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Page last updated at 12:33 GMT, Friday, 22 January 2010

Unemployment explained

The sign on 'Dole Street', Bradford
More or Less
Friday, 22 January 2010
BBC Radio 4, 1330 GMT

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Unemployment figures were published this week and, to everyone's surprise, they were down (unless you live in Scotland, in which case they were up).

What's going on?

Arguments over the statistics have been breaking out across the airwaves.

More or Less picks over the data.

Libel and science

Simon Singh
The science writer Simon Singh's case goes to the Court of Appeal next month.

On Tuesday, the justice secretary, Jack Straw, published a consultation paper exploring ways to reduce what lawyers can charge if they win a libel case on a no win, no fee basis.

A big head of steam has built up behind the idea of changing the way libel works in England and Wales.

And many of those chucking coal in the boiler have been scientists and science journalists.

But shouldn't libel law treat scientists like anyone else?

How old is old?

Last week Harriet Harman floated the idea of abolishing compulsory retirement at the age of 65.

Gurning lady
Is age just a number?

Our veteran reporter Chris Bowlby has been meditating on age and the sharp dividing lines we draw between child and adult, or pensioners and non-pensioners - asking why some numbers seem to have such power.

The war of numbers

Winston Churchill once said: "When I call for statistics about the rate of infant mortality, what I want is proof that fewer babies died when I was Prime Minister than when anyone else was Prime Minister."

The BBC's home editor Mark Easton explores the long history of the political statistic.

BBC Radio 4's More or Less was broadcast on Friday, 22 January 2010 at 1330 GMT and is repeated on Sunday, 24 January at 2000 GMT.

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