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Page last updated at 07:13 GMT, Thursday, 22 December 2011
Today: Thursday 22nd December

The Office for National Statistics will publish its final GDP figures for the third quarter of this year later and it's expected to show that things are worse than we thought. The system for selecting adoptive parents in England is to be overhauled because it's too slow. And also on the programme, Ed Miliband can do it in 90 seconds, but is solving the Rubik cube a good measure of intelligence?

Business news with Simon Jack on a housing market forecast which predicts house prices will fall next year.

Research from the University of Bath, on executive pay, contradicts the claim that large bonuses in the banking industry are at the root of the global financial crisis. Professor Ian Tonks of University of Bath's School of Management outlines their findings.

The government wants to make it easier for people to adopt children in England by speeding up the way that checks are carried out on potential adoptive people. Jonathan Pearce, Chief Executive of Adoption UK, explains the changes it would like to see in the adoption system.

A joint report by two committees of MPs has criticised the government's planned changes to solar power subsidies saying they could destroy the industry. Tim Yeo, chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Committee outlines why the proposed reforms could be so damaging.

The Office for National Statistics will publish its final GDP figures for the third quarter of this year later. Economics editor Stephanie Flanders analyses what this is likely to reveal.

Business news with Simon Jack.

The number of people taking their own lives in Scotland and Northern Ireland is double that of England and Wales. Andy Martin reports from one of the worst affected areas, North Belfast where he hears those who believe that, despite the shocking statistics on suicide particularly among young men, there is cause for gentle optimism.

Sport news with Rob Bonnet.

In China, house prices in most cities have fallen as government policies aimed at cooling the property market start to take effect, prompting fears from some economists that the house price bubble is bursting. Martin Patience reports from Beijing where he speaks to Hu Jin Hui, head of one of the biggest real estate agents in China and Dylan Grice, Research Analyst at Societe Generale analyses what this could mean for China's economy.

A look at today's papers.

On the Today programme this week, we discussed what would happen if David Cameron was killed in a terrorist attack with Conservative MP Peter Bone who maintained there was no clear line of succession. Former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott gives his views on the question of succession.

Thought for The Day with Reverend Lucy Winkett.

Britain and Ireland have been told by the European Court of Justice they cannot send asylum seekers back to Greece because of the country's inadequate asylum arrangements prompting the EU Home Affairs Commissioner to say that Europe needs a common asylum system. Timothy Kirkhope, Conservative MEP and former UK immigration minister and Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council discuss whether this is the case.

The latest figures are about to be published for the output of the British economy. The Office for National Statistics' GDP figures are expected to confirm that the economy is still trapped in the doldrums. Gillian Tett, associate editor of the Financial Times, Sir Richard Lambert, former director general of the CBI and present Chancellor of the University of Warwick and Geoff Mulgan, former CEO of the Young Foundation and a former director of policy at 10 Downing Street, discuss if 2011 has been a watershed year in terms of highlighting the need to rebalance the economy.

Ed Milliband revealed that he could solve a Rubik's cube in one and a half minutes. Alex Bellos, author of maths best-seller Alex's Adventures in Numberland, reflects on what this says about the intelligence of the Labour leader.

Sport news with Rob Bonnet.

57 people are known to have been killed in a wave of bomb attacks across Baghdad and at least 100 others have been wounded in the explosions in 13 different locations across the Iraqi capital. Jim Muir reports on the situation in Baghdad and Michael Clarke, Director of the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi), analyses the effect these attacks could have on Iraq.

The government is to overhaul the assessment process for people looking to adopt to make it less bureaucratic. Hilton Dawson is the chief executive of the British Association of Social Workers explains why he is sceptical and Martin Narey, government adviser on adoption, gives his reaction.

Business news with Simon Jack.

Plane loads of food and medicines will be sent from Britain to the Horn of Africa over the Christmas period. International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell outlines the crisis facing millions of people at risk from the drought and famine that has devastated so much of that part of Africa.

The Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has been delivering his last annual address to the nation before stepping down and calling for a overhaul of the country's electoral and political system. Steve Rosenburg reports from Moscow.

John Terry is being prosecuted for allegedly racist words uttered in a football match back in October. Matthew Syed, sports columnist at The Times and Mark Palios, former chair of the FA, discuss if courts are the right place to settle on-pitch disputes.


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