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VoR Debate

On the eve of the parliamentary elections in Ukraine - the second general elections since the dramatic and controversial takeover of power earlier this year, we look at where the country is headed and how it will change – if change at all.

Sex education remains a controversial subject in Britain. Politicians and parents worry about the over sexualisation of children in the digital age, while some parents worry that schools are failing to provide proper guidance to pupils and other parents believe information being given is too graphic.

 

US-led forces have stepped up air strikes against Islamic State or ISIS fighters threatening the Syrian town of Kobane, near the Turkish border. This comes after Turkish officials denied reaching an agreement with the US to use its Incirlik airbase in the southern city of Adana, 100 miles from the Syrian border. So what will the US-led coalition’s strategy to tackle ISIS be, and what of Turkey’s role? VoR's Brendan Cole hosts a discussion.

In his address to the United Nations president Obama said of the United States of America: “We are heirs to a proud legacy of freedom, and we are prepared to do what is necessary to secure that legacy for generations to come. Join us in this common mission, for today’s children and tomorrow’s…” So, what sort of claim does America have to global domination? VoR’s Dmitry Linnik hosts a discussion.

"Both unbearable and essential" was The Guardian’s review of Exhibit B which is defined by the London Barbican Arts Centre as a work of performance art. However, it was described by others as racist art that "fetishises the black body". The performance has drawn controversy wherever it goes. VoR's Juliet Spare hosts a discussion.

Preachers of hate will be banned from public speaking or spreading their propaganda on social media, under sweeping new powers. That was revealed by Home Secretary Theresa May to a cheering Conservative Party conference where she said that there was a crisis in British home security and new laws were needed to cope with it. VoR's Brendan Cole hosts a discussion. 

US Secretary of State John Kerry suggested today that preventing the fall of the Syrian town of Kobane to Islamic State (IS) fighters was not a strategic US objective. At the same time the leader of the Syrian Kurds said in an interview with news agency Rossiya Segodnya that Syrian Kurds would be against a US-led land operation in Syria, but expect the international community to help them in the fight against IS.

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.

Since the United States tried its new technology of regime change at the end of the 1990s, there has been a lot of talk about the need for new pro-western regimes to be inclusive – meaning representative of all the minorities and political forces in a country or region. However, the success stories of ‘inclusive’ regimes are few. Washington itself does not concede that the latest violence in Iraq was due to the country not having an inclusive government under former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. So what is an inclusive government, and why does the West fail to create it wherever it tries, from Iraq to Ukraine?

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Cuba over the summer - during which he announced Russia would write off $32 billion of Cuba's Soviet debt - stirred plenty of speculation as to its motivation. VoR's Nikolai Gorshkov hosts a discussion on whether Russia's newfound interest in Cuba is a rekindling of an old geopolitical game, or a search for new business opportunities.

 

Scotland has voted to remain within the United Kingdom in the country’s historic referendum on independence. VoR's Tim Walklate went on to the streets of Edinburgh and asked Yes and No voters for their reaction to the result and their hopes for the future of their country.

It is the decision of a lifetime for Scotland, as Thursday sees its residents go to the polls when they decide whether to vote for independence. VoR's Brendan Cole hosts a discussion on what the political landscape might look like when the dust settles.

 

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.

Britain has been put on severe alert for terrorism following the killing of US journalist James Foley by Islamic State, overseen by a man with a London accent. PM David Cameron has warned of 500 Britons fighting for Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), but faces a greater threat at home. VoR's Brendan Cole hosts a debate.

Pubs in Britain are closing at the rate of 28 a week. To its supporters, the pub is a great British institution that is part of the fabric of society.  While not quite on the endangered species list just yet, what is the future of the British pub? VoR's Brendan Cole discusses the fate of the great British boozer.

Outrage over Ireland’s abortion laws is nothing new, and the most recent case concerning what many call unworkable legislation this week triggered fresh protests worldwide. In London, more than 150 people gathered outside the Irish Embassy holding posters bearing slogans such as ‘I am not a vessel’ and ‘this brutality makes me ashamed to be Irish’. VoR's Natasha Moriarty hosts a discussion.

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