Cuba 2012

 

Adventurer and journalist Simon Reeve heads to Cuba to find a communist country in the middle of a capitalist revolution. Two years ago Cuba announced the most sweeping and radical economic reforms the country has seen in decades. From ending state rationing to cutting one million public-sector jobs, one of the last communist bastions in the world has begun rolling back the state on an unprecedented scale. Simon Reeve meets ordinary Cubans whose lives are being transformed, from the owners of fledgling businesses to the newly rich estate agents selling properties worth up to 750,000 pounds.

In this hour-long documentary for the BBC’s award-winning This World strand, Simon gets under the skin of a colourful and vibrant country famous for its hospitality and humour and asks if this new economic openness could lead to political liberalisation in a totalitarian country with a poor human rights record. Will Cuba be able to maintain the positive aspects of its long isolation under socialism – low crime, top-notch education and one of the best health systems in the world – while embracing what certainly looks like capitalism? Is this the last chance to see Cuba before it becomes just like any other country?

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The Trillion Dollar Con Man

 

Panorama tracks down a fraudster who stole a football club and broke a bank. With his tales of foreign gold and assets worth 2 trillion dollars, the con man fooled politicians, celebrities and the City. He even tricked the former England football manager, Sven-Goran Eriksson, into visiting North Korea to support his scam. So why were so many people taken in, and how did one man run rings round the regulators and authorities?

The Pig Farm: Robert Pickton Serial Killer Documentary

 

The Pig Farm: This is the story about Robert Pickton, Canada’s most prolific serial killer. When police showed up at a Port Coquitlam pig farm in February of 2002 to serve a firearm warrant to Robert (Willy) Pickton, they stumbled upon one of the grizzliest discoveries in the history of this country. They uncovered human remains of over 60 women, most of whom worked as sex trade workers in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The discovery makes Pickton allegedly the worst serial killer in Canadian history.

In the three years since Pickton was first charged, a flummoxed public has gradually become aware of more and more details of what transpired at the Pickton farm. Details of dismembered women found in meat freezers, and human flesh mixed with ground pig meat. An almost unfathomable scene of horror.

Pickton’s farm would be transformed into a monolithic crime scene investigation –calling on an international team of forensic experts — and DNA matching on an unprecedented scale. The first two charges of first degree murder would stretch to five, then seven, fifteen, twenty-two. When work ended on the site, investigators had turned up DNA on 64 women.

Stretching back behind this investigation is another story. It is the anatomy of an investigation that didn’t take place. Reports of missing women that were ignored. Victims who escaped Pickton’s clutches to tell their stories to investigators who didn’t follow up. A rash of murders that stretched over a decade.

Marked Death of the Yakuza

No criminal group in the world is more closely identified with tattoos than the largest: Japan’s Yakuza, 80,000 strong. In this episode of Marked, we go deep into Japan’s underground for an exclusive look at the stunning full body-suits of ink thatmark the skin of today’s yakuza. Hidden within the layers of spectacular imagery are secret codes that reach back far into Japan’s bloody samurai history: violent warriors, images of hell, prostitutes, and a range of predators from tigers to dragons. Wehear from yakuza as they share stories of their criminal pasts, the significance of their tattoos, and the pain they experienced in getting most of their bodies tattooed the old fashioned way: by getting poked over and over again with needles fastened to the ends of sticks.
Master tattoo artist and former yakuza boss Horizen guides us through the intricate process of creating a traditional Japanese tattoo, or tebori, from scratch, demystifying this ancient craft in which everything, from making the ink to sharpening the needles, is done by hand.

Dick Winters: “Hang Tough”

In the year 2000, Emmy Award-winning British actor Damian Lewis was chosen to portray a humble World War II veteran by the name of Dick Winters in a television mini-series called Band of Brothers. The series was based on a book by the same name by author Stephen Ambrose.
Lewis called the television role “more than just an acting job,” but “a defining moment in my life” that provided him “an opportunity to portray a humble man whom I came to admire and respect.”
In the documentary Dick Winters: “Hang Tough,” Damian Lewis lends his voice and thoughts to a film honoring one of World War II’s finest and most respected combat leaders. Richard D. Winters was a soldier who always led from the front with the well-being of his men his top priority.
From his early days in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, to the famed attack on Brecourt Manor on D-Day, to the dedication on June 6, 2012 of the Richard D. Winters Leadership Monument in Normandy, France, Lewis describes the process with which Dick Winters prepared himself to be a leader with heroic results on June 6, 1944 in Normandy.
The Dick Winters legacy in Normandy today is also emphasized.
A never before seen interview with Major Richard Winters is the foundation of the film, as are thoughts of many of the original Men of Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne, which Dick Winters commanded in World War II.

John Forbes Nash (A Brilliant Madness)

A Brilliant Madness is the story of a mathematical genius whose career was cut short by a descent into madness. At the age of 30, John Nash, a stunningly original and famously eccentric MIT mathematician, suddenly began claiming that aliens were communicating with him and that he was a special messenger.

Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, Nash spent the next three decades in and out of mental hospitals, all but forgotten. During that time, a proof he had written at the age of 20 became a foundation of modern economic theory. In 1994, as Nash began to show signs of emerging from his delusions, he was awarded a Nobel Prize in Economics.

The program features interviews with John Nash, his wife Alicia, his friends and colleagues, and experts in game theory and mental illness.

UK’s Scariest Debt Collector

Ten years ago Shaun Smith was an enforcer for one of the biggest crime families in Liverpool and embroiled in a war against a rival drug gang.

Shaun introduced urban terrorism to the British underworld. He sprayed up houses with machine guns, tortured people and used homemade napalm to firebomb his enemies.

Today, after a spell of five years in prison for firearms offences, he is trying to transfer those skills to the legal economy by working as a debt collector in the northern English satellite town of Warrington.