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My Perfect Country: Cuba

After 2017 brought a string of hyper-active and destructive hurricanes in the so-called Atlantic Hurricane Season, it is said that Cuba is a world leader in both hurricane preparedness and recovery, as it has one of the lowest fatality rates. It has been a cornerstone of their government for decades – at the heart of the model is the promotion of local level decision-making that relies on co-ordinated early warning systems, high-quality weather forecasting and community preparedness. Most...

Duration: 00:27:23

My Perfect Country: Rwanda

Rwanda has closed its gender gap by 80% since the 1994 genocide. How has the country done it, and should others be following its lead? Under the leadership of President Paul Kagame, the 2003 Rwandan constitution states that at least 30% of all decision-making jobs in government or public organisations must be held by women. The constitution enshrines the right to equal education opportunities for girls and boys, the right to equal pay in public sector jobs, and the right for women to own...

Duration: 00:27:26

What Happened Next: Ebola

In Sierra Leone, the Ebola outbreak in 2014-16 caught everyone, including the World Health Organisation, completely unprepared. Award-winning reporter Umaru Fofana talks to Tulip Mazumdar about his own experience of the outbreak; plus we hear from both local and western doctors and aid workers about the fight to bring the disease under control. Central to this was persuading grieving families – with the help of social scientists – to change their burial practices. (Photo: Health workers...

Duration: 00:26:40

What Happened Next: Rana Plaza

When the Rana Plaza building collapsed in 2013, it drew worldwide attention to the horrific conditions for workers in the garment industry. Over a thousand people were killed one day after the building’s owners ignored warnings about cracks. Four years later, contributors on the ground wonder if anything has changed in the rush for profit in Bangladesh. (Photo: A Bangladeshi worker who was rescued from the collapsed poses on the site of the former Rana Plaza garment complex poses at the...

Duration: 00:27:05

What Happened Next: The Japanese Tsunami, 2011

In the most earthquake ready country on earth – Japan - a massive tsunami in 2011 hit two schools in Kamaishi and Okawa. At one everyone survived; at the other 74 children were killed. What went wrong? We hear gripping contributions from pupils at both schools, including Mai Ogasawara and Tetsuya Tadano; location recordings from Mai Nishiyama and Yu Wada Dimmer on the aftermath of the giant wave; plus interviews with Richard Lloyd Parry, author of Ghosts of the Tsunami and Robert...

Duration: 00:27:22

Ocean Stories: The Pacific Ocean

4/4 The shores of the Pacific are irresistible to tourists. From the coral wonders of Australia’s Gold Coast to the loneliest South Pacific atoll, local people make their living from the beauty of their surroundings. In the final edition of our series on the world’s oceans we explore how native traditions and the booming business of tourism co-exist. Many Solomon Islanders would like to see more tourists but worry about the loss of native culture. We meet local people anxious to hang on to...

Duration: 00:27:14

Ocean Stories: The Arctic and Southern Oceans

3/4 As the ice of the Arctic and Southern Oceans melts, its composition changes completely. Ships can now sail through the Arctic from China to Europe; seals, walrus and polar bears have to move further north and find different prey. In the third edition of our series on the world’s oceans we visit Svalbard and Alaska to discover what change means for the people of the Arctic as the warming climate brings more trade, more tourists and new species. In the Norwegian territory of Svalbard...

Duration: 00:27:17

Ocean Stories: The Indian Ocean

2/4 Only now is deep sea exploration beginning in remote parts of the Indian Ocean to reveal what lies on the ocean floor, what treasures can be found that could be used for scientific and technological development. Underwater mining for minerals is being carried out by several nations and there’s a huge rush around the ocean rim to promote what’s called the Blue Economy, profiting from the ocean and its riches. We travel around the Indian Ocean from South Africa to Mauritius and North...

Duration: 00:26:52

Ocean Stories: The Atlantic

1/4 In this first episode we cross the ocean from the Grand Banks to the tip of South Africa via Reykjavik in Iceland meeting those involved in fishing and working along the shores of the Atlantic. Beneath the waves, oceanographer Jon Copley from Southampton University provides a fascinating underwater commentary, demonstrating how currents and ocean ridges link the lives on every shore of the Atlantic. The Atlantic Ocean covers more than 100 million square kilometres, stretching from...

Duration: 00:27:16

America Laboratory of Democracy: Insurgent Nation

American democracy can easily frustrate change. The country’s Constitution is almost impossible to amend. The many interest groups swirling through Congress often paralyse or colonise it; and corralling 50 states is often beyond the capacity of the most able president. Yet America has been home to a string of popular movements across the last two centuries that have brought vigour and change to what otherwise might have been a sclerotic political system. It mattered, of course, that the...

Duration: 00:26:30

America, Laboratory of Democracy: Little Leviathans

3/4 One of the most fascinating, and least understood, features of American democracy is that individual states possessed a scope of power much greater than what was given to the central government in Washington. On so many issues, the states went their own way. Whether to teach religion in schools; legalise or outlaw slavery; allow divorce or the sale of alcohol or the sale of firecrackers; permit birth control, pornography, or gambling - on all these matters, and many others, it was up...

Duration: 00:27:01

America, Laboratory of Democracy: Money -the Lifeblood of American Democracy

2/4 The usual way to tell the story of money and democracy in America is in terms of a fall from grace. Once upon a time, democracy was pure, with little corruption, and rich Americans had no influence upon policymakers. The truth is more complicated. By the mid-19th Century, America had the largest, densest, and most labour-intensive democracy in the world. None of this had been anticipated by the country’s founders, who had made no provision in the Constitution for funding an electoral...

Duration: 00:26:31

Drowning Government in a Bathtub

America has the world’s oldest continuously operating democracy. Its political institutions have long been a model for democrats everywhere. Yet, American democracy is also troubled. In this four-part series, American historian Gary Gerstle takes a penetrating look at his nation’s democracy and the reasons behind the crisis that besets it today. In this episode, he goes back to the framing of the US Constitution. This gave only limited powers to the federal government, but by the mid-19th...

Duration: 00:26:30

Making it Work: Agriculture in India and Kenya

Angela Saini is on a farm in a rural corner of Karnataka in south India, meeting the team behind Akshayakalpa – a kind of Farm in a Box. When you are on a low income, how can you possibly find a way to raise the funds you need to get into farming, or simply keep your existing farm afloat? Angela meets an entrepreneur who thinks she has found the answer. Angela heads back to Nairobi to catch up with the founder of OkHi – the app that lets you find any address in the city, which we discussed...

Duration: 00:26:35

Making it Work: a Navigating Kenya's Streets with Technology

3/4 OkHi is a new navigation device which runs on your mobile phone and allows you to find an address, however remote, with GPS coordinates and a photo. It should be accurate to within ten metres and copes without the usual massive infrastructure changes required by sat nav systems. Just outside Bengaluru in India, we take a look at the problems of getting access to banking services in remote communities and the solution being offered by a new company called Sub-K, and their human ATMs....

Duration: 00:26:36

Making it Work: Rugged Tablets for African Schools

We start in Kenya where science journalist Angela Saini meets a company planning to bring reliable stable internet and rugged tablets to remote schools with the help of BRCK, a tough solution to internet problems in the shape of a – guess what - brick. She visits a school in a slum near Dagoretti in Nairobi to see the system in action. In the northern Indian state of Assam, people have the least access to good quality eyecare in the whole of India – 18% of all cataracts happen in this one...

Duration: 00:26:36

Making it Work: Affordable Medical Equipment in India

In India around a fifth of people still live below the poverty line, according to the most recent World Bank estimates. Businesses selling to this market need to keep prices low. In the famous tech city of Bengaluru, south India, we visit a veterinary clinic for pets, the unlikely home of a surprising young start-up, which is set to revolutionise one of the most common medical devices on the planet - the stethoscope. In a village in Mathura, about three hours drive from New Delhi we take a...

Duration: 00:26:34

Stargazing: South Africa's New Generation Astronomers

Science writer and author Dava Sobel reports on the Square Kilometre Array, the world’s biggest telescope, with its antennae spiralling out across the African continent. In the remote North Karoo town of Carnarvon in South Africa, she meets the next generation of astronomers, training to run this major telescope facility, currently under construction. And as we discover, since Copernicus’ naked eye observations through the mists on the Baltic Sea, there are more scientists, more knowledge,...

Duration: 00:26:31

Stargazing: Faith versus Science in Hawaii

Science writer and author Dava Sobell travels to Hawaii to ascend Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain in the world, with its huge base sunk into the Pacific. Among the observatories on the summit is also the proposed Thirty Metre Telescope, but as she discovers, the prospect is creating a terrible rift between astronomers and local Hawaiians. TMT will be able to discern gases in the most remote atmospheres, which may indicate extra terrestrial life, but the site is sacred for the Native...

Duration: 00:26:31

Stargazing: A New Vision of Our Cosmic Origins

Dava Sobel travels to Edinburgh, to catch sight of the most ambitious telescope currently being made. This time next year, the James Webb Space Telescope will begin its long journey to a stable orbit at a place called L-2, one million miles beyond the Moon. There, like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, the James Webb will unfold the components of its huge, intricate body and look back in time, to probe events that occurred nearly 14 billion years ago. The James Webb is a Nasa-led...

Duration: 00:26:31

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