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Page last updated at 06:10 GMT, Wednesday, 27 May 2009 07:10 UK
Today: Wednesday 27 May 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.

The UK government has "not ruled out making a financial contribution" to help secure the future of carmaker Vauxhall, Lord Mandelson has said. And North Korea has warned of a military response after South Korea joined an anti-proliferation exercise which could allow it to search the North's ships.


Forty-four new cases of swine flu have been diagnosed at a Birmingham primary school, taking the UK total to 184, health chiefs have said. Dr Sue Ibbotson, regional director of the Health Protection Agency in the West Midlands, discusses how those who have the virus are responding to treatment.

'Star chamber' begins its work


Revenue officials are investigating whether MPs have broken the law by not paying tax after claiming personal accounting costs on expenses, the BBC understands. David Gardner, a former assistant general secretary of the Labour Party, discusses a Labour committee set up to look into the expenses scandal.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

North Korea 'is abandoning truce'


What is the future of North Korea's leadership? John Everard, former UK ambassador to North Korea, discusses the significance of reports that North Korea is abandoning its truce with South Korea and who might succeed current leader Kim Jong Il - who is reported to be suffering ill health.


Relaxation and breathing techniques do not reduce the need for an epidural during childbirth, a study suggests. Co-author of the report Malin Bergstroem and Belinda Phipps, of the Natural Childbirth Trust, discuss the best ways of coping with pain during childbirth.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.


Around three million homes in the UK have broadband speeds of less than two megabits per second (2Mbps), according to research commissioned by the BBC. Technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones visits Alston in Cumbria, where the community is digging up the roads and laying fibre optic cables to get fast broadband. Anthony Walker, of the Broadband Stakeholder Group, discusses why 15% of UK households still have bandwidths less than government targets.

Today's papers.


Conservative leader David Cameron has called for a "shake up of power" and parliamentary reform but how should it be changed? Scottish political editor Brian Taylor examines Scottish Parliament to discover the difference between the two systems.


Derek Paravicini was born prematurely and severely brain damaged. He is blind and cannot read Braille - let alone music - but he has an extraordinary musical talent. Reporter Sanchia Berg visits Bristol to meet the pianist who can play any music he has heard and can improvise brilliantly.

Thought for the day with Akhandadhi Vas, a Vaishnav Hindu teacher and theologian.


Scientists have finished sequencing the mouse genome after a 10-year effort. Dr Leo Goodstadt, of the Functional Genomics Unit at Oxford University, explains how this high-quality genome sequence will aid in the fight against human disease.


The German government will meet to choose a preferred bidder to take over the European arm of General Motors - which includes Vauxhall in the UK. North America business correspondent Greg Wood explains why GM's European units have to be sold. Sir Nicholas Scheele, former president of Ford, and Derek Simpson, joint general secretary of the union Unite, discuss if the UK government will help to secure the future of the carmaker.


At least 23 people have been killed after a car bomb destroyed a police station in Lahore, authorities in Pakistan say. Barbara Plett reports from Islamabad.


US trial lawyer Clarence Darrow, who was at his height in the 1920s, was the kind of flamboyant lawyer who turned cases by the sheer power of his oratory. Author Don McRae and lawyer John Cooper discuss the defence lawyer who, in a couple of years, was involved in three trials each called "the trial of the century".

Sports news with Garry Richardson.


North Korea says it no longer feels bound by the terms of the 1953 ceasefire which ended the Korean war. Correspondent John Sudworth reports from the South Korean capital Seoul. Author Max Hastings discusses the background of relations between North and South Korea.


In the Thames Corridor, the number of workers - mainly over the age of 45 - who are attending executive job clubs set up by the Age and Employment Network has nearly doubled during the economic downturn. Reporter Nicola Stanbridge visits a club in Newbury to discover how people feel about losing their jobs late in their careers.

Business news with Adam Shaw.


How would independence for Scotland work within the framework of the EU? SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond discusses his party's campaign in the European elections.


The resting pose of the diplodocus and other long-necked sauropod dinosaurs should be reshaped, findings suggest. Leader of the research Dr Mike Taylor, of Portsmouth University, discusses how he believes a dino-skeleton should be assembled.


The British and Irish Lions are in South Africa at the start of a Rugby Union tour with a long and legendary history. Willie John McBride, who captained the team in South Africa in 1974, discusses the task facing the side.


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