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How can we live an ethical life?

Is it unethical to eat animals? Can you be a good person if you have spare money and don’t give any of it to charity? What is the moral response to the war in Ukraine? Nuala McGovern is in Los Angeles to talk to Australian Philosopher and Berggruen Prize winner Prof Peter Singer, who has spent his career grappling with these difficult questions. He’s been described as the world’s most influential philosopher and, on one occasion, as the world’s most dangerous man.

The advertising trap

Digital advertising has taken over the world. But is it all based on smoke and mirrors? Ed Butler investigates what some claim is a massive collective deception – a trillion dollar marketing pitch that simply does not deliver value to any of those paying for it. Do online ads actually work, or could it be that some of the biggest names in global tech – from Google to Facebook, be founded on a false prospectus?

The Buffalo shooting

Once again, the United States is discussing race, guns and mass shootings after the killing of 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York State. On Saturday 14 May, an armed young man wearing body armour drove more than three hours across New York State to the city. The 18-year-old suspect, who is white, stopped at a supermarket in a predominantly black district and opened fire. Those who died were black. The crime is believed to be racially motivated. Host Ben James hears the reactions among those living and working in Buffalo.

Love-bombing Estonia’s Russian speakers

Can music and culture help unite Estonia? Guitar riffs lilt through the air and over the narrow river that marks the border between Estonia and Russia. It’s the first time Estonia’s annual festival Tallinn Music Week has been held in Narva, bringing coach loads of musicians from 30 countries around the world to a normally sleepy city. The organiser moved the festival when the war in Ukraine broke out in order to send a message of unity and to encourage Estonians from the capital to mix with people in Narva, where 97% of Estonians have Russian as their mother tongue. Many can barely speak Estonian at all.

Across Estonia, one quarter of the population are Russian speakers, prompting many to describe this as a threat. When Putin invaded Ukraine on the premise of liberating Russian speakers there, it lead to many in the press to ask ‘is Narva next?’ but a new generation of Russian speaking Estonians are increasingly frustrated by this rhetoric and say it simply is not true. Russian speakers are even signing up to Estonia’s volunteer defence force, ready to fight to defend Estonia should the worst happen. Their allegiance is clear. But is music and culture enough to unite Estonia’s Russian speakers?

Presenter: Lucy Ash
Producer: Phoebe Keane

(Image: Tallinn Music Week festival lights up Kreenholm, an abandoned 19th century textile factory in Narva, on Estonia’s border with Russia. Credit: Phoebe Keane/BBC)

Music credits:

Artist: Trad Attack!
Track: Sõit
Writers: Jalmar Vabarna, Sandra Vabarna, Tõnu Tubli

Artist: Gameboy Tetris and Nublu
Track: Für Oksana
Writers: Pavel Botsarov, Markkus Pulk, Fabry El Androide, Ago Teppand

Artist: Pale Alison
Track: забывай
Writers: Evelina Koop, Nikolay Rudakov

Artist: Jaakko
Sound Installation: On the Border/Rajalla

Don't log off: Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Alan Dein connects via social media to absolute strangers and old friends to hear how Russia's invasion of Ukraine has blown away their old lives. Some, like Anna, have fled their home town of Dnipro. Others like Verena, from St Petersburg, have fled the secret police whilst in Odesa Roman awaits the fate of his city.

Escape from the Taliban

Sana Safi follows the stories of two Afghan women judges who have had to go into hiding after the Taliban takeover. Through encrypted networks and messages, Sana gets unprecedented access to the secretive operatives trying to get the women and their families out of the country. It is a race against time as the Taliban go door to door looking for the women.

Billionaire ball game

James Montague, award-winning author of the The Billionaire’s Club, tells the story of how the super-rich bought English football and Chelsea FC became a sanctioned asset. From Putin’s oligarchs to hyper-capitalist Americans and oil-rich Middle Eastern royal families, James explores the concerns, crimes and crises that large waves of cash have brought to the home of the beautiful game.

Abortion in the US

Abortion is a deeply divisive issue in the United States that spans the law, religion and women’s rights. It has been a legal right for almost 50 years. Now, the Supreme Court – the top court in the country – is expected to overturn the law and rule that abortions can banned. It’s put abortion back towards the top of the political debate and we reflect some of the conversations taking place among those affected. Two women share their experiences and personal reasons for terminating their pregnancies, including one that resulted from sexual assault.

Hidden Sport: Swtich

Kim Tserkezie meets Danny Hibbert, the mastermind behind Switch, a sport of sports consisting of football, basketball, volleyball, netball and handball. She learns how the game is crossing generational and cultural divides in White City, a fast-changing area of west London, and giving opportunities to many, where more established sports are failing. Through speaking to those who Switch has impacted, Kim comes to understand how important Switch, and Danny, are to this diverse community.

Cambodia: Returning the gods

While some countries fight to reclaim antiquities that were stolen centuries ago, Cambodian investigators are dealing with far more recent thefts. Many of the country’s prized treasures were taken by looters in the 1980s and 1990s and then sold on to some of the world’s most prestigious museums, including the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert museum, in London. At the centre of many of the sales was a rogue British art dealer.

Celia Hatton joins the Cambodian investigative team and gains unprecedented access to looters who have become government witnesses. The Phnom Penh government has now launched a legal campaign in the UK to get some of its most prized statues back. For many Cambodians these are not simply blocks of stone or pieces of metal, they are living spirits and integral to the Khmer identity. The Gods, they say, are cold and lonely in foreign collections and they want to come home.

Producer: John Murphy

(Image: Monks at Angkor Wat temple, Cambodia. Credit: BBC)

Don't log off: Daria, love and war

Alan Dein's series of global conversations is now a decade old. Via social media he has crossed the word and heard true stories of love, pain and downright craziness. In those 10 years many of those he first encountered have become digital friends. Now in this time of war and upheaval he reconnects with Daria in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, who has unexpectedly found love.

Grenada: Confronting the past

BBC World News anchor Laura Trevelyan discovered her family’s slave owning past only after the University College London database of slave ownership in the British Caribbean was published in 2013. Back in the 18th Century, the Trevelyan family were known as absentee slave owners on Grenada. The family never set foot on the island, but owned hundreds of slaves and profited for years from the sale of sugar harvested from five different sugar cane plantations. To try and learn more about the legacy of slavery on Grenada and her family’s involvement in the slave trade, Laura Trevelyan and her producer Koralie Barrau go to Grenada.

667 episodes

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