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Archives for March 2012

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Verity Murphy | 19:51 UK time, Tuesday, 27 March 2012

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Monday 26 March 2012

Verity Murphy | 18:16 UK time, Monday, 26 March 2012

Tonight our Political editor Allegra Stratton has the latest on the "cash for access" row surrounding Number 10 and we will be discussing the issue with Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude.

We have our full interview with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and look at the role Lutheranism plays in shaping German policy.

And Joe Lynam has more on the story he broke earlier that the government is in talks with Abu Dhabi over the possible sale of a significant stake in RBS.

Friday 23 March 2012

Verity Murphy | 19:14 UK time, Friday, 23 March 2012

Tonight Susan Watts reports on the government proposals for a minimum alcohol price in England and Wales and we discuss whether such a measure is likely to be effective.

We look at the Florida shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin and US President Barack Obama's decision to speak out on the issue.

We have a live interview with MP Eric Joyce, who was forced to resign from the Labour Party and apologise to victims after being convicted of assault over a bar brawl in Parliament.

And we have the latest on the A4e story.

Thursday 22 March 2012

Verity Murphy | 19:02 UK time, Thursday, 22 March 2012

Tonight we have a report on work-to-welfare company A4e.

We have obtained the results of a confidential 2009 internal audit of work by A4e's top recruiters in which auditors found examples of staff claiming for putting people into jobs which did not exist, jobs which did not qualify for payment and fabricating paperwork to back up claims. Read more about it here.

Tim Whewell is in Toulouse where police shot and killed the gunman who carried out a spate of murders, but where questions are now being asked about how a known radical returning from al-Qaeda-controlled areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan was able to stockpile weapons and carry out the attacks with the intelligence services having little or no idea of his whereabouts.

We have more on the Budget and whether plans to change tax allowances for the elderly amount to a raid on pensioners' incomes.

Plus musician Mark Ronson talks to us about his Olympics theme which is to be the music for Coca Cola's London 2012 adverts.

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Verity Murphy | 18:55 UK time, Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Tonight we look ahead to tomorrow's Budget asking how much room for manoeuvre the chancellor has and what we are likely to see.

Susan Watts has a report on fracking, a controversial method for extracting natural gas, and concerns that the regulation meant to ensure its safety are not fit for purpose.

And Stephen Smith has been to meet American musician Jack White, best known for being one half of the White Stripes, but now going solo.

Monday 19 January 2012

Verity Murphy | 18:04 UK time, Monday, 19 March 2012

Tonight Allegra Stratton examines David Cameron's call for a nation of Telfords and Brunels as he urges the country to "build for the future with as much confidence and ambition as the Victorians once did".

We get the latest from Toulouse where police are linking the shootings of four people at a Jewish school to the killings of three soldiers of North African descent and assess the impact of the attacks, particularly how it is likely to affect the presidential election campaign.

Jeremy Paxman interviews Democratic Congressman Barney Frank, a former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, considered the most prominent openly gay politician in the US.

Plus, BBC Director General Mark Thompson has said he will leave the corporation this autumn after nearly eight years in the job. How will the longest-serving DG since the 1970s be remembered?

Friday 16 March 2012

Verity Murphy | 16:27 UK time, Friday, 16 March 2012

Good shepherd or turbulent priest? As Dr Rowan Williams announces that he is to step down as Archbishop of Canterbury in December, Newsnight looks back at his time in the role and forward to who his successor might be.

Lyse Doucet is in Kabul reporting on the relationship between Afghanistan and the West and the breakdown of trust after the shooting of 16 civilians last weekend and the failed attack on US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta.

Also, the Quad - aka David Cameron, George Osborne, Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander - have a conference call today and meeting on Monday to finalise the details of next week's Budget. Will the rumours that they will cut the 50p top rate of income tax prove true? David Grossman will have the latest on the negotiations and what's at stake tonight.

Thursday 15 March 2012

Verity Murphy | 18:34 UK time, Thursday, 15 March 2012

Tonight we have an in-depth look at the gay marriage debate as the government begins a 12-week consultation on allowing gay couples in England and Wales to marry.

Jeremy Paxman has an interview with the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols and in the studio we will be joined by supporters and critics of the plan including
Nick Herbert from the government, the former canon of St Paul's Giles Fraser, comedian Rhona Cameron, writer Stella Duffy, Peter Bone MP and the bishop of Willesden, Peter Broadbent.

Also an independent review into police pay and recruitment commissioned by Home Secretary Theresa May has recommended that police officers' fitness be checked annually with disciplinary procedures facing any officer who fails the test three times.

Is this a good plan, or is there more to being a good police officer in the 21st Century than being able to chase down a criminal on foot?

Wednesday 14 March 2012

ADMIN USE ONLY | 14:39 UK time, Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Why isn't big business investing in UK plc and what can the chancellor do about it in next week's budget?

Plus we speak to Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector of schools, ahead of his first biannual report on the state of our education system. There have been alarming recent reports about literacy and numeracy standards in Britain, so what will the man charged with setting and monitoring school standards do about this?

A year after the Syrian uprising began, we'll be looking at the make up of the Free Syrian Army and considering their prospects for ousting President Assad.

And David Cameron and Barack Obama shoot the breeze while watching college basketball players shoot hoops. They seem best pals - but why aren't the Tories more pally with the American right?

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Verity Murphy | 18:36 UK time, Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A week ahead of the budget we take a longer look at the black hole in the public finances, assessing what the state is going to be able to in decades to come.

We will hear from our Economics editor Paul Mason and our Political editor Allegra Stratton as well as guests Lord Lawson, Ruth Porter and Lord Skidelsky.

David Grossman has the latest on the newspaper phone hacking allegations, which today saw former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks being arrested as part of the police inquiry.

Five other people, including Mrs Brooks' husband, the racehorse trainer Charlie Brooks, were also detained.

We will be discussing the latest developments with media lawyer Charlotte Harris and former editor of The Scotsman Tim Luckhurst.

And Stephen Smith has the first broadcast interview with ballet superstar Sergei Polunin since he shocked the dance world in January by unexpectedly quitting the Royal Ballet where he was the youngest dancer ever made a principal.

Monday 12 March 2012

ADMIN USE ONLY | 19:03 UK time, Monday, 12 March 2012

Seven water companies across drought-affected southern and eastern England are to introduce hosepipe bans after two unusually dry winters have left water levels a well below normal.

What is causing the drought, could it spread, and could the water companies have been better prepared to deal with its effects? Susan Watts will be reporting and in the studio we will be hearing from guests including a representative of Thames Water.

Mark Urban looks at the situation in Afghanistan in the wake of an attack on civilians by a US soldier based in Kandahar and in the studio we debate whether the war in Afghanistan has made Britain safer, as successive governments have claimed, or left us more vulnerable to attack.

We have more on the violence in Syria. Plus Stephen Smith has been to the Wedgwood Museum pottery collection in Stoke-on-Trent where time is running out for saving one of the most important ceramic collections in the world.

Friday 9 March 2012

Verity Murphy | 18:07 UK time, Friday, 9 March 2012

Allegra Stratton has been despatched to the Liberal Democrat Spring conference in Gateshead where Nick Clegg has told attendees that the bill has been changed "in a thousand ways" since it was first published. Will his audience agree, or will activists grasp their last chance to derail the NHS bill?

One year on from the crisis at Japan's tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant Newsnight debates what should be the future of nuclear power.

And Paul Mason reports on the news that an investigation has been launched into an allegation of attempted fraud against welfare to work company A4e, the Department for Work and Pensions.

Thursday 8 March 2012

Verity Murphy | 16:50 UK time, Thursday, 8 March 2012

Tonight, we look at whether rising mortgage rates are bad or good for the economy.

We ask whether the news that one of Syria's deputy oil ministers has resigned from the government to join the revolt against President al-Assad is an indication that the regime is starting to fall apart, and have an interview with William Daniel the photographer who escaped from the city of Homs with fellow journalist Edith Bouvier.

As the deadline for Greek debt swaps passes, Paul Mason looks at whether a disorderly default is on the cards.

And it is International Women's Day. Focussing on the UK we debate whether the coalition has succeeded in honing its political message to female voters?

Wednesday 7 March 2012

ADMIN USE ONLY | 14:19 UK time, Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Six UK soldiers have been killed in southern Afghanistan when their vehicle was hit by an explosion. We know that the military withdrawal is approaching, do we know what UK service personnel are fighting, and dying, for?

Is the UK economy starting to pick up? Paul Mason will report tonight on the green shoots he's spotted in Lincolnshire.

With Super Tuesday over and Mitt Romney edging towards the US Republican nomination, whatever happened to the Tea Party's political clout?

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Verity Murphy | 19:27 UK time, Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Tonight as Business Secretary Vince Cable says that there is an "understanding" within government that if the 50p rate was scrapped it would be replaced with a levy such as the mansion tax favoured by Liberal Democrats we look at whether it is wealth or income which should be taxed.

Allegra Stratton has a report on on-going negotiations over proposed changes to planning regulations.

Susan Watts has more on the announcement that a group of expert hackers responsible for attacking governments and corporations around the globe have been arrested after their ringleader turned against his comrades and secretly became an informant for the FBI months ago.

And Mark Urban has a report from the city of Sirte, heavily bombed during the campaign against Muammar Gaddafi, and, according to its residents, now a victim of victors' justice.

Monday 5 March 2012

Verity Murphy | 12:55 UK time, Monday, 5 March 2012

As the UK government says it is re-considering its plan to axe child benefit for higher rate taxpayers we ask whether any change can be made to the benefits system without a coalition-rocking public outcry.

Vladimir Putin has won the Russian presidential election, but was his victory fair? Tim Whewell reports on less than transparent behaviour at the ballot box.

And we will be discussing Mr Putin's win with former foreign secretary David Miliband and Sergey Markov, a Putin election representative.

Also, President Barack Obama and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu are meeting in the US, with Iran's nuclear ambition lurking in the diplomatic shadows. Israel may need US support for an attack on Iran and support for Israel is of huge political importance in the US, so Mark Urban will be paying close attention to the tone of their press conference.

And Stephen Smith asks whether London really will benefit from the Olympics as the organisers claim.

Friday 2 March 2012

Verity Murphy | 16:52 UK time, Friday, 2 March 2012

The International Committee of the Red Cross says its aid workers have been blocked from entering the Baba Amr district in the Syrian city of Homs, where civilians have endured days of fierce fighting.

Tonight we have a powerful interview with injured journalist Paul Conroy, who is recovering in a British hospital having escaped from Homs, about what conditions are like in the city and Mark Urban assesses how the assault is unfolding.

Also, few doubt that Vladimir Putin will win Sunday's presidential election, returning him to the Kremlin after a four-year stint as prime minister, but there is opposition to his rule. Tim Whewell, who is in Moscow, has been finding out about its nature and scale.

Plus what lies behind the news that David Cameron's strategist Steve Hilton is taking a year-long sabbatical from Downing Street and what will be the impact of his absence?

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