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  • Global brands like Amazon and Starbucks have come under scrutiny for arranging their affairs so they can lessen their tax bill. That's why the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is proposing an international approach to stop companies from underpaying their taxes by exploiting legal loopholes in the system. VoR's Brendan Cole spoke to Mick Moore, chief executive of the International Centre for Tax and Development.

  • Scottish supporters of staying in the United Kingdom are 4 percentage points ahead of secessionists with just a day to go before Scots vote in an independence referendum, three different opinion polls showed. The United Kingdom's fate remains uncertain as the three surveys showed support for Scottish independence at 48% compared to 52% backing union.

  • With winter approaching there are fears that Ukraine may not have enough gas supplies to last through this heating season. Ukraine’s previous supplier, Russia, has stopped exporting gas to Ukraine, citing unpaid debts, while Kiev has admitted it needs more energy supplies. VoR’s Alex Pichaloff asked Jack Sharples, Professor of Energy Politics at the European University of St Petersburg, how acute the problem is.

     

News
  • Global brands like Amazon and Starbucks have come under scrutiny for arranging their affairs so they can lessen their tax bill. That's why the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is proposing an international approach to stop companies from underpaying their taxes by exploiting legal loopholes in the system. VoR's Brendan Cole spoke to Mick Moore, chief executive of the International Centre for Tax and Development.

  • Scottish supporters of staying in the United Kingdom are 4 percentage points ahead of secessionists with just a day to go before Scots vote in an independence referendum, three different opinion polls showed. The United Kingdom's fate remains uncertain as the three surveys showed support for Scottish independence at 48% compared to 52% backing union.

  • With winter approaching there are fears that Ukraine may not have enough gas supplies to last through this heating season. Ukraine’s previous supplier, Russia, has stopped exporting gas to Ukraine, citing unpaid debts, while Kiev has admitted it needs more energy supplies. VoR’s Alex Pichaloff asked Jack Sharples, Professor of Energy Politics at the European University of St Petersburg, how acute the problem is.

     

VoR Debate
  • The Day the World Changed: that was the headline in one British newspaper after the twin towers attack 13 years ago today. If you hadn’t heard of Al Qaeda by then, after 9-11 you certainly did. Those numbers themselves not just etched onto the world’s memory, but figures which now stand as a symbol of a civilisational struggle that we are fighting to this day. VoR's Brendan Cole hosts a discussion.

  • This week's NATO summit was originally expected to be a dull, mundane affair of discussing lessons learnt from Afghanistan and some brainstorming in the search for new raison d’etre after Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya. But so much more happened. So where to now for NATO, Russia and Ukraine? VoR's Nikolai Gorshkov hosts a discussion.

  • New restrictions are being introduced in England and Wales to curtail one of the most controversial powers in policing, Stop and Search. Concern remains over the most controversial aspect of Stop and Search - the claim that it is disproportionately applied to people from a black or minority ethnic (BME) background. VoR's Juliet Spare hosts a discussion.

Telling It Like It Is
  • The United States' decison to conduct air strikes in Syria, the prospects of an unlikely alliance between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, and the Scottish independence vote are among the topics discussed by former Kremlin advisor Alexander Nekrassov, Independent journalist Maggie Pagano and US television and radio commentator Jeffrey Robinson.

  • The NATO summit in Wales, Western reactions to continuing developments in the middle east, the final weeks leading up to the Scottish referendum and the money spent in English football during the recent transfer window are among the topics discussed by Independent journalist Maggie Pagano and political analyst and former Kremlin adviser, Alexander Nekrassov.

  • The Rotherham child abuse scandal, the defection of Conservative MP Douglas Carswell from the Tories to UKIP, the Scottish referendum debate and the merits of the singer Kate Bush are among the topics discussed by David Coburn, the UKIP MEP for Scotland and the former Kremlin adviser, Alexander Nekrassov in this week’s Telling It Like It Is. VoR's Brendan Cole mediates.

     

Talking Points
  • In this essay based on his Edward Said Memorial Lecture in Adelaide, John Pilger argues that the assault on Gaza represents a wider threat to us all, and with episodic dangers in Ukraine, and the accompanying propaganda, we are drawn closer to world war.

     

  • The Cold War never really went away, you know. If it did, there wouldn’t be the circus we saw in Wales. Former Kremlin troubleshooter Alexander Nekrassov says that the very existence of NATO proves beyond all doubt that the West’s Cold War mentality never went away.

  • Former Kremlin troubleshooter Alexander Nekrassov wonders whether the NATO summit in Wales was just a circus. Here’s a question for you: what is more important when it comes to taking big decisions, a NATO summit or a quiet game of golf between a group of Wall Street bankers?

Debating Russia
  • In the wake of the recent NATO summit can anyone make the claim Europe’s security has been strengthened? Is it wise to have Russia designated as NATO’s enemy? And is Europe willing to foot the bill for a new Cold War with Moscow? Peter Lavelle hosts the latest edition of Debating Russia.

  • The presidents of Russia and Ukraine have shaken hands in Minsk. Beyond that fact, Ukraine’s civil war rages on as the country faces serious economic breakdown. On this edition of the programme Peter Lavelle discusses where Ukraine is heading.

     

  • Gaza is again under Israeli attack. What makes this assault different from past attacks? Should we stop talking about a peace process? And what role can countries like Russia play to finally resolve this conflict? Peter Lavelle hosts the latest edition of Debating Russia.

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
  • The work of British photographer James Hill, who captured photographs from the scenes of the Beslan school tragedy in Russia in 2004, is featuring in a new exhibition to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the tragedy. The photos were taken two weeks after Chechen rebels held more than 1,200 people hostage in the Beslan no1 school, which resulted in the deaths of more than 330 people. VoR’s Alex Pichaloff caught up with him on the eve of the exhibition’s opening in Moscow and started by asking how it came to fruition.

  • Graham Phillips is a 35-year-old civil servant turned blogger from Nottingham who shot to fame when he started reporting from Ukraine as a freelancer for RT, the Russian television channel. But what made this young man from Nottingham go to Ukraine, a country where he did not speak the language or have any ties, in the first place?

  • Russia's top Antarctic scientists are hoping to penetrate Lake Vostok for the second time this autumn and obtain pristine samples of its water, which will provide clues to the climate of the past and the future.

Galleries
  • Despite having been in a conflict zone for the past several months, the residents of Lugansk in south-eastern Ukraine turned out to celebrate their City Day this week. Blogger Graham Phillips was there to capture the day in photos. Here is a selection of his images.

  • Moscow artists have marked the International Day of Journalists' Solidarity with a display of portraits of journalists killed in conflict zones. Among the journalists portrayed by the artists, were Rossiya Segodnya's photojournalist Andrei Stenin who died in Ukraine, Vyacheslav Veremiya, a reporter for the Ukrainian newspaper "Vesti", VGTRK's special correspondent Igor Kornelyuk and sound engineer Anton Voloshin who died in Ukraine, an American journalist James Foley abducted in northwestern Syria, killed by the Islamic State, and Italian photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli and Ukrainian journalist Vyacheslav Veremiy killed in Ukraine.

  • More than one million people have been displaced by the conflict in Ukraine, including 814,000 Ukrainians now in Russia with various forms of status, according to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR). "It's safe to say you have over a million people now displaced as a result of the conflict, internally and externally together," Vincent Cochetel, director of the UNHCR's bureau for Europe, told reporters. "I mean 260,000 in Ukraine, it's a low estimate, 814,000 in Russia, then you add the rest ... Belarus, Moldova, European Union."

All programmes
  • It is being reported Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko informed Russian President Vladimir Putin of a permanent ceasefire in the Donbass area of eastern Ukraine. If true, will it last and what can we expect moving forward? VoR's Peter Lavelle hosts a discussion.

  • The execution of the journalist James Foley, the media frenzy surrounding Sir Cliff Richard and the press conference given by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange are among the subjects tackled by the Independent journalist Maggie Pagano and the political analyst and former Kremlin adviser, Alexander Nekrassov. Joining them is VoR's Brendan Cole.

  • It is not exaggeration to say that Russian President Vladimir Putin is the most recognisable leader in the world today. He is also regularly demonised by the West. What is it about Putin that captures the imagination of so many? Peter Lavelle hosts a discussion.

Featured
World

Having in May 2010 told the nation "I want us to be the greenest government ever", PM David Cameron has been given a dressing-down by a group of MPs. The Environment Audit Committee said in a report out today: "In none of the 10 environmental areas we have examined is satisfactory progress being made".

Powerful al-Qaeda branches in Yemen and North Africa today called for jihadists in Iraq and Syria to unite against the common threat from a US-led coalition. Meanwhile, US commanders said the United States plans to strike the Islamic State group in its Syrian strongholds and could send military advisors into combat alongside Iraqi troops.

 

 

Investments to help fight climate change can also spur economic growth, rather than slow it as widely feared, but time is running short for a trillion-dollar shift to transform cities and energy use, according to the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. It said the next 15 years would be critical in the battle against climate change.

TV gambling ads that offer punters “free money” if they sign up with bookmakers online are expected to be ditched under new rules proposed by the industry. However, one of the conclusions of the book Advertising in a Free Society, states that banning and restricting advertising has little to no effect on overall consumption. VoR's Brendan Cole spoke to Christopher Snowden, author of the introduction to the book.

Over 800 million people in the world are suffering from hunger, according to a new UN report released on September 16. However, the figure is 200 million down since 1990-92 and reflects that the war against hunger is gradually being won. Asia - which is the world's most populous region - has the largest number of people suffering from hunger, at 526 million.

A new report has said that the NHS England funding gap - the difference between the budget for the NHS and what it actually needs to deliver services - will reach £30bn by 2021. The Health Foundation's report argues for more support for providers of NHS care in England to ensure quality of care for patients does not deteriorate.