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Page last updated at 07:27 GMT, Monday, 15 February 2010
Today: Monday 15th February

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Nato forces involved in Operation Moshtarak have suspended use of a rocket system which killed 12 Afghan civilians. A survey of employers has found that a quarter are planning to cut jobs, despite the end of the recession. And remembering the author Dick Francis, who has died aged 89.

David Cameron is to set out Tory plans to let public sector workers take control of the organisations they work for. The government must act more quickly to cut UK's huge budget deficit, according to a group of 20 economists. In a letter to the Sunday Times, the experts say the lack of a credible plan threatens to push up interest rates and undermine the recovery. Shadow Chancellor George Osborne discusses how the government plans to halve the overall budget deficit by 2013/14.

The business news with Adam Shaw.

Regular listeners may remember a series of reports we ran a little over a year ago on the decline of funding for "blue skies" research - the kind of 'big ideas' that may have no immediate practical application, but which drive whole areas of science forward. University College London was so concerned it launched a new research prize to find and support the Einsteins and Hawkings of the future. Well, the first of those investments is about to bear fruit, and as our science correspondent Tom Feilden reports, the result is nothing short of a new theory for the origin of life on earth.

As allied efforts to clear Helmand province of Taliban have stepped up over the weekend, territory appears to have been won relatively easily and the Afghan flag has been raised. But what will happen to the Taliban? Can they ever really be "eradicated"? Zuhra Bahman from the War Studies Department at Kings College outlines her view that the Taliban will just move elsewhere, as they've done in the past.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

The government is running an advertising campaign from today to make young people aware of the potential for abuse in teenage relationships. It follows research by the children's charity the NSPCC which suggests that a third of teenage girls are forced into having sex and a quarter of them have been attacked by their boyfriends. Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos discusses how raising awareness includes empowering both boys and girls and helping them recognise abusive behaviour.

Pope Benedict is to meet Irish bishops in the Vatican today to discuss the action to be taken over a series of child abuse scandals that have damaged the Catholic Church in Ireland. Deputy editor of the Irish Catholic weekly newspaper John Kelly analyses whether the meeting can draw a line under the issue, and how Pope Benedict's approach differs from that of his predecessor.

The paper review.

The Winter Olympics have not got off to a good start. A Georgian contestant died and on a luge course, about which other contestants had already complained they felt "like crash test dummies". The warm weather and lack of snow has affected all the schedules. The local residents are now complaining about their civil liberties, which they clam have been severely restricted by the security. Correspondent James Pearce examines fears over the track's safety and gives a flavour of the the atmosphere in Vancouver.

Thought for the day with Reverend Dr David Wilkinson, Principal of St John's College, Durham.

Finance ministers for the 16 eurozone countries are meeting tonight ahead of a full Ecofin meeting tomorrow that will try to craft a plan to prevent the crisis in Greece spreading across the entire euro zone. The Chancellor Alistair Darling discusses how far the EU should go to help Greece out of its difficulties.

Day three of the Moshtarak campaign in Helmand, southern Afghanistan. Nato has confirmed that two rockets fired at militants over the weekend missed their target and killed 12 civilians. The rockets struck a house in Marjah as thousands of Nato troops continued their operations to oust the Taliban. Helmand Correspondent Ian Pannell and Chief of the Defence Staff, Sir Jock Stirrup examine if the Taliban have fled elsewhere, or melted back into the local population?

Writer Dick Francis, famous for his horse racing-based crime novels, has died aged 89. Francis, who wrote more than 40 best-selling books during his career, was also champion jockey in the 1950s. Former jump jockey John Francome and the thriller writer Frederick Forsyth discuss how Francis embarked on his career as a writer after being involved in one of the most extraordinary events in the history of the Grand National.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

Another week of turmoil is expected on bond and currency markets over so-called PIIG (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain) fear. Eurozone finance ministers are meeting tonight and all the EU's 27 finance ministers will be at an Ecofin meeting on Tuesday where perhaps a more detailed bail out plan will be outlined. Director of the Centre for European Reform, Charles Grant and Hugh Hendry of Eclectica Asset Management debate whether we are witnessing the end of the dream of a European single currency.

The business news with Adam Shaw.

The joint Nato/Afghan offensive currently underway in Helmand is being seen as a crucial test of President Obama's strategy to send more troops and more resources to help rebuild the country. North American Editor Mark Mardell reports on the operation is being seen in Washington.

The National Trust promised last year that by 2012 it would create 1,000 'super allotments' at stately homes and other properties around the country to allow people to do their own planting on the land. The scheme has been so successful, with over 300 plots already set up, that the Trust is now looking at community-run farms. Correspondent Louise Hubball reports from Killerton estate in Devon, home of the largest National Trust 'super allotment'.

A new book examines the involvement of Jan Smuts in the Paris Peace Conference on 1919. It suggests that if the South African statesman had been listened to, World War Two could have been avoided. Professor Anthony Lentin, author of General Smuts and Dr David Watson, who has written about the French president Georges Clemenceau, debate whether war could have been avoided.

The way children are taught is now so "formulaic and mechanised" that its time for another great debate on education, similar to that started by James Callaghan 30 years ago. That is the view of the master of Wellington College, Anthony Seldon. He'll be proposing the idea at a debate on education at the British Library tonight. Anthony Seldon and Peter Hyman, a former strategist for Tony Blair, and now deputy head at comprehensive in London, debate whether the National Curriculum should be scrapped.



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