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Why are Shipping Containers so Popular in Pakistan?

Duration:
55 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 22 August 2014

Shipping containers have never been so popular in Pakistan as they are right now. The enormous steel blocks have been a fairly common sight on Islamabad's roads this week - used by the police to keep out anti-government protestors who have been marching on the capital to demand the prime minister's resignation. And also used by the protestors themselves - fashioned into makeshift homes, offices and stages for the protest leaders - politician Imran Khan and cleric Tahirul Qadri. Reporter Fahad Desmukh explains the rise of the shipping containers, the art of furnishing them, and what they say about Pakistani politics and public space.

How to Build an an Army
The Somali government has been in power for nearly two years and during that time they have started to re-build the national army, but there have been some problems. As officers are called back to reclaim their military ranks, there has also been a rise in sales of the military epaulettes that denote rank in the local market. Many thousands are said to have been claiming ranks that they just don't have. The Chief of the Somali Army announced recently that there were almost a thousand fake ranks within the military and he would no longer tolerate it. Mohamed Moalimu from BBC Somali explains some of the struggles of building a new modern army in Somalia. Plus, Aamer Ahmed Khan from BBC Urdu and Kasim Kayira from BBC Africa - who are knowledgeable in all matters military - give their do's and don'ts for creating a new modern army.

Understanding Iranian TV Censorship
How would you feel if you suddenly found out your favourite television characters were not at all what you imagined them to be? Growing up in 1980s Tehran, BBC Persian's Golnoosh Golshani's cherished TV shows were foreign imports and subject to such sophisticated censorship that the characters and plot lines became rather different from their original depictions. She reflects on her best loved TV memories - watching the British drama The Secret Army and the Japanese serial Oshin - and how she discovered the real stories behind the TV shows that were censored.

Intercepts and the Conflict in Eastern Ukraine
Just this week the Ukrainian Secret Service published an intercepted conversation, allegedly between two pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk discussing shelling in a civilian area. It's one of many intercepted messages since the conflict began in eastern Ukraine. BBC Languages Editor Olexiy Solohubenko charts the story of the current unrest through some of the key intercepts - why are these messages so significant and what do they say about the nature of this particular war?

Symphony for the Shahnameh
The Shahnameh, or the Book of Kings, is one of the most famous pieces of literature in Persian history. The poem, written over 1,000 years ago by the poet Ferdowsi, comes in at over 50,000 verses and tells the legendary past of Persia through epic battles, romance and family rifts. Iranian composer Behzad Ranjbaran talks about how the Shahnameh has inspired his musical works.

Photo Credit: Getty Images: Police using shipping containers as blockades in Islamabad.

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