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Page last updated at 07:32 GMT, Thursday, 10 December 2009
Today: Thursday 10th December

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 Conservatives have criticised the chancellor for using his pre-Budget report to increase some benefits while planning to cut them after the election. And parliamentary officials are publishing more expenses claimed by MPs for their second homes.


The Conservatives have criticised the pre-Budget report for not tackling the budget deficit at a fast enough rate. The deficit is currently estimated to be £178m. Shadow chancellor George Osborne discusses his party's approach to the deficit.


Senior doctors are calling for an immediate end to the detention of children in immigration removal centres. The Royal Colleges of Paediatrics and Child Health, GPs and psychiatrists have all said detention of children and their families in the centres caused "significant harm" and should be ended without delay. Dr Nick Lessof, consultant paediatrician at the Homerton hospital in East London, outlines the effect of detaining children.


Multi-billion pound losses and public anger over bonuses are not the only thorny issues facing the Royal Bank of Scotland. After being rescued by the taxpayer, pressure is growing for the bank to put its extensive art collection on public display. It has been accused of failing to take proper care of some of the works in the collection. Arts correspondent, Razia Iqbal, went to Edinburgh to find out more.

Business news with Adam Shaw.


The emission of harmful gases into the atmosphere has been under-estimated, according to one of the world's leading climate research institutions. Scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in southern California will make their case at the Copenhagen climate summit today. Professor Ray Weiss, a geochemist and an expert on trace gases, reflects on their findings.

The sports news with Rob Bonnet.


How have bankers reacted to the chancellor's pre-Budget report? Alistair Darling announced that a "supertax" would be imposed on banker's bonuses over £25,000. The president of Barclays, Bob Diamond, last night gave a lecture stressing that banks understand the public anger towards them and are taking the steps recommended by regulators to improve their working methods and ethics. Today presenter Evan Davis spoke to bankers in the Square Mile.

The paper review.


As the Christmas party season begins, one decoration that engenders hope in some and fear in others, is mistletoe. The National Trust says mistletoe is just as good for wildlife as it is for breaking the ice. Environment correspondent Sarah Mukherjee reports from a traditional orchard near High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire.

Thought for the day with Lord Harries of Pentregarth, Gresham Professor of Divinity.


Attempts to introduce the use of intercept evidence in criminal courts are expected to be abandoned by the government. A review found that the use of such material, including telephone tapping and email interception, should not be used in court. Under current UK law, the evidence can be used only for intelligence purposes. Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, and Lord Carlile, who carried out the government's independent review of terrorism legislation, debate the use of intercept evidence.


The chancellor delivered his anticipated pre-Budget report yesterday in the midst of the worst peacetime fiscal crisis in this country's history. Behind Alistair Darling's calm words is borrowing amounting to £3000 for everyone this year and next year. The Treasury has estimated that the economy will permanently be five percent smaller than it anticipated when the chancellor made all his spending decisions two years ago. Mr Darling discusses his pre-Budget policies.


The Velvet Underground are seen for many as the most influential group of the 1960s. The band, which emerged from the New York art subculture led by Andy Warhol, has inspired countless teenagers to wear black, write morose lyrics and play guitar very loudly. A decade since the surviving members shared a stage together, three of them, minus Welsh founder member John Cale, have been speaking about their music and influence. Correspondent Matthew Price went along to listen to them.

The sports news with Rob Bonnet.


Further details about MPs' expenses have emerged. Correspondent Ross Hawkins reveals some of the latest disclosures about claims made by members of the Commons.

Business news with Adam Shaw.


The pre-Budget report confirmed the chancellor's earlier projections of enormous borrowing for the next few years. Laurence Mutkin, head of European Interest Rate strategy at investment bank Morgan Stanley, discusses the effect on government bonds and gilts and the Liberal Democrats' treasury spokesman, Vince Cable, analyses the report.


Most media organisations reported earlier his week that more than 100 people were killed in five bomb blasts in Baghdad. The official figures released were far lower, stoking suspicion that the government is playing down the current level of violence in the country. Natalya Antelava reports from Baghdad.


Chinese police are putting forward their case against Liu Xiaobo, one of the country's most prominent dissidents and pro-democracy activists. Mr Xiaobo is accused of "inciting subversion of state power," and has been held in a secret location for six months before being formally arrested and transferred to Beijing's Detention Center No.1 last June. China correspondent Quentin Sommerville outlines the case.


The first English whisky for more than a century is to be bottled today. After three years maturing in the St George's Distillery by the River Thet in Norfolk, the English whisky is finally ready to flow out to excited and curious drinkers around the world. Andrew Nelstrop, owner of the English Whisky Company, and Jim Murray, author of the Whisky Bible 2009, discuss how it compares to its rivals.


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