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Page last updated at 06:24 GMT, Wednesday, 11 April 2012 07:24 UK
Today: Wednesday 11th April

The Today programme is broadcasting this morning from Bong County, Liberia. Over the course of the next year, we will be reporting from this region, on the people getting on with life in one of the poorest countries in Africa.

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 a tough day for European markets yesterday with a rise in Spain and Italy's borrowing costs which prompted a sell-off on world markets.


As part of our programme on Liberia, Henrique Tokpa, president of Cuttington University in the Bong County region, reflects on why a strong middle class is vital for the country.

Are countries like Liberia are too dependent on outside help from charities and less likely to help themselves? Ranjan Poudyal, country director for Save the Children, reflects on the charity's work in the country.

Business news with Simon Jack.


When Alan Plater's play Close The Coalhouse Door opened in Newcastle in 1968, it was a huge success and ended up as part of the A-level syllabus. The death of Plater inspired Samuel West to direct a revival of Close The Coalhouse Door enlisting the help of Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall to update the script so that it would reflect the miners' strike of 1984. Entertainment correspondent Colin Paterson spoke to them ahead of this Friday's opening night at Newcastle's Northern Stage.


The UK Border Agency has been heavily criticised by MPs for its poor record in deporting foreign nationals who've committed a crime. The Home Affairs Committee says almost 4000 foreign offenders are awaiting removal from the UK. Immigration Minister Damian Green responds.

Sports news with Alison Mitchell.

China says that the wife of a once prominent Communist party leader, Bo Xilai, is being investigated over the murder of a British businessman. Professor Steve Tsang, director of the China Policy Institute at Nottingham University, gives his analysis.


For every 100 children born today in Liberia, ten of them will be dead in five year's time. There's a few reasons for that: Money, the civil war that did so much damage and killed so many health workers, and tradition means that many people still take their children to local healers. John Humphrys went to visit Bong county's single hospital which serves 350,000 people.

Thought for the day with the Reverend Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James Piccadilly.

The Chancellor has said that he is "shocked" to discover that some of the wealthiest people in the country were paying "virtually no" income tax. Paul Lewis, Presenter of Radio 4's Money Box Programme explains what the difference is between aggressive tax evasion and tax avoidance while Richard Murphy, chartered accountant and director of Tax Research UK, and Ian Liddell-Grainger, Conservative MP Chair of the All Party Group on Tax, discuss whether there is an effective system that will crack down on aggressive tax avoidance.


This morning, the Today programme is broadcasting from Bong County, Liberia, at the start of a year long project. Liberia, in sub-Saharan Africa has been torn apart by civil wars, misruled by corrupt and brutal dictators and its people are in desperate need of everything from decent medical care to a basic education. But the continent is beginning to get its act together and democracy is taking over from dictatorship and economies are expanding and relying less on foreign aid. The Today programme's John Humphrys reports from Gbarnga, in Bong County.


Facebook announced on Monday it is to buy Instagram, the popular photo-sharing smartphone app for a whopping $1bn, which is just one of the many programmes and apps now available to amateur photographers to dramatically improve the quality of their shots. Eamonn McCabe, portrait photographer, and Dr Aleks Krotoski, journalist who writes about and studies technology, discuss where all this new technology leaves the professional photographer.

Sports news with Alison Mitchell.


If you're born in Liberia today, you've drawn one of the shortest straws in the world as you have got a ten percent chance of dying before you reach the age of five. Malaria and diarrhoea are two major issues as well as malnourishment. The Today programme's John Humphrys finds out what life is like as a child in the West African country.

Business news with Simon Jack.

As the Syrian regime has battled against protests and rebellion, and then international outrage at the killing of civilians, the country's most important ally has been Russia. Now Russia has publicly criticised Syria for the first time, saying it should have done more to implement the current peace plan. Moscow correspondent Daniel Sandford reports.

It is the 200th year of the Luddite movement in the UK and new research about to be published in History Today by the University of Cambridge casts doubt on whether the Luddites are the working class heroes we think of them to be, but rather middle class artisans who didn't have a particularly successful movement. Richard Jones, a research student in Economic History at the University of Cambridge is author of the piece, and Dr Katrina Navickas, lecturer in history at University of Hertfordshire, discuss whether this may be the case.


At the end of our first broadcast from Bong County, the Today programme's John Humphrys reports on the proliferation of distinctive billboards around Bong County and what they tell us about the country's ambitions. You can follow and get involved with our year-long project via #TodayinLiberia.

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