Podcasts

The Week Unwrapped: terrorist threats, space debris and natural history

Why has Islamic State launched a new ‘global offensive’? Is the US right to ban anti-satellite missile tests? And does the UK need a natural history GCSE?

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters.

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In this week’s episode, we discuss:

Terrorist threats

Islamic State (IS) followers are being urged to avenge the recent death of their leader by waging a new “global offensive” against Europe and Israel. In an announcement timed to coincide with Ramadan, the group told would-be jihadists to stage terror attacks while “the crusaders are fighting each other” over the Ukraine invasion. So how seriously should we take the threat - and can IS still stage large-scale attacks?

Space debris

The US has become the first country to announce a ban on missile tests against space satellites. US Vice-President Kamala Harris, who chairs the National Space Council, said such tests were reckless, adding: “Simply put, these tests are dangerous, and we will not conduct them.” The US, China, India and Russia have all carried them out. So why is it so important that the missile tests are stopped?

Natural history

The government has announced the launch of a new GCSE in natural history that will teach young people about conservation, the environment and sustainability. The qualification – the first significant new GCSE introduced in five years – follows more than ten years of campaigning for better environmental education and will be available from September 2025. But, when such topics are already covered in science and geography, how essential is a natural history GCSE – and is the exam system even fit for purpose?

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