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Archives for December 2011

Friday 16 December 2011

Verity Murphy | 17:43 UK time, Friday, 16 December 2011

French Finance Minister Francois Baroin has become the latest senior figure in Paris to criticise weaknesses in the British economy.

Earlier the chairman of the French central bank suggested that the UK's credit rating should be downgraded - ahead of France.

Tonight we look at what lies behind these extraordinary attacks.

Also we look back at the life of author, literary critic and journalist Christopher Hitchens has died at the age of 62.

And David Grossman looks back across the political year.

This is our last programme of year - we return on Tuesday 3rd January 2011.

Thursday 15 December 2011

Verity Murphy | 13:33 UK time, Thursday, 15 December 2011

Update. We're no longer running the Google item as we're now doing a piece on the news that up to 13,500 troops will help to provide security at the London 2012 Olympic games.

We know that last week 26 of the 27 members of the European Union backed new fiscal rules to keep budgets in line, with only the UK abstaining, but many fear that the budget pact will still not be enough to prevent more countries from seeking a bailout.

Tonight, we'll be asking if the accord will stand the test of a difficult economic period, or will the deal unravel?

Also, at the end of a year that has seen massive upheaval in the Middle East our Diplomatic editor Mark Urban will be looking back at the uprisings and demonstrations that toppled governments across the region.

Joining us to discuss the Arab Spring will be historian Simon Schama, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger and Sir Jeremy Greenstock the UK's former ambassador to the UN and special representative to Iraq.

Plus, what is scampi? That's a question that a great number of Britons have been asking Google's search engine to answer. Steve Smith examines the most popular search requests from the past 12 months.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Verity Murphy | 14:05 UK time, Wednesday, 14 December 2011

After months of phone hacking revelations there are still many questions which remain unanswered such as who deleted murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's voicemails, who at the News of the World was involved in hacking, how much did James Murdoch know and were other newspapers also engaged in such practices?

Tonight Richard Watson, who has reported on this story throughout the year, reflects on what we have learned so far. We talk to key players at the heart of the story and have the results of our exclusive poll looking at the effect the scandal has had on public attitudes.

Plus David Grossman reports on the first PMQs since David Cameron used Britain's EU veto and how the opposition have responded.

And as the last US troops prepare to leave Iraq Mark Urban considers whether the mission can be called a success and in the studio we discuss its implications for future US foreign policy.

Tuesday 13 December

Verity Murphy | 13:30 UK time, Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The fallout from David Cameron's decision to use his veto continues, with the head of the European Commission saying the UK's demands for special treatment for financial services would have risked the single market.

Jose Manuel Barroso told the European Parliament the UK's stance had made compromise impossible at last week's EU summit on economic integration.

Tonight, we ask what are the long-term ramifications for relations between the UK and Europe following the backlash against Britain's stance.

The news that researchers at Cern had found signs of the Higgs boson particle was reported by Newsnight's Science editor Susan Watts last week.

Today, the official announcement was made that this most coveted prize in particle physics may have been glimpsed by scientists using the Large Hadron Collider. Susan Watts will be live from Geneva.

Also on tonight's programme, as part of our series of films looking back across the year, we'll be reviewing the most important science stories from the last 12 months.

Plus, we asked top economists to each select a graph which they considered key to the economic story of 2011. Ann Pettifor, director of Prime Economics, Louise Cooper from BGC Partners and the Financial Times' Gillian Tett will be looking at the results.

All that with Emily Maitlis at 2230 on BBC Two.

Monday 12 December 2011

Verity Murphy | 13:12 UK time, Monday, 12 December 2011

Tonight we assess Prime Minister David Cameron's appearance at the Commons this afternoon as he explains his veto of EU treaty changes to MPs.

We will look at how Britain can "engage constructively" with the EU as Downing Street has said it will despite the move, and how damaging the veto will prove for the coalition government.

Plus in the first of our films looking back across the year, Paul Mason reports on the financial turbulence of 2011.

Afterwards we will be discussing the events with historian Francis Fukuyama, economist Richard Koo and US managing editor of the Financial Times Gillian Tett.

Friday 9 December 2011

Verity Murphy | 14:12 UK time, Friday, 9 December 2011

Auf Wiedersehen England! reads Germany's Der Speigel newspaper today. They may not be quite right about their geography, but are they correct to say that Europe is waving the UK goodbye?

Following David Cameron's veto we ask where does the UK and Europe go from here?

The BBC's economics editor Stephanie Flanders is presenting and will be joined by our Diplomatic editor Mark Urban, reporting from Brussels on the fallout from the summit, Economics editor Paul Mason will be asking if the euro deal will solve the crisis, and David Grossman is assessing the impact on Britain's relationship with Europe.

It's a fluid story and the final line-up is still being decided but we will be joined by Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell, a former member of the executive board of the ECB for her take on recent developments.

Thursday 8 December 2011

ADMIN USE ONLY | 15:25 UK time, Thursday, 8 December 2011

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has warned that there is a risk of Europe "disintegrating" if a solution is not found to the eurozone debt crisis at a crucial summit in Brussels tonight.

The key proposal on the agenda of the gathering is how to enforce budgetary discipline with automatic penalties for those eurozone nations that overspend.

Germany and France are pushing for new European Union treaties, saying stricter fiscal rules should be enshrined there, but Prime Minister David Cameron has said that he will block a new European Union treaty if it does not protect UK interests.

So will an agreement be reached that will save the euro and stave off economic collapse, and if so at what cost?

Mark Urban will be reporting live from Brussels and in the studio we will have full analysis from Paul Mason and guests including former ECB member Marie Diron.

Peter Marshall reports on the havoc in Scotland and parts of England, Wales and Northern Ireland being caused by storms and high winds.

Plus, as the Durban summit on climate change predictably struggles to make headway we ask why do democracies feel so comfortable ignoring this issue and why have electorates apparently lost interest in it?

Susan Watts reports and we will be talking to John Prescott here in the studio and from the summit Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, Gregory Barker.

And Stephen Smith has filmed a rare interview with Geoffrey Hill, thought to be one of the greatest living poets - a man who says his idol is Ken Dodd.

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Verity Murphy | 13:51 UK time, Wednesday, 7 December 2011

David Cameron has come under increased pressure from his own party to promise a referendum on any new EU Treaty designed to save the euro.

The prime minister said he would fight for the UK national interest at a summit in Brussels this week.

On tonight's programme we look at Mr Cameron's stance towards Europe, and the Conservative party's rocky history with the issue.

Also, our Economics editor Paul Mason asks what contingency plans the UK should have to deal with any worsening of the crisis.

Plus, in the light of a survey which suggests that Britons are less willing than ever to pay higher taxes to support the National Health Service, schools or the environment, is the UK moving more towards an attitude of individual responsibility?

All that and more with Jeremy at the slightly later time of 2240.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Verity Murphy | 14:40 UK time, Tuesday, 6 December 2011

A Crown Prosecution Service lawyer is to face disciplinary action for alleged failings over a case involving undercover police officer Mark Kennedy, who had spent seven years underground infiltrating green groups.

Tonight, Richard Watson, who broke the original story on Newsnight, looks into the findings of the report.

And Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer will be joining Jeremy live in the studio.

Following Sunday's parliamentary elections in Russia, Moscow has seen protests against alleged voting fraud.

Demonstrators faced off with supporters of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow city centre, and at least 100 protesters were arrested.

We will be hearing from former prime minister and opposition politician Mikhail Kasyanov.

Plus, in the United States, the contest is heating up among Republicans who want to challenge President Obama for the White House.

In the run up to the Iowa caucuses in January, a key indicator of the how the conservative heartlands view the candidates, Mark Mardell reports on an already fraught campaign.

Our interview with poet Geoffrey Hill will now be running at a later date.

Monday 5 December 2011

Verity Murphy | 13:09 UK time, Monday, 5 December 2011

In the aftermath of the August riots Prime Minister David Cameron said the unrest had been driven by criminality and devoid of political meaning.

"This was not political protest, or a riot about politics, it was common or garden thieving, robbing and looting," Mr Cameron told the Commons.

However, a major study by the London School of Economics and the Guardian newspaper involving interviews with 270 rioters suggests otherwise.

Of those interviewed, 85% cited anger at policing practices as a key factor in why the violence happened.

Newsnight has had exclusive access to the results of the study, the largest of its kind, and tonight we have a very strong film in which we hear rioters tell the story of the violence in their own words.

We will have a big discussion off the back which will include Minister for Policing Nick Herbert, former Met police chief Sir Ian Blair, MP for Tottenham David Lammy and Liz Pilgrim, a small business owner from Ealing who described the rioters who looted her premises as "feral rats".

Also, our Economics editor Paul Mason will be reporting on French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel's meeting in Paris today where they are hoping to agree joint proposals aimed at resolving the eurozone debt crisis.

Friday 2 December 2011

Verity Murphy | 13:32 UK time, Friday, 2 December 2011

This week's Autumn Statement has been described by commentators as a "seismic shift" in the political landscape.

The government promised to eliminate the budget deficit by the next election but now says it needs another two years to meet its target.

Borrowing and unemployment are set to be higher than forecast and spending cuts to carry on to 2017.

Hundreds of thousands more public sector jobs are also set to be lost.

Tonight, we will be looking at which people and what parts of the country will be feeling the most pain.

The A14 in Cambridgeshire is receiving an upgrade as part of a number of infrastructure investments by George Osborne. Our reporter Richard Watson visited the area to be gauge reaction to the measures.

And Gavin Esler has an interview with the British ambassador to Iran, Dominick Chilcott, who is just back in the UK after a tumultuous week in relations between the two countries.

Thursday 1 December 2011

Verity Murphy | 17:30 UK time, Thursday, 1 December 2011

Banks should brace themselves to withstand the "extraordinarily serious and threatening" economic situation, the Bank of England Governor Sir Mervyn King has said.

Sir Mervyn said the Bank itself was making "contingency plans" in case of a eurozone break-up.

Tonight Paul Mason will be assessing the scale of the threat and what those contingency plans could entail.

We have the results a joint investigation between us and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism on a British company involved in the sale of telecommunications surveillance technology to Syria.

And we ask whether politics has changed in recent weeks, with the death of green politics, changing arguments on fairness, and Danny Alexander's admission on Newsnight that the Liberal Democrats are signed up to the extra rounds of cuts in 15/16 and 16/17 announced by Chancellor George Osborne in his Autumn Statement - beyond the next general election.

Plus we have an interview with celebrated film director Martin Scorsese.

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