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Sputnik Orbiting the World


Sputnik Orbiting the World, looking behind the stories which made the news, as well as unearthing the ones that didn’t. Expect debate and discussion between George Galloway and authoritative, influential, but most importantly, informed guests. Topics may differ from politics to social concerns, but Sputnik will remain true to its aim – bringing a new perspective, a different view.

Oct 17, 2020 10:37

A divided kingdom and Thai protests (E354)

What is the state of the union in the United Kingdom today? With Scotland and Wales going their own way in dealing with the pandemic and now, mayors from major metropolitan areas set to follow their own path too, the union is looking decidedly shaky. On top of this, Boris Johnson is dealing with the looming Brexit deadline. It is a difficult time for any prime minister but particularly one recovering from coronavirus; this political period is not an era one would choose to govern. So, will Boris Johnson survive? Whispers in the corridors suggest that there is a growing number of Conservatives who would like to see him replaced. The Tories have a right to rule but Boris Johnson does not necessarily have a mandate to lead, so we garnered the thoughts of former Conservative MP, Steve Norris, who gave us his take on what is happening within his party.

There has been tremendous upheaval in Thailand this week. Huge demonstrations and clashes with police and security forces; the country is now under a severe state of emergency with gatherings of five people or more banned but still the student protests continue. What are they asking for? Even though Thailand has been successful in controlling the coronavirus with only 59 recorded deaths, the country is hermetically sealed. The consequences of this success, however, is the near-total destruction of the economy and a 20 percent loss of GDP overnight. With no foreign travel and now political upheaval, the people are calling for the resignation of the prime minister. But set to have an even greater impact is the “illegal” criticism of the monarchy. So, we invited the epitome of a Renaissance man, Pepe Escobar, geopolitical analyst at the Asia Times, to talk about Thailand, China, Afghanistan and much, much more.

Oct 10, 2020 10:35

Chavismo in Africa and a new world dystopia (E353)

Eight years ago, in October 2012, Hugo Chavez won his final victory in Venezuela. Even though he won more elections than most he was, nonetheless, still deemed a dictator and designated as an extraordinary threat by the United States. ‘Chavismo’ as a political philosophy has long been a target for sanctions by the US and its Western allies, who regard a redistributive policy as a bribe for votes. But this meddling goes far beyond South America, with US sponsored campaigns around the world. In a new book by Professor Justin Podur of York University in Canada, US intervention in the internal affairs of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo is examined and discussed. He joined Sputnik to tell us just how great these countries could have been without this external interference.

A new audio book that looks at a dystopian near future is a gripping bitcoin allegory set in a world of techno anarchists and activists fighting an overbearing State and looming authoritarianism. The book is also an examination of the dilemmas and debates surrounding new technology, and of whether it is a force for good or a force for evil. Dominic Frisby is the author and narrator of “Shadow Punk Revolution”; he has also written about “wokism” which, he says, has been facilitated by new technology and the internet, so we invited him onto Sputnik to tell us more about his visions of the future.

Oct 3, 2020 10:38

Brewing Caucasus conflict and Tiger Teachers (E352)

Sometimes a cloud no bigger than a man’s hand can be a harbinger of storms to come. One such cloud may be called Nagorno-Karabakh, a tiny enclave of Armenian people inside Azerbaijan which has been a source of difficulties for the Republic of Azerbaijan for many years. Under international law, Nagorno-Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan and is internationally recognized as one of its territories; the Armenian people who occupy it, however, say it is a “disputed territory” and that the land belongs to them. Sometimes conflicts break out and then die away again following some deft diplomatic footwork, but this time calls from the international community for dialogue rather than bullets have been ignored. So how do you reconcile a situation where both sides are so intransigent? We asked Murad Gazdiev, an RT correspondent and one of the few journalists in the region, whether the brewing conflict could escalate.

We’ve all heard about the ‘Tiger Mom’ approach – Amy Chua wrote the book on it back in 2011. But what about the roar of the Tiger Teacher? The Michaela Community School is in the London Borough of Brent and has a vast cohort of students coming from disadvantaged communities. This is usually a recipe for failing schools and a low educational bar, but the Michaela School has a proven track record of academic excellence and exceptional outcomes – so how does it do it? With desks in rows and a teacher who teaches from the front, the school’s head, Katharine Birbalsingh, ensures the school maintains its ‘outstanding’ status using pioneering teaching methods and very high expectations. She is an educational reformer and one of the most influential figures in British education today. We invited her onto Sputnik to tell us about her Tiger Teaching methods and progressive pedagogy.

Sep 26, 2020 10:25

The industry of fashion and a multimedia artist (E351)

Dedicated followers of fashion were aware that this week was Fashion week not just in London but globally – just one of the consequences of the coronavirus. But the pandemic has also highlighted a toxic side to this lucrative industry; fast fashion, unregulated supply chains and an unsustainable 50s business model based on vast growth and turnover. It is a fragile infrastructure but there is a growing movement to raise awareness of these issues. TRAID is a charity working to stop clothes from being thrown away and Maria Chenoweth is the organisation’s CEO. We invited her onto Sputnik to tell us more about what they do and how they are working to tackle the problem of clothes waste.

Not many artists from Nelson in Lancashire end up exhibiting in Doha, Qatar, neither do they find success writing novels. With work in private and public collections worldwide, Shahida Ahmed is truly a multimedia artist. She joined Sputnik to tell us about her road to success and amongst other things we find out why her paintings are all signed “She”.

Sep 19, 2020 11:23

Grenfell inquiry and a socialist classic (E350)

It is over three years since the fire at Grenfell Tower killed 72 people and scarred the lives of many more. Countless promises have been made to the residents of North Kensington since then and assurances given that such an atrocity could never happen again. But as the Labour amendments to the Fire Safety Bill were voted down by MPs last week in parliament and recommendations from Phase One of the Inquiry diluted, warnings are still being ignored. Pat Mason is a leading campaigner for the fallen and the survivors of Grenfell, so we asked him just who is responsible for safety in the construction industry and if vested interests are compromising it.

‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ is one of the most important books in many people’s lives, setting them on a life-long political journey. First published in 1914, the issues it addressed then are still relevant today. More than a century on, tradesmen and labourers are still on zero hours contracts, there are still arguments around immigration, landlords continue to charge extortionate rents and the book remains a scathing attack on class relations and the impact of poverty. A graphic novel version is set to be published this month illustrated and adapted by the Rickard sisters, Sophie and Scarlett. They’ve done something which surprisingly no one has done before, so we invited Sophie to tell us how the idea came about and what drew them to this inspirational classic.

Sep 12, 2020 17:36

Contrasting China and eating out (E349)

What we hear from right-wing conservative Republicans in the US and what we hear from right-wing conservative Republicans living in China is very, very different. Never was there a more dramatic contrast than the disparity in perspective between people back in America and people on the ground, living in China. Why are they getting their wires crossed? Is it a simple misunderstanding or is it something much more politically driven, as Trump and Pompeo rattle their sabers? Mario Cavolo lives in China, along with a million other foreigners doing business there, so we invited him onto the show to ask him about the inconsistency in the two views on such diverse topics as Huawei, the treatment of the Uighur community, India’s incursion into the South China Sea, and of course, the looming US presidential election.  

Has there been a more popular government initiative than the Eat Out to Help Out scheme? In the short term, it served to “help out” the restaurant sector and showed they were safe places to be during the pandemic. But as the scheme comes to an end, will the sector survive? Bilal Ahmed is from a long line of restaurateurs, his grandfather founded Manchester’s first curry house chain after World War II. So, who better to ask about the hospitality industry and one of the many sectors struggling to survive during these unprecedented times?