ProfileAuthor: BBC Radio 4
17 Nov 2018

Profile

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An insight into the character of an influential figure making news headlines

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    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

    The story of the youngest woman ever elected to the US congress. Five months ago, nobody knew who Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was. Now she’s been dubbed the future of the Democratic Party. When she dared to challenge a long standing Democratic congressman in June’s primaries, she had no money and no experience. But against all odds she won by a staggering 15 points. She was catapulted into the spotlight and in this week's mid term elections she won a place in the House of Representatives, breaking records to become the youngest woman ever to be voted into Congress. She grew up in the Bronx but her parents worked hard to send her to a good school in the suburbs. Her father died when she was in her twenties, leaving her working at a taco restaurant to help her Puerto Rican mother pay the bills. She didn't let that stop her and campaigned for Bernie Sanders while waiting tables and serving Margaritas. Fast forward a year, this waitress is now billed as the future of the Democratic Party. Mark Coles follows Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s journey to Congress, speaking to her friends, supporters, critics and those she’s inspired. Thank you to New York One TV news for the footage of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez winning the Primary.

  • Posted on 10 Nov 2018

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    Jair Bolsonaro

    Brazil's new President-elect has a reputation for speaking his mind regardless of who he offends, earning him the nickname 'Trump of the Tropics'. He's suggested gay neighbours would decrease the value of his home, told a female politician "I would never rape you, because you don't deserve it" and declared his support for torture. Jair Bolsonaro grew up in a poor village in Sao Paolo and came of age during Brazil's long military dictatorship. He paid his way through school by selling fish he caught with friends in the local river then joined the army, where he made a name for himself as a campaigner for better pay. After leaving the military, he entered politics, winning a seat in Congress. There, he moved between nine different political parties before standing as a candidate for the Presidency. Edward Stourton traces Jair Bolsonaro's journey to the top of Brazilian politics, speaking to his supporters, to those who have studied his rise and to one of his many critics. Producer: Oliver Jones Research and translation: Laura Gozzi Editor: Richard Vadon

  • Posted on 03 Nov 2018

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    Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

    Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, is at the centre of a storm over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. This week the Crown Prince broke his silence and denounced the killing. But with Donald Trump calling it “the worst cover up ever” and Western leaders threatening sanctions, will his path to the Saudi throne be blocked? Helen Grady finds out how the young prince – now aged 33 – came to power so quickly. A Washington-based analyst tells us why he’d argue the Crown Prince is a reformer, but not the kind the West thought he’d be. And we talk to a Middle East expert about whether she thinks the Khashoggi killing has damaged Mohammed bin Salman’s reputation. Producers Smita Patel & Oliver Jones Editor Penny Murphy

  • Posted on 27 Oct 2018

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    Esther McVey

    Government minister Esther McVey has become a lightening rod for anger about benefit cuts and welfare reform. The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions knows all about financial struggle, starting out in life as a foster child. Mark Coles finds out how the former presenter has gone from a breakfast TV sofa to the front benches of the House of Commons. In a rare interview, Esther’s father Jim tells us why he decided to put his daughter into care, and how he helped kick-start her on-screen career. We find out what a former producer really thinks of her, and her partner Conservative MP Philip Davies reveals what made him fall for Esther.

  • Posted on 20 Oct 2018

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    Eliot Higgins

    British blogger Eliot Higgins and his investigative website Bellingcat have been making headlines around the world this week with claims that they’ve uncovered the true identities of two Russian men suspected of carrying out a nerve agent attack in Salisbury. Not tourists as the Kremlin maintains – but highly decorated members of Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU. Higgins – isn’t your typical journalist. A former video gamer, in the past he’s worked for a bank, an oil rig company even a lingerie firm. Unlike old-school foreign correspondents, he uses ‘armchair analytics’ – what he calls ‘open source’ materials like Facebook, twitter and Google earth to try to uncover what’s really going on in far away conflicts. Chemical weapons in Syria, the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine and most recently the attempted poisoning of Sergei and Julia Skripal in Salisbury, he’s had one scoop after another. On Profile this week, Mark Coles tries to discover more about the man. His brother Ross Higgins, gives us his first ever broadcast interview. Guardian journalist Luke Harding explains why he thinks Higgins is a pioneer, in digital investigative journalism. And we hear from those who suspect Eliot Higgins is being used as a front Producer Smita Patel Researcher Oliver Jones Editor Emma Rippon

  • Posted on 13 Oct 2018

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