Britain launches an inquiry into the Iraq war - President Medvedev tackles acoholism in Russia – Homophobia in French football - Can Polaroid survive in the digital age of photography - And 20 years after the fall of communism, we look at the legacy of the 1989 revolutions. This week: Bulgaria
Iraq inquiry sheds light on 'drum beat' to war
A long-awaited inquiry into Britain's role in the Iraq war got underway in London this week.
It's expected to last a year and will look at tens of thousands of government documents and talk to dozens of witnesses, including former Prime Minister Tony Blair. He's expected to testify next year.
Report: Jennifer Glasse
Life expectancy for men in Russia has dropped to 57 years which is probably not surprising when you consider that Russia has one of the highest per capita rates of alcohol consumption in the world.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recently called alcoholism a "national disaster" and he's the first Kremlin leader since Mikhail Gorbachev to try to stop alcohol abuse. But it looks like Medvedev may be fighting as much of a losing battle as Gorbachev, 25 years ago.
Report: Mareike Aden
France is through to the 2010 World Cup soccer championships after a controversial win against Ireland. Captain Thierry Henry scored the decisive goal but handled the ball, leading to calls for a replay by Irish fans. It's not the only controversy to have blighted French soccer.
An amateur team made up mainly of Muslims was recently thrown out of their league for refusing to play a club that promotes gay rights. The team from Creteil said they couldn't play because of their religious beliefs. Coincidentally the coach of the gay club is himself of Moroccan origin and recently published a book describing the homophobic abuse and violence he suffered growing up in the banlieue.
Report: Alasdair Sandford
The history of modern photography is usually traced back to the first chemical picture ever taken back in 1827. Fast forward more than a hundred years and the Polaroid Corporation unveiled the landmark instant film camera, commercially released in 1947.
The iconic Polaroid was an instant hit for domestic, professional and artistic use but the rise in digital photography has signalled the end for the Polaroid. One gallery in London recently opened an exhibition dedicated to the history of the humble photo format.
Report: Neale Lytollis
Democratic change came to Bulgaria just one day after the Berlin Wall fell on November 9th, 1989.
The Bulgarian Communist Party overthrew Todor Zhivkov, the longest-serving leader in any of the Soviet-bloc countries of Eastern Europe. This paved the way for a democratic process, though it proceeded slowly.
Report: Sabina Casagrande
In the twenty years since the end of communism, sophisticated trafficking networks for the sex industry have developed in Bulgaria. Thousands of people have been recruited from rural areas where poverty is rife, both within Bulgaria and from poor regions in Africa and Asia.
They are taken from – or through – Bulgaria and put to work as forced labourers or sex workers in western nations such as England, Spain and Germany.
Report: Saroja Coelho
Another problem that the Bulgarian authorities have had to grapple with is the state of social care. Bulgaria has the highest proportion of insitutionalized children in Europe.
Many are physically or mentally disabled. Conditions in care homes have improved dramatically – thanks in part to a documentary that was released in 2007 called "Bulgaria's Abandoned Children". It was produced by filmmaker Kate Blewett and focussed on children in the Mogilino care home.
Helen Seeney spoke with Kate Blewett about the conditions she found there.
Bulgaria's image abroad has been tarnished by issues such as abandoned children and trafficking – not to mention corruption and organized crime.
These problems usually overshadow the country's attractions and the hospitality of its people. So how do Bulgarians feel about their image abroad?
Here are some opinions from the streets of Sofia.
Bulgaria is often seen as the poor man of Europe, and has its imaged tarnished by crime and corruption.
One person all too familiar with Bulgaria's image problem is Alexander Andreev, who's the head of Deutsche Welle's Bulgarian Service. He has this light-hearted postcard from Europe look on the myths surrrounding his countrymen.
Report: Alexander Andreev
If you're a fan of world music, you'll no doubt be familiar with the haunting and distinctive sound of women's choirs in Bulgarian folk music.
These melodies have enjoyed international success over the past few decades. But it's not easy making a living from traditional music in today's Bulgaria.
Report: Sandy Tolan