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Stories that matter from around the world.

Stories that matter from around the world.
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Stories that matter from around the world.




Shades of Jewish in Israel

Israel gives all Jews the right to citizenship - but has it become less welcoming to African Jews? Since its founding in 1948, after the horrors of the Holocaust, Israel has seen itself as a safe haven for Jews from anywhere in the world to come to escape persecution. But now that policy is under threat. As Jewish communities in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya are finding, a debate has arisen about who is "Jewish enough" to qualify. David Baker investigates claims that decisions are being made...


China's World Cup Dreams

China's football-loving President Xi Jinping says he wants his country to qualify for, to host and to win the football World Cup by 2050. The men's national team has recently been defeated 6-0 by Wales, so there's some way to go yet. But they're spending billions trying to boost football in the country. Chinese entrepreneurs have also spent vast sums investing in local and foreign clubs, partly to help create a passion for playing football in the Chinese and to bring the latest training...


The Belarus Tractor Factory

One in ten tractors in the world is made in Belarus. You can find them ploughing furrows and shifting snow in the US, Canada, Pakistan, Thailand...and on the farms of Somerset...At the heart of this big wheeled empire is the Minsk Tractor Works. Impossible to visit until recently, the MTW is opening its doors as part of a new country wide charm offensive. Belarus, long famous for secretiveness and isolation, has relaxed its visa regime since January 2018, and is rebranding itself as a...


Corruption Incorporated: The Odebrecht Story

Corruption Incorporated - the Odebrecht Story Odebrecht was one of Brazil's premier companies - the largest construction firm in Latin America. But some of its success in securing multi-million dollar contracts across the region was built on a policy of colossal bribery. This edifice of graft began to crumble when the Brazilian authorities started to investigate the state-owned oil company, Petrobras. As a result, CEO Marcelo Odebrecht was convicted of paying millions of dollars in bribes...


The Mystery of Russia's Lost Jihadi Brides

Thousands of young Russian Muslim men were lured to join so-called Islamic State - taking their wives and children with them. But since the "caliphate" fell last year, those families have vanished - and grandmothers back in Russia are desperate for news. The Kremlin wants to bring the children home. It says they've committed no crimes. But finding them and their mothers is hugely difficult. Iraqi authorities say they're holding many IS families - but they won't name them. Gradually though,...


The Child Saver of Mosul

A one-woman whirlwind of passion and energy, Sukayna Muhammad Younes is a unique phenomenon in Iraq. A council official in the half-destroyed city of Mosul, former stronghold of so-called Islamic State, she's on a mission to find and identify the thousands of children who went missing during the conflict - and reunite them with their families. It's a massive task - and deeply controversial because Sukayna makes no distinction between children who are victims of IS - and those who belonged...


Greece's Haven Hotel

In a rundown neighbourhood in Athens there is a hotel with 4,000 people on its waiting list for rooms. But the roof leaks and the lifts are permanently out of action. None of the guests pay a penny, but everyone's supposed to help with the cooking and cleaning. City Plaza is a seven-storey super squat housing 400 refugees from 16 different countries and the volunteers who support them. The hotel went bankrupt during the financial crisis. It remained locked and empty until 2015, when Europe...


Digging Up the Past in Catalonia

Why is troubled Catalonia now opening up civil war mass graves? Spain has the second largest amount of mass graves in the world after Cambodia. Over 100,000 people disappeared during the 1930s civil war and the ensuing Franco dictatorship. Decades later, the vast majority are still unaccounted for. Forgetting Spain's painful past and the disappeared is what allowed democracy and peace to flourish, the argument has long gone. But many have not forgotten - including in the region of...


Sweden's Child Migrant Mystery

For nearly two decades, Swedish health professionals have been treating asylum-seeking children who fall into a deeply listless state. They withdraw from the world, refuse to speak, walk and eat - most end up being tube-fed. They are known as, "the apathetic children" in Sweden. More recently this illness has been termed Resignation Syndrome. Experts agree it is children who have experienced deep trauma who are vulnerable. Doctors link the condition to an uncertain migration status. But...


Ukraine's Frontline Bakery

Lucy Ash meets the staff and customers of a bakery which is the one bright spot in war-torn east Ukraine. The war there between Russian-backed rebels and the Ukrainian army has dropped out of the headlines and there seems to be little political will to make peace. More than 10,000 people have been killed and as it enters its fourth year, this has become one of the longest conflicts in modern European history. But in the frontline town of Marinka there's one bright spot amidst the gloom -...


Black and Proud in Brazil

For decades, Brazil has presented itself as a colour-blind nation in which most citizens are, at least to some extent, racially mixed. But a controversial education law is encouraging black Brazilians to assert their own distinct identity. Federal public universities now have to comply with government quotas for black students, as well as others deemed to be at risk of discrimination. Yet, since the rules allow applicants to self-define their colour, there have been numerous alleged...


Taming the Pilcomayo

A journey up the 'suicidal' Pilcomayo river that separates Paraguay from Argentina... The Pilcomayo is the life-force of one of Latin America's most arid regions. But it is also one of the most heavily silted rivers of the world. As it courses down from the Bolivian Highlands in the months of December and January, half is water, half sand. This means it often causes flooding. Or, it changes course, failing to deliver water to those who depend on it. So in order to benefit communities, this...


33 Ways to Dispel a Chinese Mistress

There are 33 ways to dispel a mistress according to one of China's top love detectives. An unusual new industry has taken hold in some of the country's top cities. It's called "mistress-dispelling", and it involves hired operatives doing what it takes to separate cheating husbands from their mistresses. With the surge in super-affluent families in China, there has also been an apparent upsurge in the number of men choosing to keep a concubine. And for wives who see divorce as a humiliating...


Daphne and the Two Maltas

The brutal, unsolved murder of Malta's most outspoken blogger has blackened the image of the Mediterranean holiday island. Since Daphne Caruana Galizia was blown up by a car bomb in October, her son has denounced his country as a mafia state. European leaders say they're deeply concerned about the rule of law there. But on Malta, Daphne was a divisive figure - admired by some as a fearless investigative journalist, detested by others as a snobbish "queen of bile." She herself said there...


The Lost Children of Isis

As they retreat from Northern Iraq so-called Islamic State has left thousands of women and children behind. Some are the abandoned families of IS fighters, others are being held as prisoners or slaves. There are also boys who were forced to fight for IS. A desperate effort is now underway to reunite these women and children with the families they have been separated from - and to rehabilitate those whose minds have been stolen by the group. Tim Whewell reports from Iraq on the children...


Pride, Passion and Palestinian Horses

In the West Bank hundreds of families share a passion for breeding horses. Amid the narrow streets and cramped apartment buildings small stables can be found with owners grooming beautiful Arabian colts and fillies. These new breeders are now making their mark at Israeli horse shows where competition to produce the best in breed is intense. As Palestinian and Israeli owners mingle on the show ground, political differences are put to one side as they share a passion for the Arabian horse....


The Tula Toli Massacre

The chilling story of a massacre of Rohingya muslims in a small village in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. On 30 August government soldiers swept through the village setting fire to homes, raping and killing dozens, possibly hundreds of its muslim inhabitants. An ongoing military crackdown in the state has seen more than 500,000 Rohingya muslims flee to neighbouring Bangladesh since late August. The government of Aung San Suu Kyi has faced international condemnation over the crisis. She...


Panama's Vanishing Islands

Panama's idyllic islands are threatened by a rising sea, but one community has a plan... The Guna Yala archipelago is made up of dozens of tiny, tropical, low-lying islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama. They are populated by the Guna people - Latin America's most fiercely independent, and many would say, most savvy, indigenous group. But the Guna are in trouble. Rising sea levels as a result of climate change, together with a growing population, threaten island life. The Guna aren't...


Starting from Scratch in Uganda

Uganda has now taken in more than a million refugees who have fled civil war in neighbouring South Sudan. And more are coming every day. It's said that Uganda has the most generous refugee policy in the world, with new arrivals given land and allowed to work. But the majority of South Sudanese refugees are women and children who have lost almost everything and, as Ruth Alexander discovers, the reality of starting a new life from scratch is far from straightforward. Produced by John Murphy.


Bulgaria on a Cliff Edge

What's it like to live in the country with the fastest-shrinking population in the world? In the mountain village of Kalotinsi in western Bulgaria, there is no shop, no school, no bus service. Until a few decades ago, 600 people lived here but now most of the houses stand empty. Thirteen residents remain, struggling to make a life in a place most people have given up on. There are many other near-deserted villages like this in Bulgaria. With women having few children, and many choosing to...


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