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The Documentary

Podcast The Documentary

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  • Uruguay’s Cash Cow
    Cattle are part of Uruguay’s DNA. There are around 4 cows to every one of their tiny 3.5 million population of people and beef is their main export. But how do they compete against their mighty, better known neighbours; Argentina and Brazil? In this week’s Assignment Jane Chambers travels to the country’s lush, green pastures to find out about how they keep their cash cow flourishing. She hears from cattle farmers and other people in the beef industry about how they’re carving out a niche for themselves and future proofing against the threats of climate change. Produced and presented by: Jane Chambers Country Producer: Lucinda Elliot Studio Mix: Rod Farquhar Production coordinator: Iona Hammond and Gemma Ashman Series Editor: Penny Murphy
  • The Night Witches of World War Two
    Orna Merchant learns how, during World War Two, a desperate Soviet Union created three all-female aerial combat units. The most celebrated of these was the 588th Night Bomber Regiment. Using Polikarpov Po-2 wooden biplanes, as the aviators approached their target they would cut their engines and glide in to drop their bombs. The eerie sight and sound of this – added to the discovery of them having all women crews - led German forces to nickname them ‘Nachthexen’ - the Night Witches.
  • A short history of sadness
    How do humans cope with sadness? Is it something to be avoided at all costs or part of the human condition? Should we dwell on our sadness, or flee from it? Author Helen Russell explores humanity's history of gloom, and the cultural differences in our approach to tackling it. Helen goes to Lisbon to explore their relationship with melancholy, communicated through a uniquely mournful genre of music called Fado, and an untranslatable word "saudade". She learns about the service which sends a handsome man to wipe away tears in Japan, and hears about joy, sadness and mourning with a Ghanian poet.
  • Babies and families
    Several countries are experiencing a fall in the number of babies being born and this has potentially serious consequences. Japan’s Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, has warned that his country is on the brink of not being able to function as a society. The problem is an increasingly elderly population and not enough younger people to keep the country ticking over. China is seeing record low birth rates and South Korea has the lowest rate of women having babies in the world. Youtubers Sarah and Kyuho in the South Korean capital Seoul, describe some of the pressures and reactions they experienced when they said they are not planning to have kids.
  • Cuba–United States relations
    Cuba and the United States share a long, complex history. From the Spanish-American War of 1898 to Fidel Castro's Cuba, these neighbours have often had an uneasy relationship. Claire Graham speaks with Ana Maria Roura, a BBC World Service journalist and Cuban native, to understand the history between the two nations.

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