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Page last updated at 07:17 GMT, Saturday, 17 October 2009 08:17 UK
Today: Saturday 17 October 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 tax affairs of 27 MPs are being investigated by HM Revenue and Customs, the department has confirmed. And the government will appeal against a court ruling that US documents detailing the alleged torture of an ex-UK resident can be released.


HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), have confirmed they are investigating the tax affairs of 27 MPs, following revelations from expenses claims. HMRC said it would not reveal the identities of the MPs involved or elaborate on what is being looked into. Political correspondent Adam Fleming explains the investigations.


SNP leader Alex Salmond is to outline details of his plan for the SNP to triple its representation at Westminster at the general election. Political correspondent Tim Reid reports from the party's conference in Inverness.

The paper review.


Legislation to provide compensation for people suffering from the asbestos-related condition, pleural plaques, has cleared the Commons. The Bill, put forward by Labour MP Andrew Dismore, will now be considered by the House of Lords. Parliamentary Correspondent, Mark D'Arcy, reports on Mr Dismore's year long fight for the legislation.


Ascension Island, a British territory that gained fame for its role in the Falklands War, is facing financial ruin because the Royal Air Force will not pay its tax bill. Ministers in London have been asked to intervene. Howard Peters, one of the island's seven councillors, discusses its financial predicament.

Sports news with Arlo White.


Zimbabwe's Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, has said his Movement for Democratic Change party (MDC), has "disengaged" from the unity government over the treatment of his senior aide. Roy Bennett was released after two days in prison, but Mr Tsvangirai says the deal that was struck between his MDC and Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF has to be re-examined. Alex Vines, head of the Africa programme at the foreign affairs institute Chatham House, examines the political deadlock.


Foreign secretary, David Milliband, is appealing against a High Court ruling that secret information detailing the alleged torture of an ex-UK resident can be released. Ethiopian-born Binyam Mohamed, 31, who spent four years in Guantanamo Bay, claims the documents show that he was subjected to torture at the request of the CIA before he was moved to the detention camp, and that the British security services were aware of his torture. Kurt Volker, former US ambassador to Nato, discusses the implications of the ruling for future intelligence relations.

The paper review.


A new book by French linguist Claude Hagege, explores the death of languages. 25 languages die each year, threatening centuries of oral history and tradition. Mr Hagege examines the cultural impact of languages being permanently lost.

Thought for the day with Brian Draper, associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.


It has been a bloody week in Pakistan, with attacks in Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Lahore, which is seen as the 'beating heart' of Pakistan. In 12 days, at least 160 people have been killed. Analysts and politicians of the country have warned it is teetering on the edge of collapse, but how do ordinary Pakistanis live with this escalation of violence and do they feel that their country is falling apart? Reporter Zubeida Malik, has been talking to three people from Lahore about the attacks on their city, and Victoria Schofield, a close friend of the former Prime Minister and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, comments on the continuing violence pounding the country.


The bonus culture seems to have returned to the banking sector, with news this week that employees at investment bank Goldman Sachs are receiving big bonus pay-outs. Rolling Stone magazine's political reporter this week called Goldman Sachs a "great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity." Anatole Kaletsky, associate editor of the Times, and Sir George Cox, former director general of the Institute of Directors, discuss whether banking culture will ever change in the aftermath of the banking collapse.


The report on primary education this week raises fundamental questions about how the system in England works. The report criticised the system for being too narrow, and that children should not start school until they are six. An example of where two systems have worked is in Wandsworth, south London. Wandsworth council has joined forces with the French Lycee Charles de Gaulle in London. Children are taught for part of the week in English with an English primary school teacher and the rest of the week in French, with a French teacher. Mark Wolstencroft, head of the Wix Primary School, and Paul Marie Blanchard of the Lycee, explain how the system works.


A ruling this week by the Court of Appeal is the first time a person exposed to asbestos as a child at school has managed to win compensation. The court upheld a judgement that 49 year-old Dianne Willmore had been negligently exposed to asbestos as a child at school. She died a day after the ruling was made. Michael Lees, the husband of a woman who died of an asbestos related disease nine years ago, comments on the implications of the landmark ruling.

Sports news with Arlo White.


The question of "super-injunctions" has been in the headlines after the oil trading company Trafigura obtained a court injunction, now discharged, to stop publication of an internal report on waste dumping which it said had been passed to the Guardian. The Guardian's editor, Alan Rusbridger, and the former Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith discuss the concept of "super-injunctions" and the right of Parliament to discuss matters freely.

The paper review.


Police in the American state of Indiana have reopened a 23 year-old murder enquiry after a novelist wrote about the case. Author Thomas Crowell spent three years conducting his own amateur investigation into the cold case of Brandie Peltz, who was found strangled in a small farming community. The book's success has reopened old wounds. Reporter Jack Izzard examines the unsolved case.


An Anglo-Greek team of archaeologists have established the oldest planned city ever discovered. Pavlopetri as it is known, is submerged and covered by sand and salt in Greece. The town's existence has long been known, but underwater investigations have now established how just old it is: 5000 years old, dating back to the time of Homer's heroes. Dr Jon Henderson of the University of Nottingham, led the British part of the team.


An independent panel backed by the UN is announcing the results of the disputed presidential election in Afghanistan. The elections were riddled with allegations of vote fraud. The panel's decision could trigger a run-off election between President Hamid Karzai and his main challenger, Abdullah Adbullah. Associated Press reporter, Jason Straziuso, discusses the implications of a second presidential election on security in Afghanistan.


The subject of Robert Harris's new novel, Lustrum, is a debate which took place in the Roman Senate between Caesar, Cicero and Cato. Mr Harris believes that such ancient debates changed minds in a way which does not happen today. Mr Harris and veteran political commentator Anthony Howard comment on the influence of the modern political debate.


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