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Fifth Floor


Faranak Amidi takes a fresh look at the stories of the week with journalists from our 40 language sections.


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Faranak Amidi takes a fresh look at the stories of the week with journalists from our 40 language sections.




The Fifth Floor in São Paulo

With big political changes in Brazil after a divisive election which brought in a new president, Faranak Amidi is in the country's largest city São Paulo to look at the stories being covered by the BBC journalists based there. The heart of São Paulo: Avenida Paulista Leticia Mori takes us to the famous Avenida Paulista, built for the rich of São Paulo and now home to many businesses and banks. It hosts street markets and live performances every Sunday, and has also been the site of many...


Aid, politics and Syria’s earthquake

February's earthquake spanned the Turkey-Syria border and refocused international attention on the complicated geopolitics of northern Syria. We hear how the earthquake aid operation presented both challenges and opportunities to the different groups controlling Syria, from the government in Damascus to the rebel leaders of Idlib province. With BBC Monitoring jihadi expert Mina al-Lami and BBC Middle East correspondent Lina Sinjab. The handwritten newspaper of Bangladesh Since 2019, a...


The Belarusians fighting in Ukraine

We look at the Belarusian regiment of volunteers serving under Ukrainian command in the war against Russia, and explore Ukraine's complex relationship with Belarus, with BBC Monitoring journalist, and Belarusian, Gennadiy Kot. Me and my name BBC Mundo's Atahualpa Amerise reflects on what it’s like to be a Spaniard named after the last Inca emperor. Thai punishment haircuts Historically Thai students have faced humiliating punishment haircuts by teachers for breaking strict rules regarding...


Reporting Iran's school poisonings

There's fear and anger in Iran over a wave of poisonings that have affected hundreds of schoolgirls across the country. Soroush Pakzad from BBC Persian's social media team describes the challenges of investigating the story, and Aalia Farzan from BBC Dari tells us how the cause of similar incidents in Afghanistan a few years back was never established. BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year The sporting achievements of Indian women athletes are being celebrated by the BBC in Delhi this weekend...


BBC Russian: meet the Riga team

Faranak Amidi meets the BBC Russian journalists who relocated from Moscow to the Latvian capital after the invasion of Ukraine. The first anniversary: what's in the news? Editor Sergei Zakin tells us what the news focus has been for his team in the week of the first anniversary of the invasion. The move from Moscow to Riga Bureau chief Andrei Goryanov explains why the difficult decision was taken to move BBC Russian journalists and their families out of Moscow, and why Riga was chosen as...


BBC Ukrainian: a year of war

Since the start of the war in Ukraine nearly a year ago, thousands of lives have been lost on both sides, and millions of Ukrainians have been forced to leave their homes. For BBC Ukrainian, it's been a year of upheaval, with many journalists from Kyiv moving to new hubs in Lviv and Warsaw, and some living apart from family members. We hear how the team have continued to report the war, from editor Marta Shokalo in Warsaw, Daria Taradai in Lviv and Oleg Karpyak in Kyiv. Ukraine war -...


Reporting the earthquake

We hear from some of the language service journalists reporting on the catastrophic earthquakes that struck southern Turkey and northern Syria on Monday. Fundanur Öztürk from BBC Turkish travelled to Hatay, one of the worst hit cities, while BBC Arabic's Nisrine Hatoum was on holiday in Turkey at the time and quickly switched to reporting the disaster. Meanwhile her colleague Dina Waqqaf is Syrian, and plans to travel to the earthquake zone in northern Syria. Fear, boredom or nostalgia? Why...


The Myanmar coup, two years on

Since the 2021 coup in Myanmar, many Burmese have taken up arms against the military and thousands more have fled. BBC Burmese editor Soe Win Than tells us about life in the country now, and the challenges he and his team face in reporting it. What's in a name? People in Thailand take naming very seriously. BBC Thai's Tossapol Chaisomritpol explains the meanings behind his many names - from birth, through renaming, and onto his nicknames too! Prague's Little Hanoi Vietnamese people are the...


Ukraine’s corruption crackdown

Ukraine’s anti-corruption campaign is in the spotlight, with the recent dismissal or resignation of several top officials after a string of corruption scandals. Vitaliy Shevchenko of BBC Monitoring explains how the war with Russia has affected Ukraine’s long-running efforts to deal with corruption. Iraq and the Gulf Cup A recent sports story from Iraq provided a welcome change from conflict and political turmoil, when the country hosted football’s Arabian Gulf Cup for the first time since...


Belarus language crackdown

It's becoming more and more dangerous to speak Belarusian in Belarus, with reports of people being sacked and even arrested for trying to conduct their work in Belarusian. The linguistic clampdown escalated after the 2020 pro-democracy protests against long-term leader Alexander Lukashenko, as BBC Russian journalist, and Belarusian, Tatsiana Yanutsevich reports. Sri Lanka's education crisis In Sri Lanka many parents are having to decide which children to send to school. It’s a consequence of...


Why Kenyan pupils are burning schools

Why are students in Kenya burning their boarding schools? That was the question that inspired BBC Africa reporter Ashley Lime in the Nairobi bureau to investigate these sometimes deadly arson attacks which escalated after the covid pandemic. She spoke to students, relatives of teenagers who died in the fires and experts to better understand this decades old problem. Russian 'Old New Year' After the 1917 Bolshevik revolution in Russia, the calendar and date of the official New Year changed...


The decline of Ukraine’s oligarchs

For decades, Ukraine's super-rich oligarchs wielded enormous economic and political power. But in 2021, a new law was introduced to curb their influence, and the war with Russia has cost them billions in lost assets and revenue. Vitaly Shevchenko of BBC Monitoring tells us about the dramatic change in their fortunes. The endangered pink iguanas of the Galapagos Scientists have for the first time discovered a number of baby pink iguanas in the Galapagos Islands. The species is critically...


Memorable interviews from 2022

In a year packed with big news stories, who are the interviewees whose stories have stayed with our language service colleagues? BBC Ukrainian's Zhanna Bezpiatchuk tells the story of the teenager forced to flee his home in Borodianka, who now dreams of becoming a journalist. BBC Pashto's Shazia Haya shares the story of a mother of daughters now denied their secondary school education. Parham Ghobadi from BBC Persian led the coverage of the death in mysterious circumstances of 16-year-old...


Can saying fool land you in jail?

Last week Istanbul's Mayor Ekrem Imamoğlu was sentenced to two years seven months in jail and banned from taking part in politics. It’s not clear if his sentence will be ratified by two higher courts, but his crime was to call Turkey’s election officials ‘fools’ after the rerun 2019 mayoral elections, though many believe it has more to do with next year's presidential elections. BBC Monitoring journalist Dilay Yalcin in Istanbul unpicks the story. Meeting Thailand's leading transgender...


Who is Yevgeny Prigozhin?

Yevgeny Prigozhin is the head of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, a role that he denied until September. Andrei Zakharov of BBC Russian has been investigating the story of Mr Prigozhin for many years, and he shares his insights. Qatar cultural exchange As the Arab world's first football World Cup concludes, the BBC's Lina Shaikhouni shares her impressions of the cultural exchanges the event has witnessed, from traditional local dress made up in team colours, to stadiums designed to echo...


The Arab world and the war in Ukraine

Hisham Yezza of BBC Monitoring has been observing the impact in the Middle East and North Africa of the war in Ukraine since the invasion nearly ten months ago. He tells us how the war is reported and discussed in the region, and how at a political level, traditional alliances with the West are shifting. A sweet treat that could help the Amazon People from Brazil's Amazon region enjoy many dishes made with the local cupuaçu fruit, but they make less use of the seeds. These can be processed...


China protests

A fire in a residential block fire in Urumqi, which killed 10 people, sparked protests among citizens tired of living under China’s strict zero-Covid policy. As well as brave and vocal protests, many have adopted more creative ways to get their voices heard, as BBC Chinese Editor Howard Zhang reports. India street girl update BBC Marathi's Dipali Jagtap won India’s Laadli Award for her report into a footpath-dweller in Mumbai, Asma Shaikha, who struggled to continue her education during the...


Unmasking a Russian police torturer

On March 6th, huge anti-war demonstrations across Russia led to the arrest of more than 5,000 protesters. Among them were at least 11 women who were taken to Moscow's Brateyevo Police Station, where they were questioned and subjected to verbal and physical abuse, which in some cases amounted to torture. The man overseeing this was an unnamed police officer they nicknamed 'the man in black'. Using a leaked database from a Russian food delivery company, archived social media accounts and old...


Kherson: a presidential visit

President Volodymyr Zelensky's visit this week to Kherson, soon after the Russian withdrawal, prompted lively commentary on Ukrainian social media, and some comparisons with the Russian president. BBC Monitoring's Margaryta Maliukova tells us more. Hell on earth: the Korean Japanese people persuaded to move to North Korea In 1960, Eika Kawasaki left her family in Japan and moved to North Korea. She was one of 90,000 plus Korean Japanese who went to North Korea on a project called ‘paradise...


Reporting COP27

BBC Arabic's Sally Nabil is one of the team in Sharm el-Sheikh reporting on the COP27 climate summit. She tells us how the conference centre and beach resort exist side by side, and why this choice of venue offers so many advantages to the host country, Egypt. COP27: three stories from the language services BBC Swahili's Anne Ngugi visited Kenya's Amboseli national park, where the worst drought in 40 years has left a landscape littered with animal carcases. BBC Bengali's Shahnewaj Rocky met...