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Page last updated at 07:33 GMT, Saturday, 3 March 2012
Today: Saturday 3rd March

Tessa Jowell has denied suggestions, made by a senior police officer at Leveson this week, that she declined to help with the original phone-hacking inquiry. The Chancellor has been accused of putting "populist politics before sound economics" after calls for the 50p tax rate to be ditched. And the 'horse-gate' scandal continues.

We are no longer providing clips of every part of the programme but you will be able to listen via the BBC iPlayer .

Paper review

The Red Cross is attempting to get into the Syrian city of Homs this morning. BBC correspondent, Jim Muir is in neighbouring Lebanon.

The villagers of Wukan, in southern China, are voting today in relatively free local elections after staging a protest three months ago. They claimed that officials had sold their land to developers without their consent. Correspondent Martin Patience returns to Wukan to observe what has changed.


Education Secretary Michael Gove has lost the latest round in his freedom of information battle to keep details of emails from his personal account secret. The Information Commissioner has ruled that the emails dealing with departmental business are covered by the Freedom of Information Act. The Financial Times's education correspondent Chris Cook explains why.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.


Tessa Jowell has denied suggestions, made by a senior police officer at Leveson this week, that she declined to help with the original phone-hacking inquiry conducted by Scotland Yard. The BBC's Peter Hunt reflects on the week's dramatic events at the inquiry and Ms Jowell joins us on the line.

Paper review.


Russia goes to the polls on Sunday's presidential elections and the French and Americans are both on the cusp of appointing new leaders too. By the end of this year, four out of five members of the UN Security Council will have chosen a new leader. World affairs editor John Simpson considers the significance of these potential changes.

Thought for the day with Reverend Rob Marshall.

Thirty years ago, the brutal suppression of an Islamist-inspired revolution in Syria's city of Hama almost mirrors the violence in Homs today. The Today programme's reporter, Andy Hosken, is finding out how the West knew of the Hama massacre and how it reacted to it.


The Leveson Inquiry heard this week that the Sun newspaper established a "network of corrupted officials" and created a "culture of illegal payments". The BBC's Clive Coleman, the former chief constable of Gloucestershire, Tim Brain, and lawyer Mark Lewis discuss the allegations.

The presidential election on Sunday will determine whether or not Vladimir Putin is gets his old job back as Russian president. BBC's Bridget Kendall reports from Moscow.


Private companies could take responsibility for investigating crimes and patrolling neighbourhoods under a radical privatisation plan being put forward by two of the largest police forces in the country - West Midlands and Surrey. Other forces have shown a similar interest in getting involved. Chief Superintendent Phil Kay is overseeing the project and explains why he thinks this will be an improvement.

Sport news with Rob Bonnet.


The chancellor has been accused of putting "politics before economics". Dropping the 50 pence rate of tax would make as many friends as enemies. Conservative MP John Redwood and the Institute of Fiscal Studies' Paul Johnson discuss the impact of the tax on the rich and the UK economy.

BP announced early this morning it has struck a deal with the tens of thousands of the people suing it for damages after the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago. The company estimates that it will pay nearly £5bn to settle the action brought by fishermen, emergency workers, and those who have suffered loss. BBC's business editor is Robert Peston.

The paper review.

As humanitarian aid has been prevented from getting in to Homs and Western journalists are no longer there, there can be little knowledge of what is going on in the district. Syrian writer, Rime Allaf still believes that the Free Syrian Army has enough momentum to maintain opposition.

David Cameron has finally confirmed that he did in fact ride "that horse". The retired police horse was lent to former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks who resigned over the hacking scandal last year. Steve Bell of the Guardian and Jon Major's former press secretary Sheila Gunn, debate.



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