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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.




Khuzestan: Iran's thirsty province

Protests have swept through Iran's Khuzestan province. Severe water shortages and a lack of drinking water have brought demonstrators to the streets, shouting 'I am thirsty'. BBC Persian's Parham Ghobadi explains why water has become such a flashpoint. My Home Town: Sahaspur, India Khadeeja Arif of BBC Urdu takes us to her home town in Uttar Pradesh, a place to chat with neighbours under mango trees. Doctor without Stigma An Indonesian doctor is campaigning to remove the stigma many women...


Women fighting to inherit

Why is it that so many women in the Arab world are deprived of their inheritance rights, even though local laws should protect them? Shereen Nanish of BBC Arabic has been looking at the pressures they face, and she’s met one Jordanian woman who is fighting back. South Sudan’s first decade The world's youngest country turned 10 this month. Nichola Mandil of BBC Africa reported from Juba in 2011, and again for the tenth anniversary. He reflects on his hopes and dreams as a brand new South...


Burkina Faso gold: A mixed blessing

Gold is now Burkina Faso’s most valuable export, but it’s come at a price. Last month the government announced the closure of small mines in the northern province of Sahel following a deadly attack by Islamic extremists. BBC Africa's Lalla Sy has been following the story from neighbouring Ivory Coast. Remembering Dilip Kumar Dilip Kumar, one of India’s earliest and most famous film actors, died this week at the age of 98. We hear some of the many reasons why he was so special from Vandana at...


Lebanon: A web of corruption

BBC Arabic's Moe Chreif tells us about the biggest corruption investigation in the history of Lebanon’s energy sector, which resulted in allegations involving multi-million dollar agreements, bribery, and shipments of substandard oil. The women pushing boundaries in Pakistan’s rural milk market In rural Pakistan women milk cows, but male relatives take the milk to male-run collection centres. Shuja Malik of BBC Urdu visited a village where women have been hired to work in the milk centre....


Hotel Rwanda hero on trial

Paul Rusesabagina became internationally famous after the film Hotel Rwanda told the story of how he helped save over a thousand Tutsis during the 1994 genocide, sheltering them in the hotel where he worked. But many inside Rwanda dispute his heroic portrayal, and he's currently standing trial in Rwanda accused of terrorism offences. BBC Great Lakes journalist Prudent Nsengiyumva has been following the case. World's oldest alligator BBC Serbian had a big hit on its website last week with a...


Finding treasure inside a whale

A group of Yemeni fishermen recently found a sperm whale carcass floating in the Gulf of Aden, with $1.5 million dollars' worth of ambergris inside its belly. Afra Ahmed of BBC Arabic is from Aden, and tells us about the fishermen, ambergris and memories of Aden. The hit Turkish TV shows tackling mental health Turkish TV dramas are famous for their sweeping historical and romantic themes, but in recent years, several top shows have focussed on mental health issues. Dilay Yalcin of BBC...


Germany's apology to Namibia

The German state has formally recognised that its colonial troops committed genocide in what's now Namibia at the start of the twentieth century. It is also paying $1.3 billion towards development projects in affected communities, but as BBC Africa's Pumza Fihlani reports, the offer has not been welcomed by descendants of the Nama and Herero survivors. South Korea's 'flower prescription' tattooist A tattoo artist in South Korea is using her art to help clients who have struggled with their...


Visiting Russia’s Arctic military base

Russia's northernmost military base, in the remote archipelago of Franz Josef Land, demonstrates its ambitions for the Arctic, as melting ice opens up new opportunities. The BBC Moscow news team were given rare access to the base, and Liza Shuvalova tells us what she saw there. Venezuela and Trinidad Between the 1960s and 90s, many people from the island of Trinidad made the 11 kilometre sea crossing to Venezuela in search of better lives. Today, the migration has reversed, with Venezuelans...


First days of freedom in Yuma

Yuma, a small city in the middle of the desert in Arizona, is receiving an overwhelming number of asylum seekers who have crossed the US border from Latin America. BBC Mundo's Patricia Sulbaran follows the journey of one particular family, from their first "free" days after they were released from detention until reunited with family in Miami. Belarus plane forced landing Confusion and shock surrounded the forced landing of a Ryanair flight in Minsk this week, and the subsequent detention of...


I left Gaza, but Gaza did not leave me

The flare-up of violence in Gaza and Israel brought back difficult memories for Shahdi Alkashif. He was BBC Arabic’s Gaza correspondent during the 2014 conflict. Now based in Turkey, he tells us what it was like to be an observer of the recent hostilities. Uzbek salute shambles An Uzbek mayor and four military men found themselves the butt of social media jokes after they were filmed at Remembrance Day commemorations, clearly uncertain whether to salute, wave or put their hands on their...


Mexico's apology to the Mayans

Last week, Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador apologised to the indigenous Mayan people for abuses committed against them since independence. But with elections looming, some are questioning the timing of the apology. The BBC's Lourdes Heredia discusses this historic moment. Targetting Afghan girls Zuhal Ahad of BBC Afghan shares her experiences of reporting on the bomb attack outside a girls' school last weekend which left more than 80 dead, many of them schoolgirls. It happened...


Women and peace in Afghanistan

The BBC Media Action team in Afghanistan recently went on the road with their programme Open Jirga to hear about women’s hopes and fears for any peace deal between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Presenter Shazia Haya heard from the ambitious young women of Herat’s all-female robotics team, and from women in the Taliban heartland city of Kandahar who risked their lives to have their voices heart. Baghdad's graffiti artists A group of graffiti artists in the Iraqi capital Baghdad have...


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...