The Inquiry gets beyond the headlines to explore the trends, forces and ideas shaping the world.
Will Putin be prosecuted for war crimes in Ukraine?
23:53The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for alleged war crimes in Ukraine. He is accused of forcibly deporting children from Ukraine to Russia after the invasion last year. The Kremlin does not recognise the jurisdiction of the ICC and denies war crimes. But is this a symbolic move and is it realistic that Putin will actually be arrested and stand trial? This week on The Inquiry we’re asking, will Putin be prosecuted for war crimes in Ukraine? Contributors: Klaus Rackwitz, Director of the International Nuremberg Principles Academy Patrycja Grzebyk, Professor at the University of Warsaw Rachel Denber, Deputy director for Europe and Central Asia at Human Rights Watch Gerry Simpson, Professor of Law at the London School of Economics Presented by Tanya Beckett Produced by Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Edited by Tara McDermott Mixed by Richard Hannaford
Why are so many people dying on America’s roads?
24:10Deaths on American roads are at a 20 year high. More than 46,000 people lost their lives in vehicle collisions last year alone. That’s up a tenth on the year before and the numbers are on a par with those killed by gun violence. Or, the equivalent of a plane crash every day. It’s a tragedy for everyone involved and there’s an untold cost for families, but there’s also a financial cost. It’s estimated that the cost to the economy runs into billions of dollars. Why are America’s roads so dangerous? This episode was presented by Tanya Becket, produced by Louise Clarke-Rowbotham, researched by John Cossee and mixed by Kelly Young. The production co-ordinator is Brenda Brown and the editor is Tara McDermott.
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Can Peru sort out its political problems?
24:13On the 7th December 2022, President Pedro Castillo attempted to dissolve Peru's Congress. His attempted self-coup ended almost as quickly as it began, having been denounced by his own party, the military and the police. He was arrested as he tried to make his way to Mexico, and currently awaits trial. His running mate and vice president, Dina Boluarte, has assumed power in his stead. However, prior to Castillo’s attempt to gain complete control, Boluarte had already been expelled from the party, after publicly rejecting its ideology, and defected to the opposition. This has left Peruvians angry, especially as she originally intended to see out the rest of the term until 2026. Thousands of disillusioned Peruvians gathered in protest all over the country, at first demanding the release of Castillo, and latterly, for the resignation of Presidential Boluarte and constitutional reform. They have been met by a fierce and brutal response. At least 60 Peruvians have lost their lives in the protests, and a further 1000 or more have suffered injury. Still the protests continue. Can Peru sort out its political problems? Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Christopher Blake Researcher: John Cossee Editor: Tara McDermott Production Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown Image: Peru's President Pedro Castillo after his swearing-in ceremony in Lima, Peru, 28 July 2021. (Credit: Reuters/Angela Ponce)
Will there be a united Ireland?
24:17Just over 100 years ago the island of Ireland was partitioned. It created an independent catholic free state in the South and a majority protestant one in the northeast called Northern Ireland that remained a part of the United Kingdom. For many catholics and nationalists the goal of a united Ireland remains. For most protestants and unionists the division has been key to preserving their British identity. But the demographics are changing in Northern Ireland. The most recent census show catholics outnumbering protestants for the first time, though still short of being the overall majority. There’s also been a rise in support for Sinn Fein, the political party that supports a united Ireland. Any question about whether Northern Ireland remains part of the UK or becomes part of a united Ireland would have to be put to the people in a referendum, or border poll. In this episode of The Inquiry we ask, will there be a united Ireland? Presented by Gary O’Donoghue. (map / Getty images)
What is Putin’s plan now for Ukraine?
23:59It’s a year since President Putin launched a full scale invasion of Ukraine. Russia currently holds areas in the South and East of Ukraine including Donetsk and Luhansk but the Ukrainian army, helped militarily by its allies, has regained control over key towns and large swathes of land. Russia is also thought to have lost 20,000 soldiers in the conflict. But it is reinforcing its ranks with hundreds of thousands of new conscripts, and experts suggest Russia may be positioning fighter jets and gathering troops on the border for a renewed land offensive. So we’re asking - What is Putin’s plan now for Ukraine?
Is everything okay at Facebook?
24:39The owner of Facebook - Meta - is reinstating Donald Trump’s account after a two-year suspension. The former US president was suspended from Facebook and Instagram after his posts were deemed to have encouraged the Capitol riots in 2021. In a statement Meta's president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, said a review found Mr Trump's accounts were no longer a risk to public safety. Donald Trump pointed out that Facebook was in financial trouble and probably needed him back for the money it can raise. Daily user numbers for Facebook grew to an average of two billion in December 2022 - about a quarter of the world's population. The bigger-than-expected growth helped drive new optimism about the company, which has been under pressure as its costs rise and advertising sales drop. Where does the social media giant go from here? Does it have a future and clear direction of travel? How did it become so big? How does it work now and what does it do with our data? Also, when has it gone wrong and what are its challenges now? This week on The Inquiry, we’re asking: is everything okay at Facebook? Presented by Charmaine Cozier Researcher John Cossee Producer Simon Coe Editor Tara McDermott Technical producer Richard Hannaford Broadcast Coordinator Brenda Brown (Facebook symbol. Image credit: Dado Ruvić /Reuters)
Can Nigeria’s next president fix its problems?
24:13On 25 February, Nigerians go to the ballot box to vote for their next president. For the first time in a long time, the Incumbent president will not be contesting the elections – having already served the maximum allowed two terms. Since 2016, the country has spiralled down as inflation has hit over 20% and unemployment rides at around 30% overall, and 60% for the young. Banditry and kidnappings have become lucrative methods of making a living in the country and a pervading sense that this could be now or never for Nigerians hangs ominously. Three candidates have emerged as the front runners for the elections. The stalwarts Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressive Congress, or APC, and Atiku Abubakar, of the People’s Democratic Party, or DPD, are familiar faces from familiar parties. Power has been shared between the two parties since 1999. Peter Obi is the outsider who has taken a dramatic lead over recent weeks in the polls. He represents the Labour Party who have never held power and is offering to run the country in a different manner to what the country has been used to thus far. Foreshadowing the entire event is the expectation that Nigeria is expected to reach a population of around 400 million by 2050, making it the fourth largest country in terms of population by this date. That is an increase of around 60-80% of the current population estimates. Ensuring the infrastructure is in place for such a boom in population will be pivotal to Nigeria’s ability to both maximise the potential for its citizens whilst gaining the most from them. Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Christopher Blake Researcher: John Cossee Editor: Tara McDermott (Photo: Supporter of Nigerian opposition the Labour Party waves a green and white flag in a street procession in Ikeja district, Lagos, Nigeria. Credit: Kintunde Akinley/EPA-EFE/Rex/Shutterstock)
Can the Taliban tackle Afghanistan’s terror problem?
24:25Following the exit of US forces in 2021, the Taliban rolled back into power almost immediately. They promised that they had learnt from previous mistakes and did not want to minimalize the role of women. However, little over 18 months later and the Taliban have just announced that women were now banned from the universities and working for NGO’s, just the latest in a succession of repressive policies aimed at women. Furthermore, Afghanistan still has an insurgency problem. The Islamic State of Khorasan, or IS-K, formed in 2016 following disaffected Taliban members gaining inspiration from the gains maid by IS in both Iraq and Syria. They regard the Taliban as traitors and have their own desires that stretch far beyond the borders of Afghanistan. In the middle are Afghanistan’s citizens who find themselves victims from all sides. The Taliban’s focus on implementing Sharia law regardless of the impact has both all but erased women from society and left the economy in perilous state. Can the Taliban gain control of its own borders or does it need external help? And if so, does that offer a window to gain some leverage regarding human rights in the country? Find out as we ask, Can the Taliban tackle Afghanistan’s terror problem? Researcher: John Cossee Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Christopher Blake Editor: Tara McDermott (Photo: Taliban fighters guard the entrance to the Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan 2021. Credit: Marcus Yam/Getty images)
Will international support for Ukraine last?
24:27Since the start of the war, Ukraine has received more than €115 billion in military, financial and humanitarian aid from countries around the world. Now that the pendulum has swung, and the battlefield momentum is with Ukrainian forces, international allies have agreed to ramp up that support, with the US, UK and other major and minor military powers combining to pledge billions in weapons, ammunition and even modern tanks. But can that support go on indefinitely? As some countries run low on weapons stocks, will they cut off support to Ukraine rather than leave their borders vulnerable to potential attack? And will other factors such as rising energy costs, a looming global recession and the upcoming US presidential election determine to what extent - and for how long - international allies can fund Ukraine’s war effort? Image: Ukrainian soldiers practice with a mortar on the Donbass frontline on 19 January, 2023 (Credit: Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Are we running out of microchips?
22:59The world is becoming increasingly dependent on advanced microchips to power its high-end technology, However, they are made by just one company in Taiwan, TSMC, meaning the rest of the world is largely reliant on the country to produce its microchips. This is no accident and is in fact by Taiwanese design. Over three decades ago Taiwan decided to focus its resources on becoming the most advanced producer of microchips. Not only has this been of great profit for Taiwan’s economy its helped with security too – offering the country protection from its neighbour China by creating what’s been described as the ‘Silicon shield’, in other words, the US is largely dependent on Taiwan to sustain its high-end tech. Given both the USA’s and EU’s recent announcements that they are now heavily investing in and subsidising their own microchip industries, the question becomes is this still sustainable? Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Christopher Blake and Ravi Naik Editor: Tara McDermott