From Lift Engineer to Iraqi PM

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Haider Al-Abadi is the former Iraqi deputy speaker of parliament now set to succeed Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. Al-Abadi's path to prominence is not the typical journey of a politician. For years he was in charge of servicing the lifts in the BBC World Service's old London home - Bush House. Hamid Al-Kifaey worked in Bush House for BBC Arabic. He tells us about his friend the lift engineer who came to have one of the toughest jobs in the Middle East.

TV, Propaganda and Power
A nation's TV coverage tells a story about its people and its power struggles. BBC Media Action's Haider Al-Safi reflects on the changing landscape of TV in his native Iraq - from the tightly controlled broadcasts of the Saddam era to the creation of a public media in the aftermath of his downfall. Now he says the country is in a new phase - a worrying slide back into denial, propaganda and sectarian speech. How does this compare to the media landscape in other countries that were once under restrictive governments? We hear from BBC Afghan's Sana Safi who talks about watching TV in secret under Taliban rule, and Soe Win Than of BBC Burmese who remembers the military and state propaganda of the 1990s and the slow shift into a seemingly more open media in Burma.

A Persian Ode To Maths
Maryam Mirzakhani has become the first woman to win the Fields Medal, the most prestigious prize in mathematics. She's from Iran, a country where the study of maths is celebrated. Her thesis showed how to compute the Weil-Petersson volumes of moduli spaces of bordered Riemann surfaces. Did you get that? Golnoosh Golshani of BBC Persian, another lover of numbers, explains why many Iranians have such a special interest in all things mathematical.

The Lost Children of the FARC
For 50 years, the left wing rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC have been fighting against the Colombian government. Among the casualties of this bitter war are the former female guerilla fighters now searching for the children their commanders forced them to abandon. BBC Mundo's Margarita Rodriguez has been to her native Colombia and met three such women - their stories are full of longing and sadness, and were especially moving for Margarita who was pregnant and about to become a mother herself.

Online Greatest Hits
Digital diva Fifi Haroon gives the low down on the top-hitting stories across the web including India's strays-turned-security dogs, Japanese toothache fashion fad and snoozing in South Korea.

Hear My Country: Venezuela
Three BBC Mundo journalists from Venezuela tell us about a song that captures the spirit of their country. Rafael Chacon tells how "Tonada de Luna Llena", sung by national treasure Caetano Veloso can calm cows. Yolanda Valery shares a song of the city - "Vivir en Caracas" by Yordano di Marzo. Vladimir Hernandez plays a song from the barrios - "Historia Nuestra" by Vagos y Maleantes.

(Picture: A lift in Bush House, The BBC World Service's former home)

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55 minutes

Last on

Sat 16 Aug 2014 01:05 GMT
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