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Page last updated at 07:41 GMT, Thursday, 19 March 2009
Today: Thursday 19 March 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.

Many colleges in England are facing financial hardship due to mistakes made by the Learning and Skills Council, the government body that provides their funding. More than 100 projects have been delayed because they were approved despite insufficient funds.


The Competition Commission's report on the future of BAA's airports has concluded that it will need to sell Gatwick and Stansted - and either Glasgow or Edinburgh. Christopher Clarke, of the Competition Commission, and Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA, will examine the extent to which this will level the playing field when it comes to competition between the UK's airports.


The British actress Natasha Richardson has died after sustaining head injuries whilst on a skiing holiday in Canada. Peter McCabe, chief executive of Headway, discusses brain injuries.


Colleges in England are in chaos because of alleged mismanagement by the government body that funds them, the Learning and Skills Council. David Willetts, shadow secretary for innovation, universities and skills, looks at how such blunders could have been made.

Business news with Adam Shaw.


Media coverage of the Josef Fritzl case in the UK and in Austria has highlighted a huge difference in culture between the two countries. While members of the British press have criticised the Austrians' "lack of self-examination", the Austrians have been horrified by the level of intrusion by the UK's tabloids. Stefanie Marsh from the Times and Florian Klenk, of Austrian paper Falter, discuss the differing media responses and what they signify.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.


The Public Administration Select Committee has said it was "deeply disappointed" with the government's "shabby" response to the report into its handling of the problems at Equitable Life. The government has said that it will establish a limited ex gratia payment scheme for a number of policy holders, but Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abraham thinks an apology ought to be made and an independent tribunal should be set up to look into paying them compensation. Tony Wright, Chairman of the Public Administration Select Committee and Paul Braithwaite, general secretary of the Equitable Members Action Group discuss the furore.

Today's papers.


The National Trust has organised a debate that will ask if Britain has become indifferent to beauty. Philosopher Professor Roger Scruton argues that vandalism and litter in city centres prove that people are now indifferent, while design consultant Stephen Bayley says there is widespread evidence that this is not the case.

Thought for the day with Reverend Giles Fraser.


The government's chief scientific officer has warned that a "perfect storm" will occur in the year 2030, with simultaneous shortages of energy, food and fresh water devastating an over-populated planet. Professor John Beddington explains how he reached this conclusion and puts forward his solutions.


The body which decides further education funding in England has been accused of a mismanagement, which has left some colleges with demolished buildings and no funds to replace them. It emerged this month that the Learning and Skills Council has approved in principle building work at 79 colleges, with more in the pipeline, which the government cannot afford to fund. Correspondent Kim Catcheside reports on the errors that led to the chaos. Minister for Further Education Sion Simon says the government is urgently trying to find out how the situation arose.


Actress Natasha Richardson has died at the age of 45 after sustaining head injuries in a skiing accident. Reporter Michelle Robinson looks back at her life and her career.


The reversal of Sean Hodgson's murder conviction after 27 years in prison signalled the end of one of the longest miscarriages of justice in legal history. The police force which conducted the original investigation said it would reopen the case to try to find the owner of the new DNA profile, which saw Hodgson's conviction overturned. Chief Constable Peter Neyroud and Journalist Bob Woffinden discuss how the investigation can move forward.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.


Dr James Hansen from NASA has joined campaigners for action against climate change in London, stressing the importance of quick action to prevent disaster. Dr Hansen and Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, chief executive of the Medical Research Council, discuss whether scientists have an obligation to present people with the facts and remain impartial or are right to speak out on contentious issues such as climate change.


Unemployment rates have exceeded two million people in Britain for the first time in 12 years. Reporter Sanchia Berg travels to Swindon, one of the worst affected towns.


Blues music has seen an upsurge in popularity in the US. Correspondent Kevin Connolly discusses its enduring appeal with veteran Mississippi guitarist T-Model Ford.

Business news with Adam Shaw.


The Public Accounts Committee is to publish a report recommending a review of public funding for Trident. Decisions on Trident were made prior to the economic downturn, so changes may need to be made on the grounds of cost. Defence economist Professor Ron Smith and Commander John Muxworthy, chief executive of the National Defence Association, examine the implications for the country's security.



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