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Page last updated at 07:09 GMT, Thursday, 10 February 2011
Today: Thursday 10th February

Ninety one Liberal Democrat councillors have criticised the coalition government's spending cuts. And universities in England will be prevented from charging high fees unless they admit more disadvantaged students.

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Business news with Lesley Curwen.

The government is imposing a regime on English universities which will deny them the right to charge tuition fees if they fail to admit sufficient numbers of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Dr Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group, discusses how the UK's top institutions will react.

MPs are almost certain to vote in favour of upholding Britain's ban on prisoners having the right to vote. The BBC's Norman Smith reports on how the problem may fly in the face of a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights and leave the UK government open to costly compensation claims.

The Metropolitan Police say they have "made links not previously identified" in their investigation into alleged phone hacking at the News of the World. Solicitor Charlotte Harris explains just how many people the scandal may affect.

How do fleas manage to leap a distance 200 times their own body length? Dr Gregory Sutton, a researcher at Cambridge University's department of zoology, explains how fleas leave Olympic long jumpers in the shade.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

More than 80 prominent Liberal Democrat councillors - including the leaders of 17 local authorities - have criticised the scale and pace of the cuts being implemented by the coalition government. Councillor Richard Kemp, who leads the Liberal Democrat group at the Local Government Association, explains his concerns and Andrew Stunnell, Liberal Democrat minister at the Department for Communities and Local Government, gives the government reaction.

Paper review.

Somali pirates have murdered two of their hostages in cold blood for the first time ever, according to Navfor, the European Naval force patrolling the Indian Ocean. Security correspondent Frank Gardner reports from Navfor headquarters at Northwood on the losing battle against piracy.

Thought for the Day with The Reverend Angela Tilby, Vicar of St Benet's Church in Cambridge.

Should MPs vote to give prisoners the right to vote in the UK? The Commons will debate that today, and on our programme yesterday the Justice Secretary Ken Clarke made it clear that Parliament will have to abide by the judgment made in Europe. Former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott and Conservative MP Ann Main discuss the issue that has inflamed opinion in all parties.

Many universities are hoping to increase tuition fees next year to improve their revenue. But if they want to charge more than £6,000 they will have to find a way to get many more students from poorer backgrounds onto their courses. Dr Lee Elliot Major, research director of the Sutton Trust, analyses the future of higher education funding. Universities minister David Willetts outlines the government's strategy.

Barack Obama has sat down alone with Republican Congressional leaders for the first time in his presidency. It potentially marks a huge change in the direction of the Obama White House as it reaches the half-way point of his first term. Today presenter Justin Webb assesses where the president now finds himself.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

What should we make of the outcome of Project Merlin, the government's deal with the banks on bonuses and lending policies to smaller businesses? Angela Knight of the British Bankers Association and the former Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Lord Oakeshott debate the effectiveness of the government's deal.

The Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, says the United States should not be imposing its will on Cairo. Daniel Kurtzer, a former US ambassador to both Egypt and Israel analyses Washington's relationship with the Mubarak regime.

The National Archives at Kew launches a unique experiment today by putting thousands of photos from their Colonial Office files on Africa online and asking viewers if they can provide any information about the people and places pictured. Sanchia Berg went to the National Archives to look at the original files - along with former Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington.

A study has revealed that, contrary to many people's compulsion to look away during a painful event such as an injection, looking at your body reduces the pain experienced. Professor in Neuroscience at John Moores University, Francis McGlone, sheds light on how the brain processes pain.

You can't open a newspaper of magazine, or turn on the television, without coming face to face with a chef. But are celebrities like Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver the symptom of a culture, or even a civilisation, in decline? US critic Brian Myers and the Guardian's food writer Matthew Fort discuss whether it is all a case of gastronomic excess.



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