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Page last updated at 07:06 GMT, Wednesday, 5 January 2011
Today: Wednesday 5th January

The United States has led international condemnation of the killing of a liberal politician in Pakistan. Also in the programme, Alfred Brendel celebrates his 80th birthday, and a career change from pianist to poet.

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Business news with Adam Shaw.

A team of researchers from Cambridge and California have managed to find the remnants of a 13 billion-year-old star. Cambridge professor of cosmology Max Pettini describes what the universe's "dark ages" were like.

The chief executive of Northern Ireland Water, Laurence McKenzie, is expected to step down, a week after 40,000 homes were left without water. SDLP MP for South Belfast Alasdair McDonnell questions why a hundred more have been left without supply today.

The number of cases taken to employment tribunals has been growing very fast. Helen Giles, HR director of Broadway Homelessness Support Service, explains why yesterday she wrote a piece in The Times claiming that tribunals are legalised extortion.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

Laurent Gbagbo is refusing to accept that he lost Ivory Coast's presidential election, and has told leaders of neighbouring countries that he will negotiate a "peaceful end" to the crisis with no preconditions. The BBC's Andrew Harding examines what will happen if he does not step aside.

The singer and songwriter Gerry Rafferty has died, aged 63. His agent Paul Charles talks about his classics, including Stuck in the Middle With You, and the famous saxophone from Baker Street.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

The new Parliamentary expenses watchdog is today launching a consultation on rules, following criticism from MPs and a warning from the prime minister that it has until April to "sort itself out." Chief political correspondent Norman Smith reports on why there are now calls for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority to be replaced, and its chairman, Sir Ian Kennedy, to resign.

Almost 600 women have become pregnant, despite using a popular contraceptive implant called Implanon. Stephanie Prior, of Anthony Gold solicitors, represented some of the women affected and explains why the devices failed.

Paper review.

An art stock exchange, in which people can buy shares in great works, is set to open in Paris. Pierre Naquin, the entrepreneur behind the project, and Patrick Bourne, of the Fine Art Society, debate the exchange.

Thought for the Day with Shaikh Abdal Hakim Murad, Muslim Chaplain at the University of Cambridge.

Washington goes back to work today with the 112th Congress meeting for the first time. As a result of November's mid-term elections, the Republicans will be taking over control of the House of Representatives. North America editor Mark Mardell considers the shift in US politics.

Employers have complained about the way employment tribunals are operating in Britain. If an employee takes them to one, and the employer loses, they pay out compensation. Legal affairs analyst Clive Coleman explains why the system is leading employers to settle out of court. And Director General of the CBI John Cridland and Clive Howard, of claimant employment solicitors Russell, Jones and Walker, discuss the issue.

For the first time, John Lewis and Tesco are selling more king size beds than standard doubles. Guardian columnist Lucy Mangan and Alan Hughes, an interior designer and vice principal of the Inchbald School of Design, why beds are growing in size.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

The 112th Congress meets for the first time in Washington today, setting the stage for a battle over the direction of the US economy. Republican Matt Kibbe, president of the think tank Freedom Works and Democrat Richard Wolffe, author of Renegade: The Making of a President, analyse the prospects for the new Congress.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

At noon today, politicians and journalists will bid farewell to Anthony Howard, as his funeral and memorial service takes place in west London. His friend, the journalist and author Robert Harris, reflects on the life and times of one of Britain's most influential political journalists.

Alfred Brendel, one of the world's greatest pianists, is celebrating he 80th birthday. Arts correspondent Rebecca Jones asked him why he decided to take up a second career as a poet, and to find out about his new collection of poems, Playing the Human Game, which is being published today.

The Rev Simon Shouler has had a problem with badgers digging up bones in the graveyard of his church in Long Clawson in Leicestershire. He was told he wasn't allowed to do anything about them because they're a protected species. But then after a late night anonymous phone call the problem, the badgers, disappeared. Rev Shouler discusses the unexpected turn of events.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania claim to have discovered the cause of baldness in men. Professor of dermatology Dr George Cotsarelis explains how isolating the genetic defect responsible may lead to new treatments for hair loss.

A 64 year-old driver has been convicted of flashing his lights at another driver to warn them of a speed trap. Motoring journalist Quentin Willson questions the decision.



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