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Global experts and decision makers discuss, debate and analyse a key news story.

The Real Story BBC

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Global experts and decision makers discuss, debate and analyse a key news story.

    What is Covid doing to the Amazon?

    What is Covid doing to the Amazon?

    The coronavirus pandemic is having a growing impact on life in the Brazilian Amazon. Half a million indigenous people still live in often remote rainforest communities, yet many are still contracting Covid-19 and dying. The Munduruku people have already lost ten of their elders to the virus, a situation observers describe as akin to the destruction of a library or museum - so important are the ‘sábios’ - or sages - in passing on the community’s cultural heritage. The virus is also thought to have harmed anti-logging, anti-burning and anti-mining efforts around the rain-forest, with Brazil’s space agency identifying a large increase in the number of fires burning during the month of July compared to last year. This year the government has authorised the deployment of the military to combat deforestation and forest fires and also banned the setting of fires in the region for 120 days. But President Bolsonaro’s critics accuse him of underplaying the impact of coronavirus on the Amazon region and even exploiting the crisis for political gain. So is enough being done to support the country’s indigenous peoples? Will the Covid-19 speed up the clearing of the rainforest? And how is the crisis adding to the already volatile and polarised Brazilian political landscape? Ritula Shah and a panel of expert guests discuss what the virus is doing to Brazil's Amazon region.

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    Fighting fat to fight Covid-19

    Fighting fat to fight Covid-19

    Experts have warned that being obese or overweight puts you at greater risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19. One study suggests the chances of dying from the coronavirus are 90% higher in those who are severely obese. This week British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced sweeping plans to shrink waistlines, saying the virus had been a “wake-up call” on an issue that threatened public health even before the pandemic. According to the World Health Organisation obesity has nearly tripled worldwide since 1975 and is becoming an increasing problem in developing economies. Meanwhile Asian and black populations have been found to have a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease, conditions exacerbated by carrying excess weight. New measures in England include a ban on ‘buy one get one free’ deals, new curbs on the advertising of junk food, and a review of labelling on food and drinks sold in shops. But how much of an impact have these policies made when introduced elsewhere? Governments are increasingly introducing taxes on foods high in sugar in the hope of changing consumer behaviour and encouraging manufacturers to make their products healthier. But do such measures work? And how important is exercise in tackling the global obesity crisis? Join Ritula Shah and guests as they discuss whether fighting fat can help curb the coronavirus.

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    Should tax havens help pay for coronavirus?

    Should tax havens help pay for coronavirus?

    While the coronavirus pandemic is raging around the world, discussions over rebuilding the global economy are already underway. Globally, the recovery will cost trillions of dollars. Governments and finance ministries are working around the clock to design financial packages at a time when income from tax has hit rock bottom. There's concern that many governments will have to raise taxes to cope with the shortfall in revenue. But what if they could tap a different source of funding? According to the Tax Justice Network, there are trillions of dollars' worth of cash and other assets tucked away in offshore tax havens belonging to both private individuals and large corporations. Some people are now saying that with the coronavirus crisis, governments can no longer afford to go without the vast amount of tax revenue they lose each year. So, could a small tax on that money fund the global recovery? What challenges need to be overcome to bring together governments and multiple jurisdictions to agree on a framework? Will it be possible to sift through layers of obfuscation to establish the exact amount of money that is held in tax havens – and how will diminishing their prominence change the world? Join Ritula Shah and guests as they discuss whether tax havens should help pay for the pandemic recovery.

    • 48분
    Is the WHO fit for purpose?

    Is the WHO fit for purpose?

    More than six months after the outbreak of the coronavirus, a team from the World Health Organization will - for the first time - be given access to physical samples of the virus inside China. It’s an important moment for the WHO, which has been accused of providing patchy scientific advice and reacting too slowly to the threats posed by the virus. There has been an especially critical reaction from the agency’s biggest donor, the United States. Donald Trump has begun the process of withdrawing the US from the WHO, accusing it of being under the 'total control' of China and of 'misleading the world' about the coronavirus. The WHO chief said the organisation needs to reflect on its role during the pandemic and has launched an independent evaluation. So are the criticisms fair? And what difference will investigations inside China make now? Is the organisation still fulfilling its mandate? How has it changed through the years and crucially, does it need the United States to survive? Join Ritula Shah and guests as they discuss whether the World Health Organization is fit for purpose.

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    Lebanon on the brink

    Lebanon on the brink

    The financial crisis in Lebanon seems to have accelerated rapidly ever since the government defaulted on a ninety-billion-dollar loan in March.The currency has lost nearly eighty percent of its value pushing a large group of its population below the poverty line. A shortage of cash has led many to barter household goods for food on Facebook. Even the Lebanese army has stopped serving meat to its soldiers. And many of its citizen are seeking refuge abroad. At the heart of the crisis is the country’s banking sector. Protesters see it as the embodiment of a corrupt economic system that has enriched the elites who are now unwilling to foot their share of the bill. Now, compounded by the outbreak of the coronavirus, has Lebanon entered its most critical moment since the end of the civil war? As the country stares into the abyss will its disparate political groups be willing to come together to prevent a financial meltdown? Ritula Shah and a panel of expert guests discuss what hope there is for Lebanon.

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    Generation Covid?

    Generation Covid?

    Young people may not be the most exposed to the health risks during the global coronavirus pandemic, but right around the world they will pay a high price in lost wages, opportunities and greater public debt - much of which they’ll have to service. Generations are forged through common experiences, and the bigger the shock of Covid-19 to the global economy, the greater the likelihood that it will become a defining event for Millennials, Generation Z and the next generation of young children. How will Covid-19 shape the mindset of those people just starting out in life and what can we learn from the formative events of past generations? How will gains by young people in developing countries be impacted by the pandemic? And as the virus further exposes intergenerational inequalities, could its legacy be a new conversation about how to fix them?

    • 49분

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