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Page last updated at 07:36 GMT, Saturday, 16 October 2010 08:36 UK
Today: Saturday 16th October

The scale of cuts at the Ministry of Defence has been agreed - while spending on schools in England has been protected. And, customers who lost money in the near-collapse of Equitable Life are to share one and a half billion pounds in compensation.

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It has emerged that the budget for the MOD was finalised after the Prime Minister personally intervened, insisting the armed forces must have enough money to do their job. David Cameron ultimately came down on the side of the Defence Secretary Liam Fox, who has fought a tough battle against the Treasury's desire for cuts of at least 10%. Our defence correspondent Jonathan Beale explains.

It appears that the government will soon announce a compensation package for Equitable Life customers amounting to one and a half billion pounds. That is about a third of the estimated losses, but three times the figure that had been suggested. Liz Kwantes, head of Equitable Life's Members health group, discusses these implications.

Paper review.

The candidates vying to be the next leader of the UK Independence Party held their final public hustings last night. The contest was triggered by the resignation of Lord Pearson, who declared himself unsuited to party politics. The former leader Nigel Farage is in the running alongside David Campbell-Bannerman, the economist Tim Congdon and former boxer Winston Mackenzie. Ross Hawkins reports.

The media frenzy surrounding the Chile miners echoes an event that heralded the birth of live TV news reporting - the story of Kathy Fiscus, a toddler in LA who fell down a well in 1949. The 27 hours of live coverage from the scene by fledgling TV station KTLA was the first such broadcast. Stan Chambers, one of the TV reporters who covered the story in 1949, has only just retired from the station and outlines the details of the case with Today presenter Evan Davis.

Sports news with Alison Mitchell.

It seems as if the defence budget is not going to be cut by quite as much as some had previously thought, and schools as well seem to have been protected. This raises questions of where the money will come from and how much extra will need to be found? Our political correspondent Tim Reid outlines the politics of the government's latest decisions. Also, Colin Talbot, Professor of Public Policy and Management at Manchester Business School examines these figures.

2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity. In addition, world leaders are due to meet in Nagoya, Japan next week to hammer out a deal aimed at halting the remorseless decline of plant and animal species from every corner of the globe. . Our science correspondent, Tom Feilden, reports that the world may be about to miss another opportunity to address the challenge of biodiversity loss. Stephen Hopper, director of Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew adds to the debate.

Paper review.

Thought for the Day with Canon David Winter.

Proposed new guidance for police in England and Wales says officers who carry out a stop and search in certain circumstances can do so on the basis of race. Brian Paddick, former deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Met, supports the Home Office's draft new guidance. On the contrary, Isabella Sankey, policy director of the civil liberties campaigners, Liberty, condemns the proposed plans.

The BBC understands that the MOD has reached a settlement with the Treasury which will put the defence cuts below 10%, after weeks of tough battle between Liam Fox and George Osborne. Michael Clarke, director of the the think tank the Royal United Services Institute and Admiral Lord West, former First Sea Lord and Security Minister discuss possible defence cuts.

Nelson Mandela, now 92, has now opened his personal archive, offering an insight into his remarkable life. It has been compiled into a book called Conversations With Myself. Much of the book is based on conversations with his close friend Ahmed Kathrada, who was imprisoned with Mandela on Robben Island. Mr Kathrada tells his story to Today presenter Evan Davis.

Allowing teachers and parents groups to set up Free Schools is one of the more controversial and high profile policies of this government. The Free Schools have been allocated relatively little capital so far - just £50m between all of them - and their most urgent task is to secure a suitable site. The Today Programme will be following one of the free school groups in Bedford over the next few months. Sanchia Berg reports.

Sports news with Alison Mitchell.

Piece by piece the BBC is receiving the shape of the spending review. It appears the schools budget for England will be protected and that Defence cuts will be less severe than originally thought, with cuts below 10%. Our political editor, Nick Robinson discusses what he makes of it all.

It has been a heroic week for the Chileans. President Pinera is coming to Britain today - urging this country and the rest of the world to view Chile in a different light after the mine rescue. Isabel Allende, the Chilean writer who now lives in the US was among those who went to the mine to lend support. The Today Programme reached her in an airport lounge and she told Today presenter Justin Webb, what she took from these events, both as a Chilean and as a novelist.

Paper review

The film director Ken Loach made the keynote address to the London Film Festival this week and used the opportunity to start a debate about the role of television and commissioning editors, saying that television has become the enemy of creativity . He elaborates on his statement.

When George Osborne delivers next week's Comprehensive Spending Review he will set out a wide ranging series of cuts which will have a huge impact on all areas of British life. Stephanie Flanders, Anatole Kaletsky, writer with the Times and Dr Tim Morgan, economist and Global Head of Research at Tullett Prebon plc., discuss the impact of cuts on British life.



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