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Page last updated at 08:17 GMT, Saturday, 6 March 2010
Today: Saturday 6th March

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The Ministry of Justice has said that Jon Venables is being investigated over "extremely serious allegations". Two former defence chiefs are challenging Gordon Brown's declaration at the Iraq inquiry, that he did not starve the armed forces of cash. And why modern men are turning their back on DIY.

Sinn Fein is holding its annual conference at the moment in Dublin and leader Gerry Adams will address it today. The "big thing" in Northern Ireland is the deal to devolve policing powers, but the path to that is not smooth. Correspondent Mark Simpson previews Mr Adams' speech and outlines the questions surrounding his leadership.

The people of Iceland go to the polls today in the country's first ever referendum. They will vote on whether or not to accept an agreement struck with the UK and the Netherlands over the repayment of billions of pounds following the collapse of the Iceland-based internet bank Icesave in 2008. Europe correspondent Jonny Dymond describes the real bitterness in Iceland about the way it has been treated.

The paper review.

Every year thousands of pets in England and Wales are destroyed when their owners move into care homes. Parliamentary correspondent Mark D'Arcy reports on how the Commons has been told by the Conservative MP, Nigel Waterson, that the law should be changed to allow people to take pets with them.

Senior military figures have challenged Gordon Brown's claims that when he was Chancellor the military was properly funded. Two former heads of the armed forces, Lord Guthrie and Lord Boyce, have said the PM was being "disingenuous" by insisting at the Chilcot inquiry that he provided military chiefs with everything they asked for. Political correspondent Louise Stewart describes how the PM insisted the armed forces had always got what they wanted while defence chiefs claim he dramatically cut costs.

Over the past few months we've been getting regular reports from Major Richard Streatfeild who's in Helmand province of Afghanistan with Third Battalion, The Rifles. This week one of the soldiers under his command was killed. In his latest despatch, he describes how his troops cope with the mental stress and trauma that comes with life on the front line.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

The children's charity the NSPCC is calling for a change in the law in the UK, making it a requirement for social workers to see any child they believe is at risk of neglect or abuse without their parents being present. At the moment social workers need a court order to enforce such a visit. Diana Sutton from the NSPCC and Hilton Dawson, of the British Association of Social Workers, discuss the need for new laws on children's safety.

Its Oscar night tomorrow and one nominee is Matt Damon, up for Best Supporting Actor. He recently suggested to the New York Times that "the way they should give out the awards is 10 years later." And "if this year we were voting on what was the Best Picture of 2000, I think it would be much more honest." Veteran critic and film historian David Thomson discusses the question of how many Oscar winners of the past, would meet that test?

The paper review.

Thought for the day with the Reverend Rob Marshall, an Anglican priest.

The people of Iraq are voting in another election tomorrow, in some ways the most important since the first election after the invasion seven years ago. It will be the first election in which the main Sunni parties will have taken part, an encouraging sign if things go smoothly. Correspondent Gabriel Gatehouse reports on how the Iraqi citizens, who've been through terrible times since 2003, are feeling any more optimistic.

Talks between the three main political parties on measures to reform political party funding have been suspended, Sir Hayden Phillips, the chairman of the talks, announced today. Does the Ashcroft affair serve primarily to emphasize the need to address the system of political party funding in the UK? Sir Hayden, who was permanent secretary at the Lord Chancellor's Department when Lord Ashcroft was awarded his peerage, discusses the peer's residency status and political funding in the UK.

Senior military figures have challenged Gordon Brown's claims that when he was Chancellor the military was properly funded. Two former heads of the armed forces, Lord Guthrie and Lord Boyce, have said the PM was being "disingenuous" by insisting at the Chilcot inquiry that he provided military chiefs with everything they asked for. Another former Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen Sir Richard Dannatt, gives his view of the prime minister's evidence.

A report by the London School of Economics and Hull University indicates that men are increasingly abandoning simple jobs around the home, and paying others to do them. Journalist Toby Young and the first man to win Big Brother, Craig Phillips, who's also a bit of a handyman, discuss whether this means modern man is a practical failure, or has it always been preferable to have home improvements done professionally?

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

There's probably never been a national referendum quite as weird as the one that's about to take place in Iceland, where the people will vote on whether to repay more than £3bn of debt. Iceland's president Olafur Ragnar Grimsson reflects on the referendum and how Iceland will honour its obligations to the UK.

The Justice Secretary, Jack Straw, has said one of the killers of James Bulger was recalled to prison because of what he called "extremely serious allegations". The Sun newspaper says Jon Venables was taken back into custody because he's alleged to have committed a serious sex offence, and government lawyers had threatened to take legal action to prevent it from revealing more details about the claims. Home affairs correspondent, Danny Shaw discusses reaction to Jon Venables' return to prison after violating his probation.

The Canadian-born actor Christopher Plummer has appeared in more than 100 films, most famously, of course, as Captain von Trapp in the Sound of Music. And yet, he's never received an Oscar nomination, until now. At the age of 80, he finds himself nominated for the first time, in the Best Supporting Actor category for playing Tolstoy in the film The Last Station. Arts correspondent Rebecca Jones talks to him about his latest role which has generated talk of an Oscar.

The earthquake in Haiti occurred almost two months ago now. But the rainy season has started now, somewhat earlier than usual and is causing major problems. Chief executive of Care International UK Geoffrey Dennis has just returned from Haiti and explains how a severe lack of government control is hindering land allocation needed to rebuild permanent shelters for displaced people.

We've been going on about the BBC a lot this week. It has a new strategic direction... or, at least, its director general wants it to have one. There's a lot of argument about it. But what pretty well everyone agrees is that the future of the licence fee is crucial. Will young people (who haven't started paying it yet) be happy to do so if they believe they can get their information and entertainment elsewhere? John Humphrys talks to a group of teenagers at Perry Beeches School in Birmingham about whether they watch the box at home, and if not, what do they do?



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