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Page last updated at 07:22 GMT, Saturday, 10 March 2012
Today: Saturday 10th March

The former UN secretary general Kofi Annan is in Syria on a mission to end the violence which has claimed thousands of lives there. Liberal Democrat leaders are facing an attempt at the party's spring conference to force a debate on the coalition's reorganisation of the NHS. And also on the programme, how the art of fresco painting is alive and well in Northern Italy.

A look at the papers

Liberal Democrat activists will decide this morning whether Nick Clegg will face a vote on the health bill. The BBC's Robin Bryant explains why that could be bad news for the government.

The former head of the UN, Kofi Annan, is meeting President Assad of Syria in Damascus this morning. Middle East correspondent Jon Donnison reports from neighbouring Beirut.


The Labour Party said this week it would support a mansion tax and work with the government to introduce it. Richard Murphy, a chartered accountant and director of Tax Research UK, and Matthew Sinclair, director of Taxpayers' Alliance, debate whether this tax is likely to be imposed and how it will be decided which homes are affected.


The French are planning to base a theme park on Napoleon,

at a place called Montereau, about 50 miles south-west of Paris. Hugh Schofield reports.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet


Nigeria has blamed the Islamist militant group Boko Haram for the kidnap and killing of the British engineer Chris McManus and his Italian colleague Franco Lamolinara. The BBC's Mark Lobel is in Lagos and Alex Vines, the head of the Africa Programme at Chatham House, discusses if the group is actually responsible.

The paper review.


The Leveson Inquiry has spent the week hearing evidence from senior officers at Scotland Yard about their relationships with the media. Roger Graef, criminologist and acting chairman of the Media Standards Trust, reflects on what the past week's evidence has told us of the culture at the top of the Metropolitan Police.

Thought for the day with the Reverend Rob Marshall, an Anglican Priest.


The Liberal Democrats are holding their spring conference this weekend. Simon Hughes, the party's deputy leader, outlines the Lib Dems' contribution to the coalition and his hopes for its future.

Yesterday the biggest write-down of a nation's debt the world has ever seen happened in Greece as their debts were reduced by a staggering 100bn euros. The BBC's Joe Lynam explains what the impact is likely to be on the banks and insurance companies.


The former UN chief Kofi Annan is meeting Syria's Bashar Al-Assad this morning.

He's said he wants to urge President Assad to stop fighting and seek a political solution to what's happening in the country. Dr Bassma Kodmani, a senior member of the opposition Syrian National Council and Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a former foreign secretary, discuss whether this is possible.

It's the first International Bagpipe day today and the School of Oriental and African Studies and the Institute of Musical Research are hosting a conference and music festival to celebrate the world's bagpipes. Cassandre Balosso-Bardin, one of the organisers who plays French and Galician bagpipes and Olle Gallmo, a Swedish bagpipe player, give us a preview of what to expect at the festival.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.


In this Jubilee Year, the royals are being closely watched, and so far, appear to be warmly regarded. Labour MP Paul Flynn and the chief executive of Republic, Graham Smith, discuss how Republicans are likely to cope with the celebrations.

The paper review.

Vladimir Putin became president of Russia again this week, and many people believe he shouldn't be. The BBC's Steve Rosenberg is in Moscow where there'll be another big demonstration today.

Today is the anniversary of the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. The Royal Society is holding a two-day discussion meeting assessing the current global status of nuclear energy. Prof Roger Cashmore, chairman of UK Atomic Energy Authority, and Prof Paul Dorfman, who is leading the EU Environment Agency Post-Fukushima Discussion, discuss the state of the nuclear industry one year after Fukushima.

The fresco art form is very much associated with the glories of the Italian Renaissance. But it's not entirely consigned to the past. As the BBC's Alan Johnston has been finding out, the art form is alive and well right now, in the town of Pisa.


The big event on the social media scene this past week was a film about a notorious African warlord who's caused enormous suffering in Uganda. He's Joseph Kony and the film calls for his arrest and trial. It's now been seen on the internet by 70 million people. Social media expert Kate Bussman says "pure emotion" works very well on Twitter and the Kony 2012 video was very cleverly targeted.


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