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Page last updated at 07:03 GMT, Wednesday, 16 March 2011
Today: Wednesday 16th March

White smoke or steam has been pouring out of the damaged Japanese nuclear plant -- which has been temporarily evacuated because of a surge in radiation levels. Also in today's programme, Basildon council is spending a quarter of its budget clearing the country's largest travellers site - long overdue or a waste of money?

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Business news with Adam Shaw: Shares have rebounded on the Japanese stock market. Yoshihiro Watanabe, MD of the Institute for International Monetary Affairs in Tokyo, analyses the latest figures. And Christopher Hamer, from the Property Ombudsman, explains why complaints for estate agents have hit a record high.

The Bank of Japan is driving quantitative easing as its economy struggles after Friday's disaster. Dr Gerard Lyons, chief economist at the Standard Chartered Bank, explains whether the move is sustainable.

How likely is there to be a breach of the nuclear vessels at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan? Dr Jasmina Vujic, professor of nuclear engineering at the University of California, analyses what may be happening inside the plant.

Police and soldiers in Bahrain have launched an assault on anti-government protesters to clear them from the main square in the capital, Manama. Nick, a businessman in Bahrain whose flat overlooks the square, describes the situation.

Ed Miliband is to launch the Labour campaign for a Yes vote in May's referendum on the Alternative Vote system. Political correspondent Norman Smith looks at whether Labour supporters will back him on the issue.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

Have the events surrounding the Japanese reactors dented international confidence in nuclear energy? The BBC's Roger Harrabin, nuclear safety consultant John Large and CEO of the Nuclear Industry Association Keith Parker debate whether there is a need to reassess the risk attached to the industry.

Sport news with Garry Richardson.

Civil unrest continues in Libya, where state TV has said Colonel Gaddafi's forces are to advance on the main rebel stronghold of Benghazi. Dr Jalal Al Gallal of the National Libyan Transitional Council, describes her fear of a "massacre" if Colonel Gaddafi's soldiers prevail.

A review of the papers.

Although Tokyo was not affected on the same scale as the east coast of Japan, it is struggling to get back to normal amid fears of large radiation leaks in the country. Today reporter Andrew Hosken looks at the uneasy atmosphere in the capital.

Thought for The Day with the Reverend Dr Giles Fraser, Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral.

Basildon Council is to spend a quarter of its budget to clear the largest travellers' site in the country, even though the travellers own the land. The council's leader Tony Ball explains their decision, and English gypsy and writer Damian Le Bas defends the rights of the travellers.

Japan has been rocked by Friday's earthquake, the resulting tsunami, the obliteration of whole towns and villages, explosions and leaks at their nuclear plants, and a large contraction in their economy. Today presenter James Naughtie reports on how the Japanese people are reacting to changed times.

Police and soldiers have cleared protesters from Bahrain's Pearl Square, as the government launches a crackdown on pro-democracy groups. One woman, who says she is hiding in Salmaniya Hospital as government forces clear the area, describes her fear that protesters are being "eradicated" in Bahrain.

The Royal Opera House is staging two new short productions aimed at bringing intrigued newcomers into the world of opera. Nicola Stanbridge went to rehearsals to find out what operas by Stewart Copeland, former drummer with The Police, and former Monty Python Terry Jones sound like.

Sport news with Garry Richardson.

The government is meeting internet providers to debate if the internet should treat all types of traffic in the same way. Technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones explains the difficult subject of net neutrality and Professor Timothy Wu, of Columbia Law School, outlines his views on what is happening to the internet.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

As Britain, France and Lebanon table a resolution at the United Nations calling for a no-fly zone despite the doubts of so many countries, where is the US? North America editor Mark Mardell examines why President Obama appears to be taking a back seat in the negotiations, and political editor Nick Robinson analyses Britain's stance.

It is difficult for the Japanese population who lived on the east coast to know where to start rebuilding their lives. The BBC's Rachel Harvey has visited some of the destroyed villages.

A new series, The Story of Economics, starts on Radio 4 this week. Presenter Michael Blastland and economics editor Stephanie Flanders if the role of economists through the ages has a moral dimension.

The Emperor of Japan has appeared on television in an attempt to calm the population as concerns grow about nuclear radiation. Our correspondent Chris Hogg watched his broadcast.



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