The Inquiry

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

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Last Episode : November 30, 2023 3:06am

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Confirmed 4
Have we reached a turning point with migraine medication?
Around 1 billion people around the world suffer from a mysterious neurological condition called migraine. Far more than just a headache, migraine is abnormal processing of the world around us that can have symptoms like loss of sight and speech, dizziness, nausea and extreme fatigue.There are drugs which can help those struggling with the condition like anti-depressants and anti-convulsants. However, they weren’t developed specifically for migraine and can come with quite a lot of side effects or simply not work.For a long time migraine medication has been a process of trial and error. But a new class of drugs called anti-CGRPs are being hailed as a breakthrough migraine medication. Anti-CGRPs have a small side effect profile and were designed specifically to target migraine. They work by blocking CGRP (Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide) from building up in the body and triggering a receptor in the brain which turns on a head pain pathway causing the migraine attack.Earlier this year the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence - or NICE – in England cleared the use of an anti-CGRP called Rimegepant to use as both a preventive and acute treatment. Clinicians are hoping this will massively improve the lives of those living with the condition.So this week on The Inquiry were asking ‘Have we reached a turning point with migraine medication?’Contributors: Dr. Amaal Starling, neurologist and headache specialist at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, in the US state of Arizona. Dr Faraidoon, researcher at the Georgian Institute for Global Health at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Peter Goadsby , Director of the NIHR King's Clinical Research Facility and a professor of neurology at King's College London, England. Dr Lise Rystad Oie, researcher at the government funded Norwegian Centre for Headache Research - also known as NorHead.Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty Editor: Tara McDermott Researcher: Matt Toulson Technical Producer: Craig Boardman Broadcast Co-ordinator: Jordan KingImage: eternalcreative - Getty Images: 1372323487
Expires in 48 hours
Published Thursday
Confirmed 3
Why is Bangladesh in turmoil?
Bangladesh is set to hold parliamentary elections next January. But only time will tell whether there will be real change at the top or whether the current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Awami League will remain in power.In recent months there has been an increase in political protests calling for a neutral interim government ahead of the polls opening. But these protests have only resulted in increasing numbers of senior leaders of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party being rounded up and put in jail.Historically, the country has had a fractured relationship with democracy since its birth in 1971, but the government for their part has denied accusations of democratic backsliding.So this week on the Inquiry we’re asking ‘Why is Bangladesh in turmoil?’Contributors: Sabir Mustafa, a former Editor of the BBC Bengali Service, now based in Washington DC, USADr. Avinash Paliwal, Reader in International Relations, Department of Politics and International Relations, SOAS University of LondonAli Riaz, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Politics and Government, Illinois State University, USA and non-resident Senior Fellow of the Atlantic CouncilDr. Geoffrey MacDonald, Visiting Expert in the South Asia Programme, United States Institute of Peace, Washington DC, USAPresenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: Jill Collins Researcher: Matt Toulson Editor: Tara McDermott Technical Producer: Richard Hannaford Broadcast Co-ordinator: Jordan KingPhoto: Bangladesh Nationalist Party protest for Sheikh Hasina’s resignation, Dhaka -28th Oct 2023. Credit: Photo by MONIRUL ALAM/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock(14171078p)
Expires in 47 hours
Published 11/23
Confirmed 3
Is the war in Ukraine at a stalemate?
The head of Ukraine’s armed forces, General Zaluzhny, has a frank take on his country’s conflict with Russia: "Just like in the First World War, we have reached the level of technology that puts us into a stalemate." He explains that using drones and remote surveillance equipment in battlezones means each side knows what the other is doing. That slows down troops advancing, and creates a standoff. In a separate essay offering solutions, the general states that fresh tech innovation is the key to cracking it.President Zelensky disagreed, and his office accuses the general of making “the aggressor’s job easier.” The Kremlin also denies there’s a deadlock. But with the world’s attention also focused on the Middle East, has attention drifted away from the Ukraine conflict – and if it has, what does that mean for Ukraine’s campaign?Charmaine Cozier explores the current state of fighting which continues on the eastern frontline, and whether Ukraine’s recent attacks on Crimea demonstrate the country’s capacity to fight back against Russia’s forces. Meanwhile, Moscow has been building up an ‘axis of the sanctioned’ – countries including Iran and North Korea, which are providing armaments and sharing technology to support Russia’s military in Ukraine in a war of attrition. And as the war heads towards its second year, is international support for Ukraine holding up? In the United States, some Republican lawmakers have delayed the latest package of military aid to Ukraine as they raise questions about the cost of the war for Americans. One year out from the next Presidential election, support for Ukraine may become an election issue. In Europe, support for Ukraine has been signalled by the European Union as it recommends formal talks should begin. Contributors: Tymofiy Mylovanov is president of Kyiv School of Economics. He’s also a former member of the Ukrainian government. Before leaving it in 2020, his roles included minister of economy, international trade and agriculture.Dr. Hanna Notte is director of the Eurasian programme at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. It focuses on research and training around preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and technologies. She’s also senior associate with the Europe, Russia and Eurasia programme at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.Natasha Lindstaedt is a professor of government at the University of Essex in EnglandMark Katz is a professor of government and politics at the George Mason University Schar School of Policy and Government in Virginia in the US.Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Philip Reevell. Researcher: Matt Toulson Editor: Tara McDermott Technical producer: Richard Hannaford.Image credit Getty Images
Expires in 48 hours
Published 11/16
Confirmed 3
What went wrong with Australia’s Indigenous call for a voice?
When the Referendum to give Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders greater political rights was first announced, it was well received, with the early polls suggesting that more than sixty percent of Australians supported it.This was an opportunity for the establishment of an advisory body to Parliament that would allow Indigenous Peoples a voice on the issues affecting their own communities and for them to be recognised in the Australian constitution.The ‘YES’ campaign said their proposals outlined in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, requested a modest yet profound change, allowing Indigenous Australians to take their ‘rightful place’ in their own country.Whilst the ‘NO’ campaigners argued that the ‘Voice to Parliament’ would be racially divisive, giving Indigenous Peoples greater rights over other Australians. In the end Australia voted ‘NO’ to changing the status quo, by an overwhelming majority.This week on The Inquiry, we’re asking ‘What went wrong with Australia’s Indigenous call for a voice?’ Contributors: John Maynard, Emeritus Professor, Aboriginal History and Research, University of Newcastle, NSW Australia. Tim Soutphommasane, Chief Diversity Officer, Professor of Practice in Human Rights and Political Theory, University of Oxford, UK and a Former Race Discrimination Commissioner for Australia Andrea Carson, Professor of Political Communication, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia Thomas Mayo, Indigenous Rights Advocate, Maritime Union of Australia Official and Author Presenter: David Baker Producer: Jill Collins Researcher: Matt Toulson Technical Producer: Richard Hannaford Production Co-ordinator: Jordan King Editor: Tara McDermottImage: Voice Referendum in Australia: Credit: Reuters.Audio for this episode was updated on 20th November 2023.
Expires in 44 hours
Published 11/09
What is the Human Cell Atlas?
The Human Cell Atlas is a project that has 3000 researchers in over 94 countries working to collect samples of every single cell in the human body.The idea is that an interactive map of the body will be created. It will be a reference for what every kind of normal human cell should look like. But that will also vary depending on who you are and where you live.It will give doctors a tool to measure illness and disease and make diagnosis and treatment much quicker.The database will enable any doctor, anywhere in the world, with the right kind of interface, to access the information.It could be ground-breaking for the treatment of disease and the democratisation of healthcare. Contributors: Dr Aviv Regev, one of the co-chairs of the Human Cell Atlas Dr Sarah Teichmann from the Wellcome Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge Dr Piero Carninci, Geneticist, Transcriptome Technology and RIKEN Centre Sean Bendall, Associate Professor of pathology and immunology at Stanford UniversityPresented by Tanya Beckett Produced by Louise Clarke Researched by Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty Edited by Tara McDermott Technical Producer is Richard Hannaford Production Co-ordinator is Jordan KingImage: Medical Technology Stock Photo by Kentoh via Getty Images
Published 11/02
What can US diplomacy achieve in the Middle East?
After violence erupted between Hamas and Israel, President Biden flew to Tel Aviv to offer his ‘staunch’ ally US support. In a very public embrace of Israel, he reinforced a relationship that goes back decades to Israel's foundation. But does the US have the diplomatic influence to bring peace to the region? This week on the Inquiry: what can US diplomacy achieve in the Middle East. Contributors: David Sanger, White House and national security correspondent and senior writer for The New York Times Steven Cook, senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations Emma Ashford, senior fellow at the Stimson Center Brian Katulis, vice president of policy at the Middle East InstitutePresented by Gary O’Donoghue Produced by Louise Clarke Researched by Matt Toulson Co-ordinated by Jordan KingImage: (Photo by GPO/ Handout/Anadolu via Getty Images)
Published 10/26
Is peace in the Arctic melting?
Climate change and the war in Ukraine is transforming the geopolitics of the Arctic. Melting ice opens up the possibility of new trade routes making the region more valuable. Tensions in the area are rising as Russia turns to China for cooperation. China in return wants to position itself as a major power in the region. Geopolitical tensions mean that any disputes become harder to resolve and potentially more dangerous. And in a region that’s vulnerable to climate change science is also suffering – without cooperation between countries valuable data is being lost. Contributors: Andreas Østhagen, Senior Researcher at Fridtjof Nansens InstituteStefan Hedlund, Professor of Russian and East European Studies at Uppsala University in SwedenMatthew Funaiole, senior fellow of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International StudiesSophie Arts, from the Geostrategy North team at the German Marshall Fund of the United StatesPresented by Emily Wither Produced by Louise Clarke and Ravi Naik Researched by Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty Mixed by Craig Boardman The Editor is Tara McDermott The production co-ordinator is Jordan KingImage: Tourists with Russian nuclear icebreaker on way to North Pole - Per Breiehagen (Getty Images)
Published 10/19
Can Europe solve its migrant crisis?
Europe’s migration crisis began back in 2015, with the arrival of over a million refugees, the majority from the war in Syria. Many thousands more from different countries have since sought refuge on European shores for one reason or another, whilst the tightening of external borders and asylum laws have proved ineffective in stopping the boats.There have been years of disagreements over migration amongst the member states of the European Union, which have caused damage to the bloc’s unity. In recent months, however, it looked like some progress had been made towards a fairer and more uniform migration system, but a proposal to relocate people to different parts of Europe was met with opposition.As the flow of people into frontline countries like Italy, Greece and Spain looks set to continue in the future, it appears that collective action from the member states, looks further away.This week on The Inquiry we’re asking ‘Can Europe solve its migrant crisis?’Contributors:Hanne Beirens, Director, Migration Policy Institute Europe, BrusselsCathryn Costello, Full Professor of Global Refugee and Migration Law, UCD Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin, IrelandCharles Kenny, Senior Fellow, Centre for Global Development, Washington DC. USAMartin Ruhs, Chair in Migration Studies and Deputy Director of the Migration Policy Centre at the European University Institute (EUI), Florence, Italy.Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: Jill Collins Researcher: Matt Toulson Technical Producer: James Bradshaw Production Co-ordinator: Jordan King Editor: Tara McDermottPhoto: MSF Ship GEO Barents rescues migrants off the Libyan coast in the central Mediterranean Credit: Reuters
Published 10/12
Why can’t Germany build enough homes?
The German government was elected with a plan to build 400,000 new homes a year – but it fell short last year by over 100,000. The country’s house building industry is in crisis, with hundreds of companies going into liquidation this year as order books are emptying and demand for new homes has fallen. So why can’t Germany build enough homes?A combination of high construction costs caused by inflation since the Covid pandemic, and increases in interest rates in recent years has produced a difficult business environment for a construction sector that is a significant part of the German economy. Along with falling demand, industry experts fear that regulations and bureaucracy are a factor in causing the crisis.Charmaine Cozier hears from: Dirk Salewski President of the German Housebuilding Federation who attended a recent summit hosted by Chancellor Olaf Scholz when the government announced a 14 point plan to revive housing construction. Alice Pitinni is the research director at Housing Europe, the European Federation of Public Co-operative and Social Housing and says there is a growing affordable housing crisis in Europe. Ireland has endured it's own housing crisis in the past - Michelle Norris, is professor of social policy at University College Dublin, and says Ireland has repeated some of Germany’s mistakes. Jens Boysen-Hogrefe is a senior economist at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy – he says the country faces a tough situation, that worse is yet to come, but it is not a repeat of the post-reunification boom and bust of the 1990s.CREDITS Presenter - Charmaine Cozier Producer - Phil Reevell. Researcher - Matt Toulson Editor - Tara McDermott(Photo: A construction worker is seen on the roofing for a new residential building in Dortmund, western Germany, on April 18, 2023) (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)
Published 10/05
Can China and India fix their relationship?
At the recent BRICS economic summit in South Africa, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China’s President Xi Jinping had a rare face-to-face meeting. For years these two world powers have been in dispute over their ill-defined border in the Himalayan region. A military escalation of this dispute in 1962 led to the creation of the ‘line of actual control’ or the LAC, the de facto border between the two countries. Down the years there have been a number of clashes along the LAC and its commonly agreed that relations now are at their lowest point since 1962.And whilst India has taken steps to reduce its economic dependence on China in a bid to engage in trade relations on an equal footing, they are both competing to become the dominant power in the global south with financial aid and infrastructure projects. Both sides agreed at their BRICS meeting to intensify efforts to de-escalate border tensions. Can China and India fix their relationship?’Contributors: Shibani Mehta, senior research analyst with the Security Studies Programme, Carnegie India, New Delhi Dr Ivan Lidarev, visiting fellow at LSE IDEAS, the London School of Economics’ foreign policy think tank and Asia security expert Dr Geeta Kochhar, assistant professor, Centre for Chinese and South-East Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi Steve Tsang, professor of Chinese Studies and director of the SOAS China Institute, LondonPresenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Jill Collins Researcher: Matt Toulson Editor: Tara McDermott(Photo: China’s President Xi Jinping (L) and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Credit: Mike Hutchings/AFP)
Published 09/28
Why is life expectancy falling in America?
The life expectancy of Americans has fallen in recent years after a long period when it had been increasing. There are a number of factors which contribute to the fall. The Covid pandemic, with over 1m deaths, made a significant impact on lowering the average life expectancy. In comparison with other peer countries, the USA also did not return to pre-Covid levels at the same rate. However there are also other important factors driving this, namely gun deaths and drug deaths as a result of opioid overdoses. And another major contributor to lower life expectancy in the States is inequality in the US healthcare system. In this edition of The Inquiry Tanya Beckett explores why US life expectancy is falling. She hears from Jeremy Ney an adjunct professor at Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco and author of American Inequality, a data project that highlights US inequality and regional divides. Dr. Mark Rosenberg helped set up the Centre for Disease Control’s National Centre for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) and is a key proponent of research that examines how to reduce gun violence. He explains how gun deaths among young people have a big influence on the average life expectancy numbers. Dr. Judith Feinberg, is a professor at West Virginia University School of Medicine - her experience of working with communities with high levels of opioid problems makes her an authority on the extent to which drug overdose deaths impact average life expectancy. Ellen Marra is a professor of health economics at Harvard University - she says that diseases such as cancer and cardio deaths are big factors in lower life expectancy, compared with the number of gun and opioid deaths.CREDITS Presenter Tanya Beckett Producer Phil Reevell. Researcher Bisi Adebayo Editor Tom BigwoodImage: USA Birthday Cake, Credit: Getty Images
Published 09/21
What’s next for Palestinian leadership?
The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is ageing and his ruling Fatah party is deeply unpopular. There have been protests against him and the Palestinian Authority. Many Palestinians feel the PA has lost legitimacy. There’s no plan for how to choose a successor to Mahmoud Abbas and any candidate is likely to be controversial. There’s a risk that an unpopular replacement may throw the occupied territories into chaos, even violence, and have major implications for the future goals of Palestinian people. Contributors: Dalia Hatuqa, independent Palestinian journalist. Khalil Shikaki, Professor of Political Science and director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. Ahmad Khalidi, political analyst and writer on Palestinian and Middle East political and strategic affairs. Ines Abdel Razak, executive director of the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy.Presenter: Emily Wither Producer: Louise Clarke Researcher: Matt Toulson Editor: Tara McDermott Sound engineer: Jack Wood(Photo: Palestinians celebrate vote. Credit: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
Published 09/14