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Page last updated at 07:23 GMT, Saturday, 25 February 2012
Today: Monday 27th February

German MPs are set to vote on the Greek bailout deal. The potential impact of the Schmallenberg virus on UK livestock. And why more UK students are applying to US colleges.

The people of Syria have finished voting in a referendum on a new constitution, at least, those people who wanted to and who were able to. Many, of course, were a little more concerned with staying alive in the face of the continuing onslaught from the Syrian military. It's believed at least another 31 died yesterday - many of them in the city of Homs. The BBC's Lina Sinjab is in the capital Damascus.


BP has an extra week to try to reach settlements with some of the many people wanting compensation after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A judge has agreed to postpone the start of the court case in New Orleans. Nick McGregor, an oil analyst at stockbrokers Redmayne Bentley, analyses the current state of the case.

The business news with Lesley Curwen.

A suicide car bomber killed at least nine people in an attack on a military airport in eastern Afghanistan earlier this morning. It is the latest incident of violence and protests since copies of the Koran were inadvertently burned at a Nato base last week. Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson, a spokesman for Isaf in Kabul, reacts to the latest attacks.

German MPs will vote today on whether to endorse the 130bn euro bailout package for Greece that was agreed last week. But one German government minister has said Greece would be better off simply leaving the eurozone. The BBC's Athens correspondent Mark Lowen reports on the souring of relations between the two countries.

Sports news with Alison Mitchell.


Rising costs in the UK and new financial opportunities are leading to a boom in British students applying to US universities. The Today programme's Sanchia Berg reports from Harvard.

The paper review.

Are you waiting desperately for 4G to arrive? Do you even know what it is? Technology experts say that it is the next great leap forward in mobile communications. The BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan Jones has the latest from the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona.

Thought for the Day with Rabbi Lionel Blue.


Seventy-four UK farms say they have been affected by the Schmallenberg virus, which can cause ewes to give birth to dead or deformed lambs which often have to be shot. The virus, which has probably been carried across the North Sea from Germany by midges, can also affect cattle and goats. German agriculture journalist Andrea Bahrenberg, Suffolk farmer Chris Partridge and the UK's Chief Veterinary Officer, Nigel Gibbens, examine the impact of the illness.


German MPs are set to vote on the Greek debt bailout deal. The BBC's Steve Evans gauges the mood in Berlin and Greece's tourism and culture minister Pavlos Yeroulanos examines the challenges facing his country.

This week the Lords will once more turn their attention again to their own future and to the argument about whether peers should be elected. The Lib Dem leadership is in favour of that but many peers, not all Conservative, are against. Political editor Nick Robinson reviews the battle lines.

There were no great surprises at the Oscars. The Artist won best picture and pretty well everything else and Meryl Streep won best actress. The BBC's David Willis watched the night's event's unfold.


Annual profits at HSBC have risen 15% to £14bn. About 90% of this was made outside the UK. Ralph Silva, a banking analyst for SRN, explains how the results are largely down to HSBC taking advantage of rapid growth in Asia.

The creator of the children's character Firemen Sam, has been detained by airport security at Gatwick after he made a remark about a woman wearing a hijab. Mr Jones describes what happened.


When you think of the soldiers who took on the Japanese during World War II, you probably don't imagine a British debutante to be among them. But that was the case with Ursula Bower. Her heroics were at the time told in newspaper articles and the American comic book The American Queen and her official biography, sanctioned by her family, has now been published. Her daughter Katrina Child and biographer Vicky Thomas discuss the extraordinary story of "the Nagaland Queen".

The business news with Lesley Curwen.

What can we learn from the best US universities when it comes to providing better access for UK students from less-privileged backgrounds? Sir Peter Lampl, head of the Sutton Trust which is launching a new summer school to help UK students gain places in the US, and the Russell Group of leading UK universities, Dr Wendy Piatt, debate if UK students should set their sights on the States.


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