Reforming the Catholic Church with Vatican II
Witness History
by BBC World Service
19m ago
In January 1959, Pope John XXIII announced a council of all the world's Catholic bishops and cardinals in Rome. It led to sweeping reforms, including allowing Mass to be said in languages other than Latin and an attempt to build relationships with other denominations and faiths. But not everyone was happy with the changes. Monsignor John Strynkowski was a student priest in Rome at the time and told Rebecca Kesby about the excitement and controversy surrounding the council that became known as Vatican II. This programme was first broadcast in 2019. (Photo: Pope John XXIII. Credit: Getty Images ..read more
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The first black music station in Europe
Witness History
by BBC World Service
4d ago
In 1981, Rita Marley’s brother Leroy Anderson aka Lepke launched the Dread Broadcasting Corporation (DBC), Europe’s first dedicated black music station. Frustrated by the lack of airtime for reggae music in the UK, Lepke setup a mast in his back garden and began to broadcast to a small area of West London every Sunday afternoon. DBC soon expanded to cover all styles of black music and with its unmistakable logo featuring a dread with headphones and a spliff became a trailblazer for the future of black British radio in the UK. Neil Meads speaks to former DBC station manager Michael Williams abo ..read more
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The assassination of Burundian President Melchior Ndadaye
Witness History
by BBC World Service
5d ago
In July 1993, Melchior Ndadaye became Burundi’s first democratically elected president. He was also the first president to come from the country’s Hutu majority. For decades up to that point, Burundi had been ruled by a small group of individuals drawn from the among the Tutsi minority. President Ndadaye had come to power promising a new vision for Burundi. But within months he was murdered by soldiers. Rob Walker hears from Jean-Marie Ngendahayo who was Minister of Communications in President Ndadaye’s government. (Photo: A relative of Melchior Ndadaye holding a photo of him at his funeral. C ..read more
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Columbia space shuttle disaster
Witness History
by BBC World Service
6d ago
The US space shuttle Columbia broke up on its way back to Earth on 1 February 2003. It had been in use since 1981. Iain Mackness spoke to Admiral Hal Gehman who was given the job of finding out what went wrong. The admiral’s report led to the ending of the American space shuttle programme in 2011. A Made in Manchester production for BBC World Service first broadcast in 2019. (Photo: Space shuttle Columbia. Credit: Getty Images ..read more
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Czechoslovakia's 'Velvet Divorce'
Witness History
by BBC World Service
1w ago
30 years ago this month, Czechoslovakia split into the separate states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It was a rare instance of a state separating without a single life being lost. Thanks to this it became known as the ‘Velvet Divorce’. Rather than putting it to a vote, the country and its assets were divided behind closed doors by the Czech and Slovak leaders, Václav Klaus and Vladimír Mečiar, who became the Prime Ministers of their newly independent states. Ben Henderson speaks to both of them about their memories from the time. (Photo: Václav Klaus and Vladimír Mečiar negotiate the spl ..read more
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Palestine Post bombing
Witness History
by BBC World Service
1w ago
Mordechai Chertoff was the foreign editor on the Palestine Post (precursor to the Jerusalem Post) when it was bombed on 1 February 1948. He tells Lucy Williamson how, despite the attack, the newspaper still came out the next morning. This programme was first broadcast in 2010. (Photo: Palestine Post bombing. Credit: Getty Images ..read more
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Albert Pierrepoint: Britain's executioner
Witness History
by BBC World Service
1w ago
Using archive recordings, Alex Last tells the story of Britain's most famous hangman. During the 1940s and 1950s, Albert Pierrepoint was responsible for the execution of some of Britain's most notorious murderers and was sent to Germany to hang more than 200 Nazi war criminals after World War Two. He said he was always determined to treat prisoners with dignity and respect whatever their crime. This programme was first broadcast in 2015. (Photo: Albert Pierrepoint. Credit: Getty Images ..read more
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Smolensk air disaster
Witness History
by BBC World Service
1w ago
In 2010, a plane carrying the Polish president, Lech Kaczyński, crashed near the Russian city of Smolensk, killing everyone on board. It was one of the most tragic moments in modern Polish history. The country’s minister of foreign affairs, Radoslaw Sikorski was one of the first people to hear about it. He’s been sharing his memories of the disaster with Matt Pintus. (Photo: Smolensk air crash wreckage. Credit: Getty Images ..read more
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Japanese death row guard
Witness History
by BBC World Service
2w ago
Yoshikuni Noguchi spent time as a guard in one of the prisons in Japan that would carry out the death penalty, and witnessed the hanging of a condemned prisoner in 1971, before going on to become a lawyer. He describes in detail what he saw. Yoshikuni began speaking out to cast light on the reality of what death row inmates go through, as Japan continues to resist the calls to ban the practice, which is no longer in use in most countries. He tells his story to Dan Hardoon. A Whistledown production for BBC World Service. (Photo: Yoshikunu Noguchi. Credit: Alamy ..read more
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When Britain tried to censor the Troubles in Northern Ireland
Witness History
by BBC World Service
2w ago
Frontman of punk-rock band The Undertones, Paul McCloone, recalls the “weird, slightly funny, slightly sad, slightly surreal” time he was the voice of IRA commander-turned-politician, Martin McGuinness. It was during the so called ‘broadcasting ban’ in the UK which came into force in 1988. It saw organisations believed to support terrorism forbidden from directly broadcasting on radio or television. Paul tells Alys Harte how the legislation led to extra work for him. (Photo: Paul Mcloone during a performance. Credit: Getty Images ..read more
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