The terror attack on Muslims worshipping in Christchurch, New Zealand has focused minds around the world on the threat from racist far-right extremists. The man responsible cited influences from the US and UK among others, and claimed to be motivated by white supremacist ideas. So, who are these extremists? What do they believe and why? And what role might politics and media play in planting the roots of extremism in society? Ritula Shah is joined by a panel of experts to discuss the nature and challenge of far-right extremism.
(Photo: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hugs a female member of the Muslim community in Christchurch, 16 March 2019. Credit: Boris Jancic/European Photopress Agency)
What’s going on at the US-Mexico border?
The number of undocumented migrants captured at the US Mexico border has reached a decade-long high, with the government predicting that the number will continue to rise. President Trump says the situation at the border is a national emergency. So, is he right? Ritula Shah is joined by three expert guests to discuss what’s going on at America’s southern border. How many people are really crossing it. And - is the asylum system working, or broken, or just under strain?
(Photo: Mexican children at the US border. Credited: Herika Martinez/AFP/Getty Images)
Has China's economy peaked?
This week thousands of delegates from across China arrived in Beijing for the biggest political gathering of the year. But this time, the government’s message about the economy is less upbeat than it has been before. The growth forecast has been reduced, again. A new plan to boost the economy includes greater government spending, increasing foreign firms' access to the Chinese market, and billions of dollars in tax cuts. But will the measures work? There is more trouble on the horizon, as industries struggle to find skilled workers, and deal with the fallout of the trade war with the United States. Celia Hatton is joined by a panel of expert guests to discuss whether the Chinese economy is robust enough to weather the challenges.
(Photo: A female worker in a textile factory in Lianyungang in China's eastern Jiangsu province, February 2019. Credit: AFP/ Getty Images)
What next for the wives of Islamic State fighters?
What's next for the thousands of foreign women who have been living with Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria? The situation was highlighted after a British and an American woman expressed the desire to return to their countries of origin. With the Islamic State's rapidly shrinking territory, thousands of foreign born women - many with children - have fled the fighting and are sheltering in refugee camps. Ritula Shah and a panel of expert guests discuss what should happen to them now. Do they deserve to be resettled in their countries of origin? Or are their governments right to reject their citizenship? And what will happen to the children of IS fighters who have a right to reside in Europe or America?
(Photo: A fighter with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces keeps watch near veiled women standing on a field in Syria by Fadel Senna / AFP/Getty Images)
Are referendums ever a good idea?
This week was another dramatic one in the long-running saga of Brexit, with the possibility of a second referendum to solve the political impasse created by the first still widely discussed. Meanwhile on Sunday in Cuba, which is of course not a democracy, citizens will get to vote in a constitutional referendum that is expected to legitimise private business and open the door - if not positively support - gay marriage, and abortion has now been available in Ireland for two months, after Ireland’s ground-breaking vote last year. In a world in which referendums, plebiscites and citizens initiatives are more common than ever, are these forms of direct democracy really an answer to our political problems? Do they enhance or damage representative democracy? Do they satisfy an important right to be heard, or create deeper divisions in society?
This week on The Real Story with Ruth Alexander we ask: Are referendums ever a good idea?