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Page last updated at 06:07 GMT, Monday, 2 November 2009
Today: Saturday 31st October

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 former UK chief drugs adviser has predicted that some of his colleagues will resign after he was forced to quit for criticising government policy. And Somali pirates holding a British couple hostage are demanding a ransom of more than £4m.


The UK's chief drugs adviser has said there will be resignations after he was forced to quit for criticising government policy. Professor David Nutt recently criticised the decision to reclassify cannabis to Class B from C, saying that some Class A drugs such as LSD and ecstasy were less harmful than alcohol and cigarettes. Home Secretary Alan Johnson said the scientific independence of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs was undermined by Prof Nutt's comments. Home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw discusses the sacking.


The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has announced two more strike days for Friday 6 and Monday 9 November after failing to reach a deal in talks. Unlike the current strikes, which have involved members in different roles striking on different days, the two new dates will involve all be all-out strikes. Business correspondent Joe Lynam examines the latest talks.


A ransom demand has been made by Somali pirates holding a British couple hostage. Paul and Rachel Chandler were captured by gunmen in the Indian Ocean in the early hours of 23 October. The pirates are demanding $7m (£4.3m). Correspondent Will Ross examines whether the ransom will be paid.

The paper review.


Friday sittings in the House of Commons traditionally focus on backbench MPs' legislation, but this week the UK Youth Parliament took over the chamber. Parliamentary correspondent Mark D'Arcy reports on this unique and lively occasion.


Pakistan has been hit by another week of deadly violence, as the American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the country. Nearly a million British citizens of Pakistani heritage live in the UK, and many have family and friends living in the cities targeted by the suicide bombers. Reporter Zubeida Malik spoke to British Pakistanis about how the war is affecting them.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.


Six politicians from Northern Ireland will meet Libyan officials in Tripoli to ask for compensation for the victims of IRA violence. Colonel Gaddafi's regime provided the IRA with weapons and explosives during the Troubles. Democratic Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson, who will be joining the delegation, outlines the aims of the visit.

The paper review.


The 6th European Minority Song Contest will take place in the Netherlands tonight. It promotes contemporary new songs in minority languages, including Asturian, Sami, Frisian, Irish, Karelian, Latgalian, Occitan, Gaelic, Low German, Friulian and Sardinian. Omo Falkener, Organiser of this year's Liet International Festival which is hosting the contest and David Nicholson, from the band Sunrise Not Secular who will be competing tonight, comment on the competition's appeal.

Thought for the day with Canon David Winter.


US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet the Palestinian president and Israeli prime minister today. The US administration has called on Israel to ban all new settlements in occupied territory as part of renewed peace process attempts. Former Middle East adviser to Democratic and Republican presidents, Aaron David Miller, analyses the success of President Obama's Middle East policy.


Shadow chancellor George Osborne upset the City this week with his proposals for a severe curtailing of bankers' bonuses. He said that the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority should stop retail banks "paying out profits in significant cash bonuses - full stop." David Buick, senior strategist at brokers BGC Partners, and Sir James Sassoon, former UBS banker and Treasury adviser who is in now advising the Conservatives, consider Mr Osborne's relationship with the City, and its implications on future Tory election success.


Somali pirates who have kidnapped a couple from Kent have issued a ransom demand of $7m (£4.3m) in a call to the BBC. Paul and Rachel Chandler, from Tunbridge Wells, were taken hostage by gunmen in the Indian Ocean in the early hours of 23 October. Hostage negotiation expert Will Geddes, examines how likely it is the couple will be released.


A new edition of the Book of Genesis is causing a stir in some theological circles. It portrays the first book of the Bible in explicit comic-strip pictures drawn by underground comic illustrator, Robert Crumb. The book has been promoted as racy, and the front cover warns "adult supervision recommended for minors". Religious Affairs Correspondent Robert Pigott reports on its impact.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.


The government's chief drug adviser has been sacked after claiming cannabis, ecstasy and LSD are less dangerous than alcohol and cigarettes. Professor David Nutt, chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, responded by lashing out at the government's "Luddite" attitude to science. Professor Nutt, and the government's former chief scientific adviser Sir David King, discuss the relationship between the government and its advisers.

The paper review.


From midnight tonight Iceland will have no McDonalds' restaurants. The country's financial crisis has made it too expensive for the firm to operate its franchise, and will be closing its three outlets. Jon Garder Ogmundson, owner of Lyst which runs the franchises, comments on why the fast food giant has struggled in Iceland.


Teachers are undermining their own authority in the classroom by trying to be a "friend or mate" of their pupils, according to Frank Furedi, Professor of Sociology at University of Kent. In his new book, Wasted: Why Education Isn't Educating, Professor Furedi says that what is happening in our classrooms today reflects a wider problem with the authority of adults over children in our society. Professor Furedi and Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, debate the effectiveness of modern teaching methods.


The most senior British officer to be killed in Afghanistan Rupert Thorneloe, who commanded the 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards, had warned about the risks posed to his troops by a shortage of helicopters. It has emerged that Lt Col Thorneloe, killed by a roadside bomb in July, had written to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) warning that a lack of helicopters meant that too many trips were being made by road, leaving forces vulnerable to improvised explosive devices. The memos were leaked by an official to the Conservative MP and former officer Adam Holloway. Mr Holloway and Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, Chief of the Defence Staff, examine the quality of the MoD's resources.



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