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Page last updated at 06:19 GMT, Saturday, 20 December 2008
Today: Saturday 20 December 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.

Consumers and firms will continue to find it difficult to access credit for the next year or two, Barclays boss John Varley tells the BBC. And Barack Obama welcomes a multi-billion dollar aid package for US carmakers, but says they must make some "hard decisions".

In an interview for BBC One's Panorama, CEO of Barclays John Varley says the banking industry is facing a "public relations crisis". Business correspondent Joe Lynam explains what could be done to improve the image of the banks.

The Australian Navy is trying to reach one of the yachts taking part in the Vendee Globe around-the-world race. The sailor in the single-handed race has been badly hurt. Correspondent Nick Bryant explains what has happened.

Today's papers.

A large majority of people in Britain do not believe the Biblical story about the birth of Jesus to be a reliable historical account, a survey suggests. New Testament scholar Simon Gathercole, of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, discusses the survey carried out by religious think tank Theo, which also suggests almost a quarter of those describing themselves as Christians share this scepticism.

What will be the legacy of US President George W Bush? Correspondent Kevin Connolly reports from Washington on the midnight regulations - legal measures he can put into force by executive order without the approval of Congress - the outgoing president is making.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

What will happen to UK troops when they are withdrawn from Iraq at the end of May? Major Eric Joyce, a Labour MP, and Colonel Tim Collins, former commander of the First Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment in Southern Iraq, discuss if troops will now be sent to Afghanistan.

Today's papers.

A simple sneeze may be a tell-tale sign of sexual arousal for a select few, a Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine study suggests. Deputy editor of the journal Dr Manoj Ramachandran discusses if it may be down to a mix-up in brain circuitry.

Fifa, the world governing body of football, is to begin the competition to host the 2018 World Cup. Sports editor Mihir Bose considers the potential bid from England, and if the country has a good chance of being successful.

Thought for the day with the Reverend Dr Giles Fraser, the Vicar of Putney.

Two convicted sex offenders have won a ruling that being put on the sex offenders register with no chance of review breaches their human rights. Criminal law solicitor Julian Weinberg and Paul Roffey, of consultancy RWA Child Protection Services, discuss if the scheme was incompatible with their Article 8 right to private and family life.

Banks need to apologise for the mess they have created of the economy, the CEO of Barclays John Varley says. He has spoken to business editor Robert Peston in an exclusive interview for BBC One's Panorama. Financial author John Kay discusses what needs to be done to restore the public's confidence in the banks.

The increase in online shopping has led to the Post Office being put under pressure to deliver all parcels before Christmas. Reporter Sanchia Berg visits a delivery office to see if postal workers have everything under control. Michael Stockdale, delivery director at the Royal Mail, says additional measures have been put in control to make things as easy as possible.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

US President-elect Barack Obama has welcomed the multi-billion dollar aid package for US carmakers, but said the industry faced some "hard decisions". North America Editor Justin Webb considers the US public's reaction to the announcement.

Today's papers.

What has been achieved in Southern Iraq? Major General Andy Salmon, the man in charge of British forces in Iraq, and Iraqi expert Dr Toby Dodge, of Queen Mary College, University of London, discuss Gordon Brown's announcement that UK troops will leave the country at the end of May 2009.

This weekend sees the 40th anniversary of what many space historians regard as the most important and dangerous space missions ever carried out - the first voyage to the moon - Apollo 8. Author and broadcaster David Whitehouse discusses if this voyage was as significant as some now believe it to be.

After Bernard Madoff, the hedge fund boss accused of a $50bn (32bn) fraud, has put up $10m bail and in effect has been placed under house arrest, what now for hedge funds? Andrew Baker, who is about to take over the Global Hedge Fund Association, discusses how the Madoff scandal will affect the investment industry.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has urged that the economic slump should be used to think carefully about how the public spends and what on. William Cash, editor of Spear's Wealth Management Survey, and Jonathan Bartley, co-director of think tank Ekklesia, discuss the notion of the Church guiding spending and saving decisions.



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