The Inquiry gets beyond the headlines to explore the trends, forces and ideas shaping the world.


  • Should Joe Biden stay in the basement?

    Should Joe Biden stay in the basement?

    23/07/2020 Duration: 23min

    The presidential opposition candidate Joe Biden has barely emerged from his home since America’s lockdown at the end of March. But polls suggest that the low-key strategy is working in his favour – as his rival President Donald Trump comes under increasing pressure over his handling of the coronavirus and a resurgence of racial tension. With four months to go until the election, is staying in the basement Joe Biden’s best option? What are the risks if he does? And how could Donald Trump turn things around? Contributors: . Jason Zengerle, writer at large for the New York Times Magazine . Rachel Bitecofer, Senior Fellow at the Niskanen Center and host of the Election Whisperer. . Niambi Carter, Associate Professor of Political Science at Howard University and author of “American While Black”. . Whit Ayres, Republican pollster at North Star Opinion Research. Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producers: Estelle Doyle and Victoria McCraven Editor: Richard Vadon (Image: Joe Biden at campaign event, Credit: Leah Mil

  • Is China versus India the most important rivalry of the 21st century?

    Is China versus India the most important rivalry of the 21st century?

    16/07/2020 Duration: 24min

    The recent border clash between China and India is seen as a watershed moment in the two nuclear nations’ relationship. How will its repercussions affect Asia, and the rest of the world? Contributors: . Chris Dougherty - a senior fellow with the Defence Programme at the Centre for New American Securities. . Ananth Krishnan – a correspondent for the Hindu newspaper. And the author of “India’s China Challenge” . Tanvi Madan – a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy programme at the Brookings Institution. . Yu Jie - a Senior Research Fellow on China at Chatham House. Presenter: Tanya Beckett Series Producer: Estelle Doyle (Chinese President Leader Xi Jinping with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 2017 BRICS Summit. Photo: Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Getty images)

  • Why are Covid cases rising in the US?

    Why are Covid cases rising in the US?

    09/07/2020 Duration: 22min

    Why are Covid cases dramatically increasing in some U.S. states, where rates had been low? The number of new coronavirus infections in a single day has passed fifty five thousand. Is it because of more testing, or is something else going on? (Demonstrators outside the State Capitol in Auston.Texas protesting against Coronavirus restrictions. Credit: Gary Miller/Getty Images)

  • What does Putin want?

    What does Putin want?

    02/07/2020 Duration: 24min

    President Vladimir Putin has been in power for 20 years. The Russian people have been voting on a change to the constitution that could keep him in the Kremlin until 2036. While world leaders and opponents struggle to second guess him, some objectives appear to be clear: stability at home, respect abroad and power maintained for his inner circle. Presented by Charmaine Cozier (President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, February 2020. Credit: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

  • Why do we care about statues?

    Why do we care about statues?

    25/06/2020 Duration: 24min

    The killing of African American George Floyd ignited anti-racist protests around the world - many centred on statues associated with colonialism and slavery. Why do these figures of bronze and stone generate such strong feelings? And what do they tell us about how countries deal with their past? Contributors: Sarah Beetham Chair of Liberal Arts at the Pennsylvania Academy in the Fine Arts. Ghaith Abdul-Ahad journalist for The Guardian newspaper. AGK Menon, architect, urban planner and founder of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage. Daniel Libeskind, architect. Presenter: Kavita Puri (Protesters attempt to pull down the statue of Andrew Jackson near the White House June 22, 2020 in Washington, DC. Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

  • How will Hollywood respond to the Black Lives Matter and Me Too movements?

    How will Hollywood respond to the Black Lives Matter and Me Too movements?

    18/06/2020 Duration: 24min

    Why is the movie business having trouble representing the world’s population on and behind the big screen? A rising share of the U.S. population are black, more than half of the demographic are female – so why is it so difficult to translate this into cinema? Hollywood has found itself red-faced in an era of Black Lives Matter and MeToo movements. From #OscarsSoWhite to criticism of who’s behind the films we see, the pressure to change is stacking up. Charmaine Cozier discovers the issues within the industry and what movie bosses prioritise over diversity. But will activists, actors and data be enough to convince big studios that the revolution is here – or will it just be business as usual? Guests: April Reign, Diversity and Inclusion Advocate and creator of the #OscarsSoWhite movement Naomi McDougall-Jones, a film producer, writer and women in film activist Darnell Hunt, Dean of Social Sciences at UCLA and Professor of Sociology in African American Studies. He is co-author of the UCLA Hollywood Diversi

  • Will Covid-19 change cities?

    Will Covid-19 change cities?

    11/06/2020 Duration: 23min

    From the bubonic plague and cholera to tuberculosis, pandemics have changed the ways cities have been designed and built. The coronavirus has been no different: with cities all over the world on lockdown, our cities have changed to become quieter, greener, with wildlife returning on an unprecedented scale. Now, with the lockdowns beginning to ease, Kavita Puri asks: what is the future of our cities? Will they return to the way they were - and do we want them to? Producer: Eleanor Biggs Presenter: Kavita Puri (Parisians cycle through the streets of Paris on the Rue de Rivoli, which has been made almost entirely cycleable. Photo:Samuel Boivin/Getty Images)

  • Why do US cops keep killing unarmed black men?

    Why do US cops keep killing unarmed black men?

    03/06/2020 Duration: 22min

    Why is George Floyd the latest in a long line of unarmed black men killed by US police? Studies show black men are three times more likely to be killed by police in America than white people. With Helena Merriman. (A man speaks into a bullhorn as demonstrators march in Los Angeles, California. 2 June 2020. Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

  • How far can the Chinese government be blamed for Covid-19?

    How far can the Chinese government be blamed for Covid-19?

    28/05/2020 Duration: 24min

    Ever since a mysterious virus was reported in December 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the world has been watching China. Silenced whistleblowers, unregulated wildlife trade in wet markets, limited international cooperation, and even a local biosafety lab have been held up as examples of how China mishandled the crisis. But how far can it be blamed for Covid-19 becoming a pandemic? This week on The Inquiry, Kavita Puri asks what the Chinese government could, or should, have done differently to prevent a global catastrophe. Producer: Eleanor Biggs Presenter: Kavita Puri (A man drags a handcart across an emptied road on February 5, 2020 during lockdown in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. Getty Images)

  • How will the world pay for Covid-19?

    How will the world pay for Covid-19?

    21/05/2020 Duration: 24min

    As governments spend huge sums to get through the coronavirus crisis, how will they fund it all? Slash spending, raise taxes or just accept debt is here to stay? With Tanya Beckett. (Photo: Variety of world currency notes: Credit: Getty images)

  • Why does Germany have such a low number of deaths from Covid-19?

    Why does Germany have such a low number of deaths from Covid-19?

    14/05/2020 Duration: 23min

    To date, 7500 people have lost their lives in Germany in a population of 80 million. Other comparably sized European countries like the UK, France, Italy and Spain – some with smaller populations have deaths far exceeding Germany several times over. In this week’s Inquiry Kavita Puri tries to find out why. Producer Jim Frank (People walk at Kurfürstendamm, Berlin's popular shopping area during the coronavirus crisis May 2020 Germany. Credit: Maja Hitij /Getty Images)

  • Why are so many ethnic minorities dying in the UK and US?

    Why are so many ethnic minorities dying in the UK and US?

    07/05/2020 Duration: 24min

    In news reports and newspapers, pictures of British healthcare workers who have lost their lives to Covid-19 sit side by side. And if you look at those faces one thing stands out clearly. Of the 119 cases of NHS deaths more than two thirds are black or an ethnic minority - yet they only make up 20% of the workforce. Figures from the National Health Service in England show a disproportionate number of Covid-19 deaths are amongst these groups. And it’s not just in the UK. In the United States on available data – it’s a similar story with African Americans accounting for many more deaths in a community that make up 13% of the population. So what’s going on? Kavita Puri speaks with: Dr Kamlesh Khunti, Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester Professor Kathy Rowan, Director of the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre Dr Consuelo Wilkins, Vice President for Health Equity at Vanderbilt University Medical Center Prof John Watkins, Professor Epidemiolog

  • Why are people attacking 5G mobile phone masts?

    Why are people attacking 5G mobile phone masts?

    30/04/2020 Duration: 22min

    Tanya Beckett looks at 5G and examines why it’s become the centre of conspiracy theories linking it to the coronavirus and others. What is it about the latest mobile technology which some find so alarming that it drives them to attack and burn down this infrastructure? And what draws people to conspiracy theories - even when all available evidence says they’re wrong. Reporter Tanya Beckett Producer Jim Frank

  • How do we come out of the lockdown?

    How do we come out of the lockdown?

    23/04/2020 Duration: 23min

    As some nations begin to tentatively lift their lockdowns, Tanya Beckett asks how best this can be done? What lessons, if any, can we learn from past pandemics? How do states make the decision, juggling the increasing demands of economic and social factors against public health concerns amid worries of a new wave of infections from the disease. And what will our lives look like in a post lockdown world? We hear from contributors based in France, the United States, South Korea and Denmark - one of the first countries to begin to lift it’s lockdown. Reporter Tanya Beckett Producer Jim Frank (A woman wearing a mask runs through a deserted Central Park in Manhattan, April 16, 2020 during lockdown in New York City, USA. Credit: Johannes Eisele/ Getty Images)

  • How do you help people stay rational in a pandemic?

    How do you help people stay rational in a pandemic?

    16/04/2020 Duration: 23min

    Last month, everyday supermarket items turned into valuable and vanishing commodities overnight – none more so than toilet paper. There are now billions of us around the world living in lockdown conditions, a situation we’ve not been prepared for. And we seem to be in this for the long haul. In this week’s Inquiry, we’ll be asking how we can help people stay rational in a pandemic. Presenter/Producer: Sandra Kanthal (Empty shelves in the aisles of a CO-OP store in Kent, UK March 14, 2020 due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Photo credit: Robin Pope/ Getty Images)

  • Can Africa cope with coronavirus?

    Can Africa cope with coronavirus?

    09/04/2020 Duration: 22min

    How will Africa deal with Covid-19? It began in China then reached the Middle East, Europe and the United States, now Africa is bracing itself for a surge in coronavirus cases. But how will the continent, with its weaker health care systems and often poor populations cope? The picture is not the same everywhere. Some countries and some sections of society may fare better than others, but the worry is that many African countries simply don’t have the tools or resources to stand up to this pandemic. Or might there be some lessons learnt from the Ebola outbreak which could help? This is a continent of young people, so demographics could work in their favour, but many of them are already compromised by HIV, malaria and other disease outbreaks. Tanya Beckett speaks to the director of a hospital in rural Uganda, to the head of the Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control, to the CEO of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and to the former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, about their worries and prepar

  • Why is it taking so long to develop a Covid-19 vaccine?

    Why is it taking so long to develop a Covid-19 vaccine?

    02/04/2020 Duration: 23min

    The race is on for the world’s scientists to develop a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine. The Inquiry examines quickly how this can be done and what hurdles need to be overcome to roll out a vaccine in 12-18 months, rather than the many years it would normally take. Presented by Kavita Puri. (medical doctor with a vaccine. Credit: Getty images)

  • Coronavirus: What can the world learn from South Korea?

    Coronavirus: What can the world learn from South Korea?

    26/03/2020 Duration: 23min

    After China, South Korea was next in line to be struck by the Coronavirus outbreak. And in the early days the number of cases was going up fast – many of them related to a secretive religious sect. But the country has rapidly managed to get a grip on the outbreak and has kept its mortality rate low. It has done this without an official lockdown. The secret appears to be preparation, widespread testing and acting fast. With the help of four expert witnesses, Kavita Puri investigates what else we can learn from South Korea in its battle against Covid-19. Presenter: Kavita Puri Producer: John Murphy (A couple wearing face masks walk through an alleyway in Seoul on March 24, 2020. Credit: Ed Jones/Getty Images)

  • Why did the USA fail in its initial coronavirus response?

    Why did the USA fail in its initial coronavirus response?

    19/03/2020 Duration: 23min

    ‘It’s a failing, let's admit it’ says top health official, Dr Anthony Fauci. He’s talking about the fact that it took a month for a working coronavirus test to be rolled out around the country, while other countries were testing thousands of people. How was this allowed to happen? In this edition of The Inquiry, we explore the ways in which the US lost valuable time in dealing with the coronavirus and how their health system could make things more difficult still. (A cleaning crew adjusts protective clothing as they prepare to enter the Nursing Home in Kirkland, Seattle Washington which has had the most deaths due to COVID-19 in the USA.Credit:John Moore/Getty Images)

  • How did the Chinese turn the tide with coronavirus?

    How did the Chinese turn the tide with coronavirus?

    12/03/2020 Duration: 24min

    There are now significantly more new cases of coronavirus outside China than inside. On the first day of this week there were only 44 new cases in the whole country. Just a few weeks ago that figure was in the thousands. While the authorities have been criticised for their initial slow response to the outbreak, allowing it to spread quickly, since January they have taken unprecedented action to clamp down on the spread of the virus. Whole cities have been put into quarantine and travel restrictions have been imposed on millions of people. New hospitals have been built with lightning speed and huge amounts of money has been spent on testing kits and other technology to fight Covid-19. China has been accused of infringing civil liberties in its fight against Coronavirus but it has also been praised for the extreme public health measures it has taken. So what did the Chinese actually do and can it be replicated elsewhere? Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: John Murphy (Photo: A man talks through a barricade

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