The Inquiry

BBC World Service

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The Inquiry gets beyond the headlines to explore the trends, forces and ideas shaping the world.
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24:06 | Aug 8th

In 1965 a report from within the US government noted that the number of children born outside marriage, and the number of divorces, in the parts of the American population were rising rapidly. It argued that having many households run by a single wom...Show More

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
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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 t...Show More

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 words...Show More

23:20 | Dec 5th

An estimated 2.6 billion people use social media, but in the online world not everything is what it seems. Fake accounts and automatic programmes can be used to spread disinformation and influence political narratives. We hear from experts across the...Show More
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24:10 | Nov 28th

A year ago more than a quarter of a million people took to the streets across France, in what became known as the “gilets jaunes” protests. They began as a reaction to an increase in fuel tax - a tax which was supposed to help the environment, but wh...Show More

23:16 | Nov 21st

If there was a serious illness that we knew thirty percent of us would experience in our lives, wouldn’t we do everything in our power to address it? Well research suggests that one in three of us will experience a serious mental health problem at so...Show More

24:12 | Nov 14th

In September 2019 violence broke out in the city of Johannesburg. Many people were beaten, at least 12 were killed, and shops were looted and burned down. The perpetrators were mainly poor black South African men, and those attacked were predominantl...Show More

23:40 | Nov 7th

This month activists all over the world have taken over city centres, demanding urgent action to halt climate change. They say we need to eliminate all carbon emissions by 2025. Most people think that’s impossible. But scientists are warning that if ...Show More

24:26 | Oct 31st

Turkey’s push to clear the Kurds from its border with Syria has brought howls of betrayal. Many Kurds believed the Americans would protect them, after they’d defeated the so-called Islamic State terror group together. But this is just the latest of t...Show More

23:42 | Oct 24th

After deaths in the US and bans around the world, how risky are e-cigarettes? In some countries, smokeless cigarettes are all the rage. In the UK, doctors say if smokers switch from tobacco to e-cigarettes, it will save lives. But in the US, where...Show More

23:39 | Oct 17th

The far right conspiracy theory featuring child molesters and baby eaters may sound far-fetched, but the FBI names Q Anon in a report warning conspiracy theorists pose a growing threat of violence. So can we dismiss Q Anon? Q releases anonymous int...Show More

22:59 | Oct 10th

The world’s two biggest economies are fighting a trade war, European growth is slowing and global manufacturing data looks grim. Financial markets are flashing warning signs. It’s been a decade since the last global recession and in 2019 so far, t...Show More

24:09 | Oct 3rd

It’s been almost 15 years since a successful campaign to erase the crushing debts of Africa’s poorest countries. Now, debt levels are again creeping up, thanks in part to a risky mix of easy credit and easy spending. We hear from a former Liberian ca...Show More

24:41 | Sep 26th

In the afternoon of August 20th this year, the sky over Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo turned dark. The cause of this premature night was the smoke from fires burning thousands of kilometres away in the Amazon rainforest. The scale of the fires c...Show More

23:39 | Sep 19th

Bruce Springsteen is turning 70; rock’s gods are getting on. It’s not clear who’s there with electric guitars to replace them. Younger acts are failing to make hit singles. Veteran rock journalist Mark Coles believes rock music has lost its ability t...Show More

23:10 | Sep 12th

Quantum computers could transform our lives. Based on a branch of Physics that even Einstein found "spooky", the machines are still in their infancy. But governments and corporations are spending billions trying to turn them into workable technology....Show More

22:58 | Sep 5th

Fact-checkers say the President of the United States has made more than 10,000 false or misleading statements since coming to office. Whether it’s the size of the crowd at his inauguration, the pay rise offered to the military or where his father wa...Show More

23:13 | Aug 29th

Porn, smart phones and the ‘slutty transmitter’. Adults in the US have sex on average about 50 times a year, which has dropped by 20 per cent over the last two decades. It’s a similar story in the UK, Australia, Germany, Finland and Japan. Could it b...Show More

22:58 | Aug 22nd

It’s known for precision and punctuality but Europe’s engine is slowing down. Germany’s economy relies heavily on selling its products abroad. Famed for luxury cars like Porsche, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, exports are nearly half the German economy. S...Show More

24:15 | Aug 1st

Families from the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador now make up the majority of migrants arriving at the US southern border. Many from urban areas are fleeing endemic gang violence, while those from rural regions are ...Show More

22:58 | Jul 25th

Last month Hong Kong witnessed its largest ever protests, the most violent in decades. A proposed law to allow extradition of criminals to mainland China caused uproar. This bill exposed the cracks in relations between Hong Kong and the Beijing gover...Show More

24:00 | Jul 18th

With his unruly blond hair and shambolic appearance, Boris Johnson is Britain’s best-known politician. He’s also favourite to become the UK’s next Prime Minister. To his supporters, the former Mayor of London is charismatic, entertaining and a man of...Show More

23:08 | Jul 11th

South India’s biggest city, Chennai, is currently in the grip of drought. With the four main reservoirs which supply the city dry, residents have to queue for hours to collect pots of water from government tankers. Critics argue that the shortage isn...Show More

23:23 | Jul 4th

Our species is facing a whole lot of problems. Antibiotic resistance is on the rise, land based minerals are depleting and there’s serious concerns about how warm everything’s becoming. As the population grows these problems are only going to get wo...Show More

23:13 | Jun 27th

New Zealand is the first western country to state it should be judged not by its economic prosperity but by its citizens’ wellbeing. Might these wellbeing policies be masking an inability by governments to effect any real change in citizen’s lives or...Show More

23:28 | Jun 20th

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is in the midst of an Ebola epidemic, with over 2,000 cases now confirmed. In June the virus spread to neighbouring Uganda. Amidst this bleak picture, there is some hope; past epidemics have helped progress medica...Show More

23:13 | Jun 13th

Alabama has long been the butt of jokes in America. The stereotype is that it is backward, racist and right wing. This month the state passed one of the most restrictive laws on reproductive rights in the USA, banning abortion, even in cases of rape ...Show More

23:19 | Jun 6th

Ever wanted to meet your historical heroes or explore the inventions of the future? Travelling in time has long been a dream of writers and filmmakers, but what does science tell us about how possible this would be to achieve in real life? We explo...Show More

23:15 | May 30th

On 8 May 2018, the United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - a nuclear deal between Iran, the US and other countries. Since then, tensions between Iran and the US have escalated to the point where some believe a conflict is...Show More