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Page last updated at 07:33 GMT, Friday, 19 February 2010
Today: Friday 19th February

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Leading economists have signed two open letters backing the Chancellor's decision to delay government spending cuts until 2011. And the United Nations has made its biggest ever humanitarian appeal in response to the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake.

A man suspected of committing armed robbery at a Heathrow airport warehouse, Peter Blake, is on the run after being granted bail. The 57-year-old is one of four men standing trial over the £1.75m heist in 2004 and has been described as "dangerous" Legal affairs analyst Clive Coleman outlines the case.

The veteran Conservative MP Sir Nicholas Winterton has denounced plans to reduce first class train travel by MPs, telling the BBC he needs "quiet" and privacy to work while on board. The veteran Tory MP said there was a "totally different type of people" in standard class train carriages. Matthew Parris, columnist for The Times, comments on Sir Nicholas' remarks.

Concern is growing for victims of the Haiti earthquake left homeless and without sanitation as the rainy season begins. Pascal Fletcher, correspondent for Reuters, describes the situation in Port-au-Prince.

The business news with Nick Cosgrove.

An emergency conference on social care for the elderly is to take place today, chaired by Health Secretary for England Andy Burnham. The Conservatives, who broke off from private cross-party discussions last week, are not expected to attend. The conference will examine Scotland's social care system which boasts cross-party support. Prof Allyson Pollock, director of the Centre for international Public Health Policy at Edinburgh University, explains what can be learnt from Scotland's approach to social care.

Archaeologists are set to reveal the correct location of the Battle of Bosworth today after years of argument and debate over the exact field in which it was fought. Archaeologists believe they may have also identified the exact place where Richard III was killed by Henry Tudor's forces in August 1485, marking the decisive moment in the Wars of The Roses. Bob Walker reports from the site.

Sports news with Jon Myers.

Over the last year intermediaries have for the first time been widely used in English courts to help and support vulnerable witnesses, most of them children. Many in the criminal justice system have welcomed their arrival for enabling access to justice for the most vulnerable. But the Today programme has learned of one case where the parents of one especially vulnerable witness say the intermediary's actions led to their case being dropped. Sanchia Berg reports on the case.

The paper review.

The Today programme has been receiving regular updates from Major Richard Streatfeild who is serving with The Rifles in Helmand province in Afghanistan. Major Streatfeild, who is currently is back in England on leave, describes how he feels seeing his family and friends and visiting injured colleagues at Selly Oak military hospital.

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

More than 60 senior economists have backed the Chancellor's policy of delaying cuts in government spending until 2011. In letters to the Financial Times they warn that it would be "dangerous" for the fragile economic recovery to make cuts too soon. Their analysis is in contrast to other economists agreeing with the approach advocated by the Conservatives to cut public spending this year. Economist Lord Skidelsky and Lord Jones, formerly Digby Jones and a former trade minister and director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, debate the best approach to tackling the budget deficit.

A cross-party consensus on plans for a new high speed rail link between London and Birmingham have been stalled after the Conservatives declined an offer from the government to look at the White Paper containing details of the route. Rail consultant Christian Wolmar outlines the new route and the Conservative shadow transport secretary Theresa Villiers discusses her party's objections.

British author and poet Rudyard Kipling is known for his love of India, but his reputation in the country remains controversial. Plans for a museum commemorating Mr Kipling's Mumbai home have been shelved over concerns that it would be politically unpalatable, as he was a renowned imperialist, fierce opponent of independence and a chronicler of the British Raj. Andrew Lycett, Mr Kipling's biographer, and Aravind Adiga, and Indian journalist and author who won the 2008 Man Booker prize for his works The White Tiger, reflect on Mr Kipling's relationship with India.

Sports news with Jon Myers.

The United Nations has launched its biggest ever appeal in response to a natural disaster, saying it needs more than $1.4bn for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. The appeal comes as the UN's head of humanitarian affairs, John Holmes, criticised the relief effort. Correspondent Mike Thomson spoke to Mr Holmes about his criticisms of the relief for Haiti. Gareth Owen, emergency director at Save the Children comments on the relief effort.

Saleh al-Mutlaq, a Sunni candidate, has been banned from standing for prime minister in Iraq's upcoming elections because of his former Ba'ath Party connections with Saddam Hussein. His Shia Muslim rival who was prime minister until 2005, Ayad Allawi, says many of his supporters and candidates have been banned and imprisoned to ensure that he cannot win the election. Mr Allawi discusses whether a fair election can take place. 0845
The business news with Nick Cosgrove.

Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones is set to deliver his speech at the party's spring conference which began yesterday in Cardiff. The party faces the prospect of a potential hung parliament in the general election. Mr Jones lays out his party's policies and election ambitions.

A CORRECTION: Yesterday, in an interview with the Environment Secretary Hilary Benn on hunting, we suggested that the executive director of the League of Cruel Sports had argued that the Hunting Act had "failed on every level". We were referring to a former executive director of the League Against Cruel Sports. The League have asked us to clarify that his views are not those of the League Against Cruel Sports, who support the Hunting Act.

French MEP and former justice minister, Rachida Dati, is visiting Jack Straw's constituency in Blackburn later today to meet his constituents and see what a constituency day is like for a British MP. In a rare interview, Ms Dati spoke to reporter Zubeida Malik about her trip and her celebrity reputation in France.

A very long chapter in Teesside's history will end today with the closure of Redcar's Corus plant. Dr Joan Heggie, project manager for the British Steel Archive Project, at the University of Teesside, reflects on how important the steel industry has been to the region.



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