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The Fifth Floor


Faranak Amidi takes a fresh look at the stories of the week with journalists from our 40 language sections.

Faranak Amidi takes a fresh look at the stories of the week with journalists from our 40 language sections.


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Faranak Amidi takes a fresh look at the stories of the week with journalists from our 40 language sections.




Reporting India’s Covid-19 crisis

We take a journalist's eye view of reporting the current Covid-19 crisis in India, with stories from Delhi-based team leader Jugal Purohit, BBC Gujarati's Roxy Gagdekar Chhara, BBC Marathi's Anagha Pathak, and Kirti Dubey and Piyush Nagpal of BBC Hindi. Trade by barter Nkechi Ogbonna of BBC Lagos describes a market in Cross River State in Nigeria, which works on a trade by barter system. She tells us how it works and who benefits. Ramadan in Nablus Nablus, in the occupied West Bank, is...


Iran's #MeToo

The #MeToo movement is in the spotlight in Iran, where women have been taking to social media to share experiences of sexual harassment and assault. The response was broadly positive, until allegations were made against a popular singer. Soroush Pakzad has been covering the story for BBC Persian. My Home Town: Sants, Barcelona Enric Botella of BBC Mundo takes us to the Barcelona neighbourhood of Sants, to chat in the market with his grandmother and grab a beer with a friend. Mukbang Indian...


HRH Prince Philip: the world remembers

The death last Friday of Prince Philip was extensively covered on the BBC's language services. We hear from Peter Okwoche of BBC Africa, Janina Litvinova of BBC Russian and South Asia Diaspora reporter Gaggan Sabherwal about the challenges of the day, and tailoring their coverage for their audiences. Venezuela's million bolivar note BBC Mundo's Guillermo Olmo is based in Venezuela, where hyperinflation has left its currency, the bolivar, struggling to keep up. Prices rose so fast that people...


Chile's Covid-19 paradox

Chile has become a global example of how a high vaccine rollout may not mean the end of the Covid-19 pandemic. Numbers of infections and deaths are higher than ever, and a strict new lockdown has been imposed. BBC Mundo contributor Paula Molina explains how this situation arose. Egypt's new Coptic speakers Coptic can be traced back to the language spoken in Ancient Egypt, but only survives today in the liturgy of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Apart, that is, from a growing number of Egyptians...


The men making money from migrants

The sinking of a boat carrying illegal migrants across Lake Van in Turkey last year caused shockwaves in Afghanistan. Many of the passengers were Afghans, and while more than 60 bodies were recovered, others remain missing. BBC Afghan’s Hafizullah Maroof decided to investigate, telling the story of one of the victims, and gaining rare access to the people trafficker responsible for his journey. An algorithm for the perfect biryani Even throughout lockdown boredom, Aparna Alluri of BBC Delhi...


Remembering a Zulu king

King Goodwill Zwelithini, who died two weeks ago, led the Zulu people for fifty years, gaining both praise and criticism for the way he ruled. Pumza Fihlani of BBC Africa went to his funeral and discusses the significance of the Zulu king. Ukraine's Eurovision entry This year's Eurovision entry from Ukraine sounds like a super modern dance track. But the lyrics are a traditional folk song, sung to usher in Spring. Roman Lebed of BBC Ukrainian tells us more. Nepal’s women masons BBC Marathi’s...


Syria: Two women, ten years on

It has been ten years since the start of the Syrian civil war. The lives of Syrians were turned upside down and many fled the country. BBC correspondent Lina Sinjab tells the contrasting stories of two women - one is still in Damascus and the other now lives in Beirut. My Home Town: Shovot, Uzbekistan Candyfloss, dancing in the park, and a secret library: Ibrat Safo of BBC Uzbek takes us to his hometown in north-west Uzbekistan. Chernobyl forest fires Forest fires are increasingly in the...


Two to tango

Astor Piazzolla is known as the father of modern tango. The BBC's Valeria Perasso is from Argentina and was born and raised listening to his music. Irena Taranyuk of BBC Ukrainian is a big fan – and dancer - of tango. In the centenary year of Piazzolla’s birth, they discuss his “tango revolution” and its legacy around the world. Loaves, oil and meat: Iran's lean Nowruz Queues outside butchers, fights over cooking oil, and buying loaves by the half – all images seen on social media in Iran at...


Life in a Kurdish military camp

BBC Arabic's Namak Khoshnaw was given unfettered access to film in a military camp of Komala, the Revolutionary Party of Iranian Kurdistan, in Iraqi Kurdistan for his film Escape from Iran. Komala has become a magnet for young Iranian Kurds prepared to risk everything to leave their homeland and train as Peshmerga fighters. We find out about the challenges of filming it, the people fleeing Iran, and the memories it brought back for Namak, himself a former refugee. Reciting the Koran Nourin...


Somalia's election impasse

Somalia currently has a president in name only. President Mohamed Abdulahi Mohamed, who’s also known by his nickname Farmajo, should have ended his term of office on 8 February. But the parliamentary elections to begin the process of choosing a new president are yet to take place. It's a tense situation, and opposition protests last week in Mogadishu saw gunfire, with more protests planned. BBC Africa's Bella Sheegow in Mogadishu and BBC Monitoring's Ibrahim Aydid in Nairobi explain what's...


Six years on: the murder of Avijit Roy

It’s six years since the secular blogger Avijit Roy was murdered outside the Dhaka book fair, where he'd been a speaker. This week, five men were sentenced to be hanged for their part in the killing. BBC Bangla journalist Akbar Hossain has been covering the story since 2015 and reflects on the story. The "Switzerland of Africa" Photos posted on social media this week show alpine vistas and snow covered houses in Morocco. It's not a surprise to BBC Africa's Nora Fakim, who visited the...


Ethiopia's missing refugees

The Ethiopian government declared victory over the former ruling party of Tigray at the end of November, but information from the region is still sparse. One unanswered question is: what happened to thousands of Eritrean refugees living in camps there who went missing during the fighting? Bekit Teklemariam of BBC Tigrinya has been trying to find out. Chinese New Year 2021 It’s officially Chinese New Year’s day today, usually a time when millions from outside and within China head home for...


Myanmar: Reporting the coup

It’s less than a week since a military coup in Myanmar, staged as a new session of parliament was set to open. BBC Burmese editor Soe Win Than tells us about events leading up to the coup, and reactions in Myanmar, where the transition to democracy has proved short-lived. My Home Town: Changwon, South Korea Julie Yoonnyung Lee of BBC Korean takes us to her hometown of Changwon in South Korea to ride bicycles and admire the cherry blossom. Unwitching Assam Birubala Rabha grew up in India's...


Somalia: memories, identity and war

In January 1991, the Somali state collapsed into civil war after the fall of President Mohamed Siad Barre. For those living in what used to be British Somaliland, the violence began in 1988, when government forces bombed Hargeisa. Thousands fled to neighbouring Ethiopia, including Ismail Einashe, then a young boy, now a contributor to BBC Africa’s Letter from Africa. He reflects on his memories of that time, and Hartisheik refugee camp, to which he returned in 2019. David Amanor has left the...


Ten years after Tahrir Square

It has been 10 years since the Egyptian revolution, which forced President Hosni Mubarak from office. But what has happened since? And are the people who were involved in the revolution satisfied with the ways in which the country has changed? Hanan Razek and Reem Fatthelbab of BBC Arabic have been speaking to former protesters to hear their reflections. Nepal’s K2 heroes Nepal is celebrating the success of a team of Nepalese climbers who have become the first to reach the summit of...


Beirut port blast: five months on

On 4th August last year 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate blew up in a Beirut port warehouse. The explosion killed 200 people, injured thousands, and destroyed the port. Last month the public enquiry into the blast charged four politicians with negligence, including Prime Minister Hassan Diab. BBC Arabic’s Carine Torbey got an exclusive interview with him. Cuba’s “sovereign” vaccine Cuba has entered a new partnership with Iran to trial a new coronavirus vaccine. Its high hopes are summed up...


The abandoned Iraqi interpreters

Iraqis who worked as interpreters for British and US forces knew that their work was dangerous, but many did it from a sense of patriotism. But as coalition forces withdraw, many interpreters feel increasingly vulnerable to militias who see them as traitors. Nafiseh Kohnavard of BBC Persian recently met some interpreters in Baghdad to find out about their worries. Chittagong's disappearing streams In the Chittagong Hill Tracts of south-east Bangladesh, local people rely on forest streams for...


Vaccines, violence and forests

We look forward to 2021 from the very different perspectives of three continental giants – China, Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo. BBC Chinese editor Howard Zhang, Ricardo Senra of BBC Brasil and BBC Africa’s Emery Makumeno tell us what their focus will be in 2021, and suggest some New Year’s resolutions for their countries.


Memorable journeys of 2020

Three journalists share stories of travels undertaken in the year of the pandemic. BBC Delhi's Neha Sharma went to Indian-administered Kashmir, a year after it was stripped of autonomy; Victoria Uwonkunda of BBC Africa covered the US election, finding voters from the African diaspora; and Olga Ivshina of BBC Russian went to Azerbaijan to meet families affected by the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. Image: Olga Ivshina in Azerbaijan Credit: BBC


'Milk siblings' and Islam

Margarita Rodriguez of BBC Mundo recently published a story about Islamic milk kinship, or milk siblings. It refers to the relationship between children from different mothers who are breastfed by the same woman. It brings with it a special bond, but also prohibitions. Living and working with Covid-19 The perks and pressures of working through a pandemic, with Beatriz de la Pava from BBC Minute’s Spanish team, BBC Russian’s Grigor Atanesian, Issariya Praithongyaem from BBC Thai, BBC Uzbek’s...