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BBC World Service - Fifth Floor


bbcff_2014_07-12zoomOriginal insights, playful perspectives and surprising stories from the World Service's 27 language sections. Every week with David Amanor. - Ein wöchentlicher Blick hinter die Kulissen der 27 Sprachdienste des Weltdienstes der BBC, moderiert von David Amanor.

Archivnummern: AP/m_mm1/bbcff_2014_(Sendedatum)
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Datei Datum Inhalt Dauer
0704 04.07 1) The Art of Football Commentary Around the world hundreds of thousands of people will have spent many an hour over the last few weeks shouting at their screens - and sometimes at the players - often at the referee and occasionally at the commentators. But what makes for good commentary and how do styles differ in different parts of the world? We're joined by commentator and sports reporter from BBC Africa Farayi Mungazi, from BBC Brasil Hugo Bachega shares tales of the Brazilian greats and from BBC Persian Hossein Sharif explains how, in Iran, football commentary is inseparable from politics. 2) Gold Smuggling into India It seems India's appetite for gold hasn't been dampened by heavy penalties imposed on imports last year. By some accounts it's just made the smuggling routes three times busier. But is it only gold that glitters in Indian eyes? Who is buying the stuff, and where is it coming from? We asked BBC Hindi's Tushar Banerjee to do a little digging on this story with the help of his colleagues: Rama Parajuli in Kathmandu for BBC Nepali, Azzam Ameen in Colombo for BBC Sinhala and Aharar Hossein in Dhaka for BBC Bengali. 3) The Tale of Two Cities Brazzaville and Kinshasa are two capitals separated by the mighty Congo river. They could be thought of as sisters, but that relationship has been soured recently and we find out why BBC Africa's Maud Jullien has been struggling to get across the river. 4) Reflections Through the Bullet Holes BBC Arabic's Carine Torbey has been thinking about a tower block on the edge of the mediterranean in her home city Beirut. It's the Holiday Inn, once a symbol of glamour and affluence, still a landmark today but symbolising something quite different. Its up for auction, complete with pock marks from the bullets and shells that decorated it ominously during Lebanon's civil war. 5) Bollywood Legend Dilip Kumar Dilip Kumar is one of the giants of the Hindi film industry. At the grand age of 91 he is publishing his autobiography looking back at his life in film. In his time he was dubbed 'The tragedy King' for his roles which symbolised misfortune and catastrophe. BBC Hindi's Vandana Vijay and Vaibhav Dewan talk about a legend of Indian cinema. 6) Online Greatest Hits Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the low down on the top-hitting stories across the language service websites including, decorating potholes in Kazakhstan and catching a ride in Castro's ex limos. 49:56
0711 11.07 1) South Sudan Three Years On This week marks three years since the birth of the world's newest country - South Sudan. But it hasn't been a glowing start - it's currently reeling from a civil war that has killed thousands and forced over a million people to flee from their homes. Many of them have fled across the border to Ethiopia. BBC Africa's Hewete Haileselassie, who is from Ethiopia, meets the refugees who've made camp there. 2) World Cup Chants Which World Cup country has the best football chant and why, Argentina, Brazil, or Germany? BBC Mundo's Natalio Cosoy, Daniel Gallas from BBC Brasil and Central Asian editor Johannes Dell who's from Germany join us on the Fifth Floor newsroom to battle it out. 3) Saudi YouTube King Introducing Saudi's Beatboxer extraordinaire, Alaa Wardi makes music using only his body. He's such a hit in his home country of Saudi Arabia that he's become known as the Saudi You Tube King. Mehrnoush Pourziaiee from BBC Persian went to meet him. Saudi's are the biggest consumers and producers of You Tube videos across the Arab world, making some of the most creative comedy in the region. Abdirahim Saeed reviews what young people are watching in the country. 4) Birth Control in Iran The Iranian government is proposing to ban vasectomies and impose more restrictions on other forms of birth control. Iran has a complex history with population growth, veering from encouraging more and more babies to imposing some of the most successful birth control plans of any nation. It's all a bit confusing for young Iranians like Hossein Sharif from BBC Persian, for years he was encouraged to stay away from the opposite sex, but now he's told he should be making babies, lots of them. 5) Happy Birthday Wole Soyinka As Wole Soyinka, Nobel poet laureate and giant of African literature celebrates his 80th birthday this weekend, we talk to Bilkisu Labaran from Nigeria to hear about her favourite works by the big man. We also discuss what sort of influence the poet, playwright, author and more recently campaigner has had on the country. 6) Online Greatest Hits Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the low down on the top-hitting stories across the web including, the Indian man with 48 air-conditioners in his bungalow and the North Korean cheer-leading squad. 49:55
0718 18.07 1) Farewell Nadine Gordimer She was a Nobel Laureate and one of the most powerful literary voices against apartheid in South Africa. Two South African journalists Audrey Brown and Nick Ericsson remember Nadine Gordimer, one of their country's most influential authors. 2) Delhi's water ATMs A new service has been introduced in Delhi for those with poor water supplies and that is the Water ATM - you pay in your money and out comes a steady flow of pure, clean water. BBC Hindi's Nitin Srivastava has been trying it out. 3) Colombian TV at 60 For 60 years, Colombian TV has been entertaining audiences across Latin America with its colourful shows. BBC Mundo editor Hernando Alvarez and Colombia correspondent Arturo Wallace, discuss why Colombian TV became so popular across the continent and how the hit US TV show Ugly Betty, based in New York, actually started life as Yo Soy Betty, La Fea from Bogota. 4) Remembering Brazil's Decades of Military Repression BBC Brasil's Pablo Uchoa recalls the story of his father, Inocencio, one of hundreds of Brazilians detained and tortured under two decades of military rule. 5) BBC's Thai "Pop-up" Service The Thai service is back in a brand new form on social media. This comes after the BBC and other international media were taken off air in Thailand during the military coup in May. Issariya Praithongyaem describes the new service and its huge popularity with Thai audiences - despite the fact one can face seven years in prison for 'liking' a Facebook page the authorities in Thailand deem controversial. 6) Sindhi Music on the Streets of Karachi In the hustle and bustle of Karachi, a city where you drown in a cacophony of ambulance sirens, street sellers, crows and dogs, Saba Imtiaz finds a precious moment of beautiful sound when a street musician stops outside her door. For a short while the city stops and listens to music that has been passed down through the generations - this is Sindhi music - simple and sometimes melancholy melodies, evoking memories of a land of beauty and often unspeakable tragedies. 7) Online Greatest Hits Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the low down on the top-hitting stories across the web including, urinating during the Beijing and creating the kingdom of "North Sudan". 51:06
0725 25.07 Nairobi Uncovered: Security has been tight in the city since the Westgate attacks of September last year. Hardly a day goes past without security issues making their way into the news agenda. But how has life changed for the journalists reporting from and living in this vibrant, bustling city? David Amanor is in Nairobi to meet BBC Somali and Swahili teams to hear about the stories and from the people that show the character of the place. We take a booming and bumping matatu ride for a tour of the city, hearing about its history and the quirks and nuances of each district. First stop is 'Little Mogadishu' aka Eastleigh, home to the majority of the city's Somali community. As part of the government security crackdown, houses in the neighbourhood are regularly searched and hundreds of Somalis have been detained accused of being illegally in the country. But does the fear of the police outweigh the fear of militant violence? The soundtrack for this leg of the journey comes from Waayaha Cusub - the hip hop collective who battle militant insurgency through rap. We also ask how the changing dynamics of the city have affected the local media landscape and the role of local journalism. And outside mainstream media, David heads to Homeboyz, a youth radio station and DJ school to learn to mix and scratch Nairobi style, and hear how the city's party scene is still booming in spite of the security challenges. 49:52
0801 01.08 1) Reporting From an Ebola Hotspot BBC Africa's Umaru Fofana in Freetown, Sierra Leone has been reporting on the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. He describes how the virus has affected the atmosphere of his city and the precautions he has to take when covering this story. And as the death toll rises to over 700 across West Africa, so has the panic, misinformation and fear. Also from Freetown, BBC Media Action's Musa Sangarie reflects on how radio can tackle the spread of life-threatening rumours. 2) Searching for George Orwell in Bihar A bungalow in Motihari in the Indian state of Bihar where George Orwell was born is set to become the world's first museum dedicated to the writer. BBC Urdu's Suhail Haleem travels to Motihari to find out whether people there have ever heard of this famous former resident. 3) Forbidden love in Afghanistan Ali and Zakia met when they were child shepherds herding their flocks in the fields of Afghanistan's mountainous Bamiyan province. Ali is an ethnic Hazara and Shia, while Zakia is Tajik and Sunni, but these cultural differences didn't stop the young couple from falling in love. When rumours about their courtship got out, the couple feared Zakia's family might kill them both. In March, they eloped in secret and have been living in hiding since. BBC Persian's Ayoub Arwin, who is also from Bamiyan, has been to meet with them at their safe house and provides an update on their story. 4) Togo's role in World War I The first shots of the First World War were reportedly fired in Togo. In the year of the war's centenary, BBC Africa's Akwasi Sarpong explores West Africa's involvement in the conflict. 5) Online Greatest Hits Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the low down on the top-hitting stories across the web including Kenya's boozy baboons and the Indian boy who had 232 teeth removed. 6) Hafez Nazeri Persian composer Hafez Nazeri's new album was top of the classical music charts in the United States for two weeks - a rare occurrence for Iranian and Middle Eastern music. BBC Persian's Sam Farzaneh caught up with Hafez to talk about his unique fusion of western and eastern music. 49:56
0808 08.08 1) Stories from the Frontline: Gaza How do you cope when your home is a conflict zone? For the last month, BBC Arabic's Shahdi Alkashif has been sleeping on the floor of his office in Gaza. Shahdi has been on the ground reporting the war for BBC Arabic, and he reflects on how this is affecting life for him and his family. 2) Famous Resignations This week marks 40 years since the first and only resignation of an American president - Richard Nixon. From Yeltsin to Musharraf and Mubarak, language service journalists remember covering the last days of historic premierships and what the atmosphere was like in those countries when the news broke. 3) African Horror Fiction The revenge of wronged ancestors, villages populated by the dead and what can befall you when you don't knock on the door of a morgue three times. Welcome to the world of West African horror fiction. Nigerian writer Nuzo Onoh tells David about her new supernatural novel The Reluctant Dead and BBC Africa's Veronique Edwards shares scary tales from her native Cameroon. 4) Water as a Weapon in Iraq Two rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, are the lifeblood of Iraq. Iraqis depend on these waters for fishing, farming, drinking and hydro-electric power. Now there are fears that Islamic State militants could take control of the country by capturing dams on these waterways, allowing them to flood upstream regions and create drought in cities downstream. BBC Persian's Jiyar Gol has been to the region to investigate. He tells David how a life-giving natural resource can become a deadly weapon. 5) Eastleigh: A Local's Tour BBC Somali's Suheba Mohammed takes David to the heart of Eastleigh - a district in Nairobi populated mainly by ethnic Somali Kenyans and Somalis who fled decades of war in their homeland. The place is famous for its vibrant markets, although a crackdown against illegal migration and suspected militants has also taken its toll. 6) Online Greatest Hits Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the lowdown on the top-hitting stories across the web including Japanese snapping turtles and the Russian teenagers who made a swimming pool in their living room. 49:53
0815 15.08 1) From Lift Engineer to Iraqi PM Haider Al-Abadi is the former Iraqi deputy speaker of parliament now set to succeed Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. Al-Abadi's path to prominence is not the typical journey of a politician. For years he was in charge of servicing the lifts in the BBC World Service's old London home - Bush House. Hamid Al-Kifaey worked in Bush House for BBC Arabic. He tells us about his friend the lift engineer who came to have one of the toughest jobs in the Middle East. 2) TV, Propaganda and Power A nation's TV coverage tells a story about its people and its power struggles. BBC Media Action's Haider Al-Safi reflects on the changing landscape of TV in his native Iraq - from the tightly controlled broadcasts of the Saddam era to the creation of a public media in the aftermath of his downfall. Now he says the country is in a new phase - a worrying slide back into denial, propaganda and sectarian speech. How does this compare to the media landscape in other countries that were once under restrictive governments? We hear from BBC Afghan's Sana Safi who talks about watching TV in secret under Taliban rule, and Soe Win Than of BBC Burmese who remembers the military and state propaganda of the 1990s and the slow shift into a seemingly more open media in Burma. 3) A Persian Ode To Maths Maryam Mirzakhani has become the first woman to win the Fields Medal, the most prestigious prize in mathematics. She's from Iran, a country where the study of maths is celebrated. Her thesis showed how to compute the Weil-Petersson volumes of moduli spaces of bordered Riemann surfaces. Did you get that? Golnoosh Golshani of BBC Persian, another lover of numbers, explains why many Iranians have such a special interest in all things mathematical. 4) The Lost Children of the FARC For 50 years, the left wing rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC have been fighting against the Colombian government. Among the casualties of this bitter war are the former female guerilla fighters now searching for the children their commanders forced them to abandon. BBC Mundo's Margarita Rodriguez has been to her native Colombia and met three such women - their stories are full of longing and sadness, and were especially moving for Margarita who was pregnant and about to become a mother herself. 5) Online Greatest Hits Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the low down on the top-hitting stories across the web including India's strays-turned-security dogs, Japanese toothache fashion fad and snoozing in South Korea. 6) Hear My Country: Venezuela Three BBC Mundo journalists from Venezuela tell us about a song that captures the spirit of their country. Rafael Chacon tells how "Tonada de Luna Llena", sung by national treasure Caetano Veloso can calm cows. Yolanda Valery shares a song of the city - "Vivir en Caracas" by Yordano di Marzo. Vladimir Hernandez plays a song from the barrios - "Historia Nuestra" by Vagos y Maleantes. 49:59
0822 22.08 1)Why are Shipping Containers so Popular in Pakistan? Shipping containers have never been so popular in Pakistan as they are right now. The enormous steel blocks have been a fairly common sight on Islamabad's roads this week - used by the police to keep out anti-government protestors who have been marching on the capital to demand the prime minister's resignation. And also used by the protestors themselves - fashioned into makeshift homes, offices and stages for the protest leaders - politician Imran Khan and cleric Tahirul Qadri. Reporter Fahad Desmukh explains the rise of the shipping containers, the art of furnishing them, and what they say about Pakistani politics and public space. 2) How to Build an an Army The Somali government has been in power for nearly two years and during that time they have started to re-build the national army, but there have been some problems. As officers are called back to reclaim their military ranks, there has also been a rise in sales of the military epaulettes that denote rank in the local market. Many thousands are said to have been claiming ranks that they just don't have. The Chief of the Somali Army announced recently that there were almost a thousand fake ranks within the military and he would no longer tolerate it. Mohamed Moalimu from BBC Somali explains some of the struggles of building a new modern army in Somalia. Plus, Aamer Ahmed Khan from BBC Urdu and Kasim Kayira from BBC Africa - who are knowledgeable in all matters military - give their do's and don'ts for creating a new modern army. 3) Understanding Iranian TV Censorship How would you feel if you suddenly found out your favourite television characters were not at all what you imagined them to be? Growing up in 1980s Tehran, BBC Persian's Golnoosh Golshani's cherished TV shows were foreign imports and subject to such sophisticated censorship that the characters and plot lines became rather different from their original depictions. She reflects on her best loved TV memories - watching the British drama The Secret Army and the Japanese serial Oshin - and how she discovered the real stories behind the TV shows that were censored. 4) Intercepts and the Conflict in Eastern Ukraine Just this week the Ukrainian Secret Service published an intercepted conversation, allegedly between two pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk discussing shelling in a civilian area. It's one of many intercepted messages since the conflict began in eastern Ukraine. BBC Languages Editor Olexiy Solohubenko charts the story of the current unrest through some of the key intercepts - why are these messages so significant and what do they say about the nature of this particular war? 5) Symphony for the Shahnameh The Shahnameh, or the Book of Kings, is one of the most famous pieces of literature in Persian history. The poem, written over 1,000 years ago by the poet Ferdowsi, comes in at over 50,000 verses and tells the legendary past of Persia through epic battles, romance and family rifts. Iranian composer Behzad Ranjbaran talks about how the Shahnameh has inspired his latest musical works. 49:53
0829 29.08 1) Living in a Lawless Libya When the international airport of your capital city looks more like a smouldering scrap yard you know that your country is surely in trouble. In Libya, rival militia factions have left Tripoli airport in tatters. Some are saying it is a symbol of the state of the country. It's not a new story - the fall of a dictator who has ruled for years leaving a vacuum of power that allows lawlessness to blossom. But what of the people who have to live through this? Mohammed Hossein is from Benghazi and he's been talking regularly to his family there as the situation deteriorates. 2) Hear My Country: Zimbabwe Can you pick a song that defines your country? This week it's Zimbabwe, and BBC Africa's Kim Chakanetsa is joined by her fellow countrymen Stanley Kwenda and Farayi Mungazi to battle it out to select a song from their homeland. With music from Thomas Mapfumo, Bhundu Boys and Leonard Zhakata. 3) Fascinating Facts about Venezuelan Petrol Earlier this month Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro called for a national debate on petrol prices in the country. And here's why - prices of fuel have been kept so low that you can fill up your tank for the equivalent of a packet of mints. BBC Mundo's Daniel Pardo shares top five facts about that you might not know about petrol in Venezuela. 4) Living with Ebola Ebola has been at the top of the agenda for BBC Africa reporters in the worst affected countries: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. As well as the fatal consequences of the virus, it's changed cultural practices, movement and the economy. Alhassan Sillah in Conakry and Umaru Fofana in Freetown discuss how Ebola has affected daily life and reporting. 5) Bogota's Anti-Groping Bus Squad BBC Mundo's Arturo Wallace spends a day with Bogota's newest police squad - an all-women undercover team formed to combat groping on the public bus system. Can they make a difference to the sexual harassment faced by female commuters in Colombia's capital? 6) Online Greatest Hits Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the low down on the top-hitting stories across the web including 400 missing Austrian gnomes, Ugandan military presiding over beauty pageants, and the Russian bank offering a free cat with every mortgage. 49:55
0905 05.09 1) Who to vote for in Brazil: Mr Bean, Hamburger Face or Bin Laden? Brazilians will head to the polls on the 5th October to elect their president, congress and state governors. There are a lot of people to vote for and some colourful looking names on the ballot papers. For example there are no less than four Barack Obamas running for lower office and there is also a Bin Laden (he's Catholic and running for the Green Party), a Spider-Man, Hamburger Face and Mr Bean to name a few. It is not the first time that Brazilian elections have been populated with so many unusual characters. From Rio, BBC Brasil's Jefferson Puff explains the country's love of nicknames. 2) After the Siege: Diary from Amerli We saw the pictures of celebration as cameras entered the besieged town of Amerli in northern Iraq last Sunday. Islamic State fighters had been holding the town for two months before Iraqi forces, helped by local militia, broke the siege. PTV's Nafiseh Kohnavard travels the dangerous road there to find out how people had survived when they thought the world had forgotten them. 3) How Did You Learn English? For many kids around the world it is the start of a new school year, and classrooms will be resounding with the noise of pupils chanting, reciting verbs and memorising spellings during their English language lessons. But do not fear, there is a more interesting way to learn English - so for a moment, forget about textbooks, teachers and verb conjugations and embrace the teaching method that involves talking dogs, astrology and pop songs. Language service journalists from Iran, Russia, Afghanistan and Venezuela share memories of how they first learnt English. 4) Online Greatest Hits Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the low down on the top-hitting stories across the web, including lizard sex in space and sniffing poo to detect infection. 5) 100 Days of Modi Satellites, toilets and sisters are just some of the words used by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speeches this year. To asses what he has done in his first 100 days, BBC Monitoring's Vikas Pandey has been looking at the most predictable and unpredictable phrases used by the new Indian PM. This is his sound word cloud. 6) Gaza in Sound Is normalcy finally returning to Gaza after 50 fearful days? BBC Arabic's Adnan Elbursh recorded a soundscape of life in Gaza - a sweet potato seller, men smoking shisha pipes, pomegranate sellers and children playing on a beach. 7) The Exponential Growth of the Piano in China One of the orchestras which made its first appearance at the BBC Proms this year was the China Philharmonic Orchestra. That is not surprising when it is estimated that almost 100 million people are learning a classical musical instrument in China. Fifty million are learning the piano alone. So why are all these Chinese children learning Western Classical instruments? Chinese Service Fifth Floorers Carol Yarwood and Raymond Li explain. 49:54
0912 12.09 1) ISIS, ISIL or IS: The Politics of a Name The BBC are calling them Islamic State, or IS. In America, they're known as ISIL. But 'ISIS' seems to be the most ubiquitous name for the militant jihadist group that have taken control of parts of Iraq and Syria. The group has changed its name several times, and world leaders and news editors have been reluctant to call them by the name they've chosen - lending credence to their claim to being founders of an 'Islamic state' or 'caliphate'. BBC Arabic Editor Mohamed Yehia and BBC Monitoring's Amira Fathalla discuss the dilemmas news editors and presenters face with the issue of the power of names and the naming of power. 2) The Afghan Elections in Numbers Remember back in April when Afghans went to the polls to choose a new president? Well it's now September and the wranglings over the final outcome of one of the world's longest-running elections continue. The whole process has cost the Afghan economy over $5billion, involved 22,828 ballot boxes that travelled thousands of miles on the backs of 3,473 donkeys and included 316 international election observers. The Persian Service's Daud Qarizadah tells the story of the troubled Afghan election in numbers. 3) Tezeta: How to Sing the Ethiopian Blues It's a musical genre that isn't easy to define - it's a jazzy mixture of melancholy, nostalgia and love. The tune is tezeta and for many it represents the soul of Ethiopian music. BBC Africa's Hewete Haileselassie shares her passion for the blues with her three favourite tezeta tracks and what they say about Ethiopia. 4) Letter From Yemen BBC Arabic's Mai Noman is from Yemen. She recently returned to her home city of Sanaa to cover the growing protests from the Shia Houthi movement in the city to find that the place where she grew up has changed, people now stay indoors and the sound of gunfire no longer causes alarm. In her letter from Yemen she describes a changing city and a population who are nervous. 5) Stories from the Frontline: Punjab's Floods Once again Pakistan is dealing with the aftermath of floods which have displaced thousands of people, left over 200 dead, and devastated large areas of Punjab and Kashmir. It's been a top story for BBC Urdu, and their reporter Amber Shamsi - being from Punjab herself - reflects on the challenges of reporting such a difficult assignment on her doorstep. From seeing a small boy desperately trying to clear the water using his toy bucket to her family home in Lahore inundated with friends seeking refuge from the rains. 6) The Enduring Appeal of Hercule Poirot Agatha Christie is known as the Queen of Crime. She sold over two billion copies of her books worldwide and created one of the most famous and popular crime fighters in the world - the dapper Belgian detective with the waxed moustache: Hercule Poirot. Originally created 94 years ago in The Mysterious Affair at Styles, for the first time since Christie's death he's now back on the page, with a new writer and a new mystery to solve. Sri Lankan Priyath Liyanage from the Sinhala Service, and Pakistani Umber Khairi from BBC Urdu discuss the global appeal of this detective who uses his "little grey cells." 7) Online Greatest Hits BBC Monitoring's Emilio San Pedro gives the lowdown on the weird and wonderful stories across the web, including Indian impotency tests and the dog that ate 43 socks. 49:57
0919 19.09 All Eyes on Scotland: Can Pakistanis play the bagpipes? Did Idi Amin like haggis? And what happened when 3000 Scots landed in Panama? These pertinent questions and many more are explored in a special edition of the Fifth Floor reflecting on Scotland's historic referendum for independence. 1) We'll hear how the Scottish vote resonates for three Language Service journalists from Pakistan and Serbia - who witnessed convulsions in their own countries that gave birth to new nations, as well as one separatist movement that still rumbles on today, over 60 years after it was first conceived. Plus, we hear how the Russian and Swahili services covered the story. 2) BBC Mundo's Arturo Wallace - a Nicaraguan of Scottish descent - explores the remains of the ill-fated Scottish attempt to build a colony in Central America. And we hear from one of our lesser-known language services - BBC Alba, our Scots Gaelic service. Iain MacClean tells us about bringing the world's top story to Scotland's 58,000 Gaelic speakers. 3) Finally, did you know that the celebrated Bengali writer (and Nobel Laureate) Rabindranath Tagore was a huge fan of the Scottish poet Robert Burns? We'll hear an appreciation of Rabbie from Bangladesh, as well as bagpipe lessons in Dhaka. 49:56
0926 26.09 1) "Boots on the Ground" 'Boots on the ground' is essentially shorthand phrase for sending combat troops into war. It's a term that has been popping up constantly in English language news coverage, but we find out why you're unlikely to hear anyone from BBC Arabic use it and how the Chinese equivalent - 'iron hooves' - has its own significance. 2) Letter from Cambodia: the Floating Vietnamese Villages of Tonlé Sap Tonlé Sap, a giant freshwater lake in Cambodia, is home to an ethnic Vietnamese community who live in floating villages. Despite having lived on the lake for generations, many of the residents do not have the right documents to stay in Cambodia and there are fears that a planned government census may result in them being pressured to leave the country. Nga Pham of BBC Vietnamese took a boat trip around the floating homes, schools, shops and temples of Tonlé Sap and heard the stories of those that live there. 3) How to Dress a President Next Monday, Hamid Karzai will stand down as president of Afghanistan - leaving some very stylish shoes to be filled. Karzai is famously well-groomed and was once voted one of the best dressed men in the world by Esquire magazine. Other leaders have made a point of being less well-turned out - for instance Gandhi never went in for high fashion, and Chechnya's Kadyrov once turned up in a tracksuit at the Kremlin. Language service colleagues tell their sartorial tales of presidents gone by, including what happened when BBC Africa's Veronique Edwards went to interview a leader who was dressed so oddly that she failed to recognise him. 4) The Strangest Museums of Mexico City According to the Mexican government, Mexico City has more museums than any other city in the world. Juan Carlos Perez of BBC Mundo talks us through some of the more eccentric museums the city has to offer, including museums of toys, torture and drug trafficking. 5) Inside the Ahmadi Community Forty years ago the Pakistan government declared the minority Ahmadiya religious sect to be non-muslim, resulting in Ahmadis being subjected to sectarian attacks and further persecution. BBC Urdu's Nosheen Abbas reports from the all-Ahmadi town of Rabwah in rural Punjab - one of the few places in Pakistan where they are not marginalised. 6) Celebrating Julio Cortazar He's a master of magical realism, and can even teach you to climb the stairs: Julio Cortazar is one of Argentina's most famous writers, and this year marks 100 years since his birth. BBC Mundo's Valeria Perasso, a self confessed fan of his work, explains his appeal. 7) Online Greatest Hits Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the lowdown on the weird and wonderful stories across the web, including Dutch detective dogs, intoxicating noodles, and a napkin-eating mortgage broker. 49:56
1003 03.10 1) Minefields, Vineyards and Flak Jackets: Reporting from the Turkish Syria Border BBC Türkçe's Zeynip Erdim is in the Turkish-Kurdish town of Urfa where floods of refugees have been pouring in from across the Syrian border to escape the fighting between Islamic State militants and Turkish forces. She reflects on what it's like to report from the edge of war - how she heard the chanting of ISIS fighters before they rained down bullets on her group, and how her translator needed to stop and weep after some of their interviews. 2) Sierra Leone's Songs for Change - From Political Satire to Ebola Pop Music Music has long been a tool for political debate and public information in Sierra Leone - from tunes satirising politicians to the Ebola pop songs of today, raising awareness about the virus. BBC Africa's Umaru Fofana in Freetown steers us through the tracks designed to mobilise a nation. 3) Afghanistan's New First Lady As Ashraf Ghani was sworn in as President this week he did something no other Afghan President has done before - he turned to his wife and thanked her. This moment led to an intense debate on the role that Rula Ghani, a Christian Lebanese American will play as First Lady in the country. Previously, President's wives have stayed firmly behind the scenes. Sana Safi of BBC Afghan and Mariam Aman of BBC Persian take us through the debate. 4) Hong Kong in Pictures Images of the protests in Hong Kong have dominated our screens this week - streets teeming with protestors, each with a phone in hand, banners, barricades and umbrellas - moments that captured some of the details of the rallies. Martin Yip in Hong Kong and Frank Ip in London talk us through the pictures that tell the story of a turbulent week. 5) Chile's Giant Singing Frogs It is singing season for the Chilean giant frog. It is a sound that makes BBC Mundo's Paula Molina nostalgic for nights spent outdoors on the farm in southern Chile where her mother was raised. The Chilean giant frog has been around for millennia, but now it is under threat due to water scarcity, pollution and the long-standing tradition amongst Chileans of eating frogs. 49:58
1010 10.10 1) The Battle for Kobane - the Kurdish Way of War This week the world has been watching Kobane - the Syrian border town that has been fiercely fought over by Islamic State militants and Syrian-Kurdish forces. Amongst the air-strikes, shelling, gunfire, and ambulance sirens you might also hear some unexpected sounds - that of Kurdish fighters singing jubilant weddings songs and ululating at IS tanks. Turkish-Kurdish journalist Guney Yildiz reports on the Kurdish tradition of singing and dancing on the frontline. 2) The Story of Rum in Cape Verde Cape Verde is world renowned for its beautiful beaches and musicians. But one island in Cape Verde made its reputation elsewhere - with rum. For centuries on Santo Antao Island people have distilled "grog" from locally grown sugar cane and the whole economy of this tiny island depends on rum-making. But in Cape Verde, rum - also called 'Aguardente', the burning water - is not just any product, it is part of the culture. BBC Afrique's Laeila Adjovi takes us to a place where all the roads lead to rum. 3) Sri Lankan Oral Histories Kannan Arunasalam is a Sri Lankan-born British journalist and filmmaker. He's created an oral history project to preserve the memories and stories of Sri Lanka's elderly from different regions, communities and walks of life. He tells us why he started the project and what he discovered about Sri Lanka - it's past and present - by listening to the people who have known the country longest. He is joined by Priyath Linyanage, Editor of the BBC's Sinhala language service who shares his thoughts on some of the stories recorded for the project. 4) Online Greatest Hits Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the lowdown on the weird and wonderful stories across the web, including Disney as legal tender and sailing on a Korean boat made out of crisp packets. 5) Reporting Health Epidemics - from SARS to Ebola The killer bug SARS infected and killed thousands of people over a relatively short period of time back in 2003. The fear of infection, the lockdown of cities, and the terrifying predictions of its potential global spread is something people are experiencing yet again with Ebola. Now, SARS and Ebola are two very different diseases but the responses to them share many similarities - Yuwen Wu of BBC Chinese and Akwasi Sarpong from BBC Africa reflect on some of the challenges in reporting both of these health scares. 6) Finding Fela It's 17 years since the death of Nigerian megastar Fela Kuti, but the man and his music continue to be a potent symbol of opposition to authority in Africa. Next week a new documentary on his life and his music will premiere in Lagos. Finding Fela looks at the life and times of the man that was to Afrobeat what Bob Marley was to reggae. Peter Okwoche, from BBC Africa explains why Fela changed the way Nigerians felt about themselves. 49:56
1017 17.10 1) Kashmir: After the Floods Riyaz Masroor works for BBC Urdu and is from Srinagar in Kashmir. This month, skirmishes across the border that divides Indian and Pakistani Kashmir have killed 21 people and driven hundreds from their homes. Riyaz knows what it's like to be forced out of home: only a month ago that he and his family fled to higher ground when record floods hit the region. He tells us about reporting story - and living the story - in Kashmir. 2) Tanzania: Hear My Country We challenge our Tanzanian colleagues to pick just one song that defines their country. Zuhura Yunus is joined by the Swahili service's Salim Kikeke and Zawadi Machibya to discuss - and to sing - the songs that mean Tanzania to them. 3) Somalia's Firsts The last two years have seen big changes in Somalia. Back in 2012 Somalia got its first constitution and first functioning government in more than 20 years. Since then, Somalia's "firsts" keep on growing. There's been the first bakery, the first gym, the first florist, and this week the first postal service in the country in the last two decades. BBC Somali's Abdullahi Abdi reflects on what these "firsts" say about a country and people that have experienced years of uncertainty. 4) Disappearing Leaders Why do politicians like to play hide and seek? This week North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made his first public appearance in over a month. Mr Kim's absence from public view had prompted a flurry of media speculation about an illness or even a possible change of power. Olexiy Solohubenko reflects on why leaders - especially those from the Soviet Union - would often disappear - and what that says about a country's power politics and media control. 5) WWI Forgotten History: Lebanon It's 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War, a landmark which is being remembered throughout the year on the World Service because some of the people worst affected by the war were nowhere near its famous battlefields. One tragedy of the period happened in Mount Lebanon - a region now known as modern Lebanon. BBC Arabic's Carine Torbey reports. 6) Online Greatest Hits Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the lowdown on the weird and wonderful stories across the web, including a seven tonne cheese giveaway and a bilingual barking parrot. 49:56
1024 24.10 1) After the Ceasefire: the Cost of Reporting Gaza For years he has been BBC Arabic's man in Gaza, reporting and living through conflict and peace time. We last spoke to Shahdi Alkashif during the recent offensive, when rockets and mortars were raining down between Gaza and parts of Israel. More than 2,000 people died during that particular conflict. Shahdi told us that he had spent 27 nights sleeping on the floor of the BBC office, battling with a lack of electricity and food and water, and trying to make sure that his family were safe. The ceasefire has now been in place for two months and Shahdi talks about how his family and others in Gaza are living today and some of the difficulties of living in and reporting conflict. 2) Shabana Azmi One of the best known actresses of her generation, Shabana Azmi has appeared in more than 400 films. She has recently been touring the UK in a production called Happy Birthday Sunita and speaks to BBC Hindi's Vandana Vijay. 3) East Asian Naming Conventions Many East Asians living or working abroad choose to adopt a "western name" to avoid having a name their friends and colleagues find difficult to pronounce. This week the Chinese TV station CCTV published a web article advising readers on how to choose an appropriate name - and unfortunately names like Dumbledore, Lawyer, Fish and Candy were ruled out. Our colleagues in BBC Chinese tell us how they chose a western name and share some of the more unusual ones they've come across. 4) Story of Guerrero The state of Guerrero in Mexico has a pretty bad name right now. Back in September, 43 students disappeared in the region and they still haven't been found. Mass graves have been unearthed but their grizzly contents have so far proven to be of other unknown casualties. Guerrero is a state that is renowned for violence - it is a region that has a long history of upheaval. This was the starting point of the Mexican Revolution back in 1910. The BBC's Lourdes Heredia tells us the story of the turbulent state - a place that has long been home to her family. 5) Saudi's Secret Uprising At the end of this month, BBC Arabic are launching a new film festival, Aan Korb. Their opening gala will be a screening of a BBC Arabic film, Saudi's Secret Uprising, which documents largely unreported protests by a Shia minority in Saudi Arabia. Filmmaker Safa Al Ahmad explains why it was such a difficult documentary to make. 6) Online Greatest Hits Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the lowdown on the weird and wonderful stories across the web, including ancient Scottish sex and the potato that can light a room for 40 days. 49:58
1031 31.10 1) Ghost Stories from Pakistan, Mexico and Uzbekistan This weekend people around the world celebrate Halloween, All Saint's Eve, and the Mexican Day of the Dead - a night when spirits, ghosts and ghouls roam the world. Our language Service journalists from Pakistan, Brazil, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan share their favourite scary stories, as well as their own personal encounters with the reluctant dead. Plus - the hairy vampires of Puerto Rico and Guatemala's demonic hat: BBC Mundo tell us how spooky Latin American folklore has inspired the continent's musicians and writers. 2) BBC Hausa meets the Chibok Girls It's been over six months since more than 200 girls were abducted by the Nigerian militant group, Boko Haram. This week, three of the young women who managed to escape their captors told their stories to BBC Hausa's Aichatou Moussa. Aichatou tells us about meeting the Chibok girls and their families and shares clips from the interviews. 3) Word of the Week: Lustration In the build up to last week's parliamentary elections in Ukraine, a peculiar word has begun appearing on the airwaves and in the newspapers - lustration. Historically, a lustration was a sacrificial cleansing ceremony carried out by the Ancient Romans. Today, the term refers to the process of filtering out former communist officials in Eastern European countries. It's a controversial process that was signed into law this month by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. BBC Ukranian's Irena Taranjuk explains what we need to know about lustration and what it says about Kiev's power politics today. 4) WWI Forgotten History: Tanzania To mark the WWI centenary, our language service journalists have been finding out how the war affected people in their own countries. BBC Swahili's Zuhura Yunus has travelled to Lake Tanganyika to take a ride on the MV Liemba, a passenger ferry that started like as a WWI German warship. In 1916, the boat was deliberately sunk by the German navy but it was raised eight years later and it provides a vital service, ferrying people and cargo between Tanzania and Zambia. Zuhura tells us what it's like to ride on this historic ship that still bears the marks of its wartime past. 49:59
1107 07.11 1) Stories from the Frontline: Burkina Faso Over the last 27 years Burkina Faso has experienced one coup, one attempted coup, one army mutiny, and one popular uprising. Lamine Konkobo is a BBC Afrique journalist who has lived through and reported on these political convulsions. He talks about what it was like growing up during a time of revolution, and now as an adult watching as Ouagadougou walks the line between military and civilian rule. Plus, a week in Ouaga - Laeila Adjovi sends a sound picture from Ouagadougou at the height of the popular protests. 2) From Prisoner to President From East Timor's Xanana Gusmao to Uruguay's Jose Mujica and Brazil's Dilma Roussef, many of the world's most well known presidents served time in jail before before taking up their country's highest office. BBC Brasil's Rogerio Wasserman and BBC Indonesia's Liston Siregar provide insight into why so many notable presidents were formerly prisoners. 3) The Culinary Guide for Jihadi Wives The new propaganda arm of Islamic State - the Zora media foundation - is releasing guides on how to be the 'ultimate wives of jihad'. The online information guides include recipes for foods that can be eaten in between battles, instructions on nursing and administering first aid, the books of God and Sharia science. This is just the latest in a long line of campaigns for recruitment to their cause. Murad Shishani from BBC Arabic talks us through jihadi propaganda methods and the role of women in IS. 4) Exploring the Global Appeal of Doctor Who Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction TV programme in the world and has over 80 million fans. It began in November 1963 and the 50th anniversary special was watched in 94 countries including Thailand, Angola, USA, Guatemala and Uzbekistan. The launch of the new series recently saw the cast and crew surrounded by excited fans from Seoul to Mexico City. Not bad for a 2,000 year old time travelling alien in a blue police box. To discuss Doctor Who's global appeal David Amanor is joined by Alireza Vasefi, who as well as being the dubbing mixer on the programme for BBC Persian TV is also the farsi voice of The Doctor, and Social Media Editor and Mexican super fan, David Cuen. 5) Online Greatest Hits Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the lowdown on the weird and wonderful stories across the web, including a monkey marriage and a Taiwanese mosquito swatting contest. 51:27
1114 14.11 1) The Legacy of 1984 This week the Arabic media were full of stories about a student in Egypt arrested for carrying a book - not just any book though. It was 1984 by George Orwell. Now police did say later that Mohammed T had been pulled in for taking pictures of security forces, but either way the cat was out of the bag, and sales and free downloads of 1984 soared online. Why is 1984 still so powerful after all these years? Mohamed Yehia of BBC Arabic and BBC Editor Olexiy Solohubenko discuss the continuing global legacy of Orwell's iconic novel. 2) Meeting Syria's White Helmets In Syria when the bombs go off the White Helmets go in. Mehrnoush Pourziaiee of BBC Persian reflects on her meeting with members of the Syrian volunteer rescue team and considers how her meeting made her reconsider her own memories of war. 3) Online Greatest Hits Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the lowdown on the weird and wonderful stories across the web, including the stupid virus and a marriage proposal with 99 iPhones. 4) What Makes an Ethical Ugandan? Last week Uganda's Minister for Ethics and Integrity called for a well-known female musician to be investigated and arrested over nude pictures taken by her ex-boyfriend. According to the minister, the musician - who is now in hiding - 'broke' the country's anti-pornography law. Uganda is a largely conservative society and the last few years have seen a steady moral policing of the country - from a ban on miniskirts to a new proposal for tougher anti-gay laws. From Kampala, BBC Africa's Catherine Byaruhanga reflects on what it means to be an 'ethical' Ugandan. 5) Stories from the Frontline: Reporting the Niger Delta BBC Hausa's Abdullahi Kaura Abubakar recalls a seriously tough day at the office - involving two Russian adventurers, four American hostages, some speedboats, and a camp full of drunk and high militants from the Niger Delta. Some tight corners, a narrow escape and ultimate a happy ending. He tells David of the rollercoaster ride of reporting Nigeria. 49:59
1121 21.11 1)Ukraine: A Year Since Maidan This Friday marks exactly a year since the first anti-government protests in Kiev's Maidan square - signalling the start of the ongoing demonstrations and conflict that Ukraine is still experiencing. From Kiev, BBC Ukrainian reporters Anastasiya Gribanova and Vitalii Chervonenko reflect on what the past year has been like for them, when such unrest lands on their doorstep. Anastasiya - who is originally from Donetsk - has not been home since the start of the war, and Vitalii was in Maidan when protesters were killed by riot police. 2) Nigeria: Political Dissent Through Music Fela Kuti left a big legacy in Nigeria, but are contemporary musicians doing his political activism justice? BBC Africa's Peter Okwoche looks back at some of the troubles his country is facing - corruption, sectarian war, poverty - through the music that has been written around them. With music from MI, Eedris Abdulkareem, and 2Face Idibia 3) A Diary of a Liberian Ambulance Worker Of the West African countries hit by the Ebola crisis this year, Liberia has been the worst affected, with the highest number of deaths. One of the people at the front line of the crisis in the country is Foday Gallah, he is a long serving ambulance worker in Monrovia. He's transported hundreds of patients across the city since the crisis began until he became an Ebola patient himself. He survived and is now back at work - this is his first-hand account of living and working with Ebola. 4) Rewriting History, Erdogan Style Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan raised a few eyebrows recently when addressing a conference of Latin America Muslim leaders. He announced to the group that "Muslims discovered the Americas in 1178 not Christopher Columbus". This won't be the first time that a leader has taken a creative pen to the history books, but who's best at making fiction into fact? BBC Urdu's Aamer Ahmed Khan, Xin Li of the Chinese Service, and Serbian journalist Dejan Radojevic shared some unusual tales that changed the history of our world. 5) Online Greatest Hits Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the lowdown on the weird and wonderful stories across the web, including a crime busting dog and man who has turned himself into an animal. 6) New Writing from Mexico: Meeting Ana Gonzalez Bello Every year the BBC Drama department invites writers from all over the world to compete in various categories of the BBC International Playwriting Competition. This year there is a brand new prize for most promising writer and it has been won by Ana Gonzalez Bello, she's from Mexico City and her play is called Diablo and Romina. 50:00
1128 28.11 Reporting Immigration: A Global Perspective In the past week President Obama has extended the legal rights of millions of illegal immigrants in the US and the Pope has declared that European leaders "cannot allow the Mediterranean to become a vast graveyard.' The Fifth Floor discuss the challenges of reporting on immigration with Valeria Perasso of BBC Mundo and Nidale Abou Mrad of BBC Arabic. 2) Vietnam's Endangered Music Ha Mi from our Vietnamese Language Service grew up in Hanoi listening to Ca Tru - it's a style of music unique to north Vietnam, and she tells us why this ancient tradition - which has lasted for 900 years - is currently in danger of being lost. 3) Tales from the BBC Turkish Archive To celebrate its 75th year, BBC Turkce, has launched the Archive Room a 50-part online series, a collection of the service's best moments since 1939. Producer Cenk Erdil reveals the stories behind some of their most memorable interviews. 4) Saving Timbuktu's Libraries Timbuktu's ancient manuscripts are referred to as the second lung of the city. But since the Islamist militant occupation in 2012, only a few remain. Some were burnt when insurgents took their revenge as they were pushed out of the city last year, others were protected by families who carefully hid them away knowing the risks they faced. But most were rescued by a network of residents who carried out a secret operation to transport them to safety in Bamako. BBC Afrique's Laeila Adjovi reports from Mali 5) Online Greatest Hits Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the lowdown on the weird and wonderful stories across the web, including democracy package holidays in Taiwan and pushing a frozen plane in Siberia. 6) Cuba: Hear My Country Can you pick a song to define your country? It's a challenge we often set to our Language Service journalists on the 5th floor and this week the wheel turns to Cuba. BBC's Manuel Toledo and Emilio San Pedro listen to some rhyme and rumba. 50:01
1205 05.12 1) Trouble with the Rouble Following the rouble hitting record lows this week, BBC Russian's Masha Alexandrova looks at the story of the currency from the age of Empire, through revolution and the collapse of the Soviet Union and asks what it tells us about Russia past and present. 2) Farewell Chespirito This week an estimated 40,000 people attended the memorial service for Roberto Gómez Bolaños, one of Mexico's most famous and well-loved comedians who died last week. Also known as Chespirito, which translates as "Little Shakespeare", the comic actor was best known for his hugely popular children's shows. BBC Mundo's María Elena Navas and Juan Carlos Pérez share their memories of growing up watching his performances. 3) Hong Kong: Geography of a Protest Since September, BBC Chinese's Martin Yip has been reporting the student-led protests in his hometown of Hong Kong. This week as the founders of the Occupy Central Movement surrender to the police, he reflects on their impact on the streets of Hong Kong and the renaming of certain squares and streets. 4) An Ode to Pomegranates Afghanistan has begun its first export of fruits to Europe this week. And the fruit is a pretty special one - the pomegranate. The pomegranate is famed across the region not just for its glistening red droplets and glorious taste, but it is also the fruit most laden with symbolism and imagery. From blushing cheeks to signs of fertility we'll hear from BBC Persian, Uzbek, Pashto and Turkish about the musical and literary history of the blood red fruit. 5) Reporting the Kenya-Somalia Border Bashkas Jugsodaay has been reporting stories from the Kenyan Somali border for more than 20 years. He witnessed the arrival of the very first refugees back in 1991 and he will soon be reporting on the first official repatriation of Somalis on 8 December. In all that time Somali Kenyan relationships have come to define his working life. He picks out some key moments of his reporting career. 6) Online Greatest Hits Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the lowdown on the weird and wonderful stories across the web, including a waxwork Prince and some missing brains. 50:01
1212 12.12 1) Reporting Truth and Reconciliation Brazil's national truth commission published its final report this week on murder and torture during the military era. It said abuse was rife and called on the armed forces to recognise this. BBC Brasil's Jefferson Puff followed the hearings and heard some astonishing testimonies. He shares his insights with Milton Nkosi, a Sowetan-born BBC journalist who was at South Africa's truth and reconciliation commission in 1996. How far do these commissions go to address the problems of the past? 2) Jihadi Hymns This week the BBC has been talking about the human cost of jihads - the impact of militant groups like al-Qaeda and its offshoots in 14 countries around the world. As part of this Murad Shishani of BBC Arabic has been looking at the music of the jihadists or anasheed, its origins and how its come to be used in recruitment and the mobilisation of people. 3) International Action Heroes A new comic book with a female rape survivor as its "super hero" was created in India recently to help tackle violence against women. Super heroes have been threading their way into folk tales and story books for centuries - from the story of Argentina's time travelling El Eternauta to China's shape-shifting Monkey King. We look at the tales behind these adventurers and ask what they tell us about the countries they hail from. 4) Growing up in the Shadow of the Kalashnikov The Kalashnikov, or AK-47, is probably the best-known weapon in the world, brandished by everyone from Che Guevara to Osama bin Laden. This month the rifle got a makeover in an attempt to boost sales - but there's quite a few Fifth Floor Language Service journalists who remember the old type. Many of them grew up in countries which experienced much conflict, lawlessness and a confluence of weapons, and they share their stories of fascination and fear of one of the world's most recognisable weapons. 5) Sri Lanka: Art and Exile Priyath Liyanage, former head of the BBC's Sinhala Service, meets a new generation of Sri Lankan artists - many of whom have never been to their home country as a result of the devastating 30 year civil war - who are using their art to explore their own feelings about identity and belonging. 6) Online Greatest Hits Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the lowdown on the weird and wonderful stories across the web, including President Hollande's Kazakh costume, a Chinese Mona Lisa and cheerful Russian prisoners. 50:00
1219 19.12 1) Peshawar School Attack We're used to hearing bad news stories out of Pakistan but the attack on the school in Peshawar on Tuesday brought the country to a standstill. 141 people were killed, 132 of them children. It was an indiscriminate shooting spree by Taliban militants. Stories of exactly what happened in the school that morning have been slowly emerging in grim detail. Hearing those stories first hand for BBC Urdu was Amber Shamsi. She talks about her most difficult week at work. And from his home in Karachi Mohammed Hanif shares his thoughts on a day that shook the nation. 2) The Turkish Football Coup In Turkey a trial has begun of 35 football fans accused of plotting to overthrow the Turkish government. It's not often that you hear of football fans planning coups against their government. Head of BBC Turkish Murat Nisancioglu explains the story of Carsi, the influential fans of one of Turkey's biggest football clubs, Besiktas. 3) Online Greatest Hits Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the lowdown on the weird and wonderful stories across the web, including a Dutch marriage proposal that nearly brought a house down, the wizard Gandalf runs for president and a nervous incident aboard a Chinese flight. 4) My Cuba This week saw a historic thaw in relations between Cuba and the United States after over 50 years of hostility. Emilio San Pedro of BBC Monitoring provides a personal perspective on the story of Cuba through independence, revolution and exile. 5) Recite My Persia The Iranian festival of Yaldā is an annual event held over the longest and darkest night of the year - 21 December. To celebrate, friends and family get together to eat, drink, and read poetry - especially that of the 14th Century Persian poet, Hāfez. To discuss both the feast and fortune-telling properties of Hāfez's work, Persian Service correspondents Rana Rahimpour and Pooneh Ghoddoosi join David Amanor. 49:57
1226 26.12 Highlights from The Fifth Floor 2014: 1) Personal memories of reporting the summer conflict in Gaza. BBC Arabic's Shahdi Al-Kashif explains that his daughter still sleeps under the stairs. She feels it is the safest place in the house. 2) BBC Urdu's Kashmir reporter describes the moment that flood waters raced into his home and he and his wife grabbed their child and ran for higher ground. 3) And in the year of the World Cup - what makes a great football commentator? We explore the art of football commentary in Brazil, Iran and Zimbabwe. 4) There's also a crash course in West African pidgin, Chinese naming conventions, as well as learning English Soviet-style. 49:56

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