Episodes
The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, visited Israel this week after days of increasing violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Last week, 10 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank city of Jenin, when Israeli forces mounted a raid against a cell which Israel said was planning to carry out an attack. The next day, six Israelis and a Ukrainian were killed when a Palestinian opened fire near a synagogue in East Jerusalem. The deaths triggered rocket fire into Israel from Gaza and air...
Published 02/03/23
Jacinda Ardern’s resignation as New Zealand’s PM this month came as a surprise to millions around the world. When she came to office in 2017, she stuck out as a contrast to populist leaders that dominated the global scene at the time. To some, she was a progressive female icon. She had to contend with intense public scrutiny throughout her journey, from announcing her pregnancy just months after taking office to her decision to take six weeks of maternity leave, which sparked debate on...
Published 01/27/23
Published 01/27/23
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has led to one of the biggest shifts ever seen in Germany's post-war foreign policy. Vladimir Putin managed to achieve what NATO allies spent years trying to: a massive increase in Germany's military spending and a commitment to NATO's spending target of 2% of GDP. As the conflict escalated, Germany's longstanding relations with Russia cooled, there was an end to Russian energy imports and Germany began sending some weapons direct to Ukraine. But back home...
Published 01/20/23
Prince Harry's bombshell memoir, Spare, leaves few royal stones unturned. From a physical confrontation with his brother Prince William to his own drug taking, one of the threads that runs through all of these startling revelations is the long shadow that the sudden death of his mother, Princess Diana, cast when he was only 12. Prince Harry claims he never properly dealt with - or was helped to deal with - his profound grief. In his memoir he claims he only cried once after his mother’s...
Published 01/13/23
The arrest of controversial British-American influencer Andrew Tate in Romania as a part of a human trafficking and rape investigation has pulled his brand of online misogyny back into the headlines. Tate, who denies the allegations against him, is a former kickboxer who rose to fame in 2016 when he was removed from TV show Big Brother over a video which appeared to depict him attacking a woman. He claimed at the time that the video had been edited and was “a total lie”. He is among a...
Published 01/06/23
As the war continues and winter sets in, Russia is targeting Ukraine's energy infrastructure with waves of missile and drone strikes, at times cutting off electricity for millions of civilians. How are the Ukrainian people coping? Does Ukraine’s military have enough weaponry and manpower to defeat the Russians? Or could the war become a more drawn-out conflict, with neither side capable of making a decisive breakthrough? Ritula Shah is joined by a panel of experts: Natalie Jaresko -...
Published 12/16/22
The anti-government protests sweeping Iran are now in their third month, with no sign of ending, despite a bloody crackdown. Women have been at the forefront of the unrest that began in mid-September following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was detained by morality police for allegedly wearing her hijab, or headscarf, "improperly". The protests have spread to more than 150 cities and 140 universities in all 31 of the country's provinces and are seen as one of the...
Published 12/09/22
The Gulf state of Qatar is currently hosting the most expensive Fifa World Cup ever having spent an estimated $220 billion on the event. Seven of the eight stadiums have been built from scratch with new railways, motorways and dozens of new hotels also adding to the cost. It’s the first time the tournament has been hosted in the Middle East, a source of pride to many. But human rights groups say thousands of migrant workers have died during construction of venues and associated infrastructure...
Published 12/02/22
This month the world population reached 8 billion people - and India is leading the charge. It's set to overtake China as most populous country in the world next year. India is currently home to more than 1.39 billion people. By April, the UN says it will hit 1.42 billion. What’s caused this rapid population growth, what does it mean for India, its economy and its neighbours? The growth has already put an enormous amount of pressure on India’s resources and economic stability. The country...
Published 11/25/22
After two years of civil war, Ethiopia and Tigray have agreed to terms for a peace deal which stipulates that both parties will begin to lay down their arms The plan is to create a humanitarian corridor to Tigray which will offer food relief to more than 6million civilians in Tigray who have been under blockade by government forces for most of the conflict. The war in Africa's second-most populous country has seen abuses documented on both sides, with millions of people displaced and many...
Published 11/18/22
President Macron this week announced that France's anti-jihadist military mission in the Sahel region of Africa has ended. The departure of troops from the former colonial power and the end of Operation Barkhane comes at a challenging time for the region which is in the grips of a security crisis fuelled by Islamist extremists. Both Mali and Burkina Faso face jihadist insurgencies and the countries have seen a combined four coups d’état since 2020. Mali's ruling junta, which has been in power...
Published 11/11/22
Delegates are gathering in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for the COP27 UN climate change conference beginning on Sunday 6 November. But a lot has changed in the 12 months since attendees of the COP26 meeting in Glasgow promised bold action to tackle global warming. Russia invaded Ukraine sparking global inflation and rising energy prices. Relations between the United States and China have continued to sour. And extreme weather events have caused thousands of deaths across the planet. Last week a UN...
Published 11/04/22
The United States will hold midterm elections on 8 November, votes that could have a major impact on the remaining two years of the Biden presidency. Join The Real Story and our US Public Radio partners in Michigan, Arizona and California as we delve into some of the key issues driving this year's race - the cost of living, abortion rights and perceived threats to democracy. Ritula Shah is joined by Rick Pluta, Senior Capitol Correspondent at Michigan Public Radio Network MPRN, Ben Giles,...
Published 10/28/22
After the resignation of Liz Truss the UK will soon have its third prime minister this year. Britain has long been considered a politically stable nation. So has something changed? The governing Conservative Party is divided on many issues, including the country’s future direction post-Brexit. The opposition Labour Party has also struggled to accommodate different views on economic and social policy. Meanwhile the two-party system is being challenged by shifting demographics, a rural-urban...
Published 10/21/22
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has this week downgraded its forecast for global growth warning “the worst is yet to come and, for many people 2023 will feel like a recession”. The fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has increased inflation, forced central banks to raise interest rates and exacerbated the cost of living crisis. Britain’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss says her economic priority is “growth, growth and growth”. But the IMF says that while the tax cuts her government...
Published 10/14/22
This month China’s President Xi Jinping is expected to secure a further five years as the country’s leader after the Communist Party abolished two-term limits. It opens the door to Xi continuing to rule for the rest of his life. His time in power has seen the country take a more confrontational approach to many of its neighbours as well as to the West. China’s GDP continues to grow and living standards for most citizens have risen, but some fear the ‘economic miracle’ of recent decades may be...
Published 10/07/22
The US has warned Russia of “catastrophic consequences” if it uses nuclear weapons in its war against Ukraine. The statement comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted he’d use “all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people”, adding this is “not a bluff”. The threat of escalation feels more acute after Moscow reported four self-styled referendums held in Russian-held regions of Ukraine showed near universal public support for joining Russia. So, if Ukraine...
Published 09/30/22
The Queen was seen as a unifying force in the Commonwealth. With her death, will the organisation re-invent itself for the next generation, or fade away? Questions are being asked about whether the Commonwealth is a neo-colonial project and what it can actually do for its members. Others argue that while the Commonwealth has its roots in empire, it is a crucial forum for smaller countries to amplify their voice and work with more powerful allies. We'll look at what the Commonwealth is for and...
Published 09/23/22
Liz Truss has taken over as leader of Britain’s Conservative Party and has therefore also become Prime Minister. She won the internal party race to succeed Boris Johnson by promising that she’ll cut taxes and deliver economic growth. But the country is facing strong economic headwinds with soaring energy prices, relatively low productivity and the highest inflation rate of any G7 nation. Post-Brexit trade frictions between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK remain a sore point among Tory...
Published 09/09/22
It’s been six months since the West imposed an array of sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. Around half of Russia’s $640 billion worth of foreign exchange and gold reserves have been frozen, major Russian banks have been barred from the international financial messaging system Swift, the selling of key technology to the country has been prohibited, and the assets of some wealthy individuals have been seized. But Europe is still buying large amounts of Russian gas, a commodity...
Published 09/02/22
Nasa's first step in their plan to send humans back to the surface of the Moon is fast approaching. The programme, called Artemis, is costing tens of billions of dollars and will begin with Artemis I, scheduled to launch on 29 August. The uncrewed mission will send the Orion spacecraft to orbit the Moon. Subsequent missions in the coming years aim to return humans to the Moon’s surface for the first time in over 50 years and will include a woman and a person of colour. Nasa sees a return to...
Published 08/26/22
The Indian-born British writer Salman Rushdie was recently stabbed on stage at an event in New York state more than three decades after Iran issued a fatwa calling for his assassination. He is currently recovering in hospital. The novelist spent years in hiding after his fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, prompted accusations of blasphemy. So why did a novel provoke such an strong reaction? Ritula Shah looks back at the story of the author, the book and the fatwa.
Published 08/19/22
This week the US Senate passed the biggest package of climate change measures in American history. The Inflation Reduction Act, which is expected to be passed by the House and signed into law by President Biden, includes $369bn in funding for climate and clean energy policies. Its backers hope it will reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. But the bill had no Republican support in the Senate, raising doubts about just how long-lasting its impacts...
Published 08/12/22
Italians go to the polls on 25 September after the collapse of the country’s 69th government in just 77 years. Polls suggest a conservative coalition - likely led by the right wing nationalist Brothers of Italy party - may form the next government. Critics accuse Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d’Italia) of having fascist roots, a claim it rejects. The beating to death of Ogorchukwu Alika, a Nigerian street trader in Italy last week, has shone a spotlight on growing anti-migrant rhetoric from a...
Published 08/05/22