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Page last updated at 07:21 GMT, Friday, 16 March 2012
Today: Friday 16th March

David Cameron and Barack Obama have discussed the possibility of releasing emergency oil reserves in order to cut prices at the fuel pumps. An investigation by consumer group Which? has revealed further evidence of poor levels of care received by older people in their own homes. And also on today's programme, Paddington Bear is votes as the best-ever British animated character.

We are no longer providing clips of every part of the programme but you will be able to listen via the BBC iPlayer .


Business news with Lesley Curwen, Friday boss, Philip Fellowes-Prynne, including chief executive of infrastructure services firm May Gurney.

The lawyer representing the US soldier who killed 16 Afghan civilians has said he was unhappy at having to do a fourth tour of duty in a war zone after being injured during a previous deployment in Iraq. The BBC's Jonathan Blake reports from Washington. Watch the report here.

The Home Office has been warned that there's a risk of "voter confusion" during the forthcoming elections for police and crime commissioners in England and Wales. Alex Robertson, spokesman for the Electoral Commission, outlines their concerns.

Business news with Lesley Curwen.

Auditions begin today for children from across the country who want to sing for the Queen at her Diamond Jubilee service in St Paul's Cathedral. The 40 successful youngsters will be performing a piece composed by Will Todd, who describes what they are aiming to achieve.

A further 7,000 women in the UK may have been fitted with substandard breast implants made by the French firm PIP. Nigel Mercer of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons reflects on the potential consequences.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.


The Taliban in Afghanistan have suspended preliminary peace negotiations with the United States, blaming the Americans' "ever-changing position". Michael Semple, the European Union diplomat who was kicked out of Afghanistan back in 2007 when it was discovered he was talking to the Taliban, analyses if the peace talks can be salvaged.

A committee of experts appointed by the government has warned that businesses could experience a funding gap of £190bn and it has been suggested that so-called peer-to-peer lending will take bigger share of lending market in future. Giles Andrews, co-founder of Zopa, the UK's biggest peer-to-peer lending company, explains how it works.

Paper review.


Are tap-dancing, conspiracy theories and a singing bear in a fridge the most appropriate way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the formation of the indie group The Smiths? Those are some of the art works on display from today at the Holden Gallery in Manchester where an exhibition will pay tribute to the band. Arts correspondent Colin Paterson had a preview last night.

Thought for the day with Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks.


An independent review has proposed the most radical shake up of policing for more than 30 years with calls for an end to a ban on compulsory redundancies and the introduction of annual fitness tests for officers, with pay cuts for those who fail. Home affairs editor Mark Easton has the details while Sir Chris Fox, former president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, explains his concerns over the proposed reforms.


David Cameron and Barack Obama have discussed the possibility of releasing emergency oil reserves in order to cut prices at the fuel pumps. Nick McGregor, oil analyst at Redmayne Bentley stockbrokers, and Tim Yeo, Conservative chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, discuss the implications.


The prime minister recently referred to Britain as a Christian country, yet on numerous issues, the latest being gay marriage, the state appears to be at odds with the Church. Religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott looks back at relationship between the two institutions while the Right Reverend Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester, and former lord chancellor Lord Falconer, discuss the future of the relationship of the church and state.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.


A group of scientists led by researchers at Imperial College London are to begin clinical trials of a new gene therapy treatment for cystic fibrosis. Professor Eric Alton, UK Cystic Fibrosis Gene Therapy Consortium Coordinator from Imperial College, describes how it is hoped the research could lead to a cure for this inherited disorder.


Paddington Bear has been voted Britain's best animated character of all time at the ninth British Animation Awards. Oli Hyatt, chairman of the industry lobby group Animation UK, and Brian Cosgrove, creator of Danger Mouse and Count Duckula, discuss what makes a good children's character.

Business news with Lesley Curwen.

Lord Owen, a crossbench peer and a former Labour health minister, has tabled a motion that the Health and Social Care Bill should not be read a third time until the risk register is disclosed. Lord Owen outlines his intentions.


The future of the 50% top rate of income tax has generated intense debate in the run-up to the Budget. Business leaders want the chancellor to scrap it, saying it penalises entrepreneurs while some experts say it does not raise extra money because wealthy taxpayers find ways to avoid the top rate. But unions say than when millions of households are facing a squeeze on living standards, it is the wrong time to offer tax breaks for the richest in society. Chief economics correspondent Hugh Pym reports.

The National Army Museum is conducting a new poll to find Britain's greatest enemy with names like Rommel, Washington and Bonaparte on the list. The National Army Museum's Julian Farrance explains what they are looking for and William Dalrymple, writer and historian, outlines why he will be voting for Tipu Sultan and Rani of Jhansi, two of the shortlisted foes.

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