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Page last updated at 06:47 GMT, Tuesday, 21 October 2008 07:47 UK
Today: Tuesday 21 October 2008

PLEASE NOTE: We are unable to offer transcripts for our programme interviews. Today is broadcast live and the running order is subject to change.

A new report says the gap between rich and poor in the UK has narrowed but it is still one of the biggest in the developed world. Five people have been killed in a crash on the M6 in Cheshire. And India and Pakistan are allowing some trade across their border in Kashmir for the first time in more than 60 years.

Despite a vast majority of the UK being richer than 10 years ago, the gap between rich and poor was widening. A report by the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD) now says that the gap has narrowed. Mark Pearson, who wrote the report for the OECD, says this has been due to a large rise in employment and social spending.

The Taleban say they murdered the aid worker Gayle Williams in Afghanistan because she was trying to spread Christianity. Jason Burke, senior foreign correspondent of the Observer, says this is not the first time Christians have been targeted.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

The government is reconsidering its plan to offer flexible working to all parents with children under the age of 16. Downing Street says Business Secretary Lord Mandelson is looking at "all regulations due to come into force" given the economic uncertainty. Sarah Veale, head of equality and employment rights at the TUC, says there is a worry that the government is too sympathetic to small business.

The real level of UK government debt is 1,854bn - three times greater than the official figures, equivalent to 126.9% of GDP, or 75,984 for every household in the country, Brooks Newmark MP. In his report for the Centre for Policy Research he says that people should know that the prime minister is "being very economical with the truth".

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

The Arcadia Group, the retail empire including BHS and Topshop, is to release full year results. Chief Executive Sir Philip Green discusses whether there is an immediate prospect of him buying assets owned by Baugur, the Icelandic owner of a number of high street chains.

After years of decline and closure of science departments, significant increases in students are being reported in 2008-2009 on chemistry, physics and maths courses. Professor David Eastwood, chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), says there is still a lot more work to be done.

Today's papers.

What does the way you dance say about you? The ability to dance is attractive to a potential partner, and it can be proved, researchers at Hertfordshire University say. Science correspondent Tom Feilden puts his dancing genes to the test.

Thought for the day with Akhandadhi Das, A Vaishnav Hindu teacher and theologian.

A raft of measures to help small businesses is to be launched by the government, as both Labour and the Tories vie to offer help to small business. Secretary for Innovation, Universities and Skills John Denham discusses his plans to make sure that small enterprises survive and prosper in the current economic downturn.

In a letter to the Times, financier Nathaniel Rothschild says that George Osborne discussed a donation from the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. The Conservatives strongly deny any such conversations took place. Robert Peston and Nick Robinson explain the story.

The gap between rich and poor in the UK has narrowed but it is still one of the biggest in the developed world, the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD) says. Dr David Halpern, of Cambridge University, discusses how inequality is being tackled.

Comedy and satire have become running themes of the US presidential election. Tina Fey's impersonations of vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live are catching the public's imagination. Larry Charles, a writer of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, and most recently the film Religulous, joins former London Editor of Time Magazine Jeff McAlister to discuss why it is that Palin's imposter is so funny.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

In the current economic situation, the Liberal Democrats have drawn praise for their approach. Many have applauded the work of economic spokesman Vince Cable, but this has not translated into support in the polls. Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg discusses whether the party has lost its voice.

India and Pakistan are allowing some trade across their border in Kashmir for the first time in more than 60 years. The Line of Control divides Kashmir into Indian and Pakistani-administered areas. Correspondent Chris Morris reports from Srinagar.

Pat Kavanagh, who died yesterday at the age of 68, was one of the world's foremost literary agents. For decades she guided and inspired writers such as Ruth Rendell, Margaret Drabble, Robert Harris, Joanna Trollope, Andrew Motion, Clive James, and Wendy Cope. They all displayed fierce loyalty to her, because of the spirit and tenacity she displayed on behalf of them. Author Robert Harris explains how she inspired him.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

How will the prospect of a recession impact on what we watch on TV? Peter Bazalgette, former head of Endemol UK, discusses whether the cult of celebrity on television has any chance of subsiding.



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