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BBC World Service
Bees, Seeds and Disease

Aug 18, 2017 - 00:17:28

Has the world become dangerously dependent on commercial honey bees to pollinate its crops? This prolific species is prone to some nasty diseases, as presenter Manuela Saragosa discovers. California bee broker Joe Traynor describes how two million hives are trucked into the state's almond orchards every year, attracting the unwanted attention of bee rustlers. Meanwhile, ecologist Lynn Dicks of the University of East Anglia explains why wild bees seem to be in inexorable decline, and apiarist Francis Ratnieks of Sussex University says the answer may be to breed more hygienic bees. (Picture: Bee on top of pink flower; Credit: Oyvind Breyholtz/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
EU Passports For Sale

Aug 17, 2017 - 00:17:28

Malta will offer citizenship to anyone willing to put in the time... and the money. Rent an apartment for five years at $19,000 a year, and an EU passport can be yours. So who benefits? And is it ethical? The BBC's Simon Tulett travels to Valetta, where he speaks to Christian Kalin of Henley & Partners, the company that designed the "citizenship--by-investment" programme, as well as the former Playmobil boss and German-turned-Malteser, Helga Ellul. Also in the programme: Jonathan Cardona of Identity Malta, journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, and Dr Javier Hidalgo of the University of Richmond. (Picture: A view across the Grand Harbour in Valetta, Malta; Credit: Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
The Dirty Business of Fashion

Aug 16, 2017 - 00:17:27

How the clothes you're wearing are wreaking havoc on the environment. Manuela Saragosa hears from Natasha Hurley from the Changing Markets Foundation about the problem with viscose, a common synthetic fabric. Alexander Nolte, co-founder of Langbrett, a German eco-clothing outdoor apparel retailer, explains how he invented a laundry bag to stop plastic seeping out into the oceans. Stella McCartney talks about the importance of environmental awareness in high fashion, and Safia Minney, founder of People Tree, on a more affordable version of ethical fashion. (Photo: a garment factory in Myanmar, Credit: Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
India's Alcohol Ban: The Impact on Business

Aug 15, 2017 - 00:17:30

Since April there has been a ban on the sale of alcohol within 500 metres of India’s state and national highways. In a special programme, the BBC's Rahul Tandon explore's India's tricky relationship with alcohol and speaks to those both for and against the ban, Bar owner Anirban Sengupta speaks about the challenges of keeping his business afloat, whilst government spokesperson Sushil Kumar Singh explains why he is in favour of the ban. Plus, we hear from a rural village in Bihar state, where women are taking the lead in enforcing prohibition. Plus, Abhay Kewadkar of 'Four Seasons Wine' explains why more and more middle class Indians are taking to the tipple. (Picture: Bihari women campaigning for prohibition, Credit: Rahul Tandon)

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BBC World Service
The Art of Negotiation

Aug 14, 2017 - 00:17:59

As tensions between the US and North Korea rise, we put President Trump's negotiating skills under the spotlight. Manuela Saragosa is joined by two experts in the field: Calum Coburn of 'The Negotiation Experts' and Alan McCarthy of 'The Resource Development Centre'. The BBC's Joe Miller reports on the German multinational company returning artworks stolen by the Nazis to their rightful owners, over 70 years after the end of the 2nd WW. Plus, regular commentator Lucy Kellaway of the Financial Times newspaper, says it's time to end the taboo around getting sacked. (Picture: Chess pieces, Credit: Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Making Money in Football

Aug 11, 2017 - 00:17:28

The richest football league in the world kicks off today. Is the English Premier League's transfer market overinflated? Ed Butler asks Stefan Szymanski, professor of sport management at the University of Michigan. And with clubs in search of bigger revenues, we ask the man behind Tottenham Hotspur's new home about the importance of modern stadiums in the football business. And there's a new type of football club attracting big audiences and advertising money - Seb Carmichael-Brown, commercial director of the online football club Hashtag United, explains all. (Photo: Chelsea lift the Premier League trophy, Credit: Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Harvesting Babies' Stem Cells

Aug 10, 2017 - 00:17:27

Collecting embryonic tissue from newborns is a growing business, but how likely is it to actually protect the child against life-threatening diseases in the future? The BBC's Suranjana Tewari reports from India, where the practice is taking off. Meanwhile back in the UK, presenter Ed Butler hears from a sceptical stem cell researcher - Axel Behrens of the Francis Crick Institute. Plus, the joys and applications of modern day mapping technology, with Nigel Clifford, head of Britain's Ordnance Survey, and Rohan Richards of the National Spatial Data Management Division in Jamaica. Music by reggae band Stand High Patrol. (Picture: Researcher introduces embryonic stem cells in an embryo; Credit: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
The Global Financial Crisis: Ten Years On

Aug 9, 2017 - 00:17:28

Have we learned the lessons of the banking crisis a decade ago? Dominic O'Connell reports on how the first signs of a global crisis came in the summer of 2007. Ed Butler also talks to Alistair Darling, now Lord Darling, then Britain's finance minister charged with rescuing UK banks, and Austan Goolsby, once an adviser to former US president Barack Obama, on the risks of rolling back banking reform on Wall Street. (Photo: London's Canary Wharf financial district, Credit: Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
What Has Happened to Qatar?

Aug 8, 2017 - 00:17:29

Two months into an economic blockade by its nearest neighbours, what has been the impact for Qatar? David Segall, a policy associate at the Centre for Business and Human Rights at New York University, says the blockade is making conditions harsher for many foreign workers. We hear the rare testimony of two migrant construction workers from India and Nepal about the increasingly difficult conditions they are working under, as many fellow migrants are forced to return home. Also in the programme, the dairy business that air-lifted thousands of cows into the country. We hear from Ramez Alkhayyat, CEO of the Qatari conglomerate Power International Holdings, on the extreme logistics he has pursued to work around the economic blockade. And finally, in the face of economic adversity, Qatar's state-owned sports investment company, has just splashed out more than a quarter of a billion dollars on Brazilian football superstar, Neymar. We hear from James Montague, journalist and author of a new book 'The Billionaires' Club: The Unstoppable Rise of Football's Super Rich Owners'. (Picture: Qatari investor follows stock market, Credit: KARIM JAAFAR/AFP/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Venezuela: How Did It Come to This?

Aug 7, 2017 - 00:17:27

What are the root causes of Venezuela's current crisis? Rob Young asks Ricardo Hausmann, a professor of economics at Harvard University who was previously Venezuela's planning minister and a member of the central bank's board in the 1990s. Also in the programme, can football change the fortunes of a UK town? Rahul Tandon looks at the impact Premier League promotion is having on Huddersfield's economy. And regular commentator of the Financial Times Lucy Kellaway on the importance of writing clearly. (Picture: Opposition activists clash with the police in Caracas; Credit: Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
How Do We Stop Poaching?

Aug 4, 2017 - 00:18:05

Could investing in wildlife tourism help win the battle to eradicate poaching and the ivory trade? Andy Jones reports from Gabon on efforts to prove that more money can be made from tourism, than the illegal trade there. And we also hear from Zimbabwe, and the controversial industry of licensed big game hunting, which proponents say can support wildlife conservation. We hear from Wilfried Pabst who runs the Sango game reserve in the country, and Teresa Telecky, senior director of wildlife at the Humane Society International. Picture:A badly injured white rhino lies in a hollow after poachers sawed off its horn. (Credit:Rodger Bosch AFP/Getty Images).

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BBC World Service
Lonely at the Top

Aug 3, 2017 - 00:17:57

Mental health problems can strike anyone - including company bosses. But who can they turn to for help with the stress and isolation of life at the helm? Ed Butler speaks to Jerry Colonna, who runs executive coaching service Reboot.io, which includes a bootcamp for bosses feeling the pressure. Ed also listens in on a conversation among three CEO founders - Colleen Wong of TechSixtyFour, Rachel Carrell of Koru Kids and Carl Martin of Wurqs - about how they dealt with the isolation of leadership. (Picture: Close-up of face of young businesswoman sitting in deep thought with clasped hands; Credit: MangoStar_Studio/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Bulgaria on the Edge

Aug 2, 2017 - 00:17:29

Have corruption, human trafficking and organised crime links at the highest levels of government all become rife since the country joined the EU a decade ago? The BBC's Laurence Knight reports from Sofia, where migrants claim crossing what is the EU's external frontier is not only easy, but is often facilitated by the Bulgarian border police, for a bit of cash. And the problems of corruption don't end there - questions are raised over the probity of the judiciary and of senior politicians. Today's programme includes interviews with the Bulgarian Red Cross, Iliana Savova of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, economist Krassen Stanchev, and with journalist and former protest leader Manol Glishev. (Picture: Bulgarian border police patrol next to a barbed wire wall fence erected on the Bulgaria-Turkey border; Credit: Nikolay Doychinov/AFP/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
How To Be Ambitious

Aug 1, 2017 - 00:18:05

Marie Keyworth explores ambition. Is it good or bad? And what do you do with it if you've got it? We hear about the negative effects ambition can have, and the tools you need to relieve them, with Neel Burton of Oxford University. Author Rachel Bridge defends the thesis of her book 'Ambition: Why it's good to want more and how to get it'. And what happens when you decide to re-direct your ambition? Joe Udo tells his story of becoming a stay at home dad. Also in the programme, writers Elizabeth Schenk and Hana Wallace discuss the results of a project they launched looking at the careers of their old university sorority members. Plus, top tips on achieving your goals from Peter Gollwitzer, experimental psychologist at New York University. (Picture: Little boy in superhero costume, Credit: Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Robots in the Developing World

Jul 31, 2017 - 00:18:03

What impact is automation having on low-wage economies in Asia and Africa? Ed Butler meets the inventor of a robot that can stitch t-shirts together - a potential threat to the huge garment industries in places like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The BBC's Rahul Tandon reports from India on the impact robots are already having on the country's successful IT sector. And Lorenzo Fioramonti, Professor of Political Economy at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, tells us why automation might not be all bad news for emerging markets in Africa. (Photo: Sri Lankan workers make clothes at a garment factory in Colombo, Credit: Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Tesla's Cobalt Conundrum

Jul 28, 2017 - 00:18:05

Tesla Motors needs a lot of cobalt for its electric cars, but it has a problem, most of it is in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. So with ambitious plans to produce 500,000 of its new Model Three cars a year, can Tesla get all the cobalt it needs, and can it do it ethically? Nathaniel Dyer from the campaign group Global Witness, rare metals trader Anthony Lipmann and US mining and metals expert Jack Lifton give us their assessments. Picture: Cobalt miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Credit:Federico Scoppa AFP/Getty Images.

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BBC World Service
Have We Reached the End of Globalisation?

Jul 27, 2017 - 00:18:03

Much has been made of China's "One Belt, One Road" policy, the country's ambitious plans to re-imagine the old Silk Road trading route. It's a globalising outward looking trade plan, at a time when many of the World's other leading economies are beginning to view globalisation with suspicion and retreating from it. So is the New Silk Road the beginning of a new era for global trade or the last stand for globalisation? Professor Stephen King is HSBC's senior economic adviser and author of the new book Grave New World:The End of Globalization, the Return of History. And, we hear about living and working in 24 hour light. The BBC's Elizabeth Hotson travels inside the Arctic Circle.

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BBC World Service
Rise of the Social Media Influencers

Jul 26, 2017 - 00:18:06

Manuela Saragosa explores the growth in social media influencers, paid to push products on platforms like Instagram. Influencer Sara Tasker describes how she turned blogging and instagramming into a full-time job, while Mike Bandar, co-founder of Instagram scheduling company Hopper HQ, discusses the dangers of a lack of regulation. Plus instagrammer Seth Crossno on when social media influencing goes wrong. (Photo: A smartphone featuring the Instagram app, Credit: Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
The World of Male Grooming

Jul 25, 2017 - 00:18:05

The male grooming industry is worth 20 some billion dollars worldwide, how much of it actually works? San Francisco dermatologist Seth Matarasso talks Botox, lasers and fillers. Beauty buyer for Selfridges department store in London, Emily Saunders, explains why men are becoming more educated when it comes to their beauty regimes. Plus, Ed Butler gets a work out at the 'face gym'. Also in the programme, the BBC's Theo Leggett takes a trip to London's famous Harley Street, where hair transplant specialist Dr Raghu Reddy assesses his chances. And associate style editor at GQ magazine Nick Carvell, says it is not all bad news for bald men. Plus Egyptian plastic surgeon Mohammad Anwar says 70% of his clients are now male. He explains why the Arab Spring was a surprising catalyst for the increase. (Photo: Man getting a face mask. Credit: Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
The World's Most Expensive Election Campaign?

Jul 24, 2017 - 00:18:04

Kenya could have the most expensive election campaign per head in the world. That's according to data from the Kenyan treasury just two weeks before the country goes to the polls. The BBC's Will Bain reports on the country's extravagant campaign culture. The UK and US are meeting to discuss potential post-Brexit trade deals. We hear from Marianne Schneider-Petsinger, America specialist at the research group Chatham House. Also on the programme, regular commentator Lucy Kellaway of the Financial Times on why we may have reached 'peak modernity'. (Picture: Kenyan flag and ballot box, Credit: Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Sicily's Rural Mafia

Jul 21, 2017 - 00:17:59

The Sicilian mafia is alive and well, thanks in part to European Union agricultural subsidies. That's the allegation made by some officials on the Italian island. In Sicily, we speak to Giuseppe Antoci, president of Sicily's largest national park, Parco Nebrodi, and deputy police commissioner Daniele Manganaro of the district of Messina. They claim as much as 3.5 billion euros may have been illegally pocketed by organised crime in Sicily. But it's not just public land that's been targeted. Farmer Sebastiano Blanco tells us how his house was burnt down last year after illegal fencing started appearing on his land. We also hear from Cesare Nicodemo, co-owner of Judeka Winery in south eastern Sicily, who's faced similar problems. And we ask Francesco Albore, head of unit at the European Union's Anti-Fraud office (OLAF) in Brussels, what the EU and Italian authorities are doing about it. (Picture: Farmer Sebastiano Blanco)

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BBC World Service
Emojis: Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Jul 14, 2017 - 00:17:29

They're everywhere, but can businesses actually make any money out of them? The programme includes Jeremy Burge, who has developed an Emojipedia business that catalogues the nearly 3,000 existing emoticons, Su Burtner, who successfully got a new cricket emoji accepted, and Keith Broni who styles himself as the world's first emoji translator, guiding businesses through the shifting quagmire of emoji meanings. Ed Butler presents. (Picture: Smiley emoji and poo emoji; Credit: denisgorelkin/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Are We Overmedicated?

Jun 23, 2017 - 00:17:26

We ask if patients are being prescribed too many medicines. Confusion and lack of research, says one physician, can be a culprit in some cases where patients are handed prescriptions for medicines which are not necessary for the improvement of their overall health. Commercial influence from pharmaceutical businesses is seen as another factor in overmedication - so we speak to a representative from the pharmaceutical industry about who is responsible for educating patients and doctors about medicines, and how information can be improved. Also, 'the pill' could be a thing of the past, as an app called Natural Cycles becomes approved for use as a contraceptive - using body temperature to see when a woman is most fertile. (Image: Contraceptive pills. Credit: Philippe Huguen / AFP / Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Record High US Consumer Debt

Jun 14, 2017 - 00:17:27

Household debt is at record levels as US consumers spend, spend and spend some more. And with America's interest rates set to rise again, could there be trouble ahead? Former Federal Reserve governor Randy Kroszner tells presenter Manuela Saragosa that watching the debt problem get fixed will be like "watching paint dry" - but that it is a deliberately slow process, to avoid shocks to consumers. We hear from retirees in the US who are struggling with debt - and one expert who says that the current workforce may not be able to rely on their pensions when they retire. Also in the programme, Ryan Holmes, the chief executive and founder of social media managing software, Hootsuite, gives his take on whether a company can survive these days without a presence on social media. (Image: Credit cards in a wallet. Credit: Getty Images Staff)

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BBC World Service
Could China Shut Down North Korea?

May 2, 2017 - 00:17:27

Military tensions between the United States and North Korea seem to rise on an almost daily basis. But how important are economic factors in putting pressure on the North Korean state? Could China, with its close trading relationship, choose to shut down North Korea - putting pressure on the leadership there? The BBC's Danny Vincent travels to the border between China and North Korea to look at some of the trade passing between the two nations. And Ed Butler talks to Korea Expert Aidan Foster-Carter and asks him whether China could shut down North Korea if it chose to do so? Also, our veteran commentator Lucy Kellaway admits that she does not always learn from experience. (Picture: A North Korean man standing at a border fence next to the Yalu river, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong. Credit: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Japan's Exploited Foreign Workers

May 1, 2017 - 00:17:28

Japan's workforce is shrinking due to an ageing population and a policy of very low immigration. But though the world's third largest economy needs workers, the government isn't keen on immigration when it comes to filling lower-skilled jobs. A loophole in the rules, however, means every year about 200,000 labourers from overseas go to Japan on its guest worker trainee scheme. Arranged through a network of brokers in countries such as China and Vietnam, workers often find themselves underpaid, and the US State Department categorises the scheme as human trafficking, and points to mass exploitation. Edwin Lane investigates in Tokyo and Gifu, meeting workers from China who are stuck in Japan fighting for their wages, and to lawyers and politicians about what can be done, and asks why Japan is so hesitant to open its borders to more foreigners. (Image: Tokyo's Akihabara district.Credit: Chris McGrath/ Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
A Basic Income for All?

Apr 26, 2017 - 00:17:26

Social scientists, technologists, and politicians from across the political spectrum think they have a potential solution to the unemployment that automation and artificial intelligence are expected to create. It's called a universal basic income. And it involves getting the state to pay a fixed sum to all of its citizens, whether or not they have a job. The Canadian province of Ontario has become the latest to announce a trial - for 4,000 households. We hear from Finland where a basic income pilot project is already underway. And Manuela Saragosa talks to Guy Standing, co- founder and co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network - who is advising a number of pilot projects around the world. (Picture: Five pound sterling note, London 2017. Credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Machine Learning

Apr 25, 2017 - 00:17:44

Machines are about to get a lot smarter and machine learning will transform our lives. So says a report by the Royal Society in the UK, a fellowship of many of the world's most eminent scientists. Machine learning is a form of artificial intelligence that's already being used to tag people in photos, to interpret voice commands and to help internet retailers to make recommendations. Manuela Saragosa hears about a new technology that is set to revolutionise computing, developed by a UK company called Graphcore. Manuela talks to Graphcore's chief executive Nigel Toon, who is taking on the AI giants. And Manuela hears how we are 'bleeding data' all the time. Dr Joanna Bryson from the University of Bath and professor Amanda Chessell, an IBM distinguished engineer and master inventor, explain how our data is being used. (Photo: A robot pours popcorn from a cooking pot into a bowl at the Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI), University of Bremen, Germany. March 2017. Credit: Ingo Wagner/AFP/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
A Snap Election in Britain

Apr 19, 2017 - 00:17:40

The British Prime Minister Theresa May is proposing a general election for June 8th - and it will be a poll all about Brexit. Mrs May says political divisions are risking Britain's ability to make a success of its departure from the European Union. So will the result of the poll give the prime minister a firm mandate in her negotiations with the EU, and perhaps help her to wangle a better Brexit deal? Manuela Saragosa talks to the BBC's Dominic O'Connell who's been gauging opinion amongst business leaders, including Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of advertising giant WPP. And the ethics of digital design. Are we unable to tear ourselves away from computers and TV because we are weak - or because the digital designers are manipulating us unfairly? (Photo: British Prime Minister Theresa May, Credit: Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Oil's Murky Future

Apr 11, 2017 - 00:17:40

Tensions in the Middle East and protests in Russia are not just caused by internal politics and war but also, some say, the stresses of economic decline as the result of cheap oil. While the price of oil has gone up this week in response to the US military's missile attack on a Syrian government airbase, this uptick is likely, many analysts say, to be short-lived. Some experts now believe the price of oil could remain low forever. That's the view of Dieter Helm, an economics professor at the University of Oxford, who has just written a book, entitled Burn Out. Ed Butler asks Professor Helm to lay out the possible effects of a permanently lower oil price. Also in the programme, the BBC's Phil Mercer reports from Australia where renewable energy is on the rise. More homeowners are installing solar power battery systems to guarantee that the lights stay on. (Picture: A Russian LUKOIL oil platform. Credit: MIKHAIL MORDASOV/AFP/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Libor Lowballing

Apr 10, 2017 - 00:17:24

A secret recording that implicates the Bank of England in Libor rigging has been uncovered by the BBC . The 2008 recording adds to evidence the central bank repeatedly pressured commercial banks during the financial crisis to push their Libor rates down. Libor is the rate at which banks lend to each other, setting a benchmark for mortgages and loans for ordinary customers. The Bank of England said Libor was not regulated in the UK at the time. Ed Butler hears more from the BBC's economics correspondent, Andy Verity. Also in the programme, we hear from our Business editor, Simon Jack, about evidence the BBC has seen that top executives at the oil company, Shell, knew money paid to the Nigerian government for a vast oil field would be passed to a convicted money-launderer. The deal was concluded while Shell was operating under a probation order for a separate corruption case in Nigeria. Shell said it did not believe its employees acted illegally. And finally, our regular commentator Lucy Kellaway disapproves of the advice given publicly by one US corporate boss to her growing children. (Picture: The Bank of England in central London, England. Credit: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Russian Hacking

Apr 4, 2017 - 00:17:28

The investigation into the hacking of Democratic National Committee computers during the US election campaign continues to haunt international politics. Was Russia responsible for the hack? The US Secret Services say this is now beyond doubt. Just before he left office President Obama hit back with a series of retaliatory measures against Russia. Those measures included a range of sanctions against institutions and people: two intelligence agencies, four senior intelligence officials, 35 diplomats, three tech companies. They also targeted a man who was infamous in tech security circles. His trade name is Slavik. Ed Butler hears the remarkable story behind Slavik's years spent attacking and compromising the servers of international banks and what it all reveals about Russian cyber-espionage. (Picture: An employee walking behind a glass wall with machine coding symbols at the headquarters of Internet security giant Kaspersky in Moscow. Credit: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Trump v China, Should We be Scared?

Apr 3, 2017 - 00:17:12

As President Trump prepares for key talks with China's President Xi Jinping, we hear from the editor of the Financial Times, Lionel Barber, who warns that Mr Trump is threatening to go it alone in tackling North Korea, if Beijing refuses to help. Fresh from an interview with Donald Trump in the Oval Office, Mr Barber tells Ed Butler that there is cause to be concerned about the risk of US military action against North Korea. Ed also hears what to expect from the US-China trade discussions this week, with Peter Trubowitz, director of the US Centre at the London School of Economics. And Jennifer Pak reports from Shenzhen in Southern China on the Chinese 'makers', coming up with new ideas (not stolen ones). And Lucy Kellaway says sexism is never acceptable, no matter how old you are. (Picture: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, impersonated by Hong Kong actor Howard, and US President Donald Trump, impersonated by US actor Dennis, pose outside the US consulate in Hong Kong on in January 2017. Credit:ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
How to Age and Keep Working

Aug 5, 2016 - 00:16:52

Manuela Saragosa investigates how we should age. We're all living much longer yet we live in a world that prizes youth and productivity above all. So, we're asking how to age? For many of us it will mean working beyond the usual retirement age. Manuela hears from those who argue that's something to welcome, not dread. Including 97-year-old athlete, oarsman, writer and former dentist Charles Eugster. Also in the programme: Lynda Gratton, co-author of The 100-year life and Aubrey de Grey, a British researcher on aging who claims he has drawn a roadmap to defeat biological aging and that the first human beings who will live to 1,000 years old have already been born. (Photo: Charles Eugster at the Henley Royal Regatta. Credit: Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Unpacking Russia's Economy

Aug 2, 2016 - 00:17:27

Russia's economy became mired in sanctions back in 2014. First it was those from the West as a result of Russia's involvement in the Ukraine conflict. Then, exactly two years ago this week, Russia fired back with sanctions of its own. The idea was partly to boost domestic agriculture by replacing foreign imports with Russian ones. It has helped some local cheese-makers. But many consumers are not happy with the loss of foreign goods and general spike in food prices. We also look at the wider economic crash in Russia's economy, with the help of two experts - Alex Nice, an analyst with the Economics Intelligence Unit, and Bill Browder, CEO and a co-founder of the investment fund, Hermitage Capital Management. He was once Russia's most prominent foreign investor before falling out with President Vladimir Putin, and fleeing into exile in 2006. He is doubtful about any predictions of an economic recovery in Russia, as long as the current government remains in power. (Photo: Vladimir Putin depicted on a traditional Russian doll. Credit: Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
How to be Frugal

May 6, 2016 - 00:17:29

What happens when you abandon consumerism? The BBC's Ed Butler talks to Pete Adeney, also known as Mr Money Moustache. He retired at 30 and is so frugal he thinks he will never have to work again. Plus, we go urban foraging in London, and a Danish food campaigner tells us what we should do about all that unwanted food left at the back of the freezer. (Photo: A woman sews buttons in Mumbai. Credit: STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Australia's Drought

Feb 5, 2016 - 00:17:29

One farmer suffering from the drought in Australia tells BBC Business Daily that it looks "like a lunar landscape", with the ground crackling under his feet. We look at how much the weather conditions have damaged the country's economy. And since the thaw with the US, Cuba is now enjoying a tourist boom - but the country can't keep up with the influx of new visitors - meaning some tourists have ended up sleeping in open squares. (Picture: Cracked land in drought. Credit: Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Regulating Our Food Choices

Feb 3, 2016 - 00:17:28

Sugar tax is the hot topic that has got governments, health campaigners and the food industry talking. As rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes rise in many parts of the world, some say taxes on sugary drinks are a simple way of encouraging healthier choices. But should governments make those kinds of judgements? Katy Watson in Mexico and the US, meets those who think a 'sin tax' is the best way forward for fast food and fizzy drinks. She asks Mexico’s government and drinks industry how their sugar tax has affected sales of the products subject to extra tax. And, she hears from food industry lobbysists and those who think that government has no role to play in our food choices.

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BBC World Service
The Economics of Migration

Sep 4, 2015 - 00:18:37

Is migration a good thing for economies? Does it bring innovation? Or does it drain resources? We have both sides of the argument as we hear Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, debate the matter with Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research in London. Plus, our reporter Vishala Sri Pathma reports on India's Nestle Maggi instant noodle food scare and how it's affected attitudes towards food in the country. (Picture: Migrant families leaving a transit area in Macedonia; Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
China's Defence Budget

Sep 3, 2015 - 00:17:28

As China shows off its military muscle in a parade commemorating victory over Japan in World War Two, we examine what lies behind this dazzling display of hardware. China's defence budget has doubled over the last decade, and some of its neighbours are worried. We ask defence analyst, Michael Caffrey of IHS Jane's, whether the numbers are a cause for concern. Also in the programme, as part of the BBC's India season, we hear from Kolkata where millions of Muslims continue to struggle for equal rights in the jobs market. The government is promising tougher action to redress the prejudices against them. And as Azerbaijan this week jails one of its leading investigative journalists and anti-corruption activists, Khadija Ismayilova, we hear her recent assessment of the way economic and political power have been centralised in the hands of the ruling family of President Aliyev. What's really going on in the oil-rich country? Is there an oil curse in Azerbaijan and should this affect international attitudes towards it? We speak to Barnaby Pace of the campaign group Global Witness, who has conducted his own research into who really controls Azerbaijan's oil wealth. (Picture: Chinese soldiers ride armoured vehicles in the Tiananmen Square military parade; Credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Where are India's Working Women?

Sep 2, 2015 - 00:17:27

Women make up a comparatively small proportion of India's formal labour force. Those that do work tend to be at the extremes of the social spectrum - either poor or highly educated. Why are there not more middle class women working? We hear the stories of a maid and doctor in Delhi, and speak to the newspaper columnist Kalpana Sharma about the cultural and societal factors that are keeping millions of women out of formal employment. Plus the BBC's Katy Watson shows us how women in Latin America and the Middle East also struggle to just get on with their working lives.

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BBC World Service
China: Innovator or Thief?

Sep 1, 2015 - 00:17:28

China's latest factory data is the worst in 3 years. What's wrong with China's business model? Mark Anderson is CEO of InventIP, a consortium of US companies and experts who've put together a report, claiming that some 50% of Chinese growth in recent decades has been founded on the stealing of western business ideas, via old-fashioned industrial espionage and more sophisticated state-sponsored hacking. He exclusively tells the BBC the basis for his claims. And we also hear from Chinese author Edward Tse, who says the old stereotypes of Chinese companies leeching off western technology and possessing few ideas of their own is outdated. He's spent years advising Chinese companies, and in a new book, China's Disrupters, he claims a new genuinely entrepreneurial and innovative spirit has transformed the country's business climate.

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BBC World Service
Elements: Hydrogen and Acids

Aug 19, 2015 - 00:17:29

These powerful chemicals are essential to obtain the minerals that build our world, the fertilisers that feed the planet, and the fuels that propel our vehicles - as presenter Laurence Knight discovers on a trip to the Ineos Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland. But while most traditional acids are based on the power of hydrogen ions, Prof Andrea Sella of University College London explains that many modern industrial "acids" do not, and come in startlingly unexpected forms such as powders. Many of the most corrosive acids are very tricky to contain, resulting in the occasional nasty accident, as chemical engineer Keith Plumb explains. Also, Justin Rowlatt has a report on acid attacks in southern Asia in which he speaks to campaigner Selina Ahmed of the Acid Survivors Foundation on how Bangladesh has tackled the problem. (Picture: A team working with toxic acids and chemicals secures a chemical cargo train tanks crashed near Sofia, Bulgaria; Credit: Cylonphoto/Thinkstock)

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BBC World Service
Elements: Iron and Industrialisation

Apr 1, 2015 - 00:31:02

Iron is the chemical element at the heart of steel, and by extension of industrialisation, so what does the collapse in iron ore prices say about the economic progress of China and India? In the last of three programmes looking at this most abundant of metals, Justin Rowlatt asks whether the steel-making party is over, or whether a new one is just about to begin. And if, one day, humanity can stop digging this element up altogether. To find the answers, he speaks to material flow analyst Prof Daniel Beat Muller, sceptical China economist Andy Xie, Andrew Harding of the world's second biggest iron ore miner Rio Tinto, and Ravi Uppal who heads Jindal Steel of India.

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BBC World Service
Elements: Iron and Manganese

Mar 25, 2015 - 00:31:06

Iron and manganese are the two key ingredients that enabled the mass production of steel - one of the most versatile and complex materials known to humanity. Justin Rowlatt chews on salad leaves with Andrea Sella of University College London, who explains how manganese is present in all plants and plays a key part in photosynthesis and ultimately oxygen production. He also travels to Sheffield to visit a modern steelworks - the specialist engineering steel-maker Forgemasters - where Peter Birtles and Mark Tomlinson give a taste of just how hard it is to produce unbreakable parts for nuclear power stations and oil rigs.

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BBC World Service
Elements: Iron and the Industrial Revolution

Mar 18, 2015 - 00:32:28

Justin Rowlatt explores two moments in history that transformed this most abundant of metal elements into the key material out of which modern life is constructed. In the first of three programmes, Justin travels to St Paul's Cathedral, where professor Andrea Sella of University College London recounts why Christopher Wren was so vexed that the new railings were built out of cast iron. Then onto Ironbridge, where curator John Challen tells how the world's first major iron structure came into being. And, Justin ends at Cyfarthfa in Wales, once home to the world's biggest ironworks, where historian Chris Evans explains why puddling and rolling are far more world-changing than they sound.

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BBC World Service
Elements: Technetium

Mar 11, 2015 - 00:31:54

Technetium is essential for medical imaging, yet supplies of this short-lived radioactive manmade element are far from guaranteed. Justin Rowlatt heads to University College London Hospital to see a technetium scan in progress, to view the clean rooms where technetium cows are milked, and to speak to nuclear medicine researcher Dr Kerstin Sander about a possible solution to cancer. Professor Andrea Sella explains why this element sparked a 70-year wild goose chase by chemists in the 19th Century. And, we dispatch Matt Wells to Winnipeg in Canada to meet the team hoping to come up with an alternative source of technetium, when the biggest current source - the Chalk River reactor in Ontario - shuts down in 2016.

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BBC World Service
Elements: Fluorine

Mar 4, 2015 - 00:42:31

Fluorine is a ferocious yellow gas that is the key building block for a string of other gases that pose a threat to mankind if released into the atmosphere. From the ozone-depleting CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) to potent greenhouse gases such as sulphur hexafluoride, Justin Rowlatt gets the full rundown from professor Andrea Sella of University College London. Justin travels to the source of fluorine in Britain, a fluorspar mine in Derbyshire, before following the ore to the giant acid works of Mexichem in Runcorn in the UK, where site director Ron Roscher explains the incredible array of uses for this chemical element. And, he also hears from environmental scientist Stefan Reimann about the environmental legacy of CFCs and the threat posed by Chinese and Indian air conditioners.

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BBC World Service
Elements: Chromium

Feb 25, 2015 - 00:33:15

Chromium: Justin Rowlatt visits the Warrs Harley dealership to find out from Professor Andrea Sella why this metallic element links the motorbikes on show, with the leather jackets and flick-knives of the archetypal biker gang. He hears from Erin Brockovich about the insidious role hexavalent chromium has played in drinking water and human health. And he travels to the luxury Savoy hotel in London, and the Harry Brearley memorial on a dingy post-industrial corner of Sheffield, to discover crucial role chromium plays in stainless steel.

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BBC World Service
Elements: Nickel (& Rhenium)

Feb 18, 2015 - 00:34:00

Nickel is the metal that made the jet age possible, not to mention margarine and bicycle sprockets. In the latest installment in his journey through the periodic table, Justin Rowlatt travels to Rolls Royce to discover the incredible materials science that this chemical element and its super-alloys have driven, as well as the miniscule market for another, far more valuable metal - rhenium. Justin also descends deep into the bowels of University College London with Professor Andrea Sella to encounter the clang of a Monel rod, a magic trick with a Nitinol paper clip, and an almost uncuttable piece of Inconel. (Photo: Airbus jets. Credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Elements: Uranium

Oct 8, 2014 - 00:41:11

Uranium is the fuel for nuclear power stations, which generate carbon-free electricity, but also radioactive waste that lasts a millennium. In the latest in our series looking at the world economy from the perspective of the elements of the periodic table, Justin Rowlatt travels to Sizewell in Suffolk, in a taxi driven by a former uranium prospector. He is given a tour of the operational power station, Sizewell B, which generates 3% of the UK's electricity, by EDF's head of safety Colin Tucker, before popping next-door to the original power station, Sizewell A, where he speaks to site director Tim Watkins about the drawn-out process of decommissioning and cleaning up the now-defunct reactors. But while Sizewell remains reassuringly quiet, the big explosions come at the end of the programme. We pit environmentalist and pro-nuclear convert Mark Lynas against German Green politician Hans-Josef Fell, the joint architect of Germany's big move towards wind and solar energy, at the expense of nuclear. Is nuclear a green option? It really depends whom you ask.

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BBC World Service
Elements: Lead

Oct 1, 2014 - 00:38:19

Lead is the sweetest of poisons, blamed for everything from mad Roman emperors to modern-day crime waves. Yet a lead-acid battery is still what gets your car going in the morning. So have we finally learnt how to handle this heavyweight element? Justin Rowlatt travels to arts shop Cornelissen in London's Bloomsbury to find out why they've stopped stocking the stuff, and hear from professor Andrea Sella of University College London, about the unique properties that have made it so handy in everything from radiation protection to glassware. Yet lead in petrol is also accused of having inflicted brain damage on an entire generation of children in the 1970s, as the economist Jessica Wolpaw-Reyes of Amherst College explains. And, producer Laurence Knight travels to one of the UK's only two lead smelters - HJ Enthoven's at Darley Dale in Derbyshire, the historical heartland of the UK lead industry - to see what becomes of the lead in your car battery, and speak to the director of the International Lead Association, Andy Bush.

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BBC World Service
Elements: Caesium

Sep 24, 2014 - 00:38:04

The atomic clock runs on caesium, and has redefined the very meaning of time. But it has also introduced a bug into timekeeping that affects everything from computerised financial markets to electricity grids, to satellite navigation, to the Greenwich Meridian. Justin Rowlatt travels to the birthplace of modern time, the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, England, to speak to Krzysztof Szymaniec, the keeper of the 'Caesium Fountain', and Leon Lobo, the man charged with disseminating time to the UK. He also hears from Felicitas Arias, director of Time at the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures in Paris, about plans to abolish the “leap second”. And the Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees, explains why even the atomic clock can never hope to provide an absolute measure of time.

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BBC World Service
Elements: Bromine

Sep 17, 2014 - 00:28:58

Bromine puts out fires - both in the home and in the heart. But despite its reputation as an anti-aphrodisiac, this chemical element's biggest use is in fire retardants, found in everything from your sofa to your radio. But do these bromine-based chemicals pose a risk to your health? Presenter Justin Rowlatt hears from chemistry professor Andrea Sella of University College London, about his own childhood encounter with this noxious red liquid. Justin speaks to chemicals industry analyst Laura Syrett of Industrial Minerals about why she thinks bromine may have been the victim of 'chemophobia' - an irrational public prejudice against chemicals. And, the BBC's Mark Lobel travels to the world's biggest source of bromine, the Dead Sea, to see the bromine works of Israel Chemicals Ltd, and comes face-to-face with some of the company's allegedly dangerous products in the hands of deputy head Anat Tal.

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BBC World Service
The Elements: Plutonium

Sep 10, 2014 - 00:37:36

We investigate the econonomics of plutonium, the chemical anti-hero which has killed tens of thousands and threatened the lives of millions more. We visit the Berkeley campus of the University of California, where plutonium was first discovered and meet David Shuh director of the The Glenn T. Seaborg Centre to get an insight into this infamous element and to find out what the latest research is telling us about its potential use into the future. We hear about the desperate legacy of testing that was done on vulnerable youngsters in the 1950s and 1960s, in which they were exposed to radiation in order to find out what the effect on them might be. They continue to live with the consequences of those experiments, to this day and the BBC's Peter Marshall tells us more about their stories. And plutonium expert Robert Kelley tells about plutonium's use both as a weapon and as the basis for nuclear power and outlines the precautions that are still being taken, to this day, to try to keep the world safe from the extraordinary potential of this element.

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BBC World Service
Elemental Business: Silicon and the Sun

Jul 30, 2014 - 00:38:27

Silicon, ordinarily associated with micro-chip production, is also a key component in solar panel manufacturing and as such, is crucial to the future of power for the planet. We hear from John Schaeffer, a solar power pioneer who at his shop and "solar living centre" in California, was one of the first to punt this eco-friendly form of power generation to his local community of sun-seeking Californian hippies - all to great effect. Richard Swanson of Sun Power and Lynn Jurich founder of Sunrun are busy developing ways to make solar panel manufacturing and distribution ever more cost efficient. While Barry Goldwater Jr., former Republican Congressman and one-time friend of Ronald Reagan, who is definitely not a hippie, has become a big solar power fan and is busy fighting its cause in the corridors of power. The sun, he says, will win the day.

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BBC World Service
Elemental Business: Silicon Chips

Jul 23, 2014 - 00:39:38

Silicon chips have shrunk a million-fold since Gordon Moore made his famous forecast in 1965, but is Moore's Law - and the computer revolution it heralded - about to run up against fundamental laws of physics? In the first of two programmes investigating silicon - the latest in our series looking at the elements of the periodic table and their role in the global economy - we travel to Silicon Valley to the biggest chip company of them all, Intel, co-founded by Gordon Moore himself. We visit the Intel museum with company spokesperson Chuck Mulloy and get up close to a giant ingot of the purest material on earth. We speak to Intel's chief chip architect Mark T Bohr about the future of computing. And, professor Andrea Sella of University College London explain's what micro-processing has to do with old Muscovite windows - with a trip to the beach.

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BBC World Service
Elemental Business: Vanadium

Jun 11, 2014 - 00:28:29

Vanadium, and obscure metal, provides the latest installment in our journey through the economics of the periodic table. This element has hardened steel since ancient times, and today it lies at the heart giant batteries that could be vital to the future of solar energy. Our regular chemistry maestro, professor Andrea Sella of University College London, demonstrates vanadium's surprisingly colourful properties. And, Justin Rowlatt meets Bill Radvak, chief executive of American Vanadium - the only vanadium company in the US - and asks what a 'redox flow battery' could do for the BBC's headquarters in London. We also hear from solar energy entrepreneur Alexander Voigt about the particular niche that vanadium will fill in the future ecosystem of electricity grid storage.

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BBC World Service
Elemental Business: Nitrogen Fertiliser

Jun 4, 2014 - 00:33:27

Nitrogen-based fertilisers have banished hunger in the rich world and ushered in an era of abundance. But they are a double-edged sword - the glut of food also comes with a glut of nitrogenous pollution that threatens to destroy our rivers and oceans. In our latest programme about the elements of the periodic table, Professor Andrea Sella of University College London tells presenter Justin Rowlatt why exactly our crops - and we humans - could not survive without nitrogen. The BBC's Washington correspondent Rajini Vaidyanathan sees - and smells - first-hand the denitrification of raw sewage, and hears from water scientist Dr Beth McGee of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation about the eutrophication of America's largest river estuary. And, Justin travels to Norwich to meet Giles Oldroyd of the John Innes Centre, who is seeking to genetically engineer cereal crops that can fix nitrogen from the air. He also meets farmer David Hill, who explains the hi-tech lengths he goes to in order to squeeze the maximum yield out of his fertiliser.

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BBC World Service
Elemental Business: Nitrogen Explosives

May 28, 2014 - 00:35:41

Nitrogen - the world's most abundant gas - has brought life and death to humanity on an epic scale - and tragedy to the scientists that have harnessed its power. It is seemingly inert, yet it can also blow things up. In the first of two programmes on nitrogen, chemistry guru Andrea Sella of University College London explains to Justin Rowlatt how the forces that make this gas so stable are the same ones that make nitrogen compounds such as nitroglycerin so explosive. Jez Smith, former head of research at the world's biggest explosives firm, Orica, talks about the shocking accuracy of modern mining detonations - all of them based on nitrogen. And Justin travels to the headquarters of German chemicals giant BASF to learn about ammonia production from Dr Michael Mauss and Bernard Geis, and how the work of chemists Fritz Haber and Karl Bosch a century ago saved the planet from starvation.

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BBC World Service
Elemental Business: Carbon Plastic

May 7, 2014 - 00:34:48

Plastics are one of the most useful substances known to man, strong, durable and abundant, but once in the environment, they are here to stay. Professor Andrea Sella tells us about the unique properties of carbon-based plastics - why they are so useful and why they are so hard to get rid of. And, Dr Susan Mossman, a materials science specialist at the Science Museum, gives us a plastics history lesson which has a few surprises along the way. But what happens when the high cost of hydro-carbons make plastics too expensive? Head of the National Non-Food Crops Centre in York, Dr Jeremy Tomkinson, is amongst those out there looking for alternatives. He tells us what a new generation of plastics might have to offer.

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BBC World Service
Elemental Business: Lithium (long version)

Apr 9, 2014 - 00:32:48

Lithium is the electro-chemical element - big in batteries and bipolar disorder. Over two decades it has shot from obscurity to become almost synonymous with the way we power our gadgets. Presenter Justin Rowlatt hears from chemistry powerhouse Prof Andrea Sella of University College London about what makes lithium so light and energetic. We hear from Gideon Long in Chile, who visits the world's richest source of lithium in the Atacama Desert, and about how neighbouring Bolivia believes it will dominate supply if demand for this alkali metal continues to see double-digit growth. Justin speaks to Prof Nigel Brandon of Imperial College, an expert on cutting-edge battery research, about whether this week's element can ever realistically hope to challenge a can of petrol as the best way to power a car. And we hear from clinical psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison of Johns Hopkins University about the literally life-saving role lithium has played for sufferers of bipolar disorder - including herself.

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BBC World Service
Elemental Business: Rare Earths

Mar 19, 2014 - 00:32:31

The rare earth elements are the focus of the latest instalment in Business Daily's exploration of the real basis of the world economy - the basic building blocks of everything in the universe, the chemical elements. And it's not a short list we cover: Lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, turbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytturbium and lutetium. You may not have heard of most of them but some have insinuated themselves deep into modern life. We'll be finding out the extraordinarily range of uses to which they've been put, as well as the big problem: The supply of these is overwhelmingly dominated by China. We'll be hearing from Professor Andrea Sella of University College London, Jack Lifton of Technology Metals Research, the journalist Cecile Bontron who provides a first-hand account of the Chinese processing plant at Baotou, as well as Henrik Stiesdahl and Rasmus Windfeld of Siemens' wind turbine division.

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BBC World Service
Elemental Business: Carbon Diamonds

Mar 5, 2014 - 00:31:26

Synthetic or natural? Diamond ring hunters may soon be asking themselves this question, as technological advances mean the gemstone market could be poised for a flood of man-made stones. Presenter Justin Rowlatt visits the new research headquarters of Element Six, the synthetics arm of mining giant de Beers, to find out how they are made and their proliferating industrial uses. He hears from diamonds journalist Chaim Even Zohar about the factory-made diamonds fraudulently passed of as natural gems. Author Matthew Hart retells the yarn of how a lowly small-time prospector first broke the de Beers cartel. And we hear from de Beers itself - their marketing head Stephen Lussier explains why diamonds really are forever.

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BBC World Service
Elemental Business: Carbon Materials

Jan 22, 2014 - 00:27:56

We take a second look at carbon, one of the most versatile of all the elements, in the latest episode of our series looking at the economy of the elements of the periodic table. We all now know that carbon-based fossil fuels are driving global warming, threatening to disrupt all our lives, but could carbon come riding to the rescue? Our favourite chemist, Andrea Sella of University College London, takes us through the basic chemistry of carbon and we visit some of the world's leading materials scientists in two leading carbon research centres. At Manchester University we meet professor Aravind Vijayaraghavan, an expert in the revolutionary nano-material, graphene and two of his colleagues. We also get a tour of the National Composities Centre with its chief executive Peter Chivers. And, we meet Colin Sirett, head of research at the European aerospace group Airbus.

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BBC World Service
Elemental Business: Carbon Energy

Jan 15, 2014 - 00:26:00

In our series examining the world economy from the perspective of the chemical elements, we look at how the industrial revolution was really an energy revolution driven by carbon-based fossil fuels. Chemistry professor Andrea Sella of University College London and his geology colleague professor Mark Maslin explain the chemical wizardry that makes carbon the ultimate fuel. We hear from Dr Paul Warde an industrial historian at the University of East Anglia, about how the 'C' element has powered the longest and most sustained economic boom in the history of humanity. But how long can it last? Can we expect the mother of all crashes when the carbon crunch finally comes? Two former oil men, Chris Mottershead, former head of energy security at BP and now vice principal for research at King's College in London and John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil, give us their perspectives on the whether the world is ready to tackle its addiction to fossil fuels, before the fuel runs out and in time to avert a looming climate change disaster.

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BBC World Service
Elemental Business: Gold

Dec 5, 2013 - 00:23:28

What makes gold so valuable, why is it golden and why is it the only elelment that makes a good currency? In chemical terms it is virtually useless. Justin Rowlatt talks to one of the world's biggest manufacturers of mobile phones about how you can recover the gold in your handset and learns how little gold there actually is. Find out more in the latest in our series examining the world economy from the perspective of the building blocks of the universe - the chemical elements.

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BBC World Service
Elemental Business: Mercury

Nov 27, 2013 - 00:23:29

Mercury is the bad-boy of the periodic table, often called 'quicksilver', it is both mesmerising and toxic as Professor Andrea Sella of University College London vividly explains. In the fourth of our series examining the global economics of chemical elements Justin Rowlatt speaks to Tim Kasten of the United Nations' Environment Programme who is one of the architects of a new international treaty that aims to ban the metal from industrial uses by 2020. As we discover, that ban will affect everything from coal-fired power stations to small-scale gold miners in developing countries, to the illumination of the lowly office. We visit a fluorescent bulb recycling plant outisde Norwich and speak to small scale gold miners in Ghana about how the ban might affect them. But it is all in a good cause, as Justin discovers when he visits one of the finest fishmongers in London.

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BBC World Service
Elemental Business: Aluminium

Nov 20, 2013 - 00:27:43

We look at aluminium, a more dazzling metal than you may imagine. A sceptical Justin Rowlatt visits the lab of our perennial chemist, Andrea Sella, to find out why it is used in everything from drinks cans to packaging to insulation to window frames.This metal used to be incredibly rare, because it is so hard to extract from its ore, bauxite. We visit Britain's only aluminium smelter - in the Scottish Highlands - to find out why so much electricity is needed in the process. But once you have it, it can be used, recycled and re-used almost ad infinitum. As the stock of metal in circulation increases every year, we ask the world's biggest manufacturer of rolled aluminium sheets whether one day the world may not need to mine the metal at all any more. And, as if that were not enough, we dispatch Justin to tour the world's biggest aluminium car body shop to find out why vehicle manufacturers are dropping the use of steel in favour of its lighter rival. (Photo: Aluminium bodied Range Rovers in production at the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) plant in Solihull. Credit: Press Association)

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BBC World Service
Elemental Business: Helium

Nov 13, 2013 - 00:23:35

Helium is the second most abundant element in the universe but very rare on earth. Professor Andrea Sella of University College London, explains to Justin Rowlatt the properties that make this inert gas so useful. He explains where it comes from and where it goes to. Washington correspondent, Jonny Dymond, is out in the wilds of the Texas pan-handle to explore the US national helium reserve. And, we hear from the head of General Electric's Magnetic Resonance Imaging division - one of the world's biggest users of helium - on why the gas is so important in the fight against many diseases.

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BBC World Service
Elemental Business: Phosphorus

Nov 6, 2013 - 00:20:00

In the first of Elementary Business - a new series of programmes about the chemical elements - Justin Rowlatt asks whether phosphorus poses the biggest looming crisis that you have never heard of. Since 1945, the world's population has tripled. Yet the fact that we've still managed to feed all those mouths is in no small part thanks to phosphates. We mine them, turn them into fertiliser, and then spread them onto our fields, whence they are ultimately washed away into the ocean. Justin speaks to chemist Andrea Sella to find out just why phosphorus is so vital to sustaining life, and modern agriculture. He also hears from Jeremy Grantham, a voice from the world of high finance, who warns that pretty soon Morocco may find itself with the dubious honour of a near-monopoly of the world's remaining phosphate supplies. And Justin travels to the lowly town of Slough, near London, to take a look at one new way of staving off the dreaded day when the world eventually runs out of the stuff. (Photo: The Thames Valley sewage treatment facility at Slough, which can extract phosphorus)

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THE JOE ROGAN EXPERIENCE
#606 - Randall Carlson

Feb 4, 2015 - 3:09:16

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