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The Inquiry


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

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


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




What is the future for Myanmar?

As protests continue in Myanmar against the generals who staged a military coup, and with Aung San Su Kyi under house arrest and facing criminal charges, has the country lost all prospects for a democratic future? With Tanya Beckett. (A little girl shouts slogans with protestors waving flags of Myanmar, 22 February 2021. Credit: Peerapon Boonyakiat /Getty Images)


Can we solve our space junk problem?

The world is entering a new space race but every new satellite launched into Earth’s orbit runs the risk of colliding with one of the millions of pieces of space junk left behind by previous missions. So how can we solve our space junk problem? Featuring former NASA astrophysicist, Don Kessler; Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, Moriba Jah; space systems engineer, Richard Duke; and Victoria Samson of the Secure World Foundation Presenter:...


How did Europe fall behind in the vaccine race?

On June the 12th of last year the 27 health ministers of the European union signed off on a plan to buy vaccines on behalf of all the EU’s member countries. The aim was to secure enough doses to immunise all of its 450 million citizens. But the delivery and vaccination programme has lagged far behind countries like the UK and US. Tanya Beckett finds out why. (Waiting to be vaccinated at Santa Maria Hospital in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: Patricia de Melo Moreiro /Getty Images)


Will QAnon survive?

With President Trump no longer in office and a clampdown by social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, what is the future for the QAnon conspiracy theory? It’s had a considerable following from the Republican rank and file who supported Donald Trump but was strongly associated with the attack on Capitol Hill. Now Republican party leaders have warned QAnon is dangerous. But will ordinary Americans turn their backs on it? With Tanya Beckett. (A pro-Trump mob confronts U.S. Capitol...


Is online censorship going too far?

Donald Trump has moved out of the White House, he’s been banned from Twitter and suspended from Snapchat, Facebook and YouTube. Parler, a twitter alternative for conservatives, went offline after Amazon stopped hosting it. Amazon say this is because they found dozens of posts on the service which encouraged violence. All of this has raised questions about the power of tech companies and who should decide who’s voice is heard on social media. So this week Charmaine Cozier asks, has big tech...


Why do the Indian farmer protests matter?

It has been called the world’s biggest protest. In November 2020, thousands of farmers marched to New Delhi to protest against new laws that the Indian government says will modernise farming. The farmers set up camp in and around the capital, blocking major highways. Over 50 days later they are still there, in spite of freezing temperatures. Even after the Supreme Court stayed the laws until further notice, the farmers say they aren’t budging until they are repealed completely. They say...


Is recycling broken?

With countries shutting their doors to foreign recyclable waste and a lack of processing capacity back home, is the recycling system broken? China used to accept 55% of the world’s plastic and paper waste. But it closed its doors in 2018. Initially other countries in South East Asia, like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam took over China’s waste processing role. But they too are now sending much of the waste back, arguing it is contaminated and is harming their own environments. This...


Why are boys academically underperforming?

There’s a problem in education – and it’s probably not what you expect. Around the world, from schools to universities, boys are trailing girls in their academic performance. It’s a complex problem which has divided expert opinion and leads us to complex questions of genetics and social conditioning. David Grossman examines what’s going on and how to fix it.


Has the time come for a European Super League?

The idea of a breakaway football league for Europe’s elite clubs has been discussed for decades. It hasn’t happened yet, but could that be about to change? Industry experts say officials from the continent’s biggest and most successful teams are meeting behind-closed-doors to discuss the proposition. So we’re asking - has the time come for a European Super League?


Has French secularism gone too far?

The French brand of secularism - laïcité - is central to the country’s national identity. It requires that public spaces – whether state classrooms, workplaces or ministries - be free of religion. But the way the French government is applying the concept has come under fresh criticism. Many French Muslims claiming this cornerstone of French identity is now being used as a weapon against them. This week, Tanya Beckett asks has French secularism gone too far? A boy holds a sign asking...


Why is Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize winner bombing his own country?

In Ethiopia, a political battle has sparked a bloody conflict. Federal Forces have engaged in combat with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front - or TPLF. Hundreds have reportedly been killed and tens of thousands displaced. Just last year, Abiy Ahmed, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, won a Nobel Prize for his part in brokering peace with neighbouring Eritrea. So, Charmaine Cozier asks why Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize winner is bombing his own country?


Do we have a vaccine to end the pandemic?

Test results from coronavirus vaccines are fast emerging, fuelling hopes that the end of the pandemic is in sight. But are countries ready to share the vaccine fairly? Global efforts to coordinate are already gaining ground - but some are concerned the battle for who gets what will mean some lower income countries could get left behind.


Will the EndSARS protest change Nigeria?

For nearly two weeks last month, angry young Nigerians took to the streets in their tens of thousands, blocking major roads in cities across Africa's most populous nation. What began as a protest against the hated police Special Anti-Robbery Squad, or SARS, soon became a conduit for a wider anger with the people who have been in charge of Nigeria for decades. in this week's Inquiry, Kavita Puri asks: will the EndSARS movement change Nigeria?


Why are Thai students risking jail to call for reform of the monarchy?

Pro-democracy protests have happened before in Thailand, but there’s something new about the latest one - the king is being publicly criticised. It’s a serious criminal offence to do that. This week, Charmaine Cozier asks why people are protesting against the Thai monarchy.


Can President Trump still win the US presidential election?

National polls ahead of the US presidential election suggest a clear win for challenger Joe Biden. But could they be getting it wrong as they did four years ago? In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, but - because of the US electoral system - lost the election. Could history repeat itself? In this week’s Inquiry, Tanya Beckett asks: can President Trump still win?


How has Trump changed America’s relationship with the world?

When he was elected, President Trump promised to put ‘America First’, but how has he governed? Charmaine Cozier looks at trade, diplomacy, defence and the environment to examine the results of four years of a very different approach to international affairs. (Image: Donald Trump at public address, Credit: Getty Images)


Should we learn to live with Covid?

As new students start at universities in many countries around the world, governments are grappling with how to contain a second wave of Coronavirus. Already many universities have put lectures online and students are being told to stay in their rooms. But is this fair? Covid-19 is a deadly virus but not so much for the young. Can or should we keep the world locked down until there’s a vaccine or cure? Or, Tanya Beckett asks: should we learn to live with Covid? (Students wait to start their...


Are shares in Elon Musk’s Tesla vastly overvalued?

In 2018, the electric car maker, Tesla, was struggling to get the Model 3 electric vehicle off the production line. Its CEO, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, was working up to 22 hours a day on the factory floor, trying to solve a host of problems on the car he’d bet the company on. It was close to running out of money. Two years later, the company’s doing better. It says it will grow 30-40% this year. No surprise then that Tesla’s share price has gone up. But the amount may surprise you – up...


Is Kanye West really running for US president?

In July, billionaire musician Kanye West announces on Twitter that he’s standing as a candidate in November’s US presidential election. After a scramble to meet the registration deadlines, his name is on the ballot in fewer than 20 states. His manifesto is confusing, his motive unclear. In the past, Kanye West has been a vocal supporter of president Donald Trump. And it seems his campaign is being run largely by those with close ties to the Republican party. The Democrats say his entry in...


Will the US presidential debates change the course of the election?

On the 29th September the two US presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden will take part in the first of three 90-minute live televised debates ahead of the presidential election in November. Tanya Beckett asks can the debates affect the outcome of the election? (Composite image of Joe Biden (Credit: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters) and Donald Trump (Credit: John G Mabanglo/EPA)