• At the end of a friendly meeting in Moscow, President Xi of China told President Putin of Russia that they are driving changes in the world the likes of which have not been seen for a century.

    Meanwhile this week President Biden kicked off a Summit for Democracy with $690m funding pledge to democracies all over the world and the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, called on Europe to reassess its diplomatic and economic relations with China before a visit to Beijing next week.

    So what changes are President Xi talking about? Who will be running the world in 20 years time? Is conflict between rival powers inevitable? And is the model of western liberal democracy in decline?

    Owen Bennett-Jones is joined by:

    Evelyn Farkas - an American national security advisor, author, and foreign policy analyst. She is the current Executive Director of the McCain Institute, a nonprofit organisation focused on democracy, human rights, and leadership. Evelyn served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia under President Obama

    Martin Wolf - chief economics commentator at the Financial Times and author of The Crisis of Democratic Capitalism

    Professor Steve Tsang - political scientist and historian and Director of the China Institute at the SOAS University of London

    Also featuring:

    Henry Wang - founder and director of the Centre for China and Globalisation, a think tank with links to the Chinese Communist Party

    Nathalie Tocci - director of the Istituto Affari Internazionali and an honorary professor at the University of Tübingen

    Photo: Russia's Putin holds talks with China's Xi in the Kremlin in Moscow on March 21, 2023 / Credit: Reuters

    Produced by Rumella Dasgupta and Pandita Lorenz

  • Clashes this week between police and supporters of former cricketer-turned-Prime Minister, Imran Khan, show once again the deep divisions within Pakistani politics.

    Mr Khan was ousted as prime minister last April in a no-confidence vote but has kept up pressure on his successor, Mr Sharif, with demonstrations calling for early elections and blaming him for an assassination attempt - an accusation the government denies. Mr Khan faces multiple court cases, including terrorism charges, but has cited a variety of reasons for not showing up to hearings.

    Meanwhile Pakistan is in the middle of one of the worst economic crises ever seen. The country is awaiting a much-needed bailout package of $1.1 billion from the International Monetary Fund - a loan that has been delayed over issues related to fiscal policy. The security situation is also deteriorating with a spate of deadly attacks on police, linked to the Pakistan Taliban.

    So what, if anything, might resolve the political stand-off? What impact does ongoing instability have on Pakistan’s economic situation and could this all play into the hands of Pakistan’s Taliban? How much support does Imran Khan really have from the military - or could the army’s longstanding hold on Pakistan finally be challenged?

    Owen Bennett-Jones is joined by:

    General Muhammad Haroon Aslam, a retired army general. He was a Corps Commander in the Pakistani army and served in the military for 40 years

    Hammad Azhar, a former finance minister for Imran Khan's party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf

    Atika Rehman, London correspondent for Dawn newspaper

    Also featuring:

    Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, senator for the The Pakistan Muslim League, part of the ruling coalition, and a former prime minister
    Shuja Nawaz, Distinguished Fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington
    Khurram Husain, business and economy journalist based in Karachi
    Ahmed Rashid, journalist and author of Descent into Chaos and Pakistan on the Brink

    (Photo: Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks with Reuters during an interview in Lahore, Pakistan 17 March, 2023. Credit: Akhtar Soomro/Reuters)

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  • Millions of people around the world are on the move today in search of a safe and better life. It’s estimated over 100 million people were displaced last year. Over 30 million are refugees and 5 million are asylum seekers. The UN body for refugees says 72% of the refugees originate from just five countries: Syria, Venezuela, Ukraine, Afghanistan and South Sudan. These refugees are often fleeing persecution, conflict, violence, natural disasters and human rights violations. They make the dangerous journey across land and sea to seek asylum in other countries. Over the years, thousands have died or gone missing in the the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe. While, with help from the UNHCR and host countries, many get legal status and are settled, thousands are held in processing centres and camps, often for years. We discuss problems with the current international asylum system and ask what would a fair global asylum system could look like?

    Owen Bennett Jones is joined by:

    Gerald Knaus - the founding chairman of German think tank The European Stability Initiative.

    Jeff Crisp - former head of policy development and evaluation at the UNHCR.

    Dr Ashwini Vasanthakumar - author of The Ethics of Exile: A Political Theory of Diaspora. She writes on the ethics and politics of migration.

    Also featuring:

    Ahmed - a migrant, an asylum seeker and a refugee, who fled Syria in 2015 and is now settled in the UK>

    Alexander Downer - Australia's former foreign minister.

    Ylenja Lucaselli - A member of the Italian Parliament for Fratelli d'Italia.

    (Photo: The number of people crossing the English Channel has risen in recent years. Credit: PA)

    Producer: Rozita Riazati and Rumella Dasgupta.

  • A new Brexit deal for Northern Ireland has been announced. The Windsor Framework replaces the Northern Ireland Protocol - that was deemed unworkable, but does this new deal solve Northern Ireland's trading arrangements?

    In his speech in Windsor, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said his new framework agreement had "removed any sense of a border in the Irish Sea". It is true that Northern Ireland consumers should certainly have no sense of a border when it comes to buying food, plants and medicines or taking their dog on the ferry to Scotland. But it will still be a trade border of sorts. Moving goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland remains conditional: it will require signing up to trusted trader schemes, providing information on what goods are moving and having the correct labelling.

    But given the constraints the UK set itself back in 2017 - a hard Brexit with no land border on the island of Ireland - that may be as good as it gets.

    Rishi Sunak and EU chief, Ursula von der Leyen, seemed comfortable together in Windsor but it’s still unclear whether the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland will back the agreement and bring back the power-sharing government. So, is the Windsor Framework a feasible solution? How did Mr Sunak make such progress where his predecessors failed to? If the DUP do reject it, does this mean Brexit can never truly be ‘done’? And what would be the implications for Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the EU if the wrangling over the border continues indefinitely?

    Chris Morris is joined by:

    Raoul Ruparel, special advisor on Europe to former UK Prime Minister Theresa May from 2018-19.

    Tony Connolly, Europe Editor for Ireland's national broadcaster RTE. He is the author of Brexit & Ireland: The Dangers, the Opportunities, and the Inside Story of the Irish Response.

    Professor Danuta Hübner, a Polish MEP and a member of the European Parliament’s UK Contact Group .

    Also featuring:

    Sammy Wilson, Democratic Unionist Party MP for East Antrim and DUP chief whip

    Image: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen during a press conference at the Guildhall in Windsor, Berkshire, following the announcement that they have struck a deal over the Northern Ireland Protocol. Credit: PA

    Producers: Imogen Wallace and Pandita Lorenz

  • Last year China's population fell for the first time in 60 years with the national birth rate hitting a record low.

    China's birth rate has in fact been declining for years but an older population will pose a real challenge for China economically, politically and strategically. So, what will the consequences be for China and the rest of the world if this vast economy - the second largest in the world – of a waning workforce and an ageing population?

    The ruling Communist Party is introducing a range of policies to try to encourage couples to have more babies. But it was only seven years ago that the Chinese government scrapped the controversial one-child policy, replacing it with the two-child policy in 2016 and the three-child policy in 2021. The government is also offering tax breaks and better maternal healthcare, among other incentives, in an effort to reverse, or at least slow, the falling birth rate.

    Nothing so far has worked.

    So how concerning is population decline for China and the rest of the world? How much of an issue is gender inequality and the cost of raising a child? What will an older, frailer population do to the Chinese economy? And, as climate change intensifies, is population decline really a problem?

    Chris Morris is joined by:

    Yun Zhou - a social demographer, family sociologist and an assistant professor at the University of Michigan.

    Isabel Hilton – a journalist and founder of the bilingual website China Dialogue - an organisation dedicated to promoting a common understanding of China’s environmental challenges.

    Yasheng Huang - professor of global economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of the forthcoming book on China, The Rise and the Fall of the EAST.

    Also featuring:

    Victor Gao - Vice President of the Beijing-based Centre for China and Globalisation, a think tank with links to the Chinese Communist Party.

    Producer: Pandita Lorenz and Ellen Otzen

    (Photo: China's Sichuan province shifts birth control policies, Shanghai, 31 Jan 2023. Credit: Alex Plavevski/EPA-EFE/Rex/Shutterstock)

  • The earthquakes that struck south-eastern Turkey and northern Syria on 6 February were deadly and devastating. Tens of thousands have died - many more are unaccounted for.

    It's not the first time that Turkey has been blindsided by a major earthquake. In 1999 the Turkish government was caught off-guard by an earthquake that killed more than 17,000 people. It sparked major public outcry that helped bring Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) into power for the first time in 2003. Back then Erdoğan blamed poor governance and corruption for the huge number of casualties.

    But now he is the one in power - and this earthquake is even deadlier still. There has been criticism of the speed and effectiveness of the Turkish government's response to the earthquake and anger at periodic building amnesties that legalised poorly built homes - despite Turkey’s history of earthquakes.

    So could Turkey’s response to the earthquake have been better and what were the limiting factors? With elections on the horizon and an economy in trouble, will the shock of this earthquake loosen President Erdoğan's grip on power? President Erdoğan has cast himself as a key player on the international stage so what might all of this mean for the wider region?

    Ritula Shah is joined by:

    Sinan Ülgen, a former Turkish diplomat and director of the Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies, an independent think tank based in Istanbul.

    Tarık Oğuzlu, a Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Istanbul Aydin University.

    Ayla Jean Yackley, a freelance journalist who has been covering the earthquake for the Financial Times.

    Also featuring:

    Ilnur Cevik, special advisor to President Erdoğan

    Ilan Kelman, Professor of Disasters and Health and University College London

    Photo: Turkish President Erdogan visits Hatay province in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake / Credit: Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

    Producers: Imogen Wallace and Pandita Lorenz

  • Brazil’s newly-elected president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has pledged to protect the Amazon and to reach zero deforestation by 2030.

    During a recent meeting with US President Biden, Lula said the rainforest had been "invaded" under the previous administration. His predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, relaxed environmental protections, encouraging mining and logging in the Amazon that he said would help economic development.

    Voters will now be waiting to see if they can trust Lula to follow through on the promises he has made so far for the Amazon. But Lula faces huge challenges: The Brazilian Congress elected in the October polls is still largely dominated by conservatives, with Bolsonaro’s PL the largest party in the lower house. Lula’s government will also have to contend with widespread violent crime and illegal mining and logging taking place across the region, even in the protected territories of indigenous communities. The Amazon has been under increasing pressure recently with Brazil setting a new deforestation record last year for the amount of trees cut down in the rainforest in one month.

    So what needs to happen to save the Amazon? Can preservation and economic development go hand in hand? How important is the conservation of the rainforest for the rest of the world? And will Lula live up to his promise to end deforestation by the end of the decade?

    Chris Morris is joined by:

    Carlos Nobre is a climatologist who is chair of the Brazilian Panel on Climate Change. He's also a senior researcher at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Federal University of São Paulo

    Christian Lohbauer is a political scientist and founder of the political party - Partido Novo (NOVO)

    Richard Lapper is the former Latin America editor for the Financial Times and the author of Beef, Bible and Bullets: Brazil in the Age of Bolsonaro published in 2021

    Also featuring:

    Ricardo Salles, Minister of the Environment from 2019 to 2021, under Jair Bolsonaro

    Photo: A member of the Xikrin indigenous group fighting deforestation in the Amazon, Para, 20 September 2019. Credit: European Photopress Agency

  • Five ex-police officers have been charged with second-degree murder after beating Tyre Nichols, 29, who was black, during a traffic stop in Memphis, Tennessee. He died three days later.

    Nichols’ death has sparked protests and fresh calls for reform of the police in Memphis and nationwide. Over the past years, the US has been in the spotlight for police brutality. Public outcry against the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks - to name a few - at the hands of the police led to Black Lives Matter protests across the globe.

    It's not just the US grappling with the problem of police brutality. We take a global look at the problem. Which countries are getting it right? Can policing ever be effective without violence? And is reform or a more radical rethink needed?

    Ritula Shah is joined by:

    Dr DeLacy Davis is the founder of Black Cops Against Police Brutality and the author of Black Cops Against Police Brutality: A Crisis Action Plan. He is a retired New Jersey police sergeant who served for 20 years in the East Orange police department and commanded the Community Services Unit.

    Alex Vitale is a Professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College - part of the City University of New York. He is also the coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College and the author of a number of books including The End of Policing

    Zoha Waseem is Assistant Professor in Criminology at the Department of Sociology, University of Warwick and author of Insecure Guardians: Enforcement, Encounters and Everyday Policing in Postcolonial Karachi

    Also featuring:

    Rune Glomseth, Associate Professor at Norway’s Police University College in Oslo

  • The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, visited Israel this week after days of increasing violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Last week, 10 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank city of Jenin, when Israeli forces mounted a raid against a cell which Israel said was planning to carry out an attack. The next day, six Israelis and a Ukrainian were killed when a Palestinian opened fire near a synagogue in East Jerusalem. The deaths triggered rocket fire into Israel from Gaza and air strikes from Israel.

    Secretary Blinken says the immediate priority is to restore calm, but how realistic is this, and why has the situation become so violent and volatile again?

    Tensions have been bubbling beneath the surface for years but, after the re-election of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel now has the most radically nationalist governing coalition in its history. Meanwhile, Palestinians are dealing with the near collapse in control by the Palestinian Authority in parts of the occupied West Bank, with an ageing leader, Mahmoud Abbas, who has been in power for 18 years with no successor on the horizon. So how much is this a factor in the escalating violence? What possible solutions might any party bring to the table? And, as the situation gets bloodier, is there any chance of a peaceful compromise?

    Ritula Shah is joined by:

    Martin Indyk has held a number of key diplomatic posts, including as President Barack Obama's special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations from July 2013 to June 2014. He also served as U.S. ambassador to Israel from 1995 to 1997, and again from 2000 to 2001.

    Nour Odeh is a Palestinian political analyst and former journalist, based in Ramallah.

    Prof Efraim Inbar is the president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, a think tank with a conservative outlook.

    Also featuring:

    Boaz Bismuth, member of Knesset for the Likud party
    Hosam Zomlot, head of the Palestinian mission to the UK

    (Photo: Israeli settlers (back) carry an Israeli flag as Palestinian and Israeli activists (front) march during a protest against the eviction of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, Jerusalem. Credit: Atef Safadi/EPA-EFE/Rex/Shutterstock)

    Producers: Pandita Lorenz and Ellen Otzen

  • Jacinda Ardern’s resignation as New Zealand’s PM this month came as a surprise to millions around the world. When she came to office in 2017, she stuck out as a contrast to populist leaders that dominated the global scene at the time. To some, she was a progressive female icon. She had to contend with intense public scrutiny throughout her journey, from announcing her pregnancy just months after taking office to her decision to take six weeks of maternity leave, which sparked debate on whether it was too short. Former prime minister Helen Clark, New Zealand’s first female elected leader, said Ardern faced “unprecedented” attacks during her tenure.

    Only 26% of the world’s politicians are women. The three most commonly held portfolios by women ministers are still: Family, children and youth.

    So what are the challenges of being a woman at the top of politics? Are female political leaders under more scrutiny than men? And what can be done to encourage more women into top roles in government?

    Paul Henley is joined by a panel of experts:

    Rosie Campbell, professor of politics and Director of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at Kings College, London.

    Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand.

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia and winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.

    Also featuring Ruth Davidson, former leader of the Scottish Conservative Party.

    Photo: New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addresses the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia, July 7, 2022. Dean Lewins/Pool via REUTERS

    Producers: Pandita Lorenz and Ellen Otzen

  • Russia's invasion of Ukraine has led to one of the biggest shifts ever seen in Germany's post-war foreign policy. Vladimir Putin managed to achieve what NATO allies spent years trying to: a massive increase in Germany's military spending and a commitment to NATO's spending target of 2% of GDP. As the conflict escalated, Germany's longstanding relations with Russia cooled, there was an end to Russian energy imports and Germany began sending some weapons direct to Ukraine.

    But back home Germans remain deeply divided about investing in their military given the long and painful shadow cast by the World Wars. A strand of pacifism has become deeply woven into German society and there are strong threads running through many of the political parties in power, including Chancellor Olaf Scholz's party, the Social Democratic Party.

    This week defence ministers meet at the military base in Ramstein in Germany to discuss what they will do next in Ukraine. Chancellor Scholz is under increasing international pressure to give the go-ahead for German-made battle tanks to be sent to Ukraine.

    So will the German Chancellor do what many of his Western allies want or will he continue to favour diplomacy in an effort to avoid provoking Vladimir Putin further? And, if Europe cannot agree, what does this mean for the future of European security and the EU project as a whole?

    Photo: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz looks at weapons during a visit to a military base of the German army Bundeswehr in Bergen, Germany, in October 2022. Credit: REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

    Producers: Ellen Otzen and Pandita Lorenz

  • Prince Harry's bombshell memoir, Spare, leaves few royal stones unturned. From a physical confrontation with his brother Prince William to his own drug taking, one of the threads that runs through all of these startling revelations is the long shadow that the sudden death of his mother, Princess Diana, cast when he was only 12.

    Prince Harry claims he never properly dealt with - or was helped to deal with - his profound grief. In his memoir he claims he only cried once after his mother’s death and was never hugged by his father on the day he found out.

    The Royals have, so far, not commented on any of the book’s revelations but how hard is it to deal with bereavement and grief in the public eye? What do Prince Harry’s recollections tell us about his experience of dealing with grief in this unique family or the modern world more generally? Does privilege help or hinder the process? What role has the media played? And, ultimately, is there ever a right way to deal with grief?

    Ritula Shah is joined by a panel of experts:

    Catherine Mayer is a writer, activist and the co-founder of the Women's Equality Party. She is also the author of Good Grief: Embracing life at a time of death published in 2020 and Charles: The Heart of a King published in 2015 but both with newly update material.

    Dr Elaine Kasket is a psychologist, an expert on death, and author of All the Ghosts in the Machine: The Digital Afterlife of your Personal Data published in 2019

    Angela Levin is a journalist, royal commentator and biographer. Her books including Harry: Conversations with the Prince published in 2018 and Camilla: From Outcast to Queen Consort released last year.

    Credits: Spare by Prince Harry / Audible
    Bryony Gordon’s Mad World, a podcast by Telegraph Media Group Limited 2021

    Photo: Britain's Prince Harry follows the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II during her funeral procession in 2022.
    Credit: Stephane de Sakutin/Pool via REUTERS

    Producers: Alba Morgade and Pandita Lorenz

  • The arrest of controversial British-American influencer Andrew Tate in Romania as a part of a human trafficking and rape investigation has pulled his brand of online misogyny back into the headlines.

    Tate, who denies the allegations against him, is a former kickboxer who rose to fame in 2016 when he was removed from TV show Big Brother over a video which appeared to depict him attacking a woman. He claimed at the time that the video had been edited and was “a total lie”.

    He is among a group of influencers who have gained popularity - or notoriety - by advocating a lifestyle in which women are reduced to being subservient to men. The language can be harsh and explicit -- but the ideas appear to be gaining traction with a generation of teenagers and young men.

    Does the appeal of a more aggressive stance against women and equality suggest there is a crisis of masculinity? Has feminism made its claims at the expense of men?

    Or is this simply the effect of social media amplifying attitudes that have always existed?

    Ritula Shah is joined by a panel of experts:

    Richard Reeves - Senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Author of the book Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters and What to Do About It (2022)

    Natasha Walter - Feminist writer and activist, author of several books, among them Living Dolls - The return of sexism

    Frank Furedi, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Kent
    Also featuring

    Sophia Smith Galer - Senior news reporter at Vice World News and author of the book 'Losing It: Sex Education for the 21st Century' (2022)

    Producers: Paul Schuster, Pandita Lorenz and Ellen Otzen.

  • As the war continues and winter sets in, Russia is targeting Ukraine's energy infrastructure with waves of missile and drone strikes, at times cutting off electricity for millions of civilians. How are the Ukrainian people coping? Does Ukraine’s military have enough weaponry and manpower to defeat the Russians? Or could the war become a more drawn-out conflict, with neither side capable of making a decisive breakthrough? Ritula Shah is joined by a panel of experts: Natalie Jaresko - Ukraine's minister for finance from 2014 – 2016. Currently chair of the Aspen Institute, Kyiv Kataryna Wolczuk - Associate fellow of Chatham House think tank’s Russia and Eurasia programme and professor of East European Politics at University of Birmingham Retired Major General Gordon ‘Skip’ Davis - NATO’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Defense Investment Division from 2018-2021. Also featuring : Alexei Sandakov, a resident of Kherson & Andrei Soldatov, a Russian investigative journalist and security expertProducers: Rumella Dasgupta and Ellen Otzen (Photo: A Ukrainian armored vehicle is seen on the streets in Bakhmut; Credit : Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

  • The anti-government protests sweeping Iran are now in their third month, with no sign of ending, despite a bloody crackdown. Women have been at the forefront of the unrest that began in mid-September following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was detained by morality police for allegedly wearing her hijab, or headscarf, "improperly". The protests have spread to more than 150 cities and 140 universities in all 31 of the country's provinces and are seen as one of the most serious challenges to the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution. What are the protesters calling for? What is Iran’s leadership planning to do to end the unrest - and what does this mean for Iran’s relationship with its neighbours and with the West?

    Ritula Shah is joined by a panel of experts:

    Azadeh Moaveni - Iran expert, writer and associate professor of journalism at New York University.

    Esfandyar Batmanghelidj - founder and CEO of the Bourse & Bazaar economic thinktank specialising in the Middle East and Iran.

    Sanam Vakil - deputy director of Chatham House’s Middle East North Africa programme in London.

    Also featuring : Sadegh Zibakalam - writer and Professor of political science at the University of Tehran

    Producer: Ellen Otzen and Rumella Dasgupta

    (Photo: A woman in a street in Tehran, Iran. Credit: Majid Asgaripour/WANA/Reuters)

  • The Gulf state of Qatar is currently hosting the most expensive Fifa World Cup ever having spent an estimated $220 billion on the event. Seven of the eight stadiums have been built from scratch with new railways, motorways and dozens of new hotels also adding to the cost. It’s the first time the tournament has been hosted in the Middle East, a source of pride to many. But human rights groups say thousands of migrant workers have died during construction of venues and associated infrastructure - a claim the Qataris reject. Campaigners say not enough is being done to support gay people in a country where homosexuality remains illegal. But many across the Middle East believe the criticisms are unfair and that rich, Western nations are insulting a history-making event. So once the football is done, what will be the legacy of Qatar 2022 for the country, the region, its Western allies and the world?

    Ritula Shah is joined by a panel of expert guests.

    James Lynch - A former diplomat based in Qatar and a founding director of FairSquare Research and Projects, which works to prevent human rights abuses.

    Alistair Burt – UK Minister of State for the Middle East 2017-2019.

    Also featuring …

    Dr Nayef bin Nahar - Director of the Ibn Khaldon Center for Humanities and Social Sciences at Qatar University, based in Doha.

    Dr Nasser Mohamed - A gay Qatari, now living in the United States.

    Producers: Ellen Otzen and Paul Schuster.

  • This month the world population reached 8 billion people - and India is leading the charge. It's set to overtake China as most populous country in the world next year. India is currently home to more than 1.39 billion people. By April, the UN says it will hit 1.42 billion.

    What’s caused this rapid population growth, what does it mean for India, its economy and its neighbours?

    The growth has already put an enormous amount of pressure on India’s resources and economic stability. The country is on the frontline of climate change and is struggling with extreme weather events 80% of the year. Should the Indian government be doing more to slow population growth or is in fact an opportunity for economic development?

    Ritula Shah is joined by a panel of experts.

    Poonam Muttreja - executive director of Population Foundation of India (PFI).

    Colette Rose - sociologist and researcher at the Berlin Institute for Population and Development.

    Dr Shatakshee Dongde - associate professor at the School of Economics, Georgia Institute of Technology.

    Also featuring : Shaina NC (Shaina Nana Chudasama) - Indian BJP government spokesperson.

    Producers: Ellen Otzen and Rumella Dasgupta

    (Photo :People walk through a congested road of a wholesale market in the old quarters of Delhi, India; Credit: EPA/RAJAT GUPTA)

  • After two years of civil war, Ethiopia and Tigray have agreed to terms for a peace deal which stipulates that both parties will begin to lay down their arms The plan is to create a humanitarian corridor to Tigray which will offer food relief to more than 6million civilians in Tigray who have been under blockade by government forces for most of the conflict. The war in Africa's second-most populous country has seen abuses documented on both sides, with millions of people displaced and many near famine. Several sticking points remain. Will the Eritrean forces - who have fought alongside Ethiopian troops and have their own territorial claims - also lay down their arms? Without sustained attention from US, African and other donor nations, could the cease-fire quickly fall apart again? Can famine in Tigray be avoided?

    Chris Morris is joined by a panel of expert guests.

    Alex Rondos - Former European Union’s Special Representative to the Horn of Africa.

    Tsedale Lemma - Ethiopian journalist and founder of the Addis Standard publications.

    Alex De Waal - Author and Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation.

    Also featuring:

    Getachew Reda - Spokesperson for the Tigray People's Liberation Front

    Producers: Ellen Otzen and Rumella Dasgupta

    (Photo: Internally displaced women and children in Ethiopia; Credit: Photo by EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images)

  • President Macron this week announced that France's anti-jihadist military mission in the Sahel region of Africa has ended. The departure of troops from the former colonial power and the end of Operation Barkhane comes at a challenging time for the region which is in the grips of a security crisis fuelled by Islamist extremists. Both Mali and Burkina Faso face jihadist insurgencies and the countries have seen a combined four coups d’état since 2020. Mali's ruling junta, which has been in power since 2020, has brought in Russian operatives it says are military trainers, but western nations describe as mercenaries from the pro-Kremlin Wagner Group. Could Russia become the new big player in West Africa?

    Paul Henley is joined by a panel of expert guests.

    Jean-Hervé Jezequel - Project Director for the Sahel at the International Crisis Group.

    Niagalé Bagayoko - Chair of the African Security Sector Network, a think tank based in Ghana.

    Paul Melly - Journalist and Consulting Fellow in the Africa Programme at the Chatham House think tank.

    Also featuring:

    Yéah Samaké - A Malian politician and the country’s former ambassador to India.

    Sergei Markov - A former member of the Russian parliament for Vladimir Putin's United Russia party and former adviser to the Kremlin.

    Producers: Ellen Otzen and Paul Schuster.

  • Delegates are gathering in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for the COP27 UN climate change conference beginning on Sunday 6 November. But a lot has changed in the 12 months since attendees of the COP26 meeting in Glasgow promised bold action to tackle global warming. Russia invaded Ukraine sparking global inflation and rising energy prices. Relations between the United States and China have continued to sour. And extreme weather events have caused thousands of deaths across the planet. Last week a UN report concluded there’s no longer any "credible pathway" to keeping the rise in global temperatures below the key threshold of 1.5C and that the world will warm by around 2.8C this century if current policies remain in place. So, what’s on the agenda at COP27? Can the conference come up with solutions to the growing number of challenges posed by climate change? And how can we judge whether the meeting will be a success or a failure?

    Ritula Shah is joined by a panel of expert guests.

    Mohamed Nasheed - Former President of the Maldives, now an ambassador for the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF).

    Dr Jessica Omukuti - Research Fellow on net zero emissions, climate finance and climate justice at the University of Oxford.

    Nick Robins - Professor in Practice for Sustainable Finance at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics (LSE).

    Also featuring ...

    Dr Michael E. Mann - Professor of Earth & Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania and author of 'The New Climate War: the fight to take back our planet'.

    Dr Michal Meidan - Director of the Gas Research Programme at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies think tank.

    Producers: Paul Schuster and Ellen Otzen.