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BBC TwoNewsnight
Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 November 2006, 16:53 GMT
Wednesday, 22 November, 2006
By Robert Morgan
Producer, BBC Newsnight

The coffin and a poster of assassinated Christian politician Pierre Gemayel are carried towards the family home in Bikfaya

Presented by Jeremy Paxman

LEBANON

Lebanon has begun three days of official mourning for the cabinet minister assassinated in Beirut yesterday.

Pierre Gemayel, who was ambushed in his car, is the fifth anti-Syrian Lebanese politician to be killed in the past two years.

There's been international condemnation of the murder. Syria has denied any involvement.

Our man Tim Whewell is in Pierre Gemayel's home village where his body is lying in state. There were riots there last night.

He's managed to get some strong interviews with Mr Gemayel's father and the UN chief for Lebanon.

We are chasing an interview with someone from the Syrian Government to follow this report.

IRAQ

The Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, has said British forces could hand over security in the southern province of Basra to the Iraqi government next year.

Speaking in the Commons, Mrs Beckett said progress there meant that a handover may be possible in the Spring.

Our Political Editor, Martha Kearney, will be examining the significance of this announcement.

DUTCH ELECTIONS

Dutch voters cast ballots in a general election today with polls predicting the centre-right party of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende will emerge with the most seats tonight.

The party founded by the murdered far Right politician Pim Fortuyn is expected to be wiped out in the Dutch general election - but not because voters have rejected his anti-immigrant message.

Instead, an uncompromising approach towards immigration has become the new orthodoxy in a country known for its tolerant social attitudes.

The first burqa ban in Europe could become law if Mr Balkenende gets back in power. Peter Marshall will be there.

CONSERVATIVES

The Conservatives are being urged to abandon Winston Churchill - and embrace social commentators like Polly Toynbee.

An internal party report says the Tories have ignored the issue of poverty, and need to address the gap between rich and poor.

It urges the party to ditch what it says is the "outdated" approach to welfare in place since Churchill was Prime Minister, and listen to newspaper columnists like Polly Toynbee.

We'll be discussing this with - surprise, surprise - Polly Toynbee, Greg Clarke, who wrote the Conservative paper, and a government minister.

STEPHEN KING

The novels of the American writer Stephen King were responsible for two of the most terrifying scenes in modern cinema: Jack Nicholson breaking through a door with an axe in The Shining and Kathy Bates shattering a manıs legs with a mallet in Misery.

But - after selling 350 million copies of his horror and suspense books - the author's latest work draws on a series of events which almost broke him. We've got a rare interview with Stephen King during his visit to London.

SEE ALSO
Crowds mourn Lebanon politician
22 Nov 06 |  Middle East
UK may transfer Basra 'in spring'
22 Nov 06 |  UK Politics


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