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Page last updated at 07:33 GMT, Thursday, 29 December 2011
Today: Thursday 29th December

Guest edited by the former banker and businessman Sir Victor Blank featuring a look at leadership in business, politics and sport including an interview with former South African president FW de Klerk and how philanthropy is alive and well today.

The business news. Guest editor Sir Victor Blank wanted to explore the question of how you grow a culture of giving in Britain. Sir Tom Hunter, the businessman and philanthropist, who founded and later sold the retailer Sports Division, amongst other ventures, and Nick Jenkins, the global chief executive of the international children's charity ARK, and founder of the greetings card company Moonpig.com talk to Lesley Curwen about their commitment to philanthropy.

Our guest editor today Sir Victor Blank hails from Manchester and has very fond memories from his youth of Old Trafford and his team Manchester United. He went back to Old Trafford to meet up with former Man United striker Denis Law and the team's chief executive David Gill.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said his new year gift to the Russian people will be "an honest presidential election". But his opponents are sceptical. Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg reports.

Sir Victor Blank believes that we communicate less in modern day society. He asked the BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones to investigate whether innovations such as email and social media have hindered, rather than helped, communication.

The business news with Lesley Curwen.

There has been a spate of political dramas in recent times including The Iron Lady, Enron and The Ides of March. Dr Tiffany Jenkins, director of arts and society programme at the Institute of Ideas and Bidesha, writer and broadcaster, discuss how relevant they are in the modern age and whether they have any power to make a difference.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

Sir Victor Blank has taken a keen interest in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians for many years. The Today programme's Sarah Montague met with former prime minister and current envoy to the Middle East, Tony Blair to talk about the role that political leadership could, or should, play in the region's conflict resolution.

Today the last battery hen in Britain is being re-housed as from the first of January 2012 it will be illegal to keep hens in battery cages. Jane Howarth, founder of the British Hen Welfare Trust, outlines the challenges remaining as not all countries are adhering to the EU-wide ban.

A review of the papers.

What does Christmas mean to you if you're not Christian? Our guest editor Sir Victor Blank asked the Today programme's Sanchia Berg to talk to people who give their time to others on Christmas Day, even though this festival is not part of their religious belief.

Thought for the Day with Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks.

At least one in four NHS patients would be better off being treated at home under new community-based services, according to the body that represents NHS providers and commissioners. NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar explains how the public needs to stop viewing hospital care as the best form of provision.

What motivates a leader to take action that isn't necessarily in their own political, personal or class interest? It's a question that intrigues our guest editor Sir Victor Blank and one that he wanted us to put to his friend FW de Klerk, former president of South Africa.

A report from Barnardo's has criticised credit providers who charge families on low incomes up to two-and-a-half times more to rent basic household items such as cookers, fridges and washing machines than it would cost to buy them from a high street provider. Anne Marie Carrie, chief executive of Barnardo's, outlines their findings.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

One of the themes our guest editor Sir Victor Blank has chosen for his programme is what makes a good leader. He asked his friend Sir Michael Parkinson to ponder the question with former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan.

The business news with Lesley Curwen.

The government's preferred way to fund the arts is to follow the philanthropic model favoured in America. Guest editor Sir Victor Blank is a champion of philanthropy and sees the Oxford Philomusica, which has long been independent of regular government funding, as a model to follow. Nicola Stanbridge reports.

Sir Victor wonders whether the eurozone crisis is down to a lack of good leadership. Bronwen Maddox, editor and chief executive of Prospect Magazine and Lord Owen former British Foreign Secretary discuss if the current crisis is more of a political rather than a financial one.

Former banker and businessman Sir Victor Blank reflects on his time as guest editor.



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