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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.




Road Rage, Rumour and Riots: Sri Lanka

This month violence erupted in the Sri Lankan city of Kandy. It started when a group of Muslim youths beat a Sinhala man following a minor traffic incident, but his death sparked days of rioting, the destruction of hundreds of Muslim properties, and at least two deaths. Azzam Ameen of BBC Sinhala sheds light on the role of social media, rumours and fake stories in raising inter-community tension. Image: After the riots in Kandy Credit: BBC


A Rohingya Love Story

Since last August, around 700,000 Rohingyas have fled their homes and sought refuge in Bangladesh. Many now live in the huge Kutupalong camp, where Rocky Shahnewaj, a photojournalist with BBC Bangla, was surprised to come across a love story. Image credit: Rohingya couple reunited in a refugee camp in Bangladesh. Credit: BBC


Poison and Spies in Sleepy Salisbury

BBC Russian has been at the heart of this week's reporting on the mysterious poisoning of a former Russian spy in Salisbury. Olga Ivshina tells us that a complex investigation in a quiet English city is just as difficult in its own way as frontline reporting from eastern Ukraine. Image: Salisbury Cathedral in the mist Credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images


Defiant Voices From Eastern Ghouta

Eastern Ghouta has suffered intense bombardment as Syrian government forces attempt to oust rebel groups. But behind the name is a place with its own history and aspirations, and home to a defiant group of women blogging even as the shelling intensified. Lina Shaikhouni has been following their posts for BBC Monitoring. Image: Syria's Eastern Ghouta under attack Credit: Hamza Al-Ajweh/AFP/Getty Images


New Names, Old Rivalries

Renaming the block outside the Russian Embassy in Washington DC, and the streets outside the United Arab Emirates and US embassies in Turkey. Political point scoring with names, with Natalka Pisnia of BBC Russian and Aylin Yazan of BBC Turkish. Image: new street name installed Credit: ADEM ALTAN/Getty Images


Love is in the air… and at the BBC!

Some of our language service journalists share not only an office with colleagues, but also a living room, kitchen and bedroom. BBC's Salim Kikeke, Kathy Harcombe and Valeria Perasso tell us what it's like to have a romance on the Fifth Floor. Image and credit: Kathy Harcombe and Salim Kikeke on their wedding day.


Inside the Map of the Afghan Conflict

BBC Afghan recently published the results of an ambitious project to assess the Taliban's influence across the country. Helmand Province in the south is the most affected area, and also home territory for BBC Afghan reporter Auliya Atrafi. Image: Afghan soldier sits with gun on front line Credit: BBC


Cape Town's Water Challenge

Could you live on 50 litres of water a day? That's the challenge facing millions of people in Cape Town, on the brink of becoming the first major city to run out of water. BBC Africa contributor Mohammed Allie tells us how normal life has changed in his home town. Picture credit: Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images. Description: Several people queueing at a standpipe to fill water containers


My Friend and Musician Hugh Masekela

Legendary South African jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela has died at the age of 78. One person who knew him well was Focus on Africa's Audrey Brown, who's also South African. She discusses the laughs, the conversations and the man behind the music. Image: Hugh Masekela Credit: PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images


The Pope in Chile

Pope Francis was in Chile this week, but he wasn't received with as much enthusiasm as the late Pope John Paul II thirty years ago. Chilean radio host Paula Molina reports regularly for BBC Mundo, and shares her impressions of both visits. Image: Pope Francis in the northern city of Iquique, Chile Credit: VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images


Sharing Secrets From the Red Carpet

The Golden Globes and Oscars are synonymous with fashion and glamour. But for those who cover the ceremonies, they also mean long hours in high heels or tuxedos in a tiny space, trying to get good quotes and pictures from superstars. Beatriz Diez from BBC Mundo and Bahman Kalbasi from BBC Persian share secrets, tricks and anecdotes from the red carpet. Image: BBC Persian's Bahman Kalbasi with "The Crown" stars Claire Foy and Matt Smith on the red carpet at the 2018 Golden Globes Credit: BBC


Indian Voices From The First World War

The British Library holds several recordings of soldiers from South Asia who fought for the British during the First World War. One of them, Punjabi soldier Mall Singh, was taken prisoner by the Germans in 1915, who used the latest technology to record his voice. Ishleen Kaur of BBC Hindi tells the story behind the recording. Image: Indian infantrymen on the march in France during World War I Credit: Hulton Archive/Stringer/Getty Images


My Name, My Identity

What does your name say about your identity? Can it define or influence your personality? In many languages a name can be very revealing about culture, ethnicity and religion. Stories from Famil Ismailov of BBC Russian, Janay Boulos of BBC Arabic and Cagil Kasapoglu of BBC Turkish - after some examples in the Kinyarwanda language. Image: David Amanor and members of the BBC's language services Credit: BBC


Witch-hunting in Rajasthan

The north Indian state of Rajasthan has registered 50 cases of witch-hunting since 2015 even though it has banned the practice. BBC Hindi's Sumiran Preet Kaur has been to one district and met women whose lives have been changed forever. Image: 80 year old Ramkanya Devi, branded a witch Credit: BBC


Mozambique's 'Ghost' Airport

No passengers and no planes - Nacala International Airport in Mozambique cost millions and was meant to help the economies of both Mozambique and Brazil. Instead, it has proved an expensive white elephant. Amanda Rossi of BBC Brasil went to Nacala to find out more. Image: Mozambique's "ghost" airport Credit: BBC


Fleeing Home: An Iraqi-Kurdish Story

Roj Ranjbar has experienced displacement three times in his life. Roj is an Iraqi Kurd with BBC Monitoring, he's covered the recent referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, and subsequent developments as Kurds face renewed civil conflict with Baghdad. Watching the images coming out of Kirkuk of families fleeing their homes has triggered memories of his own family's experiences in the 1990s. Image: Families fleeing Kirkuk, Iraq in trucks Credit: MARWAN IBRAHIM/AFP/GETTY IMAGES


Living with Mugabe

After 37 years of the Mugabe regime, Zimbabweans are adjusting to life without him. Most of the population have only known his rule, and he had become part of the fabric of the country. Two BBC Africa Zimbabweans - Kim Chakanetsa and Stanley Kwenda - share memories of the Mugabe era and the moment when it ended. Image: School children holding an image of Robert Mugabe’s face Credit: JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/Getty Images


Commuting in the Skies of Medellin

Medellin in Colombia was one of the first cities in South America to integrate cable cars into its metro transit system. The Metrocable links the affluent valley with poor neighbourhoods in the hills. Arturo Wallace of BBC Mundo explains how it's also affected social attitudes. Image: Metrocable car in Medellin, Columbia Credit: RAUL ARBOLEDA /Stringer/Getty Images


Being Thai

Thailand encompasses a large geographical, ethnic and cultural range, so is there such a thing as 'Thainess'? BBC Thai colleagues Watchiranont Thongtep, Thitipol Panyalompanun, Thanyarat Doksone and Jiraporn Kuhakan consider the question. Image: A crowd celebrating Songkran, or the Thai New Year, in Bangkok Credit: LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/Getty Images


Reporting Mosul: A Journalist's Story

Three years ago, a lightning advance by about 800 jihadist fighters in northern Iraq morphed into a global threat. Nafiseh Kohnavard of BBC Persian has followed the fight against so-called Islamic State, and she witnessed the toughest battle for Iraqi forces, to retake Mosul. Image: Nafiseh Kohnavard sitting wearing helmet and flak jacket in Mosul Credit: BBC


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