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The Fifth Floor


David Amanor presents The Fifth Floor, a brand new weekly programme that revels in the variety and range of stories produced by the BBC World Service's 27 language sections.

David Amanor presents The Fifth Floor, a brand new weekly programme that revels in the variety and range of stories produced by the BBC World Service's 27 language sections.
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David Amanor presents The Fifth Floor, a brand new weekly programme that revels in the variety and range of stories produced by the BBC World Service's 27 language sections.




Iranian Tourists Seeking Traffickers

A visa-free travel agreement between Iran and Serbia meant to boost tourism has been used by thousands of Iranians trying to enter the European Union. BBC Persian's Rana Rahimpour teamed up with BBC Serbian’s Stefan Veselinovic to hear the stories of Iranians in the Serbian capital Belgrade. Image: Iranian migrant walking down Belgrade street, Serbia. Credit: OLIVER BUNIC/AFP/Getty Images


In search of snow leopards

There are only around 4000 snow leopards left in the mountains of Central and South Asia. Yulia James of BBC Russian has been to the Altai region of Siberia in search of these elusive animals. Image: Snow Leopard Credit: Antagain/Getty Images


My Country in the News: 2018

Skripal, Khashoggi, and North Korea talks: Olga Ivshina of BBC Russian, Öykü Altuntaş of BBC Turkish and Hwang Su Min, editor of BBC Korean, share their experiences of covering big news stories, as well as the smaller ones that simply raised a smile. Social media and the news Social media plays an ever greater role in journalism, so how do you manage it? Hanan Razek of BBC Arabic, Bidhaan Dahir of BBC Somali, and Nathalia Passarinho of BBC Brasil share stories of inspiration and insight, as...


Can India Save the Taj Mahal?

What’s happening to the Taj Mahal, India’s most famous building? The beautiful white marble is becoming darker, cracks are appearing, and the foundations are weakening. Salman Ravi of BBC Hindi has been investigating the causes of its decline. Image: Taj Mahal in Agra, India Copyright: Jeff Overs/BBC


Staying Alive in Bamenda, Cameroon

There have been protests in Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions, where people say they are marginalised by the French-speaking majority. There have been violent clashes between rebels and government forces, with civilians caught between. BBC Africa's Peter Tah is based in Bamenda, and has found the story on his doorstep. Image: a soldier from the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) in Cameroon Credit: AFP/Getty Images


The Story of Mosul's Secret Tunnels

In 2014 the so-called Islamic State blew up the Nabi Yunus mosque in Mosul, and tunneled under the remains in search of archaeological artefacts in the ancient Assyrian palace beneath. When IS was expelled from Mosul the tunnels were sealed off, but BBC Arabic cameraman Namak Khoshnaw, and journalist and former archaeologist Eli Melki, got permission to film inside the tunnels earlier this year. What they found was amazing, but not everything went entirely to plan. Image: Assyrian carving of...


Weird World Superstitions?

Why are there so many superstitions around the world based on cats? If a black cat crosses your path in England it's lucky, but impending doom in Vietnam. BBC Vietnamese ran a story on this recently, we thought we'll take the superstition theme further with our Fifth Floor colleagues. Starting with Khue Luu of BBC Vietnamese. Image: black cat Credit: PHAS/Getty Images


Who are Algeria's Harkis?

Algeria’s war of independence left enduring hostility towards the Harkis, Algerians who fought on the side of the French. Rachid Sekkai of BBC Arabic, Algerian himself, has been in Paris to meet Harkis and hear their stories. Image: Harki veterans at The Invalides ceremony, marking national day of homage to the Harkis. Paris 2018. Credit: Phillipe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images


Honey Hunting and Bees in Your Bonnet!

Hunting for wild honey is an old tradition in rural Nepal, and extremely dangerous too, as the bees make their combs on sheer cliff-faces. Villagers descend rope ladders suspended over the void to harvest the honeycomb. And this year the action was filmed by BBC India journalists Aamir Peerzada and Neha Sharma. Image: Aamir Peerzada and Neha Sharma with wild honey hunters in Nepal Credit: BBC


Abiy-mania: Ethiopia Transformed

Since taking office in April, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has transformed Ethiopia. Peace has been agreed with Eritrea, the streets are largely clear of protesters, and the new cabinet is half female. Ethiopian Christine Yohannes of BBC Amharic tells us more about the man behind the changes. Image: fan of Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed with his face on her T shirt Credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images


My Hanoi Childhood in Five Pictures

Queuing for vegetables, fetching boiling water, and jumping the trams: a newly published collection of black and white photographs of Hanoi, taken not long after the end of the Vietnam War, has transported Ha Mi of BBC Vietnamese back to her childhood. Image: A queue outside a Hanoi vegetable shop Credit: John Ramsden


Edible Gold

Renowned for its colour, price and fragrance, 90% of the world's saffron is grown in Iran. The BBC's Golnoosh Golshani has family ties to a famous saffron-growing region and she tells us about her relationship with this precious spice. Image: Iranian saffron in a gold box Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images


Makoko: Stories of Hope

Makoko is a floating slum in Lagos with a lawless reputation. BBC Pidgin’s Dan Ikpoyi has been a victim of extortion there himself, but his latest video shows a community full of life and optimism. (Image: Makoko floating slum in Lagos. Credit: BBC)


Spies In The Spotlight

The two Russian "tourists" linked to the Salisbury poisoning have been unmasked as secret agents, using little more than open source websites. So is the golden age of Russian spycraft over? Famil Ismailov and Andrei Soshnikov of BBC Russian share insights. Image: A Man Silhouette In The Night Credit: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images


Bolsonaro: The Man Dividing Brazil

Brazilians vote this weekend for a new President and currently ahead in the polls is right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro. To his supporters he’s the man to clean up politics and restore order, to his detractors he’s a misogynist who openly supports the former military dictatorship. Camilla Costa of BBC Brasil has been following a campaign she describes as “quite a ride”. Image: Brazilian Presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro Credit: HEULER ANDREY/AFP/Getty Images


Don’t Tell Us What to Wear

Kyrgyz singer Zere Asylbek showing her bra in music video, Uzbek teachers in mini-skirts, and controversial portraits of Tajik women. Diloram Ibrahimova of BBC Uzbek and Gulnara Kasmambet of BBC Kyrgyz discuss stories from Central Asia that have started a debate about how women should behave and what they should wear. Image and credit: Zere Asylbek, Kyrgyz singer


Reclaiming Mogadishu’s Sports Stadium

In 1979 Somalia opened a state of the art sports stadium to host international sporting events. But with the beginning of the civil war in the 1990s the stadium became a base for successions of fighting forces. Last month it was formally handed it back to the state, so can it reclaim its former glory? BBC Somali’s Ahmed Abdinur was a sports official at the stadium during its glory days. Image: Mogadishu athletics track overgrown with grass and trees after decades of war in Somalia Credit:...


Pakistan's Ahmadiyya Problem

Last week Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan, appointed a renowned Pakistani economist to an advisory economics panel. But Professor Mian is also a member of the Ahmadiyya religious community, which many Muslims consider to be sacrilegious. Following protests he resigned. So why do the Ahmadiyya stir such passions in Pakistan? BBC Urdu's Khalid Karamat explains. Image: A man cries as he prays at the graves of victims killed in attacks against Ahmadiyya community mosques in 2010. Credit:...


The Bengali Kitchen Divide

Bengalis are united by a love of good food, but divided over who cooks it. West Bengalis love poppy seeds and sugar, East Bengalis dried fish and chilli. BBC Bangla journalists Manoshi Barua from India's West Bengal state, and Masud Khan from Bangladesh, shed light on the Bengali kitchen divide. Image: Shukti, or dried fish, is popular in Bangladesh Credit: Majority World/UIG via Getty Images


Lost Stories from Uzbekistan

A chance encounter in a Tashkent street brought BBC Uzbek's Ibrat Safo an amazing story. A local academic took him to a museum dedicated to the Uzbek victims of Stalin's purges, and shared some of the stories he'd uncovered. Image: Brothers Muhammadjon and Rahmatjon Avazjanov Credit: Bahrom Irzayev