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Monday 9 November: Making Waves

Can we make better surfing waves than the wild ocean, asks marine biologist and writer Helen Scales. Helen loves surfing but she describes it as an extreme form of delayed gratification, especially around the British coast. Nature does not make great surfing waves to order. Helen goes in search of short cuts: aquatic engineering to make more and better ‘breaks’. But is surfing an artificial wave in a land-locked lagoon the real thing? Surfing veterans have mixed feelings and share their thoughts on why riding the ocean is all-consuming.

Tuesday 10 November: Sex and the Synod # 1 of 3

Pope Francis has opened up debate about his Church’s most controversial teachings - on sex and the family. He’s raised hope among those who’d like the Roman Catholic Church to change its stance on issues like homosexuality, divorce and birth control. But can he meet their expectations? In the first of a three-part series, Helen Grady reports from Austria, where priests and ordinary Catholics are already pushing the boundaries of doctrine.

Wednesday 11 November: Philip Glass: Taxi Driver

The Philip Glass Ensemble formed in 1968 and performed in lofts, museums, art galleries and, eventually, concert halls. Two of Glass's early pieces - the long form Music In Twelve Parts and the opera Einstein on the Beach - secured his reputation as a leading voice in new music. But America's soon-to-be most successful contemporary composer continued to earn a living by driving a taxi until he was 42.  Glass's new musical language - consisting of driving rhythms, gradually evolving repetitive patterns and amplified voice, organs and saxophones - reflected the urgency of the city surrounding him. New York, on the brink of financial collapse, was crime-ridden and perilous.

Thursday 12 November: Puerto Rico: The Have Nots and the Have Yachts

The US Commonwealth of Puerto Rico could be slipping into an economic 'death spiral', according to its Governor. Ten years of recession have led to deep cuts in services and more are on the way, as the government accepts it cannot pay its massive debts. Unemployment and poverty are spiralling, and younger citizens on this Caribbean island of 3.5 million are leaving in their droves, seeking jobs in New York or Miami. Ed Butler meets some of them literally as they head to the airport, and meets some of the super-rich Americans coming the other way and explores the contrasting lifestyles of these two worlds.