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Page last updated at 06:54 GMT, Monday, 23 January 2012
Today: Monday 23rd January

Opponents of a cap on welfare benefits are to try to get the plans changed when they are debated in the House of Lords. The Arab League has called on President Assad to hand over power to his deputy to organise multi-party elections in Syria. And also on today's programme, the differing fortunes of British towns and cities, coping with harsh economic times.

Business news with Simon Jack on the forecast for growth in the UK and the global economy.

According to a new report by think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and Cardiff and Edinburgh Universities, voters living in England place more emphasis on their English, rather than British, identity. Nick Pearce, director of the IPPR, has the details.

The Children's Society says thousands of children will be disproportionately affected by proposed changes to the Welfare Reform Bill and are supporting an amendment to the bill which would exclude child benefit from the cap. Enver Solomon, policy director at the Children's Society, outlines their fears.

Business news with Simon Jack.

A study by think tank the Centre for Cities says that the gap between the economic performance of cities across the UK is widening. The Today programme's Sanchia Berg reports from two cities at either end of the scale: Milton Keynes and Newport, South Wales.

The Arab League mission to Syria appears to be in disarray after its list of demands for a new government was rejected by President Assad. Read more

Sport news with Rob Bonnet.

The northern Nigerian city of Kano is under curfew following multiple attacks by Islamist militants on police stations, which are believed to have killed at least 150 people. World affairs correspondent Mark Doyle gauges the mood of people there.

The US ambassador to Nato is in London to talk about how Europe will deal with future security issues. Ahead of the event, Ivo Daalder tells the Today programme's Justin Webb about the challenges facing the organisation.

The paper review.

A select group of MPs is to meet to consider the state of the Palace of Westminster, including what to do about the clock tower containing Big Ben, which experts say has a slight tilt to the north. John Burland, emeritus professor at Imperial College, who was responsible for coming up with a solution for stabilising the leaning tower of Pisa, analyses how serious the problem is.

Thought for the day with the Reverend Professor David Wilkinson, Principal of St John's College, Durham University.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) is calling for an outright ban on the advertising of all cosmetic surgery. Fazel Fatah, president of BAAPS, and Sally Taber, director of the Independent Healthcare Advisory Services, which represents the cosmetic surgery industry, discuss the necessity of such a ban.

The government is to come up against strong opposition in the House of Lords over its plans to cap benefits payments to £26,000 per household per year in England, Scotland and Wales. Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith defends the proposals.

Britain's wounded service men and women are all too familiar with the theatre of war. Last night 30 of them joined professional actors on stage at the Haymarket Theatre to perform a play examining what it is like to be wounded and fight your way back to a full life. Defence correspondent Caroline Wyatt went along to see it.

Sport news with Rob Bonnet.

The president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, arrived in the city of Kano on Sunday to inspect sites hit in the deadly wave of attacks in the Muslim north of the country. The Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Justin Welby, has just returned from the country and reflects on the situation there.

A new study suggests there's a growing gap between cities in the UK which are doing well economically, and those which are struggling. The think tank Centre for Cities has published its annual index which shows that the best performing places include Edinburgh, Cambridge and London while more vulnerable cities include Hull, Doncaster and Newport and are more reliant on the public sector. Alexandra Jones, Centre for Cities' chief executive, outlines the findings.

Business news with Simon Jack.

Are school breakfast clubs an important service for malnourished children or do they let those children's families off the hook with regard to their parental duties? Carmel McConnell, of charity Magic Breakfast, and Jill Kirby, a commentator on social issues for the Conservative Home website, debate whose responsibility it should be.

Controversial proposals to introduce a £26,000 cap on household benefits as part of the Welfare Reform Bill will be debated in the Lords later amid speculation that ministers may face a rebellion from Liberal Democrat peers who are unhappy at the potential impact of the cap on disadvantaged families. Shadow employment minister Stephen Timms outlines the Labour Party's view of the proposed changes.

According to a new book, the most important thing to make a person successful is willpower and not self-esteem as is traditionally thought. Roy Baumeister, author of Willpower: Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength, explains his formula for success.


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