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Monday 5 January 2015: Abdi and the Golden Ticket

Each year, the US government does a strange and slightly surprising thing: it gives away 50,000 green cards (permanent resident visas) to people chosen at random via a lottery. But becoming an American is not easy, even if you do win a golden ticket. Leo Hornak follows the story of Abdi Nor, a young Somali lottery winner living in one of the toughest slums in Kenya, as he prepares for his final US embassy interview and the chance of a new life in the States.

Tuesday 6 January 2015: Animal Personality

Professor Adam Hart explores the newest area in the science of animal behaviour – the study of personality within species as diverse as chimpanzees, song birds, sharks and sea anenomes. What can this fresh field of zoology tells us about the variety of personality among humans?

Wednesday 7 January 2015: Musa's Money

Mansa Musa of Mali amassed a jaw-dropping $400 billion during his reign from 1312 to 1337, making him the wealthiest man ever, according to an inflation-adjusted list by celebritynetworth.com. This even outranks the Rothschilds ($350 billion) and the Rockefellers ($340 billion). Fergus Nicoll recounts the fascinating story of Mansa Musa – one of the greatest statesmen in the history of Africa – and asks how he managed to amass such wealth and create a strong, centralised government structure within which trade, culture and scholarship all flourished.

Thursday 8 January 2015: Sir Nicholas Winton

Sir Nicholas Winton has a remarkable story which has earned him accolades and admiration around the world. He is now 105 years old, when he was just 29 he helped rescue more than 600 mostly Jewish children from Nazi persecution in Czechoslovakia. He hates being labelled a hero, but Sir Nicholas Winton is living proof that individuals can make an extraordinary difference – what motivated him?