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Page last updated at 07:41 GMT, Thursday, 18 March 2010
Today: Thursday 18th March

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Universities in England are facing an overall cut in their budget leading to 6000 fewer places this autumn. Leaked documents have revealed new details about negotiations over the tax status of the Conservatives' deputy chairman, Lord Ashcroft. And how to find your way around without a map or any instruments.

Universities in England are braced for budget cuts as the Higher Education Funding Council prepares to publish the winners and losers for university funding in 2010-11. The University and College Union has warned of job losses as universities seek to manage their first reduction in annual funding since Labour entered government. Professor Michael Arthur, vice-chancellor of Leeds University, explains how funding cuts will affect higher education.

Can geo-engineering save the world from global warming? The Commons Science and Technology Committee is set to publish its review on the use of the technique to manipulate the earth's climate system to combat temperature increases. Correspondent Tom Feilden examines the row over geo-engineering.

A group of fishermen from North Cornwall have signed a million pound record deal. The band are traditional shanty singers inspired by the rugged Cornish coast. Louise Hubball reports from Port Isaac.

The business news with Adam Shaw.

Plans to provide free care at home for elderly and vulnerable people were thrown into doubt last night as the government suffered a series of defeats in the Lords. Lord Lipsey, a Labour peer who put down an amendment to the Personal Care Bill, explains his objections to the current proposals.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

The father of five year-old Sahil Saeed, who was found this week after being kidnapped in Pakistan, has arrived in Islamabad today to greet his son. Yesterday Spanish police confirmed that five people had been arrested across Spain and France in connection with the kidnapping. Correspondent Aleem Maqbool describes the police investigation into the kidnapping.

Japanese car maker Nissan is today announcing plans to build its new electric car in Sunderland. Production of the Leaf, which runs entirely on lithium-ion batteries, will begin in 2013 and forms part of a £420m investment in electric cars. Paul Wilcox, Nissan UK's managing director, explains the company's decision.

The paper review

Have we lost our natural sense of direction? Most people cannot go for a long hike without using a travel guide, compass or GPS navigator, but a new book by Tristan Gooley, The Natural Navigator, claims that we all still possess our sense of direction and can use nature to tell us which way is north. Evan Davis and Mr Gooley put the theory to the test and went for a walk in Epping Forest.

Thought for the day with The Right Reverend James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool.

Is university a worthwhile prospect for young people? As universities in England prepare for funding cuts for the first time since Labour came to power resulting in 6,000 fewer university places this autumn, students are also faced with higher fees and falling graduate employment. Geoff Mulgan, director of the Young Foundation, and David Willetts, shadow minister for universities and skills, examine how the worsening state of university finances will affect young people's futures.

A fresh inquiry into Lord Ashcroft's peerage and his non-dom status is to be launched today by the Commons Public Administration Committee. Government documents leaked to the BBC reveal details about the deal reached by the Tory deputy chairman and appear to suggest that the former Conservative leader William Hague was kept informed about the negotiations surrounding his tax status. Mr Hague reacts to the latest revelations about the agreement and political editor Nick Robinson outlines the new revelations in the dispute.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

More than two thirds of primary care trusts in England are unable to say if or how they spent money allocated to them under the National Dementia Strategy for England. Jeremy Wright, Conservative MP for Rugby and Kenilworth who chairs the APPG for Alzheimer's, and Nigel Edwards, director of public policy at the NHS Confederation in England, debate the spending of dementia care funds.

Twenty years ago today the world's biggest art robbery took place. Works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Monet and Degas were stolen from a Boston museum in the early hours of the morning. The paintings are estimated to be worth around a half a billion dollars in total. They were never seen again and the chief suspect has been on the run for two decades. Correspondent John Wilson looks back on the robbery.

The business news with Adam Shaw.

A generation ago Harlem in New York was rife with gang warfare, drugs and urban poverty. Nowadays it is seen as an oasis of peace. Harlem's approach to education and solving problems in society is attracting attention from politicians on this side of the Atlantic. Kevin Connolly, who will be reporting on the general election for this programme, went to Harlem to find out how two schools are using very different approaches to give children the best start.

Is geo-engineering the solution to the world's environmental problems or does it have the potential to make them worse? Stephen Tetlow, chief executive of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, and Professor Sir David King, former chief scientific advisor to the government and currently director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford, examine how geo-engineering can be used to combat global warming.


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