Korea is one of the most stressed and tired nations on earth, a place where people work and study longer hours than anywhere else. And statistics show they are finding it increasingly difficult to switch off and relax; they sleep fewer hours and have higher rates of depression and suicide than almost anywhere else.
And as a result sleeplessness and stress has become big business in Korea; from sleep clinics where doctors assess people overnight, to ‘sleep cafes’ offering naps in the middle of the working day, to relaxation drinks. Even Buddhism is moving in on the action with temple retreats and monk-led apps to help stressed out Koreans to relax. There is a lot of money to be made but some Koreans have become worried that in trying to sell religion to the next generation, some faith leaders might be losing touch with Buddhist principles themselves. For Crossing Continents Se-Woong Koo reports from Seoul on a nation that’s wired on staying awake. Producer, Chloe Hadjimatheou.
Rotterdam and the cocaine connection
In the Port of Rotterdam they are preparing for a ‘White Xmas’ - but no one is talking about snow. Europe’s North Sea coast has overtaken the Iberian peninsula as the primary point of entry for cocaine reaching the continent. Industrial-sized labs have been busted in the Netherlands, and mafia-style executions have occurred on the streets. Most recently the crime journalist, Peter R de Vries was shot and mortally wounded in busy Amsterdam. For Crossing Continents, Linda Pressly asks how the Netherlands has become one of the largest illicit drug economies of the world.
Reporter, Linda Pressly
Producer, Michael Gallagher
Editor, Bridget Harney
(Image: CCTV footage from the port of Rotterdam showing cocaine ‘collectors’ – young men charged with retrieving smuggled narcotics from shipping containers. Credit: Kramer Group)
A bitter fight over fish is playing out in the American West. Sockeye salmon make one of the great migrations in the world, swimming 900 miles from the Pacific Ocean to 6,500 feet up in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, where they spawn and die - but that journey may not happen much longer.
In addition to the gauntlet of predators the fish face, from orcas on the west coast to eagles in the mountains, they are running into a man-made obstacle: dams.
Most scientists agree the dams need to go for the fish to live, but the dams provide clean energy and an inexpensive way for farmers to get their crops to international markets.
Heath Druzin investigates how a bitter fight is underway in the American West pitting Native American tribes, fisherman and conservationists against grain growers and power producers.
Meanwhile, time is running out for the iconic species.
Presented by Heath Druzin
Produced by Richard Fenton-Smith
Editor, Bridget Harney
Libya's Unfinished Revolution
It’s ten years since Libya’s dictator Col Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown. But the country’s still not a a democracy – or even a unified functioning state. The militias that brought down the dictatorship in 2011 never disbanded. They turned the country into a battleground, abducting and murdering countless citizens. Since last year, there’s been a ceasefire in the long civil war. Elections are planned. But how powerful are the militias – even now? And how hopeful are Libyans about their future? Reporter Tim Whewell, who covered the uprising in 2011, returns to find out what happened to Libya’s revolution. At spectacular horse-races in the city of Misrata, he meets Libyans who say they have more opportunities now than under Gaddafi. But many writers and activists have fled the country or gone silent, fearing they might disappear if they say anything that displeases armed groups. Some militias have officially been turned into security arms of the state. But that’s given them access to valuable state resources - and militia commanders are accused of becoming mafia bosses. Tim meets possible future leader Fathi Bashagha, who vows to tame the armed groups. But would he prosecute their commanders for past crimes? And can the eastern and western sides of Libya, effectively still under separate authorities despite a unity government, be brought together? Many think war may break out again, and some young Libyans, despairing for their country’s future, are even risking the dangerous passage across the Mediterranean, to emigrate.
Producer: Bob Howard
The Mystery of Havana Syndrome
Gordon Corera investigates the mysterious illness that has struck American diplomats and spies. It began after some reported hearing strange sounds in Havana 2016, but reports have since spread around the world. Doctors, scientists, intelligence agents and government officials have all been trying to find out what exactly causes these sounds and the lingering health effects. Some call it an act of war, others wonder if it is some new and secret form of surveillance while others believe it could even be in the mind. So who or what is responsible?
Producer, Emma Wells.
Editor, Bridget Harney.