Inquiry, The [world Service]

Episodes

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20180308 ()

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

20141104

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

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

20141111
20170601

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

Many of us find our jobs stressful, underpaid and the hours too long. But few would complain about work being less physically strenuous than in the past.
And yet, new research shows that the decline in physical activity at work is key to explaining the obesity epidemic. So - is work now too easy? And if it is, can this be reversed?

Producers: Estelle Doyle and Phoebe Keane
Presenter: Michael Blastland

(Photo: Office workers at desks using computers in an office. Credit: Getty Images)

20170608

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

When violent jihadis struck London last Saturday, the rolling news networks kicked quickly into action. The story became front-page news around the world and dominated the UK's news media for days, with ever more information on the attack, the victims and the perpetrators. It was shocking, horrific - and perhaps also exactly what the terrorists wanted.

Terrorists rely on the world's media to spread their message of fear and their ideology. Maybe if there was less media coverage of such attacks, it would frustrate the people behind them. We look at four democratic countries where attempts have been made to limit the media impact of terrorism. Drawing on the lessons learnt, how do you report terrorism?

Presenter: Ruth Alexander
Producer: Simon Maybin and Phoebe Keane

(Photo: Various newspapers spread out headlining the London Terror attacks)

20170615

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

On 12 June 2017 thousands of protesters took to the streets in over 160 towns and cities across Russia. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny called on people to march against corruption from Kaliningrad in the west to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in the east, in bustling cities and significantly, in rural towns where support for President Putin is strong. This is unusual. Protests are usually restricted to the urban elites in Moscow. So who is Navalny and how has he managed to bring so many people out on the streets?

Our expert witnesses assess the strength of the opposition movement in Russia. They explain that the protests reveal a greater threat to Putin. The mobilisation of a young generation who do not believe what they see on state TV and are turning to opposition politics online instead.

Presenter: Ruth Alexander
Producers: Phoebe Keane and Estelle Doyle

(Photo: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny speaks during a rally in Lyublino, a suburb of Moscow, 20 September 2015. Credit: Getty Images)

20170713

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

"This structure has novel features, which are of considerable biological interest." It was perhaps the greatest understatement of all time - the announcement more than six decades ago of the discovery of the shape of a single human DNA. The double-helix structure is now one of the world's most recognisable icons. Knowledge of it has transformed the fight against everything from disease to crime.

That revolution was brought to us by an elite. It took the world's most eminent scientists, backed by the treasuries of the United States, the United Kingdom and private markets to go from the discovery of that one gene, in 1953, to map the more than 22,000 genes that make up a human being in 2000. Mapping the genome, as it was known, was likened to "learning the language in which God created life."

Genetic research has since become democratised. Incredible new technologies now allow labs all over the world to not only learn the language of creation, but to write it...and edit it. Do-it-yourself gene editing kits are available online for less than $100. Gene editing offers breathtaking promise - eliminating disability and disease. But the rapid spread of this powerful technology is leading some who've been at the forefront of the research to warn against unintended consequences, and question whether the rush for miracle cures could bring hellish side-effects.

So this week, The Inquiry asks, Is Gene Editing Out of Control?

(Photo: CRISPR CAS 9 Clustered regularly inter spaced short palindromic repeats. segments of prokaryotic DNA containing short repetitions of base sequences. gene editing, genome editing. Credit: Shutterstock)

20170810

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

A story of crime and often no punishment. South Africa's notoriously violent record has been getting worse. The number of murders and violent crimes is rising as public confidence in the police falls. Officers themselves have been linked to a series of high-profile cases, including spectacular heists at the country's main international airport. South Africa's police minister has called for "a firmer, disciplined force". So, are South Africa's police failing?

(image: A riot police officer gets ready to fire a stun grenade into a crowd during clashes in Johannesburg May 8, 2017. Credit: Gulshan Khan/ Getty Images)

20170817

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

Smears, bots and bags of cash - we reveal some of the tricks used for fiddling elections around the world. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's security chiefs say Russian intelligence is actively trying to influence next month's German elections. Meanwhile, from the US to the Netherlands, countries are becoming increasingly wary of election interference. So how do you fix someone else’s election? Hear answers from people who've studied it and even been involved.

Presenter: Neal Razzell
Producers: Phoebe Keane, Emily Craig
Editor: Emma Rippon

(Photo: Voters go to the polls in the contentious presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in Las Vegas, Nevada
Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

20170824

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

Video games are a huge industry, bigger than Hollywood, and billions of people around the world play them for fun. But new economic research in the US suggests that young men are dropping out of work to play games more. This is both because some jobs are becoming harder to find and less rewarding, and because video games are becoming more and more attractive. The gamers say they are happy, but the research has sharpened long-standing concerns about video games. Will there be a 'lost generation' of young men sitting in their parents' basements, frittering their lives away on mindless games, with disastrous long-term effects for them and the economy? Are video games a waste of time?

(Photo: A visitor plays on a computer while visiting the Gamescom 2017 video gaming trade fair in Cologne, Germany. Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images)

20170831

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

North America’s most notorious racist group, the Ku Klux Klan fought the end of slavery in the 19th century, opposed civil rights in the 20th century and now forms part of a new extreme-right wing movement protesting openly, on America’s streets. Presented by James Fletcher and produced by Kate Lamble, The Inquiry asks four expert witnesses to answer this pressing question; how has the KKK managed to last so long? The answer can be found by looking at the origins of the KKK and the power of the white supremacist idea which became infamous for its’ distinctive costumes and deadly violence.

The American concept of freedom of speech has also helped give the KKK longevity. The views of the groups’ members are not shut down by the authorities. Rather, the KKK is allowed to speak and operate openly, within certain limits of the law. The hope is that counter protest and dialogue will expose the hatred and bigotry of its’ members.

Through hearing the views of one reformed racist, we learn how the group have been opportunistic in recruiting members. These include troubled young men, looking for family, security and meaning to their lives.

Finally, modern day technology has helped to spread the KKK’s message throughout the world via the internet. The group has been managed to mobilise and has recently, become emboldened by the election of President Donald Trump.

(Photo: Torchlight Parade by the Ku Klux Klan, October 1951. Photo credit: Keystone/Getty Images)

North America’s most notorious racist group, the Ku Klux Klan fought the end of slavery in the 19th century, opposed civil rights in the 20th century and now forms part of a new extreme-right wing movement protesting openly, on America’s streets. Presented by James Fletcher and produced by Kate Lamble, The Inquiry asks four expert witnesses to answer this pressing question; how has the KKK managed to last so long? The answer can be found by looking at the origins of the KKK and the power of the white supremacist idea which became infamous for its’ distinctive costumes and deadly violence.

The American concept of freedom of speech has also helped give the KKK longevity. The views of the groups’ members are not shut down by the authorities. Rather, the KKK is allowed to speak and operate openly, within certain limits of the law. The hope is that counter protest and dialogue will expose the hatred and bigotry of its members.

Through hearing the views of one reformed racist, we learn how the group have been opportunistic in recruiting members. These include troubled young men, looking for family, security and meaning to their lives.

Finally, modern day technology has helped to spread the KKK’s message throughout the world via the internet. The group has been managed to mobilise and has recently, become emboldened by the election of President Donald Trump.

(Photo: Torchlight Parade by the Ku Klux Klan, October 1951. Photo credit: Keystone/Getty Images)

20170907

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

Cemeteries around the world are fast running out of space. As more and more people choose to live in cities, some can't even cope with the ashes left after cremation. Deep questions about our communities, cultures and mortality emerge as The Inquiry asks: what can we do with our dead?

The programme script says that "only the very wealthiest can afford to rest in the ground in Hong Kong and Singapore". This is true for Hong Kong but Singapore's National Environment Agency has been in touch to say that you do not have to be wealthy to be buried in the government run cemetery.

(image: A crowded cemetery in Hong Kong. Photo credit: Dale De La Rey/Getty Images.)

Cemeteries around the world are fast running out of space. As more and more people choose to live in cities, some can't even cope with the ashes left after cremation. Deep questions about our communities, cultures and mortality emerge as The Inquiry asks: what can we do with our dead?

(image: A crowded cemetery in Hong Kong. Photo credit: Dale De La Rey/Getty Images.)

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

Cemeteries around the world are fast running out of space. As more and more people choose to live in cities, some can't even cope with the ashes left after cremation. Deep questions about our communities, cultures and mortality emerge as The Inquiry asks: what can we do with our dead?

The programme script says that "only the very wealthiest can afford to rest in the ground in Hong Kong and Singapore". This is true for Hong Kong but Singapore's National Environment Agency has been in touch to say that you do not have to be wealthy to be buried in the government run cemetery.

(image: A crowded cemetery in Hong Kong. Photo credit: Dale De La Rey/Getty Images.)

20170914

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

Do we have the power to avoid the natural forces of intense rainfall? With rising sea levels and the threat of climate change, the risk of death due to floods seems an insurmountable challenge. But there are some surprising facts in the figures on flood deaths. In developed countries like the US, more men die in floods than women and it is 30% of white men who are of particular concern.

We hear from four expert witnesses from across the globe, who share different options for change. Their ideas are both obvious as well as innovative, both low cost for use in developing countries like Bangladesh and high-tech like in the Netherlands. We also hear from the one place in the world which seems to be saving more lives in the face of devastating floods and storm surges than anywhere else on the planet.

Presenter : James Fletcher
Producer: Nina Robinson

(Photo: Officials distribute medicine to villagers affected by the monsoon flooding across India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Credit: Biju Boro/Getty Images)

20170921

North Korea continues to rattle the world with its rapidly advancing weapons programme. Diplomacy with this Hermit Kingdom is broken and UN sanctions have little effect curtailing the nuclear ambitions of the country’s enigmatic leader Kim Jong–Un. As its closest neighbour and biggest ally, can China solve the growing threat - with whatever options remain?

(image: Chinese/N.Korean sign beside the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge connecting the Chinese border city of Dandong to North Korea over the Yalu river. Credit: Mark Ralston/Getty Images)

20170928

The list of nations legislating to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars is growing. But these restrictions won’t come into effect for decades. Air pollution contributes to thousands of early deaths each year and the scandal known as Dieselgate, when vehicle manufacturers admitted tampering with emissions tests, made us more aware of the polluting power of the diesel engine. Automotive technology is advancing quickly, but will greener vehicles really replace the combustion engine? Hybrid and electric cars are better for the environment but more expensive, and petrol stations are easier to find than charging points.

This edition of the Inquiry asks, if we wanted to, could we ban the sale of diesel and petrol cars now?

(image: Cars sit in gridlock in heavy fog (pollution) in Beijing China. Photo Credit: Guang Niu/Getty Images)

20171005

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

We all do it: ask a search engine things we wouldn’t dare ask a friend, post our lives on social media, hit the ‘agree’ button on privacy conditions we never read. This is life in our online age. To get our favourite apps and services for free, we provide companies with the intimate details of our lives. Businesses we’ve heard of, and many we haven’t, make money off this data in ways we may not fully realise. And almost every week it seems there’s another data breech – Equifax, Sonic, and Deloitte have been hacked in the last month alone. Each time the private data of millions of people is compromised. Can we control who knows what about us? And are we comfortable with how much information we’re giving up and how it might be used, or mis-used? This week the Inquiry asks “Is Privacy Dead?”

(image: Shutterstock)

We all do it: ask a search engine things we wouldn’t dare ask a friend, post our lives on social media, hit the ‘agree’ button on privacy conditions we never read. This is life in our online age. To get our favourite apps and services for free, we provide companies with the intimate details of our lives. Businesses we’ve heard of, and many we haven’t, make money off this data in ways we may not fully realise. And almost every week it seems there’s another data breech – Equifax, Sonic, and Deloitte have been hacked in the last month alone. Each time the private data of millions of people is compromised. Can we control who knows what about us? And are we comfortable with how much information we’re giving up and how it might be used, or mis-used? This week the Inquiry asks “Is Privacy Dead??

(image: Shutterstock)

20171019

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

The head of the Roman Catholic Church has been accused of aiding the spread of heresy. A petition criticising the ambiguity of Pope Francis' statements on the treatment of people who have divorced and remarried is the latest twist in a fierce debate which is dividing Roman Catholics. The argument centres on whether divorcees on their second marriages should be able to receive Holy Communion, a ceremony that is central to the Christian faith. However, the dispute goes much deeper than that. At its heart, it is an argument over what it means to be a Roman Catholic and what the role of the Pope, and the Church, should be.

Presenter: Ruth Alexander
Producer: James Fletcher and Helen Grady

(Photo: Pope Francis waves to thousands of followers in Manila, Philippines. Credit: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

20180412

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

20180419

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

20180426

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

20180503

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

20180510

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

20180524

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

20180531

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

20180607

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

Last year, the world watched as Islamic State was driven from Raqqa, the city they claimed as their capital. The UN has estimated that around 80% of the city’s buildings were destroyed or damaged in the battle. Eight months later, many Raqqans are returning home. Amid the rubble, life is slowly returning to Raqqa. This week, we investigate what life is like after Islamic State.

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

20180614

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

20180621

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

20180628

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

20180712

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

20180726

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

20180809

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

20180823

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

It’s graduation day at the end of a religious summer school in Yemen’s Saada province. A class of young boys are off on a trip to a shrine. In a land of war, they are happy - jostling and full of energy on their school bus.

Moments later, most of the boys are dead. A Saudi-led coalition airstrike has hit their bus. The bomb that was dropped by the Saudis was made in the United States, and Saudi Arabia is the America’s single biggest customer when it comes to buying arms.

Critics argue that Donald Trump is quietly escalating America’s role in the Saudi-led war on Yemen, and many, including US Congress, have begun to question the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Will the US support Saudi Arabia no matter what? So on this week’s Inquiry we’re asking, who’s in the driving seat when it comes to the US – Saudi alliance?

(Photo: U.S. President Trump meets Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Al Saud, (c) Getty Images)

20180823

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

It’s graduation day at the end of a religious summer school in Yemen’s Saada province. A class of young boys are off on a trip to a shrine. In a land of war, they are happy - jostling and full of energy on their school bus.

Moments later, most of the boys are dead. A Saudi-led coalition airstrike has hit their bus. The bomb that was dropped by the Saudis was made in the United States, and Saudi Arabia is the America’s single biggest customer when it comes to buying arms.

Critics argue that Donald Trump is quietly escalating America’s role in the Saudi-led war on Yemen, and many, including US Congress, have begun to question the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Will the US support Saudi Arabia no matter what? So on this week’s Inquiry we’re asking, who’s in the driving seat when it comes to the US – Saudi alliance?

(Photo: U.S. President Trump meets Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Al Saud, (c) Getty Images)

20180830

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

20180913

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

20181018

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

04/05/2017 Gmt20170504
06/04/2017 Gmt20170406

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

07/02/2017 Gmt20170207
07/03/2017 Gmt20170307
11/10/2016 Gmt20161011
13/04/2017 Gmt2017041320170416 (WS)

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

13/12/2016 Gmt20161213
14/02/2017 Gmt20170214
14/03/2017 Gmt2017031420170318 (WS)

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

15/11/2016 Gmt2016111520161119 (WS)

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

18/05/2017 Gmt20170518
20/04/2017 Gmt2017042020170423 (WS)

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

21/02/2017 Gmt2017022120170225 (WS)

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

21/03/2017 Gmt20170321
25/05/2017 Gmt20170525
25/10/2016 Gmt20161025
27/04/2017 Gmt2017042720170430 (WS)

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

27/09/2016 Gmt2016092720161002 (WS)

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

29/11/2016 Gmt2016112920161203 (WS)

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

31/01/2017 Gmt20170131
After the Electoral Shocks of Brexit and the US Election - What Next?2016111520161119 (WS)

Has a pattern been set first by Brexit, and then the US election?

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

On 8 November, as they stood in line to cast their votes, Americans were told by pollsters and pundits that, while close, the presidential race would be won by Hillary Clinton. As the results came in, precinct by precinct, many in the political establishment watched the unfolding story in disbelief. It was a similar feeling to that felt by many in Britain’s so-called ‘chattering class’ when, on June 24, they woke to the news that the UK had voted to leave the EU. Both were seismic political shocks. Neither was predicted by pollsters. What next? After two extraordinary electoral shocks, both of which challenge the established order, and with elections coming up in France and Germany, should we expect more?

(Photo: Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump (R) greets UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage at a campaign rally, Mississippi Coliseum. Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

After the Electoral Shocks of Brexit and the US Election - What Next?20161115

Has a pattern been set first by Brexit, and then the US election?

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

On 8 November, as they stood in line to cast their votes, Americans were told by pollsters and pundits that, while close, the presidential race would be won by Hillary Clinton. As the results came in, precinct by precinct, many in the political establishment watched the unfolding story in disbelief. It was a similar feeling to that felt by many in Britain’s so-called ‘chattering class’ when, on June 24, they woke to the news that the UK had voted to leave the EU. Both were seismic political shocks. Neither was predicted by pollsters. What next? After two extraordinary electoral shocks, both of which challenge the established order, and with elections coming up in France and Germany, should we expect more?

(Photo: Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump (R) greets UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage at a campaign rally, Mississippi Coliseum. Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Are Famines Always Man-Made?2017031420170318 (WS)

Humankind long ago figured out how to avoid famine

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

The UN has declared that South Sudan is in the grip of famine. Aid agencies have pointed the finger not at crop failure, weather or some other environmental problem. Humans, they say, have created this misery – misery which could easily have been avoided. The UN has also warned that conflicts in Yemen, Somalia and northeastern Nigeria mean there could soon be famine in those countries too, creating “the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the United Nations” in 1945. Humankind long ago figured out how to manage agriculture, store and distribute surplus produce or use trade to overcome hunger. So are all famines – like the one unfolding now in South Sudan – man-made? That’s our question on The Inquiry this week.

Presenter: Maria Margaronis
Producers: Phoebe Keane and Charlotte McDonald

(Photo: A woman winnows grain to separate sorghum seeds from soil following an air-drop at a village in Nyal, in Panyijar county, south Sudan, on February 23, 2015. Credit: Getty Images)

Are Famines Always Man-Made?20170314

Humankind long ago figured out how to avoid famine

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

The UN has declared that South Sudan is in the grip of famine. Aid agencies have pointed the finger not at crop failure, weather or some other environmental problem. Humans, they say, have created this misery – misery which could easily have been avoided. The UN has also warned that conflicts in Yemen, Somalia and northeastern Nigeria mean there could soon be famine in those countries too, creating “the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the United Nations” in 1945. Humankind long ago figured out how to manage agriculture, store and distribute surplus produce or use trade to overcome hunger. So are all famines – like the one unfolding now in South Sudan – man-made? That’s our question on The Inquiry this week.

Presenter: Maria Margaronis
Producers: Phoebe Keane and Charlotte McDonald

(Photo: A woman winnows grain to separate sorghum seeds from soil following an air-drop at a village in Nyal, in Panyijar county, south Sudan, on February 23, 2015. Credit: Getty Images)

Are Nerve Agents Out of Control?20180419

Banned over 20 years ago, how do we explain recent attacks?

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

Syria, Salisbury, Malaysia Airport – all sites of nerve agent attacks carried out in the past couple of years. Yet hundreds of countries have supposedly destroyed their stockpiles of chemical weapons. It’s also illegal to produce and use them.

We look to four of the world’s most experienced chemists and researchers to tell us more about the nerve agents used in these recent attacks, how they are regulated and the ongoing problems of getting rid of them.

(Photo: Members of the emergency services in green biohazard encapsulated suits. Credit: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

Are Pandemics Inevitable?20141104

Can the world come together to defeat diseases with pandemic potential?

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

Outbreaks are inevitable, pandemics are optional,” says Dr Larry Brilliant, a leading figure in the successful global campaign to eradicate smallpox.

But does the flawed international response to the Ebola outbreak suggest it is now less likely that the world will come together to defeat diseases with pandemic potential?

The Inquiry meets Dr Brilliant and other expert witnesses: Dr Malik Peiris, who identified SARS; Dr Julie Gerberding, president of the Vaccine division at Merck; and Ian Goldin, formerly of the World Bank.

Presenter: Helena Merriman
Producers: Charlotte Pritchard and Neal Razzell
Editor: Richard Knight

Are Sanctions Hurting Putin?20141118

Will sanctions force President Putin to change course in Ukraine?

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

Vladimir Putin certainly knows how the West views his actions in Ukraine. Sanctions have been in place against Russia for months. There is talk of toughening them. At the G20 meeting in Australia he was rebuked by Angela Merkel, Stephen Harper and other leaders, before flying home early. But are sanctions having any real effect on the Russian president? Are they likely to force him to change course in Ukraine? We hear from a top Moscow economist Natalia Orlova, a Putin loyalist in Vladivostok, veteran European diplomat Sir Robert Cooper and Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs and a close Putin-watcher.

(Photo: President Vladimir Putin. Credit: AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Are Sanctions Hurting Putin?20141118

Will sanctions force President Putin to change course in Ukraine?

Vladimir Putin certainly knows how the West views his actions in Ukraine. Sanctions have been in place against Russia for months. There is talk of toughening them. At the G20 meeting in Australia he was rebuked by Angela Merkel, Stephen Harper and other leaders, before flying home early. But are sanctions having any real effect on the Russian president? Are they likely to force him to change course in Ukraine? We hear from a top Moscow economist Natalia Orlova, a Putin loyalist in Vladivostok, veteran European diplomat Sir Robert Cooper and Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs and a close Putin-watcher.

(Photo: President Vladimir Putin. Credit: AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Are South Africa's Police Failing?2017081020170812 (WS)

A story of crime and often no punishment

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

A story of crime and often no punishment. South Africa's notoriously violent record has been getting worse. The number of murders and violent crimes is rising as public confidence in the police falls. Officers themselves have been linked to a series of high-profile cases, including spectacular heists at the country's main international airport. South Africa's police minister has called for "a firmer, disciplined force". So, are South Africa's police failing?

(image: A riot police officer gets ready to fire a stun grenade into a crowd during clashes in Johannesburg May 8, 2017. Credit: Gulshan Khan/ Getty Images)

Are South Africa's Police Failing?20170810

A story of crime and often no punishment

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

A story of crime and often no punishment. South Africa's notoriously violent record has been getting worse. The number of murders and violent crimes is rising as public confidence in the police falls. Officers themselves have been linked to a series of high-profile cases, including spectacular heists at the country's main international airport. South Africa's police minister has called for "a firmer, disciplined force". So, are South Africa's police failing?

(image: A riot police officer gets ready to fire a stun grenade into a crowd during clashes in Johannesburg May 8, 2017. Credit: Gulshan Khan/ Getty Images)

Are Video Games a Waste of Time?2017082420170826 (WS)

Gaming is replacing work for some young men in the US

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

Video games are a huge industry, bigger than Hollywood, and billions of people around the world play them for fun. But new economic research in the US suggests that young men are dropping out of work to play games more. This is both because some jobs are becoming harder to find and less rewarding, and because video games are becoming more and more attractive. The gamers say they are happy, but the research has sharpened long-standing concerns about video games. Will there be a 'lost generation' of young men sitting in their parents' basements, frittering their lives away on mindless games, with disastrous long-term effects for them and the economy? Are video games a waste of time?

(Photo: A visitor plays on a computer while visiting the Gamescom 2017 video gaming trade fair in Cologne, Germany. Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images)

Are Video Games a Waste of Time?20170824

Gaming is replacing work for some young men in the US

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

Video games are a huge industry, bigger than Hollywood, and billions of people around the world play them for fun. But new economic research in the US suggests that young men are dropping out of work to play games more. This is both because some jobs are becoming harder to find and less rewarding, and because video games are becoming more and more attractive. The gamers say they are happy, but the research has sharpened long-standing concerns about video games. Will there be a 'lost generation' of young men sitting in their parents' basements, frittering their lives away on mindless games, with disastrous long-term effects for them and the economy? Are video games a waste of time?

(Photo: A visitor plays on a computer while visiting the Gamescom 2017 video gaming trade fair in Cologne, Germany. Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images)

Are We Fighting Cancer the Right Way?2016020220160207 (WS)

The rising number of cancer cases worldwide poses a challenge for doctors and governments

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

The World Health Organisation says the number of cancer cases will rise by 70% over the next 20 years. A huge amount of effort and money is spent fighting the disease. But are we getting that fight right? One leading oncologist, Vincent DeVita, tells us the nature of modern medical research and oversight means we are not able to benefit as much as we might from the extraordinary clinical tools we have at our disposal. Another expert witness, professor Heidi Williams from MIT, describes research which shows incentives for drug companies promote short term gains over treatments that could cure early stage cancers. Dr Christopher Wild from the WHO says it does not make sense to spend most of the cancer research budget on cures when up to 40% of cancers are preventable. And, Pekka Puska, a pioneer in the world of public health, explains how communities can make big changes and prevent many cases of lifestyle-related cancers.

(Photo: Lab Technician preparing protein, Credit: Reuters Archive)

Are We Fighting Cancer the Right Way?20160202

The rising number of cancer cases worldwide poses a challenge for doctors and governments

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

The World Health Organisation says the number of cancer cases will rise by 70% over the next 20 years. A huge amount of effort and money is spent fighting the disease. But are we getting that fight right? One leading oncologist, Vincent DeVita, tells us the nature of modern medical research and oversight means we are not able to benefit as much as we might from the extraordinary clinical tools we have at our disposal. Another expert witness, professor Heidi Williams from MIT, describes research which shows incentives for drug companies promote short term gains over treatments that could cure early stage cancers. Dr Christopher Wild from the WHO says it does not make sense to spend most of the cancer research budget on cures when up to 40% of cancers are preventable. And, Pekka Puska, a pioneer in the world of public health, explains how communities can make big changes and prevent many cases of lifestyle-related cancers.

(Photo: Lab Technician preparing protein, Credit: Reuters Archive)

Are We Fighting Cancer The Right Way?2016020220160207 (WS)

The World Health Organisation says the number of cancer cases will rise by 70% over the next 20 years. A huge amount of effort and money is spent fighting the disease. But are we getting that fight right? One leading oncologist, Vincent DeVita, tells us the nature of modern medical research and oversight means we are not able to benefit as much as we might from the extraordinary clinical tools we have at our disposal. Another expert witness, professor Heidi Williams from MIT, describes research which shows incentives for drug companies promote short term gains over treatments that could cure early stage cancers. Dr Christopher Wild from the WHO says it does not make sense to spend most of the cancer research budget on cures when up to 40% of cancers are preventable. And, Pekka Puska, a pioneer in the world of public health, explains how communities can make big changes and prevent many cases of lifestyle-related cancers.

(Photo: Lab Technician preparing protein, Credit: Reuters Archive)

The rising number of cancer cases worldwide poses a challenge for doctors and governments

Are we Fighting Cancer the Right Way?2016053120160605 (WS)

The World Health Organisation says cancer rates around the world are rising fast

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

The World Health Organisation says the number of cancer cases will rise by 70% over the next 20 years. A huge amount of effort and money is spent fighting the disease. But are we getting that fight right? In this special hour-long edition of The Inquiry four expert witnesses tell us new ideas are being stifled, that there is not enough money being spent on drugs to treat early-stage cancer and that we are not doing enough to stop people from getting cancer in the first place. We put that evidence to someone in a position to do something about it - Dr Francis Collins, director of the US National Institutes of Health, the world's largest biomedical research agency, with a budget of $32 billion.

(Photo: Lab Technician preparing protein. Credit: Reuters)

Are we Fighting Cancer the Right Way?20160531

The World Health Organisation says cancer rates around the world are rising fast

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

The World Health Organisation says the number of cancer cases will rise by 70% over the next 20 years. A huge amount of effort and money is spent fighting the disease. But are we getting that fight right? In this special hour-long edition of The Inquiry four expert witnesses tell us new ideas are being stifled, that there is not enough money being spent on drugs to treat early-stage cancer and that we are not doing enough to stop people from getting cancer in the first place. We put that evidence to someone in a position to do something about it - Dr Francis Collins, director of the US National Institutes of Health, the world's largest biomedical research agency, with a budget of $32 billion.

(Photo: Lab Technician preparing protein. Credit: Reuters)

Are We Fighting Cancer The Right Way?2016053120160604 (WS)
20160605 (WS)

The World Health Organisation says the number of cancer cases will rise by 70% over the next 20 years. A huge amount of effort and money is spent fighting the disease. But are we getting that fight right? In this special hour-long edition of The Inquiry four expert witnesses tell us new ideas are being stifled, that there is not enough money being spent on drugs to treat early-stage cancer and that we are not doing enough to stop people from getting cancer in the first place. We put that evidence to someone in a position to do something about it - Dr Francis Collins, director of the US National Institutes of Health, the world's largest biomedical research agency, with a budget of $32 billion.

(Photo: Lab Technician preparing protein. Credit: Reuters)

The World Health Organisation says cancer rates around the world are rising fast

Are We Heading for a Trade War?20180628

The high-stakes showdown between the US and China on trade.

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

The world’s two biggest economies are on the brink of a costly standoff. The US has announced tariffs of 25% on a swathe of Chinese goods, starting July 6th. China has vowed to respond in kind. ‘If someone wants a trade war,’ China’s Commerce Minister said, ‘we will fight to the end.’ President Trump is bullish, threatening further tariffs and tweeting: ‘trade wars are good, and easy to win.’ But the WTO has warned that a trade war would have a ‘severe’ impact on the global economy. We look at the forces driving the conflict and how each side might back down. With Helen Grady.

(Image: Cargo containers with USA and Chinese flags on their sides crashing together. Credit: Shutterstock)

Are We Missing A Bigger Opioid Crisis?20171207

While the US suffers an overdose epidemic, most of the world misses out on painkillers

Forty-two Americans die every day from an overdose involving painkilling prescription opioids. President Donald Trump recently declared the US opioid epidemic a national public health emergency. Yet in the world’s poorest countries, cancer patients and people recovering from major surgery often get no effective pain relief at all. Why is access to prescription painkillers so unequal? And is the shortage of opioids in much of the world getting the attention it deserves?

(Photo: View of poppies in a poppy field in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. Credit: Pedro Pardo/Getty Images)

Are We Missing a Bigger Opioid Crisis?20171207

While the US suffers an overdose epidemic, most of the world misses out on painkillers

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

Forty-two Americans die every day from an overdose involving painkilling prescription opioids. President Donald Trump recently declared the US opioid epidemic a national public health emergency. Yet in the world’s poorest countries, cancer patients and people recovering from major surgery often get no effective pain relief at all. Why is access to prescription painkillers so unequal? And is the shortage of opioids in much of the world getting the attention it deserves?

(Photo: View of poppies in a poppy field in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. Credit: Pedro Pardo/Getty Images)

Are We Really About To End World Poverty?2016061420160619 (WS)

The UN thinks ending extreme poverty is within our grasp

“More than half the people of the world are living in conditions approaching misery,? declared President Truman at his second inauguration. “For the first time in history, humanity possesses the knowledge and skill to relieve the suffering of these people.? That was 1949.

It is a claim we have heard many times since - that ending poverty is within our grasp. But it is a dream which has - despite decades of effort - eluded us. Now the United Nations has set a new target - to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. Will it be different this time?

We have already come a long way. For the first time in history fewer than 1 in 10 people are poor around the world. A billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty since 1990. But achieving the UN's new goal means reaching another 836 million people in the next 14 years. And that will be tough.

Are we really about to end world poverty? Our experts include an economics professor who was himself born into poverty in China, and Helen Clark, who hopes to be the next leader of the United Nations.

Are We Really About to End World Poverty?2016061420160619 (WS)

The UN thinks ending extreme poverty is within our grasp

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

“More than half the people of the world are living in conditions approaching misery,” declared President Truman at his second inauguration. “For the first time in history, humanity possesses the knowledge and skill to relieve the suffering of these people.” That was 1949.

It is a claim we have heard many times since - that ending poverty is within our grasp. But it is a dream which has - despite decades of effort - eluded us. Now the United Nations has set a new target - to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. Will it be different this time?

We have already come a long way. For the first time in history fewer than 1 in 10 people are poor around the world. A billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty since 1990. But achieving the UN's new goal means reaching another 836 million people in the next 14 years. And that will be tough.

Are we really about to end world poverty? Our experts include an economics professor who was himself born into poverty in China, and Helen Clark, who hopes to be the next leader of the United Nations.

Are We Really About to End World Poverty?20160614

The UN thinks ending extreme poverty is within our grasp

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

“More than half the people of the world are living in conditions approaching misery,” declared President Truman at his second inauguration. “For the first time in history, humanity possesses the knowledge and skill to relieve the suffering of these people.” That was 1949.

It is a claim we have heard many times since - that ending poverty is within our grasp. But it is a dream which has - despite decades of effort - eluded us. Now the United Nations has set a new target - to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. Will it be different this time?

We have already come a long way. For the first time in history fewer than 1 in 10 people are poor around the world. A billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty since 1990. But achieving the UN's new goal means reaching another 836 million people in the next 14 years. And that will be tough.

Are we really about to end world poverty? Our experts include an economics professor who was himself born into poverty in China, and Helen Clark, who hopes to be the next leader of the United Nations.

Are We Tired Of Talking About Climate Change?2015033120150404 (WS)

Climate change dominated the news five years ago but has dropped down the agenda. Why?

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

It seems something is missing from newspapers and TV bulletins - climate change. A story which dominated the news five years ago has dropped steadily down the agenda. One study has found coverage has dropped 36% globally in that time. Why? On The Inquiry this week we hear a tale of chronic political fatigue. We ask whether our hunter-gatherer brains simply aren't wired to think long-term. And we find out why climate change has all the hallmarks of a story likely to make newspaper editors groan. It could be – as one of our expert witnesses tells us – time to "change the narrative".

(Image: A man places his hand on the parched soil. Credit: Press Association)

Are We Tired Of Talking About Climate Change?2015033120150405 (WS)

Climate change dominated the news five years ago but has dropped down the agenda. Why?

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

It seems something is missing from newspapers and TV bulletins - climate change. A story which dominated the news five years ago has dropped steadily down the agenda. One study has found coverage has dropped 36% globally in that time. Why? On The Inquiry this week we hear a tale of chronic political fatigue. We ask whether our hunter-gatherer brains simply aren't wired to think long-term. And we find out why climate change has all the hallmarks of a story likely to make newspaper editors groan. It could be – as one of our expert witnesses tells us – time to "change the narrative".

(Image: A man places his hand on the parched soil. Credit: Press Association)

Are We Tired Of Talking About Climate Change?20150331

Climate change dominated the news five years ago but has dropped down the agenda. Why?

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

It seems something is missing from newspapers and TV bulletins - climate change. A story which dominated the news five years ago has dropped steadily down the agenda. One study has found coverage has dropped 36% globally in that time. Why? On The Inquiry this week we hear a tale of chronic political fatigue. We ask whether our hunter-gatherer brains simply aren't wired to think long-term. And we find out why climate change has all the hallmarks of a story likely to make newspaper editors groan. It could be – as one of our expert witnesses tells us – time to "change the narrative".

(Image: A man places his hand on the parched soil. Credit: Press Association)

Can \u2018Islamic State\u2019 Be Defeated?2015112120151122 (WS)

Expert answers to the urgent question on defeating the group calling itself Islamic State

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

We first asked this question over a year ago. So far, the answer has been no. The attacks in Paris killed 129 people. The day before that 43 people died when suicide bombers hit Beirut. Nearly two weeks before that a Russian passenger jet exploded over Egypt, killing all 224 people on board. The group calling itself Islamic State has claimed responsibility for all these attacks. If true, in two weeks, they have killed almost 400 civilians, in places way beyond the areas they control in Syria and Iraq. And they would have managed all that while being challenged on the ground by Kurdish fighters and bombed from the air, by coalition war planes, over 8,000 times. Can IS be defeated? We have gone back to the same expert witnesses we met the first time we asked the question. Now, over a year later, we want to know whether their answers have changed.

(Photo: Female Kurdish soldier on the frontline against ISIL, Credit: Getty Images)

Can \u2018Islamic State\u2019 Be Defeated?2015112120151124 (WS)

Expert answers to the urgent question on defeating the group calling itself Islamic State

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

We first asked this question over a year ago. So far, the answer has been no. The attacks in Paris killed 129 people. The day before that 43 people died when suicide bombers hit Beirut. Nearly two weeks before that a Russian passenger jet exploded over Egypt, killing all 224 people on board. The group calling itself Islamic State has claimed responsibility for all these attacks. If true, in two weeks, they have killed almost 400 civilians, in places way beyond the areas they control in Syria and Iraq. And they would have managed all that while being challenged on the ground by Kurdish fighters and bombed from the air, by coalition war planes, over 8,000 times. Can IS be defeated? We have gone back to the same expert witnesses we met the first time we asked the question. Now, over a year later, we want to know whether their answers have changed.

(Photo: Female Kurdish soldier on the frontline against ISIL, Credit: Getty Images)

Can a Corrupt Country Get Clean?2016101120161016 (WS)

How the small country of Georgia kicked out corruption, but with drastic measures

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

The International Monetary Fund says corruption siphons $2 trillion a year out of the global economy, slowing growth and fuelling poverty. Endemic corruption is very hard to deal with. But not impossible. We tell the astonishing story of one country – Georgia – which did turn itself around. At the turn of the century Georgia was one of the most corrupt states in the world. Now it is one of the cleanest. How did it do it?

(Photo: Two men in suits shake hands while one puts money into the pocket of the other. Credit: Shutterstock)

Can a Corrupt Country Get Clean?20161011

How the small country of Georgia kicked out corruption, but with drastic measures

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

The International Monetary Fund says corruption siphons $2 trillion a year out of the global economy, slowing growth and fuelling poverty. Endemic corruption is very hard to deal with. But not impossible. We tell the astonishing story of one country – Georgia – which did turn itself around. At the turn of the century Georgia was one of the most corrupt states in the world. Now it is one of the cleanest. How did it do it?

(Photo: Two men in suits shake hands while one puts money into the pocket of the other. Credit: Shutterstock)

Can A Corrupt Country Get Clean?2016101120161016 (WS)

The International Monetary Fund says corruption siphons $2 trillion a year out of the global economy, slowing growth and fuelling poverty. Endemic corruption is very hard to deal with. But not impossible. We tell the astonishing story of one country – Georgia – which did turn itself around. At the turn of the century Georgia was one of the most corrupt states in the world. Now it is one of the cleanest. How did it do it?

(Photo: Two men in suits shake hands while one puts money into the pocket of the other. Credit: Shutterstock)

How the small country of Georgia kicked out corruption, but with drastic measures

Can €islamic State’ Be Defeated?2015112120151122 (WS)
20151124 (WS)

We first asked this question over a year ago. So far, the answer has been no. The attacks in Paris killed 129 people. The day before that 43 people died when suicide bombers hit Beirut. Nearly two weeks before that a Russian passenger jet exploded over Egypt, killing all 224 people on board. The group calling itself Islamic State has claimed responsibility for all these attacks. If true, in two weeks, they have killed almost 400 civilians, in places way beyond the areas they control in Syria and Iraq. And they would have managed all that while being challenged on the ground by Kurdish fighters and bombed from the air, by coalition war planes, over 8,000 times. Can IS be defeated? We have gone back to the same expert witnesses we met the first time we asked the question. Now, over a year later, we want to know whether their answers have changed.

(Photo: Female Kurdish soldier on the frontline against ISIL, Credit: Getty Images)

Expert answers to the urgent question on defeating the group calling itself Islamic State

Can China Solve the North Korea Problem?20170921

Can China persuade North Korea to step back from its nuclear ambitions?

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

North Korea continues to rattle the world with its rapidly advancing weapons programme. Diplomacy with this Hermit Kingdom is broken and UN sanctions have little effect curtailing the nuclear ambitions of the country’s enigmatic leader Kim Jong–Un. As its closest neighbour and biggest ally, can China solve the growing threat - with whatever options remain?

(image: Chinese/N.Korean sign beside the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge connecting the Chinese border city of Dandong to North Korea over the Yalu river. Credit: Mark Ralston/Getty Images)

Can China Solve The North Korea Problem?2017092120170923 (WS)

Can China persuade North Korea to step back from its nuclear ambitions?

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

North Korea continues to rattle the world with its rapidly advancing weapons programme. Diplomacy with this Hermit Kingdom is broken and UN sanctions have little effect curtailing the nuclear ambitions of the country’s enigmatic leader Kim Jong–Un. As its closest neighbour and biggest ally, can China solve the growing threat - with whatever options remain?

(image: Chinese/N.Korean sign beside the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge connecting the Chinese border city of Dandong to North Korea over the Yalu river. Credit: Mark Ralston/Getty Images)

Can Colombia Reintegrate The Farc?2016072620160731 (WS)

How to bring thousands of jungle fighters into society after 50 years of conflict

After more than 50 years of armed conflict that has left 200,000 dead and millions displaced, Colombia is on the brink of peace. A final deal between the government and the Farc guerrilla movement is expected to be signed soon. Thousands of armed fighters will then lay down their weapons in preparation for reintegration into a society from which they have been estranged for years. But the process will not be easy – for the Farc’s fighters, or for the rest of Colombian society.

(Photo: Fighters of the Front 53, a faction of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) guerrilla movement, in Los Alpes, 150km south-east of Bogota. Credit: Getty Images)

Can Colombia Reintegrate the Farc?2016072620160731 (WS)

How to bring thousands of jungle fighters into society after 50 years of conflict

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

After more than 50 years of armed conflict that has left 200,000 dead and millions displaced, Colombia is on the brink of peace. A final deal between the government and the Farc guerrilla movement is expected to be signed soon. Thousands of armed fighters will then lay down their weapons in preparation for reintegration into a society from which they have been estranged for years. But the process will not be easy – for the Farc’s fighters, or for the rest of Colombian society.

(Photo: Fighters of the Front 53, a faction of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) guerrilla movement, in Los Alpes, 150km south-east of Bogota. Credit: Getty Images)

Can Colombia Reintegrate the Farc?20160726

How to bring thousands of jungle fighters into society after 50 years of conflict

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

After more than 50 years of armed conflict that has left 200,000 dead and millions displaced, Colombia is on the brink of peace. A final deal between the government and the Farc guerrilla movement is expected to be signed soon. Thousands of armed fighters will then lay down their weapons in preparation for reintegration into a society from which they have been estranged for years. But the process will not be easy – for the Farc’s fighters, or for the rest of Colombian society.

(Photo: Fighters of the Front 53, a faction of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) guerrilla movement, in Los Alpes, 150km south-east of Bogota. Credit: Getty Images)

Can Computers Predict Crimes That Haven\u2019t Happened Yet?20180531

The ethics of big data in crime forecasting

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

Chicago resident Robert McDaniel was surprised when a police commander showed up at his home to warn him that they were watching him. With only a misdemeanour conviction and arrests for a number of suspected minor offenses, he had somehow made it onto the Chicago Police Department’s so called ‘heat list’ - a list of names created by algorithm of those deemed to be most at risk of either being a victim or perpetrator of violent crime.

In this Inquiry we look at whether computers can predict future of when, where and by whom crimes will be committed. Can analysing ‘big data’ help target scarce resources in more intelligent ways? Or are the algorithms exacerbating the already heightened tensions between police and the public? How effective are some of the ‘predictive policing’ systems already in use? The inner workings of many of these programmes are protected by private copyright laws too so how can you challenge the decision made by a secret algorithm?

(Photo:Chicago Police officers standing next to a police car and a taped off crime scene. Credit: Joshua Lott/AFP/Getty Images)

Can Coral Reefs Survive?2016090620160911 (WS)

As sea temperatures rise, coral reefs are in decline

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

Over the past eight months almost a quarter of the Great Barrier Reef has died – according to some estimates – because of coral bleaching, which can happen when sea temperatures rise. It's not the first time coral has bleached. It happened once or twice in the early 20th century after periods of warm weather. But, since the 1980s, coral bleaching has been happening regularly. And this year's Great Barrier Reef ‘bleaching event’ is the longest in history. Some say it signals the beginning of the end for coral reefs. There are though, rays of hope. In this Inquiry you'll hear from scientists who are pioneering some extraordinary ways of trying to help coral withstand warmer seas. They're hoping they're not already too late.

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: Australia's Great Barrier Reef, climate change is posing the most serious threat to the extensive coral reef ecosystem. Credit: Getty images)

Can Coral Reefs Survive?20160906

As sea temperatures rise, coral reefs are in decline

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

Over the past eight months almost a quarter of the Great Barrier Reef has died – according to some estimates – because of coral bleaching, which can happen when sea temperatures rise. It's not the first time coral has bleached. It happened once or twice in the early 20th century after periods of warm weather. But, since the 1980s, coral bleaching has been happening regularly. And this year's Great Barrier Reef ‘bleaching event’ is the longest in history. Some say it signals the beginning of the end for coral reefs. There are though, rays of hope. In this Inquiry you'll hear from scientists who are pioneering some extraordinary ways of trying to help coral withstand warmer seas. They're hoping they're not already too late.

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: Australia's Great Barrier Reef, climate change is posing the most serious threat to the extensive coral reef ecosystem. Credit: Getty images)

Can Coral Reefs Survive?2016090620160911 (WS)

Over the past eight months almost a quarter of the Great Barrier Reef has died – according to some estimates – because of coral bleaching, which can happen when sea temperatures rise. It's not the first time coral has bleached. It happened once or twice in the early 20th century after periods of warm weather. But, since the 1980s, coral bleaching has been happening regularly. And this year's Great Barrier Reef ‘bleaching event’ is the longest in history. Some say it signals the beginning of the end for coral reefs. There are though, rays of hope. In this Inquiry you'll hear from scientists who are pioneering some extraordinary ways of trying to help coral withstand warmer seas. They're hoping they're not already too late.

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: Australia's Great Barrier Reef, climate change is posing the most serious threat to the extensive coral reef ecosystem. Credit: Getty images)

As sea temperatures rise, coral reefs are in decline

Can Delhi Clean Up Its Air?20181011

Air pollution is suffocating Delhi \u2013 what can be done?

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

Can Europe Resist The Rise Of Radical Politics?20141216

In France, Spain, Hungary, Italy and elsewhere far right and hard left parties are rising

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

Swedish politics has for decades been the very model of stability. Not any longer. Earlier this month a far-right party which holds the balance of power in Sweden’s parliament sided with the opposition to defeat the government. A snap election has been called, just months after the government was formed.

In Greece, where EU-imposed austerity has fuelled extreme politics, the radical left Syriza party could soon have a shot at gaining power. It is already the main opposition.

Elsewhere in Europe – in France, Spain, Hungary, Italy and elsewhere – far right and hard left parties have gained popular support and parliamentary seats, threatening the political centre. Can Europe resist the rise of radical politics?

(Photo: Shadow of Marine Le Pen. Credit: Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images)

Can Islamic State Be Stopped?2014102820141101 (WS)

Expert witnesses outline a strategy to defeat violent jihadis in Syria and Iraq

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

The sudden rise of Islamic State in June shocked the world. It now controls a swathe of the desert in Syria and Iraq and has declared a caliphate. Iraq’s second city, Mosul, has fallen to the militants and they are menacing the capital, Baghdad. Western powers and their Gulf Arab allies have responded with war planes and bombs. The American general in charge of the campaign says it is buying time for the Iraqi Army to regroup and counter attack. But what would a long-term plan to defeat Islamic State look like? The Inquiry’s panel of experts have some thought-provoking ideas.

Can Islamic State Be Stopped?2014102820141102 (WS)

Expert witnesses outline a strategy to defeat violent jihadis in Syria and Iraq

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

The sudden rise of Islamic State in June shocked the world. It now controls a swathe of the desert in Syria and Iraq and has declared a caliphate. Iraq’s second city, Mosul, has fallen to the militants and they are menacing the capital, Baghdad. Western powers and their Gulf Arab allies have responded with war planes and bombs. The American general in charge of the campaign says it is buying time for the Iraqi Army to regroup and counter attack. But what would a long-term plan to defeat Islamic State look like? The Inquiry’s panel of experts have some thought-provoking ideas.

Can Islamic State Be Stopped?20141028

Expert witnesses outline a strategy to defeat violent jihadis in Syria and Iraq

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

The sudden rise of Islamic State in June shocked the world. It now controls a swathe of the desert in Syria and Iraq and has declared a caliphate. Iraq’s second city, Mosul, has fallen to the militants and they are menacing the capital, Baghdad. Western powers and their Gulf Arab allies have responded with war planes and bombs. The American general in charge of the campaign says it is buying time for the Iraqi Army to regroup and counter attack. But what would a long-term plan to defeat Islamic State look like? The Inquiry’s panel of experts have some thought-provoking ideas.

Can Islamic State Be Stopped?2014102820141101 (WS)
20141102 (WS)

The sudden rise of Islamic State in June shocked the world. It now controls a swathe of desert in Syria and Iraq and has declared a caliphate. Iraq’s second city, Mosul, has fallen to the militants and they are menacing the capital, Baghdad. Western powers and their Gulf Arab allies have responded with war planes and bombs. The American general in charge of the campaign says it is buying time for the Iraqi Army to regroup and counter attack. But what would a long-term plan to defeat Islamic State look like? The Inquiry’s panel of experts have some thought-provoking ideas.

Expert witnesses outline a strategy to defeat violent jihadis in Syria and Iraq.

Can Nigeria End Oil Corruption?2015102020151024 (WS)

President Buhari\u2019s promise to end decades of corruption in the oil industry

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

Oil accounts for around 75% of Nigeria’s economy, but no-one knows how much the country produces or refines. It means corruption is rife. Hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil are stolen every day, at each level of the supply chain.
It is a problem that has cost the Nigerian economy billions of dollars, and weakened its public services and infrastructure. Schools and hospitals are paid for, but never built; citizens are forced to pay bribes for basic services.
Many believe Nigeria’s new president, Muhammadu Buhari, is the man to end this decades-old problem. He says he will do it, and has taken personal control of the oil ministry. But it is a huge task he has set himself. So, can Nigeria end oil corruption?

(Photo: Buhari inauguration. Credit: AP)

Can Nigeria End Oil Corruption?2015102020151025 (WS)

President Buhari\u2019s promise to end decades of corruption in the oil industry

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

Oil accounts for around 75% of Nigeria’s economy, but no-one knows how much the country produces or refines. It means corruption is rife. Hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil are stolen every day, at each level of the supply chain.
It is a problem that has cost the Nigerian economy billions of dollars, and weakened its public services and infrastructure. Schools and hospitals are paid for, but never built; citizens are forced to pay bribes for basic services.
Many believe Nigeria’s new president, Muhammadu Buhari, is the man to end this decades-old problem. He says he will do it, and has taken personal control of the oil ministry. But it is a huge task he has set himself. So, can Nigeria end oil corruption?

(Photo: Buhari inauguration. Credit: AP)

Can Nigeria End Oil Corruption?20151020

President Buhari\u2019s promise to end decades of corruption in the oil industry

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

Oil accounts for around 75% of Nigeria’s economy, but no-one knows how much the country produces or refines. It means corruption is rife. Hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil are stolen every day, at each level of the supply chain.
It is a problem that has cost the Nigerian economy billions of dollars, and weakened its public services and infrastructure. Schools and hospitals are paid for, but never built; citizens are forced to pay bribes for basic services.
Many believe Nigeria’s new president, Muhammadu Buhari, is the man to end this decades-old problem. He says he will do it, and has taken personal control of the oil ministry. But it is a huge task he has set himself. So, can Nigeria end oil corruption?

(Photo: Buhari inauguration. Credit: AP)

Can Nigeria End Oil Corruption?2015102020151025 (WS)

President Buhari’s promise to end decades of corruption in the oil industry

Oil accounts for around 75% of Nigeria’s economy, but no-one knows how much the country produces or refines. It means corruption is rife. Hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil are stolen every day, at each level of the supply chain.

It is a problem that has cost the Nigerian economy billions of dollars, and weakened its public services and infrastructure. Schools and hospitals are paid for, but never built; citizens are forced to pay bribes for basic services.

Many believe Nigeria’s new president, Muhammadu Buhari, is the man to end this decades-old problem. He says he will do it, and has taken personal control of the oil ministry. But it is a huge task he has set himself. So, can Nigeria end oil corruption?

(Photo: Buhari inauguration. Credit: AP)

Can the EU Survive?2016062820160702 (WS)

The fate of the European Union without Britain

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

The UK has voted to leave the EU, sending shockwaves through Britain’s political class and its economy. Whatever the fate of Britain – and many fear years of damaging instability – Brexit is a serious blow to the European Union. Britain is far from the only member state with doubts about the scope of the European project. There are strong Eurosceptic movements in many other nations too. Some think the British precedent will boost their influence or that other nations will be able to use the threat of exit to undermine shared decision-making. And the loss of Britain – which is still, for now, Europe’s second-largest economy – could leave the Union precariously unbalanced, with Germany too dominant within it. As the EU contemplates an uncertain future, we are asking whether the EU even has a future without the United Kingdom. Presented by Chris Bowlby.

(Photo: David Cameron, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bulgarian Prime minister Roesen Plevneliev, Eurozone finance ministers with bank notes, euro coins and a map of Europe in the background. Credit: Getty Images)

Can the EU Survive?2016062820160703 (WS)

The fate of the European Union without Britain

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

The UK has voted to leave the EU, sending shockwaves through Britain’s political class and its economy. Whatever the fate of Britain – and many fear years of damaging instability – Brexit is a serious blow to the European Union. Britain is far from the only member state with doubts about the scope of the European project. There are strong Eurosceptic movements in many other nations too. Some think the British precedent will boost their influence or that other nations will be able to use the threat of exit to undermine shared decision-making. And the loss of Britain – which is still, for now, Europe’s second-largest economy – could leave the Union precariously unbalanced, with Germany too dominant within it. As the EU contemplates an uncertain future, we are asking whether the EU even has a future without the United Kingdom. Presented by Chris Bowlby.

(Photo: David Cameron, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bulgarian Prime minister Roesen Plevneliev, Eurozone finance ministers with bank notes, euro coins and a map of Europe in the background. Credit: Getty Images)

Can the EU Survive?20160628

The fate of the European Union without Britain

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

The UK has voted to leave the EU, sending shockwaves through Britain’s political class and its economy. Whatever the fate of Britain – and many fear years of damaging instability – Brexit is a serious blow to the European Union. Britain is far from the only member state with doubts about the scope of the European project. There are strong Eurosceptic movements in many other nations too. Some think the British precedent will boost their influence or that other nations will be able to use the threat of exit to undermine shared decision-making. And the loss of Britain – which is still, for now, Europe’s second-largest economy – could leave the Union precariously unbalanced, with Germany too dominant within it. As the EU contemplates an uncertain future, we are asking whether the EU even has a future without the United Kingdom. Presented by Chris Bowlby.

(Photo: David Cameron, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bulgarian Prime minister Roesen Plevneliev, Eurozone finance ministers with bank notes, euro coins and a map of Europe in the background. Credit: Getty Images)

Can The Eu Survive?2016062820160703 (WS)

The UK has voted to leave the EU, sending shockwaves through Britain’s political class and its economy. Whatever the fate of Britain – and many fear years of damaging instability – Brexit is a serious blow to the European Union. Britain is far from the only member state with doubts about the scope of the European project. There are strong Eurosceptic movements in many other nations too. Some think the British precedent will boost their influence or that other nations will be able to use the threat of exit to undermine shared decision-making. And the loss of Britain – which is still, for now, Europe’s second-largest economy – could leave the Union precariously unbalanced, with Germany too dominant within it. As the EU contemplates an uncertain future, we are asking whether the EU even has a future without the United Kingdom. Presented by Chris Bowlby.

(Photo: David Cameron, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bulgarian Prime minister Roesen Plevneliev, Eurozone finance ministers with bank notes, euro coins and a map of Europe in the background. Credit: Getty Images)

The fate of the European Union without Britain

Can The Internet Be Policed?20150106

There are new plans to fight online child abuse. But can the internet be policed?

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

On 8 December at a summit in London Britain’s prime minister David Cameron told delegates from 50 countries and 26 tech firms that online child exploitation “existed on an almost industrial scale" around the world. He announced an “unprecedented package of global action” to hunt paedophiles who use the internet.

And just weeks before that a committee of British politicians revealed their belief that the intelligence services could have stopped a May 2013 terror attack in London if Facebook had alerted the authorities to an online exchange between one of the attackers and another extremist.

In this edition of The Inquiry we ask: Can the internet be policed?

Presenter: Jo Fidgen

(Photo: Big Data. Credit: Carlos Amarillo)

Can Trump Win?2016071220160716 (WS)

Evaluating Donald Trump\u2019s chances of taking the White House

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

Donald Trump has shocked the US political establishment by knocking out every other Republican candidate to become his party’s presumptive candidate for President. Does he have a realistic shot of taking the White House? His campaign is short of money and some senior Republicans are refusing to endorse him. Current polls suggest his chances are slim. But his message has found an audience other politicians have failed to reach – he has become a lightning rod for many disaffected Americans. So, our question this week, can Trump win?

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: Donald Trump, presidential candidate 2016. Credit: Getty Images)

Can Trump Win?2016071220160717 (WS)

Evaluating Donald Trump\u2019s chances of taking the White House

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

Donald Trump has shocked the US political establishment by knocking out every other Republican candidate to become his party’s presumptive candidate for President. Does he have a realistic shot of taking the White House? His campaign is short of money and some senior Republicans are refusing to endorse him. Current polls suggest his chances are slim. But his message has found an audience other politicians have failed to reach – he has become a lightning rod for many disaffected Americans. So, our question this week, can Trump win?

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: Donald Trump, presidential candidate 2016. Credit: Getty Images)

Can Trump Win?20160712

Evaluating Donald Trump\u2019s chances of taking the White House

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

Donald Trump has shocked the US political establishment by knocking out every other Republican candidate to become his party’s presumptive candidate for President. Does he have a realistic shot of taking the White House? His campaign is short of money and some senior Republicans are refusing to endorse him. Current polls suggest his chances are slim. But his message has found an audience other politicians have failed to reach – he has become a lightning rod for many disaffected Americans. So, our question this week, can Trump win?

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: Donald Trump, presidential candidate 2016. Credit: Getty Images)

Can Trump Win?2016071220160717 (WS)

Evaluating Donald Trump’s chances of taking the White House

Donald Trump has shocked the US political establishment by knocking out every other Republican candidate to become his party’s presumptive candidate for President. Does he have a realistic shot of taking the White House? His campaign is short of money and some senior Republicans are refusing to endorse him. Current polls suggest his chances are slim. But his message has found an audience other politicians have failed to reach – he has become a lightning rod for many disaffected Americans. So, our question this week, can Trump win?

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: Donald Trump, presidential candidate 2016. Credit: Getty Images)

Can We Control 3D Printing?20180809

Does the 3D printing revolution mean that people anywhere can print anything they want?

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

It was May 2013 when Cody Wilson went public with his 3D-printed handgun. An online video showed the crude plastic object fixed on top of a tripod. The trigger was pulled from a distance by someone pulling a long piece of string.

Since that first successful firing, 3D printed guns and the debate around them has come a long way. The design for Cody Wilson’s plastic firearm, dubbed the ‘Liberator’ has been downloaded from the internet nearly 100,000 times. The US government has tried to block its publication.

But is the cat already out of the bag? Does the 3D printing revolution mean that people anywhere can print anything they want, as long as they get their hands on the right design? Can we control 3D printing?

(image: A three dimensional (3D) printer creating a product / Shutterstock)

Can We Control 3d Printing?20180809

Does the 3D printing revolution mean that people anywhere can print anything they want?

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

It was May 2013 when Cody Wilson went public with his 3D-printed handgun. An online video showed the crude plastic object fixed on top of a tripod. The trigger was pulled from a distance by someone pulling a long piece of string.

Since that first successful firing, 3D printed guns and the debate around them has come a long way. The design for Cody Wilson’s plastic firearm, dubbed the ‘Liberator’ has been downloaded from the internet nearly 100,000 times. The US government has tried to block its publication.

But is the cat already out of the bag? Does the 3D printing revolution mean that people anywhere can print anything they want, as long as they get their hands on the right design? Can we control 3D printing?

(image: A three dimensional (3D) printer creating a product / Shutterstock)

Can We Eat Our Way Out Of Climate Change?2017010320170107 (WS)

Changing what we eat could be one of the fastest ways to slow down climate change

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

Food production accounts for as much global greenhouse gas emissions as all forms of transport combined. That’s why many scientists think we can’t tackle climate change without addressing what we eat. So – in this week’s Inquiry – we’re looking at alternative climate-friendly diets and asking what it would take to move the world towards them.

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: Friends having a vegetarian meal. Credit: Shutterstock)

Can We Eat Our Way Out Of Climate Change?20170103

Changing what we eat could be one of the fastest ways to slow down climate change

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

Food production accounts for as much global greenhouse gas emissions as all forms of transport combined. That’s why many scientists think we can’t tackle climate change without addressing what we eat. So – in this week’s Inquiry – we’re looking at alternative climate-friendly diets and asking what it would take to move the world towards them.

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: Friends having a vegetarian meal. Credit: Shutterstock)

Can We Eat Our Way Out Of Climate Change?2017010320170107 (WS)

Food production accounts for as much global greenhouse gas emissions as all forms of transport combined. That’s why many scientists think we can’t tackle climate change without addressing what we eat. So – in this week’s Inquiry – we’re looking at alternative climate-friendly diets and asking what it would take to move the world towards them.

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: Friends having a vegetarian meal. Credit: Shutterstock)

Changing what we eat could be one of the fastest ways to slow down climate change

Can We Eat Our Way Out Of Climate Change?2018070520180707 (WS)

Changing what we eat could be one of the fastest ways to slow down climate change

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

Food production accounts for as much global greenhouse gas emissions as all forms of transport combined. That’s why many scientists think we can’t tackle climate change without addressing what we eat. So – in this week’s repeat Inquiry – we’re looking at alternative climate-friendly diets and asking what it would take to move the world towards them. Presenter: Helena Merriman (Photo: Friends having a vegetarian meal. Credit: Shutterstock)

Can We Eat Our Way Out Of Climate Change?20180705

Changing what we eat could be one of the fastest ways to slow down climate change

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

Food production accounts for as much global greenhouse gas emissions as all forms of transport combined. That’s why many scientists think we can’t tackle climate change without addressing what we eat. So – in this week’s repeat Inquiry – we’re looking at alternative climate-friendly diets and asking what it would take to move the world towards them. Presenter: Helena Merriman (Photo: Friends having a vegetarian meal. Credit: Shutterstock)

Can We Eat Our Way Out Of Climate Change?2018070520180707 (WS)

Changing what we eat could be one of the fastest ways to slow down climate change

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

Food production accounts for as much global greenhouse gas emissions as all forms of transport combined. That’s why many scientists think we can’t tackle climate change without addressing what we eat. So – in this week’s repeat Inquiry – we’re looking at alternative climate-friendly diets and asking what it would take to move the world towards them. Presenter: Helena Merriman (Photo: Friends having a vegetarian meal. Credit: Shutterstock)

Can We Ever Understand Animals?2018071220180714 (WS)

Humans spend hours studying our fellow animals. But will we ever truly understand them?

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

By the time she died at the age of 46, Koko the gorilla was a global superstar. Not only could she apparently understand two thousand words of spoken English and convey her own thoughts and feelings using sign language, but she was even able to give her own pet kitten a name.

Some say that it’s impossible to know whether Koko really understood what she was communicating, or whether she was just trying to please people by signing certain things. Either way, her death raises questions about animals, and the ways in which we try to understand them.

On this week’s Inquiry we examine how recent discoveries are bringing us closer to understanding our fellow creatures. We reveal some surprising animal capabilities, and ask whether we can ever know what it’s like to be anything other than human.

image: European Hamster (Shutterstock)

Can We Ever Understand Animals?20180712

Humans spend hours studying our fellow animals. But will we ever truly understand them?

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

By the time she died at the age of 46, Koko the gorilla was a global superstar. Not only could she apparently understand two thousand words of spoken English and convey her own thoughts and feelings using sign language, but she was even able to give her own pet kitten a name.

Some say that it’s impossible to know whether Koko really understood what she was communicating, or whether she was just trying to please people by signing certain things. Either way, her death raises questions about animals, and the ways in which we try to understand them.

On this week’s Inquiry we examine how recent discoveries are bringing us closer to understanding our fellow creatures. We reveal some surprising animal capabilities, and ask whether we can ever know what it’s like to be anything other than human.

image: European Hamster (Shutterstock)

Can We Learn to Live with Nuclear Power?2015090120150905 (WS)

After the Fukushima disaster in Japan, the country is turning its reactors back on.

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

In 2011, following a devastating tsunami, Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power station went into meltdown, leaking radiation. It was the most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl. It appeared to send the nuclear power industry into retreat – and not just in Japan. Other nations had second thoughts too. Germany decided to phase out its nuclear reactors altogether. But now Japan has resumed nuclear power generation. At the heart of the 'nuclear wobble' of 2011 is the question of risk. Attitudes to, and understanding of, risk vary surprisingly between nations and cultures. But after one of the most shocking incidents in nuclear power's history, will we be able to cope with our fears? In other words, can we learn to live with nuclear power?

(Photo: A Czech Power plant. Credit: AP)

Can We Learn to Live with Nuclear Power?2015090120150906 (WS)

After the Fukushima disaster in Japan, the country is turning its reactors back on.

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

In 2011, following a devastating tsunami, Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power station went into meltdown, leaking radiation. It was the most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl. It appeared to send the nuclear power industry into retreat – and not just in Japan. Other nations had second thoughts too. Germany decided to phase out its nuclear reactors altogether. But now Japan has resumed nuclear power generation. At the heart of the 'nuclear wobble' of 2011 is the question of risk. Attitudes to, and understanding of, risk vary surprisingly between nations and cultures. But after one of the most shocking incidents in nuclear power's history, will we be able to cope with our fears? In other words, can we learn to live with nuclear power?

(Photo: A Czech Power plant. Credit: AP)

Can We Learn to Live with Nuclear Power?20150901

After the Fukushima disaster in Japan, the country is turning its reactors back on.

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

In 2011, following a devastating tsunami, Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power station went into meltdown, leaking radiation. It was the most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl. It appeared to send the nuclear power industry into retreat – and not just in Japan. Other nations had second thoughts too. Germany decided to phase out its nuclear reactors altogether. But now Japan has resumed nuclear power generation. At the heart of the 'nuclear wobble' of 2011 is the question of risk. Attitudes to, and understanding of, risk vary surprisingly between nations and cultures. But after one of the most shocking incidents in nuclear power's history, will we be able to cope with our fears? In other words, can we learn to live with nuclear power?

(Photo: A Czech Power plant. Credit: AP)

Can We Learn To Live With Nuclear Power?2015090120150906 (WS)

In 2011, following a devastating tsunami, Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power station went into meltdown, leaking radiation. It was the most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl. It appeared to send the nuclear power industry into retreat – and not just in Japan. Other nations had second thoughts too. Germany decided to phase out its nuclear reactors altogether. But now Japan has resumed nuclear power generation. At the heart of the 'nuclear wobble' of 2011 is the question of risk. Attitudes to, and understanding of, risk vary surprisingly between nations and cultures. But after one of the most shocking incidents in nuclear power's history, will we be able to cope with our fears? In other words, can we learn to live with nuclear power?

(Photo: A Czech Power plant. Credit: AP)

After the Fukushima disaster in Japan, the country is turning its reactors back on.

Can we Quake-Proof a City?2016032220160327 (WS)

Earthquakes have killed a million people in the last two decades

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

They are at once the most predictable and unpredictable killers. We know continent-sized slabs of earth are moving beneath our feet. We know they move at a speed that is often harmless - the same rate as our fingernails grow. But sometimes, without warning, they can slip tens of metres in a second - and bring down whole cities. About a million people have died in earthquakes in the last two decades, most in a handful of huge quakes in urban areas. Yet the populations of cities at risk continue to grow. So, how can we quake-proof a city?

(Photo: A general view shows excavator vehicles and rescue workers in front of a building which collapsed in the 6.4 magnitude earthquake, in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan early on 9 February, 2016. Credit: Getty Images)

Can we Quake-Proof a City?20160322

Earthquakes have killed a million people in the last two decades

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

They are at once the most predictable and unpredictable killers. We know continent-sized slabs of earth are moving beneath our feet. We know they move at a speed that is often harmless - the same rate as our fingernails grow. But sometimes, without warning, they can slip tens of metres in a second - and bring down whole cities. About a million people have died in earthquakes in the last two decades, most in a handful of huge quakes in urban areas. Yet the populations of cities at risk continue to grow. So, how can we quake-proof a city?

(Photo: A general view shows excavator vehicles and rescue workers in front of a building which collapsed in the 6.4 magnitude earthquake, in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan early on 9 February, 2016. Credit: Getty Images)

Can We Quake-proof A City?2016032220160327 (WS)

They are at once the most predictable and unpredictable killers. We know continent-sized slabs of earth are moving beneath our feet. We know they move at a speed that is often harmless - the same rate as our fingernails grow. But sometimes, without warning, they can slip tens of metres in a second - and bring down whole cities. About a million people have died in earthquakes in the last two decades, most in a handful of huge quakes in urban areas. Yet the populations of cities at risk continue to grow. So, how can we quake-proof a city?

(Photo: A general view shows excavator vehicles and rescue workers in front of a building which collapsed in the 6.4 magnitude earthquake, in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan early on 9 February, 2016. Credit: Getty Images)

Earthquakes have killed a million people in the last two decades

Can We Teach Robots Ethics?20171012

From driverless cars to "carebots", machines are entering the realm of right and wrong.

From driverless cars to "carebots", machines are entering the realm of right and wrong. Should an autonomous vehicle prioritise the lives of its passengers over pedestrians? Should a robot caring for an elderly woman respect her right to life ahead of her right to make her own decisions? And who gets to decide? The challenges facing artificial intelligence are not just technical, but moral - and raise hard questions about what it means to be human.

(image: PaPeRo communication robot at the Robodex trade show in Tokyo, Japan, 18 January 2017. Photo credit: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)

Can We Teach Robots Ethics?2017101220171014 (WS)

From driverless cars to "carebots", machines are entering the realm of right and wrong.

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

From driverless cars to "carebots", machines are entering the realm of right and wrong. Should an autonomous vehicle prioritise the lives of its passengers over pedestrians? Should a robot caring for an elderly woman respect her right to life ahead of her right to make her own decisions? And who gets to decide? The challenges facing artificial intelligence are not just technical, but moral - and raise hard questions about what it means to be human.

(image: PaPeRo communication robot at the Robodex trade show in Tokyo, Japan, 18 January 2017. Photo credit: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)

Can We Teach Robots Ethics?20171012

From driverless cars to "carebots", machines are entering the realm of right and wrong.

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

From driverless cars to "carebots", machines are entering the realm of right and wrong. Should an autonomous vehicle prioritise the lives of its passengers over pedestrians? Should a robot caring for an elderly woman respect her right to life ahead of her right to make her own decisions? And who gets to decide? The challenges facing artificial intelligence are not just technical, but moral - and raise hard questions about what it means to be human.

(image: PaPeRo communication robot at the Robodex trade show in Tokyo, Japan, 18 January 2017. Photo credit: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)

Can You Believe What You Read On Wikileaks?2017020720170211 (WS)

Since 2006 the WikiLeaks website has been publishing secret documents and material obtained from whistleblowers and other sources. Many of the confidential files published by WikiLeaks have been revelatory. The site has frequently made news around the world. But in 2016 Wikileaks published hacked emails relating to Hillary Clinton and her presidential bid. Those leaks appeared to serve the interests of the Trump campaign and were – according to US intelligence – probably provided to Wikileaks by Russian sources. So, this week on The Inquiry, we’re asking: can you believe what you read on WikiLeaks?

(Photo: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks to the press after appearing at Belmarsh Magistrates court in London, England. Credit: Getty Images)

Can You Believe What You Read on WikiLeaks?2017020720170211 (WS)

WikiLeaks claims to serve only transparency. But some suspect other motives

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

Since 2006 the WikiLeaks website has been publishing secret documents and material obtained from whistleblowers and other sources. Many of the confidential files published by WikiLeaks have been revelatory. The site has frequently made news around the world. But in 2016 Wikileaks published hacked emails relating to Hillary Clinton and her presidential bid. Those leaks appeared to serve the interests of the Trump campaign and were – according to US intelligence – probably provided to Wikileaks by Russian sources. So, this week on The Inquiry, we’re asking: can you believe what you read on WikiLeaks?

(Photo: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks to the press after appearing at Belmarsh Magistrates court in London, England. Credit: Getty Images)

Can You Believe What You Read on WikiLeaks?20170207

WikiLeaks claims to serve only transparency. But some suspect other motives

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

Since 2006 the WikiLeaks website has been publishing secret documents and material obtained from whistleblowers and other sources. Many of the confidential files published by WikiLeaks have been revelatory. The site has frequently made news around the world. But in 2016 Wikileaks published hacked emails relating to Hillary Clinton and her presidential bid. Those leaks appeared to serve the interests of the Trump campaign and were – according to US intelligence – probably provided to Wikileaks by Russian sources. So, this week on The Inquiry, we’re asking: can you believe what you read on WikiLeaks?

(Photo: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks to the press after appearing at Belmarsh Magistrates court in London, England. Credit: Getty Images)

Can You Make Bankers Behave Better?2016070520160709 (WS)

Exploring how individual bankers might be nudged into better and safer choices

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

The $5bn settlement recently agreed by Goldman Sachs is the latest in a long list of multi-billion dollar fines paid by banks implicated in the 2008 financial crisis. But behind these giant corporations are individual bankers, taking everyday decisions. It is those decisions which really matter. If you could find a way to nudge bankers towards better and safer choices, building a culture of integrity, you might avoid future financial trouble. But can you make bankers behave better? Taking evidence from witnesses including a Goldman Sachs insider and a regulator deploying psychologists in banks, The Inquiry looks for an answer.

(Photo Montage: Bankers/Stock market charts/City of London. Credit to Getty)

Can You Make Bankers Behave Better?2016070520160710 (WS)

Exploring how individual bankers might be nudged into better and safer choices

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

The $5bn settlement recently agreed by Goldman Sachs is the latest in a long list of multi-billion dollar fines paid by banks implicated in the 2008 financial crisis. But behind these giant corporations are individual bankers, taking everyday decisions. It is those decisions which really matter. If you could find a way to nudge bankers towards better and safer choices, building a culture of integrity, you might avoid future financial trouble. But can you make bankers behave better? Taking evidence from witnesses including a Goldman Sachs insider and a regulator deploying psychologists in banks, The Inquiry looks for an answer.

(Photo Montage: Bankers/Stock market charts/City of London. Credit to Getty)

Can You Make Bankers Behave Better?20160705

Exploring how individual bankers might be nudged into better and safer choices

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

The $5bn settlement recently agreed by Goldman Sachs is the latest in a long list of multi-billion dollar fines paid by banks implicated in the 2008 financial crisis. But behind these giant corporations are individual bankers, taking everyday decisions. It is those decisions which really matter. If you could find a way to nudge bankers towards better and safer choices, building a culture of integrity, you might avoid future financial trouble. But can you make bankers behave better? Taking evidence from witnesses including a Goldman Sachs insider and a regulator deploying psychologists in banks, The Inquiry looks for an answer.

(Photo Montage: Bankers/Stock market charts/City of London. Credit to Getty)

Can You Make Bankers Behave Better?2016070520160710 (WS)

The $5bn settlement recently agreed by Goldman Sachs is the latest in a long list of multi-billion dollar fines paid by banks implicated in the 2008 financial crisis. But behind these giant corporations are individual bankers, taking everyday decisions. It is those decisions which really matter. If you could find a way to nudge bankers towards better and safer choices, building a culture of integrity, you might avoid future financial trouble. But can you make bankers behave better? Taking evidence from witnesses including a Goldman Sachs insider and a regulator deploying psychologists in banks, The Inquiry looks for an answer.

(Photo Montage: Bankers/Stock market charts/City of London. Credit to Getty)

Exploring how individual bankers might be nudged into better and safer choices

Can You Train People To Be Less Prejudiced?20180621

Businesses spend millions on anti-bias training \u2013 but does it work?

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

Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson were waiting to meet a business associate in Starbucks. After two minutes, the store manager called the police and the African-American men were removed from the café in handcuffs.

The Starbucks CEO has described the incident as “racial profiling”, claiming that the manager acted on unconscious racial bias. In response, he closed 8,000 branches of the coffee giant so his staff could attend anti-bias training.

It’s not just Starbucks - diversity training, such as this, has become a multi-million dollar global business. On this week’s Inquiry, we examine why these biases are so ingrained and what we can do to eradicate them.

(Photo: Two little boys on the grass. Credit: Shutterstock)

China - Africa20181101

Investment is slowing, discontent is growing \u2013 is this the beginning of the end?

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

China - Africa2018110120181105 (WS)

Investment is slowing, discontent is growing \u2013 is this the beginning of the end?

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

Could Europe Stop Migrants Dying In The Mediterranean?2015022420150301 (WS)

The people smugglers, the rescue mission and the politics behind the rising death toll.

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

More than 3,000 people are estimated to have died in the Mediterranean Sea last year. The Pope has warned that the waters are in danger of becoming "a vast cemetery". So what could European countries do to stop these deaths? The Inquiry hears evidence about the people smugglers described as the most ruthless travel agents on the planet, the Italian Navy rescue mission that’s been dramatically down-sized, and the claims that saving migrants at sea creates a "pull factor".

Presenter: Neal Razzell

(Image: The coffins of immigrants who died trying to reach the Italian coast arrive from Lampedusa to Porto Empedocle, 11 February 2015. Credit: MARCELLO PATERNOSTRO/AFP/Getty Images)

Could Europe Stop Migrants Dying In The Mediterranean?20150224

The people smugglers, the rescue mission and the politics behind the rising death toll.

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

More than 3,000 people are estimated to have died in the Mediterranean Sea last year. The Pope has warned that the waters are in danger of becoming "a vast cemetery". So what could European countries do to stop these deaths? The Inquiry hears evidence about the people smugglers described as the most ruthless travel agents on the planet, the Italian Navy rescue mission that’s been dramatically down-sized, and the claims that saving migrants at sea creates a "pull factor".

Presenter: Neal Razzell

(Image: The coffins of immigrants who died trying to reach the Italian coast arrive from Lampedusa to Porto Empedocle, 11 February 2015. Credit: MARCELLO PATERNOSTRO/AFP/Getty Images)

Could We Ban the Sale of Petrol and Diesel Cars Now?2017092820170930 (WS)

Can the electric car rule the road?

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

The list of nations legislating to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars is growing. But these restrictions won’t come into effect for decades. Air pollution contributes to thousands of early deaths each year and the scandal known as Dieselgate, when vehicle manufacturers admitted tampering with emissions tests, made us more aware of the polluting power of the diesel engine. Automotive technology is advancing quickly, but will greener vehicles really replace the combustion engine? Hybrid and electric cars are better for the environment but more expensive, and petrol stations are easier to find than charging points.

This edition of the Inquiry asks, if we wanted to, could we ban the sale of diesel and petrol cars now?

(image: Cars sit in gridlock in heavy fog (pollution) in Beijing China. Photo Credit: Guang Niu/Getty Images)

Could We Ban the Sale of Petrol and Diesel Cars Now?20170928

Can the electric car rule the road?

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

The list of nations legislating to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars is growing. But these restrictions won’t come into effect for decades. Air pollution contributes to thousands of early deaths each year and the scandal known as Dieselgate, when vehicle manufacturers admitted tampering with emissions tests, made us more aware of the polluting power of the diesel engine. Automotive technology is advancing quickly, but will greener vehicles really replace the combustion engine? Hybrid and electric cars are better for the environment but more expensive, and petrol stations are easier to find than charging points.

This edition of the Inquiry asks, if we wanted to, could we ban the sale of diesel and petrol cars now?

(image: Cars sit in gridlock in heavy fog (pollution) in Beijing China. Photo Credit: Guang Niu/Getty Images)

Could We See Another Aids Pandemic?20180816

Are we losing the battle against Aids?

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

The year 2030 was set by the UN as the world's deadline for halting the spread of HIV, stopping Aids deaths, and having the first generation since 1980 born and raised completely free from infection.

But at last month’s 22nd International Aids conference the mood was less optimistic. Deaths from the disease, having stabilised, are now beginning to increase, with some people fearing the disease is now poised to add massively to its global death toll.

As global funding for Aids decreases, and drug resistant strains of HIV rise, this week’s Inquiry asks, could we see another Aids pandemic?

(image: HIV and Aids activists in Amsterdam, Netherlands take part in the protest march Towards Zero Together. Credit: Shutterstock)

Could We See Another Aids Pandemic?20180816

Are we losing the battle against Aids?

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

The year 2030 was set by the UN as the world's deadline for halting the spread of HIV, stopping Aids deaths, and having the first generation since 1980 born and raised completely free from infection.

But at last month’s 22nd International Aids conference the mood was less optimistic. Deaths from the disease, having stabilised, are now beginning to increase, with some people fearing the disease is now poised to add massively to its global death toll.

As global funding for Aids decreases, and drug resistant strains of HIV rise, this week’s Inquiry asks, could we see another Aids pandemic?

(image: HIV and Aids activists in Amsterdam, Netherlands take part in the protest march Towards Zero Together. Credit: Shutterstock)

Cuba: What Would Che Say?2015040720150411 (WS)

Are warmer relations with the US a betrayal of Cuba\u2019s revolutionary past?

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

Ahead of a historic meeting between Cuba’s President Castro and US President Obama, The Inquiry asks if the island nation’s warmer relations with America are a betrayal of its revolutionary past. More than half a century ago, Che Guevara became a global icon after he fought alongside Fidel and Raul Castro to overthrow an American-backed government and put into practice their socialist ideals. Now Raul Castro has made a deal with the Americans and the lifting of the long-standing economic embargo of Cuba is becoming a realistic prospect. We delve into Che Guevara’s past, the changes already happening in Cuba under Raul Castro and the Obama administration’s motives, to answer the question - what would Che say?

(Photo: Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in the mid 1950s. Credit: Getty Images)

Cuba: What Would Che Say?2015040720150412 (WS)

Are warmer relations with the US a betrayal of Cuba\u2019s revolutionary past?

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

Ahead of a historic meeting between Cuba’s President Castro and US President Obama, The Inquiry asks if the island nation’s warmer relations with America are a betrayal of its revolutionary past. More than half a century ago, Che Guevara became a global icon after he fought alongside Fidel and Raul Castro to overthrow an American-backed government and put into practice their socialist ideals. Now Raul Castro has made a deal with the Americans and the lifting of the long-standing economic embargo of Cuba is becoming a realistic prospect. We delve into Che Guevara’s past, the changes already happening in Cuba under Raul Castro and the Obama administration’s motives, to answer the question - what would Che say?

(Photo: Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in the mid 1950s. Credit: Getty Images)

Cuba: What Would Che Say?20150407

Are warmer relations with the US a betrayal of Cuba\u2019s revolutionary past?

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

Ahead of a historic meeting between Cuba’s President Castro and US President Obama, The Inquiry asks if the island nation’s warmer relations with America are a betrayal of its revolutionary past. More than half a century ago, Che Guevara became a global icon after he fought alongside Fidel and Raul Castro to overthrow an American-backed government and put into practice their socialist ideals. Now Raul Castro has made a deal with the Americans and the lifting of the long-standing economic embargo of Cuba is becoming a realistic prospect. We delve into Che Guevara’s past, the changes already happening in Cuba under Raul Castro and the Obama administration’s motives, to answer the question - what would Che say?

(Photo: Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in the mid 1950s. Credit: Getty Images)

Do Drone Strikes Work?2015092920151003 (WS)

The impact of drones, America\u2019s counter-terrorism weapon of choice

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

The United States, UK, Israel and now Pakistan all use drone strikes to kill. In September a general in the Pakistani army announced their first ever use of an armed drone. It was directed at a terrorist compound, he said, and killed three. Meanwhile the US is thought to have launched a secret drone campaign to kill so-called Islamic State fighters in Syria.

Armed drones are the counter-terrorism weapon of choice, capable of killing militants from a distance and without putting military personnel in harm’s way. But critics question how far they bolster wider attempts to defeat terrorism. So, do drone strikes work?

(Photo: Reaper flies without pilot. Credit: Getty Images)

Do Drone Strikes Work?2015092920151004 (WS)

The impact of drones, America\u2019s counter-terrorism weapon of choice

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

The United States, UK, Israel and now Pakistan all use drone strikes to kill. In September a general in the Pakistani army announced their first ever use of an armed drone. It was directed at a terrorist compound, he said, and killed three. Meanwhile the US is thought to have launched a secret drone campaign to kill so-called Islamic State fighters in Syria.

Armed drones are the counter-terrorism weapon of choice, capable of killing militants from a distance and without putting military personnel in harm’s way. But critics question how far they bolster wider attempts to defeat terrorism. So, do drone strikes work?

(Photo: Reaper flies without pilot. Credit: Getty Images)

Do Drone Strikes Work?20150929

The impact of drones, America\u2019s counter-terrorism weapon of choice

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

The United States, UK, Israel and now Pakistan all use drone strikes to kill. In September a general in the Pakistani army announced their first ever use of an armed drone. It was directed at a terrorist compound, he said, and killed three. Meanwhile the US is thought to have launched a secret drone campaign to kill so-called Islamic State fighters in Syria.

Armed drones are the counter-terrorism weapon of choice, capable of killing militants from a distance and without putting military personnel in harm’s way. But critics question how far they bolster wider attempts to defeat terrorism. So, do drone strikes work?

(Photo: Reaper flies without pilot. Credit: Getty Images)

Do Drone Strikes Work?2015092920151004 (WS)

The United States, UK, Israel and now Pakistan all use drone strikes to kill. In September a general in the Pakistani army announced their first ever use of an armed drone. It was directed at a terrorist compound, he said, and killed three. Meanwhile the US is thought to have launched a secret drone campaign to kill so-called Islamic State fighters in Syria.

Armed drones are the counter-terrorism weapon of choice, capable of killing militants from a distance and without putting military personnel in harm’s way. But critics question how far they bolster wider attempts to defeat terrorism. So, do drone strikes work?

(Photo: Reaper flies without pilot. Credit: Getty Images)

The impact of drones, America’s counter-terrorism weapon of choice

Do We Have Enough Genders?2016011220160117 (WS)

Gender identity is considered more fluid than ever thanks to the trans movement

Gender identity is considered more fluid than ever because of the success of the trans movement. But most trans people, just like everyone else, still identify as either a man or a women. For those who feel they are neither – or both – the male-female distinction does not fit. And, for the one in 2000 who are born with indeterminate sex, finding a place in this binary world can be damaging.

So, are there enough genders? We hear from Dr Imran Mushtaq, who works with intersex children at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London; bi-gender vlogger Brin Convenient; Tamara Adrian, Venezuela’s first transgender congresswomen (who wants gender erased from official forms); and the writer Mark Gevisser.

(Photo: Transgender transsexual concept. Credit: Thinkstock by Getty Images)

Do We Have Enough Genders?2016011220160117 (WS)

Gender identity is considered more fluid than ever thanks to the trans movement

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

Gender identity is considered more fluid than ever because of the success of the trans movement. But most trans people, just like everyone else, still identify as either a man or a women. For those who feel they are neither – or both – the male-female distinction does not fit. And, for the one in 2000 who are born with indeterminate sex, finding a place in this binary world can be damaging.

So, are there enough genders? We hear from Dr Imran Mushtaq, who works with intersex children at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London; bi-gender vlogger Brin Convenient; Tamara Adrian, Venezuela’s first transgender congresswomen (who wants gender erased from official forms); and the writer Mark Gevisser.

(Photo: Transgender transsexual concept. Credit: Thinkstock by Getty Images)

Do We Have Enough Genders?20160112

Gender identity is considered more fluid than ever thanks to the trans movement

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

Gender identity is considered more fluid than ever because of the success of the trans movement. But most trans people, just like everyone else, still identify as either a man or a women. For those who feel they are neither – or both – the male-female distinction does not fit. And, for the one in 2000 who are born with indeterminate sex, finding a place in this binary world can be damaging.

So, are there enough genders? We hear from Dr Imran Mushtaq, who works with intersex children at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London; bi-gender vlogger Brin Convenient; Tamara Adrian, Venezuela’s first transgender congresswomen (who wants gender erased from official forms); and the writer Mark Gevisser.

(Photo: Transgender transsexual concept. Credit: Thinkstock by Getty Images)

Do We Have Enough Genders?2016041220160417 (WS)

Gender identity is considered more fluid than ever

Gender identity is considered more fluid than ever because of the success of the trans movement. But most trans people, just like everyone else, still identify as either a man or a women. For those who feel they are neither – or both – the male/female distinction does not fit. And for the one in 2000 who are born with indeterminate sex, finding a place in this binary world can be damaging.

We hear from Dr Imran Mushtaq, who works with intersex children at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London; bi-gender vlogger Brin Convenient; Tamara Adrian, Venezuela’s first transgender congresswomen (who wants gender erased from official forms); and the writer Mark Gevisser.

This programme is part of the World Service Identity Season.

(Photo: Transgender transsexual concept. Credit: Thinkstock by Getty Images)

Do We Have Enough Genders?2016041220160417 (WS)

Gender identity is considered more fluid than ever

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

Gender identity is considered more fluid than ever because of the success of the trans movement. But most trans people, just like everyone else, still identify as either a man or a women. For those who feel they are neither – or both – the male/female distinction does not fit. And for the one in 2000 who are born with indeterminate sex, finding a place in this binary world can be damaging.

We hear from Dr Imran Mushtaq, who works with intersex children at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London; bi-gender vlogger Brin Convenient; Tamara Adrian, Venezuela’s first transgender congresswomen (who wants gender erased from official forms); and the writer Mark Gevisser.

This programme is part of the World Service Identity Season.

(Photo: Transgender transsexual concept. Credit: Thinkstock by Getty Images)

Do We Have Enough Genders?20160412

Gender identity is considered more fluid than ever

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

Gender identity is considered more fluid than ever because of the success of the trans movement. But most trans people, just like everyone else, still identify as either a man or a women. For those who feel they are neither – or both – the male/female distinction does not fit. And for the one in 2000 who are born with indeterminate sex, finding a place in this binary world can be damaging.

We hear from Dr Imran Mushtaq, who works with intersex children at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London; bi-gender vlogger Brin Convenient; Tamara Adrian, Venezuela’s first transgender congresswomen (who wants gender erased from official forms); and the writer Mark Gevisser.

This programme is part of the World Service Identity Season.

(Photo: Transgender transsexual concept. Credit: Thinkstock by Getty Images)

Do We Need A Plan B For Climate Change?2017033020170402 (WS)

Scientists have been developing some very ambitious ideas to re-engineer our climate

At a recent press conference on the new US budget questions were asked about funding for climate change initiatives. The answer was stark. “We’re not spending money on that anymore,? reporters were told, they’re a “waste of your money? The new administration is sceptical about man-made climate change. Most of the world’s scientists and governments, however, are not. The Paris Agreement committed the world to prevent global temperatures from rising more than two degrees over pre-industrial levels. That target looked close to impossible even before the election of Donald Trump. So – our question this week – do we need a ‘plan B’? Scientists have been developing some very ambitious ideas to re-engineer our climate. They have created materials that could suck carbon dioxide out of the air and a scheme to pump reflective particles into the atmosphere. But – if ‘plan A’ fails – might any of these last-ditch ideas actually work?

(Photo: The smoke stacks at American Electric Power's Mountaineer coal power plant in New Haven, West Virginia. Credit: Getty Images)

Do We Need A Plan B For Climate Change?2017033020170401 (WS)

Scientists have been developing some very ambitious ideas to re-engineer our climate

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

At a recent press conference on the new US budget questions were asked about funding for climate change initiatives. The answer was stark. “We’re not spending money on that anymore,” reporters were told, they’re a “waste of your money”. The new administration is sceptical about man-made climate change. Most of the world’s scientists and governments, however, are not. The Paris Agreement committed the world to prevent global temperatures from rising more than two degrees over pre-industrial levels. That target looked close to impossible even before the election of Donald Trump. So – our question this week – do we need a ‘plan B’? Scientists have been developing some very ambitious ideas to re-engineer our climate. They have created materials that could suck carbon dioxide out of the air and a scheme to pump reflective particles into the atmosphere. But – if ‘plan A’ fails – might any of these last-ditch ideas actually work?

(Photo: The smoke stacks at American Electric Power's Mountaineer coal power plant in New Haven, West Virginia. Credit: Getty Images)

Do We Need A Plan B For Climate Change?20170330

Scientists have been developing some very ambitious ideas to re-engineer our climate

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

At a recent press conference on the new US budget questions were asked about funding for climate change initiatives. The answer was stark. “We’re not spending money on that anymore,” reporters were told, they’re a “waste of your money”. The new administration is sceptical about man-made climate change. Most of the world’s scientists and governments, however, are not. The Paris Agreement committed the world to prevent global temperatures from rising more than two degrees over pre-industrial levels. That target looked close to impossible even before the election of Donald Trump. So – our question this week – do we need a ‘plan B’? Scientists have been developing some very ambitious ideas to re-engineer our climate. They have created materials that could suck carbon dioxide out of the air and a scheme to pump reflective particles into the atmosphere. But – if ‘plan A’ fails – might any of these last-ditch ideas actually work?

(Photo: The smoke stacks at American Electric Power's Mountaineer coal power plant in New Haven, West Virginia. Credit: Getty Images)

Does Poverty Change The Way We Think?2017052520170527 (WS)

Investigating the scientific claims that being poor affects how our brains work

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

Does the experience of poverty actually take a physical toll on your brain? The Inquiry investigates the scientific claims that being poor affects how our brains work.

It's well known that children from poorer backgrounds do worse at school. And adults who are poor are often criticised for making bad life decisions - ones that don't help them in the long-term.

Some say the problems are rooted in the unfair way our society functions. Others argue it's simple genetics. But a growing body of research suggests that something else may be going on too.

The Inquiry assesses the evidence and asks: does poverty change the way we think?

Presenter: Ruth Alexander
Producers: Simon Maybin and Phoebe Keane

(Photo: Concept of human intelligence with human brain on blue background. Credit: Shutterstock)

Does Poverty Change The Way We Think?20170525

Investigating the scientific claims that being poor affects how our brains work

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

Does the experience of poverty actually take a physical toll on your brain? The Inquiry investigates the scientific claims that being poor affects how our brains work.

It's well known that children from poorer backgrounds do worse at school. And adults who are poor are often criticised for making bad life decisions - ones that don't help them in the long-term.

Some say the problems are rooted in the unfair way our society functions. Others argue it's simple genetics. But a growing body of research suggests that something else may be going on too.

The Inquiry assesses the evidence and asks: does poverty change the way we think?

Presenter: Ruth Alexander
Producers: Simon Maybin and Phoebe Keane

(Photo: Concept of human intelligence with human brain on blue background. Credit: Shutterstock)

Does Turkey Still Want to Join the EU?2016121320161217 (WS)

Turkey and the EU: it\u2019s complicated

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

Turkey first applied to join the European club over 50 years ago. Over the subsequent decades-long flirtation, enthusiasm for the EU in Turkey has remained high. Integrating with Europe, it was thought, would spur modernisation and economic development. But the country is changing under President Erdogan – who recently survived a coup attempt – in ways which deepen doubts in Europe about whether Turkey really shares its values. And enthusiasm in Turkey for the EU has begun to ebb away, as fewer and fewer Turks believe the EU will ever fully embrace them. So, our question this week: does Turkey still want to join the EU?
Contributors: Aykan Erdemir, former Turkish politician; Amberin Zaman, journalist and fellow at the Wilson Center; Senem Aydın-Düzgit, professor in international relations at Sabancı University; and Sinan Ulgen, scholar in Turkish foreign relations at Carnegie Europe.

Presenter: Chris Morris
Producer: Julia Ross

(Photo: European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker welcomes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the EU Commission in Brussels, Belgium, 05 October 2015. BBC Copyright, Elvis)

Does Turkey Still Want to Join the EU?20161213

Turkey and the EU: it\u2019s complicated

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

Turkey first applied to join the European club over 50 years ago. Over the subsequent decades-long flirtation, enthusiasm for the EU in Turkey has remained high. Integrating with Europe, it was thought, would spur modernisation and economic development. But the country is changing under President Erdogan – who recently survived a coup attempt – in ways which deepen doubts in Europe about whether Turkey really shares its values. And enthusiasm in Turkey for the EU has begun to ebb away, as fewer and fewer Turks believe the EU will ever fully embrace them. So, our question this week: does Turkey still want to join the EU?
Contributors: Aykan Erdemir, former Turkish politician; Amberin Zaman, journalist and fellow at the Wilson Center; Senem Aydın-Düzgit, professor in international relations at Sabancı University; and Sinan Ulgen, scholar in Turkish foreign relations at Carnegie Europe.

Presenter: Chris Morris
Producer: Julia Ross

(Photo: European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker welcomes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the EU Commission in Brussels, Belgium, 05 October 2015. BBC Copyright, Elvis)

Does Turkey Still Want To Join The Eu?2016121320161217 (WS)

Turkey first applied to join the European club over 50 years ago. Over the subsequent decades-long flirtation, enthusiasm for the EU in Turkey has remained high. Integrating with Europe, it was thought, would spur modernisation and economic development. But the country is changing under President Erdogan – who recently survived a coup attempt – in ways which deepen doubts in Europe about whether Turkey really shares its values. And enthusiasm in Turkey for the EU has begun to ebb away, as fewer and fewer Turks believe the EU will ever fully embrace them. So, our question this week: does Turkey still want to join the EU?

Contributors: Aykan Erdemir, former Turkish politician; Amberin Zaman, journalist and fellow at the Wilson Center; Senem Aydın-Düzgit, professor in international relations at Sabancı University; and Sinan Ulgen, scholar in Turkish foreign relations at Carnegie Europe.

Presenter: Chris Morris

Producer: Julia Ross

(Photo: European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker welcomes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the EU Commission in Brussels, Belgium, 05 October 2015. BBC Copyright, Elvis)

Turkey and the EU: it’s complicated

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

Has Austerity Worked?2015063020150704 (WS)

An examination of whether it is better to cut or spend your way out of an economic crisis

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

The global financial crisis reignited an old debate - is it better to cut spending and raise taxes in an economic downturn, or spend your way out of it? After a period of relative consensus up to 2010, some countries inclined more to austerity (cuts and tax rises), some against. In this edition of The Inquiry we examine whether we now have the evidence to settle this important economic argument.

(Photo: Anti-austerity demonstration. Credit: Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images)

Has Austerity Worked?2015063020150705 (WS)

An examination of whether it is better to cut or spend your way out of an economic crisis

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

The global financial crisis reignited an old debate - is it better to cut spending and raise taxes in an economic downturn, or spend your way out of it? After a period of relative consensus up to 2010, some countries inclined more to austerity (cuts and tax rises), some against. In this edition of The Inquiry we examine whether we now have the evidence to settle this important economic argument.

(Photo: Anti-austerity demonstration. Credit: Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images)

Has Austerity Worked?20150630

An examination of whether it is better to cut or spend your way out of an economic crisis

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

The global financial crisis reignited an old debate - is it better to cut spending and raise taxes in an economic downturn, or spend your way out of it? After a period of relative consensus up to 2010, some countries inclined more to austerity (cuts and tax rises), some against. In this edition of The Inquiry we examine whether we now have the evidence to settle this important economic argument.

(Photo: Anti-austerity demonstration. Credit: Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images)

Has President Assad Won?2016022320160228 (WS)

Bashar al-Assad still rules Syria after five years of war

Bashar al-Assad and his Syrian National Army appear to have the upper hand. The president has the momentum in a civil war that has raged for five years. It is a very different picture from that of 2011, when a wave of popular protests spread through the country and the international community demanded Mr Assad’s resignation as his army brutally crushed demonstrations.

At home, he remains in the presidential palace, supported by his inner circle. Russian air strikes and support from Iranian Revolutionary Guards have helped the Syrian leader win key battles. And on the international stage, the threat from so-called Islamic State and the role of jihadi groups within the opposition have caused those countries which wanted him gone to consider whether that remains a viable policy. So, has President Assad won?

(Photo: President Assad makes a speech. Credit: AP)

Has President Assad Won?2016022320160228 (WS)

Bashar al-Assad still rules Syria after five years of war

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

Bashar al-Assad and his Syrian National Army appear to have the upper hand. The president has the momentum in a civil war that has raged for five years. It is a very different picture from that of 2011, when a wave of popular protests spread through the country and the international community demanded Mr Assad’s resignation as his army brutally crushed demonstrations.

At home, he remains in the presidential palace, supported by his inner circle. Russian air strikes and support from Iranian Revolutionary Guards have helped the Syrian leader win key battles. And on the international stage, the threat from so-called Islamic State and the role of jihadi groups within the opposition have caused those countries which wanted him gone to consider whether that remains a viable policy. So, has President Assad won?

(Photo: President Assad makes a speech. Credit: AP)

Has President Assad Won?20160223

Bashar al-Assad still rules Syria after five years of war

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

Bashar al-Assad and his Syrian National Army appear to have the upper hand. The president has the momentum in a civil war that has raged for five years. It is a very different picture from that of 2011, when a wave of popular protests spread through the country and the international community demanded Mr Assad’s resignation as his army brutally crushed demonstrations.

At home, he remains in the presidential palace, supported by his inner circle. Russian air strikes and support from Iranian Revolutionary Guards have helped the Syrian leader win key battles. And on the international stage, the threat from so-called Islamic State and the role of jihadi groups within the opposition have caused those countries which wanted him gone to consider whether that remains a viable policy. So, has President Assad won?

(Photo: President Assad makes a speech. Credit: AP)

Has Russia Won In Ukraine?2016080920160813 (WS)

President Putin\u2019s short term gains may come at a cost

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

The fighting in Ukraine has fallen off the front pages recently after making headline news in 2014. But Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists are still engaged in a frozen conflict with no military or diplomatic solution in sight. Soldiers, rebels and civilians are dying. It looks good for Russia. Ukraine lacks the military power and international support to take back the East of the country where Russian-backed separatists hold huge swathes of land. And President Putin’s approval ratings at home have soared thanks to his annexation of Crimea in 2014. But does this mean Russia has won in Ukraine?

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: Separatist soldiers stand on a military vehicle during a city celebration on September 14, 2014 in Lugansk, Ukraine. Credit to Getty Images)

Has Russia Won In Ukraine?2016080920160814 (WS)

President Putin\u2019s short term gains may come at a cost

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

The fighting in Ukraine has fallen off the front pages recently after making headline news in 2014. But Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists are still engaged in a frozen conflict with no military or diplomatic solution in sight. Soldiers, rebels and civilians are dying. It looks good for Russia. Ukraine lacks the military power and international support to take back the East of the country where Russian-backed separatists hold huge swathes of land. And President Putin’s approval ratings at home have soared thanks to his annexation of Crimea in 2014. But does this mean Russia has won in Ukraine?

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: Separatist soldiers stand on a military vehicle during a city celebration on September 14, 2014 in Lugansk, Ukraine. Credit to Getty Images)

Has Russia Won In Ukraine?20160809

President Putin\u2019s short term gains may come at a cost

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

The fighting in Ukraine has fallen off the front pages recently after making headline news in 2014. But Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists are still engaged in a frozen conflict with no military or diplomatic solution in sight. Soldiers, rebels and civilians are dying. It looks good for Russia. Ukraine lacks the military power and international support to take back the East of the country where Russian-backed separatists hold huge swathes of land. And President Putin’s approval ratings at home have soared thanks to his annexation of Crimea in 2014. But does this mean Russia has won in Ukraine?

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: Separatist soldiers stand on a military vehicle during a city celebration on September 14, 2014 in Lugansk, Ukraine. Credit to Getty Images)

Has Russia Won In Ukraine?2016080920160814 (WS)

The fighting in Ukraine has fallen off the front pages recently after making headline news in 2014. But Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists are still engaged in a frozen conflict with no military or diplomatic solution in sight. Soldiers, rebels and civilians are dying. It looks good for Russia. Ukraine lacks the military power and international support to take back the East of the country where Russian-backed separatists hold huge swathes of land. And President Putin’s approval ratings at home have soared thanks to his annexation of Crimea in 2014. But does this mean Russia has won in Ukraine?

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: Separatist soldiers stand on a military vehicle during a city celebration on September 14, 2014 in Lugansk, Ukraine. Credit to Getty Images)

President Putin’s short term gains may come at a cost

Has The War On Drugs Been Lost?20150317

The global shift towards drug law relaxation and what it means

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

Forty-four years after President Nixon declared “war on drugs”, four US states have now agreed to legalise the sale of marijuana and a majority of Americans supports legalisation. Across the world, drug laws are being relaxed, from Uruguay to Portugal to Jamaica to the Czech Republic. Does this global trend mean the war on drugs has been lost? The Inquiry hears from expert witnesses including an ex-president and a former prosecutor who now defends drug traffickers.

(Photo: A person rolling a joint of cannabis. Credit: Press Association)

Have We Always Felt This Tired?2017062920170701 (WS)

The past, present and possible future story of human sleep

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

“Humans are the only species that willingly deprive themselves from sleep”. Ever since fire was discovered, we have traded off sleep time for other activities - from creating stone tools to partying. As our technology progressed, the list of things to do rather than sleep just got longer. But with sleep deprivation now a growing health problem, could we be reaching our limits? Or is tiredness part of our condition?

In this week’s programme, an evolutionary biologist, a historian and a neuroscientist give us their take on whether we are now any more tired than our ancestors. We hear what makes human sleep unique and how it has evolved in surprising ways.
And finally we hear from a woman with a dream – that we may never have to sleep again.

Producer: Estelle Doyle and Sarah Shebbeare
Presenter: James Fletcher

(Photo: A woman shows signs of tiredness as she counts ballot cards. Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Have We Always Felt This Tired?20170629

The past, present and possible future story of human sleep

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

“Humans are the only species that willingly deprive themselves from sleep”. Ever since fire was discovered, we have traded off sleep time for other activities - from creating stone tools to partying. As our technology progressed, the list of things to do rather than sleep just got longer. But with sleep deprivation now a growing health problem, could we be reaching our limits? Or is tiredness part of our condition?

In this week’s programme, an evolutionary biologist, a historian and a neuroscientist give us their take on whether we are now any more tired than our ancestors. We hear what makes human sleep unique and how it has evolved in surprising ways.
And finally we hear from a woman with a dream – that we may never have to sleep again.

Producer: Estelle Doyle and Sarah Shebbeare
Presenter: James Fletcher

(Photo: A woman shows signs of tiredness as she counts ballot cards. Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Have We Always Felt This Tired?20180322

The past, present and possible future story of human sleep.

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

“Humans are the only species that willingly deprive themselves from sleep”. Ever since fire was discovered, we have traded off sleep time for other activities - from creating stone tools to partying. As our technology progressed, the list of things to do rather than sleep just got longer. But with sleep deprivation now a growing health problem, could we be reaching our limits? Or is tiredness part of our condition? In this week’s programme, an evolutionary biologist, a historian and a neuroscientist give us their take on whether we are now any more tired than our ancestors. We hear what makes human sleep unique and how it has evolved in surprising ways. And finally we hear from a woman with a dream – that we may never have to sleep again.

Presenter: James Fletcher
Producer: Estelle Doyle and Sarah Shebbeare

This programme was first broadcast in July 2017.

(Photo: A woman shows signs of tiredness as she counts ballot cards. Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Have We Always Felt This Tired?20180322

The past, present and possible future story of human sleep.

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

“Humans are the only species that willingly deprive themselves from sleep”. Ever since fire was discovered, we have traded off sleep time for other activities - from creating stone tools to partying. As our technology progressed, the list of things to do rather than sleep just got longer. But with sleep deprivation now a growing health problem, could we be reaching our limits? Or is tiredness part of our condition? In this week’s programme, an evolutionary biologist, a historian and a neuroscientist give us their take on whether we are now any more tired than our ancestors. We hear what makes human sleep unique and how it has evolved in surprising ways. And finally we hear from a woman with a dream – that we may never have to sleep again.

Presenter: James Fletcher
Producer: Estelle Doyle and Sarah Shebbeare

This programme was first broadcast in July 2017.

(Photo: A woman shows signs of tiredness as she counts ballot cards. Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Have We Underestimated Plants?20151117

An exploration of what plants are capable of and what we can learn from them.

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

New research suggests plants might be capable of more than many of us might expect. Some – controversially – even describe plants as “intelligent”, or even “sentient”. So, this week, we’re asking: have we underestimated plants? Our expert witnesses include an academic studying how networks of trees communicate through what she describes as a “wood wide web”, and the pioneer who is using plants to develop robotics.

(Photo: US-Fall-Shenandoah, Credit: Getty Images)

Have We Underestimated Plants?20151117

New research suggests plants might be capable of more than many of us might expect. Some – controversially – even describe plants as “intelligent?, or even “sentient? So, this week, we’re asking: have we underestimated plants? Our expert witnesses include an academic studying how networks of trees communicate through what she describes as a “wood wide web?, and the pioneer who is using plants to develop robotics.

(Photo: US-Fall-Shenandoah, Credit: Getty Images)

An exploration of what plants are capable of and what we can learn from them.

Have We Underestimated Plants?2015112820151129 (WS)

An exploration of what plants are capable of and what we can learn from them.

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

New research suggests plants might be capable of more than many of us might expect. Some – controversially – even describe plants as “intelligent”, or even “sentient”. So, this week, we’re asking: have we underestimated plants? Our expert witnesses include an academic studying how networks of trees communicate through what she describes as a “wood wide web”, and the pioneer who is using plants to develop robotics. (Photo: US-Fall-Shenandoah, Credit: Getty Images)

Have We Underestimated Plants?20151129

New research suggests plants might be capable of more than many of us might expect. Some – controversially – even describe plants as “intelligent?, or even “sentient? So, this week, we’re asking: have we underestimated plants? Our expert witnesses include an academic studying how networks of trees communicate through what she describes as a “wood wide web?, and the pioneer who is using plants to develop robotics. (Photo: US-Fall-Shenandoah, Credit: Getty Images)

An exploration of what plants are capable of and what we can learn from them.

How Did China Ban Ivory?20180412

The story of how China ended its love affair with white gold.

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

China’s ivory market is now closed for business. The country has long been one of the world's biggest consumers of ivory. But as of this year, buying and selling ivory in China is illegal. Carving factories, workshops and jewellers have all shut their doors. How did this happen? And will it be enough to save the African elephant?

(Photo: An African Elephant throws mud onto himself, Mpala Research Centre, Kenya. Credit: Simon Maina/Gerry Images)

How Did China Ban Ivory?20180412

The story of how China ended its love affair with white gold.

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

China’s ivory market is now closed for business. The country has long been one of the world's biggest consumers of ivory. But as of this year, buying and selling ivory in China is illegal. Carving factories, workshops and jewellers have all shut their doors. How did this happen? And will it be enough to save the African elephant?

(Photo: An African Elephant throws mud onto himself, Mpala Research Centre, Kenya. Credit: Simon Maina/Getty Images)

How Did Governments Lose Control of Encryption?2016030120160306 (WS)

Spies, hippies, jihadis and the ongoing conflict over the power to keep secrets.

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

The clash between Apple and the FBI is the latest battle in a century-long conflict over the power to keep secrets. The FBI wants Apple to build a “backdoor to the iPhone” so that it can read encrypted data on a locked phone used by one of the San Bernadino attackers.

Apple says such a backdoor would be the equivalent of “a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks”. Creating such a key, Apple says, would “undermine decades of security advancements”.

Cryptography was once controlled by the state, which deployed it for military and diplomatic ends. But in the 1970s, long-haired hippy Whitfield Diffie came up with what has been described as the most revolutionary concept in encryption since the Renaissance.

Diffie’s invention took the keys away from the state and marked the start of the ‘Crypto Wars’ – the fight for the right of individuals and companies to communicate beyond the gaze of government agencies. The Inquiry tells the compelling story of the ongoing encryption war, taking evidence from expert witnesses including Whitfield Diffie himself.

(Photo: Rally support for Apple refusal to help FBI. Credit: EPA Wires)

How Did Governments Lose Control of Encryption?20160301

Spies, hippies, jihadis and the ongoing conflict over the power to keep secrets.

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

The clash between Apple and the FBI is the latest battle in a century-long conflict over the power to keep secrets. The FBI wants Apple to build a “backdoor to the iPhone” so that it can read encrypted data on a locked phone used by one of the San Bernadino attackers.

Apple says such a backdoor would be the equivalent of “a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks”. Creating such a key, Apple says, would “undermine decades of security advancements”.

Cryptography was once controlled by the state, which deployed it for military and diplomatic ends. But in the 1970s, long-haired hippy Whitfield Diffie came up with what has been described as the most revolutionary concept in encryption since the Renaissance.

Diffie’s invention took the keys away from the state and marked the start of the ‘Crypto Wars’ – the fight for the right of individuals and companies to communicate beyond the gaze of government agencies. The Inquiry tells the compelling story of the ongoing encryption war, taking evidence from expert witnesses including Whitfield Diffie himself.

(Photo: Rally support for Apple refusal to help FBI. Credit: EPA Wires)

How Did Governments Lose Control Of Encryption?2016030120160306 (WS)

The clash between Apple and the FBI is the latest battle in a century-long conflict over the power to keep secrets. The FBI wants Apple to build a “backdoor to the iPhone? so that it can read encrypted data on a locked phone used by one of the San Bernadino attackers.

Apple says such a backdoor would be the equivalent of “a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks? Creating such a key, Apple says, would “undermine decades of security advancements?

Cryptography was once controlled by the state, which deployed it for military and diplomatic ends. But in the 1970s, long-haired hippy Whitfield Diffie came up with what has been described as the most revolutionary concept in encryption since the Renaissance.

Diffie’s invention took the keys away from the state and marked the start of the ‘Crypto Wars’ – the fight for the right of individuals and companies to communicate beyond the gaze of government agencies. The Inquiry tells the compelling story of the ongoing encryption war, taking evidence from expert witnesses including Whitfield Diffie himself.

(Photo: Rally support for Apple refusal to help FBI. Credit: EPA Wires)

Spies, hippies, jihadis and the ongoing conflict over the power to keep secrets.

How Did Iceland Clean Up Its Banks (and Why Can't We)?2016020920160214 (WS)

Iceland put its prime minister on trial, cleaned up its banks and jailed senior bankers

At 4pm on 6 October 2008, as the global financial crisis ravaged Iceland’s economy, its prime minister addressed the nation. "There is a danger, fellow citizens," he said, "that Iceland could be sucked into the whirlpool and the result could be national bankruptcy. It was decided this morning to suspend trading with the banks. God Bless Iceland.?

The message was clear. Iceland was about to do what no other country had done - let its banking sector fail. And that was only the start. Over the coming years, Iceland would go on to do much more - clean up its banks and prosecute many senior bankers. And the story is still unfolding. Just two months ago, five more bank executives were jailed. So how exactly has Iceland done it? What happened next to Iceland’s economy? And why aren’t other nations following Iceland’s example?

(Photo: Protest against the Icelandic government 29 November 2008 in Reykjavik. Credit AFP/Getty Images)

How Did Iceland Clean Up its Banks (And Why Can't We)?2016020920160214 (WS)

Iceland put its prime minister on trial, cleaned up its banks and jailed senior bankers

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

At 4pm on 6 October 2008, as the global financial crisis ravaged Iceland’s economy, its prime minister addressed the nation. "There is a danger, fellow citizens," he said, "that Iceland could be sucked into the whirlpool and the result could be national bankruptcy. It was decided this morning to suspend trading with the banks. God Bless Iceland.”

The message was clear. Iceland was about to do what no other country had done - let its banking sector fail. And that was only the start. Over the coming years, Iceland would go on to do much more - clean up its banks and prosecute many senior bankers. And the story is still unfolding. Just two months ago, five more bank executives were jailed. So how exactly has Iceland done it? What happened next to Iceland’s economy? And why aren’t other nations following Iceland’s example?

(Photo: Protest against the Icelandic government 29 November 2008 in Reykjavik. Credit AFP/Getty Images)

How Did Iceland Clean Up its Banks (And Why Can't We)?20160209

Iceland put its prime minister on trial, cleaned up its banks and jailed senior bankers

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

At 4pm on 6 October 2008, as the global financial crisis ravaged Iceland’s economy, its prime minister addressed the nation. "There is a danger, fellow citizens," he said, "that Iceland could be sucked into the whirlpool and the result could be national bankruptcy. It was decided this morning to suspend trading with the banks. God Bless Iceland.”

The message was clear. Iceland was about to do what no other country had done - let its banking sector fail. And that was only the start. Over the coming years, Iceland would go on to do much more - clean up its banks and prosecute many senior bankers. And the story is still unfolding. Just two months ago, five more bank executives were jailed. So how exactly has Iceland done it? What happened next to Iceland’s economy? And why aren’t other nations following Iceland’s example?

(Photo: Protest against the Icelandic government 29 November 2008 in Reykjavik. Credit AFP/Getty Images)

How Did Immigration Stop Being a Political Taboo in the UK?2017051820170520 (WS)

How did immigration stop being a political taboo in the UK?

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

Brexit showed that the issue is now among the most important for British voters. And that’s likely to continue in June’s UK general election, as major parties have made their positions on immigration central to their campaigns.
And yet for decades, immigration was a no-go area for mainstream debate. Following racial tensions in the 1960s, it came to be perceived as a proxy for racism. Today it is one of the most salient issues in British politics. What changed?

Producer: Estelle Doyle
Presenter: Ruth Alexander

(Photo: Border Force check the passports of passengers arriving at Gatwick Airport in London, England. Credit: Getty images)

How Did Immigration Stop Being a Political Taboo in the UK?20170518

How did immigration stop being a political taboo in the UK?

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

Brexit showed that the issue is now among the most important for British voters. And that’s likely to continue in June’s UK general election, as major parties have made their positions on immigration central to their campaigns.
And yet for decades, immigration was a no-go area for mainstream debate. Following racial tensions in the 1960s, it came to be perceived as a proxy for racism. Today it is one of the most salient issues in British politics. What changed?

Producer: Estelle Doyle
Presenter: Ruth Alexander

(Photo: Border Force check the passports of passengers arriving at Gatwick Airport in London, England. Credit: Getty images)

How did North Korea get the Bomb?2017050420170506 (WS)

Exploring how the secretive state has acquired nuclear weapons

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

Tensions between the US and North Korea are running high. Kim Jong-Un has been testing long-range missiles and nuclear weapons. The Trump administration wants Pyongyang to end its nuclear weapons programmes and has said “all of our options are on the table” in pursuit of that goal. North Korea has said that a "super mighty pre-emptive strike” is planned if the US uses military force against them. But – our question this week – how did this poor and isolated country develop nuclear weapons in the first place?

Presenter: Ruth Alexander

Producers: Kate Lamble, Phoebe Keane and Estelle Doyle

(Photo: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets scientists and technicians in the field of researches into nuclear weapons. Credit: Reuters)

How did North Korea get the Bomb?20170504

Exploring how the secretive state has acquired nuclear weapons

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

Tensions between the US and North Korea are running high. Kim Jong-Un has been testing long-range missiles and nuclear weapons. The Trump administration wants Pyongyang to end its nuclear weapons programmes and has said “all of our options are on the table” in pursuit of that goal. North Korea has said that a "super mighty pre-emptive strike” is planned if the US uses military force against them. But – our question this week – how did this poor and isolated country develop nuclear weapons in the first place?

Presenter: Ruth Alexander

Producers: Kate Lamble, Phoebe Keane and Estelle Doyle

(Photo: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets scientists and technicians in the field of researches into nuclear weapons. Credit: Reuters)

How Did the US Get Stuck With Guantanamo?20170117

The full story of Guantanamo \u2013 and why so-called "forever prisoners" are held there today

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

In 2002 US military personnel at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba were given 96 hours to prepare their sleepy base for the arrival of hundreds of prisoners. “The worst of the worst,” they were told. Beyond US jurisdiction, with no clear legal framework, prisoners accused of terror offences have been held there indefinitely without charge ever since. For many, Guantanamo has stained the image of the United States. When President Obama came to power in 2008 he vowed to close it. He failed. In this week’s Inquiry we are telling the full story of Guantanamo - from its creation to the so-called “forever prisoners” held there today.

Presenter: James Fletcher

(Photo: A US soldier walks next to a razor wire-topped fence at the abandoned 'Camp X-Ray' detention facility at the US Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Credit: Getty Images)

How Did The Us Get Stuck With Guantanamo?20170117

The full story of Guantanamo – and why so-called "forever prisoners" are held there today

In 2002 US military personnel at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba were given 96 hours to prepare their sleepy base for the arrival of hundreds of prisoners. “The worst of the worst,? they were told. Beyond US jurisdiction, with no clear legal framework, prisoners accused of terror offences have been held there indefinitely without charge ever since. For many, Guantanamo has stained the image of the United States. When President Obama came to power in 2008 he vowed to close it. He failed. In this week’s Inquiry we are telling the full story of Guantanamo - from its creation to the so-called “forever prisoners? held there today.

Presenter: James Fletcher

(Photo: A US soldier walks next to a razor wire-topped fence at the abandoned 'Camp X-Ray' detention facility at the US Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Credit: Getty Images)

How Did Venezuela Go From So Rich To So Poor?20170511

Once the richest country in South America, Venezuela is now in deep economic crisis

How Did Venezuela Go From So Rich To So Poor?2017051120170513 (WS)

Once the richest country in South America, Venezuela is now in deep economic crisis

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

Once the richest country in South America, Venezuela is now in deep economic crisis.

Children in school are fainting from hunger; patients are dying from the lack of basic medicine. As prices spiral out of control, cash is carried not in wallets, but in backpacks. Street protests over the crisis are growing in size and frequency - and the government's response becoming ever more authoritarian.

Yet in 1970, Venezuela was among the wealthiest countries in the world. It was held up as a beacon of democracy and stability - an example of a successful developing economy that turned oil resource wealth into riches. So what went wrong? How did Venezuela go from so rich to so poor?

Presenter: Linda Yueh
Producer: Simon Maybin

(Photo: A father and daughter rest while someone holds their place before sunrise in a long line to buy basic foodstuffs at a supermarket in San Cristobal, Venezuela. Credit: Getty Images)

How Did Venezuela Go From So Rich To So Poor?20170511

Once the richest country in South America, Venezuela is now in deep economic crisis

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

Once the richest country in South America, Venezuela is now in deep economic crisis.

Children in school are fainting from hunger; patients are dying from the lack of basic medicine. As prices spiral out of control, cash is carried not in wallets, but in backpacks. Street protests over the crisis are growing in size and frequency - and the government's response becoming ever more authoritarian.

Yet in 1970, Venezuela was among the wealthiest countries in the world. It was held up as a beacon of democracy and stability - an example of a successful developing economy that turned oil resource wealth into riches. So what went wrong? How did Venezuela go from so rich to so poor?

Presenter: Linda Yueh
Producer: Simon Maybin

(Photo: A father and daughter rest while someone holds their place before sunrise in a long line to buy basic foodstuffs at a supermarket in San Cristobal, Venezuela. Credit: Getty Images)

How Did We Get Hooked On Plastic?20180201

The story of how the search for a material to replace ivory changed our lives forever

The story of how the search for a material to replace ivory changed our lives forever. In the 19th century a billiard ball company placed an advert in a newspaper offering $10,000 to anyone who could come up with a substitute for ivory. There was growing concern that companies were hunting elephants into extinction so they could use their ivory for billiard balls, buttons and umbrella handles. The story that follows takes us from explosive factories that often went up in smoke to the modern world we find ourselves in today. How did plastics go from being a saviour of the environment to a cause for concern? How did we get hooked on plastic?

Presenter: Helena Merriman
Producer: Phoebe Keane

Photo: A man checks used plastic bottles for recycling at a recycling station in Agartala
Credit: ARINDAM DEY/AFP/Getty Images

How Did We Get Hooked on Plastic?20180201

The story of how the search for a material to replace ivory changed our lives forever

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

The story of how the search for a material to replace ivory changed our lives forever. In the 19th century a billiard ball company placed an advert in a newspaper offering $10,000 to anyone who could come up with a substitute for ivory. There was growing concern that companies were hunting elephants into extinction so they could use their ivory for billiard balls, buttons and umbrella handles. The story that follows takes us from explosive factories that often went up in smoke to the modern world we find ourselves in today. How did plastics go from being a saviour of the environment to a cause for concern? How did we get hooked on plastic?

Presenter: Helena Merriman
Producer: Phoebe Keane

Photo: A man checks used plastic bottles for recycling at a recycling station in Agartala
Credit: ARINDAM DEY/AFP/Getty Images

How Did We Mess up Antibiotics?2016101820161023 (WS)

We are moving towards a world where antibiotics no longer work.

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

Warnings about the approaching post-antibiotics apocalypse have been sounding for years. There are now strains of deadly bacteria that are resistant to all antibiotics. This means that doctors are faced with patients who have completely untreatable infections. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide are dying due to antibiotic resistance - and this number is set to rise rapidly. If we carry on like this, scientists predict we will return to a pre-antibiotic era, where organ transplants, chemotherapy and C-sections are impossible.

We have come a long way since 1928, when the famous chance discovery of penicillin led to a golden age in which antibiotics were seen as wonder drugs, heralding in an age of huge medical advances and increased human life spans. But by the 1990s we were running out of new antibiotics and infections were again a killer. How did this happen?

Our expert witnesses are medic and historian, Dr Eric Sidebottom, Dr Scott Podolsky of Harvard Medical School, journalist Maryn McKenna and infectious disease specialist Brad Spellberg.

(Photo: A depiction EHEC bacteria. Credit: HZI/Getty Images)

How Did We Mess up Antibiotics?20161018

We are moving towards a world where antibiotics no longer work.

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

Warnings about the approaching post-antibiotics apocalypse have been sounding for years. There are now strains of deadly bacteria that are resistant to all antibiotics. This means that doctors are faced with patients who have completely untreatable infections. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide are dying due to antibiotic resistance - and this number is set to rise rapidly. If we carry on like this, scientists predict we will return to a pre-antibiotic era, where organ transplants, chemotherapy and C-sections are impossible.

We have come a long way since 1928, when the famous chance discovery of penicillin led to a golden age in which antibiotics were seen as wonder drugs, heralding in an age of huge medical advances and increased human life spans. But by the 1990s we were running out of new antibiotics and infections were again a killer. How did this happen?

Our expert witnesses are medic and historian, Dr Eric Sidebottom, Dr Scott Podolsky of Harvard Medical School, journalist Maryn McKenna and infectious disease specialist Brad Spellberg.

(Photo: A depiction EHEC bacteria. Credit: HZI/Getty Images)

How Did We Mess Up Antibiotics?2016101820161023 (WS)

We are moving towards a world where antibiotics no longer work.

Warnings about the approaching post-antibiotics apocalypse have been sounding for years. There are now strains of deadly bacteria that are resistant to all antibiotics. This means that doctors are faced with patients who have completely untreatable infections. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide are dying due to antibiotic resistance - and this number is set to rise rapidly. If we carry on like this, scientists predict we will return to a pre-antibiotic era, where organ transplants, chemotherapy and C-sections are impossible.

We’ve come a long way since 1928, when the famous chance discovery of penicillin led to a golden age in which antibiotics were seen as wonder drugs, heralding in an age of huge medical advances and increased human life spans. But by the 1990s we were running out of new antibiotics and infections were again a killer. How did this happen?

Our expert witnesses are: Medic and historian, Dr Eric Sidebottom, Dr Scott Podolsky of Harvard Medical School, journalist Maryn McKenna and infectious disease specialist Brad Spellberg.

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: A depiction EHEC bacteria. Credit: HZI/Getty Images)

How Did we Save the Ozone Layer?2016080220160806 (WS)

How scientists, campaigners, business and government came together to avert disaster

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

On 30 June this year, a study was released in one of the world's top scientific journals. It explained how a group of scientists who had been measuring the amount of ozone in the stratosphere had made a startling observation - the hole in the ozone layer had shrunk. Here, they said, was the first, clear evidence that the ozone layer had begun to heal. So how did this happen? It is a story that involves dogged scientific endeavour, the burgeoning green movement of the 1980s and the signing of what has been described as the most successful treaty ever created.

(Photo: Severe thinning of Earth's protective ozone layer found over Antarctica, by Nasa scientists. Credit: Getty Images)

How Did we Save the Ozone Layer?2016080220160807 (WS)

How scientists, campaigners, business and government came together to avert disaster

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

On 30 June this year, a study was released in one of the world's top scientific journals. It explained how a group of scientists who had been measuring the amount of ozone in the stratosphere had made a startling observation - the hole in the ozone layer had shrunk. Here, they said, was the first, clear evidence that the ozone layer had begun to heal. So how did this happen? It is a story that involves dogged scientific endeavour, the burgeoning green movement of the 1980s and the signing of what has been described as the most successful treaty ever created.

(Photo: Severe thinning of Earth's protective ozone layer found over Antarctica, by Nasa scientists. Credit: Getty Images)

How Did we Save the Ozone Layer?20160802

How scientists, campaigners, business and government came together to avert disaster

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

On 30 June this year, a study was released in one of the world's top scientific journals. It explained how a group of scientists who had been measuring the amount of ozone in the stratosphere had made a startling observation - the hole in the ozone layer had shrunk. Here, they said, was the first, clear evidence that the ozone layer had begun to heal. So how did this happen? It is a story that involves dogged scientific endeavour, the burgeoning green movement of the 1980s and the signing of what has been described as the most successful treaty ever created.

(Photo: Severe thinning of Earth's protective ozone layer found over Antarctica, by Nasa scientists. Credit: Getty Images)

How Did We Save The Ozone Layer?2016080220160807 (WS)

On 30 June this year, a study was released in one of the world's top scientific journals. It explained how a group of scientists who had been measuring the amount of ozone in the stratosphere had made a startling observation - the hole in the ozone layer had shrunk. Here, they said, was the first, clear evidence that the ozone layer had begun to heal. So how did this happen? It is a story that involves dogged scientific endeavour, the burgeoning green movement of the 1980s and the signing of what has been described as the most successful treaty ever created.

(Photo: Severe thinning of Earth's protective ozone layer found over Antarctica, by Nasa scientists. Credit: Getty Images)

How scientists, campaigners, business and government came together to avert disaster

How Do Cartels Get Drugs into the US?2015120120151206 (WS)

How drugs get into the US via tunnels, \u201cnarco-subs\u201d and complex criminal networks

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

In November the US Drug Enforcement Administration issued its Drug Threat Assessment. Mexican ‘transnational criminal organisations’, it said, are the primary suppliers of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana to the United States. Drugs – the DEA says – are killing 46,000 Americans a year. But between Mexico’s criminal enterprises, and their clients, is a vast expanse of difficult geography and an international border. So, how do cartels get drugs into the US? The Inquiry hears from serving US law enforcement personnel tasked with intercepting drugs shipments. Their stories – of tunnels, “narco-subs” and complex criminal networks – are astonishing.

(Photo: Narco-Submarines, Credit: Reuters)

How Do Cartels Get Drugs into the US?20151201

How drugs get into the US via tunnels, \u201cnarco-subs\u201d and complex criminal networks

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

In November the US Drug Enforcement Administration issued its Drug Threat Assessment. Mexican ‘transnational criminal organisations’, it said, are the primary suppliers of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana to the United States. Drugs – the DEA says – are killing 46,000 Americans a year. But between Mexico’s criminal enterprises, and their clients, is a vast expanse of difficult geography and an international border. So, how do cartels get drugs into the US? The Inquiry hears from serving US law enforcement personnel tasked with intercepting drugs shipments. Their stories – of tunnels, “narco-subs” and complex criminal networks – are astonishing.

(Photo: Narco-Submarines, Credit: Reuters)

How Do Cartels Get Drugs Into The Us?2015120120151206 (WS)

In November the US Drug Enforcement Administration issued its Drug Threat Assessment. Mexican ‘transnational criminal organisations’, it said, are the primary suppliers of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana to the United States. Drugs – the DEA says – are killing 46,000 Americans a year. But between Mexico’s criminal enterprises, and their clients, is a vast expanse of difficult geography and an international border. So, how do cartels get drugs into the US? The Inquiry hears from serving US law enforcement personnel tasked with intercepting drugs shipments. Their stories – of tunnels, “narco-subs? and complex criminal networks – are astonishing.

(Photo: Narco-Submarines, Credit: Reuters)

How drugs get into the US via tunnels, “narco-subs? and complex criminal networks

How Do Dictators Survive So Long?20180405

What\u2019s in the dictators\u2019 survival guide?

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

When Robert Mugabe was deposed last year, he had ruled Zimbabwe for nearly four decades. How do dictators and authoritarians stay in power? James Tilley, a professor of politics at Oxford University in the UK, finds out what's in the dictators' survival guide. How do they control ordinary people and stop revolts? How do they stop rivals from taking over? And why are elections often helpful to securing their rule?

Producer: Bob Howard.

(Photo: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe looks on during his inauguration and swearing-in ceremony on August 22, 2013 Credit: ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

How Do We Fix Antibiotics?2016102520161030 (WS)

From Komodo dragons to Dutch pigs \u2013 some promising solutions to the antibiotics crisis

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

By 2050, experts predict that drug-resistant infections will kill one person every three seconds unless the world’s governments take drastic steps now. But given the complexity of antibiotics resistance, what should their plan be? Some of the possible fixes involve changing ingrained human behaviours such as doctors’ prescribing habits and the intensive farming of animals. But other promising solutions to avert a post-antibiotics apocalypse come from surprising sources. Scientists are now hunting for undiscovered fungi in the world’s most remote places while other researchers stay in the lab deciphering the language of bacteria.

(Photo: A depiction of some EHEC bacteria Credit: HZI/Getty Images)

How Do We Fix Antibiotics?20161025

From Komodo dragons to Dutch pigs \u2013 some promising solutions to the antibiotics crisis

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

By 2050, experts predict that drug-resistant infections will kill one person every three seconds unless the world’s governments take drastic steps now. But given the complexity of antibiotics resistance, what should their plan be? Some of the possible fixes involve changing ingrained human behaviours such as doctors’ prescribing habits and the intensive farming of animals. But other promising solutions to avert a post-antibiotics apocalypse come from surprising sources. Scientists are now hunting for undiscovered fungi in the world’s most remote places while other researchers stay in the lab deciphering the language of bacteria.

(Photo: A depiction of some EHEC bacteria Credit: HZI/Getty Images)

How Do We Fix Antibiotics?2016102520161030 (WS)

From Komodo dragons to Dutch pigs – some promising solutions to the antibiotics crisis

By 2050, experts predict that drug-resistant infections will kill one person every three seconds unless the world’s governments take drastic steps now. But given the complexity of antibiotics resistance, what should their plan be? Some of the possible fixes involve changing ingrained human behaviours such as doctors’ prescribing habits and the intensive farming of animals. But other promising solutions to avert a post-antibiotics apocalypse come from surprising sources. Scientists are now hunting for undiscovered fungi in the world’s most remote places while other researchers stay in the lab deciphering the language of bacteria.

(Photo: A depiction of some EHEC bacteria Credit: HZI/Getty Images)

How Do We Rule The Universe?20171221

Governing moon miners, asteroid hunters and space junk

Governing moon miners, asteroid hunters and space junk sounds pretty tricky, but we better get our act together. This year the majority of space launches included commercial enterprises. Space is no longer just the playground of governments but companies; companies that want to mine the moon for water that they could sell as rocket fuel, companies that want to mine the moon for helium -3 which could be sold and used as energy back on earth and companies that want to mine asteroids for platinum that they could sell for huge profits. But is this legal? The Outer Space Treaty, a set of laws written in the 1960s, says no state can conquer or own the moon or any other celestial body. So if you can’t own the moon, can you sell what you find on it? Perhaps it’s time for a new set of laws. So, how do we rule the universe?

(digital illustration: Somewhere in the Universe: NASA's Kepler mission discovers a world orbiting two stars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech via Getty Images)

How Do We Rule The Universe?20171221

Governing moon miners, asteroid hunters and space junk

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

Governing moon miners, asteroid hunters and space junk sounds pretty tricky, but we better get our act together. This year the majority of space launches included commercial enterprises. Space is no longer just the playground of governments but companies; companies that want to mine the moon for water that they could sell as rocket fuel, companies that want to mine the moon for helium -3 which could be sold and used as energy back on earth and companies that want to mine asteroids for platinum that they could sell for huge profits. But is this legal? The Outer Space Treaty, a set of laws written in the 1960s, says no state can conquer or own the moon or any other celestial body. So if you can’t own the moon, can you sell what you find on it? Perhaps it’s time for a new set of laws. So, how do we rule the universe?

(digital illustration: Somewhere in the Universe: NASA's Kepler mission discovers a world orbiting two stars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech via Getty Images)

How Do We Stop People Dying in Floods?2017091420170916 (WS)

Do we have the power to avoid the natural forces of intense rainfall?

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

Do we have the power to avoid the natural forces of intense rainfall? With rising sea levels and the threat of climate change, the risk of death due to floods seems an insurmountable challenge. But there are some surprising facts in the figures on flood deaths. In developed countries like the US, more men die in floods than women and it is 30% of white men who are of particular concern.

We hear from four expert witnesses from across the globe, who share different options for change. Their ideas are both obvious as well as innovative, both low cost for use in developing countries like Bangladesh and high-tech like in the Netherlands. We also hear from the one place in the world which seems to be saving more lives in the face of devastating floods and storm surges than anywhere else on the planet.

Presenter : James Fletcher
Producer: Nina Robinson

(Photo: Officials distribute medicine to villagers affected by the monsoon flooding across India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Credit: Biju Boro/Getty Images)

How Do We Stop People Dying in Floods?20170914

Do we have the power to avoid the natural forces of intense rainfall?

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

Do we have the power to avoid the natural forces of intense rainfall? With rising sea levels and the threat of climate change, the risk of death due to floods seems an insurmountable challenge. But there are some surprising facts in the figures on flood deaths. In developed countries like the US, more men die in floods than women and it is 30% of white men who are of particular concern.

We hear from four expert witnesses from across the globe, who share different options for change. Their ideas are both obvious as well as innovative, both low cost for use in developing countries like Bangladesh and high-tech like in the Netherlands. We also hear from the one place in the world which seems to be saving more lives in the face of devastating floods and storm surges than anywhere else on the planet.

Presenter : James Fletcher
Producer: Nina Robinson

(Photo: Officials distribute medicine to villagers affected by the monsoon flooding across India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Credit: Biju Boro/Getty Images)

How Do You Close The Gender Pay Gap?

Women earn less than men in every country in the world.

Women are now more educated than ever before. But, on average, they don't take home the same in their pay packets. And laws against discrimination in the workplace haven't been enough to close the gap.

This inequality in wages has proven difficult to shift. Governments, employers and unions are struggling to find solutions to this stubborn and deep-rooted problem. How do you close the gender pay gap?

Presenter: Krupa Padhy
Producers: Josephine Casserly and Nicola Kelly

(image: Women from Dawson Street Child Care take part in a protest march as part of a campaign for equal pay in Melbourne, Australia. Credit: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

How Do You Close The Gender Pay Gap?20180222

Women earn less than men in every country in the world.

Women are now more educated than ever before. But, on average, they don't take home the same in their pay packets. And laws against discrimination in the workplace haven't been enough to close the gap.

This inequality in wages has proven difficult to shift. Governments, employers and unions are struggling to find solutions to this stubborn and deep-rooted problem. How do you close the gender pay gap?

Presenter: Krupa Padhy
Producers: Josephine Casserly and Nicola Kelly

(image: Women from Dawson Street Child Care take part in a protest march as part of a campaign for equal pay in Melbourne, Australia. Credit: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Women earn less than men in every country in the world

How Do You Close The Gender Pay Gap?20180222

Women earn less than men in every country in the world

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

Women earn less than men in every country in the world.

Women are now more educated than ever before. But, on average, they don't take home the same in their pay packets. And laws against discrimination in the workplace haven't been enough to close the gap.

This inequality in wages has proven difficult to shift. Governments, employers and unions are struggling to find solutions to this stubborn and deep-rooted problem. How do you close the gender pay gap?

Presenter: Krupa Padhy
Producers: Josephine Casserly and Nicola Kelly

(image: Women from Dawson Street Child Care take part in a protest march as part of a campaign for equal pay in Melbourne, Australia. Credit: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

How Do You End A Civil War?20171026

Why internal conflicts end and what it might mean for Syria.

Why internal conflicts end and what it might mean for Syria. The war in Syria is in its seventh year and there are few signs that an end is in sight. Yet over the years, other seemingly intractable civil conflicts have, eventually, been resolved. So, how did they do it and what lessons are there that might help Syria?

(A Kurdish Syrian woman walks with her child past the ruins of the town of Kobane in northern Syria. Credit: Yasin Akgul/Getty Images)

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

Why internal conflicts end and what it might mean for Syria. The war in Syria is in its seventh year and there are few signs that an end is in sight. Yet over the years, other seemingly intractable civil conflicts have, eventually, been resolved. So, how did they do it and what lessons are there that might help Syria?

(A Kurdish Syrian woman walks with her child past the ruins of the town of Kobane in northern Syria. Credit: Yasin Akgul/Getty Images)

How Do You End A Civil War?2017102620171028 (WS)

Why internal conflicts end and what it might mean for Syria.

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

Why internal conflicts end and what it might mean for Syria. The war in Syria is in its seventh year and there are few signs that an end is in sight. Yet over the years, other seemingly intractable civil conflicts have, eventually, been resolved. So, how did they do it and what lessons are there that might help Syria?

(A Kurdish Syrian woman walks with her child past the ruins of the town of Kobane in northern Syria. Credit: Yasin Akgul/Getty Images)

How Do You End A Civil War?20171026

Why internal conflicts end and what it might mean for Syria.

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

Why internal conflicts end and what it might mean for Syria. The war in Syria is in its seventh year and there are few signs that an end is in sight. Yet over the years, other seemingly intractable civil conflicts have, eventually, been resolved. So, how did they do it and what lessons are there that might help Syria?

(A Kurdish Syrian woman walks with her child past the ruins of the town of Kobane in northern Syria. Credit: Yasin Akgul/Getty Images)

How Do You Fix Someone Else's Election?2017081720170819 (WS)

Smears, bots and bags of cash - stories of old tricks and new.

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

Smears, bots and bags of cash - we reveal some of the tricks used for fiddling elections around the world. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's security chiefs say Russian intelligence is actively trying to influence next month's German elections. Meanwhile, from the US to the Netherlands, countries are becoming increasingly wary of election interference. So how do you fix someone else’s election? Hear answers from people who've studied it and even been involved.

Presenter: Neal Razzell
Producers: Phoebe Keane, Emily Craig
Editor: Emma Rippon

(Photo: Voters go to the polls in the contentious presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in Las Vegas, Nevada
Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

How Do You Fix Someone Else's Election?20170817

Smears, bots and bags of cash - stories of old tricks and new.

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

Smears, bots and bags of cash - we reveal some of the tricks used for fiddling elections around the world. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's security chiefs say Russian intelligence is actively trying to influence next month's German elections. Meanwhile, from the US to the Netherlands, countries are becoming increasingly wary of election interference. So how do you fix someone else’s election? Hear answers from people who've studied it and even been involved.

Presenter: Neal Razzell
Producers: Phoebe Keane, Emily Craig
Editor: Emma Rippon

(Photo: Voters go to the polls in the contentious presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in Las Vegas, Nevada
Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

How Do You Launch A Nuclear Missile?2017012420170128 (WS)

We explain the nuclear weapons systems of the US, Russia, Britain and China

'Do we want his finger anywhere near the button?' Hillary Clinton asked during the US election campaign, referring to Mr Trump and the nuclear arsenal. But how close is an American president's finger to 'the button'? How close is anyone’s? We explain how the nuclear weapons systems of the US, Russia, Britain and China work – and how much power any one individual has over them.

(Photo: A Trident Ii, Or D-5 Missile, Is Launched From An Ohio-Class Submarine. Credit: Getty Images)

How do You Launch a Nuclear Missile?2017012420170128 (WS)

We explain the nuclear weapons systems of the US, Russia, Britain and China

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

'Do we want his finger anywhere near the button?' Hillary Clinton asked during the US election campaign, referring to Mr Trump and the nuclear arsenal. But how close is an American president's finger to 'the button'? How close is anyone’s? We explain how the nuclear weapons systems of the US, Russia, Britain and China work – and how much power any one individual has over them.

(Photo: A Trident Ii, Or D-5 Missile, Is Launched From An Ohio-Class Submarine. Credit: Getty Images)

How do You Launch a Nuclear Missile?20170124

We explain the nuclear weapons systems of the US, Russia, Britain and China

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

'Do we want his finger anywhere near the button?' Hillary Clinton asked during the US election campaign, referring to Mr Trump and the nuclear arsenal. But how close is an American president's finger to 'the button'? How close is anyone’s? We explain how the nuclear weapons systems of the US, Russia, Britain and China work – and how much power any one individual has over them.

(Photo: A Trident Ii, Or D-5 Missile, Is Launched From An Ohio-Class Submarine. Credit: Getty Images)

How Do You Make People Have Babies?20180614

How governments are encouraging people to have more children to offset deaths

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

More than half the world’s countries are not producing enough babies to offset the number of deaths. Russia is the latest to experience a dip in the fertility rate, despite the government rolling out measures to encourage people to have more children. They have tried mortgage subsidies, giving couples days off to have sex, and rewarding fruitful mothers with the grand prize of a refrigerator. But the fertility rate continues to drop.

It is a situation that governments in Spain, Singapore, Germany, South Korea and Japan all face. Many are calling this a demographic crisis, so this week we are asking how do you make people have babies?

Presenter: Helena Merriman
Producer: Xavier Zapata

(Photo: Smiling baby, Credit: Shutterstock)

How Do You Report Terrorism?2017060820170610 (WS)

Should the media devote less coverage to terrorist attacks?

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

When violent jihadis struck London last Saturday, the rolling news networks kicked quickly into action. The story became front-page news around the world and dominated the UK's news media for days, with ever more information on the attack, the victims and the perpetrators. It was shocking, horrific - and perhaps also exactly what the terrorists wanted.

Terrorists rely on the world's media to spread their message of fear and their ideology. Maybe if there was less media coverage of such attacks, it would frustrate the people behind them. We look at four democratic countries where attempts have been made to limit the media impact of terrorism. Drawing on the lessons learnt, how do you report terrorism?

Presenter: Ruth Alexander
Producer: Simon Maybin and Phoebe Keane

(Photo: Various newspapers spread out headlining the London Terror attacks)

How Do You Report Terrorism?20170608

Should the media devote less coverage to terrorist attacks?

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

When violent jihadis struck London last Saturday, the rolling news networks kicked quickly into action. The story became front-page news around the world and dominated the UK's news media for days, with ever more information on the attack, the victims and the perpetrators. It was shocking, horrific - and perhaps also exactly what the terrorists wanted.

Terrorists rely on the world's media to spread their message of fear and their ideology. Maybe if there was less media coverage of such attacks, it would frustrate the people behind them. We look at four democratic countries where attempts have been made to limit the media impact of terrorism. Drawing on the lessons learnt, how do you report terrorism?

Presenter: Ruth Alexander
Producer: Simon Maybin and Phoebe Keane

(Photo: Various newspapers spread out headlining the London Terror attacks)

How Do You Run A Hacking Operation?20180830

We reveal the secrets of some of the world\u2019s most advanced and secretive cyber-powers.

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

Thousands of cyberattacks occur every single day. Some hackers steal credit card details or pilfer money from online bank accounts. Others cripple businesses, or even governments. As tensions mount in cyberspace, what are countries doing to strengthen their cyber power and build a hacking army? In this Inquiry, we delve into some of the world’s most intriguing cyber operations – including Iran, Russia and North Korea.

(Black Hat DEF CON cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas, Nevada USA. Photo Credit: Ann Hermes/Getty images),

How Do You Save the Rhino?2015102720151101 (WS)

How hunting and even legalising the trade in horn might save this endangered species

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

Rhinos are in trouble. The ancient Sumatran rhino has just been declared extinct in Malaysia, following the fate of black rhinos in West Africa in 2011. Central Africa's northern white rhino has been reduced to four - yes, four - animals, and conservationists say the more plentiful southern white rhinos are under unprecedented attack from poachers eager to sell the horns to Asian and Arab buyers. This week The Inquiry hears four very different answers to the question: How do you save the rhino? Experts include Namibia’s first female dangerous game professional hunter and one of China’s biggest celebrities and campaigner, Yao Ming.

(Image: A baby rhino and an adult rhino. Credit: Getty Images)

How Do You Save the Rhino?20151027

How hunting and even legalising the trade in horn might save this endangered species

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

Rhinos are in trouble. The ancient Sumatran rhino has just been declared extinct in Malaysia, following the fate of black rhinos in West Africa in 2011. Central Africa's northern white rhino has been reduced to four - yes, four - animals, and conservationists say the more plentiful southern white rhinos are under unprecedented attack from poachers eager to sell the horns to Asian and Arab buyers. This week The Inquiry hears four very different answers to the question: How do you save the rhino? Experts include Namibia’s first female dangerous game professional hunter and one of China’s biggest celebrities and campaigner, Yao Ming.

(Image: A baby rhino and an adult rhino. Credit: Getty Images)

How Do You Save The Rhino?2015102720151101 (WS)

Rhinos are in trouble. The ancient Sumatran rhino has just been declared extinct in Malaysia, following the fate of black rhinos in West Africa in 2011. Central Africa's northern white rhino has been reduced to four - yes, four - animals, and conservationists say the more plentiful southern white rhinos are under unprecedented attack from poachers eager to sell the horns to Asian and Arab buyers. This week The Inquiry hears four very different answers to the question: How do you save the rhino? Experts include Namibia’s first female dangerous game professional hunter and one of China’s biggest celebrities and campaigner, Yao Ming.

(Image: A baby rhino and an adult rhino. Credit: Getty Images)

How hunting and even legalising the trade in horn might save this endangered species

How Easy is it to Dope in Sport?2015070720150711 (WS)

An insiders\u2019 take on who is winning in the fight against performance-enhancing drugs.

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

The global effort to prevent athletes using performance-enhancing drugs is vast and sophisticated. You might think, in this era of advanced testing, it would be almost impossible to cheat and get away with it. But is that really the case? Alberto Salazar, one of the world’s most successful coaches, has been accused of encouraging his athletes to dope. Salazar strongly denies the allegations. But the story has reignited concerns that, despite the efforts of the anti-doping authorities, cheating is still too easy in elite sport. The Inquiry hears from someone who sets the rules, someone who tests the rules and someone who broke the rules to find out if the dopers or the testers are winning.

(Photo: The starting line of an athletics track. Credit: Ben Stansall/Getty Images)

How Easy is it to Dope in Sport?2015070720150712 (WS)

An insiders\u2019 take on who is winning in the fight against performance-enhancing drugs.

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

The global effort to prevent athletes using performance-enhancing drugs is vast and sophisticated. You might think, in this era of advanced testing, it would be almost impossible to cheat and get away with it. But is that really the case? Alberto Salazar, one of the world’s most successful coaches, has been accused of encouraging his athletes to dope. Salazar strongly denies the allegations. But the story has reignited concerns that, despite the efforts of the anti-doping authorities, cheating is still too easy in elite sport. The Inquiry hears from someone who sets the rules, someone who tests the rules and someone who broke the rules to find out if the dopers or the testers are winning.

(Photo: The starting line of an athletics track. Credit: Ben Stansall/Getty Images)

How Easy is it to Dope in Sport?20150707

An insiders\u2019 take on who is winning in the fight against performance-enhancing drugs.

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

The global effort to prevent athletes using performance-enhancing drugs is vast and sophisticated. You might think, in this era of advanced testing, it would be almost impossible to cheat and get away with it. But is that really the case? Alberto Salazar, one of the world’s most successful coaches, has been accused of encouraging his athletes to dope. Salazar strongly denies the allegations. But the story has reignited concerns that, despite the efforts of the anti-doping authorities, cheating is still too easy in elite sport. The Inquiry hears from someone who sets the rules, someone who tests the rules and someone who broke the rules to find out if the dopers or the testers are winning.

(Photo: The starting line of an athletics track. Credit: Ben Stansall/Getty Images)

How Has Rwanda Saved The Lives Of 590,000 Children?2015042820150502 (WS)

The lessons from one of the unexpected stars of the race to tackle child mortality

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

In 2000 the world committed to reduce child mortality rates by 2015. At the time, there were on average 90 under-five deaths per 1,000 live births globally. Now there are 46. The UN says that means 17,000 fewer children are dying every day. Unicef has described the improvement as “one of the most significant achievements in human history”. But progress has been uneven. We look at one of the unexpected stars of the race to tackle child mortality – Rwanda – which, between 2000 and 2015, achieved the highest average annual reduction in the under-five mortality rate in the world. How did Rwanda do it? And could other nations follow its example?

(Photo: Children Smiling Credit: Wlablack / Shutterstock)

How Has Rwanda Saved The Lives Of 590,000 Children?2015042820150503 (WS)

The lessons from one of the unexpected stars of the race to tackle child mortality

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

In 2000 the world committed to reduce child mortality rates by 2015. At the time, there were on average 90 under-five deaths per 1,000 live births globally. Now there are 46. The UN says that means 17,000 fewer children are dying every day. Unicef has described the improvement as “one of the most significant achievements in human history”. But progress has been uneven. We look at one of the unexpected stars of the race to tackle child mortality – Rwanda – which, between 2000 and 2015, achieved the highest average annual reduction in the under-five mortality rate in the world. How did Rwanda do it? And could other nations follow its example?

(Photo: Children Smiling Credit: Wlablack / Shutterstock)

How Has Rwanda Saved The Lives Of 590,000 Children?20150428

The lessons from one of the unexpected stars of the race to tackle child mortality

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

In 2000 the world committed to reduce child mortality rates by 2015. At the time, there were on average 90 under-five deaths per 1,000 live births globally. Now there are 46. The UN says that means 17,000 fewer children are dying every day. Unicef has described the improvement as “one of the most significant achievements in human history”. But progress has been uneven. We look at one of the unexpected stars of the race to tackle child mortality – Rwanda – which, between 2000 and 2015, achieved the highest average annual reduction in the under-five mortality rate in the world. How did Rwanda do it? And could other nations follow its example?

(Photo: Children Smiling Credit: Wlablack / Shutterstock)

How Has The Ku Klux Klan Lasted So Long?2017083120170902 (WS)

Why the US racist group the Ku Klux Klan continues to exist

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

North America’s most notorious racist group, the Ku Klux Klan fought the end of slavery in the 19th century, opposed civil rights in the 20th century and now forms part of a new extreme-right wing movement protesting openly, on America’s streets. Presented by James Fletcher and produced by Kate Lamble, The Inquiry asks four expert witnesses to answer this pressing question; how has the KKK managed to last so long? The answer can be found by looking at the origins of the KKK and the power of the white supremacist idea which became infamous for its’ distinctive costumes and deadly violence.

The American concept of freedom of speech has also helped give the KKK longevity. The views of the groups’ members are not shut down by the authorities. Rather, the KKK is allowed to speak and operate openly, within certain limits of the law. The hope is that counter protest and dialogue will expose the hatred and bigotry of its members.

Through hearing the views of one reformed racist, we learn how the group have been opportunistic in recruiting members. These include troubled young men, looking for family, security and meaning to their lives.

Finally, modern day technology has helped to spread the KKK’s message throughout the world via the internet. The group has been managed to mobilise and has recently, become emboldened by the election of President Donald Trump.

(Photo: Torchlight Parade by the Ku Klux Klan, October 1951. Photo credit: Keystone/Getty Images)

How Has The Ku Klux Klan Lasted So Long?20170831

Why the US racist group the Ku Klux Klan continues to exist

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

North America’s most notorious racist group, the Ku Klux Klan fought the end of slavery in the 19th century, opposed civil rights in the 20th century and now forms part of a new extreme-right wing movement protesting openly, on America’s streets. Presented by James Fletcher and produced by Kate Lamble, The Inquiry asks four expert witnesses to answer this pressing question; how has the KKK managed to last so long? The answer can be found by looking at the origins of the KKK and the power of the white supremacist idea which became infamous for its’ distinctive costumes and deadly violence.

The American concept of freedom of speech has also helped give the KKK longevity. The views of the groups’ members are not shut down by the authorities. Rather, the KKK is allowed to speak and operate openly, within certain limits of the law. The hope is that counter protest and dialogue will expose the hatred and bigotry of its members.

Through hearing the views of one reformed racist, we learn how the group have been opportunistic in recruiting members. These include troubled young men, looking for family, security and meaning to their lives.

Finally, modern day technology has helped to spread the KKK’s message throughout the world via the internet. The group has been managed to mobilise and has recently, become emboldened by the election of President Donald Trump.

(Photo: Torchlight Parade by the Ku Klux Klan, October 1951. Photo credit: Keystone/Getty Images)

How Has the US Gun Lobby Been so Successful?2016012620160131 (WS)

The National Rifle Association is one of the most powerful organisations in the US

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

When President Obama wept at a recent press conference to announce action on gun control, his tears might have been born of frustration as well as sadness. Despite frequent mass-shootings, events which some might think would strengthen the case for tighter gun laws, it is difficult for any politician or party to change the rules on gun ownership in the US. One organisation is often credited with, or blamed for that - the National Rifle Association, or NRA.

This programme is not about the arguments over gun control but about the NRA itself. Few could dispute its success. Even if one allows for the possibility that it reflects the public mood, rather than shapes it, it has unquestionably changed the gun debate in Washington DC. So how has it done it? Former NRA insiders recall how the NRA was transformed from a hunting and marksmanship club into a political lobbying group in the 1970s, and the tactics it used from then on to influence Washington lawmakers by organising its huge grass roots base.

(Photo: US-Politics-Guns-NRA, Credit: Karen Bleier/Getty Images)

How Has the US Gun Lobby Been so Successful?20160126

The National Rifle Association is one of the most powerful organisations in the US

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

When President Obama wept at a recent press conference to announce action on gun control, his tears might have been born of frustration as well as sadness. Despite frequent mass-shootings, events which some might think would strengthen the case for tighter gun laws, it is difficult for any politician or party to change the rules on gun ownership in the US. One organisation is often credited with, or blamed for that - the National Rifle Association, or NRA.

This programme is not about the arguments over gun control but about the NRA itself. Few could dispute its success. Even if one allows for the possibility that it reflects the public mood, rather than shapes it, it has unquestionably changed the gun debate in Washington DC. So how has it done it? Former NRA insiders recall how the NRA was transformed from a hunting and marksmanship club into a political lobbying group in the 1970s, and the tactics it used from then on to influence Washington lawmakers by organising its huge grass roots base.

(Photo: US-Politics-Guns-NRA, Credit: Karen Bleier/Getty Images)

How Has The Us Gun Lobby Been So Successful?2016012620160131 (WS)

When President Obama wept at a recent press conference to announce action on gun control, his tears might have been born of frustration as well as sadness. Despite frequent mass-shootings, events which some might think would strengthen the case for tighter gun laws, it is difficult for any politician or party to change the rules on gun ownership in the US. One organisation is often credited with, or blamed for that - the National Rifle Association, or NRA.

This programme is not about the arguments over gun control but about the NRA itself. Few could dispute its success. Even if one allows for the possibility that it reflects the public mood, rather than shapes it, it has unquestionably changed the gun debate in Washington DC. So how has it done it? Former NRA insiders recall how the NRA was transformed from a hunting and marksmanship club into a political lobbying group in the 1970s, and the tactics it used from then on to influence Washington lawmakers by organising its huge grass roots base.

(Photo: US-Politics-Guns-NRA, Credit: Karen Bleier/Getty Images)

The National Rifle Association is one of the most powerful organisations in the US

How Is Mosul Being Liberated?2017030720170311 (WS)

The story of the largest battle on Earth today

Mosul is today the scene of the largest battle on Earth. Some 100,000 soldiers, police and militiamen are bearing down on the ancient Iraqi city. Backed by Western air power, their mission is to drive out the so-called Islamic State fighters who’ve occupied the city since 2014. Mosul holds enormous symbolic value to both sides. The IS leader declared himself “caliph? there; the Iraqis want to avenge their defeat there nearly three years ago. Between them are hundreds of thousands of civilians. The UN says they face "extreme risks": water, food and fuel are already scarce. This edition of The Inquiry tells the story of the campaign and asks how the final phase could end.

(Photo: An Iraqi Special Forces soldier climbs through a hole in a wall as he searches for Islamic State fighters in Mosul, Iraq, 2017. Credit to: REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)

How is Mosul Being Liberated?2017030720170311 (WS)

The story of the largest battle on Earth today

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

Mosul is today the scene of the largest battle on Earth. Some 100,000 soldiers, police and militiamen are bearing down on the ancient Iraqi city. Backed by Western air power, their mission is to drive out the so-called Islamic State fighters who’ve occupied the city since 2014. Mosul holds enormous symbolic value to both sides. The IS leader declared himself “caliph” there; the Iraqis want to avenge their defeat there nearly three years ago. Between them are hundreds of thousands of civilians. The UN says they face "extreme risks": water, food and fuel are already scarce. This edition of The Inquiry tells the story of the campaign and asks how the final phase could end.

(Photo: An Iraqi Special Forces soldier climbs through a hole in a wall as he searches for Islamic State fighters in Mosul, Iraq, 2017. Credit to: REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)

How is Mosul Being Liberated?20170307

The story of the largest battle on Earth today

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

Mosul is today the scene of the largest battle on Earth. Some 100,000 soldiers, police and militiamen are bearing down on the ancient Iraqi city. Backed by Western air power, their mission is to drive out the so-called Islamic State fighters who’ve occupied the city since 2014. Mosul holds enormous symbolic value to both sides. The IS leader declared himself “caliph” there; the Iraqis want to avenge their defeat there nearly three years ago. Between them are hundreds of thousands of civilians. The UN says they face "extreme risks": water, food and fuel are already scarce. This edition of The Inquiry tells the story of the campaign and asks how the final phase could end.

(Photo: An Iraqi Special Forces soldier climbs through a hole in a wall as he searches for Islamic State fighters in Mosul, Iraq, 2017. Credit to: REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)

How Long Can We Live?20181025

Life expectancy is rising as medicine advances, but can we beat old age itself?

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

How Long Can We Live?2018102520181029 (WS)

Life expectancy is rising as medicine advances, but can we beat old age itself?

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

How Much Inequality Is Too Much?2016010520160110 (WS)

How far does inequality affect growth and prosperity?

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

The richest 10% of Americans earn half of all of income. In Britain, the top 10% hold 40% of all the income. Inequality is not just an issue for rich countries. A billion people have been lifted out of poverty since 1990, and inequality has been rising in many other countries too. So, how much inequality is too much? Many may recoil from such a question - inequality is a dirty word. But this programme isn't about fairness. This programme is about economics – and how far inequality affects growth and prosperity. Presented by Linda Yueh.

(Photo: A woman walks past a poor man. Credit: Getty Images)

How Much Inequality Is Too Much?20160105

How far does inequality affect growth and prosperity?

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

The richest 10% of Americans earn half of all of income. In Britain, the top 10% hold 40% of all the income. Inequality is not just an issue for rich countries. A billion people have been lifted out of poverty since 1990, and inequality has been rising in many other countries too. So, how much inequality is too much? Many may recoil from such a question - inequality is a dirty word. But this programme isn't about fairness. This programme is about economics – and how far inequality affects growth and prosperity. Presented by Linda Yueh.

(Photo: A woman walks past a poor man. Credit: Getty Images)

How Much Inequality Is Too Much?2016010520160110 (WS)

The richest 10% of Americans earn half of all of income. In Britain, the top 10% hold 40% of all the income. Inequality is not just an issue for rich countries. A billion people have been lifted out of poverty since 1990, and inequality has been rising in many other countries too. So, how much inequality is too much? Many may recoil from such a question - inequality is a dirty word. But this programme isn't about fairness. This programme is about economics – and how far inequality affects growth and prosperity. Presented by Linda Yueh.

(Photo: A woman walks past a poor man. Credit: Getty Images)

How far does inequality affect growth and prosperity?

How Powerful is Facebook's Algorithm?2017042020170422 (WS)

What does Facebook\u2019s computer code do with the data we give it?

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

There is a place on the internet where almost two billion of us regularly go – many of us, every day. Facebook: the social network which Mark Zuckerberg started in his university dorm room and which has grown, in a little over a decade, into one of the most valuable companies in the world. But what does Facebook’s lines of computer code do with the data we give it – and what could it do in the future? Just how powerful is Facebook's algorithm? The answer will surprise you.

Producers: Estelle Doyle and Sarah Shebbeare
Editor: Richard Knight

(Photo: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers a keynote address during the Facebook f8 conference in San Francisco, California. Credit: Getty Images)

How Powerful is Facebook's Algorithm?20170420

What does Facebook\u2019s computer code do with the data we give it?

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

There is a place on the internet where almost two billion of us regularly go – many of us, every day. Facebook: the social network which Mark Zuckerberg started in his university dorm room and which has grown, in a little over a decade, into one of the most valuable companies in the world. But what does Facebook’s lines of computer code do with the data we give it – and what could it do in the future? Just how powerful is Facebook's algorithm? The answer will surprise you.

Producers: Estelle Doyle and Sarah Shebbeare
Editor: Richard Knight

(Photo: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers a keynote address during the Facebook f8 conference in San Francisco, California. Credit: Getty Images)

How Powerful Is Facebook's Algorithm?2017042020170423 (WS)

What does Facebook’s computer code do with the data we give it?

There is a place on the internet where almost two billion of us regularly go – many of us, every day. Facebook: the social network which Mark Zuckerberg started in his university dorm room and which has grown, in a little over a decade, into one of the most valuable companies in the world. But what does Facebook’s lines of computer code do with the data we give it – and what could it do in the future? Just how powerful is Facebook's algorithm? The answer will surprise you.

Producers: Estelle Doyle and Sarah Shebbeare

Editor: Richard Knight

(Photo: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers a keynote address during the Facebook f8 conference in San Francisco, California. Credit: Getty Images)

How Powerful is Facebook's Algorithm?20171214

What does Facebook\u2019s computer code do with the data we give it?

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

There is a place on the internet where almost two billion of us regularly go – many of us, every day. Facebook: the social network which Mark Zuckerberg started in his university dorm room and which has grown, in a little over a decade, into one of the most valuable companies in the world. But what does Facebook’s lines of computer code do with the data we give it – and what could it do in the future? Just how powerful is Facebook's algorithm? The answer will surprise you.

Produced by Estelle Doyle and Sarah Shebbeare
This programme was first broadcast in April 2017.

(Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers a keynote address during Facebook's F8 conference in San Francisco, California. Credit: Getty Images)

How Powerful Is Facebook's Algorithm?20171214

What does Facebook’s computer code do with the data we give it?

There is a place on the internet where almost two billion of us regularly go – many of us, every day. Facebook: the social network which Mark Zuckerberg started in his university dorm room and which has grown, in a little over a decade, into one of the most valuable companies in the world. But what does Facebook’s lines of computer code do with the data we give it – and what could it do in the future? Just how powerful is Facebook's algorithm? The answer will surprise you.

Produced by Estelle Doyle and Sarah Shebbeare
This programme was first broadcast in April 2017.

(Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers a keynote address during Facebook's F8 conference in San Francisco, California. Credit: Getty Images)

How Powerful is Iran\u2019s Revolutionary Guard?20171102

The growth and reach of a group labelled a \u2018terror force\u2019 by President Trump

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

The growth and reach of a group labelled a ‘terror force’ by President Trump. On 13 October President Trump announced new sanctions against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp for supporting terrorism. But what is the Revolutionary Guard and what is its role in Iran and the Middle East?

The group started as an army to protect the values of the Iranian revolution of 1979, but their role in fighting a long and brutal war with Iraq strengthened their military clout considerably. Today their forces work beyond their borders and have played a key role in the fight against so-called Islamic State. But they are no longer just an army, they run construction projects, run most of the telecommunications industry and even have a news agency. So how powerful is the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps?

Presenter: Ruth Alexander
Producers: Phoebe Keane and Jo Casserly

(Photo: Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard special forces participating in military manoeuvers. Credit: Getty Images)

How Powerful Is Iran’s Revolutionary Guard?20171102

The growth and reach of a group labelled a ‘terror force’ by President Trump

The growth and reach of a group labelled a ‘terror force’ by President Trump. On 13 October President Trump announced new sanctions against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp for supporting terrorism. But what is the Revolutionary Guard and what is its role in Iran and the Middle East?

The group started as an army to protect the values of the Iranian revolution of 1979, but their role in fighting a long and brutal war with Iraq strengthened their military clout considerably. Today their forces work beyond their borders and have played a key role in the fight against so-called Islamic State. But they are no longer just an army, they run construction projects, run most of the telecommunications industry and even have a news agency. So how powerful is the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps?

Presenter: Ruth Alexander
Producers: Phoebe Keane and Jo Casserly

(Photo: Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard special forces participating in military manoeuvers. Credit: Getty Images)

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

How Strong Is NATO?20150217

What has war in Ukraine revealed about the West\u2019s military alliance?

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

War in Ukraine and the threat of conflict in the Baltics raise fundamental questions about the West’s military alliance. What is NATO for? And is it up to the job? More countries have been joining the club, but those who foot the bill seem to be becoming less keen to do so. Do would-be aggressors still believe that an attack on one NATO member would be treated as an attack on all? Our witnesses include a former senior commander and the man who, until a few months ago, led the alliance.

(Photo: Romanian army soldiers from the guard regiment hold NATO membership countries' flags at NATO flag raising ceremony in Bucharest, 2004. Credit: Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images)

How Will a Population Boom Change Africa?2015090820150912 (WS)

The UN forecasts that the number of people living in Africa will double in 35 years

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

The UN forecasts that the number of people living in Africa will double in the next 35 years. Nigeria, the fastest-growing nation, is expected to become the third largest country in the world by 2050. By the end of the century, almost 40% of the world’s population will live on this one continent. It raises questions about how countries – some of which are already facing big challenges – will cope with twice the number of inhabitants in just one generation. There are fears about the impact a demographic explosion will have on health, society and the environment. But others say Africa’s population boom could turn out to be a good news story. Ruth Alexander asks - how will a population boom change Africa?

(Photo: Onitsha-Asaba Highway. Credit: Pius Utomi Ekpei/Getty Images)

How Will a Population Boom Change Africa?2015090820150913 (WS)

The UN forecasts that the number of people living in Africa will double in 35 years

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

The UN forecasts that the number of people living in Africa will double in the next 35 years. Nigeria, the fastest-growing nation, is expected to become the third largest country in the world by 2050. By the end of the century, almost 40% of the world’s population will live on this one continent. It raises questions about how countries – some of which are already facing big challenges – will cope with twice the number of inhabitants in just one generation. There are fears about the impact a demographic explosion will have on health, society and the environment. But others say Africa’s population boom could turn out to be a good news story. Ruth Alexander asks - how will a population boom change Africa?

(Photo: Onitsha-Asaba Highway. Credit: Pius Utomi Ekpei/Getty Images)

How Will a Population Boom Change Africa?20150908

The UN forecasts that the number of people living in Africa will double in 35 years

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

The UN forecasts that the number of people living in Africa will double in the next 35 years. Nigeria, the fastest-growing nation, is expected to become the third largest country in the world by 2050. By the end of the century, almost 40% of the world’s population will live on this one continent. It raises questions about how countries – some of which are already facing big challenges – will cope with twice the number of inhabitants in just one generation. There are fears about the impact a demographic explosion will have on health, society and the environment. But others say Africa’s population boom could turn out to be a good news story. Ruth Alexander asks - how will a population boom change Africa?

(Photo: Onitsha-Asaba Highway. Credit: Pius Utomi Ekpei/Getty Images)

How Will A Population Boom Change Africa?2015090820150913 (WS)

The UN forecasts that the number of people living in Africa will double in the next 35 years. Nigeria, the fastest-growing nation, is expected to become the third largest country in the world by 2050. By the end of the century, almost 40% of the world’s population will live on this one continent. It raises questions about how countries – some of which are already facing big challenges – will cope with twice the number of inhabitants in just one generation. There are fears about the impact a demographic explosion will have on health, society and the environment. But others say Africa’s population boom could turn out to be a good news story. Ruth Alexander asks - how will a population boom change Africa?

(Photo: Onitsha-Asaba Highway. Credit: Pius Utomi Ekpei/Getty Images)

The UN forecasts that the number of people living in Africa will double in 35 years

How Will a Population Boom Change Africa?2015122220151227 (WS)

The UN forecasts that the number of people living in Africa will double in 35 years

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

The UN forecasts that the number of people living in Africa will double in the next 35 years. Nigeria, the fastest-growing nation, is expected to become the third-largest country in the world by 2050. By the end of the century, almost 40% of the world’s population will live on this one continent. It raises questions about how countries – some of which are already facing big challenges – will cope with twice the number of inhabitants in just one generation. There are fears about the impact a demographic explosion will have on health, society and the environment. But others say Africa’s population boom could turn out to be a good news story. How will a population boom change Africa? Ruth Alexander investigates.

(Photo: Onitsha-Asaba Highway. Credit: Pius Utomi Ekpei/Getty Images)

How Will a Population Boom Change Africa?20151222

The UN forecasts that the number of people living in Africa will double in 35 years

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

The UN forecasts that the number of people living in Africa will double in the next 35 years. Nigeria, the fastest-growing nation, is expected to become the third-largest country in the world by 2050. By the end of the century, almost 40% of the world’s population will live on this one continent. It raises questions about how countries – some of which are already facing big challenges – will cope with twice the number of inhabitants in just one generation. There are fears about the impact a demographic explosion will have on health, society and the environment. But others say Africa’s population boom could turn out to be a good news story. How will a population boom change Africa? Ruth Alexander investigates.

(Photo: Onitsha-Asaba Highway. Credit: Pius Utomi Ekpei/Getty Images)

How Will A Population Boom Change Africa?2015122220151227 (WS)

The UN forecasts that the number of people living in Africa will double in the next 35 years. Nigeria, the fastest-growing nation, is expected to become the third-largest country in the world by 2050. By the end of the century, almost 40% of the world’s population will live on this one continent. It raises questions about how countries – some of which are already facing big challenges – will cope with twice the number of inhabitants in just one generation. There are fears about the impact a demographic explosion will have on health, society and the environment. But others say Africa’s population boom could turn out to be a good news story. How will a population boom change Africa? Ruth Alexander investigates.

(Photo: Onitsha-Asaba Highway. Credit: Pius Utomi Ekpei/Getty Images)

The UN forecasts that the number of people living in Africa will double in 35 years

How will Virtual Reality Change our Lives?2016051720160522 (WS)

VR is finally a reality, and could affect everything from gaming to psychology

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

Virtual Reality has been with us – at least as an idea – for many decades. Now the technology has come of age. So far the most obvious beneficiaries are gamers, for whom VR headsets can hugely enhance the gaming experience. But there is much more to VR than that. Facebook is investing heavily, seeing VR as a communication tool which can create a sense of proximity far beyond what you might feel speaking to someone over video. There is also evidence that VR could change not just how we go about our day-to-day lives – but also how we think. How will virtual reality change our lives?

(Photo: 3D render of man wearing virtual reality glasses surrounded by virtual data. Credit: Shutterstock)

How will Virtual Reality Change our Lives?20160517

VR is finally a reality, and could affect everything from gaming to psychology

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

Virtual Reality has been with us – at least as an idea – for many decades. Now the technology has come of age. So far the most obvious beneficiaries are gamers, for whom VR headsets can hugely enhance the gaming experience. But there is much more to VR than that. Facebook is investing heavily, seeing VR as a communication tool which can create a sense of proximity far beyond what you might feel speaking to someone over video. There is also evidence that VR could change not just how we go about our day-to-day lives – but also how we think. How will virtual reality change our lives?

(Photo: 3D render of man wearing virtual reality glasses surrounded by virtual data. Credit: Shutterstock)

How Will Virtual Reality Change Our Lives?2016051720160522 (WS)

VR is finally a reality, and could affect everything from gaming to psychology

Virtual Reality has been with us – at least as an idea – for many decades. Now the technology has come of age. So far the most obvious beneficiaries are gamers, for whom VR headsets can hugely enhance the gaming experience. But there is much more to VR than that. Facebook is investing heavily, seeing VR as a communication tool which can create a sense of proximity far beyond what you might feel speaking to someone over video. There is also evidence that VR could change not just how we go about our day-to-day lives – but also how we think. How will virtual reality change our lives?

(Photo: 3D render of man wearing virtual reality glasses surrounded by virtual data. Credit: Shutterstock)

Is Africa\u2019s Longest War Really Over?20180726

Ethiopia and Eritrea have just signed a peace deal ending two decades of war.

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

It’s a July morning in Ethiopia and Addisalem Hadigu, a journalist in his 50s, boards a flight to neighbouring Eritrea.

But it’s no ordinary plane. This ‘bird of peace’ is the first commercial flight to operate between the two countries since 1998, and Addisalem is flying to see his wife and two daughters – the family he hasn’t seen in 20 years.

Reunions like this are happening across Ethiopia and Eritrea, after the two countries finally agreed a peace deal and ended Africa’s longest war. But will it last? In this week’s Inquiry, we examine the ties that hold Eritrea and Ethiopia together, and the forces which could push them apart.

Is Africa\u2019s Longest War Really Over?20180726

Ethiopia and Eritrea have just signed a peace deal ending two decades of war.

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

It’s a July morning in Ethiopia and Addisalem Hadigu, a journalist in his 50s, boards a flight to neighbouring Eritrea.

But it’s no ordinary plane. This ‘bird of peace’ is the first commercial flight to operate between the two countries since 1998, and Addisalem is flying to see his wife and two daughters – the family he hasn’t seen in 20 years.

Reunions like this are happening across Ethiopia and Eritrea, after the two countries finally agreed a peace deal and ended Africa’s longest war. But will it last? In this week’s Inquiry, we examine the ties that hold Eritrea and Ethiopia together, and the forces which could push them apart.

Is American Democracy Broken?20141230

With a low turnout at the recent mid-term elections, is American democracy broken?

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

In November President Obama stepped onto a plush red carpet at the end of a White House corridor. “My fellow Americans,” he said, “tonight I want to talk to you about immigration.” He promised to bring change through executive action. “And to those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better,” he said, “or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer - pass a bill.”

That was a dig at his Republican opponents who control the House of Representatives. They failed to pass a bill last year to reform immigration. But that night, after Mr Obama finished speaking, the Republican leader in the House had his own harsh words for the president: “That’s just not how our democracy works,” he said, “the president has said before that he’s not king. And he’s not an emperor. But he’s sure acting like one."

With Republicans now in control of both the House and the Senate, the risk of continued political paralysis in Washington is very real. Many Americans are angry; turnout at the recent mid-term elections hit a 72-year low. Is American democracy broken?

(Photo: American Flag. BBC copyright)

Is Brexit Inevitable?2016071920160724 (WS)

Britain\u2019s PM says \u201cBrexit means Brexit\u201d. But some have suggested it might never happen

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

“Brexit means Brexit,” says Theresa May, Britain’s new prime minister. It sounds pretty unequivocal: the UK voted in a referendum to leave the European Union, so that’s what it must do. But credible figures from US Secretary of State John Kerry to former prime minister Tony Blair have suggested that Brexit may not actually happen. Is that – legally, politically, democratically – possible? The Inquiry has the answer.

Presenter: Maria Margaronis

(Photo: Illustration flags of the European Union and the Union flag sit on top of a sand castle on a beach in Southport, United Kingdom. Credit to Getty images)

Is Brexit Inevitable?20160719

Britain\u2019s PM says \u201cBrexit means Brexit\u201d. But some have suggested it might never happen

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

“Brexit means Brexit,” says Theresa May, Britain’s new prime minister. It sounds pretty unequivocal: the UK voted in a referendum to leave the European Union, so that’s what it must do. But credible figures from US Secretary of State John Kerry to former prime minister Tony Blair have suggested that Brexit may not actually happen. Is that – legally, politically, democratically – possible? The Inquiry has the answer.

Presenter: Maria Margaronis

(Photo: Illustration flags of the European Union and the Union flag sit on top of a sand castle on a beach in Southport, United Kingdom. Credit to Getty images)

Is Brexit Inevitable?2016071920160724 (WS)

Britain’s PM says “Brexit means Brexit? But some have suggested it might never happen

“Brexit means Brexit,? says Theresa May, Britain’s new prime minister. It sounds pretty unequivocal: the UK voted in a referendum to leave the European Union, so that’s what it must do. But credible figures from US Secretary of State John Kerry to former prime minister Tony Blair have suggested that Brexit may not actually happen. Is that – legally, politically, democratically – possible? The Inquiry has the answer.

Presenter: Maria Margaronis

(Photo: Illustration flags of the European Union and the Union flag sit on top of a sand castle on a beach in Southport, United Kingdom. Credit to Getty images)

Is Cyber Warfare Really That Scary?2015050520150509 (WS)

Four cyber warfare experts help us separate hype from reality

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

Last month Nato ran a military exercise involving over 400 people from 16 countries. It was the most advanced ‘live-fire’ cyber-defence exercise ever carried out. The point of it all? To help Nato countries prepare for an all-out cyber attack. The former US Secretary of Defence, Leon Panetta, has said “there's a strong likelihood that the next Pearl Harbor could very well be a cyber attack that cripples our power system or our grid, our security systems, our financial systems, our governmental systems. This is a real possibility in today's world”. But how real is the threat of cyber warfare? Four expert witness help us separate fact from fiction.

(Photo:Binary code cyber war. Credit: Profit_Image/Shutterstock)

Is Cyber Warfare Really That Scary?2015050520150510 (WS)

Four cyber warfare experts help us separate hype from reality

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

Last month Nato ran a military exercise involving over 400 people from 16 countries. It was the most advanced ‘live-fire’ cyber-defence exercise ever carried out. The point of it all? To help Nato countries prepare for an all-out cyber attack. The former US Secretary of Defence, Leon Panetta, has said “there's a strong likelihood that the next Pearl Harbor could very well be a cyber attack that cripples our power system or our grid, our security systems, our financial systems, our governmental systems. This is a real possibility in today's world”. But how real is the threat of cyber warfare? Four expert witness help us separate fact from fiction.

(Photo:Binary code cyber war. Credit: Profit_Image/Shutterstock)

Is Cyber Warfare Really That Scary?20150505

Four cyber warfare experts help us separate hype from reality

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

Last month Nato ran a military exercise involving over 400 people from 16 countries. It was the most advanced ‘live-fire’ cyber-defence exercise ever carried out. The point of it all? To help Nato countries prepare for an all-out cyber attack. The former US Secretary of Defence, Leon Panetta, has said “there's a strong likelihood that the next Pearl Harbor could very well be a cyber attack that cripples our power system or our grid, our security systems, our financial systems, our governmental systems. This is a real possibility in today's world”. But how real is the threat of cyber warfare? Four expert witness help us separate fact from fiction.

(Photo:Binary code cyber war. Credit: Profit_Image/Shutterstock)

Is Donald Trump Good For Journalism?2017021420170218 (WS)

President Trump has made no secret of his contempt for news organizations, stating that the media are "among the world's most dishonest people". He has described The New York Times as "failing", The Wall Street Journal as “a pile of garbage? and CNN as a “terrible organization? responsible for “fake news". The BBC? “There’s another beauty.? The President has made statements and assertions which are false. He uses Twitter to speak directly to the American people. His combative press secretary Sean Spicer said he plans to “hold the press accountable? All this seems like bad news for what many Trump supporters call – derisively – the “mainstream media? But might the opposite be true? Might Donald Trump, in fact, be good for journalism? That’s the question on The Inquiry this week.

(Photo: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump talks to reporters after the first prime-time presidential debate, Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio. Credit: Getty Images)

Is Donald Trump Good for Journalism?2017021420170218 (WS)

President Trump's contempt for the media may seem like bad news but is the opposite true?

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

President Trump has made no secret of his contempt for news organizations, stating that the media are "among the world's most dishonest people". He has described The New York Times as "failing", The Wall Street Journal as “a pile of garbage” and CNN as a “terrible organization” responsible for “fake news". The BBC? “There’s another beauty.” The President has made statements and assertions which are false. He uses Twitter to speak directly to the American people. His combative press secretary Sean Spicer said he plans to “hold the press accountable”. All this seems like bad news for what many Trump supporters call – derisively – the “mainstream media”. But might the opposite be true? Might Donald Trump, in fact, be good for journalism? That’s the question on The Inquiry this week.

(Photo: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump talks to reporters after the first prime-time presidential debate, Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio. Credit: Getty Images)

Is Donald Trump Good for Journalism?20170214

President Trump's contempt for the media may seem like bad news but is the opposite true?

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

President Trump has made no secret of his contempt for news organizations, stating that the media are "among the world's most dishonest people". He has described The New York Times as "failing", The Wall Street Journal as “a pile of garbage” and CNN as a “terrible organization” responsible for “fake news". The BBC? “There’s another beauty.” The President has made statements and assertions which are false. He uses Twitter to speak directly to the American people. His combative press secretary Sean Spicer said he plans to “hold the press accountable”. All this seems like bad news for what many Trump supporters call – derisively – the “mainstream media”. But might the opposite be true? Might Donald Trump, in fact, be good for journalism? That’s the question on The Inquiry this week.

(Photo: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump talks to reporters after the first prime-time presidential debate, Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio. Credit: Getty Images)

Is Facebook In Trouble?

It is one of the largest, most profitable companies in the world, with billions of users, but more and more questions are being asked of Facebook. Accused of allowing the spread of fake news and hate speech, and of turning a blind eye to election meddling by Russia, Facebook is in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has committed himself to “fixing Facebook.”

With the help of experts in the field, in the US, India and Germany, we ask if Facebook really is in trouble.

Presenter: Helena Merriman
Producers: John Murphy and Josephine Casserly

(Photo: Indian demonstrators protest against Facebook's Free Basics initiative in Bangalore on 2 January, 2016. Credit: Manjunath Kiran/Getty Images)

Is Facebook in Trouble?20180308

Fake news, hate speech, users logging off - does Facebook need fixing?

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

It is one of the largest, most profitable companies in the world, with billions of users, but more and more questions are being asked of Facebook. Accused of allowing the spread of fake news and hate speech, and of turning a blind eye to election meddling by Russia, Facebook is in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has committed himself to “fixing Facebook.”

With the help of experts in the field, in the US, India and Germany, we ask if Facebook really is in trouble.

Presenter: Helena Merriman
Producers: John Murphy and Josephine Casserly

(Photo: Indian demonstrators protest against Facebook's Free Basics initiative in Bangalore on 2 January, 2016. Credit: Manjunath Kiran/Getty Images)

Is Facebook In Trouble?20180308

Fake news, hate speech, users logging off - does Facebook need fixing?

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

It is one of the largest, most profitable companies in the world, with billions of users, but more and more questions are being asked of Facebook. Accused of allowing the spread of fake news and hate speech, and of turning a blind eye to election meddling by Russia, Facebook is in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has committed himself to “fixing Facebook.”

With the help of experts in the field, in the US, India and Germany, we ask if Facebook really is in trouble.

Presenter: Helena Merriman
Producers: John Murphy and Josephine Casserly

(Photo: Indian demonstrators protest against Facebook's Free Basics initiative in Bangalore on 2 January, 2016. Credit: Manjunath Kiran/Getty Images)

Fake news, hate speech, users logging off - does Facebook need fixing?

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

It is one of the largest, most profitable companies in the world, with billions of users, but more and more questions are being asked of Facebook. Accused of allowing the spread of fake news and hate speech, and of turning a blind eye to election meddling by Russia, Facebook is in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has committed himself to “fixing Facebook.”

With the help of experts in the field, in the US, India and Germany, we ask if Facebook really is in trouble.

Presenter: Helena Merriman
Producers: John Murphy and Josephine Casserly

(Photo: Indian demonstrators protest against Facebook's Free Basics initiative in Bangalore on 2 January, 2016. Credit: Manjunath Kiran/Getty Images)

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

Is Gene Editing Out of Control?2017071320170715 (WS)

The Inquiry looks into the unintended consequences of gene editing

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

"This structure has novel features, which are of considerable biological interest." It was perhaps the greatest understatement of all time - the announcement more than six decades ago of the discovery of the shape of a single human DNA. The double-helix structure is now one of the world's most recognisable icons. Knowledge of it has transformed the fight against everything from disease to crime.

That revolution was brought to us by an elite. It took the world's most eminent scientists, backed by the treasuries of the United States, the United Kingdom and private markets to go from the discovery of that one gene, in 1953, to map the more than 22,000 genes that make up a human being in 2000. Mapping the genome, as it was known, was likened to "learning the language in which God created life."

Genetic research has since become democratised. Incredible new technologies now allow labs all over the world to not only learn the language of creation, but to write it...and edit it. Do-it-yourself gene editing kits are available online for less than $100. Gene editing offers breathtaking promise - eliminating disability and disease. But the rapid spread of this powerful technology is leading some who've been at the forefront of the research to warn against unintended consequences, and question whether the rush for miracle cures could bring hellish side-effects.

So this week, The Inquiry asks, Is Gene Editing Out of Control?

(Photo: CRISPR CAS 9 Clustered regularly inter spaced short palindromic repeats. segments of prokaryotic DNA containing short repetitions of base sequences. gene editing, genome editing. Credit: Shutterstock)

Is Gene Editing Out of Control?20170713

The Inquiry looks into the unintended consequences of gene editing

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

"This structure has novel features, which are of considerable biological interest." It was perhaps the greatest understatement of all time - the announcement more than six decades ago of the discovery of the shape of a single human DNA. The double-helix structure is now one of the world's most recognisable icons. Knowledge of it has transformed the fight against everything from disease to crime.

That revolution was brought to us by an elite. It took the world's most eminent scientists, backed by the treasuries of the United States, the United Kingdom and private markets to go from the discovery of that one gene, in 1953, to map the more than 22,000 genes that make up a human being in 2000. Mapping the genome, as it was known, was likened to "learning the language in which God created life."

Genetic research has since become democratised. Incredible new technologies now allow labs all over the world to not only learn the language of creation, but to write it...and edit it. Do-it-yourself gene editing kits are available online for less than $100. Gene editing offers breathtaking promise - eliminating disability and disease. But the rapid spread of this powerful technology is leading some who've been at the forefront of the research to warn against unintended consequences, and question whether the rush for miracle cures could bring hellish side-effects.

So this week, The Inquiry asks, Is Gene Editing Out of Control?

(Photo: CRISPR CAS 9 Clustered regularly inter spaced short palindromic repeats. segments of prokaryotic DNA containing short repetitions of base sequences. gene editing, genome editing. Credit: Shutterstock)

Is Genetic Testing Overrated?20180927

DNA testing is big business - but could the results be harmful?

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

Is Genetic Testing Overrated?20180927

DNA testing is big business - but what do you really find out?

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

DNA testing is big business. Millions of people worldwide are finding out about their ancestry and genetic health traits by sending off a spit sample to one of the big consumer genetic testing companies like AncestryDNA.com and 23andMe.com. But what do your genes really tell you? Four experts chart the rise of consumer genetic testing and examine the claims made and our expectations about the results.

Presenter: Helena Merriman
Producer: Lucy Proctor

(image: Tube collecting saliva for dna testing of genetic markers.Photo By BSIP/UIG/Getty Images)

Is Inequality About To Get Unimaginably Worse?20170427

A special edition with Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens and Homo Deus.

Is Inequality About to Get Unimaginably Worse?2017042720170429 (WS)

A special edition with Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens and Homo Deus.

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

Yuval Noah Harari, the author of Sapiens and Homo Deus, explores the long history of inequality – from the Stone Age onwards – and asks whether we are on the brink of creating a huge “economically useless” underclass, unable to keep up with enhanced humans, the owners of increasingly valuable data and, eventually, artificial intelligence.

Presenter: Ruth Alexander Producer: Estelle Doyle Editor: Richard Knight

(Photo: Yuval Noah Harari, Credit: Daniel Thomas Smith)

Is Inequality About to Get Unimaginably Worse?20170427

A special edition with Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens and Homo Deus.

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

Yuval Noah Harari, the author of Sapiens and Homo Deus, explores the long history of inequality – from the Stone Age onwards – and asks whether we are on the brink of creating a huge “economically useless” underclass, unable to keep up with enhanced humans, the owners of increasingly valuable data and, eventually, artificial intelligence.

Presenter: Ruth Alexander Producer: Estelle Doyle Editor: Richard Knight

(Photo: Yuval Noah Harari, Credit: Daniel Thomas Smith)

Is Islamic State Finished?2016092720161002 (WS)

Islamic State is on the run in Syria and Iraq.

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

So-called Islamic State is on the run. Caught in a pincer movement in Syria and Iraq, the group has lost large swathes of territory over the past year. With its revenues and numbers of fighters also dwindling, the demise of the caliphate appears all but unavoidable. And yet many caution against writing them off too soon, pointing to the group’s proven ability to change tactics. Already, they have redirected their efforts to launching terrorist operations around the world. And their ideology is still proving an effective recruiting sergeant.

Presenter: Helena Merriman

Producers: Estelle Doyle and Laura Gray

(Photo:Syrian soldier sets fire to an Islamic State (IS) group flag after Syrian troops regained control the previous day of al-Qaryatain Credit: JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images)

Is Islamic State Finished?20160927

Islamic State is on the run in Syria and Iraq.

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

So-called Islamic State is on the run. Caught in a pincer movement in Syria and Iraq, the group has lost large swathes of territory over the past year. With its revenues and numbers of fighters also dwindling, the demise of the caliphate appears all but unavoidable. And yet many caution against writing them off too soon, pointing to the group’s proven ability to change tactics. Already, they have redirected their efforts to launching terrorist operations around the world. And their ideology is still proving an effective recruiting sergeant.

Presenter: Helena Merriman

Producers: Estelle Doyle and Laura Gray

(Photo:Syrian soldier sets fire to an Islamic State (IS) group flag after Syrian troops regained control the previous day of al-Qaryatain Credit: JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images)

Is Islamic State Finished?2016092720161002 (WS)

So-called Islamic State is on the run. Caught in a pincer movement in Syria and Iraq, the group has lost large swathes of territory over the past year. With its revenues and numbers of fighters also dwindling, the demise of the caliphate appears all but unavoidable. And yet many caution against writing them off too soon, pointing to the group’s proven ability to change tactics. Already, they have redirected their efforts to launching terrorist operations around the world. And their ideology is still proving an effective recruiting sergeant.

Presenter: Helena Merriman

Producers: Estelle Doyle and Laura Gray

(Photo:Syrian soldier sets fire to an Islamic State (IS) group flag after Syrian troops regained control the previous day of al-Qaryatain Credit: JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images)

Is It Time To Ban The Plastic Bottle?20170720

Every single second, 20,000 single-use drinking bottles are sold around the world

Every single second, 20,000 single-use drinking bottles are sold around the world. That's more than a million pieces of non-biodegradable rubbish produced every minute. And as demand grows in developing economies, so will the mountains of waste, with much of it ending up in the ocean.

In this Inquiry, we learn how the invention of the plastic bottle spawned an industry that has quickly got us hooked. We hear the consequences of our addiction from the man who's dedicated his life to The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. And, with one estimate that by 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish, we ask if we now need a radical solution. Is it time to ban the plastic bottle?

Presenter: James Fletcher
Producers: Simon Maybin and Sarah Shebbeare

(Photo: A bottle of water sits on the floor inside a recycling facility. Credit: Getty Images)

Every single second, 20,000 single-use drinking bottles are sold around the world. That is more than a million pieces of non-biodegradable rubbish produced every minute. And as demand grows in developing economies, so will the mountains of waste, with much of it ending up in the ocean.

We learn how the invention of the plastic bottle spawned an industry that has quickly got us hooked. We hear the consequences of our addiction from the man who has dedicated his life to The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. And, with one estimate that by 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish, we ask if we now need a radical solution. Is it time to ban the plastic bottle?

Presenter: James Fletcher
Producers: Simon Maybin and Sarah Shebbeare

(Photo: A bottle of water sits on the floor inside a recycling facility. Credit: Getty Images)

Is it Time to Ban the Plastic Bottle?2017072020170722 (WS)

Every single second, 20,000 single-use drinking bottles are sold around the world

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

Every single second, 20,000 single-use drinking bottles are sold around the world. That is more than a million pieces of non-biodegradable rubbish produced every minute. And as demand grows in developing economies, so will the mountains of waste, with much of it ending up in the ocean.

We learn how the invention of the plastic bottle spawned an industry that has quickly got us hooked. We hear the consequences of our addiction from the man who has dedicated his life to The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. And, with one estimate that by 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish, we ask if we now need a radical solution. Is it time to ban the plastic bottle?

Presenter: James Fletcher
Producers: Simon Maybin and Sarah Shebbeare

(Photo: A bottle of water sits on the floor inside a recycling facility. Credit: Getty Images)

Is it Time to Ban the Plastic Bottle?20170720

Every single second, 20,000 single-use drinking bottles are sold around the world

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

Every single second, 20,000 single-use drinking bottles are sold around the world. That is more than a million pieces of non-biodegradable rubbish produced every minute. And as demand grows in developing economies, so will the mountains of waste, with much of it ending up in the ocean.

We learn how the invention of the plastic bottle spawned an industry that has quickly got us hooked. We hear the consequences of our addiction from the man who has dedicated his life to The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. And, with one estimate that by 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish, we ask if we now need a radical solution. Is it time to ban the plastic bottle?

Presenter: James Fletcher
Producers: Simon Maybin and Sarah Shebbeare

(Photo: A bottle of water sits on the floor inside a recycling facility. Credit: Getty Images)

Is it too Late to Save Syria\u2019s Antiquities?2015111020151115 (WS)

The threat to Syria\u2019s cultural heritage from looting, war and wanton destruction

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

Syria’s cultural heritage is being attacked from all sides - the Assad regime, opportunistic looters, opposition forces, Islamic State fighters and even Russian air strikes. Ancient sites like Palmyra have been destroyed, and it is feared that hundreds of precious valuables have been smuggled out of the country to be sold on the international art market. Is it too late to save Syria’s antiquities? We speak to experts including the specialist trying to recover stolen items being sold on the global antiquities market, the volunteer organising a kind of archaeological resistance inside Syria, and the team reconstructing the country’s historic sites using technology.

(Photo: Baalshamin detonation, Credit: AP)

Is it too Late to Save Syria\u2019s Antiquities?20151110

The threat to Syria\u2019s cultural heritage from looting, war and wanton destruction

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

Syria’s cultural heritage is being attacked from all sides - the Assad regime, opportunistic looters, opposition forces, Islamic State fighters and even Russian air strikes. Ancient sites like Palmyra have been destroyed, and it is feared that hundreds of precious valuables have been smuggled out of the country to be sold on the international art market. Is it too late to save Syria’s antiquities? We speak to experts including the specialist trying to recover stolen items being sold on the global antiquities market, the volunteer organising a kind of archaeological resistance inside Syria, and the team reconstructing the country’s historic sites using technology.

(Photo: Baalshamin detonation, Credit: AP)

Is It Too Late To Save Syria’s Antiquities?2015111020151115 (WS)

The threat to Syria’s cultural heritage from looting, war and wanton destruction

Syria’s cultural heritage is being attacked from all sides - the Assad regime, opportunistic looters, opposition forces, Islamic State fighters and even Russian air strikes. Ancient sites like Palmyra have been destroyed, and it is feared that hundreds of precious valuables have been smuggled out of the country to be sold on the international art market. Is it too late to save Syria’s antiquities? We speak to experts including the specialist trying to recover stolen items being sold on the global antiquities market, the volunteer organising a kind of archaeological resistance inside Syria, and the team reconstructing the country’s historic sites using technology.

(Photo: Baalshamin detonation, Credit: AP)

Is Japan Abandoning Pacifism?2015092220150927 (WS)

New laws mean Japanese troops can fight overseas for the first time since World War Two

Japan is a pacifist country - at least that is what its constitution says. The wording, introduced under the occupying forces after World War Two, seems unequivocal: “the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation?

But new laws championed by conservative prime minister Shinzo Abe introduce a broader interpretation of what the constitution does, and does not, permit. Abe calls it “proactive pacifism? Opponents say the laws are “war bills?, betraying the pacifism that has, for many, become central to Japanese national identity. There have been dramatic scenes in parliament with opposition MPs in tears. The majority of the public are opposed and people have taken to the streets in their tens of thousands. So is Japan abandoning pacifism?

(Photo: Sumiteru Taniguchi. Credit: AP)

Is Japan Abandoning Pacifism?2015092220150926 (WS)

New laws mean Japanese troops can fight overseas for the first time since World War Two

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

Japan is a pacifist country - at least that is what its constitution says. The wording, introduced under the occupying forces after World War Two, seems unequivocal: “the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation”.

But new laws championed by conservative prime minister Shinzo Abe introduce a broader interpretation of what the constitution does, and does not, permit. Abe calls it “proactive pacifism”. Opponents say the laws are “war bills”, betraying the pacifism that has, for many, become central to Japanese national identity. There have been dramatic scenes in parliament with opposition MPs in tears. The majority of the public are opposed and people have taken to the streets in their tens of thousands. So is Japan abandoning pacifism?

(Photo: Sumiteru Taniguchi. Credit: AP)

Is Japan Abandoning Pacifism?2015092220150927 (WS)

New laws mean Japanese troops can fight overseas for the first time since World War Two

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

Japan is a pacifist country - at least that is what its constitution says. The wording, introduced under the occupying forces after World War Two, seems unequivocal: “the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation”.

But new laws championed by conservative prime minister Shinzo Abe introduce a broader interpretation of what the constitution does, and does not, permit. Abe calls it “proactive pacifism”. Opponents say the laws are “war bills”, betraying the pacifism that has, for many, become central to Japanese national identity. There have been dramatic scenes in parliament with opposition MPs in tears. The majority of the public are opposed and people have taken to the streets in their tens of thousands. So is Japan abandoning pacifism?

(Photo: Sumiteru Taniguchi. Credit: AP)

Is Japan Abandoning Pacifism?20150922

New laws mean Japanese troops can fight overseas for the first time since World War Two

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

Japan is a pacifist country - at least that is what its constitution says. The wording, introduced under the occupying forces after World War Two, seems unequivocal: “the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation”.

But new laws championed by conservative prime minister Shinzo Abe introduce a broader interpretation of what the constitution does, and does not, permit. Abe calls it “proactive pacifism”. Opponents say the laws are “war bills”, betraying the pacifism that has, for many, become central to Japanese national identity. There have been dramatic scenes in parliament with opposition MPs in tears. The majority of the public are opposed and people have taken to the streets in their tens of thousands. So is Japan abandoning pacifism?

(Photo: Sumiteru Taniguchi. Credit: AP)

Is Life Getting Worse For Women In Erdogan\u2019s Turkey?20150303

How the vicious murder of Ozgecan Aslan raises fundamental questions about women\u2019s rights

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

The murder and disfigurement of a 20-year-old woman in southern Turkey has prompted nationwide protests. Demonstrators have chanted the victim’s name, Ozgecan Aslan, and claimed that Turkey is becoming increasingly misogynistic. They point to growing reports of violence against women and restricted access to abortion. Hundreds of thousands of women have tweeted #sendeandat – 'tell your story' in Turkish - to share their experiences of abuse. The powerful president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, says that violence against women is the “bleeding wound” of Turkey. But he has also said that women are “not equal” to men. So, is it life getting worse for woman in Turkey? Expert witnesses include a leading Turkish feminist and a member of the governing AK party.

(Image: People hold posters of Ozgecan Aslan. Credit: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images)

Is Nigeria\u2019s Army Failing?20150203

What\u2019s behind Nigeria\u2019s inability to defeat Boko Haram?

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

Most of the nearly 300 girls kidnapped from a school in northern Nigeria last year are still missing. Their plight temporarily brought global focus to a hideous insurgency that seems to produce new horrors every day.

More than 17,000 people have died and a million have been displaced in the Nigerian army’s six-year fight with Boko Haram. The army has been rocked by mutinies – including in the division created to fight the militants - and soldiers in other parts of the country have been dismissed for refusing orders to fight in the north. Meanwhile, human rights groups say the army can be nearly as brutal to civilians as the militants are. And in a sign of apparent growing impatience, Nigeria's neighbours have begun sending their own armies against Boko Haram. So this week we ask, Is the Nigerian Army Failing?

(Photo: Some of the 59 Nigerian soldiers facing trial on charges of mutiny and conspiracy to commit mutiny over claims that they refused to fight Boko Haram militants sit handcuffed on October 15, 2014 in the military courtroom in Abuja. The soldiers, all members of the 111th Special Forces Battalion, all pleaded not guilty in court. They are also accused of refusing to deploy in August to recapture the towns of Yelwa, Bellabulini and Dambo in Borno state from Boko Haram, according to the charge sheet. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Is North Korea Broke?20180524

This isolated economy is showing signs of life that might surprise you.

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

North Korea has been under sanctions for many years. But this isolated economy is showing signs of life that might surprise you. From hacking and counterfeit money to coffee shops in Pyongyang, we investigate what life is like in North Korea and how the state makes its money.

Presenter: Celia Hatton
Producer: Josephine Casserly

(Photo: A woman shopping at the Kwangbok, or 'liberation', department store in Pyongyang. Credit: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Is Opposition to GM Crops Irrational?2015060220150606 (WS)

A majority of US scientists say GM food is generally safe to eat

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

Ask a scientist, and they will almost certainly tell you genetically modified food is safe to eat. Yet an awful lot of consumers disagree. Is their fear of GM food irrational? Earlier this year the Pew Foundation released a US poll which suggested 88% of scientists think GM food is generally safe to eat, while only 37% of the public agree. It is the issue on which American scientists and the general public are most divided, more so than climate change or vaccines. If the scientific consensus says it is safe, should we embrace a technology that could help solve hunger and feed the world? Or is GM food a lightning rod for justified concerns about the impact of global agribusiness and industrial food production?

(Photo: Ripe wheat in a field. BBC copyright)

Is Opposition to GM Crops Irrational?2015060220150607 (WS)

A majority of US scientists say GM food is generally safe to eat

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

Ask a scientist, and they will almost certainly tell you genetically modified food is safe to eat. Yet an awful lot of consumers disagree. Is their fear of GM food irrational? Earlier this year the Pew Foundation released a US poll which suggested 88% of scientists think GM food is generally safe to eat, while only 37% of the public agree. It is the issue on which American scientists and the general public are most divided, more so than climate change or vaccines. If the scientific consensus says it is safe, should we embrace a technology that could help solve hunger and feed the world? Or is GM food a lightning rod for justified concerns about the impact of global agribusiness and industrial food production?

(Photo: Ripe wheat in a field. BBC copyright)

Is Opposition to GM Crops Irrational?20150602

A majority of US scientists say GM food is generally safe to eat

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

Ask a scientist, and they will almost certainly tell you genetically modified food is safe to eat. Yet an awful lot of consumers disagree. Is their fear of GM food irrational? Earlier this year the Pew Foundation released a US poll which suggested 88% of scientists think GM food is generally safe to eat, while only 37% of the public agree. It is the issue on which American scientists and the general public are most divided, more so than climate change or vaccines. If the scientific consensus says it is safe, should we embrace a technology that could help solve hunger and feed the world? Or is GM food a lightning rod for justified concerns about the impact of global agribusiness and industrial food production?

(Photo: Ripe wheat in a field. BBC copyright)

Is Pakistan Serious About Tackling Militants?20150120

Will Pakistan\u2019s new promise to "eliminate" militants be met?

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

The murder of more than 130 students at an Army school in Pakistan last month shocked the world. In the following days, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif promised a comprehensive campaign to defeat the Taliban. More than 50,000 Pakistanis have died in militant attacks since 9/11. Pakistani presidents and prime ministers have previously vowed to crack down on militants. But the United States and others have said Pakistan has long harboured "snakes in the back yard" – militants who sometimes benefit the state's interests. Prime Minister Sharif says no longer will there be a distinction between "good" and "bad" Taliban. "We have resolved to continue the war against terrorism till the last terrorist is eliminated," he said. Is he right? Will this time be different? As we'll hear, the stakes extend beyond Pakistan's borders. Experts include a man who has negotiated with the Taliban, a historian on the rise of militancy and a retired Pakistani Army brigadier general.

(Image: Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Credit: Reuters)

Is Plastic Doomed?20180329

The tide of public opinion is turning on plastic

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

The tide of public opinion is turning on plastic.

The image of a whale with plastic stuck in its mouth on the BBC nature documentary Blue Planet 2 woke people up across the world to the reality of plastic pollution in our oceans. Experts think that by 2050, there could be more plastic than fish in the sea. Communities across the globe are saying that something must be done.

But does this change in public mood spell disaster for plastic? And if so, what would replace it? We go from Europe, to the US and Indonesia to examine the supply and demand of plastic.

Presenter: Michael Blastland
Producers: Josephine Casserly and John Murphy

Is Privacy Dead?2017100520171007 (WS)

Can we protect our privacy in the digital age?

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

We all do it: ask a search engine things we wouldn’t dare ask a friend, post our lives on social media, hit the ‘agree’ button on privacy conditions we never read. This is life in our online age. To get our favourite apps and services for free, we provide companies with the intimate details of our lives. Businesses we’ve heard of, and many we haven’t, make money off this data in ways we may not fully realise. And almost every week it seems there’s another data breech – Equifax, Sonic, and Deloitte have been hacked in the last month alone. Each time the private data of millions of people is compromised. Can we control who knows what about us? And are we comfortable with how much information we’re giving up and how it might be used, or mis-used? This week the Inquiry asks “Is Privacy Dead?”

(image: Shutterstock)

Is Privacy Dead?20171005

Can we protect our privacy in the digital age?

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

We all do it: ask a search engine things we wouldn’t dare ask a friend, post our lives on social media, hit the ‘agree’ button on privacy conditions we never read. This is life in our online age. To get our favourite apps and services for free, we provide companies with the intimate details of our lives. Businesses we’ve heard of, and many we haven’t, make money off this data in ways we may not fully realise. And almost every week it seems there’s another data breech – Equifax, Sonic, and Deloitte have been hacked in the last month alone. Each time the private data of millions of people is compromised. Can we control who knows what about us? And are we comfortable with how much information we’re giving up and how it might be used, or mis-used? This week the Inquiry asks “Is Privacy Dead?”

(image: Shutterstock)

Is Raqqa Recovering After Islamic State?20180607

A look inside the city which was once Islamic State\u2019s headquarters.

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

Last year, the world watched as Islamic State was driven from Raqqa, the city they claimed as their capital. The UN has estimated that around 80% of the city’s buildings were destroyed or damaged in the battle. Eight months later, many Raqqans are returning home. Amid the rubble, life is slowly returning to Raqqa. This week, we investigate what life is like after Islamic State.

(Picture: A view of destroyed buildings at the frontline in Raqqa, Syria October 16, 2017. Credit: Reuters / Erik De Castro)

Is Retirement Over?2016083020160904 (WS)

People are living longer, but not saving enough for their old age.

For millennia human beings worked until they dropped. Then in the late 19th century, Otto von Bismarck started the first state pension in Germany. The idea caught on. By the 20th century, advances in medicine meant that many more people were surviving childhood and living longer and longer into old age.

This was great news for those individuals, but not such good news for governments and companies who found themselves having to fund ever-longer retirements. Many of the most generous schemes have now been withdrawn and it’s increasingly up to the individual to save for their retirement – but many aren’t saving enough.

Volatile stock markets and low interest rates are making the situation worse. Many think retirement will turn out to be a "blip" in human history; it didn't exist in the past, and it won't exist in the future. So, is retirement over?

Our expert witnesses are: Professor Noel Whiteside of the University of Warwick, UK; Thomas B Jankowski, research director at Wayne State University, US; David Blake, director of the Pensions Institute at Cass Business School, London, Andrew Scott, professor of economics at London Business School.

Presenter: Ruth Alexander

(Photo: Clayton Fackler, 72, works at the check out at a supermarket in Ohio. Credit: J.D. Pooley/Getty Images)

Is Retirement Over?2016083020160904 (WS)

People are living longer, but not saving enough for their old age.

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

For millennia human beings worked until they dropped. Then in the late 19th century, Otto von Bismarck started the first state pension in Germany. The idea caught on. By the 20th century, advances in medicine meant that many more people were surviving childhood and living longer and longer into old age.

This was great news for those individuals, but not such good news for governments and companies who found themselves having to fund ever-longer retirements. Many of the most generous schemes have now been withdrawn and it’s increasingly up to the individual to save for their retirement – but many aren’t saving enough.

Volatile stock markets and low interest rates are making the situation worse. Many think retirement will turn out to be a "blip" in human history; it didn't exist in the past, and it won't exist in the future. So, is retirement over?

Our expert witnesses are: Professor Noel Whiteside of the University of Warwick, UK; Thomas B Jankowski, research director at Wayne State University, US; David Blake, director of the Pensions Institute at Cass Business School, London, Andrew Scott, professor of economics at London Business School.

Presenter: Ruth Alexander

(Photo: Clayton Fackler, 72, works at the check out at a supermarket in Ohio. Credit: J.D. Pooley/Getty Images)

Is Retirement Over?20160830

People are living longer, but not saving enough for their old age.

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

For millennia human beings worked until they dropped. Then in the late 19th century, Otto von Bismarck started the first state pension in Germany. The idea caught on. By the 20th century, advances in medicine meant that many more people were surviving childhood and living longer and longer into old age.

This was great news for those individuals, but not such good news for governments and companies who found themselves having to fund ever-longer retirements. Many of the most generous schemes have now been withdrawn and it’s increasingly up to the individual to save for their retirement – but many aren’t saving enough.

Volatile stock markets and low interest rates are making the situation worse. Many think retirement will turn out to be a "blip" in human history; it didn't exist in the past, and it won't exist in the future. So, is retirement over?

Our expert witnesses are: Professor Noel Whiteside of the University of Warwick, UK; Thomas B Jankowski, research director at Wayne State University, US; David Blake, director of the Pensions Institute at Cass Business School, London, Andrew Scott, professor of economics at London Business School.

Presenter: Ruth Alexander

(Photo: Clayton Fackler, 72, works at the check out at a supermarket in Ohio. Credit: J.D. Pooley/Getty Images)

Is Russia Vulnerable?2015101320151017 (WS)

The White House has described Russia\u2019s action in Syria as motivated by 'weakness'

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

Russia’s intervention in Syria caught the world by surprise. Moscow gave Washington just one hour’s notice before it began its aerial bombardment. Russia claims its jets are attacking the so-called Islamic State. But reports suggest the Russian pilots are in fact targeting groups linked to the Free Syrian Army - the main opposition to Syria’s President Assad, who is a Russian ally. It is the first time President Putin has deployed force beyond the borders of the former USSR and another dramatic step in his increasingly assertive foreign policy. But Josh Earnest, President Obama’s press secretary, has described Russia’s action as motivated by “weakness”. Is he right?

Ambassador William Courtney of the Rand Corporation argues that the Middle East is the last place in the world where Russia can play a great power role, and that Syria is the last place in the Middle East where Russia can exert its power.

Andrei Kolesnikov explains what he sees as Russia’s weaknesses; a weak economy, declining living standards and a working age population that is deteriorating.

Dr Andrei Korolev disagrees. While international isolation and a faltering economy may have forced Russia to adapt, he says, it has done so in ways that make it stronger such as by forming a new alliance with China.

The Hudson Institute’s Hannah Thoburn explains how a new politics is emerging. Russians are being asked to accept financial sacrifices in order to help return the country to its place as a global super power, and that so far its working.

(Photo: President Putin at the UN General Assembly. Credit: Getty Images)

Is Russia Vulnerable?2015101320151018 (WS)

The White House has described Russia\u2019s action in Syria as motivated by 'weakness'

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

Russia’s intervention in Syria caught the world by surprise. Moscow gave Washington just one hour’s notice before it began its aerial bombardment. Russia claims its jets are attacking the so-called Islamic State. But reports suggest the Russian pilots are in fact targeting groups linked to the Free Syrian Army - the main opposition to Syria’s President Assad, who is a Russian ally. It is the first time President Putin has deployed force beyond the borders of the former USSR and another dramatic step in his increasingly assertive foreign policy. But Josh Earnest, President Obama’s press secretary, has described Russia’s action as motivated by “weakness”. Is he right?

Ambassador William Courtney of the Rand Corporation argues that the Middle East is the last place in the world where Russia can play a great power role, and that Syria is the last place in the Middle East where Russia can exert its power.

Andrei Kolesnikov explains what he sees as Russia’s weaknesses; a weak economy, declining living standards and a working age population that is deteriorating.

Dr Andrei Korolev disagrees. While international isolation and a faltering economy may have forced Russia to adapt, he says, it has done so in ways that make it stronger such as by forming a new alliance with China.

The Hudson Institute’s Hannah Thoburn explains how a new politics is emerging. Russians are being asked to accept financial sacrifices in order to help return the country to its place as a global super power, and that so far its working.

(Photo: President Putin at the UN General Assembly. Credit: Getty Images)

Is Russia Vulnerable?20151013

The White House has described Russia\u2019s action in Syria as motivated by 'weakness'

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

Russia’s intervention in Syria caught the world by surprise. Moscow gave Washington just one hour’s notice before it began its aerial bombardment. Russia claims its jets are attacking the so-called Islamic State. But reports suggest the Russian pilots are in fact targeting groups linked to the Free Syrian Army - the main opposition to Syria’s President Assad, who is a Russian ally. It is the first time President Putin has deployed force beyond the borders of the former USSR and another dramatic step in his increasingly assertive foreign policy. But Josh Earnest, President Obama’s press secretary, has described Russia’s action as motivated by “weakness”. Is he right?

Ambassador William Courtney of the Rand Corporation argues that the Middle East is the last place in the world where Russia can play a great power role, and that Syria is the last place in the Middle East where Russia can exert its power.

Andrei Kolesnikov explains what he sees as Russia’s weaknesses; a weak economy, declining living standards and a working age population that is deteriorating.

Dr Andrei Korolev disagrees. While international isolation and a faltering economy may have forced Russia to adapt, he says, it has done so in ways that make it stronger such as by forming a new alliance with China.

The Hudson Institute’s Hannah Thoburn explains how a new politics is emerging. Russians are being asked to accept financial sacrifices in order to help return the country to its place as a global super power, and that so far its working.

(Photo: President Putin at the UN General Assembly. Credit: Getty Images)

Is Russia Vulnerable?2015101320151018 (WS)

The White House has described Russia’s action in Syria as motivated by 'weakness'

Russia’s intervention in Syria caught the world by surprise. Moscow gave Washington just one hour’s notice before it began its aerial bombardment. Russia claims its jets are attacking the so-called Islamic State. But reports suggest the Russian pilots are in fact targeting groups linked to the Free Syrian Army - the main opposition to Syria’s President Assad, who is a Russian ally. It is the first time President Putin has deployed force beyond the borders of the former USSR and another dramatic step in his increasingly assertive foreign policy. But Josh Earnest, President Obama’s press secretary, has described Russia’s action as motivated by “weakness? Is he right?

Ambassador William Courtney of the Rand Corporation argues that the Middle East is the last place in the world where Russia can play a great power role, and that Syria is the last place in the Middle East where Russia can exert its power.

Andrei Kolesnikov explains what he sees as Russia’s weaknesses; a weak economy, declining living standards and a working age population that is deteriorating.

Dr Andrei Korolev disagrees. While international isolation and a faltering economy may have forced Russia to adapt, he says, it has done so in ways that make it stronger such as by forming a new alliance with China.

The Hudson Institute’s Hannah Thoburn explains how a new politics is emerging. Russians are being asked to accept financial sacrifices in order to help return the country to its place as a global super power, and that so far its working.

(Photo: President Putin at the UN General Assembly. Credit: Getty Images)

Is Saudi To Blame For \u2018IS\u2019?2015121520151220 (WS)

Many claim \u2018IS\u2019 is the ideological offspring of Saudi Arabia

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

Many claim that ‘Islamic State’ is the ideological offspring of Saudi Arabia; that the strict form of Islam originating in the Kingdom - and the Saudi state's aggressive promotion of it around the world – has fostered terrorism. Saudi Arabia is also accused of funding IS, either directly or by failing to prevent private citizens from sending money to the group. But what is the evidence for these claims? Our expert witnesses include: a former recruiter for Al Qaeda who explains what motivates jihadists; an Islamic law scholar who explains the little-understood beliefs of the so-called Islamic State; and a Saudi government official who says, far from aiding IS, his country is at the cutting edge of countering it.

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: Kingdom Tower in Riyadh. Credit to Shutterstock)

Is Saudi To Blame For \u2018IS\u2019?20151215

Many claim \u2018IS\u2019 is the ideological offspring of Saudi Arabia

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

Many claim that ‘Islamic State’ is the ideological offspring of Saudi Arabia; that the strict form of Islam originating in the Kingdom - and the Saudi state's aggressive promotion of it around the world – has fostered terrorism. Saudi Arabia is also accused of funding IS, either directly or by failing to prevent private citizens from sending money to the group. But what is the evidence for these claims? Our expert witnesses include: a former recruiter for Al Qaeda who explains what motivates jihadists; an Islamic law scholar who explains the little-understood beliefs of the so-called Islamic State; and a Saudi government official who says, far from aiding IS, his country is at the cutting edge of countering it.

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: Kingdom Tower in Riyadh. Credit to Shutterstock)

Is Saudi To Blame For €is’?2015121520151220 (WS)

Many claim that ‘Islamic State’ is the ideological offspring of Saudi Arabia; that the strict form of Islam originating in the Kingdom - and the Saudi state's aggressive promotion of it around the world – has fostered terrorism. Saudi Arabia is also accused of funding IS, either directly or by failing to prevent private citizens from sending money to the group. But what is the evidence for these claims? Our expert witnesses include: a former recruiter for Al Qaeda who explains what motivates jihadists; an Islamic law scholar who explains the little-understood beliefs of the so-called Islamic State; and a Saudi government official who says, far from aiding IS, his country is at the cutting edge of countering it.

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: Kingdom Tower in Riyadh. Credit to Shutterstock)

Many claim ‘IS’ is the ideological offspring of Saudi Arabia

Is Streaming Good for Music?2015071420150718 (WS)

How streaming is changing music and the music industry

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

Streaming has transformed the way millions listen to music. Whether signed up to Spotify, Apple Music or others, music lovers can access tens of millions of tracks instantly and for the monthly cost of one CD. But is this spectacular transformation good for music? Though streaming surely helps artists find new audiences, do those artists get rewarded fairly? And has having a ‘global jukebox’ at our fingertips changed our relationship to music itself?

(Photo: Lucy Rose)

Is Streaming Good for Music?2015071420150719 (WS)

How streaming is changing music and the music industry

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

Streaming has transformed the way millions listen to music. Whether signed up to Spotify, Apple Music or others, music lovers can access tens of millions of tracks instantly and for the monthly cost of one CD. But is this spectacular transformation good for music? Though streaming surely helps artists find new audiences, do those artists get rewarded fairly? And has having a ‘global jukebox’ at our fingertips changed our relationship to music itself?

(Photo: Lucy Rose)

Is Streaming Good for Music?20150714

How streaming is changing music and the music industry

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

Streaming has transformed the way millions listen to music. Whether signed up to Spotify, Apple Music or others, music lovers can access tens of millions of tracks instantly and for the monthly cost of one CD. But is this spectacular transformation good for music? Though streaming surely helps artists find new audiences, do those artists get rewarded fairly? And has having a ‘global jukebox’ at our fingertips changed our relationship to music itself?

(Photo: Lucy Rose)

Is the Greatest Threat to Putin Really Alexei Navalny?2017061520170617 (WS)

Assessing the strength of the opposition leader who has run mass protests in Russia

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

On 12 June 2017 thousands of protesters took to the streets in over 160 towns and cities across Russia. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny called on people to march against corruption from Kaliningrad in the west to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in the east, in bustling cities and significantly, in rural towns where support for President Putin is strong. This is unusual. Protests are usually restricted to the urban elites in Moscow. So who is Navalny and how has he managed to bring so many people out on the streets?

Our expert witnesses assess the strength of the opposition movement in Russia. They explain that the protests reveal a greater threat to Putin. The mobilisation of a young generation who do not believe what they see on state TV and are turning to opposition politics online instead.

Presenter: Ruth Alexander
Producers: Phoebe Keane and Estelle Doyle

(Photo: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny speaks during a rally in Lyublino, a suburb of Moscow, 20 September 2015. Credit: Getty Images)

Is the Greatest Threat to Putin Really Alexei Navalny?20170615

Assessing the strength of the opposition leader who has run mass protests in Russia

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

On 12 June 2017 thousands of protesters took to the streets in over 160 towns and cities across Russia. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny called on people to march against corruption from Kaliningrad in the west to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in the east, in bustling cities and significantly, in rural towns where support for President Putin is strong. This is unusual. Protests are usually restricted to the urban elites in Moscow. So who is Navalny and how has he managed to bring so many people out on the streets?

Our expert witnesses assess the strength of the opposition movement in Russia. They explain that the protests reveal a greater threat to Putin. The mobilisation of a young generation who do not believe what they see on state TV and are turning to opposition politics online instead.

Presenter: Ruth Alexander
Producers: Phoebe Keane and Estelle Doyle

(Photo: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny speaks during a rally in Lyublino, a suburb of Moscow, 20 September 2015. Credit: Getty Images)

Is the Knowledge Factory Broken?20171109

Dodgy data, contradictory findings, perverse incentives \u2013 the challenges facing academia

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

Academic research stands accused of turning a blind eye to dodgy data, failing to reconcile contradictory findings and valuing money over knowledge. We examine the criticisms, which go the very heart of our pursuit of knowledge.

(Photo: Scientist working in a research laboratory. Credit: Shutterstock)

Is The Knowledge Factory Broken?20171109

Dodgy data, contradictory findings, perverse incentives – the challenges facing academia

Academic research stands accused of turning a blind eye to dodgy data, failing to reconcile contradictory findings and valuing money over knowledge. We examine the criticisms, which go the very heart of our pursuit of knowledge.

(Photo: Scientist working in a research laboratory. Credit: Shutterstock)

Is the Pope Catholic?2017101920171021 (WS)

Inside the fierce debate dividing the Roman Catholic Church

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

The head of the Roman Catholic Church has been accused of aiding the spread of heresy. A petition criticising the ambiguity of Pope Francis' statements on the treatment of people who have divorced and remarried is the latest twist in a fierce debate which is dividing Roman Catholics. The argument centres on whether divorcees on their second marriages should be able to receive Holy Communion, a ceremony that is central to the Christian faith. However, the dispute goes much deeper than that. At its heart, it is an argument over what it means to be a Roman Catholic and what the role of the Pope, and the Church, should be.

Presenter: Ruth Alexander
Producer: James Fletcher and Helen Grady

(Photo: Pope Francis waves to thousands of followers in Manila, Philippines. Credit: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Is the Pope Catholic?20171019

Inside the fierce debate dividing the Roman Catholic Church

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

The head of the Roman Catholic Church has been accused of aiding the spread of heresy. A petition criticising the ambiguity of Pope Francis' statements on the treatment of people who have divorced and remarried is the latest twist in a fierce debate which is dividing Roman Catholics. The argument centres on whether divorcees on their second marriages should be able to receive Holy Communion, a ceremony that is central to the Christian faith. However, the dispute goes much deeper than that. At its heart, it is an argument over what it means to be a Roman Catholic and what the role of the Pope, and the Church, should be.

Presenter: Ruth Alexander
Producer: James Fletcher and Helen Grady

(Photo: Pope Francis waves to thousands of followers in Manila, Philippines. Credit: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Is There A New Nuclear Arms Race?2015041420150418 (WS)

Nuclear-weapon states are spending huge sums modernising their arsenals

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

Later this month 190 nations will meet in New York to discuss the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), 45 years after it came into force. The Treaty prompted several aspiring nuclear-weapon nations to give up trying to get the bomb, but it also committed nuclear-weapon states like Russia and the US to pursue disarmament. Progress has been made. Overall stocks of nuclear warheads have dropped significantly. But is that the whole story?

Both the US and Russia have committed huge sums – over a long timescale – to modernise their arsenals. One expert tells The Inquiry that these modernisation programmes amount to a new nuclear arms race - one which is creating a new generation of less powerful but more accurate weapons. Some argue that such ‘tactical’ weapons are more likely to be used. Another expert witness tells us that the failure of nuclear-weapon states to disarm threatens the NPT itself. And we hear disturbing testimony about the nuclear stand-off between India and Pakistan and a terrifying account of a largely forgotten incident in 1995 when the world came within two minutes of nuclear annihilation.

(Photo: Explosion nuclear bomb in ocean. Credit: Romolo Tavani/Shutterstock)

Is There A New Nuclear Arms Race?2015041420150419 (WS)

Nuclear-weapon states are spending huge sums modernising their arsenals

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

Later this month 190 nations will meet in New York to discuss the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), 45 years after it came into force. The Treaty prompted several aspiring nuclear-weapon nations to give up trying to get the bomb, but it also committed nuclear-weapon states like Russia and the US to pursue disarmament. Progress has been made. Overall stocks of nuclear warheads have dropped significantly. But is that the whole story?

Both the US and Russia have committed huge sums – over a long timescale – to modernise their arsenals. One expert tells The Inquiry that these modernisation programmes amount to a new nuclear arms race - one which is creating a new generation of less powerful but more accurate weapons. Some argue that such ‘tactical’ weapons are more likely to be used. Another expert witness tells us that the failure of nuclear-weapon states to disarm threatens the NPT itself. And we hear disturbing testimony about the nuclear stand-off between India and Pakistan and a terrifying account of a largely forgotten incident in 1995 when the world came within two minutes of nuclear annihilation.

(Photo: Explosion nuclear bomb in ocean. Credit: Romolo Tavani/Shutterstock)

Is There A New Nuclear Arms Race?20150414

Nuclear-weapon states are spending huge sums modernising their arsenals

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

Later this month 190 nations will meet in New York to discuss the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), 45 years after it came into force. The Treaty prompted several aspiring nuclear-weapon nations to give up trying to get the bomb, but it also committed nuclear-weapon states like Russia and the US to pursue disarmament. Progress has been made. Overall stocks of nuclear warheads have dropped significantly. But is that the whole story?

Both the US and Russia have committed huge sums – over a long timescale – to modernise their arsenals. One expert tells The Inquiry that these modernisation programmes amount to a new nuclear arms race - one which is creating a new generation of less powerful but more accurate weapons. Some argue that such ‘tactical’ weapons are more likely to be used. Another expert witness tells us that the failure of nuclear-weapon states to disarm threatens the NPT itself. And we hear disturbing testimony about the nuclear stand-off between India and Pakistan and a terrifying account of a largely forgotten incident in 1995 when the world came within two minutes of nuclear annihilation.

(Photo: Explosion nuclear bomb in ocean. Credit: Romolo Tavani/Shutterstock)

Is There Anybody Out There?2017011020170114 (WS)

The story of the search for extra-terrestrial life

It’s a question humans have asked forever. Are we alone in space? But it wasn’t until the late 1960s that humans started an organised, systematic hunt for extra-terrestrial intelligent life. We have listened to radio waves, peered through the celestial dust and beamed The Beatles to distant planets. So how’s it going? Is there anybody out there? This is the story of the search for extra-terrestrial life.

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: The ALMA, an international partnership project between Europe, North America and East Asia, with the cooperation of Chile. Credit to Getty)

Is There Anybody Out There?2017011020170114 (WS)

The story of the search for extra-terrestrial life

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

It’s a question humans have asked forever. Are we alone in space? But it wasn’t until the late 1960s that humans started an organised, systematic hunt for extra-terrestrial intelligent life. We have listened to radio waves, peered through the celestial dust and beamed The Beatles to distant planets. So how’s it going? Is there anybody out there? This is the story of the search for extra-terrestrial life.

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: The ALMA, an international partnership project between Europe, North America and East Asia, with the cooperation of Chile. Credit to Getty)

Is There Anybody Out There?20170110

The story of the search for extra-terrestrial life

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

It’s a question humans have asked forever. Are we alone in space? But it wasn’t until the late 1960s that humans started an organised, systematic hunt for extra-terrestrial intelligent life. We have listened to radio waves, peered through the celestial dust and beamed The Beatles to distant planets. So how’s it going? Is there anybody out there? This is the story of the search for extra-terrestrial life.

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: The ALMA, an international partnership project between Europe, North America and East Asia, with the cooperation of Chile. Credit to Getty)

Is WhatsApp Fuelling Vigilantism?20180802

What is it about this simple messaging platform that fuels emotions and spreads fear?

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

In India, false rumours about child kidnappers, spread on WhatsApp, have prompted fearful mobs to kill innocent people. In May 2018 a video went viral. The original, a Pakistani child safety video, had been edited to show two men on a motorbike driving up to a group of children playing cricket in the street. They swoop up a small boy in a red t-shirt and drive away.

As the video spread across India people started receiving messages in their WhatsApp groups, some claiming to be from the local police, saying a gang of 250 to 300 people from outside their region had entered the area. It appealed to parents not to lose sight of their children.

Rumours like this have led to the deaths of at least 18 innocent people across India over the last few months. But what is it about this simple messaging platform - one that a fifth of the planet use every single day - that breeds intimacy, fuels emotions, and spreads fear? This week on The Inquiry we ask: Is WhatsApp fuelling vigilantism and why?

Image: A sign that says 'WhatsApp Neigbourhood Prevention'. Photo Copyright: Antal Guszlev

Is Women\u2019s Sport In Trouble?20180906

Who gets to compete as a woman?

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

Ever since it began, women’s sport has been beset by a fundamental question: who gets to compete as a woman? It’s a debate which is more heated now than ever. That’s because in a few months, athletics’ governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, will introduce controversial new rules, regulating the participation of athletes with disorders of sexual development, commonly known as intersex conditions. It’s a debate that goes far beyond sport - throwing up difficult questions about what separates men from women. In this edition of The Inquiry we plunge into this debate, which is troubling women’s sport.

Presenter: Helena Merriman
Producer: Josephine Casserly

(image: Women's Athletics 200m at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo Credit: Yang Huafeng/China News/Getty Images)

Is Work Too Easy?2017060120170603 (WS)

We used to work ourselves to an early death. Do we now sit ourselves to one instead?

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

Many of us find our jobs stressful, underpaid and the hours too long. But few would complain about work being less physically strenuous than in the past.
And yet, new research shows that the decline in physical activity at work is key to explaining the obesity epidemic. So - is work now too easy? And if it is, can this be reversed?

Producers: Estelle Doyle and Phoebe Keane
Presenter: Michael Blastland

(Photo: Office workers at desks using computers in an office. Credit: Getty Images)

Is Work Too Easy?20170601

We used to work ourselves to an early death. Do we now sit ourselves to one instead?

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

Many of us find our jobs stressful, underpaid and the hours too long. But few would complain about work being less physically strenuous than in the past.
And yet, new research shows that the decline in physical activity at work is key to explaining the obesity epidemic. So - is work now too easy? And if it is, can this be reversed?

Producers: Estelle Doyle and Phoebe Keane
Presenter: Michael Blastland

(Photo: Office workers at desks using computers in an office. Credit: Getty Images)

Is Zero Tolerance The Right Approach For Fgm?20180104

Some experts are questioning the international campaign against Female Genital Mutilation

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

In 1994 a United Nations conference, backed by 173 countries, announced that ‘female genital mutilation’ was a “violation of basic rights and a major lifelong risk to women’s health”. Agreeing it should end, international agencies and charities quickly swung into action, and over the next two decades millions were spent on campaigns to eradicate the practise around the world. Today though, pricking or cutting of the genitalia still happens to an estimated 3 million girls a year in 30 countries, and some experts are saying we should rethink how we tackle it. In this episode of The Inquiry we talk to four expert witnesses, all with very different views on what the next steps should be.

This programme contains frank discussions of a physical and sexual nature.

(Image: A demonstration against female genital mutilation at the Nairobi World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya. Credit: Marco Longari/Getty Images)

In 1994 a United Nations conference, backed by 173 countries, announced that ‘female genital mutilation’ was a “violation of basic rights and a major lifelong risk to women’s health? Agreeing it should end, international agencies and charities quickly swung into action, and over the next two decades millions were spent on campaigns to eradicate the practise around the world. Today though, pricking or cutting of the genitalia still happens to an estimated 3 million girls a year in 30 countries, and some experts are saying we should rethink how we tackle it. In this episode of The Inquiry we talk to four expert witnesses, all with very different views on what the next steps should be.

This programme contains frank discussions of a physical and sexual nature.

(Image: A demonstration against female genital mutilation at the Nairobi World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya. Credit: Marco Longari/Getty Images)

Migrant Crisis: What Else Could Europe Try?2015082520150829 (WS)

We examine examples from other places, and times, from which the EU\u2019s leaders could learn

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

Tens of thousands of migrants continue to queue at the borders of the European Union in search of a better life. Their journeys are often hazardous and thousands have drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach Italy or Greece. Attempts to share the burden among EU member states have been dogged by internal politics. And Europe’s actions so far have focussed on deterrence despite little evidence that such a strategy will work. So, in this week’s Inquiry, we’re asking what else Europe could try – and whether there are examples from other places, and other times, from which the EU’s leaders could learn. We look at the 1980s resettlement process in response to the Vietnamese “boat people” crisis; we examine Australia’s offshore processing of migrants; and we ask whether focussing on the “front line”, helping those countries migrants are leaving, is a realistic option.

Presenter: Ruth Alexander

(Photo: Young migrant at Psalidi on Kos, Credit: Press Association Wires)

Migrant Crisis: What Else Could Europe Try?2015082520150830 (WS)

We examine examples from other places, and times, from which the EU\u2019s leaders could learn

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

Tens of thousands of migrants continue to queue at the borders of the European Union in search of a better life. Their journeys are often hazardous and thousands have drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach Italy or Greece. Attempts to share the burden among EU member states have been dogged by internal politics. And Europe’s actions so far have focussed on deterrence despite little evidence that such a strategy will work. So, in this week’s Inquiry, we’re asking what else Europe could try – and whether there are examples from other places, and other times, from which the EU’s leaders could learn. We look at the 1980s resettlement process in response to the Vietnamese “boat people” crisis; we examine Australia’s offshore processing of migrants; and we ask whether focussing on the “front line”, helping those countries migrants are leaving, is a realistic option.

Presenter: Ruth Alexander

(Photo: Young migrant at Psalidi on Kos, Credit: Press Association Wires)

Migrant Crisis: What Else Could Europe Try?20150825

We examine examples from other places, and times, from which the EU\u2019s leaders could learn

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

Tens of thousands of migrants continue to queue at the borders of the European Union in search of a better life. Their journeys are often hazardous and thousands have drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach Italy or Greece. Attempts to share the burden among EU member states have been dogged by internal politics. And Europe’s actions so far have focussed on deterrence despite little evidence that such a strategy will work. So, in this week’s Inquiry, we’re asking what else Europe could try – and whether there are examples from other places, and other times, from which the EU’s leaders could learn. We look at the 1980s resettlement process in response to the Vietnamese “boat people” crisis; we examine Australia’s offshore processing of migrants; and we ask whether focussing on the “front line”, helping those countries migrants are leaving, is a realistic option.

Presenter: Ruth Alexander

(Photo: Young migrant at Psalidi on Kos, Credit: Press Association Wires)

Migrant Crisis: What Else Could Europe Try?2015082520150830 (WS)

We examine examples from other places, and times, from which the EU’s leaders could learn

Tens of thousands of migrants continue to queue at the borders of the European Union in search of a better life. Their journeys are often hazardous and thousands have drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach Italy or Greece. Attempts to share the burden among EU member states have been dogged by internal politics. And Europe’s actions so far have focussed on deterrence despite little evidence that such a strategy will work. So, in this week’s Inquiry, we’re asking what else Europe could try – and whether there are examples from other places, and other times, from which the EU’s leaders could learn. We look at the 1980s resettlement process in response to the Vietnamese “boat people? crisis; we examine Australia’s offshore processing of migrants; and we ask whether focussing on the “front line?, helping those countries migrants are leaving, is a realistic option.

Presenter: Ruth Alexander

(Photo: Young migrant at Psalidi on Kos, Credit: Press Association Wires)

Should Anyone Ever Talk To Is?2015081120150816 (WS)

We test the argument that stopping the so-called Islamic State will mean talking to them.

In June last year the world's attention became fixed on the progress of so-called Islamic State, or IS. They had just captured Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city. Since then a reported 20,000 fighters from all over the world have joined them. They have killed and enslaved thousands. They have captured towns, oil fields and dams. They control vast swathes of Iraq and Syria. IS are more brutal, sophisticated and enduring than anyone could have predicted. We test the argument that stopping IS will ultimately mean talking to them.

(Photo: ISIS Propaganda image)

Should Anyone Ever Talk to IS?2015081120150815 (WS)

We test the argument that stopping the so-called Islamic State will mean talking to them.

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

In June last year the world's attention became fixed on the progress of so-called Islamic State, or IS. They had just captured Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city. Since then a reported 20,000 fighters from all over the world have joined them. They have killed and enslaved thousands. They have captured towns, oil fields and dams. They control vast swathes of Iraq and Syria. IS are more brutal, sophisticated and enduring than anyone could have predicted. We test the argument that stopping IS will ultimately mean talking to them.

(Photo: ISIS Propaganda image)

Should Anyone Ever Talk to IS?2015081120150816 (WS)

We test the argument that stopping the so-called Islamic State will mean talking to them.

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

In June last year the world's attention became fixed on the progress of so-called Islamic State, or IS. They had just captured Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city. Since then a reported 20,000 fighters from all over the world have joined them. They have killed and enslaved thousands. They have captured towns, oil fields and dams. They control vast swathes of Iraq and Syria. IS are more brutal, sophisticated and enduring than anyone could have predicted. We test the argument that stopping IS will ultimately mean talking to them.

(Photo: ISIS Propaganda image)

Should Anyone Ever Talk to IS?20150811

We test the argument that stopping the so-called Islamic State will mean talking to them.

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

In June last year the world's attention became fixed on the progress of so-called Islamic State, or IS. They had just captured Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city. Since then a reported 20,000 fighters from all over the world have joined them. They have killed and enslaved thousands. They have captured towns, oil fields and dams. They control vast swathes of Iraq and Syria. IS are more brutal, sophisticated and enduring than anyone could have predicted. We test the argument that stopping IS will ultimately mean talking to them.

(Photo: ISIS Propaganda image)

Should Governments Drop Money Out Of Helicopters?2015120820151213 (WS)

We examine one crazy-sounding but very serious idea to prevent a low- or no-growth future

Imagine waking up one morning to the sound of a helicopter overhead. You look out and see that packages are being dropped in front of the homes of everyone on your street. You race downstairs, and tear open your package. Inside? Exactly $10,000 in new bills. A gift of freshly-printed money from your government – no strings attached. What would you do? Economists hope you would go out and spend – and that your spending would help kick start the post-industrial economies which many fear are grinding, inexorably, to a complete halt.

We explore whether so-called “helicopter money? (more likely, money would simply be wired to your account) really is a solution to the problem of a low- or no-growth future. Our expert witnesses include: Adair Turner, the former head of Britain’s Financial Services Authority, who is prescribing just such economic medicine; Mohamed El-Erian, chairman of President Obama's Global Development Council; Professor Barry Eichengreen of Berkeley University in the United States and Richard Koo, formerly of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and an economic advisor to successive Japanese governments. Presented by Linda Yueh.

(Photo: Helicopter at G7, Credit: Getty Images)

Should Governments Drop Money Out of Helicopters?2015120820151213 (WS)

We examine one crazy-sounding but very serious idea to prevent a low- or no-growth future

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

Imagine waking up one morning to the sound of a helicopter overhead. You look out and see that packages are being dropped in front of the homes of everyone on your street. You race downstairs, and tear open your package. Inside? Exactly $10,000 in new bills. A gift of freshly-printed money from your government – no strings attached. What would you do? Economists hope you would go out and spend – and that your spending would help kick start the post-industrial economies which many fear are grinding, inexorably, to a complete halt.

We explore whether so-called “helicopter money” (more likely, money would simply be wired to your account) really is a solution to the problem of a low- or no-growth future. Our expert witnesses include: Adair Turner, the former head of Britain’s Financial Services Authority, who is prescribing just such economic medicine; Mohamed El-Erian, chairman of President Obama's Global Development Council; Professor Barry Eichengreen of Berkeley University in the United States and Richard Koo, formerly of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and an economic advisor to successive Japanese governments. Presented by Linda Yueh.

(Photo: Helicopter at G7, Credit: Getty Images)

Should Governments Drop Money Out of Helicopters?20151208

We examine one crazy-sounding but very serious idea to prevent a low- or no-growth future

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

Imagine waking up one morning to the sound of a helicopter overhead. You look out and see that packages are being dropped in front of the homes of everyone on your street. You race downstairs, and tear open your package. Inside? Exactly $10,000 in new bills. A gift of freshly-printed money from your government – no strings attached. What would you do? Economists hope you would go out and spend – and that your spending would help kick start the post-industrial economies which many fear are grinding, inexorably, to a complete halt.

We explore whether so-called “helicopter money” (more likely, money would simply be wired to your account) really is a solution to the problem of a low- or no-growth future. Our expert witnesses include: Adair Turner, the former head of Britain’s Financial Services Authority, who is prescribing just such economic medicine; Mohamed El-Erian, chairman of President Obama's Global Development Council; Professor Barry Eichengreen of Berkeley University in the United States and Richard Koo, formerly of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and an economic advisor to successive Japanese governments. Presented by Linda Yueh.

(Photo: Helicopter at G7, Credit: Getty Images)

Should We Fear Artificial Intelligence?2015011320150531 (WS)
20150530 (WS)

How seriously should we take the warnings that ever-smarter computers could turn on us?

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

Billions of dollars are pouring into the latest investor craze - artificial intelligence. But serious scientists like Stephen Hawking have warned that full AI could spell the end of the human race. How seriously should we take the warnings that ever-smarter computers could turn on us? Our expert witnesses explain the threat, the opportunities and how we might avoid being turned into paperclips.

(Photo: An artificial intelligence concept illustration. Credit: Shutterstock)

How seriously should we take the warnings that ever-smarter computers could turn on us?

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

Billions of dollars are pouring into the latest investor craze - artificial intelligence. But serious scientists like Stephen Hawking have warned that full AI could spell the end of the human race. How seriously should we take the warnings that ever-smarter computers could turn on us? Our expert witnesses explain the threat, the opportunities and how we might avoid being turned into paperclips.

(Photo: An artificial intelligence concept illustration. Credit: Shutterstock)

How seriously should we take the warnings that ever-smarter computers could turn on us?

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

Billions of dollars are pouring into the latest investor craze - artificial intelligence. But serious scientists like Stephen Hawking have warned that full AI could spell the end of the human race. How seriously should we take the warnings that ever-smarter computers could turn on us? Our expert witnesses explain the threat, the opportunities and how we might avoid being turned into paperclips.

(Photo: An artificial intelligence concept illustration. Credit: Shutterstock)

Should We Give Homeless People Homes?2016042620160501 (WS)

How the city of Medicine Hat in Canada, gave every person living in the streets a home

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

It is a surprisingly simple idea - to end long-term homelessness, give every person living on the streets a home. It can also be surprisingly effective. Medicine Hat, a city in Canada, recently became the first city to end homelessness in this way. The approach is known as Housing First, and – unlike many other homelessness initiatives – it does not require homeless people to make steps towards solving other issues like alcoholism, mental health problems or drug addiction before they get a home. But is this approach solving the problem, or simply moving it off the streets?

(Image: A homeless man with his dog outside a building. Credit to Getty)

How the city of Medicine Hat in Canada, gave every person living in the streets a home

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

It is a surprisingly simple idea - to end long-term homelessness, give every person living on the streets a home. It can also be surprisingly effective. Medicine Hat, a city in Canada, recently became the first city to end homelessness in this way. The approach is known as Housing First, and – unlike many other homelessness initiatives – it does not require homeless people to make steps towards solving other issues like alcoholism, mental health problems or drug addiction before they get a home. But is this approach solving the problem, or simply moving it off the streets?

(Image: A homeless man with his dog outside a building. Credit to Getty)

Should We Give Homeless People Homes?2016042620160501 (WS)

It is a surprisingly simple idea - to end long-term homelessness, give every person living on the streets a home. It can also be surprisingly effective. Medicine Hat, a city in Canada, recently became the first city to end homelessness in this way. The approach is known as Housing First, and – unlike many other homelessness initiatives – it does not require homeless people to make steps towards solving other issues like alcoholism, mental health problems or drug addiction before they get a home. But is this approach solving the problem, or simply moving it off the streets?

(Image: A homeless man with his dog outside a building. Credit to Getty)

How the city of Medicine Hat in Canada, gave every person living in the streets a home

Should We Give Homeless People Homes?2016122020161224 (WS)

Medicine Hat, a city in Canada, has ended homelessness the \u2018housing first\u2019 way

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

It’s a surprisingly simple idea: to end long-term homelessness, give every person living on the streets a home. It can also be surprisingly effective. Medicine Hat, a city in Canada, recently became the first city to end homelessness in this way. The approach is known as Housing First, and – unlike many other homelessness initiatives – it doesn’t require homeless people to make steps towards solving other issues like alcoholism, mental health problems or drug addiction before they get a home. But is this approach solving the problem, or simply moving it off the streets?

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Image: A homeless man with his dog outside a building. Credit to Getty)

Medicine Hat, a city in Canada, has ended homelessness the \u2018housing first\u2019 way

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

It’s a surprisingly simple idea: to end long-term homelessness, give every person living on the streets a home. It can also be surprisingly effective. Medicine Hat, a city in Canada, recently became the first city to end homelessness in this way. The approach is known as Housing First, and – unlike many other homelessness initiatives – it doesn’t require homeless people to make steps towards solving other issues like alcoholism, mental health problems or drug addiction before they get a home. But is this approach solving the problem, or simply moving it off the streets?

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Image: A homeless man with his dog outside a building. Credit to Getty)

Should We Give Homeless People Homes?2016122020161224 (WS)

Medicine Hat, a city in Canada, has ended homelessness the ‘housing first’ way

It’s a surprisingly simple idea: to end long-term homelessness, give every person living on the streets a home. It can also be surprisingly effective. Medicine Hat, a city in Canada, recently became the first city to end homelessness in this way. The approach is known as Housing First, and – unlike many other homelessness initiatives – it doesn’t require homeless people to make steps towards solving other issues like alcoholism, mental health problems or drug addiction before they get a home. But is this approach solving the problem, or simply moving it off the streets?

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Image: A homeless man with his dog outside a building. Credit to Getty)

Should We Rethink the Ban on Child Labour?20181004

Most countries have signed up to a ban on child labour \u2013 but is this the best approach?

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

Should We Solar Panel The Sahara?2015122920160103 (WS)

Solar could provide clean energy on a vast scale. But the politics are difficult.

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

The world has a problem. The climate is changing. At least, most people think so. That’s why global leaders have been meeting in Paris to work out a way to deal with the problem. They blame carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, much of it released by the human need for energy, obtained from fossil fuels like oil and coal. But believe it or not the world also has a solution at hand: sunlight. Harvest it where it shines brightest, in the Sahara Desert for example, and you have the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card: a techno-fix to the mother of all problems. So, our question this week: why don't we solar panel the Sahara? Our contributors include: Gerhard Knies, a German physicist who has developed the idea; Tony Patt, who leads on this issue for the European Research Council; Daniel Egbe from the African Network for Solar Energy; and Helen Anne Curry, a technology historian, from Cambridge University in the UK.

Presented by Michael Blastland

(Photo: Sahara Desert. Credit: Getty Images)

Solar could provide clean energy on a vast scale. But the politics are difficult.

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

The world has a problem. The climate is changing. At least, most people think so. That’s why global leaders have been meeting in Paris to work out a way to deal with the problem. They blame carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, much of it released by the human need for energy, obtained from fossil fuels like oil and coal. But believe it or not the world also has a solution at hand: sunlight. Harvest it where it shines brightest, in the Sahara Desert for example, and you have the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card: a techno-fix to the mother of all problems. So, our question this week: why don't we solar panel the Sahara? Our contributors include: Gerhard Knies, a German physicist who has developed the idea; Tony Patt, who leads on this issue for the European Research Council; Daniel Egbe from the African Network for Solar Energy; and Helen Anne Curry, a technology historian, from Cambridge University in the UK.

Presented by Michael Blastland

(Photo: Sahara Desert. Credit: Getty Images)

The world has a problem. The climate is changing. At least, most people think so. That’s why global leaders have been meeting in Paris to work out a way to deal with the problem. They blame carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, much of it released by the human need for energy, obtained from fossil fuels like oil and coal. But believe it or not the world also has a solution at hand: sunlight. Harvest it where it shines brightest, in the Sahara Desert for example, and you have the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card: a techno-fix to the mother of all problems. So, our question this week: why don't we solar panel the Sahara? Our contributors include: Gerhard Knies, a German physicist who has developed the idea; Tony Patt, who leads on this issue for the European Research Council; Daniel Egbe from the African Network for Solar Energy; and Helen Anne Curry, a technology historian, from Cambridge University in the UK.

Presented by Michael Blastland

(Photo: Sahara Desert. Credit: Getty Images)

Solar could provide clean energy on a vast scale. But the politics are difficult.

The Inquiry20170622

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

China is currently developing the biggest infrastructure initiative of all time. Called the Belt and Road initiative, the trillion dollar plans involve working with other Asian countries to build hundreds of new roads, high speed trains, ports and pipelines across continent to mimic the ancient Silk Road trading routes. The project offers a clear economic opportunity, but the diplomatic ties that form as a result could have the potential to change the current world order.

Presenter: Ruth Alexander
Producer: Kate Lamble

(image: Local people control their sheep and goats on the Karakoram highway in northern Pakistan, part of the new Silk Road. Credit: Aamir Queeshi/AFP/ Getty Images)

The Inquiry20170629

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

“Humans are the only species that willingly deprive themselves from sleep? Ever since fire was discovered, we have traded off sleep time for other activities - from creating stone tools to partying. As our technology progressed, the list of things to do rather than sleep just got longer. But with sleep deprivation now a growing health problem, could we be reaching our limits? Or is tiredness part of our condition?

In this week’s programme, an evolutionary biologist, a historian and a neuroscientist give us their take on whether we are now any more tired than our ancestors. We hear what makes human sleep unique and how it has evolved in surprising ways.
And finally we hear from a woman with a dream – that we may never have to sleep again.

Producer: Estelle Doyle and Sarah Shebbeare
Presenter: James Fletcher

(Photo: A woman shows signs of tiredness as she counts ballot cards. Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

The Inquiry Junior - What\u2019s Killing Africa\u2019s Elephants?20180913

Poachers, jewellery makers and angry farmers: the story behind the decline of elephants

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

This is a special edition that younger listeners aged 10 to 14 can also enjoy. If you’re no longer in that bracket, don’t worry, The Inquiry as you know and love it will be back to normal after the next two episodes. It’s an experiment and we’d love to know what you think of it. Please email us Theinquiry@bbc.com or tweet @bbctheinquiry.

What’s Killing Africa’s Elephants? Poachers, jewellery makers and angry farmers: the story behind the drop in elephant numbers across Africa.

Presenters: Priscilla Ngethe and Kate Lamble.

Image: African elephants (Credit: BBC)

The Inquiry Junior - Why are North and South Korea divided?20180920

The story of how a line on a map becomes a hard state border that no one can cross.

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

The story of how a line on a map becomes a hard state border that no one can cross.

Korea was ruled as one Kingdom for a thousand years. They valued poetry and scholars helped rule the country. But their Kingdom was invaded by Japan. When Japan left, Russia and America raced to take their place. Amid frantic organising, a line dividing Korea in two was suggested. Who knew that line would become the front line in a war, eventually creating a hard border between two new countries?

This is a special edition that 10-14 year olds can also enjoy, but if you are not in that age bracket we hope that there’s something in it for you too. It’s a trial and we’d love to know what you think. Email theinquiry@bbc.com or tweet @bbctheinquiry – thanks to Niko, Christina and Sophie for your feedback. The Inquiry will be back to normal next week.

(image 2018: A North Korean student attends a class at Kang Pan Sok revolutionary school outside of Pyongyang. Credit: Ed Jones/Getty Images)

The North Korea Deep Dive2017122220171223 (WS)
20171224 (WS)

Nuclear ambitions and a war of words, a deep dive into the North Korea crisis

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

What next for North Korea? Kim Jong-un's nuclear ambitions and their global repercussions are explored in this special, extended edition of the programme.

After a year of repeated weapons testing by the secretive regime that’s sparked a war of words with the United States, Ruth Alexander brings together six expert witnesses to dive deep into the detail of what is one of the biggest geopolitical challenges of our time.

Their discussion examines North Korea’s weapons capability, the mind-set of its leader, the chance of war breaking out and the possibilities of finding a diplomatic solution.

(North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, flanked by vice-chair of the State Affairs Commission Choe Yong-Hae (L) at an opening ceremony. Photo credit: Ed Jones/Getty Images)

The US And Iran: How Close Could They Get?20141209

How much do the Great Satan and the Axis of Evil have in common?

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

How much do the Great Satan and the Axis of Evil have in common? Quite a bit, it turns out. They share a mutual antipathy towards Islamic State militants and a mutual desire for a stable Afghanistan. There has been cautious optimism in Washington and Tehran about the talks over Iran’s nuclear programme. And yet there is a legacy of hate and mistrust on both sides that goes back decades. How far can today’s leaders overcome the past to work together on common goals? We have answers from experts who travel back and forth between the two countries, including a former ayatollah.

(Image: U.S. Secretary of State Kerry and Iranian FM Zarif shake hands - Reuters Wires)

Trump and Kim: Can They Close the Deal?20180510

Top tips from peacemakers who have brokered some of the world\u2019s most unlikely pacts

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

Not long ago, they were calling each other names and raising fears of a nuclear war. Now, it is feasible they could together win the Nobel Peace Prize - if they can reach a deal. The mooted meeting between America’s Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un could go wrong in many ways. Mr Trump has already talked of walking out. But in a spirit of optimism, this week’s Inquiry hears from those who have brokered some of the world’s most unlikely pacts for advice on how to strike the deal of a lifetime. With Helena Merriman.

(Photo: President Trump, Credit: Zach Gibson/Getty Images; Photo: Kim Jong Un, Credit: Korea Summit Press Pool/Getty Images)

Was This The Most Divisive Us Election Ever?2016110820161112 (WS)

Two of the most unpopular presidential candidates ever have fought a bitter campaign

The Clinton–Trump race has been extraordinary. Two of the most unpopular presidential candidates ever have slugged it out through a bitter campaign. They are both – for different reasons – deeply polarising figures. Hillary Clinton is viewed with suspicion by Americans who have turned against what they regard as “the elite? Donald Trump has exploited crudely divisive, sexist, even racist, rhetoric. The tone of the contest has been ugly. But there is historical precedent for much of this – divisive policy positions on slavery or the famous attack ads of the 1960s. How should we view this campaign compared to the candidates, rhetoric, policies and media climate of past elections?

Presenter: Maria Margaronis

(Photo: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens behind Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as she answers a question i their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri. Credit: Rick Wilking)

Was this the Most Divisive US Election Ever?2016110820161112 (WS)

Two of the most unpopular presidential candidates ever have fought a bitter campaign

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

The Clinton–Trump race has been extraordinary. Two of the most unpopular presidential candidates ever have slugged it out through a bitter campaign. They are both – for different reasons – deeply polarising figures. Hillary Clinton is viewed with suspicion by Americans who have turned against what they regard as “the elite”. Donald Trump has exploited crudely divisive, sexist, even racist, rhetoric. The tone of the contest has been ugly. But there is historical precedent for much of this – divisive policy positions on slavery or the famous attack ads of the 1960s. How should we view this campaign compared to the candidates, rhetoric, policies and media climate of past elections?

(Photo: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens behind Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as she answers a question i their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri. Credit: Rick Wilking)

Was this the Most Divisive US Election Ever?20161108

Two of the most unpopular presidential candidates ever have fought a bitter campaign

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

The Clinton–Trump race has been extraordinary. Two of the most unpopular presidential candidates ever have slugged it out through a bitter campaign. They are both – for different reasons – deeply polarising figures. Hillary Clinton is viewed with suspicion by Americans who have turned against what they regard as “the elite”. Donald Trump has exploited crudely divisive, sexist, even racist, rhetoric. The tone of the contest has been ugly. But there is historical precedent for much of this – divisive policy positions on slavery or the famous attack ads of the 1960s. How should we view this campaign compared to the candidates, rhetoric, policies and media climate of past elections?

(Photo: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens behind Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as she answers a question i their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri. Credit: Rick Wilking)

What Are The Consequences Of Cheap Oil?20141223

Why the price of oil is impacting on the global economy and world politics

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

In the last six months the price of oil has collapsed dramatically. It has been called an oil shock. Previous oil shocks have had profound and long-lasting effects. No single commodity is more important to the global economy – and therefore to global politics. What are the political consequences of cheap oil? Contributors include an ex-president of Shell Oil, a former US energy secretary and one of the world’s leading thinkers on the subject.

(Image: Oil rig in the North Sea. Credit: Press Association)

What Can We Do With Our Dead?2017090720170909 (WS)

Cemeteries around the world are fast running out of space.

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

Cemeteries around the world are fast running out of space. As more and more people choose to live in cities, some can't even cope with the ashes left after cremation. Deep questions about our communities, cultures and mortality emerge as The Inquiry asks: what can we do with our dead?

The programme script says that "only the very wealthiest can afford to rest in the ground in Hong Kong and Singapore". This is true for Hong Kong but Singapore's National Environment Agency has been in touch to say that you do not have to be wealthy to be buried in the government run cemetery.

(image: A crowded cemetery in Hong Kong. Photo credit: Dale De La Rey/Getty Images.)

What Can We Do With Our Dead?20170907

Cemeteries around the world are fast running out of space.

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

Cemeteries around the world are fast running out of space. As more and more people choose to live in cities, some can't even cope with the ashes left after cremation. Deep questions about our communities, cultures and mortality emerge as The Inquiry asks: what can we do with our dead?

The programme script says that "only the very wealthiest can afford to rest in the ground in Hong Kong and Singapore". This is true for Hong Kong but Singapore's National Environment Agency has been in touch to say that you do not have to be wealthy to be buried in the government run cemetery.

(image: A crowded cemetery in Hong Kong. Photo credit: Dale De La Rey/Getty Images.)

What Does China Want From Space?2015061620150620 (WS)

China has sent an astronaut into orbit, and has plans to put one on the moon

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

Fifteen years ago, manned space flight was still a dream for China. Now, they are looking to the moon. They have mastered space walking, they are building advanced scientific satellites in partnership with the European Space Agency, and they are constructing their own ‘heavenly palace’ – a space station to rival the ISS. But some, not least the United States, are concerned by possible military uses for China’s blossoming space technology. This week our four expert witnesses help us figure out what China really wants from its space programme.

(Photo: Chines flag billows with the moon in the background. Credit: Mark Ralston/Getty Images)

What Does China Want From Space?2015061620150621 (WS)

China has sent an astronaut into orbit, and has plans to put one on the moon

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

Fifteen years ago, manned space flight was still a dream for China. Now, they are looking to the moon. They have mastered space walking, they are building advanced scientific satellites in partnership with the European Space Agency, and they are constructing their own ‘heavenly palace’ – a space station to rival the ISS. But some, not least the United States, are concerned by possible military uses for China’s blossoming space technology. This week our four expert witnesses help us figure out what China really wants from its space programme.

(Photo: Chines flag billows with the moon in the background. Credit: Mark Ralston/Getty Images)

What Does China Want From Space?20150616

China has sent an astronaut into orbit, and has plans to put one on the moon

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

Fifteen years ago, manned space flight was still a dream for China. Now, they are looking to the moon. They have mastered space walking, they are building advanced scientific satellites in partnership with the European Space Agency, and they are constructing their own ‘heavenly palace’ – a space station to rival the ISS. But some, not least the United States, are concerned by possible military uses for China’s blossoming space technology. This week our four expert witnesses help us figure out what China really wants from its space programme.

(Photo: Chines flag billows with the moon in the background. Credit: Mark Ralston/Getty Images)

What Does China Want In The South China Sea?20180125

The South China Sea's hotly contested waters could be a flashpoint for conflict in 2018

China has long been keen to assert its authority in the South China Sea. In recent years, it has undertaken a huge programme of island-building to stake its claim to the region. Fiery Cross, once a tiny reef, is now a fortified airbase. And this is just one of China’s seven artificial islands in the Sea.

But China is not the only one. Bordered by seven states, many others also claim parts of the South China Sea as their own. Experts warn these hotly contested waters could be a flashpoint for conflict in 2018.

Why is the South China Sea so important to China?

(Photo: Fiery Cross. Credit: CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/DigitalGlobe)

What Does China Want in the South China Sea?20180125

The South China Sea's hotly contested waters could be a flashpoint for conflict in 2018

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

China has long been keen to assert its authority in the South China Sea. In recent years, it has undertaken a huge programme of island-building to stake its claim to the region. Fiery Cross, once a tiny reef, is now a fortified airbase. And this is just one of China’s seven artificial islands in the Sea.

But China is not the only one. Bordered by seven states, many others also claim parts of the South China Sea as their own. Experts warn these hotly contested waters could be a flashpoint for conflict in 2018.

Why is the South China Sea so important to China?

(Photo: Fiery Cross. Credit: CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/DigitalGlobe)

What Does China\u2019s Stock Market Crash Tell Us?2015072120150725 (WS)

How China\u2019s rollercoaster market hints at deeper problems

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

China's economy was up 150% until June. Then it fell by nearly a third. Now it has had the strongest two-day rise since the 2008 global crisis. China’s rollercoaster stock market has provoked panic in recent weeks; panic on the part of small investors, who looked on in horror as previous gains were wiped out, and panic – some would argue – on the part of the Chinese government, which did everything it could to stop the slide. Four expert witnesses analyse what these dramatic events tell us – not about the Chinese stock market, but about China itself.

(Photo: An Investor walks past a stocks and shares board. Credit: Associated Press)

What Does China\u2019s Stock Market Crash Tell Us?2015072120150726 (WS)

How China\u2019s rollercoaster market hints at deeper problems

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

China's economy was up 150% until June. Then it fell by nearly a third. Now it has had the strongest two-day rise since the 2008 global crisis. China’s rollercoaster stock market has provoked panic in recent weeks; panic on the part of small investors, who looked on in horror as previous gains were wiped out, and panic – some would argue – on the part of the Chinese government, which did everything it could to stop the slide. Four expert witnesses analyse what these dramatic events tell us – not about the Chinese stock market, but about China itself.

(Photo: An Investor walks past a stocks and shares board. Credit: Associated Press)

What Does China\u2019s Stock Market Crash Tell Us?20150721

How China\u2019s rollercoaster market hints at deeper problems

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

China's economy was up 150% until June. Then it fell by nearly a third. Now it has had the strongest two-day rise since the 2008 global crisis. China’s rollercoaster stock market has provoked panic in recent weeks; panic on the part of small investors, who looked on in horror as previous gains were wiped out, and panic – some would argue – on the part of the Chinese government, which did everything it could to stop the slide. Four expert witnesses analyse what these dramatic events tell us – not about the Chinese stock market, but about China itself.

(Photo: An Investor walks past a stocks and shares board. Credit: Associated Press)

What Does Iran Think Of The West?20180719

Exploring why many Iranians are suspicious of the motives of the outside world

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

As relations with Iran and the West reach a new low point with the collapse earlier this year of the nuclear deal and the reintroduction of strict economic sanctions we ask: what does Iran think of the West? Pooneh Ghoddoosi explores a long and tortuous history of outside interference in the country. It dates back to the Western desire for Iran's rich oil reserves in the early 20th century, and continues through the CIA-backed coup in 1953, which strengthened the Shah's grip on the throne. The Western powers supported Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War, while the US is believed to have unleashed a highly effective cyber-weapon against the Iranian nuclear programme. Iran has reasons to be equally suspicious of Moscow - with the Russian Empire seizing large parts of historical Persia in the 19th century.

Producer: Matthew Chapman

What Does Kim Jong Un Want?20150127

What do we know about the ambitions of North Korea\u2019s enigmatic and unpredictable leader?

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

After the recent high-profile spat with the US over The Interview – a Hollywood film that mocks North Korea’s enigmatic leader – what do we know about his ambitions? Our expert witnesses include the first Western journalist to open an office in Pyongyang, a businessman who trains North Koreans and an admirer of Kim Jong Un who says he will succeed where his father and grandfather failed.

(Photo: Kim Jong Un. Credit: Associated Press)

What Does The President Need To Know?2015100620151011 (WS)

Top-secret documents, released by the CIA, shine a light on intelligence advice.

The CIA has just released 2,500 top secret presidential briefings from the 1960s. The President’s Daily Brief – or PDB – is the US intelligence agencies’ best assessment of global threats, delivered directly to the president every morning. The CIA’s director, John Brennan, has described the PDB as “among the most sensitive and classified documents in all of our government?

The decision to release some PDBs, even documents relating to events many decades ago, was not taken lightly. And, the briefings highlight an almost impossible dilemma – one still faced today by every Director of National Intelligence - what should, and should not, be said? The president cannot absorb everything - there has to be a choice. We explore the relationship between the intelligence, the advisers and the president. What does the president need to know?

(Photo: President Lyndon B. Johnson (seated, foreground) working with (background L-R): Marvin Watson, J. Edgar Hoover, Sec. Robert McNamara, Gen. Harold Johnson, Joe Califano, Sec. of the Army Stanley Resor. Credit: LBJ Library)

What Does the President Need to Know?2015100620151010 (WS)

Top-secret documents, released by the CIA, shine a light on intelligence advice.

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

The CIA has just released 2,500 top secret presidential briefings from the 1960s. The President’s Daily Brief – or PDB – is the US intelligence agencies’ best assessment of global threats, delivered directly to the president every morning. The CIA’s director, John Brennan, has described the PDB as “among the most sensitive and classified documents in all of our government”.

The decision to release some PDBs, even documents relating to events many decades ago, was not taken lightly. And, the briefings highlight an almost impossible dilemma – one still faced today by every Director of National Intelligence - what should, and should not, be said? The president cannot absorb everything - there has to be a choice. We explore the relationship between the intelligence, the advisers and the president. What does the president need to know?

(Photo: President Lyndon B. Johnson (seated, foreground) working with (background L-R): Marvin Watson, J. Edgar Hoover, Sec. Robert McNamara, Gen. Harold Johnson, Joe Califano, Sec. of the Army Stanley Resor. Credit: LBJ Library)

What Does the President Need to Know?2015100620151011 (WS)

Top-secret documents, released by the CIA, shine a light on intelligence advice.

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

The CIA has just released 2,500 top secret presidential briefings from the 1960s. The President’s Daily Brief – or PDB – is the US intelligence agencies’ best assessment of global threats, delivered directly to the president every morning. The CIA’s director, John Brennan, has described the PDB as “among the most sensitive and classified documents in all of our government”.

The decision to release some PDBs, even documents relating to events many decades ago, was not taken lightly. And, the briefings highlight an almost impossible dilemma – one still faced today by every Director of National Intelligence - what should, and should not, be said? The president cannot absorb everything - there has to be a choice. We explore the relationship between the intelligence, the advisers and the president. What does the president need to know?

(Photo: President Lyndon B. Johnson (seated, foreground) working with (background L-R): Marvin Watson, J. Edgar Hoover, Sec. Robert McNamara, Gen. Harold Johnson, Joe Califano, Sec. of the Army Stanley Resor. Credit: LBJ Library)

What Does the President Need to Know?20151006

Top-secret documents, released by the CIA, shine a light on intelligence advice.

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

The CIA has just released 2,500 top secret presidential briefings from the 1960s. The President’s Daily Brief – or PDB – is the US intelligence agencies’ best assessment of global threats, delivered directly to the president every morning. The CIA’s director, John Brennan, has described the PDB as “among the most sensitive and classified documents in all of our government”.

The decision to release some PDBs, even documents relating to events many decades ago, was not taken lightly. And, the briefings highlight an almost impossible dilemma – one still faced today by every Director of National Intelligence - what should, and should not, be said? The president cannot absorb everything - there has to be a choice. We explore the relationship between the intelligence, the advisers and the president. What does the president need to know?

(Photo: President Lyndon B. Johnson (seated, foreground) working with (background L-R): Marvin Watson, J. Edgar Hoover, Sec. Robert McNamara, Gen. Harold Johnson, Joe Califano, Sec. of the Army Stanley Resor. Credit: LBJ Library)

What Does The Saudi Crown Prince Want?20171116

He has pushed through reforms but some fear there is a darker desire driving the ruler

He’s pushed through reforms but some fear there is a darker desire driving the ruler. In one night, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman arrested over a dozen Princes and government ministers on corruption charges. To turn on his own royal family, he must be serious. But is corruption the Crown Prince’s real target or is this a power grab? There are also fears that the aggressive stance he has taken with Lebanon, Yemen and Qatar is increasing tensions with regional rival Iran. If the tension reaches a tipping point, there are fears the conflict could widen beyond the region. So what is he up to? What does the Saudi Crown Prince want?

(Photo: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in Riyadh on October 24 2017. Credit: Fayez Nureldine/Getty Images)

What Does the Saudi Crown Prince Want?20171116

He has pushed through reforms but some fear there is a darker desire driving the ruler

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

He’s pushed through reforms but some fear there is a darker desire driving the ruler. In one night, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman arrested over a dozen Princes and government ministers on corruption charges. To turn on his own royal family, he must be serious. But is corruption the Crown Prince’s real target or is this a power grab? There are also fears that the aggressive stance he has taken with Lebanon, Yemen and Qatar is increasing tensions with regional rival Iran. If the tension reaches a tipping point, there are fears the conflict could widen beyond the region. So what is he up to? What does the Saudi Crown Prince want?

(Photo: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in Riyadh on October 24 2017. Credit: Fayez Nureldine/Getty Images)

What Happened To Al-qaeda?2016040520160410 (WS)

Charting the fortunes of the group that once led the global jihadist movement

A deadly al-Qaeda attack on an Ivory Coast resort town in March reminded the world that the terror network once led by Osama bin Laden has not gone away. But in recent years it has been eclipsed and diminished by the so-called Islamic State group. IS has attracted not just global attention, but fighters and funds too. So how depleted is the group which in 2001 triggered America’s “global war on terror?? In other words: what happened to al-Qaeda?

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: A fighter is seen standing in front of an image of Osama bin Laden, the late head of al-Qaeda, in the town of Rada. Credit: Getty Images)

What Happened To Al-Qaeda?2016040520160410 (WS)

Charting the fortunes of the group that once led the global jihadist movement

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

A deadly al-Qaeda attack on an Ivory Coast resort town in March reminded the world that the terror network once led by Osama bin Laden has not gone away. But in recent years it has been eclipsed and diminished by the so-called Islamic State group. IS has attracted not just global attention, but fighters and funds too. So how depleted is the group which in 2001 triggered America’s “global war on terror”? In other words: what happened to al-Qaeda?

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: A fighter is seen standing in front of an image of Osama bin Laden, the late head of al-Qaeda, in the town of Rada. Credit: Getty Images)

What Happened To Al-Qaeda?20160405

Charting the fortunes of the group that once led the global jihadist movement

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

A deadly al-Qaeda attack on an Ivory Coast resort town in March reminded the world that the terror network once led by Osama bin Laden has not gone away. But in recent years it has been eclipsed and diminished by the so-called Islamic State group. IS has attracted not just global attention, but fighters and funds too. So how depleted is the group which in 2001 triggered America’s “global war on terror”? In other words: what happened to al-Qaeda?

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: A fighter is seen standing in front of an image of Osama bin Laden, the late head of al-Qaeda, in the town of Rada. Credit: Getty Images)

What Happened to Europe\u2019s Migrant Crisis?2017022820170304 (WS)

In 2015 huge numbers of migrants were trying to reach Europe. We hear what happened next

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

Back in 2015 our radios and TV bulletins were full of stories of people trying to get to Europe. We saw distressing pictures as boats sank and lives were lost. Huge numbers of men, women and children tried to make their way by road, rail and foot to Hungary, Germany and beyond. There was anguish and fear in EU capitals. Now the story has slipped from the front pages. We find out what happened next.

(Photo: Syrian refugees sit aboard a dinghy heading to the island of Lesbos early on June 18, 2015. Credit: Getty Images)

What Happened to Europe\u2019s Migrant Crisis?20170228

In 2015 huge numbers of migrants were trying to reach Europe. We hear what happened next

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

Back in 2015 our radios and TV bulletins were full of stories of people trying to get to Europe. We saw distressing pictures as boats sank and lives were lost. Huge numbers of men, women and children tried to make their way by road, rail and foot to Hungary, Germany and beyond. There was anguish and fear in EU capitals. Now the story has slipped from the front pages. We find out what happened next.

(Photo: Syrian refugees sit aboard a dinghy heading to the island of Lesbos early on June 18, 2015. Credit: Getty Images)

What Happened To Europe’s Migrant Crisis?2017022820170304 (WS)

In 2015 huge numbers of migrants were trying to reach Europe. We hear what happened next

Back in 2015 our radios and TV bulletins were full of stories of people trying to get to Europe. We saw distressing pictures as boats sank and lives were lost. Huge numbers of men, women and children tried to make their way by road, rail and foot to Hungary, Germany and beyond. There was anguish and fear in EU capitals. Now the story has slipped from the front pages. We find out what happened next.

Presenter: Ruth Alexander

Producer: Charlotte McDonald

(Photo: Syrian refugees sit aboard a dinghy heading to the island of Lesbos early on June 18, 2015. Credit: Getty Images)

What Happened To The European Dream?2016050320160508 (WS)

The search for the vision that inspired the European project's founders

In June, the UK will vote on whether to become the first country ever to leave the European Union. Anti-EU political parties are on the rise across the continent. In April, the Dutch people rejected an EU agreement with Ukraine. Even the president of the European Commission admits that "the European project has lost parts of its attractiveness".

But what is that project? And has it lost its shine? The Inquiry goes in search of the vision that inspired the EU’s founders and - with expert witnesses from Ireland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany - asks: what happened to the European dream?

(Photo: French Minister of Foreign Affairs Robert Schuman signs the official treaty of the Schuman Plan in 1951, which created the European Coal and Steel Community. Credit: Getty Images)

What Happened to the European Dream?2016050320160508 (WS)

The search for the vision that inspired the European project's founders

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

In June, the UK will vote on whether to become the first country ever to leave the European Union. Anti-EU political parties are on the rise across the continent. In April, the Dutch people rejected an EU agreement with Ukraine. Even the president of the European Commission admits that "the European project has lost parts of its attractiveness".

But what is that project? And has it lost its shine? The Inquiry goes in search of the vision that inspired the EU’s founders and - with expert witnesses from Ireland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany - asks: what happened to the European dream?

(Photo: French Minister of Foreign Affairs Robert Schuman signs the official treaty of the Schuman Plan in 1951, which created the European Coal and Steel Community. Credit: Getty Images)

What Happened to the European Dream?20160503

The search for the vision that inspired the European project's founders

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

In June, the UK will vote on whether to become the first country ever to leave the European Union. Anti-EU political parties are on the rise across the continent. In April, the Dutch people rejected an EU agreement with Ukraine. Even the president of the European Commission admits that "the European project has lost parts of its attractiveness".

But what is that project? And has it lost its shine? The Inquiry goes in search of the vision that inspired the EU’s founders and - with expert witnesses from Ireland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany - asks: what happened to the European dream?

(Photo: French Minister of Foreign Affairs Robert Schuman signs the official treaty of the Schuman Plan in 1951, which created the European Coal and Steel Community. Credit: Getty Images)

What Happens When A Cyber-attack Strikes?

The US and UK governments have accused Russia of orchestrating the most damaging cyber-attack in history. It caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage in over 60 countries. This programme tells the story of the attack as it unfolded across the globe. With the help of the world’s leading cyber security experts we take a forensic look at how the attack began, the extraordinary way in which it spread, and examine the international repercussions.

(A laptop displays a message after being infected by a ransomware as part of a worldwide cyberattack. Photo Credit: Rob Engelaar/Getty Images)

What Happens When A Cyber-attack Strikes?20180301

The US and UK governments have accused Russia of orchestrating the most damaging cyber-attack in history. It caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage in over 60 countries. This programme tells the story of the attack as it unfolded across the globe. With the help of the world’s leading cyber security experts we take a forensic look at how the attack began, the extraordinary way in which it spread, and examine the international repercussions.

(A laptop displays a message after being infected by a ransomware as part of a worldwide cyberattack. Photo Credit: Rob Engelaar/Getty Images)

What Happens When a Cyber-attack Strikes?20180301

We tell the story of the most damaging cyber attack in history

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

The US and UK governments have accused Russia of orchestrating the most damaging cyber-attack in history. It caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage in over 60 countries. This programme tells the story of the attack as it unfolded across the globe. With the help of the world’s leading cyber security experts we take a forensic look at how the attack began, the extraordinary way in which it spread, and examine the international repercussions.

(A laptop displays a message after being infected by a ransomware as part of a worldwide cyberattack. Photo Credit: Rob Engelaar/Getty Images)

What Happens When You Legalise Cannabis?2017041320170416 (WS)

In 2014 marijuana was legalised for recreational use in Colorado and Washington states in the US. Oregon, Alaska, California, Nevada and Massachusetts have all followed. These votes were the result of fierce campaigns. Activists argued that changing the law would eliminate the black market in marijuana; creating a legitimate, taxable industry and allowing the police to focus on more serious crime. Opponents feared more people would become cannabis addicts and predicted an uptick in health problems and robberies. So – three years in – what happened?

Presenter: Ruth Alexander

Producers: Kate Lamble and Phoebe Keane

(Photo: Jars full of medical marijuana are seen at Sunset Junction medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles, California. Credit: Getty Images)

What Happens When You Legalise Cannabis?2017041320170415 (WS)

Ruth Alexander looks at what happened next after legalising cannabis

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

In 2014 marijuana was legalised for recreational use in Colorado and Washington states in the US. Oregon, Alaska, California, Nevada and Massachusetts have all followed. These votes were the result of fierce campaigns. Activists argued that changing the law would eliminate the black market in marijuana; creating a legitimate, taxable industry and allowing the police to focus on more serious crime. Opponents feared more people would become cannabis addicts and predicted an uptick in health problems and robberies. So – three years in – what happened?

Presenter: Ruth Alexander
Producers: Kate Lamble and Phoebe Keane

(Photo: Jars full of medical marijuana are seen at Sunset Junction medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles, California. Credit: Getty Images)

What Happens When You Legalise Cannabis?20170413

Ruth Alexander looks at what happened next after legalising cannabis

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

In 2014 marijuana was legalised for recreational use in Colorado and Washington states in the US. Oregon, Alaska, California, Nevada and Massachusetts have all followed. These votes were the result of fierce campaigns. Activists argued that changing the law would eliminate the black market in marijuana; creating a legitimate, taxable industry and allowing the police to focus on more serious crime. Opponents feared more people would become cannabis addicts and predicted an uptick in health problems and robberies. So – three years in – what happened?

Presenter: Ruth Alexander
Producers: Kate Lamble and Phoebe Keane

(Photo: Jars full of medical marijuana are seen at Sunset Junction medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles, California. Credit: Getty Images)

What Is China Doing To Clear The Air?2016011920160124 (WS)

The air in much of China is so bad the government has repeatedly declared "war" on it

The air in much of China is so bad the government has repeatedly declared "war" on it. The enemy are tiny particulates which spew forth from countless cars, coal-fired power stations and steel plants to create a dense, putty-coloured smog. Known as PM2.5s, after their length in micrometres, the particulates contain toxic droplets so small they embed deep in the lungs and sometimes even the bloodstream. A former Chinese minister of health has estimated that as many as 500,000 Chinese citizens die prematurely because of them every year. Others have suggested the figure is far higher. Campaigners speak of an ‘airpocalypse’.

Public anger is rising, and winning this war has become a top priority for the Communist Party. Beijing recently issued its first pollution 'red alert', closing schools, factories and construction sites. It ordered half of all private cars off the road. But such draconian measures were only temporary. The real question, in a country where millions of people still look to industrialisation to lift them from poverty, is this: what can China do to clear the air? Guests include a man who used to write China's environmental laws and a leading activist with some surprising answers.

(Photo: A man and his child wear masks to protest against pollution. Credit: Getty Images)

What is China Doing to Clear the Air?2016011920160124 (WS)

The air in much of China is so bad the government has repeatedly declared "war" on it

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

The air in much of China is so bad the government has repeatedly declared "war" on it. The enemy are tiny particulates which spew forth from countless cars, coal-fired power stations and steel plants to create a dense, putty-coloured smog. Known as PM2.5s, after their length in micrometres, the particulates contain toxic droplets so small they embed deep in the lungs and sometimes even the bloodstream. A former Chinese minister of health has estimated that as many as 500,000 Chinese citizens die prematurely because of them every year. Others have suggested the figure is far higher. Campaigners speak of an ‘airpocalypse’.

Public anger is rising, and winning this war has become a top priority for the Communist Party. Beijing recently issued its first pollution 'red alert', closing schools, factories and construction sites. It ordered half of all private cars off the road. But such draconian measures were only temporary. The real question, in a country where millions of people still look to industrialisation to lift them from poverty, is this: what can China do to clear the air? Guests include a man who used to write China's environmental laws and a leading activist with some surprising answers.

(Photo: A man and his child wear masks to protest against pollution. Credit: Getty Images)

What is China Doing to Clear the Air?20160119

The air in much of China is so bad the government has repeatedly declared "war" on it

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

The air in much of China is so bad the government has repeatedly declared "war" on it. The enemy are tiny particulates which spew forth from countless cars, coal-fired power stations and steel plants to create a dense, putty-coloured smog. Known as PM2.5s, after their length in micrometres, the particulates contain toxic droplets so small they embed deep in the lungs and sometimes even the bloodstream. A former Chinese minister of health has estimated that as many as 500,000 Chinese citizens die prematurely because of them every year. Others have suggested the figure is far higher. Campaigners speak of an ‘airpocalypse’.

Public anger is rising, and winning this war has become a top priority for the Communist Party. Beijing recently issued its first pollution 'red alert', closing schools, factories and construction sites. It ordered half of all private cars off the road. But such draconian measures were only temporary. The real question, in a country where millions of people still look to industrialisation to lift them from poverty, is this: what can China do to clear the air? Guests include a man who used to write China's environmental laws and a leading activist with some surprising answers.

(Photo: A man and his child wear masks to protest against pollution. Credit: Getty Images)

What Is Happening To Former Is Fighters?

From courtrooms and prisons to rehab centres and martial arts training. We look to Europe, Iraq, Central Asia and Saudi Arabia to investigate how they are dealing with Islamic State militants.

The defeat of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has raised a new, global challenge. While Iraq is funnelling huge numbers of Islamic State suspects through its courts, thousands of foreign fighters are returning to their home countries. What is happening to former IS fighters?

What Is Happening To Former Is Fighters?20180315

From courtrooms and prisons to rehab centres and martial arts training

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

From courtrooms and prisons to rehab centres and martial arts training. We look to Europe, Iraq, Central Asia and Saudi Arabia to investigate how they are dealing with Islamic State militants.

The defeat of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has raised a new, global challenge. While Iraq is funnelling huge numbers of Islamic State suspects through its courts, thousands of foreign fighters are returning to their home countries. What is happening to former IS fighters?

(Photo: A man takes down a poster of the IS militant group's flag. Credit: Getty Images)

From courtrooms and prisons to rehab centres and martial arts training

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

From courtrooms and prisons to rehab centres and martial arts training. We look to Europe, Iraq, Central Asia and Saudi Arabia to investigate how they are dealing with Islamic State militants.

The defeat of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has raised a new, global challenge. While Iraq is funnelling huge numbers of Islamic State suspects through its courts, thousands of foreign fighters are returning to their home countries. What is happening to former IS fighters?

What Is Hong Kong\u2019s Problem With China?20141111

Four experts examine what\u2019s really behind the Hong Kong protests.

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

Hong Kong's government is preparing to clear the streets after weeks of protest. The demonstrators want direct talks with Beijing over who gets on the ballot for the 2017 Hong Kong election. But there is more than politics at play. China has had almost a generation to win hearts and minds in Hong Kong - a time when the mainland population has become increasingly nationalistic. What has gone wrong in Hong Kong? Our four experts tell a story of snobbery, arrogance and perhaps unrealistic expectations on both sides. Helena Merriman presents.

What Is Is Doing In The Philippines?20180111

In 2017 the black flag of the Islamic State group flew over the city of Marawi

In 2017 the black flag of the Islamic State group flew in the southern Philippines as a mixture of local and foreign fighters attacked the Islamic City of Marawi.

While the government did eventually regain control, it took five months to break the siege and many terrorist leaders escaped during the fighting. It's led to fears that the extremist violence could spread.

In this Inquiry we investigate the long history of conflict which provided a fertile place for IS's Islamist ideas to grow, and ask how important the region is to IS now that they're retreating in the Middle East.

(Image: Destroyed buildings in what was the main combat area in Marawi. Photo: Merlyn Manos/Getty Images)

What is IS doing in the Philippines?20180111

In 2017 the black flag of the Islamic State group flew over the city of Marawi

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

In 2017 the black flag of the Islamic State group flew in the southern Philippines as a mixture of local and foreign fighters attacked the Islamic City of Marawi.

While the government did eventually regain control, it took five months to break the siege and many terrorist leaders escaped during the fighting. It's led to fears that the extremist violence could spread.

In this Inquiry we investigate the long history of conflict which provided a fertile place for IS's Islamist ideas to grow, and ask how important the region is to IS now that they're retreating in the Middle East.

(Image: Destroyed buildings in what was the main combat area in Marawi. Photo: Merlyn Manos/Getty Images)

What Is The Yemen Conflict Really About?2015042120150425 (WS)

Is the fighting in Yemen a sectarian conflict or a regional proxy war?

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

In a matter of months rebels have swept through Yemen, capturing the capital, forcing the president into exile and causing hundreds of casualties as a simmering conflict has exploded into war. But the causes are complex and confusing. The Houthi rebels are from Yemen’s north, and are now laying siege to the southern port of Aden. Are these geographical rivalries the key?

The Houthi are Shia Muslims, supported by Iran. The rest of Yemen is mostly Sunni Muslim, and Saudi Arabia is leading a bombing campaign against the Houthi forces. So is this a sectarian conflict, or even a regional proxy war? And the Houthis have allied with former President Saleh, against Yemen’s current leader who replaced him in the transition after Yemen’s 2011 revolution. Are the roots of the current conflict in the failure of that revolution to deliver progress? Four expert witnesses help to disentangle this complex web and explain what the conflict in Yemen is really about.

(Photo: Houthi supporters demonstrate against recent UNSC sanctions. Credit: Yahya Arhab/European Photopress Agency)

What Is The Yemen Conflict Really About?2015042120150426 (WS)

Is the fighting in Yemen a sectarian conflict or a regional proxy war?

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

In a matter of months rebels have swept through Yemen, capturing the capital, forcing the president into exile and causing hundreds of casualties as a simmering conflict has exploded into war. But the causes are complex and confusing. The Houthi rebels are from Yemen’s north, and are now laying siege to the southern port of Aden. Are these geographical rivalries the key?

The Houthi are Shia Muslims, supported by Iran. The rest of Yemen is mostly Sunni Muslim, and Saudi Arabia is leading a bombing campaign against the Houthi forces. So is this a sectarian conflict, or even a regional proxy war? And the Houthis have allied with former President Saleh, against Yemen’s current leader who replaced him in the transition after Yemen’s 2011 revolution. Are the roots of the current conflict in the failure of that revolution to deliver progress? Four expert witnesses help to disentangle this complex web and explain what the conflict in Yemen is really about.

(Photo: Houthi supporters demonstrate against recent UNSC sanctions. Credit: Yahya Arhab/European Photopress Agency)

What Is The Yemen Conflict Really About?20150421

Is the fighting in Yemen a sectarian conflict or a regional proxy war?

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

In a matter of months rebels have swept through Yemen, capturing the capital, forcing the president into exile and causing hundreds of casualties as a simmering conflict has exploded into war. But the causes are complex and confusing. The Houthi rebels are from Yemen’s north, and are now laying siege to the southern port of Aden. Are these geographical rivalries the key?

The Houthi are Shia Muslims, supported by Iran. The rest of Yemen is mostly Sunni Muslim, and Saudi Arabia is leading a bombing campaign against the Houthi forces. So is this a sectarian conflict, or even a regional proxy war? And the Houthis have allied with former President Saleh, against Yemen’s current leader who replaced him in the transition after Yemen’s 2011 revolution. Are the roots of the current conflict in the failure of that revolution to deliver progress? Four expert witnesses help to disentangle this complex web and explain what the conflict in Yemen is really about.

(Photo: Houthi supporters demonstrate against recent UNSC sanctions. Credit: Yahya Arhab/European Photopress Agency)

What Kind Of Person Becomes A Violent Jihadi?2016041920160424 (WS)

The search for a 'terrorist type' and understanding people who kill for their beliefs

For decades researchers, academics and psychologists have wanted to know what kind of person becomes a terrorist. If there are pre-existing traits which make someone more likely to kill for their beliefs – well, that would be worth knowing. In this edition of The Inquiry – part of the BBC World Service Identity Season – we tell the story of that search for a ‘terrorist type’. It’s a story which begins decades ago. But, with the threat from killers acting for so-called Islamic State, finding an answer has never felt more pressing.

(Photo: Somali soldiers stand at the scene of car bomb at a restaurant in Mogadishu, 2016. Militant Islamist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack. Credit: Getty Images)

What Kind of Person Becomes a Violent Jihadi?2016041920160424 (WS)

The search for a 'terrorist type' and understanding people who kill for their beliefs

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

For decades researchers, academics and psychologists have wanted to know what kind of person becomes a terrorist. If there are pre-existing traits which make someone more likely to kill for their beliefs – well, that would be worth knowing. In this edition of The Inquiry – part of the BBC World Service Identity Season – we tell the story of that search for a ‘terrorist type’. It’s a story which begins decades ago. But, with the threat from killers acting for so-called Islamic State, finding an answer has never felt more pressing.

(Photo: Somali soldiers stand at the scene of car bomb at a restaurant in Mogadishu, 2016. Militant Islamist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack. Credit: Getty Images)

What Kind of Person Becomes a Violent Jihadi?20160419

The search for a 'terrorist type' and understanding people who kill for their beliefs

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

For decades researchers, academics and psychologists have wanted to know what kind of person becomes a terrorist. If there are pre-existing traits which make someone more likely to kill for their beliefs – well, that would be worth knowing. In this edition of The Inquiry – part of the BBC World Service Identity Season – we tell the story of that search for a ‘terrorist type’. It’s a story which begins decades ago. But, with the threat from killers acting for so-called Islamic State, finding an answer has never felt more pressing.

(Photo: Somali soldiers stand at the scene of car bomb at a restaurant in Mogadishu, 2016. Militant Islamist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack. Credit: Getty Images)

What Makes a Revolution Successful?20180517

The factors that need to come together for a successful revolution in the modern world

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

Armenia's recent successful uprising is being celebrated as unprecedented for a former Soviet state. The so-called “velvet revolution” began on the last day in March with a protest walk. It ended two weeks and 100km later with the government overthrown.

Yet revolutions rarely triumph.

In this Inquiry we look at the factors that need to come together for such a revolution to succeed. Do they always need to be bloody and brutal or can non-violence resistance be as effective? How important are state institutions like the military to determining success? And what role do international relationships have to play?

(Photo: Supporters of Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan celebrate at the central square of Yerevan, 2 May 2018. Credit: Vano Shlamov/AFP)

What Makes a Revolution Successful?20180517

The factors that need to come together for a successful revolution in the modern world

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

Armenia's recent successful uprising is being celebrated as unprecedented for a former Soviet state. The so-called “velvet revolution” began on the last day in March with a protest walk. It ended two weeks and 100km later with the government overthrown.

Yet revolutions rarely triumph.

In this Inquiry we look at the factors that need to come together for such a revolution to succeed. Do they always need to be bloody and brutal or can non-violence resistance be as effective? How important are state institutions like the military to determining success? And what role do international relationships have to play?

(Photo: Supporters of Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan celebrate at the central square of Yerevan, 2 May 2018. Credit: Vano Shlamov/AFP)

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

What Went Right In 2016?2016122720161231 (WS)

Four amazing stories united by the ambition to achieve the seemingly impossible

A lot has gone wrong this year. We are not talking about Brexit or the election of Donald Trump – both of which split opinion in Britain and the US. We are talking about terror attacks, the brutal conflict in Syria, and the thousands of migrants who died trying to reach Europe.

Good things did happen. But the good news was mostly buried under the bad. So we wanted to find about four things that went right in 2016. And, we talked to the people who made those things happen. Four amazing stories united by one thing - the ambition of a small number of extraordinary people to achieve the seemingly impossible.

(Photo: Betrand Piccard in his pilot seat, permission from Solar Impulse, Teresita Gaviria watches the announcement made by the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas, Getty Images, Sophien Kamoun and Dr Herath with kind permission)

What Went Right in 2016?2016122720161231 (WS)

Four amazing stories united by the ambition to achieve the seemingly impossible

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

A lot has gone wrong this year. We are not talking about Brexit or the election of Donald Trump – both of which split opinion in Britain and the US. We are talking about terror attacks, the brutal conflict in Syria, and the thousands of migrants who died trying to reach Europe.

Good things did happen. But the good news was mostly buried under the bad. So we wanted to find about four things that went right in 2016. And, we talked to the people who made those things happen. Four amazing stories united by one thing - the ambition of a small number of extraordinary people to achieve the seemingly impossible.

(Photo: Betrand Piccard in his pilot seat, permission from Solar Impulse, Teresita Gaviria watches the announcement made by the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas, Getty Images, Sophien Kamoun and Dr Herath with kind permission)

What Went Right in 2016?20161227