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Morning news and current affairs with James Naughtie and John Humphrys, including:

Centrica, the company that owns British Gas, has just published its results. Business presenter Simon Jack and Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica, outline the extent of the company's profits.

Russia's President Putin has signed a law that prohibits smoking in many public areas, restaurants, bars and shops. Simon Calder, senior travel writer on the Independent, predicts that impact that this will have on Russian citizens.

Centrica issues its full year results today, and they have shown profits are up sharply, most attributed to the upstream gas and oil business. Alex Brummer, the city editor of the Daily Mail, and shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint examine why the company's profits are so large when gas prices are for consumers continue to rise.

The most detailed picture of how the slave-trade worked in this country is available online from today: research showing the pattern of slave ownership by people in this country. Professor Catherine Hall, leader of the project in the department of British social and cultural history at UCL, explains that after abolition in 1833, 46,000 claims for compensation were made by people who had lost "property", namely the slaves they owned.

Since 2010 proven risk of persecution on the grounds of sexual orientation does give grounds for asylum seekers to remain in the UK. The BBC's Nicola Stanbridge reports that according to solicitors and gay rights organisations proving that orientation is taking repeated tribunals and fresh claims for asylum and is an increasingly humiliating and sexually explicit experience.

3 hours

Last on

Wed 27 Feb 2013 06:00

Paddington creator Michael Bond talks to Today

The Today guest editors 2014

Guest editors

Find out who is taking the helm at Today over the festive period

Wednesday 27 February

Profits at British Gas are up 6% after they increased their prices a few months ago. The most detailed picture of how the slave trade worked in Britain is available online from today. And what effect will the ban on smoking in public places have on Russia - where 40% of people smoke?

  • 27 Feb 2013 08:57:38


    The last of the local TV licences is about to be awarded in the next few days - it's for Preston - and the new channels should be on air in the Autumn. What will they be showing? We speak to Chris Kerr, programme director of BAY TV in Liverpool, and Debra Davis - chief executive of City TV in Birmingham.
  • 27 Feb 2013 08:51:27


    Scientists from Harvard University have successfully replicated the conditions of a diseased human lung outside the body using microchip technology. Professor Donald Ingber, of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering Harvard, explains that the "lung-on-a-chip" micro device has been awarded an international prize for its potential to revolutionise preclinical drug testing by offering a viable alternative to using animals.

  • 27 Feb 2013 08:43:01


    The Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, Paul Tucker, told MPs yesterday he'd raised the idea of negative interest rates as a way of turning the economy around, but said "it would be an extraordinary thing to do and it needs to be thought through carefully." So how do negative interest rates work and who wins and who loses? We ask Erik Britton, Director of Fathom Financial Consulting, an economics consultancy.
  • 27 Feb 2013 08:36:39


    Although the war in Sudan ended 20 years ago, people are still dying there and tens of thousands have been forced to flee from their homes and become refugees. Talia (not her real name), a Sudanese 17 year-old, tells her story to Today correspondent, Mike Thomson.

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