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What happens when the Prime Minister suddenly stops being Prime Minister?One day you're the most powerful person in the country, the next you're irrelevant, forced into retirement 30 years ahead of schedule and find yourself asking 'What do I do now?'Miles Jupp stars as Henry Tobin - Britain's shortest serving and least popular post war PM (he mana…
 
Proteomes, the sequences of protein within the DNA of every living thing, are notoriously difficult to model. The usual chemical methods can take months, but a new computational model using the ability of artificial intelligence to learn the complex sequences is able to predict structures within a matter of hours. Thousands of protein structure pre…
 
Japan will open the 32nd Olympiad despite Tokyo recording its highest number of new coronavirus infections in six months. The show director of Friday's ceremony, Kentaro Kobayashi has been dismissed after footage emerged in which he appears to be making jokes about the Holocaust.Also in the programme: a human rights group says Angola faces its wors…
 
The opening ceremony highlighted the isolation endured by athletes battling to train during the pandemic and remembered the millions who have died of coronavirus. Also on the programme: the assassinated president of Haiti is to be buried in the northern city of Cap-Haïtien; and a Chinese leader visits Tibet for the first time in more than thirty ye…
 
Due to Coronavirus, a subdued ceremony launches the much-postponed Olympics. Fewer than 1000 invited guests and no spectators are inside the huge main stadium. Also, President Xi Jinping makes first official visit to Tibet by a Chinese leader in 30 years, and one of India's most flamboyant businessmen is arrested for allegedly making porn films.…
 
Mark and Simon are joined by Edgar Wright & Sparks, who talk about The Sparks Brothers.Mark reviews Vanessa Kirby and Katherine Waterston in period romance The World to Come, about two neighbouring couples along the mid-19th century American East Coast frontier; action drama Riders of Justice, in which Mads Mikklesen plays Markus, who has to go hom…
 
Michael Burleigh discusses his book Day of the Assassins: A History of Political Murder, which considers what we can learn from looking at assassinations as a category of political violence. He also talks about some of the key assassinations through history, from Julius Caesar and Abraham Lincoln to the mysterious 1986 killing of the Swedish prime …
 
The Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics starts today and Team GB are taking more women athletes than men for the first time in 125 years. Of the 376 athletes selected, 201 are female. So could this be the best ever Games for women? We talk to Dame Katherine Grainger, Britain's joint most decorated female Olympian and Chair of UK Sport; double Ol…
 
Chris Pearson and Ella Watts recommend drama podcasts exploring religion.Jon Ware and Muna Hussen from The Silt Verses talk about their fantasy series, a folk-horror podcast following two figures' pilgrimage through a world of human sacrifice and strange deities.And Caro Mincks, creator of 'Seen and Not Heard', talks about how Judaism influenced th…
 
This week a year’s worth of rain fell in just three days in China’s Henan province, flooding roads and public transport systems, killing dozens and displacing thousands. Floods are common in China’s rainy season, but this event is being linked to the climate crisis. China is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world – and many of its mos…
 
Tokyo used to be presented as the ultimate hyper-modern city. But after years of economic recession the Tokyo of today has another side. A site of alienation and loneliness, anxiety about conformity and identity, it is a place where self-professed 'geeks' (or 'otaku'), mostly single middle-aged men, congregate in districts like Akibahara to pursue …
 
Felicity Hannah looks at how the Olympic games are financed and the competitors are funded. She's joined by Sir Keith Mills, former Deputy Chair of London 2012 organising committee; Nigel Walker who's National Director of the English Institute of Sport; Marie Oldham, Executive chair of the advertising agency VCCP Media and Danny Downs of online spo…
 
Since the murder of George Floyd in 2020, taking the knee has become a prominent sight at protests and sports events, signifying opposition to racism and discrimination.But with some fans booing players for kneeling and some black players refusing to take the knee – has this anti-racist gesture now lost its potency?For rapper and football fan Guvna…
 
Several popular websites were sent offline due to a problem connecting users, or a DNS error. Companies affected included AirBnB, McDonald's, HSBC and British Airways. We speak to Jason Crabtree, founder and CEO of cybersecurity company Qomplex, who explains what happened.More and more people in the UK are being notified - or 'pinged' - by a Covid …
 
President Biden has been under pressure to respond to anti-regime protests. Also: the Senate in the Czech Republic has approved a plan to compensate Roma women who were forcibly sterilised, and beset by scandals and Covid-19 concerns, Tokyo prepares to hold the opening ceremony for the Olympics.By BBC World Service
 
The Chinese authorities have moved nearly 400,000 people to safer ground in Henan province following deadly floods; we hear what happened to one resident of the city of Zhengzhou. Also: on the tenth anniversary of the mass shooting at Utøya in Norway, we'll speak to one of the survivors; and two sisters prepare for their first Olympics. (Picture: P…
 
Right across the world unpredictable and extreme weather has led to devastating consequences: homes washed away by floods in Europe and China with hundreds dead; extreme heat and giant wildfires in North America and in Siberia, and we now hear that the Amazon rainforest is emitting more carbon dioxide than it is soaking up. Scientists are clear tha…
 
We hear from Pitso Mosimane, the South African coach who keeps on adding trophies to his collection. His most recent one was the African Champions League which he won with Egypt's Al-Ahly last weekend. He reveals the secret of his success.We also hear from Salvadoran striker Joaquin Rivas. El Salvador are hoping to make history at the Concacaf Gold…
 
Ian Marchant tracks the River Ancholme to its source. Others might prefer the Limpopo or the Zambesi, but Ian is drawn to the subtle mysteries of the canal-like Ancholme in Lincolnshire, arguing that there are delights to be found if you take a close look in your own back yard. And there are plenty of delights. If historic boats are your thing then…
 
On this week’s Stumped, Alison Mitchell, Charu Sharma and Jim Maxwell are joined by Oval Invincibles and England T20 bowler Tash Farrant. Farrant featured in the inaugural match of The Hundred, as the competition finally got underway a year later than originally planned. We discuss the new format, how well it worked and how it's helping towards gen…
 
The decision to remove Kentaro Kobayashi comes just a day before the opening show is due to be held. It’s the latest scandal to hit the Tokyo Games. Also: Famine stalks Angola as the worst drought in forty years ravages the south of the country; and Norway pauses to recall the mass murder committed by a far-right extremist ten years ago today.…
 
Jules Williamson has directed her first feature film in her fifties. The premier is tonight. Off the Rails is a celebration of women. It centres round four friends who went Inter-railing when they were 19, who when one of them dies, revisit the same journey later in life taking her daughter this time. It’s a comedy drama with a great female cast - …
 
The Mexican state of Sinaloa is synonymous with drug trafficking. With the profits from organised crime a driver of the local economy, the tentacles of ‘narco cultura’ extend deep into people’s lives – especially those of women. In the city of Culiacan, plastic surgeons service demand for the exaggerated feminine silhouette favoured by the men with…
 
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the people, plants and animals once living on land now under the North Sea, now called Doggerland after Dogger Bank, inhabited up to c7000BC or roughly 3000 years before the beginnings of Stonehenge. There are traces of this landscape at low tide, such as the tree stumps at Redcar (above); yet more is being learned f…
 
In the early 2000s, rebels in Sudan's Darfur region took up arms against the government. In response, the Khartoum regime launched a scorched earth campaign along ethnic lines. The Sudanese military allied to a local militia, the Janjaweed, laid waste to villages across the region, killing and raping as they went. Some 300,000 people are believed t…
 
Ida Pfeiffer's desire to see the world was like many childhood fantasies - destined to remain just that. And yet at the age of 44 once her sons had reached adulthood, she set off from her home in Vienna on a series of journeys that no woman of her time or background had contemplated. Beginning with a trip to the Middle East, Pfeiffer travelled most…
 
China’s decades-long One Child Policy has led to a low birth rate, and a shrinking workforce. It has also been placing a heavy burden on the younger generations who will have to support two parents and four grandparents. It’s predicted that in five years’ time, a quarter of the population will be over 65. With a smaller workforce, the country risks…
 
Zhengzhou, a central Chinese city, with 10,000,000 inhabitants has been paralysed by record-breaking floods and more rain in one day than it usually gets in a year. So how the climate crisis be tackled? We get analysis from Micheal Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University and the author of The New Climate War. A…
 
Twelve people are known to have died after record-breaking rainfall flooded underground railway tunnels in China, leaving passengers trapped in rising waters.Days of rain have caused widespread damage and led to 200,000 evacuations. China's president Xi Jinping said on Wednesday that there had been "significant loss of life and damage to property".…
 
The number of people officially confirmed dead from the flooding across China's Henan province has risen to 25. Many died after being trapped by rising floodwater on subway trains in the provincial capital, Zhengzhou. What could have contributed to such a massive rainfall?Also today: The debate in France as access to museums and cinemas is barred u…
 
Alex Renton discusses his new book, Blood Legacy, which offers an unflinching account of his ancestors’ involvement in the slave trade. He also considers how best to deal with this unwanted inheritance, and how the long-lasting impact of slavery still affects the world today. (Ad) Alex Renton is the author of Blood Legacy: Reckoning With a Family’s…
 
This Friday marks 10 years since the tragic death of the singer Amy Winehouse from alcohol poisoning at the age of just 27. A new documentary film, Reclaiming Amy on BBC 2 on Friday at 9pm features Amy's closest friends and family and seeks to tell the story of the real Amy. We hear from her mother, Janis and close friend Catriona Gourlay.A brand-n…
 
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