Today - 29/05/2009

Logo for Today - 29/05/2009

Presented by Evan Davis and Sarah Montague. What effect will the Westminster expenses revelations have on the voting for the European Parliament? Professor John Curtice discusses how well smaller parties could do in the vote. Efforts are continuing to secure the sale of General Motors' (GM) main European business, Opel, and its UK brand, Vauxhall. Berlin correspondent Steve Rosenberg speaks to Germany's Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, who has called recent action by GM 'pretty scandalous'. A project to return beavers to the wild in Scotland for the first time in 400 years has begun. They are being released in Knapdale Forest in Argyll. Reporter Colin Blane reports on the environmental benefits and fishermen's headaches the introduction may cause. Around seven million people in the UK are involved in illegal downloads, costing the economy tens of billions of pounds, government advisers say. Technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones considers the worth of intellectual property available for free online. New carbon capture technology is being tested for the first time in the UK on a working coal-fired power station. Science correspondent Tom Feilden reports on whether this could kick-start a whole new North Sea carbon capture and storage industry. International scientists say they have found the first evidence of resistance to the world's most effective drug for treating malaria. Correspondent Jill McGivering reports from Cambodia on why the region has become a nursery for drug resistant strains of the disease. Professor Brian Greenwood, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, discusses how hard a new strain of the disease would be to contain. Poet and Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney has again turned to the past for his latest collection of poems. Arts correspondent Rebecca Jones talks to the writer, a former Professor of Poetry at Oxford University, about the current row engulfing the post and his own work. Pro-life campaigners are continuing their fight for the publication of details of late medical abortions. Reverend Joanna Jepson, who is behind the campaign, and Dr Kate Paterson, a consultant gynaecologist at Imperial College NHS Trust, discuss whether details of terminated pregnancies in cases where there is a serious risk of a physical or mental abnormality should be disclosed. In a correction to the broadcast introduction, Reverend Jepson was born with a jaw deformity and not a cleft palate. The beginning of the European elections - expected to be the biggest transnational elections ever to be held - is less than a week away. Foreign Secretary David Miliband and his shadow counterpart William Hague discuss why you should vote for their parties. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has begun a four-day broadcast of his national TV programme, Alo Presidente, to mark its 10th anniversary. Mr Chavez has appeared with an audience of loyal supporters and talked about a vast array of topics. 'Child protection in the UK and Ireland is a disastrous mess and no amount of... tinkering around the edges will be enough to fix it', the Lancet medical journal says. The editor, Richard Horton, and paediatrician Professor John Wyatt, of UCL, discuss if childcare professionals are being sent mixed messages. A pioneering project off the coast of Japan aims to go further into an earthquake zone than ever before. BBC environment correspondent Richard Black, the first journalist to visit the research ship Chikyu, reports on the drilling for rock cores from the quake-generating Nankai Trough to explore what causes tremors. All of Africa's problems - disease, natural disaster and war - could be solved by good governance, the only African woman to have won the Nobel Peace Prize says. Professor Wangari Maathai explains her argument: that Africans alone must be responsible for bringing about the change towards free and fair elections and governments based on human rights. It is often said that the public are not sufficiently engaged with politics. But all that has changed with the argument over expenses and allowances. Tim Montgomerie, of the website ConservativeHome, and Paul Goodwin, a member of the Stand Down Margaret campaign, discuss why the public has become so involved in the issue of expenses.