Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.
The Thames Barrier is a flood defence system of epic proportions, put in place more than 30 years ago to protect London from mass flood damage.
More than 1 million people live and work in the area it protects, along with nearly $300 billion worth of assets.
The recent wet weather means that it's been working overtime.
Max went to find out how the Barrier and the agency operating it are coping.
Is the recent spate of extreme weather around the globe a result of climate change?
Max spoke to Bob Henson, a meteorologist at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, to find out what’s behind the major snowstorms in the U.S. and the devastating flooding in the UK.
Agreeing that climate change is playing a role, Henson says in recent years is that "when it's raining or snowing hard, it tends to be raining or snowing a little bit harder."
He attributes the more extreme weather we're seeing now to the change in sea levels. "Sea levels are undoubtedly and absolutely rising, and are expected to continue to do so, at least by a few inches over the coming decades, possibly by as much as a foot by the end of the century."
This impacts the weather on land because "storms move and strike on top of an existing sea level that's getting higher and higher, so that makes the storms even more able to inflict serious damage."
As governments try to figure out how to tackle this issue, Henson offered this piece of advice: "You have to be prepared for the worst you might expect, and that worst might be worse than anything you've ever seen."
The killing of a young giraffe named Marius at the Copenhagen Zoo has triggered strong reaction around the world. The animal was euthanized, dissected in front of an audience that included children, and later fed to the zoo's resident lions.
Isha Sesay spoke with Bengt Holst, the Director of Research and Conservation at the Copenhagen Zoo. He was joined for a debate on the issue by Mirja Holm Thansen, the Chairwoman of the Organisation Against the Suffering of Animals.
Isha began by asking Holst to explain why the zoo felt it had no alternative other than to kill Marius.
"He was actually a surplus to the population, and you know, as being part of a breeding program, we always have to make the population as sound as possible," Holst said. He went on to say that it was common practice to breed animals, evaluate their genetic makeup, and decide which would create the strongest gene pool going forward. "Having animals in our care means that we have to always make sure that the population is healthy."
Thansen disagreed strongly, and argued that Marius' death was senseless.
"Where is your compassion for this animal?" She asked Holst. "You had several offers to save him. You could have postponed it. Where is your empathy? And I think that this case with Marius just shows that the zoo is in fact not the ethical institution that it wants to portray itself as being."
Every day, 100 African elephants are killed for their ivory. In an unprecedented move, China destroyed more than 6 tonnes of it last week in an attempt to clamp down on this predominantly illegal trade.
On the Chinese black market ivory can fetch up to $3,000 per kilogram. It’s not just elephants that are affected. Believed to have healing properties, rhino ivory is used in traditional Chinese medicine.
On Friday, Becky spoke to Heather Sohl, the World Wildlife Fund’s chief species adviser in the UK, about the actions of the Chinese government.
“It was absolutely a fantastic sign to see. It shows that they are wanting to address this as a serious issue, recognizing that most of the illegal ivory that is coming from Africa is heading to China where it’s used in carvings and sold as ornaments, jewelry, and very often requested as gifts.”
“It’s making huge amounts of profits for these criminal syndicates, and yet the risk of being caught is very low.”
This February the UK government will hold a global summit on illegal trade in wildlife, which David Cameron will be attending, along with high-level representatives from as many as 50 states.
Aid has been flooding in from across the world for the relief effort in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan, whether it be from governments, celebrities, or ordinary people trying to make a difference.
Now that aid money is making it's way in to the country the new issue is deciding where it is needed most.
Max Foster speaks to the International Rescue Committee's David Miliband about prioritizing aid needs in the Philippines as well as the problems refugees face in Lebanon.