December 7th, 2015
Episode 577 of 996 episodes
Beijing has been put on the most severe smog warning for the first time. Schools and building sites will close, factory production will be scaled back and traffic will be restricted. An online notice from the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said it had issued the alert to protect public health and reduce levels of heavy air pollution. Most of the pollution is blamed on coal-fired power plants, along with vehicle emissions and output from the manufacturing and construction industries. We talk to one environmental pressure group about what it is like to live in such a heavily polluted city and find out what the Chinese government is doing about it. In Paris the climate talks have entered their last few days amid mounting hope that a binding agreement will be reached to try to limit global warming. We get the latest on the mood at the summit. Venezuela's political opposition has won a majority of seats in the National Assembly, overturning nearly two decades of dominance by the Socialists led by President Nicolas Maduro. The poor state of the country's economy, soaring inflation and food shortages all played a key role in the election campaign and its outcome. We ask how a country with a wealth of oil reserves has ended up in such a deep recession. The Vatican has ordered the first ever external audit of its accounts. The auditor, accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers, will start work immediately. The appointment is part of a drive by Pope Francis to make the Vatican's finances more transparent, but will it work? Plus, we hear form our regular commentator, Lucy Kellaway of the Financial Times, who is not convinced that we necessarily learn from our mistakes. Picture: Beijing blanketed in heavy smog: Picture Credit: Getty Images.