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Page last updated at 07:00 GMT, Friday, 16 December 2011
Today: Friday 16th December

Calls for a major improvement in the way hospitals care for people with dementia. The journalist and atheist author Christopher Hitchins has died. And, actress Michelle Yeoh reflects on playing Aung San Suu Kyi.

Business news with Simon Jack, on the credit rating agency Fitch's downgrading six of the world's largest banks.

Recent weeks have seen a series of mysterious explosions in Iran with some at sites linked to their nuclear and missile programme. Security Correspondent Gordon Correra reports on whether a secret war could be underway in Iran.

How do mass movements like public protests take off and what is the role of social media in helping them spread? Oxford University's Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon outlines research by the Oxford Internet Institute in the journal Scientific Reports which has been following trends on social networking sites such as Twitter.

The first full report of the National Audit of Dementia has found that hospitals in England and Wales are failing patients with dementia and overlooking some of their most basic needs. Peter Crome, professor of geriatric medicine at Keele University and chair of the National Audit of Dementia, outlines the findings.

Labour has won the Feltham and Heston by-election, with an 8% swing away from the Conservatives. Chief political correspondent Gary O'Donoghue was at the count.

Business news with Simon Jack.

Carlos the Jackal was convicted late last night in France of four deadly attacks in the 1980s which killed eleven people. Author John Follain, author of Jackal - the Secret Wars of Carlos the Jackal, followed the trial.

A giant experimental fusion reactor is under construction in France that could either provide the answer to the world's energy crisis or be a massive and expensive scientific failure. Paul Henley reports.

Sport news with Rob Bonnet.

A week on from the summit deal to save the euro, how is the political and economic reaction developing? Europe correspondent Chris Morris reports from Brussels and George Magnus, Senior Economic Adviser at UBS, reflects on the effect the deal has had on the economic markets.

A look at today's papers.

Free schools are one of the Government's big ideas for revitalising our education system, but while supporters maintain it widens choice, critics say too often the result is damage to neighbouring schools. Luke Walton has been to one independent school that has been given the go-ahead to become a free school in Sunderland.

Thought for The Day with Lord Harries.

Atheist author and journalist Christopher Hitchens has died aged 62 after a battle with cancer. Labour MP Denis McShane and author Ian McEwan share their memories of him.

Hospitals are overlooking some of the most basic needs of patients with dementia, according to the first national audit of dementia care in England and Wales. Ann Reid describes her experience of looking after both her late mother and husband who both had dementia. And head of policy at the Alzheimer's Society, Andrew Chidgey and Professor Chris Kennard, chair of the Medical Research Council's Neuroscience and Mental Health board, react to the report.

The School of Life in London is offering a new form of therapy, Bibliotherapy, which aims to guide you through the overwhelming choice of literature and teach you how to use books to enhance your life. The Today programme's Justin Webb goes on the couch with bibliotherapist Ella Berthoud to find out what it is all about.

Sport news with Rob Bonnet.

The governor of the French central bank, Christian Noyer, has caused anger by calling for Britain to lose its triple-A credit rating. Eurosceptic Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin gives his view on whether we are seeing a further fracturing of the European Union.

Business news with Simon Jack.

Actress Michelle Yeoh is well known for her roles in Hollywood blockbusters including Tomorrow Never Dies and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. But her most recent film is a biopic about the Burmese Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. She reflects on playing the iconic figure.

Official figures have revealed that more than 1000 primary schools in England are failing to teach reading and maths to an adequate standard. Rekha Bhakoo, head of Newton Farm Nursery, First and Middle School in Harrow, explains how she believes children should be taught to read.

Life in Ambridge, home of Radio 4's long-running radio soap The Archers, may be slow-paced, but it also stands a heightened chance of being cut violently short, research has shown. A study published in the British Medical Journal has found death rates from accidents and suicide were seven times greater than the national average. Medical writer Rob Stepney explains the research.

The UK has been asked to play a role in negotiations over an EU-wide fiscal pact, despite refusing to sign up to the proposed agreement. After a week of political fallout from the Brussels summit, Liberal Democrat peer Lord Oakeshott and Conservative MP George Eustice discuss what the UK should be doing, if anything, to maximise our influence in the EU.



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