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14
NOV

Colombia's life-saving pop song

It is 2010 and Colombian Colonel Jose Espejo has a problem. Not only is the Farc increasing its kidnapping activity, targeting police and military hostages, but many of the soldiers already in captivity - some kept in barbed-wire cages and held isolation in for over a decade - are losing hope of ever being rescued. Colonel Espejo knew that in order for future missions to succeed, he’d need to warn the captives that help was coming so they could be ready to make a break for it when the army arrived. But how do you get a message across to military hostages without tipping off their captors and placing them in even greater danger? The unexpected solution - hide the message in a pop song with an interlude in morse code that the military hostages could decipher.
12
NOV

The real lives of Doha's housewives

With all eyes on Qatar ahead of the World Cup, Salma El-Wardany is on a mission to discover what women in Doha have to say about their lives in this strict patriarchal society. Qatar has a grand, national vision to level up the gender playing field by 2030, but how is that working out for women in reality? , Salma meets young women, mothers, athletes, business owners and academics, to hear from them about their opportunities, careers, and their freedom. Will Salma be surprised by what she finds?
12
NOV

Living with climate change

While world leaders meet in Egypt at the COP27 climate conference, we bring people together to share how the world around them is changing. Three people in the Bahamas, US and UK discuss their experiences of extreme weather. Alexander tells us how he had to wear a respirator when he was driving a taxi in Portland, Oregon, because of the smoke from forest fires. Shavone shares her story of a dramatic escape with her children from a storm in the Bahamas and Lance in the UK explains why he still lives in a house that lost its kitchen to the waves. Tendi Sherpa, who has climbed Everest 14 times and Lalaina Ramaroson, a tour guide in Madagascar, discuss how their countries are changing and the impact of climate change on plants and animals.
09
NOV

Black Roots: Arnold Shultz and bluegrass in Kentucky

Acclaimed musician Rhiannon Giddens explores bluegrass music in Kentucky, the history of the banjo and the story of Arnold Shultz. For many listeners of bluegrass, the story of this music begins in December 1945, when ‘Father of Bluegrass’ Bill Monroe brought his band on stage at the Grand Ole Opry. Yet, Bill Monroe always acknowledged the black fiddler and guitarist Arnold Shultz as one of his major influences. Rhiannon explores how African-American musicians like Shultz were often mentors to white country stars of the time.
07
NOV

The weather changers

For centuries we've made sacrifices, sent prayers to gods and summoned witches, in an attempt to bend the weather to our will. Science suggests now we might actually be able to do it. Weather modifiers are employed to make it rain, suppress hail and enhance snow packs. It is big business, from the UAE to Chile, Thailand to China, interest and investment is global. Kim Chakanetsa asks what the weather changers are actually doing, if it really works and if so, is it problem free?
05
NOV

Voting in the US

Americans are preparing to vote in their midterm elections. The rising cost of living, abortion, immigration, crime and gun rights are all issues that may affect decisions at the ballot box. We bring together two women from Massachusetts: Christine, a self-employed dog walker and Sheena, a single mother of four children aged three, five, seven and 13, who are struggling to afford essentials. In several states, the right to abortion will be on the ballot. We hear from two centres running clinics for women. We also get advice on how to ‘disagree well’ from couples where the partners have different political opinions.
02
NOV

America’s Dropbox Babies

Until Roe vs Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court in June, sweeping away Americans’ constitutional right to abortion, no one gave much thought to Safe Haven laws. These allow a mother to give up her new-born baby for adoption, at a designated site, anonymously and without risk of prosecution. Safe Haven legislation first appeared in the US in 1999 in Texas, in response to a rise in the number of abandoned babies. Now it exists in every state. These laws were never intended as an alternative to abortion. But as the options for unhappily pregnant women diminish, some are anticipating an increase in the number of babies left by desperate mothers in hospitals and specially designed Baby Boxes at local fire stations. Ahead of the US midterm elections, and with the abortion debate still polarising the nation, Assignment reports from Arizona on America’s ‘dropbox babies’.

Reporter: Linda Pressly
Producer: Tim Mansel
02
NOV

Black Roots: Frank Johnson, Joe Thompson and the fiddle in North Carolina

Acclaimed musician Rhiannon Giddens returns to her home state of North Carolina to explore the lives of two black fiddlers: Joe Thompson and Frank Johnson. Johnson was one of the first black celebrities in the southern states of the US. Born into slavery, he bought freedom for himself and his family on the back of his profits as a musician. More than 2,000 people processed through Wilmington, North Carolina for his funeral in 1871. Though he died before the start of the recording industry, his music was passed down through generations of black fiddlers in the region. The last of these fiddlers was Joe Thompson.
31
OCT

The crime that only women commit

Society drives people, particularly women, in every way to look beautiful. We see it on television, in the movies, and in magazines. The social pressure associated with physical appearance is typically much greater for girls and women than boys and men in almost every society. We tap into different areas of culture and society across the globe to get a diverse range of experience and opinion, and look at what drives this prejudice, and why.
29
OCT

The bleak reality behind the red light district

***There is a disturbing account of murder, that listeners may find upsetting*** Behind Amsterdam’s red light district hides a secret world of sexual exploitation and human trafficking. What is viewed by many as little more than an edgy tourist attraction is in fact an area rife with crime. With the advent of mass tourism, the situation has become even more out of hand. Former sex workers and other people who know what really goes on in the world of window prostitution share stories of extreme tourist nuisance, violence against sex workers, and forced prostitution. Will the Dutch capital ever regain control over what once was one of its most beautiful historic neighbourhoods?
29
OCT

The UK’s cost of living

Rishi Sunak begins his leadership in a time of crisis. He inherits an economy with inflation at more than 10 percent - its highest rate in 40 years - and rising food prices. During his first address as prime minister, Rishi Sunak warned there was no doubt the UK faced “a profound economic challenge.” James Reynolds speaks to several people struggling to survive. They share their tips for stretching every penny - from batch cooking to freezing bread and defrosting two slices at a time for sandwiches. We also hear from several single mothers who, despite having jobs, are all finding it increasingly difficult to afford everyday necessities.

778 episodes

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