China’s decades-long One Child Policy has led to a low birth rate, and a shrinking workforce. It has also been placing a heavy burden on the younger generations who will have to support two parents and four grandparents. It’s predicted that in five years’ time, a quarter of the population will be over 65. With a smaller workforce, the country risks becoming poorer.
China tried to address the problem by allowing couples to have two children instead of one, but except for an initial uptick, the birth rate has continued to fall regardless. So now China has introduced a three-child policy. But couples continue to worry about the lack of affordable childcare, and the high financial and emotional cost of raising children. So in this edition of The Inquiry, Tanya Beckett asks: can China raise its birth rate?
Producer: Arlene Gregorius
(A mother and her child waving Chinese flags near Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. Photo: Peter Parks/Getty Images)
The recent discoveries of unmarked graves at the sites of so-called Indian Residential Schools has put Canada’s treatment of its indigenous peoples back under the spotlight.
For more than a century, tens of thousands of children were forced by the state into a religious school system that split families and brutalised the children in its care.
Tanya Beckett looks at the history of the residential schools and asks why so many children died there.
Producer: Rob Cave and Olivia Noon
(former Kamloops Indian Residential School, British Columbia, Canada, 2 June 2021. Credit: Cole Burston/Getty Images)
The kidnapping of at least 140 schoolchildren in the north-west of Nigeria is the latest crime to shake a country already struggling to contain militants in the north and separatists in the south. Add to this young protesters on the streets amid rising food prices and crime and the security situation in the country starts to look even shakier.
Charmaine Cozier examines the deeper reasons for Nigeria’s worsening instability and asks if Africa’s largest country is becoming impossible to govern.
Producers Soila Apparicio and Rob Cave
(A young girl reunites with family after she was kidnapped from her school in northwestern Nigeria March 2021. Photo: Aminu Abubakar/Getty Images)
Rich people are often able to pay little or no tax compared to their wealth because of the way the system works. In recent years, many have called for changes and reforms so that instead of income, wealth is also taxed.
But, wealth taxes are not a new thing. Many argue that they are key for addressing inequality but some say they simply aren’t an effective way of gaining revenue.
Charmaine Cozier asks can we make the super-rich pay more tax?
Producer: Olivia Noon
Researcher: Bethan Head
(Activists March In Manhattan NY, calling for a tax on Billionaires. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images).
In just under a month’s time Japan’s capital city Tokyo will host the 32nd Olympic Games.
They were due to take place last year but were delayed because of the pandemic.
But even 12 months later the Japanese public is far from enthused at the prospect of thousands of athletes and their entourages turning up just as the country is experiencing a fourth wave of the coronavirus.
So, Tanya Beckett asks if Japan can pull off the greatest show on earth during a pandemic?
Produced by Soila Apparicio and Rob Cave.
(People pose next to the Olympic Rings in Tokyo, Japan, March 2020. Credit: Carl Court/ Getty Images)
For the last year discussions about the origins of Covid-19 have divided people all over the world. Some say it came from nature and others believe it could have escaped from a lab. The idea of a lab accident was originally dismissed as a conspiracy theory but it’s starting to gain attention all over again.
Now President Biden has given the US intelligence service 90 days to try and investigate the virus's origins further.
Many still believe the virus jumped to humans from animals but some say that we need to be open minded until we have all of the data.
But could Covid-19 really have come from a lab?
Presenter: Kavita Puri
Producer: Olivia Noon
Researcher: Kirsteen Knight
(Virus research in a lab. Tek Science/Getty images)
Over his 26 years in power, Belarus’s president Alexander Lukashenko has taken more and more control.
He has detained protesters and tortured political opponents for years. He is emboldened by his last ally in Europe - Vladimir Putin. And his regime of terror is spilling over into the continent.
But, Tanya Beckett asks if Europe’s last dictator can cling on to power for much longer.
Produced by Soila Apparicio.
(image: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko at a meeting with Commonwealth of Independent States officials in Minsk May 28 2021. Credit: Dmitry Astakhov/Getty Images)
In November 2021, Britain will host the next UN Climate Change Conference, otherwise known as COP 26. Some 200 countries will come together to try to speed up attempts to make the world carbon neutral by the middle of the century.
But many countries are already struggling to ramp up renewable energy sufficiently to meet their greenhouse emission reduction targets. So is there another answer out there?
Around a tenth of the world's electricity is generated by nuclear reactors. Global generation has slowed in recent years after the nuclear accident in Fukushima a decade ago prompted governments to take a more cautious stance.
But with the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions, many prominent environmentalists are now taking another look at nuclear energy.
Tanya Beckett asks if nuclear energy can helps us transition away from fossil fuel power.
Produced by Soila Apparicio.
(Exhaust plumes from cooling towers at the coal-fired power station at Jaenschwalde Germany. Credit: Sean Gallup /Getty Images)
In 2005 a photo of four-year-old Zoë Roth standing in front of a burning house went viral on the internet. It became a meme known as “disaster girl”. In April 2021, the image sold for $473,000 as an NFT, or non-fungible token - that’s sort of a digital record of ownership.
And the sales keep coming. Another NFT recently sold for $69 million. The first ever Tweet went for a huge $2.9 million … and a GIF of a pixelated rainbow cat sold for $690,000.
But what is an NFT, and is it really the next big thing? Suzanne Kianpour explores the world of NFT’s.
Produced by Soila Apparicio and Olivia Noon.
(CryptoPunk digital art NFT displayed on a digital billboard in Times Square NY City, May 12 2021. Credit: Alexi Rosenfeld /Getty Images)
History and geography have conspired to give the city of Chicago an unenviable reputation for guns and gangs, but what will it take to bring the murder rate, which rose 55 per cent last year, down?
Low conviction rates and an unwillingness on behalf of witnesses to give evidence play their part in the problem. But others think the time has come to treat murder like any other deadly disease that afflicts the poor.
Charmaine Cozier examines the reasons for the city’s stubbornly high murder rate and the options to stop the killing.
Produced by Nathan Gower.
(a small flag depicting bullet holes at an anti-gun violence march in Chicago Dec.31 2020. Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski /Getty Images)
In the afternoon of Saturday 8th May in the Afghan capital of Kabul, just a few days before the end of Ramadan, students from the Syed Al-Shahda girls school were starting to leave for the day. Without any warning, a car bomb went off. Then a second explosion, followed by a third.
The Afghan Government blamed the Taliban, the hardline Islamist movement that has fought a long civil war in Afghanistan. The Taliban, although they have previously targeted the education of girls, denied it and blamed the Islamic State Group.
Things were supposed to be getting better in this war torn country.
Earlier this year President Joe Biden announced US troops were going to be removed in September. But what will happen after they’ve gone?
Produced by Rob Cave and Soila Apparicio.
(Taliban militia move towards the front line in Kabul, February 1995. Credit: Saeed Khan /Getty Images)
It was on Good Friday, 2nd of April 2021, that rioting erupted in a corner of Northern Ireland’s vibrant capital Belfast. In days, violence spread. It was on a scale that hadn’t been seen for years. With fears of a return to the troubled period of violence from Northern Ireland’s past, Tanya Beckett asks if the fragile peace is under threat.
Produced by Beth Sagar-Fenton and Soila Apparicio.
'A previous version of this programme gave an incorrect title to Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster this has been corrected.'
(Nationalists attack police on Springfield Road in Belfast, Northern Ireland, April 08 2021. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Earlier this year, India’s ruling party was declaring victory in the fight against Covid-19. Some two months on, India set a global record for the highest number of cases recorded in a single country.
Kavita Puri asks what went wrong.
Image: A queue near a vaccination centre in Mumbai, 26 April 2021 (Credit: Divyakant Solanki/EPA)
Changes to the laws governing cannabis use are happening around the world. The number of States in the USA legalising cannabis is increasing rapidly. Uruguay and Canada have legalised it already, and Mexico may soon follow suit.
Tanya Beckett looks at the different models of legalisation and at what might be holding the global cannabis industry back.
Since Islamic State’s hold on Iraq and Syria has weakened in recent years the group has sought to expand into new territories, including Africa.
IS insurgents have reportedly killed thousands, including children, and displaced thousands more in Mozambique, Mali, and Somalia, among other territories across the continent.
It is believed that IS franchises its brand to local militant groups, providing support, claiming responsibility for deadly attacks, all while spreading its influence in these new territories.
Charmaine Cozier asks if Africa is a new power base for the Islamic State group?
Producer: Paul Connolly
(Al-Shebab fighters, an Islamist insurgent group in Somalia. Credit: Mohamed Abdiwahab/Getty Images)
Peru has suffered one of the highest excess death levels in the world. The government failed to take account of the structure of society and the needs of its people in its response to the pandemic. A culture of corruption and political turmoil are persistent themes that have led to an underfunded health system and a lack of focus how Peruvian people would be able to cope during the dark months of a deadly pandemic. Instead vast numbers of casual workers lost their jobs and started to trek home, taking the virus with them. Also remote communities were cut off by the freeze on transport and unable to get access to vital medical supplies, amid a dwindling supply of oxygen to treat them. We take a look at what lies beneath Peru’s terrible experience during the pandemic.
Presenter: Tanya Beckett
Producer: Nathan Gower
(Peruvians protest at a political rally, March 25, 2021. Credit: Ernesto Benavides/Getty Images)
Concussion is now a powder-keg issue in world sport, as concerns deepen about the potential links to brain disease.
The long-term effects of careers spent making and taking heavy tackles are being revealed in ever-increasing detail, but the risks are not exclusive to so-called full contact sports.
Some governing bodies have sprung into action, implementing new rules and safety measures. But others turn a blind eye.
So, we’re asking – how will the concussion issue affect the future of sport?
Presenter: Paul Connolly
Producer: Stefania Okereke
(Photo: Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker (83) lays on the field after getting a concussion in the second quarter. Credit: Getty Images)
Could humans ever trust machines with the power to make life or death decisions on the battlefield? And have we already begun to?
Advances in artificial intelligence are slowly creeping into almost every aspect of the world, including warfare. Suzanne Kianpour explores the technology, fears and even potential advantages of developing autonomous weapons.
Producers: Nathan Gower and Viv Jones
(Mock-up of the IAI Harop Drone, a loitering munition. Credit: Aviation-images.com/Getty Images)
After the government of Giuseppe Conte collapsed amid an economic and public health crisis, Mario Draghi has formed Italy’s 65th administration in 73 years. So what are the long-term causes of Italy’s political woes, and does Draghi stand any chance of solving them?
Presenter: Tanya Beckett
Producer: Nathan Gower
(Giuseppe Conte and Mario Draghi during the traditional handover ceremony in Rome. Photo: Andrew Medichini / Getty Images)
Vivid and sometimes wild claims about the antifascist group Antifa have been circulating in America. Some say that the group participates in widespread violence, while others have argued that it is a small but justified part of their fight against fascism.
Tanya Beckett takes a closer look at what is true and what is exaggeration.
Producer: Nathan Gower
(Members of Antifa protest at a far right Rally in Portland, Oregon USA. Credit: Diego Diaz/ Getty Images)