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BBC hit by 48 hour strike

Flagship programmes including Newsnight and Radio 4's Today will not be broadcast.

About 4,000 BBC staff have walked out in a 48-hour strike over pensions.

Many of its main TV and radio news programmes will be affected, including Radio 4's Today, BBC 1's 10pm bulletin, and Newsnight.

Star presenters including Fiona Bruce, Kirsty Wark, and Nicky Campbell are said to be taking part in the strike, organised by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

The strike began at midnight last night. Radio 4's flagship Today programme was not aired this morning. The World at One and PM are also expected to go off-air, although The World Tonight has been pre-recorded.

Managers are scrambling to provide a "core news service" across TV, radio, and online.

Live news coverage on the BBC's rolling news channel will be restricted to an hourly update, with the rest of the channel filled with repeats.

In an email to staff urging them not to strike, the BBC director general, Mark Thompson said: "The public - many of whom are facing difficult employment and economic pressures - will find it very hard to understand why the BBC's service to them should be impaired in this way."

Another 48-hour walkout is scheduled for 15 and 16 November.