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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
The Bank in Your Pocket

Jun 22, 2017 - 00:17:28

Smartphones are bringing banking to the unbanked - giving millions in emerging markets access to credit and banking for the first time. Presenter Manuela Saragosa speaks to World Bank treasurer Arunma Oteh, as well as the chief executive of fintech firm Cignifi, Jonathan Hakim, both of whom are trying to use digital footprints to make credit available to those living in low income countries. Also in the programme, Jeremy Wagstaff of Reuters explains why Singapore has been giving sharing economy firms such as Uber and Airbnb a somewhat less warm embrace lately. (Picture: A woman withdraws money at an Orange Money cashier booth in Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Credit: Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Uber and Out

Jun 21, 2017 - 00:17:24

Travis Kalanick, founder of the ride-hailing app firm, resigns as chief executive amid allegations of exploitation of staff and misogyny at the company. The BBC's Dave Lee in San Francisco explains why, after months of scandal, the man at the top has finally been dethroned. Also in the programme, the BBC's Theo Leggett reports live from the Paris Air Show on a future of flying cars and the return of the supersonic passenger jet. Guests include Douglas MacAndrew of AeroMobil, Jean-Brice Dumont of Airbus, and Blake Scholl of Boom Supersonic. (Picture: An Uber SUV waits for a client in Manhattan; Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Weird Career Paths

Jun 20, 2017 - 00:17:27

Zen investment banking, "reverse retirement", and doing 25 jobs before you're 25 - Ed Butler speaks to three people pursuing unusual paths through working life. Michael Dobbs-Higginson, diagnosed with a terminal illness, looks back on a remarkable life that took him from a farmer's son in rural Zimbabwe, to a Buddhist monk, to chairman of the investment bank Merrill Lynch Asia Pacific. Erik Schlimmer explains why he decided to postpone entering formal employment until his 40s, while 24-year-old Emma Rosen tells of her ambition to try out 25 different careers before she hits her quarter century. (Picture: Repeated image of a man in bowler hat and suit holding an alarm clock gazing at himself in the mirror; Credit: cyano66/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Talking Your Way Out of Europe

Jun 19, 2017 - 00:17:27

After a disappointing election, UK Prime Minister Theresa May lost her majority, and she enters Brexit negotiations weaker not stronger, with reports of profound discord within her own parties ranks. What hope a smooth Brexit? We get the thoughts of Simon Horton, author of Negotiation Mastery: Tools for the 21st Century Negotiator. We also get an insight from Hugo Paemen, former EU Chief Negotiator during the creation of the World Trade Organisation, and erstwhile head representative of the EU to the United States. Barclays bank, and a number of its former executives, may learn this week whether they're going to face charges in the UK, in relation to a fundraising the bank undertook at the height of the financial crisis. Yes we are still talking about the financial crisis of 2008. If upheld, this complex legal case could have big implications. The author and banking expert Philip Augar tells us more about the case. And, our regular columnist Lucy Kellaway of the Financial Times is back with some key thoughts on gender politics and straight-talking. (Photo: The British and EU flags lowered, side-by-side. Credit: Gerard Julien/ Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Qatar Gets Down to Business

Jun 16, 2017 - 00:17:28

Almost two weeks into the economic blockade against the Gulf state, what are the pitfalls and opportunities that Qatari businesses and workers face? Businessman Khalifa al Haroon tells presenter Ed Butler why he and fellow entrepreneurs are finding new doors opening to them, as the Saudis and other neighbours slam the door shut on trade with their nation. We hear from some of those facing the worst fall-out from Qatar's isolation. One of the emirate's estimated two million migrant workers tells us of his fears. Meanwhile US analyst Phil Kornbluth explains why the global helium market has been particularly hard hit. And what of the alleged justification of the sanctions imposed by Qatar's neighbours? David Weinberg of the Washington DC-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies spells out why he thinks the country's leadership have got too cosy with Islamist extremists. Also in the programme, the BBC's Will Grant reports on the rise of Western-style luxury shopping in Cuba, just as President Trump prepares to cool US relations with the Communist island once more. (Photo: A group of Qatari businessman walk in a shopping mall. Credit: Karim Jaafar/ AFP/ Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
America's Opioid Nightmare

Jun 15, 2017 - 00:17:29

Could law-suits from the opioid epidemic prove a reckoning for Big Pharma? It's been some 20 years since the opioid epidemic first began to spread across the US - supposedly non-addictive painkillers meant to treat all kinds of basic conditions, from back-pain to toothache, that have since turned more than 2 million Americans into addicts. Today it's estimated some 50,000 people are dying in the US annually as a result of opioid overdose, a three-fold increase since the start of the century. We hear from one community, Huntington in West Virginia, which has the highest rate of addiction recorded anywhere in the US. The Mayor is one of many local leaders bringing lawsuits against US pharmaceutical companies and their distributors. We hear from the Nobel laureate who helped to bring the epidemic to public attention, Professor Angus Deaton of Princeton University. We also speak to an addiction specialist in Detroit Michigan, Dr. Dwight Timothy Gammons, and we hear from a legal expert, Professor Richard Ausness of the University of Kentucky who wonders whether the latest litigation could prove as damaging to Big Pharma companies, as the multi-billion dollar law-suits against Big Tobacco in the 1990s. (Picture: A woman lying on the floor, Credit: 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
The Gender Agenda

Jun 13, 2017 - 00:17:28

Pink is for girls and blue is for boys. Or is it? Manuela Saragosa explores the impact a more gender fluid world is having on business. Jamie Gutfreund, head of marketing at Wunderman, tells us why Generation Z are moving away from a binary view of gender and how big brands are adapting accordingly. Mother of two boys Kristen Johnson, was dismayed when she couldn't find a male doll for her children to play with so she set up a company to fill the gap in the market. She tells us her story and why a simple child's toy proved so controversial. Also on the programme, Maddy Savage visits a gender neutral school in Sweden. (Picture: Baby boy and baby girl, Credit: Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Back to Brexit?

Jun 12, 2017 - 00:17:27

What do the latest election results in Britain mean for the country's departure from the European Union? The BBC's Sanchia Berg hears from businesses in the east of England and Institute of Directors' chairman Lady Barbara Judge, tells us the British business community is running out of patience. Also Elmar Brok, German Member of the European Parliament, tells Manuela Saragosa how these latest election results are being viewed in the European Union, while Gerard Lyons, Chief Economic Strategist at Netwealth Investments and co-founder of ' Economists for Brexit', argues that a clean break from the EU is still on the cards. (Photo: EU flag with hole in it revealing Big Ben. Credit: Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Livestreaming for a Living

Jun 8, 2017 - 00:17:28

Are live broadcasts over the internet the new fast-track to fame? And why are they so big in China? Manuela Saragosa meets two of this new breed of internet celebrity: Emma McGann is a musician who performs her songs on the YouNow site. Meanwhile over on the Twitch platform, the popular video gamer known as Spamfish is in real life Tim Mines, an unemployed man who discovered that his favourite past-time could actually earn him a decent living. In China, livestreaming is already a $3 billion business, and still growing fast. We hear from Scott Zhang, founding partner of PurpleSky, which owns one of the country's biggest livestreaming apps, known as Inke. So could it catch on in the West? We ask Paul Verna, senior analyst at eMarketer. (Picture: Emma McGann; Credit: Emma McGann)

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BBC World Service
Latvia, Estonia and Skype

Jun 7, 2017 - 00:17:28

The software behind Skype was developed in Estonia and has transformed the Baltic state's tech startup scene. Now its neighbours are trying to emulate that success. Marie Keyworth visits Lativa, where the government is trying to cultivate a startup culture in the capital Rega, as well as Estonia's capital Tallinn to see how they are trying to build on Skype's success. (Photo: Rega, Credit: Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Tourism, Terror And Trump

Jun 6, 2017 - 00:17:30

The choices that tourists make can have a huge impact on the world economy. Today, we unpick the psychology of the tourist and how terror attacks and political upheaval affect the choices they make. Ed Butler reports from Egypt, where it is estimated that tourism is down as much as 40% following sustained instability in the region. And on the other side of the globe, have the politics and rhetoric of President Donald Trump had a negative impact on tourism? Adam Sacks, President of Tourism Economics explains why the rising antipathy toward the US poses a very real threat for an industry worth over $250 Billion dollars. Plus, global guru and travel editor at the Independent newspaper, Simon Calder, gives us the latest on the growing diplomatic row with Qatar in the Gulf region and the impact it is having on flights out of the international flight hub Doha. (Picture: Doha aerial view, Credit: Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Politics in the Digital Age

Jun 5, 2017 - 00:17:27

On the eve of the UK election, we are taking a look at how political messages reach us in the digital age. Is the Internet improving or undermining our understanding of the big political questions that we face? James Williams is a former Google employee and current winner of the $100,000 Nine Dots prize, which seeks to address problems facing the modern world. He tells Ed Butler how the 'age of outrage and clickbait' is damaging our engagement in politics. So what is the key to enticing the general public when it comes to politics? Hugo Mercier is a researcher of cognitive science at Neuchâtel University, he explains why we are becoming more cynical and harder to convince than we once were. Plus, the truth behind 'going viral'. Author Derek Thompson has been studying the phenomenon in his book 'Hit Makers' and the answer may not be quite what you think. (Picture: Google eye, Credit: Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Trump Squishes Paris Treaty

Jun 2, 2017 - 00:17:27

What are the economic implications of the US President's withdrawal from the global climate change deal? And why do many big oil companies and some Republicans oppose his move? Presenter Ed Butler gets the views of former president of the Shell Oil Company John Hofmeister, the former head of George W Bush's Environmental Protection Agency Christine Todd Whitman, and the Greenpeace senior climate advisor Charlie Kronick. Also in the programme, the many business initiatives to improve child literacy in Africa. We hear about one of the more surprising ones - affordable sanitary towels - from Sophia Grinvalds, the co-founder of AFRIpads. Plus actress and model Lily Cole explains why she is backing the Project Literacy Lab plan. (Picture: Donald Trump announces his decision for the United States to pull out of the Paris climate agreement; Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Calling Time on the Boss

Jun 1, 2017 - 00:17:27

When is the right time for a chief executive to choose to step down? From Arsenal FC to British Airways, many bosses are refusing to bow to the pressure. Ed Butler gets the views of corporate expert and author of "The Secrets of CEOs" Steve Tappin, as well as from Professor Chris Brady, director of the Centre for Sports Business at Salford Business School. Plus, with a week to go until the British general election, are UK-based scientists already suffering from the country's imminent departure from the European Union? Rob Young reports from Manchester. (Picture: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger checks his watch; Credit: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Are Robo-Taxis the Future of Cars?

May 31, 2017 - 00:17:29

Are automated electric vehicles about to transform our roads out of all recognition? And will it end private car ownership? Ed Butler takes a test drive in a Tesla - with the car doing a chunk of the driving - to find out just how far self-driving technology has already advanced. And he speaks to car tech think tanker James Arbib, who claims that soon all of us will be ditching our old petrol-powered cars altogether, and renting Uber-style electric pods instead. This could destroy many existing industries - the big car-makers, the oil giants, lorry drivers, and the traditional car salesman. We ask Jonathan Collegio of the US National Automobile Dealers' Association whether he is nervous. And what future problems could this new tech hold? Ed speaks to Doug Davis, head of automated driving at chipmaker Intel. (Picture: Google self-driving car; Credit: Noah Berger/AFP/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Sinking State?

May 30, 2017 - 00:17:29

Ed Butler travels to Florida to assess the impact of rising sea-levels on a booming property market that has more than a million homes just a metre above sea level. Key Largo resident Stephanie Russo tells him what it was like to be stranded by flooding and why it is getting more common. Former local Mayor Jim Cason talks about the increasing issue of getting insurance for homes along the water, and what it will take for Florida's many wealthy residents to have doubts about staying there. Miami Beach Property Agent Alex Podritsky explains why global investors are still flocking to the State despite the risks. South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard is concerned the area may have to be abandoned entirely and explains why coastal mortgages could be 'the next financial bubble'. (Picture: Florida coast line, Credit: Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Worked to Death in Japan

May 29, 2017 - 00:17:28

Edwin Lane reports from Japan, which has some of the longest working hours in the world, and a worrying trend of young people working themselves to death. He meets Michiyo Nishigaki, the mother of one victim of karoshi - the Japanese term used to describe death from overwork - and asks why the government isn't doing more to curb the overtime culture in many Japanese companies. Makoto Iwahashi from the campaign group Posse explains the pressures facing young workers. Local government official Hitoshi Ueno discusses how managers can encourage people to go home on time, and Koji Morioka, a karoshi researcher, tells us why the government isn't doing enough. (Photo: Michiyo Nishigaki, mother of a karoshi victim, Credit: BBC)

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BBC World Service
Sheep, Cows and Subsidies

May 26, 2017 - 00:17:27

Are Welsh farmers regretting the UK's decision to leave the European Union? Fergus Nicoll reports on the Brexit fears lurking in the hills of north Wales. Plus the power of the pink dollar in a world increasingly polarised over gay rights. Presenter Ed Butler speaks to Mark Anderson, an executive at Virgin Atlantic promoting LGBT equality in their destination countries, and Robyn Exton, the entrepreneur behind the lesbian dating app Her. (Photo: Farmer feeds lambs and ewes in Brecon, Wales. Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

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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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