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Page last updated at 06:53 GMT, Friday, 9 March 2012
Today: Friday 9th March

New laws to speed up adoption will be outlined by the prime minister today. Downing Street has defended the handling of a failed mission to rescue two hostages in Nigeria. Also on the programme, The Road to Wigan Pier, 75 years on.

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

Business news with Simon Jack, who speaks to Friday boss, Edward Gillespie, managing director of Cheltenham racecourse.

A Briton and an Italian abducted by gunmen in Nigeria last year have died in a failed rescue attempt. Alan Johnston reports from Rome on the Italian response while Elizabeth Donnelly, head of Chatham House's Africa Programme, reflects on the Islamic radical group Boko Haram who are thought to be behind the kidnapping.

Business news with Simon Jack.


The Prime Minister will vow to tackle "absurd barriers to mixed-race adoption", when he sets out proposals to speed up adoptions in England later. Joy Carter, comedian who was adopted in Nigeria by a white couple, describes her experience.

While the SNP have their sights set on winning a referendum on Scottish independence in autumn 2014, in Wales, there is a growing realisation that changes to the future shape of the UK will impact on its political relationships too. Wales Political Editor Betsan Powys reports on what Welsh voters want.

According to the British Medical Association (BMA), hospital consultants should consider changing their working practices to help reduce the spike in hospital deaths that occurs at weekends and evenings. Dr Mark Porter, chairman of the BMAs consultants committee, explained why he thinks working practices needing re-thinking.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.


The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has confirmed it is to close before Lord Justice Leveson produces his report into press standards. Chairman of the PCC Lord Hunt explains why.

Paper review.


More than 500 German fairy tales from the Oberpflaz region, that had been locked in an archive for over 150 years and completely forgotten, are being compiled into a book and translated into English. Erika Eichenseer, cultural curator in Oberpfalz, is the woman behind the project.

Thought for the day with Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic Studies.

The Greek government has announced that more than 85 per cent of its private creditors have signed up to join a multi-billion-euro bond swap. Economics editor Stephanie Flanders and Professor Ngaire Woods, dean of Oxford University's Blavatnik School of Government and Member of the IMF European Regional Advisory Group, discuss what happens next. Read more.


David Cameron is expected to set out measures to speed up the adoption process and to tackle what he says are the "absurd barriers to mixed-race adoption". Matt Dunkley, president of the Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS), and Martin Narey, the government's adviser on adoption, discuss the issues facing would-be adopters.

Stephen Parkinson, solicitor for Rebekah Brooks, has questioned whether she could get a fair trial because of the Leveson inquiry. Max Hill QC, chair of the Criminal Bar Association, analyses whether this is the case.


It is the 75th anniversary of the publication of George Orwell's The Road to Wigan Pier, in which he travelled to the north of England to see how "the poor" lived. Stephen Armstrong, author of The Road to Wigan Pier Revisited, and Professor Stephen Ingle, a George Orwell biographer, discuss how working class life changed in 75 years.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.


Yesterday the Ministry of Defence released the names of the six young soldiers who died when their Warrior vehicle was hit by a Taliban bomb in Afghanistan. Defence correspondent Caroline Wyatt speaks to Brigadier Doug Chalmers about the impact the deaths have on morale as the next rotation of soldiers wait to go into Helmand province. Dr Margaret Evison, whose son Mark died in Afghanistan in 2009, reflects on the latest deaths.

Business news with Simon Jack.

According to Oxfam, some 13 million people are at severe risk from a food crisis which is set to escalate into a full scale humanitarian emergency in the Sahel region of West and Central Africa if urgent action is not taken. Penny Lawrence, international director of Oxfam, describes the situation.


Vinyl records were designed to be played at 33, 45 - or maybe 78 revolutions per minute (rpm) but at a gallery in Newcastle, they are being played at just three rpm as part of a "slow arts" festival. The BBC's Ian Youngs reports from the AV Festival which hopes to provide a refuge from the hectic pace of modern life.

On the Today programme yesterday, former US Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain compared Syria to Bosnia in the 90s and advocated military intervention. Lord Williams, former UN Undersecretary General in the Middle East, and Lord Ashdown, former High Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina, discuss whether Senator McCain's comparison is accurate.

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