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Page last updated at 06:50 GMT, Saturday, 30 August 2008 07:50 UK
Today: Saturday 30 August 2008

PLEASE NOTE: We are unable to offer transcripts for our programme interviews. Today is broadcast live and the running order is subject to change.

The Chancellor gives his bleakest assessment yet of the state of the economy. A new campaign group wants the government to stop faith schools from selecting staff and pupils based on their religion. And will Russia turn off the lights and heating in Western Europe?

The Chancellor, Alistair Darling, has given a dramatic and wide-ranging interview to the Guardian newspaper, in which he completely re-writes the government's script on the economy and also makes some interesting comments about the Labour party's inability to get its message across. Political correspondent Robin Chrystal reports.

John McCain has made a surprising choice for the person he wants to be his vice president - should he be elected. She is the governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. Correspondent Kim Ghattas reports from Washington.

Today's papers.

Of all Britain's military personnel the RAF are the gloomiest, according to an MOD survey. The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshall Sir Glenn Torpy, has told the BBC he is concerned about resources, and that the force is as lean as it can be. Our correspondent Caroline Wyatt travelled with him to Afghanistan, for a glimpse behind the scenes at RAF operations there.

Meddling politicians have undermined the credibility of GCSE's and A-Levels, according to the headmaster of Kings College School in Wimbledon. Andrew Halls' school came second in a league table of independent schools published on the basis of GCSE results. He explains why he is sceptical.


The former head of comedy at BBC TV, Geoffrey Perkins, was killed yesterday. He produced some of the BBC's most popular programmes. Media correspondent Torin Douglas reports.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

Two thousand people are now feared dead from the floods in the Indian state of Bihar. They were caused when a river changed course and submerged hundreds of villages. There are claims that the Indian government is playing down the scale of the tragedy. The official death toll is just 65, but aid agencies claim thousands are missing in the floods. Reporter Sanjoy Majumder has been to the area.


Within the next few days or so, the government is set to announce some kind of measures to support the housing market, after the Chancellor admitted that the economy is arguably in its worst downturn since World War II. The idea is for local authorities to buy unsold and repossessed properties. Liverpool is already experimenting with the idea. The deputy leader of Liverpool council, Flo Clucas, explains why the shared equity scheme is viable.

Today's papers

Jim Naughtie has spent this week at the Democratic convention in the United States, and from Monday he will be reporting on the Republicans who are gathering this weekend in Minneapolis. He reflects on the character of an absorbing election.

Thought for the day with Reverend Roy Jenkins, a Baptist Minister in Cardiff.

Last weekend, a 16-year-old boy from Qatar died after being attacked in Hastings, on the south coast of England. Mohammed Al Majed was studying English in the resort. What happened to him has been described as a racially motivated assault and last night the police were on the seafront, appealing for witnesses. Thousands of foreign students study in Hastings every year. Correspondent Jon Manel has been investigating whether this death was a tragic but isolated incident, or if it points to an underlying problem in the town.


The Chancellor has given an outspoken interview to the Guardian newspaper, saying that the economy is facing the worst downturn in 60 years. Peter Kilfoyle, the MP for Liverpool Walton, gives his reaction to the Chancellor's interview and Stephen Bell, who runs a fund at GLC.


A new group is calling on Schools Secretary Ed Balls to stop state-funded faith schools from discriminating against students and teachers on the grounds of their beliefs. The general secretary of Accord, Dr Mary Bousted, and Cristina Odone, the former editor of the Catholic Herald, discuss the issue.


The country's most senior ethnic minority police officer, Tarique Ghaffur, launched a legal action this week against the Met chief Sir Ian Blair accusing him of racism. Home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw tries to shed light on the real reasons behind the row and Tarique Ghaffur's solicitor, Dr Shahrokh Mireskandari, discusses his client's action and London's former mayor Ken Livingstone examines the dispute.


With increasingly frosty relations between Russia and the west, Europe is starting to wonder about its energy supplies - the continent is dependent on Russia for its energy. While reports that Russia was preparing to restrict gas supplies to western Europe have been denied it seems unlikely that the west could use economic sanctions to exert leverage over Russia. Former foreign secretary Lord Owen discusses Russia's attitude.


Dating websites may have proliferated recently - but now there is a new one for bookworms. Penguin books has set up a dating service where the lovelorn can search for people who have a similar taste in books. But is it a good idea? Authors Toby Young and Kathy Lette discuss.


Two Titian paintings - currently on loan to the National Gallery of Scotland - are to be sold by the Duke of Sutherland for 100m. Should the nation buy them? Art critic Brian Sewell and former editor of the Sun Kelvin Mackenzie debate the merits of art - and its cost.


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