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Page last updated at 06:23 GMT, Wednesday, 6 April 2011 07:23 UK
Today: Wednesday 6th April

Laurent Gbagbo is still holed up in his presidential compound in Ivory Coast, surrounded by his rival's troops, but defying international demands for his surrender. Also in today's programme, significant changes to tax and national insurance come into force this morning and, as austerity bites, we ask whether it would be better for everyone if we all aspired to earn and spend less?

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Business news with Lesley Curwen: Lena Komileva, global head of G10 Strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman, considers Portugal's ongoing economic predicament. VM Group's Gary Mead examines the impact of the Ivory Coast conflict on cocoa supplies. Plus Forbes magazine's Eric Savitz on the competition authorities' investigation of Google and Colin McLean of SVM Asset Management's take on the markets.

Cancer Research UK says there has been a tripling in skin cancer rates in 15-to-34 year olds since the late 1970s, and the rise is continuing. The organisation's Dr Kat Arney, outlines the dangers of sunburn.

Next month, Britain will decide in a referendum whether to change the voting system from a traditional first-past-the-post system to the alternative vote. Chief political correspondent Norman Smith presents his Idiot's Guide to AV.

Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to stand down as president of Ivory Coast, despite losing the election last year, is apparently negotiating terms for surrender. The BBC's Andrew Harding analyses reports that Mr Gbagbo is sheltering with his family in the presidential residence in Abidjan.

Today is the start of a new tax year, heralding a raft of measures that may squeeze incomes, including a 1% rise in National Insurance contributions. Paul Lewis, the presenter of Radio 4's Money Box, talks through the winners and losers of the changes. And the shadow chancellor Ed Balls gives Labour's reaction.

Business news with Lesley Curwen.

The first minister of Northern Ireland and the Irish prime minister will today attend the funeral of the Catholic constable, Ronan Kerr, who was murdered in Omagh at the weekend. Ireland reporter Andy Martin reflects on the mourning.

Sports news with Chris Dennis.

In four weeks' time, the UK will vote on whether to introduce the alternative vote system. Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski, who chairs the parliamentary group promoting the present first-past-the-post system, and the former Labour cabinet minister John Denham, who supports AV, debate which system works best.

Paper review.

The lengthy dispute between the London Olympic organisers and the British Olympic Association may be approaching an end, as both sides have agreed to talk. Sports editor David Bond reports on a possible resolution.

Thought for the Day with the Reverend Dr Michael Banner, Dean and fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

The government advisory body, the Human Genetics Commission, says there are "no specific social, ethical or legal principles" to prevent the introduction of genetic screening for people before they have children. Consultant clinical geneticist Dr Frances Flinter, who chaired the HGC working party, and Catherine Upstone, whose seven-year-old daughter Cerys has cystic fibrosis, discuss if screening should be used to warn people they could pass on a condition to a child.

More than 40 changes to the tax and benefit system come in to play this morning, including a 1% rise in National Insurance contributions. Tom Bateman reports from the Elmbridge Community Choir in Surrey on how things will feel for the so-called "squeezed" middle classes. And Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, responds to criticisms of the changes.

The Milan trial will open this morning of the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is accused of paying for sex with a minor and who denies all the charges. Europe editor Gavin Hewitt reports on what Italians think of their leader's private life.

Sports news with Chris Dennis.

The incumbent president of Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo, is surrounded by opposition forces and is negotiating the terms of his surrender. Dr Hamadoun Toure of the UN examines Mr Gbagbo's prospects and the country's ability to recover from the recent violence.

Business news with Lesley Curwen.

What is the likelihood that the revolutions and uprisings that have been taking place across the Middle East will lead to even more repression in those countries? Hooman Majid, an Iranian-American writer, considers the lessons to be learnt from the Iranian revolution of 1979. 0845
From today, employers will not be able to force staff to leave when they reach the age of 65. The CBI's John Cridland and Denise Keating of the Employers Forum on Age, debate how the change of rules will affect older people in the job market.

Bob Dylan is preparing for the first of two concerts in China today, soon after the Chinese government cracked down on dissidents and arrested the artist Ai Weiwei. Paul Stokes, associate editor of NME, explains if China's song-checking system will curb the legendary performer.

Will the new era of financial austerity be unilaterally bad for the UK? Could there be a silver lining to the cloud of cuts? Philosopher Roger Scruton and the Institute of Economic Affairs' Mark Littlewood, debate if the cuts should act as an inspiration to re-order our priorities away away from consumerism.



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