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The Fifth Floor

Podcast The Fifth Floor
Podcast The Fifth Floor

The Fifth Floor


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  • Why I became a journalist
    For many the decision to become a journalist emerges slowly, but not for Nataliya Zotova. Writing was always a passion, and the killing of Novaya Gazeta's Anna Politkovskaya inspired her to work at the same newspaper. She shares her journey from shy teenager to BBC Russian reporter. The Chinese workers who live in fear in Pakistan Chinese workers who move to Pakistan to work on projects connected to China’s Belt and Road initiative are increasingly being targetted by local militant groups. BBC Urdu's Sarah Atiq visited a factory in Balochistan where the Chinese employees have to live on site under armed guard. Give us back our gold! The theme of stolen gold is a popular internet meme used by Brazilians against the Portuguese. Brazil had a huge gold rush in the 18th century, and there's a feeling that nearly all that wealth ended up in Portugal. As BBC Brasil's Vitor Tavares explains, the real story is much more complex. 1, 2, 3: counting around the world Counting on your fingers is as easy as 1, 2, 3 right? But do you start with your thumb, or your pinkie, or even your index finger? Maybe you get clever and use each finger segment to triple up the number? Counting around the world, with Suping of BBC Chinese, Devina Gupta of BBC Hindi, Grigor Atanesian of BBC Russian and Iman Mohammed of BBC Somali. Vietnam's pets killed for Covid Vietnam's extended lockdowns have left many people out of work and forced them to return to their home towns. The story of one family’s return sparked outrage when the authorities destroyed their pets – 15 dogs and 1 cat. BBC Vietnamese journalist Bui Thu spoke to the family. Image: Nataliya Zotova at work Credit: Georgy Malets
  • Ecuador’s prison battle: The aftermath
    The president of Ecuador has declared a state of emergency for the prison system after the country’s worst prison riot, in which 118 inmates died. It’s part of a wave of violence that has swept Ecuador's jails, as rival drug gangs fight for dominance. BBC Mundo’s Ana Maria Roura has been looking into the story. Squid Game: kids' games and killings ‘Squid Game’ has been topping streaming charts around the world. The South Korean drama sees contestants playing popular children's games to win millions of dollars, but the cost of losing is death. BBC Korean's William Lee explains the appeal of its mix of nostalgia and horror. Morocco’s cannabis farmers Despite the huge profits for international dealers, Morocco’s cannabis farmers are poor. Recently the government legalised the growth and sale of cannabis for medical and industrial purposes, so will farmers benefit? BBC Arabic’s Mohamed Ibrahim visited northern Morocco to find out. Russia's Romanov wedding A descendant of the Russian royal family was recently married in a lavish ceremony in St Petersburg. Grand Duke George Mikhailovich Romanov is a great-grandnephew of the last tsar, Nicholas II. Olga Ivshina of BBC Russian tells us about reactions among ordinary Russians. Afghan fruit in Pakistani markets Pakistan imports plenty of fruit from Afghanistan, but this year there’s been more, and it’s cheaper. Since the Taliban took over, trade between the two countries has become one-sided, with Afghan farmers keen to get their produce out, as BBC Urdu’s Azizullah Khan reports. Image: Relatives wait with caskets for inmates who died in the Litoral Penitentiary Credit: Gerardo Menoscal/Agencia Press South/Getty Images
  • Meet Kenya's Guru of Love
    The BBC's gender and identity correspondent, Megha Mohan, meets Robert Burale, an East African guru of love, whose seminars promise the hopeful they can “Get a boyfriend for Christmas". So what's the advice, and who's buying? Giant African snails in Kerala Giant African snails have become a pest in Kerala, so one area came up with a creative snail hunting idea: a chance to win over a million dollars for catching the most. Too good to be true? Over to the BBC's Jaltson Akkanath Chummar. China's Hainan island surf boom Covid restrictions on travel, plus surfing's debut at the Tokyo Olympics, have led to a boom in the China's home grown surf scene. Hainan island is proving a popular destination as Howard Zhang of BBC Chinese reports. Why car registration plates have blocked the Serbian Kosovo border A recent row over registration plates caused a blockade at the border and harsh words between Belgrade and Pristina. BBC Serbian's Marija Jankovic explains why registration plates are so contentious between Serbia and Kosovo. Vietnam's Spring Roll King BBC Vietnamese has been sharing the extraordinary story of Trinh Vinh Binh, nicknamed ‘the spring roll king’, famous as the only businessman to have won a case against the Vietnamese government, as the BBC’s Thu Phan explains. Image: Robert Burale Credit: BBC
  • What's behind Guinea's coup?
    The military coup earlier this month in the West African state of Guinea has been a huge story for BBC reporter Alhassan Sillah, based in the capital Conakry. He tells us about the main players - coup leader Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, and the man he ousted, President Alpha Condé. The swimming camels of Kutch The Kharai are a rare breed of camel found in the Indian state of Gujarat. They swim up to three kilometres in shallow seas to reach the mangroves where they graze. But as salt companies block tidal water, the mangroves are dying, and there's less grazing. BBC Gujarati's Prashant Gupta met the herdsmen and their swimming camels. Cairo's belly dancing school Egypt is known for belly dancing, but recently this art has been dominated by belly dancers from Eastern Europe and Latin America. Reem Fattelbab of BBC Arabic has visited a belly dancing school in Cairo to find out why more Egyptian women don't follow this tradition. Ukraine's toxic mines BBC Ukrainian recently reported from the frontline in the Donbas region about the impact the conflict is having on the environment. During the Soviet era, Donbas was a mining hub, but now many old mines are flooding, leading to contamination of local water supplies. Reporter Zhanna Bezpiatchuk went down one of the mines to see for herself. Capybaras and class war in Argentina The exclusive Nordelta gated community north of Buenos Aires were recently invaded by capybaras, the world's largest rodent. Gardens were tunneled, plants eaten, but with half of Argentinians living in poverty, many were siding with the animals, as BBC Mundo contributor Macarena Gagliardi reports. Image: Special forces commander Mamady Doumbouya in September 2021 Credit: Reuters/Saliou Samb
  • The Kenyan men campaigning against FGM
    Campaigns to end female genital mutilation usually focus on women’s experiences for obvious reasons: women bear the lifelong physical and psychological scars. But in Kenya the Men End FGM Foundation is adding men’s voices to the anti-FGM movement. Esther Ogola is the women’s affairs reporter in Nairobi who covered the story. Arabic coffee and health BBC Arabic has been investigating the health risks of the strong dark coffee traditionally drunk in Greece and Turkey and across the Arab world. Omar Abdel-Razek tells us what the experts say, and also shares the pleasures of the culture around coffee. Taiwan’s pineapple politics Earlier this year China halted its imports of Taiwanese pineapples overnight. China is Taiwan’s biggest export market, so a huge political effort was launched to promote the island’s pineapples. Benny Lu is a journalist with BBC China in Hong Kong, and explains what pineapples reveal about regional geopolitics. Thailand's celebrity monks Two Buddhist monks have attracted a huge social media following among young Thais for their humorous, informal style. But as BBC Thai’s Issariya Praithongyaem tells us, not everyone likes it, and they have been asked to up the religious content and cut down on the giggling. VR helps Indians and Pakistanis visit their lost homes India's violent partition in 1947 displaced some 15 million people who were never able to return home. But for some, a new project called Dastaan is providing customised virtual tours around villages they haven't seen for over 70 years, as Bushra Owaisy from BBC Delhi explains. Image: Kenyan men campaigning against FGM Credit: Men End FGM Foundation

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