The daily drama of money and work from the BBC.
Is Covid causing a shortage of medical oxygen?
Amidst rising Covid infection levels, we're looking at one alarming threat to health services from Brazil to Egypt - a lack of medical oxygen. Hospitals have been reporting running out altogether, with some critical care patients dying as a result. Where does medical oxygen come from and what is the problem with its supply? Ed Butler hears from Mike Grocott, professor of anaesthesia and critical care at the University of Southampton, as well as gas industry consultant John Raquet. Also in the programme, Pakistani comedian Shafaat Ali tells us what it’s like for patients forced to source their own oxygen to survive. (Picture: A man holds an oxygen tank in Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil. Credit: Getty)
When will a Covid-19 vaccine be available to you?
Covid-19 vaccine rollouts across the world demonstrate huge global health inequalities. Many countries in the global south are struggling to access one of the vaccines currently available around the world. That's despite a global facility called COVAX, set up under the auspices of the world health organisation, tasked with helping low and middle income countries access vaccines. While rich countries have accumulated extensive supply deals some countries may have to wait until 2022 or later before supplies are widely available. We hear from Mesfin Teklu Tessema, head of the Health Unit at the International Rescue Committee and Fatima Hussein, a human rights lawyer and founder of the Health Justice Initiative in South Africa. Plus Sir Mene Pangalos. the executive vice president of biopharmaceutical R&D at AstraZeneca which developed its Covid-19 vaccine in conjunction with oxford university and has made it available on a not-for-profit basis.
(Photo: an Israeli healthcare worker prepares a dose of the covid-19 vaccine. Credit: Getty Images.)
It’s been a week in which the US president, Donald Trump, was suspended from his social media accounts and the social network Parler was taken offline. On Business Weekly, we explore the role these companies have in society and whether they facilitate free speech and cohesion, as they claim. Plus, the BBC’s Justin Rowlatt speaks to Tesla founder Elon Musk about money, electric cars and populating other planets. And it probably feels like a lifetime ago that any of us went to a cinema to watch a film, popcorn in hand. Will they ever return? Our reporter Vincent Dowd hears from the world's most northerly movie theatre about its struggles during the pandemic. And should you do what you love, or love what you do? We speak to pianist who ditched his passion to become an accountant. Business Weekly is produced by Matthew Davies and presented by Vishala Sri-Pathma.
Who owns colour?
Scientists, artists and some of the world’s biggest companies are carving up the visual spectrum, and claiming certain colours as their own, so who does have a right to use the colours of the rainbow? We explore the ongoing rift over the worlds “blackest black” Vantablack, which was created by engineering firm Surrey Nanosystems, and can only be used by the artist Anish Kapoor. Contemporary British artist Stuart Semple argues that creativity should not be limited by commercial agreements, while Surrey Nanosystems executive Ben Jensen explains that the material is not suitable for general use. Author Kassia St Clair explores the meaning and history of colour, and we hear how interpretations of colour have changed from Julie Irish, an assistant professor specialising in colour, at the College of Design in Iowa.
Note: Surrey NanoSystems has clarified their material Vantablack isn’t toxic, as described by one speaker in this programme, but can be an irritant.(Picture of a colour splash via Getty Images).
Trump: The corporate backlash
Will it last and why have stock markets been shrugging off political developments? A slew of companies have cut off all funding to political parties in the wake of Trump-supporting mobs storming Capitol Hill after the President and other Republican politicians claimed the US election had been stolen. The list of firms who’ve halted funding through their political action committees - or PACs as they’re known - is long. JP Morgan Chase, Citigorup, Facebook, Microsoft, American Express, Morgan Stanley, the chemical company Dow, the hotel chain Marriott and the card company Hallmark which went a step further, admonishing their local senators. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Jason Karaian from the New York Times newspaper who says his paper has run an editorial calling on the country to look again at how corporate America funds the country’s politics. Plus Mohamed El Erian tells her why the share markets were unfazed by all of this.
(Picture: US President Donald Trump. Credit: BBC.)
Should Trump be banned from social media?
President Trump's ban from various social media raises the question of their regulation. Are they right to ban him, and what are the implications? We ask Nancy Mace, a newly elected Republican representative of South Carolina. Cory Doctorow, blogger, author and activist in favour of liberalising copyright laws, says that Apple and Google can't blame inadequate moderation for their banning of social network Parler on their platforms. And we hear from Professor Shoshana Zuboff, author of a book The age of surveillance capitalism, who thinks the law will bring the beginning of the end of 'Big Tech'. .
(Picture: Trump's Twitter profile showing the account is suspended. Credit: Getty Images.)