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  • US president Barack Obama says he wants to obliterate Islamic State (IS) without the help of Iran or Assad, and he doesn't want to offend the region's Sunnis. This is a tall order. VoR’s Peter Lavelle hosts a discussion on whether there are other ways of dealing with IS.

  • Former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, today assumed office as the 13th Secretary General of NATO. Mr Stoltenberg, an economist who favours defence spending and is seen to have relatively good relations with Moscow, succeeds fellow Scandinavian, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. What qualities will this social democrat bring to NATO, and will his advent this mark a change in policy towards Russia? VoR's Tim Walklate has more.

  • The 1st of October saw Britain's national minimum wage rise for the first time in real terms for six years. The rise of 3% to £6.50 per hour will affect more than one million workers - about 1 in 20 of the workforce. But according to the Living Wage Foundation that's still too low - they recommend at least another pound per hour and in London they calculate that £9 per hour would be more realistic. Also unhappy is the public service union UNITE. Fiona Farmer is the national officer for local government and VoR's Tim Ecott began by asking her if she was pleased with the raise.

News
  • Former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, today assumed office as the 13th Secretary General of NATO. Mr Stoltenberg, an economist who favours defence spending and is seen to have relatively good relations with Moscow, succeeds fellow Scandinavian, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. What qualities will this social democrat bring to NATO, and will his advent this mark a change in policy towards Russia? VoR's Tim Walklate has more.

  • The 1st of October saw Britain's national minimum wage rise for the first time in real terms for six years. The rise of 3% to £6.50 per hour will affect more than one million workers - about 1 in 20 of the workforce. But according to the Living Wage Foundation that's still too low - they recommend at least another pound per hour and in London they calculate that £9 per hour would be more realistic. Also unhappy is the public service union UNITE. Fiona Farmer is the national officer for local government and VoR's Tim Ecott began by asking her if she was pleased with the raise.

  • Russia's state-owned Rosneft and US oil giant ExxonMobil announced on Saturday they had found oil in the Kara Sea off the north coast of Siberia in a joint drilling project. However, ExxonMobil has also had to announce that it would "wind down" the project, following US and EU sanctions on exports of technology and services for Arctic developments.

VoR Debate
  • Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has re-launched his political career while the current President Francois Hollande’s approval rating has plummeted to 13 percent. Can Hollande last until his term expires in 2017? What's next for France, which is seeing a resurgence in the far right as it capitalises on the vacuum left by a Socialist party in disarray? VoR's Brendan Cole hosts a discussion. 

  • Now that Scotland has voted no to devolution, the fallout is being felt over questions of how fairly the UK is represented. Downing Street insists more powers will be handed to Scotland but it has raised the issue over whether only English MPs should vote for English laws. VoR's Brendan Cole hosts a discussion.

  • A photo of a woman from Notting Hill Carnival went viral a few weeks ago – the only reminder of a good time are smeared remnants of gold glitter around her left eye. Her right eye is swollen shut, bloodied and bruised. Mary Brandon was punched in the face for telling a man to stop repeatedly groping her. She uploaded the picture, with an explanation, to Facebook. VoR's Juliet Spare hosts a discussion on sexual harassment.

Telling It Like It Is
  • US strikes on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Ed Miliband’s Labour Party conference speech and the Tesco scandal of overstated profits are among the topics discussed in Telling it Like it Is. With VoR's Brendan Cole are political analyst Alexander Nekrassov, journalist Maggie Pagano and New York-based writer and broadcaster Jeffrey Robinson. 

  • 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.

Talking Points
  • This, they said, was a political bombshell. A democratic earthquake. A world-changing event which would change the face of politics in Scotland, then England, then Catalonia and Sardinia, the Faroe Islands and who knew where else around the globe? VoR's Tim Ecott looks deeper into the Scottish vote on independence.

  • 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.

Debating Russia
  • US president Barack Obama says he wants to obliterate Islamic State (IS) without the help of Iran or Assad, and he doesn't want to offend the region's Sunnis. This is a tall order. VoR’s Peter Lavelle hosts a discussion on whether there are other ways of dealing with IS.

  • 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.

     

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
  • Five of Britain’s most influential journalists will talk in London this week about the novels that changed their life – and the most powerful voices in Russian literature are among their choices. Broadcaster Andrew Marr told VoR's Alice Lagnado why he keeps returning to Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace.

     

  • 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?

Galleries
  • Ballet fans will be thrilled to see that this season the English National Ballet welcomes guest artists Ivan Vasiliev and Alban Lendorf, performing with the Company in Derek Deane’s Swan Lake at the London Coliseum in January 2015. Browse our gallery for more information on the treats in store.

  • Italian screen legend Sophia Loren turns 80 today. Her memoir, Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow - My Life, has been released in Russia to mark her birthday. Here, we bring you images of Loren's presence at the Moscow Film Festival through the decades, and the actress on location for the first western film to be shot in the USSR.

All programmes
  • The Scottish referendum is the main topic in Telling It Like It Is, as discussed by political analyst Alexander Nekrassov and the US-based broadcaster and writer Jeffrey Robinson. Brendan Cole asks the questions. Other topics include the threat of the Islamic State and U2’s musical ambitions.

  • 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.

  • Islamic State: A backlash of US interventions?

    US president Barack Obama says he wants to obliterate Islamic State (IS) without the help of Iran or Assad, and he doesn't want to offend the region's Sunnis. This is a tall order. VoR’s Peter Lavelle hosts a discussion on whether there are other ways of dealing with IS.

  • Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and then Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg watching the Barents-2013 exercises while boat touring the Beck Fjord, June 2013

    Former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, today assumed office as the 13th Secretary General of NATO. Mr Stoltenberg, an economist who favours defence spending and is seen to have relatively good relations with Moscow, succeeds fellow Scandinavian, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. What qualities will this social democrat bring to NATO, and will his advent this mark a change in policy towards Russia? VoR's Tim Walklate has more.

  • Increase in minimum wage is "insufficient to survive on"

    The 1st of October saw Britain's national minimum wage rise for the first time in real terms for six years. The rise of 3% to £6.50 per hour will affect more than one million workers - about 1 in 20 of the workforce. But according to the Living Wage Foundation that's still too low - they recommend at least another pound per hour and in London they calculate that £9 per hour would be more realistic. Also unhappy is the public service union UNITE. Fiona Farmer is the national officer for local government and VoR's Tim Ecott began by asking her if she was pleased with the raise.

  • Have sanctions cost Exxon 87 billion barrels of oil?

    Russia's state-owned Rosneft and US oil giant ExxonMobil announced on Saturday they had found oil in the Kara Sea off the north coast of Siberia in a joint drilling project. However, ExxonMobil has also had to announce that it would "wind down" the project, following US and EU sanctions on exports of technology and services for Arctic developments.

  • British jets prepare for a combat mission over Iraq from the Akrotiri base in Cyprus

    Two British RAF Tornado jets attacked Islamic State targets in Iraq in the second combat mission undertaken by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) in the country. This comes as Russia criticised the US and European Union for failing to condemn the actions of Syrian jihadists at a recent UN Human Rights session.

Featured
World

German ex-chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, a confidante of Russian President Vladimir Putin, today called for an end to spiralling sanctions between the EU and Russia over the Ukraine crisis. "The mutual sanctions hurt both sides immensely," said the former centre-left leader at a German-Russian business forum.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said today he will protect the NHS budget during his speech at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham. This comes amid fears that the NHS may be privatised as part of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the European Union and the United States. VoR's Alex Pichaloff looks into what impact any agreement would have on a service Britons hold dear.

Official events to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China went ahead today despite continuing mass pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin today ordered measures to boost Russia's Internet security, saying there has been a steep rise in the number of hacking attacks on the country's communications sytems which "depend directly on the curent international situation." 

 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today demanded a thorough investigation into the discovery of mass graves in south-eastern Ukraine where it's now believed more than 400 people have been buried. Mr Lavrov called on the West and international organisations 'not to gloss over the outrageous facts'.

The fragility of the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine has been highlighted once again, with at least 11 civilians killed in two separate attacks in the city of Donetsk today, according to local officials. “Ukrainian government forces must immediately stop firing on residential areas in Donetsk,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Director.