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Podcast Witness

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  • The islands Japan and Russia can’t agree on
    In 1947, thousands of Japanese families were expelled from their island homes by Soviet troops. They were taken from the Northern Territories, also known as the Southern Kurils, after the Soviet Union took control of the islands. Japan and Russia have failed to sign a peace agreement after World War Two because of the dispute. Yuzo Matsumoto, who's now 81, has been speaking to Laura Jones. (Photo: Yuzo Matsumoto with photos of his parents, standing in front of a map of Etorofu. Credit: BBC)
  • CrossFit: The fitness phenomenon that changed the industry
    In 2000, an American personal trainer invented CrossFit. They now have gyms around the world and hold an annual international competition. Rachel Naylor speaks to two-time world champion Annie Thorisdottir, from Iceland. (Photo: Annie Thorisdottir. Credit: CrossFit LLC)
  • Mombasa terror attacks
    In 2002, journalist Kelly Hartog was on a press trip in Mombasa, in Kenya, when suicide bombers drove a car packed with explosives into the hotel where she was staying. The attack killed 18 people and injured 80. Almost at the same time, terrorists tried to bring down an Israeli charter jet using surface-to-air missiles – but narrowly missed. Kelly tells Vicky Farncombe about her ordeal.
  • How cat's eyes were invented
    In 1934, the late Percy Shaw almost crashed while driving home from the pub on a foggy night in West Yorkshire, in England. He was saved when his headlights were reflected in the eyes of a cat and it gave him a brilliant idea. He invented reflective studs for the road and called them cat’s eyes. Rachel Naylor speaks to Percy's great-niece, Glenda Shaw. (Photo: Percy Shaw holding one of his cat's eyes, outside his factory in Halifax, England, in 1958. Credit: Getty Images)
  • The corruption and sodomy trials of Anwar Ibrahim
    On 20 September 1998, the former deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim, was arrested and charged on suspicion of committing fraud and sodomy. Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia but charges are rare and the case was internationally condemned as being political motivated. Anwar believed that he was being framed by his former boss, the Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Almost 25 years on, Anwar shares his memories of the time with Matt Pintus. (Photo: Anwar Ibrahim in 1998. Credit: Getty Images)

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