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  • What will be the biggest stories of the year ahead?

  • In 2020...

  • ...the global economy could tip into recession

  • The trade war between the US and China...

  • ...is one of the biggest risks to the global economy

  • 250 years after his birth...

  • ...one of history's greatest composers becomes a global eco-warrior

  • Beethoven loved nature. He was writing for today and future generations

  • And the world's greatest sporting event comes to Tokyo...

  • ...where the inclusion of trans athletes could spark controversy

  • Trans women are women

  • I think we need to race based on biology

  • There is only one Beethoven

  • In 2020 music lovers' ears will be attuned...

  • to the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven

  • one of the most influential and popular classical composers in history

  • Beethoven broke the rules of music

  • He did things differently

  • Take for instance, his Eroica Symphony, Symphony No. 3

  • How does it begin?

  • With two massive chords

  • it goesbang, bang

  • No one had done that before

  • It's Beethoven saying

  • …“look what I can do, I'm going to do it differently”…

  • and he did that in every form of music that he wrote in

  • In 2020 across the globe...

  • ...orchestras will be celebrating this genius and his legacy...

  • ...with a string of performances and concerts

  • We listen to his music now and...

  • there's a tendency to think it came from him fully formed

  • But if you look at his many sketchbooks and manuscript pages

  • there are crossings out, there are obliterations...

  • ...there are tears in the paper

  • He struggled to compose and yet it's what he did

  • Written during the Age of Enlightenment...

  • Beethoven's music has a history of being intertwined with politics

  • The opening motif of his Fifth Symphony...

  • ...equivalent to the letter V in Morse code...

  • ...became a symbol of resistance to the Nazis

  • And the final movement of his Ninth Symphony...

  • ...became the hymn for the European Union

  • He believed in the power of the ordinary human being

  • that was who he was writing his music for

  • And of course we have the great message...

  • in the Choral Symphony in the final movement, Schiller's Ode to Joy

  • which is, all mankind will be brothers

  • …“Alle Menschen werden Brüder

  • It's a universal message

  • And in 2020 his Pastoral Symphony...

  • ...will be used as an anthem to unite millions...

  • ...across the world to act against climate change

  • Beethoven loved nature

  • There was nothing he loved more than taking

  • long, long walks in the country

  • always composing as he went, waving his arms in the air

  • jotting notes down

  • And that's why the Pastoral Symphony is so important in his output

  • 250 years after his birth...

  • ...Beethoven will continue to set the tone for the future

  • He wouldn't be in the least bit surprised...

  • ...that his music was so relevant today

  • After all, he knew back then...

  • ...that he was writing for today and future generations

  • So he'd probably say...

  • …“yep, yep, told you, told you

  • 2020 will be the year nurses receive the attention...

  • ...and treatment they deserve

  • The World Health Organisation has declared it will be theYear of The Nurse

  • That's excellent

  • Almost half of health care workers globally are nurses

  • And they are increasingly taking on a growing number of tasks...

  • ...previously reserved for doctors

  • Most people have no idea what modern nursing entails

  • They think of them as the sidekicks of heroic doctors

  • It's hard the way we have to rely upon these amateur nurses

  • Nursing today is a highly skilled profession

  • Many nurses have university degrees

  • There are even doctorate-level studies in nursing

  • In America two-thirds of anaesthetics are administered by nurses

  • And nurses in some sub-Saharan countries...

  • ...even carry out emergency caesareans

  • It's definitely a new level of autonomy

  • Nurses in Britain are now trained to perform surgery...

  • ...and are taking on more responsibility for patients in life-and-death situations

  • With this role, it's going down to see patients on the ward...

  • ...often by yourself attending cardiac-arrest calls...

  • ...and going to see some of the sickest patients in the hospital

  • 2020 will also mark 200 years since the birth...

  • ...of perhaps the most famous nurse in historyFlorence Nightingale

  • If she were around today...

  • ...she would probably be concerned that a global shortage of nurses...

  • ...will be the biggest problem facing national health systems...

  • ...in the coming decade

  • By 2030 the world will be short of 7.6m nurses

  • Countries will have to do more to recruit and educate new nurses locally...

  • ...as well as to retain those that are already in place

  • Rich countries cannot continue to lure nurses from poorer countries...

  • ...where health systems are already severely crippled by the shortage of nurses

  • Singapore has led the way in addressing nurse shortages

  • It has successfully increased applications from young people...

  • ...to nursing school by commissioning dramas, documentaries...

  • ...and even a catchy pop song

  • Looking into the future...

  • ...nurses will be even more important because...

  • ...you have more people living longer. They require more care

  • A lot of health-care professionals, at least partially...

  • ...may be replaced by AI

  • With nursing that would be very difficult because at its heart...

  • ...nursing, its healing powers, are about empathy and a human touch

  • The Games of the 32nd Olympiad are awarded to the city of...

  • ...Tokyo

  • In July 2020 billions of people will watch the Olympic flame burn once again...

  • ...as the Tokyo Olympics begin

  • But with new rules making it easier for transgender women...

  • ...to compete in women's events for the first time...

  • ...2020 could turn out to be a highly controversial Olympic Games

  • There's a heated debate in women's sports...

  • ...over the inclusion of transgender women...

  • ...people who are biologically male, and identify as women

  • International Olympic Committee rules...

  • ...currently allow transgender women to compete in women's sports...

  • ...provided they have suppressed their testosterone levels...

  • ...for at least 12 months

  • You can't just ignore the fact that biology...

  • ...is something that, as humans, we have

  • But some observers...

  • ...like former Olympic swimmer and medallist Sharron Davies...

  • ...argue these athletes will have an unfair advantage

  • You're not going to be able to get rid of...

  • ...the male puberty that they've gone through...

  • ...the fact that they have male biology

  • So even by reducing testosterone for one year...

  • ...it's still not going to level the playing field

  • But others take a very different view

  • Like track cyclist Rachel McKinnon...

  • ...who has become a high-profile transgender athlete...

  • ...since winning a world championship in 2018

  • Athletes come in a huge range of shapes and sizes and natural abilities

  • Population demographics around the world are different

  • So, Dutch women average height is over five foot six

  • Indonesian women it's around four foot ten

  • So, sport is never level if by which we mean...

  • ...no one has a competitive advantage over each other...

  • ...because that's the point of sport

  • During male puberty testosterone drives the development...

  • ...of bigger muscles with more fast-twitching fibres...

  • ...sturdier bones and a larger heart and lungs

  • All lifelong advantages when it comes to speed and strength

  • The difference between boys' and girls' running times...

  • ...increases in adolescence, and the gap is even bigger for jumping events

  • And in 2019 among top athletes...

  • ...around 2,000 men finished the 100m more quickly than the fastest woman

  • Sharron Davies believes there is a danger that transgender athletes...

  • ...could dominate some women's sports...

  • ...and that these sports could once again be blighted by unfairness

  • In the 70s and the 80s, we had the East German system where...

  • ...female athletes were filled full of testosterone and it made them unbeatable

  • So, for nearly a whole generation...

  • ...the East German women totally dominated in...

  • ...almost all female sports at Olympic and world level

  • But there were many British that came fourth and fifth and sixth...

  • ...and no one's ever heard of them because they didn't pick up a medal...

  • ...which they should have done

  • So I feel quite passionately that I just don't want to see that happen...

  • ...to a whole generation of female athletes again

  • Davies and others who have voiced their concerns...

  • ...have faced strong criticism from the transgender community and beyond

  • You have been called by the transgender cyclist Rachel McKinnon...

  • ...a transphobe and somebody who shares hate speech

  • McKinnon argues the debate is fundamentally...

  • ...about equality and human rights⁠—both on and off the playing field