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BBC TwoNewsnight
Last Updated: Thursday, 17 February 2005, 18:33 GMT
Newsnight 17 February, 2005
Kirsty Wark

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Wednesday's programme, presented by Kirsty Wark, covers the following stories:
Ireland arrests

Tonight's programme kicks off with the latest on the 2 million haul police made in Cork, along with seven arrests in the Republic. A definite connection with the Northern Ireland bank robbery has yet to be made but the senior Northern Ireland police officer investigating that robbery, Sam Kincaid, is in Eire tonight. Nothing is yet known about the identities of the people involved, but if the IRA is proved to be responsible for the robbery, what will that say about the influence, or otherwise, of Sinn Fein on the activities of the paramilitaries?

Bird flu

We'll also examine the virulence of Avian flu. The World Health Organisation is concerned that it could lead to a human flu pandemic and is likely to advise governments to consider stockpiling bird flu vaccines now, in preparation for a global outbreak. Are we ready for it?

Iraq elections

We now know the numbers from each party making up the new Iraqi assembly, and it is hoped that very quickly it will make the key appointments of President, two deputies and Prime Minister. Tonight we speak to the man widely tipped to be the new PM, Dr Ibrahim Al-Ja'faari.

Magnetic levitation trains

Also, imagine travelling by rail between London and Birmingham in 30 minutes. The cultural commentator Jonathan Meades has authored a film for Newsnight on magnetic levitation trains. The government's going to fund a study into investing in a "maglev" link which could take the strain out of travelling by train.

Newsnight is broadcast every weekday on BBC Two at 2230 in the UK.

Newsnight turned 25 on 30 January 2005, you can also visit our special anniversary website to find out more about the programme's history.

Magnetic levitation trains
Jonathan Meades reports on the high speed rail network that could change the face of Britain

Police seize Northern Bank notes
17 Feb 05 |  Northern Ireland
Bird flu cases 'underestimated'
17 Feb 05 |  Health
Shia majority for Iraq parliament
17 Feb 05 |  Middle East

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

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