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Hardtalk - - A World of Music




Hardtalk interviews newsmakers and personalities from across the globe.
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access_time17 hours ago
President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua has been in power for the past 11 years but this year he has faced popular protests and demands that he step down. His response has been repression and defiance. Stephen Sackur is in Washington DC to speak to leading Nicaraguan dissident, Felix Maradiaga- now leader of an opposition in exile. Is change finally coming to Nicaragua?
access_time4 days ago
How do we decide what's important? How do we balance the priorities of the here and now with the big picture challenges that will determine the future of human civilisation? HARDtalk speaks to Sir Martin Rees, one of the world’s leading astrophysicists, who has recently been gazing into the future of our own planet. The next century, he says, will determine humanity's long term destiny; so are the prospects good, or grim?

Image: Sir Martin Rees (Credit: Getty Images)
access_time6 days ago
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a mutiny inside her own Conservative Party, which threatens to scupper her Brexit deal and quite possibly her premiership too. If she loses the key parliamentary vote on her deal in just a few days time, the UK could plunge into political chaos. The stakes could hardly be higher for Owen Paterson, a Conservative MP and former Minister intent on rejecting Mrs May’s Brexit. Is it too late to avert a damaging national crisis?

Image: Owen Paterson (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
access_time8 days ago
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Danuta Hübner, an influential Polish MEP who sits on the Brexit Steering Group of the European Parliament. In just a few days time the UK parliament will make a fateful decision; to accept or reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal painfully negotiated with the EU. Right across Europe the vote will have huge repercussions. For all of the focus on Britain’s political crisis, this is Europe’s problem too. Is the EU ready to deal with potential Brexit chaos?
access_time11 days ago
On December 11th, two and a half years of posturing, politicking and poisonous disagreement come to a head: the UK Parliament will vote on whether to accept the Brexit deal Prime Minister Theresa May has negotiated with the EU. Her case boils down to this: it’s the least worst option. But many in her own party, as well as the opposition, simply don’t buy it. Stephen Sackur speaks to former minister Jo Johnson, who resigned in order to oppose the deal. Does he have a credible alternative?

Image: Jo Johnson (Credit: Reuters)
access_time13 days ago
Can anyone or anything challenge Saudi authoritarianism? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Abdullah Alaoudh, a Saudi exile whose father is facing charges that carry a death sentence. President Trump says he doesn’t know whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and frankly he doesn’t seem to care. Safe to assume then that he also doesn’t care about the hundreds of clerics, intellectuals, and dissident activists locked up by MBS’s security forces.

Image: Abdullah Alaoudh (Credit: Getty Images)
access_time15 days ago
Israel’s seemingly indestructible Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dodged another political bullet. After the recent flare up of violence in Gaza, his defence minister quit and another key cabinet hawk- Naftali Bennett, said he would go too if he wasn’t given the defence portfolio. The prime minister called his bluff, and Mr Bennett, who speaks to HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur has decided to stay put after all. What’s behind the chaos in Israeli politics? Are the right wing factions putting their own interests before those of the nation?

Image: Naftali Bennett (Credit: Reuters)
access_time25 days ago
How do you stop prime ministers and presidents lining their own pockets with the country's wealth? US Judge Mark Wolf is lobbying for the creation of an international anti-corruption court. Judge Wolf knows the territory well, having helped expose the corrupt links between the FBI and a notorious gangster in Boston. He says countries that can't or won't hold government thieves to account should let the court do the work. But when his own government suggests it wants international justice to "die", what hope is there of holding the corrupt to account?
access_time27 days ago
Mohamed El-Erian’s career has been at the top end of economic advice. Along with writing several best-selling books, he spent 15 years at the International Monetary Fund, headed the investment giant PIMCO, advised President Obama on global development and is now the chief economic adviser at the insurance company, Allianz. The American economy is booming. Growth is well above 3% and unemployment is near a 50 year low. President Trump claims it’s the best it has ever been and has claimed the credit for that. But he’s threatening a trade war with China at a time when many economists are warning that the US and the world face another recession. Hardtalk’s Sarah Montague asks Mohamed El-Erian, if he sees dark days ahead for the American - and therefore the world’s - economy?

(Photo: Mohamed El-Erian)
access_time29 days ago
In a special interview to start the BBC’s Beyond Fake News season, Stephen Sackur speaks to The Washington Post’s editor Martin Baron about the fractious relationship between the White House and the US media.
access_time1 month ago
The US mid-term elections were a mixed picture for President Trump. Democrats took control of the House of Representatives and that will allow them to block the President’s legislative agenda. As a leader Donald Trump has been accused of dividing the country and now Congress is split. Sarah Montague speaks to one of America’s best known and celebrated military leaders. General Stanley McChrystal oversaw the American war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since leaving the military he has studied and taught the principles that make good leaders effective. So what kind of leadership does he think the US needs now?
access_time1 month ago
It is an age old debate that engages scientists and philosophers; which is the more powerful influence on who we are, nature or nurture? In recent years, genetic science has done much to reframe the debate by highlighting the connections between our individual DNA and our traits and behaviours. At the forefront of this research is Robert Plomin, a professor of behavioural genetics at Kings College London. To what extent are our genes our destiny?
access_time1 month ago
American politics in the era of President Donald Trump is a polarised, partisan arena. But still there are pillars of the US system of governance such as the constitution and the courts that are supposed to safeguard the liberty of all, irrespective of creed, colour or politics. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to David Cole, the legal director of the American Civil liberties union- the century old guardian of citizen rights. Has the ACLU betrayed its mission by putting partisanship before principle in the age of Trump?
access_time6 months ago
With Brexit the main preoccupation for politicians in Britain, the opposition Labour Party has announced a shift in policy which would see the UK retaining most of the elements of its current relationship with the EU. It wants Britain to have full access to the single market and stay a member of the customs union. But that does not go far enough for some staunchly pro-EU members of the party who want Britain to stay part of the European Economic Area. HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi speaks to Labour MP and prominent EU campaigner Chuka Umunna about challenging the Conservative government and his own Labour Party leadership on Brexit.
access_time6 months ago
It's hard to imagine how the US-Russia relationship could be any more dysfunctional. Each accuses the other of consistently malign action and intent. 'Worse than the Cold war' was the way it was described by Russia's foreign minister. And yet, the two presidents, Trump and Putin, appear to have some regard for each other. What does it all mean? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to former US ambassador to Russia, and Obama adviser- Michael McFaul. How deep does the poison in the relationship run?
access_time6 months ago
The National Assembly in Pakistan has been dissolved ahead of the general election in late July. Just as eyes were turned on him when he was a top international cricket star, much attention is focussed on Imran Khan who abandoned sport for the far less gentlemanly arena of Pakistani politics. He established his own party- the Movement for Justice Party, more than 20 years ago and says he wants to create a new Pakistan. In the last elections in 2013, his party came third. So can he make it to the position of Prime Minister this time round? And is he the right person to steer Pakistan given criticisms about his performance?
access_time6 months ago
HARDtalk’s Sarah Montague speaks to biochemist Jennifer Doudna. Crispr Cas9 has been described as the greatest biological breakthrough in decades. It's a gene editing tool and the hopes that rest on it are immense - that it can be used to cure cancer and other intractable diseases, stop mosquitoes carrying malaria, create drought resistant crops and food that doesn't rot, even that it can recreate extinct animals. What does she make of the breathtaking pace of innovation since her discovery and does she fear where it may lead?
access_time6 months ago
HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi speaks to the British writer and commentator Ed Husain, who believes the gulf between Islam and the West is widening and that westerners see the religion as something to be feared rather than understood. He spent several years as a radical Islamist and then turned his back on jihadism and has written about his own personal journey as well as trying to explain why people join extremist groups. Now he is calling on moderate Muslims to reclaim their religion from the extremists. But is he oversimplifying a complex issue and playing into the hands of Islamaphobes?
access_time7 months ago
HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi speaks to Egyptian activist and writer Dr. Nawal Al Saadawi. She's been described as the Arab world's leading feminist: she's a medical doctor, writer, activist, campaigner and outspoken political critic. She was banned from speaking in the Egyptian media and imprisoned under the government of President Sadat for her outspoken views. How much freedom of expression is there currently under President Sisi? And what about the status of women in Egypt today?
access_time7 months ago
What does Ireland's abortion referendum say about the country today? On May 25th Irish voters face a choice - by way of a referendum they can either keep a constitutional amendment which outlaws abortion in all but the most exceptional circumstances, or they can change their constitution and pave the way for the legalisation of abortion. Given Ireland's history, culture and religion it is a fierce debate. HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur is joined by two campaigners - Sinead Redmond, an advocate of expanding abortion rights, and Caroline Simons, an opponent.
access_time7 months ago
Can anyone clean up Brazilian politics? HARDtalk’s Shaun Ley speaks to former Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff. Brazil was one of the success stories of the early 21st century – under her mentor, President Lula da Silva, rapid economic growth was combined with radical redistribution of money to the poor. Dilma Rousseff, who was tortured under the military dictatorship, succeeded him, but under her presidency the economy faltered. In 2016 she was forced from office accused of fiddling the figures to boost her chances of re-election. She’s in London drumming up support for Lula’s bid to be re-elected President – only he’s currently in a prison cell in Brazil having been convicted of corruption. Can he stage a political comeback?
access_time7 months ago
In a special edition of the programme, Zeinab Badawi is in the Turkish capital of Ankara to speak to the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He’s busy preparing for elections which he has called a year and a half early. Is he trying to preempt a possible slide in his popularity, or simply trying to tighten his grip on power? And how worried is he about escalating tension in the Middle East? This episode was recorded on Thursday 10th May 2018.
access_time7 months ago
President Donald Trump has blown a superpower sized hole in the international agreement designed to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions. The US has given up on carrot and stick diplomacy with Tehran, in favour of just stick. So what now? The other signatories to the nuclear deal are trying to keep it alive, but ominously in the Middle East, tension is rising; most particularly between Israel and Iran. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely - how close are we to a major Middle East conflict?
access_time7 months ago
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Ukraine’s Health Minister, Ulana Suprun. Four years after the Maidan revolution, Ukraine is a country of unfulfilled expectations. Huge external pressures remain - not least Moscow's hostility - but many of the problems are internal; stalled reforms, political in-fighting and endemic corruption. Ulana Suprun, a Ukrainian-American doctor, is now the country’s health minister trying to drive through big reform of the healthcare system. It's a hugely symbolic test - can she deliver?
access_time7 months ago
Elections are due in Pakistan in July and running for a seat in the National Assembly is the heir to the country's main political dynasty. HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi speaks to Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari - son of Benazir Bhutto, the two time prime minister of Pakistan who was assassinated in 2007. He is Chairman of the Pakistan People's Party - founded by his grandfather 50 years ago. The PPP has seen its popularity plummet in recent years - can Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari restore its fortunes and turn around a political legacy tarnished by allegations of corruption, patronage and incompetence?

(Photo: Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari speaks during an interview with AFP, 2017. Credit: Rizwan Tabassum/AFP)
access_time7 months ago
How is the European Commission coping with an increasingly fractious Europe? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova at the headquarters of the EU's executive body, the Commission - the engine room of the EU. But how smoothly is that engine running? For all the focus on Brexit, perhaps the bigger challenge to EU unity comes from a growing fault-line between east and west within the European club.
access_time8 months ago
The recent US-led missile strikes on several military installations in Syria changed precious little in the country's horrific civil war. On the ground, the bloodshed, displacement and suffering continue. Regional and global divisions over Syria are as deep as ever. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to a Syrian politician close to the Assad regime. Fares Shehabi is a powerful Aleppo business leader and self-styled 'independent' MP. Is Syria as we knew it broken beyond repair?
access_time8 months ago
HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi speaks to President Adama Barrow of The Gambia who has been attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London. He came to office in January 2017 after his electoral victory over the incumbent Yahya Jammeh who ruled over The Gambia with an iron first for more than twenty years. President Barrow found a bankrupt nation, scarred by years of living under fear and intimidation. With nearly half the population living in poverty, things may have improved but not fast enough. Can President Barrow live up to people’s expectations?
access_time8 months ago
HARDtalk is in Geneva, the headquarters of the Kofi Annan Foundation which marks its tenth anniversary this year. Zeinab Badawi speaks to the former Secretary-General of the United Nations as he reaches his eightieth birthday, in front of an audience. In a career spanning six decades at the United Nations, he has held several senior positions including two terms as Secretary-General until 2006. There were high points such as the award of the Nobel Peace Prize as well as tragic events such as the Rwandan genocide and the Srebrenica massacre of Bosnian Muslims. What are his biggest worries today and does he have any regrets?
access_time8 months ago
Twenty years ago the historic Good Friday Agreement was signed in Northern Ireland which put an end to three decades of bloody sectarian conflict. Politicians from Northern Ireland, the UK, the Republic of Ireland and the US who were involved in the marathon negotiations will mark the anniversary this month. Monica McWilliams represented the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition then, and continues to play a significant role in post conflict Northern Ireland. Given the uncertainty that hangs over Northern Ireland today, is there much to celebrate?

(Photo: Monica McWilliams)
access_time8 months ago
A special preview of the brand new podcast Death in Ice Valley. An unidentified body. Who was she? Why hasn’t she been missed? A BBC World Service and NRK original podcast, investigating a mystery unsolved for almost half a century. Episode One was released on 16 April 2018 and new episodes will be released every Monday. Search for Death in Ice Valley wherever you find your podcasts.
access_time8 months ago
US military action against President Assad's forces in Syria seems imminent. President Trump told the Russians- Assad's military backers - to "get ready" by way of a tweet. A spiral of events which began with an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Syrian army is heading towards a dangerous confrontation between Washington and Moscow. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Philip Gordon- Barak Obama's senior adviser on the Middle East in 2013 when Assad's use of chemical weapons came close to prompting a US military response. Did hesitation then sow the seeds of today's crisis?
access_time8 months ago
Politicians will always tell us they're tough on crime, but the evidence suggests they find it easier to be tough on murderers, muggers and robbers than they do on corporate white collar criminals engaged in fraud, and money laundering. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the outgoing head of Britain's Serious Fraud Office, David Green. For six years he has been out to apprehend corporate criminals; but has he ever been given the tools and the backing to do the job properly?
access_time8 months ago
The outside world tends to view Scandinavia as a haven of prosperity, progressive politics and social liberalism, but look closer and you find a powerful strand of right-wing populism fuelled by a suspicion of immigration. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Siv Jensen- Norway’s Finance Minister and the leader of the right-wing Progress Party, a partner in Norway’s Coalition Government for the past five years. How does populism work in a country rated one of the world’s richest and happiest?

(Photo: Siv Jensen of Norway attends the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony at Oslo City Town Hall 2017. Credit: Nigel Waldron/Getty Images)
access_time8 months ago
The best art helps us to see and feel in new ways - it can challenge and provoke. Michael Rakowitz uses sculpture, installation, and site specific experiences to transmit a vision which reflects his Iraqi Jewish heritage and preoccupations which range from war to family, to food. He has made it his mission to test the boundaries of what we think of as art and has won plaudits around the world. What does his work tell us about the state we're in?
access_time8 months ago
In 2010 Siddhartha Mukherjee wrote a book about the history of cancer which won the Puliter Prize the following year. He's also a practising cancer physician in New York. Hundreds of billions of dollars is poured into cancer treatment and research every year. We understand it better and have more effective tools to combat it than ever before, yet it kills millions of people each year. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Siddhartha Mukherjee. His book, The Emperor of Maladies - a self-styled biography of cancer paints a unique picture of the disease. Eight years on from its publication, is cancer any less of a curse?
access_time9 months ago
Stephen Sackur talks to America's Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto. Is the US in danger of losing friends and influence in Africa?
access_time9 months ago
Stephen Sackur is in Geneva to talk to the head of the World Trade Organisation Roberto Azevêdo. The WTO is supposed to oversee free and fair global trade but right now, the organisation risks looking impotent and even irrelevant. President Donald Trump is making good on his promises on tariffs and protectionism and the Chinese are threatening to respond in kind. What can the WTO do to avoid a global trade war?
access_time9 months ago
In culturally conservative, male dominated Pakistan, can an actress be an agent of change? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the country's biggest female movie star Mahira Khan. Women in the movie industry have taken the lead in a movement for equality, respect and an end to abusive male behaviour. The mantra #MeToo has become a cultural phenomenon in the United States but how far can it reach?
access_time9 months ago
What is Trump’s brand of disruption doing to US foreign policy? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Bill Richardson, former Clinton cabinet secretary and one time US North Korea emissary. The next couple of months will present President Donald Trump with foreign policy choices that could define his presidency. A summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is looming, so too a decision on whether to dump the nuclear deal with Iran. And never far from the surface, how to handle relations with Vladimir Putin's Russia.
access_time9 months ago
In the battle for Turkey’s future and its soul, who is winning? More than 150 journalists are currently in prison in Turkey. President Erdogan’s government stands accused of an all-out assault on freedom of expression. Stephen Sackur talks to Can Dündar, former editor of the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, who has experienced imprisonment, life threatening violence and exile in the last couple of years after publishing material which infuriated the Turkish president.

(Photo: Can Duendar, Turkish journalist, during an interview at the 2017 Frankfurt Book Fair. Credit: Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images)
access_time9 months ago
Can the DRC find a path to prosperity? The Democratic Republic of Congo boasts assets that ought to be the envy of Africa – vast productive lands, abundant natural resources and a youthful population. But DRC’s potential remains unfulfilled thanks to political instability, communal violence and corruption. HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur speaks to the country’s Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala – a one-time opponent of President Kabila who now serves him.
access_time9 months ago
Are journalists still able to tell the truth to power? On March 16th 1968 US soldiers committed a war crime during the Vietnam war. More than 500 men, women and children were systematically slaughtered in the village of May Lai. The terrible truth was exposed thanks to the work of investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur speaks to him about a lifetime of reporting that has been punctuated by scoops, prizes and plentiful confrontations with the powers that be.
access_time9 months ago
Can a movement founded on a hashtag really change the world? HARDtalk’s Sarah Montague speaks to Patrisse Khan-Cullors, the woman who first coined the slogan Black Lives Matter. She first used it as a hashtag on a friend's Facebook post back in 2013. Since then Black Lives Matter has taken off as a political movement around the world. She’s now written about her own experience growing up in a poor black family in California, and how she’s convinced that if racism and state violence against African Americans can be stopped then other problems in the black community - such as poverty, poor education and crime - would disappear too. Is she right?
access_time9 months ago
Why does migration frighten so many of us? HARDtalk speaks to writer Mohsin Hamid whose novels have explored cultural, economic and religious tensions between East and West. Globalisation is a trend based on movement - of money goods, ideas and people - across continents and national borders. In a world of glaring inequality, it has stirred a powerful backlash manifested in the rise of nationalism and identity politics. This clash of human impulses is fertile territory for the Pakistani novelist.
access_time9 months ago
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to, Boris Titov, leader of Russia’s Party of Growth. Seven candidates are challenging Vladimir Putin in this month's Russian presidential election; but none of them has much hope of victory. One of the seven 'other' candidates - Boris Titov - is a Putin appointee as government ombudsman for business. Does Russia need reform rather than authoritarianism?
access_time9 months ago
Stephen Sackur speaks to Ahmad Tibi. He is a veteran Arab Israeli MP and one time adviser to Yasser Arafat. President Donald Trump claimed he could broker the deal of the century between Israel and the Palestinian. Instead he seems to have entrenched the hostility after recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Is the Arab-Israeli experience a sign that the status quo is the only viable response to the conflict between Jews and Arabs?

(Photo: Ahmad al-Tibi, speaks to the media at a Jerusalem district court in Jerusalem. Credit: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)
access_time9 months ago
In September 1957 nine African American students, including Elizabeth Eckford, entered the all white Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, thereby breaking for the first time the racial segregation barrier in US schools. They became known as the Little Rock Nine. Two years earlier the US Supreme Court had ruled segregation in schools to be unconstitutional. The first time Elizabeth Eckford tried to enter Little Rock Central High she was turned away and the image of her surrounded by a hostile crowd of local white people is one of the most famous photographs of the American civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 60s. Later in September 1957 Elizabeth and her fellow group of African American students were finally able to enter the school. But their troubles didn't stop there. The Little Rock Nine were regularly abused and shunned by white students and for Elizabeth Eckford her time at the school led to suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. HARDtalk is at her familyhome in Little Rock from where she left to attend Central High more than 60 years ago.
access_time9 months ago
It is ten years since Kosovo became Europe’s newest nation. It has not been an easy decade. Relations with neighbouring Serbia remain hostile and international recognition has been patchy with Kosovo is still struggling to get on top of endemic poverty and corruption. Stephen Sackur speaks to Ramush Haradinaj – Kosovo’s Prime Minister. Can Kosovo escape its troubled history?
access_time10 months ago
The HARDtalk programme, like so many others in the churn of 24/7 news tends to focus on people and places facing problems and challenges. More often than not we hold the powerful to account for things that went wrong, not right. Are we missing the bigger picture about the world we live in? Stephen Sackur speaks to the psychologist and writer, Steven Pinker. His new book, Enlightenment Now, is a paean to human progress driven by reason and science. How convincing are his reasons to be cheerful?

(Photo: Psychologist and writer Steven Pinker)