The Inquiry gets beyond the headlines to explore the trends, forces and ideas shaping the world.


  • How do you help people stay rational in a pandemic?

    How do you help people stay rational in a pandemic?

    16/04/2020 Duración: 23min

    Last month, everyday supermarket items turned into valuable and vanishing commodities overnight – none more so than toilet paper. There are now billions of us around the world living in lockdown conditions, a situation we’ve not been prepared for. And we seem to be in this for the long haul. In this week’s Inquiry, we’ll be asking how we can help people stay rational in a pandemic. Presenter/Producer: Sandra Kanthal (Empty shelves in the aisles of a CO-OP store in Kent, UK March 14, 2020 due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Photo credit: Robin Pope/ Getty Images)

  • Can Africa cope with coronavirus?

    Can Africa cope with coronavirus?

    09/04/2020 Duración: 22min

    How will Africa deal with Covid-19? It began in China then reached the Middle East, Europe and the United States, now Africa is bracing itself for a surge in coronavirus cases. But how will the continent, with its weaker health care systems and often poor populations cope? The picture is not the same everywhere. Some countries and some sections of society may fare better than others, but the worry is that many African countries simply don’t have the tools or resources to stand up to this pandemic. Or might there be some lessons learnt from the Ebola outbreak which could help? This is a continent of young people, so demographics could work in their favour, but many of them are already compromised by HIV, malaria and other disease outbreaks. Tanya Beckett speaks to the director of a hospital in rural Uganda, to the head of the Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control, to the CEO of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and to the former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, about their worries and prepar

  • Why is it taking so long to develop a Covid-19 vaccine?

    Why is it taking so long to develop a Covid-19 vaccine?

    02/04/2020 Duración: 23min

    The race is on for the world’s scientists to develop a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine. The Inquiry examines quickly how this can be done and what hurdles need to be overcome to roll out a vaccine in 12-18 months, rather than the many years it would normally take. Presented by Kavita Puri. (medical doctor with a vaccine. Credit: Getty images)

  • Coronavirus: What can the world learn from South Korea?

    Coronavirus: What can the world learn from South Korea?

    26/03/2020 Duración: 23min

    After China, South Korea was next in line to be struck by the Coronavirus outbreak. And in the early days the number of cases was going up fast – many of them related to a secretive religious sect. But the country has rapidly managed to get a grip on the outbreak and has kept its mortality rate low. It has done this without an official lockdown. The secret appears to be preparation, widespread testing and acting fast. With the help of four expert witnesses, Kavita Puri investigates what else we can learn from South Korea in its battle against Covid-19. Presenter: Kavita Puri Producer: John Murphy (A couple wearing face masks walk through an alleyway in Seoul on March 24, 2020. Credit: Ed Jones/Getty Images)

  • Why did the USA fail in its initial coronavirus response?

    Why did the USA fail in its initial coronavirus response?

    19/03/2020 Duración: 23min

    ‘It’s a failing, let's admit it’ says top health official, Dr Anthony Fauci. He’s talking about the fact that it took a month for a working coronavirus test to be rolled out around the country, while other countries were testing thousands of people. How was this allowed to happen? In this edition of The Inquiry, we explore the ways in which the US lost valuable time in dealing with the coronavirus and how their health system could make things more difficult still. (A cleaning crew adjusts protective clothing as they prepare to enter the Nursing Home in Kirkland, Seattle Washington which has had the most deaths due to COVID-19 in the USA.Credit:John Moore/Getty Images)

  • How did the Chinese turn the tide with coronavirus?

    How did the Chinese turn the tide with coronavirus?

    12/03/2020 Duración: 24min

    There are now significantly more new cases of coronavirus outside China than inside. On the first day of this week there were only 44 new cases in the whole country. Just a few weeks ago that figure was in the thousands. While the authorities have been criticised for their initial slow response to the outbreak, allowing it to spread quickly, since January they have taken unprecedented action to clamp down on the spread of the virus. Whole cities have been put into quarantine and travel restrictions have been imposed on millions of people. New hospitals have been built with lightning speed and huge amounts of money has been spent on testing kits and other technology to fight Covid-19. China has been accused of infringing civil liberties in its fight against Coronavirus but it has also been praised for the extreme public health measures it has taken. So what did the Chinese actually do and can it be replicated elsewhere? Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: John Murphy (Photo: A man talks through a barricade

  • Have our climate models been wrong?

    Have our climate models been wrong?

    05/03/2020 Duración: 24min

    Climate change models have been a key tool to project what could happen with global warming in the future. But there’s a debate in the scientific community and some are saying too much emphasis has been put on the worst-case scenarios. Others argue that the impacts of climate change are too unpredictable and all scenarios, even the most serious, less likely ones, need to be kept on the table. All agree, though, that human-induced climate change is happening and that even the most likely projected temperature increases will be serious and potentially very damaging. Presenter: Ruth Alexander Producers: Xavier Zapata and John Murphy (An iceberg that broke away from a Glacier in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field which is experiencing high rates of melting. Credit: David Silverman /Getty Images)

  • Why don’t we care about facts?

    Why don’t we care about facts?

    27/02/2020 Duración: 23min

    We have a great capacity to ignore facts and only believe what we want to believe – particularly if those facts clash with our convictions. Why is that and is it getting worse? It’s an area that is being intensely studied by psychologists, political scientists and neuroscientists. Ruth Alexander explores why we ignore facts, even if it’s bad for us. Though she also hears how, in some circumstances, it can be good for our mental health. But our casual attitude towards facts can have serious consequences. According to experts this is happening across the world, in politics, in health and in our daily lives. This behaviour is not the preserve of any particular political group – everyone does it when it suits them. Presenter: Ruth Alexander Producer: John Murphy (Two heads filled with questions or exclamations. Credit: Getty Images)

  • Why are trade deals so hard to do?

    Why are trade deals so hard to do?

    20/02/2020 Duración: 24min

    Britain is trying to make multiple trade deals since leaving the EU. Some negotiations between countries have lasted for years. The breakdown in the World Trade Organization, the changing nature and complexity of world trade and a general lack of trust between nations means it could be a very drawn out process. Presented by Tanya Beckett.

  • Will a pandemic ever kill millions again?

    Will a pandemic ever kill millions again?

    13/02/2020 Duración: 23min

    The Coronavirus outbreak in China has been declared a public health emergency of international concern. It is raising fears of a global disease pandemic. In the past viral infections have killed millions. Possibly the worst ever pandemic was the 1918-19 flu, which spread just as the First World War was coming to an end. Estimates of the death toll now range between 50 and 100 million. At the upper range that means it was more deadly than both World Wars put together. So could another pandemic emerge today and kill millions? How might it happen and how prepared are we to confront it? The world is a very different place to 100 years ago. Scientific and public health advances do mean some parts of the world are more prepared but our ways of living could make us more susceptible to a new virus. Speaking to a leading virologist, a disease modeller, a public health policy expert and a senior African health official, Ben Chu asks where the virus threat might come from, how fast it could spread, what containment

  • Could India’s Muslims become second class citizens?

    Could India’s Muslims become second class citizens?

    06/02/2020 Duración: 23min

    Could a new law in India be a step towards making Muslims second class citizens? The government says the Citizenship Amendment Act is a humanitarian law giving protection for people escaping religious persecution. But critics say that by excluding Muslims, the CAA contravenes the country’s secular constitution. Charmaine Cozier reports. (Women hold anti-government placards during a protest in Delhi. Credit: Amarjeet Kumar Singh/Getty Images)

  • Is recycling broken?

    Is recycling broken?

    30/01/2020 Duración: 24min

    With countries shutting their doors to foreign recyclable waste and a lack of processing capacity back home, is the recycling system broken? China used to accept 55% of the world’s plastic and paper waste. But it closed its doors in 2018. Initially other countries in South East Asia, like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam took over China’s waste processing role. But they too are now sending much of the waste back, arguing it is contaminated and is harming their own environments. This has created major problems for countries in the West who traditionally relied on others to process their recycling waste. In addition, there’s confusion about what households can and cannot put into their recycling bins, along with that lack of recycling capacity back home. So what is the answer to the growing mountains of what was supposed to be recyclable waste? Could Sweden, which has reduced the amount of household waste it sends to landfill to under one per cent, have an answer? It’s not one everyone agrees with.

  • How did Trump get into trouble with Ukraine?

    How did Trump get into trouble with Ukraine?

    23/01/2020 Duración: 23min

    How did Trump’s personality and way of dealing with people lead to a trial in the Senate? The answer involves Trump’s long standing belief in conspiracy theories, his transactional way of doing business, the revolving door of staff turnover at the White House and his admiration for Russian president Vladimir Putin. With Tanya Beckett. ( President Trump departs the White House on the day of the House Impeachment Vote, Washington DC. Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

  • Why does Ukraine have such a corruption problem?

    Why does Ukraine have such a corruption problem?

    16/01/2020 Duración: 24min

    On 25 July 2019, the President of the United States made a phone call to the recently-elected President of Ukraine - congratulating him on his party’s election victory. What Donald Trump said in that call to Volodymyr Zelensky has ended up threatening his own presidency, triggering the impeachment of the president. Donald Trump says his interest was in rooting out corruption. Meanwhile Joe Biden’s role in Ukraine was to do the same - root out corruption. The Inquiry asks why Ukraine has such a corruption problem. Presented by Ruth Alexander. (A Ukrainian flag flies in Independence Square in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. Photo credit: Pavlo Gonchar/Getty Images)

  • Why was Qasem Soleimani killed?

    Why was Qasem Soleimani killed?

    09/01/2020 Duración: 22min

    President Trump’s decision to assassinate Qasem Soleimani came as a shock to America’s foes and allies alike. He was Iran’s top general and has been described as one of the country’s most powerful figures, second only to the Supreme Leader Ayotollah Ali Khamenei. He was, effectively, head of Iran’s foreign policy. He’s been credited as being instrumental in the fight against ISIS but has also been accused of arming and supporting terror groups. But why did Donald Trump order his death? Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: John Murphy (Image: Lieutenant General Qasem Soleimani / Photo handout from the Iranian Supreme Leader's office)

  • Will humans become extinct by the end of the century?

    Will humans become extinct by the end of the century?

    02/01/2020 Duración: 23min

    What is the chance of the human race surviving the 21st century? There are many dangers – climate change for example, or nuclear war, or a pandemic, or planet Earth being hit by a giant asteroid. Around the world a number of research centres have sprung up to investigate and mitigate what’s called existential risk. How precarious is our civilisation and what can be done to stop a global catastrophe? David Edmonds talks to four expert witnesses to try and find the answer. (Apocalyptic landscape. Credit: Santoelia/ Getty images)

  • Can we eradicate polio?

    Can we eradicate polio?

    26/12/2019 Duración: 23min

    Despite heroic efforts to vaccinate against this crippling disease, why does it persist? The fight to eradicate polio is an amazing story: It began with a grassroots movement in the United States and led to a global campaign to wipe out a disease that can cause paralysis and even death. There is no cure, but countless cases have been prevented by an extraordinary campaign to vaccinate every child aged five and under. It’s an operation that requires access to some of the poorest and most remote regions of the world. But polio was supposed to have been eliminated by the year 2000. Nearly two decades later, new cases are still springing up. Why? Neal Razzell examines the challenges and the triumphs in the effort to rid the world of polio.

  • Is Nato obsolete?

    Is Nato obsolete?

    19/12/2019 Duración: 23min

    Donald Trump is threatening to withdraw the US from Nato while the French President Emmanuel Macron has called it “brain dead”. Charmaine Cozier asks if the 70-year-alliance can survive? She speaks to Jacob Heilbrunn from The National Interest think tank – a right of centre foreign policy think tank based in Washington; Fabrice Pothier - senior defence consulting fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and former Nato policy planning director; Sara Bjerg Moller, assistant professor of international security at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University in the US; Elisabeth Braw, senior research fellow, RUSI's Modern Deterrence project Producer: Helen Grady (Photo: President Macron, PM Boris Johnson and Canada's PM Justin Trudeau at the Nato summit reception. Credit: Nato TV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Should we ban billionaires?

    Should we ban billionaires?

    12/12/2019 Duración: 23min

    Excluding dictators and royalty, there are around 2,000 people in the world who are billionaires. Some inherit wealth while others might build fortunes through inventions, businesses or investments. Some say individuals holding onto extreme amounts of money is wasteful because it could be diverted to other areas that would benefit more people such as education and healthcare. Others reason than some billionaires should keep what they have because they drive economic growth and inspire others to innovate. Are billionaires the right focus or should attention move to the systems and processes that enable them to make and keep huge amounts of money? Experts: Dr Paul Segal Roxanne Roberts Caroline Freund Will Wilkinson Presenter: Celia Hatton Producer: Charmaine Cozier Researcher: Diane Richardson (Photo: Billionaire Kylie Jenner arrives at the 2019 Met Gala in New York City. Credit: Karwai Tang/Getty Images)

  • Can we protect our elections from social media manipulators?

    Can we protect our elections from social media manipulators?

    05/12/2019 Duración: 23min

    An estimated 2.6 billion people use social media, but in the online world not everything is what it seems. Fake accounts and automatic programmes can be used to spread disinformation and influence political narratives. We hear from experts across the world about how elections have been fought, and won, with the help of this electronic – and sometimes not so electronic – army. In a world where social media expansion shows no signs of slowing – how do we protect our elections from social media manipulators? Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producers: Lizzy McNeill & Helen Grady Experts: Samantha Bradshaw Natashya Gutierrez Idayat Hassan Ben Nimmo

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