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Myanmar: The Spring Revolution

More than 750 people have been killed by the Myanmar military since they seized power in a coup three months ago. Mass protests demanding a return to democracy and the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi have been met with brutal force. Borders are closed and the internet effectively blocked. This is a story the military does not want the world to hear. But people are bravely documenting their resistance. We follow three young activists now in a fight for their future. As their options close…Can they win back democracy?

Produced and presented by Rebecca Henschke with Kelvin Brown

Drug Free in Norway

Can Norwegians with psychosis benefit from radical, drug-free treatment? In a challenge to the foundations of western psychiatry, a handful of Norway’s mental health facilities are offering medication-free treatment to people with serious psychiatric conditions. But five years after the scheme began it is still being questioned by the health establishment. For Crossing Continents, Lucy Proctor hears the testimony of Norwegian psychiatric patients, and the doctors who have aligned themselves on either side of the debate. Why is this happening in Norway? And how much power should people with debilitating psychosis have over their own lives?

Presenter: Lucy Proctor
Producer: Linda Pressly
Editor: Bridget Harney

Kenya's Unhappy Doctors and Nurses

All over the world, frontline workers have paid the ultimate price during the pandemic. But in Kenya the story of one young doctor’s heroism has made headlines for all the wrong reasons. 28-year old Stephen Mogusu died from Covid 19 in December after working on an isolation ward and complaining he lacked adequate protective clothing. Despite his vital service, he hadn’t been paid for five months. Stephen’s tragedy exposes a wider malaise in Kenya’s health system: A corruption scandal involving overpriced masks, aprons and other protective clothing. Meanwhile, across the country, a series of on-off strikes have disrupted care, as doctors, nurses and clinicians made sporadic protests against mismanagement and a devolved power structure they say is dysfunctional. As Kenya continues to battle against the virus, Lucy Ash finds out what’s ailing Kenya’s healthcare system.

Produced by Michael Gallagher. Editor, Bridget Harney

Sexual Healing in the Israeli Military

Soldiers returning from the line of duty with injuries affecting sexual performance are universal to all militaries around the world, but Israeli psychologist Dr Ronit Aloni set about making hers the only nation that offers a unique therapeutic approach to restoring the sexuality of their troops as a matter of course: surrogate partner therapy (SPT), or sexual surrogacy. After studying the niche treatment in the US in the early nineties, Dr Aloni conducted studies, lobbied the government and met with religious leaders in order to make this therapy, considered fringe and often taboo in other nations, available to those who need it via Ministry of Defense funding. But why is Israel alone in this? The therapy is best described as traditional psychotherapy combined with intimate sexual therapy with a surrogate lover, in every form that can mean, and it was Dr Aloni’s dogged belief in its life-changing benefits for her clients that caused her to pursue provision for the troops. For Crossing Continents, Yolande Knell tells the story of that policy through Dr Aloni’s work and her Tel Aviv clinic, the work of surrogate partner Seraphina, and two military veterans who have accessed the service: one of the first to be offered it on the MoD’s time in the late nineties, and one a conscripted young man paralysed by his injuries who after years of begging for death, says the therapy “restored his humanity”.

Produced by Philip Marzouk.
Editor, Bridget Harney

Denmark: goodbye to mink

Can Denmark's mink industry rise again? Denmark was the world's top producer of mink for the luxury market. Last year a coronavirus variant was found in the animals, and transmitted to people. There was a fear the variant - Cluster 5 - might interfere with the efficacy of any vaccine developed for humans. So in November, the Danish government ordered a cull of all 17 million farmed mink. But questions have continued to be asked about the decision to effectively end production. Was it driven by an anti-fur, political agenda? Was the science reliable? For Crossing Continents, Linda Pressly and Danish journalist, Rikke Bolander, meet some of those with skin in the game. What are the chances of a revival of Denmark's mink business?

Producers / presenters: Linda Pressly and Rikke Bolander
Editor, Bridget Harney

Namibia: the Price of Genocide

More than a century after its brutal colonisation of Namibia, including what it now accepts was the genocide of the Herero and Nama peoples, Germany is negotiating with the country’s government to heal the wounds of the past. The eventual deal may set a precedent for what other nations expect from former colonisers. But how do you make up for the destruction of entire societies? Germany has agreed to apologise - but Namibia also wants some form of material compensation. What should that be, and who should benefit? Namibians are now divided about how the talks are being conducted - and some in the country’s German-speaking minority, descendants of the original colonists, question the very idea of compensation. Tim Whewell travels to Namibia to ask how far full reconciliation - with Germany, and within the country - is possible.

Produced and presented by Tim Whewell
Editor, Bridget Harney

Europe’s Most Dangerous Capital

Bucharest, in Romania, is arguably Europe’s most dangerous capital city. It’s not the crime that’s the problem – it’s the buildings. Many of them don’t comply with basic laws and building regulations. Permits are regularly faked. And yet Bucharest is the most earthquake prone European capital. A serious quake would cause many of the buildings to collapse, with a potential loss of life into the thousands. Some years ago a red dot was put on a number of buildings in the city which were in danger of collapse. Nothing else has happened since. A microcosm of the problem is a type of building called ‘camine de nefamilisti’ or, ‘homes for those without families’. These were built during the Ceaucescu era to temporarily house workers brought in from the countryside and people who were still single after university. The single room flats, the size of a prison cell, with one communal shower and three Turkish style toilets per floor were never meant for families. But after the fall of Communism many of these ‘matchboxes’ ended up in private hands and conditions deteriorated with whole families moved into spaces designed for a single person. Simona Rata grew up in one of these buildings. For Crossing Continents she returns to the ‘camine de nefamilisti’ and finds little has changed since her childhood. The overcrowded blocks with poor sanitary conditions make tackling Covid difficult and the stability of the buildings remains a source of grave concern.
Reporter and producer: Simona Rata. Editor, Bridget Harney


The migrant shipwreck that rose again… In April, 2015 more than a thousand refugees and migrants drowned when the old fishing boat they were travelling on sank. It was the worst shipwreck in the Mediterranean since World War Two.

But the people who died are not forgotten. Not by their families and friends - and not by a professor of forensic pathology at the University of Milan.

“There’s a body that needs to be identified, you identify it. This is the first commandment of forensic medicine,” says Dr Cristina Cattaneo.

Crossing Continents tells the story of the raising of the fishing boat from the Mediterranean's seabed, and Dr Cattaneo's efforts to begin to identify the people who lost their lives on that moonless night on the edge of Europe.

Producer and presenter: Linda Pressly
Editor: Bridget Harney

Libya's Brothers from Hell

Amid the anarchy of post-Revolution Libya, seven ruthless brothers from an obscure background gradually took over their home town near Tripoli. They're accused of murdering entire families to instill fear and to build power and wealth. They created their own militia which threw in its lot, at different times, with various forces in Libya's ongoing conflict. And they grew rich by levying taxes on the human and fuel traffickers crossing their territory. Now, the full horror of their reign of terror is being exposed: since they were driven out in June, more and more mass graves are being discovered. The Libyan authorities - and the International Criminal Court - are investigating what happened. But the four surviving Kani brothers have fled. Will they ever face justice? And what does their story tell us about why the 2011 overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi brought not democracy, but chaos, to Libya? Tim Whewell reports.
Editor: Bridget Harney

Searching for Wisdom in Lagos

A young woman is desperately searching for her brother in Lagos. On the night of 20th October, Nigerian soldiers opened fire at a peaceful demonstration camped at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos. The government say they fired into the air, but witnesses insist that unarmed protesters came under deliberate attack. Amnesty International says that 12 people died.

The incident has traumatised a highly popular political reform movement that began as a demand to close down the S.A.R.S., a notoriously corrupt and brutal police squad. In the aftermath, many of the movement’s young supporters are keeping a low profile. Some have had their bank accounts frozen and passports seized. Others have even fled overseas, in fear of their lives.

The BBC’s Nigeria correspondent Mayeni Jones has been talking to some of them, including a witness to the Lekki shooting, and Peace, who is tirelessly searching for her brother, Wisdom, who is still missing after attending the demonstration. Mayeni finds a country whose traditionally deferential society and elderly leadership seem suddenly vulnerable; shaken by a perfect storm of youthful idealism, social media activism, and the crippling economic fallout of the Covid pandemic.

Producers: Naomi Scherbel-Ball & Michael Gallagher
With additional research by Jonelle Awomoyi
Editor: Bridget Harney

The Mapuche - Fighting for their right to heal

The Mapuche are Chile’s largest indigenous group – a population of more than 2 million people. And, they are fighting for their right to heal. They want Chileans to value their unique approach to healthcare and give them control of land and their own destiny. But, it’s a tough sell when there’s so much distrust and violence between the two communities. Jane Chambers travels to their homeland in the Araucania region in the south of Chile, where she’s given rare access to traditional healers and political leaders.

Presenter / producer: Jane Chambers
Producer in London: Linda Pressly
Editor: Bridget Harney

(Image: Machi Juana at her home by her sacred altar. Credit: Jane Chambers/BBC)

Darfur: A Precarious Peace

After 17 years of conflict costing 300,000 lives a peace agreement offers new hope to Sudan’s troubled Darfur region. It comes as UNAMID, the United Nations and African Union peacekeeping force, prepares to finally pull out at the end of this month. But with nearly two million displaced people still living in camps and some armed groups yet to sign the agreement, who will protect civilians if the peace fails? For Crossing Continents, Mike Thomson gains rare access to Darfur to hear the stories of those still living with deep uncertainty.

Producer, Bob Howard.
Editor, Bridget Harney

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