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The Fourcast

Author: Channel 4 News

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From Channel 4 News, an in-depth look at the news stories you need to know about; how the past shapes the present and what might lie ahead for us all.
131 Episodes
Year after year, the NHS faces a deluge of “winter pressures”, as seasonal illnesses are passed around and beds fill up.  But with the ongoing pandemic and a huge backlog already adding pressure, will the NHS cope this year? And what are the government’s plans to get us through it? Today, our Health and Social Care editor Victoria Macdonald talks us through the government’s plan this winter, and asks whether the Covid Plan A, which focuses on vaccines and boosters, will be enough to stop us from resorting to Covid Plan B, and the more extreme measures that dominated our lives for most of the past 18 months and ruined Christmas last year.
For decades, there has been a delicate peace off the coast of China. In recent days, that peace has felt at its most fragile, with talk of the worst relations in 40 years and murmurs about a coming invasion, a coming war on the island of Taiwan. And a new pact between the Americans, the British and the Australians has heightened tensions like never before. In today’s podcast, we speak to both our international editor Lindsey Hilsum and Dr Jie Yu from Chatham House about the ongoing tensions in the region, the history behind that fragile peace in Taiwan - and whether we are on the cusp of conflict or simply the start of a truly 21st century cold war. Sources: DW News, ABC News, France 24
Just over a year ago, Belarus, known as the last dictatorship in Europe, saw some of the biggest protests in its history. They followed yet another presidential election where Alexander Lukashenko was the apparent victor, his sixth straight win in 26 years. But this time the opposition was led by three, inspiring women, who not just challenged the president’s authority more than ever before but made many people in Belarus feel change was possible. Today, our correspondent Paraic O’Brien looks at the past year in Belarus, what the effect of the clampdown by Lukashenko has done to the opposition movement, and whether recent events, from the sentencing of one of the key leaders to the infamous Ryanair arrest, show that real change is still a long way off in Minsk.
It's been nearly two weeks since the results of the German election came in. And still, Angela Merkel remains in post at the Chancellery in Berlin.    With no knock-out winner in these elections, what type of government do Germans exactly want and what will they actually get?    In today's episode, our Europe editor Matt Frei explains the 2021 election results that saw the SPD emerge from the ashes of 2017 and Merkel's party record their worst result since World War Two.   And in an election framed as a climate election while the Greens doubled their votes, will their failure to not finish in the top two mean they have to dilute their radical policies to enter into government? And does that mean this is not a change election, but more a continuity one?   Sources: BBC News, The Guardian 
What does £20 mean to you? For some families, it’s the difference between the cupboards being full or empty.  At the start of the pandemic, the government introduced the Universal Credit uplift, an extra £20 a week for the people who needed it most. From today, that benefit ends.  In today’s episode, our Social Affairs Editor Jackie Long explains why the number of people receiving Universal Credit has doubled since the start of the pandemic, and asks what the ending of the uplift could mean, amidst rising costs of living and worries about a long winter ahead.
Can you remember the fear and confusion of January 2020? A mystery illness swept across the globe and governments scrambled to contain it. Looking back, what did we get right and what did we get wrong? Today, in his last appearance on The Fourcast, FactCheck guru Paddy Worrall will cut through 18 months of pandemic noise and lay out the truth. What predictions were accurate and what early thinking was just plain wrong? And what has Covid has taught him about the world of vaccines and misinformation? Ultimately, are we wiser now than we were back then? Sources: ITN, MSNBC
In its long history, there have been landmark, controversial Supreme Court decisions: Plessy v. Ferguson, Bush v. Gore, Shelby v. Holder. Yet arguably none has divided Americans, defined the parties, and affected the lives of millions of women more than one particular ruling on the 22nd of January 1973: Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right for women to have an abortion. Since then, those opposed to abortion have campaigned to chip away at that decision, in the hope that one day, when the conditions are right, they can knock down that ruling completely. Is that day almost upon us? Today, Professor Mary Ziegler, the author of the book “Abortion and the law in America,” talks to me about the history of abortion in the United States, and about recent laws in Texas and Mississippi that could profoundly change the law of the land on this key issue for the first time in nearly 50 years. Sources: CBS NEWS, MSNBC, ITN.
Panic buying at petrol stations has forced queues up and down the country and closed forecourts, with key workers struggling to make their shifts. The army is on standby to help out. And the trouble doesn’t stop there. There’s a global gas shortage that has forced prices up and caused UK energy companies to go bust. In today’s podcast, we talk to Business and Global Trade correspondent Paul McNamara to explain what’s going on with fuel, gas and our cost of living. The government says this won’t be like the 1970s all over again, but will it? Sources: ITN, BBC News, Al Jazeera
A few weeks back, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation made their recommendation on whether healthy 12 to 15-year-olds should get the Covid vaccine. Yet the chief medical officers of the four nations made their own assessment and said it was best to give a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine to that age group. Now that may seem a bit confusing, so our FactCheck reporter Georgina Lee is going to explain it all: the benefits and risks of vaccinating both children and adults with the Pfizer jab.
It’s been just over a month since the Taliban took Kabul. Some fled Afghanistan, not wanting to see what their new lives might look like. Others stayed out of choice or because there was no other option. And there was talk of a new, reformed Taliban that's less strict and less restrictive of women's rights than the regime of the 1990s, but what is life like now in the new Afghanistan? Kiran speaks to our international editor Lindsey Hilsum, who recently spent two weeks in the country to find out who makes up the new administration, what the future holds for women and girls and what life was really like in the last 20 years in the cities and countryside.   Sources: BBC News, The Guardian
The perilous nature of our planet, our future, is evident. A recent UN report said that human activity is changing our climate in unprecedented and irreversible ways.  So what can be done? Many catastrophes are here now. Others are already locked in. This autumn is the United Nations Climate Change conference, when the countries of the world will gather in Glasgow to negotiate a way forward. We talk to our climate journalist, Simon Roach, about whether this November really is the planet’s last best hope to stave off this crisis - and whether that hope will be met with real, concrete change. Sources: CGTN, CNA, COP26, ITN
It was all going so well for the United States and Covid-19. Before the summer, vaccinations were rising and cases falling. It looked normal. And then the Delta variant hit, cases rose, hospital wards began to fill again, and with all that, the death toll increased. With vaccinations hitting a wall, with some governors refusing to impose new restrictions and fake news rife, President Biden introduced a vaccine mandate. Our Washington correspondent, Siobhan Kennedy, looks at the summer of Delta in the US, the new policy from the Biden White House - and how this will play with a country where the party lines are even more rigid when it comes to the approach to Covid. For more information on the Covid vaccine, read Factcheck. Sources: CNN, NBC News, MSNBC, 11ALIVE, WPTZ. 
There’s the impossible and then there’s the completely unbelievable. This past week has been all about Emma Raducanu. We talk to the sports journalist and commentator Anne-Marie Batson about the young powerhouse that is Emma Raducanu, what she means for the British game and the game in general, as well as why female tennis players are such huge superstars compared to those from other sports?   And whether Raducanu represents the young face of modern Britain - or whether that will add to the weight of pressure on someone who should be left alone to enjoy her career and her talent. Sources: Prime Video, Channel 4, ITN, ABC.
With ever more devastating hurricanes and floods, Miami is set to be transformed if not submerged: sea levels could rise more than 30 inches by 2060, putting over 100,000 properties by the sea at risk. And so, some are already moving to higher ground elsewhere in the city. And that has its own consequences. Today, reporter Kate Fisher details climate gentrification, where the rich move to safer ground and force other communities to bear the brunt of the climate disaster. Sources: CCN, NBC 6, ABC Local 10 News
Caution: This episode contains references to drug use.  You may know it as an illegal party drug. But there's growing research to suggest that psychedelic drugs could be used , in a clinical setting, as treatments for depression, addiction and PTSD.  Some clinical trials seem to show that these substances, when combined with therapy, can be effective for some of those who find antidepressants and other forms of therapy unhelpful.  But this is a drug that has had proven negative-side effects such as addiction and bladder issues.  Today, we look at one particular drug, ketamine, as the UK's first ketamine-assisted psychotherapy clinic prepares to open, and our reporter Keme Nzerem meets one person who's found this treatment transformative. Could this clinic mark a shift in the way we view psychedelics? Or is it an expensive, under-researched and unproven experiment?  If you’ve been affected by any of the issues in this episode, you can find information and support on our website: Sources: BBC News, ITV News, PBS News Hour, ABC News.
Black women report being dismissed and neglected by healthcare professionals throughout pregnancy, childbirth and beyond - and are four times more likely to die in childbirth than women of other ethnicities.  So could inducing pregnant Black women, bringing their birth forward early, address that problem?  That’s what one prominent medical committee, NICE, has proposed.  Today we speak to a doctor who says it’ll make birth safer for mums and babies, and a campaigner who says that early induction is not the solution to a deep and complex issue, rooted in racism and inadequate healthcare for Black mothers-to-be.  And a warning, this episode includes discussion about maternal death and stillbirth.
It’s 20 years since a clear, sunny morning in downtown Manhattan was transformed at 8:46am. Four planes were hijacked on the east coast of the USA: two hit the World Trade Center. One hit the Pentagon, the heart of the country’s defence. Another went down in western Pennsylvania. It was a day that left nearly 3,000 dead. It was a day that changed everything: from the way we live and travel and the threats we fear, to the global world order and modern terrorism. All of which still lives on today, from New York City to Kabul. In today’s episode, Jon Snow takes us back to that fateful, generation-defining day, and recounts his visit to Ground Zero in November 2001. And a warning: this content contains distressing themes.
Downing Street has said the government will introduce vaccine passports for nightclubs and other crowded indoor venues in England and Scotland from the end of September, subject to votes in both parliaments. For some, this makes sense: a public health measure that allows us to return to normality safely, and perhaps acts as an incentive to get vaccinated. For others, it’s a threat to our way of life, and as we have seen in some countries where they’ve already been introduced, people are angry. We look at the pros and cons of Covid passports, and turn to Israel, a country that has been using a type of domestic Covid passport since February. Sources: Reuters, DW News, News For All, YouTube: Clive Harris 
Delta down under

Delta down under


For more than a year, Australia and New Zealand were sanctuaries away from the pandemic world. But the Delta variant snuck in through Australia’s strict quarantine borders and called the whole strategy of Covid elimination into question. With lockdowns affecting half of the population in Australia - and some tired of the endless cycles - the country has now shifted focus: Australia says suppressing Covid to zero is impossible and vaccinations will allow them to live with the virus. But that shift has not been repeated in New Zealand. Jacinda Ardern has stuck to her original plan, believing strict and quick lockdowns combined with increased vaccinations can completely suppress the Delta wave. What's next for both nations as they go their different ways? Sources: Sky News, DW News, 7:30, 7 News
First it was Nando's, then McDonald's, and finally Greggs. Supply issues at major chains have forced a shortage of milkshakes and chicken, with the problems this summer seen as a warning of what's to come. We speak to Business and Global Trade Correspondent Paul McNamara to discuss why there aren't enough lorry drivers and workers - and why the British workforce isn't queuing up to take the vacancies. How bad could this all get? Could it damage our economy? And is this just the tip of the iceberg as we head for the winter months - with another Covid wave possible?
Comments (1)

DJ Barker

Great idea but the presenter pauses randomly when he's speaking and it's really annoying

Sep 24th
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