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BBC Trending

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  • 1. The 'd-words' v the planet
    How much do disinformation and new forms of climate change denial threaten the fight to save the planet? In the first episode of a special new series running around the COP26 climate conference, BBC Trending speaks to a leading scientist who says the battle to prevent catastrophe may depend on winning the information war. Professor Michael Mann first made headlines in 1998 when he published the pioneering “hockeystick graph” which showed how carbon emissions caused by human activity are harming the planet. Since then mounting evidence has made it harder for the fossil fuel industry and its allies to deny the existence of man-made climate change. The overwhelming majority of scientists agree that we are now at a turning point where only urgent and dramatic action can save humanity. In November world leaders will gather at in Scotland to agree targets for cutting admissions. Many observers regard it as our last best chance to avert disaster. Professor Mann argues that in the face of this reality, what he calls “the forces of inaction” have developed new strategies to try to prevent humanity from kicking its addiction to oil, gas and coal. So does the future of life on earth depend on understanding the playbook of these new climate war tactics?
  • Beirut blast: Looking for Eleni
    When an Ethiopian woman called Eleni disappeared amid the chaos of the Beirut blast there seemed little hope of discovering what had happened to her. In the wake of the explosion that devastated the Lebanese capital, rescuers searched through the rubble to try to locate hundreds of dead and missing people. As the death toll mounted, the only clue to Eleni’s fate was a pool of blood on her employer’s kitchen floor. It fell to two complete strangers - who had never met Eleni or each other - to try to solve the mystery using social media. Presenter: Reha Kansara Producers: Najib Deeb, Abiy Getahun & Yadeta Berhanu Editor: Ed Main Photo: Graphic showing a highlighted profile picture of a woman among lots of other social media profile pictures. Photo credit: BBC
  • The Kenyans who help the world to cheat
    If a lazy student in London or New York goes online to pay somebody to do their essay, the chances are the work will actually end up being done by somebody in Kenya. So who are the African ghost writers who are paid to help wealthy foreigners fake their way to unearned success, and what do they think about what they do? Kenya has become a key hub in the international cheating industry, because it is an English-speaking country with a good education system, but where there are often limited economic opportunities, particularly for younger people. Thousands of people are making a living supplying faked assignments commissioned by unethical students in other countries, through websites mainly based in the US and Eastern Europe. Many of those employed to do this work are students themselves. Although essay selling offers some a route out of poverty, universities say it is increasingly undermining the integrity of education around the world. And there are calls, even from within Kenya, for action against this booming online industry. Presenter: Reha Kansara Producer: Michael Kaloki Editor: Ed Main Photo: Graphic of hand writing an essay while another hand takes it and offers cash Photo credit: BBC
  • The cops weaponising copyright
    Could your favourite song be used to cover up the misdeeds of the police? Officers across the US have been filmed playing music - out loud - on their phones in public. They weren’t hoping this unusual display would make them go viral on social media. In fact, the aim was quite the opposite. Some officers believe that by blasting music while being filmed, the videos would get blocked by automatic copyright protection software and activists wouldn’t be able to post them online. Should we be concerned by these attempts to evade scrutiny by gaming technology, and do they even work? Presenter: Sam Judah Editor: Ed Main Image: A graphic of a police officer with a mobile phone in his breast pocket blaring out music. Image copyright: BBC
  • Nesara: The financial fantasy ruining lives
    Nesara is a decades-old conspiracy theory whose followers believe all their debts will be magically cancelled in a radical reset of the world’s economic system. It’s a bizarre and baseless idea whose promoters peddle a vision of a financial neverneverland that is always just round the corner. Many of those who get sucked in, develop an almost cult-like belief in Nesara that inspires them to make horrific financial decisions that they think will make them rich. It’s a fantasy whose real life impact is dividing families and ruining lives. So why during the Covid-19 pandemic has Nesara become more popular than ever? Presenters: Jonathan Griffin & Shayan Sardarizadeh Additional reporting: Olga Robinson Editor: Ed Main Photo: A graphic of a banknote with an N at the centre. Photo credit: BBC

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