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Page last updated at 07:31 GMT, Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Today: Wednesday 24th March

The Chancellor is set to deliver his Budget report today, the last before the general election. And the Royal College of Physicians is calling for smoking to be banned in parks, playgrounds and cars, to protect children from passive smoking.

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Chancellor Alistair Darling is set to deliver his last Budget before the general election. Mr Darling is expected to scrap stamp duty for house sales up to £250,000 and delay planned rises in petrol duty. Robert Chote, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and Robert Peston, BBC business editor, examine what the budget is likely to include with an election imminent.

An Israeli diplomat is to be expelled from the UK over the row over the use of 12 forged British passports in the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, in January. Foreign Secretary David Miliband has told MPs there were compelling reasons to believe that Israel had forged the documents. Arieh Eldad, a National Union Party member of the Knesset, reacts to the expulsion.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

Doctors have called for smoking to be banned in all cars and public places where young people congregate. A Royal College of Physicians report found that passive smoking among children causes 300,000 extra GP consultations across the UK every year for problems including wheezing and asthma, ear infections and bacterial meningitis. Professor John Britton, chairman of the RCP's tobacco advisory group, explains the findings.

One of Iraq's most highly regarded artists, Dr Ala Bashir, is staging a show in the UK. Dr Bashir worked as Saddam Hussein's personal doctor for 20 years and left following the overthrow of the Iraqi regime in 2003. Reporter Nicola Stanbridge spoke to Dr Bahir about how his time in the Hussein household has influenced his art.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

As the election approaches, mmigration has become a primary concern for many voters but the sensitivity around it is preventing election candidates from making immigration a central issue. Andrew Hosken reports from Newham, east London, one of the poorest boroughs in the country with a high immigrant population.

The paper review.

The Welsh Assembly has banned the use of electronic dog and cat collars that have the ability to shock the animal. Pet owners using the collars will face a fine of up to £20,000 or up to six months in prison. Half a million collars are still legally in use in the rest of the UK. Caroline Kisko, secretary of The Kennel Club, and Duncan McNair, spokesman for the Electronic Collar Manufacturers Association, debate the use of electronic dog collars.

Thought for the day with Oliver McTernan, director of the NGO Forward Thinking.

The Football Association has appointed a new acting chief executive following the shock resignation of Ian Watmore. It is thought Mr Watmore resigned over the blocking of plans to change the organisation. Presenter Garry Richardson outlines the row within the Football Association , and Lord Mawhinney, chairman of the Football League, comments on how internal tensions will affect England's bid to host the World Cup in 2018.

Chancellor Alistair Darling is set to deliver his Budget report, the last before the general election, where he is expected to pledge investment in the industrial future. Economics editor Stephanie Flanders and political editor Nick Robinson, consider how the budget will reflect government plans to reduce the budget deficit by half over the next four years.

The Russian government is honouring British veterans of the Second World War Arctic convoys. Medals will be awarded to 13 servicemen at a ceremony on board HMS Belfast later today. Nick Hewitt, historian at the Imperial War Museum, and Arthur Burnett, former Royal Navy midshipman who was on board HMS Belfast during an Arctic convoy in February 1943, reflect on the historical importance of the convoys.

The Iraqi electoral commission has rejected calls by Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki for a vote re-count after recent polls suggested he was behind his nearest rival Iyad Allawi. Dr Faleh Abdul Jabar, director of the Iraq Institute for Strategic Studies based in Baghdad, analyses Iraq's political future.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

An inspection report into the Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre has sharply criticised the detention of children, accusing the centre of unnecessarily detaining some children with little consideration to their welfare. Immigration minister Phil Woolas explains the alternatives to detaining children.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

Is the best way to make profit not to try and make profit? That is the suggestion made in a new book, Obliquity, by Professor John Kay, who found that the most successful people are those who were trying to achieve something totally different. Professor Kay describes his theory.

A court in Malawi has ruled that two gay men who got engaged should not be released from a maximum security prison and must face trial. The case has prompted international outcry and comes following Uganda's decision to make homosexuality punishable by life imprisonment. Campaigners have warned of a wave of homophobia sweeping across the continent. Southern Africa correspondent Karen Allen reports.

Asian countries have blocked an attempt by the United States to ban the trade of Atlantic bluefin tuna at a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Qatar. Colin Butfield, head of campaigns at the WWF, and Hugh Possingham, Professor of Ecology at the University of Queensland, consider the threat to bluefin tuna.

Chancellor Alistair Darling will deliver the last budget before the general election today making the delicate balance between political point-scoring and rational economics an important task. Lord Lawson, Chancellor between 1983-89, and William Keegan, senior economics commentator for the Observer, reflect on how previous budgets have damaged the political relationship between prime ministers and chancellors.



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