274 episodes

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

The Inquiry BBC

    • News

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

    Will a pandemic ever kill millions again?

    Will a pandemic ever kill millions again?

    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 policies work and whether the world is ready.

    Presenter: Ben Chu
    Producer: John Murphy

    (image: Scientist working with a dangerous virus in the laboratory. Credit: Getty Creative)

    • 23 min
    Could India’s Muslims become second class citizens?

    Could India’s Muslims become second class citizens?

    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)

    • 23 min
    Is recycling broken?

    Is recycling broken?

    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.

    Presenter: Charmaine Cozier
    Producer: John Murphy

    (A man picks up plastic waste to be recycled at the Kawatuna landfill in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photo credit: Basri Marzuki / Getty Images)

    • 24 min
    How did Trump get into trouble with Ukraine?

    How did Trump get into trouble with Ukraine?

    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)

    • 23 min
    Why does Ukraine have such a corruption problem?

    Why does Ukraine have such a corruption problem?

    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)

    • 24 min
    Why was Qasem Soleimani killed?

    Why was Qasem Soleimani killed?

    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)

    • 22 min

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