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The History Hour

The History Hour

Podcast The History Hour
Podcast The History Hour

The History Hour


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  • Contested islands and Miss World protests
    Max Pearson presents a compilation of this week's Witness History programmes from the BBC World Service. We hear from a man who was aged six when he was among the Japanese families expelled from his island home, as it was taken over by the Soviet Union after the Second World War. Our guest is Professor Haruko Satoh from Osaka University who analyses recent Japan-Russian relations and the impact of the invasion of Ukraine. Twenty years after the Mombasa hotel bombing, a survivor recounts her experience. Also, the virologist who smuggled live HIV into Bulgaria in her handbag so she could start testing people. Plus the flour protests at the 1970 Miss World contest and the history of a keep fit phenomenon. Contributors: Yuzo Matsumoto - taken from his home on Etorofu in 1947 Professor Haruko Satoh - Osaka University Sally Alexander - protester at Miss World 1970 Kelly Hartog - survivor of the Mombasa hotel bombing Professor Radka Argirova - virologist from Bulgaria Annie Thorisdottir - CrossFit world champion
  • Anwar Ibrahim and road safety inventions
    Max Pearson presents a collection of this week's Witness History episodes from the BBC World Service. Malaysia's Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, recounts being put on trial for sodomy and corruption. Our guest is the BBC's South East Asia correspondent, Jonathan Head, who tells us about Malaysian political history. Iran's first women's minister describes the challenges she had to overcome. We hear how the seat belt and cat's eyes were invented. And a Swedish man remembers the chaos when his country switched to driving on the right-hand-side of the road. Contributors: Anwar Ibrahim - Malaysian Prime Minister. Mahnaz Afkhami - Iran's first Minister of Women's Affairs. Gunnar Ornmark - step-son of the inventor of the modern seat belt. Glenda Shaw - great-niece of the inventor of cat's eyes. Bjorn Sylvern - on Sweden switching to driving on the right-hand-side.
  • Arabian Peninsula
    Max Pearson presents a collection of this week's Witness History and Sporting Witness episodes, which focus on the Arabian Peninsula to mark the start of the football World Cup in Qatar. Our guest is Dr Wafa Alsayed, Lecturer in Political Science and History at the Gulf University for Science and Technology in Kuwait. We hear about how the states across the peninsula won independence, and speak to the architect of the region's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. There's also the invention of the robot camel jockey, and a pioneering female Qatari author. On the World Cup theme, we end with the story of American popstar Diana Ross missing a penalty during the opening ceremony of the 1994 tournament. Contributors: Mohammed Al-Fahim on the formation of the UAE Adrian Smith, architect of the Burj Khalifa Kaltham Jaber, Qatari author Esan Maruff who developed robot camel jockeys Alan Rothenberg who organised the 1994 World Cup (Photo: Dubai skyline. Credit: Getty Images)
  • Racist raids, protests and a political assassination
    A collection of Witness History episodes, presented by Max Pearson. We look at how racism led to raids in the 1970s and protests in the 1980s in New Zealand, and the assassination of Pim Fortyn. In New Zealand in the 1970s, dawn raids targeted Polynesian migrants who had overstayed their work permits. In response, the community formed a resistance group, the Polynesian Panthers, in June 1971. Professor Niki Alsford of Asia Pacific Studies at the University of Central Lancashire in England, describes the importance of the apology by the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden was to Pacific Islanders in 2021. It’s been 20 years since one of the most controversial politicians in Europe was assassinated just days before a general election. We hear from a TV reporter who was one of the first people on the scene after Pim Fortuyn was shot. (Photo: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden at a service to apologise to Pacific Islanders. Credit: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
  • The best Championship Manager player ever
    A collection of Witness History episodes, looking at how young men in Africa have been exploited through football and and sex-selective abortion in India. Presented by Max Pearson. For millions of gamers all over the world Tonton Zola Moukoko is a cult hero. The Swedish-Congolese footballer found fame as a brilliant player in the computer game series Championship Manager. But in the real world, things were very different. African football expert and journalist Oluwashina Okeleji reports on the historic treatment of young African footballers as they try to break into European professional leagues. And we hear from feminist activist Manisha Gupte in India, who has campaigned against sex-selective abortion, eventually raising enough awareness to bring about a national law in 1994 - the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act. (Photo: Tonton in front of screenshot of Championship Manager. Credit: Tonton Zola Moukoko)

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