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Page last updated at 09:24 GMT, Saturday, 20 August 2011 10:24 UK
Today: Saturday 20th August

Libyan rebels, pushing towards Tripoli, are claiming more military successes against Colonel Gaddafi's forces. We ask the head of Ucas whether the clearing system is in need of a radical overhaul. And were the riots and the response to them all about class?

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According to opposition sources in Syria at least 34 people, including four children, have been shot dead during demonstrations against the Assad regime. The BBC's Jim Muir gives a sense of what is happening in Syria. And Jonny, West founder of Open Oil, examines if sanctions against the country's oil exports might be an effective tool against its president.

The news has been full of stories about tough prison sentences for rioting and crowded prisons. But there are also stories of prison beatings. Our home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw examines the impact of a sudden influx of 1,000 new prisoners in the past fortnight.

The paper review.

Food banks are on the rise in this country, according to a charity that runs them nationwide. The Trussell Trust says there has been a big increase in demand for them over the past couple of months. The trust's chief executive Chris Mould explains the need for food banks in one of the world's wealthiest countries.

The death this week of a Zimbabwean general in a farmhouse fire has fuelled division and suspicion within President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party. The BBC's Brian Hungwe reports from Zimbabwe.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

Can we rely on the Afghan authorities' progress and the ability to control their nation and to stop the Taliban from more attacks? The attack on the British Council offices is the latest example. Our Kabul correspondent Quentin Sommerville and Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, former UK special representative to Afghanistan, analyse the current situation in the country.

The paper review.

Twenty years ago today hard-line communists in Moscow launched a coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Within days the coup had failed, within weeks the USSR had fallen apart. Our Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg witnessed the collapse of the Soviet empire - and he has spent many of the last years in Moscow, charting Russia's dramatic and often rocky journey as an independent state. He reports on how Russia has changed in the past two decades.

Thought for the day with the The Reverend Rob Marshall, an Anglican Priest.

The annual scramble for places at English universities through the Ucas clearing system began this Thursday. But it has been even harder since the Ucas website crashed. Killian Troy Donovan who got his A-level results this week and Mary Carnock Cook, chief executive of Ucas, outlines the current prospects for those in clearing.

Is President Assad of Syria on the way out? Reem Haddad, who speaks for the Syrian government, and British Foreign Office minister Alastair Burt outline their views.

Authorities in the Seychelles have admitted they could have done more to warn Ian Redmond, the British tourist who was killed following a shark attack, of the dangers of entering the water. A reward has now been offered to anyone who can catch the shark or sharks responsible for the deaths. Rajini Vaidyanathan reports from the island of Praslin, and has been out with one fisherman.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

Is the world's economic turmoil caused by a crisis in global leadership? Is a lack of clear ideology and purpose leaving leaders rudderless and at mercy to the markets? Would the Thatcher/Reagan era of leaders have been more proactive with economic solutions? Lord Owen, former Foreign Secretary, and Sir Christopher Meyer, former British Ambassador to Washington, try to answer some of these difficult questions.

The paper review.

Are science items in the newspapers misleading, especially when they talk of extending or shortening life by minutes or hours or days? Ben Goldacre, the author of Bad Science, and Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet debate the harm caused by these types of articles.

A family in Belfast have been subject to a "tiger kidnapping". There have been four such cases in Northern Ireland this year. What exactly is a "tiger kidnapping" and why are they becoming more common? John O'Brien, former Irish police officer and security consultant specialising in "tiger kidnaps" tells us more.

Were the riots a class battle? Journalist Tariq Ali and Conservative MP Jesse Norman debate the reasons behind the violence and destruction.



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