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Page last updated at 07:35 GMT, Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Today: Wednesday 31st October

The former Conservative minister, Lord Heseltine, is calling on the government to do much more to boost economic growth. President Obama today visit communities which have suffered the some of the worst effects of Superstorm Sandy. And also on the programme, can computers write novels?

Business news with Simon Jack on news that a new report on boosting the UK economy from Conservative peer Lord Heseltine is suggesting local business groups should have more control over funding for growth.

Sports news with Jonathan Legard.

In a report for ministers, the former Conservative minister Lord Heseltine has called for a "comprehensive strategy for wealth creation" to be set out by the government. Julie White, managing director of D-Drill Master Drillers Limited based in Coventry, describes how her business was refused regional funding earlier this year.


At least 40 Conservative MPs are calling for a real-terms cut in the European Union's budget ahead of an important Commons vote later today. George Eustice is Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth explains that a number of conservative backbenchers, and Labour, say they want to go further.

Business news with Simon Jack.


The Royal Society is determined to bridge the gap between the scientists who provide evidence, and the politicians who make decisions. Tom Feilden went to watch as physicists, medics and mathematicians temporarily swapped places with a small band of MPs.

Sports news with Jonathan Legard.

The US east coast is still reeling from the so-called Superstorm Sandy. Urban resilience is being tested by floods, power cuts and New York huge disruption to the public transport system. The BBC's Paul Adams analyses the damage that has been done.

The paper review.


Disney is buying Lucasfilm, the company behind the Star Wars films, from its chairman and founder George Lucas for $4.05bn (£2.5bn). Peter Bradshaw, the Guardian film critic, and James Burns, founder of Jedi News UK, discuss whether this is good news for Star Wars fans.

Thought for the Day with Abdal Hakim Murad, muslim chaplain at the University of Cambridge.

A woman from Wandsworth in south west London has been detained in a psychiatric unit under the mental health act after admitting killing her two children. Lucy Jolin, of the Birth Trauma Association and sufferer of post-natal depression after the birth of her first son, explains her view that there needs to be much greater awareness of the seriousness of this condition.


The former Conservative minister Lord Heseltine has called for a "comprehensive strategy for wealth creation" to be set out by the government. Lord Heseltine of Thenford, author of "No stone unturned, in pursuit of growth" report explains the findings and the BBC's political editor Nick Robinson explains its potential political impact.

Computers already drive trains, check bus tickets, solve complex mathematical problems, beat humans at chess and conduct countless other tasks. But what happens when they are programmed to write a romantic novel or poem? Philip Parker, professor of management science at European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD) in France, explains that he is the "author" of some 200,000 books, mainly non-fiction, created using computer automation.

MPs will debate the EU's 2014-2020 budget proposals on Wednesday in what is being seen as a test of David Cameron's authority on Europe. The Prime Minister wants a real-terms freeze in spending. Mark Reckless outlines why he and more than 40 other MPs have signed an amendment backing a cut.

The are eight million homes that are without power across the eastern part of America in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The BBC's New York correspondent Matt Wells asks how downtown residents are coping, the day after the city's worst natural disaster in living memory.

Sir Geoffrey Nice, a prominent international lawyer who was the deputy prosecutor in the trial of Slobodan Miloševic, is calling for a rethink of the role of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Sir Geoffrey Nice, professor of law at Gresham College, and Fadi el Abdallah, chief spokesman for the ICC, debate whether ICC's cases are skewed towards Africa and if the court is subject to undue political influence.


Business news with Simon Jack, examining crowdfunding, an alternative to bank investment for small and medium-sized firms.

Syria's war of attrition grinds on as phoney ceasefire ends. Richard Spencer, Daily Telegraph correspondent who was in Aleppo on Tuesday, explains that in Damascus a senior military figure was killed in rebel attack while government forces launch first airstrike to target parts of the capital.

Many explorers of the polar ice caps report experiences of the supernatural, otherworldly experiences, and the feeling of being watched. Dr Shane McCorristine, a cultural historian who will be speaking at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas later today, and Sara Wheeler, a writer who has spent months in both the Arctic and Antarctic, discuss the paranormal in the Arctic and Antarctic.

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