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Page last updated at 05:49 GMT, Friday, 31 August 2012 06:49 UK
Today: Friday 31st August

Squatting in England and Wales is about to become a criminal offence, but there is criticism from housing charities of the new law which will come into effect at midnight tonight. Mitt Romney has accepted the Republican party's nomination for November's presidential election with a promise to create 12 million jobs. Also on the programme, a debate over this year's Blackpool illuminations is generating heat as well as light.

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. The world's central bankers are gathering today for their annual meeting at Jackson Hole, northwest Wyoming.


From tomorrow, in England and Wales, anyone who takes over someone else's home and refuses to move, can go to jail for six months. Justice minister Crispin Blunt explains the details behind the new law.

The slow grind towards full-scale civil war in Syria continues, with each day sounding very much the same. But as author and foreign correspondent Janine Di Giovanni describes from Damascus, life is changing in Syria and the struggle is increasingly affecting life in the capital.


The fate of more than 2,000 students at London's Metropolitan university hangs in the balance, after the UK borders agency revoked the institution's visa licence yesterday. Rajini Vaidyanathan has been speaking to students in Mumbai, India, who explain why the stricter visa rules for foreign students in the UK have deterred many of them.

Business news with Simon Jack.

Sport news with Rob Bonnet.


Mitt Romney is now formally the Republican candidate for the job of president of the United States, but what can we expect if he beats Barack Obama in 10 weeks and becomes the most powerful man in the world? Samuel L Popkin, professor of Political Science at the University of California, and Bill Whalen, research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, debate what Mitt Romney stands for.

The paper review.


The lights are being switched on in Blackpool today, a tradition going back 100 years and which now costs £2m. Phil Oakley, former director of the Blackpool Festival of Light, and Councillor Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, discuss whether the Blackpool illuminations is still worth it or whether it is now outdated.

Thought for the day with the Reverend Dr Michael Banner.


In the last 12 months, the number of visas issued to foreign students in the UK has dropped by a fifth on the year before. Edward Acton, vice chancellor of the University of East Anglia, and Sir Andrew Green, who chairs Migration Watch, debate whether the current regulations are too restrictive.


From tomorrow, squatters residing in any empty residential property in England and Wales will face a maximum six months in jail, and a £5,000 fine. Chris Town, vice chairman of the Residential Landlords Association gives his reaction to the new law.

Hurricane Isaac has disintegrated into a tropical depression as it wanders off into the mid-west. having hit the gulf coast as a Category One storm. Alastair Leithead, who was also in New Orleans seven years ago when hurricane Katrina flooded the city, reports from the city.


A fisherman from Shetland has recovered a message in a bottle that has been drifting in the sea for 97 years. Dr Bill Turrell, head of marine ecosystems with Marine Scotland Science, explains how the bottle was part of a huge batch released in 1914 to help map marine flows.

Sport news with Rob Bonnet.

Speculation that Israel might attack Iran's nuclear facilities is increasing again, following the latest report from the UN's nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, which says that Iran has doubled its capacity to enrich uranium. Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen reports on the mood from Israel, and former ambassador to Iran Sir Richard Dalton, gives his analysis of the situation.


A so-called 'soundscape' called Tales from the Bridge has been installed for the duration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games at the Millennium Bridge in London. The BBC's Beth McLeod went along to meet the creator of the piece, Martyn Ware, the pioneer of electronic music who founded Human League and Heaven 17.

Business news with Simon Jack.

Two Russian businessmen rose to riches together in the chaotic years of post-Soviet Russia before then becoming arch enemies. A British judge will today rule on which oligarch will beat the other in a multibillion-dollar court battle. Bill Bowring, professor of Law at Birkbeck College, London University, gives his thoughts on the case.

Erica Wagner, Times literary editor, and author Tim Lott discuss the current success of Parade's End and other great novels brought out of obscurity by television series.

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