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BBC World Service
Trump's 100-Day Report Card

Apr 28, 2017 - 00:17:26

How much has Trump achieved economically at this traditional milestone in a new US president's tenure? And are his supporters still on board the Trump train? In West Virginia - a bastion of Trump support in the elections - Emily Unia meets several unwavering fans, along with a few who are feeling a bit disillusioned. Trump advisor Diana Furchtgott-Roth goes head-to-head with Democrat think tanker Dean Baker over how many promises Mr Trump has reneged on. And the BBC's New York correspondent, Nick Bryant, gives presenter Ed Butler some historic perspective on Trump's performance. (Picture: Donald Trump campaign bumper sticker in the back of a car; Credit: Mark Makela/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Bluefin Tuna: Loved to Death?

Apr 27, 2017 - 00:17:29

Could Japan's craving for this fish end up wiping out what is a favourite sushi staple? Ed Butler examines a classic case of overfishing, and asks whether fish farming is the answer. Dr David Agnew, science and standards director at the Marine Stewardship Council, explains why it's not just this prized melt-in-the-mouth delicacy that is being hunted towards extinction - around 90% of the world's fish stocks of all species are now fully or overfished. Meanwhile Edwin Lane reports from Japan's Wakayama prefecture where one man is confident he can create a reliable and sustainable bluefin supply. Also in the programme, is China getting fat? We hear from food tech venture capitalist Matilda Ho, who hopes to meet the bloating appetites of the country's 1.3 billion stomachs, whilst delivering a healthy balanced diet. Is the solution to eat worms? (Picture: Bluefin tuna; Credit: Kinda University)

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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
French Election: Macron Versus Le Pen

Apr 24, 2017 - 00:17:26

Centrist Emmanuel Macron will face Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election. Is it now a straight choice between globalism and protectionism? Joe Miller reports from a Macron election party in the French city of Lille, where supporters say the success of their candidate is a success for Europe. Suzanna Streeter discusses Macron's prospects against Le Pen in the final vote in two weeks' time from Paris. And Anna Stupnytska, global economist at fund managers Fidelity International, is in the studio to explain why the financial markets are so happy. Plus regular commentator Lucy Kellaway on why chatting in the office has gone out of fashion. (Photo: Emmanuel Macron, Credit: Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
French Elections: Meet the Candidates

Apr 21, 2017 - 00:17:27

As France prepares for the first round of its presidential election on Sunday, Theo Leggett looks at the economic factors driving the candidates' fortunes, and the financial consequences of the outcome. On a visit to rural Provence, Theo meets the struggling farmers who feel that Marine Le Pen of the far right Front National is the only candidate who cares about their plight. Dominique Moisi of think tank the Institut Montaigne in Paris gives the run-down of what is a particularly colourful field dominated by outsiders. And James Bevan of CCLA Investment Management explains how the markets are likely to react, particularly in what for many investors would be the worst case scenario of a far rights versus far left run-off election. (Picture: A woman walks past electoral posters of French presidential election candidates; Credit: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Is North Korea Feeling the Heat from China?

Apr 20, 2017 - 00:17:25

Does Beijing really have economic leverage over Pyongyang? And even if they do, are they willing to use it? Presenter Manuela Saragosa hears from one expert - Professor Stephen Noerper of Columbia University - who has his doubts. Also in the programme, how will Brexit affect the UK's all important financial services sector? Matthew Price reports from a nervous City of London on the banks, insurance companies and fund managers warily eyeing the door. (Picture: A North Korean factory billows smoke near the Yalu river on the Chinese border; Credit: Johannes Eisele/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
What Does 'America First' Really Mean?

Apr 18, 2017 - 00:17:27

How will Donald Trump set about fulfilling his pledge to "buy American, hire American"? Former George W Bush advisor Pippa Malmgren tells presenter Manuela Saragosa how much we should read into the current US President's sabre rattling over trade relations with China and other big exporting nations, as well as his plans to roll back the H-1B visa scheme used in particular to hire Indians in the tech sector. Also in the programme, the future of transport. Dave Lee reports on whether there is any justification for electric vehicle producer Tesla's $50bn stock valuation beyond founder Elon Musk's equally enormous personality. Meanwhile in China, Stephen McDonell reports on how rented bicycles are becoming so popular that they are literally piling up in the streets. Plus, Lucy Kellaway on why she has flagrantly disregarded the corporate code of conduct of her employer, the Financial Times. (Picture: President Donald Trump shows off a “Make America Great Again” cap; Credit: Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Handmade by Hipsters

Apr 17, 2017 - 00:17:45

In today's Business Daily Elizabeth Hotson delves into the secrets of the backstory. A compelling tale is now de rigueur when it comes to selling us things, especially in the food industry; whether it's a bar of chocolate or a cup of coffee, provenance is everything. We take a trip round London's trendy Shoreditch area with man about town and marketing expert, Peter York who explains why being 'handmade by hipsters' can justify sky high prices. Down in the depths of the British Library, Polly Russell tells us how the idea of the backstory came about. We take a leisurely stroll across town to London Bridge where Tom Sellers takes time out from service at his restaurant, Story, to wax lyrical about his culinary pièce de résistance - an edible candle. Steve Sutton, a Colombian in New York insists that sourcing beans from dangerous 'red zones' is vital to his coffee business, Devoción. And what do you do if you have a product to sell but no story to tell? Simon Manchipp from Shoreditch design agency SomeOne is here to help. Picture credit: Getty Images

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BBC World Service
Death on the Ganges

Apr 14, 2017 - 00:17:28

In the Indian city of Varanasi, some 300 cremations are conducted each day on the "ghats" or steps leading down to the River Ganges. The BBC's Rahul Tandon meets pilgrims who spend their last days at this holy place in search of nirvana, and the businesses that thrive on their parting. We visit a guesthouse for those seeking their final check-out, and hear from foreign tourists attracted by the city's ritual and spirituality, not to mention its yoga facilities. Rahul also hears how Prime Minister Narendra Modi - who is also Varanasi's member of parliament - hopes to clean up the town, both of its pollution and of its crime. (Picture: Burning ghat in Varanasi; Credit: BBC)

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BBC World Service
Funding Africa's Growth

Apr 13, 2017 - 00:17:30

Africa is the second fastest growing continent in the world, yet it only attracts a few billion dollars of private investment per year. Why is that? Dr Amy Jadesimi of Nigerian logistics firm Ladol tells presenter Ed Butler that she blames the global moneymen for having a blind spot when it comes to cashing in on the continent. Meanwhile South African tech entrepreneur Sheraan Amod, explains how he had to turn to his mother to help finance his first start-up. And Arnold Ekpe, former head of pan-African lender Ecobank, explains what can be done to overcome what he sees as the excessive caution of the continent's banks. (Picture: Kenyan farmer tends newly planted trees; Credit: Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images)

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BBC World Service
Fintech Comes of Age

Apr 12, 2017 - 00:17:29

In today's programme Ed Butler visits the Innovate Finance Conference in the heart of the City in Central London, where we're marking the coming of age of a new industry. Fintech as it's known has expanded from things like simple mobile payment systems to big financial players; around 8000 firms worldwide with $85billion in funding. Lawrence Wintermeyer, CEO of Innovate Finance, the group that runs the annual conference, says there's a new confidence in the sector. So what about the fintech companies themselves? Blockchain creates a digital record that is inherently resistant to outside tampering. Basically, aficionadoes say, it's virtually hack-proof. Peter Randall, CEO of start-up Setl, is hoping to cash in. Cities are competing for these new start-ups' attention and although London remains perhaps the world's leading fintech hub, a close rival is Singapore; we hear from Sopnendu Mohanty, a fintech regulator with the City of Singapore and Maria Gotsch, President and CEO at the Partnership Fund for New York City. Photo 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
Sea Snakes and Subs

Apr 7, 2017 - 00:17:44

In today's Business Daily, Zoe Kleinman visits the Ocean Business exhibition. She tries out the latest marine technology including shoals of subs, robot sea snakes and remote controlled boats. Dan Hook from ASV Global invites Zoe to remotely pilot one of its rather expensive survey vehicles. Terry Sloane from Planet Ocean gives the low down on robotic microsubs, whilst Richard Mills from Kongsberg Maritime demonstrates the results of 10 years of research into snake robots which will be used for underwater inspection and maintenance. All this cutting edge equipment needs a power source and Paul Edwards from Steatite rounds off the programme by talking about the latest in battery technology. Picture Description: C Worker 5 survey vehicle Picture Credit: ASV

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BBC World Service
Can Greece Get Back on Track?

Apr 6, 2017 - 00:17:29

Greece is facing its eighth successive year of recession in 2017. It's the longest, most punishing economic contraction ever seen in a developed country. And there could be more cuts, imposed by the lenders on the way. But today we bring you something you may not be so used to hearing - a Greek tale of entrepreneurial success. Kinems is a platform offering teaching support for children with learning difficulties. Since it's launch in Athens in 2012, it's proved so useful and successful it's spread across Europe and even to the United States. We speak to its founder and CEO Michael Boloudakis. Plus we speak to Apostolos Apostolakis an entrepreneur and venture capitalist about how you manage starting a new firm in such challenging circumstances. But Jens Bastian is a German independent financial analyst, based in Athens tells us thing aren't getting any better in Greece.

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BBC World Service
China's Secret Picture Book Embargo

Apr 5, 2017 - 00:17:29

Hong Kong news reports suggest that Chinese publishers have been ordered to stop importing foreign picture books. But nothing's been officially announced. And if it's true, why? We hear from Sidney Leng of the South China Morning Post, and from a leading children's book buyer, Fan Xiaohong, vice-president of children's publishing at the Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press in China. Also in the programme, we examine the latest frontline in China's efforts to restrict the outflows of money from the country: bitcoin. The price of the famous digital currency has spiked to record highs in the last month as Chinese in particular have been buying in bulk, it seems. Nathaniel Popper is a New York Times reporter and author of "Digital Gold, Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires a book about the online currency". He tells us about the background, and the Chinese government's efforts to clamp down on the trade. (Photo: Child reading a book. Credit: 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
Robots: Coming to an Office Near You

Mar 31, 2017 - 00:17:28

Should we fear or embrace the advent of "co-bots" - robot colleagues? Ed Butler reports on the startling advances in the automation of the workplace. He encounters a veritable menagerie of automatons at London's Science Museum, where lead curator Ben Russell shows our presenter around their latest special robots exhibition, featuring everything from mediaeval clockwork mannequins to a pair of self-propelling mechanised legs. The BBC's Audrey Tinline reports from the Netherlands, where some offices are already renting robotic arms to save their human employees from incurring repetitive strain injuries. Meanwhile Ed heads to the north London offices of Shadow Robot, where managing director Rich Walker shows off his company's robotic hand. But what exactly is it for? (Picture: Baxter robot on show at London's Science Museum; Credit: Plastiques Photography, courtesy of the Science Museum)

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BBC World Service
Industrial Espionage

Mar 30, 2017 - 00:17:28

From the East German Stasi to modern-day cyber hackers, Theo Leggett takes a furtive look at the people seeking to steal businesses' most valuable secrets, and what can be done to stop them. Researcher Erik Meyersson explains how, at the height of the Cold War, the DDR - with the help of a network of thousands well-placed human assets - was able to produce cheap copies of one of IBM's most advanced computers. Theo heads to Spymaster - a London high street retailer of James Bond-esque gadgets - to discover the modern tools of the trade, and to speak to Steve Durbin of the Information Security Forum, who explains how the greatest fear of big corporations that he works for is of being hacked. The most prolific modern-day cyber-thief of corporate intellectual property is China, say some experts. Theo speaks to John Carlin, formerly an attorney general at the US Department of Justice, about his efforts to fend them off. (Picture: Eye staring through a hole in a wooden fence; Credit: thornland/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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