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Page last updated at 06:12 GMT, Friday, 24 April 2009 07:12 UK
Today: Friday 24 April 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.

Latest GDP figures are set to show the UK economy again shrank sharply in the first three month of 2009. The US and Russia are beginning their first nuclear arms reduction talks for more than a decade. And Conservative leader David Cameron explains what a Tory government would do to fix the nation's finances.


Companies would be forced to publish the difference between top directors' pay and the average wages earned by the lowest paid 10% of their workforce, under legislation being proposed in the House of Lords. Lord Taverne, a supporter of the bill, and Miles Templeton, the director general of the Institute of Directors, discuss the proposals.


Why are there so few women in the field of science and technology? Brain expert Baroness Susan Greenfield is to give a speech at a technology conference about the problem. She discusses if it comes down to different ways men and women approach problems.

Business news with Nick Cosgrove.


Traditional fruit orchards are vanishing from England's landscape - with serious consequences for wildlife, conservationists have warned. Correspondent Jon Kay reports from the West Country on if there is a "real danger of losing these unique habitats".


Boys are being put off art and design because the exams concentrate so much on drawing and painting rather than sculpture and design, a report by Ofsted suggests. Miriam Rosen, director of education at Ofsted, discusses why 60% of the pupils taking art GCSE are girls.

Sports news with Arlo White.


The UN is sending a team to Sri Lanka to monitor what is happening to the thousands of refugees who have been caught up in the fighting between the Tamil Tigers and Sri Lankan government forces. Reporter Zubeida Malik speaks to some of the Tamils who have been protesting outside Parliament. UN spokesman Gordon Weiss discusses how the UN can help Sri Lanka.

Today's papers.


Two sets of talks between the ANC and the whites-only regime in South Africa took place in the UK toward the end of apartheid. British businessman Michael Young, who organised the meetings, tells the remarkable story of the secret negotiations back in 1985.

Thought for the day with the writer Rhidian Brook.


Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is investing heavily in stem cell research for the first time. Reporter Angus Stickler speaks to Ruth McKernan, of Pfizer, about a therapy which could cure one of the most common forms of blindness in older people. Professor Pete Coffey, of University College London, discusses what this says about the future of stem cell research.


It is expected that the UK's gross domestic product (GDP) will fall by 1.5% in the first three months of 2009. Conservative leader David Cameron explains what a Tory government would do to fix the nation's finances. Former Tory MP Michael Portillo explains how the political game has changed in recent times.


The Slow Down London Festival - a series of events aimed at slowing down the capital's hectic lifestyle - is to begin with very slow walk across Waterloo Bridge during the afternoon rush hour. Harry Eyres, of the Financial Times, and the writer Toby Young, discuss if life is better in the slow lane.

Sports news with Arlo White.


Negotiators from the US and Russia will take the first steps towards a new treaty to agree a reduction in nuclear arms. Yuri Fedotov, Russia's ambassador in London, discusses if he is confident that a deal can be reached.


The Internet Watch Foundation - an organisation dedicated to blocking abusive images of children on the internet - acquired a Big Brother image when it blacklisted a page on the internet encyclopaedia Wikipedia. Technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones reports on the work it is doing to help stop child abuse as it tries to shake off the negative publicity.

Business news with Nick Cosgrove.


The ruling African National Congress party has so far received just under 67% of the vote in the South African elections - with more than 12 million votes counted. Alec Russell, of the Financial Times, and Peter Hain, former minister for Africa, discuss the elections which will now almost certainly lead to ANC leader Jacob Zuma becoming president.


Essex County Council is setting up its own bank to help small businesses. Stephen Castle, a Tory member of the council, discusses why he believes normal banks are not offering firms the correct level of financial support.


Joseph Nicolosi, a psychologist who believes he can "cure" homosexuality, claims being gay is the result of a problem in childhood and can be treated with therapy. He and the Reverend Sharon Ferguson, chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, discuss what it means to be gay.



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