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Page last updated at 06:18 GMT, Monday, 9 April 2012 07:18 UK
Today: Monday 9th April

The Syrian opposition has accused Damascus of sabotaging an international peace plan, which is due to come into force tomorrow. Hosni Mubarak's former spy chief has entered the race to become Egypt's next president. And also on the programme, Billy Bragg and Woody Guthrie's daughter on putting the iconic American folk singers long lost lyrics to music.

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 on whether too many bank holidays are bad for the UK economy.


Jonathan Birdwell, author of Demos report, Faithful Citizens,

explains that research shows that people who identify with a faith are more likely to hold left, rather than right-wing, political views.

The TaxPayers' Alliance has revealed that £28.5bn of tax revenue has been lost to the illicit market in spirits, beer, cigarettes, hand rolling tobacco and diesel during certain periods. Matthew Sinclair, director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, goes through the findings.


Sunday was the deadline for around half a million ethnic South Sudanese to register in Sudan or return home. William Bain, MP for Glasgow North East and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Sudan, analyses the situation.


The BBC has obtained documents that suggest that MI6 was involved in the rendition of Abdel Hakim Belhaj who was believed to be helping recruit British jihadis for Iraq. Peter Taylor has the details.

Business news with Simon Jack.


An alliance of aid groups, charities and arts organisations is criticising Treasury plans to limit tax relief for philanthropists, warning that they will have a devastating impact on the culture of giving at the heart of David Cameron's "big society". Nicholas Hytner, artistic director of the National Theatre, gives his thoughts.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

Today marks the official start of the French presidential campaign. Anne-Elisabeth Moutet, French political analyst, and Christian Mallard, senior foreign policy analyst with France 3 TV, discuss the campaigns of the candidates.

The paper review.

Two American rocket companies are readying the first private space missions to the International Space Station. SpaceX and Orbital both have multi-billion Nasa contracts to supply cargo to the station, filling the void left by the grounding last year of the Space Shuttle. Ahead of final testing, the BBC's Neil Bowdler has been granted exclusive access to Orbital's launch facilities in Virginia.

Thought for the day.


There are new hopes that Burma's ethnic wars could finally be nearing an end after decades of bloody conflict. This weekend Burma's President Thein Sein met with one of the country's largest ethnic groups in what's seen as one of the biggest steps towards peace yet undertaken. The Today programme's Mike Thomson reports from Burma's Shan State.


A UN-backed peace plan for Syria, due to come into effect on Tuesday, has been thrown into doubt after the government said it must have written guarantees that the rebels will not only stop fighting, but will also disarm. The BBC's Jonathan Head reports from the Syria/Turkey border, and Abdul Omar, a spokesman for the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reflects on what this means for the future of Syria. Read the news report here.

The Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff, will meet US President Barack Obama in Washington today, the first meeting between Brazil and the US where Brazil is no longer seen as a junior partner. Dr Juliana Bertazzo, a specialist in Brazilian foreign and security policy from the Institute for the Study of the Americas, and Mark Leonard, co-founder and director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, and author of "What Does China Think?, discuss the significance of this meeting in challenging the US as a superpower.


Paddington Bear has a new book out - this time he's off to the Olympics in Paddington Races Ahead. Paddington's creator Michael Bond talks about his hugely popular character, recently voted Britain's favourite animated character.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

Twenty years ago today the Conservatives won the 1992 election and John Major became prime minister in the midst of a recession. Major was presiding over a party deeply divided by Europe with many still pining for Margaret Thatcher. Lord Howard, former secretary of state during John Major's premiership, Sheila Gunn, his former press secretary, and former Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie, discuss whether it is fair that history has not been kind to his tenure or leadership.


Karen rebels in Burma have met the president, Thein Sein, for the first time in what's seen as a big step towards resolving one of the world's longest conflicts. The Today programme's Mike Thomson reports after returning from Burma while Baroness Glenys Kinnock, chair of the all-party parliamentary group for democracy in Burma, reflects on what this says about moving towards democracy.

Business news with Simon Jack.


This year it will be 100 years since the American folk singer, Woody Guthrie was born. When Guthrie died in 1967, he left complete lyrics for more than 3000 songs which lay undiscovered until his daughter Nora found them in the mid 1990s who then asked the musician Billy Bragg and the Chicago alternative rock band Wilco to set the lyrics to music. Nora and Billy speak about reviving the iconic American folk singer's long lost lyrics.

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