Talk about Newsnight

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Wednesday, 13 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Feb 08, 05:05 PM

Mysterious death of Georgian billionaire

georgian203x100.jpgA billionaire and opposition leader from the former Soviet state of Georgia was found dead in his home in Surrey last night. He'd been accused of trying to foment a coup in his native country, and just weeks ago, he claimed that the authorities in Georgia wanted him dead. Surrey police are treating his death as suspicious. It’s possible they will conclude that Badri Patarkatsishvili died of a simple heart attack. But why did he believe his life was in danger? We're investigating.

Is China fit to host the Olympics?

Steven Spielberg has decided to quit as artistic adviser to the Beijing Olympics because of China's relationship with Sudan. Human rights groups have wasted no time in reminding the world of a host of other reasons why China's fitness to hold the Olympics is questionable. Should multi-million dollar sponsors of the games follow Spielberg's lead? Or is engagement with China the right way forward?


A judicial review of the Serious Fraud Office's decision to halt the inquiry in to BAe's relationship with Saudi Arabia is due to start tomorrow. Newsnight will be analysing some of the documents that are likely to form a key part of the court case. They suggest that there was considerable political pressure for the inquiry to be halted a long time before it was.

Culture in schools

School children in England will be offered five hours of cultural activities a week, we learnt today. Is the government right to set store by such forms of learning? And why has it not been a priority until now? A top scientist and the musician Nitin Sawnhey will join Jeremy.

Newsnight gold

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Feb 08, 03:38 PM

Newsnight goldAt the beginning of this week we launched a new feature on the website - Newsnight gold.

From down in the depths of the Newsnight archive (actually it's upstairs), librarian Adam will unearth the best of Newsnights gone by. We have mined the archive before for our 25th anniversary back in 2005 - but now Adam will bring us highlights from corresponding weeks from past years (you'll have to wait until October for his favourite piece - voodoo in Haiti from 1981).

His first find is from 12 February, 1980 - the programme's first year on-air. Charles Wheeler reports from Maine on a fractious Democratic presidential nomination campaign (sound familiar?). Watch it here.

We've included the titles and an "And finally..." story so you can see the set and graphics in their full glory. As you can see, much has changed in television news... Do let us know your thoughts.

Prospects for Wednesday, 13 February

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Feb 08, 10:18 AM

Liz Gibbons is today's programme producer - here is her early email to the team.

Hi - what do you want to cover tonight?

I'm interested in the IPPR commission on national security - is the terror threat in danger of concealing more fundamental and pressing issues? We could have a grand discussion.

China and Spielberg is good too - how could we move it on and who could we hear from?

Culture in schools - clearly a good talking point. Who with?

We should keep an eye on the death of the Georgian dissident in Surrey. And there are a couple of terror trials that might end today -more details at the meeting…

And we have a film from Peter Marshall in advance of the BAE court case tomorrow - he's got hold of some interesting documents.


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