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Page last updated at 07:05 GMT, Friday, 23 January 2009
Today: Friday 23 January 2009

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

Prime Minister Gordon Brown gives his response to official figures likely to confirm that the UK economy slipped into recession at the end of last year. And should mothers be offered cash rewards for not smoking during pregnancy?

The UK is expected to receive its worst output figures since 1990 later - and official confirmation the country is in a recession. Nouriel Roubini, professor of economics at the Stern School of Business at New York University, discusses fears about the fate of the economy.

Could there be an end in sight to the civil war in Sri Lanka? Correspondent Zubeida Malik reports on recent advances made by the Sri Lankan government into areas that had been under Tamil Tiger control.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

Police in London are using a risk assessment form to prevent "black music" from being performed live, musicians claim. Feargal Sharkey, chief executive of UK Music, discusses if form 696 is unfair to certain genres of performance.

The first ever sea rescue using wireless technology took place 100 years ago. David Barlow, a Marconi historian from the Radio Officers' Association, explains what happened off Cape Cod, Massachusetts a century ago.

Sports news with Rob Nothman.

Figures showing those out of work have risen to nearly two million and many predict it will rise to more than three million. Reporter Sanchia Berg looks back at similarly bleak economic conditions in the early 1980s and went to talk to three family members who were all made redundant on the same day in 1980.

Today's papers.

Pregnant women in North East Essex will be offered 100 worth of Co-op food vouchers to stop smoking. Professor Richard Parish, of the Royal Society of Public Health, discusses if a financial incentive will provide the stimulation to give up smoking.

Thought for the day with the Right Reverend Lord Harries of Pentregarth.

Sir John Holmes, the top UN official responsible for emergency relief and humanitarian affairs, is in Gaza to assess what needs to be done there. He discusses the nature and extent of the destruction in Gaza.

The UK economy went into recession at the end of last year, official figures are likely to confirm. Prime Minister Gordon Brown discusses what more the government is doing to alleviate pressure on small businesses and families. When being asked about "boom and bust", he says the current situation is "totally different from inflation-led problems of the past".

Sports news with Rob Nothman.

Gen Laurent Nkunda, leader of the largest rebel group in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, has been arrested, the military says. Correspondent Mike Thomson reports on General Nkunda's detention in Rwanda after resisting a joint Rwandan-Congolese operation to capture him.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

Did Israel engage in "the illegal use of munitions against civilian population, including white phosphorus shells" in Gaza? Correspondent Aleem Maqbool considers Haaretz's, a liberal Israeli newspaper, declarations that "Israel needs to ask itself what was done in its name in Gaza". Israeli Yigal Palmour says an independent, professional investigation must establish the truth of claims concerning the illegal use of white phosphorus.

It is hoped about 500,000 people across the UK will spend an hour watching birds in their gardens or local parks as part of The Big Garden Birdwatch. Evan Davis visits Brent Reservoir in North London to be introduced to the activity by a pair of avid birdwatchers.

The 200th birthday of former Prime Minister William Gladstone, praised for his attitude to the Muslim world, will be marked with the opening of an Islamic reading room at the library he established near his home in North Wales. Gladstone's great grandson Christopher Parish and Professor Richard Aldous, head of history at University College Dublin, discuss the prime minister's view of Islam.


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