The British Foreign Secretary has warned of the danger of Iran and the United States stumbling into a war by accident. And the signs are ominous: the US accelerated the deployment of an aircraft carrier and B52 bombers to the Persian Gulf and all non-essential staff are being withdrawn from the US Embassy in Baghdad. US National Security Adviser John Bolton said any attack by Iran on America or its allies would be met with what he called unrelenting force. So what's the risk of a war breaking out?
David Aaronovitch is joined by:
Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group
Kori Schake of the International Institute for Strategic Studies
Aniseh Barissi Tabrizi of the Royal United Services Institute
Robert Cooper, former EU diplomat.
Barbara Leaf, former US diplomat and State Department official
Should vaccinations be compulsory?
With measles infections on the rise in the UK, should vaccinations be made compulsory?
Measles is an ‘entirely preventable’ disease, says the UN – and for a while the UK and other developed countries had prevented it.
But during the first three months of this year, the World Health Organisation reported 112,000 cases of measles. Over the same time last year it was 28,000
In the UK we once again have outbreaks of measles and a falling vaccination rate.
David Aaronovitch asks how much this matters and whether, as the Health Secretary has said recently, we should rule nothing out, even including compulsory vaccination.
Gareth Williams, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of Bristol and author of Angel of Death: The Story of Smallpox
Professor Heidi Larson, director of The Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Hugh Whittall, director of The Nuffield Council on Bioethics
Dr Stephen John, Hatton Lecturer in the Philosophy of Public Health at the University of Cambridge
Producers: Richard Fenton-Smith & Serena Tarling
Researcher: Kirsteen Knight
Editor: Jasper Corbett
Does the UK have an opioid problem?
Prescriptions for opioid painkillers have increased by 60 per cent in the UK during the last decade, and the number of codeine-related deaths in England and Wales has more than doubled.
The government is now planning to put prominent warnings about the dangers of addiction on the packaging of opioid medicines, to protect people from 'the darker side of painkillers' - as Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock put it.
This is an effort to avoid the situation in the United States where 130 people die every day from opioid-related drug overdoses, which has prompted President Donald Trump to declare a national health emergency.
But are we really on the precipice of our own epidemic?
David Aaronovitch asks how the situation got so out of control in the USA and whether the UK should do more to regulate painkillers containing opioids.
Sam Quinones, journalist and author of 'Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic'.
Dr Raeford Brown, former chair of the FDA's Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee
Dr Luke Mordecai, consultant anaesthetist at University College Hospital, with research focus on opiate use and complex pain
Professor Leslie Colvin, chair of pain medicine, University of Dundee
Dr Emily Finch, consultant addiction psychiatrist at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust
Producers: Serena Tarling & Richard Fenton-Smith
Researcher: Kirsteen Knight
Details of organisations offering information and support with addiction are available at bbc.co.uk/actionline, or you can call for free at any time to hear recorded information on 08000 155 947.
What drives religious intolerance?
Is religious intolerance on the rise, and if so, what is behind it?
In Sri Lanka this week, people claiming to be acting out of religious belief killed more than 350 people, mostly of a different faith – in this case Christians.
Religious intolerance is a theme which has surfaced in the news with some frequency in recent years – be it the persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar, the Yazidis in Iraq, the Uighurs in China or numerous blasphemy trials in Pakistan.
On this week's programme, David Aaronovitch asks whether religious intolerance – be it intolerance of religions, or by religions - is actually on the rise.
If so, who is leading this – governments? Nationalist political movements? Or the faithful themselves?
Alan Keenan, senior analyst at the International Crisis Group
Alan Cooperman, Director of Religion research, Pew Research Centre
Karen Armstrong, author of The Lost Art of Scripture: Rescuing the Sacred Texts
Oliver McTernan, founder of the conflict resolution organisation, Forward Thinking
Robin Gill, Emeritus Professor of Applied Theology at the University of Kent
What's in the Mueller report?
The investigation has taken nearly two years, cost tens of millions of dollars, and led to dozens of criminal charges. Now, a redacted version of Robert Mueller’s report into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 US Presidential election is going to be delivered to Congress.
This week David Aaronovitch and his guests in the Briefing Room examine what’s in the report, and what does it all mean - especially for Donald Trump and his prospects for winning a second presidential term next year.
Katie Benner, Justice Department reporter, New York Times
Dr Leslie Vinjamuri, Head of the US and the Americas Programme, Chatham House
Shira Scheindlin, former United States District Judge
Larry Sabato, Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia