Can Europe reverse its falling fertility rates?
The Inquiry
by BBC World Service
5d ago
Across the world fertility rates are falling and for the first time Europe is experiencing a sustained population decline. The average fertility rate for the European Union is 1.53 live births per woman. In Italy the fertility rate has remained low for the last thirty years, with an average 1.3 births per woman. Some governments, who are concerned that not enough people are being born to keep their economies functioning in the long term are spending billions on incentives and policies to try and reverse the trend. But even in the Nordic countries, which are noted for some of the best family fo ..read more
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Who will be next to walk on the moon?
The Inquiry
by BBC World Service
1w ago
In the next two or three years America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration - NASA - plans to send a mission into space that will land people on the moon for the first time in over a half a century. The mission has already been pushed back and is widely expected to be delayed again. But America is not alone. Both China and India also have ambitions to land people on the lunar surface. Who is next to walk on the moon is driven by geopolitics and a desire to harness the moon’s resources. Different countries, and even the private companies involved, all have different agendas. Who gets ..read more
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Are Ethiopians losing faith in their Orthodox Church?
The Inquiry
by BBC World Service
2w ago
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church - once a powerful marker of nationhood - is deeply split as result of the recent civil war in Tigray which exacerbated historical tensions in the church. The Church, which traces its history to the fourth century, was once the biggest denomination in Ethiopia with nearly 44 percent of the population calling themselves Orthodox Christians, but now its centrality in Ethiopian spiritual and political life - once unquestioned - appears to hang in the balance, with a steady increase in the number of people joining other denominations and the number of people c ..read more
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Can the Vatican stop Nicaragua’s Catholic crackdown?
The Inquiry
by BBC World Service
3w ago
After serving nearly a year of his 26 year sentence for treason in a Nicaraguan jail, Bishop Rolando Álvarez of Matagalpa was flown to Rome in January. The high profile bishop known as an outspoken critic of President Ortega’s Sandinista government has been under house arrest since August 2022. He was allowed to leave the country alongside his supporter Bishop Isidoro Mora and a group of priests and seminarians, after a request from the Vatican. It’s the latest development in a relationship between Nicaragua and the Holy See that has grown increasingly tense. President Ortega has had a complic ..read more
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What does Iran want?
The Inquiry
by BBC World Service
1M ago
After months of tension and hostility in the Middle East over the Gaza-Israel conflict, Iran has publicly stated its desire to avoid a regional conflict. It has however displayed its military force on several fronts. There have been missile strikes. Iran targeted militant bases in western Pakistan leading to a retaliatory back-and-forth with Pakistan. With attacks on Iraq and Syria, Tehran said it was targeting Islamic State and Israel's Mossad spy agency - both of whom it claimed were behind the deadliest domestic attack on Iranian soil since the Islamic revolution – an attack in early Januar ..read more
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Can Indonesia pull off relocating its capital?
The Inquiry
by BBC World Service
1M ago
Indonesia’s ambitious plan to move the administrative headquarters of its capital city from Jakarta to a new location on the island of Borneo, in the East Kalimantan province, is nearing the completion of its first phase. Known as Nusantara, the new city’s inauguration is scheduled to coincide with Indonesia’s Independence Day on 17th August, the date of the final term of office for the current President Joko Widodo. The project has been deemed necessary as Jakarta is considered no longer fit for purpose. Located on the island of Java, it ranks as one of the most densely populated cities in th ..read more
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Why is the US Army struggling to recruit new soldiers?
The Inquiry
by BBC World Service
1M ago
In 1973 America ended a draft that had been in effect since before it entered the second World War, and for the last fifty years the US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines have been an all-volunteer military. But, recently, of the four major branches which make up the US armed services, only the Marines have achieved their target for new recruits. And the biggest force, the Army, has been struggling most of all. In the past two years its missed its recruiting target by several thousand. In this edition of the Inquiry, Sandra Kanthal looks at the myriad reasons the American Army is failing to enl ..read more
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Are Orcas ok?
The Inquiry
by BBC World Service
1M ago
Something strange started happening in early 2023 in the waters off South Western Europe, where the Mediterranean sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. Orcas began slamming into the sides of fishing and sailing vessels. The killer whales then dived underneath to locate and destroy the rudders used to steer the boats. Once finished the Orcas departed leaving shocked crews and thousands of dollars of damage behind. Some of the attacks were over in a matter of minutes but others lasted hours. It’s very unusual behaviour for this particular mammal but Orcas are under a lot of threat from man-made hazards ..read more
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What’s going on with sargassum seaweed?
The Inquiry
by BBC World Service
2M ago
Sargassum seaweed was recorded as far back as the 15th century when Christopher Columbus wrote in his expedition diaries about miles and miles and miles of dense seaweed as he crossed the Atlantic Ocean. In 2011, a great mass of this seaweed emerged, stretching from West Africa to the Gulf of Mexico, a phenomenon known as the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt. Since then it’s been washing up on coastlines in massive amounts, causing a big impact on communities whose economy relies heavily on the tourism industry. As the seaweed decays it releases hydrogen sulphide which has a strong odour of rotte ..read more
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Has Toyota solved the electric car battery problem?
The Inquiry
by BBC World Service
2M ago
Toyota has unveiled a revolutionary electric car battery, able to travel 1,200 kilometres in one go and can be charged in just ten minutes. Toyota’s CEO Koji Sato said that “commercialisation of solid state batteries is a thing of the future... now within reach, changing the future of cars". The company also claims to be on the brink of being able to manufacture them. So is this, as some are claiming, a ‘watershed moment’ in car making? Can these new batteries now be produced at scale? What impact will this have on the popularity of electric cars and their uptake? Has Toyota solved the electri ..read more
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