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19/11/2009

Duration:
3 hours
First broadcast:
Thursday 19 November 2009

Presented by John Humphrys and Justin Webb.

North-west England and south-west Scotland are at a high risk of flooding, and river levels are being monitored, the Environment Agency has warned. The agency's Elliot Robertson discusses the warnings.

The Office of National Statistics is to release figures for public sector finances in October. Figures last month revealed that public sector net borrowing reached £14.8bn in September, the highest ever figure for September since records began. Economics editor Stephanie Flanders examines the levels of borrowing.

Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai is set to deliver his second inauguration speech. The ceremony in Kabul will be attended by Foreign Secretary David Miliband and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Kabul correspondent Ian Pannell comments on the speech.

Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska and Republican vice-presidential candidate, has written her memoirs. The book is flying off the shelves and many of her supporters hope she will run in the next presidential election. Washington correspondent Kevin Connolly met Ms Palin at her first book-signing session, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The author of the report into MPs expenses has said he is disappointed that there was no parliamentary allowances legislation in the Queen's speech. Sir Christopher Kelly, the chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said there was no reason why new laws could not be introduced before the next election. Political editor Nick Robinson comments on Sir Christopher's reaction.

At least 16 people have been killed in a suicide bomb attack in Peshawar, Pakistan. Correspondent Aleem Maqbool reports on the latest attack.

Environmentalists have warned that the Amazon rainforest is being destroyed at a terrifying rate. Amazon tribes are in London as part of a major push to highlight the risk to the rainforest and the threat to tribes' way of life. Chief Tashka of the Yawanawa tribe and environmentalist Stanley Johnson discuss the dangers of deforestation and climate change.

Thought for the day with Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner.

A drug that could prolong the lives of patients with advanced liver cancer has been rejected for NHS use in England and Wales. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) has said providing the drug Nexavar would not be 'a cost effective use of NHS resources'. Campaigners, patients and doctors say the decision is devastating news for thousands of cancer sufferers who will be left without a treatment option. Kate Spall, who fought for her mother to receive the drug, recounts her battle. Peter Johnson, chief clinician at Cancer UK, and Professor Peter Littlejohns, Nice's clinical and public health director, debate provision of the drug.

The Conservative party has criticised the Queen's speech, accusing the government of using it as a 'Labour press release on Palace parchment'. The party condemned the government for failing to include legislation to tackle MPs' expenses and NHS reform, and Tory peer Lord Strathclyde has threatened to block the proposed bills. David Cameron, leader of the Conservative party, discusses his response to the Queen's speech.

The classic BBC comedy, Yes Minister, is to be reworked for audiences in the Ukraine. The satirical sitcom, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year, has become an international phenomenon and is enjoyed in Turkey, India and Holland. Sir Antony Jay, co-writer of Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister, and Andrey Kurkov, a Ukrainian writer and satirist, reflect on the programme's popularity.

The cannibalistic practices of a community in Papua New Guinea are helping researchers understand more about the disease CJD. Scientists have discovered a mutation in a gene which has helped villagers resist Kuru, a disease very similar to CJD. Scientists say this is the strongest example yet of recent natural selection in humans. Professor John Collinge, director of the Medical Research Council which carried out the study, discusses the findings.

The 27 leaders of the EU are to vote on who should be the first EU President and EU Foreign Secretary. Tory peer Lord Patten discusses what the new jobs will entail.

The Conservative party has accused the government of failing to legislate on MPs' expenses. Leader of the Commons Harriet Harman told the programme that the proposals from Sir Christopher Kelly's report would be taken forward by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

How can schoolchildren be introduced to thinking in a philosophical way? Peter Worley, founder of the Philosophy Shop which introduces young children to philosophy, and Anthony Grayling, professor of philosophy at Birkbeck College London, discuss how philosophy can be made to appeal to children.

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