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Page last updated at 06:58 GMT, Thursday, 18 September 2008 07:58 UK
Today: Thursday 18 September 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.

Lloyds TSB is to take over Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) in a £12bn deal. Business editor Robert Peston and Sir Peter Burt, former deputy chairman of HBOS, discuss whether this deal could have gone ahead 12 months ago.

The short-term benefits of antibiotics given to women who go into premature labour may be outweighed by possible risks, according to research published in the medical journal Lancet. Dr Sara Kenyon, of the University of Leicester and author of the research, discusses the advice for pregnant women.

Nato defence ministers will gather in London, with a plan of action for Georgia in the wake of the Russian invasion on the agenda. Diplomatic correspondent Paul Adams reports on Georgia's bid to join Nato's ranks.

Lloyds TSB will complete the take over of HBOS for around £12bn, adding to the worries surrounding investment banks. Charles Goodhart, former member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, says that any government can pay off its own debt.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

Four babies have died and thousands have fallen ill after drinking milk tainted with toxic melamine in China. The authorities are taking action. Correspondent James Reynolds reports from Beijing.

Today's papers.

What happens to us when we die? Researchers at the University of Southampton are conducting a study of near-death experiences, involving many hospitals in the UK and US. Study leader Dr Sam Parnia discusses what people typically said they had seen, or felt, when they came back from the brink.

Thought for the day with The Reverend Angela Tilby, Vicar of St Bene't's Church in Cambridge.

Gordon Brown will face a party conference with his own ministers now openly addressing the question of whether his leadership is tenable. John Prescott, former deputy prime minister, discusses the launch of a campaign for Labour recovery and a fourth term in office.

Lloyds TSB has agreed a takeover deal with Halifax-Bank of Scotland. The American investment bank, Morgan Stanley, is reported to be the latest institution discussing a merger. Chancellor Alistair Darling responds to criticism that the merger could have been avoided.

The British government covered up the massacre of hundreds of mainly British prisoners of war by Japanese sailors during the World War II, items seen by Radio 4's Document programme reveal. Correspondent Mike Thomson reports.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

Faced with an intense economic crisis, there are several kinds of response. Some panic, some are paralysed and there are those who see an opportunity to profit. Evan Davis discovers resignation and worry among city workers.

Students from poorer homes are losing out under the current system of university bursaries, a report from The Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) claims. Professor Lesley Ebdon, vice chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire; and Professor Malcolm Grant, president and provost of UCL and chair of the Russell Group, discuss whether financial constraints are stopping students from going to university.

Business news with Adam Shaw

Gordon Brown has ordered a review of the intelligence surrounding the Omagh bomb attack. John Ware, the Panorama reporter who broke the story, discusses whether any more information was available before the attacks.

Europe's golfers will be looking to win their fourth Ryder Cup in a row when they take on the Americans in Kentucky. It provides an unusual example of Europeans uniting in a common cause. Sports editor Mihir Bose discusses the unique competition.



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