Fifth Floor, The [world Service]

Episodes

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Original insights, playful perspectives and surprising stories from the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections

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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, every week with David Amanor.

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections

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A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections

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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections

A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections

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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections

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How Viagra is fast-becoming a lucrative black market trade in Kabul

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

EUROVISION AND ME

Dejan Radojevic is a long-time fan of Eurovision and remembers when his country - Yugoslavia - was hosting the contest. He was an ardent supporter of Yugoslavia's entry that year - the girl who looked like Marilyn Monroe and wore a pink mini dress. Yugoslavia then broke up into bloody civil war - and Eurovision allegiances changed - but who would have guessed that just 15 years later the nations of the former Yugoslavia would be studiously doling out 12 points to each other, much to the annoyance of those in western Europe. Years later Dejan is now head of the Azeri Section and the Eurovision is back on his home turf.

ON THE OTHER SIDE

One of the features about working at the World Service is the careful ground you sometimes have to tread across cultural sensitivities and political divides and nowhere is that more apparent than when a reporter from one ethnic group is called on to live and report from the other side. Priyath Liyanage joins us to talk about working as Sinhalese man in Tamil territory in Sri Lanka, and Jiyar Gol a Persian reporter and Iranian Kurd talks about reporting from Baghdad and Turkey

THE VIAGRA-SELLER OF KABUL

The Afghan Stream has been investigating the story of little blue pills. The Afghan Health Ministry has issued warnings about the non-prescription use of Viagra in Afghanistan. Every year they allow the import of up to two million Viagra pills but they believe that what enters the country illegally is probably double that amount - which means that Afghan men are consuming around four million Viagra pills per year. We hear from editor Emal Pasarly and Dari Service reporter Khalil Noori.

PAPPON'S PICKS

Our internet guru Thomas Pappon gives a rundown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including stories from BBC Pastho, Mundo and Uzbek.

WORLD SERVICE SINGS

Eurovision, schmeurovision. We host our very own musical extravaganza with singing from Brazil, Iran, Vietnam, Burundi, Syria and Bangladesh.

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

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How Viagra is fast-becoming a lucrative black market trade in Kabul

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Racism, corruption, and football hooliganism - can Ukraine's image get any worse?

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

UKRAINE IN THE SPOTLIGHT

The Ukrainian service has been feeling the aftershocks of the BBC Panorama documentary which exposed racism in Ukraine's football stadiums ahead of the Euro 2012 tournament. The investigation showed disturbing footage of Asian students being attacked on the terraces by fellow supporters, seemingly for no other reason than the colour of their skin. It comes at a time when the country has faced a deluge of negative press. Irena Taranyuk and Andriy Kravets from the Ukrainian Service have been in demand explaining the story and assessing reactions in Ukraine. They tell us about picking their way through troubled waters and the backlash against the BBC back in Kiev.

AUDIO DIARY FROM BENIN

BBC Afrique reporter Laeila Adjovi has packed the Fifth Floor microphone in her suitcase and taken it on her travels to Benin where she is making features for the launch of BBC Africa TV next month. She leads us through the busy traffic choked streets and introduces us to voodoo, an oracle and her own subversive grandma.

PAPPON'S PICKS

Courtesy of our internet guru Thomas Pappon, this week's online chart toppers from the language services come from BBC Urdu, Mundo, Afrique and Nepali - and range from disappearing countries, naked ladies, to a constitutional dance move. No wonder these stories are so popular.

DO'S AND DON'TS FOR A QUEEN

There seems to be no escaping The Queen's Diamond Jubilee this weekend. But if you've had your fill of British royals here's your antidote: on the Fifth Floor we are joined by Prime Ndikumagenge from the Great Lakes, BBC Persian's Hossein Sharif and our very own real-life princeling, Dawood Azami from the Afghan Stream. They will be sharing royal anecdotes from their experiences of past monarchies and offering up some do's and dont's for the Queen.

(Image: A wall in Ukraine is decorated with a Euro 2012 image. Credit: Getty)

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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

UKRAINE IN THE SPOTLIGHT

The Ukrainian service has been feeling the aftershocks of the BBC Panorama documentary which exposed racism in Ukraine's football stadiums ahead of the Euro 2012 tournament. The investigation showed disturbing footage of Asian students being attacked on the terraces by fellow supporters, seemingly for no other reason than the colour of their skin. It comes at a time when the country has faced a deluge of negative press. Irena Taranyuk and Andriy Kravets from the Ukrainian Service have been in demand explaining the story and assessing reactions in Ukraine. They tell us about picking their way through troubled waters and the backlash against the BBC back in Kiev.

AUDIO DIARY FROM BENIN

BBC Afrique reporter Laeila Adjovi has packed the Fifth Floor microphone in her suitcase and taken it on her travels to Benin where she is making features for the launch of BBC Africa TV next month. She leads us through the busy traffic choked streets and introduces us to voodoo, an oracle and her own subversive grandma.

PAPPON'S PICKS

Courtesy of our internet guru Thomas Pappon, this week's online chart toppers from the language services come from BBC Urdu, Mundo, Afrique and Nepali - and range from disappearing countries, naked ladies, to a constitutional dance move. No wonder these stories are so popular.

DO'S AND DON'TS FOR A QUEEN

There seems to be no escaping The Queen's Diamond Jubilee this weekend. But if you've had your fill of British royals here's your antidote: on the Fifth Floor we are joined by Prime Ndikumagenge from the Great Lakes, BBC Persian's Hossein Sharif and our very own real-life princeling, Dawood Azami from the Afghan Stream. They will be sharing royal anecdotes from their experiences of past monarchies and offering up some do's and dont's for the Queen.

(Image: A wall in Ukraine is decorated with a Euro 2012 image. Credit: Getty)

Racism, corruption, and football hooliganism - can Ukraine's image get any worse?

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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

MONITORING: SPOTLIGHT ON RUSSIA

This week saw another round of protests in Russia - thousands of people on the streets of Moscow with flags, banners and posters condemning the re-election of President Vladimir Putin earlier this year. But some of the demonstrators also held up fake bus tickets. Kyrill Disayanake of BBC Monitoring has been looking at some of the creativity and comedy coming out of the Russian protests.

RWANDA REPORTING GENOCIDE

"My father was ill. He was 1.95 metres tall so they wouldn't treat him at the hospital because they thought he was a Tutsi." What is it like to experience a genocide as a child and then be reporting on its aftermath 18 years later? Prudent Nsengiyumva, the Kigali correspondent for our African English and Great Lakes services, is currently reporting the official end of Rwanda's Gacaca community-based courts set up in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide.

INDIA'S AMBITIOUS IDENTITY SCHEME

Since it launched two years ago, 200 million Indians have already signed up to India's biometric identity exercise. Our man in Delhi, Suhail Haleem joins the queue.

PROTEST COOKBOOK

Is revolution a tasty affair or does protest put you off your pudding? Shaimaa Khallil in Cairo, and Maria Vasilieva in Moscow tell us about the Tahrir pots and pans and Russia's conspiratorial cookies.

(Image: A poster of Vladimir Putin. Credit: Getty)

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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

AUNG SAN SUU KYI ON THE FIFTH FLOOR

The fifth floor of Broadcasting House was buzzing with excitement this week during the visit of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. She's free and travelling the world after spending more than twenty years mostly under house arrest. We hear why language service staff were tripping over themselves to greet her in the corridors and what it was like for Burmese producer David Kim and his team to have a more private meeting with her.

IN THE LINE OF FIRE

BBC Mundo's Ignacio De Los Reyes has been trailing Mexico's presidential candidates as they visit some of the most dangerous parts of the country hoping to win votes in the country's upcoming elections. He tells David about travelling to these areas where drugs gangs commit gruesome acts of violence and how security concerns can get in the way of telling the story.

ONLINE HITS

Our very own internet insights man Thomas Pappon has been scouring the BBC's online language sites to bring you their most popular stories. From drugs to baby faced leaders this week's biggest hitters come from BBC Hindi, BBC Russian and BBC Uzbek.

RADIO TO TV STAR

This week the BBC launched Focus On Africa TV expanding their flagship radio programme for African news into the dazzling light of global television. Other language services have already made this transition, but how easy is it? Presenters Peter Okwoche of Focus on Africa and Pooneh Ghoddoosi from Persian TV and senior producer for Russian TV Maria Grechaninova sit around the Fifth Floor table to share their thoughts.

CARTOON CONTROVERSY IN BANGLADESH

Kids in Bangladesh are going crazy for a popular imported Japanese cartoon, which is dubbed into Hindi, called Doraemon. However their parents aren't so thrilled, they fear their children are becoming more fluent in Hindi than their mother tongue Bangla or the international language English because of the show. Bengali service reporter and cartoon fan, Mir Sabbir, looks at the story.

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

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A reporter's diary from four days of covering flash floods in the Russian town of Krymsk

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

RUSSIA: REPORTING A DISASTER

Last week has been a busy one for Russian Service video reporter Oleg Boldyrev. As flash floods hit southern Russia, he was the only BBC journalist who went to the region. Having covered a natural disaster from a town in panic, where some drowned while sleeping in their beds, Oleg recounts his hectic four days in Krymsk.

PAPPON'S LONDON

Our very own online guru, Thomas Pappon, has switched hats for one week only as he gives us his take on the city where he lives and now loves. Thomas has been out and about in east London, presenting a short documentary in the build up to the Olympic games, part of the BBC series London Calling. He tells us about the area of Whitechapel, including its infamous history of serial killings, tradition of bell-making and influx of fashionistas. Even his father, Pappon Snr couldn't resist coming out to London to see the area when he knew about it.

STUDIO SCUFFLES

The internet is awash with scenes of politicians throwing punches or worse - like the sensational case of the Jordanian MP who brandished a gun during a live television debate. (Okay, go ahead, watch it online.) Parliaments are the most popular venues to have political fistfights, it seems! What should we make of this? Three BBC editors have a "gentlemen's debate". In the red corner it's Emal 'the Afghan Avenger' Parsarly, in the blue corner Sam 'Lightening Lebanese' Farah and hot from Ukraine heckling in the front row is Olexiy Solohubenko. Can they keep it civilised?

INSPECTOR KILLJOY

A certain policeman has been making partying in Bollywood's hometown a bit of a chore. Mumbai's assistant police commissioner Vasant Dhoble is known to the city's midnight ravers as the "killjoy cop". He's been leading a campaign against unregulated nightlife - raiding dance parties, bars, massage parlours, late night cafes and allegedly any activity deemed to be morally decadent. BBC Urdu's Suhail Haleem has been following the party shenanigans in Mumbai.

SMUGGLING HORSEMEAT

Kazakhs love their horsemeat. It's considered a delicacy. Now the Kazakh Olympic team has announced that they will have "kazy" (dried horsemeat sausage) specially shipped to Britain to power their sportsmen with some good old home cuisine. Ibrat Safo and Nasiba Abeiva from BBC Uzbek tell the shadowy tale of smuggling some horsemeat from back home. And, even worse, eventually having to bin the sausage at airport customs.

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

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A reporter's diary from four days of covering flash floods in the Russian town of Krymsk

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Syrians reporting Syria - the despair of watching your hometown slide into chaos

A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

SYRIANS REPORTING SYRIA

"There was a sniper at the bus stop... just a few metres from my father's house."

As the conflict in Syria deepens, with fighting now in the capital city and senior officials of the governing regime killed, we turn to the Syrian journalists in the Arabic section who have been reporting the ongoing crisis for more than a year. What have been the challenges of a reporting a story that so dramatically affects your home country and your family - and can it ever be harmonious in a newsroom where underlying tensions and opposing viewpoints become part of a day's work? Syrians Feras Killani and Dina Waqqaf give their insights.

FROM THE OTHER SIDE: VIEWS FROM RUSSIA AND IRAN ON SYRIA

Russia and Iran have their own alliances with Syria - not to mention gripes against the West - and their own complex perspective of the conflict. For BBC Russian's Artyom Liss and Kasra Naji of the Persian Service, reporting the Syrian war for their audiences has been a delicate balancing act.

PAPPON'S PICKS

Our internet guru Thomas Pappon gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - watch out for Spider-man cleaning windows and North Korea's mystery lady.

REMEMBERING RAJESH

Vineet Khare from the Hindi Service had a rather unusual impetus to get up for his early morning jogs when he used to report from Mumbai. The chance of getting a glimpse of his neighbour - the cigarette-puffing Bollywood superstar Rajesh Khanna, who passed away this week. The fan letters written in blood, the dogs named after his wife - Vineet fondly remembers what the film star meant to girls of his mother's generation and the stories she told him.

HELLO, PRIME MINISTER?

How would it be like to get through to the mobile numbers of Bangladesh's prime minister Sheikh Hasina? Well, good luck if you are trying. Though she gave out her 'personal' numbers to 150 million Bangladeshis to report any corruption, our Bengali Service reporter Akbar Hossain has failed to find anyone who has actually been able to speak to her. So, The Fifth Floor's very own Mahfuz Sadique imagines making that futile call.

(Image: Syrian refugees at an anti-government protest. Credit: Reuters)

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

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As athletes defy gravity, do sporting politics bring us back to earth? Let the Games begin

A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

THE OTHER OLYMPICS: OFF THE PITCH

The 2012 games have begun - over 10,000 athletes in the starting line up, more than 200 countries represented in London.But what are the Olympics, if not the largest display of physical prowess in the world, if not a rush for gold, and the biggest flag waving event in any news calendar? Though for many journalists here on The Fifth Floor, the Olympics are all the more interesting with a good helping of politics, personal dramas, and a sprinkling of trivia. Anastasia Uspenskaya of BBC Russian and Pooria Jafereh of BBC Persian take us behind the curtain.

PAPPON'S PICKS

Our internet guru Thomas Pappon gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including Kim Jong-un breaking Korean hearts, and Iran's chickengate.

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF DR. LATIF

The head of BBC Afghan, Dr Lutfullah Latif, has worked for the BBC's Pashto and Dari language services for more than 20 years and he has a tale or two to tell about growing up in Afghanistan. Managing a news team who work in one of the world's busiest trouble spots, being tortured, and serendipitously being held in the same prison at the same time as another former head of his service.

DEATH OF AN AFRICAN PRESIDENT

When an African president dies, a political vacuum and crisis usually follows. Security forces may be put on high alert, borders may be closed, in some cases constitutions have been covertly rewritten to usher in a chosen successor. But this week in Ghana, a new president was sworn into office without fuss and within a few hours of the untimely death of his predecessor. Did Ghana break the stereotype? African Service news editors Josephine Hazeley and Mansur Liman look at past political shenanigans.

(Image: A Japanese gymnast at a training session at the London Olympics. Credit: Reuters)

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An Urdu Service journalist forced into hiding - the perils of reporting Balochistan

A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

JOURNALIST IN HIDING

Pakistan's western province of Balochistan - so dangerous, lawless and neglected that even its chief minister doesn't live there. Since 1998 BBC reporter Ayub Tareen has been reporting from the provincial capital Quetta but last week was forced to go into hiding after receiving a death threat from one of the many separatist groups operating there. This wasn't the first time his life was threatened - so this time round, what tipped things over the edge? He speaks to us from his secret location. And from the 5th floor, the head of the Urdu section Aamer Ahmed Khan explains why Balochistan is such a minefield.

PAPPON'S PICKS

Our internet guru Thomas Pappon gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including dental bling befitting an Olympian and the Kyrgyz sailor who'd never sailed the sea.

THE POWER BALLAD OF DELHI

One tenth of the world's population was left without power last week during India's epic electrical failure. It's the biggest blackout in history - a dubious distinction indeed for Delhi. Suhail Haleem takes a peek into the darkness and is unsurprised by how quickly he gets accustomed. Plus, South Asia editor Shahzeb Jillani and Nga Pham of the Vietnamese Service delve into the politics of power - who decides when and where the lights go on?

NO PICNIC FOR TEDDYBEARS IN BELARUS

In Belarus two men have been arrested and the air force and border security chiefs have been sacked after a team of parachuting teddy bears brought havoc to the country recently. The bears were launched on their stealth mission from the skies above Minsk carrying banners calling for freedom of speech and human rights violations to stop. What's the story? BBC Russian's Artyom Liss takes us into the woods.

(Image: The Pakistani flag raised at a protest in the country. Credit: Getty)

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A new constitution, parliament and President by 20 August - can Somalia do it?

A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

OVERHEARD AT THE OLYMPICS

Match-making in the pool, a million dollars for a Russian medal and other tales from the Olympic park. Zhuang Chen and Anastasia Uspenskaya give the lowdown on the sporting gossip doing the rounds in the Chinese and Russian camps.

SPOTLIGHT ON SOMALIA

Things are moving fast in Somalia's capital Mogadishu. Last week a constitution was written and agreed, this week marked a year since Al-Shabab's official withdrawal from the city, and from next week the process will begin to pick a parliament and a new president. We head to the Somali Service to speak to two producers there - Farhan Jimale and Yonis Nur. One is optimistic about the countdown to a new government, but the other is not - he believes decades of infighting will be hard to overcome.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

BBC Brasil's Thomas Pappon gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including Cameroonian athletes on the run and some delectable porcupine pie.

REPORTING MOGADISHU

"My mother sits outside of the house and waits until I come. She won't go inside until I come back." Mohammed Moalimu has been BBC Somali's Mogadishu correspondent for the past five years. The city is synonymous with danger but are things changing? This year saw a slow return to normalcy in the city - the return of traffic police, the opening of dry cleaners, and a ladies gym. But the more things changed, the more they stayed the same - this year alone, Moalimu lost six of his friends to the violence. He recalls vividly what it's like to live and report from Mogadishu.

STRICTLY CONSTITUTIONAL

It's not just Somalia that's been writing its constitution this year - in fact there is something of a constitutional fever. The Egyptians are busily writing and debating, the Libyans are about to begin and we're also awaiting fresh blueprints from Zimbabwe and Nepal - the latter having gone back to the drawing board following years of disagreement. But what should be in a constitution and does it make your country a better governed one? Or are some countries overly obsessed with constitutions? Editor Olexiy Soluhobenko, BBC Africa's Rachael Akidi and Navin Singh Khadka of the Nepali service lock horns.

(Image: A ruined buidling in Mogadishu, Somalia. Credit: Reuters)

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The BBC's Iranian reporter in Israel on the paradoxes of living with the so-called 'enemy'

A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

SECRET WORLD OF VIETNAMESE WORKERS IN RUSSIA

It started with a phone-call. Last month BBC Vietnamese got a distress call from a woman in northern Vietnam claiming her daughter and son-in-law were being forced to work in slave-like conditions in a Vietnamese-owned factory in Russia. The story was picked up and the result was a major piece of investigative reporting by the Russian and Vietnamese Services - which ultimately lead the Russian authorities to raid the factory and free the workers. BBC Vietnamese's Hung Nguyen and BBC Russian's Oxana Vozhdaeva describe the collaboration - the thrill of being on the scent of such a remarkable story and the sorrow of what it revealed.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

Marco Silva gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week.

AN IRANIAN IN ISRAEL

Kambiz Fattahi is the Persian Service reporter in Jerusalem. Not an easy role when the two countries are at such loggerheads. Kambiz talks about the minefields he has to pick his way round and the rich mix of Persian and Afghan Jews that fill his microphone.

RAMADAN TV DINNERS

Breaking the fast in Egypt during Ramadan happens in front of the TV. Every year specialist soaps are created for this event - this year around 70 soaps have topped the listings. Naglaa El-Emary, head of BBC Arabic's Cairo bureau looks at what's been dished out on TV this year - a mix of sex and violence and assesses what it says about Egypt today.

WHERE IS CAMEROON'S FIRST LADY?

You may have heard about the seven members of the Cameroon Olympic team who have failed to return home after the games, but they are not the only prominent Cameroonians to go missing. For many months now, the First Lady Chantal Biya has been conspicuously absent from public life. Although traditionally she has been beside her husband for almost every official outing, the President has now carried out three major public engagements without her. This has raised many eyebrows in the country as to the whereabouts and real condition of the First Lady. As of yet there has not been any official announcement about her. What could possibly be going on? BBC Africa's Veronique Edwards gives her theories.

(Image: Orthodox Jews in Israel. Credit: Reuters)

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On the ground in Assam - a despatch from one of India's most under-reported conflicts

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

REPORTING ASSAM

India's north-east region is often considered one of the country's most under-reported areas - with long-running tensions between the indigenous tribal Bodo community and Muslim settlers, chronic under-development, and deep poverty. Last month saw some of Assam's worst ethnic riots - 70 people dead. What followed later was of the biggest mass migrations in India since partition, with migrants from the north-east fleeing other Indian cities for fear of reprisal attacks. As a result trains carrying thousands of north-eastern migrants began pouring into Assam - and now over 300,000 refugees are in relief camps. BBC Bangla's Suvojit Bagchi was in Assam and spoke to both communities.

"Assam has not received the coverage it deserves." Discuss. From our South Asia hub Kumar Malhotra and Sabir Mustafa delve into the messy politics of India's north-east. Why has Assam remained so under-reported?

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

Marco Silva gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including a Simian Jesus, psychedelic Iranian twins, and escorts for Chinese tax collectors.

BACK HOME IN LEBANON

BBC Arabic has a new correspondent on the ground in Beirut, although Carine Torbey isn't really a newcomer, she's reported from Iraq and other places but not from Lebanon her home country which she left seven years ago. Her family are pleased to have her back but avoid watching her on television... Now why is that?

SCRAMBLED TO ADDIS

He hadn't been seen for weeks but last week (it was last week wasn't it?) it was announced that the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Meles Zenawi had died and there was no BBC reporter in the country (that's true isn't it?), come in Noel Mwakugu from Kenya. He's reported on Ethiopia before but was in our Nairobi studio as the news broke. So Noel's task was to pick up his papers, pack a bag, negotiate the city traffic, and fly to Addis Ababa as soon as possible. What he didn't account for was the showcasing of a new aeroplane - HAS GU KAILAI GOT A DOUBLE?

A new twist in the Chinese courtroom drama of Gu Kailai. Some China watchers are suggesting the woman who appeared in court was not her but a body double. Yuwen Wu takes up the tale.

(Image: Migrants fleeing to India's north-east region. Credit: Reuters)

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Translating the Paralympics Games - the challenges of reporting disability in 27 languages

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

REPORTING DISABILITY: WHAT GETS LOST IN TRANSLATION?

The Paralympic Games - not just a sporting event but also an opportunity to change attitudes to disabled people. So as athletes descend on London once more and sports reporters brush off their mics, what have been the challenges of reporting disability and translating the terminology into 27 different languages? We take a leap into Ukranian, Uzbek and Persian to discuss the dilemmas which arise when trying to put English language guidelines into practice. Does disability get lost in translation? With Andriy Kravets, Shodiyor Sayf, and Tahir Qadiry.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

Marco Silva gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including Brazilian threesomes and Burmese blacklists.

REMEMBERING KATRINA

BBC Mundo's Carlos Chirinos has reported from a fair few disaster and danger zones in his time - a Venezuelan landslide, earthquakes in Peru and Haiti, the Lebanese-Israeli war. But the assignment that shocked and affected him the most was New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He was one of the first journalists on the scene, and now, seven years on his memories of the devastation are still vivid and painful.

POSTCARD FROM JUBA

Juba airport is a pretty small building. For the uninitiated it might seem like a quick jaunt through the arrivals gate - but Nyambura Wambugu, a seasoned Juba traveller knows better. For the past year she's been flying in and out of the city - reporting for BBC Africa on the world's newest capital in the world's newest country, South Sudan. Her impressions are of chaos, corruption and bureaucracy - but she has a reason to stay optimistic.

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Reporting Beslan: two journalists remember the most dramatic experience of their careers

A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

WHAT THE FARC IS GOING ON, YO

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) have released a new video and it seems that they have a new PR style. It's a dramatic turn away from the traditional proof-of-life videos where hostages plead for a peace deal, and instead their latest communique appears to lay out the movement's latest intentions in a homemade rap video. Head of BBC Mundo Hernando Alvarez says it's the weirdest thing he's ever seen and he has some considerable experience of reporting the activities of the Farc - including the time he had to hide his stash of whiskey from them.

STORIES FROM THE FRONTLINE: REPORTING BESLAN

The 1st of September should have been a day of celebration for the start of the school year in Russia. But in 2004, for more than 1,000 men, woman and children in Beslan's School Number One it was the beginning a nightmare as Chechen gunmen seized control of the school, and took them hostage. It ended three days later in a chaotic bloodbath with more than 300 people dead - over half of them children. Zoya Trunova and Artyom Liss had flown in from Moscow to report on the siege. They describe what was the most dramatic experience of their working lives.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

Thomas Pappon gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including a serial Indian bride, a scrap metal Lamborghini and a tiger mosquito worthy of a horror film.

(Image: A grieving mother at the remains of the gymnasium at Beslan's School Number One. Credit: AP Photo / Ivan Sekretarev)

(Image: A grieving mother at the remains of the gymnasium at Beslan's School Number One)

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor

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The secret lives of Pakistan's ISI wives - a satirical take on their catty shenanigans

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

THE JOURNALIST WHO WOULD BE PRESIDENT

The head of the Somali Service resigned suddenly last month. Ten days later he announced he was running for President of Somalia. Now people here leave the business and do all kinds of interesting things but that's the first time any of us can remember such a dramatic shift. Yusuf Garaad Omar's bid to lead the new government of Somalia failed, but the implications of his departure continue to ring around the Fifth Floor. A few days after he arrived in Mogadishu a death threat was issued against him. And soon after the new President was announced, the hotel in which he and Yusuf was staying was attacked by suicide bombers. From Mogadishu, Yusuf tells us about his journey from journalist to Presidential candidate.

Plus, Liliane Landor - the Controller for Languages at the World Service (this means she's Fifth Floor VIP, so watch it) - talks about the self-analysis the BBC goes through when journalists cross the floor.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

Thomas Pappon brings you the highlights from the World Service language websites this week - including special tips for cooking mice in Malawi, and men with monkeys in their underpants.

SRI LANKA'S NEW HANGMEN

The Sri Lankan prison department revealed this week that they have employed two new hangmen. The positions became vacant when one of the hangmen was promoted and the other retired. In all there were 176 applicants for the job. It's not entirely clear how the two new men of the gallows will spend their days as the death penalty has not been used in Sri Lanka since 1976. Priyath Liyanage, head of the Sinhala Service explains.

THE ISI WIVES: PART ONE

This week the passions between America and Pakistan were raised once again with an intriguing story about a Pakistani doctor who allegedly went on an undercover mission for the CIA. He was supposedly helping them to track down Osama bin Laden. Some of it reads like a good thriller, and although truth may be stranger than fiction, the Fifth Floor's treatment of this story is definitely fiction. This three-part satire by Urdu Section Head, Aamer Ahmed Khan introduces us to two imaginary women married to Pakistani intelligence officers. In episode one, the two wives vie for power and influence but what will be the consequences? Starring Sheena Bhattessa, Shobu Kapoor, and Aamer Ahmed Khan.

A LEADER VANISHES

BBC Chinese editor Raymond Li has been on the hunt for Xi Jinping, the man tipped to become China's next leader. However, this terribly important politicians has been absent from public view since the beginning of September. So, where is he and how to track him down?

(Image: A woman applying lipstick. Credit: Getty)

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

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A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with Shaimaa Khalil.

UNPICKING COTTON PICKING

It's cotton picking season in Uzbekistan which means thousands of people are leaving their day jobs and heading out into the cotton fields. Every autumn life comes to a standstill as teachers, nurses, civil servants, businessmen and students are all summoned to harvest the crop. On the face of it, this could be seen as the people coming together for the good of the country, but in reality vast numbers of people including children are forced to leave their families, households and jobs to work in often difficult conditions. Amazingly the practice is so widespread that every single one of the producers in the Uzbek Service have picked cotton at some point in their lives. Diloram Ibramova and Luiza Khudaykulova talk through some of the highs and lows picking cotton

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

Thomas Pappon brings you the highlights from the World Service language websites this week - including enormous biceps, a dieting elephant and a controversial slap in China

ME AND MY MINDER

So, you're out in the field in Syria for example, it's tense, you're checking your facts, chasing your next interview and probably working around safety issues. You're talking to your editor who's asking again when you're going to file your piece and what it'll be about. And there, through all the research, recording and running around is your ever present government minder.They come in all shapes and sizes but often seem to sport moustaches and wear distinctive clothing. Bassam Andari, BBC Arabic's Newsgathering and Planning editor and Khaled Ezzelarab, BBC Arabic's Cairo correspondent share their experiences of handling government minders.

THE ISI WIVES: PART TWO

Last week we heard the first instalment of our three-part satire imagining the lives and secrets of the wives of Pakistani intelligence officers. It's no secret that relations between Pakistan and the US are tense at the best of times. In this piece of playful creative writing from the BBC's Urdu Service we imagine some of the antics that go on behind the scenes. Here, we'll introduce you to Fuff - the wife of an ISI officer - who is trying to get her husband up the promotion ladder. But what will be the consequences of her meddling?

ELECTIONEERING IN VENEZUELA

It's election time in Venezuela so journalists there are having to cope with late nights, deadlines and speeches lasting several hours. So spare a thought for BBC Mundo's Andean correspondent Abraham Zamorano who's had to put up with this and a lot more. He's been out on the campaign trail in Venezuela following the larger than life president Hugo Chavez and his opponent Henrique Capriles.

(Image: Two Peruvian security officials look out from the cut-out of a giant flag. Credit: Getty)

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

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A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with guest presenter Pooneh Ghoddoosi.

BLACKMARKET BLUES IN IRAN

Iran's currency is in chaos. The rial has plummeted so much in value, and prices have risen so high that some businesses stopped trading and shoppers found it hard to buy basic goods such as bread, yoghurt and even a fridge. There were protests in the streets of Tehran and a few other cities, and the bazaar was even shut down for a few days. Many Iranians are now finding themselves shopping on the black market in US dollars. Two Persian Service reporters Rana Rahimpour and Majid Nourian talk about how this story is affecting them personally as their families back home in Iran grapple with the crisis.

DEBATE BOOT CAMP

This week saw the first of the US Presidential debates between contenders Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, although by all accounts it was, well, rather dull - and not exactly the gladiatorial contest many were expecting. So how could it be more of an exciting argument? BBC Africa's Josephine Hazeley, Mohammed Yehia from BBC Arabic and William Marquez for BBC Mundo host a crash course in the art of argument, and give tips from Sierra Leone, Egypt and Venezuela on how to pack a bigger punch in a Presidential smack down.

THE PRESIDENT AND HIS PR MAN

Burma is gradually coming in from the cold - and one sign that relations are thawing between the BBC and Burmese government is that after a year of negotiations, the president finally gave his first ever interview to the BBC. Tin Htar Swe was the journalist wielding the mic and asking the questions. And as the editor of the Burmese Service, she was also having to deal with the President's PR man - a retired general who had his own editorial demands and at one stage complained that Swe had "squeezed the president's balls." We get the back story from Swe - and her fear that her first interview with the president might also be the last.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

Marco Silva gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including hippos in sitting rooms, and an ostrich pillow.

DIARY FROM BURKINA FASO

Reporter Laeila Adjovi is normally based in Senegal, but she's packed her mic for a trip to Ougadougou in Burkina Faso. There she has some unexpected encounters and finds refugees who've fled a troubled Mali.

(Image: Roosters at a cock fighting match. Credit: Getty)

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, with Pooneh Ghoddoosi.

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Malala on the BBC and the duty of care dilemma: how far can journalists protect a source?

A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with presenter David Amanor.

MALALA AND THE DUTY OF CARE

As a journalist, how far do you put a source or contributor at risk to get a story? Especially if this person is living in a dangerous place and is only a child. In 2009, an 11 year-old Malala Yousafzai came to public attention when she started writing an anonymous blog for BBC Urdu about life under the Taliban in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Using the pen name Gul Makai , she was encouraged by her father who ran the local school and remained defiant of the Taliban's restrictions on education of girls. Later when the Taliban were ousted, her real identity was revealed and Malala was publicly celebrated in Pakistan. She became an activist and won an international award for bravery. This week she was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen. Does the BBC bear any responsibility for what happened to Malala? Aamer Ahmed Khan, head of the Urdu Service talks about the BBC's duty of care and is joined by Tripoli-based correspondent Rana Jawad who had to report anonymously throughout the 2011 Libyan uprising.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

Marco Silva gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including Peruvian cat gastronomy and full armoured Samurai swimmers.

DEALING WITH DRUGS WITH BBC MUNDO

It sounds like the plot of bad black comedy: in a massive shoot out police kill what appears to be the leader of Mexico's biggest drug cartel, but just as the authorities are attempting to confirm the identity of the body, the morgue (arguably one of the world's busiest) is then raided and the body kidnapped. BBC Mundo's man in Mexico is Juan Carlos Perez but previously he reported from Colombia when it was at the height of the drugs war. What's it like being on the Latin American drugs beat?

PRISONERS TO POWER

For some aspiring politicians, spending time in prison may damage their chances of winning office. But in Kyrgyzstan this week, it's being speculated that three members of parliament may have deliberately landed themselves in prison to further their political influence - by urging their supporters to help them overthrow the government. So why would anybody deliberately land themselves in jail - and how can being incarcerated improve your popularity? Venera Koichieva of the Kyrgyz section explains.

(Image: A protest rally for Pakistani gunshot victim Malala Yousafzai. Credit: Getty)

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

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20121022 (WS)

A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

ANNIVERSARY OF AN OVERTHROW

A year ago, Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed. It was the end of one era and the beginning of another, all played out in real-time on streaming video and in gruesome fashion, as pictures of Gaddafi's corpse were beamed around the globe. Tarik Kafala was Middle East editor of BBCNews.com that day, and remembers the day that changed his native Libya forever.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

BBC Brasil's Thomas Pappon gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including alien planets, boxcar racing and the catfights of Downing Street.

LESSONS FROM LENIN

When BBC Uzbek reporter Khayrulla Fayz was a young boy growing up in Soviet Tajikistan, he like many others, spoke Russian and looked up to Lenin as the father of the nation. As a child in Dushanbe, he had pinned up Lenin's picture on his bedroom wall but ripped it up after a sharp reprimand from his father. So why was his father upset and what's happening to the current generation of Tajiks - now 20 years on from the end of the Soviet era - how has their relationship to Russia changed?

REPORTING RAPE IN INDIA

This week a village chief in the northern Indian state of Haryana blamed the consumption of chow mein - a Chinese noodle dish - for an increase in gang-rapes in the area. This comment was amongst a slew of others made by prominent politicians, including one who claimed that 90% of rape incidents are "consensual". When such a mindset exists, reporting sexual violence and gender issues is never easy, a fact most familiar to the Hindi Service's Rupa Jha.

THIS IS NOT AN EXIT

Cuba announced this week that it is removing the need for exit permits for those leaving the country to travel abroad. A few years ago, Liliet Heredero had to leave Havana but the journey started with her being forced to renounce her Cuban identity, give up her home and her car. From Cuba, Ethiopia, to Ukraine - and even a trip on the Trans-Siberian Express, we delve into some ill-fated exit visa stories. With Liliet Heredero, Damian Zane, Lili Wang and Olexiy Soluhobenko.

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

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20121029 (WS)

Reporting Lebanon: a day shift in Beirut and a lifetime of conflict in your country

A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

SPOTLIGHT ON LEBANON

BBC Arabic's Carine Torbey was first on the scene when a senior Lebanese intelligence officer was assassinated last week, and then amongst the crowds when a protest gathering at his funeral turned violent. As a young child growing up in wartorn Beirut, Carine would regularly cross demarcation lines unprotected. Now as an adult, reporting in her hometown, she finds herself in a similarly precarious position - but this time with riot gear. Is it a help or hindrance?

"The most difficult task was to cover the deaths of people you know. You're covering the disaster of your own country." Nada Abdelsamad, also with BBC Arabic and a Beiruti born and bred, has had a career on the frontline. She lived in Lebanon throughout the civil war, and then reported its painful aftermath - including the death of close friends. For her, the war seems never-ending - with no space for memories to sink in. Hear her perspectives of war-reporting and the risk of Lebanon being swallowed up the Syrian quagmire.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

BBC Brasil's Thomas Pappon gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including topless Ukrainian protesters, and a doll that speaks Nigerian local language, Igbo

MODERN DAY GRIOTS OF MALI

Mali's traditional singer-storytellers, the griots, have a long sung the history of their county - from the antics of ancient kings to modern day coup d'etats. So, how are they narrating the current events in Mali? Bamako-based journalist, Idrissa Fane looks at the challenges faced by today's griots - and whether journalism can compare to that style of storytelling.

THE LIFT PITCH

There’s only five floors to go – and Soe Win Than tells why the Burmese President's first ever press conference was overwhelmingly overshadowed by a woman in a bikini.

MY BOND IS MY WORLD

This month is the 50th anniversary of James Bond's first outing on the big screen in Dr No. Can the quintessential English spy get an international makeover? Special Agent Amanor parachutes onto the Fifth Floor where 007 is reimagined as an overweight Pakistani spy crawling the pubs of Kinshasa quaffing both Venezuelan whisky and Chinese hard liquor. What else is left? Just watch out for those Russians...With Yolanda Valery Gil of BBC Mundo, Carol Yarwood of the Chinese Service, BBC Afrique's Arthur Malu-Malu, Aamer Ahmed Khan of BBC Urdu, and the Russian section's Nikolay Voronin.

(Image: Protesters in Lebanon. Credit: Getty)

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

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A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

REPORTING RAKHINE: A CHALLENGE FOR BBC BURMESE AND BENGALI

A state of emergency has been in place in Burma's western Rakhine state since deadly communal clashes in June, and last month violence erupted once more with renewed ferocity. Tensions have been simmering for decades between the Rakhine who are predominantly Buddhist and the Muslim Rohingya, whom many Burmese regard as foreigners from across the Bangladesh border. It hasn't been an easy story to tell for Ba Maw of our Burmese service. He is from Rakhine state and belongs to the Kamein ethnic group. Although his family is seen by the Rakhine as indigenes, some of his family are Muslim and because of this have also found themselves on the receiving end of attacks. How does he manage to remain calm when his family are forced to flee for their lives?

The unrest in Rakhine state has meant that thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been displaced - around 75,000, according to UN estimates. As a result, many Rohingyas have been seeking refugee across the Bay of Bengal and into Bangladesh. So how have our Burmese and Bengali Services been covering this ongoing story? Section heads Tin Htar Swe and Sabir Mustafa talk about how they've been covering both sides of a complicated conflict.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

BBC Brasil's Thomas Pappon gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including the hope of hula girls on Mars, and boxing victory for Afghanistan

JIMMY WHO?

The Facebook page of BBC Hausa was recently bombarded with comments from listeners shocked to hear reports about Jimmy Savile, the deceased television presenter at the centre of a huge child abuse scandal in Britain. But they had confused two very different names which could sound similar when heard on crackly shortwave radios, and Hausa presenter Jimmeh Saleh had found himself the victim of a case of mistaken identity among millions of listeners in West Africa.

TALES FROM THE TRAIL

In case you hadn't noticed, the US Presidential election is on Tuesday. While small children may cry about how sick they are of hearing from Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, the politicking from both sides still roars on. Sudanese reporter Lukman Ahmed for BBC Arabic and BBC Brasil journalist Pablo Uchoa are on the tip of the beltway. What has life been like on the campaign trail?

POORLY PUTIN?

"It's a common sports injury - Vladimir Putin pulled a muscle." A press spokesman has finally ended weeks of media speculation on President Putin's limbs, and admitted that the notoriously buff Russian leader had in fact sustained an injury - though declining to say where - while exercising. But this certainly isn't the first time a Russian head of state has had a hushed up illness. Marina Fokina at BBC Monitoring wheels out the Kremlin's old sickbed.

(Image: A man walks past a destroyed mosque in Burma's Rakhine state. Credit: Getty)

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

2012111020121112 (WS)

A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

24 HOUR PARTY (CONGRESS) PEOPLE

China's Communist Party Congress is in full swing. The Great Hall of the People in Beijing is playing host to the biggest gathering of Chinese politicos for a decade, but what is remarkable about the event - which will culminate in a brand new leader for the country - is the extraordinary lack of information about what exactly goes on behind closed doors. The world's journalists have flocked to Beijing but sadly not the Chinese Service who've been denied visas. So, how do they cover their country's biggest political event when they're not even there? Yuwen Wu and Weilang Nei and explain the difficulties and why they're barred from Beijing.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

BBC Brasil's Thomas Pappon gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including chocolate bodices, butter statues and a Mexican organ grinder.

AN ODE TO EGYPTIAN FOOTBALL

Egypt has a love affair with football. They're the African record holders, seven times winners in the continent's cup. But at the moment, that's all they have - their domestic league has been postponed indefinitely following the stadium riots in Port Said which left 74 people dead. BBC Arabic's Akram Shaban, a lifelong fan of Cairo-based club Zamalek, and Marwa Nasser explain why football matters so much to Egyptians.

WHEN BBC HINDI MET THE "KINKY COLLECTIVE"

When Divya Arya from BBC Hindi went out to buy her own copy of the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey, she was amazed to find that none of her local shops had any left - the book was such a hit in India that the shelves were left empty. Shortly before that, Divya had been at a play which depicted some pretty eye-popping dominant sexual role-play - all of which got her thinking - is sex in India changing? She set off on a mission to understand why.

(Image: Hostesses outside Beijing's Party Congress. Credit: AP)

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

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20121119 (WS)

A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

TRAGEDY IN GAZA

This week, an air strike in Gaza killed the baby boy of BBC Arabic picture editor Jihad Misharawi. His home was close to a factory targeted by the Israeli military on Wednesday amid a tit-for-tat series of attacks bringing casualties to both sides. Events unfolded live on television with Jihad walking through a crowd holding the body of his son wrapped in white cloth. He was interviewed by Shahdi Al-Kashef, who reports for the BBC from the Palestinian territories. We talk to him about this horrendous experience.

THE KURDISH WAY

The Kurds live in an area encompassed by five nations, including Turkey where thousands of lives have been lost in a 30 year old conflict between Kurdish militants and the Turkish government. Some Kurds want an independent Kurdistan, others want cultural rights, but what does it mean to be Kurdish? Jiyar Gol, an Iranian Kurd reporting for BBC Persian, Kareem Abdulrahman, an Iraqi Kurd with the BBC's media monitoring service, and Guney Yildiz, with the Turkish language service, enlighten us.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

BBC Brasil's Thomas Pappon gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including amorous bicycles, grasshopper chat-up lines and an expensive diamond.

SOMALIAN COMEDY

Somalia, a country ravaged by two decades of civil war, is not known for its comedy. In an attempt to find the lighter side of the Somali character, David visits a comedy gig in London, fronted by Somalian comedian Prince Abdi, with BBC Somali's Farhan Jimale, Abdirahman Koronto, and the Arabic Service's Abdiraheem Saeed.

(Picture: Girl playing outside graffiti-stained wall in Gaza. Credit: Getty.)

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor

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20121126 (WS)

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

VIOLENCE IN GOMA

This week, Goma City, a convergence point for Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, fell to M23 rebels, who have since threatened to march further into the country. The DRC is a volatile place, and rebels and soldiers are frequently accused of carrying out atrocities against civilians. Kasim Kayira, of BBC Africa, tells David about his shocking and powerful experience of violence in the city earlier this year.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

BBC Brasil's Thomas Pappon gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - taking us through a jungle of news, from depressed apes to revitalised dogs.

FORCED CONFESSIONS

Maziar Bahari is an Iranian journalist who found himself in troubling circumstances while reporting post-election protests in Tehran in 2009. His documentary, Forced Confessions, is the subject of a series of special programmes aired on BBC Persian TV this week. Accused of being a spy, arrested and held for four months in the country's notorious Evin Prison, his story is a compelling one. Alongside Daryoush Karimi from the BBC's Persian section, he tells David about his arrest and experiences.

THE FARC IN PHOTOGRAPHS

This week saw tentative peace talks begin between the FARC rebels and Colombian government. It's now been almost five decades of conflict between the two parties - and some of that history has been documented through photographs. Taken from the computer of Alfonso Cano, a former military leader of Colombia's left-wing rebels, BBC Mundo this week put together a black-and-white gallery of the images. Arturo Wallace, the BBC's man in Bogota, explained the gallery to David.

(Picture: M23 rebels in Goma, DRC. Credit: Phil Moore/AFP/Getty Images)

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

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20121203 (WS)

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

KADUNA, MY HOMETOWN

"When you find yourself in a mob now, you'll get killed and nobody will know you are dead. You'll just be buried there and your family will be looking for you." Aliyu Tanko and Ibrahim Shehu-Adam are born and bred Kaduna boys - a volatile state in northern Nigeria marred by sectarian violence. As children growing up in the 1990s, they watched Kaduna change irrevocably. So now, as journalists, they talk about how they deal with the challenge of reporting in such a dangerous place - especially when that place is home.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

BBC Brasil's Thomas Pappon gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites - this week extinct Ninjas and disappearing Islands.

MEETING AFGHANISTAN'S WARLORDS

Rustam Qobil of the Uzbek Service is on the hunt for some Afghan warlords. How do they exercise their considerable power? He describes his adventures in the remote Takhar province - including what happened when he met the commanders and how he got access to them. Plus, Ismael Saadat from BBC Pashto gives the lowdown on what exactly defines an Afghan warlord.

AN ODE TO KIM

North Korea's leader made the headlines this week in China as the world's sexiest man as a 55-page photo spread of glorious Kim Jong-Un appeared in the online version of the People's Daily - lifted from the satirical American publication The Onion - and reprinted in earnest without a hint of sarcasm. We have our own Fifth Floor poetic tribute.

Photo: Aftermath of bomb attack in Kaduna, June 2012

Credit: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

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20121210 (WS)

A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with guest presenter Pooneh Ghoddoosi.

AN EAR IN TAHRIR

The world is watching Tahrir Square, but are they really listening? BBC Arabic's Yassmen Abo Khadra presents her soundscape from Cairo.

PAKISTAN: TELEPHONE LOVE

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has announced that it is banning late-night cheap rates on mobile phone calls, on the grounds that they are undermining the morality of the country's youth. Apparently young people have been caught making far too many intimate or indecent phone calls and the practice is supposedly threatening the social values of Pakistan. Urdu Service head Aamer Ahmed Khan and BBC Media Action's Fifi Haroon tell just how important the telephone is to relationships in Pakistan.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

BBC Brasil's Thomas Pappon gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including absconding Eritrean footballers, dinosaur discoveries, and seeking Hugo Chavez

DO NATIONAL ANTHEMS MATTER?

Can national anthems bring national unity? An Iraqi, South African and Ukrainian put their songs to the test. Faris Couri, editor of BBC Arabic (and also an Iraqi) shares why, after nine years of wrangling, Iraq is still struggling to find a national anthem. He's joined by BBC Africa's Nick Ericsson who grew up during the Apartheid-era and was forced to learn the Afrikaans anthem, Die Stem; and Irena Taranjuk of the Ukrainian Service who, as a result of Europe's political convulsions, had to learn several national anthems.

DEITIES IN THE DOCK

It's been 20 years since the Babri Masjid was demolished by hardline Hindu activists in the Indian city of Ayodhya. For over 100 years, the site itself has been the centre of a land dispute between Muslims and Hindus, and as part of the long legal process, and along with the many living witnesses and legal entities, at some point even sacred deities, are called in to court. Suhail Haleem in Delhi explains how the holy Hindu Gods, such as Lord Rama, are called on to stand in the dock.

(Image: An Indian deity held in the hands of a swimmer in the Ganges. Credit: Getty)

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

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A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with guest presenter Pooneh Ghoddoosi.

INSIDE THE AFGHAN SERVICE

Something extraordinary landed on the desk of the BBC's Afghan Service recently when they were contacted by a 20 year old woman who had approached a judge in Afghanistan in order to try and secure a divorce. But what happened next exposes corrupt practices in the Afghan judicial system in the most unusual way. Not entirely unsurprisingly, the judge in the case asked her for a payment in order to pass the divorce but there was another demand - that she marry him as well. Editor Emal Pasarly and reporter Daoud Jumbesh explain how the story made it to air.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

BBC Brasil's Thomas Pappon gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including parliamentary punch-ups, too many mother-in-laws and feuds over Uyghur nut cake

REPORTING DEATH

Death, it comes to us all but how do BBC reporters prepare for the passing of a major figure and breaking the bad news? An inside look into the world of obituaries with Editor Olexiy Solohubenko, BBC Mundo's Carolina Robino and Rupa Jha of the Hindi Service.

UZBEK GRINCH?

Has Christmas been cancelled in Uzbekistan? BBC Uzbek's Ibrat Safo explains why Father Frost and his daughter the Snow Maiden are on Tashkent's naughty list.

(Image: Crosses commemorating the deaths of asylum seekers in Germany. Credit: Getty )

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

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A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with guest presenter Pooneh Ghoddoosi.

GROWING UP IN YARMOUK

The Yarmouk camp in central Damascus has for decades been considered the de facto capital of the Palestinian refugee diaspora. But this week thousands were forced to flee as the camp came under heavy shelling and aerial bombing. BBC Arabic's Feras Killani was born and brought up in Yarmouk - he talks about his memories and the heartache of knowing that while he's safe in London, his Palestinian family who remain in Syria, are not.

ME, MYSELF AND MY MOUSTACHE

During the Mubarak-era, beards were a no-no in Egypt - this year they're back in fashion with a vengeance. And, in general, the details of how you wear your facial hair across the Middle East say a lot about your cultural baggage. From Cairo, journalist Ashraf Khalil lays down his must-have style-guide for understanding facial grooming in the Arab world.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

BBC Brasil's Thomas Pappon gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including doom, armageddon and a Mayan apocalypse here and there.

GUN PERSPECTIVES: BRAZIL, PAKISTAN, AND RUSSIA

Last week, the tragic mass shooting of 26 children and teachers at Sandy Hook School in Connecticut, provoked outrage and shock, and subsequently encouraged the Obama administration to push for tougher laws on gun control. Of course, gun crime is not just a menace for the US - Aamer Ahmed Khan, Mauricio Moraes, and Oleg Boldyrev give perspectives on gun culture from Pakistan, Brazil and Russia.

THE LIFT PITCH

There's only five floors to go - and BBC Persian's Ali Hamedani dissects Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei's first week on Facebook.

(Image: A Palestinian girl from the Syria's Yarmouk refugee camp. Credit: Getty)

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

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20121231 (WS)

Looking back at 2012: a year's reporting from the World Service's 27 language sections

A look back at a year of stories, insights and experiences from the World Service's 27 language sections, with presenter David Amanor.

This end of year compilation includes excerpts from the following stories:

STORIES FROM THE FRONTLINE: BESLAN

Zoya Trunova recalls the traumatic experience of covering the 2004 Beslan school siege in which over 300 people died - most of them children. She describes why it was a turning point in her journalistic career.

(first broadcast on 08/09/2012)

LOVE IN THE ARABIC SERVICE

What happens when you work with your spouse? There are many married couples working for BBC Arabic, Shaimaa Khalil (who's one of them) goes on a double-date - microphone included.

(first broadcast on 09/06/2012)

LETTER: FROM A REVOLUTION JUNKIE

He's desperate for a bandana and for a spot of usurping - but will he come through? BBC Urdu's Mohammed Hanif on watching the Arab Spring unfold from his perch in Karachi.

(first broadcast on 28/01/2012)

STORIES FROM THE FRONTLINE: LIBYA

BBC Arabic's Mohammed Ballout was shot when reporting in Libya - he survived but the two men who took the same bullet did not. He gives his personal perspective of war-reporting.

(first broadcast on 11/02/2012)

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

Thomas Pappon of BBC Brasil gives the lowdown on some of the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this year - including amorous mosquitoes, amorous cyclists, too many Malaysian mother-in-laws, and disappearing ninjas.

THE BALD-HAIRY THEORY

Artyom Liss breaks down the handy hint for remembering Russian rulers.

(first broadcast on 05/05/2012)

STORIES FROM THE FRONTLINE: KADUNA

Ibrahim Shehu-Adamu, a Hausa-Muslim journalist from Nigeria's fractious Kaduna state, tells of being trapped by a Christian mob and rescued at the last minute by a Christian friend.

(first broadcast on 01/12/2012)

DRAMA: COUP PLOTTERS

When is a coup really a coup and how do you plot the perfect overthrow? Cpt Mbango and Sgt Zoomzoom are our imaginary coup-plotters, cooked up by the satirical pen of BBC Africa's Robin White.

(first broadcast on 28/04/2012)

(Photo: Credit)

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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections

A fresh look at the week's global news from the Fifth Floor - home to the World Service’s 27 Language Sections, with presenter David Amanor.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with presenter David Amanor.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

20170609

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

Rumours of a film project about Sudanese ancient history have been raising hackles in neighbouring Egypt. The dispute is over which country had the most significant ancient civilisation on the Nile. BBC Africa's Mohanad Hashim, who's from Khartoum, puts the case for Sudan.

Old alleys of Beijing
The traditional hutongs or alleyways of Beijing were once the centre of community life for city-dwellers. Now only a few survive as tourist attractions. Howard Zhang of BBC Chinese grew up in a hutong, and his knowledge of the labyrinthine alleyways kept him out of trouble in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.

India's male bellydancer
The bellydance is an ancient form of entertainment with Arab roots, and has beguiled India for centuries. It's always been the preserve of female dancers, but now some male performers are bucking the trend. Sumiran Preet Kaur has met one for BBC Hindi.

Uzbek murder
The killing of a teenager in Tashkent, allegedly by fellow medical students, has sparked a wave of protests in Uzbekistan and dominated the news agenda for BBC Uzbek for many days. Rustam Qobil explains how one murder has surprisingly changed the country's political landscape.

Counting Indonesia's islands
BBC Indonesian reported this week about the latest attempt by the government to count its islands. It might take a lot of fingers: the last estimates put the number at over 17,000, with a geographical spread from Aceh in the west to Papua in the east. BBC Indonesian's Liston Siregar has visited some - but not all!

And Fifi Haroon's pick of the world wide web.

Image: Camel riders in front of the Sudanese pyramids
Credit: Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images

20170616

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

BBC Afghan's Auliya Atrafi is just back from his home province, Helmand, where for the first time he had access to areas under Taliban control. He visited the de facto Taliban capital of Musa, and found much to surprise him.

Snack food row in India
Momos are a much loved snack across the Himalayan region and beyond. But a senior Indian politician and apparently wants them banned. Nitin Srivastava from the BBC in Delhi is a bit of a fan, and explains this apparent war on dumplings.

The original Banana Republic
It's a term used to describe any unstable and corrupt country controlled by outside interests, but where did it start? BBC Mundo's Arturo Wallace has been delving into the history of the term.

Ramadan Lanterns in Egypt
Ramadan Lanterns are an Egyptian tradition dating back over a thousand years, and remain a popular part of family celebrations. Nada Rashwan of BBC Monitoring in Cairo tell us more.

Fugitives
Last week, a long time Japanese fugitive was finally captured after spending 45 years on the run. We've been around the Fifth Floor to hear about other high profile fugitives.

Wall of Death
The highlight for many Indonesian fun fairs is the wall of death: gravity defying motorbike riders zooming around the inside of a huge barrel. Haryo Wirawan from BBC Indonesia filmed some, just inches from the action.

And Fifi Haroon rounds up the week's strange stories from the web.

Image: Auliya Atrafi with the Taliban
Credit: BBC

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

Marking the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, our language service colleagues share stories of its influence. With Diloram Ibrahimova from Uzbekistan, Nga Pham from Vietnam, Manoshi Barua from India and Shakeel Anwar from Bangladesh.

I Went to Report, I Came Back a Chief
The BBC's Peter Macjob got more than he bargained for when he reported on a traditional festival in Nigeria's Ogun State. Suffice to say he came back crowned.

The Half-Widows of Diu
Every year hundreds of fishermen from India and Pakistan stray into each other's maritime territory and end up in jail. BBC Gujarati reporter Roxy Gagdekar met some of the wives left to cope alone for years at a time, the "half-widows".

Somalia's Gabooye
Qalib Barud of BBC Somali recently reported on discrimination in Somali society against a group of clans commonly referred to as the Gabooye.

Egypt's Golden Age
Angy Ghannam of BBC Monitoring in Cairo nominates the time of the Pharaohs as Egypt's golden age.

My Tale of Two Cities
Ha Mi of BBC Vietnamese grew up in the capital Hanoi believing that the southern capital Saigon - now Ho Chi Minh City - was a hostile place. She explains how her feelings for Vietnam's second city changed.

(Photo: T-shirts portraying Karl Marx, Lenin, Che Guevara and Bob Marley. Credit: Andre Vieira/Getty Images)

"all They Want Is To Have Their Daughters Back"2016052020160521 (WS)

This week a girl called Amina was rescued from the Sambisa Forest in north east Nigeria. She was the first of 219 Chibok schoolgirls to be seen since their abduction by the militant group Boko Haram. It was an emotional event for Amina, now with a baby, but also for BBC Africa's Abdullahi Kaura Abubakar - he's been reporting on the tribulations of the Chibok families for the past two years.

Celebrating Vyshyvanka Day

This Thursday, Ukrainians around the world celebrated being Ukrainian by wearing vyshyvankas. What's the significance of these traditional embroidered shirts and what do the designs say about who you are and where you're from? BBC Ukrainian editor Marta Shokalo provides the answers - and describes what the vyshyvanka means to her.

Indonesia's Communist fish

Did you hear the one about the fish in Indonesia that got arrested for displaying a hammer and sickle on its head? Not really - it was a spoof. But the Facebook story posted by photoshop artist Agan Harahap highlights the continuing tension in the country in addressing the 1965-6 Communist purges. Eric Sasona is a contributor to BBC Indonesian, and explains why the story has touched a nerve.

Nagorno Karabakh

The "frozen conflict" between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the contested Nagorno Karabakh region fired up into hostilities last month, leaving dozens of troops from both sides dead. As the leaders meet in Vienna to discuss the fragile ceasefire and future prospects of peace, the BBC's Rayhan Demytrie sheds light on the centuries-old background to the conflict, and her own recent visits to the region.

Does Brazil have a problem with women?

The announcement that Brazil's interim President Michel Temer has appointed a male-only cabinet has caused uproar in Brazil and led many to question why women are so under-represented in public life. BBC Brasil's Silvia Salek and Paula Adamo Idoeta share their thoughts on how sexism impacts on everyday life in the work place and in the corridors of political power.

New voices from Russia

Two prize-winning Russian writers caught the attention of the Central Asian service recently. Alisa Ganieva and Guzel Yakhina are from the republics of Dagestan and Tatarstan. They both use their regions as the backdrop to their works and their novels have made an impact on the Russian literary scene. Ibrat Safo caught up with them recently at the London Book Fair.

Plus the inimitable Fifi Haroon casts a discerning eye over the online oddities of the week.

Image: Amina Ali Nkeki meets Nigerian president

Credit: European Photopress Agency

Meeting the families of the missing Chibok girls

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The story behind the phrase

'Boots on the ground' is essentially shorthand phrase for sending combat troops into war. It's a term that has been popping up constantly in English language news coverage, but we find out why you're unlikely to hear anyone from BBC Arabic use it and how the Chinese equivalent - 'iron hooves' - has its own significance.

Letter from Cambodia: the Floating Vietnamese Villages of Tonlé Sap

Tonlé Sap, a giant freshwater lake in Cambodia, is home to an ethnic Vietnamese community who live in floating villages. Despite having lived on the lake for generations, many of the residents do not have the right documents to stay in Cambodia and there are fears that a planned government census may result in them being pressured to leave the country. Nga Pham of BBC Vietnamese took a boat trip around the floating homes, schools, shops and temples of Tonlé Sap and heard the stories of those that live there.

How to Dress a President

Next Monday, Hamid Karzai will stand down as president of Afghanistan - leaving some very stylish shoes to be filled. Karzai is famously well-groomed and was once voted one of the best dressed men in the world by Esquire magazine. Other leaders have made a point of being less well-turned out - for instance Gandhi never went in for high fashion, and Chechnya's Kadyrov once turned up in a tracksuit at the Kremlin. Language service colleagues tell their sartorial tales of presidents gone by, including what happened when BBC Africa's Veronique Edwards went to interview a leader who was dressed so oddly that she failed to recognise him.

The Strangest Museums of Mexico City

According to the Mexican government, Mexico City has more museums than any other city in the world. Juan Carlos Perez of BBC Mundo talks us through some of the more eccentric museums the city has to offer, including museums of toys, torture and drug trafficking.

Inside the Ahmadi Community

Forty years ago the Pakistan government declared the minority Ahmadiya religious sect to be non-muslim, resulting in Ahmadis being subjected to sectarian attacks and further persecution. BBC Urdu's Nosheen Abbas reports from the all-Ahmadi town of Rabwah in rural Punjab - one of the few places in Pakistan where they are not marginalised.

Celebrating Julio Cortazar

He's a master of magical realism, and can even teach you to climb the stairs: Julio Cortazar is one of Argentina's most famous writers, and this year marks 100 years since his birth. BBC Mundo's Valeria Perasso, a self confessed fan of his work, explains his appeal.

Online Greatest Hits

Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the lowdown on the weird and wonderful stories across the web, including Dutch detective dogs, intoxicating noodles, and a napkin-eating mortgage broker.

(Picture: Military boots

Picture credit: Getty Images)

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The death of an asylum seeker on Nauru Island that's making waves in Australia and Iran

It's a week since the death of Omid Masoumali. The 23 year old Iranian asylum seeker set fire to himself in protest against his detention on Nauru Island and died of his injuries. A Somali woman followed suit, and remains in a critical condition. The incidents have highlighted Australia's controversial offshore immigration processing policy, and the plight of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Islands. It's a story that's been followed closely by Fariba Sahraei of BBC Persian as many of the detainees originate from Iran, she tells us about the impact of the latest developments in both camps on their audience.

All Aboard....the Fifth Floor's Greatest Train Journeys

In February this year the first direct cargo train travelled from China to Iran - a 10,399km journey taking 14 days, a revival of the ancient silk trade route. This grand trans-Asian enterprise prompted our journalists to share stories of their most memorable train journeys across the region - from Mongolia to Moscow, calling at Taiwan and Uzbekistan. With BBC Uzbek's Hamid Ismailov, Giang Nguyen from our Vietnamese language service, Martin Yip of BBC Chinese, and James Cowling from BBC Africa.

Kiev street art

For the past year Kiev, capital of Ukraine, has seen a boom in street art. It has been appearing on old factories, office blocks and huge apartment buildings around the city. BBC Ukrainian journalists Roman Lebed and Anastasia Soroka report.

Brazil's 'Lebanese' president-in-waiting

President Dilma Rousseff will find out next week whether she's to face an impeachment trial in Brazil. If she's suspended, Vice-President Michel Temer will take over. That's of great interest in Lebanon, the home country of Mr Temer's parents. Tariq Saleh is a Brazilian-Palestinian who reports for BBC Brasil from Beirut, and he explains why Mr Temer is such big news there.

Who are the Night Wolves?

A Russian biker gang are trying to get to Berlin in time for the 9 May Victory Day celebrations in Moscow. But they're leaving a trail of protest and controversy along the way. Who are the Night Wolves, why are they supported by President Vladimir Putin, and what do Russians make of them? Questions for Yuri Vendik of BBC Russian.

And Fifi Haroon's pick of the worldwide web.

Image:Omid Masoumali - Iranian asylum seeker who died after setting fire to himself on Nauru Island

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The BBC Afrique reporter caught up in the terror attack on an Ivory Coast beach

On Sunday 13th March, as people gathered to enjoy the beach at the Grand Bassam resort in Ivory Coast, militants opened fire causing chaos and killing at least 19 people. BBC Ivory Coast reporter Valerie Bony was at the resort that day and she shares her memories of the attack.

Nostalgia for a shared identity

Tatyana Movshevich grew up in Soviet Russia at a time when a shared culture was encouraged, from Kazakhstan to Latvia. But since the dismantling of the Soviet Union that shared identity has been eroding. And for Tatyana, the contest for Ukraine to choose its entry for this year's Eurovision Song Contest brought that change home.

Punjab's centuries-old epic poem

The epic poem Heer Ranjha is a love story which goes back centuries in Punjabi folklore. It was popularised in the 18th century by Waris Shah, who took it from town to town and village to village. We hear from BBC Urdu's Asad Ali Chaudhry and Sana Gulzar how the tradition lives on today.

How much unity can we expect from Libya's Unity Government?

In the past week, Libya has gone from having three governments to two, and then back to three. It's evidence of the challenges the United Nations faces in trying to bring to an end five years of conflict and promote the new Unity Government. We ask Libyan Muhammad Hussein of BBC Monitoring what the prospects for unity are, in a country with three governments and nearly two thousand militias.

Stories from the salon

How important is it to be well groomed in the Arabic-speaking world? BBC Arabic's Marwa Al-Nagar shares the stories she discovered for the BBC documentary The Salon, including encounters with a Lebanese refusenik who won't straighten her hair - to the despair of her family - and an Iraqi refugee who can no longer afford the salon and relies on her ex-policeman husband to cut her hair.

And Fifi's pick of the worldwide web.

Image credit: Getty Images

"why Burkina Faso? Why Now?"2016012220160123 (WS)

The people of Burkina Faso are still coming to terms with last Friday's Islamist attack in the capital Ouagadougou, which left 30 people dead. Leone Ouedraogo of BBC Afrique reflects on the impact of the attack, and the spirit of her fellow Burkinabe, who she says are powered by this motto: La patrie ou la mort, nous vaincrons - Homeland or death, we will win.

What does happiness mean to you?

In the week of Blue Monday, when the Northern Hemisphere experiences what's said to be the most depressing day of the year, we take a microphone round the Fifth Floor to search for the secrets of a happy life.

Colombian Male Manicures

There was outrage in Colombia last year when news broke that a group of prisoners had arranged for manicurists to visit them in jail. But it wasn't the manicures themselves that raised eyebrows: it just wasn't considered acceptable for convicts to have this sort of privilege while in prison. But for BBC Mundo correspondent Natalio Cosoy his astonishment ran along slightly different lines. His first thought, as an Argentinian, was "Men? Manicures?" He explores the strange phenomenon.

The booksellers of Hong Kong

There has been anxiety in Hong Kong over the disappearance of five booksellers over the last few months, with many people wondering if the mainland authorities are involved. All five are connected with a bookstore which sells books banned in mainland China. Grace Tsoi of BBC Chinese grew up among the independent bookshops of Hong Kong, and she explains how tensions have arisen over the publication of so many 'forbidden books'.

India's Republic Day - will it feature camels?

Camels have been a highlight of India's Republic Day celebrations since the first parade in 1950. They're part of the Border Security Forces from Rajasthan, and appear in the parade lavishly decorated with colourful pom-poms, carrying mustachioed soldiers playing brass instruments. But this week the media's been full of rumours that they've been dropped, and replaced by a team of army dogs and some French soldiers. So what's going on? Vandana Dhand from BBC Hindi has been investigating.

Algerian Television

With more than 40 independent private television stations broadcasting in Algeria, viewers have more choice than ever before. But now the government has brought in sweeping new media laws in an attempt to regulate the industry. Some stations have been forced to close and others are under threat, Rachid Sekkai from BBC Arabic has been reporting on what's happening.

And Fifi's pick of the worldwide web.

Photo: The Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou fire-damaged and empty after last week's Islamist attack.

Credit: Ahmed Ouoba/AFP/Getty Images

A country coming to terms with last week's Islamist attack in Ouagadougou

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

REPORTING SYRIA: INSIDE THE 'UGC HUB'

"International media outlets are restricted in Syria, making it difficult to verify the claims of either side" is a line you may often come across in BBC News articles and stories about the unrest in Syria. This week on The Fifth Floor we explore the implications of this for the Arabic Service - with such tight reporting restrictions, how do they verify the videos and reports coming out of the country? TV editor Edgard Jallard and reporter Feras Kilani give a remarkable insight into how they try to separate fact from fiction, and how social media websites and user-generated content (UGC) have revolutionised their newsgathering operations.

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

From the BBC's Moscow bureau, Maria Vassilieva gives her five step survival guide to a wintry Russian protest

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

World Service internet guru Falko Mortiboys gives the rundown on the big-hitting stories across the BBC language sites this week.

BEATING THE CENSORS

A number of the World Service's language sections are banned or restricted in several countries. For instance, BBC Persian is banned in Iran where the authorities consider it to be untrustworthy, and the Chinese Service website - or BBC Zhongwen - is blocked by the censors there who say it is incompatible with China's media laws. So does the BBC World Service beat the censors? And why should our language services attempt to circumvent censorship in the first place? Karl Kathuria from World Service Future Media, Ibrat Safo of BBC Uzbek and the Chinese Service's Lili Wang discuss the issues - and get tested on some censorship myths.

(Image: Supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad hold a large banner bearing his likeness during a rally in Damascus, Syria. Credit: AP)

Inside the Arabic Service - how do they verify videos and stories from Syria?

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections

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A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

BANGLADESH: A POTTED HISTORY

A declaration of independence, a dramatic assassination and an unexpected encounter with an African-American boxer, the greatest of the time. The head of the Bengali service Sabir Mustafa relives his youth and remembers the dramatic decade when his country Bangladesh was “liberated” from Pakistan in 1971.

PORN ON THE ARABIC SERVICE

BBC Arabic TV has made its first ever full length documentary on pornography. Producers Wissam Sayegh and Eli Melki travelled to Los Angeles to better understand the industry and we join them behind the scenes. There apparently is as much demand for porn in the Arab world as elsewhere – so why did they focus on this, and how much graphic detail did they actually televise?

THE LIFT PITCH

There’s only five floors to go – and Silvia Salek dodges a gang of brutish Brazilian blondes.

DIARY: FROM DAKAR TO NAIROBI

For BBC Afrique, Laeila Adjovi leaves her west African comfort zone in Senegal and - for the first time - heads east to Kenya. A culture shock awaits as well as some training in TV.

MALVINAS’ MUSICAL INSPIRATION

Reporter Maximiliano Seitz delves into how the Falklands – or Malvinas – war spawned a meteoric rise of home grown rock music in Argentina.

(Photo: A scantily dressed woman in Las Vegas. Credit: Getty Images)

Behind the scenes at BBC Arabic's first ever feature length documentary on pornography

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections

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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

TORTURED IN TAJIKISTAN

He was so severely beaten and electrocuted that his family barely recognised him, BBC Central Asian service reporter Urunboy Usmonov tells The Fifth Floor about his arrest and torture in Tajikistan a year ago. Security officials accused him of having links with a banned organisation, a charge he vehemently denies and colleagues were holding vigils for his release outside Bush House. Urunboy is still fighting to clear his name and despite his ordeal trying to get permission to work as a journalist again. We also speak to head of the Central Asian section Hamid Ismailov who travelled to Dushanbe to secure Urunboy's release.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

Our very own internet guru, Thomas Pappon, takes us for a spin around the World Service language sites top hitting stories. This week they include a family living in a double decker bus, an extravagant Bollywood wedding and a way to find out which Olympic athlete you would be.

TIMBUKTU'S TREASURES

People around the world have been horrified by the destruction of centuries old artefacts in Timbuktu by an Islamist group who has taken control of the ancient city. One person on The Fifth Floor who was lucky enough to see some these treasures before they disappear forever is BBC Africa's Manuel Toledo, he tells us about his travels to Timbuktu.

AMERICA AND PAKISTAN: A BAD MARRIAGE?

If music be the food of love, then America and Pakistan - some might say - play on to a recipe of double-dealing, drones, and the odd coup here and there. It's an on-off, tempestuous relationship while the rest of the world - teetering on various edges and brinks of global security - watches on. From Karachi, writer Mohammed Hanif plays marriage counsellor.

IS SORRY THE HARDEST WORD?

This week US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave Pakistan a long-awaited apology for the death of 24 soldiers seven months ago. Pakistan responded by reopening a Nato supply route in the region. All better now? Well, perhaps not. When does an apology really count - or feel deserved. We tour the floor to get some sorry stories from Pakistan, Iran, Sierra Leone, China and Serbia. With Aamer Ahmed Khan, Hossein Sharif, Josephine Hazeley, Yuwen Wu, and Dejan Radojevic.

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

IRAN: BRIDGING THE GAP?

"Recently, for the first time they complained to the BBC and I was so happy - because that is what we would like to happen."

Sadeq Saba, the head of the Persian Service, speaks about his hopes for any form of dialogue with Tehran. BBC staff have been banned from Iran since the 2009 presidential elections, and Persian section journalists subjected to growing intimidation and harassment from the Iranian authorities. Will relations always be this tense, and can the gap ever be bridged?

TREASURE TALES

For BBC Mundo, Matias Zibel Garcia finds out who's staking a claim to the $134m worth of treasure in waters off the coast of Portugal. A quick dip into the Atlantic Ocean plunges him into the murky deep waters of Spanish history.

PEEK INTO BURMA

As you might have heard, the BBC World Service is leaving its headquarters in Bush House and moving to a spangly new building - our original home, Broadcasting House. The Burmese Service will be the first language section to broadcast from the 5th floor of the building, and we caught up the head Tin Htar Swe to get an inside peek on their special planned programme.

THE JOURNALIST AND HIS HANDLER

Arabic Service reporter Omar Abdul Razek has just returned from assignment in Syria - his reportage took him around the country from Damascus, Aleppo and Latikia. We speak to him and Adel Soliman, his desk editor in London - who was anxiously awaiting his dispatches and news of his safety.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

Internet guru Falko Mortiboys gives the rundown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including India's Super Tuesday, nudity on BBCArabic.com, and six foot under in Sri Lanka.

(Image: An Iranian mural artist paints a portrait of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran. Credit: AP)

Persian Service vs Iranian government - the media saga continues.

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections

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A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

ARAB SPRING REVOLUTIONS: IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR

On the first anniversary of the downfall of president Ben Ali of Tunisia, we hear from a husband and wife team working for BBC Arabic. Egyptian journalist Reda el Mawy joins The Fifth Floor from Tunis, while his wife, Tunisian producer Wafa Zaiane is with us in the studio. They talk about the impact of reporting the Arab Spring on family life - and jostling for the TV remote control as both watched the revolutions unfold at home and at work.

JAKARTA JOURNEYS

For BBC Indonesia, Dewi Safitri reports on the perilous lengths that commuters go to get their ride back home - clambering, in their thousands, onto the rooftops of trains.

DIARY: A WEEK IN NIGERIA

"I finally got to the hospital after taking a long way round to avoid the feared Kaduna hoodlums who could either harm me or smash my vehicle." In a chaotic week in Nigeria, there's dangerous reporting and a difficult task for Nurah Ringin, the Kaduna correspondent for the Hausa Section.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

World Service internet guru Falko Mortiboys gives the rundown on the big-hitting stories across the BBC language sites this week.

IT'S ALL A CONSPIRACY!

Earlier this week, the embattled Syrian leader President Assad made a rare public address pointing the finger at a "foreign conspiracy" for the troubles in Syria. And the following day we awoke to hear the news that Iran was accusing Israel of assassinating one of their nuclear scientist. So how do you make the distinction between conspiracy and conspiracy theory? We gathered together Aamer Ahmed Khan head of the Urdu Service, Josephine Hazeley from BBC Africa, and Persian TV reporter Hossein Sharif for a discussion.

(Image: Women show the flags of Syria, Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt and Libya painted on their palms during a demonstration. Credit: Reuters)

The impact of reporting the Arab Spring on family life - a BBC husband and wife tell all.

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections

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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

ARAB SPRING: REPORTER'S VIEW FROM IRAN AND AFRICA

The Arab Spring anniversary season is well underway and the BBC's Arabic Service has been in overdrive - but what of the other language sections across the World Service? What challenges have their reporters faced? In Cairo to mark the beginning of Mubarak's end, Ranyah Sabry for BBC African English and Mehrdad Farahmand of Persian TV swap stories of the tumultuous and tremendous days in Tahrir Square.

LETTER FROM… A REVOLUTION JUNKIE

Last year no fewer than thirteen countries across north Africa and the Middle East experienced mass protests. And the narrative of revolution could still spring a few surprises this year in the Arab world and beyond. So who wants to be part of a revolution? Pakistani writer Mohammed Hanif is desperate to be part of a revolution. But before he can usurp a despot or hoist a redesigned flag, domestic life somehow gets in the way.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

World Service internet guru Falko Mortiboys gives the rundown on the big-hitting stories across the BBC language sites this week.

NONSENSICAL NEWS

How many words can you weave together and still say nothing at all? BBC Russian's Artyom Liss, Nga Pham of the Vietnamese section and Rafid Jabboori of the Arabic Service dip their toes into the murky waters of journalistic jargon and cliche.

Journalistic jargon: How many words can you weave together and still say nothing at all?

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections

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David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

A Childhood On The Rubbish Tips2016061720160618 (WS)

The refugee children scavenging for a living on the toxic tips of Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan.

Namak Khoshaw is a freelance producer for BBC Persian. He's made several films with the BBC about his birthplace, Iraqi Kurdistan, but his forthcoming documentary Life on the Rubbish Dump, about the child rubbish pickers on Erbil's main tip, is very close to home. As a child Namak and his brothers were also rubbish pickers following the Kurdish uprising. He tells us about that time, and about the refugee children he filmed working on the rubbish dump now.

The power of the headscarf

With headscarves being reclaimed as a style statement by young South African women, we take a walk around BBC Africa to find out about headscarf traditions and trends across the continent.

India's Dalit Romeo and Juliet

How has an anti-Bollywood, low-budget regional language film made by a Dalit (formerly untouchable caste) filmmaker, become India's biggest sleeper hit of the year? The film is called Sairat, which means wild, and is about the often cruel and unsettling consequences of falling in love in India. The BBC's Khadeeja Arif and Sushant Mohan shed light on this unusual hit.

Searching for the Disappeared

BBC Mundo's Valeria Perasso shares her story of following a ground-breaking Argentine forensics team to Medellin, Colombia to search for the bodies of those who disappeared in the country's conflict between left-wing guerrillas and right-wing paramilitary groups.

Following my father's tastebuds

Juicy mangoes, dhal puri, potato balls, curry, chowmein... Carinya Sharples grew up hearing her father's mouthwatering memories of life in Guyana. How he would go and pick a mango off the tree in his garden, and buy 'shave ice' from street vendors. Now Carinya has returned to her father's homeland, and she takes the Fifth Floor on an exploration of the country through taste.

And Fifi Haroon's pick of stories from across the world wide web...

Image credit: BBC Namak Khoshnaw

A Migrant's Story2015121820151219 (WS)

As migrants continue to make the dangerous sea crossing from Turkey to nearby Greek islands, one story in particular has hit the BBC Central Asian service. An Afghan couple, Sayara Samadi and Mohammad Qais Rahmani, lost their young son when their dinghy capsized as they tried to cross the Aegean sea. Sayara used to report in Uzbek for the BBC from Mazar-e-Sharif. One of her former colleagues, Rustam Qobil of BBC Uzbek, reflects on the impact her story has had on him.

A Persian Children's Classic

Many of us will remember a book that made a big impact on us as a child. For children who grew up in pre-revolutionary Iran, one of the most popular books was The Little Black Fish by Samad Behrangi. The book has now been translated into English. Two fans from BBC Persian are Mehrdad Farahmand and Pooneh Ghoddoosi. Once we were all sitting comfortably, Pooneh began with a reading from the story in Farsi…..

Bone Music

Back in the 50s in the Soviet Union, Western music was banned. So what do you do if you're desperate to hear the latest release from Bill Haley and the Comets? Music lovers found an ingenious solution - they made bootleg pressings of their favourite tracks on discarded X-rays. They make for eerie looking records - with shadows of bones underneath the grooves. And it wasn't just western music but also other more local musicians who were banned. Alexander Kan from BBC Russian tells us the story of the bone music.

For more on the X-ray audio project go to www.x-rayaudio.squarespace.com.

(Picture: Sayara Samadi, Mohammad Qais Rahmani and son Sumar Bek in happier times

Picture credit: Used with the permission of Sayara Samadi and Mohammad Qais Rahmani)

"I don't know how to comfort her". One family's tragic migration story

A President In Town2013062820130629 (WS)

What makes a presidential visit a success or disaster?

A Short History Of Blasphemy2014053020140531 (WS)

Why is blasphemy such a big issue in Pakistan? It's constantly in the headlines - BBC Urdu's Amber Shamsi tracks the history of blasphemy in Pakistan while satirist Mohammed Hanif breaks down how one can or can't blaspheme in Karachi.

Mixtape: Togo

BBC Afrique's music journalist Ata Ahli Ahebla spins another Fifth Floor mixtape - this time from Togo. He gives his favourite four tracks spanning 40 years of Togolese music, including Toofan, Bella Bellow, Peter Solo and Elom Vince

Sexual Harassment in Egypt

Earlier this month, Egypt passed a law addressing one of the country's worst epidemics - sexual harassment. From Cairo, Angy Ghannam reports on what women do to avoid being grabbed and groped, and the lengths that some go to protect themselves in the streets.

Election Oddities

In the Egyptian elections this week voting was extended, train fares were waived and a public holiday was declared in order to tempt the people out to vote. On Saturday, Syria will be holding its own elections with a whole different set of challenges - Bashar al-Assad is widely expected to win but the question is by how much. In previous campaigns his family has reached the lofty heights of 95% of the vote, and this is the first time in decades that Syria is holding a presidential election with more than one candidate. Journalists Murad Shishani and Shahida Tulaganova discuss some of the more unusual elections of past and present from around the world.

Online Greatest Hits

Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the low down on the top-hitting stories across the language service websites, including Mexican snakes and Russian beavers.

Comedy in Kampala

BBC Africa's Kassim Kayira has been seeing the funny side of life in Uganda. He reports on the rise of stand-up comedy nights in Kampala, what Ugandans are laughing at and what's been tickling him.

Photo credit: Getty

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

Afghan Refugees: An Uncertain Future20161014

Three million Afghan refugees in Pakistan have been asked to leave by March next year

What happens when a government tells 3 million refugees within its borders that they have to go home? Many Afghan refugees in Pakistan have spent all their lives there, and established homes and businesses. The Pakistani government argues that militants are hiding among them, and the departure of all refugees is a necessary part of its security strategy. BBC Urdu editor Haroon Rashid is from Peshawar in northern Pakistan, home to many Afghans. He tells us about his personal memories, and the impact of what's happening today. We also hear from BBC journalist Zarghuna Kargar about the years she spent as an Afghan refugee in the city.

Chinese detective with a British flavour

A new, big budget Chinese TV drama is being made with Chinese TV's biggest star in the title role. The significance of Judge Dee is that it's scripted by British screenwriters. To discuss the appeal of the Judge Dee stories in China and why they're being repackaged with a British flavour, Paul Bakabinga is joined by two BBC journalists - China analyst Kerry Allen and Yashan Zhao from BBC Hong Kong.

Farewell to Venezuela

BBC correspondent Daniel Pardo is leaving Venezuela with mixed emotions. From the delicious smell of his neighbour cooking the traditional vegetable sauce sofrito, to the frustrating bureaucracy at the bank - he reflects on what he will and won't miss about the place he called home for three years.

Egypt's Nubians, yearning for home

The Nubian community in Egypt were forced from their villages in the 1960s when the Aswan Dam was built on their land. Many resettled in cities in the north of the country where they upheld their traditions and customs, whilst maintaining the hope that they would someday return home. However, a new restricted military zone designated by President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is part of the Nubian homeland. Angy Ghannam of BBC Monitoring in Cairo tells us how the Nubian community has reacted, and describes their place in Egyptian society.

75 this week

BBC Bangla celebrates its 75th birthday this week. For the first years, output was simply a translated newsletter. Then in 1944, the two founding staff members arrived by ship from India - in Glasgow! They had to make their own way to London and struggled to find hotel accommodation. Manoshi Barua tells us what she's discovered about those pioneering days.

Fifi

Weird and wonderful stories from the world wide web curated by digital diva Fifi Haroon.

Photo: Afghan refugee families wait to board trucks near Peshawar in July 2016.

Credit: A. MAJEED/AFP/Getty Images.

Apples, Dams And The Taliban20171027

A risky assignment in Afghanistan's beautiful Wardak Province

It's a short but risky journey from Kabul to the centre of neighbouring Wardak province - much of which is under Taliban control. BBC Afghan's Auliya Atrafi looked beyond conflict on his recent reporting trip - to the university local people built for themselves, and new power from an old hydro station.

Youth series: Zamrock
In the mid 70s, newly independent Zambia was alive with youthful energy and political upheaval. The result? Zamrock, a new sound that emerged from the country's mining heartland, and made a big impression on the BBC's Kennedy Gondwe.

Farinata: a word in the news
Why is the Portuguese word farinata provoking all kinds of controversy in São Paulo? BBC Brasil's Paula Idoeta sheds light on why a scheme to provide cheap meals for schoolchildren seems to have backfired.

Madagascan bull wrestling
BBC Afrique's Raissa Ioussef, based in Dakar, recently made a beautiful film about bull wrestling in Madagascar, where young men show off their strength and courage as a way of impressing the girls. She tells us it was also a homecoming of sorts as her parents come from Madagascar.

Turkey's Ottoman revival
When modern Turkey was created nearly a century ago, founding father Mustafa Kemal Atatürk turned his back on the trappings of the Ottoman Empire. Old fashions and customs disappeared overnight. But Irem Koker of BBC Turkish says there's now a rise in what's called Neo-Ottomanism.

And Fifi Haroon's pick of the world wide web

Image: Landscape in Chak Valley, Wardak Province, Afghanistan
Credit: BBC

Bama After Boko Haram2015121120151212 (WS)

The northern Nigerian town now liberated from Boko Haram

Bashir Sa'ad Abdullahi was among the first group of journalists to visit the north-eastern town of Bama in Nigeria since it was liberated from militant Islamist group Boko Haram earlier this year. Bashir had reported extensively on Boko Haram and their occupation of many areas in Borno State for BBC Hausa, and heard many stories of the violence in the city during its occupation. But visiting the town still came as a shock: the level of destruction, and the hopelessness of the few remaining residents. He gives us an eyewitness account of the town today.

Parkour in Kabul

Parkour, also called free running, is a relatively new sport in Kabul. The Afghan Parkour Generation formed a "team" five years ago and could be seen tumbling, jumping and somersaulting in some of the quieter outskirts of the city. But now two thirds of the team have left the country for Europe, part of a wider youth exodus. Khalil Noori is a producer for the BBC's Afghan service based in Kabul and tells us about the rise, and faltering, of Parkour in Kabul.

Svetlana Alexievich

The Belarusian author and journalist, Svetlana Alexievich is the first non-fiction writer in 50 years to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Her writings focus on the human stories behind historic events which have shaped the post-Soviet era. Alexander Kan from BBC Russian, and Katya Rogatchevskaia from the British Library talk about the woman and her work.

Living Through the Chennai Floods

Muralidharan Kasi Viswanathan reports for BBC Tamil from Chennai and last week the news came to his doorstep, quite literally, in the form of water, lots and lots of water. Murali was at home in Chennai when the floods hit. He lives in a ground floor flat which was almost completely overrun by water. He managed to save some of his most precious books and papers but most of his belongings were destroyed.

A Better Life than Today

It is what millions of young people around the world are searching for, and it is the title of a Somali soap opera created by BBC's international development charity Media Action. Listeners to Maalimo Dhama Maanta can vote on the path the characters should take, and many are changing their own paths in life as a result. Project manager Hoda Hersi, who is based in Somaliland, tells us about the impact the drama is having.

Confucius Confusion

There was due to be a ceremony this week for the grand handover of the Confucius Peace Prize. This year it was awarded to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe prompting both outrage and bemusement but the organisers seem to be having trouble persuading their winners to come forward. Earlier this year it was reported that Mugabe had become the fourth recipient to refuse. Why? I asked Howard Zhang of BBC Chinese.

And the inimitable Fifi Haroon shares her favourite stories from the web this week.

(Photo: A Nigerian soldier at the now destroyed prison in Bama. Credit: Nichole Sobecki/Getty Images)

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Why there are street protests in Kenya about the amount of airtime devoted to local music

The Kenyan government has announced plans that 60% of music on radio and TV stations in the country should be local. But is that realistic? And does it matter that Kenyan radios and nightclubs are so enamoured with Nigerian and other grooves? From the Fifth Floor, journalists Frenny Jowi from Kenya and Peter Okwoche from Nigeria share stories of the tracks that define nations and identity.

Postcard from Havana

On the day John Kerry visits Havana to inaugurate the first US Embassy in Cuba for 54 years, BBC Monitoring's Emilio San Pedro takes us on a tour of the city and asks what the future holds for Cubans as they re-establish ties with the superpower over the water. This is the second in a series looking at Cuba on the edge of change.

The Taiwanese grandfathers on different sides of the war

Tzu Wei Liu of BBC Chinese is from Taiwan, which was a Japanese colony until 1945. Her paternal grandfather was taught Japanese at school in Taiwan, while her mother's father was a child in China, hiding in caves from Japanese shelling. Tzu Wei has been investigating the hidden divisions in her family, and speculates that many other Taiwanese must share equally complicated identities.

A snapshot from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Every year, the Scottish capital Edinburgh hosts the biggest arts festival in the world: over 50,000 performances from almost 50 countries. Pooneh Ghodoosi of the BBC's Persian service is in Edinburgh seeking out the Iranian talent on offer.

Hunting Tales

As the debate about Cecil the Lion rumbles on, we go on safari on the Fifth Floor to hear about other trophy animals and the people who hunt them, from the Marco Polo sheep of Kyrgyzstan to the Anatolian lynx of Turkey.

And Fifi shares her favourite funny stories from the world wide web this week

(Picture: Kenyan singer Nameless performing at MTV African Music Awards. Credit: Getty Images)

Bashiqa: Beyond The Battleground2016102820161029 (WS)

Picnics and sesame oil - memories of the Iraqi town at the heart of the fight for Mosul

For Iraqis, Bashiqa used to be synonymous with arak, sesame oil and picnics. Now it is in the headlines as a key battleground in the campaign to retake Mosul from so-called Islamic State. BBC Arabic's Basheer al-Zaidi is from Mosul, and he shares memories of Bashiqa.

Yawning? Must be Hungry

It is well known that words get lost in translation, but what about body language? Colleagues from the Fifth Floor give us the inside track on how to avoid cross cultural-confusion.

Summer Holidays in Crimea

For Anastasia Gribanova of BBC Ukrainian, childhood summers meant a seaside holiday in Crimea. Since Russia annexed the territory, many Ukrainians refuse to go to Crimea on principle, or are put off by checkpoints and long queues. Anastasia shares her memories.

Rat Hunting in Jakarta

People in the Indonesian capital are excited by news that a generous bounty could be offered for dead rats, in an effort to get the population under control. Liston Siregar of BBC Indonesian explains why the city authorities might rethink their offer after calculating just how much it could cost.

Artistic Differences Between India and Pakistan

How have military tensions between India and Pakistan affected arts and entertainment? BBC Hindi's Vandana Dhand and Ziad Zafar of BBC Urdu describe the fall-out, from a ban on Pakistani actors in Bollywood to the removal of Indian programmes from Pakistani TV.

(Photo: Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters near Bashiqa. Credit: Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images)

Beirut's 'you Stink' Protests2015082820150829 (WS)

Rubbish has been piling up on the streets of Beirut for over a month since the closure of the city's main landfill site. But protestors believe that the rubbish is just the tip of a huge iceberg of corruption. They are angry at the government's inability to maintain order and basic amenities in a country which has been without a president for the past 18 months. Carine Torbey of BBC Arabic is there among the bin bags.

Ode to the Monsoon

Romance, poetry and the promise of plenty. As Pakistan enjoys monsoon rains after the burning heat of early summer, BBC Urdu's Amber Shamsi tells us why she loves this season.

Old Foxes: Insults Old and New in Iran

The re-opening of the British embassy in Tehran has given new life to the traditional term of abuse the Iranians have used for Britain for at least a hundred years - the Old Fox. Parham Pourparsa of BBC Monitoring has been investigating other rhetorical terms used in the Iranian media.

Acrobatics in Edinburgh

High jinks at the Edinburgh Festival with two acrobatic troupes - Kim Chakanetsa meets La Meute, the wolf pack, from France, and Ghana's Fanti Acrobats. The six daredevil members of La Meute catapult themselves into the air wearing little more than towels, and the Fanti Acrobats perform contortion, pan-spinning, limbo and traditional dancing.

Diary of a Cuban Poet

One morning when BBC Monitoring's Emilio San Pedro was checking his post he found a letter from a listener with a copy of the diary of a young Cuban poet, Isidro Suarez Vega. Isidro was an acclaimed academic and writer who fled the country in the 1970s because he was gay. He lived in exile in the United Kingdom until his life was tragically cut short. On a recent visit to Havana, armed with Isidro's diary, Emilio decided to seek out people who knew him, to find out how the path of this talented writer led to a tragic end.

Yemen Before the Storm

Gaith Abdel Ahad relives his experiences covering Yemen's disintegration into civil war and in particular the chaotic seven days in March preceding the Saudi-led air strikes. The South Yemenis believed that they were finally on the verge of independence from the North, only to see their dreams shatter around them. Gaith witnessed the retreat and the collapse of Aden into anarchy for his BBC film Before The Storm.

And Fifi shares her favourite stories from the web this week.

(Picture: A Beirut protest against uncollected rubbish. Credit: Getty Images)

On the frontline of Beirut's protests over rubbish.

Benghazi: My Family Under Fire2016020520160206 (WS)

The BBC's Muhammad Hussein describes the violence and hardship his family is enduring

Libya has been in chaos since President Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011, with militias and jihadi groups vying for power, and two rival administrations. Muhammad Hussein of BBC Monitoring is from Benghazi, where the revolution started. Many members of his family are still there, living in constant danger from bombardment, violence and kidnapping. He tells us how they're coping.

Bachelor Renters in India

"Bachelor tenants strictly not allowed". What do India's landlords have against single people? Vikas Pandey from the BBC's Delhi office shares his own sorry experiences of trying to rent as a bachelor.

Instagram Imams in Iran

A popular new account on Iranian Instagram features photos of imams doing surprisingly everyday things. The snaps show imams riding motorbikes in the desert, taking a ski-lift, and playing basketball with schoolgirls. Is this a positive campaign to show that imams are ordinary people, or a cynical attempt at propaganda? Nooshin Soluch of BBC Trending has been following the debate.

Thailand's Child Angels

Thailand's Luk Thep or Child Angels are slightly creepy-looking dolls that have been blessed by Buddhist monks so that a wandering spirit is invited to inhabit the doll. They made world headlines after an airline ran a promotion offering to sell seats for the "Child Angels" to travel alongside their owners. Pinpaka Ngamsom from BBC Thai tells us that the dolls are believed to bring luck to their owners, many of whom lavish love and gifts on them.

Mixing on the Fifth Floor

The Fifth Floor is a place of strange synergies, where a Macedonian can work for BBC Persian, a Bangladeshi for the African Service, or a German for BBC Afghan. We explore the new cultures created in the melting pot of the BBC's language services.

Embrace of the Serpent

The Colombian film Embrace of the Serpent has been nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film award in this month's Oscars. We discover the story behind the film with BBC Mundo's William Marquez, a Colombian who is a former actor and film producer. We are also joined by Valeria Perasso, who covers the Oscars for BBC Mundo.

(Photo: Soldiers in Benghazi, Libya. Credit: Abdullah Doma/Getty Images)

Bo Xilai On Trial20130823

The courtroom tweets taking us inside China's trial of the century

Bo Xilai on Trial

How are China's social networking sites discussing the trial of one of the country's most prominent politicians? From Hong Kong, Martin Yip of BBC Chinese has been glued to Weibo. Plus, BBC Monitoring's Qiang Zhang gives a background to some of the political powerplay behind the scenes in Beijing.

Af-Pak Football

Afghanistan and Pakistan aren't necessarily known for their footballing rivalries - or indeed prowess - but this week the neighbours met on the pitch for the first international match played in Kabul for a decade. The Afghan Service's self-confessed 'football pundit' Emal Pasarly and BBC Urdu's Shafi Naqi Jamie chart their love of the beautiful game.

Celia Cruz: A Tribute

Carlos Chirinos of BBC Mundo tells the story of the woman known as the "Queen of Salsa" and "La Guarachera de Cuba" - the legendary Celia Cruz, the most popular Cuban recording artist of her day.

Uzbek Airport Rage

Flying to Uzbekistan? Getting on a plane might not be as easy as you think - even if you have a ticket. BBC Uzbek's Ibrat Safo reports.

Remembering the Iran-Iraq War

It's been 25 years since the end of the Iran-Iraq war - a bitter eight-year conflict which destabilised the region and devastated both countries. BBC Persian's Bahman Kalbasi and BBC Arabic's Rafid Jaboori were only small boys at the time, living in Tehran and Baghdad. They share memories of how the war shaped their childhood and perceptions of 'the enemy'.

Online Greatest Hits

Our Portuguese producer Marco Silva has the lowdown of the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including smuggling through Kazakh pipelines and make-up-wearing Kenyan policewomen.

Picture: Bo Xilai, Credit: Reuters

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

Burundi: Living Inside A Crisis2016011520160116 (WS)

Prime Ndikumagenge is a BBC Africa reporter based in the Burundi capital Bujumbura. For the Fifth Floor he has recorded his experiences of living through the current crisis in the city, which came to a peak on 11th December with the killing of 87 people, and how citizens, including his wife, have developed app aptitude to stay safe from the violence.

Russia's love affair with Winnie the Pooh

With Winnie the Pooh Day looming on 18 January, BBC Russian is celebrating one of their favourite characters. Soviet children first met A.A. Milne's famous bear in the 1960s, first with a translation of the stories and then with a series of cartoon films. The sayings, poems and songs of 'Vinni Pukh' are still popular today. BBC Russian's Yana Litvinova shares her own love of Pooh, and describes her recent pilgrimage to his home in Ashdown Forest.

Afghan Film Archive

In the heart of Kabul is a unique collection of documentaries and Afghan made films showing Afghan life throughout the twentieth century. But of the thousands of hours of footage only a tiny fraction has been digitised, and the archive's location next to the NATO headquarters leaves it vulnerable to the increasingly frequent and accurate suicide attacks in the city's Green Zone. Karim Haidari and Mahjooba Nowrouzi from BBC Afghan shared their thoughts on the archive.

Ta'arof, or Iranian Etiquette

We get a masterclass in the Iranian art of 'ta'arof' or civility which requires people to constantly offer things they might not want to give, and to refuse things they want to take. An Iranian shopkeeper may insist a customer takes his goods for free, and the required response is to insist on paying, several times if necessary. Complimenting someone's furniture may lead to them urging you to take it home with you. David Amanor navigates these complicated customs with BBC Persian's Siavash Ardalan and Camelia Sadeghzadeh.

Afghanistan and Pakistan - difficult neighbours

As talks continue on how to resolve the 14 year long conflict between the Taliban and Afghan forces and their allies, there are any number of experts with views on the situation. But what do ordinary Afghans think - particularly about the role of their neighbour Pakistan, which denies accusations that it has sponsored the insurgency? BBC Urdu brought together two Afghans and two Pakistanis to hear what's being said on the streets. Haroon Rashid in Islamabad and Dawood Azami of BBC Afghan reflect on what came out of the discussion.

And Fifi shares her favourite stories from the web this week.

Photo: Barricades during 2015 elections in Bujumbura, Burundi.

Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Gunfire, fear and lockdown: life in Bujumbura

Cairo Calling2016072220160723 (WS)

Lessons in living, language and laughter from the journalists of BBC Arabic

It's sixty years since the nationalisation of the Suez Canal, the event that marked Egypt's decisive break with its colonial past. BBC Arabic journalists share their thoughts on how that iconic moment shaped modern day Egypt, and how it still influences Egyptian and Arab identity today.

How to be an Egyptian

Presenter David Amanor goes on a crash course on How To Be An Egyptian. Angy Ghannam teaches him how to joke like an Egyptian. Dina Aboughazala gives him tips on how to speak like an Egyptian. And Ahmed Nour takes him to the nearest café for a lesson on how to hang out like an Egyptian. Our BBC Arabic panel of experts contribute their own favourite jokes, and debate the eternal Egyptian café question: who should pay? Meanwhile Mehrdad Farahmand, who reports from Cairo for BBC Persian, shares his frustrations at trying to master Egyptian slang. He also gives us an Iranian perspective on life and politics in the Middle East, and tells us which stories his audience enjoy most.

My Tahrir

Before the 2011 Revolution, Marwa Nasser of BBC Arabic was working in an IT recruitment call centre. Within a few short weeks, she was reporting on the revolution and her face was on the cover of Time Magazine. She shares her personal story of how she found her voice, her calling and her husband in those days in Tahrir Square.

After Tahrir: Whatever happened to citizen journalists

During the 18 days of protests in Tahrir Square, a wave of citizen journalism reported on the police battles, placards and street-level populism that formed the Egyptian Revolution. Yet in recent years, that spirit of citizen journalism has all but disappeared - BBC Arabic's Radwa Gamal, Wael Hussein and Sally Nabil discuss what happened to those impromptu reporters, and share insights into the challenges facing journalists reporting in Egypt and across the region today.

(Photo: Presenter David Amanor with BBC Arabic staff in Cairo. Credit: BBC)

Carnival And Crisis In Caracas2014030720140308 (WS)

How do you stage a carnival in Caracas when the city has been having street protests for more than three weeks? And one year on from his death, it seems that Hugo Chavez still watches over Venezuela - his picture is on street corners, in cafes, on t-shirts, and even earrings. Irene Caselli reports on an ongoing crisis, violence, carnival and the commemoration of the death of a man who - whichever side you are on - changed Venezuela's history for good.

Chechen Music

The Pankisi Gorge sits in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia. It has about 15,000 ethnic Chechen residents, whose ancestors migrated there in the 18th Century, and who maintain a strong musical heritage. BBC Arabic's Murad Shishani - a Chechen from Jordan - travelled to Pankisi to talk to the Chechen musicians about the way their dramatic landscape and turbulent history is interwoven into the music they make.

Online Greatest Hits

Fifi Haroon gives the low down on the top-hitting stories across the Language Service websites, including an Iranian detective parrot and a smarty-pants Japanese robot.

Turkey's TV soaps

Politics is increasingly finding its way into Turkish TV drama. This week a new soap opera "Kaizilelma" (Red Apple) is tackling the reports of plots to assassinate Prime Minister Erdogan. So how has the political crisis in Turkey influenced drama makers who try to imitate issues widely debated in society? With BBC Arabic's Dalia Haidar and Cagil Kasapoglu from the Turkish Service.

Stories from the Frontline: Crimea

"'Don't move or I'll shoot!' someone shouts from the bushes. Slowly, I turn my head and see a gun fitted with a silencer, pointing at me." BBC Russian's Olga Ivshina describes a tense stand off with Russian-speaking troops in Crimea.

A Crash Course in Putinese

President Putin had had very little to say in public about the Crimean crisis until Tuesday this week when he gathered together journalists in the Kremlin to share his views. His words were carefully dissected and translated - because Putin has something of a unique style. He's a fan of colourful language, street speak and criminal slang which gave some translators something of a headache. BBC Russian's Alexander Kan brings us his interpretation of 'Putinese'.

Understanding the Oligarchy

So what's the difference between a Russian oligarch and a Ukrainian oligarch? Irena Taranyuk and Masha Alexandrova give a rundown of all you wanted to know about the Eastern European business elite but were afraid to ask - and explain why understanding the oligarchs is key to deciphering the current crisis in Ukraine.

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

China's Mature Market Traders2016010820160109 (WS)

China's 'traders in pyjamas' are watching share swings with concern. So who are they?

China's "Traders in Pyjamas"

Drama on the Chinese stock exchange this week has been unsettling professional traders. But among those taking sharp intakes of breath are Vincent Ni's Auntie Jin. She, like many other retirees in China, chooses to spend her golden years playing the markets from her spare room, tapping away on phone apps as a "trader in pyjamas". Vincent Ni from BBC Chinese explores the phenomenon of China's mature investors.

The Story of Somalia in Song

Have you ever really listened to a signature tune? They are just muzic jingles aren't they? Not the signature tune of the Somali Service. It is one of the seminal songs of the country telling of the struggle for independence and freedom back in the 1950s. The song forms part of a tradition, to share the story of Somalia in music and poetry. With this in mind we set a challenge for BBC Somali's Farhan Jimale - to tell the history of his country through its songs.

Nepal's "Integrity Idol"

Corrupt officials, absenteeism, drinking on the job? Sounds like a job for Integrity Idol, a citizen supported campaign that first launched in 2014 to reward the most upright, and inspirational public officials and encourage more to step into public life. So why does Nepal need this social media and TV contest? Rama Parajuli from the BBC Nepali Service in Kathmandu sheds some light on the contest. And no, there is no prize money available!

Return to Garissa

Garissa University College in Kenya is reopening eight months after the attack by militant Islamists from the group Al-Shabab that left 148 students dead. Bashkas Jugsoday of BBC Africa was at the scene covering the event that day and its aftermath. Garissa is also his hometown. This week Bashkas was back at the university as staff and students prepare for the new term.

Indonesian Cinema

The latest episode of the science fiction saga Star Wars became a hot topic of conversation in Indonesia when three home grown actors landed parts in the Hollywood blockbuster. But the home grown film industry faces many challenges. Kiki Siregar from BBC Indonesian, and journalist and film critic Eric Sasono explain.

Egypt's Coptic Christmas

For most Christians the festive period is well and truly over for the year, but for Orthodox Christians Christmas Day was on the 7th of January and the celebrations have only just happened. Mariam Rizk works for BBC Monitoring, and is part of the minority Coptic Christian community in Egypt. She shares her thoughts on how the festival is celebrated in Cairo.

Photo: Elderly Chinese investors in front of a stock price board, Shanghai, China

Credit: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Closing Kenya's Dadaab Refugee Camp2016061020160611 (WS)

What it means to close Dadaab, home to nearly 350,000 refugees

Following the recent announcement by the Kenyan government that it plans to close the massive Dadaab refugee camp this November, Bashkas Jugsodaay goes back to the moment in 1991 when the first Somalis arrived. Bashkas reports for BBC Africa from nearby Garissa, and he's followed the lives of the refugees through three generations. He shares insights into camp life, and explains what its closure would mean to residents and Kenyans.

Lapis Lazuli

The brilliant blue precious gemstone, lapis lazuli, has been prized for millennia, and the best quality stones come almost exclusively from Afghanistan. A report this week highlighted the extent to which armed groups, including the Taliban, are using lapis to fund their operations, but what does the gemstone mean to ordinary Afghans? Over to BBC Afghan with Hameed Shuja and Najiba Feroz.

Nepal Hear My Country

Think of your country, think of a song, close your eyes and marry the two. It's our much loved feature Hear My Country, and this week the task goes to our journalists at the foothills of the Himalayas. So what songs can BBC Nepali come up with to express their country's cultural identity, maybe we might also learn something about the way music styles travel around the globe. Sewa Bhattarai, Binita Dahal and Surendra Phuyal of BBC Nepali take up the challenge.

BBC Persian in China

Feranak Amidi of BBC Persian is fascinated by China. Its influence over world affairs is growing, and politically and economically China and Iran have been very close over the past decades because of sanctions. However, a lot of myths about China grew up because Iranians couldn't travel there. So Feranak was very excited to visit the country and meet the people, and see for herself what modern China is like.

Riding a rickshaw with the Mexican ambassador

The Mexican ambassador to India has started using a humble auto rickshaw instead of a car. Her aim is to promote public transport and highlight air pollution in Delhi. BBC Urdu's Suhail Haleem has buckled up for a journey with the ambassador, hoping to navigate the traffic and the pollution that comes with it in a diplomatic fashion.

And Fifi Haroon's pick of weird and wonderful stories from the world wide web.

Photo: Dadaab Refugee Camp, North of Nairobi, Kenya.

Credit: Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images.

Colombia: Living With The Peace20160812

The price of peace in post-conflict Colombia.

In June, the Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, signed a historic ceasefire with the country's largest left-wing rebel group, FARC. Headlines around the world proclaimed peace after more than 50 years of fighting. But the final deal has proven elusive as for many the price of peace is difficult to swallow. Rafael Abuchaibe is with BBC Monitoring in Miami, and gives his perspective on the situation in his home country.

Erdogan and Putin through the headlines

Friends to enemies to friends again. The highs and lows of the Turkish Russian relationship through their headlines.

'Pointless activities' for part-time schoolchildren

Indonesia, like many countries, operates a shift system for schools. But there's a proposal to change to a full school day, and stop what the Education Minister calls the 'pointless activities' students are believed to get up to when they're not in class. So what activities did the half day alumni of the Fifth Floor get up to outside school hours?

A tale of two Syrian footballers

In early 2011, two young and talented Syrian footballers were both tipped for great things. One a 19 year old goalie for Al-Karamah in Homs, the other a prolific goal-scorer for Al-Futowa in north east Syria. Then the Syrian revolution broke out in March 2011, and their lives spiralled in radically different directions. So what light do their stories shed on the ongoing conflict in Syria? BBC Monitoring's Elma Hasum has been following their respective careers.

Martial Arts literature in Hong Kong

This year the Hong Kong Book Fair chose Chinese martial arts literature as its theme. It's a hugely popular genre, read right across the Chinese-speaking world. So what's the appeal? And are the books, like the films, all karate chops and kapows? Avid fans Yashan Zhao and Tzu-Wei Liu from BBC Chinese share their passion.

Tajikistan campaigns against "incomprehensible" words

The authorities in Tajikistan recently launched a campaign against what they call "incomprehensible" words. Journalists who use them have been threatened with fines, even though some are words which have been used for centuries. What does this story tell us about the politics of language? We turn to BBC Persian's Dariush Rajabian, who is from the capital of Tajikistan, Dushanbe.

And Fifi Haroon's pick of the worldwide web.

With guest presenter Emilio San Pedro

Image: Colombia's President Santos (L), Cuban President Raul Castro (C) and 'Timochenko' (R), head of FARC signing the ceasefire, Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Court, Bomb Factory And Slave Market2016041520160416 (WS)

The Syrian town of Shaddadi has been recaptured from the so-called Islamic State group by Kurdish forces, backed by US airpower. The BBC's Feras Kilani was one of the first journalists to be allowed into the town. He gained a unique insight into how an IS town operates, with a bomb-making factory, evidence of a modern-day slave market, and even a gym for fighters.

Nepal Earthquake, One Year On

Bhagirath Yogi of BBC Nepali travels to the badly affected Sindhupalchok region and reflects on the challenges facing thousands of earthquake survivors. Next week, the Fifth Floor travels to Kathmandu to get insights and personal stories from the BBC Nepali team.

Saudi Dance Craze

A dance video from Saudi Arabia has gone viral. Called 'the Barbs', it's a mix of hip-hop and 1980s-style break dancing, put to Arabic rhythms. It has triggered the wrath of the conservatives in Saudi Arabia, with some saying the video is evidence of how Western influences are ruining society. Kindah Shair and Hala Hindawi of BBC Arabic explain why it's so controversial.

Fears for the Dying Rivers of Bangladesh

Bangladesh has one of the most complex river systems in the world, with around 435 active rivers. But now almost 80 could be at risk of dying. The waterways represent an historical landscape and an important trade route. BBC Bangla's Masud Khan has criss-crossed the country and shares his stories of how the rivers which are an essential part of life for millions of people are being destroyed.

Somali Clan Insurance

For generations, Somali culture has relied on the clan structure to organise large one-off payments for clan members, like bride money or blood money. In more recent times, the clans have also looked after car insurance. Abdi Bidhaan Dahir of BBC Somali tells us how increasing car ownership and rising accident rates are putting the system under strain.

And Fifi Haroon's pick of weird and wonderful stories from across the worldwide web.

(Photo: The Court House in the town of Shaddadi, destroyed in Syria's conflict)

Life and death inside a Syrian town, just recaptured from so-called Islamic State

Crimea - A User's Guide2014022820140301 (WS)

Crimea

The drama in Ukraine continues but if last week all eyes were on Maidan Square, this week attention has shifted to Crimea, the autonomous peninsula to the south of Ukraine that is home to ethnic Russians, ethnic Ukrainians, Crimean Tartars and the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Yevgeny Kanevsky from the BBC Russian Service knows the place well and tells us what you need to know to understand Crimea.

Farewell DC10

BBC Bengali's Shahnaz Parveen has taken the last ever DC10 international passenger flight, travelling from Dhaka to Birmingham. She wondered if she would survive a long haul flight on an aircraft that's older than her, but she did. Even though there was no in flight entertainment the party atmosphere in the cabin and the stories of the crew who have devoted their lives to the DC10 helped the hours fly by.

Karachi You're Killing Me!

Ayesha Khan is a young, single journalist dodging bombs and bullets, avoiding lost lion cubs, and attending Pakistan's Fashion Week - all on a diet of beer, cigarettes and chili chips. She's the narrator of journalist Saba Imtiaz's first novel, Karachi,You're Killing Me! which has just been published. Saba Imtiaz and Mohammed Hanif of BBC Urdu and an acclaimed novelist, join The Fifth Floor to talk about the perils, pleasures and occasional laugh-out-loud moments of being a journalist in Karachi.

Fifi

Fifi Haroon gives the low down on the top-hitting stories across the Language Service websites, including Chinese cats living like kings and the pitfalls of proposing in public.

Embedded in the Central African Republic

'A convoy of terror' that's how BBC Swahili's Kassim Kayira described his latest assignment when he was embedded with AU peacekeepers who were trying to provide a safe passage to hundreds of Muslims trying to escape Christian militia attacks. Kassim reads a few pages from his diary from the trip and tells David what it was like to be embedded.

Sufi Sounds

BBC Uzbek journalist Rustam Qobil travelled recently to Northern Afghanistan where he found a renaissance in the mysterious Sufi school of Islam. As part of his journey he encountered chanting and singing worshippers, eyes closed, lost in their hypnotic prayer. Rustam talks us through some of the unique sounds of the Sufi.

Lupita at the Oscars

It's Oscars weekend and it's causing a frenzy of activity in Kenya. This is the first time a Kenyan has been nominated. Lupita Nyong'o is up for Best Supporting Actress for her role in 12 Years a Slave, but as Frenny Jowi from our Nairobi bureau reports it hardly matters whether she wins or loses because the Lupita effect has firmly taken hold already

Picture: Crimea

Picture credit: Prisma/UIG via Getty Images

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

Discovering Mauritania2016082620160827 (WS)

This year Mauritania hosted the Arab League Summit. Mauritania is often overlooked by the Arab world, a large country with a tiny population, geographically isolated in the far west of the African continent, and a long way from Arab centres of influence. So when BBC Arabic's Hanan Razek got the chance to cover the summit, she was not sure what to expect. But what she found was a unique culture where women hold divorce parties, and a country in the grip of a gold rush.

Too Plump for Television?

In Egypt, eight female state TV presenters were recently suspended from their jobs and given a month to come back slimmer. A week later and the action is still provoking furious chatter on social media. Fifth Floor held its own debate with two Egyptians - Angy Ghannam of BBC Monitoring and Sally Nabil who has been following the story from BBC Cairo.

Glorious Grannies

In praise of grannies everywhere and the knowledge they have passed on. From tales of revolutions and wars with BBC Uzbek's Rustam Qobil; resilience and strength in Ethiopia with Hewete Haileselassie; and secluded gardens, cooking and memories of an older Bangkok with Issariya Praithongyaem.

Remembering the Arctic Convoys

BBC journalist Natalia Golysheva is from Arkhangelsk, or Archangel, in the Russian North, where this weekend sees the annual celebration in honour of the Arctic convoys which transported supplies and arms to the Soviet Union during World War Two. The British Merchant Navy and their escorts, along with other Allied vessels, braved enemy ships and atrocious weather. Natalia tells us why her mother Valentina made it her personal mission to preserve the stories of the veterans, and how that has changed her life.

Beirut's Metro al-Madina

Before the civil war in Lebanon, the neighbourhood of Hamra was considered Beirut's cultural heart - home to poets, academics and revolutionaries. Today, that artistic spirit has taken a new form in the shape of the Metro al-Madina club, known for its spectacular cabaret shows and performances - and for nurturing some of the city's new talent. Carine Torbey and Rami Ruhayem tell the Fifth Floor why it is the place to go in Beirut.

And Fifi Haroon's pick of the world wide web.

A rare look inside a country of Bedouins, Arabs and African tribes

Dodging The Spies2013110120131102 (WS)

Pakistanis accustomed to avoiding the snoops offer tips to the Europeans

With Europe still reeling from the revelations of the extent of the tentacles of America's National Security Agency, our man in Karachi - BBC Urdu's Mohammed Hanif (who has had the odd run-in with intelligence officials himself) - offers some useful words of advice on how to avoid the snoops.

Dodging Drones

Waziristan in Pakistan's tribal region is an area that is constantly watched by US military drones. At least four drones hover in the sky at any given time of day - which is stressful enough but especially difficult if you are interviewing the head of the Taliban at the same time. The BBC's Ahmed Wali Mujeeb describes a tricky assignment in Pakistan's drone country.

Pronunciation Headaches

There's a new president in Georgia - so it's goodbye Mr. Saakashvili, hello Mr... Margvelashvili. Or it would be if we knew how to say his name. Calls poured in to the BBC's Pronunciation Unit on how to handle that one this week - but his is not the only difficult name to pronounce, in fact some names are deliberately mispronounced in order to avoid embarrassing mishaps on air.

Underneath the Bosphorus

This week, trains started to carry passengers under the Bosphorus Strait, linking the Asian and European sides of Istanbul by rail for the first time. It's a journey that only takes four minutes and the Turkish Service's Rengin Arslan has a ticket.

Ministry of Happiness

Venezuela announced a brand-new government department - the Ministry of Happiness run by the Under-Secretary for Supreme Happiness. So if you are cranky in Caracas and an all-around miserable Venezuelan, do not fear - help is apparently on its way. BBC Mundo's Yolanda Valery explains the logic behind this new venture.

The Story of Bossa Nova

BBC Brasil's Monica Vasconcelos dips into the history of the beats, sambas and rhythms that make up Brazil's iconic music - bossa nova.

The Fifth Floor is presented by David Amanor.

(Picture: Woman wears oversized sun-glasses with the words 'Stop Spying' written on the lens. Credit: Getty Images)

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

Festive Fun With Languages2015122520151226 (WS)

Tongue twisters, proverbs and strange animals noises with the BBC's language journalists

Join us for a festive Fifth Floor party celebrating languages and all the fun you can have with them. David Amanor has broken free of the studio and set up his microphone on the Fifth Floor of Broadcasting House where our language service journalists make it happen. The BBC's best linguists are stopping by to show off their verbal dexterity with tongue-twisters, puns, proverbs and party-pieces.

We revisit some of the best language-themed items from last year's programmes, and find out what's lost - and gained - in translation when Shakespeare's performed in Urdu and Alice explores Wonderland in Arabic. And do people behave, think - even dream - differently in a second language?

Party guests: Gulnara Kasmambet of BBC Kyrgyz, Najieh Gholami of BBC Persian, Irena Taranyuk of BBC Ukrainian, Dino Ali of BBC Urdu and Zuhura Yunus of BBC Swahili.

Picture: The Fifth Floor festive celebration

Ghana's James Bond Of Journalism2015092520150926 (WS)

He is a master of disguise, one day a wealthy investor in high heels, shades and lipstick, then a janitor mopping floors in a brothel who then switches again to dress up as a stone on the side of the road with just two peep holes for his eyes. His fans call him a modern day folk hero or the James Bond of journalism for his undercover work in exposing corruption and malpractice in Ghana and beyond. This week the name Anas Aremeyaw Anas has been splashed across all the front pages of the Ghanaian papers as his latest film claiming to expose corruption within the judiciary was shown to audiences across the capital, Accra. But who is the man behind the mask? What motivates him and are his means justified? We hear from BBC Africa's Ghana correspondent Sammy Darko.

Literary Heirlooms

From the Hobbit and The Little Prince, to less celebrated children's books, the BBC's Uzbek, Russian, Hindi and Latin American services share the children's books they inherited from their parents, and the ones they'll pass on to their own children.

Indonesia's 1965 Anti-Communist Massacre

It is 50 years since the purges in which an estimated half million suspected communists were killed. Eric Sasona is a contributor to BBC Indonesian. He was born after the massacre, but the killings were a powerful influence in his own background.

Taliban Honey

A major joint investigation into the inner workings of the Taliban was published this week by BBC Afghan and BBC Persian and one of the revelations to come from this is that a significant source of earnings for the Taliban is - honey. We are joined by journalists from the region to find out just how honey helps the Taliban and why it is a treasured sweetener across the country

Sachli Gholamalizad

Sachli Gholamalizad is an Iranian-Belgian actress and playwright. Her latest play, A Reason to Talk, was recently staged at the Edinburgh Festival, where she spoke to Pooneh Ghoddoosi about the effect of leaving Iran following the 1979 revolution, growing up as an immigrant, and the impact it had on her relationship with her mother.

And, Fifi picks her favourite stories from the web this week.

(Picture: Anas Aremeyaw Anas - third from left)

Anas Aremeyaw Anas, Ghana's crime busting undercover reporter, in the spotlight.

Historic Handshakes, Hugs And Kisses2013091320130914 (WS)

Momentous greetings between political arch enemies

India's Mixed Religious Communities2016060320160604 (WS)

The place where Hindus and Muslims live together in peace, even within the same family

Religious strife is never out of the headlines - and unfortunately India has seen its unfair share, especially between Hindus and Muslims. However, in Rajasthan in northern India there's a community of people who follow the traditions of both Hinduism and Islam. Shakeel Akhtar of BBC Urdu has been to meet some of them.

Pele and Pop Culture

He was the world's most loved footballer and hero to a nation. As Pele prepares to sell his sporting memorabilia, the Fifth Floor's Bruno Garcez remembers the movies, music and comics which made Pele a star of Brazilian pop culture.

"Attitude adjustment" in Thailand

In Thailand, critics of the military regime are not finding it easy to share their views. The United Nations has criticised the current crackdown on public debate, including the practise known as "attitude adjustment" - essentially a brief period of incarceration by the military. Issariya Praithongyaem of BBC Thai explains what's going on.

Rembering May 35th...

Activists in China have had to find creative ways of referring to the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 and the brutal army crackdown on June 4 because key words and dates are blocked. This year, one man used word play on a label for 'Sichuan Wine' as an oblique reference. Howard Zhang from BBC Chinese takes us through the code-words and shares memories of the day itself.

A Saudi and Iranian cyber spat

There are reports this week that Saudi Arabia and Iran have been involved in a series of back and forth cyber attacks which have seen websites on both sides taken down, insults posted on official pages and pictures of Saddam Hussein posted on Iranian pages. BBC Monitoring's Shahin Azimi logs on with David to shed light on the story behind this skirmish on the world wide web.

The poets of BBC Uzbek

All but one member of the BBC Uzbek team are poets. The country has a long poetic tradition that survived the Soviet era to permeate modern literary culture - and it even touches current affairs journalism. David Amanor speaks to Pahlavon Sodiq, who is a well-known published poet, and Rustam Qobil, who is not.

And the inimitable Fifi Haroon curates her pick of the week's whackier online offerings.

credit: Shib Shankar Chatterjee

India's Onion Crisis2013090620130907 (WS)

Can Indians and their curry pots face the prospect of life without the mighty onion?

Fearless in Delhi

BBC Hindi's Divya Arya is a born and bred Delhi-wallah - a new play about sexual violence in her city is making her re-think her attitudes about her hometown.

Great Lakes: Love Thy Neighbour

There's a diplomatic row brewing between Tanzania and Rwanda - BBC Africa's Kasim Kayira gives a lowdown on the power-tussle between the neighbours, and an insight into why Tanzania is such a key player in the volatile Great Lakes region.

Ecuador's Punk Rockers

Irene Caselli gives a crash course on the flourishing punk rock scene in Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city.

India's Onions: the Sob Story

India is in the midst of an onion crisis - inflation and crop damage has meant that this essential food staple is in shortage. Can Indians and their curry pots handle life without the mighty onion? In Delhi, BBC Urdu's Suhail Haleem peels back the layers and finds that his country has been there before.

Cinema in Cuba

The experience of going to the movies can be different depending on what country you're in. For instance, watching the latest Bollywood flick in a Mumbai picture house one may expect a lot of audience interaction, whereas in London just opening a packet of crisps provokes angry shushing. But what about in Havana? From Cuba, Fernando Ravsberg recalls his fondest big screen experiences.

Indonesia's Dark History

A chilling and inventive new documentary, called The Act of Killing recreates the atrocities of 1960s Indonesian death squads - in which around 500,000 people were killed in so-called anti-communist purges. Liston Siregar, editor of the Indonesian Service looks back at this dark episode in his country's history.

Image: Pictures of India's prime minister and president adorned with onion garlands at an onion shortage protest. Credit: Reuters

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

Indonesia's Chilli Crisis2015090420150905 (WS)

How a huge increase in the price of red chillies is hurting Indonesians

A huge increase in the price of red chillies has caused uproar in Indonesia, where they are essential on every dinner table. But according to the BBC's Kiki Siregar, sales have not gone down. However high the price, Indonesians simply can't face life without chilli.

South Sudan: a poet reporting on war

Last week saw a peace agreement reached between the warring factions in the South Sudan civil war. Since the war started in 2013 tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than a million displaced. BBC Monitoring's Akol Miyen Kuol witnessed the impact of this conflict on his homeland and lived through many years of civil war. He's also written about it. Akol is a journalist and a published poet. He talks to the Fifth Floor about telling the story of South Sudan.

Cuba: from rumba to reggaeton

BBC Monitoring's Emilio San Pedro is in Havana taking the Fifth Floor on a tour of Cuban music from jazz to hip hop, rumba to reggaeton - with a few old classics along the way.

The Savitsky Museum

A gallery in the far reaches of Uzbekistan holds the second largest collection of Russian avant-garde art in the world, second only to the Russian State Art Museum in St Petersburg. How did it get there? Hamid Ismailov from BBC Uzbek explains.

Tongues in a twist

She sells sea shells on the Fifth Floor.. We find out how tongue-twisters are created in different languages and put on a display of international verbal gymnastics.

And Fifi shares her favourite stories from the web this week

Picture credit: Selling chillies in a market in Indonesia. Getty Images

Iran's Forgotten Province2016062420160625 (WS)

The remote and impoverished province of Sistan Baluchistan is usually in the Iranian news for negative reasons - drug smuggling, rebel groups, or acute deprivation. But a story of courage and self-sacrifice recently caught the public imagination. BBC Persian's Negin Shiraghaei tells us about a Baluch teacher who died trying to save his students when part of his school collapsed; why this struck such a chord in Iran; and how it links to her own family history.

Mar Mar Aye

Legendary Burmese singer Mar Mar Aye will be 75 this year, and she has been performing since she was 8. She went into exile in the late 1990s and became politically active. Now her situation is very different. We hear about her life and her long-lasting appeal from Zeyar Phyo and Maung Maung Than of BBC Burmese.

Russian Dream

Projecting a glamorous, wealthy lifestyle is arguably what social media is all about, but journalist Tatyana Movshevich was recently struck by the discord between her Russian friends' real lives and their opulent online personas. She calls it the Russian dream, and argues that its roots go far back into Russian folklore.

Reporting South Africa

With violent protests in Pretoria, bitter divisions within the African National Congress, and the unsettling impact of high unemployment, the BBC's Milton Nkosi reflects on the challenges of reporting in South Africa today and the changes he has lived through.

Women in news in Bangladesh

Nurjahan Begum, editor of Bangladesh's first women's magazine "Begum" for 65 years, died recently aged 91. It was a pioneering magazine that created a female readership for the first time, provided a rare outlet for women writers, and inspired a future generation of women to enter journalism. To mark her death, BBC Bangla looked at the role of women in journalism today. Shahnaz Parveen from BBC Bangla tells us more.

And Fifi Haroon's pick of the world wide web.

(Photo: An Iranian shepherd and his flock in Iran's drought-affected south-eastern Sistan Baluchistan province.

Credit: Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images)

Rare insights into life in Iran's impoverished Sistan Baluchistan province

Kashmir: The Continuing Conflict20160916

Pellet guns, weddings and cartoons: life under curfew in Indian-administered Kashmir

Indian-administered Kashmir has been living through some of the worst violence for years. It is a dispute that goes back almost seventy years, and the latest trouble follows the recent killing of Burhan Wani, a 22 year old militant with a huge social media following. Mobile communications have been cut, landlines are unreliable, and contact with the local BBC reporter has been intermittent. But BBC Urdu presenter Aliya Nazki, herself from Kashmir, has been following developments closely.

World Nomad Games

Dead goat polo, hunting with eagles, building yurts against the clock - it must be the World Nomad Games! Gulnara Kasmambet of BBC Kyrgyz has been covering the games in her home country, and she shares her personal highlights with the Fifth Floor.

The Kenyan band fighting domestic violence

Award-winning Kenyan urban Afro band Elani have released a single calling on women to take a stand against abuse in relationships. The song, and the accompanying graphic video, is called 'sirudi', meaning 'I am not coming back' in Swahili, and they have had a huge impact on social media. BBC Africa's Anthony Irungu and Sophie Ikenye from Focus on Africa discuss the band and the issue.

Behind the ghoonghat

BBC Hindi's Sumiran Preet Kaur takes the Fifth Floor on a journey from the bright lights of New Delhi to the rural village Mirzapur in Haryana. There she meets a group of women campaigning to live their lives without wearing the ghoonghat, a traditional veil worn by Indian women for centuries.

A Soap for Syria

Can you change hearts and minds in a conflict through a soap opera? Even one as bitter and traumatic as Syria's civil war? BBC Media Action and BBC Arabic are giving it a try - with a new radio drama call Hay El Matar, Airport District. The drama aims to humanise people seen as other, or different, or on the other side - whether Shia, Sunni, Christian or Alawite. BBC Arabic's Lina Sinjab, who's from Syria, told the Fifth Floor about the drama, and the associated discussion programme which she produces.

And Fifi Haroon's pick of weird and wonderful stories from across the world wide web.

Photo: Kashmiri protestors clash with Indian government forces during a protest against civilian killings in Srinagar, Kashmir.

Credit: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images.

Kenya's Casino Craze2016021220160213 (WS)

This week in Nairobi a gambler was stoned to death by fellow players after he killed two casino employees. Casinos have been growing in popularity in Kenya in recent years and online betting is booming, but Abdinoor Aden from BBC Nairobi says some gamblers do not fully understand the risks involved.

Pre-internet dating

The World Service language services are running a series about which dating websites and apps are popular where. But how did people around the world find love in the pre-internet age? We speak to BBC Bengali, Kyrgyz and Arabic.

Creating a Minister for Happiness

The news that the United Arab Emirates has appointed a Minister for Happiness has prompted jokes and soul-searching around the region. Arabic social media has been full of suggestions for the new minister, while Egyptians have joked that they need a Minister for Depression. Doaa Soliman of BBC Monitoring in Cairo explains what the response tells us about the mood in the region.

African dancing in Karachi

We speak to BBC Urdu's Shamaila Khan who has been to Karachi to film leva dancers. The dancers are members of Karachi's Sheedi community who trace their heritage back to east African slaves and sailors brought to Pakistan around 200 years ago. The dancing involves fire breathing and dancers risk serious burns for their art.

Uganda: hear my country

Can you pick a song to define your country? In the run-up to this month's elections, three Ugandan journalists from BBC Africa - Paul Bakibinga, Rachael Akidi and Alex Jakana - share the songs that they think capture the spirit of their country.

Russia and Ukraine: confectionery wars

The president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, is outspoken against Russia, saying there's a real war between the two countries. However, he runs a confectionery business which includes a factory in Russia that is still in production. Slava Khomenko of BBC Ukrainian recently visited the factory. He reflects on how tiny sweets can whip up anger in both countries.

And Fifi's pick of the worldwide web.

(Photo: A fruit machine used for gambling

Credit: Getty Images)

Abdinoor Aden of BBC Nairobi on the upsurge of gambling in Kenya

Kiev: The Story Of Hrushevsky Street2014012420140125 (WS)

A history of an iconic street and its significance in Ukraine's anti-government protests

Anti-government protesters in Kiev have been inching closer and closer to Hrushevsky Street. The road is home to Ukrainian government buildings as well as the football stadium where local team Dynamo Kiev play, but this week it was overrun by bullets, molotov cocktails and burning tyres, the stadium was damaged and the ticket office burned down. The Ukrainian Service's Andriy Kravets tells the story of this iconic street and its significance.

Also on the programme:

The Hidden Musical Instruments of Iran

An Iranian TV channel caused a sensation this week by showing a musical instrument on television for the first time in 30 years. The practice has been banned in the country because some Shia clerics say that broadcasting music is at odds with Islam, so Iran adopted a curious policy of broadcasting concerts but not showing the instruments - often replacing them with vases of flowers. Golnoosh Golshani and Faranak Amidi of the Persian Service discuss how to perform music on Iranian TV.

Travel Guide to Sochi

Sochi - the Black Sea holiday resort also known as the "Russian Riveria" - is the rather unexpected, sub-tropical venue for next month's Winter Olympic Games. BBC Russian's Anastasia Uspenskaya gives her top Sochi city travel tips - though it may be difficult to avoid the "twin toilets".

Online Greatest Hits

Fifi Haroon gives the low down on the top-hitting stories across the Language Service websites, including a Belarussian parrot running in local elections and a Chinese computer game targeting corrupt government officials.

Borderlife: Uzbekistan

What is it like to live along Uzbekistan's borders? Our Central Asian journalists take us on a journey around the landlocked country, with Moheb Mudessir on the Afghan-Uzbek border, Sirojuddin Tolibov on the Tajik-Uzbek separation, Rose Kudabaeva from the Kazakh-Uzbek divide, and Ibrat Safo along the Turkmen-Uzbek crossing.

Komla Dumor Tribute

This week the BBC lost a great man: journalist Komla Dumor was a friend to all who knew him in the BBC. This is our tribute to him in his own words.

The Fifth Floor is presented by David Amanor.

Image: Anti-government protesters stand on a hill near Dynamo Stadium. Credit: Getty

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

Kunduz: The Battle For My Hometown2015100220151003 (WS)

BBC Afghan's Kunduz reporter Ahmad Yama describes the takeover of the city by the Taliban earlier this week, and tells us how he managed to escape to Kabul. We hear about the complex relationship between journalists and the Taliban, and the risks that led to his decision to get out of the city.

What to read in Guinea

Conakry, the capital of the Republic of Guinea has been named World Book Capital for 2017. The African city follows in the footsteps of Buenos Aires, Bangkok, Bogota and New Delhi. But what does the title actually mean and will it encourage more people to read and write new literature? David Amanor talks to Genevieve Sagno of BBC Afrique about her love of books and how she found her Guinean roots from reading.

Somaliland musicians

Arrested for singing love songs in Mogadishu - this week one of Somaliland's most popular bands found itself in trouble when it arrived home after performing for Eid festivities in neighbouring Somalia. David Amanor speaks to journalists from the BBC's Somali service about why this story has generated so much interest in the Somali-speaking community.

10 years on from the Pakistan earthquake

Tabinda Kokab's experience of the Pakistan earthquake brings a whole new meaning to the phrase 'living the story'. She was working as a teacher in a village in Pakistan-administered Kashmir when the earthquake hit 10 years ago. She was in class at the time and the building collapsed around her. Only she and a handful of children survived. After trekking through mountains to reach the capital and her family home, she learnt that her brother had also been killed. Tabinda now works as a journalist for BBC Urdu - she talks us through her memories of 10 years ago and the surprising positive outcomes from the devastation.

And Dino picks his favourite stories from the web this week.

Afghan special forces arrive in Kunduz

Credit: Nasir Waqif/AFP/Getty Images

BBC Afghan's Ahmad Yama describes the Taliban takeover of Kunduz and his escape

Lashkar Gah: City On The Edge20160819

Guest presenter: Paul Bakibinga

For over a decade of international intervention, Afghanistan's Helmand was the deadliest province for foreign troops. Since they left in 2014, the Taliban have made significant gains, and thousands of people have fled their homes to take refuge in the provincial capital Lashkar Gah. It's all painfully close to home for BBC Afghan's Auliya Atrafi, whose town has been at the heart of fierce fighting.

Kampala Art Biennale

The idea of the Kampala Art Biennale is to get art out of museums and take it to the people, while showcasing the work of contemporary Ugandan artists. What's out there for Ugandans to enjoy, and will next month's Biennale succeed in making art more accessible? We asked Victoria Uwonkunda and Catherine Byaruhanga of BBC Africa.

An emoji for a nation

This week saw a petition launched for the porrón, a drinking vessel and symbol of Catalan life, to be recognised in emoji form. That made us wonder what symbols would represent the nations of the Fifth Floor in emoji form? We set our microphone loose to find out.

Keep it in the family

Following speculation in India that Priyanka Gandhi will be the face of the campaign for the Congress Party in forthcoming elections, Zubair Ahmed and Vandana Dhand discuss why the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty has played such a big role in politics in India and what it is about family dynasties that makes them so common in the region and beyond.

Ukraine's divided church

The political faultline in Ukraine is mirrored by a religious one, within the Orthodox Christian church. People have come to blows, families have split, friendships have broken. Olga Smirnova of BBC Russian has been untangling the arguments for this weekend's Heart and Soul programme. She told the Fifth Floor what she found in an apparently idyllic village.

And Fifi Haroon's pick of the world wide web.

Photo: An Afghan National Security Forces serviceman takes position during a military operation in Helmand province.

Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images.

An inside view of the fighting in Helmand Province from BBC Afghan's Auliya Atrafi

Life In Turkey Since The Istanbul Ataturk Airport Attack2016070120160702 (WS)

This week the attack at Istanbul's main airport got the world's attention. The shocking images and the rising number of dead and injured added to Turkey's unenviable toll of recent terror attacks. Two Turkish journalists who felt the impact professionally and personally are Mahmout Hamsici of BBC Turkish and Pina Sevinçlidir of BBC Monitoring in Istanbul. They share their feelings on what the ongoing attacks mean for their country.

Afghan Ramadan

This year Ramadan has fallen during the summer months and right in the middle of exam season in Afghanistan. With temperatures reaching 45 degrees, students in the Balkh region took to the streets to demand that the university shut for Ramadan. But they haven't found much sympathy from the older generation whose own education was fitted in around civil war and the Taliban. Firuz Rahimi of BBC Afghan explores the story, and remembers his own student days in Balkh.

BBC Ghazal Performers

After receiving a tip-off that a couple of colleagues from BBC Urdu and BBC Hindi had been overheard singing ghazals recently, we thought it only right to track them down. We have brought together Ziad Zafar - who decided against singing on air but knows all about ghazals - and Samrah Fatima, the real songbird among their number.

Tbilisi Zoo

During a devastating flood last year, Tbilisi Zoo hit international headlines. Pictures of a hippopotamus roaming the streets were sent worldwide. Hundreds of animals died in the disaster, as well as three zoo employees. As the zoo welcomes new animals and prepares for a new site, BBC Russian's Nina Akhmeteli remembers the flood and tells us about the place of the zoo in her life.

Sunni-Shia Marriages and 'Sushi ' Children

The historic division between Sunnis and Shias is an increasingly important element in conflicts in the Middle East. An unlikely topic for humour, but a Saudi sketch show called Selfie has taken aim at this sensitive issue with a comic story of babies swapped at birth. BBC Arabic's Kindah Shair, who was brought up in Saudi Arabia, discusses reactions with Ghazanfar Hyder of BBC Urdu, whose parents married across the divide.

And Fifi Haroon's pick of the world wide web.

Image: Turkish mourners carrying a coffin

Credit: Getty Image

'There is a feeling there is just nowhere safe.'

Life Under Karimov20160909

This week Uzbekistan got a new leader, the prime minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev become acting president following the death of Islam Karimov one week ago. For 25 years Karimov ruled the former Soviet Republic with an iron hand. His time in power was marked by allegations of state violence and elections derided as a sham. But what was life like for the Uzbeks he ruled over? Rustam Qobil and Pahlavon Sodiq of BBC Uzbek share memories of life under Karimov.

Who are you calling a brother-in-law?

Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte raised a few eyebrows, and the political temperature, this week with his less than presidential language about President Obama. But aside from being rude, was he missing a trick? We take the microphone on a tour of the 5th Floor to investigate what more creative, nuanced and intriguing insults he might have deployed instead.

Saadat Hasan Manto

Saadat Hasan Manto was one of the most respected writers of short stories in the Urdu language. His work documents the struggles of life in post-partition India and Pakistan, but he remains relevant today. A biopic is about to be released in India about him, hot on the heels of a Pakistani film about his life. Indian author Aakar Patel, who also edits and translates Manto's work, and BBC journalist Haniya Ali, who is from Pakistan, explain his enduring appeal.

Slovyansk Library

In 2014, Slovyansk in Ukraine was briefly occupied by pro-Russian rebels. It's in the Donbass region, a Russian-speaking, Russian-leaning area at the heart of fighting between pro-independence rebels and government forces. So it came as a surprise to Anastasiya Gabonova of BBC Ukrainian, herself born in the region, to discover that since that occupation, the city is seeing a flourishing of interest in Ukrainian language, arts and culture, and driving it all are the staff of Slovyansk library.

Beware the Little Pink

What do the pop star Lady Gaga, the Australian Olympic swimmer Mack Horton and the President of Taiwan have in common? They have all been victims of xiao fenhong or "little pink", a group of young Chinese who use the internet and social media as a battleground for patriotism, attacking those who they believe have disrespected China. Howard Zhang of BBC Chinese provides a guide to the postings and posturings of this online group.

And Fifi Haroon takes a turn around the stranger offerings to be found on the internet this week.

Credit: NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images

Memories of life in Uzbekistan during the rule of former President Islam Karimov

Living In A Lawless Libya2014082920140830 (WS)

Tanks in the driveway and AK-47s in the market - how residents are coping in Benghazi

When the international airport of your capital city looks more like a smouldering scrap yard you know that your country is surely in trouble. In Libya, rival militia factions have left Tripoli airport in tatters. Some are saying it is a symbol of the state of the country. It's not a new story - the fall of a dictator who has ruled for years leaving a vacuum of power that allows lawlessness to blossom. But what of the people who have to live through this? Mohammed Hossein is from Benghazi and he's been talking regularly to his family there as the situation deteriorates.

Also in the programme:

Hear My Country: Zimbabwe

Can you pick a song that defines your country? This week it's Zimbabwe, and BBC Africa's Kim Chakanetsa is joined by her fellow countrymen Stanley Kwenda and Farayi Mungazi to battle it out to select a song from their homeland. With music from Thomas Mapfumo, Bhundu Boys and Leonard Zhakata.

Fascinating Facts about Venezuelan Petrol

Earlier this month Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro called for a national debate on petrol prices in the country. And here's why - prices of fuel have been kept so low that you can fill up your tank for the equivalent of a packet of mints. BBC Mundo's Daniel Pardo shares top five facts about that you might not know about petrol in Venezuela.

Living with Ebola

Ebola has been at the top of the agenda for BBC Africa reporters in the worst affected countries: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. As well as the fatal consequences of the virus, it's changed cultural practices, movement and the economy. Alhassan Sillah in Conakry and Umaru Fofana in Freetown discuss how Ebola has affected daily life and reporting.

Bogota's Anti-Groping Bus Squad

BBC Mundo's Arturo Wallace spends a day with Bogota's newest police squad - an all-women undercover team formed to combat groping on the public bus system. Can they make a difference to the sexual harassment faced by female commuters in Colombia's capital?

Online Greatest Hits

Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the low down on the top-hitting stories across the web including 400 missing Austrian gnomes, Ugandan military presiding over beauty pageants, and the Russian bank offering a free cat with every mortgage.

The Fifth Floor is presented by Kim Chakanetsa.

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

Living In The Shadow Of Boko Haram2014050920140510 (WS)

The female journalist who spent 10 years reporting on the Nigerian militant group

The international community is finally taking action on the abduction of more than 200 school girls by Boko Haram in northern Nigeria three weeks ago. This comes as more abductions in the region are being reported. The Hausa Service's Bilkisu Babangida knows Boko Haram and their tactics very well, she lived amongst them as a journalist in Maiduguri for 10 years and interviewed their leaders and followers. She tells us about her own personal experience of the extremist group, the fear it exerts and the characteristics of its leaders.

Spotlight on Egypt

The campaign for the Presidency in Egypt is in full swing as the two election candidates took to the TV this week to perform for votes. Though there are two men in the running the spotlight has focused heavily on Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, Egypt's former army chief and the man who removed President Mohammed Morsi from power last July. It was his first ever televised interview as a civilian and Egyptians were glued to their televisions. Angy Ghannam from BBC Monitoring, along with many of her country folk, was watching and assessing performances. Also, BBC Persian's Mehrdad Faramand talks about Egypt's uneasy ties with long time foe Iran, and BBC Turcke's Selin Gerit breaks down the ever-changing relationship between Cairo and Ankara.

Online Greatest Hits

Fifi Haroon gives the low down on the top-hitting stories across the Language Service websites, including fish falling from the sky in Sri Lanka and throwing tables on Jordanian TV.

Gujarat Ghettos

Hindi service reporter Divya Arya has been on India's election trail for five weeks visiting different states to get under the skin of the issues affecting voters lives. Her final destination was front-runner Narendra Modi's patch, Gujarat. While this region is seen as a poster child for economic development under Modi's management, it also still bears the open wounds of communal violence between Hindus and Muslims 12 years ago, in riots which left more than 1,000 people dead. Divya found that one legacy of those riots has been the rapid growth of a ghetto, Jahupura, in the state capital Ahmedabad.

Drinking Ayahuascar in Colombia

Ayahuascar is a traditional Latin American hallucinogenic drink mixed and dispensed by Colombian shamans. BBC Mundo's Hernando Alvarez explains the origins of the potion, the rituals involved and some of the dangers behind it.

Sea Shanties

Does your country have a tradition of songs about the sea? This week the Fifth Floor mic takes you for a musical voyage on the open seas - with a playlist of songs about the ocean, pirates and nautical adventures from Somalia, Brazil, and Russia.

(Photo: Boko Haram poster in Nigeria. Credit: Getty Images)

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

Make Friends, Break Friends2013092020130921 (WS)

Why Brazil's President won't be having dinner with Obama after all

Me And Aung San Suu Kyi2015111320151114 (WS)

The impact of Aung San Suu Kyi on the life of Nita May of BBC Burmese

Nita May of BBC Burmese tells us how her life has intersected with Aung San Suu Kyi's. Nita witnessed Suu Kyi's first public speech in 1988 and built up close contacts with her political party the NLD during the 1990 elections. After the elections, she ended up in the notorious Insein Prison because of those contacts. Over the 27 years of her connection with Suu Kyi, she says the journalism has always been mixed with the personal.

Bollywood in Afghanistan

Bollywood films are massive in Afghanistan. Under the Taliban, Afghan film fans were forced to keep their enthusiasm for handsome heroes and happy endings a secret. Now the films are enjoyed openly, but can the burgeoning Afghan film industry compete against Bollywood's big hitters? We hear from Vikas Pandey, a BBC digital producer in Delhi who has been to Kabul with our Afghan colleague Nasrat Afzali.

The tale of two Ebolas

Last Saturday Sierra Leone was officially declared to be Ebola free. In a country where even handshakes became a thing of the past for fear of infection, people took to the streets en masse to celebrate the end of Ebola. From Freetown Umaru Fofana has created a sound picture of a landmark day. Neighbouring Liberia was declared Ebola-free in September. But in Guinea the story continues. Alhassan Sillah describes the mood there as people continue to wait for the all clear.

Creation Myths

A baby sent down the river to safety in a basket, and rescued by a reindeer; the reprobate son of a Lion King banished in a ship to a new land; and why eggs and rotten fish are still a crucial part of Egypt's Easter celebrations. We dip a toe into the creation stories of Egypt, Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan.

And Fifi shares her favourite stories of the web this week

Picture: Aung San Suu Kyi on her election campaign trail.

Credit: Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images

Minefields, Vineyards And Flak Jackets: Reporting From The Turkish Syria Border2014100320141004 (WS)

BBC Türkçe's Zeynip Erdim is in the Turkish-Kurdish town of Urfa where floods of refugees have been pouring in from across the Syrian border to escape the fighting between Islamic State militants and Turkish forces. She reflects on what it's like to report from the edge of war - how she heard the chanting of ISIS fighters before they rained down bullets on her group, and how her translator needed to stop and weep after some of their interviews.

Sierra Leone's Songs for Change - From Political Satire to Ebola Pop Music

Music has long been a tool for political debate and public information in Sierra Leone - from tunes satirising politicians to the Ebola pop songs of today, raising awareness about the virus. BBC Africa's Umaru Fofana in Freetown steers us through the tracks designed to mobilise a nation.

Afghanistan's New First Lady

As Ashraf Ghani was sworn in as President this week he did something no other Afghan President has done before - he turned to his wife and thanked her. This moment led to an intense debate on the role that Rula Ghani, a Christian Lebanese American will play as First Lady in the country. Previously, President's wives have stayed firmly behind the scenes. Sana Safi of BBC Afghan and Mariam Aman of BBC Persian take us through the debate.

Hong Kong in Pictures

Images of the protests in Hong Kong have dominated our screens this week - streets teeming with protestors, each with a phone in hand, banners, barricades and umbrellas - moments that captured some of the details of the rallies. Martin Yip in Hong Kong and Frank Ip in London talk us through the pictures that tell the story of a turbulent week.

Chile's Giant Singing Frogs

It is singing season for the Chilean giant frog. It is a sound that makes BBC Mundo's Paula Molina nostalgic for nights spent outdoors on the farm in southern Chile where her mother was raised. The Chilean giant frog has been around for millennia, but now it is under threat due to water scarcity, pollution and the long-standing tradition amongst Chileans of eating frogs.

(Photo: Syrian Kurds fleeing Kobane. Credit: IMG)

Mugabe At 902014022120140222 (WS)

On his birthday, Zimbabwean journalists reflect on living and reporting under Mugabe

As President Mugabe celebrates his 90th birthday, Zimbabwean journalists working for BBC Africa share their memories of the rollercoaster of living and reporting on the man who's spent over three decades in power. Kim Chakanetsa, Lewis Machipisa and Stanley Kwenda.

An Ode to Kiev

The golden statue of Mother Ukraine watched over Independence square in Kiev as it turned into a bloody battleground between protestors and government forces this week. Ukrainian journalist Olexiy Solohubenko paints a unique picture of the unrest as it continues amongst the city's famous landmarks.

The Apollo of Gaza

A statue thought to be an ancient bronze of Apollo, Greek God of poetry and love, has dropped off the radar after being found in the sea off Gaza last summer and surfacing briefly on eBay. It is 2,500 years old and priceless. Shahdi Alkashif from BBC Arabic reports.

Pakistani Journalese

It's now fairly commonplace to hear English phrases crop up in Urdu news bulletins - words like "targeted killing" and even the Latin phrase "suo moto" are used widely in Pakistani journalese and in regular conversation. But how did these phrases come about and what do they say about Pakistani media and society? Fahad Desmukh sends a letter from Karachi.

What Guantanamo means for Afghans

It's a place that became significant across the world but in Afghanistan the word Guantanamo has become part of the national psyche - inspiring songs, literature and a national debate. More Afghans have been held in Guantanamo than any other nationality. Dawood Azami from the Afghan Service went to visit the prison in Cuba and assesses the significance of the place in the mind of Afghans.

Music of the Iranian Underground

Why is heavy metal often the music of choice for rebellious Iranians? BBC Persian's Behzad Bolour meets the metal heads who've rebelled against the restrictions on music in the decades since the Revolution, and describes an encounter with one extraordinary musician who walked from Iran to Sweden carrying the guitar he'd made himself.

Online Greatest Hits

Fifi Haroon gives the low down on the top-hitting stories across the Language Service websites, including Kazakh lingerie and Israeli dog poo.

My Return To Kashmir2016031120160312 (WS)

Zubair Ahmed revisits Kashmir's Hindu Pandits who fled their homeland over 20 years ago

BBC Hindi's Zubair Ahmed was a young journalist writing for the Times of India in the early 1990s. During that time he went to Indian-administered Kashmir several times to report on the mass migration of Hindu Kashmiri Pandits from the valley. It was a time of militancy, which in January 1990 erupted in violence against the Pandits. Last month Zubair returned after more than 20 years to revisit the area and he shares his impressions.

A Total Eclipse in Indonesia

Indonesians have celebrated Nyepi, the Balinese Hindu New Year - known as 'the day of silence' - in style: with a total eclipse of the sun. Many people took advantage of the national public holiday to travel to the best vantage point for the eclipse, which plunged parts of the country into total darkness. BBC Indonesian's Kiki Siregar takes us through a dramatic day.

Mulatu Astatke: The Father of Ethio-jazz

BBC Africa's Hewete Haileselassie and Manuel Toledo discuss the music and legacy of Ethiopian musician and arranger Mulatu Astatke, known as the father of Ethio-jazz - a fusion of traditional Ethiopian styles of music, with funk, jazz and soul.

Brazil: The Country of the Future

Two short years ago Brazil was flying high with a booming economy, a popular president and the football World Cup about to arrive on its shores. Since then, sporting, political and economic reversals have hit the nation, and now the Zika virus is causing widespread concern. BBC Brasil's Paula Adamo Idoeta tells the Fifth Floor why the outlook of the nation has become a little less optimistic since 2014.

The Return of BBC Chinese

For the first time in six years, BBC Chinese has been permitted to report from the National People's Congress in Beijing, where the country's political and economic agenda is thrashed out. Jiangchuan Wu is there for the BBC, and he tells us about other important stories he is been covering - like the over-capacity in Chinese industry.

I Don't Like Cricket...I love it

As the T20 World Cup gets into full swing, the Fifth Floor hears why passion for the sport runs deep amongst the BBC Language Services.

And Fifi Haroon rounds up some of the week's stranger internet offerings.

(Photo: A boat on Dal Lake, Srinagar. Credit: Zubair Ahmed)

My Week In A Nepalese Survivors' Camp2016012920160130 (WS)

Presenter Bidhya Chapagain shares the hut, food and floor of earthquake survivors

Bidhya Chapagain of BBC Media Action in Nepal has just presented a programme about her week living in a survivors' camp for villagers made homeless by last year's earthquake. Bidhya was hosted by a family in their makeshift shelter, and was joined in the camp by a government minister and a famous Nepalese actor. She tells us about an eventful and revealing week.

Argentina: What's the Beef?

For a country where beef is at the heart of social gatherings and the skill of the meat griller, or asador, is a matter of family honour, Argentinians are going through dark times. Soaring prices make beef almost unaffordable for many people. And, the demand for home-produced meat means consumers may have to commit the heresy of eating beef from another country. The BBC's Valeria Perasso, herself Argentinian, guides us through the intricacies of beef culture.

Uzbek Opera Star

BBC Uzbek's Ibrat Safo meets Najmiddin Mavlyanov, his famous countryman, who's the first internationally acclaimed operatic tenor to come from Uzbekistan. Najmiddin is currently playing the lead in Tosca, performing at the Royal Opera House in London.

Life Under the Soviets in Kabul

As the first Farsi translation of a historic text called The KGB in Afghanistan is published, we explore cultural life in Kabul under Soviet occupation. Abdullah Shadan of BBC Afghan was deputy minister for television in the early 1980s. He recalls the challenges of producing entertaining TV under the strict Russian guidelines, from obligatory mournful music after the death of Brezhnev to the imported entertainment of Abba and Boney M.

Taiwan: After the Elections

The BBC Chinese team which reported on the presidential election in Taiwan earlier this month included Tzu-Wei Liu, who is from Taiwan, and Yashan Zhao, who is from mainland China and was visiting the island for the first time. They share their experiences, and give a personal perspective on the difficult relationship between Taiwan and mainland China, which has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.

And Fifi shares her pick of the worldwide web.

(Photo: Presenter Bidhya Chapagain with a Nepalese earthquake survivor in Sindhupalchok district. Credit: BBC Media Action)

Myanmar: The Long Road To Peace2016070820160709 (WS)

Why are so many of Myanmar's ethnic groups in conflict with the government?

Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has said peace is one of her government's main priorities. The country has 135 official tribes - some of them in direct conflict with the government, and most of them demanding equality and self-determination. Ko Ko Aung of BBC Burmese has been investigating this complex issue for many years, including a trip to the Thai border in search of a legendary rebel leader. He shares his insights.

The militarisation of Russian rock festivals

As thousands of rock fans head for the annual open-air Nashestvie festival in Russia this weekend, the Fifth Floor's resident expert on Russian rock takes us back through changes in the festival style in recent years. For example, the presence of howitzers, armoured vehicles, and lots of men in uniform... Alexander Kan explains why military patriotism is now an essential part of Nashestvie, and what bands and fans make of this development.

Gilgit Baltistan disappointment

Pakistan's region of Gilgit Baltistan is often referred to as the "other" north. It's beautiful, rich with heritage, and has a unique culture. Education levels are high, women are involved in business and public life, and many practice the Ismaili religion. So BBC Urdu's Iram Abbassi leapt at the chance to visit. But things didn't quite work out as hoped.

Remembering Abbas Kiarostami

Iranian cinema has been saying goodbye to one of its most influential film makers, Abbas Kiarostami. He wrote and directed many influential films, including Taste of Cherry for which he won the top prize at Cannes, the Palme d'Or. Maghsood Salehi of BBC Persian is a fan, and shares his insights into the director's influence.

How to shop Nairobi style

Sharpen your elbows and get your handbags ready! BBC Africa's Frenny Jowi takes us on a tour of Nairobi's second hand clothes markets to show us how to get the best deals on designer fashion.

And Fifi Haroon's pick of the world wide web.

(Main Image: A rebel soldier coming out of forest in Myanmar. Image credit: Ye Aung Thu / AFP / Getty Images)

Nairobi Uncovered2014072520140726 (WS)

An insider's view of Nairobi with the BBC journalists who work there

Security has been tight in the city since the Westgate attacks of September last year. Hardly a day goes past without security issues making their way into the news agenda. But how has life changed for the journalists reporting from and living in this vibrant, bustling city? David Amanor is in Nairobi to meet BBC Somali and Swahili teams to hear about the stories and from the people that show the character of the place.

We take a booming and bumping matatu ride for a tour of the city, hearing about its history and the quirks and nuances of each district. First stop is 'Little Mogadishu' aka Eastleigh, home to the majority of the city's Somali community. As part of the government security crackdown, houses in the neighbourhood are regularly searched and hundreds of Somalis have been detained accused of being illegally in the country. But does the fear of the police outweigh the fear of militant violence? The soundtrack for this leg of the journey comes from Waayaha Cusub - the hip hop collective who battle militant insurgency through rap.

We also ask how the changing dynamics of the city have affected the local media landscape and the role of local journalism. And outside mainstream media, David heads to Homeboyz, a youth radio station and DJ school to learn to mix and scratch Nairobi style, and hear how the city's party scene is still booming in spite of the security challenges.

Nepal: A Country Still In Ruins2015103020151031 (WS)

'The colour of tents fading away, the hopes of people fading with that'

It's 6 months since the earthquakes in Nepal which killed over 8,000 people and destroyed many of the country's buildings. Four billion dollars was pledged towards reconstruction, so why hasn't reconstruction started? BBC journalist Jitendra Raut sheds light on why Nepal is still a country of tents.

Arabic Film Festival

The BBC Arabic Film Festival launches today with twenty new films and documentaries on the theme of rulers and ruled. BBC Arabic's Sheyma Buali, the festival director, discusses the insights they offer into this complex and troubled region.

Taiwan Ghosts

It's Halloween this weekend and many countries will be celebrating with pumpkin carving, trick or treating, and elaborate costumes. Few people taking part will think about real ghosts. But in Taiwan and many parts of Asia, the belief in ghosts is taken very seriously - especially during the so-called Ghost Month, the seventh month of the lunar calendar. Cindy Sui, who reports from Taipei, tells us how she came to realise the power of ghosts in traditional Chinese society.

Living with Five Year Plans

As China announces the details of its next Five Year Plan, we hear from Diloram Ibrahimova of BBC Uzbek and Amir Azimi of BBC Persian about the Five Year Plans they lived under. In Iran, they tended to fade away, while in Soviet Uzbekistan, they were promoted at every opportunity. Zhuang Cheng of BBC Chinese talks us through China's new plan and explains why it's being promoted in English with a cute video and catchy song.

Being a Career Woman in Afghanistan

For career women in Afghanistan, the challenge is not just qualifications and job opportunities, it's where to live. Unmarried women are expected to live at home, and many parents forbid them to move away to take up a job in a different city. Tamana Jamily, who works for BBC Monitoring in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, tells us how hard it is to live an independent life.

And Fifi's pick of the worldwide web.

Picture: Nepali family still living in a tent

Credit: Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images

On The Road Again2013100420131005 (WS)

Life along Highway One in Afghanistan

Millions Displaced

BBC Persian's Jiyar Gol has just returned from a trip to Northern Iraq. He tells us about the anger towards journalists among those displaced by the civil war across the border in Syria.

Bike Ban

Calcutta is bucking the trend and telling people to get off their bikes to stop clogging up the roads. Rahul Tandon sends his report from the chaotic streets.

Ring Road Relay

The BBC Afghan Service is launching a major new series, Life Along Highway One, which follows the people who live along the 3,360km ring road connecting Afghanistan's major cities. BBC Kabul editor, Meena Baktash, who was born in the same year that building began on the road, tells us what the project means to her.

Online Greatest Hits

Fifi Haroon brings us some of the stories that have caught our eye this week from the BBC's website.

Child's Play

A gunshot is never far away in Brazil - but the federal government in Brasilia has just banned toy pistols. BBC Mundo's Gerardo Lissardy asks whether the measures will have any impact on gun violence.

Returning Home

BBC Africa's Sihem Hassaini grew up in a Tunisian 'cocoon' in France. She describes how deep divisions that have grown in Tunisian society since the overthrow of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali have affected those close to her.

Singing For Home

BBC Arabic's Soumer Daghastani speaks to renowned Syrian opera singer Razek-François Bitar, who is raising money for refugees from his home country.

(Picture: Traffic moves along Highway One on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan. Credit: Massoud Hossaini /AFP/Getty Images)

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

Parched Lands And Parched Lives2016052720160528 (WS)

This week temperatures hit 51C in Rajasthan. India is feeling the heat, and also the absence of monsoon rains to cool things down. There's been three years of drought affecting around 300 million people. BBC Hindi's Ajay Sharma travelled nearly 7,000 km around the country to find out what happens to rural people when the rains fail year after year. He found people despairing for lack of water and mounting debt.

The Town Running to Success

It may be a small village in the highlands of Ethiopia, but Bekoji has produced some of the best runners in the world, including seven Olympic medal-winners. So what's the secret to their success? BBC Africa's Emmanuel Igunza went for a run with the new breed of young stars - so how did he get on?

Tehran Book Fair

This month saw the Tehran International Book Fair take place in Iran. To mark the occasion a group of independent Persian publishers from across Europe came together in London for the first time to take part in an alternative book fair, the Tehran Book Fair Uncensored. BBC Persian's Majid Afshar and Anahita Shams provide a guide on what can be found at both book fairs in London and Tehran.

Lunch for a President

President's don't often eat on a budget, so Barack Obama's $6 Vietnamese meal in Hanoi this week generated a lot of interest. So where would the denizens of the Fifth Floor take the President for good cheap eats if he were to visit their country? With Firuz Rahimi from BBC Afghan, Irena Taranyuk from BBC Ukrainian, Hussein Askari from BBC Urdu and Mexican Lourdes Heredia.

Dominicans in Lesbos

What are 46 people from the Dominican Republic doing in a migrant camp in Lesbos? Their presence came to the attention of the Spanish speaking press during the Pope's recent visit to the island. Intrigued, BBC Mundo's Arturo Wallace went there to find out.

And Fifi Haroon shares the wild side of the web.

Photo: A farmer sits on parched cracked ground in India, Credit: Ajay Sharma/BBC

How severe drought is changing lives in India

Policing Morality In Iran2016021920160220 (WS)

How the 'morality police' affect daily life in Iran

An app that allows Iranians to avoid the country's feared 'morality police' has been banned. Feranak Amidi of BBC Persian explains how these enforcers affect the daily lives of citizens. Feranak herself has fallen foul of them and was lashed for breaking their strict code of behaviour.

Censorship in Lebanon

Lebanese artists have come under increasing pressure to censor their work. One example is the acclaimed playwright Lucien Bourjeily, who was recently denied a licence for his new play after he refused to make changes required by the country's Censorship Bureau. We speak to Anwar Hamed and Najlaa Abou Merhi from BBC Arabic.

North-South Divides

The north-south divide in Vietnam has been highlighted by the recent appointment of a northerner to run Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon - the main southern city. Nga Pham of BBC Vietnamese explains why this has created so much anger in Saigon, and compares notes with Afra Ahmed of BBC Arabic. Afra is from the southern Yemeni city of Aden, which has a long history of conflict and rivalry with the capital Sanaa.

International Mother Language Day

February 21 is commemorated across Bangladesh as International Mother Language Day. It has its origins in a street protest in Dhaka in 1952, when students rose up against the downgrading of their mother tongue. Bangladesh was then East Pakistan, and Urdu had been imposed as the state language. Several protesters were shot and killed by police, and their deaths are remembered every year. Akbar Hossain of BBC Bangla explains why the day is still so important to Bangladeshis.

Still Kowtowing

The recent publication of a photograph showing a Chinese man kowtowing to his parents has started a debate about this ancient way of showing respect. To kowtow means to kneel and touch your head to the ground, and it was part of the Confucian tradition of showing reverence to elders and rulers. Raymond Li of BBC Chinese reflects on the survival power of the kowtow.

And Fifi shares her pick of the worldwide web.

(Photo: Police enforce women's Islamic dress code, Iran. Credit: Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

Political Parables And Proverbs2016112520161126 (WS)

Maidens and suitors, devils and angels: who's saying what in the Ghanaian election

Election fever is hotting up in Ghana, and supporters decked out in their party's colours are everywhere. Working out who the highly influential traditional leaders support is more difficult, and involves deciphering parables and proverbs. To help us through is BBC Africa contributor, and main opposition NPP member, Elizabeth Ohene.

Memories of kite-flying

A big kite festival is planned for this weekend in Kabul, bringing back childhood memories for BBC Afghan's Emal Pasarly, who as a boy spent every moment he could flying kites with his two brothers.

Male shoppers

A shopping centre in Shanghai has opened a special 'husband nursery' for men who can no longer bear to shop with their partners. So how does the gender split work when it comes to shopping in other cultures?

Ten years on: Nepal's civil war

The ten year Maoist insurgency claimed nearly sixteen thousand lives, and many Nepalis still don't know what happened to loved ones who were killed or who disappeared. Nepali journalist Bhrikuti Rai shared her thoughts after visiting a recent exhibition of war photographs in Kathmandu.

Did a monkey in Libya really start a battle?

Six days of fighting between two tribes in the south Libyan town of Sabha left at least 16 people dead and many more injured. Reports claim the conflict was started by a monkey, which attacked a girl and removed her head scarf. BBC Monitoring's Amira Fathalla has been covering news in Libya since 2010 and unpicks the truth.

Hindi comics then and now

Hindi language comics have long captured the imagination of young Indians, with Hindu gods depicted as superheroes and tales of moral righteousness. Now comics are adapting to modern India to tackle today's social problems. The BBC Hindi's Sushant Mohan and Geeta Pandey, both comic lovers, discuss this new trend.

And Fifi Haroon's pick of the world wide web.

L - Photo: Ghana elections, NDC supporter. Credit: Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images.

R - Photo: Ghana elections, NPP supporter. Credit: Stefan Heunis/AFP/Getty Images.

Prayers, Pilgrims And Power2016031820160319 (WS)

The place of the Imam Reza shrine in Iranian hearts, and the power and wealth it creates

The Imam Reza shrine in the Iranian city of Mashhad is a spectacular complex visited by millions of pilgrims every year. It's also spectacularly wealthy, and part of a huge business empire worth an estimated $20 billion. So the person who runs it has considerable power. Earlier this month that person changed. BBC Persian's Najieh Ghulami, who's from Mashhad, discusses the change of guard and shares memories of the shrine.

The rise of the Siamese Foxes

Leicester City football club, the Foxes, are the surprise leaders of the English Premier League, having come close to relegation last year. They're known as the Siamese Foxes in Thailand, where they have a big following because the club owner is Thai businessman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. So how much of their success is due to the Thai influence? Issariya Praithongyaem of BBC Thai has been investigating.

How the Ankara bombings are changing Turkey

A Kurdish militant group has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack in the Turkish capital Ankara last Sunday in which 37 people were killed. It's the third bomb attack in the city in just six months. BBC Turkish journalist Mahmut Hamsici told David how the country's mood has changed.

The first Saudi rom-com

The first romantic comedy made in Saudi Arabia is about to hit screens. Not in Saudi Arabia though where cinemas and public theatres have been banned since the 1980s. The film is called Barakah Meets Barakah. So who is Barakah and who is Barakah? David spoke to Mai Noman from BBC Arabic in London and Ahmed Omar from the BBC Cairo Bureau.

Georgia's women chess champions

The Georgian women's chess team are current world champions, and they follow in the footsteps of other celebrated Georgian women champions who came before them. Georgian journalist Nina Akhmeteli, of BBC Russian, explains why her countrywomen are so good at the game.

Happy New Year

BBC Persian journalists left their studios this week to treat their audiences to a different kind of show. On a windswept balcony at the top of Broadcasting House, they performed a traditional song for Nowruz - Persian New Year - for broadcast on 20 March. They tell the Fifth Floor why the spring festival means so much to them.

And Fifi Haroon's pick of stories from the world wide web.

Photo: Picture of the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad.

Credit: Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images

Putin And Erdogan: Head To Head2015120420151205 (WS)

With Russia and Turkey locked in an angry dispute since Turkey shot down a Russian jet, Emre Temel of BBC Turkish and Famil Ismailov of BBC Russian reflect on the personalities behind the row. It seems Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin have a lot in common, including a love of confrontation and a determination not to back down. Where does this leave the mutual respect they used to enjoy?

Taboos from head to toe

Why is it so humiliating for prisoners in Thailand to have their heads shaved? Why is it unacceptable in Myanmar to sit with your feet pointing at someone? Tin Htar Swe of BBC Burmese and Issariya Praithongyaem of BBC Thai talk us through the traditions and taboos surrounding heads and feet in their cultures.

Grup Yorum

Their followers defy definition by age or gender, but they come in their droves to see Grup Yorum - a hugely successful Turkish band that this year celebrates three decades of making music. They say they stand up for the oppressed and against the rules and regulations of the state. Turkish journalist Seref Isler explains how Grup Yorum have stood the test of time.

Sinjar revisited

A few weeks ago, the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar, which used to be home to thousands of Yazidis, was liberated from so-called Islamic State. BBC Persian's Nafiseh Kohnavard reported from Sinjar in the days following its liberation and she tells us that people feel unable to return to their ancestral home, because it has become a place of danger, division and retaliation.

Brazilian or Japanese? A question of identity

As Japan celebrates its 120 year relationship with Brazil, we meet a product of those ties - Ewerthon Tobace. Ewerthon was born in Brazil to Japanese parents, and now lives in Tokyo, from where he reports for BBC Brasil. Ewerthon reflects on the complexities of belonging to two such different cultures, and the challenges facing the Brazilian Japanese community.

And Fifi picks her favourite stories from the web this week.

(Picture: Russian President Vladimir Putin (Left) pictured facing Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Right)

Picture credit: Getty Images)

Two leaders divided by the characteristics they share

Rebuilding Nepal2016042220160423 (WS)

This week The Fifth Floor comes from the studios of BBC Nepali in Kathmandu. It's a year since the devastating earthquake of 25 April 2015, which left more than 8000 people dead and half a million homeless.

The BBC Nepali team share memories of living and reporting the disaster. Producer Gani Ansari was the only person on duty and had to take shelter under a desk. Editor Rabindra Mishra was driving when the earthquake struck and had no idea whether his family had survived. Once team members were reassured that their families were safe, they all headed to work.

To mark the anniversary, reporters have travelled to the worst-affected areas to find out how survivors are trying to rebuild lives and livelihoods. BBC Nepali's Sanjaya Dhakal has been further afield, flying to Santiago, Chile to ask why Chile leads the world in earthquake preparedness.

David also asks what it means to be a Nepali. In a country of more than one hundred ethnic groups and as many languages and dialects, is there a national identity? Gani Ansari explains Nepal's miteri friendship system which builds bridges between communities. When he was 5 years old, he became the 'mit' of a 5-year-old Hindu boy in his village, as organised by the two grandmothers. Gani is Muslim, but he and his mit are totally accepted in each others' families.

A year on from the earthquake, reconstruction is still painfully slow. Presenter David Amanor visits the BBC Media Action programme Sajha Sawal, or Common Questions, that lets ordinary Nepalis hold their leaders to account. He spoke to presenter Bidhya Chapagain about their recording this week with the head of the National Reconstruction Authority.

Image: Buildings being restructured in the town of Singati in Nepal's Dolakha district

Credit: Gani Ansari/BBC Nepali

Survival and new beginnings: a year after the earthquake through the eyes of BBC Nepali

Reporting Ebola2015101620151017 (WS)

Sierra Leonean Umaru Fofana on living and working with the threat of ebola

As Ebola returns to the headlines with the relapse of Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey, BBC Africa's Umaru Fofana looks back at the challenges of reporting on the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. Since the disease was first reported in the country in May 2014, thousands have died, and Umaru had to live with the fear of Ebola invading his own home. He tells us about the impact of Ebola on himself and his country.

Kerala's Firsts

The oldest mosque in India is going to be restored. It is in Kerala, and the state prides itself on its "firsts". It claims the oldest mosque, synagogue and church in India; the first non-European translation of Das Kapital and the first elected Communist government. Proud Keralan Zainul Abid tells David what it is about Kerala that makes it so open to new ideas.

Becoming Latino in California

Being a Spaniard, BBC Mundo´s Los Angeles correspondent Jaime Gonzalez has always considered himself a Mediterranean European white man. But after arriving in California he is having to rethink. When told that Spanish is his mother tongue, his American friends identify him as 'brown' despite the colour of his skin. Jaime talks us through his personal journey through racial definitions unknown to him before.

Asian Football

Why are there no great Asian players in international football? South America and Africa have fiercely contested domestic leagues and provide inspirational players for European clubs, so why not Asia? We sneaked into the South Asia hub planning meeting where the debate was reignited by the visit of footballing legend Pele to Kolkata.

Ska

A little peek at what is to come at the weekend as David reveals his Ska roots and picks out some of the bands he features in his Global Beats programme.

Yared Zeleke

Lamb is the first Ethiopian film to make the official selection at the prestigious Cannes film festival. BBC Africa journalist Hewete Haileselaisse is also from Ethiopia, and spoke with the director Yared Zeleke after the London showing of the film. Lamb tells the story of a 10-year-old boy who finds comfort in a pet lamb following the death of his mother. But it also celebrates Ethiopia itself - its landscape, culture and people.

And Fifi picks her favourite stories from the web this week.

(Photo: An Ebola-cleansing ceremony in Pate Bana village, Sierra Leone, West Africa)

Reporting From An Ebola Hotspot2014080120140802 (WS)

BBC Africa's Umaru Fofana in Freetown, Sierra Leone has been reporting on the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. He describes how the virus has affected the atmosphere of his city and the precautions he has to take when covering this story. And as the death toll rises to over 700 across West Africa, so has the panic, misinformation and fear. Also from Freetown, BBC Media Action's Musa Sangarie reflects on how radio can tackle the spread of life-threatening rumours.

Also in the programme:

Searching for George Orwell in Bihar

A bungalow in Motihari in the Indian state of Bihar where George Orwell was born is set to become the world's first museum dedicated to the writer. BBC Urdu's Suhail Haleem travels to Motihari to find out whether people there have ever heard of this famous former resident.

Forbidden love in Afghanistan

Ali and Zakia met when they were child shepherds herding their flocks in the fields of Afghanistan's mountainous Bamiyan province. Ali is an ethnic Hazara and Shia, while Zakia is Tajik and Sunni, but these cultural differences didn't stop the young couple from falling in love. When rumours about their courtship got out, the couple feared Zakia's family might kill them both. In March, they eloped in secret and have been living in hiding since. BBC Persian's Ayoub Arwin, who is also from Bamiyan, has been to meet with them at their safe house and provides an update on their story.

Togo's role in World War I

The first shots of the First World War were reportedly fired in Togo. In the year of the war's centenary, BBC Africa's Akwasi Sarpong explores West Africa's involvement in the conflict.

Online Greatest Hits

Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the low down on the top-hitting stories across the web including Kenya's boozy baboons and the Indian boy who had 232 teeth removed.

Hafez Nazeri

Persian composer Hafez Nazeri's new album was top of the classical music charts in the United States for two weeks - a rare occurrence for Iranian and Middle Eastern music. BBC Persian's Sam Farzaneh caught up with Hafez to talk about his unique fusion of western and eastern music.

(Image: A reporter typing wearing gloves. Image credit: European Photopress Agency.)

Covering the outbreak, tackling fear and rumours in Sierra Leone

Reporting Kenya's Elections2013030220130303 (WS)
20130304 (WS)

Hopes and fears for Kenyans as the elections approach.

A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with presenter David Amanor.

Returning to Kenya

Ruth Nesoba was reporting the elections in Kenya back in 2007 and watched parts of her country descend into chaos. Back at the Nairobi bureau this week, she shares some of her hopes and fears for what the next elections might bring.

Online Greatest Hits

BBC Brasil's Thomas Pappon gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites. This week Thomas counts small change in Uzbekistan, scales Sri Lankan Mountains and takes a view on Egypt, from Space - The Last Castro?

The first Castro, Fidel, swept in to power in the 1959 revolution and now his brother Raul has announced that this will be his last term in office. Is it the he beginning of the end of the rule of the Castros and what does that mean for Cuba? We speak to Cuban journalists Liliet Heredero and Manuel Toledo and receive a postcard from Cuba from Fernando Ravsberg.

The Fifth Floor Fag Brake

President Vladimir Putin has signed legislation banning smoking in most public places in Russia. David Amanor joins Artyom Liss on his cigarette break to find out what this bill will mean for Russians. Also, joining them for a quick puff and to talk about the role of smoking in their working day are Juliana Iootty and Olivier Webber

Shaking to the Harlem Shake

The Harlem shake shook Tunis this week, as it was danced semi-naked or wearing mock beards in front of a Muslim Brotherhood building. Arrests were made in Egypt, and the dance craze has been condemned by Tunisia's education minister. Ahmed Sareyelidin of BBC Arabic has been following the gyrations.

Image Credit: SIMON MAINA/Stringer(Getty)

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

Reporting Mali2013011920130120 (WS)
20130121 (WS)

As the crisis in Mali deepens, what have been the reporting challenges for BBC Africa?

A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with presenter David Amanor.

AN INSIGHT INTO ISLAMABAD

This week thousands of demonstrators, led by the colourful cleric Tahirul Qadri, marched on Islamabad demanding the resignation of the government and an end to corruption. The Urdu Service's Mohammed Hanif was watching the proceedings - is it time for revolution to strike Pakistan?

SPOTLIGHT ON MALI

As the conflict in Mali deepens, what have been the challenges for BBC Africa in covering such a fast unfolding story? Ibrahima Diane of BBC Afrique, Ahmed Abba Abdullahi of the Hausa Service and BBC Africa's Josephine Hazeley reflect on the issues and the impact on audiences from Nigeria to Somalia, and the Sahara to the Great Lakes.

DIARY FROM CAR

"A market is always a small window to a society", and so BBC Afrique's Leila Adjovi takes us to Bangui market in the Central African Republic to unearth the local reactions to a peace accord between a perpetually shaky government and a rebel coalition threatening to topple it.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

BBC Brasil's Thomas Pappon gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including permits for snowball fights, Kiev's carnival of disguise and saving bears in Vietnam

THE TAJIK DRUGS TRADE

Reporter Rustam Qobil takes us behind the scenes at the Afghan-Tajik border, a transit point for one of the most lucrative drug trade routes in the world.

(image: Newspaper stand in Bamako, Mali. Credit: Reuters)

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

Reporting On Delhi's Gang-rape Trauma2013010520130106 (WS)
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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

Reporting Rebellion2013110820131109 (WS)

Watching the demise of the M23 rebels from opposite sides of the Congolese-Ugandan border

BBC Africa's Maud Jullien and Ignatius Bahizi have been stationed on opposite sides of the Congolese-Ugandan border, busy reporting the demise of the rebel group M23. They share experiences and anxieties of watching the battle unfold and surviving on pure adrenalin.

Superheroes

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Kamala Khan - the latest female, muslim superhero to be unleashed by Marvel Comics. Journalists from Azerbaijan, Afghanistan and Pakistan combine their own magical powers to conjure up a custom made superhero from their own countries.

Argentina's Blacklist

Secret files relating to Argentina's 'Dirty War' were discovered this week gathering dust in an air force building in Buenos Aires. Among the 1,500 documents is a blacklist, almost exclusively made up of well-known artists, singers and writers. BBC Mundo's Valeria Perasso and Natalio Cosoy remember their favourite performers targeted by the junta.

Judiciary in Overdrive

Bangladesh's judiciary has been in overdrive this year, with everything from war crimes trials to soldiers on trial for their role in a mutiny. How does BBC Bengali keep up with the overwhelming number of stories from the law courts? Editor Sabir Mustafa gives a run-down of some of the most prominent and heated cases.

Online Greatest Hits

Fifi Haroon gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites, including Siberian cats and mass weddings in Bishkek.

Russian Service Reunion

Sevaborot was the first live, unscripted programme on Russian radio and it broke new ground in the country when it launched in 1987. The three main presenters - Seva Novgorodsev, Leo Feigin and Leonid Finkelstein, now in their 70s and 80s, are reunited on air and recall an era of broadcasting that involved red wine in the studio.

The Fifth Floor is presented by David Amanor.

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

Reporting The Disappeared2016090220160903 (WS)

Telling the stories of the disappeared in Nigeria, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

30th August is International Day of the Disappeared - a day to recognise those who have gone missing around the world through war, political conflict and natural disaster. But how do you tell the stories of the disappeared when they are shrouded in mystery and often heavily burdened with emotion? From Nigeria, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Kaura Abubakar, Haroon Rashid and Thirumalai Manivannan share their experiences.

Kiranmala, warrior princess

A fictitious warrior princess has got such a hold on imaginations in Bangladesh that fights have broken out between rival fans. Kiranmala is the heroine of an Indian-made television drama named after her, which has become wildly popular. What's the appeal, and why's it causing Bangladeshis to come to blows? Over to Shahnaz Parveen of BBC Bangla.

The Lakes of Tears

Marwa Mamoon presents a weekly radio programme for BBC Arabic called Story Shop. She ransacks history books and internet sources to find stories for listeners, like one she shares with the Fifth Floor this week - the legend behind an annual marriage festival in the mountains of Morocco.

Meeting the Iron Lady of Manipur

This week, Indian protester Irom Sharmila left hospital and returned to normal life after 16 years on hunger strike. Irom is from the state of Manipur, bordering Myanmar, where there has been an insurgency since the foundation of modern India. BBC Hindi's Vandana Dhand travelled to Manipur to report on the end of this extraordinary protest. She shares her impressions.

Art of Soviet Living

During the Soviet era, enormous and soulless grey apartment blocks were built across the vast territory - and they're still home to many people today. But despite their dark corridors and bleak iron staircases, these blocks were, and indeed continue to be, a source of inspiration for a whole range of artists across the former Soviet Union. Tatyana Movshevich and Alexander Zhuravlyov from BBC Russian explain.

And Fifi Haroon shares her favourite stories from the world wide web this week.

Photo: Tamil demonstrators hold photos of their relatives who disappeared during the Sri Lankan Civil War.

Credit: Buddhika Weerasinghe/GettyImages.

Reporting The Truth In Nigeria2013012620130127 (WS)
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Following more attacks in Nigeria, we ask how a reporter finds the truth behind the events

A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with presenter David Amanor.

REPORTING FROM NIGERIA

We speak to reporter Abdullahi Kaura Abubakar in northern Nigeria about the task of reporting on and verifying this week's attacks carried out by gunmen believed to be members of the militant Islamist sect Boko Haram. He describes the challenges of reporting this region.

REMEMBERING VIETNAM

As the Vietnamese service marks the 40th anniversary of the Paris accord, a landmark ceasefire agreement that led eventually to the end of the war in Vietnam, we speak to BBC journalist Ha Mi who was a ten year old girl at the time. She has vivid memories of sirens and fireflies.

CAPTAIN ZOOMZOOM AND JOSEPH PHONEY

This is no ordinary radio drama; it comes from the pen of Robin White, former editor of BBC African English. After a failed coup in Mali Captain Zoomzoom consults a notorious fictional character for a few tips.The elusive warlord Joseph Phoney is hiding somewhere in the forests of central Africa -

STREET NAMES

This week our Afghan service reported that Mazar-i Sharif, the country's fourth largest city, has begun introducing street names and house numbers. So will that help the postal system and delivery of other services, and do street names and numbers really matter? We sent the microphone around the fifth floor.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

BBC Brasil's Thomas Pappon gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including a sleeping judge in Russia, a club for abandoned men in Argentina and the young man in Kyrgyzstan with extraordinary strength.

Image: Nigerian army, legs of soldiers marching with flag in foreground.

Photo by Getty

Reporting Turkey2013061420130615 (WS)

Teargas and pianos in Taksim Square: Reporting from Istanbul

Teargas in Taksim Square: Reporting from Istanbul

Reporting Yemen2013050320130504 (WS)

Intimidation in Sanaa: BBC Arabic's Yemen reporter on how he risked his life for the job

A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with presenter David Amanor.

IRAQ: LANGUAGE OF WAR

This week marks ten years since the Americans ended official combat in Iraq, and Bush declared it a "Mission Accomplished". BBC Mundo's Inma Gil looks back at a decade of controversial language and rhetoric surrounding this conflict.

MAGICAL MARIINSKY?

BBC Russian's culture correspondent Alexander Kan is in his home city of St Peterburgh to welcome, with some trepidation, the opening of the revamped Mariinsky - the city's most famous theatre.

STORIES FROM THE FRONTLINE: YEMEN

"I'm a journalist for the BBC I said, but it still didn't stop me from being beaten." BBC Arabic's Abdullah Ghorab talks about the intimidation and assault that comes with the job of reporting Yemen.

SPOTLIGHT ON BANGLADESH

It's been two weeks of intense news coverage following the collapse of a building housing a garment factory near Dhaka, BBC Bengali's Sabir Mustafa gives an insight into a surprising twist to the tale that raised a few hackles in Bangladesh.

CAN JAZZ SAVE THE WORLD?

The UN has declared jazz its new champion of human rights and wants the musical genre to be used more widely in the fight for peace and the betterment of all mankind. Is Jazz up to this mighty task? BBC Russian's jazz aficionado Seva Novgorodsev dusts off his trumpet.

A POET AND BIN LADEN

It's been two years since Osama Bin Laden was captured and killed in a dramatic raid by US Special Forces in Pakistan, and the head of the Central Asian Service Hamid Ismailov has been weaving fiction, fact and poetry in his latest novel about the world's most wanted man.

WITNESS

How a retired postman gave the US National Gallery a priceless modern art collection for free.

Picture: Two police officers in front of the Yemeni flag.

Picture Credit: Getty Images

Russia And Syria: Inside The Friendship2015100920151010 (WS)

As Russia steps up its attacks in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad, we take a long look at relations between the two countries. Soumer Daghastani of BBC Arabic and Famil Ismailov of BBC Russian share impressions and memories of a political friendship which started in the 1950s. Beyond military hardware and Cold War alignment, how did it impact on ordinary people in both countries?

Kenyan Country Music

Country music is booming in Kenya, with a tv station devoted to country and lots of home-grown stars. BBC Africa's Kim Chakanetsa is a big country fan and she has been in Kenya to meet some of the top names.

Holiday Treats

It's the time of year when people are returning from home leave, bringing with them delicious snacks to share with colleagues. We take a walk round the Fifth Floor to find out where peanuts are king, where biscuits combine taste and tradition, and where it's the bread from home that means the most.

A day in the life of reporting Burundi

Prime Ndikumagenge is the BBC's reporter in Burundi, a country that has seen nearly half a century of violence. Just last week Prime became witness to one of the most shocking attacks he's seen in all those years - the murder of two money changers in the heart of the city. But what does that event tell us about the state of life in Burundi today?

Myanmar Election

It's a month until the first openly contested election in Myanmar, also known as Burma, for 25 years. So how free and fair does the election look, and how are the ruling party responding to requests to become more media friendly? Soe Win Than is an editor in BBC Burmese and has been following the campaign.

And Fifi picks her favourite stories from the web this week.

Picture: Syria's President Assad (L) shakes hands with Russia's President Putin (R)

Credit: Getty Images

As Russia aligns more closely with Syria we unpick their historical cultural ties

Sachin Tendulkar And Cricket Diplomacy2013111520131116 (WS)

Farewell to Sachin: did the cricketing legend ease tensions between India and Pakistan?

Farewell to Sachin: did the cricketing legend ease tensions between India and Pakistan? BBC Hindi's Nitin Srivastava is in Mumbai watching Sachin Tendulkar's last match, he discusses with BBC Urdu's Aamer Ahmed Khan how politicians use cricket to promote diplomacy and whether it really works.

Lifeline Reporting

How does broadcasting change in the aftermath of a natural disaster? BBC Somali's Yonis Nur and BBC Urdu's Shafi Naqi Jamie give insights into how lifeline radio works - including tracing missing people on air.

Venezuela's Shopping Frenzy

Shopping isn't always the most relaxing of pastimes - especially so if you are in Venezuela, which is currently in the grip of shopping fever after President Maduro dramatically announced that he was slashing prices of electrical goods in the country. He claims this is in order to regulate the economy and combat corruption. But will BBC Mundo's Daniel Pardo buy a new knocked down television?

An Impostor on the Airwaves

Who is that journalist on your radio - is it BBC or an impostor? Our reporter in Cameroon, Mahaman Babalala, recently discovered he was being impersonated on air, on a completely different radio station by a man in Nigeria. He describes what happened and head of the Hausa Service reveals that this isn't an entirely uncommon practice.

Online Greatest Hits

Fifi Haroon gives the lowdown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites, including Putin's latest macho achievement and a Ukrainian pothole fixer.

Musical Maestro

The reigning master of Bollywood music AR Rahman speaks to BBC Hindi's Deepti Karki about making the soundtracks that a modern generation of Indians have grown up with.

The Fifth Floor is presented by David Amanor.

Picture: Crowds hold up posters of Sachin Tendulkar

Picture Credit: AP

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

Saudi Religious Police Under Scrutiny2016110420161105 (WS)

The impact of recent changes to the religious police on Saudi Arabian society.

It's been six months since Saudi Arabia curbed the powers of the religious police or mutaween. They can no longer arrest people and they have been instructed to be "gentle and kind". So do people still live in fear of upsetting them? Kindah Shair from BBC Arabic has experienced the mutaween's strict discipline first hand.

Mombasa night weddings

Night weddings are a traditional part of Swahili culture in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa and parties can go on for many days. But recent attacks on guests have led to a curfew, effectively banning night weddings. Maryam Abdalla of BBC Swahili says the tradition is now changing.

Kyrgyzstan's missing constitution

When the government of Kyrgyzstan sought to amend the constitution last month, they were surprised to find that they'd lost the original. Kyrgyz people took to the internet to mock this apparent carelessness. Venera Koichieva of BBC Kyrgyz tells us about the frustrations that underlie the humour.

Graduation for the students without a university

Recent graduation photographs for the University of Benghazi in eastern Libya show joyful students throwing their caps in the air at the campus entrance. But most of the university is in ruins after nearly two years of fighting. Muhammad Hussein of BBC Monitoring is from Benghazi and tells us how students have managed.

Hausa Writing Award

BBC Hausa has announced the winner of its first women's short story writing contest. She's Aisha Muhammad Sabitu, with a story called Refugee Camp - Sansanin Yan Gudun Hijira. To discuss this and the wider reading habits of Hausa women, we hear from two BBC journalists in Abuja: Mohammed Kabir Mohammed and Halima Umar Sale.

And Fifi Haroon's pick of the worldwide web.

Image: Saudi women walking past a jewellery shop at Tiba market in Riyadh

Credit: FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images

Searching For A Fake News Factory2016121620161217 (WS)

A year ago, videos and photos started to appear on social media, apparently showing Ukrainian troops training with so-called Islamic State. These then contributed to fake news stories about alleged links between the two. Andrey Soshnikov from BBC Russian tells us about his year-long investigation into the videos and what he discovered.

Gambia elections - revisited

A week ago, BBC Africa's Umaru Fofana told Fifth Floor how astonished he was that President Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia conceded defeat so swiftly to his election rival Adamo Barrow. But soon afterwards, the President rejected the election results, causing a political crisis in the country. Umaru is back in the Gambia - and gives us his reaction.

Armenia's Daredevils of Sassoun

In July this year, Mark Grigorian, who reports for BBC Russian from Armenia, dismissed as a storm in a teacup the occupation of a police station by an armed group calling themselves the Daredevils of Sassoun. Mark explains why he was so wrong, and why Armenia is still talking about the events of July.

Inside the Polygon

The vast Soviet nuclear test site in Kazakhstan, known as the Polygon, has left behind it a legacy of health problems passed down from generation to generation. Its long isolation has also turned it into a time-warp of Soviet life. BBC Uzbek's Rustam Qobil has been there to make a documentary, The Polygon People, which goes out this Sunday.

Work-out Dakar-style

There's a beach promenade in Dakar, Senegal which has become part of a daily mass work-out. Hundreds of people head there at the end of the day to go running or do improvised gym routines. Clarisse Fortuné of BBC Afrique has been to join them.

And Fifi Haroon's pick of the world wide web.

Photo credit CyberBerkut

Should Celebrities Run For Office?2015091120150912 (WS)

The first round of the Guatemalan elections has been won by a TV comedian. Jimmy Morales once played a blundering cowboy turned accidental president but now he's one step closer to the real thing. A couple of weeks ago US rapper and super celebrity Kanye West announced, in a rambling and probably not altogether serious speech, that he would run for US president in 2020 provoking a flurry of speculation on what he might bring to the White House. So what can celebrities do for the world of politics? David is joined by Fifth Floor friends to discuss

Why has a popular Tanzanian singer been banned?

Tanzanian singer Shilole has been banned from performing by the country's National Arts Council and told that she cannot associate herself with music for one year. It goes back to an incident in Belgium when she had a wardrobe malfunction and revealed a little too much flesh. BBC Africa's Kulthum Maabad and Zuhura Yunus discuss what's been happening

ABC

To mark World Literacy Day this week we traverse the Fifth Floor to hear the clever tricks and songs used in different languages to teach their ABCs.

Hissene Habre on trial

As the former president of Chad appears in court accused of war crimes, BBC Afrique reporter Nathalie Magnien describes reaction in the capital N'Djamena to the long-awaited trial. Alongside Nathalie is her husband, former BBC journalist Mahamat Adamou, who experienced the fear and oppression of the Habre regime first-hand.

Nostalgia for King Farouk

A milestone was passed this week when Queen Elizabeth II became Britain's longest-reigning monarch. She came to the throne in 1952, the same year that King Farouk of Egypt was forced off his. But why, 63 years on, are young Egyptians so nostalgic for an era they never knew? Angy Ghannam of BBC Monitoring in Cairo sheds light on Egypt's love affair with the past.

And Fifi shares her favourite stories from the web this week.

(Picture: Kanye West

Credit: Getty images)

The actors and musicians who have won and lost on the political stage

Sierra Leone: Remembering The Civil War2016032520160326 (WS)

Stories from BBC reporters of how the civil war in Sierra Leone changed their lives

It's 25 years since the start of the civil war in Sierra Leone. Two BBC Africa reporters, both from Sierra Leone, were caught up in the violence and cruelty, and their lives were changed forever. David Amanor talks to Umaru Fofana and Alhassan Sillah.

Hear My Country: Russia

Can you think of a song that captures the spirit of your country? This week Natalia Touzovskaya and Nikolay Voronin of BBC Russian choose tracks that remind them of home.

The Egyptian Cinderella

Marwa Mamoon looks after audience engagement for BBC Arabic, but she has another life presenting a new weekly radio programme called Story Shop. Marwa ransacks history books and internet sources to find stories for listeners, like the tale of the Egyptian Cinderella.

Ukraine's political women

Her youthful face has captured the imagination of Ukraine's pro-European movement. Nadia Savchenko is the helicopter pilot who sang defiant songs in a Russian court as she was sentenced to 22 years in jail. Irena Taranyuk of BBC Ukrainian explains why Savchenko has become a hero to many, and a contender for the country's hall of female fame.

From Delhi to Abuja

Rupa Jha is a BBC journalist from India, now working for BBC Media Action in the Nigerian capital Abuja. She tells Fifth Floor that Abuja is starting to feel like home: she is picking up pidgin and getting her hair braided.

And the best of the worldwide web with Fifi Haroon.

Photo: A soldier inspects weapons seized during the Sierra Leone civil war.

Credit: Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images

South China Sea: What's In A Name?2016071520160716 (WS)

With the recent international ruling against Chinese claims to rights in the South China Sea, the Fifth Floor delves into the linguistic battles that underlie this territorial dispute. For a start, is it the South China Sea, or the East Sea, or the West Philippine Sea? Our guide is Giang Nguyen of BBC Vietnamese.

Zimbabwe: flags and protests

More and more Zimbabweans are joining a social media campaign protesting about the country's economic problems. From Harare, the BBC's Brian Hungwe tells us what has brought public anger to a head, and what's new about the current protest.

Egypt: Hear my Country

Marwa Maamoon and Mohamed Yehia of BBC Arabic share the songs that sum up their country for them.

Building bridges in Brazil

People in the Brazilian town of Barra Mansa have been waiting for a bridge for 20 years. A creek divides the town, and residents have had to make a 2 kilometre detour to reach the other side - just 25 metres away. The government quote for a footbridge was $81,000, so a local group took matters into their own hands and built one for a modest $1,500. BBC Mundo's Gerardo Lissardy shares their story.

The Sapeurs of BBC Africa

This week saw BBC Africa celebrate all things dandy, debonair and dashingly dressed as they launched their own Société d'Ambianceurs et de Personnes Elégantes, SAPE. So what does it mean to be a sapeur? The Fifth Floor explores the history of the fashion movement and finds out which journalists' sartorial stylings are of the highest standard.

Image: An official map of Vietnam at an exhibition about the South China Sea in Hanoi.

Credit: Getty

A disputed territory and disputed names - a linguistic tour of the South China Sea.

South Sudan Three Years On2014071120140712 (WS)

Women fleeing war in their pyjamas - reporting the human cost of conflict in South Sudan

This week marks three years since the birth of the world's newest country - South Sudan. But it hasn't been a glowing start - it's currently reeling from a civil war that has killed thousands and forced over a million people to flee from their homes. Many of them have fled across the border to Ethiopia. BBC Africa's Hewete Haileselassie, who is from Ethiopia, meets the refugees who've made camp there.

World Cup Chants

Which World Cup country has the best football chant and why, Argentina, Brazil, or Germany? BBC Mundo's Natalio Cosoy, Daniel Gallas from BBC Brasil and Central Asian editor Johannes Dell who's from Germany join us on the Fifth Floor newsroom to battle it out.

Saudi YouTube King

Introducing Saudi's Beatboxer extraordinaire, Alaa Wardi makes music using only his body. He's such a hit in his home country of Saudi Arabia that he's become known as the Saudi You Tube King. Mehrnoush Pourziaiee from BBC Persian went to meet him. Saudi's are the biggest consumers and producers of You Tube videos across the Arab world, making some of the most creative comedy in the region. Abdirahim Saeed reviews what young people are watching in the country.

Birth Control in Iran

The Iranian government is proposing to ban vasectomies and impose more restrictions on other forms of birth control. Iran has a complex history with population growth, veering from encouraging more and more babies to imposing some of the most successful birth control plans of any nation. It's all a bit confusing for young Iranians like Hossein Sharif from BBC Persian, for years he was encouraged to stay away from the opposite sex, but now he's told he should be making babies, lots of them.

Happy Birthday Wole Soyinka

As Wole Soyinka, Nobel poet laureate and giant of African literature celebrates his 80th birthday this weekend, we talk to Bilkisu Labaran from Nigeria to hear about her favourite works by the big man. We also discuss what sort of influence the poet, playwright, author and more recently campaigner has had on the country.

Online Greatest Hits

Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the low down on the top-hitting stories across the web including, the Indian man with 48 air-conditioners in his bungalow and the North Korean cheer-leading squad.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Sri Lanka: Stories From The Frontline2013011220130113 (WS)
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A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

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There's no place like it: stories about home, family and belonging

A special New Year's Day programme themed around 'home' and the stories BBC language service journalists tell about where they're from.

Umaru Fofana in Sierra Leone remembers reporting on the Ebola crisis in Freetown, and how he struggled to keep his family at home safe from the risks of his work.

Can home be a place you've never lived? BBC Monitoring's Emilio San Pedro grew up in America where his parents were exiled from Cuba. He returns to Havana to discover more about his roots in the country his parents called home.

What if your hometown is famous for all the wrong reasons? Tatyana Movshevich grew up in Dzerzhinsk, a town famed for its toxic chemical production, and joked about by neighbouring areas as being home to two-headed purple skinned monsters. And yet in spite of that it's a place she's proud to call home.

When the Taliban overran Kunduz in northern Afghanistan last October BBC Afghan's Ahmad Yama had to flee. Since becoming a journalist, he fears the Taliban may have made him a target, and home is no longer a safe place.

Nita May from BBC Burmese was forced to leave home when she was arrested and imprisoned in 1990, accused of violation of state secrets. And while in prison she gave birth to a baby boy.

Plus how mangoes cure homesickness, how reindeers founded a Kyrgyz tribe, and how Amitabh Bachchan caused a rift in one journalist's home life.

(Picture: A house turned upside down

Picture credit: Getty Images)

Stories From The Frontline: Burkina Faso2014110720141108 (WS)

Revolutions and counter-revolutions as told by BBC Afrique's Lamine Konkobo

Over the last 27 years Burkina Faso has experienced one coup, one attempted coup, one army mutiny, and one popular uprising. Lamine Konkobo is a BBC Afrique journalist who has lived through and reported on these political convulsions. He talks about what it was like growing up during a time of revolution, and now as an adult watching as Ouagadougou walks the line between military and civilian rule. Plus, a week in Ouaga - Laeila Adjovi sends a sound picture from Ouagadougou at the height of the popular protests.

From Prisoner to President

From East Timor's Xanana Gusmao to Uruguay's Jose Mujica and Brazil's Dilma Roussef, many of the world's most well known presidents served time in jail before before taking up their country's highest office. BBC Brasil's Rogerio Wasserman and BBC Indonesia's Liston Siregar provide insight into why so many notable presidents were formerly prisoners.

The Culinary Guide for Jihadi Wives

The new propaganda arm of Islamic State - the Zora media foundation - is releasing guides on how to be the 'ultimate wives of jihad'. The online information guides include recipes for foods that can be eaten in between battles, instructions on nursing and administering first aid, the books of God and Sharia science. This is just the latest in a long line of campaigns for recruitment to their cause. Murad Shishani from BBC Arabic talks us through jihadi propaganda methods and the role of women in IS.

Exploring the Global Appeal of Doctor Who

Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction TV programme in the world and has over 80 million fans. It began in November 1963 and the 50th anniversary special was watched in 94 countries including Thailand, Angola, USA, Guatemala and Uzbekistan. The launch of the new series recently saw the cast and crew surrounded by excited fans from Seoul to Mexico City. Not bad for a 2,000 year old time travelling alien in a blue police box. To discuss Doctor Who's global appeal David Amanor is joined by Alireza Vasefi, who as well as being the dubbing mixer on the programme for BBC Persian TV is also the farsi voice of The Doctor, and Social Media Editor and Mexican super fan, David Cuen.

Online Greatest Hits

Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the lowdown on the weird and wonderful stories across the web, including a monkey marriage and a Taiwanese mosquito swatting contest.

The Fifth Floor is presented by David Amanor.

Picture: Two young men in Burkina Faso pose with a police riot shield

Picture Credit: Getty Images

Stories From The Frontline: Gaza2014080820140809 (WS)

When home becomes a conflict zone: reporting, sleeping and surviving in the bureau

How do you cope when your home is a conflict zone? For the last month, BBC Arabic's Shahdi Alkashif has been sleeping on the floor of his office in Gaza. Shahdi has been on the ground reporting the war for BBC Arabic, and he reflects on how this is affecting life for him and his family.

Also in the programme:

Famous Resignations

This week marks 40 years since the first and only resignation of an American president - Richard Nixon. From Yeltsin to Musharraf and Mubarak, language service journalists remember covering the last days of historic premierships and what the atmosphere was like in those countries when the news broke.

African Horror Fiction

The revenge of wronged ancestors, villages populated by the dead and what can befall you when you don't knock on the door of a morgue three times. Welcome to the world of West African horror fiction. Nigerian writer Nuzo Onoh tells David about her new supernatural novel The Reluctant Dead and BBC Africa's Veronique Edwards shares scary tales from her native Cameroon.

Water as a Weapon in Iraq

Two rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, are the lifeblood of Iraq. Iraqis depend on these waters for fishing, farming, drinking and hydro-electric power. Now there are fears that Islamic State militants could take control of the country by capturing dams on these waterways, allowing them to flood upstream regions and create drought in cities downstream. BBC Persian's Jiyar Gol has been to the region to investigate. He tells David how a life-giving natural resource can become a deadly weapon.

Eastleigh: A Local's Tour

BBC Somali's Suheba Mohammed takes David to the heart of Eastleigh - a district in Nairobi populated mainly by ethnic Somali Kenyans and Somalis who fled decades of war in their homeland. The place is famous for its vibrant markets, although a crackdown against illegal migration and suspected militants has also taken its toll.

Online Greatest Hits

Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the lowdown on the top-hitting stories across the web including Japanese snapping turtles and the Russian teenagers who made a swimming pool in their living room.

Photo credit: Getty Images

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

Stories From The Frontline: Sectarian Violence In Central African Republic2013112220131123 (WS)

'It feels like a zombie movie. A silent, empty, spooky landscape' - reporting Bossangoa

This week the UN Security Council warned that the violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) was spiralling out of control. It was affirmation of what some journalists had seen recently - like Laeila Adjovi reporting from the town of Bossangoa for BBC Afrique. She was there earlier this month, and had been there before - in January when the loose alliance of rebels known as Seleka were about to take control.

Reporting Assassinations

Today marks 50 years since President John F Kennedy was assassinated and the world's media went into overdrive. What are the challenges of reporting the assassination of your country's leader? It's a tough beat if you're a reporter on the day - we go to DR Congo, Pakistan and Lebanon to talk to the language service journalists covering the deaths of Laurent Kabila, Benazir Bhutto and Rafik Hariri.

Buying Bling at a Narco Auction

Ever wondered what a Colombian drug baron buys with his loot? Arturo Wallace from BBC Mundo will tell you. He has just been to the first public auction of goods collected in police drug raids.

Migrants at Sea

The shocking reality of migration - an 11-year-old Iranian boy describes the boat accident that killed all his family. BBC Persian's Fariba Sahraei reports this harrowing tale.

Hear My Country: Ghana

If you had to pick one song to define your country what would it be? This time we're going to Ghana - a tricky question for Komla Dumor and Vera Kwakofi, not to mention David Amanor himself.

The Fifth Floor is presented by David Amanor.

(Image: Civilians fleeing violent attacks by armed rebels seek refuge in the yard of a church in Bossangoa, Central African Republic. Credit: AP)

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu.

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

Syrian Kurds In Iraq2013101120131012 (WS)

How Syrians are making new lives in Domiz, Iraq's largest refugee camp

This week The Fifth Floor is guest-presented by Lina Sinjab, a Syrian journalist who for many years has been reporting for the BBC from Damascus.

Lina travels to Iraqi Kurdistan's largest refugee camp, Domiz - just an hour from the Syrian border - to meet some of the 60,000 refugees who are trying to build new lives.

How do people live, love and die here away from home? Lina meets people at important moments in their lives: a mother with a newborn child, a couple preparing to marry, the doctor running the MSF clinic, and the man who deals with the dead and the bereaved. There's also Lukman, an army defector who had to fake his own death in order to leave Syria.

The majority of those crossing the border are Kurds, and their arrival in Iraqi Kurdistan has been championed by some as something of a homecoming - but for most of the people we meet, living in a tent with the barest of essentials, they still feel very far from home.

Image: A view of Domiz, the largest refugee camp in Iraqi Kurdistan

Syrian Refugees In Iraqi Kurdistan2014010320140104 (WS)

Inside Iraq's largest refugee camp meeting Syrians who fled the war.

The journey of a Syrian reporter to meet the refugees who are fleeing the war in her homeland and seeking refuge in neighbouring Iraq. Lina Sinjab introduces David Amanor to the people of Domiz, the largest refugee camp in Iraqi Kurdistan, just an hour from the Syrian border.

Lina meets people at important moments in their lives: a mother with a new born child, a couple preparing to marry and the man who deals with the dead and the bereaved. Lukman, an army defector, describes how he had to fake his own death in order to leave Syria. We also take a trip to the hairdressers and meet the children of the camp who show us round their tented city.

The majority of those crossing the border are Kurds, and their arrival in Iraqi Kurdistan has been championed by some as something of a homecoming - but for most of the people we meet, living in a tent with the barest of essentials, they still feel very far from home.

Parts of this programme were first broadcast in October 2013.

(Image: A view of Domiz, the largest refugee camp in Iraqi Kurdistan)

Syria's Trailblazing Kurdish Women2016030420160305 (WS)

There's an extraordinary social change happening in Syria's Rojava region. Since the Syrian conflict began in 2011, the predominantly Kurdish area has revolutionised society, with the primary beneficiaries being women. There's an all female militia, female judges alongside male, and co-leadership at all levels of public administration. How did this come about? BBC Monitoring's Roj Ranjbar, an Iraqi Kurd, has visited the area and shares his insights.

African names

From Ethiopia to Zimbabwe, Kenya to Burkina Faso, the Fifth Floor goes in search of the story behind the meaning of the names of our BBC Africa colleagues.

Mauritius bat cull

There's been a huge bat cull in Mauritius. Normally bats are protected, but the government was forced to take action after fruit farmers complained about crop damage, and city dwellers about the noise they make at night. So what exactly does a bat munching on a mango sound like? Yasine Mohabuth from BBC Afrique has spent many hours listening and does a rather good impression.

Mahragan: Egypt's new music craze

There's a popular new music style on the streets of Cairo and Egypt's big cities that seems to be dividing opinion. It's called mahragan and it started in the slums, but it's been gaining a mainstream following, as well as some critics. Ali Gamal El deen and Ranyah Sabry from BBC Arabic tell David more.

Hunting ghosts in India

Kuldhara is a deserted village in northern India, said to have been haunted since it was abandoned by its inhabitants 200 years ago. The ruins have been partially renovated and declared a heritage site by the Indian government. BBC Urdu's Shakeel Akhtar, who recently visited Kuldhara, tells us about the mysterious disappearance of the entire population, and the legends they left behind.

And Fifi Haroon's pick of weird and wonderful stories from the worldwide web.

Photo: Syrian Kurdish women waving flags.

Credit: Yann Renoult.

How Syria's Kurdish women are taking the lead in public life

The Best Of The Fifth Floor2013122720131228 (WS)

Looking back at 2013: a year's reporting from the World Service's 27 language sections

A hamper full of highlights from the past year on the Fifth Floor, including memories of the passing of Mandela with South African journalist Nick Ericsson who spent seven years waiting for the call to report Nelson Mandela's death. Nick shares his struggles with reporting this particular piece of news. Also, a little word dominated headlines this year, but is the word "Islamist" overused and do we deploy it correctly? Top Gear presenter, Jeremy Clarkson meets the man who dubs him in Persian. And vivid memories of living through the war in Vietnam: how the children would make lamps out of fire flies and egg shells. There's top tips from Pakistan on how to avoid spying; getting down to the Bollywood bop with BBC African journalists; blushes from BBC Persian as they explain the perils of translating Mahmoud Ahmedinejad's colourful speeches and a moving diary of a journey through the apocalyptic landscape of the Central African Republic.

A drama-filled tour of the best of our programmes this year presented by David Amanor.

Image: Ladies blowing up balloons Credit: Getty Images.

The Fifth Floor20120401

Are politicians taking nicknames too personally - shouldn't they just laugh them off?

A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with David Amanor.

RELEASING A HOSTAGE

An extraordinary 16-hour trek through the remote hills and forests of India's Orissa State, interviewing a Maoist rebel commander and witnessing the release of an Italian hostage - all in a day's work for Sandeep Sahu from the BBC's Hindi Service. And all with a bad back too!

PAPPON'S PICKS

Our new internet guru Thomas Pappon gives a rundown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including a medal ceremony gone horribly wrong, Russians missing Whitney Houston, Indonesians scanning the skies for rockets, and the naked golfer.

REPORTING A FAMINE

A thick cloud of dust, desertification, and children struggling to smile through a food crisis in the Sahel, some images from the audio diary of BBC Africa's Venuste Nshimiyimana. His team has been in Niger, one of the sub-Saharan countries worst hit by famine.

WHAT'S IN A NICKNAME

Remember these: Dear Leader, the Laughing Cow, Comrade Bob, Mr Boom, Slick Willie, Commander In Briefs. While some leaders accept ridicule as an occupational hazard, others take serious offence. Nga Pham from our Vietnamese Service and Josephine Hazeley of BBC Africa ponder over the nicknames politicians attract.

USES AND ABUSES OF A BIRTHDATE

For many people in South Asia, a birth date is nothing more than a scribble on a piece of paper. Suhail Haleem of our Urdu Service explores the uses and abuses of a flexible birth date. And as he points out, your mother surely has the best memory of approximately when you were born.

(Image: A graffiti caricature of former Libyan leader Gaddafi. Credit: Getty)

The Fifth Floor20120402

Are politicians taking nicknames too personally - shouldn't they just laugh them off?

The Fifth Floor2012050520120506

Bin Laden's letters are released but what do his missives mean?

BUSY WEEK FOR BBC HAUSA: Nigeria has been in the grip of increasing violence by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram this week. A surge in attacks means our BBC Hausa service has had a busy time reporting events. But for one man in the team it has been particularly hard. Jimeh Saleh is from Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram. He was back in his home town recently and in a moving interview he tells us he was shocked by the changes he saw there.

PAPPON'S PICKS: Our internet guru Thomas Pappon gives a rundown on the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including why a toad made it big on BBC Brasil and how Justin Bieber caused a stir in Indonesia

BIN LADEN BACK IN THE HEADLINES: A year ago this week in the then little known town of Abbotabad a dramatic event was taking place which was first reported by an unsuspecting tweeter. It's a year since the world's most wanted man - Osama Bin Laden - was caught and killed by US forces and the occasion was marked by the release of some of his personal letters seized during the raid. The Head of the BBC's Urdu Service got his head down and waded through hundreds of pages of script to give us his insights into what Osama's missives mean.

COUP PLOTTERS: FINAL PART: Captain Mbango and his sidekick Sergeant Zumzoom have ousted their government, but the African Union is upset, so is a former UN chief, and rebels in the north of the country have declared independence. And now relations have gone sour between the captain and the sergeant and things are about to turn -

PUTIN'S COMING BACK: Here's a handy hint when you're remembering your Russian Presidents: they go, bald, hairy, bald, hairy...Lenin was bald, Stalin was hairy, Khrushchev was bald and Brezhnev was hairy, Gorbachev, bald and Yeltsin, hairy, then there's Putin who's receding followed by Medvedev with hair, and now Putin again. This pattern goes all the way back to the 19th Century. Never say you never learnt anything from the The Fifth Floor

(Image: Osama Bin Laden. Credit: Getty)

COUP PLOTTERS: FINAL PART: Captain Mbango and his sidekick Sergeant Zumzoom have ousted their government, but the African Union is upset, so is a former UN chief, and rebels in the north of the country have declared independence. And now relations have gone sour between the captain and the sergeant and things are about to turn - PUTIN'S COMING BACK: Here's a handy hint when you're remembering your Russian Presidents: they go, bald, hairy, bald, hairy...Lenin was bald, Stalin was hairy, Khrushchev was bald and Brezhnev was hairy, Gorbachev, bald and Yeltsin, hairy, then there's Putin who's receding followed by Medvedev with hair, and now Putin again. This pattern goes all the way back to the 19th Century. Never say you never learnt anything from the The Fifth Floor

The Fifth Floor2012050520120507
The Fifth Floor20120506

Bin Laden's letters are released but what do his missives mean?

The Fifth Floor20120507
The Fifth Floor2012092920120930 (WS)
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A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with Pooneh Ghoddoosi.

A BRIEF ENCOUNTER WITH MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD

An adhoc question fired at the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, by BBC Persian reporter, Bahman Kalbasi at the UN headquarters in New York has caused a bit of a stir in social media this week. In the footage, now viewed by over 300,000 users on YouTube, Mr Ahmadinejad appears to give a brief dismissive reply while walking past a crowd of journalists, but it's very hard to hear exactly what he says. And that started the lip-reading guessing game on Twitter and Facebook. The Fifth Floor caught up with Bahman and asked him about his brief encounter with the president.

TRANSLATING WORLD LEADERS

It's been a busy week at the United Nations with global leaders gathering to take centre stage at the General Assembly podium and share their words of wisdom. But spare a thought for the people who have to translate their speeches. Gleb Levin from the BBC Russian Monitoring Team and Driss Mekkaoui from BBC World News who is known as "the voice of the dictators" reveal what it takes to bring clarity to their listeners.

PAPPON

Highlights from the World Service's language sections with Thomas Pappon of BBC Brasil. This week we have lucky babies, Russian terriers and toilet flushing in Zimbabwe.

REPORTING THE SOUTH AFRICAN MINER'S STRIKES

One story which has been making the headlines and has really shaken South Africa in recent weeks is the miner's strike at Marikana. One of their protests ended in a violent conflict when police opened fire and killed 34 of them. The miners have finally gone back to work after many tense hours of discussion over their pay. Among the journalists who lived and breathed this story for several weeks working to all hours of the day, is Omar Mutasa from the BBC's Swahili service. He finally got a moment to look back and share some of the key moments of those tumultuous days.

THE ISI WIVES: PART THREE

The final instalment of our playful piece of creative writing imagining the shenanigans that go on behind the scenes amongst the wives of Paksitani Intelligence officials. In parts one and two we met Bushra and Fuff who are both married to officers in the ISI - the Pakistani Intelligence Services - they are bitter rivals, constantly trying to outdo each other and fight their way up the ladder of power and influence. The only person Fuff can share her woes with is her long time friend Sana - but she is unfortunately rather wrapped up in her new American boyfriend. Where will all the back stabbing end?

Image: President Ahmadinejad Mahmoud Credit: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections.

A fresh look at the week's global news from the World Service's 27 language sections, with Pooneh Ghoddoosi.

ONLINE GREATEST HITS

(Image: President Ahmadinejad Mahmoud Credit: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

The Fifth Floor20170623

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

Six years into the Syrian civil war pictures from the northern city of Aleppo tell their own story. Much of it lies in ruins. Eastern Aleppo was besieged for many months and came under a barrage of attacks from Syrian government forces and their Russian allies in December 2016. It's the subject of a documentary film Goodbye Aleppo by BBC Arabic and what makes this so unique and powerful is that it's filmed on smart phones and cameras by four citizen journalists living in East Aleppo. The producers are Christine Garabedian and Mahmoud Ali Hamad.

Argentina's Nazi artefact find
Earlier this week, Argentinian authorities found a huge stash of Nazi artefacts hidden in a Buenos Aires house. It's the biggest discovery of its kind in Argentina, and is rumoured to have belonged to a senior Nazi figure. Myths abound about the presence of Nazi war criminals in South America after World War II, so what does this new haul reveal? Argentinian Valeria Perasso has been following the story.

And so to bed...
Long summer nights in the northern hemisphere tempt everyone to stay up late and enjoy the cool of the evening. How much do sleep patterns vary around the world? Bedtime stories from Somali Osman Hassan, Russian Alexander Kan, Carol Yarwood of BBC Chinese, Bhagirath Yogi of BBC Nepali, Mundo's Stefania Gozzer and Ghazanfar Hyder of BBC Urdu.

Kashmir: Letters across the Divide
BBC Hindi recently brought together two schoolgirls, one from Delhi and one from Indian-administered Kashmir, to became penfriends. What they have in common is music and youth, but they're divided by regional loyalties and religion in the long-running dispute over Kashmir. So the question is can the two teenagers find common ground? The reporter behind the project is Divya Arya.

Pushkin and the Uzbeks
An off-the-cuff remark by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has ruffled feathers in Uzbekistan. He quipped that Uzbeks don't know Pushkin. But it turns out that the one thing you never ever do is question an Uzbek's knowledge of poetry. Over to Rustam Qobil of BBC Uzbek.

And Fifi Haroon's pick of the world wide web.

Image: Buses lining up to take population of east Aleppo out
Credit: Aleppo Media Centre

The Fifth Floor20170630

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

Audrey Brown's documentary Give Back the Land tells the story of a white Western Cape vineyard owner attempting to make reparations for the land his family "stole" 6 generations ago. Land rights and reparations remain contentious in South Africa 23 years after the end of apartheid, and are close to the heart of Audrey, whose family come from this area.

Nepal's rice festival
This week Nepalis have been celebrating Ropain, the rice planting festival. Rice is a huge part of Nepal's economy and a mainstay of family life, even for young professionals. People like BBC Nepali's Matina Twanabasu, who's been juggling journalism with hard labour - and fun - in the family's paddy fields.

Tarlabasi gentrification
The poor Tarlabasi neighbourhood in the Turkish city of Istanbul is known for its eclectic mix of residents: Roma, refugee, LGBT and religious conservatives all co-exist. But now it's being gentrified, so will something unique be lost? We asked Oyku Altuntas from BBC Turkish.

Kyrgyzstan's breastfeeding controversy
A young Kyrgyz woman has caused a stir by posting pictures of herself breastfeeding in her underwear. But she's not just any young woman: Aliya Shagieva is President Almazbek Atambaeyev's daughter, and rarely gives interviews. Gulnara Kasmambet of BBC Kyrgyz jumped at the chance to quiz her.

Remembering Buenos Aires zoo
Last year Buenos Aires zoo was closed to the public following years of protest and accusations of animal cruelty. But a year on, not a single animal owned by the city has been moved. Macarena Gagliardi reports from Argentina for BBC Mundo and knows the zoo well.

Plus Fifi Haroon's pick of the world wide web.

Image: Solms winery in South Africa
Credit: BBC

The Frontline In The War On Corruption2016042920160430 (WS)

How the campaign against corruption and privilege is being waged in Brazil and Tanzania

Can you change a nation's attitude to corruption? It seems both Tanzania and Brazil are trying to prove that it's possible. In Brazil, President Dilma Roussef is fighting for political survival in the wake of the Petrobras scandal. In Tanzania, President John Magufuli has promised to sweep corruption away. BBC Brasil's Camilla Costa and BBC Africa's Zuhura Yunus compare notes on how you get rid of a culture of corruption.

Fleeing Chernobyl

In the week that the world marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, BBC Ukrainian's Anastasia Zanuda remembers her flight from Kiev after the explosion. The authorities had blocked roads to stop people leaving, but her father was a mushroom picker and his knowledge of back roads enabled them to get to the Crimea, away from the deadly radiation.

Radio listening in Syria

Regular power cuts make it difficult for Syrians to get their usual television shows, so radio is filling the gap. Some of the space is filled by social programmes giving advice on how to get by in war conditions. Where to find tomatoes for instance, how to cope with intermittent water supplies, or even tips on how to give birth at home. Amira Galal from BBC Monitoring has been looking at the explosion of FM stations across the country.

In praise of the shehnai

It's a hundred years since the birth of legendary Indian musician Bismillah Khan, whose name will forever be associated with the shehnai. This is an instrument similar to the oboe, which he made famous in post-independence India. He was only the third classical musician ever to be awarded India's highest civilian honour - the Bharat Ratna. Fifth Floor fans of Bismillah Khan and the shehnai - Rupa Jha of BBC Media Action and Vandana Dhand from BBC Delhi - share their enthusiasm.

And Fifi's pick of the worldwide web.Photo: Protesters at anti-corruption protest in Brasilia, Brazil.

Credit: Pedro Ladeira/AFP/Getty Images.

The Gambia's Political Earthquake2016120920161210 (WS)

BBC Africa's Umaru Fofana takes us behind the scenes in Gambia's historic elections

BBC Africa's Umaru Fofana is just back from reporting on the elections in the Gambia and the surprise defeat of the president of 22 years, Yahya Jammeh. He shares the stories that could not be told during the voting, and describes one of the biggest upheavals he has seen in African politics.

Guyana's Outdated Dress Codes

In Guyana, where the temperature rarely falls below 30 Celsius, many public and government buildings enforce strict dress codes. Even the president has called the rules "archaic" and "backward". The Fifth Floor's Carinya Sharples describes her daily dress dilemmas.

Dastangoi

Shumaila Khan of BBC Urdu has been investigating Dastangoi, a popular form of storytelling between the 16th and 19th Centuries. It is currently enjoying a revival in Shumaila's hometown, Karachi in Pakistan.

Bus Fares and Politics in Bogota

The ex-mayor of Bogota, Gustavo Petro, a former left-wing rebel who lowered bus fares whilst in power, has been fined US$70 million for the consequent loss of income for the city. Rafael Abuchaibe of BBC Monitoring explains the politics behind the story.

Egypt's Sugar Craving

These are hard times for sweet-loving Egyptians, with sugar shortages and price rises. This weekend sees the celebration of Moulid an-Nabi, the Prophet's birthday, when lots of sweets are traditionally consumed. What's the impact of the sugar crisis, and why do Egyptians have such a sweet tooth? Questions for Angy Ghannam at BBC Monitoring in Cairo.

Wiki Edit-a-thon

Wikipedia is the internet's largest reference library, but women are under-represented, both as the subjects and authors of articles. In response, the BBC's language services embarked on an edit-a-thon to improve the balance. The Fifth Floor finds out about the women who are getting a long overdue write-up.

(Photo: Adama Barrow, Gambia's President-elect, gesturing to the crowd in Kololi, The Gambia. Credit: Joe Sinclair/AFP/Getty Images.

The Legacy Of 19842014111420141115 (WS)

This week the Arabic media were full of stories about a student in Egypt arrested for carrying a book - not just any book though. It was 1984 by George Orwell. Now police did say later that Mohammed T had been pulled in for taking pictures of security forces, but either way the cat was out of the bag, and sales and free downloads of 1984 soared online. Why is 1984 still so powerful after all these years? Mohamed Yehia of BBC Arabic and BBC Editor Olexiy Solohubenko discuss the continuing global legacy of Orwell's iconic novel.

Also in the programme:

Meeting Syria's White Helmets

In Syria when the bombs go off the White Helmets go in. Mehrnoush Pourziaiee of BBC Persian reflects on her meeting with members of the Syrian volunteer rescue team and considers how her meeting made her reconsider her own memories of war.

Online Greatest Hits

Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the lowdown on the weird and wonderful stories across the web, including the stupid virus and a marriage proposal with 99 iPhones.

What Makes an Ethical Ugandan?

Last week Uganda's Minister for Ethics and Integrity called for a well-known female musician to be investigated and arrested over nude pictures taken by her ex-boyfriend. According to the minister, the musician - who is now in hiding - 'broke' the country's anti-pornography law. Uganda is a largely conservative society and the last few years have seen a steady moral policing of the country - from a ban on miniskirts to a new proposal for tougher anti-gay laws. From Kampala, BBC Africa's Catherine Byaruhanga reflects on what it means to be an 'ethical' Ugandan.

Stories from the Frontline: Reporting the Niger Delta

BBC Hausa's Abdullahi Kaura Abubakar recalls a seriously tough day at the office - involving two Russian adventurers, four American hostages, some speedboats, and a camp full of drunk and high militants from the Niger Delta. Some tight corners, a narrow escape and ultimate a happy ending. He tells David of the rollercoaster ride of reporting Nigeria.

The Fifth Floor is presented by David Amanor.

The Names Behind The Numbers2016051320160514 (WS)

This week Firuz Rahimi of BBC Afghan is working on a report about the unidentified migrants who have died at sea trying to cross the Mediterranean. He has been to Greece, Turkey and Afghanistan to trace the families behind headstones sometimes marked only with numbers. It was an experience that has changed his outlook on the migrant story.

Venezuela meltdown

Things are getting hot in Venezuela, there are water shortages, an energy crisis, soaring prices, and cuts in the working week. The opposition has been out on the streets of the capital mobilising dissent to try to oust President Nicolas Maduro. There have been rubber bullets and teargas this week. Can things get any worse? Daniel Pardo is BBC Mundo's watchman in Caracas.

Ethiopian Road Trip

BBC Africa's Hewete Haileselassie takes us on a mountainous drive from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to the northern border with Eritrea, through villages untouched by the trappings of modern life. She tells us what she discovered about her origins and the country itself.

My Cultural Revolution

Yuwen Wu of BBC Chinese was nine years old when the Cultural Revolution started in 1966. For the 50th anniversary, she has created an online gallery of 10 objects which sum up that time - from the famous Little Red Book of Chairman Mao, to the 'big-character posters' denouncing officials and teachers. Yuwen shares memories of a world turned upside-down.

Digital Palmyra

As a gesture of defiance against the destruction at Palymra carried out by so-called Islamic State, experts have launched a project to digitally preserve heritage sites, objects and artefacts. Two BBC Arabic journalists following the story are Reda El Mawy, who is also a trained archaeologist, and Kindah Shair. They explain how the project works.

And Fifi Haroon's pick of the worldwide web.

Photo: A Turkish graveyard for unidentified migrants, headstones marked with number.

Credit: BBC

Telling the stories of the unidentified migrants buried in Turkey, Greece and Italy

The Paris Attacks: A View From Beirut2015112020151121 (WS)

A week ago Beirut and Paris were hit by the deadliest attacks in their respective cities for decades. It began in Lebanon with a double suicide bombing hitting a market place, a school and a mosque killing approximately 40. And just a day later in Paris in a series of almost simultaneous attacks on a concert hall, a major stadium, restaurants and bars. 129 people were killed and hundreds were wounded. There followed a global outpouring of sympathy - world leaders sent messages of condolences, monuments around the world were lit up to show support and solidarity, but almost all of this was directed towards France. Many began to ask why the events in Lebanon had been forgotten. Nidale Abou Mrad works for BBC Arabic, she's Lebanese and has spent many years living and working in Paris and her reaction to what happened last week was complicated.

Reporting Raqqa

After a weekend mourning the dead the French President Francois Hollande announced their heaviest bombing yet of the Syrian city of Raqqa, described as the "snake's head" of so called Islamic State by British PM David Cameron. But with no reporters on the ground, and where getting UGC content out is extremely dangerous, how do we report the story? We find out from Mohammed Abdul Qader in BBC Arabic Online who's become something of an expert at mining the web for reliable information on what's happening on the ground. And Lina Shaikhouni a journalist from BBC Monitoring.

The end of history in Vietnam

Could history be coming to an end in Vietnam? It seems that's what's being proposed by the Ministry of Education, which wants history to be abolished as a discipline in its own right for children up to the age of 15. Instead, it will be one element of a new subject called Citizen and Fatherland, covering national defence, citizenship and history. The news comes in the same week as Teachers Day in Vietnam, and Ha Mi of BBC Vietnamese says it's the main topic for discussion among teachers.

The original Malala

The film 'He Named Me Malala' is out on general release. It's a portrait of the now famous teenager shot by the Taliban for speaking up for girls education. Malala Yousafzai was named by her father after Malalai of Maiwand - a national hero of Afghanistan who rallied Pashtun fighters against the British troops at the Battle of Maiwand in 1880. She's credited with the victory over the British. Afghan journalists Najiba Kasraee and Meena Baktash tell us more about Malalai of Maiwand.

I love my toxic town

During Soviet times the town of Dzerzhinsk was a centre of heavily polluting chemical and weapons production. Long after the breakup of the Soviet Union the industries dwindled, but in the 90s the town was still named by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the most chemically polluted city on earth; nearby cities would joke about the purple skinned two headed neighbours. But what journalist Tatyana Movshevich remembers is a magical childhood, and a city full of dreams as residents found their own ways to float free of the brutalist architecture.

Why Indian Writers are handing back their prizes

More than 100 Indian writers and cultural figures have returned national awards over what they call rising intolerance in India following a series of recent incidents, including the killings of scholars, writers and rationalists. Earlier this month, Booker Prize-winning author Arundhati Roy joined the growing list by returning a national award she had won in 1989. With Khadeeja Arif from BBC Urdu and Vandna Dhand from BBC Hindi in Delhi.

And Fifi picks her favourite stories from the web this week.

(Picture: The great pyramid of Khufu illuminated with the French, Lebanese and Russian flags in Giza. Credit: Getty Images)

A Lebanese journalist on why the attacks in France made her think again about Beirut.

The Refugee Crisis As Seen From Syria2015091820150919 (WS)

The reality of life in Damascus today

At the heart of the migrant crisis is the war in Syria. But what is the reality of life in Damascus now? Assaf Abboud is the only person living and reporting from the country for the BBC. He paints us a picture of the city through the different districts, and tells us what residents are making of the coverage of the refugee story.

Inside an African Utopia

The Africa Utopia Festival on London's Southbank came to an end last weekend. It was billed as featuring "some of Africa's greatest artists across music, dance, literature and the arts". The line-up included legendary drummer Tony Allen, one of the acknowledged co-founders of Afrobeat, Senegalese super group Orchestra Baobab, and lively talks and debates with a keynote speech by Africa Utopia champion and collaborator Baaba Maal. The BBC's Manuel Toledo, expert on African music, was there - as was DJ Rita Ray, a regular on Focus Africa. They will be sharing their insights and giving us their highlights.

Bangladesh's Truly Urban Farmer

Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, is a pretty busy bustling city with a population of nearly 15 million, so you can imagine how it might be hard to find space for a dairy farm in the heart of the old town. But one farmer in the city has come up with a bit of a novel solution. He keeps his cows on the roof. Farhana Parveen of BBC Bangla went to meet him and his cows.

Love Across the Frontline

Natalya Moiseyeva is a Russian journalist working for BBC Monitoring. Earlier this year she moved to Kiev to marry her boyfriend and BBC colleague, Yuri Martynenko, from Ukraine. But when she left Moscow to start her new life it was with a degree of trepidation. Hostilities between the two countries are still intense and the level of anti-Ukrainian propaganda coming nightly from her Russian TV meant that even she, who is used to scanning a wide range of media, felt that she might have something of a difficult ride ahead. Natalia tells David about what she found in Ukraine and about organising a wedding with guests from two countries in conflict.

Changing Cuba: One Family's Story

In Emilio San Pedro's final report from Cuba, he sets out in Havana to trace the history of Cuba through the story of his family. From the independence struggle led by Jose Marti through the 1959 revolution and now to the present day thaw in relations with the superpower over the water, the United States.

And, Fifi shares her favourite stories from the web this week.

Picture: Syria conflict. Credit: Sameer Al-Doumy/Getty Images

The Women Who Make The News2015112720151128 (WS)

The 100 Women Season on the Fifth Floor presented by Aliya Nazki.

Feminism in Egypt

Where did feminism begin? Followers of Herodotus might argue that it was in Egypt. In his travels some two-and-a-half thousand years ago, he wrote that women in Egypt traded in the markets while the men stayed at home weaving. How have times changed? Egyptian journalist Marwa Mamoon from BBC Arabic tells us how social media has transformed women's lives, and describes her own online revolution.

Women in the news

If an alien was monitoring the earth's media, what kind of impression would it form of the lives of the women? Do the headlines reflect reality, or do they paint a distorted picture? Award-winning Nigerian writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani lets her mind run riot to create a satirical imagining of a perception of life for women in Africa.

To discuss the rights and wrongs of the media's representations of women, we bring together Pakistani journalist Saba Imtiaz, deputy editor of the Africa hub Josephine Hazeley and from Yemen, Mai Noman.

Women and Language

Soured milk, pickles, leftovers, just some of the words used to describe women around the world. How can we tear up those dictionaries and start again?

My Diva

If you had to pick a diva, the finest songstress in the world, where would you begin? We take the microphone to Valeria Perasso from Argentina, Irena Taranyuk from Ukraine and Audrey Brown from South Africa to hear about the soulful and political voices of women in music.

My inspiration

Who are the women who have inspired some of the BBC's language service producers? Uzbek producer Rayhan Demetrie chooses documentary film-maker Umida Akhmedova. BBC Senegal producer Laeila Adjovi chooses Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. And Aliya Nazki chooses her own favourite, the campaigner Parveen Ahanger from Indian administered Kashmir.

Photo: Wall illustrating 107 women killed by men in 2012, Italy

Credit: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

Inspiring, challenging and surprising: experiences of women journalists around the world

The World View On President-elect Donald Trump2016111120161112 (WS)

After his comments on women, Muslims and Latinos, the world digests the Trump victory

"Ours was not a campaign, but rather an incredible and great movement... of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs." The words of President-elect Donald Trump at the end of an extraordinary, and successful, run for the White House. David Amanor gathers together Hernando Alvarez of BBC Mundo, Hanan Razek of BBC Arabic and Dawood Azami of BBC Pashto to reflect on the campaign.

Ivan the Terrible rides again

He was a leader and visionary - and one of the most feared tyrants in history. Opinion is divided about Russia's first Tsar, Ivan the Terrible, who ruled in the 16th century. That hasn't stopped the authorities in the town of Oryol erecting a statue of him. Vsevelod Boika of BBC Russian was there for the unveiling.

Makdous: the Syrian soul-food struggling for survival

It's a delicious mix of aubergines, chillies and walnuts, and an essential part of a Syrian breakfast. This is the time of year when Syrian women would usually be surveying rows of newly bottled makdous, having spent days boiling and stuffing kilos of aubergines. But as Alma Hassoun of BBC Monitoring explains, war has seriously disrupted this process.

Goat Days

Goat Days by Indian author Benyamin is the best-selling true story of the exploitation of a migrant worker from Kerala in Saudi Arabia. The significance of the book is explained by BBC Trending's Megha Mohanin and Zainul Abid of BBC Monitoring, both Keralite by birth.

Impressions of Kashmir

In recent months, there's been a surge in tensions between Pakistan and India over the disputed region of Kashmir, with deaths on both sides of the de facto border. BBC Urdu's Suhail Haleem visited Indian-administered Kashmir for the first time to report on the crisis. He shares his impressions of what used to be a favourite holiday destination for many Indians.

And Fifi Haroon's pick of the world wide web.

Photo credit: Jim Watson, Getty Images

Turkey: The Army And The People2016072920160730 (WS)

Two weeks ago an attempted coup in Turkey marked the latest chapter in a complicated relationship between the Turkish people and their army. Pinar Sevinclidir of BBC Monitoring and Cagil Kasapoglu of BBC Turkce join the Fifth Floor to discuss the role the army play in public life and how the history of coups in the country sheds light on what is happening in Turkey today.

The story of leprosy in Brazil

Lais Modelli is a freelance journalist for BBC Brasil but the main focus of her journalistic career has been on the story of leprosy in Brazil, meeting those who have lived with the effects of the disease throughout their lives and visiting the leprosy colonies that still exist today.

My Favourite Street

Last week BBC Arabic focused attentions on Rasheed Street in Baghdad - it's one of the oldest streets in the city and was celebrating it's centenary. It was known for being something of a melting pot in a troubled country where people of many different faiths lived together. With this is mind we set the Fifth Floor microphone to work to seek out the stories of some of the most memorable streets from around the world.

Catching the train, missing the toilet

BBC Urdu's man in Delhi, Suhail Haleem reflects on the trials and tribulations of trying to use the lavatory on India's railway system.

Nairobi Spoken Word

The art of the Spoken word has taken over Nairobi. Anthony Irungu from BBC Swahili takes the Fifth Floor on a trip to packed venues and street corners to hear poets and spoken word artists all around the city.

And Fifi Haroon's pick of stories from across the world wide web

Image: A Turkish soldier stands guard in front of the damaged Grand National Assembly building in Ankara

Credit: Getty/Dimitar Dilkoff

A look inside the complex relationship between Turkey's army and its people

Understanding The Muslim Brotherhood2013081620130817 (WS)

At the heart of turmoil in Egypt, what's next for the Muslim Brotherhood?

Egypt in Crisis

It's been quite a turbulent year for the Muslim Brotherhood. They have ridden on the crest of power and now plummeted to an uncertain future. From Cairo, writer Ashraf Khalil presents a potted history of the Islamist movement. Plus, BBC Arabic editor Edgard Jallad reflects on the challenges for his Egyptian reporters in putting personal views aside while reporting the turmoil.

Bakassi Dispute

This week, Cameroon has officially assumed sovereignty over the Bakassi peninsula, an oil-rich area in the Gulf of Guinea, and the residents - who are mostly Nigerian - face the choice of giving up their nationality. BBC Africa's Veronique Edwards and Mansur Liman debate the rivalry between the two countries.

Online Greatest Hits

Our Portuguese producer Marco Silva has the lowdown of the big-hitting stories across the World Service language sites this week - including Oslo's mysterious cab driver and the tracking powers of Chinese pickles.

Hair and Hierarchy

The beard count in Iran's new, all-male cabinet is high - so can sporting facial fuzz ever be an indicator of political prowess? BBC Persian's Rana Rahimpour decodes Iran's hairy hierarchy.

Read My Coup: Iran

How did Iran's 1953 transform the Persian literary landscape? With Golnoosh Golshani and Masoud Behnoud.

A Tribute to Ukrainian Chocolate.

After wine and cheese, chocolate is the latest culinary product caught up in the controversial trade wars between Kiev and Moscow. Russia has recently banned imports from Ukraine's largest confectioner for falling below safety standards. BBC Ukrainian's Nina Kuryata puts up a defence for the sweets of her homeland.

Image: Poster of Egypt's ousted president Morsi, Cairo. Credit: Getty Images

Unpicking India's Caste System2016022620160227 (WS)

This week in India the capital Delhi faced a huge water shortage after protestors blocked the main canal into the city. The protestors were members of the relatively affluent Jat caste who are demanding to be categorised as a protected caste in order to gain better access to jobs and education. So how does the caste system actually work? Vaibhav Dewan and Sumiran Preet Kaur of BBC Hindi shed light on the complex subject.

There's a controversy brewing in Hong Kong over a film called Ten Years. It's set in the year 2025 and paints a gloomy picture of a Hong Kong losing its unique identity. The film comprises 5 short stories produced with a low budget and non-starry cast but despite this it's been nominated in the best film category for the upcoming Hong Kong Film Awards. That could have repercussions though... Grace Tsoi of BBC Chinese explains.

Arturo Wallace of BBC Mundo has a special interest in the Granada poetry festival. It takes place in his home country of Nicaragua, where his countrymen have a special relationship with poetry going back over a century. The festival organiser, and poet, is Gioconda Belli.

Zuhura Yunus was in the Ugandan capital Kampala to cover last week's presidential elections for BBC Africa. And she got a bit of a scoop - an exclusive interview with re-elected Yoweri Museveni - the man who has been at the nation's helm for the past 30 years. He's not an easy man to get hold of - so how did she do it?

Have you come across the cartoon stick-man Bill? He's a sensible chap giving advice on his webpage about how to be a good person. And it seems he has international cousins including one in the Afghan language Dari called Qodos. BBC Afghan's Kawoon Khamoush does the introductions.

BBC Thai has aired a video report looking at the changing faces of Thailand's Temple Boys. They're the children who once accompanied yellow robed Buddhist monks on their morning processions to collect gifts of food. But the boys it seems are no longer boys. Issariya Praithongyaem explains.

And Fifi Haroon rounds up some surprising stories from the web.Photo: Protesters from the Jat community protesting for enhanced rights.

(Picture: Protesters from the Jat community protesting for enhanced rights.

Credit: STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images).

India's Jats want more privileges. So who are they, and how does the caste system work?

War On Error: Reporting Insurgency2015082120150822 (WS)

Journalists covering the latest attacks by Boko Haram in Nigeria or the Taliban in Afghanistan have to unravel the truth from a mass of rumours, contradictory statements and propaganda. Dawood Azami of BBC Afghan has been dealing with the Taliban for two decades, as they transformed from government officials to insurgents. BBC Hausa's Jimeh Saleh is from Borno State in northern Nigeria, which has been at the heart of the Boko Haram insurgency. They share and compare their experiences.

Goodbye bellydancing?

Egyptians say it has been in their blood for thousands of years. But are its days numbered? As a Cairo court considers the sentence on two famous bellydancers accused of inciting debauchery, BBC Arabic's Ranyah Sabry gives her verdict on the future of bellydancing.

Soweto in Edinburgh

South Africa's famous township features strongly at this year's Edinburgh Festival, inspiring plays, musicals and choirs. Kim Chakanetsa discovers how Soweto has been represented with Nkululeko Vilakazi from Soweto Afro-Pop Opera, Zoey Martinson from Ndebele Funeral, and Morgan Njobo from After Freedom.

Mexico: Searching for the disappeared

On 10th August, Miguel Angel Jimenez Blanco was found killed in Mexico's Guerrero state. He was an activist who helped families search for their missing relatives, including the 43 students who went missing in September 2014 in the town in Iguala. BBC Mundo's Juan Carlos Perez recalls a day spent with Miguel Angel searching for the disappeared in the hills of Iguala. He tells the Fifth Floor about the stories of the disappeared he has covered in Mexico and in his home country of Colombia.

Cuba: Take me out to a ball game

Cuba and the United States disagree on many things but one thing that unites both countries is a love for baseball. Rumour has it that a young fastball pitcher called Fidel Castro earned the interest of many Major League baseball teams in his university days. In the latest part of his series on how life is changing in Cuba, BBC Monitoring's Emilio San Pedro steps up to the plate and meets Cuba's star baseball pitcher Yosvani Torres to talk about why Cubans love the game and what hopes they have for the sport as relations improve with the US.

Fifi's pick of the worldwide web.

(Photo:An Afghan man holds a radio to his ear.Credit: Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

How to separate rumours from truth when reporting on Boko Haram and the Afghan Taliban.

Watching The World2016123020161231 (WS)

The eyes and ears of the BBC: monitoring the world's media and the stories they tell.

Caversham Park is the home of BBC Monitoring which for over 70 years has been the eyes and ears of the BBC, watching, translating and analysing the world's media and social media. David Amanor visits the former stately home to meet some of the journalists who've witnessed history unfold in their own countries, from the Cold War to the Syrian conflict.

Senior Editors Simona Kralova and Chris Greenway take us back in time to tell the story of how this grand house become a hub for information gathering, from the era of morse code and typewriters to satellites and social media.

Sifting information from misinformation has always been part of the service's DNA. Ukrainian Vitaliy Shevchenko, Iraqi Mina al-Alami, and Source Manager and morse code man Al Bolton discuss the challenges of sourcing reliable information in the past, and today.

Watching distressing news from home is part of daily life for many journalists. Vesna Stancic from Bosnia, Syrian Lina Shaikhouni and Pinar Sevinclidir from Turkey discuss the personal impact of living the story.

There are also lighter moments to be enjoyed at Caversham, particularly for the musical, including Co-ordinating Editor Tom Mulligan, and Iranians Arash Ahmadi and Mahtab Nikpour, who do a good turn on the guitar, jaws harp and drums when not analysing Iranian politics and tales of chubby Chinese squirrels.

Image: TV news monitors with stories from around the world, Credit: BBC

Watching The World2016123020161231 (WS)

The eyes and ears of the BBC: monitoring the world's media and the stories they tell.

Caversham Park is the home of BBC Monitoring which for over 70 years has been the eyes and ears of the BBC, watching, translating and analysing the world's media and social media. David Amanor visits the former stately home to meet some of the journalists who've witnessed history unfold in their own countries, from the Cold War to the Syrian conflict.

Senior Editors Simona Kralova and Chris Greenway take us back in time to tell the story of how this grand house become a hub for information gathering, from the era of morse code and typewriters to satellites and social media.

Sifting information from misinformation has always been part of the service's DNA. Ukrainian Vitaliy Shevchenko, Iraqi Mina al-Alami, and Source Manager and morse code man Al Bolton discuss the challenges of sourcing reliable information in the past, and today.

Watching distressing news from home is part of daily life for many journalists. Vesna Stancic from Bosnia, Syrian Lina Shaikhouni and Pinar Sevinclidir from Turkey discuss the personal impact of living the story.

There are also lighter moments to be enjoyed at Caversham, particularly for the musical, including Co-ordinating Editor Tom Mulligan, and Iranians Arash Ahmadi and Mahtab Nikpour, who do a good turn on the guitar, jaws harp and drums when not analysing Iranian politics and tales of chubby Chinese squirrels.

Image: TV news monitors with stories from around the world, Credit: BBC

What To Do With Escobar's Hippos?2014052320140524 (WS)

The dangerous legacy of Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar: hippos

Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar died two decades ago, but has left a long and dangerous legacy. It wasn't just crime and cocaine that he was into, but wild animals too. Escobar's luxurious estate had a zoo with giraffe, buffalo, lions, camels and hippos. His ranch became a theme park that Colombians would visit, but after his death in 1993 it fell into disrepair and most of the animals were re-homed, all except the hippos who stayed put and made themselves very comfortable, reproducing at such a rate that they are now a menace to the local population of farmers and fisherman. Hernando Alvarez of BBC Mundo explains the dilemma of what to do with Escobar's hippos.

Pakistan's Revolutionary Rhetoric

Why is "revolution" the current buzzword of Pakistani politics? Across the political spectrum, parties have been liberally calling for revolution, but no one is entirely sure just how they should be revolting. From Karachi, Fahad Desmukh picks his way through the different revolutions on offer in Pakistan.

Vietnam and China Spat

Neighbourly relations between China and Vietnam seem to be at an all time low. There have been riots in Vietnam over a Chinese oil rig recently deployed to disputed waters in the South China sea. Luckily tensions haven't spread to the Fifth Floor as Nga Pham from BBC Vietnamese and Temtsel Hao from the Chinese service sit back to back. They will tell us what brings the two countries together at a time when they seem so far apart politically.

A Week in Soma

It's Turkey's biggest ever mining disaster - last week 301 people were killed when an electrical fault triggered an explosion inside the Soma mine. Selin Girit has been reporting the story for BBC Turkish, including visiting a village that lost 11 people in the blast. She reflects on a week of tragedy, fear and anger.

Prescriptions and Pill Popping in India

BBC Urdu's Suhail Haleem tells us why doctors are being forced to write prescriptions in block capitals. He remembers helping out at a friend's pharmacy and trying to read the scruffy scrawls with a magnifying glass and also his shock at the amount of pill popping going on in India.

China's Banned Books

Chan Koon Chung is a Chinese author who writes about ethnicity, sex, and other provocative issues in China. His latest novel has been banned, although like other writers who delve into taboo subjects he remains free to live and continue writing from within China. The book is called The Unbearable Dream of Champa the Driver, and to talk about its themes we've bring together Vincent Ni from BBC Chinese and Juliana Liu who is based in Hong Kong

Online Greatest Hits

Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the low down on the top-hitting stories across the language service websites, including divorce parties in Iran and towns with crazy names.

Picture: Two hippos, Credit AP

When The Refugee Crisis Becomes Personal2015110620151107 (WS)

Feras Killani is a reporter for BBC Arabic, he is also from Syria. He left the country in 2006. In recent months he has been covering the refugee crisis, the droves of people making their way from Syria to Europe. An unusual experience for him because one of the people on that journey was his brother Basem. He arrived in Berlin just two weeks ago and has now been reunited with his family. Feras and Basem joined David to talk about reporting and living as a refugee.

Reading Indonesia

With Indonesian literature in the spotlight at the recent Frankfurt Book Fair, BBC Indonesian's Kiki Siregar joins her colleague Liston Siregar to discuss what books are attracting most attention - and how stories are conveyed in a country with so many cultures and languages.

The Strange Story of Shahram Amiri

Now how is this for a Cold War spy novel? In 2009, an Iranian nuclear scientist disappears whilst on the Hajj in Saudi Arabia. A month later, he reappears on YouTube variously claiming to have been taken to the USA against his will, or to be studying in Arizona and having a great time thanks! A short while later he returns to Iran where the story becomes even more mysterious. This week Anahita Shams from BBC Persian interviewed the scientist's father. She tries to sort fact from fiction.

Kings of Africa

As the Yoruba people of Nigeria celebrate the appointment of a successor to their late king, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, we ask who are the kings of Africa, what is their role, and why are they still so important? David Amanor talks to BBC Africa's Paul Bakibinga, who is from Uganda, and Nigerian Sola Odunfa.

Chinese Character Test

A Chinese university teacher has come up with an unusual way of deterring his students from turning up late. He says latecomers should write a complicated character for the word 'biang' - which means a kind of noodle - 1000 times. The character requires 56 pen strokes. Sarah Wang of BBC Chinese assesses the challenge.

And Fifi Haroon's pick of the worldwide web.

(Photo: Syrian refugees wrapped in foil blankets after arriving on a Greek beach. Credit: Getty Images)

BBC Arabic's Feras Killani and his brother tell us the family story behind the headlines

Who Is Nicaragua's First Lady?20160805

She's a former revolutionary, a poet, and some Nicaraguans call her La Chamuca, the Witch. President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua has just named his wife Rosario Murillo as his running mate and candidate for vice-president in November's elections. The BBC's Arturo Wallace, who's from Nicaragua, introduces us to a powerful and colourful first lady.

Harry Potter and the Secrets of the Fifth Floor

As Harry Potter fans in London queue for the new stage show about J.K. Rowling's boy wizard, the Fifth Floor uncovers the secrets of his magical powers in other languages. Revelations about the Hindi Harry, Poudlard - the French Hogwarts - and quidditch in Ukrainian.

Inside Khost

Khost is a four hour road journey from Kabul, but it's a world away for many Afghans. The city has played host to a string of militant forces like Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the Haqqani network. Reminders of those times remain, but things have been changing in Khost. BBC Afghan journalist Haseeb Amman discovered a modern city in the grip of a construction boom, and at odds with his expectations.

Do the Olympics still matter?

It's time for the Olympics. This year with the world's greatest sporting show being dogged by scandal and controversy, do the games still matter? The Fifth Floor took the microphone out to find out what the Olympics mean to the language services and their audiences.

The Book of Khartoum

A new short story collection called The Book of Khartoum: A City in Short Fiction paints a warm but complicated portrait of the Sudanese capital and its writers. We explore Sudanese fiction past and present, and Khartoum's place in it, with BBC Arabic's Mohanad Hashim and one of the writers from the collection, Ahmad al-Malik.

And Fifi Haroon shares some of the wilder stories from the world wide web.

Rosario Murillo, wife of President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua.

Credit: Rafael Trobat/AFP/Getty Images.

Former revolutionary, poet, and called by some the Witch. Meet Rosario Murillo.

Why Are Shipping Containers So Popular In Pakistan?2014082220140823 (WS)

The hunk of metal that is all the rage with Pakistani politicians, protestors and police

Shipping containers have never been so popular in Pakistan as they are right now. The enormous steel blocks have been a fairly common sight on Islamabad's roads this week - used by the police to keep out anti-government protestors who have been marching on the capital to demand the prime minister's resignation. And also used by the protestors themselves - fashioned into makeshift homes, offices and stages for the protest leaders - politician Imran Khan and cleric Tahirul Qadri. Reporter Fahad Desmukh explains the rise of the shipping containers, the art of furnishing them, and what they say about Pakistani politics and public space.

How to Build an an Army

The Somali government has been in power for nearly two years and during that time they have started to re-build the national army, but there have been some problems. As officers are called back to reclaim their military ranks, there has also been a rise in sales of the military epaulettes that denote rank in the local market. Many thousands are said to have been claiming ranks that they just don't have. The Chief of the Somali Army announced recently that there were almost a thousand fake ranks within the military and he would no longer tolerate it. Mohamed Moalimu from BBC Somali explains some of the struggles of building a new modern army in Somalia. Plus, Aamer Ahmed Khan from BBC Urdu and Kasim Kayira from BBC Africa - who are knowledgeable in all matters military - give their do's and don'ts for creating a new modern army.

Understanding Iranian TV Censorship

How would you feel if you suddenly found out your favourite television characters were not at all what you imagined them to be? Growing up in 1980s Tehran, BBC Persian's Golnoosh Golshani's cherished TV shows were foreign imports and subject to such sophisticated censorship that the characters and plot lines became rather different from their original depictions. She reflects on her best loved TV memories - watching the British drama The Secret Army and the Japanese serial Oshin - and how she discovered the real stories behind the TV shows that were censored.

Intercepts and the Conflict in Eastern Ukraine

Just this week the Ukrainian Secret Service published an intercepted conversation, allegedly between two pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk discussing shelling in a civilian area. It's one of many intercepted messages since the conflict began in eastern Ukraine. BBC Languages Editor Olexiy Solohubenko charts the story of the current unrest through some of the key intercepts - why are these messages so significant and what do they say about the nature of this particular war?

Symphony for the Shahnameh

The Shahnameh, or the Book of Kings, is one of the most famous pieces of literature in Persian history. The poem, written over 1,000 years ago by the poet Ferdowsi, comes in at over 50,000 verses and tells the legendary past of Persia through epic battles, romance and family rifts. Iranian composer Behzad Ranjbaran talks about how the Shahnameh has inspired his latest musical works.

Photo Credit: Getty Images: Police using shipping containers as blockades in Islamabad.

Why Did This Woman Join Boko Haram?2016040120160402 (WS)

The story of a woman who nearly became a Boko Haram suicide bomber

In February two young women entered a camp for internally displaced people in north east Nigeria and blew themselves up. They were from the militant islamist group Boko Haram, and killed nearly 60 people. But there was meant to be a third woman taking part. Bashir Sa'ad Abdullahi from BBC Africa was among the journalists who secured an interview with her. So what motivates people to join Boko Haram?

Central Asia's Strongmen

As the people of Tajikistan prepare to vote in a referendum to make their leader Emomali Rakhmon president for life, we look at the strongmen in charge in much of Central Asia. What do they have in common and what has kept them in power for so long? From Almaty in Kazakhstan, Abdujalil Abdurasulov shares his insights.

Street Art in Tehran

For decades the only visible art in the streets of Tehran were revolutionary murals. Now the mayor has relaxed regulations and allowed a group of young artists to exhibit in public. It's a unique opportunity for art students to showcase their work. However, there is still an active underground scene of non-sanctioned graffiti artists. Negin Kooteni of BBC Persian joins Paul Bakibinga in the Fifth Floor studio.

Myanmar's Quiet Man

In the week that the new president of Myanmar, Htin Kyaw, was sworn in, we ask what we should expect from this quiet man who has always remained in the background. Soe Win Than of BBC Burmese explains Htin Kyaw's long friendship with Aung San Suu Kyi, and the web of connections which binds his family to hers.

All change in Egyptian school textbooks

Egyptian parents are bemused at the recent disappearance of former vice president Mohamed El Baradei from their children's school books. Until recently, he was held up as one of the country's Nobel laureates. Now his name has been removed. Angy Ghannam of BBC Monitoring in Cairo says that politics is behind this - and many other textbook changes.

And strange tales from the world wide web with Fifi Haroon.

Photo: Boka Haram girl, Hauwa (not her real name).

Credit: BBC Africa.

Why Pakistan's Army Chief Has A Hashtag2015102320151024 (WS)

What's behind the hashtag #ThankyouRaheelSharif? And is it really serious?

His face is one the back of trucks, he has had a mosque named after him and there are social media campaigns calling for an extension on his term. General Raheel Sharif is the army chief of Pakistan, but his popularity appears to exceed that of political leaders in the country. He's seen by some as a saviour who will eliminate terrorism, corruption and electricity shortages. But there has been a backlash - satirical tweets thanking Raheel Sharif for everything from good weather to a successful flirtation. But with Pakistan's history of a wobbly democracy is this just a spontaneous campaign? Amber Shamsi examines General Raheel Sharif's personality cult.

World Leaders in Art

Earlier this month President Putin celebrated his 63rd birthday. The date was marked with a special exhibition of portraits of him in various different heroic guises from Putin as Batman to Putin as Gandhi and even Putin as Robin Hood. He is of course not the first world leader to have been set to canvas and immortalised. On the Fifth Floor this week we're looking at the most memorable depictions of world leaders in art and the long lasting effects of those images. We're joined by BBC Russian's Famil Ismailov and Egyptian journalist Dina Demrdash

Central Asia's Top Dogs

With new research claiming that today's dogs can trace their origins to Central Asia, we hear about the region's most impressive breed - the Alabay sheepdog of Turkmenistan. Famous for being strong enough to fight off wolves, the Alabay is also a trusted member of the family. Mecan Navruzov, a Turkmen working with BBC Monitoring, grew up with them, and tells us why they are a source of national pride.

What Xi Should See

As Chinese president Xi Jinping ends his 4-day visit to Britain, we go round the Fifth Floor for an alternative tour. No Buckingham Palace or trade exhibitions. Instead, he's recommended to dance the tango at a famous London meat market, or try his luck at the dog races. An insight into what Fifth Floorers have discovered and enjoyed since moving to the UK.

Mexico's Disappeared Women

Lourdes Heredia is a Mexican journalist. She left her home country 20 years ago to follow her dream of becoming a journalist. On a recent visit back, she met an old friend, an investigative reporter who has been covering the story of Mexico's disappeared women. A story that is well documented internationally but very seldom reported inside the country. What Lourdes heard, changed the way she thought about her country, and about ever returning home.

In Praise of Urdu Poetry

So which poet would you choose to represent your nation? This week Aliya Nazki challenges two colleagues from the Urdu service to a poetry duel. Their task is to decide which poet will best represent the Urdu language. For a region that is passionate about its poetry this is not an easy business. Aliya chose Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib, her colleagues Hussain Askari and Qandeel Shaam respectively chose Jon Elia and Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

And Fifi Haroon shares her favourite stories from the world wide web this week

Picture: A Pakistani artist paints a poster thanking Raheel Sharif

Will There Be Protests Or Parties In Rio?2014042520140426 (WS)

How does BBC Brasil keep tabs on such a vibrant and volatile city?

David Amanor takes a tour of Rio de Janeiro with BBC Brasil journalists who are watching as the city prepares for the World Cup. There's just seven weeks to go and the tension and excitement is mounting.

This week the World Cup trophy arrived in the city to a fanfare of music and queues of adoring fans, but across town, just a few blocks from Copacabana beach, two people were killed and clashes broke out in the streets. So how do you keep tabs on such a vibrant and volatile city?

BBC reporter Jefferson Puff and his colleagues introduce David to their contacts, the people who help them understand what's going on inside Brazil's cultural capital right now.

We hear about the passinho - the dance craze that was born in the favela and has spread across Brazil, and from the satirist who takes a creative approach to protesting. We unpick Brazil's complex relationship with the beautiful game through the football anthems past and present, and hear how a new currency was born out of a $urreal rise in prices.

Picture: Grafitti depicting Rio Favela

Women On The Frontline2013102520131026 (WS)

Female war reporters covering conflict in Burundi and Syria

It's a big week for the World Service - 100 women from all corners of the world have been brought together to talk about the challenges and opportunities they face. In the studio with David we bring together two female journalists who've reported some of the biggest stories of recent years. World Service journalist, Lina Sinjab, was reporting from her home city Damascus as it descended into civil war. And BBC Kinyarwanda's Florentine Kwizera was based in Burundi during the country's 12-year civil war.

The Ups and Downs of Space Exploration

Ethiopia isn't known as a big player in space exploration but this week it joined Africa's space race, opening an astronomy observatory tower. So could Ethiopians in Space soon be accompanied by Indians on Mars and Iranians on the Moon? The Fifth Floor mic goes star-gazing to find out more about the language-service links to all things astronomical.

Rookie Reporter in Azerbaijan

Leyla Najafova is a reporter just starting out on her career at BBC Azeri. The 23-year-old has been working here on the Fifth Floor for the past year. Earlier this month she got the chance to go on her first reporting trip, when she was sent to Baku in Azerbaijan to cover the presidential elections.

Rana Plaza Six Months On

The Bengali Service have been marking six months since the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka, which killed over 1,000 people. Masud Khan recalls some of the most haunting moments in sounds and words.

Musical Fever in Nigeria

This week a theatre in Lagos opens its doors for the first ever western style musical. Tomi Oladipo has been to see what it's all about, in a place where dance and music form a backdrop to everyday life.

Online Hits

Fifi Haroon brings us some of the most surprising and intriguing stories from the BBC's web pages.

The Fifth Floor is presented by David Amanor.

Image credit: FABIO BUCCIARELLI/AFP/Getty Images

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Langu...

David Amanor showcases global stories from the Fifth Floor - home to the BBC’s 27 Language Services.

Working On A Nepalese National Holiday2013101820131019 (WS)

Alone in the BBC Kathmandu office at festival time

A fresh look at the week's global news from across the World Service's 27 language sections, with presenter David Amanor.

Challenging Court Reporting

Uncovering the facts or burying the truth? BBC Russian's Oleg Boldyrev and Zhuang Chen from BBC Chinese discuss the challenges of court reporting in their respective countries. The high profile trials of Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny and China's former Communist party boss Bo Xilai have posed different problems. How tempting is it to speculate and make your own interpretations when decisions are made behind closed doors?

Football Foes

BBC Mundo's Arturo Wallace tells us why he thinks Mexico is the most despised football team in Latin America. Apparently their difficulties during the World Cup qualifiers this week were cause for celebration for the rest of the continent.

Lonely Office Days

This week, all of Surendra Phuyal's colleagues were at home with their families, celebrating Nepal's annual Hindu festival, Dashain. He got the short straw and had to look after the BBC's Kathmandu newsroom on his own. Surendra tells David that at least his journey to work was quick on the empty roads.

Uzbek Writer

BBC Uzbek's Pahlavon Turgunov tells David the extraordinary story of how prominent writer Mamadali Mahmudov survived in Uzbekistan's most notorious prison. He watched fellow inmates being tortured to death and had to write his novels in secret, exchanging food for paper and pens.

Dengue in Swat Valley

Authorities in Pakistan have declared a health emergency in the north-western Swat Valley after almost 5,000 cases of dengue fever were reported in a month. Adnan Rashid lives there and tells The Fifth Floor how this outbreak has affected his family and why he's had to resort to burning cow dung outside his front door.

Miami English

What you might hear in downtown Miami is not English, Spanish, or even Spanglish. It's a new phenomenon - Miami English. BBC Mundo's Eulimar Nunez explains what 'irregardless' and 'supposebly' mean.

Online Hits

Fifi Haroon brings us some of the most surprising and intriguing stories from the BBC's web pages.

Picture: Girl depicting goddess Durga during Dashain festival

Picture credit: AFP/Getty Images