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Page last updated at 05:54 GMT, Saturday, 6 August 2011 06:54 UK
Today: Saturday 6th August

One of the world's leading credit rating agencies has taken the unprecedented step of stripping the United States of its triple-A financial status. And also in the programme, we discover why mosquitoes like some people more than others.

To speed up the loading time for this running order, we have replaced the audio with links. To hear the reports, interviews and discussions, just click on the links.

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The ratings agency Standard & Poors has taken the historic step of downgrading the rating it gives US government debt. Business correspondent Joe Lynam considers the potential impact on the world economy.

Paper review.

The Syrian government says it is succeeding in putting down the uprising in the city of Hama, even as international condemnation of its tactics intensifies. Lina Sinjab reports on the latest developments in the country.

People in the Netherlands are leaving the mainstream church at the rate of tens of thousands a year, as it struggles to connect with one of Europe's most secular societies. Religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott reports from Holland, where liberal clergy are being accused of changing the core beliefs of Christianity in order to slow its decline.

Following a number of huge protests in recent days, there are expected to be further big street demonstrations in Israel today against the government's privatization policies and the country's high cost of living. The BBC's Wyre Davies looks ahead to the day's events.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

After a tumultuous week for stock markets around the world, it's still clear that the onus is on Germany to help solve the Eurozone crisis. But, as Berlin correspondent Steve Evans reports, many Germans are questioning why they should pick up the bill. And Jacques Myard, UMP member of the national assembly in Paris, assesses the economic situation from France.

A blueprint for the future of libraries will be published today by the Local Government Association and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. Councillor Chris White, chair of the LGA's culture, tourism and sports board, sets out their recommendations.

Paper review.

Thought for the day with the Reverend Joel Edwards.

The turmoil on the stock markets this week has caused increasing fears that western economies will neither be able to grow or pay their debts. Andrew Cave, chief spokesperson for the federation of small businesses and John Stepek, editor of MoneyWeek magazine, discuss what the crisis means for the UK's consumers and businesses.

In a perceived setback for Ed Miliband, Iain McNicol was elected as the Labour Party's general secretary this week: the Labour leader had supported another candidate. Former general secretary Peter Watt and Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, consider how Ed Miliband should deal with the tricky relationship between his party and the unions.

There is confusion about what level of Criminal Records Bureau checks licensed taxi drivers should have, with the home office advising councils to abolish the need for enhanced checks in an effort to de-clog the system. Councillor Henri Murison of Newcastle City Council presents the regional view. And Transport for London's John Mason explains why he is worried about the weakening of checks.

It's an eternal question: why do mosquitoes, and other flying things, target some people and not others? Dr James Logan, from the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London, tries to provide the answer.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

To add to the turmoil in global financial markets this week, the US has lost its triple-A credit rating from Standard & Poors. Business editor Robert Peston reflects on a turbulent week. George Magnus, senior economic adviser at UBS, and Terry Smith, chief executive of Tullet Prebon, debate what politicians can do to ease fears over the weekend.

Paper review.

Venezuela's Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra performed at the Proms this week, showcasing the talents of young people given the opportunity to play by the "El Sestema" plan. Sarah Grainger reports from Venezuela on how the system is now being used to tackle the country's overcrowded and violent prisons.

The government's chief genetics adviser, Sir John Bell, says the NHS is "completely unprepared" to make use of recent breakthroughs in in genetic science. Geneticist Professor Steve Jones and by Dr Ron Zimmerman, head of the public health genetics unit in Cambridge, discuss whether he is right to be so sceptical.

A group of intrepid crossword fans are gathering in Cheltenham today to tackle a fiendishly difficult crossword: a 3D cryptic crossword. Eric Westbrook, organiser of the event, and crossword setter Dr John Henderson, explain how such a tricky puzzle can be solved and devised.



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