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This World is a BBC television documentary strand, shown in the United Kingdom on BBC Two, and occasionally internationally on BBC World. The subject matter is mainly social issues and current affairs stories from around the world.


Saisons & épisodes Les résumés de tous les épisodes de This World

S255E01 Hells Angels 04/01/2004 The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club is growing at a fantastic rate, with more than 200 chapters - or affiliated gangs - around the globe. They have a reputation for extreme violence and many police officers believe they have become nothing but a sophisticated criminal network involved in drug trafficking. To most people in Britain, the Hells Angels are just a throwback to the 1970s and widely regarded as a group of eccentric, ageing bikers who like to fight each other and drink real ale. So strong is this perception, a veteran London Hells Angel even led a parade of bikers at the Queen's Golden Jubilee procession. But UK police officers who have investigated biker gangs fear that they represent a significant and growing part of our criminal landscape. They have been alarmed by events in North America. Mass trials And it is Canada that has felt the full brunt of biker violence. Following a rein of terror that shook Montreal for seven years, a huge mafia style mass trial has already convicted scores of Hell's Angels for murder and running a multi-billion dollar cocaine ring. Montreal's biker war involved 160 murders and more than 200 attempted murders, including the shooting of a well known journalist who had investigated the biker violence. Despite the convictions, the Hells Angels are still considered the number one drug distribution organisation in Canada. US police officers and federal agents arrested more than 50 Hells Angels in December 2003, on charges involving gun crime, drug-dealing, violence and extortion. The arrests, in San Jose, Santa Cruz, San Francisco and other cities across the West followed a two-year undercover investigation by US police officers. The programme, made with access to US and Canadian gang investigators, follows the rise and rise of the Hell's Angels and their fearsome culture of violence. It investigates how law enforcement officers struggle against the Hell's Angels sophisticated public relations
S255E02 Ethiopia: A Journey with Michael Buerk 11/01/2004 In this film, Michael travels back to Ethiopia and talks to many people whose lives have been permanently scarred by the horrific famine. They speak of how the suffering has continued while they continue to wait for the rains, a tragic irony in a country known as the "water tower of Africa" because it has the biggest natural reserves of water in the continent. Michael also follows the story of a young Red Cross nurse forced to choose which starving people would receive scarce food aid and be saved and who would be left to die. Sir Bob Geldof speaks movingly about his personal crusade to help the Ethiopian people and the build-up to the Live Aid concert in 1985. On his recent journey, Michael returns to the towns of Mekele and Korem and to the highlands, destroyed by civil war and scorched by drought. Today, the situation is worse and twice as many people are suffering with starvation. At the time we helped to save them, but have our efforts only served to make a terrible situation worse?
S255E03 Football and Freedom 18/01/2004 Seth is white. Thuso is black. Seth is from a wealthy background, while Thuso sleeps on his granny's kitchen floor. Both are gifted young footballers in post-apartheid South Africa. This World followed their attempts to break into the professional game. Seth Hutcheons leads a privileged life. His family are financially comfortable and well-connected in the world of soccer. He goes to one of the best schools in Johannesburg but yearns for a trial with an overseas soccer club. He feels there is now too much positive discrimination for blacks when it comes to team selection at home. Thuso Phala lives in Soweto. Only months before filming started, Thuso's dad was brutally murdered in a car-jacking incident. Thuso, his mum and two sisters, had no choice but to move into Thuso's granny's tiny house. They struggle to survive. Both Seth and Thuso have had a measure of success during the last five years. Seth was selected for the Ajax Amsterdam academy in Cape Town. Thuso was spotted by his hero, Lucas Radebe, captain of the South African national team, and Leeds United player. However, Seth broke his contract with Ajax after only a few months and Thuso's trip to England did not materialise. The film also explores the issues of housing and education. Thuso, like Seth, goes to a private school. Many feel that the state system does not have much to offer. But Thuso's mother cannot afford the fees. Will Thuso be forced to abandon his dreams of soccer stardom and start earning money to help his family? And will Seth obtain a foreign scholarship, or stay in South Africa and play for the Rainbow Nation? This World charted the boys' lives over the last five years to discover how a decade of democracy is shaping their future.
S255E04 American Virgins 25/01/2004 It's all about abstinence. At least, that's what the Silver Ring Thing movement is teaching teenagers in the United States. More and more young people are pledging themselves to abstinence programmes - saying no to sex before marriage. Established in 1995, the Silver Ring Thing is a faith-based organisation based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It's one of hundreds of abstinence movements across America that promote self-restraint rather than sex education. This film tells the story of the kids who take the Silver Ring Thing on the road, organising rallies and events to spread the word. Teenagers attending the events pay $12 (£7). In return, they get a bible and silver ring. The ring is to be worn as a constant reminder of their pledge to remain virgins until marriage. The movement is also part-funded by the federal government. President Bush himself is a strong supporter of abstinence programmes. In the film, Miss America 2003, Erica Harold, is the star guest for the launch of a national programme seeking to purify the young. In some schools in the US, abstinence is now taught instead of sex education. But will it mean a generation of kids are learning about sex from the street and the media, rather than the classroom? This World explores the debate.
S255E05 North Korea: Murder In The Family 13/08/2017 On 13 February 2017 the North Korean dictator’s half-brother Kim Jong-nam walked into Kuala Lumpur airport to catch a flight to Macau. Two hours later he was dead. He’d been assassinated using one of the most deadly chemical weapons on earth, VX. Within days two women from Vietnam and Indonesia were arrested for his murder, but the CCTV appeared to show several North Korean secret agents orchestrating the events in the airport that day. With brand new accounts from those close to Kim Jong-nam, the award-winning This World strand examines in greater detail the astonishing story of a bitter family feud, secret agents and international arms dealing - lifting the lid on why he was assassinated and how North Korea’s powerful international business network has allowed the brutal Kim family dictatorship to remain in power in North Korea for nearly 70 years.
S255E06 Calais, The End of the Jungle 24/10/2017 Filmed deep inside the notorious migrant camp, this film documents the final days of the Calais Jungle as the largest migrant camp in Europe erupted into flames. A year on from the eviction, five-time BAFTA-winning director Dan Reed charts the impossible dilemmas faced by the French police and the dedicated team of British volunteers largely responsible for the creation of the Jungle. The film shows extraordinary footage of hundreds of migrants storming lorries on the approaches to Calais. It captures the scale of the British volunteer aid effort that resulted in a huge influx of donations in the wake of the Syrian refugee crisis. Though an orderly eviction was planned, filmmakers captured the chaos correctly predicted by volunteers as shelters were consumed in vast fires. The film explores the impact that the volunteers had on the course of the camp's growth and underground economy. It also asks whether the eviction has actually made anything better. A year on, there are no more roadblocks and there is no more camp. Instead, there is mass homelessness and hundreds of migrants still playing an endless game of cat-and-mouse with the French police. Part of the award-winning This World strand.
S255E07 The Balfour Declaration: Britain's Promise to the Holy Land 31/10/2017 100 years ago, just 67 words on a single sheet of paper lit a fire in the Holy Land, igniting the most intractable conflict of modern times. The Balfour Declaration was the first time the British government endorsed the establishment of 'a national home for the Jewish people' in Palestine. While many Palestinians see it as a betrayal, many Israelis believe it was the foundation stone of modern Israel and the salvation of the Jews. The legacy of the declaration is one that BBC reporter Jane Corbin has watched unfold over the last 30 years - charting the conflict on both sides. But it is also a story that Jane has a personal connection to. One of her own ancestors, Leo Amery, a British politician and Cabinet minister, played a key part in drafting the original declaration and then oversaw Britain's governance of Palestine in the 1920s. Now, on a journey starting in her home village, Jane explores what Leo did and whether the aspirations of The Balfour Declaration - for both sides to live peacefully and prosper together - were doomed to inevitable failure or if there is still hope of a peaceful solution in the Holy Land?
S255E08 LAPD: Protect and Serve? 03/06/2004 When William J Bratton was sworn in as chief of its police department, LA was the homicide capital of America. Can he curb gang violence and reduce the murder rate? Los Angeles is America's second largest city, but in 2002 it topped all other US cities in one respect. After 658 homicides in just that one year, LA became the country's murder capital. Almost half of those murders were directly related to gang turf wars involving drugs and guns, and most of those are based in just one part of the city: South East LA. There are around 10,000 gang members in South East LA alone, where unemployment is three times higher than the national average. It is the most dangerous place to be a young man; young men aged between 15 and 35-years make up almost two-thirds of all murder victims. It is also the most dangerous place to be a police officer. Yet the majority of these murders go unreported locally, as some claim the media - and the people in power - show little interest in gang violence. And so little interest in funding the fight against gang warfare too. Fear and loathing But if a lack of interest and cash are holding the police department back, its attempts to take on the gangs are also seriously hampered by extremely poor relations with the various communities in LA. The LAPD's image has been severely tarnished by repeated allegations of racism and corruption, such as the police beating of Rodney King that sparked rioting and the allegation of racism made against a police officer during the OJ Simpson trial. One gang member's comment about the LAPD aptly summarises how badly the police force are viewed: "Y'all are the biggest gang in Los Angeles County." With ordinary people afraid of both the gangs and the police, trust between citizens and police officers has reached rock bottom. In an attempt to bring the city back under control, the authorities brought in William J Bratton as chief, the man credited with helping fo
S255E09 Secret Swami 17/06/2004 It has been estimated that Sri Satya Sai Baba, India's biggest spiritual leader, has up to 30 million devotees around the world. But increasing numbers of former followers are alleging he has sexually abused them or their families. This World investigates. Swamis, otherwise known as yogis or gurus, are the holy men of India, and part of ancient tradition. Sai Baba, 78, is based in Puttaparthi, near Bangalore in southern India. His distinctive 1960s orange robes and Afro hairstyle make him instantly recognisable. As the country's biggest "God-man" - a human being who declares himself divine - he professes to be the reincarnation of a Hindu God-man from the 19th Century. Sai Baba not only commands huge regular audiences at the local ashram (religious retreat) - where he performs countless "miracles" - he also boasts followers from more than 165 countries world-wide. But as the This World team discovers as they travel from India to California, there are a number of former devotees who have turned away from his teachings, claiming he has ruined their lives. Alaya, a former follower who claims he was sexually abused by the swami, says in the programme: "I remember him saying, if you don't do what I say, your life will be filled with pain and suffering." In an intimate and powerful portrait, Alaya's family talks openly about how they feel they were betrayed. Back in India, there are serious questions to be asked of politicians, who seem to have continuously ignored the problem. Indeed, some would say, the correct position for these politicians appears to be at the feet of Sai Baba. He certainly has friends in high places, and throughout the scandal, his popularity has remained intact. Has this "God-man" been wrongly accused or does his status mean he is immune to criticism?
S255E10 Child Rescuers 20/06/2004 More than one million children are exploited every year by the international sex trade, according to UN estimates. In Central America the problem has been growing, with sex tourists attracted to the region by ever-cheaper flights as well as easily circumvented child protection laws. One man, a British charity director, has dedicated himself to tracking down the offenders that governments have failed to prosecute. Bruce Harris, of the Catholic children's charity Casa Alianza, wants to stop the area from becoming one of the world's biggest centres for child sex tourism. Mr Harris is based in Costa Rica where, he says: "We get plane loads of sex tourists coming in". "They leave millions of dollars in the country. Sex tourism is big money." Paedophiles have been able to exploit loopholes in Costa Rica's child protection laws and, for years, the chances of being caught and punished were almost non-existent. In a country where the authorities seemed reluctant to pursue offenders, child sex tourists appeared likely to get what they were looking for: anonymity and immunity. After years of persuasion, Mr Harris finally managed to convince the government that the problem needed to be acted on. Sting operations He has recently filmed pimps undercover, set up elaborate stings to trap internet paedophile rings and harangued governments to change laws and act against offenders. But some successful convictions - helped also by tougher laws and the appointment of a special prosecutor - have led to death threats for Mr Harris. The country is now marketing itself as a modern holiday destination and trying to show that times are changing, but two of Mr Harris's biggest cases will test the country's resolve. Madame Siani Monge Munoz - accused of being Costa Rica's biggest child pimp - has finally been arrested, 10 years after first being investigated by Mr Harris. It is said she has a secret list of clients that includ
S255E11 The Boy from The Block 08/07/2004 Seventeen-year-old Aboriginal Thomas James Hickey, or TJ as he was known to friends and family, died on Valentine's Day 2004. He was impaled on a metal fence after falling off his bicycle near the notorious Sydney suburb of Redfern, also called The Block. The Block is a largely Aboriginal district where TJ lived with his mother and six sisters. No-one knows exactly what happened but it is likely that TJ, who had an outstanding warrant against him and some cannabis in his pocket, panicked at the sight of a patrol car and sped off as quickly as he could. But the following day The Block erupted into violence amid rumours he had been chased to his death by police officers - an allegation strongly denied by the police. Forty officers were injured in what became a running battle with scores of Aboriginal youths. While the rest of the nation was shocked by the images of the violence, many Redfern Aboriginals said that white Australia "had it coming." They told the programme they felt like second-class citizens in their own country and claimed the police discriminated against them. With unique access to TJ's family, reporter David Akinsanya investigates the story behind the riots and asks why Aboriginals have disastrously failed to integrate into their own country. He also asks why so many white Australians have a stereotypical image of their indigenous neighbours as layabouts and drunks
S255E12 Saudi: The Family in Crisis 15/07/2004 Both foreign nationals and Saudi Muslims are now targets for terror attacks. Can the ruling royals fight terrorism while reconciling the conflicting demands of hardline fundamentalists and liberal reformers? After the shock of 9/11, the US-led invasion of Iraq and recent terror attacks in Saudi, This World gains unprecedented access to the desert kingdom and discovers why ordinary Saudis are now also becoming victims. Presenter Simon Reeve speaks to Saudis who previously supported Osama bin Laden, but are now disgusted at recent attacks on home ground which have killed Muslims and say they are turning against the extremists of al-Qaeda. But is there any middle ground? Royal leaders claim they can crack down on extremists while modernising the kingdom, but this is a huge challenge. The economy has taken a hammering, it is estimated 30% of the population are unemployed, and Saudi Arabia has already seen more change in the last 30 years than in the previous 13 centuries. Exclusive entry The film takes viewers from the glittering palace of Crown Prince Abdullah to the Empty Quarter desert and the tents of the nomadic Bedouin. Simon Reeve talks to bin Laden's former best friend, meets groups of women in a private house in Jeddah, and speaks to many Saudi people about their beliefs and concerns. How the ruling royal family deals with the current crisis has profound implications for the entire world. Saudi Arabia controls 25% of the planet's oil, and offers spiritual leadership to 1.3 billion Muslims worldwide as custodian of the holiest sites in Islam. As the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammed, the country is the focus of attention for the Muslim world, and a serious backlash against terrorism in the holy kingdom has huge significance for the global "war on terror". Saudi Arabia is at a crossroads, but which way will it turn?
S255E13 The Real Bangkok Hilton 22/07/2004 Dubbed the “Bangkok Hilton” by the West, Thailand’s Bangkwang jail is one of the most notorious prisons in the world. Until now, the reality of life in Bangkwang has remained a secret. But after two years of negotiations between the BBC and Thai officials – and for the first time ever – television cameras were allowed inside. The film tells the human stories of prisoners struggling to stay sane in the jail’s cramped conditions, and the Thai staff struggling to cope with the ever-increasing number of inmates.
S255E14 Dolphin Hunters 09/11/2004 In the seaside resort of Taiji in Japan, around 3,000 dolphins are hunted and killed for food each year. Known as "drive hunting", the fishermen bang metal poles in the water, disturbing the dolphins' sonar and enabling them to drive the animals into shallow water where they can be caught. At first unwilling to speak to the media, the handful of fishermen permitted to catch dolphins in Taiji reluctantly agreed to speak to reporter Paul Kenyon. They insist their occupation is traditional and legal, and are enraged by the groups of international animal rights activists who travel to Japan to protest against the hunts. One such protester, Ric O'Barry, a marine mammal specialist with One Voice, insists: "The dolphins have a brain larger than the human brain, so when they're being slaughtered like this they're aware... just like humans." In a local bar, Paul shows the fishermen a research film on dolphin intelligence, but they dismiss the animals in the film as "highly-trained" and therefore more able to perform the tasks given to them. 'Dolphin dealers' Dolphin meat is a common sight on menus in Taiji, but food is not the only reason for drive hunting. In 2003, 78 of the dolphins trapped in the hunts were used for dolphinarium shows and swim-with-dolphin programmes. There are substantial rewards for dolphins employed by the increasingly-popular entertainment business; not for the hunters themselves, but for the industry's intermediaries - the groups who make money by buying the dolphins from the fishermen and selling them to dolphinariums for training. It is estimated that "dolphin dealers" can sell one animal for up to $30,000 (£16,000). Paul confronts the head of one such intermediary organisation and puts it to him that the dealing business is actually the driving force behind the industry. It also becomes apparent that there are international dealers. Footage of the hunts t
S255E15 Zimbabwe: The Food Fix 16/11/2004 President Mugabe says the people of Zimbabwe have enough to eat, but he stands accused of letting them starve for his own political gain. Classified by aid agencies as a "hunger emergency zone", Zimbabwe is turning away the charities who have been feeding millions there since 2001. The charities themselves think their food supplies continue to be crucial. But how are the new settlers actually coping? Farai Sevenzo talks to some of these farmers and discovers that many are struggling, mainly due to lack of seed, equipment and water. He also meets a young Zanu-PF candidate who concedes that the country may be experiencing a period of instability, but insists: "That is what happens when there is a revolution." Political grain Farai's journey takes him to a local hospital in the south, home to many weak children. Medical staff there are unable to talk about the food situation, but the Archbishop of Bulawayo - Zimbabwe's second city - is outspoken on the subject and says that in just one year, 161 people in the city died of malnutrition. But the lack of food aid and poor harvest are not the only reasons the people are hungry. Farai has also heard that the government are impounding maize from ordinary people as they travel from the country into the town, in order to boost dwindling stocks and hide the fact there are food shortages. He decides to put this to the test. Driving back from Harare, a hidden camera reveals he is stopped by Grain Marketing Board (GMB) officials and asked to handover the six bags of maize in his car. Renson Gasela, shadow minister of agriculture in Zimbabwe and former member of the GMB, says: "There is an election next year, so the government wants to be the only one with food." Is President Mugabe using food as his trump card? Farai Sevenzo goes undercover to reveal those caught in a political food fix.
S255E16 Guinea Pig Kids 30/11/2004 Vulnerable children in some of New York's poorest districts are being forced to take part in HIV drug trials. During a nine month investigation, the BBC has uncovered the disturbing truth about the way authorities in New York City are conducting the fight against Aids. HIV positive children - some only a few months old - are enrolled in toxic experiments without the consent of guardians or relatives. In some cases where parents have refused to give children their medication, they have been placed in care. The city's Administration of Children's Services (ACS) does not even require a court order to place HIV kids with foster parents or in children's homes, where they can continue to give them experimental drugs. Reporter Jamie Doran talks to parents and guardians who fear for the lives of their loved ones, and to a child who spent years on a drugs programme that made him and his friends ill. In 2002, the Incarnation Children's Center - a children's home in Harlem - was at the hub of controversy over secretive drugs trials. Jamie speaks to a boy who spent most of his life at Incaranation. Medical records, obtained by the This World team, prove the boy had been enrolled in these trials. "I did not want to take my medication," said the boy, "but if you want to get out of there, you have to do what they say." He also conveys a horrifying account of what happened to the children at Incarnation who refused to obey the rules. "My friend Daniel didn't like to take his medicine and he got a tube in his stomach," he said. Powerless Dr David Rasnick from the University of Berkeley who has studied the effects of HIV drugs on patients - particularly children - says these drugs are "lethal". "The young are not completely developed yet," he says. "The immune system isn't completely mature until a person's in their teens." So why are these children targetted?
S255E17 Locked in Paradise 07/12/2004 Desperate US parents are sending their troublesome teenagers to tough boarding schools overseas, but many have had second thoughts when they discover just how tough these schools can be. Reporter Raphael Rowe visits Tranquility Bay in Jamaica, a correctional institution set up specifically to deal with unruly teens. Situated in a small village with spectacular views across the Caribbean Sea, it is the stuff of holiday brochures... but not for the kids who are sent there. New arrivals - some as young as 12 - cannot speak without permission and are allowed only the barest of necessities. They are cut off from their families and they must earn privileges such as phone calls home. One of the most controversial methods of punishment used in the behavioural correction programme is Observational Placement or OP. Children in OP lie silently on the floor in a guarded room until staff members decide they can leave. They eat, sleep and exercise in the same room. Even though Tranquility Bay director, Jay Kay, says the aim is to get kids out of OP within 24 hours, Raphael talks to ex-students who had been in there for much longer. Fifteen-year-old Shannon Levy, who left Tranquility Bay in 2002, spoke about her experience in OP. "They lined us up like sardines...there was no air, no ventilation... and if we had to go to the bathroom we had to leave the door open so they could sit there and watch us. I was there for eight weeks straight," she said. Cruel to be kind? Some of the parents of children who have not responded to the programme say the regime is brutal, open to abuses, and some of the staff poorly trained. Several of them are taking legal action against WWASPS - World Wide Association of Speciality Programs and Schools - the business organisation that runs Tranquility Bay. Bertrand Bainvel, Head of the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) in Jamaica, wants OP scrapped because he says: "There is a high possibility it falls unde
S255E18 Equator with Simon Reeve Part 2, Indonesia 13/10/2006 Simon Reeve takes a 25,000 mile journey as he treks through rainforests, climbs up volcanoes and travels through war zones on a trip around the Equator. He travels across Indonesia, where he encounters paradise islands undiscovered by tourists and an environment under threat. In Sumatra and Borneo he meets orangutans and gets adopted by head hunters. This part of his journey ends on the island of Sulawesi, where he takes to the water with the Bajo sea gypsies.
S255E19 Equator with Simon Reeve Part 3, Latin America 20/10/2006 Simon Reeve concludes his amazing 25,000 mile journey around the Equator by traveling across Latin America. The last stretch of his journey begins in the Galapagos Islands, where Simon comes face-to-face with some of the most beautiful and unique wildlife on the planet. He then climbs to the top of an active volcano in Ecuador that threatens to blow at any time. He journeys across war torn Colombia, where an army escort puts them at risk from rebel attack. He meets an Indian tribe that have their own incredible monument to the Equator, and his journey ends in Brazil, where he travels through the Amazon rainforest before ending his trip with an attempt to surf the world's longest wave.