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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.




The challenges of filming at altitude

Many communities in India's northern Ladakh region are experiencing water shortages because of shrinking glaciers. BBC India team Aamir Peerzada and Neha Sharma went to report on how people in one village, Kumik, have ended up building a new settlement close to a river. It turned out to be an eventful trip. Bodybuilding in the Arab world Bodybuilding is a popular pastime for men throughout the Arab world, but what does it take to achieve the muscle development that bodybuilders strive for,...


Afghanistan's Ministry of Vice and Virtue

Soon after taking power, the Taliban replaced the Department for Women's Affairs with the Ministry for Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. It's a name many Afghans feared during the last Taliban era, as 'morality police' enforced their extreme interpretation of Islam. BBC Afghan's Shekiba Habib lived through that era, and reports on what we know about how the current ministry is operating. Istanbul's taxi problem If you’ve ever struggled to hail a taxi, spare a thought for people...


Myanmar’s women-only army

A group of women in central Myanmar have formed their own anti-junta militia, and are fighting alongside other armed groups. Armed resistance to the military regime has been increasing since the coup nine months ago. BBC Burmese editor Soe Win Than tells us more about the Myaung Women Warriors. My Home Town: Damascus A new episode of our series 'My Home Town', in which our language service journalists share stories about the place where they grew up. Today, Dima Babilie of BBC Arabic takes...


Who are the Oromo Liberation Army?

As rebel TPLF forces advance towards the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, other armed groups say they are forming an alliance with them. These include the secretive Oromo Liberation Army, which first appeared in the 1970s. The BBC's Africa correspondent Catherine Byaruhanga was the first international journalist to meet them, at a desert training camp. The dispute over Scythian gold When Russian forces seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, a unique collection of Scythian treasures from museums...


Filming Life at 50°C

COP26 kicks off in Glasgow this Sunday, and what’s at stake is the future of the planet. We speak to BBC Arabic's Namak Khoshnaw and Hanan Razek about the Life at 50°C series, highlighting the impact of living with rising temperatures and changing weather patterns around the world. And we find out what it's like trying to film when your camera's asking to cool down. Baby elephants changing lives A community in northern Kenya has found a sustainable way to feed orphaned baby elephants - using...


The 1961 Paris massacre cover-up

It’s 60 years since a peaceful march in Paris ended in the killing of at least 100 Algerian protesters by the police. An extensive cover-up meant that almost nothing was known about it for several decades, and the true facts are still emerging. BBC Arabic’s Ahmed Rouaba has been looking into the story. The Stallion of Yennenga As film-makers gather for the FESPACO African film festival in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, we ask what’s the story behind the main prize, called the...


Why I became a journalist

For many the decision to become a journalist emerges slowly, but not for Nataliya Zotova. Writing was always a passion, and the killing of Novaya Gazeta's Anna Politkovskaya inspired her to work at the same newspaper. She shares her journey from shy teenager to BBC Russian reporter. The Chinese workers who live in fear in Pakistan Chinese workers who move to Pakistan to work on projects connected to China’s Belt and Road initiative are increasingly being targetted by local militant groups....


Ecuador’s prison battle: The aftermath

The president of Ecuador has declared a state of emergency for the prison system after the country’s worst prison riot, in which 118 inmates died. It’s part of a wave of violence that has swept Ecuador's jails, as rival drug gangs fight for dominance. BBC Mundo’s Ana Maria Roura has been looking into the story. Squid Game: kids' games and killings ‘Squid Game’ has been topping streaming charts around the world. The South Korean drama sees contestants playing popular children's games to win...


Meet Kenya's Guru of Love

The BBC's gender and identity correspondent, Megha Mohan, meets Robert Burale, an East African guru of love, whose seminars promise the hopeful they can “Get a boyfriend for Christmas". So what's the advice, and who's buying? Giant African snails in Kerala Giant African snails have become a pest in Kerala, so one area came up with a creative snail hunting idea: a chance to win over a million dollars for catching the most. Too good to be true? Over to the BBC's Jaltson Akkanath Chummar....


What's behind Guinea's coup?

The military coup earlier this month in the West African state of Guinea has been a huge story for BBC reporter Alhassan Sillah, based in the capital Conakry. He tells us about the main players - coup leader Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, and the man he ousted, President Alpha Condé. The swimming camels of Kutch The Kharai are a rare breed of camel found in the Indian state of Gujarat. They swim up to three kilometres in shallow seas to reach the mangroves where they graze. But as salt companies...


The Kenyan men campaigning against FGM

Campaigns to end female genital mutilation usually focus on women’s experiences for obvious reasons: women bear the lifelong physical and psychological scars. But in Kenya the Men End FGM Foundation is adding men’s voices to the anti-FGM movement. Esther Ogola is the women’s affairs reporter in Nairobi who covered the story. Arabic coffee and health BBC Arabic has been investigating the health risks of the strong dark coffee traditionally drunk in Greece and Turkey and across the Arab world....


Afghanistan: History repeats itself

For many in the BBC Afghan service, recent events have brought back traumatic memories. For Shekiba Habib, the first takeover by the Taliban ended her dream of becoming a doctor. 20 years on, she shares similar stories she's hearing of broken dreams and loss of hope. El Salvador and Bitcoin: the El Zonte mystery Bitcoin joined the US dollar as legal tender in El Salvador this week. Quite a leap, but it turns out the small tourist surf town of El Zonte had been using the cryptocurrency for a...


Afghanistan: The view from nextdoor

Events in Afghanistan are being closely followed in neighbouring Uzbekistan. Rustam Qobil of BBC Uzbek tells us about the strong cultural and economic ties between the two countries, and what the main concerns are for Uzbekistan and for the Afghan Uzbek population. Afghan Hazaras face persecution by the Taliban and have been fleeing over the Pakistani border in Balochistan. BBC Urdu's Saher Baloch went to Quetta to meet some of the refugees who've been welcomed by the local Hazara community,...


The valley of Afghan resistance

In Afghanistan one province is still resisting the Taliban takeover of the country, the Panjshir Valley. The valley also held out during the 80s and 90s against both the Soviet and the Taliban forces. Ismael Sadaat is a journalist with BBC Afghan in London, and has visited the valley several times. He explains why this place has repeatedly been the centre of Afghanistan's armed resistance movements. India's beleaguered Sunderbans The Sunderbans in the Bay of Bengal are the world's largest...


Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover

There is fear and uncertainty in Afghanistan as people wonder what their lives will be like under Taliban rule. Sana Safi from BBC Pashto shares her insights from listening to and interviewing the Taliban, and talking to contacts in Afghanistan. Delhi and Kashmir: two lives in letters In 2017, BBC journalist Divya Arya brought together schoolgirls Saumya and Duaa, from Delhi and Indian-administered Kashmir, to become penfriends. She tells us how their growing understanding and friendship...


Russian mercenaries in Libya

We hear how BBC Russian and BBC Arabic collaborated in a joint investigation into the role of mercenaries from Russia's secretive Wagner Group in the conflict in Libya. Kateryna Khinkulova and Nader Ibrahim explain how they identified Russian fighters and uncovered evidence of suspected war crimes. China's wandering elephants A herd of elephants have finally returned to their nature reserve in southern China after leaving it 17 months ago to trek over 500 kilometres. It is still unclear why...


On the front line: New York, Ukraine

Ukraine has regained its own New York after parliament this week voted to give the name back to a small town near the front line in the conflict with pro-Russian separatists. Svyatoslav Khomenko of BBC Ukrainian has been asking locals what they think of the return to the original name. Jaffa after the violence For a few nights in May, the Israeli city of Jaffa was the scene of violent clashes between Jews and Arabs. Similar outbreaks happened across Israel, after rising tensions triggered by...


Kyiv march: 'Eucharist is our vaccine'

This week tens of thousands of Orthodox Christians marched through Kyiv, despite coronavirus restrictions, to mark the anniversary of Vladimir the Great adopting the Christian faith. Myroslava Petsa of BBC Ukrainian reported from the march and tells us why it was so controversial this year. For the love of dancehall Egyptian Yara Saleh turned her back on a prestigious career as an oil engineer to devote her life to dance. Specifically to dancehall, a genre that originated in Jamaica. She's...


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...