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Page last updated at 07:25 GMT, Wednesday, 18 January 2012
Today: Wednesday 18th January

There is to be new guidance on the "joint enterprise" law which allows gang members not directly involved in a killing to be accused of murder. A damning report on the famine in East Africa says thousands died needlessly because of the slow response of the international community. And also on today's programme, should there be a minimum age to hold a shotgun licence?

Business news with Simon Jack on the possible outcome of fresh negotiations between the Greek government and the country's many creditors after the collapse of previous talks.

The public is being urged to take part in a survey of hedgehogs to see if climate change is having an impact on their hibernation and survival. Dr Pat Morris, mammal expert from London University explains that there has been a population drop over the last decade.

New guidelines are to be produced by the Crown Prosecution Service to simplify the law on gang murders, which will allow every member of a gang to be charged with murder even if only one of them carried out the killing. Gloria Morrison of Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association (JENGbA) explains her view that the so-called "joint enterprise" law is "complex and antiquated" and is responsible for the convictions of hundreds of innocent people.

The latest figures on unemployment are about to be released. Colin Blane in Scotland, Jim Fitzpatrick in Northern Ireland and Nick Servini in Wales outline the state of the labour market in their respective nations.

Business news with Simon Jack.

Wikipedia has limited access to the English language version of its website for 24 hours in protest at proposed legal changes to stop online piracy in the United States. Technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones has the details.

As part of the BBC's series 'Stargazing Live', the Somerset town of Dulverton is planning to turn off all of its lights at the same time in order to observe the night sky with as little light pollution as possible. Councillor Chris Nelder, mayor of Dulverton, outlines tonight's plans and Douglas Rice, chair of the nearby Tiverton Astronomy Society, explains what he will be looking out for.

Sport news with Garry Richardson.

At the moment, there is no minimum age for a gun licence in the UK. Labour MP Thomas Docherty describes why he wants to introduce a minimum age of 10 while David Taylor of the Countryside Alliance explains why he believes this move is unnecessary.

The paper review.

France has just been marking the 600th anniversary of the birth of Joan of Arc, the country's patron saint, who was burned at the stake by the English in 1431. Hugh Schofield reports on how her image, largely appropriated in France by the far-right, may be changing.

Thought for the day with John Bell of the Iona Community.

An article in a medical journal, Lancet Online, says that the regulation of medical devices including surgical instruments and surgical implants in this country is not fit for purpose. The Today programme's Tom Feilden explains why criticism is being aimed at the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHPRA) and Brian Toft, emeritus professor of patient safety at Coventry University, outlines his view that EU regulation is at fault.

BAA's chief executive Colin Matthews and the Mayor of London Boris Johnson react to the news that the government is to open a formal consultation on plans to build an airport in the Thames Estuary.

The Crown Prosecution Service is to issue new guidelines in England and Wales on "joint enterprise" cases that allow every member of a gang to be charged with murder even if only one of them carried out the killing. Lorraine Fraser, whose son Tyrone Clarke was stabbed to death in 2004, describes how current joint enterprise law was used in her sons case and Lord Ken Macdonald, former director of Public Prosecutions for England and Wales, outlines the complexities of the law.

Sport news with Garry Richardson.

Save the Children and Oxfam are issuing a joint report saying that, if the world is to learn a lesson from so-called failings in the response to the Horn of Africa emergency, it has to act fast to advert a dangerous food crisis in the Sahel region of West Africa. World Affairs correspondent Mike Wooldridge reports from Niger. And Save the Children's chief executive, Justin Forsyth, outlines their fears.

The prospect of a new airport being built out in the Thames Estuary was given a fresh boost today after it was announced that a formal consultation on it will take place. Chief political correspondent Norman Smith analyses what this may mean for the Liberal Democrats within the coalition partnership who have vigorously opposed the project.

Business news with Simon Jack. Tim Martin, founder and chairman of JD Wetherspoon, reflects on the latest rise in its sales figures and explains why he believes the euro "should go".
The Dickens House and Museum in London, which holds so much Dickensian material, celebrates the bicentenary of the author's birth but is causing uproar among enthusiasts by closing from April to December this year for building work. Dr Florian Schweizer, the museum's director, explains why and the great-great-great granddaughter of Dickens and patron of the House and Museum, Lucinda Hawksley, expresses her anger at the move.

Websites such as Wikipedia are shutting down for 24 hours in protest at changes to US legislation to end online piracy. Telegraph columnist Harry Mount and Olivia Solon, associate editor of, discuss what life would be like without the internet.


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