negotiator, has said 'the two-state solution is over'. So, is that right? Could a one-state solution now be a viable alternative and what would that look like? And how does the peace plan envisaged by Donald Trump's son-in-law and Middle East envoy, Jared Kushner, fit in? Owen Bennett Jones and a panel of experts discuss the options left for the Palestinians. (Photo of Palestinians sitting on a wall overlooking the Dome of the Rock inside the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount by Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)
In March you could buy a Bitcoin, one of a number of ‘cryptocurrencies’, for about US$1,200. Since then its value has increased more than tenfold to over US$15,000. So why the excitement? Is it yet another irrational speculative bubble driven by what John Maynard Keynes used to call ‘animal spirits’? Or is the excitement really about the de-centralised technology that underpins Bitcoin? Some argue that this technology, known as blockchain, is as revolutionary as the internet and will change how we bank, work, and live. On Newshour Extra this week, Owen Bennett Jones and his guest discuss whether Bitcoin and blockchain are leading us to a brave new world or towards another financial crash.
A key deadline is looming for Brexit Britain. The British government has until Monday, December 4th, to finalise its offer on three key issues: the Irish border, a financial settlement and European citizens rights. The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said clarity on the British offer had to be provided in advance of the EU leaders' summit in December. The EU's 27 members will then decide whether "sufficient progress" has been made to move the talks on to the next phase about a future trading relationship. So has Britain's offer gone far enough? What sticking points remain? And would Britain walk away from the talks if its position is rejected? Owen Bennett Jones and a panel of guest discuss the state of the Brexit negotiations. What will it take for them to advance - and what happens if they do not?(Photo of EU/UK flag pin by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri shocked his country when he recently resigned while in Saudi Arabia citing fears for his safety. The move plunged Lebanon into a crisis as Lebanese leaders accused Saudi Arabia of forcing him to go. It has also stoked fears of major showdown between Lebanon’s Saudi-backed Sunnis and the Iranian-backed Shia militant group Hezbollah. On his return to Lebanon this week, Hariri agreed to withdraw his resignation and seek ‘dialogue’. So who is ultimately driving events in Lebanon, Hariri, Saudi Arabia, or Hezbollah and Iran? On Newshour Extra this week Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss what Saudi Arabia wants in Lebanon and whether it's gearing up to take on Hezbollah at all costs.(Photo: the Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri with Saudi Chargé d'Affairs Walid al-Bukhari during a ceremony in Baadba, Lebanon on November 22, 2017. Credit: Getty Images)
One of the explanations for the victory of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the US presidential election was that Trump had pushed back against the progressive cultural values that had been occupying the US political mainstream. There was a feeling that cultural issues championed on the left around identity, race, religion, gender, and sexuality had taken a seat at the political top table in the Obama years, and that many people - mostly white men - sought a return to times when roles were clearly defined and people weren't worried about 'political correctness'. So called 'culture wars' - pitting progressive tribes against traditional rivals - are nothing new in American politics, but the divisions today are more pronounced than ever. Compare that with Europe, where for decades, mainstream political parties have broadly agreed on socially progressive values and sought inclusive societies. But the picture is changing. The politics around values and identity is driving events across Europe. First, there was Brexit and then came the success of a number of anti-immigration political parties, most notably in Germany. This week on Newshour Extra, Owen Bennett Jones and a panel of guests discuss whether American-style culture wars have taken root in Europe. What are the flash points causing divisions and what is behind them?(Photo of a Black Lives Matter protester in London by Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Images)
When President Trump was elected a year ago he promised tough action on China. During his campaign he called the rising Asian power a currency manipulator and threatened tariffs on Chinese goods. But the tone since then has significantly softened. President Trump has gone on to highlight his 'very good' relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping and made much of shared cooperation on issues like the threat from North Korea. This week, President Trump put that relationship to the test on his first official visit to Beijing. So what have we learnt? When it comes to security and trade does he view the country more as a partner or a rival? On Newshour Extra, Owen Bennett Jones and a panel of guests discuss the US-China relationship. Which of the global powers is on the front foot and which has the most to lose?(Photo: US President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing on November 9, 2017. Credit: Getty Images)
Donald Trump has said his proposed tax cuts will be 'rocket fuel' for the US economy. He is the latest in a long line of political leaders chasing economic growth as a key policy objective. We are told again and again that GDP - Gross Domestic Product - growth is good for the economy; it lifts people out of poverty, provides jobs and investment, and improves lives. While there is general agreement about the need for growth in the developing world, what about the costs of growth in the rich world? Is growth accelerating environmental damage? Is it causing greater inequality?Owen Bennett Jones is joined by Tim Jackson from the Centre for Sustainable Prosperity, University of Surrey; Daniel Ben Ami - author of Ferraris for All: In defence of Economic Progress; Jared Bernstein, economic adviser to President Barack Obama; and Annie Quick of the New Economics Foundation, to discuss who really benefits from growth and whether we can have prosperity without it.(Photo: The bronze bull statue near Wall Street in lower Manhattan by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
Kenya's disputed presidential election has plunged the country into crisis and brought the legitimacy of the whole democratic process there into question. So on this week's Newshour Extra we take a look across Sub-Saharan Africa, and ask whether democracy is the best system of government for the continent; and if so, are there uniquely African models of the democratic process. Join Owen Bennett Jones and his guests as they discuss ethnic division, democracy and autocracy in Africa.(Photo of voter's marked finger in Kenyan election by Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images)(NB: This audio has been altered from its original format due to an inaccuracy.)
After its traumatic defeat in the Second World War, Japan turned its back on military power and concentrated instead on economic growth. Japan’s alliance with the US was enough to protect it from threats in the Cold War. But times have changed. China has now overtaken Japan in both economic growth and military spending. And while China flexes new found muscles, Japan’s watches as North Korean missiles fly over its territory. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono announced last month that Tokyo would be seeking a greater role in world affairs, including boosting its military. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was quick to establish a relationship with Donald Trump. But is the anti-globalist and America-first President a solid ally? This week on Newshour Extra Owen Bennett Jones and his guests looks at how Japan is responding to threats – and how a tougher new posture might affect the world.(Photo: Ships sail in formation behind the flag of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force during a naval fleet review. Credit: Getty Images)
A nuclear weapon in the hands of the Ayatollahs has long been a nightmare of Iran's opponents in the Middle East and beyond. So when, in 2015, the world's big powers signed a deal with Iran that prevented it from developing a nuclear bomb it was seen as a triumph for diplomacy. But the deal has always had its critics. US hawks want to scrap it or at least bring Iran back to the negotiating table. President Trump is listening, calling the deal 'an embarrassment' and 'the worst deal ever'. On Newshour Extra, Owen Bennett Jones and a panel of guests discuss the deal's faults and merits, and explore whether or not it has made the world a safer place.(Photo of an opponent of the Iran nuclear deal by Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images)
We live in dangerous times. Conflicts in the Middle East continue unabated; President Trump threatens to "totally destroy" North Korea; and Catalonia opts to secede from Spain with potentially violent consequences. UN Secretary General, António Guterres recently said “We are in a world in pieces. We need to be a world at peace”. So why is it so hard to resolve conflicts and what makes an effective peace-maker? On Newshour Extra this week, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss the art of conflict resolution and the people who make it possible.Photo: Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin display their Nobel Peace Prizes December 10, 1994 in Oslo, Norway. Credit: Getty Images
What’s so important about having your own country? On Monday many Kurds in Northern Iraq voted for independence, and the Spanish government is seeking to stop a separatist referendum in Catalonia this Sunday. But why do many Iraqi Kurds and Catalans want an independent state given that both regions already have a large degree of autonomy?Is it about national identity or economic independence? Are there common themes or is every case unique? And what are the legal precedents for secession? Owen Bennett Jones and his guests look at self-determination, secession, and what it means to be a nation.(Photo: students in Barcelona demonstrating in favour of Catalan independence. Credit: Getty Images)
With journalists disbelieved, politicians distrusted, judges called ‘enemies of the people’, and scientists and experts dismissed out of hand, established democracies seem to be undergoing a crisis of trust. But what has caused it: growing affluence, austerity, growing inequality, the social media, or aggressive journalists? To what extent is the old democratic model damaged? Or is democracy becoming so advanced, is the attack on unelected authority so vigorous, that liberal democracies are starting to undermine themselves from within? Does the erosion of trust matter, and if so how can it be rebuilt? This week on Newshour Extra Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss trust and the lack of it.(Photo: A man dressed in blue surgical scrubs holds up a large syringe. Credit: Getty Images)
The trail of wrecked buildings, overturned cars, and broken boats in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma have reminded the world of the ferocious power of nature. Extreme weather events are becoming more common, more destructive, and much more costly. So who foots the bill to pick up the pieces? The global insurance industry is unable to cover the mounting losses. Meanwhile, governments hesitate to make taxpayers plug the growing gap between damage and the cost of repair. There is also hot debate over to what extent climate change is to blame and by extension what responsibility big industry and the developed world carry. This week on Newshour Extra Owen Bennett Jones and a panel of expert guests looks at how we are going to pay the price that comes with extreme weather.(Photo: A woman walks on a street on the French Caribbean island of Saint-Martin after it was hit by Hurricane Irma. Credit: Getty Images)
As tens of thousands of Muslim Rohingya refugees flee Myanmar for Bangladesh we ask who's responsible for the violence in Rakhine state that's forcing them out. It all looked so different two years ago when Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi won landmark elections in Myanmar at the start of what looked like a new era for the country, free from dominance by the army. On this week on Newshour Extra, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss what has gone wrong in Myanmar and ask why Aung San Suu Kyi - who made her reputation defending human rights - is refusing to denounce the military's actions against the Rohingya.Photo: Rohingya refugees from Myanmar's Rakhine state arriving at the Bangladeshi border. Getty Images
The spread of smartphones has come with increasing rates of depression in teenagers. Psychologists are debating whether too much time online and looking at screens is causing rising rates of obesity, depression and even suicide, or whether these problems are - for some reason - affecting all of society including teenagers.(Photo: Teenager using smart phone in bed. Credit: Getty Images)
The violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia - which left one woman dead and many others injured - have intensified the debate about the hundreds of statues and plaques commemorating Confederate leaders right across the United States.So, what is the best way to remember troubled history? Should monuments be re-named, removed or ignored? Does pushing for more removals risk inflaming the identity politics at the root of the clashes in Charlottesville?Plus - what parallels are there with the UK, where events in the US have renewed debate about the many monuments to historical figures in Britain? Owen Bennett-Jones and a panel of guests debate what should be done about statues that offend.(Photo of the statue of Confederate General, Robert E. Lee, in Charlottesville, Virginia by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Facial recognition technology - once a thing of science fiction - is coming to a screen near you. It’s already helping to smooth our travel experiences and assisting police to track and arrest suspects. Facial recognition offers alternatives to fingerprints, passwords and PINs. So where will the technology improve our security, and where will it ‘nudge’ our behaviour? What does it mean for society when corporations can increasingly recognise us as individuals? Are laws and procedures keeping up with the technology – particularly when it’s abused or it goes wrong? Plus - are there warnings in the widespread way the technology is being applied In China? Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss how facial recognition is quietly changing the way we live.(Photo: Facial recognition system showing a blue interface with a human head and biometrics data. Credit Maxiphoto/Getty Images)
As the 70th anniversary of the partition of British India approaches, Owen Bennett Jones is in Pakistan. In the massive, energetic, creative and sometimes violent city of Karachi, Owen and his guests ask how successful has Pakistan been, what was its purpose and have these goals been fulfilled? Also, was it meant to be an Islamic state at its birth and if so, how has that project gone? Pakistanis often blame foreign powers for their problems but how fair is that? Join Owen for Newshour Extra as we consider Pakistan's record and ask where the country might be heading.(Photo: a Pakistani labourer hangs wedding fabrics to dry after the dyeing process in Lahore. Credit: Getty Images)
In 2014 Narendra Modi's BJP returned to power winning a majority in India's parliament. He offered a billion Indians a blend of pro-business economics and a vision of India as primarily a Hindu state. In recent months, Muslims and Dalits - formerly known as untouchables - have been beaten and sometimes killed on suspicion of having slaughtered cows, which are sacred to many Hindus. So as India approaches the 70th anniversary of its independence Owen Bennett Jones is in Delhi to discuss with a panel of experts the BJP's Hindu Nationalism and ask how much of threat is it to India's secular republic.(Photo by Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images)
Water supplies are coming under pressure in many parts of the world. Too much water is taken out of rivers or pumped from underground aquifers to be sustainable. While water has been used as a weapon of war for centuries, could its scarcity become a cause of future conflicts? With a finite supply of fresh water and increasing demands being placed on it, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss the consequences on food production and social stability of an increasingly strained water supply for the planet's growing population.(Photo: waterfall Credit: Getty Images)
Half of all people born in industrialised countries today can expect to live to 100. What implications does that have for individuals and for societies around the world? Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss the many issues arising from an ageing society and ask whether one day we could live forever.(Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
'Their fictitious state has fallen,' announced an Iraqi spokesman following the retaking of Mosul this week after a long and brutal battle with Islamic State militants. With IS also in retreat in Raqqa in neighbouring Syria, regarded by the militants as the capital of their caliphate, how will they respond? Will IS dwindle into fragmented criminal gangs or can it regroup, re-arm, and continue to recruit foreign fighters to the cause? Will it continue to inspire militants from Libya to the Philippines? This week on Newshour Extra Owen Bennett Jones and a panel of experts look at the future of one of the most successful Islamist groups of recent times and ask how will IS fight back?(Photo of man removing Islamic State flag by DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Globalisation is under fire. Many voters in Britain and America have turned against it, and in President Trump protectionism has found a champion. But the promoters of globalisation are regrouping. As the G20 group of countries with the largest economies meets in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged to keep working towards an interconnected world. And China is working on a massive infrastructure programme to stimulate trade flows. This week on Newshour Extra Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss whether the era of free trade is at risk and which countries will provide leadership in pushing globalisation forward.(Image: The main gates of the Tata steelworks in Wales. Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Cost, coverage, choice - some of the trade-offs needed to make a healthy nation. As the US Congress struggles to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act - widely known as Obamacare - we ask what makes for a good healthcare system and how does society as a whole get value for money? Is it an insurance based system, like many used world wide, or is a single payer system like Britain's National Health System better and more fair?(Photo: People protesting against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Credit: Getty Images)
Greece has been through dark economic times over the past decade. Last week a European Union loan of 8.5bn Euros enabled Greece to meet its latest debt payments. The IMF says this deal will help Greece stand on its own feet again over the course of the next year. But after the years of austerity and hardship, do the Greek people believe this will do anything to improve their lives? For Newshour Extra this week, Owen Bennett Jones is in Athens to discuss the consequences of living with long-term austerity and the prognosis for economic recovery.Photo: Anti-austerity protest in Athens, May 2017. Credit: Getty Images
Qatar has been economically and diplomatically isolated by its powerful neighbours, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain. They accuse the small Gulf state of supporting terrorist groups and of being too close to the regional Shia power-house Iran. While Qatar enjoys large revenues from oil and gas, it is also highly dependent on imports to feed its population of 2.7 million. So the cutting of trade links is already starting to have an impact with seaports in the region now closed to Qatari-flagged vessels. This week on Newshour Extra, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss why Qatar’s Arab neighbours have turned against it and how will a dangerous situation be defused.Photo: a Saudi woman and a boy walking past the Qatar Airways branch in the Saudi capital Riyadh, after it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia following a severing of relations between major gulf states and gas-rich Qatar. Credit: Getty Images
The UK election has produced a much closer result than expected, with the Conservative Party now seeking to form a minority government. On Newshour Extra this week, Owen Bennett Jones and his panel of experts from around the world take a step back and ask what issues voters really take into account when making their choice in democratic elections; what motivates that very personal choice; and whether old ideologies allegiances have been swept aside to be replaced by new and stronger ties fostered by a more individual brand of politics.
Brazil has been rocked by a series of corruption scandals in recent years - Operation 'Car Wash' is just one of the many ongoing investigations that stretch into the highest levels of business and politics. President Michel Temer is himself implicated in a scandal that could well bring his term of office to an early end - making him the country's second president ousted within a year. His approval ratings are rock bottom, street protests against him are growing, and the Supreme Court has now ordered him to answer police questions about the allegations against him. On this week's Newshour Extra, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests ask how Brazil, once hailed as a bright hope of emerging BRICS nations, has reached this point of crisis and whether the corruption investigations can clean up the mess.Photo: Two Brazilian students shows their hands with the slogan: 'Enough of Corruption' written on them. Credit: Getty Images
In the wake of the suicide bomb attack at a concert venue in Manchester, Newshour Extra this week is asking how major cities around the world can minimise the risk to their citizens from such atrocities. Owen Bennett Jones and his guests consider urban security, counter-terrorism, and the compromises different cities make between civil liberties and public safety.Photo: an armed policeman and a soldier patrol the streets of London, 24th May 2017. Credit: Getty Images
President Trump’s connections with Russia is a story that won’t go away. There are so many allegations flying around that it can be difficult to separate what is actually known and what is rumour. The President and his supporters have one key point - that despite all the coverage and official investigations, there is still no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Nor is there evidence that Trump’s business connections to Russia are other than legitimate. But did Russia try to influence the election outcome? And what about the stream of stories linking members of Trump’s team to Russia? As a special counsel is appointed to oversee the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election, Owen Bennett Jones and panel of expert guests marshal the facts and explain what is known for sure about Donald Trump’s longstanding relationship with Russia.Photo: Donald Trump in White House talking on phone to President Putin, 28 January 2017. Credit: Getty Images
Next week Iranians go to the polls to elect a new president. But how much of a choice do they really have? All six candidates are men, and all six have been chosen by the unelected Guardian Council. The members of the Council are selected by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has himself never stood for election. So how different are the views of each of the candidates and how much power will the next president have to set a new direction for the country? At a time when the world is looking at Iran following its nuclear deal with the west, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss what difference this presidential election will make.Photo: Woman voting in Iranian parliamentary elections 2016. Credit: Getty Images
Science has changed the world - it helps us live longer and more productive lives. It helps us communicate, explore the universe, understand our planet and cure our illnesses. It's so powerful a force that it has undermined confidence in religion and challenged humans to rethink their purpose. Yet some of science's keenest advocates fear that there is a problem with science, that there is something wrong with the way it is currently practiced and this at a time when science is under attack not just from old fashioned creationists but from people opposed to vaccination, climate change deniers and those who are suspicious it serves the interest of big corporations. So, are there fundamental problems with the way science is done today? Join Owen Bennett Jones with his guests this week discussing how science can live up to its promise.Photo: Cancer research laboratory, Cambridge UK. Credit: Getty Images
Donald Trump came into the White House promising to tear up the US foreign policy playbook: Russia could be a friend, NATO was ‘obsolete’, and trade deals hurt American jobs. In his first hundred days has President Trump carried out his radical promises or is he beginning to sense the limitations of the most important job in the world? This week on Newshour Extra Owen Bennett Jones and a panel of expert guests discuss Mr Trump’s remaking of American foreign policy.
Is the increasingly autocratic brand of populism adopted by Hungary’s right-wing government becoming a laboratory for right wing parties around the world? Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s tough policy against Muslim migrants and his call to defend Europe’s Christian civilisation have put him at odds with the rest of the European Union. On Newshour Extra this week, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss this Hungarian vision of an ‘illiberal democracy’ and ask whether what was once considered on the edge of the European right, is now becoming an increasingly mainstream ideology.
Highly sophisticated techniques to ‘micro-target’ voters, using personal data and demographics have been credited with contributing to the recent outcomes of both the Brexit vote in the UK and Donald Trump’s victory in America. Strategists involved in the forthcoming elections in France and Germany ignore these latest methods at their peril. But can techniques used in marketing to sell cars and toothpaste really be effective in predicting and then manipulating voters in an election? Join Owen Bennett Jones and his guests on Newshour Extra as they discuss what part micro-targeting will have in the politics of tomorrow.
How will President Trump's pledge to remove illegal immigrants and create jobs for Americans impact America's agricultural heartlands? Owen Bennett Jones and his guests are in the rural American state of Nebraska to discuss whether Mr Trump's trade policies could in fact hurt farming communities rather than help them.Photo: Nebraska cattle farmer. Credit: Getty Images
The state of Minnesota is home to America’s largest Somali community. This week, Owen Bennett Jones and the Newshour Extra team are there for a special edition of the programme. In front of a live audience, Owen and his guests will examine the impact of President Trump’s executive order to exclude immigrants from majority-muslim countries including Somalia. Mr Trump argues that current immigration laws leave America vulnerable to domestic terror attacks by nationals from those ‘high risk’ countries. So what does this mean for the more than 150,000 Somalis who now live in the United States, many of whom are refugees from conflict in their home country? And what does the future hold for a migrant community President Trump has called a ‘disaster’ for Minnesota.Photo: Members of the Somali community campaigning in Minnesota State elections, Nov 2016. Credit: Getty Images
South Sudan, the world’s newest state, faces a humanitarian catastrophe from famine driven by conflict. According to the United Nations many millions are threatened by severe food insecurity, with at least 100,000 facing starvation. Aid agencies are gearing up their efforts to reach some of the country’s remotest regions, but the presence of armed groups makes food distribution difficult. This week on Newshour Extra, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests ask why South Sudan, rich in oil and gas, has failed to live up to the aspirations of its people and what can be done to bring it back from the brink.Photo: Child at an MSF malnutrition centre in Aweil, South Sudan. Credit: Getty Images
This week the UK’s parliament gave Prime Minister Theresa May permission to trigger the process that will take the UK out of the European Union. Two years of negotiations will follow. But what kind of deal should Mrs May go for? Hard Brexit that treats the EU like any other trading partner, or something much closer? On this week’s Newshour Extra Owen Bennett Jones and a panel of experts sift through the tough choices facing Britain over the next two years.(Photo: Brexit Sandcastles. Credit: Getty Images)
Pakistan was conceived of as a country where Muslims could live free of Hindu domination and discrimination but was that the extent of the project? Was it meant to be a country in which Muslims could live safely or was the idea to establish an Islamic state? And is, in fact, an Islamic state the final goal of Muslims? Are there ways of blending the ideas of Islam with systems of government that do not take a view on religion and allow individuals to live their religious lives as they see fit? On this week’s Newshour Extra Owen Bennett Jones is in the Pakistani capital Islamabad to find out whether an Islamic state is possible in the modern world.The guests this week are Zubair Safdar, Public Policy Analyst and Media Coordinator of the Jamaat-e-Islami political party, Dr Soumia Aziz, Lecturer in Islamic Studies at Islamic International University, Islamabad, and Mosharraf Zaidi, the leader of Alif Ailaan, a political campaign that helps to address Pakistan’s education crisis, and also a columnist and former government adviser.Owen Bennett Jones was also speaking to lawyers Asma Jahangir and Justice Muhammad Raza Khan(Photo: Pakistan's national flag Credit: Getty Images)
If we had the scientific capability to bring back extinct species should we do it? Which ones would we choose and why? How about woolly mammoths roaming across the Arctic tundra, or vast flocks of passenger pigeons – once the most numerous birds on earth – back in our skies again? Scientists believe they are on the threshold of the technologies that could make all this possible. But could the power to bring animals back make us more complacent about their extinction? And what might the consequences be for the habitats into which they’re introduced? On this week’s Newshour Extra Owen Bennett Jones and his guests take a step back from the global news agenda to consider one of the great challenges facing biological and environmental scientists today.(Photo: artist's impression of a woolly mammoth. Credit: Thinkstock)
A presidential race for the Elysee Palace that has torn up the rule book is nearing its tumultuous conclusion. France’s two main parties have cast aside their old leaders and an independent candidate, Emmanuel Macron - the youthful leader of a new left-leaning movement ‘En Marche’ - is now widely seen as the front runner. The only certainty throughout has been the strong support for the far-right Front National leader, Marine Le Pen, riding high in the polls on the populist, anti-establishment policies. Join Owen Bennett Jones and his guests as they discuss which two candidates will make it through to the second round in May, and what the consequences will be for France and the rest of Europe.
Six years ago this week the brutal repression of a protest in Libya's second city of Benghazi inspired a revolution that led to the fall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Today the country is preyed on by more than 1500 militias. Different governments rule in the west around Tripoli and in the east from Tobruk.Now some international powers are considering abandoning the ineffectual UN-led attempts to find political solutions and instead are turning once again to a Libyan military leader to seize control. General Khalifa Haftar commander of a powerful militia, the Libyan National Army, is seen by his supporters as the only man to restore stability to the country. But his critics argue that the last thing Libya needs is a return to the rule of a strongman.(Photo: General Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army. Credit: Getty Images)
Robots, artificial intelligence and automation are spreading beyond the assembly line to compete for many of our jobs. Economists forecast that as many as half of current jobs in the developed world could be lost to computers in a generation, and as many as two-thirds in manufacturing-heavy China. But what about the new jobs that will emerge? And could we be at the threshold of a world in which robots do all the unpleasant work leaving us free finally, in the words of JM Keynes, to learn how to live ‘wisely, agreeably and well’?(Photo: Robot hand holding an apple. Credit: Getty Images)
Steve Bannon is widely seen as one of the most influential – and in some quarters one of the most dangerous - men in President Trump’s administration. He holds the key post of White House Chief Strategist, but who is he and what does he really believe? Join Owen Bennett Jones and his guests on Newshour Extra this week as they consider Mr Bannon's influence in the future direction of policy. How will his mix of right and left-wing views shape President Trump’s economic plans? How might his interest in fringe historical theories impact on social and foreign policy? And what are the consequences of his belief that the Judeo-Christian West is facing an existential crisis in its confrontation with the Islamic world?
Nuclear weapons and mutually assured destruction are associated with the Cold War but today more countries have the bomb than ever. An American president has the power to unilaterally start a nuclear war. In South Asia, India and Pakistan face off across a volatile border, both countries hold nuclear arsenals primed and ready to fire. Elsewhere, rogue-nation North Korea edges closer to nuclear capability, and a nuclear armed Israel sees its very existence threatened by Iran. So how safe are we from nuclear destruction? Join Owen Bennett Jones and his guests on Newshour Extra as this week they discuss the nature of the threats we face from nuclear weapons: how secure are global stockpiles, and what is the likelihood that any one of the many thousands of nuclear warheads across the globe could be launched intentionally or by accident?(Photo: Titan II nuclear capable missile Credit: Getty Images)
Turkey straddles the divide between Europe and Asia and is seen as a key ally against the rise of islamist extremism. Yet Turkey is at the same time facing its own potentially destabilising political and security crises. In the week of Donald Trump’s inauguration, Newshour Extra takes an in-depth look at the multiple crises facing Turkey, so important to the stability of Europe and the west. Join the BBC’s former Turkey correspondent, Chris Morris and his guests as they discuss the country’s multiple crises and why they matter to Europe’s stability and the future of the western military alliance.
Three years ago this winter hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians gathered in Kiev's Independence Square, demanding closer integration with Europe instead of Russia, and, eventually, forcing the government's resignation. But what's changed in the years since? Demonstrators continue to protest over poor economic conditions and entrenched corruption, and there has been an exodus of reformers from the government, claiming their attempts at change are being blocked. Meanwhile, despite intermittent ceasefires, the conflict in the eastern Donbass region with Russian-backed rebels seems no closer to peace. Join Owen Bennett Jones for a special edition of Newshour Extra in Kiev, as he and his expert panellists discuss the future of Ukraine.Contributor names:Svitlana Zalischchuk - Member of the Ukrainian Parliament and former journalist.Vladimir Gusak - Member of the Ukrainian Parliament.Taras Berezovets - Political analyst.Tom Burridge - BBC Kiev correspondent(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
In 2016 the murder rate in the American city of Chicago went up by 50% - there were were 762 killings. That's more killings in Chicago than Los Angeles and New York combined. The fact other cities have far lower levels of violence raises the question - what are they doing right? How have they brought murder rates down? Join Owen Bennett Jones and his panel of experts discussing the social, economic, political and policing issues that lie behind the numbers and the possible solutions to dealing with urban violence.(Photo: A march in Chicago to commemorate victims of gun violence held on New Year's Eve 2016. Credit: Getty Images)
BBC correspondents predict what's going to happen on the world stage in the coming year. Joining Owen Bennett Jones to look into the global crystal ball are Lyse Doucet, Jon Sopel, James Robbins and Kevin Connolly. So what are their predictions for Donald Trump's presidency, elections in France, Putin's ambitions and the various crises in the Middle East?
What should we make of the growing influence of Iran in the politics of the region? Along with Russia, Iran has been a key ally to President Assad in turning the tide the Syrian conflict. So is it right to cast this as the growing dominance of Shia powers and their allies over their Sunni rivals, or is this an over-simplistic interpretation of a complex regional power struggle? Join Owen Bennett Jones and his guests as they discuss the changing fortunes in Syria and the prospects for a better 2017 for the region.
The delicate balancing act over Taiwan has been a cornerstone of US-China relations for decades, but it appears that Donald Trump wants to shake it up. In early December he broke decades of diplomatic protocol by talking on the phone with the president of Taiwan. It was the first publicly-reported contact between a Taiwanese leader and a US President or president-elect in forty years, and China responded immediately, saying it had "serious concerns". On this week's Newshour Extra, Owen Bennett Jones and his international panel of experts consider the future of the US-China relationship, and what any changes could mean for the rest of the region and the world.
Opposition leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo are warning that the country faces civil war if the current president, Joseph Kabila, refuses to step down at the end of his term of office. That term was due to end this month but elections will not now be held until April 2018, and his opponents have accused him of trying to cling on to power. The DRC is not only a key source of minerals required in modern technology, it also has the largest UN peacekeeping mission in the world. As tensions rise, can the negotiations overseen by the DRC’s Catholic bishops find a compromise? On this week’s Newshour Extra, Owen Bennett Jones and his expert guests discuss the future of the DRC, and whether further violence can be prevented.
On just his second day in office, President Obama signed an executive order to close the Guantanamo Bay prison within a year. It’s now approaching the end of his second term and prisoners are still being held there. Why has it been so difficult to close? And what will happen under President Trump, who made campaign promises to expand it? Join Owen Bennett Jones and his guests on this week’s Newshour Extra as they discuss what the Guantanamo Bay detention camp has achieved and what its future will look like.(Picture: razor wire and an American flag around the perimeter of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba. Credit: John Moore/Getty Images)
Donald Trump has promised to tear up the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal – or TPP – on his first day in office. The massive trade deal agreed in 2015 would have lowered tariffs and deepened economic ties between twelve countries, which together cover 40% of the world’s economy. The demise of the TPP comes as other global trade deals, such as the TTIP between the US and EU, face calls to be dropped or renegotiated. On this week’s Newshour Extra, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss why there is now such a backlash against multi-country trade deals, and whether this marks an end to the steady progress of globalisation.(Photo: People hold signs as they demonstrate against the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Credit: Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images)
This week, a special programme recorded in Damascus and Beirut looking at the Syrian conflict and its possible solutions. It’s a highly complex struggle. But is it right to characterise it as a civil war, a home-grown uprising to Bashar al-Assad’s brutal regime – as many in the Syrian opposition view it? Or is the conflict a war against Syria, conducted by militant jihadi groups supported by Syria’s enemies – as the Assad government would like it to be seen? In Damascus, Owen Bennett Jones talks to supporters of President Assad, and in Beirut he considers the same issues with a panel of Syrian government critics.(Photo: bereaved woman crying outside Aleppo hospital. Credit: Dan Isaacs, BBC)
What might American foreign policy look like under a Donald Trump presidency? Based on his rhetoric during the campaign, the scale of the departure from the status quo will be profound. He promises to upend long-standing relationships with both America's traditional allies and its foes; he says Europe and Asia should pay more for their own security; and his plans to defeat so-called Islamic State are bellicose but unfocussed. On this week's Newshour Extra, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests take Trump's campaign promises and hold them up to scrutiny. How much of what he's said does he really intend to implement - and will he be able to put policy into practice?Photo: Donald Trump on the campaign trail. Credit: Getty Images
Across the world we’re seeing the rise of a new kind of popular politics. The old established order is under threat and voters are turning to politicians who offer bold promises for a fresh start. Should we embrace these politicians as charismatic visionaries or deceitful populists manipulating truth in their desire for personal power? Owen Bennett Jones is joined by an expert panel for this special edition of the programme recorded at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas.(Picture credit: a Tea Party protestor holds two microphones)
Donald Trump says the US presidential election is rigged. To what extent are his complaints justified and just how do politicians and their supporters manipulate the results of elections in their favour? In this week’s Newshour Extra, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests consider the ways elections around the world can be tampered with and the means by which this these manipulations can be minimised.Photo: Polling station in British General Election Credit: Getty Images
South Africa’s universities are being rocked by increasingly violent student protests over tuition fees. The issue has become a flashpoint for a country struggling to provide education, jobs and housing, amid growing political divisions within the ruling ANC party. The president, Jacob Zuma, is facing strong criticism that his government is rife with corruption and mismanagement. Has South Africa failed to live up its promise as the “rainbow nation”? Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss South Africa’s growing economic and political crises.Photo: Student protests in Johannesburg. Credit: Getty Images
Is debt essential for economic growth? We look at the economics and morality of debt. Should countries burdened with huge debts be forced to repay them in full? And, if it is fine for an individual to borrow large sums to buy a house, why shouldn’t governments do the same to finance employment schemes or large infrastructure projects? Owen Bennett Jones and his expert panel are in front of a live audience at the How the Light Gets in Festival in Hay-on-Wye to discuss the problems of debt.(Photo: Students pull a mock ball and chain representing student debt. Credit: Getty Images)
The use of mercenaries in warfare has a very long history, and still very much in evidence today. African governments seeking to push back rebel insurgents often employ mercenaries to carry out the task. From Yemen to Syria, mercenaries are directly involved in combat roles. And defence and training work once carried out by national armies is now often done by private military contractors. In this week’s Newshour Extra, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests consider the role played by these privatised forces fighting someone else’s war.Photo: soldier firing automatic weapon Credit: Getty Images
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are seen as the most unpopular candidates to have ever stood for the presidency of the United States. So why is it so difficult for a third party candidate to break through and make a real impact? Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss whether the US political system, trumpeted as a shining beacon of democracy across the world, really does give the voter the best choice.(Photo: A Trump supporter at the first US presidential debate in September 2016. Credit: Getty Images)
Tensions are high in the disputed region of Kashmir. Weeks of protest in the Indian-administered part have left dozens dead and hundreds injured many of them blinded by crowd-control pellets fired by the Indian army. Kashmir has been a dangerous flashpoint between nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan for more than six decades. Currently a boundary – the Line of Control – divides the region in two and it remains one of the most heavily militarised zones in the world. In this week’s Newshour Extra, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss the future of Kashmir and the options for a political resolution to the highly complex dispute over the region’s sovereignty.Photo: Kashmiri protestors throw stones towards Indian police during clashes in Srinagar. Credit: Getty Images
How comfortable would you feel getting into a vehicle driven by a computer? Versions of the driver-less car are now a reality, already on public roads in Singapore and as a taxi service in the city of Pittsburgh in the United States. But can a computer safely navigate complex, unpredictable situations in poor visibility? And can government legislation keep up with the fast-changing pace of technological progress? Owen Bennett Jones and his guests consider the safety of this new technology and who should take responsibility when things go wrong.(Photo: Cars driving into a sunset in Johannesburg. Credit: Getty Images)
The battle of Stalingrad was arguably the most important strategic battle of the Second World War. The Germans and their allies were eventually defeated by Russian forces after a long, brutal conflict and siege of the city. Aleppo has been described as Syria’s Stalingrad – the country’s largest city, its commercial and trading powerhouse – with rebel held areas under siege by government forces and much of it reduced to rubble. This week on Newshour Extra we’re devoting the programme to the city of Aleppo and its strategic significance in Syria’s long and bloody civil conflict. Join Owen Bennett Jones and his guests both from inside and outside the city, along with the politicians currently meeting in London to discuss diplomatic solutions to bring the war to an end.Photo: Amid the rubble after an air strike on a rebel-held neighbourhood of Aleppo. Credit: Getty Images
In the UK most payments now made do not involve cash. Rather than handing over notes and coins, most transfers are made electronically. South Korea's central bank has a target of eliminating cash by 2020 and many other countries want to reduce the amount of physical currency in circulation as it is quite costly. So is cash going to be a thing of the past? Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss the possibility of a truly cashless society.
There was widespread shock and international condemnation when the Islamic State group destroyed the ancient Syrian site of Palmyra in 2015. But why does preserving heritage matter? Does an exploration of the past always bring unity, or is there a danger that preserving history can fuel divisions? And are we in danger of prioritising culture over human life? Join Owen Bennett Jones for a special edition of Newshour Extra recorded in front of a live audience in Edinburgh, with guests from the Edinburgh International Culture Summit.(Photo: A Syrian soldier inside Palmyra's Temple of Bel. Credit: Getty Images)
This week it was announced that London was getting a new team of specialist police officers to investigate online hate crimes, including abuse on Twitter and Facebook. But how widespread is the problem, and is getting law enforcement involved the best way to tackle it? In this week’s Newshour Extra, join Owen Bennett Jones and his guests as they discuss why the abuse happens, and whether there should be limits to free speech on social media.Image: Woman looking at phone Credit: Thinkstock
Is India’s caste system a discriminatory and divisive anachronism that’s had its day, or does it provide stability and order in a complex society with its roots in ancient traditions? Members of the low-caste Dalit community – once known as ‘untouchables’ – are marching in the state of Gujarat following a spate of recent attacks against them. They say they’ll boycott their designated tasks within the caste system, which include the manual cleaning of sewers and the disposal of dead animals. Join Anu Anand and her guests as they discuss whether positive discrimination on the basis of caste works – or whether it’s time to abolish the caste system altogether.Photo: a protester against attacks on Dalits in Gujarat State, India. Credit: Getty
Zimbabwe’s economy is in severe crisis and President Robert Mugabe’s opponents are growing increasingly bold with widespread public sector strikes and protests on the streets of the capital Harare and other cities. As ever, Mr Mugabe remains defiant, and has recently made it clear he intends to be president of Zimbabwe until he dies. He’s now 92 and has led the country since independence in 1980 so it’s hardly surprising that even his most loyal allies are starting to look to the future. In this week’s programme, Rebecca Kesby and her guests discuss who might take over as Zimbabwe’s next leader and how the country can escape from its latest economic crisis.(Picture credit: Getty Images)
“The important thing in life is not to win but to take part, the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well”. So said the founder of the modern Olympic movement, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, at the end of the 19th Century. How does his noble ideal fit with the modern phenomena of professionalism, doping, individual financial gain, nationalistic pride, huge corporate sponsorship? Is the Olympic ideal still alive? In this week’s edition of the programme, as the Rio Games approach, join Owen Bennett Jones and his guests as they discuss the present and future of the Olympics.Photo: Athletes at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Credit: Getty Images
This week, Owen Bennett Jones is in Istanbul for a special edition of the programme looking at the aftermath of the failed coup attempt in Turkey. We ask who was really behind the putsch and what will be the impact of President Erdogan’s purge of tens of thousands of people from the armed forces, the judicial system and from academic institutions. With Owen will be a panel of guests from across the political spectrum, as well as a former senior member of the military. They’ll discuss the future of Turkish democracy after the violent upheaval and uncompromising government response.Photo: Pro Erdogan supporters at a rally in Istanbul following the failed military coup attempt of July 15. Credit: Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images
Is Bangladesh losing control to violent fundamentalists? That’s the question Razia Iqbal and her guests are discussing on this week’s Newshour Extra. In early July Islamist gunmen took hostages in a Dhaka cafe, leaving 20 dead. That’s part of an upsurge of deadly violence across the country that has included the brutal murders of many bloggers, atheists and secular intellectuals. Who is to blame? How much of the violence can be pinned on international groups like so-called Islamic State and al-Qaeda? And what should be done to bring stability back to Bangladesh?(Picture shows secular activists holding a torch-lit protest against the killing of blogger Niloy Chakrabarti. Credit: Getty Images)
British politics is in turmoil following the EU referendum result, and the American political establishment has been turned upside down by the rise of populist candidates. Is this a sign that democratic institutions are being successfully wrested from the grip of established elites, or that democracy itself is in crisis? Join Owen Bennett Jones and his panel of experts as they discuss whether there's a better way of doing democracy - and whether we should still be promoting it worldwide as the best form of government.(Picture shows ballot boxes in the United States. Credit: Getty Images)
Google famously said "don't be evil" in its mission statement. But what does this actually mean in practice? The giants of the internet such as Google, Facebook and Amazon have transformed our world by creating a virtual space within which we express our personal thoughts and satisfy our consumer demands. But in using them, we also reveal huge amounts of information about ourselves. This week, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests consider the duty of large technology companies such as these to act responsibly and use this power wisely. Join Owen and his guests for this edition of the programme recorded in front of a live audience at the ‘How the Light Gets In’ Festival in Hay-on-Wye, Wales.(Photo credit: AP)
What does the UK leaving the EU say about the strength of the organisation going forward? Can it perhaps accomplish more with a reluctant partner gone? Or is the ambition of ever-closer political and economic union doomed?Owen Bennett Jones is in Brussels with a panel of European politicians and experts to reflect on the implications of the UK voting to leave the European Union.On the panel: journalist Tom Nuttall, Lithuanian MEP Antanas Guoga and Rosa Balfour, senior fellow in the European Programme at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and German MEP Hans-Olaf Henkel.With contributions from former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt, Italian MEP Laura Ferrara, German MEP Beatrix von Storch,
This week Owen Bennett Jones and his guests on Newshour Extra explore the reasons behind the shocking level of fan violence at the Euro 2016 football championships in France. English and Russian supporters clashed both on the streets and inside the stadium, there were serious injuries, and tear gas was used by the police the break up the riots. We ask what motivates groups of young men to participate in group acts of violence, and to what extent they are organised by political groupings intent on fomenting unrest and confrontation with the police.(Photo: a tear gas canister explodes as England fans clash with police in Marseille. Credit: Getty Images)
What might foreign policy look like under the next president of the United States? This week, Ritula Shah presents the programmes from Washington, asking how President Trump or President Clinton might face up to the big global challenges: multi-dimensional war in Syria; Putin flexing his muscles in Russia; Beijing's territorial claims in the South China. These headaches and more await the next occupant of the White House, but how much do we know about how they’ll tackle them?Photo Credit: Getty Images
Will future wars be fought online? Just how much damage can be done by cyber terrorists hacking into to top secret military sites, secure government networks, or perhaps vital public utilities running our power and water supplies? And when does a hack become true cyber-warfare, requiring a military response? Join Owen Bennett Jones in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, as he talks to some of the world’s leading experts gathering for a conference on cyber conflict, discussing what measures can be taken to minimize these risks, and how much we really know about the secretive world of cyber-attacks.(Photo: Composite image of technology interface. Credit: Thinkstock)
How has a country so rich in natural resources ended up so poor? That’s the question Owen Bennett Jones and his guests are discussing in this week’s Newshour Extra. Venezuela’s economy is in freefall, the shops are empty of even the most basic commodities, and its people are desperate. For a nation blessed with vast oil wealth, the descent into chaos has been spectacular. President Maduro’s government is widely blamed for the mess, but how much does the fault lie with the policies of former president Hugo Chavez, and, more recently, the low price of oil? Join Owen and his panel as they analyse these issues, and ask - what possible hope is there for a recovery in Venezuela?(A child stands in front of graffiti in the 23 de Enero neighbourhood in Caracas, where the remains of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez are kept. Photo credit: Getty Images)
This week, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests are looking at a radical new economic and social vision for the country proposed by the Saudi monarchy. It’s not simply a set of proposals to end Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil. Beyond this, it seeks to provide new job opportunities for a generation of frustrated young Saudis, both men and women. With the end of the Saudi oil bonanza in sight, and draining military expenditure on foreign wars, the House of Saud is taking radical steps to maintain growth and stay in power. But can it successfully achieve these changes in the face of strong opposition both within and outside the country?Photo: Saudi people walk through a sand and dust storm in Riyadh. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
This week, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests tackle the world of tax havens, financial transparency and money laundering. World leaders, activists and experts met in London for a major conference on fighting global corruption, but what practical measures can be taken to make financial flows more transparent, prevent the proceeds of corruption from being hidden away, whilst at the same time allowing legitimate business to flourish?Photo Credit: Thinkstock
On Monday the Philippines holds what are seen as the most hotly contested elections in its history. The country is a key regional ally for the United States as part of its ‘Pivot to Asia’ strategy, but it is also a nation of extreme of wealth and poverty that has faced a long-standing Islamist insurgency. The leading candidates include the son of ex-dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and the front-runner for the presidency, Rodrigo Duterte, has drawn widespread comparisons to Donald Trump for his populist style and unscripted remarks.The Philippines has experienced a period of sustained growth over the past few years, but there are fears that this could be undermined by politicians who reject the strategies that have led to that success. Owen Bennett Jones and his expert guests discuss the state of democracy in the Philippines, its economic prospects and its future as a regional power.(Ferdinand Marcos Jr, a vice-presidential candidate and son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, campaigns in Manila. Photo credit: Getty Images)
Owen Bennett-Jones is at the University of Texas in Austin, discussing sport and empowerment in the United States. The major professional sports in America make billions of dollars in revenue, and great wealth to a select few top athletes. But college players, many of whom are African-American and whose sports generate huge amounts of money, are paid nothing. Join Owen Bennett-Jones and his panel made up of an academic, journalist, player and a coach, as they discuss the politics of top level sport in America.(Photo: Kodi Burns of the Auburn Tigers runs for a 35-yard touchdown against the Oregon Ducks at the University of Phoenix Stadium. Credit: Getty Images)
Owen Bennett Jones is in New Orleans, debating with his guests the relevance of feminism today. In many ways things have never been better for women; there are more female college graduates than men, the gender pay gap is the narrowest it has ever been, and the next president of the United States could well be a woman. So, is feminism really a political movement with clear goals, or has it become just a marketing label? And how do feminists defend the charge that its cause is dominated by the voices of well-off liberal white women?(Photo: A reveler makes her way through the French Quarter during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Credit: Getty Images)
Oklahoma has one of the largest Native American populations in the United States. By using their right to govern themselves, Oklahoma’s tribes have become economic powerhouses, contributing hugely to the state economy. But is Oklahoma as much of a success story as it seems? Has the political influence of Native Americans – and the treatment of their culture – changed in line with growing economic success? And, are there valuable lessons to be learned from Oklahoma for indigenous peoples in the rest of the United States and around the world?(Photo: Native American's in traditional costumes and headdress. Credit: Elizabeth Davies)
This week, Owen Bennett Jones and guests are at the Oxford Literary Festival.Across the world student bodies have been have been asking universities to distance themselves from historical symbols of oppression. In Oxford, the protests took the form of the ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ campaign which began in South Africa and targeted statues of Cecil Rhodes - a committed champion of the British Empire. How representative are these protests of current sentiments in Britain and its former colonies? So how Britain should acknowledge this part of its identity? Should it apologise and pay reparations, or embrace its history with pride?Photo Credit: Getty Images
Ever since the invasion in 2003 Iraq has faced ceaseless conflict. Today there are two parallel crises. In Baghdad protesters are demanding an end to elite corruption. And, on the battlefield, the Iraqi army and Shia militias are fighting so-called Islamic State. But Iraqis are wondering about the battles to come. Will the central government have to cede power to armed groups that control their own areas? Owen Bennett-Jones is in Baghdad, along with his guests to discuss the forces threatening Iraq's fragmentation.(Photo: Protest by supporters of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Credit: AP/Khalid Mohammed)
We travel to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania - a country that many believe can teach a lesson to others seeking unity and stability, because right from the start the first post-independence leader Julius Nyerere insisted that everyone should learn Swahili. Well over a 100 other languages are still spoken in Tanzania but many people believe that Nyerere – partly because of his language policy - was a successful nation builder. Join Owen Bennett Jones and his guests as they discuss language and politics in Tanzania.(Photo: School children sitting in a classroom. Credit: Getty Images)
Is half a century of civil war about to come to an end in Colombia? Negotiators from the government and the FARC rebels are currently hammering out the final terms of a deal. The agreement will ultimately see disarmament and re-integration of FARC fighters, but serious hurdles remain. Colombia is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of cocaine, and the hope is that a lasting peace will enable drug control policies to be tackled more effectively. Join Owen Bennett Jones and his panel of guests as they discuss Colombia’s future and the prospects for a lasting peace after decades of violent conflict.
What does North Korea’s leader want? And, what do we really know about who runs the country? As the international community ramps up sanctions in response to Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test, will anything change? Join Owen Bennett Jones and his panel of experts – including a young North Korean defector – as they take an in-depth look at one of the world’s most secretive political systems.(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
What if governments paid all their citizens a basic income? Whether rich or poor, you would receive the same amount of money, and you would keep it whether you went out to work and received a salary or not. It is an idea that has been around for centuries, but one that has been gaining traction in recent times as welfare payments become ever more complex and expensive to administer. Proponents also argue that it would remove the 'poverty trap' where people are dissuaded from seeking work because they would lose their benefits if they did so. There is also the issue of machines taking over many of the jobs that we all do to earn a living - not just basic manual tasks, but increasingly 'intelligent' work that will in the future be carried out by robots. Join Owen Bennett Jones and his panel of expert guests as they discuss the future of work and how we pay for it. Should we give free money to everyone and let robots take the strain?Photo: One hundred dollar notes. Credit: Getty Images)
Iran is holding its first elections since the nuclear agreement was signed last year under which international sanctions against Iran were lifted. We take a look inside Iran and asking whether real social, economic and political change is taking place inside the country, and if so, in what direction and what will it mean? Join Owen Bennett Jones and his panel of Iranian guests living both within and outside the country as they discuss Iran’s future.Photo Credit: Getty Images
In the four years since the Syrian conflict began, a quarter of a million people have been killed and 11 million people - half the country’s population - have fled their homes. Despite each new set of talks, peace seems no closer to hand and as the fighting drags on, international powers become more and more involved. Owen Bennett Jones and his panel of experts discuss what each of the players in the conflict actually want, and what would their future Syria look like? Could the country remain united, or is it more likely to resemble the Balkans, broken up into smaller parts? Can we learn any lessons from resolutions of other civil wars? Or is the Syria conflict more likely to spark a wider regional conflagration?(Photo: A rebel fighter, reportedly belonging to the Faylaq al-Rahman brigade, looks up from his hiding spot. Credit: Amer Almohibany/Getty Images)
Billions of the world’s poorest people have no access to the internet. Connectivity is growing fast in many parts of the globe, but not everywhere. In large parts of Africa and South Asia, for example, the barriers to joining the information age are simply too great. So why has the Indian government just banned Facebook and others from operating free-access platforms to provide internet access? And why do some of the most influential advocates of a free-for-all internet support the Indian ban? In this week’s Newshour Extra, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss why it matters that the world’s poorest are able to use the internet, and ask what can be done to achieve universal access for all?Photo credit: Getty Images
As fears grow over the impact of the Zika virus and its suspected links to birth defects, Newshour Extra brings together a panel of global experts to discuss how best to tackle the virus and the dangers of global transmission. Owen Bennett-Jones and his guests also ask whether global health authorities should be taking more drastic steps to combat the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, and whether we can predict and prevent the next global pandemic.(Photo: Mosquito on a person's arm. Credit: Thinkstock)
What will the cities of the future look like, and will we like living in them? Vast mega-cities are emerging, notably in the developing world, as people migrate towards urban centres in search of work. Cities in the richer world also need to find ways improve the quality of life for their inhabitants. How should urban planners cope with these pressures and develop strategies for the future? Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss how best to make these urban spaces the best possible places to live and work.Photo Credit: Thinkstock
The world’s wealthiest business executives and most influential politicians are meeting this weekend in the exclusive Swiss ski resort, Davos. They’ll be striking deals, making decisions that will affect all our lives and fawned over by the world’s media. But how accountable are they? Join Owen Bennett Jones and his guests as they discuss whether a tiny fraction of the world’s wealthiest live by different rules when it comes to national laws, taxation and citizenship, and if so whether this is a problem – do the super-rich bring benefits to us all?Photo Credit: Getty Images
After the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has descended into a chaos of warring factions. Western forces that initially supported the uprising are now largely absent and Islamic State militants have taken advantage of the power vacuum. The breakdown of a coherent administration has also allowed Libya to become a major route for African migrants seeking to cross the Mediterranean into Europe. Now, after lengthy and difficult negotiations, there is a glimmer of hope with the main factions agreeing to form a unity government, and the deadline for the formation of this administration this weekend. Join Owen Bennett Jones and his panel of guests on Newshour Extra as they discuss the prospects for peace in Libya.(Photo credit: Getty Images)
In recent months oil prices have fallen to historically low levels. The impact is being felt from Saudi Arabia to Venezuela – revenues are collapsing, and producers are in trouble. Why has the price collapsed and what are the long term consequences? In this week’s Newshour Extra we ask whether global policies to cap carbon emissions could lead to a world in which alternative energy sources will force fossil fuels out of business. Join Owen Bennett Jones and his guests as they discuss the future of oil, and the changing world order it heralds.Contributors: Obiageli Ezekwesili - former Nigerian cabinet minister and World Bank official Luay al-Khateeb - Brookings Doha Jeffrey Mankoff - Centre for Strategic and Interanational Studies Tom Burke - Environmentalist Bill Walker - Governor of Alaska Bjorn Otto Sverdrup - Head of Sustainability, Statoil(Photo: An Oil drill against the backdrop of a setting sun. Credit: Getty Images)
What does the future hold for human space exploration? With more countries getting involved and costs falling, increasingly ambitious projects are being proposed. Is a permanent base on the Moon feasible? Are there vast mineral resources to be harvested in space? Will our descendants be forced to abandon planet Earth to live elsewhere? Join Owen Bennett Jones and his panel of extra-terrestrial experts – including science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson – as they discuss humanity’s future in space.This week's contributors: Lord Martin Rees, British Astronomer Royal; Dr Jill Stuart, specialist in space politics at the London School of Economics; Monica Grady, Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open University; Dr David Parker, chief executive of the UK Space Agency.(Picture credit: NASA)
Why are so many Eritreans fleeing their country? With a population of just six million, this young country in the Horn of Africa has accounted for the third largest flow of refugees into Europe this year, behind only Syria and Afghanistan. Join Owen Bennett Jones and his panel of guests on Newshour Extra this week as we try to understand the forces driving hundreds of thousands of Eritreans risking their lives in the hope of a better future.Contributors: Ahmed Mohammed Mahmud, Chairman of the British Eritrean Community Organisation Network Feruz Werede, Eritrean human rights activist Bronwyn Bruton, Deputy Director of the Atlantic Council's Africa Centre Ghirmai Negash, Professor of English and African literature, Ohio University Alex Last, former BBC correspondent in EritreaPhoto Credit: AFP/Getty Images
Our world is getting warmer despite the best efforts of the scientists, politicians and diplomats. A global agreement in Paris on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions may help slow the rise in temperature, but it's rising nonetheless. What might the world look like if the temperature keeps rising? There will be many losers – but who are the likely winners? And what does humanity need to do to adapt to the inevitable changes ahead? Owen Bennett Jones and a star cast of guests discuss how humanity can survive in a warming world.Contributors: James Lovelock - Environmentalist and originator of Gaia theory; Heather McGray - Director of the Vulnerability & Adaptation programme at the World Resources Institute in Washington, DC; Saleemul Huq - Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development in Bangladesh; Mark Maslin - Professor of Climatology at University College London; McKenzie Funk - Journalist and author of 'Windfall' Rutger de Graaf - Delta Sync a Dutch company developing climate-adaptation concepts; Paulo Bacigalupi - Climate fiction ('cli-fi') authorPhoto Credit: AFP/Getty Images
Remarkable new techniques for ‘editing’ DNA – chemically cutting and splicing sections of genetic code – are revolutionising research in laboratories around the world. The potential for eradicating hereditary diseases is enormous. But are the benefits outweighed by the risks involved? And should these techniques ever be used on humans? On Newshour Extra this week, Owen Bennett Jones and his panel of expert guests discuss the scientific and ethical consequences of this latest research, and ask whether mankind should be tinkering with our genetic inheritance.Contributors: Prof Robin Lovell-Badge - Head of Stem Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics at the Francis Crick Institute; Michael Le Page -New Scientist magazine; Dr Annelien Bredenoord - Associate Professor of Biomedical Ethics at the University Medical Centre in Utrecht; Marcy Darnovsky - Executive Director of the Center for Genetics and Society, Berkeley, California; James Rushbrooke - playwrite; Edward Perello - co-founder of Desktop GeneticsPhoto Credit: Thinkstock
The rise of the Islamic State group has been both shocking and unprecedented. With ever more violent attacks on civilian targets come outpourings of anger and frustration at the inability of governments and security services to defeat them. The aftermath of the Paris attacks has been no exception. President Hollande has spoken of waging a “pitiless war” against those responsible. Amid the atrocities committed by IS, it’s difficult to perceive a coherent ideology. So in this week’s Newshour Extra, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss where the group came from, what its leaders want, and whether it’s succeeding in its aims. In understanding such motivations, are we better equipped to defeat it?This week's contributors: Jason Burke - Guardian newspaper and author of "The New Threat from Islamic Militancy"; Jessica Stern - Harvard lecturer and the co-author of "ISIS: The State of Terror"; Hassan Hassan - Chatham House and co-author of "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror"; Ghias Aljundi -Syrian writer and human rights activist.(Photo Credit: AFP/Getty)
In December, the World Trade Organisation will hold major talks in Nairobi, Kenya – the first time ever one of its high-level summits has been in Africa. Global trade has brought enormous economic benefits, but has the WTO failed in its prime directive to “eradicate extreme poverty and hunger” through more equitable trading relationships? Is the world trade regime fair, or is the game fundamentally rigged against developing countries?And as the major powers increasingly turn to regional agreements like the recent Trans-Pacific Partnership, does the WTO even matter anymore?Join Owen Bennett-Jones and his panel of experts, including a former director general of the WTO, as they discuss the future of global trade, and whether developing countries can ever reap the benefits.(picture credit: Getty images)
When Obama first came to office there was a huge amount of global expectation riding on his foreign policy. He promised to heal the breach with the Islamic world, restore America’s good name, and fight fewer wars. But as his time in the White House draws to a close, how should we judge Obama’s record?Is the world a safer place now than when he took office? And behind all the policy making, is there an over-riding vision – what commentators have called “an Obama doctrine”? Join Owen Bennett-Jones and a panel of global experts, as they discuss President Obama’s foreign policy legacy and America’s place in the world today.(Photo: President Obama addresses US troops in Afghanistan, May 2014. Credit: Getty Images)
More than two years after the overthrow of elected president Mohammed Morsi, Egyptians are going to the polls in the final stage of a promised return to parliamentary democracy. Morsi, whose government was backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, remains in jail; President Sisi, who led the overthrow of Morsi’s government, has been accused of treating his opponents harshly - and press freedoms have been severely curtailed. So, is this democratic process meaningful, or merely a veil for control by the military establishment? Join Owen Bennett Jones and his guests as they discuss Egypt’s democratic path.(Photo: Egyptian protesters. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
The Arctic is the fastest-warming region of the globe, with temperatures rising at least twice as quickly as the rest of the planet. While that means hardship for much of the area’s wildlife and indigenous peoples, it’s also creating many opportunities. As the ice melts, new, lucrative shipping routes are opening up and improving access to potential new oil fields, while valuable minerals are being discovered under vanishing glaciers.But with new opportunities comes increased interest. In the past few years Arctic countries have expanded their presence in the Far North, opening new military bases and building powerful new icebreakers. They’ve also been trying to further expand their borders under the Arctic Ocean - with three countries claiming ownership of the North Pole.Will the Arctic become the next "Great Game"? Could this competition lead to conflict? Or have negotiations in the Arctic so far proven that it can remain a zone of co-operation?Owen Bennett Jones presents a special edition of Newshour Extra from the Arctic Circle conference in Reykjavik, Iceland.(Photo: an iceberg in Ilulissat, Greenland. Credit: Getty Images)
As European leaders gather in Brussels to discuss the many crises facing the continent, we ask whether the Union can survive the multiple shocks of migration, economic stress and the possibility of losing at least one of its key members. Join Owen Bennett-Jones and his panel in Brussels as they discuss the future of Europe. Has the dream of its founders, that of ever closer economic and political union, fallen victim to pragmatic survival?(Photo: European Union flag. Credit: Thinkstock)
A special edition of Newshour Extra, recorded at the annual conference of the governing UK Conservative Party, discussing appropriate responses to Russia's actions in Ukraine and Syria. Should EU and US sanctions, imposed following Russia's annexation of Crimea, be re-assessed or perhaps used as a bargaining chip in negotiations over joint military action in Syria? Join James Coomarasamy for this week's debate in front of a live audience as they discuss the question: should the West be doing business with Putin’s Russia?Photo credit: Alexander Nemenova/AFP/Getty Images
When former CIA employee Edward Snowden blew the lid on the extent of digital surveillance by western governments two years ago, it sparked a fierce debate about the rights of citizens to privacy versus the duty of governments to protect against the threat of global terror. Having been exposed as colluding with these surveillance programmes, communications companies have recently sought to distance themselves from state monitoring and new technologies are emerging designed to give consumers the option of greater privacy. In this week’s Newshour Extra, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss whether Snowden’s revelations have been a gift to terrorists or whether personal freedoms have been rescued from the grip of Big Brother.(Photo: Digital art of a human eye. Credit: Science Photo Library)
Should political leaders be subject to term limits? Is power so intoxicating that too much of it sends you mad? There are those in power who seem convinced that if they stood aside the consequences would be disastrous, but perhaps allowing them to remain is far more damaging. The US has term limits on its national leaders, most of Europe does not. So why do European countries often insist that African leaders should step down after two terms in office. Join Owen Bennett Jones and his distinguished panel of guests as they discuss the merits and abuses of personal power.Photo: Getty Images/ Jacques-Louis David's 1801 painting of Napoleon Bonaparte Crossing the Alps by the Great Saint Bernard Pass
Owen Bennett Jones and his guests are in Islamabad to discuss who is actually governing Pakistan. Two years into the civilian premiership of Nawaz Sharif, there is much talk of the growing influence of the military in all the key decisions. The army chief Raheel Sharif is also increasingly in the public eye, with what appears to be a concerted social media campaign to raise his national profile. Are the men in uniform treating the civilian government as a democratic veneer for martial law by stealth? What are the consequences for both Pakistan and its neighbours?(Photo: Raheel Sharif (left). Credit: AFP/Getty Images. Nawaz Sharif (right). Credit: Getty Images)
The Greek government is facing a critical test. Wracked with debt, can it keep its economy afloat whilst staying within the European currency zone? And if it does fail to reach a deal with creditors over the coming days, what would be the consequences of a default? In this week's programme, we look at Argentina, which went through its own economic crisis over a decade ago, eventually defaulting on its debts. What happened next for Argentina? Did it recover or did it become a financial pariah - shunned by bankers and lending institutions? Did it achieve sustained long term growth or lurch from crisis to crisis? Join Owen Bennett Jones and his panel of expert guests to discuss what lessons there are for Greece in the Argentinian experience.(Photo: Workers of an Argentine shoe factory light a bonfire outside the Foreign Ministry, as they protest against the importation of Brazils shoes. The poster reads One Brazilian shoe is more misery for Argentina. Credit: AP)
This week a young British suicide-bomber has been killed in Iraq; three sisters travelled to Syria taking their children along with them; and a white British muslim convert died fighting with the Somali islamist group al-Shabab. What motivated them to leave the UK to support jihadist causes abroad? We consider the influences on them, and ask what can be done to counter such radicalisation. Join Razia Iqbal and her distinguished panel of guests as they discuss these issues on Newshour Extra.(Photo: This image posted on a militant website is said by his parents to be Talha Asmal, the British 17-year-old who killed himself in a suicide bombing in Iraq. Credit: AP)
Have we lost our fear of the bomb? And, how successful have efforts been to limit its spread? Seventy years ago, the very first nuclear weapon was detonated by the US army in the deserts of New Mexico. Since then, diplomats and politicians have sought to strictly limit the number of nations capable of following suit – and after years of tortuous negotiation a deal has finally been reached to limit Iran’s ability to construct its own bomb. So what is the state of the nuclear threat today? Join Owen Bennett Jones and his distinguished panel of experts, including former nuclear inspector Hans Blix and former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw as they discuss how safe the world now is from nuclear catastrophe.(Photo: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds up a graphic of a bomb. Credit: Reuters)
***This broadcast features an interview with an individual, 28, referred to as Macer Gifford. We have been asked to clarify that this is not his real name but a pseudonym.***For millions of Kurds in the Middle East, the drive for a state of their own has been a long and - to date - vain pursuit. But with Kurdish fighters winning the fight against the forces of the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, does that improve their prospects? Or will any gratitude from the international community for their efforts be short lived come tomorrow? How far can Kurds rely on the United States for help? Join David Eades and his panel of experts as they discuss the question - will the world ever allow an independent Kurdistan?(Photo: The flag of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, PKK. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Five and a half years ago Haiti was hit by a massive earthquake, affecting three million people. It was already the poorest country in the Americas, and the disaster prompted an unprecedented response – including the largest-ever humanitarian appeal launched by the UN in the wake of a natural disaster. Haiti is now choosing its new parliament and the Prime Minister has described the elections as a “significant moment” for the country.So is Haiti a “republic of NGOs” or a burgeoning democracy? Is it an example of the success of aid, or the poster child of “disaster capitalism”? Join Owen Bennett Jones and his panel of experts as they discuss how the international community can make sure that its response to natural disasters doesn’t do more harm than good.Photo: A US Navy helicopter by Haiti's presidential palace, shortly after the January 2010 earthquake. Photo credit: AP Photo
In the past two months over 200 Chinese lawyers and their associates have been detained – some have even vanished completely. The Chinese government says that they’ve been abusing their positions to influence the outcome of court decisions, and “breaching laws for personal profits”. The lawyers say that the crackdown is a politically-motivated attempt to discredit them and curtail their activities.Less than a year ago the Chinese Communist Party held its annual plenary session, focused on a specific theme: the rule of law. That’s the idea that, among other things, nobody should be above the law, and nobody should be punished except according to the law, after a fair trial in front of an independent judge. But the Party emphasised that they would pursue a rule of law with specifically “Chinese characteristics”. What does that mean?Join Owen Bennett Jones and a panel of experts as they discuss the state of the rule of law in China. Do ordinary people have access to justice? And how is the Chinese legal system changing?(Photo: Activists protest outside the Chinese embassy in Bangkok. Credit: Getty Images)
There is now compelling scientific evidence that repeated head injuries in contact sports can result in permanent brain damage. But how seriously are sporting authorities taking this latest research? The Rugby World Cup kicks off this weekend in Britain with new tighter regulations intended to reduce severe concussion injuries.The American Football season is also getting under way with the country’s most popular sport under fire from former players and doctors for its failure to protect players adequately. James Coomarasamy will be joined by an expert panel, including medical experts and former players. Should more drastic measures be taken to reduce such injuries? Should some sporting contests be banned outright? And, how best to protect those playing in schools and colleges from the dangers inherent in these sports?Photo Credit: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images
Across the developing world there is an unprecedented demand for education, and to meet it countries are rapidly developing their higher education systems. It’s seen as a vital path to success and a way out of poverty. But existing education systems are increasingly unable to cope with a rapidly growing global population. How will India find employment for the many tens of millions of students seeking to enter the workplace over the next twenty years? Will those students find their education has been a worthwhile investment? And is the Western education system really the best model for success in a more connected world? Owen Bennett Jones tackles these questions with a panel of experts at one of India's brand new institutions - Shiv Nader University, near Delhi.(Picture: Indian pupils listen to a radio broadcast of a speech marking Teachers Day at a school in Bhopal, India. Credit: EPA)
The conflict in Yemen has descended into a humanitarian crisis of devastating proportions, largely unseen by the rest of the world. What began during the Arab Spring with a popular uprising to oust a long-time autocrat, has developed into a complex proxy war that's drawn in both Saudi Arabia and Iran, the two great Sunni and Shia powers in the Middle East. And into this fractured state, jihadists from both al-Qaeda and Islamic State are gaining ground. Join Owen Bennett Jones and his panel of experts as they discuss whether regional solutions to the crisis can be found, and whether the forces pulling Yemen apart have wider implications for instability across the Arab world.Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images (Yemeni supporters of the Huthi rebels at a rally in the capital Sana'a protesting against air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition)
Are global financial markets on the edge of a precipice, or have the dramatic falls in China’s markets been contained? After the crash of 2008, President Obama assured the world that secure measures had been put in place to prevent another financial crisis. But markets are fluctuating alarmingly and traders from New York to Shanghai are nervous about what the next few weeks will bring. Have we learned the right lessons from previous financial crises? And are we passing those lessons on to the economists of tomorrow? In this week’s Newshour Extra, Owen Bennett Jones is joined by a panel of experts to consider if the global financial system is fundamentally flawed, or whether it’s performing exactly as it should, self-correcting inflated markets to reflect fundamental economic realities.(Photo: A Paris trader in August 2011. Credit: AFP Photo)