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Page last updated at 08:08 GMT, Saturday, 26 November 2011
Today: Saturday 26th November

The government has repeated its warning that an improved offer on public sector pensions could be withdrawn if Wednesday's planned strike goes ahead. Blender, ballistic missile, screwdriver and basketball - how the logo department in the Egyptian Electoral Commission is dealing with the scores of candidates in the upcoming election. And, Steve Coogan joins us live to debate the Leveson Inquiry into phone hacking.

The paper review.

Belgium's credit rating has been cut by one of the agencies that monitors the world's economies, making it likely that it will be more expensive for the country to borrow money that it needs. Europe correspondent Chris Morris analyses the country's political and economic travail.

The travel firm Thomas Cook has reached agreement with its bankers to provide it with new access to funding. Its bankers, including Barclays, HSBC, RBS and UniCredit, have agreed to provide a new £200m facility until 30 April 2013. The chief executive of Thomas Cook, Sam Weihagen, outlines the potential consquences.

Northern Ireland's first minister Peter Robinson will tell the conference of his Democratic Unionist Party today that he wants to see closer ties between Catholic and Protestant children in the province. Our Ireland correspondent Mark Simpson discusses just how far the DUP can be expected to go.

The former leader of the UK Independence Party, Lord Pearson, has called for an independent inquiry into the costs and benefits of Britain's membership of the European Union. He introduced a bill into the House of Lords and, as parliamentary correspondent Mark D'Arcy reports, won support from many peers who attacked the EU's spending.
Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

Six people are reported to have died in protests in the city of Hama in West central Syria. Our reporter Andrew Hosken spoke to Abdul, one young protester in Hama, over a difficult internet connection. Rime Allaf, a Syrian and associate fellow at the foreign affairs think tank Chatham House discusses the potential effect of sanctions on Syria.

The paper review.

The stories behind musical gifts are told in this month's BBC Music magazine. Today's Justin Webb spoke to the magazine's editor, Oliver Condy, about Wagner, Debussy, Shostakovich and Schumann's presents to their friends and families.

Thought for The Day with the Reverend Roy Jenkins - Baptist Minister in Cardiff.

Northern Ireland is in the midst of its worst property crash in its history with average house prices cut in half since their 2007 peak. Our Northern Ireland Business Editor Jim Fitzpatrick has been looking at this for the Spotlight programme. Also on the programme is John Wrigglesworth, a housing market expert.

Thirty trade unions have mandates from members to strike on Wednesday. They say it is going to be like Christmas Day - many public services will be scaled back, schools closed, NHS operations and clinics postponed and people are told to stay away from airports if they can. The BBC's business correspondent Joe Lynam and Dean Royles, director of the NHS employers' organisation and the BBC's political correspondent Robin Brant paint a picture of what Wednesday will be like.

The first week of the Leveson Inquiry into the press has made headlines all of its own. For instance, stories of celebrities and victims of terrible tragedy chased, spat at, stalked and threatened by journalists and photographers. Our correspondent Peter Hunt, who was at the hearings, reflects on the first week's evidence.

The US satirical paper, The Onion, also has a television channel of a similar tone and that channel is now coming to Britain courtesy of Sky. Suzanne Sena plays the part of the main reporter, Brooke Alvarez, and she put together a short bulletin for us.

Sport news with Rob Bonnet.

George Osborne says he will not deviate from his deficit reduction strategy for fear that the bond markets might take fright. Some figures on the right, such as Conservative MP David Ruffley, are urging him to borrow a bit more to cut taxes to stimulate the economy. Senior economic adviser to UBS, George Magnus and Louise Cooper, senior financial analyst at BGC Partners, debate if the markets would look dimly if the chancellor were to adjust his fiscal plans.

Pakistani officials have accused Nato helicopters of firing on a military checkpoint near Pakistan's Afghan border, killing at least 14 soldiers, including two officers. The BBC's Shoaib Hasan is in Karachi.

The paper review.

Despite the protests across Egypt this week, elections are still planned to commence next week. It is a very complicated system as our correspondent Kevin Connolly has been finding out.

Celebrities and victims of tragedy gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry about phone hacking and general press intrusion and horrific abuse into their personal lives. This has spawned a secondary debate with some newspapers asking the question, such as, should public figures who are happy to have their own media strategies and employ PR agents complain when the game turns against them? The actor and writer Steve Coogan and columnist Simon Jenkins debate the implications.



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