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The Inquiry

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

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Can You Train People To Be Less Prejudiced?

23:20 | Jun 21st, 2018

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...Show More

The North Korea Deep Dive

50:40 | Dec 22nd, 2017

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 wor...Show More

How is space changing Earth?

23:48 | Mar 28th

Many nations have now entered the space race. China first sent a man into space in 2003 and in the last few months made a successful, unmanned, landing on the far side of the moon. This was a world first. India has its own record. A few years ago it ...Show More

What is the Wagner Group?

23:07 | Mar 21st

In recent years, in trouble spots and war zones around the world – places such as Syria, Eastern Ukraine and Central African Republic – The Wagner Group has been active. They are fighters for hire. But very little else, for certain, is known about ...Show More

Will populism destroy the European Union?

24:16 | Mar 14th

The European Union was formed in the years after the Second World War to secure peace and promote economic progress. It aimed to achieve that by ensuring that countries worked together. But that optimistic vision has now been shaken. There is mounti...Show More

Are smart cities dumb?

24:12 | Mar 7th

Driverless cars powered by renewable energy whisking their healthy and happy citizens between gleaming skyscrapers, criss-crossing efficient roads. That’s the dream of many so called smart cities. The trend for ‘smart cities’ has grown immensely o...Show More

Can radicalised kids recover?

23:25 | Feb 28th

Tens of thousands of children have been forced to join militia or terror groups in recent years. The Inquiry looks at conflicts around the world to find out what it takes to rehabilitate a child who has witnessed or taken part in violent extremism. W...Show More

How do we stop young people killing themselves?

23:29 | Feb 21st

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally. But innovative and unexpected ways to tackle this public health issue are emerging. From Nigeria to Finland, ordinary people and experts are putting their own experiences a...Show More

Why don't we care about Yemen?

23:35 | Feb 14th

Three million people in Yemen have been forced from their homes, and the dead are estimated to number many tens of thousands. But, compared to similar conflicts, global attention has been slight. The Inquiry asks why. It explores how the media has to...Show More

What’s so scary about Huawei?

24:31 | Feb 7th

The tech giant has had a meteoric rise over the last ten years. It has overtaken Apple in the global smartphone market, and its equipment is in telecommunications systems in 170 countries worldwide. But Huawei now finds itself at the centre of a glob...Show More

Why Can’t So Many Children Read?

24:02 | Jan 31st

More children than ever before attend school – so why have reading rates been so slow to improve? In some countries teachers are absent from class one day every week, in others early years education barely exists. And many children are taught to rea...Show More

Should We Fear ‘Designer Babies’?

24:00 | Jan 24th

In November 2018, a Chinese scientist stunned the world by announcing that he had successfully edited the genes of two embryos. These twins had their DNA changed to try and make them resistant to HIV, it was only successful in one. Shock and outrage...Show More

What Would It Take to Impeach Trump?

24:11 | Jan 17th

Ever since Donald Trump took office in 2016 his critics have been focussed on getting rid of him. As the Mueller probe into Russian collusion in the presidential election heads into its last six months, several members of President Trump’s inner cir...Show More

Can We Stop a Mass Extinction?

24:04 | Jan 10th

Human activity is sending animals and plants extinct. But there is a fightback going on. Scientists all over the world are coming up with radical solutions to save them - from transplanting polar bears, to “de-extincting” a very strange frog. And...Show More

Are We Heading for Another Mass Extinction?

24:00 | Jan 3rd

This week we’re looking at nothing less than the state of life on earth. The planet has seen mass extinctions before, periods of widespread and dramatic species loss. Some now fear human activity is driving another one: land cleared for farms, homes ...Show More

How Did We Get Hooked on Vitamins?

24:18 | Dec 27th, 2018

Millions of us take a vitamin tablet every day - how did they become so popular? We follow the rise and rise of vitamins from their discovery just a century ago, to the multi-billion dollar market of today. The story of how the vitamin supplement ent...Show More

What did #MeToo Really Achieve?

23:58 | Dec 20th, 2018

#MeToo became viral following allegations of sexual harassment and violence at the hands of Harvey Weinstein. Now women and men in their millions around the world have been mobilised by the hashtag to share their stories of abuse. But its founder Tar...Show More

Is this the Most Dangerous Time to be a Journalist?

23:48 | Dec 13th, 2018

Journalists have been subject to more killings, and increasing levels of violence and intimidation in 2018, according to monitoring groups. This year alone more than 30 have been murdered, including Mexican veteran journalist Carlos Domínguez Rodrí...Show More

Why Is Brexit So Hard?

23:41 | Dec 6th, 2018

The UK voted to leave the European Union in June 2016. More than two years on, it’s still not clear how that will happen, or what will come after. Consensus within Westminster seems impossible, and if the deal currently on offer from Brussels is vo...Show More

Is the West at War with Russia?

23:10 | Nov 29th, 2018

There’s talk of a new Cold War between Russia and the West. What responsibility does the West carry for the dismal state of relations? Russian leaders say Nato has expanded far beyond the borders that were agreed when the Soviet Union collapsed and ...Show More

Is Russia at War with the West?

23:09 | Nov 22nd, 2018

There are currently a number of serious allegations made in the West against Russia. They include the attempted murder of the former spy Sergei Skripal on British soil; interference in the 2016 US election; the hacking of the American electricity gri...Show More

What Makes A Pariah State?

23:48 | Nov 15th, 2018

There are different routes to pariah status. North Korea, with its gross human rights abuses and illicit nuclear weapons programme tops the list and represents the classic pariah - completely ostracized from the international system. Another sure-fir...Show More

How Did We Mess up Antibiotics?

22:58 | Nov 8th, 2018

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 i...Show More

Is the China-Africa Love Affair Over?

22:59 | Nov 1st, 2018

The burgeoning relationship between China and Africa has been one of the great economic stories of the 21st century. Billions of dollars of investment and loans from China have created radical change in many African countries. But not everyone is hap...Show More

How Long Can We Live?

23:44 | Oct 25th, 2018

Life expectancy is going up as we develop new cures for the diseases that kill us off. But can we beat the most fatal condition of all - old age? We talk to scientists on the frontier of fighting the ageing process itself, when our bodies just start ...Show More

What Went Wrong in Indonesia?

23:07 | Oct 18th, 2018

Thousands died when an earthquake and tsunami struck Palu, Indonesia – but could more lives have been saved? Accusations have been made of a host of failings: alert systems that were out of action, sirens that didn’t sound, a government slow to give ...Show More

Can Delhi Clean Up Its Air?

23:01 | Oct 11th, 2018

Delhi is one of the worst polluted cities in the world. Radical ideas like skyscraper-sized air purifiers are being proposed to clean the smog – can they work? There are lessons to be learned from other cities around the world about how to manage emi...Show More

Should We Rethink the Ban on Child Labour?

24:03 | Oct 4th, 2018

Most countries in the world have signed up to the idea that no child should work at all under a certain age – but is this the best approach? This week Nicolle, a 17 year old from Peru, has been part of a delegation of child labourers visiting the UN ...Show More

Is Genetic Testing Overrated?

23:36 | Sep 27th, 2018

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. But what do your genes really tell you? And co...Show More

The Inquiry Junior - Why are North and South Korea divided?

23:49 | Sep 20th, 2018

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 l...Show More

The Inquiry Junior - What’s Killing Africa’s Elephants?

23:08 | Sep 13th, 2018

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...Show More

Is Women’s Sport In Trouble?

23:38 | Sep 6th, 2018

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 o...Show More

How Do You Run A Hacking Operation?

23:16 | Aug 30th, 2018

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 streng...Show More

Who’s in the Driving Seat of the US – Saudi Relationship?

23:02 | Aug 23rd, 2018

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...Show More

Could We See Another Aids Pandemic?

23:04 | Aug 16th, 2018

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 co...Show More

Can We Control 3D Printing?

22:59 | Aug 9th, 2018

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 ...Show More

Bonus Podcast: My Indian Life Preview

03:34 | Aug 3rd, 2018

Introducing Kalki Presents: My Indian Life - our new podcast with Bollywood actor, Kalki Koechlin. This preview tells you all about it - real life in India in the 21st century.

Is WhatsApp Fuelling Vigilantism?

23:05 | Aug 2nd, 2018

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 drivi...Show More

Is Africa’s Longest War Really Over?

23:51 | Jul 26th, 2018

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...Show More

What does Iran think of the West?

23:36 | Jul 19th, 2018

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 tort...Show More

Can We Ever Understand Animals?

23:32 | Jul 12th, 2018

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 ...Show More

Can We Eat Our Way Out Of Climate Change?

22:58 | Jul 5th, 2018

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 lookin...Show More

Are We Heading for a Trade War?

22:59 | Jun 28th, 2018

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 Ministe...Show More

How Do You Make People Have Babies?

23:02 | Jun 14th, 2018

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...Show More

Is Raqqa Recovering After Islamic State?

22:57 | Jun 7th, 2018

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 re...Show More

Can Computers Predict Crimes That Haven’t Happened Yet?

23:29 | May 31st, 2018

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 on...Show More

Is North Korea Broke?

22:56 | May 24th, 2018

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 ...Show More

What Makes a Revolution Successful?

23:12 | May 17th, 2018

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 overthr...Show More

Trump and Kim: Can They Close the Deal?

23:01 | May 10th, 2018

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...Show More

What’s the Real Difference Between the Sexes?

23:26 | May 3rd, 2018

In late December 2017, one of the world’s leading neurobiologists died of pancreatic cancer. His name was Ben Barres. He was an extraordinary scientist, advancing our understanding of how the brain works, in particular how certain cells in the brain ...Show More

What’s Killing Black American Babies?

22:58 | Apr 26th, 2018

Black infants in America are twice as likely to die in their first year as white infants. This stark disparity has long puzzled doctors and researchers. Why are so many African-American babies dying? (Photo: A medical assistant measures the head o...Show More

Are Nerve Agents Out of Control?

23:19 | Apr 19th, 2018

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 ...Show More

Bonus Podcast: Death in Ice Valley

03:12 | Apr 17th, 2018

A special preview of the new podcast Death in Ice Valley. An unidentified body. Who was she? Why hasn’t she been missed? A BBC World Service and NRK original podcast, investigating a mystery unsolved for almost half a century. Episode One was release...Show More

How Did China Ban Ivory?

23:27 | Apr 12th, 2018

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 the...Show More

How Do Dictators Survive So Long?

22:57 | Apr 5th, 2018

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' survi...Show More

Is Plastic Doomed?

23:06 | Mar 28th, 2018

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 tha...Show More

Have We Always Felt This Tired?

23:25 | Mar 22nd, 2018

“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 t...Show More

What’s Happening to IS Fighters Now?

23:13 | Mar 15th, 2018

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 rais...Show More

Is Facebook in Trouble?

23:34 | Mar 8th, 2018

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 med...Show More

What Happens When a Cyber-attack Strikes?

23:47 | Mar 1st, 2018

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 glob...Show More

How Do You Close The Gender Pay Gap?

23:08 | Feb 22nd, 2018

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 cl...Show More

Why is Cape Town Running Out of Water?

23:02 | Feb 15th, 2018

It is feared than in a few months’ time Cape Town could run out of water. The city is planning for so-called Day Zero when the supply is switched off and people will have to collect water rations. Cape Town is an extreme example of what is now a glob...Show More

Why Are the Taliban So Resilient?

23:34 | Feb 8th, 2018

The Taliban have staged devastating attacks in the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul, in recent weeks. And a BBC study has discovered the group is active across the majority of the country – pushing beyond its traditional southern stronghold into eastern...Show More

How Did We Get Hooked on Plastic?

23:09 | Feb 1st, 2018

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 gro...Show More

What Does China Want in the South China Sea?

23:38 | Jan 25th, 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 j...Show More

What’s the Greatest Threat to Poland?

23:21 | Jan 18th, 2018

The EU’s launched the ‘nuclear option’ against Poland, the first time it’s triggered the disciplinary measure in its history. They say recent changes to the legal system mean there is a serious threat to the rule of law and as a punishment, Poland co...Show More

What is IS doing in the Philippines?

23:19 | Jan 11th, 2018

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 th...Show More

Is Zero Tolerance the Right Approach for FGM?

23:58 | Jan 4th, 2018

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 quick...Show More

What’s The Point Of Bitcoin?

23:22 | Dec 28th, 2017

Making sense of the digital currency and the ideology of its founders, fans and future. In 2010 a developer spent 10,000 bitcoin to buy two pizzas. Seven and a half years later that was the equivalent of over $80m. Bitcoin has been exploding i...Show More

How Do We Rule The Universe?

23:37 | Dec 21st, 2017

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 compa...Show More

How Powerful is Facebook's Algorithm?

23:58 | Dec 14th, 2017

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 t...Show More

Are We Missing A Bigger Opioid Crisis?

24:12 | Dec 7th, 2017

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 ...Show More

What Would an Iran-Saudi Arabia War Look Like?

24:02 | Nov 30th, 2017

Missiles, fighter jets and mines waiting on the sea bed - war games in the gulf. Tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia is at an unprecedented level since a missile was intercepted over Saudi Arabia’s capital city. The Saudi Crown Prince blames Iran a...Show More

Why Doesn’t Apple Pay More Tax?

23:51 | Nov 23rd, 2017

The world’s most profitable company is accused of aggressively dodging tax. Leaked documents in the Paradise Papers show Apple moved hundreds of billions of dollars in untaxed foreign profits to Jersey, where foreign companies pay no corporation tax....Show More

What Does the Saudi Crown Prince Want?

23:19 | Nov 16th, 2017

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 mus...Show More

Is the Knowledge Factory Broken?

22:58 | Nov 9th, 2017

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 ...Show More

How Powerful is Iran’s Revolutionary Guard?

23:51 | Nov 2nd, 2017

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...Show More

How Do You End A Civil War?

23:50 | Oct 26th, 2017

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,...Show More

Is the Pope Catholic?

22:58 | Oct 19th, 2017

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 ...Show More

Can We Teach Robots Ethics?

23:04 | Oct 12th, 2017

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 o...Show More

Is Privacy Dead?

22:57 | Oct 5th, 2017

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 p...Show More

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

24:25 | Sep 28th, 2017

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, wh...Show More

Can China Solve the North Korea Problem?

23:15 | Sep 21st, 2017

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. ...Show More

How Do We Stop People Dying in Floods?

22:58 | Sep 15th, 2017

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 fl...Show More

What Can We Do With Our Dead?

23:48 | Sep 7th, 2017

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 ...Show More

How Has the Ku Klux Klan Lasted so Long?

22:58 | Aug 31st, 2017

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. Pre...Show More

Are Video Games a Waste of Time?

24:30 | Aug 24th, 2017

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...Show More

How Do You Fix Someone Else's Election?

23:30 | Aug 17th, 2017

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. Meanw...Show More

Are South Africa's Police Failing?

23:13 | Aug 10th, 2017

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 ...Show More

Who Gets to Have Their Own Country?

23:33 | Aug 3rd, 2017

There are plenty of people out there who want their own state - like in Iraqi Kurdistan and Catalonia, which both have independence referendums coming up. Yet the national governments in Baghdad and Madrid say the votes - whatever their outcome - won...Show More

What Would War With North Korea Look Like?

23:19 | Jul 27th, 2017

Alarm about North Korea has spiked. Earlier this month, the North claimed to have successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit Alaska. Some experts estimate that North Korea is now 18 to 36 months away from launchin...Show More

Is it Time to Ban the Plastic Bottle?

23:35 | Jul 20th, 2017

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, wit...Show More

Is Gene Editing Out of Control?

23:15 | Jul 13th, 2017

"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-he...Show More

What's So Special About Qatar?

23:17 | Jul 6th, 2017

The tiny state behind a global diplomatic feud. Qatar's landmass is so small it could fit into the UK 20 times over. Its citizen population is just a few hundred thousand. Yet this desert country finds itself at the centre of a geopolitical disput...Show More

Have We Always Felt This Tired?

23:27 | Jun 29th, 2017

“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 t...Show More

Why Does China Want to Revive the Silk Road?

23:12 | Jun 22nd, 2017

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 pi...Show More

Is the Greatest Threat to Putin Really Alexei Navalny?

22:57 | Jun 15th, 2017

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 bu...Show More

How Do You Report Terrorism?

23:10 | Jun 8th, 2017

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 victim...Show More

Is Work Too Easy?

23:09 | Jun 1st, 2017

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...Show More

Does Poverty Change The Way We Think?

23:28 | May 25th, 2017

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 a...Show More

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

23:20 | May 18th, 2017

How did immigration stop being a political taboo in the UK? 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 im...Show More

How Did Venezuela Go From So Rich To So Poor?

23:23 | May 11th, 2017

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, ...Show More

How did North Korea get the Bomb?

23:13 | May 4th, 2017

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...Show More

Is Inequality About to Get Unimaginably Worse?

23:05 | Apr 27th, 2017

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 ...Show More

How Powerful is Facebook's Algorithm?

23:26 | Apr 20th, 2017

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 t...Show More

What Happens When You Legalise Cannabis?

23:25 | Apr 13th, 2017

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 ...Show More

Why Is No-one Trying to Stop the War in Yemen?

23:29 | Apr 6th, 2017

It’s two years since the start of the Saudi-led military campaign in support of the Yemeni government which was ousted by Houthi rebels. The war has been a disaster for countless civilians. Thousands have been killed and the country is on the brink o...Show More

Do We Need A Plan B For Climate Change?

23:04 | Mar 30th, 2017

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 admin...Show More

What’s Wrong With France?

23:23 | Mar 21st, 2017

Every candidate in the upcoming presidential election in France is calling for change: change to the bureaucracy, the economy and even the culture. France, they say, is broken; society too divided, unemployment too high or the state too oppresive. Ar...Show More

Are Famines Always Man-Made?

23:14 | Mar 14th, 2017

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 avo...Show More

How is Mosul Being Liberated?

23:40 | Mar 7th, 2017

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 o...Show More

What Happened to Europe’s Migrant Crisis?

23:10 | Feb 28th, 2017

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 ...Show More

Why Can't We Stop Looking at our Phones?

23:28 | Feb 21st, 2017

Our phones are powerful tools with lots of benefits – keeping in touch, accessing information and services and managing our lives. We are using them more and more, constantly picking them up. Even in situations where it is considered inappropriate, d...Show More

Is Donald Trump Good for Journalism?

23:27 | Feb 14th, 2017

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 ...Show More

Can You Believe What You Read on WikiLeaks?

23:48 | Feb 7th, 2017

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 th...Show More

What Would ‘No Deal’ Mean For Brexit Britain?

23:10 | Jan 31st, 2017

"No deal is better than a bad deal." So said Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, clarifying her country's position on Brexit negotiations with the EU. In the absence of a deal with the EU Britain would “revert to WTO rules” after Brexit. But what d...Show More

How do You Launch a Nuclear Missile?

23:34 | Jan 24th, 2017

'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...Show More

How Did the US Get Stuck With Guantanamo?

23:10 | Jan 17th, 2017

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, prison...Show More

Is There Anybody Out There?

22:58 | Jan 10th, 2017

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 celesti...Show More

Can We Eat Our Way Out Of Climate Change?

23:39 | Jan 3rd, 2017

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 al...Show More

What Went Right in 2016?

22:59 | Dec 27th, 2016

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 ...Show More

Should We Give Homeless People Homes?

22:58 | Dec 20th, 2016

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...Show More

Does Turkey Still Want to Join the EU?

22:58 | Dec 13th, 2016

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 developme...Show More

Why Do Governments Do Stupid Things?

23:02 | Dec 6th, 2016

Trust in government is at an all-time low in many countries. From failed healthcare policies to missed intelligence, government blunders happen often – and visibly. But successful policy-making is hard (and fixes are rarely as quick as politicians li...Show More

Why Did The Polls Get it Wrong (Or Did They)?

22:58 | Nov 29th, 2016

Hillary Clinton lost the US election despite some polls putting her chances of winning at 99%. In the run up to the vote pollsters spent huge sums of money speaking to thousands of Americans. They were careful to collect the best possible data fro...Show More

Why Does Anyone Still Smoke?

23:04 | Nov 22nd, 2016

Smoking tobacco is the single most dangerous voluntary activity in the world. It kills six million people a year, and if current trends continue that figure is expected to rise to 8 million people by 2030. Even if it does not kill you, it will give y...Show More

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

22:58 | Nov 15th, 2016

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 estab...Show More

Was this the Most Divisive US Election Ever?

22:58 | Nov 8th, 2016

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 sus...Show More

What’s the Story of Aleppo?

22:59 | Nov 1st, 2016

We see and hear about Aleppo almost daily as news stories emerge of the hardship endured by its besieged people. After years of bombardment this once majestic place, the 'jewel' of Syria and one of the world's oldest inhabited cities, has been reduce...Show More

How Do We Fix Antibiotics?

22:58 | Oct 25th, 2016

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 possibl...Show More

How Did We Mess up Antibiotics?

22:58 | Oct 18th, 2016

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 i...Show More

Can a Corrupt Country Get Clean?

22:58 | Oct 11th, 2016

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 ...Show More

Why are 10,000 Children Missing in Europe?

23:26 | Oct 4th, 2016

Earlier this year Europol, the EU's law enforcement agency, announced 10,000 children had arrived in Europe, part of the wave of migration that has swept through the continent in recent years. They had been registered and identified. And then they ha...Show More

Is Islamic State Finished?

23:29 | Sep 27th, 2016

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 ...Show More

Who Wins in a Cashless Economy?

22:58 | Sep 20th, 2016

The death of cash has been predicted many times over the years. But in the last decade a future without coins and notes has become a real possibility thanks to the global development and adoption of cashless systems. Some banks in Scandinavia are alr...Show More

What’s the Point of Lotteries?

22:58 | Sep 13th, 2016

It is now hard to find a country that does not have a state sponsored lottery – even the remote Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan recently adopted one. They have famously been called a “tax for people who are bad at maths” and make little economic sense fo...Show More

Can Coral Reefs Survive?

22:58 | Sep 6th, 2016

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 tw...Show More

Is Retirement Over?

22:57 | Aug 30th, 2016

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 survivi...Show More

Would Donald Trump Be a Dangerous President?

22:58 | Aug 23rd, 2016

Earlier this month 50 senior Republican national security officials signed a letter arguing that Donald Trump “lacks the character, values and experience” to lead the United States. “We are convinced”, they wrote, “he would be a dangerous president”....Show More

Why Don’t Cities Want The Olympics?

22:58 | Aug 16th, 2016

The Olympic Games has a problem. In recent years the number of cities entering bids to host either the Winter or Summer Olympics has dropped dramatically. For the 2004 Summer Olympics, 12 cities bid. For the 2024 summer Games, there are only four cit...Show More

Has Russia Won In Ukraine?

22:58 | Aug 9th, 2016

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,...Show More

How Did we Save the Ozone Layer?

22:58 | Aug 2nd, 2016

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 l...Show More

Can Colombia Reintegrate the Farc?

22:57 | Jul 26th, 2016

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 fig...Show More

Is Brexit Inevitable?

22:59 | Jul 19th, 2016

“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 fo...Show More

Can Trump Win?

22:56 | Jul 12th, 2016

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 mone...Show More

Can You Make Bankers Behave Better?

23:00 | Jul 5th, 2016

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 decisio...Show More

Can the EU Survive?

22:58 | Jun 28th, 2016

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 t...Show More

Why Do So Many People Dislike Hillary?

22:58 | Jun 21st, 2016

Hillary Clinton is the odds-on favourite to be the next president of the USA. But polls show more and more Americans view her unfavourably. In fact, the public's hostility towards her is record-breaking. Only Donald Trump elicits greater antipathy. T...Show More

Are We Really About to End World Poverty?

22:58 | Jun 14th, 2016

“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 p...Show More

Why Can't Egypt Stop FGM?

22:58 | Jun 7th, 2016

Some 92% of married Egyptian women aged between 15-49 have had their genitals cut. FGM is more common in Egypt than anywhere else in the world. These astonishing statistics are all the more surprising when you consider that Egypt banned the practise ...Show More

Are we Fighting Cancer the Right Way?

49:27 | May 31st, 2016

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 Inqu...Show More

Would A New International Convention Help Refugees?

22:58 | May 24th, 2016

The 1951 UN Refugee Convention was forged at a time when the world was recovering from a global war which had displaced vast numbers of people. Sixty-five years on, it is still the benchmark for refugee rights. But as the world grapples with a new re...Show More

What's Killing White American Women?

22:59 | May 10th, 2016

The rich world has got used to health and longevity getting better, and death rates falling – for everyone. But over the past few years data has been accumulating which suggests that this trend has stopped for poorly educated, white Americans. And fo...Show More

What Happened to the European Dream?

22:58 | May 3rd, 2016

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...Show More

Should We Give Homeless People Homes?

22:58 | Apr 26th, 2016

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. T...Show More

What Kind of Person Becomes a Violent Jihadi?

22:58 | Apr 19th, 2016

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 e...Show More

Do We Have Enough Genders?

22:59 | Apr 12th, 2016

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/femal...Show More

What Happened To Al-Qaeda?

22:58 | Apr 5th, 2016

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...Show More

Why Do Mexicans Drink So Much Soda?

22:58 | Mar 29th, 2016

Most research places Mexico at the top of the chart when it comes to the consumption of sugary drinks – by some estimates, they get through half a litre per person every day. Mexico also has some of the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in the wo...Show More

Can we Quake-Proof a City?

22:57 | Mar 22nd, 2016

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 w...Show More

Why Are Wages So Low?

22:59 | Mar 8th, 2016

Pay packets in developed economies have hardly grown in decades. Economic output and the number of people in jobs have both improved since the global downturn. But with income levels failing to rise, ordinary workers aren't feeling the benefit. A...Show More

How Did Governments Lose Control of Encryption?

22:58 | Mar 1st, 2016

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 Be...Show More

Has President Assad Won?

23:02 | Feb 23rd, 2016

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 ...Show More

Why Don’t We Eradicate Mosquitoes?

22:58 | Feb 16th, 2016

Mosquitoes are the most dangerous animals on the planet. They spread diseases - malaria, dengue and zika – that kill huge numbers of people and cause suffering to many more. So why not eradicate them? It wouldn’t be easy. Scientists in Mali hav...Show More

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

22:58 | Feb 9th, 2016

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 natio...Show More

Are We Fighting Cancer the Right Way?

22:59 | Feb 2nd, 2016

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...Show More

How Has the US Gun Lobby Been so Successful?

22:58 | Jan 26th, 2016

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 t...Show More

What is China Doing to Clear the Air?

23:10 | Jan 19th, 2016

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 P...Show More

Do We Have Enough Genders?

23:00 | Jan 12th, 2016

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-femal...Show More

How Much Inequality Is Too Much?

23:08 | Jan 5th, 2016

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 risi...Show More

Should We Solar Panel The Sahara?

22:58 | Dec 29th, 2015

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...Show More

How Will a Population Boom Change Africa?

23:03 | Dec 22nd, 2015

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 worl...Show More

Is Saudi To Blame For ‘IS’?

23:21 | Dec 15th, 2015

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 ...Show More

Should Governments Drop Money Out of Helicopters?

23:10 | Dec 8th, 2015

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 ne...Show More

How Do Cartels Get Drugs into the US?

22:59 | Dec 1st, 2015

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 – ...Show More

Can ‘Islamic State’ Be Defeated?

23:10 | Nov 21st, 2015

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 ov...Show More

Have We Underestimated Plants?

23:11 | Nov 17th, 2015

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 i...Show More

Is it too Late to Save Syria’s Antiquities?

22:58 | Nov 10th, 2015

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 hundre...Show More

Why was Mohammed Akhlaq Killed?

22:58 | Nov 3rd, 2015

Mohammed Akhlaq’s murder shocked India. A mob broke into his house last month and beat him to death. They believed a rumour that Mr Akhlaq, a Muslim, had broken a Hindu taboo by slaughtering a cow. We find out how the cow became such a political anim...Show More

How Do You Save the Rhino?

23:05 | Oct 27th, 2015

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 conserv...Show More

Can Nigeria End Oil Corruption?

22:59 | Oct 20th, 2015

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 probl...Show More

Is Russia Vulnerable?

22:58 | Oct 13th, 2015

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 pilot...Show More

What Does the President Need to Know?

23:04 | Oct 6th, 2015

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 ...Show More

Do Drone Strikes Work?

23:06 | Sep 29th, 2015

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...Show More

Is Japan Abandoning Pacifism?

22:58 | Sep 22nd, 2015

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”. B...Show More

Why is Argentina Still so Sexist?

23:08 | Sep 15th, 2015

Tens of thousands of people have marched in Buenos Aires and elsewhere in outrage at the astonishing frequency with which women are being killed in Argentina - the vast majority at the hands of their partners or former partners. Violence directed at ...Show More

How Will a Population Boom Change Africa?

23:05 | Sep 8th, 2015

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 worl...Show More

Can We Learn to Live with Nuclear Power?

23:07 | Sep 1st, 2015

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 j...Show More

Migrant Crisis: What Else Could Europe Try?

22:58 | Aug 25th, 2015

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...Show More

What Will Happen When Robots Take Our Jobs?

23:14 | Aug 18th, 2015

Robots are coming for your job. Blue-collar jobs in industries like manufacturing have been disappearing for years but now white-collar work is under threat too. Machines are already taking roles that used to be done by journalists, lawyers and even ...Show More

Should Anyone Ever Talk to IS?

23:10 | Aug 11th, 2015

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 hav...Show More

What’s Behind the Anti-Vax Movement?

23:13 | Aug 4th, 2015

This July, it was reported that a woman from Washington State in the US had died of measles. It was the first measles death in the country in 12 years and comes after a huge spike in the number of cases of the disease. There is little doubt about wha...Show More

Why do Tax Havens Still Exist?

23:06 | Jul 28th, 2015

In 2009, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown declared “the beginning of the end” for off-shore tax havens. Since then, the EU, the G20, President Obama and others have lined up to criticise them. And yet they arre still with us. Tim Whewell asks why tax h...Show More

What Does China’s Stock Market Crash Tell Us?

22:58 | Jul 21st, 2015

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 investor...Show More

Is Streaming Good for Music?

22:58 | Jul 14th, 2015

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 g...Show More

How Easy is it to Dope in Sport?

22:58 | Jul 7th, 2015

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 Sal...Show More

Has Austerity Worked?

23:01 | Jun 30th, 2015

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 ...Show More

Would Greece Be Better Off Out of the Euro?

23:06 | Jun 23rd, 2015

Despite the tense and increasingly bitter negotiations between Greece and its European creditors - who the Greek government accuse of demanding intolerable austerity – most Greek people want their country to stay in the euro currency union. But there...Show More

What Does China Want From Space?

22:58 | Jun 16th, 2015

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 cons...Show More

Will Anyone Help the Rohingya?

22:58 | Jun 9th, 2015

Shocking images have brought the Rohingya to the world’s attention - boatloads of people drifting aimlessly on the Indian ocean, sustained by bottles of water thrown to them by visiting journalists. The Rohingya are Muslims from western Myanmar – or ...Show More

Is Opposition to GM Crops Irrational?

22:58 | Jun 2nd, 2015

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...Show More

Who Can Fix Fifa?

22:58 | May 26th, 2015

Fifa has been described as a “totalitarian” set-up “beyond ridicule” with a leadership “incapable of reform or cultural change”. A corruption report is said to have contained “numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations”. Many ha...Show More

Why Do US Cops Keep Killing Unarmed Black Men?

22:58 | May 19th, 2015

Recent high profile cases of unarmed black men dying at the hands of the US police have sparked outrage, protests and civil unrest in several American cities. The deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott and Freddie Gray are – some claim – ...Show More

Why is South Africa Still So Unequal?

22:58 | May 12th, 2015

The violent riots on the streets of South Africa in recent weeks have seen foreigners killed, their shops looted and 5,000 left homeless. They are accused of taking jobs from locals in a country where high unemployment is a big concern - and an examp...Show More

Is Cyber Warfare Really That Scary?

22:58 | May 5th, 2015

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 fo...Show More

How Has Rwanda Saved The Lives Of 590,000 Children?

22:58 | Apr 28th, 2015

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 ha...Show More

What Is The Yemen Conflict Really About?

23:11 | Apr 21st, 2015

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 rebe...Show More

Is There A New Nuclear Arms Race?

22:58 | Apr 14th, 2015

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 co...Show More

Cuba: What Would Che Say?

22:58 | Apr 7th, 2015

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 glo...Show More

Are We Tired Of Talking About Climate Change?

22:58 | Mar 31st, 2015

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 Inq...Show More

Will The Dalai Lama Reincarnate?

23:11 | Mar 24th, 2015

Who has authority in Tibet? Many Tibetans revere the Dalai Lama and support his goal of greater autonomy from Beijing. But officials there hold the opposite view. For them, he is a villainous traitor. Both sides agree that the role of Dalai Lama has ...Show More

Has The War On Drugs Been Lost?

23:00 | Mar 17th, 2015

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 Portuga...Show More

Who Wants What In Libya?

23:11 | Mar 10th, 2015

The beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians on a Libyan beach has exposed the lawlessness of the country ruled by Colonel Gaddafi until 2011. The internationally-recognised government is trying, without much success, to run the country from the eastern c...Show More

Is Life Getting Worse For Women In Erdogan’s Turkey?

23:11 | Mar 3rd, 2015

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...Show More

Could Europe Stop Migrants Dying In The Mediterranean?

23:10 | Feb 24th, 2015

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 evidenc...Show More

How Strong Is NATO?

23:11 | Feb 17th, 2015

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 beco...Show More

Will The New King Change Saudi Arabia?

23:11 | Feb 10th, 2015

79-year-old King Salman has taken the Saudi throne, promising security and stability. But what do his past and his first acts as king tell us about how the country might change under his rule and beyond? Our Inquiry hears from a newspaper editor and ...Show More

Is Nigeria’s Army Failing?

23:11 | Feb 3rd, 2015

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 ...Show More

What Does Kim Jong Un Want?

23:11 | Jan 27th, 2015

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 Pyong...Show More

Is Pakistan Serious About Tackling Militants?

23:12 | Jan 20th, 2015

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 mili...Show More

Should we Fear Artificial Intelligence?

23:11 | Jan 13th, 2015

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-...Show More

Can The Internet Be Policed?

23:10 | Jan 6th, 2015

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 pack...Show More

Is American Democracy Broken?

23:11 | Dec 30th, 2014

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 m...Show More

What Are The Consequences Of Cheap Oil?

23:10 | Dec 23rd, 2014

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...Show More

Can Europe Resist The Rise Of Radical Politics?

23:12 | Dec 16th, 2014

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 be...Show More

The US And Iran: How Close Could They Get?

23:11 | Dec 9th, 2014

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...Show More

Why Aren't More Dishonest Bankers In Jail?

23:11 | Dec 2nd, 2014

Perhaps the most striking feature of the global financial crisis has been that no top banking executive has been successfully prosecuted for their role in bringing it about in the first place. The period covered by the statute of limitations is runni...Show More

Who Runs Mexico?

23:12 | Nov 25th, 2014

Mexico is gripped with the story of 43 student protesters who vanished in September. They were allegedly killed on the orders of a mayor who wanted to prevent them from attending a rally where his wife was due to speak. The mayor and his wife have be...Show More

Are Sanctions Hurting Putin?

23:12 | Nov 18th, 2014

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 ot...Show More

What Is Hong Kong’s Problem With China?

23:13 | Nov 11th, 2014

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 almo...Show More

Are Pandemics Inevitable?

23:12 | Nov 4th, 2014

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 th...Show More

Can Islamic State Be Stopped?

23:12 | Oct 28th, 2014

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. West...Show More