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16
OCT

The Story of Aids: 2. Act Up fights back

It began in March of 1987, when the playwright Larry Kramer gave a speech at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center in New York’s West Village, telling half the room to stand up. He bluntly informed those in attendance, that many people would be dead from Aids in just a few years, if they didn’t fight back. The US government’s response to the HIV-Aids crisis had been slow, with President Reagan reticent to offend the conservative morals of the Christian Coalition who helped secure his election. In response, the Aids Coalition to Unleash Power - Act Up - took to the streets to demand politicians and public health agencies do more.
16
OCT

World of Wisdom: Forgiveness

Forgiving someone who has hurt us badly can seem impossible. Bearing a grudge can feel like carrying a bag or rocks. Can we learn to move on and forgive?Author of Universal Human, Gary Zukav, offers insights to Joey from Lebanon, now living in Germany, as he struggles to forgive his brother for creating problems in his marriage and seeks to heal the rift it has caused in his family.
16
OCT

Climate: Activists

World leaders, scientists and activists are preparing for next month’s UN climate change summit in Scotland. These talks have been taking place for decades - but you sense the world is watching like never before, as awareness increases around how the planet is changing. In 1992, a 12-year-old called Severn Cullis-Suzuki from Canada gave a rousing speech and appeal for action at the Earth Summit in Rio. Severn and her father remain long-term environmental activists and host Nuala McGovern brings them together in conversation to hear their thoughts on whether Severn’s speech would be any different today.
16
OCT

Ros Atkins on: China-Taiwan tensions

In recent weeks, China has sent a record number of military jets into Taiwan’s air defence zone. The Taiwanese Defence Minister, Chiu Kuo-cheng, has said that tensions between China and the self-governing island are the worst in 40 years. Ros Atkins examines what is behind China’s military pressure on Taiwan.
13
OCT

Russia – the limits of freedom

In August, the BBC’s Moscow correspondent, Sarah Rainsford, was expelled from Russia – a country she’s reported on from the start of Vladimir Putin’s presidency over 2 decades ago. Now she’s been designated a ‘national security threat’ and barred indefinitely. The move against the BBC comes at a time of unprecedented pressure on critical voices in Russia – from opposition activists to independent Russian journalists, who are now blacklisted as ‘agents’ of foreign states. For Assignment, Sarah Rainsford explores what happened to her and what this says about the country she’s been forced to leave.

Producer / Presenter: Sarah Rainsford
Producer: Will Vernon

(Image: Sarah Rainsford. Credit: Jonathan Ford)
11
OCT

Somalia’s forgotten hostages

The sailors held captive for years, and the man who managed to free them. Somali pirates made millions of dollars hijacking ships and holding their crews hostage, if no ransom was paid though, sailors could spend years languishing in captivity. When retired British Army Colonel John Steed set out to try to free what he called ‘Somalia’s forgotten hostages’ he had no money and no hostage-negotiation experience, so how did he do it? Colin Freeman, who was himself taken hostage in Somalia, hears the remarkable stories of the sailors and their saviours.
11
OCT

World Book Café: PEN

100 years ago English PEN was founded to create a “common meeting ground in every country for all writers.” and it quickly grew into an international organisation. The organisation has long campaigned for Freedom of Expression for writers. To mark the centenary, in a special edition of World Book Cafe, Ritula Shah and her guests discuss current threats to Freedom of Expression around the world and hear from writers, including Tsitsi Dangarembga, about the power and importance of storytelling.
10
OCT

When bacteria ruled the world

Justin explores the Precambrian period: a kind of dark ages, spanning most of our planet's history, but about which we have very few fossil records. What we do know is that it contained two of the most important developments in evolution. One gave us a breathable atmosphere. The other made possible all the animals that now breathe it. The Natural History Museum's Imran Rahman introduces Justin to this strange bacterial world, while Aubrey Zerkle of the University of St Andrews explains why cyanobacteria may have been the greatest mass murderers in history.
09
OCT

World of Wisdom: Hope and children

The pandemic has made many people unsure about the future. Issues such as climate catastrophe have come to seem all the more real. How do we keep hope alive for our children and ourselves? Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth offers insights to Liyang from China, now living in New Zealand, as she worries about the world her children will live in and how she should prepare them for it.
09
OCT

The Story of Aids: 1. The beginning

We return to the beginning of the global Aids crisis and explore the personal and political struggles of the epidemic, as it unfolded in two very different countries – the United States and South Africa – and hear stories from people who fought through it, and survived. The series begins in the USA, where 40 years ago the Centers for Disease Control published a memo flagging a rare pneumonia found in five previously healthy, young gay men in California. Two of the men had died. These would be the first recorded cases of Aids in the world – a disease which would go on to kill 35 million people.
09
OCT

Coronavirus: Protecting vulnerable children

Children who have a compromised immune system remain at high risk during the ongoing pandemic if they develop Covid-19. Their parents continue to protect their children from those who no longer wear masks or - in some cases - refuse to get a vaccine. We hear from three mothers, in the US and the UK, who share their hopes and fears for the future. In some US states, mask and vaccination mandates are banned.
09
OCT

The UK's net zero challenge

In 2019, the UK became the first major economy to set a net zero carbon emissions goal by 2050. Now, as the country gets ready to host a major UN climate change summit in a few weeks, Ros Atkins looks at the challenges posed by the net zero ambition.

490 episodes

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