CGTN Europe's top stories from 2019
Duncan Hooper

The year 2019 marked the launch of CGTN in Europe. On television, our website and social media pages, CGTN reporters have been casting light on stories from across the continent. Here are some of the highlights from our first three months.


Danube: Life of a river

CGTN traveled to Central Europe to explore how one of the continent's most valuable resources – the Danube river – is being affected by changes in the world around it.

From microscopic plastic particles to giant dams, the demands of a growing consumer economy all along the river's length have changed both its content and its route. Our reporters found a series of initiatives under way to assess the damage caused and how to remedy it.

In the river's depths live sturgeon, but the isolation of their habitat has not protected them from criminal gangs exploiting high prices for caviar. However, tracking technology is helping the authorities enforce anti-poaching rules. Meanwhile, other animals that have suffered from over exploitation and habitat loss are being reintroduced into remote areas.

And the river's inhabitants include people, too. None of the millions who live along its banks are more closely tied to the Danube's fortunes than those on the island of Mila 23. CGTN spoke to some of them – including an Olympic canoeing champion – about how their lives have changed along with the river.



GDP vs climate

As the world scrambles to address climate change, one issue more than any other is holding up progress – the very nature of our economic structure. Built around the concept of consumption growth, traditional measures of development take little or no account of environmental questions. CGTN spoke to leading experts in the area about how to address the problem.



Forgotten frontier

Since 2015, a crisis has gripped southern Europe. Hundreds of thousands of people who have sought refuge, have become trapped in horrific conditions inside the borders they hoped would protect them. And their presence has affected local residents and people living much further afield, even changing the politics of the bloc. CGTN headed to Greece to see how those affected, especially children, are coping with a brutal present and an uncertain future.


 Our reporters also traveled through the Balkans, talking to refugees and locals.



Venice floods

Coastal communities are on the forefront of the fallout from global warming. In Venice, hundreds of years of history allow for comparisons around the effect of flooding. In a series of reports, CGTN talked to businesses, residents and tourists about their experiences of some of the worst floods in living memory.



One asylum case

With hundreds of thousands of people going through the asylum process across Europe, it is easy to forget that each case is about individuals. This is the story of one of them.



Opioid crisis

The health emergency caused by the use of prescription drugs in the US is well documented. But in Europe, the issue is less well known. Stephen Cole explored the roots of the opioid crisis, the damage it causes and the solutions that can reverse the threat.



How UK democracy works

The UK's parliamentary democracy is a source of pride for the country. But its first-past-the-post voting system has been criticized for rendering millions of votes meaningless. Elsewhere in Europe, proportional representation is the norm. Stephen Cole explained how the UK system works and looked at the alternatives.



The dangers of data

For a true case study of how much personal data can be collected online, cyber security expert Ken Munro went looking for what he could find about The Agenda show host Stephen Cole – from his choice of phone, his home address, hobbies and even details of his family. That provoked Stephen to look deeper into the issue.



Snake milking

Why would you want to be in a room full of the world's most deadly snakes? To milk them, obviously. RAZOR found out how at the Liverpool School of Tropical medicine and learnt about the work going on there to find a universal anti-venom.



Clean power

The future of our world is in technology. And nowhere is that clearer than in the fight against climate change. Two main avenues for tackling our emissions while keeping the lights on in our power-hungry world are: Green energy, for example wind power, which is getting more efficient and cheaper each year; and carbon capture, which removes greenhouse gases from the air. In Iceland, RAZOR saw how carbon dioxide gas can be fixed in rock.



Quantum computing

Finally, if you've ever wondered how a quantum computer works, you won't find a better explanation in under 120 seconds than this.