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Page last updated at 05:43 GMT, Wednesday, 15 August 2012 06:43 UK
Today: Wednesday 15th August

The Department for Transport announces this morning which company has won the franchise to run train services on the West Coast Mainline. The authorities in the US say they will continue to investigate the British bank, Standard Chartered, even though it has agreed a $340m penalty over allegations that it laundered money for Iran. Also on the programme, has the fact the Olympics were so successful made life difficult for comedians, used to satirising national failings?

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 Simon Jack: Standard Chartered bank have agreed to pay a fine of $340m.


Virgin Trains has been running the west coast mainline rail services since 1997, but it has just lost the franchise. The BBC's Richard Westcott has more details and Stephen Glaister, Professor of Transport and Infrastructure at Imperial College, shares his thoughts on the change.


Ecuador's president will make a decision this week on whether to grant Julian Assange, the founder of wikileaks, political asylum. Julian Knowles, barrister at Matrix Chambers and an expert on extradition, gives his thoughts on what the decision may be.

Business news with Simon Jack.


The UN's humanitarian chief Baroness Valerie Amos talks about her trip to Syria and Lebanon where she was trying to find ways of getting more aid to people caught up in the conflict.

Sport news with Jonathan Legard.

Since 2008 when the recession hit the country, suicides, particularly those of men, have increased, according to a report by the British Medical Journal. Ben Barr, a research fellow in Public Health at the University of Liverpool, and Professor Mike Tomlinson from Queen's University Belfast, discuss the issue.

The paper review.

There should have been some rather impressive fireworks last night in Plymouth, as it was the start of the British Fireworks Championships. Jim Winship, the organiser, describes the event.

Thought for the day with the Rev Dr Michael Banner, Dean and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.


The official crime figures out last month showed a marked fall in gun crime, part of an improving picture for most crime. The BBC's Danny Shaw has spent time with the National Ballistic Intelligence Service to find out how their work is contributing to this reduction in gun crime.

Virgin Trains has lost its bid to continue running the West Coast mainline. Tony Collins, chief executive of the Virgin Rail Group, and Tim O'Toole, chief executive of First Group, debate the bidding process and the importance of the franchise.


Few could be more disgruntled with the success of the Olympics than comedians at the Edinburgh Festival, used to satirising the nation's failings The writer and broadcaster Sarfraz Manzoor is doing a one-man show at the Edinburgh Fringe, and Andy Zaltzman, comedian from The Bugle Podcast, discuss whether the Olympics have changed the way the British make fun of themselves.

Sport news with Jonathan Legard.

A review of rules governing cosmetic procedures gets under way today, prompted by the scandal over PIP breast implants. The man overseeing the review, the NHS's medical director professor Sir Bruce Keogh, explains what changes are needed.


Business news with Simon Jack: Steve Hewlett on Mark Thompson's move to the New York Times group. Broadcasting consultant Steve Hewlett told the Today programme this would put him "toe to toe" with the NewsCorp boss as it was "well known that Rupert Murdoch's long term ambition is to either kill or buy the New York Times."


The past decade has seen the rise of a new phenomenon in South Korea known as Host Bars, all-night drinking rooms where women can wield a new kind of freedom and economic power. But as Seoul correspondent Lucy Williamson has been finding out , there may be more to the trend than meets the eye.

A study has concluded that the City Challenge programme which brought experts into schools to work with headteachers and created partnerships with better performing schools was more successful than the far more high profile academy programme in improving performance. Prof Merryn Hutchings and academy principal Sally Coates debate what the most effective initiative is to improve poor performance in schools.

The defence secretary Philip Hammond admitted yesterday that the failures of G4S to deliver security at the Olympics had challenged his thinking on the private sector, saying its methods are not always the best way to handle big projects. Businessman and broadcaster Sir Gerry Robinson, and Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA Union, debate the pros and cons of public and private sector commissioning.

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