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Government advisers are calling for stricter rules on when police are allowed to take DNA from people they arrest. And the long-awaited inquiry into the Iraq War will begin public hearings today.
Backbench MPs must have greater independence from government, according to a report from the House of Commons Reform Committee. The report says the government has used procedural rules to stifle debate on some of the most important issues, including a change to the murder law and assisted dying. The Committee's chair, Tony Wright, discusses the report's recommendations.
Should young children ever be cross-examined in court? More than 1000 children under the age of 10 appeared in trials as witnesses, in England and Wales last year. The youngest child was four, the victim of a rape by the man convicted of causing the death of Baby Peter in Haringey, who gave evidence live via a video link. Reporter Angus Crawford spoke to a mother and a daughter about the trial process.
A notebook used by Charles Darwin in the Galapagos to record his observations, is thought to have been stolen. The findings led to the theory of evolution and On the Origin of Species, which was published 150 years ago. Annie Kemkaran-Smith, curator of Darwin's home in Kent, Down House, discusses the search for the notebook.
The rules regulating police DNA sampling should be changed, according the Human Genetics Commission (HGC). The independent body that advises the government suggests that it should no longer be routine for police to take the DNA of anyone who is arrested for a criminal record offence. Professor Jonathan Montgomery, chair of the HGC and Chris Fox, the former head of the Association of Chief Police Officers, debate the procedures.
The world's largest animal sacrifice, to celebrate the Hindu goddess Gadhimai, is underway in Nepal. The festival, which takes place every five years, is attended by hundreds of thousands of Indians, because animal sacrifice is banned in most other states. Animal rights activists are protesting against the slaughter, which they say has nothing to do with Hinduism. Correspondent Joanna Jolly reports from the festival.
Steven Barker, the man found guilty of causing the death of baby Peter in Haringey, is to appear in the court of appeal to try and overturn his conviction for the rape of a two year old girl. The child gave evidence, then aged four, at the trial via a video link and was cross examined by three barristers. She was the youngest witness ever to appear at the Old Bailey and child welfare groups expressed deep concerns. Paul Mendelle QC, Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association and Barbara Esam, a lawyer with the NSPCC, discuss whether young children should be cross-examined.
The inquiry into the legality of the Iraq war is to start hearing evident from senior government figures today. After four previous inquiries into different aspects of the war, Sir John Chilcot, the retired civil servant heading the inquiry has promised it will not be a whitewash. Security correspondent Gordon Corera outlines the aims of the inquiry. Lord Falconer, former Lord Chancellor and close friend of Tony Blair, and Michael Howard, leader of the opposition at the time of the war, debate the legality of the war.
A new comedy drama series about a group of disabled people marooned on a remote island for a reality TV show, is to begin on Channel 4 tonight. The mock documentary series, Cast Offs, promises to be controversial. Ash Atalla, producer of The Office and IT crowd, and actress Victoria Wright, discuss the programme.
An independent inquiry into the arrests of 12 men in anti-terrorism raids across North West England has identified serious failings by police. All the men were released without charge. Correspondent Nick Ravenscroft outlines the case, and Lord Carlile, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, discusses the inquiry's findings
Two men have been executed in China after being found guilty of involvement in the tainted milk powder scandal, which killed six children. Thousands of children became ill after drinking the milk which had been made with the industrial chemical melamine. Correspondent Michael Bristow reports from Beijing.
Actors spend their entire professional lives pretending to be other people. But what's going on in their brains while they are playing someone else? To find out, one leading actress. Fiona Shaw, volunteered to have a brain scan. The results form part of an exhibition opening this week at the Wellcome Collection in London devoted to the subject of identity: what makes us who we are, and how easy is to change our identity? Nick Higham reports from the exhibition.
Three of the country's leading science organisations join forces today to warn of the dangers of climate change. The Met Office, Royal Society and Natural Environment Research Council include evidence which has emerged since the last report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as they try to convince politicians of the urgent need for action ahead of Copenhagen. Professor Julia Slingo, chief scientist at the Met Office, discusses the climate change evidence.
The main party leaders have been setting out their visions of how to restore growth to the economy after the recession. A report by the left leaning pressure group Compass, criticises the policy of cutting public spending to curtail the recession. The group says gaps in public finances should instead be plugged by tax rises on the richest 10% of society. The report's author Richard Murphy, and a Conservative member of the Treasury Select Committee, Michael Fallon, debate the road to economic recovery.
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