The Inquiry gets beyond the headlines to explore the trends, forces and ideas shaping the world.
Why do the Indian farmer protests matter?
It has been called the world’s biggest protest. In November 2020, thousands of farmers marched to New Delhi to protest against new laws that the Indian government says will modernise farming. The farmers set up camp in and around the capital, blocking major highways. Over 50 days later they are still there, in spite of freezing temperatures. Even after the Supreme Court stayed the laws until further notice, the farmers say they aren’t budging until they are repealed completely. They say these reforms will strip them of protections they’ve enjoyed for decades, resulting in lower prices and ruined livelihoods.
Kavita Puri hears why the protests matter for India’s millions of farmers, for the future of the country’s crisis-ridden agriculture, and the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. With contributions from agricultural policy expert, Devinder Sharma; Fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, Sadanand Dhume; Professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Jayati Ghosh; and BBC correspondent Soutik Biswas.
Presenter: Kavita Puri
Producer: Viv Jones
(Women farmers form a human chain during the protest against the new farm laws, January 18 2021 at the Delhi borders in India. Credit: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
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.
This programme was originally broadcast in January 2020.
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)
Why are boys academically underperforming?
There’s a problem in education – and it’s probably not what you expect. Around the world, from schools to universities, boys are trailing girls in their academic performance. It’s a complex problem which has divided expert opinion and leads us to complex questions of genetics and social conditioning.
David Grossman examines what’s going on and how to fix it.
Has the time come for a European Super League?
The idea of a breakaway football league for Europe’s elite clubs has been discussed for decades.
It hasn’t happened yet, but could that be about to change?
Industry experts say officials from the continent’s biggest and most successful teams are meeting behind-closed-doors to discuss the proposition.
So we’re asking - has the time come for a European Super League?
Has French secularism gone too far?
The French brand of secularism - laïcité - is central to the country’s national identity. It requires that public spaces – whether state classrooms, workplaces or ministries - be free of religion.
But the way the French government is applying the concept has come under fresh criticism. Many French Muslims claiming this cornerstone of French identity is now being used as a weapon against them. This week, Tanya Beckett asks has French secularism gone too far?
A boy holds a sign asking 'Liberty, fraternity?' at a gathering in Toulouse, France. Credit: Alain Pitton/Getty Images)
Why is Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize winner bombing his own country?
In Ethiopia, a political battle has sparked a bloody conflict.
Federal Forces have engaged in combat with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front - or TPLF.
Hundreds have reportedly been killed and tens of thousands displaced.
Just last year, Abiy Ahmed, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, won a Nobel Prize for his part in brokering peace with neighbouring Eritrea.
So, Charmaine Cozier asks why Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize winner is bombing his own country?
Customer ReviewsSee All
Really appreciate the extra insight this podcast gives. Makes me feel better about life to understand these topics more. Good format and journalism.
An excellent podcast, invented I think by Helena Merrimen, and since then never been better.
The BBC Drift ...
As with all BBC news, reportage and commentary, any attempt at presenting complex, multi-faceted perspectives (which used to be the point of this podcast) has been supplanted by ideological dogma. Rather than issues it’s moved towards denouncing wrongthink, while the presenters have become increasingly anodyne and condescending. A great shame as back in the days of Helena Merriman, it used to adhere to the BBC’s long since departed public service directive.