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Page last updated at 07:35 GMT, Monday, 7 February 2011
Today: Monday 7th February

Will the government be able to fulfil its promise to fund Free Schools? The head of a leading charity has warned that spending cuts are undermining David Cameron's vision of the Big Society. Plus, was the UK's role in the Cold War much greater than people recall?

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Business news with Dominic Laurie.

An academic assessment of how far television debates affected the outcome of the general election is being published. Professor Stephen Coleman of Leeds University and Dr Robert Beveridge of Edinburgh Napier University analyse how viewing may have affected our voting behaviour at the time.

The head of Britain's largest volunteering charity says the government's "draconian" spending cuts are "destroying volunteering". Dame Elisabeth Hoodless explains why, after supporting the Big Society, she is now worried the government is getting it wrong.

Bosses are warning that rules on planning and employment conditions must be relaxed if they are to create more jobs in the private sector. Graeme Leach of the Institute of Directors and Brendan Barber of the TUC discuss whether cutting red tape could really help to boost the economy.

Britain should consider cutting ties with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, according to a report by the think tank Policy Exchange. The director of the Policy Exchange Neil O'Brien considers whose view will hold precedence this week when MPs debate giving prisoners the vote, following Strasbourg's ruling that they should.

Business news with Dominic Laurie.

Three astronauts are preparing to take part in a simulated landing on Mars this week, in a big warehouse in Moscow. The writer and astronomer David Whitehouse considers how the crew might react to the "Martian terrain" of the Mars 500 experiment.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

This programme has learned that well over a third of the first 35 new Free Schools in England have been promised or already given capital funding to buy, build, or renovate buildings. The BBC's Sanchia Berg reports on whether the scheme's £50m pot of money will be enough.

Paper review.

The government says it is planning to create an extra 75,000 adult apprenticeships over the next four years. Karren Brady of the television programme The Apprentice considers how this could be achieved.

Thought for the day with Rabbi Lionel Blue.

Opposition groups in Egypt say the government's proposals to end the recent crisis do not go far enough. Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen reports on how the country will carry out reforms. And Dr Abdel Monem Said Aly, a member of Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party, outlines the role President Mubarak will play in Egypt's future.

The Today Programme has discovered that the government has already started promising or even handing out money to 35 Free Schools. The journalist Toby Young, who is setting up a Free School in west London, and Francis Gilbert, a teacher opposed to the idea, debate whether money is being wasted for purely ideological reasons.

In an interview last night, President Obama said Egypt would not go back to being the country it was, but he would not be drawn on when President Mubarak should leave office. Justin Webb reports from Washington on the Obama administration's handling of the crisis, and whether the US is on the side of dictatorship or freedom.

The British Film Institute is launching a national project celebrating British shipbuilding with a major new collection screening in London, Belfast, Glasgow and Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The BFI's Michael Brooke talks about why shipbuilding is something to celebrate.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

The government has sacked Professor David Richards, one of its advisers on psychological therapies, after he criticised the way it presented a new policy on spending. Professor Richards explains his concerns.

How should Britain react to and even influence what is going on in Egypt? Andrew Rawnsley, chief political commentator of the Observer, and Professor Rosemary Hollis, director of Middle East policy studies at City University, debate British foreign policy today.

Business news with Dominic Laurie.

The head of a leading charity has warned David Cameron that his Big Society project is being undermined by spending cuts. Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd explains what the Big Society means to him.

How should we frame the debate about multiculturalism following the controversy surrounding the Prime Minister's speech in Munich on Saturday? Tariq Modood, Professor of Sociology, Politics and Public Policy at Bristol University, and Editor-at-large of Prospect Magazine David Goodhart consider the best way to discuss multiculturalism and whether definitions of "soft" and "hard" multiculturalism are helpful.



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