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Archives for April 2011

Newsnight's royal wedding special on Friday 29 April

Verity Murphy | 18:16 UK time, Thursday, 28 April 2011

Friday's nuptials may have meant an extra day off for many, but not for Kirsty Wark who will be presenting a royal wedding edition of Newsnight at our usual time of 10.30pm.

Kirsty will be joined in the studio by guests Simon Schama, Will Self, Rowan Pelling, Plum Sykes and Nicky Haslam who will be discussing the events of the day and their impact.

Does the wedding feel in tune with the current mood of the country, or hopelessly out of step? Has this been a welcome break from the atmosphere of austerity or an outrageous expense at a time of belt tightening?

And what of the bride and groom? To what effect do William and Kate define Britishness today and what effect will they have on how the monarchy is viewed?

All that and more will be up for debate.

The programme kicks off with a report from Michael Crick who will have spent the day down at Buckingham Palace talking to the crowds who have gathered there.

And Stephen Smith is heading to Gloucester to a neighbourhood which hosted a fantastic street party when Charles and Diana married in 1981, but which took some encouragement and help from Big Society organiser Citizen Smith to get in the party mood this time round.

Join us for all of that at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

Thursday 28th April 2011

Len Freeman | 11:04 UK time, Thursday, 28 April 2011

Tonight as President Obama reshuffles his cabinet we look at the implications for the Arab Spring.

A battle over defence cuts is expected but if the main Western powers pull back from the region, what does that mean for the Arab world and the rest of us? We'll be talking to PJ Crowley, the former US state department spokesman about how sustainable Western involvement is. We'll have other guests too.

We also have a film about Yemen where President Ali Abdullah Saleh has agreed to step down within 30 days. The US, worried about terrorism, has poured military aid into the country but it is claimed that some has been used by the country's leadership to repress any opposition.

And ahead of the Royal Wedding, the American TV networks are getting ready for wall to wall coverage. Why are Americans so fascinated by the Royals?

Join Kirsty at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

From earlier:

We are working on a number of pieces about the Arab Spring. Our Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban will be looking at the impact of the changes to Obama's national security team and the pressure on US and European defence budgets for intervention in the countries affected by the recent protests.

The reshuffle announcement due at 7pm UK time is part of preparations for a battle over expected defence spending cuts. If the main Western powers pull back from the region, what does that mean for the Arab world and the rest of us?

Nick Clegg is campaigning in Scotland and the North East - we will be looking at coalition tensions in the final days of the AV campaign.

And as the Syrian ambassador's invite to the Royal Wedding is withdrawn, we'll be looking at how the guest list - which also excludes former prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown - might have been drawn up.

Wednesday 27 April 2011

Len Freeman | 11:14 UK time, Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Tonight we are leading on the economy which grew by 0.5% in the first three months of the year. The chancellor welcomed the return to growth, which followed a contraction of 0.5% at the end of 2010. Labour said the economy was flat and the recovery had been "choked off".

Our Economics Editor Paul Mason will give his take on what is really happening and we'll have an interview with the Business Secretary Vince Cable. In the studio we will have some top people from the world of business - the former CEO of Asda Andy Bond, the fund manager Nicola Horlick and the former financial services secretary in the last Labour government, Lord Myners.

Refugees from Tunisia and Libya are arriving in France. Jackie Long is in Paris to talk to some of them. The French estimate there are 26,000 Arab refugees in or on their way to France - a number reportedly want to come to Britain. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italy's Silvio Berlusconi held talks yesterday on re-introducing border controls in the Schengen zone. Is this the start of a new immigration crisis?

And on the day that President Obama published his birth certificate we'll be asking just why he did it.

Do join Gavin at 10.30pm.

From earlier:

Britain's economy made only a feeble recovery in the first quarter of this year. Growth has been essentially flat for the past half year, just as austerity measures kick in. Our Economics Editor Paul Mason will give us his take. He will be also keeping an eye on the US interest rates announcement this evening. We are also fixing up a strong panel to give us their take on where the economy is going.

We also have the third film from Catrin Nye on the Oldham school experiment in which two schools, one largely white and the other mostly Asian, are being brought together.

Jackie Long is going to Paris to talk to Arab refugees who have travelled there through Italy and in many cases appear to want to come to Britain. The French estimate there are 26,000 Arab refugees in or on their way to France. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italy's Silvio Berlusconi held talks yesterday on reintroducing border controls in the Schengen zone to cope with the fall-out from uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Verity Murphy | 14:47 UK time, Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Forget wedding fever - its AV fever all the way tonight as, with just over a week to go before the referendum on whether to switch from first-past-the-post to the alternative vote (AV), we take an in-depth look at the campaign and its long-term effects.

Marlborough in Wiltshire may be home to Kate Middleton's alma mater, but tonight it is also home to Newsnight's Political editor Michael Crick who will be broadcasting live from there as he chats to local voters about what they think of the referendum.

Apart from London, Wiltshire is the only place where no local elections are taking place on 5 May and voters will be asked to turn out just to vote in the referendum. Will they?

Iain Watson will be reporting on whether the campaign is causing serious coalition rifts or if there is a certain amount of posturing among campaigning politicians, with rows and fallings out being exaggerated, and that after the referendum everything will go back to how it was.

And here in the studio Emily Maitlis will be talking to politicians Jeremy Hunt, John Denham and Paddy Ashdown, to historians Dan Snow and Antony Beevor and to our Political Panel - Danny Finkelstein, Olly Grender and Peter Hyman.

Thursday 21 April 2011

Sarah McDermott | 11:46 UK time, Thursday, 21 April 2011

Coming up on tonight's programme, presented by Kirsty Wark:

What does the record high price of gold tell us about the state of the global economy? Our Economics editor Paul Mason explains all.

As the Queen celebrates her 85th birthday, Michael Crick considers what ever happened to republicanism in the UK.

And we'll consider if the House of Lords - whose main job is to double check new laws to make sure they're fair and will work, is really the revising chamber it's supposed to be. British scientist and peer Baroness D'Souza says that the new intake at the Lords are a partisan lot who rarely, if ever, vote against the government. So what's the point of Parliament's second chamber?

Join Kirsty for all that and more at 2230 on BBC Two.

Wednesday 20 April 2011

Verity Murphy | 13:08 UK time, Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Here is what is coming up on Newsnight with Emily Maitlis:

The European Union's executive arm, the European Commission, has asked for a significant increase in the annual EU budget, well above EU inflation, which is about 3%.

The British government said the 4.9% demand is "not acceptable" at a time when EU states were imposing austerity cuts.

Tonight we will report on the risk of a damaging row between member states and be speaking to a member of the commission.

We have a film on the use of internet pornography by young adults - the material available, levels of use and the effects on both consumers and those whom they form relationships with.

We will be discussing the issue with former home secretary Jacqui Smith and internet pornography distributor Jerry Barnett.

Plus we will look at the phenomenon of the media super injunction. Are they hampering serious journalism or a necessary protection from the worst elements of the tabloid press?

Kelvin MacKenzie and lawyer Charlotte Harris, who represents clients who believe their privacy was systematically invaded by the News of the World, will join us on the programme.

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Sarah McDermott | 11:08 UK time, Tuesday, 19 April 2011

British military officers will be sent to Libya to advise rebels fighting Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's forces, the UK government has said. Peter Marshall will bring us the latest tonight.

Our political correspondent Iain Watson is in Scotland for us where campaigning is under way ahead of the 5 May poll. He's been meeting the current leader of the opposition there, Labour's Iain Gray, and then Jeremy will be joined by Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond.

Our Science editor Susan Watts has been speaking to people on both sides of the debate about gay men being allowed to donate blood. A total ban is being lifted because it was decided that the rule could be discriminatory and may breach equality legislation.

Yet, homosexuals who are or have recently been sexually active with other men will continue to be barred from giving blood.

And Paul Mason has been to meet the acclaimed film director Wim Wenders who talks about his latest 3D film about choreographer Pina Bausch.

Jeremy's presenting. Do join him at 2230 on BBC Two.

Monday 18 April 2011

Verity Murphy | 12:07 UK time, Monday, 18 April 2011

Here is what we are planning for tonight's programme:

Politicians from opposing parties have joined forces as the battle over the way Britain elects its MPs intensifies.

David Cameron teamed up with Labour heavyweight - and anti-Tory attack dog - Lord Reid to support the status quo. Labour leader Ed Miliband and Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable together argued for the alternative vote system - after Mr Miliband refused to share a platform with Nick Clegg on the issue.

David Grossman will be looking at the level of nastiness that the campaign has engendered and what the long term effect on relations, particularly within the coalition, is likely to be.

Michael Crick will be reporting on who is more worried about losing the vote - the Liberal Democrats or the Conservatives.

Paul Mason will be looking at the questions raised over Portugal's EU bail-out by the strong showing in Finland's election by the nationalist, Euro-sceptic True Finns party.

We have the next instalment of Citizen Smith, Stephen Smith's attempt to become a Big Society co-ordinator. This time we see how Stephen fares when he tries to combat the financial squeeze at the Hastings Museum and Art by opening it up himself.

And we will be examining the hinterlands which line our motorways in the wake of Friday's fire at a scrap yard, which has resulted in the closure of a seven-mile section of the M1 in north London.

Friday 15 April 2011

Sarah McDermott | 11:14 UK time, Friday, 15 April 2011

The leaders of the US, the UK and France have said in a joint letter that there can be no peace in Libya while Muammar Gaddafi stays in power.

Barack Obama, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy say Nato must maintain military operations to protect civilians and maintain pressure on Col Gaddafi.

Our Diplomatic editor Mark Urban, who has just returned from Libya where he met rebel generals, will bring us the latest later.

And our Political editor Michael Crick will tonight bring us a film from Wales where he has been speaking to the former Labour Welsh Secretary Ron Davies, now a Plaid Cymru councillor.

Thursday 14 April 2011

Len Freeman | 11:09 UK time, Thursday, 14 April 2011

BP faced angry protesters at its first annual general meeting since the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill today. Fishermen from the US, trade unionists, and other protesters waved banners and banged drums outside the meeting.

Tonight David Grossman will look at how badly the company's reputation has been damaged and we'll also have a film from Tom Heap offering BP better news. It shows the Gulf of Mexico has recovered far faster than many expected and fishing stocks are booming.

The Liberal Democrat's Vince Cable has accused Prime Minister David Cameron of "electioneering" over his immigration speech in which the Prime Minister said he wanted to bring immigration back down to the level of the 1980s. Richard Watson will be talking to communities affected by immigration and will examine the numbers. Our Political Correspondent Iain Watson looks at how the issue affects the coalition where a number on the Tory right want the government to embrace more traditional Conservative values.

And the BBC's Security Correspondent Frank Gardner brings us a report from Bahrain. The lid would seem to have been put on any protests for change for now but there is concern about the police using torture. Two Bahraini Shia activists who were detained after weeks of anti-government protests died in police custody. One, Ali Issa Saqer died when guards tried to restrain him for "causing chaos". Frank examines what is really happening in Bahrain.

Join Gavin at 10.30pm

From earlier:

Shareholder protests and anger are expected at BP's AGM today, which takes place a year after the Deepwater Horizon spill. The company's Russian expansion plans are also in trouble.

We'll look at how badly the company's reputation has been damaged and we'll have a film from Tom Heap offering BP better news. It shows the Gulf of Mexico has recovered far faster than many expected and fishing stocks are booming.

Liberal Democrat Vince Cable has condemned David Cameron's immigration speech as "very unwise" before it has even been delivered. Richard Watson will be talking to communities affected by immigration and will examine the numbers. Iain Watson will look at the politics and how the issue affects the coalition.

Join us at 10.30pm.

Wednesday 13 April 2011

Sarah McDermott | 11:16 UK time, Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Tonight our political correspondent Iain Watson will be setting out the scale of council spending cuts in England and where they fall politically. The communities secretary Eric Pickles has accused Labour councils of failing to protect front line services and says they should be cutting back office and exec pay instead.

Mr Pickles will be joining us live in the studio to debate with council leaders, when we'll ask if the scale of the cuts will seriously damage local services.

As savings are made across the public sector, thousands of employees will be looking for new jobs this year. The government hopes the private sector can pick up the slack, but are former public sector workers equipped for change?

Four high profile business mentors (including businesswomen Nicola Horlick and Deborah Meaden) help four public sector workers facing redundancy in our Job Market Mentors film tonight.

Before then check out Dragons' Den star Deborah Meaden's top tips for making the transition from the public to the private sector.

Do join Gavin Esler at 2230 on BBC Two.

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Verity Murphy | 11:03 UK time, Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Tonight former foreign secretary David Miliband speaks to Jeremy about the long running Afghanistan conflict which he warns is in danger of becoming a forgotten war.

He calls for a political framework to be put in place that would help bring an end to the conflict in Afghanistan, including talks with the Taliban, and also denies that he dreams of one day becoming prime minister.

We also have a film from David Loyn who has visited Helmand province to find out how a new stabilisation strategy is making some progress following the troop surge there.

Our Science editor Susan Watts has discovered that British nuclear plants may extend exclusion zones around their sites as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, possibly affecting existing population centres.

And it is 50 years since Yuri Gagarin made the first ever manned space flight. We will be discussing the scientific and cultural impact of his pioneering voyage with former astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

Join Jeremy at 2230 on BBC Two.

Monday 11 April 2011

Sarah McDermott | 09:59 UK time, Monday, 11 April 2011

The Independent Commission on Banking - set up by the government to review UK banks after the financial crisis - says the retail arms of banks must be protected against risks taken by their investment arms, but has stopped short of recommending forced separation.

Tonight our Economics editor Paul Mason will be considering if the ICB really can do anything to prevent another banking crisis and if its recommendations go far enough. Plus we'll be joined by US economist Irwin Stelzer, Lib Dem Lord Oakeshott and Labour's John Mann MP to debate what the UK could learn from the US.

Our Diplomatic editor Mark Urban is in Libya and will be profiling the Revolutionary Council - who are they, and what do they stand for?

And as France becomes the first European country to make it illegal for Muslim women to cover their faces with veils in public, Richard Watson will be considering if such a ban could happen here in the UK. We'll be joined by Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University, Tariq Ramadan, Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith, and columnist and speaker on Arab and Muslim issues, Mona Eltahawy to debate if it's right to tell people they can't express their faith in public ways.

Do join Jeremy at 2230 on BBC Two.

From earlier:

Our Economics editor Paul Mason is at the Independent Commission on Banking presser, where recommendations have been made that UK banks' retail operations should be "ring-fenced" from their investment banking arms.

The banking commission was set up by the government last June to review UK banks after the financial crisis, and they will publish their full and final recommendations in September.

Paul will be considering if the ICB really can do anything to prevent another banking crisis and if its recommendations will go far enough.

Our Diplomatic editor Mark Urban is in Libya and is doing a piece profiling the Revolutionary Council - who are they, and what do they stand for?

And as France becomes the first European country to make it illegal for Muslim women to cover their faces with veils in public, Richard Watson will be considering if such a ban could happen here in the UK.

We'll have more details later...

Friday 8 April 2011

Sarah McDermott | 11:59 UK time, Friday, 8 April 2011

The News of the World's owner has said sorry over the phone hacking scandal and is to set up a compensation fund. News International says, in some cases, it will apologise and admit liability. The BBC understands it hopes to pay out less than £20m in total to victims including actress Sienna Miller.

Richard Watson will bring us the latest on this remarkable story this evening and we'll be joined in debate by guests including former deputy PM John Prescot who believes he may have been a victim of phone hacking.

Liz Mackean has just returned from Northern Ireland where preparations are under way for next month's election. Dissident republicans there are continuing to target police officers, despite the widespread condemnation of the murder of Ronan Kerr last weekend in Omagh. So how have those recent events affected the election campaign?

A full list of the candidates standing in the election can be found here.

And as a court rules that the government cannot be held legally liable for abuses during the Mau Mau rebellion against British colonial rule in Kenya, we'll debate if we should apologise for past events with historian and Conservative MP Tristram Hunt and playwright Bonnie Greer

Join Gavin at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

From earlier:

We're keeping an eye on events in the States, where talks aimed at avoiding a shutdown of the US government have broken up with no deal, leaving negotiators just hours to agree a budget compromise.

Our Diplomatic editor Mark Urban is in Libya where Nato has refused to apologise for a "friendly fire" attack on rebel tanks in eastern Libya that killed at least four people.

And as a court rules that the government cannot be held legally liable for abuses during the Mau Mau rebellion against British colonial rule in Kenya, we'll debate if we should apologise for past events.

Thursday 7 April 2011

Sarah McDermott | 11:45 UK time, Thursday, 7 April 2011

Portugal's bail-out request is expected to be discussed when EU finance ministers meet later in Budapest.

European Central Bank head Jean-Claude Trichet is also likely to mention Portugal at his news conference after the latest eurozone rate decision.

The ECB is expected to raise interest rates, which could create problems for debt-ridden countries.

Our Economics editor Paul Mason will consider the structural imbalance within the Eurozone tonight.

Then David Grossman will be examining the looming disaster of university tuition fees. Why are so many institutions charging close to the top whack when the government said that would only happen in exceptional circumstances?

We will be finding out more from Universities Minister David Willetts.

And we travel deep into Ecuador's Amazon rainforest to meet the Huaorani tribe whose ancestral land holds large oil reserves. Ecuador - the fifth largest oil explorer in the world - is now seeking foreign donations in exchange for a promise not to exploit the reserves that lie under the Huaorani land. But will it work?

Wednesday 6 April 2011

Verity Murphy | 15:21 UK time, Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Here is what is coming up on tonight's programme:

Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted that the government will not take risks with the NHS in England, but also said sticking with the status quo was not an option.

Mr Cameron was speaking at the launch of a new push to convince critics that the reforms are right, where he was joined by his deputy Nick Clegg and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.

Tonight we have a one-to-one interview with Mr Lansley on the issue.

Also, on the day that tax and benefit changes affecting millions of people have come into force, Paul Mason will have a report on the squeeze being felt by people suffering a combination of stagnant incomes and rising living costs.

And we will have a discussion on how British people cope with austerity nowadays - whether the old way of keep calm and carry on still holds true or not with Will Self, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Polly Toynbee.

Plus, it is almost one year ago Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria were killed, along with a number of other senior Polish political, military and cultural figures, when their plane crashed as it prepared to land in western Russia.

Tonight we have an outstanding film on that disaster - how it happened, the subsequent investigation, the impact on Poland and on its relations with Russia.

In the film we hear from high-level politicians including Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland's main opposition Law and Justice Party and twin brother of President Lech Kaczynski who was killed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the chief investigators.

We also hear from some of the relatives of those killed and track their progress as they try to come to terms with their loss.

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Sarah McDermott | 11:19 UK time, Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Nick Clegg has come under fire over his plan to improve social mobility, with Labour claiming it is "mission impossible" with him at the helm. Gavin Esler caught up with Mr Clegg earlier today to ask him about those social mobility plans - didn't both he and David Cameron benefit from "who they know" as well as what? Watch that interview in full later.

Meanwhile, David Grossman has been investigating what can be done about the perceived unfairness of some internships where young people get temporary, usually unpaid work perhaps through family connections.

Then we have a film from our Diplomatic editor Mark Urban who has visited the Nad-e Ali district of Afghanistan's Helmand province, where coalition forces claim to have "defeated and excluded" the insurgents. Read more about that here.

And we'll be joined by political commentators Matthew D'Ancona and Allegra Stratton to take stock of how the government is doing, as members of Parliament prepare to head home for the Easter break.

Do join us at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

Monday 4 April 2011

Verity Murphy | 11:42 UK time, Monday, 4 April 2011

Andrew Lansley has acknowledged there are "genuine concerns" about the NHS shake-up in England - amid accusations the policy is in "chaos". The health secretary said ministers were "listening" and would now "pause" to allow further consultation.

Tonight we'll speak to the government, opposition and health specialists about the future of the NHS reforms and Michael Crick will look at the disagreements within the coalition over the reforms.

Tim Whewell is in Libya for us and has a report on connections between the city of Benghazi and IRA attacks during The Troubles.

And we ask if there is a new tech bubble and even a chance of another dot com crash. As many analysts express concerns that social media companies are overvalued, we'll be joined by internet pioneer Bob Metcalfe - the man who developed Ethernet - the technology which allows computers to be connected in a local network and was influential in the expansion of the Internet; Chris Brauer, director of media and innovation in computing at Goldsmiths; and the founder of one of the most famous dot com busts in history, Ernst Malmsten, formerly of online fashion retailer

Join Mishal Husain at 10.30pm on BBC Two.


From earlier:

Downing Street has said that Health Secretary Andrew Lansley will make a Commons
statement on the government's NHS reforms later today - tonight we will have analysis of and reaction to what is said.

Tim Whewell in Libya has a report on connections between the city of Benghazi and IRA attacks during The Troubles.

Plus, are social media companies overvalued? And are we headed for another dot com crash? David Grossman will report.

More details later.

Friday 1st April 2011

Len Freeman | 11:03 UK time, Friday, 1 April 2011

Here are the details of what is on tonight's programme with Stephanie Flanders.

Tim Whewell has managed to secure a rare interview with the Libyan rebel leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil. He says they'll accept a ceasefire if Colonel Gaddafi pulls his troops out of Libyan cities under rebel control. But they will not back down on their demand that Colonel Gaddafi must go.

As officials in Japan say the evacuation of residents near the quake-hit Fukushima nuclear plant will be long-term, we ask what the catastrophe means for nuclear power.

We'll have the pro-nuclear environmental writer George Monbiot and Jeremy Leggett who is founder and Executive Chairman of Solarcentury which seeks to harness the power of the sun.

Plus we'll have our Political Editor Michael Crick who has been with the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg on the pro-AV campaign trail. How will the coalition cope with a referendum result going either way?

Do join Stephanie at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

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