Tag Archives: DW Documentary

Review: A German Flood Warning System Failure?

00:00 The death toll from Germany’s devastating flood disaster has risen to more than 160, as emergency workers continue to search for dozens of people still unaccounted for. German authorities insist their flood warnings worked, even though there was massive loss of life. Some experts say Germany’s flood warning system failed and has led to such widespread devastation. They say authorities knew what was coming, but failed to prepare.

02:28 DW reporter Giulia Saudelli is on the ground covering the latest developments. She joins us from the town of Altenahr, in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, which was especially hard hit by the flooding.

05:19 DW reporter Emily Gordine is covering the latest developments in Schönau, in the southern German state of Bavaria. 09:40 Jeff Da Costa, he’s a researcher focusing on flood warning systems at the University of Reading and has been personally affected by events as his family’s home in Luxembourg was flooded.

Tokyo 2021 Olympics: The Rocky Road For Athletes

Postponed by a year. Plagued by existential rumors. The Tokyo Olympics have had a rocky road, thus far. But what’s it like for the athletes? This film looks at how Olympic hopefuls experience Olympic-sized uncertainties, under the already strained circumstances of a global pandemic.

Despite the rampant Coronavirus pandemic, the mythos of the Olympic Games is alive and well. The world’s top athletes dream of participating, though only a fraction of them will make it that far. This film accompanies four athletes over the course of a year, as they try to reach the Olympic Games in Tokyo. For fencer Alexandra Ndolo, high jumper Marie-Laurence Jungfleisch, javelin thrower Thomas Röhler and taekwondo master Madeline Folgmann, the time leading up to the Summer Games constitutes the greatest sporting challenge of their lives.

The postponement of the Games throws a wrench in their intensive training plans. It also forces them to confront some uncomfortable questions. What if all of this intensive preparation goes to waste? Are they working towards a moment in their lives that may never come? These four competitive athletes experience a year full of disruption, hardships, health risks, small successes, and big disappointments.

For one athlete, the pandemic even becomes a stroke of luck – but can she take advantage of it? The challenges that these elite athletes face striving for their dream of competing in the Olympic Games are unique. It is a time that will leave its mark on these athletes, as they embark on a journey with an uncertain outcome.

Conservation: The Marble Quarries Of Carrara, italy

Italy’s Carrara marble quarries are a source of controversy, pitting nature against economic gain. Environmentalists warn of overexploitation, while others defend the jobs these Tuscan quarries provide.

Franco Barratini quarries marble blocks that sell for €4,000 per ton. The amount of marble that was once quarried in a month can now be extracted in just three days, and environmentalists are alarmed at the consequences. Marble dust leaks into groundwater, turns rivers milky-white and hangs in the air. The effects of this are still not completely clear.

Sandro Manfredi is fighting what he sees as severe overexploitation in the marble quarries of Tuscany’s Apuan Alps. In 2018, he filed a complaint against an illegal marble quarry, and afterwards was nearly killed when someone tampered with his car. Carrara has experienced four floods in the last nine years. Environmentalists blame marble quarrying, which has increased dramatically thanks to rapidly evolving extraction techniques, upsetting the region’s hydrogeological balance.

Craft Chocolate: Finding The Best Cacao Beans

Like craft beer, craft chocolate is hip. The more exotic the cocoa, the more popular the end product. Craft chocolatiers comb the jungles of the Peruvian Amazon in search of cacao varieties that have never been used in chocolate production before.

Their prospective buyers belong to a select group of connoisseurs with a taste for exotic cocoa beans. Aside from satisfying people’s craving for luxury, craft chocolate makers are also working to create positive change. They’re helping local cocoa farmers document the widespread impact of illegal deforestation, the drug trade, and large agribusinesses on the lives of the indigenous population in Peru’s Amazonas region. Will craft chocolatiers succeed in getting consumers to shell out more money – enough to ensure cocoa farmers‘ livelihoods? Can they get chocoholics to develop a craving for high quality, organic products that also support environmental sustainability?

Urban Views: Living In China’s Megacities (Video)

More than 60 percent of China’s population of 1.4 billion currently lives in cities. Within a decade, the share of urban dwellers is expected to increase to 75 percent. Construction is booming and competition for residential land is fierce.

But the right to live in a city in China is conditional. Authorities want their modern cities to be peopled with well-educated, highly-qualified or politically well-connected residents. As a result, certain standards have to be met to be eligible for a modern, urban home. Only members of China’s political classes and the financially successful have a hope of qualifying. Yet more than half of the people who live in cities are so-called “migrant workers.” They come from rural communities and have no official rights to settle in cities. They are there to work. With no proper rights, they are merely tolerated while they serve as merchants, servants, waitstaff, cleaners, construction workers and tradespeople.

But while they are indispensible to daily life in the cities, they are unable to afford their exorbitant rents. This documentary looks at how and where these workers live, and asks whether middle and working class Chinese even figure in the official vision of shiny, high-tech cities. The filmmakers also look at what happens to those who oppose official plans, or stand in the way of the building boom.

Climate: Mozambique Builds Green Areas To Curb Cyclone Flooding

In 2019, Cyclone Idai devastated Mozambique’s port city of Beira. Many died and entire neighborhoods were flooded. The city is now setting up large green areas designed to absorb future floodwaters. But entire fishing communities need to relocate.

Views: The Endangered Species Refuge Of ‘Sir Bani Yas Island’ – Abu Dhabi, UAE

The Arabian oryx is a beautiful, almost luminously white antelope. But, after being over-hunted by humans in the 20th century, it only narrowly escaped extinction. Today, on the desert island of Sir Bani Yas, the endangered animals find refuge. Part of an archipelago west of Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas is home to a large wildlife reserve, where animals from Arabia, Asia and Africa roam freely. You can watch cheetahs hunting, and imagine how the Bedouins once lived, under open desert skies. Established in the 1970s, extensive ecological measures turned Sir Bani Yas into a man-made “paradise for wild animals.” Now, the reserve stands for the region’s desire for a sustainable future. It’s also a great place to see the magnificent Arabian oryx running free, once more.

Sir Bani Yas Island is part of the Al Gharbia region of the United Arab Emirates. It’s dominated by the Arabian Wildlife Park, with its roaming giraffes, cheetahs and gazelles. Multiple archaeological sites across the island include the ruins of an ancient Christian monastery. Salt dome hills define the island’s desert interior. The coast features beaches, sea kayak routes and a shipwreck.

Analysis: The Politics Of Germany’s Auto Industry

The German automotive industry has long played a key role in the country’s prosperity. It employs hundreds of thousands and enjoys cozy relationships with politicians.

But the COVID-19 crisis threw a wrench in the works. What’s next? The prosperous German auto industry has long been lagging when it comes to innovating new automotive technologies. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the industry is turning to decision-makers for help. But just how far will policymakers go to help the car companies?

Arguing that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit them hard, the auto industry is demanding the postponement of stricter CO2 limits and a purchase premium for new vehicles. They maintain that nothing less than the prosperity of the whole country is at stake. But is Germany’s success really dependent on the auto industry? And how much blame does industrial policy bear for the failures of the automotive companies?

Views: Camel Herders Of The Sahara Desert (Video)

It was once common practice to herd camels hundreds of kilometers through the desert. Now, with only a handful of herders left, the ancient art of desert navigation will soon be lost. From the south of Morocco, the great Sahara Desert extends more than a thousand kilometers into Mauritania. Hot and dry, the desert is hostile to life.

Yet for centuries, camel herders have successfully traveled back and forth across this landscape, between their herd’s winter and summer camps. Today, only some thousand families remain dedicated to this traditional way of life. They breed dromedaries: domesticated, one-humped camels. Among these guardians of the old ways are the shepherds Moulay and Hadrami, both of the Oulad Ben Sbaa tribe. Their families live in the city, having abandoned the nomadic life.

But Moulay and Hadrami are passionate shepherds, closely bonded to their 200 camels. In this rich documentary, the men take us along as they go about their work: arming themselves against sandstorms, preparing their herd for nightly migrations, and searching the desert’s endless expanse for lost newborn animals and their mothers. An invaluable glimpse into the hardscrabble existence of these shepherds, the film shows a way of a life that will soon cease to exist.

Cultural View: What Will An Independent Scotland Look Like? (Documentary)

What does it mean to be Scottish? Since Brexit, people here at the northernmost end of the island of Great Britain have been asking this question with renewed vigour. Now, with the Scottish Parliament election approaching, many Scots see their future outside of the United Kingdom. So how do ordinary Scottish citizens see their homeland?

On her journey through Scotland, journalist Diana Zimmermann quickly learns that it is impossible to travel through the country these days without talking about Brexit. Geography and history have brought the Scots to a breaking point. Just ask Sophie Gault, a deer-hunter whose breath-taking workplace is in the heart of the Highlands, at the foot of Ben Alder. “Being Scottish is something I’m really proud of,” says Gault, adding that taking this job was the best decision she ever made.

“Being with nature and with wildlife, it makes you appreciate Scotland even more. There’s always that sense of community. And I’m very proud of our own Scottish humour.” What does fisherman Victor Laurenson, who had hoped Brexit would bring him better fishing conditions, think of his country now?

Janey Godley, a comedian from Glasgow, brings yet another perspective: In the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, she says, the English told the Scots to vote against independence so that Scotland could stay in the EU. “It’s basically like your Mum and Dad saying – look – if you go to bed early, when you wake up, you will have a pony. And you go to bed, you sleep early, you wake up and there’s just a cushion in the shape of a cat instead, and it’s not even a good cat.”