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Page last updated at 07:46 GMT, Monday, 1 November 2010
Today: Monday 1st November

The government's emergency committee, Cobra, will meet today to review security for air cargo after a bomb was found at East Midlands Airport amid concern about what exactly can be done to make air cargo more secure. A report by the former chief drugs adviser, Professor David Nutt, has concluded that alcohol causes more harm than heroin or crack cocaine. And why WeightWatchers have given up counting the calories.

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Cobra, the government's emergency planning committee, will meet again today amid concern about what exactly can be done to make air cargo more secure and indeed air travel generally given that one of the parcels sent from Yemen and discovered last Friday had travelled on two passenger planes. The BBC's Frank Gardner analyses how the government may respond to the recent airline bomb alerts.

The government's policy of setting up "free schools" is all about giving parents more choice. So should they be able to choose to send their children to a grammar school? So thinks the Conservative MP Graham Brady. He resigned as a shadow minister three years ago over his party's policy of not supporting more selection in schools and outlines his views.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

The former Trade Secretary Lord Young the is to add to his advisory role with the coalition government. As well as attacking what is seen as unnecessary health and safety red tape, he has been asked by the prime minister to help promote small businesses. Lord Young outlines the scale of his task.

One of the last surviving members of John F Kennedy's inner circle has died. Theodore Sorenson is credited with writing JFK's speech which promised to put a man on the moon by 1970. We spoke to Theodore Sorenson in January last year, on the day of Barack Obama's inauguration. He told us how crucial the words a president uses can be.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

The US mid-term elections have been dominated by the rise of the Tea Party movement. It has become one of the most intriguing and startling political phenomena in the United States in recent times. Jim Naughtie has been out with its activists in Pennsylvania, to ask the question: is the Tea Party here to stay?

Paper review.

People wanting to lose weight should not count calories says the weight loss organisation WeightWatchers and that the calorie, which has been the basis for that judgement for decades, is now dead. We spoke to WeightWatchers dietician Zoe Helman and Dr Ian Campbell, chair of the National Obesity Forum.

Thought for the Day with Rev Dr David Wilkinson

Michael O'Leary, Chief Executive of Ryanair, told us earlier that in spite of the current threat to aircraft, he believed that current airport security arrangements were excessive and ineffective. Andy Hayman, former Assistant Commissioner for Special Operations at the Metropolitan Police, gives us his view of the current situation. The BBC's Lina Sinjab outlined how the Yemeni government was dealing with the recent events.

The new head of all the armed forces begins his job today. His predecessor Sir Jock Stirrup has just set a new direction for the military for the next five years in the Strategic Defence Review. General Sir David Richards outlines his priorities.

A major exhibition opens at the British Museum later this week and is dedicated to the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead. It is less a book, than a combination of spells and charms designed to guide the dead through the dangers of the underworld. John Davis, Assistant Keeper at the Museum, took Evan Davis on a journey to the underworld.

Sport news with Rob Bonnet.

We are told today that alcohol is a more dangerous drug than heroin or crack cocaine. The former senior government drugs adviser Prof David Nutt has, with colleagues on the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, produced a serious scientifically argued attack on current drugs legislation. Professor Nutt and Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens debate if the laws are right.

Business update with Adam Shaw.

Gordon Brown will make his first Commons speech today since losing the election in May. He will insist maintenance on Britain's two new aircraft carriers should be carried out at a Scottish shipyard near his constituency, rather than in France. So what should former Prime Ministers do once they leave office, if indeed they chose to return to the backbenches? Former Cabinet minister Michael Portillo gives his views.

Britain's influence overseas depends more on the Foreign Office than on the armed forces or international aid. So says a report by a group of distinguished former diplomats who warn that the FO should not be starved of resources. One of its authors, the MOD's former Permanent Secretary Sir Richard Mottram, outlines its findings.

The first day of National Novel Writing Month began this morning. The organisers have a website and expect 200,000 novels to be uploaded onto it by the end of the month. Is 30 days enough time to produce a work of fiction? We spoke to two hugely successful writers, Ian Rankin and Frederick Forsyth.

The story of a daring World War II rescue operation is revealed in full today. It involves a tea planter in Burma, a herd of elephants and a group of refugees fleeing the Japanese. Dr Kevin Greenbank, archivist at the Centre of South Asian Studies at Cambridge University, reflects on the thrilling story.


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