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100 Women: The Mushroom Woman
This is the story of Chido Govera aka The Mushroom Woman. It is a story about her home, Zimbabwe. And it is also a story about mushrooms. It never should have happened. Chido, an orphan, became the provider in her family aged seven. At 10 she was destined to marry a man 30 years older than her. But a chance encounter led her to discover the almost magical science of mushroom cultivation at a local university, and set her life on a very different course.
Coronavirus: Mental and physical toll
Women in Ecuador, Peru and Brazil reveal the frightening effect of the pandemic and lockdowns on women in Latin America. Many are living with their aggressors and are unable to escape to a safe place. Many countries are now dealing with a new rise in coronavirus cases. Host Nuala McGovern hears from medical professionals from Madrid, Paris and New York, as they share how the stress of dealing with patients is taking its toll on the mental health of doctors, nurses and paramedics. Plus, two Swedes offer different views on how the outbreak has been handled in their country.
Martinique: The poisoning of paradise
“First we were enslaved. Then we were poisoned.” That’s how many on Martinique see the history of their French Caribbean island that, to tourists, means sun, rum, and palm-fringed beaches. Slavery was abolished in 1848. But today the islanders are victims again – of a toxic pesticide called chlordecone that’s poisoned the soil and water and been linked by scientists to unusually high rates of prostate cancer. For more than 10 years chlordecone was authorised for use in banana plantations – though its harmful effects were already known. Now, more than 90% of Martinicans have traces of it in their blood. The pollution means many can't grow vegetables in their gardens - and fish caught close to the shore are too dangerous to eat. French President Emmanuel Macron has called it an ‘environmental scandal’ and said the state ‘must take responsibility’. But some activists on the island want to raise wider questions about why the pesticide was used for so long – and on an island divided between a black majority and a small white minority, it’s lost on no-one that the banana farmers who used the toxic chemical and still enjoy considerable economic power are, in many cases, descendants of the slave owners who once ran Martinique. Reporting from the island for Assignment, Tim Whewell asks how much has changed there. Is Martinique really an equal part of France? And is there equality between descendants of slaves and the descendants of their masters, even now?
Produced and presented by Tim Whewell
Editor, Bridget Harney
(Image: Sunset on a beach in Martinique. Credit: DeAgostini/Getty Images)
The five-day election
Philippa Thomas hears from voters across the United States on the agony and ecstasy of waiting for results of the unusually protracted presidential election.
Obesity crisis In Thai temples
Obesity is a growing problem in Thailand. As the country becomes more affluent, its citizens are working more and cooking less which means that they are buying more convenience foods containing high levels of fat and sugar. In the Thai population at large, one in three men is obese but the numbers are worse in Thai temples where one in two Buddhist monks is obese. They eat the same food as the Thai population and they only eat in the mornings so what is the problem? Sucheera Maguire has been to Bangkok to talk to those who give and receive alms and she takes a look at some of the ingenious solutions that Thai nutritionists have come up with to combat the obesity crisis in Thai temples.
At dusk on a warm evening in 2016, two men arrive, unexpectedly, at a remote South African farmhouse. The frenzy that follows will come to haunt a community, destroying families, turning neighbours into "traitors", prompting street protests and threats of violence, and dividing the small farming and tourist town of Parys along racial lines. Correspondent Andrew Harding has followed every twist of the police’s hunt for the killers, the betrayals that opened the door to an explosive trial, and the fortunes of all those involved – from the dead men’s families to the handful of men controversially selected for prosecution.
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