Today's running order
Russia have warned that it may cut off the gas supply to Ukraine today if a dispute over payments is not resolved. Ukraine say the supply from Russia has been withheld and are refusing to pay. Cutting off Ukraine could also cut off a large portion of European gas and the EU have called for talks between Ukraine and Russia on Monday to avert a crisis. How willing are Russia to lose gas revenue to further their strategic goals in Ukraine? Professor Jonathan Stern is director of Gas Research at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.
The next government must protect the Foreign Office from spending cuts or risk Britain's global influence, according to a committee of MPs. Their report also recommends increasing the pay of diplomats, which they say has fallen behind other civil servants. It also highlights the lack of trained Russian and Arabic speakers, and says the loss of expertise is affecting crucial analysis and information gathering. Sir Richard Ottaway is chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.
Lloyds Banking Group will publish its full year results this morning and it’s expected that the bank will resume paying a dividend to shareholders, for the first time since the financial crisis in 2008. The bank is currently almost a quarter taxpayer owned and it’s understood the government has given permission for the bank to restart dividends. CEO Antonio Horta-Osorio is said to be in line for an £11 million pay-out. Kamal Ahmed is our Business Editor
Relatives of people whose murders were shown in Islamic State videos, presided over by a British man, known as Jihadi John, have said they hope his identification will make it easier to bring him to justice. The militant has been named as Mohammed Emwazi, a former computing student from west London. Robert Mcfadden is a counter terrorism expert and senior vice president of the Soufan Group.
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announced on Thursday that a 'failing' free school will close at the end of this term after its action plan was judged insufficient to turn it around. In January, the government said it was terminating Durham Free School's funding agreement after inspectors rated the school inadequate. The school submitted an improvement plan but the government has decided to pursue closure. Chairman of governors John Denning said it was consulting legal advisors. Ofsted inspectors pinpointed particular problems with bullying and poor pupil attitude at the school. The school opened in September 2013 It is the third free school to close since the policy was introduced in 2010. The school has 94 pupils, one sixth of whom have some form of special educational need, and last year nearly 18% of students received suspensions. John Denning is chairman of governors at Durham Free School.
Plans will be announced later to give the National Assembly for Wales more powers. They include control over major energy projects as well as the ability to change its name to a parliament and to give 16 year olds the vote in assembly elections. Stephen Crabb is Secretary of State for Wales and Leanne Wood is Leader of Plaid Cymru.
Narendra Modi's government reveals its first full budget tomorrow. After an interim budget in July was widely deemed a bit of a flop there could be measures to increase investment in the country including a change to the tax regime. Justin Rowlatt reports from India.
Ed Miliband is to confirm a Labour government would cut the maximum tuition fees in England by a third, and pay for it by reducing tax relief on high-earners' pensions. The reduction, which the party first mooted in 2011, is opposed by universities. Labour both students and the public finances suffer under the current system. Our education editor Branwen Jeffreys speaks to an economist on the matter and we speak to Chris Leslie, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
Relatives of people whose murders were shown in Islamic State videos, presided over by a British man, known as Jihadi John, have said they hope his identification will make it easier to bring him to justice (see 0715). Frank Gardener is our Security Correspondent, Chris Phillips is former Head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office and Dr Afzal Ashraf is a counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency expert at RUSI who advised the Government on the Prevent strategy between 2009 and 2011.
Kim Jong Il, before becoming Supreme Leader of North Korea, was Head of Entertainment and was utterly obsessed with Western Cinema - specifically, James Bond and Rambo - seeing those films as "socio-realist docu-dramas". Therefore he decided he needed to create a successful film powerhouse in North Korea that would compete with Hollywood and thought that the best way to do this would be to kidnap South Korea's most successful director and actress (who had been married - Orson Welles and Elizabeth Taylor of the day) - keep them apart for 5 years - and then eventually reunite them when they both conceded to make N Korean propaganda films. A new book by Paul Fischer "A Kim Jong Il Production" presents fresh insights into the events.
On Thursday the United States officially ended its mission in Liberia to tackle the ebola outbreak which has claimed almost 10,000 lives across West Africa. Today (Friday) the Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening is in Sierra Leone to see what impact UK assistance has had there. A steep decline in Ebola infections seen from December to January in Sierra Leone has now halted and transmission remains widespread. BBC correspondent Clive Myrie and Justine Greening, is Secretary of State for International Development are in Sierra Leone
Lloyds Banking Group will publish its full year results this morning and it’s expected that the bank will resume paying a dividend to shareholders, for the first time since the financial crisis in 2008 (see 0710). Our Business Editor Kamal Ahmed has been speaking with CEO António Horta-Osório.
The Ukrainian government says its forces have begun pulling back heavy weapons under the terms of a ceasefire agreement with pro-Russian rebels in the east of the country. But there have been repeated breaches of the ceasefire, by both sides, since it came into effect two weeks ago. Paul Wood reports from Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. Paul Wood has this report.
Students will leave university with an average of forty four thousand pounds worth of debt and the current system of tuition fees is not working - according to Labour. The party is expected to announce a cut in the cap from £9,000 to £6,000. But what is the best way to fund the higher education system? What other options are there? Peter Ainsworth is author of Universities Challenged: Funding Higher Education through a free market graduate tax published for the Institute for Economic Affairs and Sir Keith Burnett is Vice Chancellor of the UniversIty of Sheffield.
All subject to change.