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Page last updated at 07:11 GMT, Wednesday, 5 December 2012
Today: Wednesday 5th December

In his autumn statement, the chancellor is likely to say his austerity programme will have to last longer than he had hoped. Should the big accountancy firms be barred from government contracts if they help multinationals avoid tax? And also on the programme, London's great smog, 60 years on.

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 Lesley Curwen on news that, as the chancellor prepares for his Autumn Statement, there are calls for him to cut taxes on share trading of smaller companies.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.


George Osborne, will announce his Autumn Statement today. Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, examines how the chancellor will go about attempting to reduce the deficit.

Scientists have discovered what they think is the oldest known dinosaur. Dr Sterling Nesbitt, form Washington University who led the research explains that it dates from a time more than 10 million years before what had been thought to be the earliest dinosaur.

Business news with Lesley Curwen.


There are rumours that the legendary fashion figure Anna Wintour could be offered a job as an ambassador by President Obama. Lisa Armstrong, the Telegraph's fashion editor, and Sarah Churchwell, professor of American studies at the University of East Anglia, discuss if Ms Wintour is right for the job.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.


Patriot missiles are being deployed by Nato on the Turkey's border with Syria. Ahmet Çeviköz, Turkish ambassador to the UK, outlines the problems these weapons are designed to solve.

The paper review.

Tax avoidance could be costing the UK Treasury many billions of pounds, according to some estimates possibly up to £100bn a year. The Today programme's Andrew Hosken reports that much of that revenue can end up in tax havens and asks who helps these multi-national companies arrange their tax affairs.

Thought for the Day with Reverend Professor David Wilkinson, principal of St John's College, Durham University.


There have been huge advances in medical science in recent years but they do not appear to have made any difference to the chance that a baby born before 24 weeks will survive, according to new research. Lesley Freeman, who went into labour without warning at 25 weeks and gave birth to twins, and Neil Marlow, professor of neonatal medicine at the UCL Institute for Women's Health and the report's author, discuss the research published in the British Medical Journal.


As George Osborne makes his Autumn Statement today, what will we learn about the government's efforts to reduce the budget deficit? The BBC political editor Nick Robinson, economics editor Stephanie Flanders, and home affairs editor Mark Easton provide analysis on the implications of the statement for the UK economy.

Wednesday 5 December marks the 60th anniversary of the great smog of London. Iris Humphries, who lived in London and remembers the 1952 smog, and Georgina Young, Museum of London Curator, reflect on the smog as the worst on record.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

The US space agency, Nasa, has announced it is to send a new robot vehicle to Mars in 2020. Geoffrey Landis, Nasa scientist at the John Glenn Research centre in Cleveland, outlines what the robot will be looking to discover.


Should companies themselves be blamed for aggressive tax avoidance? Mary Monfries, head of tax at PwC, and Richard Murphy, adviser to the Tax Justice Network, discuss whether it may be the tax advisers that are to blame.

Business news with Lesley Curwen.

The year 2012 has been a landmark year for the world's tallest buildings, and all this week the BBC is taking a look at the skyscrapers that are dominating the world's skylines. The BBC's science reporter Rebecca Morelle has been discovering how lift technology in skyscrapers is changing.

Poor women who drank tea were viewed as irresponsible as whisky drinkers in early 19th century Ireland, new research by Durham University has unearthed. Dr Helen O'Connell, author of the research, and Lucy Worsley, historian and author of If Walls Could Talk, An Intimate History of the Home, examine tea drinking through the ages.

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