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Page last updated at 06:24 GMT, Friday, 21 May 2010 07:24 UK
Today: Friday 21st May

The US Senate has approved President Obama's plans for major new controls on the US financial system. And three Britons from the same family have been shot dead in eastern Pakistan.

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British Airways is expected to announce record financial losses this morning, as judges overturn a ban on industrial action. The fresh strikes are due to begin next week. Business presenter Nick Cosgrove analyses the company's financial results, and BA's chief executive Willie Walsh comments on the firm's struggles.

Scientists have successfully created "artificial life" - a synthetic cell using an artificial genome. The development is being hailed as a landmark and it paves the way to creating organisms with a specific useful purpose, such as bacteria that absorb greenhouse gases to produce fuels. Professor Richard Kitney, co-director of the Centre for Synthetic Biology at Imperial College London, comments on the implication of the research.

The business news with Nick Cosgrove.

Lebanon prides itself for being the most liberal state in the Arab world, but earlier this month an Egyptian man suspected of murder was was killed and lynched by an angry mob. The incident shocked the region, and raises serious questions about Lebanon's justice system. Beirut correspondent Natalia Antelava visited Ketermaya, the village in the mountains south of Beirut where the events took place.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

The selling of below-cost sales of alcohol in England and Wales is to be banned. Many police and health workers have campaigned for a minimum price, saying it will help tackle the social and health problems of excessive drinking. Reporter Mark Hutchings spoke to drinkers in Cardiff about whether the cost of alcohol affects how much they drink. Chief Constable Peter Fahy of Greater Manchester Police, gives his opinion on how minimum pricing will affect crime and injury levels.

The paper review.

Many feel unhappy about the idea of going into a retirement home, seeing the move as the beginning of a sad and lonely period of life. Diana Athill, the renowned literary editor, novelist and memoirist who has now reached her nineties, reflects on her recent decision to move into an old people's home.

Thought for the day with Professor Mona Siddiqui from the University of Glasgow.

There is growing anger among MPs that new expenses rules will force some of them to live apart from their families. A letter to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), the body charged with creating a fresh approach to the system of paying MPs' expenses, is being circulated among MPs complaining about the changes. Jim Sheridan MP, joint chair of the Unite parliamentary group, and Andrew McDonald, chief executive of Ipsa, debate the new expenses regulations.

Scientists have successfully created "artificial life" - a synthetic cell - which paves the way to creating organisms which could revolutionise industry and the medical professions. Correspondent Tom Feilden reports on the discovery. Nobel Prize-winning biologist Sir Paul Nurse outlines the importance of the new research and its ethical implications.

Three Britons from the same family have been shot dead in eastern Pakistan. Mohammed and Parviaz Yousaf and their daughter Tania, 21, were visiting a cemetery in the Gujrat area of Pakistan. Another member of the family was also killed. Mohammed Iqbal, a councillor in Lancashire who knows the family, comments on the incident.

An argument is raging in the blogosphere and the Twittersphere about whether there are enough accepted punctuation marks to fit the new world of communication. The internet and the arrival of email, text messages and Twitter have thrown up hundreds of new ways of communicating, such as using smiley faces, and new abbreviations. Tim Harford, presenter of Radio 4's More or Less programme, and John Richards chairman of the Apostrophe Protection Society, discuss the punctuation revolution and how it is changing how we communicate.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

Earlier in the programme, British Airways' chief executive Willie Walsh defended the company's tactic of trying to stop strikes through the courts. Unite union joint leader Derek Simpson comments on BA's tactics.

The business news with Nick Cosgrove.

The novelist Zadie Smith is about to do the rounds of the literary festivals with her new book, a collection of essays on a range of literary and political subjects. In her best-known work, White Teeth, Ms Smith used her heritage to tackle the themes of immigration and identity. Today presenter Justin Webb spoke to the author about the inspiration behind her new works.

Anonymity could be granted to defendants in rape trials under new government legislation. Campaigners say the changes are unnecessary and that the government should concentrate on improving the conviction rate in rape cases. Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, a Labour peer and barrister, examines how the changes will affect rape trials.

The Football Association has had a hard week. Already without a chief executive, its chairman Lord Triesman resigned after he was caught out by a Sunday newspaper claiming the Spanish and Russian FAs were looking to bribe referees at the World Cup next month. Sports editor David Bond examines how long the new government will give the FA to get its house in order.
European finance ministers are gathering in Brussels for the first meeting of a taskforce to look at the eurozone's future operation. Klaus Baader is chief Europe Economist at Societe Generale, outlines the scale of the challenge facing the taskforce.



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