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Page last updated at 07:10 GMT, Wednesday, 19 January 2011
Today: Wednesday 19th January

A report for the government calls for help to be given to vulnerable children before they start school. Also in the programme, the former leader of Haiti Jean Claude Duvalier has been charged with corruption and theft, and the comedian Arthur Smith muses on the language of comedy.

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Sebastian Mallaby, author of More Money than God, analyses the difficult balancing act faced by Goldman Sachs following the announcement of their results today. Banking analyst for SRN, Ralph Silva, looks at public perception on Goldman Sachs' expected bonus payouts. HSBC's co-head of Asian Economics Research Fred Neumann talks about the Chinese and American economic relations ahead of today's meeting of presidents Hu Jintao and Barack Obama. And Rupert Armitage reflects on the markets.

The aim of the National Parenting Campaign, which the Labour MP Graham Allen is calling for after his investigation into how to turn around the lives of the most vulnerable children in society, is for it to be "the crown jewel of the Big Society project, pursued with enough passion and vitality to make it irresistible even to the most jaundiced". Mr Allen outlines his aims.

The High Court will begin hearings today to decide whether a strategic health authority can put fluoride in Southampton's water supply. 72% of the 10,000 consulted in the area said they were against fluoridation, but the South Central Strategic health authority says it still wants to go ahead with the plan. Professor Michael Lennon, who chairs the British Fluoridation Society, comments on the plan.

All this week, Today is featuring the work of the poets shortlisted for this year's TS Eliot Prize. It is awarded to the author of the best new collection of poetry published in the UK and Ireland in the last year. Fiona Sampson reads First Theory of Movement.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

The government plans to scrap Education Maintenance Allowances. These are grants of up to £30 a week, paid to poorer 16 to 19-year-olds to encourage them to stay on in education. Today Labour will table a motion calling for a Government re-think. Our chief political correspondent Norman Smith reports on the coalition's conflicting views regarding EMA.

Sport news with Jonathan Legard.

The new Health and Social Care Bill will be published today, outlining the government's plans for changes in the NHS. It wants to put £80bn of the NHS's £100 billion budget into the hands of family doctors. The thinking is that as they know what their patients want and need they are best placed to decide what to spend and where. GP Dr Michael Dixon, who chairs NHS Alliance, and GP Dr John Hancock debate the pros and cons of the bill.

Paper review.

It is 100 years since the birth of one of the most influential playwrights of the 20th century, Terence Rattigan. To mark the anniversary there are events taking place across the country. Rattigan was very successful until the mid-1950s, when he fell spectacularly out of fashion until his death in 1977. The BBC's Rebecca Jones has been finding out if Rattigan is now back for good.

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

The price of food worldwide has reached its highest-ever peak. The BBC's Paulo Cabral provides a sense of what is happening in Brazil and James Copnall reports from Sudan. And the former chief economist of the World Bank, Joseph Stiglitz and Sheila Sisulu, deputy director of the World Food Programme, outline proposals to reduce food prices.

A government report on early intervention is calling on private financiers to invest in the future of our nation's most vulnerable children to help give them a better start in life. "Early Intervention Bonds" would pay out dividends for investors when those youngsters make a success of themselves. Toby Eccles, Development Director for Social Finance and Edward Melhuish, Professor of Human Development at Birkbeck College, University of London, discuss whether such a scheme could work.

What is it about the language of comedy that makes us laugh? The British Library has been hosting a series of lectures and events on the evolution of the English language. Comedian Arthur Smith shares his thoughts. 0824
Sport news with Jonathan Legard.

Today President Hu Jintao of China will meet with President Barack Obama at the White House. Top of the agenda will be the Chinese economy, which has been bolstered by growth in recent times. But director of Lombard St research, Diana Choyleva asks whether China's rapid growing economy could have negative effects on the rest of the world.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

All this week on Today, we are featuring the work of the poets shortlisted for this year's TS Eliot Prize. One of the 10 shortlisted poets, Simon Armitage, reads his piece Knowing What We Know Now.

The scrapping of Education Maintainance Grants will be debated in the Commons today. Labour will try to persuade Liberal Democratic MPs to rebel and defeat the coalition. General Secretary of the University and College Union Sally Hunt and Graham Stuart, the Conservative chairman of the Commons Education Select committee, discuss whether the grants should be scrapped.

Up to three million people could be taking statins needlessly, doctors warn today in a comprehensive study that suggests they are ineffective in many cases and could be doing more harm than good. Shah Ebrahim, professor of Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and co-authored the report. He outlines his concerns.

On Monday the Prime Minister told this programme that the organisational reforms of the NHS represented "evolutionary change". Chief Executive of the RSA and former head of policy in Downing Street Matthew Taylor and Dr Eamonn Butler, director of the Adam Smith Institute, discuss how best to reform large institutions like the NHS.



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