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HARDtalk

Author: BBC World Service

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In-depth, hard-hitting interviews with newsworthy personalities.
782 Episodes
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According to the polls Joe Biden is strong favourite to be the next President of the United States. But the party’s leaders bear deep scars from 2016. Donald Trump overcame the odds and beat Hillary Clinton and he claims he can do it again next week. Even if Biden wins does America really know what his presidency would look like? Stephen Sackur speaks to one of the most senior Democrats in Congress, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. Is Democratic party confidence more than skin deep? Photo: US House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee Chairman James E. Clyburn Credit: Getty Images
The beheading of a teacher by an 18-year-old outside Paris struck a particularly jarring blow to the French psyche. Samuel Paty was murdered for teaching his students, including young Muslims, about freedom of speech, including the freedom to mock religion. His killing was seen by some as an attack on France’s secular values. Stephen Sackur speaks to Dominique Schnapper, president of a council which advises the government on secularism in education. Is France's government getting its response to this tragedy right?
Stephen Sackur speaks to Peter Frankopan, historian and author of the bestselling book The Silk Roads. There’s plentiful evidence that the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted more serious damage on the US than China. Has the impact of Covid-19 reinforced the notion that global power and influence is shifting to the East?
In a few days time Americans will give their verdict on President Donald Trump. Do they want four more years of Trump in the White House, or will they opt for the other septuagenarian Joe Biden - wholly different in style and worldview? Stephen Sackur speaks to the former Republican Congressman and loyal Trump campaigner Jack Kingston. The polls consistently say Trump is in big trouble. Is there good reason to think they are wrong?
In every crisis there is opportunity. It is a mantra beloved by business schools and political strategists, but should it offer us comfort as Covid-19 continues to ravage the global economy? Stephen Sackur speaks to Jim O’Neill, former chief economist at Goldman Sachs, erstwhile advisor to the British Government and champion of big measures to revive growth. Is this really the time to be bold?
We cannot know the contents of Donald Trump’s soul, but its fair to say his personal behaviour doesn't point to deeply held Christian belief. And yet the evangelical Christian right is a key pillar of his support base. Could that change in November’s election? Stephen Sackur speaks to Rob Schenck, an influential evangelical pastor and long-time anti-abortion activist who broke with fellow social conservatives over gun control. Can Donald Trump still count on the loyalty of the religious right?
When Ukrainians overwhelmingly voted to make a comedian president, Europeans wondered what the punchline would be. In an exclusive interview, Stephen Sackur speaks to Volodymyr Zelensky, the comic actor who played a president on TV before getting the job in real life. He has had 18 months to make good on his promise to end corruption and find a pathway to peace with Russia. How is he doing?
Stephen Sackur speaks to the national spokesman for India's ruling BJP Narendra Taneja. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dominance of Indian politics is unquestioned but his ability to deliver competent government in a crisis is less certain. India now has the second highest official number of Covid infections in the world, and the real figure is thought to be up to ten times higher. Is Mr Modi’s populist strong man act about to come unstuck?
The debate between nature and nurture is as old as the hills - is genetics or cultural conditioning the key to understanding human evolution? We speak to Joseph Henrich, a Harvard professor whose fascination with human evolution and anthropology has brought him to a radical conclusion. He says Western societies preoccupied with the individual not the collective are weird, and the cultural power of the West has skewed our view of what is normal. How much do we humans really have in common?
In a special edition of the programme, HARDtalk is in the area known as the Lake District in north-west England. The landscape is beautiful, but is not wild. The fields have been shaped by generations of shepherds and stockmen. Stephen Sackur speaks to James Rebanks, whose farm has been in his family's hands for at least 600 years. In his book - English Pastoral - he advocates for a better kind of farming that is more sustainable and environmentally responsible. But are his ideas compatible with putting affordable food on all of our tables?
The sense of systemic racial injustice in policing that has fuelled the Black Lives Matter movement is shared far beyond the shores of the United States. In Britain it is two decades since a top level inquiry into London's police force found it to be institutionally racist - how much has really changed? Stephen Sackur speaks to Leroy Logan was one of London's top black policemen until his retirement seven years ago. How easy is it to root out discrimination dressed in a police uniform? (Photo: Leroy Logan, former superintendent, Metropolitan Police)
The economic fallout of Covid-19 has been tough, and with new waves of the virus appearing, restrictions on economic activity are being reimposed in many countries. Zeinab Badawi speaks to Paolo Gentiloni, the European Commissioner for the Economy. How confident is he that the world's second-largest economy can make a recovery?
Yusef Salaam was just 16 when he and four other black and Latino teenagers were wrongly convicted of the rape and assault of a woman jogging in New York’s Central Park. Even before their trial the then property tycoon Donald Trump took out newspaper ads calling for the death penalty. The five served out their sentences before being exonerated when another man admitted to the crime. Yusef Salaam says their case is the story of the criminal system of injustice in America. But as anti-racism protests continue, and fears of worse unrest to come, is the chance of real change even more remote than in the America of his youth?
As soon as he emerged from his coma Alexey Navalny, the Russian opposition leader apparently poisoned by novichok nerve agent, expressed his determination to return to Moscow. But what future is there for an anti-Putin political movement in a country where dissent is all too often seriously bad for your health? Stephen Sackur speaks to Leonid Volkov, opposition politician and chief of staff to Mr Navalny. Is there any weakening of the Kremlin’s grip on power?
Not just in the United States, but across the world the Black Lives Matter movement has prompted debate about race, identity and power. It is a campaign predicated on ideas about what it means to be black and white; but what if those very terms are themselves part of the problem? Stephen Sackur speaks to Thomas Chatterton Williams, a mixed-race American writer and self-declared ex-black man, whose ideas present a challenge to so-called 'woke' culture. How much room is there right now for respectful, thoughtful debate?
What is the point of the world’s nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency? Its task is to ensure that countries intent on developing nuclear power don’t use their programmes as cover for development of weapons of mass destruction. But is the task impossible? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the new IAEA chief, Rafael Grossi. From the continued bitter arguments over Iran, to North Korea, and Saudi Arabia, is the IAEA another example of a global agency undermined by geopolitical division?
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces momentous challenges. The coronavirus pandemic, an economic slump and a looming moment of truth for Britain’s relations with the EU. In the midst of this turbulence the future of the United Kingdom itself looks uncertain. Polls suggest increasing numbers of Scots want out of the Union. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the new leader of the Scottish Conservative party, Douglas Ross. Are events playing into the hands of the Scottish nationalists? (Photo: Douglas Ross, newly announced Scottish Conservative leader, talks to media in Forres, Scotland, Britain 5 August, 2020. Credit: Russell Cheyne/Reuters)
Will Moscow’s will prevail in Belarus, or will people power take the country in a new direction? Stephen Sackur speaks to Gitanas Nausėda, the president of neighbouring Lithuania. The daily street protests demanding the resignation of Belarus’s authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko haven’t yet tipped the balance against the regime. Lukashenko is still there; the security forces are still doing his bidding. So how is the geopolitics of this going to play out?
With just two months until the US presidential election, the polls show the incumbent Donald Trump trailing Democrat Joe Biden by a significant margin. This is an extraordinary election year marked by a pandemic, economic crisis, street protests over alleged police racism and a toxic political atmosphere. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the veteran Republican party pollster and consultant Frank Luntz. Can Donald Trump win, and should Republicans want him to?
The EU is thought to have lost more than €10 billion to fraud over the last two decades, and yet its anti-fraud and anti-corruption agencies have long lacked the teeth to root out the problem. Could that be about to change? Stephen Sackur speaks to Romanian Laura Codruta Kövesi, the EU's first public prosecutor. She has enhanced powers to tackle transnational crime. But if member states refuse to play ball, how can she succeed?
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Comments (34)

Ed Chow

Sackur is a die hard Western capitalist fan boy and is finding it difficult to accept China's state capitalism is simply leaving his white man world behind hence the continuous snide attacks on China during this somewhat tedious episode. His anti China views are hardly suppressable.

Oct 27th
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ForexTraderNYC

what a guy..brainwashed trump cult member ignores all trump lies n deceit n continues to shamelessly defend trump..psychopaths have no sense of guilt o conscious.

Oct 21st
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Salma Hassan

Great interview. Very optimistic about a brighter Sudan they offer inspiration for the rest of the Africa. Also, Zeinab seriously interviews with an iron fist. 😂

Aug 19th
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Omar Deghayes

Andrew Innocent! photos as a start speaks volumes...

Jul 26th
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ForexTraderNYC

wow such a warrior husam rebutted everything so well

Jul 20th
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ForexTraderNYC

she is calling for accepting uncertainty ? nothing New..when we forecast n plan we keep in mind uncertainty is certain.. what she is proposing is not something going to advance us but move us n expose us to further uncertainty...which is by our nature undesirable outcome. a debbie downer detected.

Mar 30th
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ForexTraderNYC

very impressive responses from Daimler rep here..keeping calm n carrying on. i like the optimistic n pragmatism. i m lil taken back by questioner in this sensitive times to grill them to be serving china hmm obvious? why shouldn't a supplier serve china if the demand is there? natural market behavior... but i love this PODCAST n investigative journalist in how they asks stressful n grilling q's..it makes mgmt accountable n responsible that they are being observed n in this age no one can survive without a good reputation. so a win win...

Mar 30th
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Bahram Kalviri

Behrouz Boochani's message to governments was really noteworthy in this episode.

Dec 6th
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jersey2777

so Christopher Ruddy's reasoning for Trumps innocence on the issue of Ukraine, is that he doesn't know the laws?! he also refuses council from those who do know, so it's not that he doesn't know, he doesn't care.

Nov 25th
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JENNIFER WANG

Horrible host who interrupts constantly

Nov 15th
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ForexTraderNYC

mindblowing so inspiring..didnt know her, i will look her up!

Nov 9th
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Omar Deghayes

unbelievable strength..

Nov 7th
Reply

Omar Deghayes

arrogant idiota

Nov 7th
Reply

Omar Deghayes

worthy of his job

Nov 7th
Reply

Omar Deghayes

Eye opening..articulate

Nov 7th
Reply

Omar Deghayes

interesting

Nov 7th
Reply

Omar Deghayes

good on her

Nov 7th
Reply

Omar Deghayes

hard exposure

Nov 7th
Reply

Omar Deghayes

excellent

Nov 7th
Reply

ForexTraderNYC

courageous lady fighting for immigrants... who dares to do that in 21st ce.? only quality ppl.. such compassion to help the helpless..love her such strong determination!

Sep 5th
Reply
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