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Page last updated at 06:25 GMT, Thursday, 23 October 2008 07:25 UK
Today: Thursday 23 October 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.

Senior ministers are urging banks to resume lending to small businesses and individuals. Sex and relationship lessons look set to become compulsory at schools in England. And Swindon Council decides to scrap speed cameras.

A change in the way sex and relationship lessons are conducted is expected to be announced by the government. Science correspondent Tom Feilden reports on the possibility that lessons will be made compulsory in all schools in England.

Alastair Darling and Lord Mandelson will meet bank bosses to get them to be more supportive of small businesses. Gavin Nolan, a credit analyst at the financial services company Markit, debates whether the massive injection of money from the taxpayer is showing any signs of working.

It is hoped a new drug might be able to treat multiple sclerosis, research by the University of Cambridge suggests. Dr Lee Dunster, head of research at the MS Society, discusses whether lost brain function can be restored.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

The heads of credit rating agencies have been sharply criticised by members of the US House of Representatives. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform accused the agencies of ignoring warnings signs and following the "delirious mob" on Wall Street. Professor Dean Baker, of the Centre for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, says there were cases of outright corruption.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

Millions of people in Zimbabwe are "simply starving". The country's economy has collapsed, its agriculture has been systematically destroyed and there are now serious food shortages. Southern Africa correspondent Peter Biles reports on the importance of attempts to form a new government.

Councillors in Swindon have voted to stop funding the town's speed cameras. Peter Greenhalgh, the councillor responsible for transport, says the 320,000 it puts into fixed speed cameras would be better spent on other safety measures like warning signs and street lighting.

Today's papers.

A bizarre collection of archive material charting over a hundred years of world music history is to be released. The old 78 records from the EMI collection include some of the very earliest recorded music, including the mystical sounds of the Imperial Palace Band of Japan. Correspondent Nicola Stanbridge met the archivists.

Thought for the day with Reverend Rosemary Lain-Priestley.

What is the state of England's soil? Sarah Mukherjee reports on the latest findings of the Royal Agricultural Society, and professor Dick Godwin, who wrote the report, explains how agricultural productivity could be harmed if soil science is not reformed.

The government is expected to announce that sex and relationship lessons will be made compulsory in primary and secondary schools in England. Kevin Ward, headmaster of Holmleigh Primary School in Hackney, and Norman Wells, director of family charity the Family Education Trust, discuss whether more information given about sex can lead to fewer unplanned teenage pregnancies.

Countries are becoming victims of the global economic slowdown. Pakistan has had to turn to the International Monetary Fund for help; Hungary has pushed up its interest rates massively to stop a run on its currency; Ukraine is looking for loans to shore up its finances and Turkey may be the next country to be forced to act. Business editor Robert Peston explains why entire countries are in trouble.

Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Lucy are back on the shelves. The latest instalment of the complete Peanuts cartoon strip is being revived, eight years after the death of its creator - Charles Shulz. Novelist Jonathan Franzen discusses why the comic hasn't aged.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

The trade union Unite is organising a demonstration at the site of a big power station project because, it says, British workers are not being allowed to work there. The Nottinghamshire project is being built by Spanish contractors and they are using Spanish workers. Derek Simpson, general secretary of Unite, says there are plenty of willing and able workers in the area, without relying on foreign workers.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

It is not worth starting a blog, and if you already have one you should think about closing it down, an article on the technology website Wired says. Robin Hamman, of computing consultancy Headshift, and Guardian writer and blogger Kate Bevan discuss whether shorter forms of communication, such as Twitter, are taking over.

The draft agreement between Iraq and the United States on the future status of US forces in the country has run into trouble getting the necessary political approval in Baghdad. Correspondent Jim Muir reports on the steps needed to be taken to make sure of a stable future for Iraq.

Can the rich save the world? People like Bill Gates are reinvesting their fortunes into things like tackling malaria, applying what they've learnt from business to their philanthropy. Authors Matthew Bishop and Michael Edwards describe the newfound fascination with philanthrocapitalism.



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