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Page last updated at 07:00 GMT, Monday, 26 January 2009
Today: Monday 26 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.

There are calls for ministers to help soften the blow of big job cuts at the steel-maker, Corus. Nearly 60 MPs say they will sign a Commons motion, urging the BBC to broadcast a charity appeal for the people of Gaza. And can fizzy drink makers play a role in the fight against obesity?

The government is facing criticism over its decision to reclassify cannabis as a Class B drug, from Class C, while introducing on the spot fines for possession in England and Wales. Magistrates say this will send a mixed message on drugs. John Fassenfelt, from the Magistrates Association, discusses how the decision to reclassify the drug to a Class B has been welcomed by the Association.

The world's big charities say they want to broadcast an appeal on radio and television to help the people of Gaza because of the suffering there following the attack by Israel. The BBC is refusing to do so. Chris Gunness of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees describes the suffering in Gaza.

Today's papers.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

Southern African leaders will meet in Pretoria this morning, for another attempt to break the political deadlock in Zimbabwe, which is suffering a worsening humanitarian crisis. Robert Mugabe and the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, have not been able to agree on the composition of a power-sharing government, since signing a deal last September. Correspondent Jonah Fisher reports on how one woman has grown so frustrated with the lack of action on the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe that she has decided to take matters into her own hands.

Sri Lankan forces captured the Tamil Tigers' last major stronghold on Sunday, confining the rebels to a narrow slice of jungle and ending their decade-long domination of the country's north. Suren Surendiran, of the British Tamils Forum, says that after 61 years the Sri Lankan government has not achieved any political gain with the Tamil people.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

Thousands of workers at steel giant Corus are expected to be told that they face redundancy following a huge downturn in demand and a slump in orders. Business Editor Robert Peston discusses how Corus will cut 3,500 jobs worldwide, including more than 2,500 in the UK. Rotherham MP Denis MacShane explains what the impact will be.

Today's papers.

The government will announce a shortlist of proposed schemes to harness renewable energy from the tides of the Severn estuary. Options to build a barrage across the Severn are likely to be among five projects which will be selected from a list of 10 examined over the past six months. Correspondent Wyre Davis reports from the estuary.

Thought for the day with the Canon David Winter.

Complaints are to be made to the police and House of Lords authorities, calling for criminal and Parliamentary inquiries into claims that four Labour peers were ready to take cash to change legislation. Hugh Colver, a public affairs consultant involved in lobbying, and the Labour peer Baroness Kennedy, discuss the world of lobbying.

The BBC is coming under fire from religious leaders, politicians, the charity sector and viewers and listeners over its decision not to broadcast an appeal for aid to Gaza by the Disasters Emergency Committee. The corporation says it is worried that aid raised might not be delivered on the ground - and it is also concerned that broadcasting the appeal could give the impression that the BBC is taking sides and damage its reputation for impartiality. Mark Thompson, director general of the BBC, explains the decision not to broadcast the appeal.

The two candidates to lead the Metropolitan Police face final interviews with the home secretary and London mayor. Andrew Gimson of the Daily Telegraph and John Purcell of executive head-hunters Purcell & Company discuss who is likely to succeed Sir Ian Blair as head of the Metropolitan Police.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

Steelmaker Corus is expected to confirm around 2,500 job losses at its plants in Britain. The Indian-owned company is also thought to have been holding talks with the government about getting funding to retrain some staff. North of England Correspondent Chris Buckler discusses the downturn in the demand for steel.

Magistrates have welcomed the reclassification from a Class C to a Class B drug, but say that planned fines for possessing small amounts undermine the more serious classification. A "three strikes" system for cannabis possession is proposed; starting with a warning, then an 80 spot fine for a second offence. Home Office Minister Alan Campbell says cannabis has been reclassified to protect the public and future generations.

Can corporations who make "unhealthy food" do more to help tackle the global obesity pandemic? More than a billion adults are overweight, 300 million of whom are obese. According to the Centre on Global Change at UCL, there are now more overweight people in the world than undernourished, who number around 600 million. Dr Derek Yach from Pepsico and Dr Geoff Rayner from Brunel University, discuss whether unhealthy food can be better regulated.

In 2000 the Welsh Assembly voted to keep Wales a GM free zone. But one farmer says he has defied the Assembly's declaration by secretly planting and harvesting genetically modified maize on his own land. Farmer Jonathan Harrington explains why he planted the GM crops while Dr Brian John of GM Free Cymru says the move is irresponsible.

Former head of the Charities Commission Geraldine Peacock and Daniel Hannan, of the Daily Telegraph, discuss the BBC's decision not to broadcast the DEC charity appeal for aid to Gaza.


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