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Page last updated at 08:15 GMT, Thursday, 4 November 2010
Today: Thursday 4th November

The BBC has apologised to Bob Geldof for claiming that millions of pounds raised by Band Aid was siphoned off by rebel groups in Ethiopia. John Humphrys examines the changing realities of modern China. And does our Prime Minister need an official photographer?

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Business news with Adam Shaw: The US Central Bank announced it was creating $600bn of new money in a process known as Quantitative Easing. Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, we asked him if this was the right decision. Ireland's Finance Minister, Brian Lenihan, will today set out the scale of spending cuts and tax rises needed to tackle the country's massive deficit. The Economist Intelligence Unit's Megan Greene examines the issues.

The BBC has issued an unreserved apology to the charity Band Aid after BBC World Service radio broadcast a documentary alleging that aid money sent to Ethiopia in the 1980s had been stolen by rebel fighters. The former BBC chairman Michael Grade, who is a Band Aid trustee, reacts to the apology.

China's "one child policy" is known around the world. Actually it's not quite that simple. You can have two if you live in the countryside and the first child is a girl. But when the law was brought in more than 30 years ago, China's economy was on its knees and now it's booming. John Humphrys reports from China on influential figures who are saying the policy has had its day.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

Sports news with Gary Richardson.

Governments are always telling us they can save money but do they always deliver the savings they promise? Margaret Hodge was a minister under Tony Blair and she now chairs the Public Accounts Committee.

The Chinese economy has been booming for years. But the gap between rich and poor is bigger than any other sizeable country in the world. This, after all, is not what Mao's version of communism was meant to deliver. You have to wonder what he would have made of modern China. John Humphrys reports from Shanghai which feels almost like any other great capitalist city.

Paper review

Why did it take early human beings two million years to work out that hand-held stone axes might work better than razor sharp stones? Dr Aldo Faisal of the Department of Bioengineering and Computing at Imperial College London explains how the change came about.

Thought for the Day with Rhidian Brook.


The BBC has apologised for a documentary that gave the wrong impression that money donated to Band Aid in the mid 1980s ended up in the hands of rebel soldiers in Ethiopia. The documentary was first aired on the radio World Service and the allegations provoked a furious response from the Band Aid founder Sir Bob Geldof. BBC Global News director Peter Horrocks explains what went wrong.

China is the only ancient civilisation that has survived to emerge as a serious world power by endlessly reinventing itself. The difference this time is that the Communist Party, which has a total monopoly on power, is gambling that it can restore China's greatness without ripping the country apart. John Humphrys gauges the mood in Beijing.

Ofcom is set to investigate News Corp's plans to bid for all the shares in BSkyB after a request from the Business Secretary Vince Cable. British media groups including national newspaper owners and the BBC recently joined Mr Cable to block the plans over fears the deal posed a threat to competition and media plurality. The BBC's Nick Robinson explains the decision.

Should David Cameron be embarrassed by the news that he has put a personal photographer and filmmaker on the official payroll? Eamonn McCabe, a former picture editor at the Guardian and Jonathan Yeo, who was the official election artist in 2001, debate the role of the official snapper.

Sport news with Gary Richardson

When David Cameron visits China next week he will want to talk to the leadership about trade. But he'll also have to say some unpalatable things about human rights and carbon emissions. Jonathan Fenby, who has written one of the defining histories of China, assesses the fault lines between Beijing and the international community.

Business news with Adam Shaw: News of a new MG built at Longbridge.

A huge change is coming in the way arts money is distributed in England and every arts organisation will have to re-apply regularly to keep the funds coming. The BBC's Will Gompertz and Alan Davy, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, discuss what "light touch" bureaucracy really means.

Fair trade has helped make the world a better place if you happen to be poor and rely on the income from the food you grow to survive. But a report by the think-tank the Institute for Economic Affairs has cast doubt on that claim. The IFS's director Mark Littlewood and Barbara Crowther of the Fair Trade Foundation debate the impact of fair trade.

Earlier in the programme we talked about the problems of trying to achieve cuts in spending. The Public Accounts Committee says it does not seem to be able to measure cuts. Colin Talbot, professor of Public Policy at Manchester Business School, explains why.



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