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The Inquiry


The Inquiry gets beyond the headlines to explore the trends, forces and ideas shaping the world.

The Inquiry gets beyond the headlines to explore the trends, forces and ideas shaping the world.


United Kingdom




The Inquiry gets beyond the headlines to explore the trends, forces and ideas shaping the world.




Is it too late to avoid famine in Somalia?

Somalia is in a state of drought following four failed rainy seasons, and a fifth predicted, with aid agencies declaring the country is in a state of famine. Despite this, the government has yet to declare a famine, insisting that certain thresholds have yet to be met. Instead, Somalia’s government believes that they would be more than able to deal with the current crisis, as well as prevent future episodes, had they been properly compensated by industrious nations for the damage caused by...


Can a country live on renewable energy alone?

The International Energy Agency says that the world is in the middle of the first global energy crisis. The price of natural gas has increased almost five-fold since the summer of 2020, and the main cause is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Moscow has cut supplies of gas to European countries that oppose the war, causing the wholesale price to shoot up everywhere. Many countries have turned to coal to fuel their power stations, also causing prices to triple in the last year. But as well as...


Will computers put managers out of work?

When we shop online, we don’t often think about what goes on behind the scenes. Clicking “pay now”, sets in motion a slick, computer-controlled chain of events, that ends with a parcel arriving at your home. These online shopping logistics are run by Artificial Intelligence, and there are plans for these systems to move from the warehouse to the wider workplace. “Digital Management” systems in development are able to autonomously hire people and oversee their work on a project from beginning...


Is China’s economy in trouble?

Xi Jinping has begun an unprecedented third term as Chinese president, after securing his position at the Communist Party Congress. But key economic data was delayed until after the congress ended. It was lower than government targets, causing Chinese markets to fall. The Chinese economy is floundering; unemployment is skyrocketing, and the housing market is collapsing. There’s also no sign of an end to COVID lockdowns – which have hamstrung business and manufacturing since the start of the...


Is it time for Britain to return the Rosetta Stone?

More than 200 years ago French soldiers uncovered a slab of granite in the Nile Delta which became the key to understanding the history of ancient Egypt. The Rosetta Stone is inscribed with ancient Egyptian and Greek text, and hieroglyphs. Before it was translated, no-one realised that hieroglyphs were a form of written language. After the French surrender of Egypt in 1801, the artifact was taken to the UK, and ever since, it’s been one of the main attractions at the British Museum in...


Will the protests in Iran bring change?

Women in Iran have been at the forefront of protests that have swept the country for weeks. More than 200 people have lost their lives, and hundreds of others have been detained after demonstrations following the death of 22 year old Mahsa Amini. She died after being arrested by the regime's morality police for not wearing her hijab correctly. Women have been fighting for their basic freedoms and demanding an end to the mandatory headscarf. Many have posted videos on social media, cutting...


Is Putin’s war in Ukraine at a turning point?

The Kerch bridge, a vital supply route for Russian forces in Crimea, has been partially destroyed in a huge blast. It was a symbol of Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, and the explosion was equally symbolic, coming just one day after President Putin’s 70th birthday. The Russian president described it as “an act of terrorism”, and he punished Ukraine’s cities with a day of missile strikes, targeting civilian areas. All this comes as Putin’s Special Military Operation is struggling....


What’s the future of the Commonwealth under King Charles III?

In his first speech as King, Charles III said he would endeavour to serve his subjects, wherever they live “in the UK, the realms and territories across the world”. But following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, several realms – countries other than the UK that have the British Monarch as head of state – say they may become republics. Barbados became a republic in 2021. Antigua, Belize, Jamaica and Grenada may follow. King Charles III has also just become the elected head of the...

How can Brazil’s next president unite the country?

Brazil is voting to elect a new president. On the ballot is the incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known almost universally as Lula, a fiery leftist who was Brazil’s president from 2002 to 2010. Bolsonaro is a former army officer with solid conservative views. Lula is very left leaning and in favour of protecting the environment. Their contrasting policies on issues such as the economy, law and order, family values, and the environment, have polarised the country....


How close did Iraq come to civil war?

August 2022. Political tensions in Iraq boil over, and peaceful demonstrations outside the country’s parliament turn violent. The sounds of gun and rocket fire return to Baghdad, and 30 people are killed. The violence ends when populist leader Muqtada al-Sadr tells his followers to lay down their arms and go home. His Sadrist party won the most seats in the previous election, but his inability to form a majority government has led to the political deadlock. Politics in a country as diverse...


Why did the French leave Mali?

Relations between France and Mali have hit a low point, with both countries trading hostile comments in public about what the other is doing. Mali’s military rulers accuse France of supplying arms to anti-government militants. Paris denies this and is unhappy about Mali’s working relationship with Russian mercenaries. Things are so bad that President Emmanuel Macron announces the withdrawal of French troops. They were sent in 9 years ago to help fight Islamist militants, who still pose a...


What next for Imran Khan?

The former Pakistani prime minister, Imran Khan, is facing terrorism charges in Islamabad. He was charged under Pakistan's stringent anti-terrorism laws for condemning Islamabad’s chief of police and a female judge, after claims his close political aide was arrested and tortured. Since he lost power in April, he’s been addressing huge political rallies, where he’s told the crowds that he was brought down by a conspiracy organised by the current government, state powers, and the USA. Most...


Are nations doing enough to combat monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a virus that was first identified in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria in the 1970s. Since then it has appeared around the world. More concerning is that the virus appears to be evolving and there are some unusual symptoms. The world has known about monkeypox for decades. Why is it spreading again now? How serious is the current outbreak? This week on The Inquiry we ask, are nations doing enough to combat monkeypox? Contributors: Prof Dimie Ogoina, Infectious Disease...


Will nuclear fusion solve our energy problems forever?

It’s nearly a century since it was discovered that the sun and other stars are powered by nuclear fusion. It’s when hydrogen atoms merge to form helium, and release huge amounts of energy. Since then, scientists have dreamed of reproducing the process here on Earth, with one Nobel Laureate calling it “the sun in a box”. It holds the promise of virtually limitless energy, with few emissions and waste. But recreating the conditions where fusion can take place are a vast engineering challenge....


Can we control the weather?

This summer, countries across the world have experienced extreme weather events. Flash floods have killed people in South Korea, Uganda, Australia and the US state of Kentucky, and heatwaves have broken records across Western Europe, North America and Japan. However, countries across the world are developing ways to try to tame the weather. China, the UAE and the USA are at the forefront of research into methods of producing rain in drought-stricken areas. And some scientists are thinking...


Will the US and China go to war over Taiwan?

A recent visit to Taiwan by Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, has heightened tensions between the US and China. Their relationship is the worst it’s been in decades. America has accused China of dangerous military provocations in the region. China has warned the US not to play with fire. Add to all that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and concerns that China could be contemplating something similar in Taiwan, and it’s time to ask the question: Will the US and China go...


Will air travel ever return to normal?

Images of queues, huge piles of luggage and even pilots loading their planes with cargo have plagued the media throughout the world. Airports have been in chaos for months as they have attempted to re-emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, with Europe, the UK and the USA all having suffered the worst of the effects so far. Flight cancelations have played havoc with business travellers and holiday makers alike, and the problem only appears to be getting worse as a whole raft of flights have...


Why did Tunisia turn its back on democracy?

Tunisian President Kais Saied has drafted a new constitution for Tunisia that gives him new sweeping powers, including authority over the judiciary and immunity for life from prosecution. Tunisia was a beacon of hope for democracy after the Arab Spring. The country rid itself of dictator Ben Ali after 24 years of rule and moved to a more democratic system. Now the country seems to be sliding back towards the one man rule that it has known for generations. This week on The Inquiry we are...


What impact has Brexit had on the UK’s economy?

In 2016 Britain voted to leave the European Union. There were warnings that pulling away from the largest trade bloc in the world would be damaging to the UK’s finances. Those that campaigned for Brexit argued it would offer the UK self-determination and the freedom to forge its own trade relationships. Who was right? This week on The Inquiry we attempt to disentangle the numbers from the complications of the global pandemic and the war in Ukraine and ask, what impact has Brexit had on the...


Did organic farming cause Sri Lanka’s collapse?

Sri Lanka is now in the worst economic crisis they have seen in decades, schools are closed, fuel is in short supply, there are power cuts and a shortage of food. The President has been forced to resign and the political future of the country is uncertain. But can the current problems be traced back to a decision to take the country’s food production completely organic? In 2021 the President of Sri Lanka announced a total ban on chemical fertilizer and pesticides. Health concerns were given...