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27/05/2015

Morning news and current affairs. Including Sports Desk, Weather and Thought for the Day.

3 hours

Last on

Wed 27 May 2015 06:00

Running order

Running order

0650

A new article published in this week’s British Medical Journal by psychiatrist James Rucker argues that psychedelic drugs such as LSD are much less harmful than claimed and should be legally reclassified to allow further research on their medical use. Most psychedelics are classified as ‘Schedule 1 Class A’, which means that they are more legally restricted than heroin and cocaine, even though no evidence indicates that psychedelic drugs are habit forming; little evidence indicates that they are harmful in controlled settings; and much historical evidence shows that they could have use in common psychiatric disorders. DR ROBIN CARHART-HARRIS is a Research Associate at the Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London

0710

A combined military campaign is underway to drive Islamic State militants out of the western province of Anbar. A Pentagon spokesman said that as a first stage, probing operations were taking place close to the occupied city of Ramadi. But he declined to confirm a Shia militia group's assertion that the city was already surrounded by pro-government forces.  And the US spokesman criticised as "unhelpful" the militia's decision to name the operation after a grandson of the Prophet Mohammad who's particularly revered by Shia Muslims. Pro-government forces in Iraq have begun an operation to drive the Islamic State group out of Anbar province. Dr KALEV SEPP is a former US defence official.

0715

The Queen will deliver her 62nd Queen’s Speech today, setting out the first all-Conservative legislative programme in almost 20 years and getting the ball rolling for the 5 years of parliamentary business ahead. One Nation Conservatism - apprenticeships, childcare, tax cuts for low income earners and action on coasting schools - will be taking centre stage, but it might well be other matters that dominate the parliament. SIR MATTHEW THORPE is former Lord Justice on the Court of Appeal and Head of International Family Justice for England and Wales.

0720

Should children learn birdsong alongside French and German? According to ornithologist and musician Brian Briggs - if birdsong was taught in our schools we would have a new generation of wilder children who are more in tune with nature. We'll discuss this later in the programme but, first, we sent our reporter Sima Kotecha to Regents Park in London to ask people which bird songs they know.

0730

After the pomp and ceremony of this morning's Queen's Speech, parliament will get down to business this afternoon with the first debates on the content of the government's legislative plan. The third biggest force in the House of Commons is now the SNP - 56 MPs - most prominent amongst them the former First Minister of Scotland ALEX SALMOND, now back at Westminster as the MP for Gordon.

0750

Has the last human trekked to the North Pole?  In the last five years, only one unsupported, unassisted expedition has completed the journey to the North Pole, compared to seven from 2005 to 2010.  Thinning Arctic ice caused by climate change and lack of air support is forcing an end to expeditions this year -and possibly forever, according to an article in the National Geographic.  SARA WHEELER is a writer who has spent a lot of time in both polar regions, including a journey across the Arctic Ocean in a Russian icebreaker.

0810

The Queen will deliver her 62nd Queen’s Speech today, setting out the first all-Conservative legislative programme in almost 20 years and getting the ball rolling for the 5 years of parliamentary business ahead. One Nation Conservatism - apprenticeships, childcare, tax cuts for low income earners and action on coasting schools - will be taking centre stage, but it might well be other matters that dominate the parliament. LIZ TRUSS is the Environment Secretary.

0820

Should children learn birdsong alongside French and German? According to ornithologist and musician Brian Briggs - if birdsong was taught in our schools we would have a new generation of wilder children who are more in tune with nature. BRIAN BRIGGS is the frontman of Stornoway and doctor of ornithology. VIOLA ROSS-SMITH is from the British Trust for Ornithology.

0835

We know Labour's position on some of the expected content of the Queen's Speech already - it won't for example vote against the EU referendum bill - that's been confirmed by acting leader Harriet Harman. The party's reduced parliamentary strength will limit its scope to effectively oppose the government's plans but the shadow Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer has been vocal in recent days on the Human Rights Act. LORD FALCONER is the shadow Lord Chancellor.

0850

Various constitutional reforms are expected in the Queen’s speech later today. Could the Government run into difficulties trying to pass these measures? The Conservatives have a slim majority of twelve in the Commons and they are outnumbered in the Lords. Could they get bogged down wasting valuable legislative time, to the detriment of more voter friendly policies such as extending the right to buy and increasingly the numbers of hours of free child care for 3 to 4 year olds? Dr ANDREW BLICK is lecturer in Politics, King's College, London. Prof MEG RUSSELL is Deputy Director, Constitution Unit, University College London.

All subject to change.

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