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Witness History

The return of the beaver

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Why beavers were officially reintroduced to the UK 400 years after they were wiped out

Why beavers were officially reintroduced to the UK 400 years after they were wiped out.

In 2009, beavers were released into the wild in the Knapdale forest on the west coast of Scotland, some 400 years after they were wiped out in the UK. The Scottish Beaver Trial was the first official beaver re-introduction programme in the UK and was considered a landmark conservation project. The beaver is seen as a keystone species which can help shape and restore the environment. Alex Last spoke to Simon Jones, who was then the project manager of the Scottish Beaver Trial.

Photo: A beaver in Knapdale in 2011 © Steve Gardner (courtesy of the Scottish Wildlife Trust)

Witness History

22/10/2015 07:50 GMT: Sri Lanka Killings

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In 1995 during Sri Lanka's brutal civil war Tamil rebels attacked a Sinhalese village.

In 1995 during Sri Lanka's brutal civil war Tamil Tiger rebels attacked a remote Sinhalese village. Witness hears for a villager and from journalist, Amal Jayasinghe

In October 1995 during Sri Lanka's brutal civil war Tamil Tiger rebels attacked a remote Sinhalese village. Witness hears from a survivor and from journalist, Amal Jayasinghe. Some listeners might find parts of the programme disturbing.

(Photo: Villagers flee Kotiyagala in Sri Lanka's southeast. Credit: Sena VIDANAGAM/AFP/Getty Images)

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Witness History

16/10/2015 07:50 GMT: The October Crisis in Canada

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When Quebec separatists started to use violence - Canada's government called out the army

When French-speaking separatists in the Canadian province of Quebec turned violent, Canada's government called the army onto the streets.

When French-speaking separatists in the Canadian province of Quebec turned violent, Canada's government called the army onto the streets. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau suspended basic civil rights and a stand-off ensued.

(Photo: A soldier guarding a street corner in Montreal in October 1970. Credit: Associated Press)

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Witness History

29/10/2015 00:20 GMT: The Great Depression: Harry Leslie Smith Remembers

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Harry Leslie Smith grew up in England during the Great Depression of the 1930s

In October 1929, Wall Street crashed and the worst depression the world had ever seen began. Harry Leslie Smith grew up in poverty in England during that time.

In October 1929, Wall Street crashed and the greatest depression the world had ever seen began. Harry Leslie Smith tells Witness his story of growing up in extreme poverty in the north of England, and how his sister died of TB in a workhouse infirmary, too poor for proper medical care.

Photo: unemployed men queue for work at a dockyard during the Great Depression (Credit:Fox Photos/Getty Images)

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Witness History

The Death of Quentin Crisp

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The flamboyant gay author of The Naked Civil Servant died on 21 November, 1999

The flamboyant and eccentric gay writer and raconteur died on November 21st 1999. He was on a visit to England from his home in New York - a city that he loved.

The flamboyant and eccentric gay writer and raconteur died on 21 November, 1999. He was on a visit to England from his home in New York - a city that he loved. Hear from his biographer Tim Fountain, about the man who became a celebrity after his memoir The Naked Civil Servant became a bestseller.

Photo:Quentin Crisp in 1980. Copyright: BBC.

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Witness History

11/11/2015 00:20 GMT: Romany: Pioneer Wildlife Broadcaster

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Romany of the BBC was a pioneer naturalist broadcaster of Roma Gypsy origin

Romany of the BBC was a pioneer naturalist broadcaster of Roma Gypsy origin. His programmes were popular in the 1930s-40s. Photo: Romany with his dog Raq. From the family archive

Romany of the BBC was a pioneer naturalist broadcaster of Roma Gypsy origin. His programmes were popular in the UK in the 1930s and 40s. Dina Newman explores his life and his work.

Photo: Romany and his spaniel Raq. From the family archive

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Witness History

The Siege of Sarajevo

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Twenty years ago the siege of Sarajevo ended, the longest siege in modern history

Twenty years ago the last Bosnian Serb guns were removed from around the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, ending the longest siege of a city in modern history

On 29 February 1996, the last Bosnian Serb guns were removed from the hills around the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, ending the longest siege of a city in modern history. For almost four years, people in the city had endured constant bombardment, living without electricity and surviving only on what humanitarian aid could be brought in. Witness talks to Bosnian actress Vedrana Seksan, who was 15 when the siege began.

(Photo: people run to avoid snipers on a street in Sarajevo. Credit: Getty Images)

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Neanderthal cave mystery

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A remarkable discovery in a cave at Bruniquel in southern France in 1990

A teenage caver made a remarkable discovery in a cave at Bruniquel in southern France in 1990.

A teenage potholer discovered a cave system near the town of Bruniquel in France in 1990 which contained a mysterious circular structure. It turned out to be nearly 200,000 years old, and built by Neanderthals – transforming our understanding of Neanderthal culture and society. Lucy Burns speaks to Bruno Kowalczewski, who discovered the cave, and geologist Sophie Verheyden, who was part of the research project which discovered the structure’s incredible age.

Picture: taking measurements for the archaeo-magnetic survey in the Bruniquel Cave. Image: Etienne Fabre - SSAC via the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences

Witness History

06/11/2015 00:20 GMT: The Russian Revolution: Alexander Kerensky

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Alexander Kerensky, overthrown by Lenin in 1917, comments on the Russian Revolution

On 7 November 1917 Lenin and his Bolshevik party overthrew the Provisional Government led by Alexander Kerensky. We hear Kerensky's comments from the BBC archive.

On 7 November 1917 Lenin and his Bolshevik party overthrew the Provisional Government led by Alexander Kerensky. Dina Newman presents Kerensky's comments from the BBC archive.

(Photo: Demonstrators gather in front of the Winter Palace in Petrograd, formerly St Petersburg, during the 1917 Russian Revolution. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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UNESCO and race and tolerance

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How UNESCO fought racism and advocated tolerance.

How UN's educational and cultural wing fought racism and advocated tolerance.

UNESCO – the educational, scientific and cultural arm of the United Nations was first established in 1945. Its aim was to use education as a means of sustaining peace after the horrors of the Second World War. Addressing race and racism was a key part of its mission. Caroline Bayley has been speaking to Doudou Diene who spent many years at UNESCO working on anti-racism and tolerance.

(Photo: UNESCO logo seen at 39th General Conference of the organization, 2017 in Paris, France. Credit: Chesnot/Getty Images)

Witness History

The building of the Aswan Dam

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One of the largest dams in the world, the Aswan High Dam in Egypt was completed in 1970

One of the largest dams in the world - the Aswan High Dam in Egypt - was completed in 1970. We look at the cost of the dam to the region's people and antiquities.

In July 1970, one of the largest dams in the world - the Aswan High Dam in Egypt - was completed. It had taken ten years to build, and was not without controversy. Louise Hidalgo brings us voices from the archives and from one man who was there, Professor Herman Bell, about the cost of the dam to the region's people and its antiquities.

This programme is a rebroadcast.

(Photo: The Aswan High Dam under construction in southern Egypt in the 1960s. Credit: AFP)

Witness History

Buddhists and death row

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How criminals facing the death penalty in the USA found peace

How criminals facing the death penalty in the USA found self-acceptance through Buddhism.

In the 1990s a practising Buddhist called Anna Cox began visiting a murderer called Frankie Parker in jail. After his execution by lethal injection she carried on talking to prisoners on death row in Arkansas. Anna Cox has been speaking to Ibby Caputo for Witness History.

Photo: Anna Cox and Frankie Parker.

Witness History

The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas

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In March 2001 the Taliban destroyed huge ancient statues of Buddha in Afghanistan

In March 2001 the Taliban destroyed huge ancient statues of Buddha in Afghanistan. The statues were carved into the cliffs above the Bamiyan valley.

In March 2001 the Taliban destroyed huge ancient statues of Buddha in Afghanistan. The statues were carved into the cliffs above the Bamiyan valley. Sayid Mirza Hossein, a local farmer, was taken prisoner by the Taliban and forced to pack explosives around the ancient Buddhas. He told Witness History what it felt like to destroy something that he had seen every day of his life.

(Photo: Taliban fighters looking at the Bamiyan cliffs. Credit: Getty Images)

Witness History

The Bombing of Hiroshima

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A Japanese schoolgirl tells her story of surviving the US nuclear attack on Hiroshima

A Japanese schoolgirl tells her story of surviving the US nuclear attack on Hiroshima in August 1945.

On 6 August 1945 an American bomber dropped a nuclear bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Tens of thousands of people were killed immediately. Witness presents a vivid first-person account from the BBC archives, of a young Japanese schoolgirl who survived the attack.

(Photo: The destruction left by the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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The Plot to Kill Iranian Writers

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In August 1996 in Iran, there was a plot to kill 21 writers on a bus jouney to Armenia

In August 1996, a group of Iranian writers were invited to a literary event in Armenia. But there was a plot to kill them all on the way to their destination.

In August 1996, a group of Iranian writers were invited to a literary event in neighbouring Armenia. They boarded a bus to take them to Yerevan - but there was a plot to kill them all before they reached their destination.

The scandal has been linked to a bigger plot known as The Chain Murders of intellectuals in Iran in the 1990s.

Shahryar Mandanipour, one of the writers on the bus, remembers.

(Photo: Iranian writer Shahryar Mandanipour, courtesy of S. Mandanipour)

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Witness History

Korea Divided

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In August 1945 Korea is split along the 38th parallel.

After the Allied victory in 1945, Korea is split along the 38th parallel.

After the surrender of Japan in August 1945, Korea is split along the 38th parallel, with Soviet forces in the north and the US military in the south. Shin Insup tells Witness what happened in the northern city of Pyongyang.

(Photo: Korea 38th parallel. Credit: Getty Images/AFP)

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First Cochlear Implant

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10 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:

In August 1978 an Australian doctor successfully fitted a multi-channel cochlear implant.

In August 1978 an Australian doctor successfully fitted a multi-channel cochlear implant to a patient. It was a breakthrough moment for deaf people around the world.

In August 1978 an Australian doctor successfully fitted a multi-channel cochlear implant to a patient. It was a breakthrough moment for deaf people around the world. The doctor, Professor Graeme Clark, had a deaf father, and dedicated his professional life to helping people hear again.

Photo: the first patient, Rod Saunders (left) and Graeme Clark with the implant. Credit: The Bionic Institute.

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Witness History

The Timisoara Uprising

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10 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:

Protests which led to the collapse of communism in Romania began on 16 December 1989

Protests which led to the collapse of communism in Romania, and the death of the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, began on December 16th 1989.

Protests which led to the collapse of communism in Romania, and the death of the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, began on 16 December 1989. Followers of an opposition Hungarian priest, Laszlo Tokes, had gathered to support him in the town of Timisoara - but their protest prompted a violent response from the Romanian military. Zsolt Szilagy was there when the shooting started.

(Photo: An old man greets a soldier after the uprising in Timisoara. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

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Witness History

The start of eco-tourism

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How Costa Rica's Monteverde cloud forest reserve became a major tourist site

The Monteverde cloud forest reserve was established in the 1970s with the help of a group of American Quakers. It would become one of Central America's top tourist attractions.

The Monteverde cloud forest reserve in Costa Rica was established in the 1970s with the help of a group of American Quakers. The aim was to protect its unique habitat and abundant exotic wildlife. It has become one of Central America's top tourist attractions. Mike Lanchin has been hearing from 97-year-old Marvin Rockwell and 88-year-old Lucky Guindon, two of the Quakers who left the US to settle in the mountains of Costa Rica.

(Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Witness History

Brown v the Board of Education

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A landmark case about racial segregation in the USA.

In 1954 the US Supreme Court ruled that segregating public schools along racial lines was unconstitutional. The case was a turning point in the battle for civil rights in the USA.

In 1954 the US Supreme Court ruled that the segregation of public schools on the basis of race was unconstitutional. The case was a turning point in the long battle for civil rights in America. In 2017 Farhana Haider spoke to Cheryl Brown Henderson, the youngest daughter of Oliver Brown, who was the named plaintiff in the class action against the local board of education.

Photo: African American student Linda Brown, Cheryl Brown Henderson's eldest sister (front, C) sitting in her segregated classroom. Credit: GettyArchive

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