The Italian government has been calling on European countries to come up with a new plan to absorb migrants reaching its shores via the Mediterranean Sea. A tougher approach to migration was one of the campaign promises of the deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini, and after his League party's victory in 2018, Italy banned migrant rescue ships from docking in its ports. The actual number of migrants arriving in Italy by sea has been going down every year since 2016, when the European Union began to train the Libyan and Tunisian coast guard to intercept migrant boats and return them to North Africa. But the UN says migrants are being held in appalling conditions at detention centres in Libya, and the fighting there is endangering their lives. So, is it time for Europe to reconsider its partnership with Libya? Why are European countries failing to agree on a plan to help out Italy? And how much of the concern expressed by Italy are motivated by political reasons? Join Ritula Shah and guests as they discuss Europe's migration standoff.
The future of space exploration
This month in 1969 Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the Moon. It was a culmination of human and technological achievement. Both the United States and the Soviet Union claimed victory in space, but for the rest of the world, the race between the two superpowers paved the way for the advancements of military and commercial aviation technology, improvements in health and medical research, and an increase in our understanding of the Earth and its climate. But fifty years after that historic moment, what's the current state of space exploration? Is the US losing its leadership role to countries like China, India and Russia? Is going to Mars a practical use of valuable resources - and how will it benefit science? Join Celia Hatton and guests as they discuss the future of space exploration.
Africa's digital transformation
The rollout of the internet in Africa has been patchy. Some countries have used it to leapfrog others, boosting their economies. For many others, new networks and technologies have yet to bear fruit. From Sudan to Ethiopia to the DRC, the continent is marred by regular internet shutdowns, with the aim of stopping anti-government protesters from organising. And very few countries have taken steps to define the rules of digital privacy and data protection. Yet, Africa remains the fastest growing internet market in the world, with one study suggesting that by 2025 the continent will have 600 million internet users. So, who are gaining most from Africa’s improved online connectivity? Are they the foreign technology giants amassing people’s personal data, governments who can control the flow of information - or Africa's citizens who now have more choices and a voice like never before? Join Julian Marshall and guests as they discuss the winners and losers of Africa's digital transformation.
(Photo: Sudanese protester Alaa Salah during a demonstration in Khartoum in April, 2019. Courtesy of Lana H. Haroun)
What's happened to gay rights since Stonewall?
Fifty years ago, when gay protesters clashed with New York City police outside a nondescript bar, the Stonewall Inn, few expected it to become one of the turning points in the gay rights movements in the world. But the encounter motivated and galvanized a generation of gay men and women who demanded to be accepted in society for who they were. Change came slowly and same sex marriage and equal protection under law now exists in many countries. But huge challenges remain and, according to one survey, a large number of gay men and women still struggle to come out. This week, fifty years on from 'Stonewall', The Real Story hears about the most pressing issues for LGBT communities. Celia Hatton is joined by a global panel of LGBT activists to discuss the impact of those 1969 riots and the state of progress for gay rights movements across the world.
(Photo: People participate in the annual LA Pride Parade in West Hollywood, California, on June 9, 2019. Credit: Agustin Paullier/AFP/Getty Images)
The vaccination divide
A global survey of public attitudes to health and science has found that twenty percent of Europeans have no confidence in life-saving vaccines. The figure was highest in France where a third of the adult population does not believe that immunisation is safe. Vaccination rates have stalled in many regions, and cases of infectious diseases, like measles, have soared. At the same time, many people who do support immunisation say that they have no understanding of the science behind it. The Wellcome Trust study also says that confidence in vaccines is much higher in developing countries than in the developed world. Ritula Shah is joined by a panel of expert guests to discuss what's behind the vaccination divide. Is the world is taking a step back in its ability to stop the spread of preventable infectious diseases? Should parents have the final say about the health of their children? And how much of the vaccine anxiety is driven by misinformation on the internet?