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23/02/2015

Morning news and current affairs. Including Sports Desk, Weather and Thought for the Day.

3 hours

Last on

Mon 23 Feb 2015 06:00

Today's running order

0645

The deaths of hundreds of people with mental health problems in England and Wales could have been avoided if they'd received proper care, according to an official inquiry. The Equality and Human Rights Commission say that basic errors and failures to learn lessons in prisons, police custody and psychiatric hospitals allowed too many people to end their own lives. Our social affairs correspondent, Michael Buchanan, reports.

0650

The Church of England has been accused of hypocrisy by some Conservative MPs for failing to pay all its workers the living wage of £7.85 per hour - while calling on all employers to do so in their pastoral letter last week to parishioners ahead of the elections. The Sun newspaper revealed several jobs within the church advertised at around the minimum wage, which is £6.50. Caroline Wyatt is the BBC’s Religious Affairs Correspondent.

0655

The World Health Organisation is expected to launch a major initiative later today to reduce infections caused by dirty syringes blamed for millions of cases of HIV and Hepatitis every year. The WHO will be recommending the use of smart 'auto-disable' syringes. Science editor David Shukman has been to a village in Cambodia where an unlicensed doctor is accused of infecting over 270 people with HIV by giving them injections with dirty syringes.

0710

Two former senior cabinet ministers have referred themselves to the Commissioner for Parliamentary Standards over claims they were apparently prepared to use their contacts and positions to benefit a private company in exchange for thousands of pounds. Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind were named after undercover filming by Channel 4’s Dispatches and The Telegraph. Reporters posed as representatives of a Hong Kong-based communications agency looking to find senior British politicians to join its board as advisors. Both men strongly deny any wrongdoing. Mr Straw has also suspended himself from the Parliamentary Labour Party. Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP is Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee and former Conservative Defence and Foreign Secretary.

 0715

A video has been released, apparently by the jihadist group Al Shabaab based in Somalia, which urges its followers to carry out attacks on shopping centres in the US, Canada and the UK. Al- Shabaab was responsible for the 2013 attack on Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi that killed 67 people. Scotland Yard says it's assessing the footage, which names "Oxford Street" and the Westfield shopping centres in east and west London, among the potential targets. Shopping malls in Canada and America are also named. Bronwyn Bruton is deputy director of the Atlantic Council's Africa Centre in Washington.

0720

Nigel Farage is to set out UKIP’s health policies today at the party’s first policy launch ahead of the general election. The party has pledged to spend an additional £3bn on the NHS. Its leader Nigel Farage faced controversy last year after a video emerged of him addressing party supporters in 2012 where he said he thought the country would have to move to an insurance based healthcare system. However the party’s health spokesperson – Louise Bours – subsequently distanced herself from the remarks, saying that Mr Farage’s views weren’t party policy. Louise Bours MEP is UKIP’s health spokesperson.

0730

David Cameron will today repeat his pledge at the last election to protect pensioner benefits if he remains Prime Minister. Mr Cameron will argue that free bus passes, TV licences and the winter fuel allowance are not "unnecessary luxuries" but what the elderly deserve. Both Labour and the Lib Dems have said they would remove some benefits from better off pensioners. Paul Johnson is Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

0740

The Ukrainian army and the rebels backed by Russia have both said they intend to start withdrawing their heavy weapons in the coming days. It would go some way towards to restoring faith in the ceasefire agreement reached in Minsk eleven days ago. International monitors say they need to see more concrete plans - inventories, withdrawal routes and storage sites - before they are convinced any of this is real. They're worried, too, about an explosion which killed two pro-Ukraine demonstrators in the city of Kharkiv, far from the conflict zone. Some wonder if there aren't new dangers lurking up ahead. Our World Affairs Correspondent, Paul Adams, reports from Donetsk.

0745

BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz reflects on the winners at last night’s Oscar awards in Los Angeles which included an award for Eddie Redmayne for his portrayal of Professor Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.

0750

Bethnal Green Academy in east London will be re-opening today after the half term break as police continue their investigation into the disappearance of three of its pupils, who are believed to be trying to get to Syria.  Another girl from the school travelled out to Turkey in December. For the second time in two months detectives have been speaking to children from the school as part of their investigation. Scotland Yard has said its officers are in Turkey but refused to confirm whether they were involved in the search for the girls. Yesterday, relatives of the girls appealed for their return. Selin Girit is a BBC Turkish Service correspondent.

0810

Two former senior cabinet ministers have referred themselves to the Commissioner for Parliamentary Standards over claims they were apparently prepared to use their contacts and positions to benefit a private company in exchange for thousands of pounds. Jack Straw MP is former Labour Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary.

0820

David Cameron will today repeat his pledge at the last election to protect pensioner benefits if he remains Prime Minister (see 0730). Tom Bateman reports from Bexhill-On-Sea and Mark Harper is Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions.

0825

This year it is 125 years since Agatha Christie's birth. Her estate are planning a number of celebrations throughout 2015, including making public for the first time some of the letters which Christie kept from her many fans around the world. It's part of a project called #125Stories, which sees readers being asked to share their own experiences of Christie’s work through social media and explain how she influenced them. Hilary Strong is the Managing Director of Agatha Christie Ltd has some of the stories that have emerged from the fan-mail that Christie kept.

0830

HSBC is publishing its full year results this morning after weeks of being in the spotlight over accusations that its Swiss division facilitated large scale tax avoidance and in some cases evasion.  The Guardian is also reporting that the HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver had a Swiss account and deposited £5m through a Panamanian company. Kamal Ahmed is the BBC’s Business Editor.

0840

The deaths of hundreds of people with mental health problems in England and Wales could have been avoided if they'd received proper care, according to an official inquiry (see 0645). Mark Hammond is CEO of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission and Norman Lamb is the Care Minister.

0850

Hugh Grant has accused Rupert Murdoch’s News UK, and executive of the Daily Mail and the Telegraph of taking a back seat in the efforts to stop police using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) to access journalists' sources. The Home Office is bringing in a temporary measure to compel officers to follow the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and get legal permission to obtain any communications data. Hugh Grant sits on the board of the campaign group Hacked Off.

0855

London Fashion Week is in full swing and to coincide with the events there’s a new book profiling the two British fashion designers, Alexander McQueen, and John Galliano.  The author of the book, Dana Thomas, who’s a former Washington Post reporter and Newsweek fashion correspondent in Paris, has interviewed many people who worked with Galliano and McQueen between 1984 and 1996. Dana Thomas is author of ‘Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano.

All subject to change.

Broadcasts

  • Mon 23 Feb 2015 06:00
  • Mon 23 Feb 2015 06:15