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Coffee and the Maya | DW Documentary

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  • The perfect coffee – fair trade and sustainable | DW Documentary

    25:57

    Germans love coffee, and the country doesn't really wake up without it. But is it sustainably produced and fairly traded? Not really. This documentary investigates efforts to improve the situation.

    One of the new coffee traders with a conscience is Xaver Kitzinger. Together with his African partners of the Rwandan coffee cooperative Dukundekawa Musasa, he's aiming to improve the lot of local coffee growers. The cooperative is unique because only women work there. The beans are roasted in Rwanda, so that income goes back into the local economy. In 2018, Kitzinger and his crew imported 11 thousand kilograms of coffee from Rwanda to Germany. Usually, a container ship transports the commodity to Europe. Now, Cornelius Bockermann wants to change that. He is the captain of the Avontuur, which regularly carries coffee beans to Germany. Nearly 100 years old, it is the first German sailing ship to bring cargo regularly from all around the world to Europe in the modern day. Because it is driven by the wind, the ship is quiet, and runs without fossil fuels. Its carbon dioxide emissions are 90 percent lower than conventional vessels. One of the recipients of the shipment is Aaron Li Küppers. He runs Hamburg's Teikei Café with his father. Together they serve up coffee with a conscience in recyclable cups and reinvest their profits in new fair-trade and sustainable projects.


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  • The Mubende coffee plantation and the bitter taste of eviction | DW Documentary

    42:31

    Coffee production comes at a cost in Africa. 4,000 Ugandans living in Mubende were forced off their land to make way for a new coffee plantation in 2001.

    The Hamburg-based Neumann group, a world leading raw coffee trader, were behind the new plantation which left thousands of Africans homeless. The military razed houses and huts to the ground in four villages, destroying fields and food supplies. The forced evacuation even cost the lives of a number of locals.

    While one of many cases of land-grabbing in Africa, Mubende was among the first to be properly documented. Many of those evicted lost everything they had.

    With the help of human rights groups they took the Ugandan government and the Neumann concern to court. The trial was dragged out over several years, however, until a ruling was finally reached in March 2013 - in favor of the plaintiffs.

    In the spring of 2015 the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural and Social Rights looked into the Mubende case, and called on the Ugandan government to restore the rights of the expelled small scale farmers. In July that year, however, the original judgment was provisionally overturned by the domestic appeals court. The case is now still pending. The victims fear they still have a long struggle ahead of them.
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  • Bitter chocolate | DW Documentary

    42:26

    Chocolate may be a sweet treat, but its production leaves a bitter taste. Rainforests are cleared so slaves and children laborers can harvest cocoa beans on illegal plantations. Cocoa is produced under the most dubious conditions.

    In Ivory Coast, the dark side of cocoa and chocolate production is hard to miss. Many people – including children – are driven here from neighboring Burkina Faso by drought and famine to find work. They often come alone, without their families, to find jobs on one of the many cocoa plantations. The conditions are spartan. They work with sharp machetes, carry heavy loads, are exposed to toxic herbicides, and lack protective clothing.

    Major international cocoa companies and giants of the chocolate industry such as Nestlé, Cargill and Ferrero looked on as 90 percent of the Ivory Coast's primeval forests were destroyed. In 2001, the companies agreed to stop child labor, wage dumping and the further clearance of rainforests for five years. But 20 years later, the commitment has yet to be implemented. This moving documentary shows the dark side of the chocolate industry and its sweet, luxury product.

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  • Better brain health | DW Documentary

    42:32

    Chocolate reduces stress. Fish stimulates the brain. Is there any truth to such popular beliefs? The findings of researchers around the world say yes: It appears we really are what we eat.

    A study in a British prison found that inmates who took vitamin supplements were less prone to violent behavior. And in Germany, a psychologist at the University of Lübeck has shown that social behavior is influenced by the ingredients consumed at breakfast. But what really happens in the brain when we opt for honey instead of jam, and fish rather than sausage? Scientists around the world are trying to find out. Neuro-nutrition is the name of an interdisciplinary research field that investigates the impact of nutrition on brain health. Experiments on rats and flies offer new insight into the effects of our eating habits. When laboratory rats are fed a diet of junk food, the result is not just obesity. The menu also has a direct influence on their memory performance. The role of the intestinal flora has been known for some time, but scientists are currently discovering other relationships. So-called brain food for example: The Mediterranean diet that’s based on vegetables and fish is said to provide the best nutrition for small grey cells. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, for example, protect the nerve cells and are indispensable for the development of the brain - because the brain is also what it eats!

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  • Artificial intelligence and algorithms: pros and cons | DW Documentary

    42:32

    Developments in artificial intelligence (AI) are leading to fundamental changes in the way we live. Algorithms can already detect Parkinson's disease and cancer, and control both cars and aircraft. How will AI change our society in the future?

    This documentary journeys to the hot spots of AI research in Europe, the USA and China, and looks at the revolutionary developments which are currently taking place. The rapid growth of AI offers many opportunities, but also many dangers. AI can be used to create sound and video recordings which will make it more and more difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction. It will make the world of work more efficient and many professions superfluous. Algorithms can decide whether to grant loans, who is an insurance risk, and how good employees are. But there is a huge problem: humans can no longer comprehend how algorithms arrive at their decisions. And another big problem is AI’s capacity for widespread surveillance. The Chinese city of Rongcheng is already using an AI-supported 'social credit system' to monitor and assess its citizens. Does AI pose a danger to our personal freedoms or democracy? Which decisions can we leave to the algorithms - and which do we want to? And what are AI’s social implications?

    A documentary by Tilman Wolff und Ranga Yogeshwar

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  • The dark side of agriculture in Ethiopia

    42:31

    Across the globe, global commercial demand for arable land is on the rise. One of the most profitable new agricultural hotspots is Ethiopia. [Online until: February 4, 2019]
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    Farmland - the new green gold. In the hopes of huge export revenues, the Ethiopian government is leasing millions of hectares of land to foreign investors. But there’s a dark side to this dream of prosperity.

    The results are massive forced evictions, the destruction of smallholdings, state repression, and a vicious spiral of violence in light of environmental devastation. Global institutions like the EU, World Bank and DFID are contributing to this disaster with billions of dollars in development money every year. Whoever gets in their way is met with severe consequences. The young Ethiopian environmental activist Argaw learned that the hard way when he tried to raise awareness for his country’s plight.

    Are transnational land investments bolstering the economy or selling out the country? While some hope for financial gains and development, others are losing their very livelihood. In pursuit of the story, we meet investors, bureaucrats, persecuted journalists, struggling environmentalists and farmers who have been evicted from their land. Swedish director Joakim Demmer’s shocking real-life thriller ‘Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas’ starts in apparently remote corners of Ethiopia and leads through global financial centers, right to our dining tables.
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  • How poor people survive in the USA | DW Documentary

    42:31

    Homelessness, hunger and shame: poverty is rampant in the richest country in the world. Over 40 million people in the United States live below the poverty line, twice as many as it was fifty years ago. It can happen very quickly.


    Many people in the United States fall through the social safety net. In the structurally weak mining region of the Appalachians, it has become almost normal for people to go shopping with food stamps. And those who lose their home often have no choice but to live in a car. There are so many homeless people in Los Angeles that relief organizations have started to build small wooden huts to provide them with a roof over their heads. The number of homeless children has also risen dramatically, reaching 1.5 million, three times more than during the Great Depression the 1930s. A documentary about the fate of the poor in the United States today.

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  • The deceptive promise of free trade | DW Documentary

    42:31

    Global trade is a hot topic of the G7 summit in Canada. Is free trade truly free - and fair? What roles do US President Trump, economic powerhouse China, and the EU play in global trade?

    When it comes to global trade, it would seem that trickery, threats and deception are the order of the day - yet all this takes place largely beyond the reach of the public eye. Donald Trump has made America First” his agenda and rallying cry. Along with aiming sharp criticism at global export champion Germany, Trump has also introduced punitive tariffs and warned of further measures. Will this fresh wave of protectionism lead to economic isolationism and threaten global free trade? And what about those for whom free trade’s promise of prosperity increasingly rings hollow? Around the world, many people have come to regard themselves as the losers of globalization. If the true winners of free trade and globalization are not ordinary citizens, has the time come to revise the liberal orthodoxy of free trade? This documentary visits Germany, Switzerland, the United States and Cameroon to explore these issues by way of some everyday examples, including the trade in onions, floor tiles, and bicycles.
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  • Bayer and the bees | DW Documentary

    28:27

    Insecticides are sometimes necessary in farming. But some substances, like neonicotinoids, kill not only pests but bees as well. Now the Bayer Group, one of the main manufacturers of these pesticides, is coming under pressure.

    Scientists around the world have found that neonicotinoids are the main cause of mass bee deaths. Research has shown that a number of insecticides should have been banned long ago. For years, the Bayer Group has sought to silence the critics and pressure scientists into not publishing their findings.

    For more than two decades, experts have been warning of the negative effects of neonicotinoids, with a whole range of studies published on the subject. It would appear that the industry, aided by the authorities, managed to successfully delay any ban on these substances for years. Studies show that neonicotinoids not only kill pests, but also bees and other beneficial insects. Dutch toxicologist Henk Tennekes was among the first to recognize the problem. He believes neonicotinoids are the most toxic insecticides ever produced. He discovered a study carried out by Bayer itself, back in 1991, which found that a particular neonicotinoid had a negative effect on the nervous system of a fly species. These effects were said to be irreversible”. Tennekes then confronted the company with his findings. He was taken aback by the response: Bayer now claims” he says, that the binding of critical receptors in the nervous system by neonicotinoids is reversible. So they’re contradicting the results of their own study. ... If they had considered what impact this substance has, they would have had to take it off the market.

    Scientists in France also analyzed mass bee deaths and likewise identified an insecticide made by Bayer as the culprit. Toxicologist Jean-Marc Bonmatin reveals how the company then sought to prevent the results from being published. Meanwhile, toxicologists in Japan discovered that neonicotinoids also harm other creatures, such as fish and river crabs. There too, Bayer sought to suppress publication.

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  • Russias environmental issues | DW Documentary

    12:27

    When the air stinks, drinking water is brown, and snow is black — something isn't right. People from three different regions of Russia explain the struggles they face due to pollution.

    Russia is facing a number of environmental issues. The air around one of its biggest landfills is thick, causing problems for residents in the area. Over in Kiselyovsk in Siberia, people are having to walk through snow so polluted by coal from a mine that it has turned black. And in the city of Krasnodar in the south, tap water often comes out brown. Who would want to live in such conditions? These three examples from different areas in Russia are all extreme in their own right, yet together they paint a picture of a country marked by pollution.

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  • By train across Sri Lanka | DW Documentary

    42:31

    Asia’s most beautiful railway line? The “Main Line” cuts through tea plantations and jungle, then passes Buddhist temples and relicts of the British Empire.

    In the 19th century the British built a railway in what was then their colony of Ceylon. Their idea was to transport goods such as tea from the highlands to the port of Colombo. Today it’s mainly only locals and tourists who use the so-called Main Line. The route is considered one of the most picturesque in the whole of Asia.

    Our trip takes us from the capital, Colombo, to Ella in the highlands. Our first stop is one of the country’s largest elephant orphanages. And then on to Kandy, the former capital of the Singhalese kingdom. The city is home to the famous Temple of the Tooth, which is said to house the Buddha’s top left canine. The train then winds its way further up into the highlands. We watch tea pickers at work and go to a tea factory to discover where the aroma comes from. Nuwara Eliya is Sri Lanka’s highest town at an altitude of almost 1900 meters, where a racecourse still brings the colonial era back to life. The stations have also retained their own colonial charm: in 1901, a signaling system was set up to make the long journey safer. And those suffering from the altitude can catch their breath at the final stop, the spa in Ella.
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  • Artificial intelligence and its ethics | DW Documentary

    42:31

    Are we facing a golden digital age or will robots soon run the world? We need to establish ethical standards in dealing with artificial intelligence - and to answer the question: What still makes us as human beings unique?

    Mankind is still decades away from self-learning machines that are as intelligent as humans. But already today, chatbots, robots, digital assistants and other artificially intelligent entities exist that can emulate certain human abilities. Scientists and AI experts agree that we are in a race against time: we need to establish ethical guidelines before technology catches up with us. While AI Professor Jürgen Schmidhuber predicts artificial intelligence will be able to control robotic factories in space, the Swedish-American physicist Max Tegmark warns against a totalitarian AI surveillance state, and the philosopher Thomas Metzinger predicts a deadly AI arms race. But Metzinger also believes that Europe in particular can play a pioneering role on the threshold of this new era: creating a binding international code of ethics.

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  • Chinas gateway to Europe – the New Silk Road | DW Documentary

    42:30

    The New Silk Road is an enormous Chinese international development project. It's a trade network that involves Asia, Africa, and Europe -- and more than 70 countries are already involved. It may turn the old world order upside down.

    China is investing in bridges, port facilities, railroads, and roads around the world. Beijing is spending several hundred billion euros on what it calls the Silk Road Economic Belt. Chinese President Xi Jinping says the project will provide development opportunities and wealth for China and the entire world. Beijing will take the lead role in building this infrastructure network.

    After the financial crisis in Greece, no European country wanted to invest there -- but China saw an opportunity, and bought shares in the port of Piraeus. By 2016, Beijing owned a majority of shares. The Greek dockworkers' union still finds it hard to accept that the port no longer belongs to Greece.

    In 2019, Italy joined the Silk Road project -- and signed a memorandum of understanding with China on development of the port of Trieste. But critics warn that the Silk Road project will allow Beijing to spread its influence around the world. Europe is divided between those who favor such cooperation, and those who oppose it.

    Part 2:

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  • Land grabbing in Romania | DW Documentary

    26:01

    Land grabbing in Romania is a problem. Large areas of arable land are falling into the hands of major foreign investors, at the expense of local people.

    So-called land grabbing, buying up large areas of agricultural land, is no longer just a phenomenon in Africa or Latin America - it is a topic around the world. Countries in Eastern Europe are also increasingly affected. The documentary looks at the people affected by large-scale land acquisitions. A change to the law in 2014 has made Romania’s pastures and arable land highly attractive to foreign investors, from Europe and around the world. Buying agricultural land brings in big EU farming subsidies. And when farming no longer pays off for domestic smallholders, they feel forced to sell their holdings. It’s turned into a kind of mass fire sale. But in many cases of land grabbing, the land isn’t used for agricultural purposes. Pasture and arable land is left fallow, or it goes into private ownership. And local farmers and people are paying a heavy price. Monoculture is destroying biodiversity and cheap agricultural products from abroad are wrecking the country’s domestic markets. The land is being pulled from under the feet of an entire generation of Romanian farmers. But a group is keen to mobilize Romania's five million small-scale farmers to oppose land grabbing in the country.
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  • The great death of insects | DW Documentary

    42:26

    Insects are dying out and scientists and environmentalists are sounding the alarm. Our film team meets entomologists, farmers, scientists, chemical companies and politicians in a bid to lay bare the causes of insect mortality.

    Insects aren’t really likeable. They sting, bite, transmit diseases and frighten children. But, on the other hand, they are also fascinating: 480 million years ago, insects were the first animals to learn to fly, and they took over the Earth. Even now, they are fundamental to life on Earth, and are at the beginning of the food chain on which all human beings are ultimately dependent.
    But insect numbers worldwide are dropping, creating a rupture of the food chain. Environmentalists and scientists are now extremely worried. Landscape ecology professor Alexandra-Maria Klein from Freiburg, for example, has been researching the effects of human interventions in natural environments for decades and has launched an experiment in a fruit plantation on Lake Constance: What happens when insects disappear? An ominous silence is settling on places that were once humming and buzzing. Why are the insects dying? Author Christoph Würzburger takes a journey into the fascinating world of insects and meets entomologists, farmers, scientists, chemical companies and politicians in a search for the causes of insect mortality.

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  • The eco-rebels of the Himalayas | DW Documentary

    26:01

    An Indian state in the Himalayas has completely transformed its agriculture and switched to organic farming. Sikkim has become a model for the rest of the world, because its farmers only cultivate their fields and plantations in a sustainable way.

    In 2010, the Prime Minister of Sikkim launched the so-called Organic Mission, developing the state into a model of sustainable farming. To protect its own organic farmers and consumers, the Sikkim government has even imposed an import ban on conventionally produced fruit and vegetables. This means that the authorities have the power to bury or destroy vegetables and fruit contaminated with pesticides and agrochemical giants such as Bayer or BASF are not welcome in Sikkim.
    Would that approach also work in Germany? The growing demand for organic food in this country offers farmers an opportunity to switch to sustainable farming. But in Germany the percentage of land under plough conforming to sustainable methods remains very low. Although the government has set a target of 20 percent organic by 2030, this figure had already been proposed by Gerhard Schröder’s red-green coalition back in 1998. Germany is still far from meeting its demand for organic food. That means fruit, vegetables and cereals have to be imported from Spain, Italy, Turkey or even further afield. Critics accuse the government of a lack of commitment and an excessive dependence on lobbyists from the agrochemical industry and farmers' associations. The incentives for organic farming are extremely poor. Can Germany now learn from far-off Sikkim?

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  • Superfoods – is healthy eating just hype? | DW Documentary

    25:55

    Are superfoods all that they’re cracked up to be? There’s plenty of worldwide hype about eating chia seeds, goji berries and quinoa - but what benefits do they really bring?

    This documentary looks at what superfoods do for people and more. How is the healthy eating boom influencing agriculture and business? There are more and more restaurants serving superfoods in Germany. Florian Klar of Bochum opened the first superfood bistro in the Ruhr region about a year ago. He buys in all types of food, using local suppliers when he can, but he also uses exotic superfoods in his meals.

    Quinoa, goji berries and chia seeds can now all be found in supermarkets as well. The food industry has discovered selling these products is lucrative and changed its product selection accordingly. Superfoods are simply that a foodstuff contains a high amount of nutrients. Every country has its own superfood,” says nutritionist Matthias Riedl. Blueberries, flax seed, blackcurrants, and kale are all superfoods native to Germany.

    The film also takes viewers to Bolivia, a key quinoa exporter, to see how the hype has influenced farming there. Exports of the so-called Inca corn” quadrupled between 2007 and 2013. The rising price of quinoa on global markets has led Andean farmers to increase the size of their fields. Yet after just two straight years of quinoa harvests, the soil is already exhausted and barren.

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  • Thai berry pickers in Sweden | DW Documentary

    25:57

    Every summer thousands of Thai workers comb Sweden’s forests searching for berries - a job Swedes won’t do. What drives these people halfway round the globe to harvest berries in less than ideal conditions?

    Chang is one of about six thousand Thai migrant workers who come to Sweden to work the summer harvest every year. Rather than toiling in a rice paddy at home, he spends up to twelve hours a day gathering blueberries and lingonberries. It’s Chang’s first time in Sweden, but he sees it as a great chance to earn good money. But even though an agency hired him and got him his visa and air ticket, Chang had to borrow money to finance his living expenses and will have to pay that back before he sees a cent of the guaranteed minimum wage of nearly two thousand Euros a month.
    Investigative journalist Mats Wingborg has been following the fruit pickers from Thailand for a long time. He says, The system is wide-open to fraud. The Thais also have to work at least a month to pay their debts. If the harvest is bad, some of them may even still be in debt when they go back home.”


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  • Fleeing climate change — the real environmental disaster | DW Documentary

    42:31

    How many millions of people will be forced to leave their homes by 2050? This documentary looks at the so-called hotspots of climate change in the Sahel zone, Indonesia and the Russian Tundra.

    Lake Chad in the Sahel zone has already shrunk by 90 percent since the 1960s due to the increasing heat. About 40 million people will be forced to migrate to places where there is enough rainfall. Migration has always existed as a strategy to adapt to a changing environment. But the number of those forced to migrate solely because of climate change has increased dramatically since the 1990s. It is a double injustice: after becoming rich at the expense of the rest of the world, the industrialized countries are now polluting the atmosphere with their emissions and bringing a second misfortune to the inhabitants of the poorer regions. One of them is Mohammed Ibrahim: as Lake Chad got hotter and drier, he decided to go where the temperatures were less extreme and there was still a little water, trekking with his wife, children and 70 camels from Niger to Chad and then further south. The journey lasted several years and many members of his herd died of thirst. Now he and his family are living in a refugee camp: they only have seven camels left. Mohammed is one of many who have left their homelands in the Sahel - not because of conflict and crises, but because of the high temperatures. He's a real climate refugee.
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  • Visiting Gaza Strip as a Palestinian | DW Documentary

    26:01

    German-Palestinian Nidal wants to return from Berlin to his family in the Gaza Strip. But will Israel allow a Palestinian to pass through the country? And will the Palestinian Hamas government let him enter?

    This documentary follows Nidal Bulbul, a naturalized German citizen born in Gaza, on an exciting and emotional journey. He has not seen his parents or his ten siblings for over four years. A former reporter, he set up a successful café in the German capital. He’s made new friends, built a new life. But he always worries about his family back in his old home - a feeling that many who have found shelter from war or persecution in Europe know all to well. When everything points to a new escalation between Israel and Gaza, Nidal drops everything from one day to the next. He sells his café, gives his dog to friends and leaves for Gaza. But there are only two ways to get there: through Egypt or through Israel. Nidal wants to try the Israeli route, but it is unclear whether the Israeli authorities will accept his German passport and let him though the country to Gaza. And even if they do, will the radical Islamist Hamas government allow him in?

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  • Worlds Richest Country & Unknown World under Moscow | Mystery Places | Free Documentary

    52:36

    Mystery Places: Richest Country in the World, Unknown Underground World of Moscow | Lost Places Documentary

    Mystery Places: Secret Bunkers, Flooded Passage & Fascinating Seaweed Farm:

    In this episode of Mystery Places, we travel to the richest country in the world, visit a mind-blowing hotel in Italy, and visit the USA in Germany. We also check out a chicken-shaped church in Indonesia, and discover the unknown world under Moscow.
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    Enjoy stories about nature, wildlife, culture, people, history and more to come.

  • Climate change in the desert | DW Documentary

    28:17

    Climate change is leaving its mark on Morocco’s oases, too. Sandstorms are becoming more and more frequent, groundwater levels are sinking and palm trees are shrivelling up and dying. An age-old way of life is in danger.

    Halim Sbai says an oasis really is a paradise. But drought and desertification are now taking their toll on oases like M'hamid El Ghizlane in southeastern Morocco where he grew up. The survival of a whole region is at stake. Over hundreds of kilometers between the Anti-Atlas mountains and the Sahara desert there is one palm-fringed oasis after the next. Close to two million people live in these settlements. Up to now, many earned their living by harvesting dates from the palm trees. But this is proving more and more difficult. Decreasing and irregular rainfall is having a devastating impact on the trees and their yields.

    Halim Sbai is planting new palm trees and preserving as much precious water as he can in a bid to keep the oasis of M'hamid El Ghizlane and the region’s traditional way of life alive. Up to now, he has also been supplementing his income with earnings from tourism. Global warming could put an end to all this.
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  • Traveling Ecuador by train | DW Travel Documentary

    42:32

    The train line through Ecuador is considered one of the most spectacular train lines in South America. A train journey of discovery.

    The Trans-Andean railroad takes in the infamous Nariz del Diablo, or Devil’s Nose, a mountain with almost perpendicular walls. To overcome this obstacle, the train zigzags to ascend 500 meters in less than 12 kilometers. With steep ascents and descents, it’s no ride for the faint-hearted! The main line along the country’s Andean spine links the coastal city of Guayaquil with the capital Quito. It was finished in 1908, but was mostly shut down after a series of weather-related disasters destroyed much of the Ecuadorian rail network in the 1990s. After extensive restoration, a new cross-Andean service was opened in 2013, following the original narrow-gauge line. It’s 450 kilometers long and runs from the Pacific coast up to the Andean highlands. On its cross-country journey, the train is accompanied by guards on motorcycles who, in the absence of railway gates, stop traffic at every level crossing along the way to let the train pass. The Tren Crucero, - or cruise train- is the centerpiece of Ecuador’s rejuvenated railway. A revamped luxury steam train, it runs once a fortnight and has room for 54 passengers. The most exhilarating stretch of the ride begins deep down in the gorge of the River Chanchán. The train zigzags up the Nariz del Diablo - the Devil's Nose - in a series of dizzying switchbacks in which the tracks almost seem to lie on top of each other. Join the reporters for the ride of a lifetime, as the train journeys on to Urbina, the highest station at 3,609 meters above sea level, and along the so-called Avenue of Volcanoes, to the Cotopaxi National Park and onwards to Quito, the world's highest capital.
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  • Tomatoes and greed – the exodus of Ghanas farmers | DW Documentary

    52:52

    What do tomatoes have to do with mass migration? Tomatoes are a poker chip in global trade policies. Subsidized products from the EU, China and elsewhere are sold at dumping prices, destroying markets and livelihoods in Africa in the process.

    Edward still harvests tomatoes. But he is no longer on his own fields in Ghana. He now works on plantations in southern Italy under precarious conditions. The tomatoes he harvests are processed, canned and shipped abroad - including to Ghana, where they compete with local products. The flood of cheap imports from China, the US and the EU has driven Ghana’s tomato industry to ruin. Desperate farmers find themselves having to seek work elsewhere, including in Europe. For many, the only route available is a dangerous journey through the desert and across the Mediterranean. Ghana is a nation at peace, a democracy with free elections and economic growth. Nonetheless, tomato farmer Benedicta is only able to make ends meet because her husband regularly sends her money from his earnings in Italy.

    A former tomato factory in Pwalugu, Ghana, illustrates the predicament. This factory once helped secure the livelihood of tomato farmers across the region. Today it lies empty, guarded by Vincent, a former employee who hopes to keep it from falling into ruin. In the surrounding region, the market for tomatoes has collapsed and most farmers are no longer growing what could easily be Ghana’s ‘red gold’. An agricultural advisor is trying to help local tomato farmers, but has little by way of hope to offer. Conditions like this are what drive local farmers to cut their losses and head for Europe. Once in Italy, migrants from Ghana and other African countries are forced to live in desperate conditions near the plantations. They work as day laborers for extremely low wages, helping to grow the very tomatoes that are costing people back home their work and livelihoods. These days, canned tomatoes from China, Italy and Spain are available for purchase on the market of Accra. Some may call this free trade. But economist Kwabena Otoo says free trade should open doors; not destroy people’s lives.

    Every two seconds, a person is forced to flee their home. Today, more than 70 million people have been displaced worldwide. The DW documentary series ‘Displaced’ sheds light on the causes of this crisis and traces how wealthy industrialized countries are contributing to the exodus from the Global South.

    Oil and ruin — exodus from Venezuela:
    Drought and floods — the climate exodus:

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  • From Rio to Lima – Transoceânica, the worlds longest bus journey | DW Documentary

    42:31

    From the Amazon to the Andes and all the way up to Machu Picchu, the bus continues its journey through South America on the Transoceânica highway.

    The mountains mark the most difficult stage of the trip for both drivers and passengers. But the passengers have a large part of the journey behind them now and it won’t be long until they reach Peru. They have crossed Brazil and driven through the Peruvian Amazon basin to the Andes. Here, the endless greenery of the basin gives way to increasingly steep rock faces.

    The Incas worshipped these mighty mountains as deities and called them Apus - Gods. The road takes us close to one of them: Apu Ausangate, which is 6,384 meters high. The temperature here is much lower than in the Amazon basin.

    The bus soon reaches Cuzco. For centuries the town was the center of the Inca Empire, until the Spaniards came and burnt it to the ground and built their own palaces on its walls. Today, the city is mainly one thing: a tourist magnet, and the starting point for tours to the legendary ruins of Machu Picchu. The complex is crumbling under the tread of millions of visitors from all over the world, and now the authorities are facing a dilemma: on the one hand, the tourists bring money; on the other the archaeologists want to preserve Machu Picchu for generations to come.

    Parts 1-5:
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  • Money, happiness and eternal life - Greed | DW Documentary

    42:31

    We're never happy with what we have. But excessive consumption is damaging our planet. Could greed lead to the collapse of the climate as well as our society? Find out in Part 2 of GREED - A FATAL DESIRE.

    From Buddhists and bankers to Eskimos and psychologists, we explore the phenomenon of greed with people from all walks of life. How can it be defined? What makes us greedy? And what are the repercussions?

    People like to have a lot of stuff because it gives them the feeling of living forever, says American social psychologist Sheldon Solomon. He thinks we have to come to terms with our own mortality before we can break the cycle.

    Are there other ways to feel happy and content? Can we simply stop being greedy by changing the way we think?

    Watch Part 1 here:
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    Check out our web special:

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  • Drones, robots, and super sperm – the future of farming | DW Documentary

    42:31

    The future of farming: Driverless tractors, drones and robots. How is the agriculture industry changing as digital technology develops?

    Unmanned tractors controlled via GPS; drones that kill vermin in the fields from above; and highly efficient bull sperm used to produce genetically optimized calves. This is not science fiction. It’s the future of farming, today. Smart farming is the agricultural industry's new buzzword. A survey of almost 600 German farmers has revealed that more than one in two now uses digital solutions to optimize their harvests. Fierce regional and global competition, declining subsidies, higher standards of food quality, environmental protection, and increasing demand are forcing farmers to be highly efficient. This documentary looks at three examples of smart farming in Germany. Breeding consultant Johanna Schendel creates optimized dairy cows by selecting the right bull semen. Asparagus farmer Heiner Bartels uses a smartphone to calculate the optimum time to harvest. And drone pilot Bernd Meyer is out to fight pests in maize fields from the air. All three are trying to use modern technology to modify nature to fit the needs of our society. But where are the limits?
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  • Luxury for the super rich | DW Documentary

    42:26

    The largest private yacht in the world is the 180 meter-long Azzam, owned by the Emir of Abu Dhabi. Arab sheikhs, Russian oligarchs and American billionaires are battling to own the most luxurious and most expensive ship. The largest private yacht in the world cost around 600 million euros. The Azzam, which belongs to the Emir of Abu Dhabi, is a staggering 180 meters long. And it’s high maintenance — staff, diesel and servicing cost around ten million euros a year. These mega yachts are designed and furnished by top architects, like Philipp Starck. This film takes viewers onto some of the most expensive yachts in the world. Meet Norwegian ship designer Espen Oeino, who has inside knowledge of what this league of luxury really means. His clients’ requests have included a helicopter landing pad, and even a personal submarine on board. Along with destinations like Monaco, Miami and Dubai, yacht owners have recently also begun heading to more adventurous locations, like the Arctic Ocean.
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  • Can farmers grow money? | DW Documentary

    42:26

    What kind of agriculture do we really want? How sustainable, regional, animal-friendly and expensive can it be? These and other pressing issues are part of a debate about radical agricultural reform of policy currently going on in Brussels.

    When negotiations on the common agricultural policy from 2020 are held in Brussels, one of the more contentious issues will be how to redistribute 60 billion Euros in EU agricultural subsidies. How will MEPs prioritize their options? Will they reach independent decisions or cave in to the big agricultural conglomerates and special interest groups? Our exclusive report uncovers their close ties with politicians in both Brussels and Berlin and shows how efforts to make farming more environmentally sustainable are being stymied.

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  • How the rich get richer – money in the world economy | DW Documentary

    42:31

    Exploding real estate prices, zero interest rate and a rising stock market – the rich are getting richer. What danger lies in wait for average citizens?

    For years, the world’s central banks have been pursuing a policy of cheap money. The first and foremost is the ECB (European Central Bank), which buys bad stocks and bonds to save banks, tries to fuel economic growth and props up states that are in debt. But what relieves state budgets to the tune of hundreds of billions annoys savers: interest rates are close to zero.

    The fiscal policies of the central banks are causing an uncontrolled global deluge of money. Experts are warning of new bubbles. In real estate, for example: it’s not just in German cities that prices are shooting up. In London, a one-bed apartment can easily cost more than a million Euro. More and more money is moving away from the real economy and into the speculative field. Highly complex financial bets are taking place in the global casino - gambling without checks and balances. The winners are set from the start: in Germany and around the world, the rich just get richer. Professor Max Otte says: This flood of money has caused a dangerous redistribution. Those who have, get more. But with low interest rates, any money in savings accounts just melts away. Those with debts can be happy. But big companies that want to swallow up others are also happy: they can borrow cheap money for their acquisitions. Coupled with the liberalization of the financial markets, money deals have become detached from the real economy. But it’s not just the banks that need a constant source of new, cheap money today. So do states. They need it to keep a grip on their mountains of debt. It’s a kind of snowball system. What happens to our money? Is a new crisis looming? The film 'The Money Deluge' casts a new and surprising light on our money in these times of zero interest rates.
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  • Shooting a species to save it | DW Documentary

    28:27

    Big game hunting causes outrage - but it also offers opportunities to preserve threatened species.
    Big game hunters bag elephants or lions and pose with their trophies. It can cause outrage - but hunting can offer a way to preserve nature and protect threatened species. Such as the one-hundred elephants that will be resettled in Zimbabwe.

    Angry online commentators agree: trophy hunting is reprehensible, immoral and absolutely unnecessary. But is it really that simple? There are hunting projects that guarantee the survival of endangered species - provided they are managed well.

    Sango, a private game reserve in southeastern Zimbabwe, is owned by German businessman Wilfried Pabst. Sixty percent of Sango’s operating costs is financed through what it calls sustainable use - in other words, trophy hunting. Pabst has faced enormous hostility, but is that fair? The concept behind Sango is to allow some animals to be hunted to generate capital to support the rest. Pabst has been so successful with this model that he now has too many animals of various species for Sango or Zimbabwe to support.

    The elephants in particular are a huge problem. The giant pachyderms spend around 20 hours a day eating, and destroy their own habitat. Pabst has to reduce their number to protect the habitat. He gets permission to cull 100 elephants - but he loves his animals and looks for alternatives. He finds a surprising way out.

    Hundreds of kilometers further north is picturesque Rifa on the Zambezi River. Another German businessman, Ralph Koczwara, leases the land and comes up with a spectacular idea. The elephants should be relocated. A unique rescue maneuver begins. But how do you transport elephant families?

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  • Germany: The discreet lives of the super rich | DW Documentary

    42:31

    The rich in Germany been never been as well-off as they are today and assets have never been so unevenly distributed. But who are they? How do they live? And what do they think of their country? A journey into the discreet world of the super-rich.

    One percent of Germans own over a quarter of the country's assets, whilst half of the country’s citizens have no assets at all. But while the German media report on the growing poverty in the country on a daily basis, little is known about the super-rich. They keep a very low profile and can walk the streets unrecognized. Manager Magazin” says there were around 200 billionaires living in Germany in 2018, and their numbers are increasing. The documentary Top of the World asks why rich Germans are so unwilling to talk about their wealth. Its author immerses himself in the discreet world of big money and meets financial advisors with 800 years of family tradition behind them and billionaires such as drugstore king Dirk Rossmann and mail-order company heir Michael Otto - as well as a self-made businessmen such as Rainer Schaller. They talk about their notions of money and justice, the origins of their wealth and their fear of social envy.


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  • Living with bipolar disorder: Maarten opens up | DW Documentary

    12:32

    The blues, listlessness, suicidal thoughts and the black dog, then suddenly, limitless energy, drive and bursts of creativity. Maarten Hemmen has bipolar disorder and is determined to change the stigma of this mental illness.

    Living with bipolar disorder: an estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from this mental illness. Many of them struggle to lead an orderly life. What makes it even harder is that in most societies, mental illness is not spoken of openly. Maarten Hemmen is all too aware of this. For some time now, he's been keeping a blog on his condition and his experiences with it. At an event in Cologne, he found an opportunity to make direct contact with lots of interested people. But it also confronted him with a challenge. First, Maarten had to lift the gray veil of depression and jump into the deep end. A report by Alexej Getmann.

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  • Saving historic Lisbon | DW Documentary

    28:31

    Lisbon’s historic soul is under threat from spiraling property prices and an influx of tourists. The city council initiative Shops with History” is fighting to preserve traditional stores at risk of closure because of the real estate boom.

    Local historian and city council employee Sofia Tempero heads one of the teams set up by the council to save old stores - which she calls the city’s living memory. I shop where my grandmother used to shop - for hand-made soap, tailor-made gloves... you can have dolls repaired here or have an iron door knob made according to an old design,” she says.

    Store owners have to meet rigorous requirements, if they want their shop to be identified as a Shops with History”, or Loja com Historía” - a label that protects store owners from eviction. The regulations mean that Tempero cannot save all of the shops under threat even if she would like to. In her work, she has come across some real treasures: a pharmacies that concocts perfumes according to client wishes, corner store owners who know what type of coffee blends their customers prefer and workshops tucked away in back alley that weave ribbons of all kinds to order.

    Many of these shops have been around for over a century. They are more than just businesses. In many of the city’s historic districts they are meeting places for the locals. But many locals are also being forced to move out. The rising numbers of tourists have brought prosperity, but they have also fueled international property speculation. It’s a race against time for Sofia Temprero and the historic shops initiative.

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  • Visiting North Korea | DW Documentary

    42:56

    Few tourists manage to peek behind the iron curtain of North Korea's dictatorship. But the journalist Luca Faccio managed to visit Kim Jong Un's regime.

    Anyone venturing behind the world’s last Iron Curtain into North Korea will experience a very different country to the one we know only through the usual images of rocket launches and mass rallies. The country is ruled by the dictator Kim Jong Un, whom the people worship - or are made to worship - as a god-like father figure. Little is known about daily life in North Korea, because all images that reach the outside world have been censored by the government. Visitors rarely see evidence of oppression, enforced conformity and starvation in the rural population. Still, journalist Luca Faccio is able to offer some interesting insights into the isolated country - although, of course, government watchdogs are on his heels everywhere he goes.
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  • The clothes we wear | DW Documentary

    28:26

    We live in an age of hyper-consumption, and nowhere is this more obvious than the fashion industry. ‘Fast fashion’ is the buzzword these days. Driven by glossy advertising campaigns, many consumers are constantly buying new clothes.

    New collections are arriving on the market at an ever increasing rate - many of them at rock-bottom prices. And if you believe the information campaigns run by some of the textile giants, consumers can now buy with a clear conscience. It’s become trendy for clothing labels to tout their green credentials, advertising eco-friendly labels allegedly made according to strict environmental standards.

    But is it all genuine? Two reporters go undercover to find out what’s really happening in the textile factories where many clothes destined for the European market are made. They discover the extent of the environmental devastation caused by the industry and how companies are making a profit from the fact that sustainability sells.

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  • The history of chocolate - Deanna Pucciarelli

    4:41

    View full lesson:

    If you can’t imagine life without chocolate, you’re lucky you weren’t born before the 16th century. Until then, chocolate only existed as a bitter, foamy drink in Mesoamerica. So how did we get from a bitter beverage to the chocolate bars of today? Deanna Pucciarelli traces the fascinating and often cruel history of chocolate.

    Lesson by Deanna Pucciarelli, animation by TED-Ed.

  • Racism in Germany | DW Documentary

    12:32

    Not only in the U.S.A., but in Germany, too, people encounter discrimination based on their skin color. What are the lives of Afro-German youngsters and women like? Where do they run into racism, and how can their rights be better protected?

    Ana, Besong and Kalsoumy tell us about their everyday lives. Twelve-year-old Besong is at the top of her class, but often, she still feels ignored by her teachers. Kalsoumy will soon be starting at university. She says, when applying for apartments or internships, she can never be quite sure that prejudice wasn't a factor when she's turned down. Ana tells about her everyday experiences with racism, whether glances on the subway or fears of violence when she walks home through the park in the evening. All three are very familiar with the question, Where do you originally come from?” It seems to question their very identities as Germans. How can real change finally be achieved? A report by Mariel Müller.

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  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: an ethnically divided country | DW Documentary

    26:04

    Ethnic divides still exist in some neighborhoods in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In a school in Travnik, a fence separates Muslim and Croat pupils.
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    Amela is a Muslim. She went to school in Travnik and grew up with this ethnic segregation. Bosnia’s constitutional court declared the two schools under one roof policy unconstitutional in 2012. But this policy is still practiced in everyday life, even though nobody calls it that anymore. It’s not just in schools that the distance between the ethnic groups is visible. The parents also foster ethnic segregation from their neighbors. It’s always been this way - Amela will of course marry a Muslim.

    The country is home to Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Serbs. They say they live together but on closer inspection they just live side by side. Very few would accept a spouse from a different ethnic group.
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  • Café de primera - Sostenible y de comercio justo | DW Documental

    25:56

    El café es una de las bebidas favoritas de los alemanes, pero, ¿es su comercio justo y sostenible? Los empresarios quieren introducir cambios para que los pequeños agricultores obtengan ganancias justas y para reducir el transporte contaminante.
    Uno de los nuevos empresarios de café de comercio justo es Xaver Kitzinger. Junto con sus socios africanos de la cooperativa de café de Ruanda Dukundekawa Musasa tiene el objetivo de fortalecer a los productores locales de café. Lo particular es que aquí solo trabajan mujeres. Además, los granos se tuestan en Ruanda, de forma que los ingresos son para los lugareños. En 2018, Xaver y su equipo importaron de Ruanda a Alemania 11.000 kilogramos de café procesado. El café se transporta generalmente a Europa desde la región de cultivo por barco en contenedores. El capitán Cornelius Bockermann quiere que esto cambie. Su velero Avontuur transporta regularmente granos de café a Alemania. El barco de vela de casi 100 años de antigüedad es el primer buque de carga alemán en transportar mercancías de todo el mundo a Europa, solo impulsado por el viento, sin contaminación acústica en el agua y completamente libre de combustibles fósiles. Los transportes de carga en el Avontuur, generan un 90 por ciento menos de emisiones de CO2 en comparación con los convencionales. Uno de los receptores es Aaron Li Küppers. Junto con su padre administra el TEIKEI Café en Hamburgo. Allí, los huéspedes disfrutan del café que llegó en el velero y le dan gran importancia al embalaje sostenible y a las tazas de café reciclables. Y los beneficios fluyen directamente a nuevos proyectos de agricultura sostenible.

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  • The consequences of injustice | DW Documentary

    42:26

    Structural injustice creates division and threatens peace. But how do we know whether our social order is just? Challenging such notions is the key to social mobility.

    The idea of social justice is central to our sense of morality. Experiments show that even two-year-olds display high levels of social cooperation, while five-year-olds react indignantly when they feel discriminated against. So are we born with a sense of justice? According to Dr. Hanna Beissert, of Germany’s Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education, justice is both learned and innate.

    Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of Germans feel that social justice has declined in recent years. Social mobility from the working-class to the rich and influential elite is extremely rare. And the more a society is characterized by structural inequality, the more likely it is to become further unbalanced. The distribution of opportunities and resources is becoming less equal around the world, leading to increased social division.

    The International Justice Index attempts to objectively measure social justice. Norway, Sweden and Denmark top the list, with Austria in fifth place and Switzerland in sixth, followed by the Netherlands and Germany, which share seventh place. The United States is in 24th place, ahead of Italy, Greece, Romania and Turkey. According to sociologist Michael Hartmann, Germany's future looks bleak: The social division that Germany is going through right now is similar to what the UK and US saw about 20 years ago. Simply put, you can say we're always about 20 years behind those countries in our development, and we’re now moving toward their level of division.

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  • Rethinking capitalism | DW Documentary

    25:57

    More and more entrepreneurs are thinking beyond their own personal wealth. In what is known as the Purpose Movement, company bosses aim to put profits to good use, while rethinking the idea of corporate ownership.

    This film explores how the movement is rethinking capitalism. The founders and CEOs involved in the global Purpose Movement believe in transforming society: Their ownership model ensures that a company’s shareholders cannot withdraw profits, the company cannot be sold and its purpose cannot be changed. Christian Kroll founded search engine Ecosia in 2009. The profits are used to plant trees to combat climate change. Advertising revenue has so far financed the planting of more than a hundred million trees. Kroll could have sold Ecosia for many millions of euros long ago, but the founder wanted to protect his company from speculators. The trees were more important to him than his bank balance. That's why he used a foundation model to transfer ownership of Ecosia in 2018, effectively cutting himself out. The model makes it impossible to sell Ecosia for profit, to withdraw company capital, or to change the company's purpose, which is planting trees. Armin Steuernagel advises entrepreneurs who also want to give away their companies. His Purpose Foundation advises start-ups wanting to establish themselves as purpose companies,” like Hamburg’s Wildplastic, which produces garbage bags from recycled material. Steuernagel wants us to rethink capitalism. As a political lobbyist, he is working to create a legal framework to help facilitate the shift to purpose companies. Michael Hetzer ran the German family-owned company Elobau, which manufactures sensors and other parts for agricultural machinery. Instead of deciding to leave the business to one of his sons, he transferred the company to a foundation model. He wanted to take the burden off his sons' shoulders. And for him, the purpose of his company is important.

    #documentary #capitalism #business

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  • A journey through Mongolia | DW Documentary

    42:33

    Fashion and Mongolia - on a journey through her homeland, Saruul Fischer explains how she connected her two passions.

    Saruul Fischer left Mongolia for East Germany at the age of eleven. But she still felt a strong attachment to her homeland. Later she developed a fashion label that would allow her to connect her two homes. In Ulaanbaatar, her company Edelziege” manufactures clothing from fine cashmere which is then sold in Germany.

    This documentary accompanies Saruul Fischer on a trip back home to Mongolia. The capital of Ulaanbaatar is no longer the city of her childhood memories, but she still regularly visits relatives there. Her trip takes her to the west of the country, where she sleeps in a yurt on the expansive steppe. What does the fashion designer think about the changes that have taken place in Mongolia? How has this transformation affected the Mongolians’ affinity with their traditions? Saruul shows us a life far from civilization, a life that may not exist much longer.
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  • Climate-friendly coffee farming in Costa Rica | DW English

    6:27

    Coffee is one of Costa Rica's main exports but coffee production contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Efforts are underway to make it less environmentally damaging.

  • Life without plastic | DW Documentary

    12:08

    A Bavarian family has decided to do without plastic, to protect themselves from the toxins it contains. But plastic is an integral part of daily life nowadays. Will they be able to avoid it completely?

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  • When the money runs out | DW Documentary

    5:01

    In Germany, more and more retirees are living below the poverty line. The Federal Statistical Office puts the figure above 15%. And it's growing faster than in any other demographic.

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  • From Rio to Lima – Transoceânica, the worlds longest bus journey | DW Documentary

    42:31

    In the final installment of Transoceânica, the bus goes from the Andes to the Peruvian coastal desert and then on to the capital Lima.

    In Peru, roughly three times as many people, per capita, are killed on the roads as in Germany or France. Dangerous places in the Andes are often given names such as Death Bend or Jinxed Bend”, marking the spot where people have died. On the high plateau of the Andes, we find vicuñas, a type of lama, which produce the most expensive wool in the world. However, a parasite has recently decimated vicuña stocks, attacking the animals’ skin, leaving them unable to cope with the cold and rain. The western slopes of the Andes are dusty and dry. These mark the start of the Peruvian coastal desert, where the Nazca culture developed over 2,000 years ago. All that remains now are the famous Nazca Lines, enormous geoglyphs etched into the hard floor of the desert. The road then turns north along the Pacific coast, where there are numerous fishing villages. One of them is Pisco, where the local fishing trade has been badly hit by the El Niño weather phenomenon. And then finally, after 144 hours and 6,300 kilometers on the bus, we arrive in Lima - just two days late.

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  • Female power & digital empowerment - Founders Valley | DW Documentary

    26:02

    All over the globe, digital transformation is opening new paths for women. In Indonesia, more and more are taking the opportunities for independence it offers to open a business. But how do young founders cope with the challenges posed by the role?

    All have had to overcome hurdles thrown up by traditional structures, widely accepted clichés and investors who prefer to bet on men. In Indonesia, young women founders face off with tradition and investors who want men in Charge. Women are in traditionally in charge of many things on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, which is home to the largest matriarchal society in the world. For centuries, the three million members of the Minangkabau people there have revered the ‘Power of the Mother’ - an exception in a country shaped largely by Islam. But the digital revolution has moved the goalposts closer for many women, and more and more are taking up the mantle of leadership at companies. Our host sets out from Berlin on a journey to Indonesia to discover how young women startup founders are breaking traditional clichés about roles. Among them are a young programmer whose family had very different expectations of their daughter, a Muslim businesswoman who doesn’t question the notion of a freedom for women who have to cover themselves from head to toe, and a founder who is trying to connect traditions with the fast-paced 21st century digital world.

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    Watch the first season of Founders Valley here:
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  • How contract workers are exploited | DW Documentary

    28:27

    A Covid-19 outbreak at German meat-processing company Tönnies brought to light dubious conditions. The meat industry has become a hotbed of precarious employment, greedy businesses and impotent unions.


    Tönnies Holding is Germany's largest meat company. Around 25,000 pigs are slaughtered and processed each day at the main plant in the town of Rheda-Wiedenbrück. Most of the plant’s employees are contract workers from eastern Europe. They’re often hired by subcontractors who coerce them into accepting exploitative working conditions.

    As well as the meat industry, contract work is common in the construction and logistics sectors, at cleaning companies and in the automotive industry - in other words, wherever employers want to avoid the high wage costs that come with a permanent workforce. Professor Marcel Fratzscher from the German Institute for Economic Research is strongly critical of the practice. Adjusted for inflation, corporate profits have risen by almost 80% over the past 30 years, while real wages have only risen by around 15%. That’s causing a dangerous shrinking of the middle class. Today, Germany has the largest low-wage sector in western Europe. Denmark shows that there is an alternative. Despite the country being one of Europe’s big pork producers, there are no comparable Coronavirus outbreaks in the Danish meat industry. According to Jim Jensen from the Danish Food Union, this is in part because in Denmark, no employee has to fear that taking sick leave may lose them their job. There is no contract work through subcontractors; all workers are permanently employed and usually unionized. In Germany, Labor Minister Hubertus Heil now wants to improve working conditions in the meat industry. In July 2020, the German government approved a draft law banning contract work in the meat industry. From January 1, 2021, it will no longer be permitted to use outside workers in slaughtering, cutting or meat processing.

    The documentary examines the extent to which precarious and exploitative employment undermines the German welfare state, and how it is misused on a large scale in order to maximize corporate profits.


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  • Japans super volunteer | DW Documentary

    12:32

    80-year-old Haruo Obata is Japan's most famous volunteer. He's always on site where help is needed most. He heeded the call to help after the 2011 tsunami and has carried on to this day. As he sees it, being there for others gives life meaning.

    Haruo Obata had gone into retirement just before the tsunami hit. After the disaster, he spent over a year living in his car and helping out where he was needed most. His marriage didn't survive his commitment, but Haruo Obata is still happy, even if he's had to slow down a bit in recent years. He collects plastic garbage on the beaches, helps in the retirement home and tells children about his life's philosophy: be strict with yourself but tolerant of others - and not too terribly normal. Mr. Obata's cozy but chaotic apartment, his red headband and his loud laugh make him one of a kind. In a country notorious for its conformism, he's become a kind of folk hero. Uwe Schwering spent a few days with him.
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