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Penny Parker is a teen-aged sleuth and amateur reporter with an uncanny knack for uncovering and solving unusual, sometimes bizarre mysteries. The only daughter of widower Anthony Parker, publisher of the "Riverview Star," Penny has been raised to be self-sufficient, outspoken, innovative, and extraordinarily tenacious. Her cheerful, chatty manner belies a shrewd and keenly observant mind. Penny was the creation of Mildred A. Wirt, who was also the author of the original Nancy Drew series (u ...
 
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A young Australian far-right troll was known to his online fans as 'Catboy Kami'. Thousands followed his 'edgy' videos where he targeted children online with a mix of racial stereotypes and hardcore shock tactics. With that fame and notoriety, he's become a useful recruitment tool in the expansion of one of the globe's most extreme social movements…
 
In Myanmar, after a military coup in February this year, mass protests were met with brutal force. Borders were shut, the internet was blocked and it is estimated that around 900 people have been killed by the military. But some brave, young activists have filmed their acts of resistance. As their options close, what hope do they have to win back d…
 
When winter arrives there's nothing like curling up in front of a fire heater with a glass of wine. But there's something disturbing in this cosy picture. As Alison Branley discovers, there's a huge risk to our health that we seem determined to ignore, even though it's estimated to kill hundreds of Australians every year…
 
Thousands of Australians went to India back when it seemed like coronavirus was under control. Some went to care for elderly parents. But, as Alex Mann discovers, their noble intentions counted for nothing when they were locked out of Australia and found themselves in a fight to survive and find a way home.…
 
As Australians eat more and more chicken, we need to find places to raise the animals. But as broiler sheds pop up across rural Victoria, the neighbours are learning that there are more downsides than the smell. A chicken shed next door can stop you building on your own land. Rachael Brown heads to Gippsland to investigate why Rosedale locals are w…
 
There's a landmark project underway in Melbourne to find out whether psilocybin - the hallucinogenic compound in magic mushrooms - can be used to improve end-of-life experiences.But many Australians have already turned to the underground because they're convinced psychedelics improve their mental health.Geoff Thompson investigates whether it's wort…
 
These Australians were denied a fair hearing by one controversial judge. Now, for the first time, they're speaking out about their experiences.Hagar Cohen investigates what happens when the behaviour of a judge inside a courtroom is called into question.This is a repeat of a program that aired in February 2020.…
 
Tristan was a kind and gentle 23-year-old surfer from Byron Bay.One night he suffered a drug-induced psychotic episode.And ended up driven to hospital in a small steel cage.Police say it is probably the worst place he could be.Tristan later died in hospital.Mario Christodoulou investigates the series of tragic events that led to Tristan's death tha…
 
It's a long-running ‘dummy director’ scam that’s siphoned tens of millions of dollars from workers, small businesses and the taxpayer.In Victoria, a small group of accountants spent 15 years signing on drug users and homeless Australians to help their clients cheat the system.Reporter Dan Oakes investigates how this was allowed to go on for so long…
 
On a spring afternoon in Brisbane's Musgrave Park, 18-year-old traditional dancer and amateur boxer Daniel Yock is drinking with his mates. But when a police van arrives, the mood suddenly changes, triggering a dramatic chain of events. Presented by Allan Clarke, Thin Black Line is a deep dive into what happened that day — according to the one eyew…
 
Bhavesh was in trouble. His wife had just suffered three heart attacks and he couldn't afford treatment.So he turned to trusted members of his spiritual community for help.But as reporter Meghna Bali discovers, Bhavesh soon started getting death threats instead, and he found himself at the wrong end of one of Australia's biggest cryptocurrency Ponz…
 
The thin walls of Neville Riley’s makeshift tent do little to block the constant sound of passing cars and trains. And if he was living in a different city when COVID-19 hit Australia, chances are Neville would have been given emergency accommodation months ago. This week, Alex Mann investigates whether a historic opportunity to address homelessnes…
 
One's a former translator for Bob Hawke, the other loves Henry Lawson's poetry. So when Professor Chen Hong and Li Jianjun got caught up in a police investigation into foreign influence, many of their colleagues expressed surprise. This week, Hagar Cohen investigates why ASIO declared them to be a potential risk to Australia.…
 
An unprecedented leak of secret US Government reports has revealed how two trillion dollars of suspected dirty money snakes around the globe. This week on Background Briefing, Mario Christodoulou shows how terrorists and mobsters smuggle staggering sums of money through some of the world's largest banks - and often get away with it.This never-befor…
 
Human rights advocates describe the pursuit of the Wikileaks founder as "a threat to global media freedom".But when a magistrate decides whether he'll be extradited to the United States, how much will the public's right to know actually matter?This week on Background Briefing, Meghna Bali goes inside his quest for freedom and uncovers never-before-…
 
Fledgling media organisations affiliated with Falun Gong have formed strange alliances with far right movements overseas.But what about here in Australia?This week on Background Briefing, Hagar Cohen investigates what happens when a pursuit for religious freedom comes into conflict with the transparency and independence required of Australia's four…
 
Secluded in dense forest, two hours north of New York City, there's a hidden headquarters for a new religious order.This otherworldly place is called Dragon Springs and it's sacred to Falun Gong devotees the world over.In this week's Background Briefing, Hagar Cohen reveals what goes on inside this gated compound, and how it's led to a strange alli…
 
When you think of Falun Gong – you might think of quiet groups meditating or silently protesting in city parks. But a joint investigation by Background Briefing and Foreign Correspondent has uncovered accounts by former Falun Gong insiders, who reveal that in Australia and overseas, the movement has teachings that could be dangerous. Hagar Cohen re…
 
Claire doesn't know if her daughter's death could have been prevented - and she's not alone. Today, babies are more likely to be stillborn in Australia's regional centres than they were 20 years ago. This week on Background Briefing, Charlotte King investigates why the gap between these parts of the country and the big cities is only getting bigger…
 
As she entered one of Australia's largest male prisons, Mara Ellis was strip-searched by four prison guards: two men and two women.She says it was the last time the justice system acknowledged she is a woman before Mara was locked away in solitary confinement.This week on Background Briefing, Meghna Bali investigates what happens to women in men's …
 
Uncle Justin has waited a long time for an acknowledgement that he has survived institutional child sexual abuse.When the National Redress Scheme was established, he was offered help from a private legal firm.But what Uncle Justin and other survivors hadn't realised, Jeremy Story Carter discovered, was their trauma had become a honeypot.…
 
Since Australia's coronavirus shutdown began, there's been a spike in reports of racist attacks, where people are targeted because they just happen to look Asian.Intelligence agencies are now warning that far right groups are exploiting the pandemic to further their own radical agendas.For some, that involves fomenting unrest to bring about a "race…
 
Advocates of raw milk say its safe for people to drink the stuff, so long as dairies take proper precautions.But Australian health authorities are wary about re-opening the trade, especially since the death of a toddler was linked to drinking unpasteurised milk. Kathryn Gregory investigates that link and asks whether there could be a valid case to …
 
For children in Port Pirie there is no 10 second rule. When you grow up in a “lead town” eating off the floor is forbidden, and could be harmful to your health. But when a mum follows all the strict and unusual rules of the town to keep her son safe and his blood lead still continues to rise, she asks: what am I doing wrong?Can a town coexist with …
 
Pregnancies and births around the world have been radically changed by the spread of COVID-19. Background Briefing reporter Katherine Gregory is 39 weeks pregnant, and has been watching this news closely. In this episode, as she goes through her own pregnancy journey, she uncovers how maternal health experts are trying to prevent any long-lasting i…
 
Social distancing measures have robbed many charities of the human connection so crucial to their already vulnerable clients.But, as our reporter Geoff Thompson finds out, one charity has radically transformed its service, and still feeds almost eight thousand people a week. This is part two of a three part series into how Australia is coping with …
 
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