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Monday 9 March 2015: Gone - The Disappearing Desert 

Eighty-six-year-old Khojabay lives in Kazakhstan in the middle of a vast desert made of toxic dust and pesticides, once The Aral Sea. The governments of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan who shared the former sea are not able to restore it. They would need billions of dollars to revive the Aral and stop cotton irrigation. This simply will not happen. Rustam Qobil visits this desert and talks to people who have lost their sea, health and loved ones to this man-made disaster. He is 42 now. When Rustam was born in Uzbekistan ‘We had our sea. Now we don’t, and we will never have it again.’

Tuesday 10 March 2015: Placebo Problem

In recent years the term “placebo effect” – the beneficial effects on health of positive expectations about a drug or some other treatment – has become familiar. It’s also been shown to be a powerful aid to medicine. The nocebo effect is simply its opposite. One difference is that its breadth and magnitude have been much less studied. Another is that it may be even more powerful than the placebo effect. It’s easier to do harm than good. And this is worrisome because Nocebo’s negative influence can be found lurking in almost every aspect of medical life – and beyond.  Geoff Watts investigates 'The Placebo Problem'.

Wednesday 11 March 2015: Maskirovka: Deception Russian-Style

Lucy Ash examines the Russian military strategy of deception, maskirovka, from the 14th Century to the current crisis in Ukraine.

Thursday 12 March 2015: Sandhurst and the Sheikhs

Our reigning Arab monarchs have passed through the UK's Royal Military Academy Sandhurst or its associated institutions - the kings of Bahrain and Jordan, the Emir of Qatar and the Sultan of Oman, alongside a long list of lesser sheikhs and princes, and many of the region's military chiefs of staff. Matthew Teller uses archive, analysis and new interviews to examine Sandhurst's longstanding links with the Gulf, exploring whether there is a detectable 'Sandhurst influence' on the repression of popular protests across the Middle East, and asking whether Sandhurst should help deliver officer-trained military leaders to Middle Eastern allies if they have questionable records on rights and accountability.