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Page last updated at 06:40 GMT, Friday, 2 July 2010 07:40 UK
Today: Friday 2nd July

The government is expected to announce that a referendum on a new electoral system will be held next year. And the gap in life expectancy between rich and poor in England is continuing to widen despite government efforts to close it, a National Audit Office report says.

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Business news with Nick Cosgrove: A 30% super tax deal has been struck between the Australian government and international mining companies. The BBC's Nick Bryant outlines what it will mean for the industry. Friday boss Tim Whiting, chief executive of high street store Phones4U, discusses his firm's success.

University degree courses should last for four years instead of three years, the principle of a Cambridge college says. Dylan Wiliam, Professor of Educational Assessment at the Institute of Education examines whether such measures are affordable.

The coalition government is expected to announce today that a referendum on the alternative voting (AV) system will be held in May next year. Daniel Kawczynski MP, chairman of the All Party Group for the Promotion of First Past the Post, assesses the Conservatives' decision to accept the Liberal Democrats' call for a referendum on electoral reform.

The last remaining African side in the football World Cup, Ghana, are taking on Uruguay in the quarter-finals tonight. The South Americans have twice won the competition in 1930 and 1950 but no African team has ever made it into the semi-final. Will Ross reports on how Ghana's fans are supporting their team.

Business news with Nick Cosgrove.

The sinking of the Lancastria, Britain's worst ever maritime disaster, is often forgotten amongst the commemorations of the Battle of Britain and Dunkirk. Between 4,000-6,000 men died when the troopship sank off the coast of Brittany after being attacked by German aircraft. The BBC's Allan Little joined a small group of survivors as they went to lay wreaths at the place where the ship sank.

The gap in life expectancy between rich and poor in England is continuing to widen despite government efforts to close it, a National Audit Office report says. Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, explains the gap in health equality.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

Are middle-class households bearing the brunt of the economic crisis? Reporter Sanchia Berg speaks to families about how policies to stimulate an economic recovery are affecting them. Andrew Lilico, chief executive of the Policy Exchange, explains why households are often the "shock absorbers" for hard economic times.

The paper review.

An inner city schools' student debating society, Debate Mate, is helping underprivileged students to learn to express their opinions in a wider forum. Zubeida Malik reports from the finals of their annual competition in Westminster.

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

Earlier this week the Taliban told the BBC that it would not be willing to hold talks with Nato forces over the future of Afghanistan. Former Foreign Secretary David Mr Miliband outlines his call for a settlement for "the vanquished as well as the victors in Afghanistan" .

The life-expectancy gap between rich and poor areas in England is widening despite a government target to close that gap. Dr Sam Everington a GP from East London, and Professor Sir Michael Marmot, President of the BMA and author of a government report on health inequalities, examine why policies to equalise health provision have failed.

The government is expected to announce that a referendum on a new electoral system will be held next year. Political editor Nick Robinson outlines the move.

Philosopher and author Theodore Zeldin is hosting an event this weekend, A Feast of Conversation, to encourage people to talk about a range of subjects with people they have never met before. Professor Zeldin and comedian Alex Horne comment on whether the occasion will work to promote the art of conversation.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

Lord John Browne, formerly of BP, has been asked to help find efficiencies across government in a move that is not the first time a businessman has been brought in to Whitehall to help improve government delivery. Peter Riddell of the Institute for Government, and Jonathan Baume, general secretary of the First Division Association, examine if past expert advice has been successful.

Business news with Nick Cosgrove.

Brazil have nearly always had a football team capable of beating the rest, but until recently it had never hosted one of the global sporting occasions as it prepares to host the World Cup and the Olympics. Goldman Sachs' Jim O'Neill, who coined the acronym "Bric" to describe the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, discusses whether economic power translates into sporting power.

A novel about life in North Korea has won the 2010 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction. Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick tells the story of of adversity, resilience and survival of six ordinary people living in the country. Ms Demick describes the inspiration behind her book.

A new French film being released today is quite a departure from the usual art house export that is usually expected from French movies. Heartbreaker, starring Vanessa Paradis, is a heavily marketed RomCom. Lucy Wadham, author of the Secret Life of France and film critic Jason Solomons discuss whether the French, often seen as masters of art-house cinema, are now embracing more commercial productions.



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