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  • Violent crime in England and Wales is continuing to fall, according to a study of figures from NHS hospitals. There were 12 percent fewer injuries from violent incidents in 2013, compared with the previous year. Researchers from Cardiff University found 235,000 people were treated following attacks last year - a drop of over 32,000. VoR's Tim Walklate spoke to Professor Jonathan Shepherd, lead author of the study.

  • Edward Snowden, the former CIA contractor whose leaks exposed mass surveillance by the US National Security Agency and Britain's spy agency GCHQ was inaugurated as Rector of the University of Glasgow at a ceremony held in the University’s Bute Hall on April 23. Now living in temporary asylum in Moscow, Snowden did not attend the event for fear of arrest but appeared via video link.

  • A new survey in Britian suggests that although life may still begin at 40, for many people the realisation that they are 'getting old' starts at 50. It's apparently at that age that a lot of people start evaluating what they've achieved in their life - and what will become of them in their old age. VoR's Carmen Cracknell reports.

News
  • Violent crime in England and Wales is continuing to fall, according to a study of figures from NHS hospitals. There were 12 percent fewer injuries from violent incidents in 2013, compared with the previous year. Researchers from Cardiff University found 235,000 people were treated following attacks last year - a drop of over 32,000. VoR's Tim Walklate spoke to Professor Jonathan Shepherd, lead author of the study.

  • Edward Snowden, the former CIA contractor whose leaks exposed mass surveillance by the US National Security Agency and Britain's spy agency GCHQ was inaugurated as Rector of the University of Glasgow at a ceremony held in the University’s Bute Hall on April 23. Now living in temporary asylum in Moscow, Snowden did not attend the event for fear of arrest but appeared via video link.

  • A new survey in Britian suggests that although life may still begin at 40, for many people the realisation that they are 'getting old' starts at 50. It's apparently at that age that a lot of people start evaluating what they've achieved in their life - and what will become of them in their old age. VoR's Carmen Cracknell reports.

VoR Debate
  • On July 23d Glasgow plays host to the 20th Commonwealth Games. Around 6000 athletes from seventy nations will be taking part in 261 events over the course of eleven days. The cost of the games is currently budgeted around 523 million pounds – that’s 17 times less than the overall cost of delivering the London 2012 Olympic Games. But although this may appear a drop in comparison to holding other sporting events – is it still worth the money? VoR’s Tim Walklate hosts a discussion.

  • Assisted suicide remains a criminal offence in England and Wales and is technically punishable by up to 14 years in prison. In 2013, Lord Falconer tabled an Assisted Dying Bill which proposed that two doctors would have to sign off the fatal dose. It has yet to be voted upon. VoR's Juliet Spare hosts a debate about this contentious issue.

  • Television viewing habits have changed enormously since the days when people would crowd around their television screens, eager to find out 'Who shot JR?' or 'Who shot Mister Burns?' and discuss it with friends next day. The move to mobile and catch-up services has created a whole new viewing experience.  VoR's Scott Craig hosts a discussion.

     

Telling It Like It Is
  • James Delingpole of Breitbart.com and Alexander Nekrassov of stirringtroubleinternationally.com bring their bite and banter to some of this week's headline-hitting news, including the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and less fraught topics such as Banksy, buttocks and the Blairs. VoR's Tim Ecott moderates. 

  • Among the broad-ranging topics broached this week by James Delingpole of Breitbart.com and Alexander Nekrassov of stirringtroubleinternationally.com are the ongoing situation in Ukraine, Maria Miller's resignation, the Pistorius trial, and little Prince George's headline-grabbing visit Down Under. VoR's Dmitry Linnik moderates.

  • The Clegg/Farage debate, Nigella Lawson being refused entry to the US, and British troops pulling out of Afghanistan are among the broad-ranging topics discussed this week in Telling It Like It Is. Joining VoR's Brendan Cole are James Delingpole of Breitbart.com and Alexander Nekrassov of stirringtroubleinternationally.com.

Talking Points
  • In this Talking Point, Paul Craig Roberts argues that Washington is pushing the crisis in Ukraine towards war, and examines why.

  • In this Talking Point, Conn Hallinan talks us through the shifting landscapes of Europe, where 'unhappy families' of Catalans, Scots, Belgiums, Ukrainians, and Italians contemplate divorcing the countries they are currently a part of.

  • At their two-day meeting in Brussels on April 1 and 2, the NATO foreign ministers announced the suspension of all cooperation with Russia – both military and civilian – to show their strong disapproval of Russian actions vis-à-vis Ukraine. In this Talking Point, Nikolai Gorshkov examines what this means to European security and the de-escalation of the Ukraine crisis.

     

Debating Russia
  • Russophobia in the West has reached - and even exceeded - levels not seen since the Cold War. Where does western Russophobia come from and why is it so persistent? Is Russophobia political weapon? And finally, is Russophobia a form of projection deflecting the ills and shortcomings found in the west? Peter Lavelle hosts a discussion.

  • The western military alliance NATO has said that it is suspending all practical civilian and military co-operation with Russia, over the situation in Ukraine. It follows a two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers in which they denounced "Russia’s illegal military intervention in Ukraine and Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity". But what is NATO for? Peter Lavelle hosts a debate.

  • One way or another Crimea has returned to Russia. The political fireworks of this reality remain to be played out. What is next for Ukraine? And have Russia's relations with the West changed for the worse? VoR's Peter Lavelle hosts a discussion.

     

In Conversation
  • It’s long been said that we are what we eat. For many of us in the developed world almost everything we eat comes from commercially produced animals and crops, and is bought from supermarkets. A new book lifts the lid on the dangers of mass food production both for human health and for the health of the planet. VoR's Tim Ecott spoke to Philip Lymbery, one of the joint authors of Farmageddon: the true cost of cheap meat.

  • Australian by birth, author and adventurer Tim Cope decided to train as a wilderness guide in Finland. That led to an adventure riding across Russia to China by bicycle and then to a bolder journey on horseback across Mongolia all the way east to Kazakhstan and Ukraine eventually ending up in Hungary. The journey took three years and his story is told in On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey through the Land of the Nomads. VoR’s Tim Ecott talks to Tim Cope.

  • In this edition of In Conversation, VoR's Tim Ecott talks to Christian Wolmar, Britain’s foremost writer on railways. His latest book is called To the Edge of the World: The Story of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Wolmar, who has himself travelled the line, describes the building of the Trans-Siberian as possibly the greatest human engineering achievement. I asked him what it was about the railway that inspired him.

     

Curtain Up
  • Families from all over England travel down to London to see the Nutcracker ballet at Christmas. But it wasn’t always such a hit. VoR's Alice Lagnado invited Russian music expert Daniel Jaffe into the studio and began by asking him how the ballet was first greeted back in the late 19th century.

  • The ballet world is going through a difficult time in Russia, with courtroom trials and a change in management at the renowned Vaganova academy in St Petersburg. VoR’s Alice Lagnado takes a further look.

  • In this edition of Curtain Up, VoR’s Alice Lagnado talks to conductor Alice Farnham, who is bringing Britten’s opera The Rape of Lucretia to the Mariinsky Theatre this month. It’s her first time conducting at the Mariinsky, and it’s also the first time the opera has been performed at the theatre.

Features
  • In 2012 physicist and explorer Felicity Aston became only the third person to ski solo across Antarctica. The first two were both men and Norwegian. VoR's Alice Lagnado met her.

  • Nadezhda Karyazina is a young mezzo-soprano from the Bolshoi Theatre who joined the Royal Opera House’s Jette Parker Young Artist Programme in the 2013/14 Season. She’s already sung the roles of Mercédès in Carmen, Rosette (Manon), and Voice of an Unborn Child (Die Frau ohne Schatten), and her next role will be that of Flora in La Traviata, which opens on April 19. VoR’s arts editor Alice Lagnado met Nadezhda in between rehearsals at the Opera House.

  • 2014 is the UK-Russia year of culture, and a number of festivals are taking place throughout the year to mark cultural links between the two countries. Later this month, the Russian Song Festival will be opening in London, with pianist Alexander Kagan and baritone Sergey Zakharov among those performing. Olga Bramley, one of the organisers of the festival, gives us a preview of what's on the programme.

Galleries
  • The St Petersburg based Eifman Ballet has returned to London with the UK premiere of ‘Rodin’, based on the life of the sculptor and artist Auguste Rodin, and ‘Anna Karenina’, based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy. The Coliseum performances are part of the UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014. Have a peek at the meld of dance, sculpture and literature in our VoR gallery.

  • Liverpool today marked 25 years since the Hillsborough stadium tragedy in which 96 football fans lost their lives. A dedicated service, the reading-out of the names of those who died, the tolling of bells, and even the silencing of the famous Mersey ferry for the minute's silence, shaped a poignant day for the city.

     

  • Erarta London’s May Fair aims to showcase the vibrancy and variety of approaches to art making exhibited in our past, present and future exhibitions in the Mayfair gallery space. In the spirit of the UK-Russia year of cultural exchange, to increase awareness of the Erarta project as a whole is to increase the awareness of the talented, emerging contemporary artists in Russia today.

All programmes
  • Austin Mitchell, one of Britain's longest serving MPs has announced his retirement. Mr Mitchell, who is 80, has represented Grimsby since 1977 - though he secured a majority of only 700 votes at the last election. VoR's Tim Ecott took the opportunity to ask him if he had any advice for his party leader Ed Miliband in the run up to the next General Election.

  • As the Ukraine crisis enters a new and dangerous stage, Russia has made it clear it will consider its options in light of western sanctions - including intensifying its relations with Asia. How likely is this, and what could be some of the consequences? 

  • The first televised debate between UKIP leader Nigel Farage and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg is among the topics debated by James Delingpole of Breitbart.com and former Kremlin adviser Alexander Nekrassov in this week’s edition of Telling it Like it is, hosted by VoR's Brendan Cole. They also discuss the marriage split of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, the UK’s first gay marriage and the language skills of pupils in British schools. 

World

Today is St George's Day, but the patron saint of England has been eclipsed in the popular imagination by St Patrick in Ireland and St Andrew in Scotland, and many are wondering what significance the day has in today’s multi-cultural Britain, especially amid Alex Salmond’s push for Scottish independence. VoR's Simon Parker reports.

 

Lawyers are threatening the Law Society with possible legal action after it issued new guidance on drafting Sharia law-compliant wills. The Lawyers’ Secular Society (LSS) criticised the solicitors’ representation body for being “incredibly naive” and caving into religious lobbying groups. VoR's Tim Ecott spoke to Chris Moos, from the Lawyers' Secular Society.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the United States has a hand in the stand-off in Ukraine, following US Vice-President Joe Biden's two-day trip to Kiev aimed at illustrating US support for the interim government there. 

According to new research from think-tank British Future, increased diversity – with over 620,000 young people from ethnic minorities projected to be eligible to vote in 2015 – could cost David Cameron the 2015 election unless his party increases its appeal to minority voters. VoR's Tim Ecott spoke to Sunder Katwala, the director of British Future.

Between 15,000 and 40,000 kidney patients in British hospitals may be dying from poor care a year, according to a study commissioned by the NHS which found that good basic nursing could prevent those deaths which they call "completely unacceptable". VoR's Tim Walklate spoke to Fiona Loud, policy director at the British Kidney Patient Association.

Secular leaders have claimed that British Prime Minister David Cameron is fostering division after his recent Easter message stated that Britain was a Christian nation and should be more evangelical about its Christianity. The prime minister is being accused by some politicians of using his Christian faith to win back disaffected Conservative voters opposed to issues like abortion and gay marriage. VoR's Juliet Spare has this report.