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Page last updated at 11:28 GMT, Saturday, 15 August 2009 12:28 UK
Today: Saturday 15 August 2009

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

Three people have been killed in a suicide car bomb near Nato's headquarters in the Afghan capital, Kabul, just days before the Presidential elections. And President Obama has been defending his health care reforms.

0709

A suicide car bomb has exploded outside the Nato headquarters in the Afghan capital, Kabul, killing up to seven people, according to the country's defence ministry. The attack comes ahead of presidential and provincial elections due on Thursday which the Taliban have vowed to disrupt. Correspondent Ian Pannell reports on the explosion.

0712

The decision on whether the convicted Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, should be released from prison will be taken today. Scotland correspondent James Cook discusses the case.

0715
The paper review.

0717

Universities are "fighting a long defeat to maintain standards", according to a leading academic. Manchester University vice-chancellor, Professor Alan Gilbert, says institutions' income is not sufficient to deal with rising student numbers and research demands. Correspondent Jim Hancock, discusses why universities are under strain.

0720

Ten leading economists have written to the Queen arguing that the training of economists has led them down the path to more maths, and less understanding. Bridget Rosewell is one of the economists who wrote the letter, and discusses the points it raised.

0727
Sports news with Garry Richardson.

0730

The French Defence Ministry has claimed there have been sightings of the missing Russian ship, the Arctic Sea. The BBC's Diplomatic correspondent, Adam Mynott, reports on the sightings and Andrew Linnington, of the maritime union Nautilus International, discusses how a ship can go missing.

0740
The paper review.

0743

An American Senator has begun talks with Burma's military ruler, Than Shwe, in the most high level contact between the two countries for a decade. Sir John Sawers, Britain's ambassador to the UN, discusses whether the US might be changing its approach to dealing with Burma.

0745
Thought for the day with Canon David Winter.

0750

The latest unemployment figures released this week show that unemployment is rising, and that young people are being badly affected. Martin Weale, director of the National Institute, and Stephen Radley, chief economist of the manufacturer's organisation EEF, discuss what will happen to employment as output starts to grow.

0755

Barack Obama has been defending his proposals for health care reform. Washington Correspondent, Daniel Sandford, discusses President Obama's plans.


0810

Comments have flown this week between the UK and US about how best to provide healthcare, and have raised a number of myths around the American and British health systems. Roy Lilley, a former NHS chairman, and Michael Cannon, director of Health Policy at the free market CATO Institute in Washington, discuss the two systems and which myths are true, and which are not.


0817

The UK has taken direct control of the Turks and Caicos Islands, a British overseas territory a thousand kilometres off the coast of Florida .. With 36,000 people. The British allege corruption in the government there, and is imposing direct rule for two years. The previous prime minister Michael Misick denies the charges against the authorities. Evan Davis spoke to the prime minister Galmo Williams about the British takeover.

0820 Sports news with Garry Richardson.

0825

The world's best Free Runners are converging on Trafalgar Square today. Free runners perform stunts, leaping and diving over walls and buildings like urban acrobats. Reporter Nicola Stanbridge met some of the performers, who demonstrated some of their moves around BBC Television Centre.

0832

The lifting of anonymity protection for Baby P's mother and her lover has led to a flood of detail about their lives in this week's papers. Criminal psychologist Professor David Canter, and moral philosopher Baroness Warnock, discuss how the media have been portraying the couple, and whether the language used has been appropriate.

0840
The paper review.

0841

There has been fierce fighting in Gaza between Hamas and an a group of Islamist radicals, culminating in a gun battle when Hamas security men surrounded a mosque in the southern Gaza town of Rafah on the Egypt border. The leader of an al-Qaida-inspired group in the Gaza Strip has died in the incident. Katya Adler reports.

0845

Thirty years ago today the world 1500 metre record was broken by British runner Sebastian Coe. Lord Coe and Patrick Collins, chief sports writer at the Mail on Sunday, discuss the event which took place at the Zurich games.

0851

The organiser of the Edinburgh International Festival, Jonathan Mills, says he believes there is too much of a focus on 'easy culture' in the UK. Mr Mills explains his comments.

0855

Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, hit the ground running when he arrived home from his holiday in Corfu this week, and has hardly been out of the media spotlight. Denis Macshane, former Europe minister and MP for Rotherham, and Lance Price, former director of communications for the Labour party, discuss whether Lord Mandelson has come to be loved or loathed by the Labour party.




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