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Page last updated at 06:01 GMT, Thursday, 17 February 2011
Today: Thursday 17th February

Riot police in Bahrain have attacked anti-government protesters - at least two people have been killed. And the government announce details of what is being described as the biggest shake-up of welfare in 60 years.

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Business news with Adam Shaw.

The government is to publish its welfare reform bill with plans for a "universal credit" and efforts to tackle fraud, all aimed at making work a more attractive proposition than staying on benefits. Chris Buckler reports.

A number of doctors are trying to force the British Medical Association to drop its support for the government's health reforms. Dr Clive Peedell, consultant clinical oncologist at James Cook hospital, Middlesbrough and co-chair of the NHS consultants' association explains the motivation behind the campaign.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

Britain's ancient ancestors used human skulls as drinking cups according to research published by the Natural History Museum. Professor Chris Stringer, of the Natural History Museum, has been studying three skull cups which were found in Somerset.

Protests are set to continue in the the Gulf state of Bahrain as a wave of unrest unsettles the Arab world. Jane Kinnimont, of The Economist Intelligence Unit, analyses the situation.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

The government is abandoning its plans to sell UK woodland after a furious public reaction when the plans were announced. Director general of the National Trust, Dame Fiona Reynolds and Matthew D'Ancona, columnist for the Evening Standard, debate change of plan.

Paper review.

Ever thought of staying at home to write that bestseller you have been thinking about? John Thompson, author of a study of the modern publishing industry, and Andrew Franklin, founder of Profile Books, discuss whether new technology makes it easier to get published.

Thought for the Day with The Reverend Angela Tilby.

Bahraini security forces have stormed the main square of the capital after demonstrators tried to mount an Egyptian-style protest. ABC television's Miguel Marquez, who got caught up in the police attack, describes the situation. And former Conservative cabinet minister David Mellor and Ibrahim Shariff, leader of the country's opposition Waad party analyse the situation.

The government is to announce details of what is being described as the biggest shake-up of welfare in 60 years. Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith considers if the government's plans are realistic in the current economic climate.

One of the most heavily publicised operas in recent years is to receive its world premiere at the Royal Opera House in London. Anna Nicole tells the life story of Anna Nicole Smith, a Playboy centrefold and reality television star who married an 89-year old oil billionaire and died from a drugs overdose in 2007. Arts Correspondent Rebecca Jones reports on the controversial commission from Covent Garden.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

The Lord's Resistance Army, Africa's longest-surviving insurgent group which has a reputation for extreme brutality, is made all the harder to understand given their almost total lack of any political goals. In the last of his reports, correspondent Mike Thomson meets a woman in Northern Uganda who has spoken for the first time about the mutilation she suffered at the LRA's hands. Some listeners may find this report disturbing.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

If you're a fan of purple sprouting broccoli, be warned as it is in very short supply. Farmers are warning that months of cold and wet weather have led to severe crop failures. Farmer Sarah Pettitt, a grower from near Boston in Lincolnshire explains why there is such a shortage of the vegetable.

Hundreds of anti-government protesters have clashed with police and government supporters in Libya's second city, Benghazi. The BBC's Jon Leyne reports on the disorder and Dr Faraj Najem, a Libyan historian based in London analyses this latest display of unrest in the Arab world.

It's a happy time for the royals - William and Kate's wedding looms closer, Prince Philip has been named Oldie of the Year and The Queen's father, King George VI, is being lionised in the Bafta-winning film The King's Speech. So are British republicans keeping their heads down amid this royal euphoria? Marian Kemmer reads the musings of Sue Townsend, author of Adrian Mole and campaigner against the monarchy.

Hillary Clinton says handbags are a "uniter of women". Her interview to the US magazine Harper's Bazaar raises the question of how fashion can be used to connect women around the world in spite of their cultural differences. Former minister for Europe Baroness Glenys Kinnock and Times columnist Matthew Parris discuss whether fashion can build a rapport between foreign dignitaries.



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