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Page last updated at 12:39 GMT, Wednesday, 3 November 2010
Today: Wednesday 3rd November

President Obama's Democratic Party has suffered a series of stinging defeats in the mid-term Congressional elections, losing control of the House of Representatives to the Republicans. Students in English universities are to face tuition fees of up to £9000 pounds a year. And how micro-chips are helping blind people to see.

To speed up the loading time for this running order, we have replaced the audio with links. To hear the reports, interviews and discussions, just click on the links.

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Business news with Adam Shaw: The US Federal Reserve will announce today whether it's going ahead, as widely expected, with a second round of quantitative easing. Research and development spending among the world's top 1,000 public companies dropped in 2009 for the first time in 13 years. Trading was halted yesterday morning for two hours on one of the London Stock Exchange's key trading platforms, the LSE says it believes this "may have occurred in suspicious circumstances".

The government is to announce its policy on university tuition fees. A cap of £9,000 on fees will apply; and any college charging more than £6,000 will have to take measures to recruit students from less privileged backgrounds. Lee Elliot Major of the Sutton Trust and Michael Arthur, Vice Chancellor of Leeds University, debate the move.

The US mid-term Congressional elections have rewritten the political map of the United States. A resurgent Republican Party has taken control of the House of Representatives. Nowhere their joy more complete than in the town of Wheeling, Illinois where the conservative, Mark Kirk, won the Senate seat once held by one Barack Obama. As the BBC's Kevin Connolly reports, it was near run thing.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

Three blind people have had their sight partly restored by new digital implants. Robert Maclaren, Professor of Ophthalmology at Oxford University, who was involved in the development of the chip and Mikka Terho who was blind but was helped to see when he was used as a test case, outline the breakthrough.

Sports news with Gary Richardson.

Two reports published today examine the issue of streamlining court procedures in England and Wales. Louise Casey, Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses, and Dru Sharpling from Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary in England and Wales debate if too many people are prosecuted for too little.

Paper review.

If you want to know about rap you need to be familiar with Jay-Z. He's not just one of the world's leading rappers but he is also a very successful entrepreneur and businessman. He owned his own record label at 26, Evan Davis met with him and asked him where his entrepreneurial spirit came from.

Thought for the Day with The Right Reverend James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool.

The government is to outline new rules on university tuition fees. A cap of £9,000 on fees will apply; and any college charging more than £6,000 will have to take measures to recruit students from less privileged backgrounds. Education Secretary Michael Gove defends the government's policy.

The Republican Party has taken control of the House of Representatives. James Naughtie reports on a difficult night for President Obama's Democrats.

A wave of bomb explosions across Baghdad has killed 63 people and injured over 200. Rory Stewart, the MP for Penrith and the Border, who was the governor of an Iraqi province back in 2003, assesses the current situation in the country.

For many older people, the prospect of moving into a retirement home is not one that they'd look forward to. The novelist and literary editor, Diana Athill who was born in 1917, recently moved into a retirement home herself. She has been keeping a diary for the Today programme and reflects on the fact that living in a home may not be a bar to having a garden.

Sports news with Gary Richardson.

The US education secretary is in the UK today. He's supporting Michael Gove's education reforms here for free schools, that is schools outside local authority control and parents being free to establish them. We talked to Arnie Duncan about education but began by asking him how he felt about the mid-term election results.

The Bishop of Lewes, the Rt Rev Wallace Benn, says the row over the ordination of women bishops in the Church of England has meant that traditionalists are in a similar situation to that of Britain in January 1939 when the country was on the brink of war with Germany. Bishop Wallace explains his comments.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

At the end of a long night in Washington, Republicans and Democrats at the White House and Capitol Hill are realising they will have to work together much more closely on the huge economic problems that are causing Americans so much worry. Lizza, Washington correspondent of The New Yorker, and journalist Andrew Sullivan, reflected on the night's events.

Tonight BBC4 features a programme called Birds Britannia which looks at our relationship to birds. The Britannia bit of the title reflects the fact that we in Britain probably love birds more than the people of any other country. Its producer, Stephen Moss, and Mark Cocker, who is writing a book called Birds and People, tell us why.


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