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Page last updated at 07:18 GMT, Friday, 18 January 2013
Today: Friday 18th January

The fate of as many as 20 British hostages is still unknown after Algerian forces launched an attack to free them from Islamic militants. The disgraced cyclist, Lance Armstrong, has admitted using drugs to win all seven of his Tour de France titles. And also on the programme, why it is better to wait before you write poetry about heartbreak.

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 news that China's economy has picked up after a very slow year by Chinese standards.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

The Algerian hostage crisis has, it seems, resulted in many deaths - though we still do not know the details of precisely what happened when government forces stormed the energy site at In Amenas where dozens of international workers were being held by gunmen. Gordon Corera, the BBC's security correspondent reports.

Lance Armstrong has given an interview with US chat show host Oprah Winfrey. Sports correspondent Tim Franks explains that it is the first time Mr Armstrong has spoken out spoken out since he was stripped of his seven Tour De France titles for being part of what the US anti-doping agency called the "most sophisticated doping programme that sport has ever seen."

An update on the snow fall in the UK.

Business news with Simon Jack.

In Mali, fighting has continued, with French troops are bolstering Malian army efforts to halt the southward advance of the Islamist rebels who have seized control of more than half the country. The BBC's correspondent Andrew Harding outlines the situation from northern Mali.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.


There would be no negotiations and no blackmail, that was the message from the Algerian government, a message they followed up with action. Hostage takers have been killed but so have hostages. Andy Coward, a chemical engineer who visited the site in 2009, describes the security at the site.

The paper review.

British experts looking for a cache of World War II Spitfire planes believed to be buried in Burma say they have discovered a crate. The BBC's Fergal Keane explains what has been found.

A security check on a US company has reportedly revealed one of its staff was outsourcing his work to China. Merryn Somerset Webb, the editor in chief of Moneyweek, explains that the software developer, in his 40s, is thought to have spent his workdays surfing the web, watching cat videos on YouTube and browsing Reddit and eBay and it only cost him a fifth of his six figure salary.

Thought for the Day with the Right Reverend Graham James, Bishop of Norwich.

Lance Armstrong admitted last night that he could not have won the Tour de France seven times without performance-enhancing drugs. Nicole Cooke, world champion and Olympic gold medal-winning British cyclist who won the Tour de France twice, and Michele Verrokken, founding director of Sporting Integrity, examine doping in the sport.


UK officials are waiting to learn the fate of a number British hostages held by militants at a gas plant in Algeria, amid fears of multiple casualties after the military attacked the compound. Nick Robinson, the BBC's political editor looks at the political and implications of the situation and Nick Butler, the former head of BP strategy, examines how this could have happened and how it incidents like it can be prevented in the future.

An update on the snow fall in the UK.

The TS Eliot Prize for poetry has gone to the American Sharon Olds for a collection - Stag's Leap - that tackles the subject of the end of her marriage, the pain that followed, and her eventual, slow recovery. Gillian Clarke, the national poet of Wales, and by Sarah Churchwell, professor of American literature at the University of East Anglia, discuss whether it is better to wait before you write poetry about heartbreak.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

As sporting confessions go, Lance Armstrong's has been one of the longest in coming. But despite all the speculation in the last few days the interview that he did with Oprah Winfrey, screened in the United States overnight, was still dramatic. David Bond, the BBC's sports editor, and John Fahey, world Anti-Doping Agency chief executive, examine the prospects for Mr Armstrong's future.


Business news with Simon Jack. Are Japan's companies "in retreat"?


The figure revealed this week of the tiny number of top rate taxpayers in Wales - only 4,000 people out of a population of three million - is part of a picture of economic difficulty in the country. Leader of Plaid Cymru Leanne Wood examines whether Cardiff should get more power.

More than 50 people who have taken part in trials for new drugs have written to the European Medicines Agency to complain about the failure to publish the results. Sir Iain Chalmers, a long time campaigner for open data, and Steven Whitehead, chief executive of the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry, debate whether data should be published.

Figures show China's economic growth has continued to slow down. The BBC's Beijing correspondent Damian Grammaticas explains, from the industrial town of Wuhan in central China, that in 2012 China's economy grew at 7.9%, slowing for a second year running.

What has changed as a result of the awful events in Algeria? Dr George Joffe, from Cambridge University, and Dr Omar Ashour, director of middle east studies at the institute of Arab and Islamic Studies explain that we have to understand that there is a threat to the west and western interests that has real power in the region.

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