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Panorama's Week That Was - February 23rd - 27th

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Eamonn Walsh | 16:50 UK time, Friday, 27 February 2009

We start this entry with a bit of shameless revelling in our own success because last night Panorama won an RTS award for Primark: On the Rack. The programme, which aired in June of last year, put to the test Primark's claims that it could deliver cheap, fast fashion without breaking ethical guidelines.


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Posing as industry buyers our team found some of India's poorest people working long, gruelling hours on Primark clothes in slum workshops and refugee camps.

In presenting the prestigious Current Affairs Home Award, the RTS said of the programme it was "not only an engaging watch but... thorough and also went the extra mile to lay bare the whole chain from refugee camp to the High Street rail".

It should also be noted that Primark: On the Rack had to beat two other nominated programmes to scoop the prize, both of them BBC documentaries, and one of them another Panorama - Omagh: What the Police Were Never Told, John Ware's report on GCHQ intelligence surrounding the Omagh bombing.

Comments from Lord Mandelson in Monday's Panorama on how banks are treating small businesses in the economic downturn created a lot of news.

Shout 99 particularly picked up on how the Business secretary had said banks were leaving a number of businesses "high and dry" as they cut back on lending.

Business guru and Dragon's Den star Theo Paphitis was the programme reporter on Credit Where It's Due and gave Panorama some top tips for businesses which want to be successful.

Tuesday was the 10-year anniversary of the Macpherson report into the failure of the Metropolitan Police investigation to find and convict teenager Stephen Lawrence's killers.

Headed by Sir William Macpherson, the inquiry famously concluded that London's Metropolitan Police force was "institutionally racist".

On Wednesday Nicola Rollock wrote in The Guardian that stop and search statistics undermine police claims to have tackled institutional racism.

In October, amid a series of high profile race rows at the top of the Met, Panorama conducted a new investigation into police racism in
The Secret Policeman Returns
.

It told a bleak story of officers and staff who feel sidelined and victimised, as well as disturbing allegations that those police officers who speak out over race feel punished not supported.

The Evening Standard reported on Wednesday that Gordon Brown had "fuelled the banking crisis by pressurising City watchdogs into light-touch regulation" and "not to question the business models of banks such as Northern Rock, HBOS and Bradford and Bingley".

We've been following the financial crisis since it began and In December Robert Peston reported for Panorama on what had been cataclysmic year for our banks and economy.

On Thursday, Lord Ashdown, Lord Patten, and others wrote a letter to the Times about the need to involve Hamas in peace negotiations.

Danny Finkelstein suggested that the letter made classic errors and in fact Hamas should be treated to a diplomacy of mixed isolation and tough resistance. The troubles in the region have been covered for years by Panorama, who were last there in January after the recent conflict.

On Friday, US President Barack Obama announced his budget for 2010. The budget, which aims to help lift the US out of financial turmoil, is worth a staggering $3.6tn. Over $600bn will go to healthcare reform. MyDD claims that this is America's return to fairness, while Pickled Politics calls it the biggest left wing budget in history.

Providing easier access to healthcare was one of Mr Obama's key election promises and in January, on the eve of his inauguration, Panorama took a close look at the challenge that this would present in What Now Mr President?

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