Talk about Newsnight

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Tuesday, 10 July, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 10 Jul 07, 06:13 PM

Tonight's presenter is Gavin Esler.

Could a US troop withdrawal from Iraq be announced sooner rather than later? With his popularity ratings falling and his own Senators threatening revolt, President Bush is under mounting pressure to announce a change of tack. Our Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban will be assessing how the US strategy is changing and we're hoping to speak to one of the leading Republican rebels in the US Senate.

Is it now all about the family? As the Conservatives demand the tax and benefits system loses its "anti-marriage bias", Labour claim the Tory plans will discriminate against lone and unmarried parents. Our political correspondent David Grossman will look at what could become one of the key battlegrounds of the next election.

People in New York are being encouraged to give up bottled water to help save the environment. City officials have launched an advertising campaign encouraging people to drink tap water - which they say cuts down on waste and saves on transport. What about us in Britain? We’ll look at the environmental cost of bottled water and the cultural embarrassment in restaurants of asking for tap water. We'll also speak to the drinks manufacturers live to see what they're doing to reduce their carbon footprint.

Do you ask for tap water in restaurants? Click here to join this debate.

These are difficult days for Britain's biggest arms dealer, BAE Systems. No sooner has the British government called off a Serious Fraud Office investigation into their arms sales to Saudi Arabia than the Americans have stepped in with their own inquiry. Meanwhile, British fraud investigators are still looking into BAE's deals in six other countries, including billions of pounds in sales to South Africa. Peter Marshall has been investigating the South African deal - and how it's brought rancour and suspicion to the new democracy.

H2O snobbery

  • Newsnight
  • 10 Jul 07, 01:04 PM

New Yorkers are being urged to switch to tap water for fear of the effect that the bottled stuff is having on the environment.

Environmental campaigners say that four out of five plastic water bottles end up in landfill sites, and the distribution process sometimes sees water being shipped halfway around the world.

Britons, too, have gone mad for bottled water in recent years. But has this led to a general snobbery associated with H2O? Would you now feel too embarrassed to ask for tap water in a restaurant, for example, opting to pay for bottled instead? Or do you regularly fly in the face of convention and request the free stuff? Have you ever asked for tap water and been refused? And is it time we were offered the choice of "tap or bottled" rather than "still or sparkling"?

Watch the Newsnight report and interview with an industry spokesman here.

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