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Beyond Today


News built to last from the BBC. Tina Daheley and Matthew Price ask one big question of one big story every weekday. A space to figure out what’s going on.

News built to last from the BBC. Tina Daheley and Matthew Price ask one big question of one big story every weekday. A space to figure out what’s going on.
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News built to last from the BBC. Tina Daheley and Matthew Price ask one big question of one big story every weekday. A space to figure out what’s going on.




Who controls our AI future?

Tech and the way it is shaping our future is a theme we cover a lot on Beyond Today. We’ve looked at facial recognition, sex bots, and the new tech cold war. Underpinning all these are rapid advances in artificial intelligence which are changing the power dynamics between states and citizens, companies and consumers. In this special live episode recorded at the BBC Media Tech and Society conference, Tina Daheley discusses the future of AI with Stephanie Hare, an independent researcher and...


How do you fight a surveillance state?

We have never lived in a more closely monitored world. Facial recognition technology is being rolled globally, including across the UK. Data can be acquired without a person’s knowledge, let alone their consent. There is a creeping paranoia and concern among human rights experts that advanced surveillance technology could fall into the wrong hands. We speak to Lokman Tsui, a tech expert and university lecturer in Hong Kong, who is living the midst of an increasingly violent protest movement...


How is ‘pick-up’ culture still a thing?

BBC reporter Myles Bonnar spent two days on the streets of London with "pick-up" coaches, being “trained” in how to chat up women and get them into bed. “Pick-up” culture goes at least as far back as 2005 when American author and journalist Neil Strauss released a book called The Game. Myles, who made a film for the BBC’s Panorama programme, tells us what he learnt on a seduction bootcamp. The coaches told him they are doing nothing wrong. And author Rachel O’Neill explains how the seduction...


Why do diplomats escape the law?

In August a young man called Harry Dunn died when a car driving on the wrong side of the road crashed into his motorbike. The only suspect has left the country, and there’s nothing the police can do to get her to come back. Anne Sacoolas' husband works for the US government at RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire, and because of diplomatic immunity she currently cannot be prosecuted. The BBC’s Duncan Kennedy has interviewed Harry’s parents. And BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale...


What does Windrush mean now?

In April 2018 the Home Secretary Amber Rudd resigned and delivered an unprecedented apology for the “appalling” actions of her own department towards Windrush-era citizens. It came 5 months after an investigation by a Guardian journalist into what has become known as the Windrush scandal. The scandal affected an unknown number of people who arrived in the UK as children from the Caribbean but were never formally naturalised or hadn’t applied for a British passport. We speak to Amelia...


Why is Prince Harry taking on the press?

“I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces”. This week Prince Harry released a strongly-worded statement attacking the way the press treats his wife Meghan. At the same time the couple announced they were taking legal action against the Mail on Sunday for publishing a private letter Meghan sent her father. And today we found out Harry is also suing the Sun and Mirror over alleged phone-hacking. Harry’s distrust of the press runs deep: as a child he...


What will the history books say about Brexit?

With four weeks to go before the government’s deadline for leaving the EU, parliament is still discussing the best way forward. Was this crisis inevitable? One of the go-to places to decode all this has been the Talking Politics podcast. Helen Thompson is one of the hosts. She is also professor of political economics at the University of Cambridge and she came to the Beyond Today studio to untangle our uneasy and complicated relationship with Europe. She tells us about the key moments in our...


Will Saudi get away with murder?

Saudi Arabia’s 33 year-old Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has been described as a reformer. What he is selling to the outside world is a modern, forward thinking country that’s no longer dependent on oil. But one year ago today, the Saudi journalist and human rights campaigner, Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in Istanbul. Now we’ve got the details of exactly how it happened. Jane Corbin who has spoken to some of the very few people who know about the hit squad who killed him and the cover up...


Could one phone call end Trump’s presidency?

Impeachment proceedings have been launched against Donald Trump after a whistleblower said the US president pressured the leader of Ukraine into investigating one of his main Democratic challengers. In a telephone conversation Trump asked President Volodymyr Zelensky to look into Joe Biden, the man Trump may well face in the 2020 presidential election, and connections Biden’s son had in Ukraine. The whistleblower’s allegations mention Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani as the person who...


Why raise a child gender neutral?

Parents Jake and Hobbit have taken the unusual decision to keep the sex of their baby secret. They say "gender bias is unconscious" and that this is the only way to mitigate against it, not even telling the child’s grandmother their sex until they were 11 months old. When Beth Mcleod covered their story for the BBC’s Inside Out West programme the couple received a huge backlash. We look into why they decided to go public, and what it is about both gender and parenting that provokes such a...


Alain de Botton: do we need God back?

At the end of another overwhelming week of news, it’s time for bit of perspective. Ten years ago philosopher Alain de Botton founded The School of Life, a collective of psychologists, writers and philosophers mulling over life’s big questions to its 5 million YouTube subscribers. Alain argues that the news doesn’t give us the information we need to live happy lives and explores why we feel lonely and why our relationships fail. He argues that secular societies have discarded the useful bits...


Sexual assault: what happens after students speak out?

There were more than 700 allegations of sexual misconduct at British universities over the last academic year, according to an investigation by the BBC’s File on 4 programme. Since that documentary aired last week, the team has received a moving response from student survivors of sexual assault who came forward to speak about their experiences. The University of Leicester is one of the academic institutions which is trying to tackle the problem of sexual misconduct on campus. Despite...


Sexual assault: why reveal your name?

On January 17 2015 at California’s Stanford University a young woman went to a party. A few hours later, she was found unconscious beside a bin. She had been sexually assaulted. To protect her identity in court, the victim was known as Emily Doe. We knew little else about her. We knew a lot about her attacker: he was Brock Turner, a student and swimmer, and his sporting prowess became part of his defence. The case caught global attention when BuzzFeed published Emily Doe’s 7,000-word victim...


Will fear save the planet?

Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg made a passionate speech at the UN this week, accusing world leaders of failing to act on climate change. She told them: "You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you." It’s hard to remember that a year ago we had not heard the name Greta Thunberg, that she was just a lone teenager staging her solo climate strike outside the Swedish parliament on Fridays. Now she’s having...


What’s happening in the Supreme Court?

On Tuesday we’re expecting that the judges of the highest court in the land will rule on whether Boris Johnson’s decision to shut down parliament ahead of next month’s Brexit deadline was legal or not. Scottish judges have already declared it unlawful Just a few weeks ago very few of us could name the most recent Supreme Court case, but it’s suddenly the centre of attention. The live-stream of the first day of the hearing there last week was watched by more than 4 million viewers making this...


Emma Barnett: why talk about periods?

Emma Barnett’s becoming one of the most respected broadcasters in the country. She presents for 5 Live and Newsnight, and can make her interviewees - often politicians - feel very awkward just by asking them simple questions they stumble around trying to answer. Emma got in touch to ask us if we wanted to talk to her about periods, because she’s just written a book about them. And we said “yes please”. Presenter: Matthew Price Producers: Philly Beaumont and Jessica Beck Mixed by Nicolas...


Cryptoqueen: why did she disappear?

Dr Ruja Ignatova is the founder of the cryptocurrency One Coin that promised to change money forever. Within two years of launching the company she claimed to have 3.5 million members and hundreds of thousands of investors, with offices all round the world holding events and seminars in major cities. She even packed out Wembley Arena. But in 2017 Dr Ruja got a plane to Athens and hasn't been seen since. Georgia Catt, a BBC producer, and technology writer Jamie Bartlett have been on the...


Did one family create the opioid epidemic?

Purdue Pharma is the company that has become synonymous with the opioid epidemic in the United States. The firm, which is owned by the wealthy Sackler family, produces the highly addictive and highly profitable drug OxyContin. This week the company filed for bankruptcy. We trace the rise and fall of the dynasty from New York to Kentucky via Glasgow with Chris McGreal, author of “American Overdose: a Tragedy in Three Acts”. Presented by Matthew Price Producers: Jessica Beck and Harriet Noble...


Sam Smith: what’s the problem with ‘them’?

Over the weekend the singer Sam Smith released a statement which read: “I’ve decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM.” Coming from a pop artist who has sold over 20m records, this felt like a moment where non-binary hit the mainstream. Sam’s post sparked a debate about gender, identity and language. Tom Rasmussen is a drag queen, writer and actor who identifies as non-binary, and Sam Smith credited Tom for helping them understand what it is to be this. We invited Tom into the Beyond...


Syria: why bomb hospitals?

Eight years ago, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad began his brutal crackdown on opponents of his regime. Air strikes have long targeted hospitals, and in the last rebel stronghold of Idlib medics are being forced underground to survive. Waad Al-Kateab is a Syrian journalist who lived through this in the city of Aleppo. She filmed what it was like surviving as bombs rained down, living in her husband’s hospital and bringing her daughter, Sama, into a war-torn world. Now, with co-director Ed...