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Page last updated at 07:08 GMT, Tuesday, 21 August 2012 08:08 UK
Today: Tuesday 21st August

A growing chorus of voices from the banking world have questioned whether 'free banking' is viable, so should we be like other countries and pay explicit fees for our current accounts? Some of England's best known hospitals are being given help by the government to open branches abroad to raise money for the NHS. Also on today's programme, author Will Self on his new book about the epidemic of Encephalitis lethargica which killed almost a million people after World War I.

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: The world's biggest commodities trader Glencore has results out today.

The term "free banking" is liberally used to describe the fact that most current account services in the UK have no explicit general fee attached but are the services really free? James Daley, head of consumer group Which? Money, explains why he thinks that free accounts often cost customers a lot of money.

President Obama has warned he may consider military intervention if Syria deploys chemical weapons. Washington correspondent Kim Ghattas has more details.


Virgin Atlantic has announced that it is going to start a new service flying between Manchester and Heathrow three times a day. Steve Ridgway, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, explains to business presenter Simon Jack why the decision has been made.


Nasa's Curiosity rover has zapped its first Martian rock. Dr John Bridges, of Leicester University, who is in Pasadena working on the mission, explains what is hoped to be discovered over the course of one Martian year.

One of Egypt's responses to the attack by militants in the Sinai peninsula has been a threat to shut down the huge network of smuggling tunnels that cross into the Palestinian territory. Gaza and West Bank correspondent Jon Donnison considers to what extent Gaza is still dependant on the tunnels, and what impact their closure might have.

Sport news with Alison Mitchell.


Miners in South Africa have been given until today to return to work at the Marikana platinum mine. Daniel Litvin, director of advisory firm Critical Resource, and Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, former chairman of mining group Anglo American, discuss the mining industry and its struggle to gain a good reputation in its activities in developing countries.

The paper review.

One of the great winners at the Olympic games this year was the concept of the wild flower meadow. Colin Crosbie, curator at the Royal Horticultural Society's gardens at Wisley in Surrey, explains how the naturalistic look is very fashionable at the moment in suburban gardens.

Thought for the day with Vishvapani, a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order.


Some of England's best known hospitals are being given help by the government to open branches abroad to raise money for the NHS. David Stout, deputy chief executive of the NHS confederation, shares his thoughts on the scheme.


A growing chorus of voices from the banking world have questioned whether "free banking" is viable. Peter McNamara, former head of personal banking at Lloyds, and John Howard, former chairman of the consumer panel at the Financial Services Authority, debate whether the UK should be like other countries and pay explicit fees for our current accounts.


An epidemic of encephalitis lethargica after World War I killed almost a million people and left many others in a catatonic state. Will Self, who has written a novel on the subject, speaks to Today programme reporter Nicola Stanbridge.

Sport news with Alison Mitchell.

Somalia's first formal parliament for 20 years has been sworn in, a watershed moment according to the UN Secretary General. Piet De Klerk, deputy to the UN envoy to Somalia, gives his thoughts on whether Somalia can be turned into a stable functioning place.

Having a baby is supposed to be one of the happiest times in a woman's life but every year, for around 1,500 British women, it leads to psychosis, a severe mental illness when you lose touch with reality. Reporter Caroline Hawley has been speaking to two women affected by the illness.

Giles Long, a Paralympic swimming champion, explains the Paralympic Games' system of classification of athletes to measure potential ability.

Business news with Simon Jack.

One of the men who is said to have done most to defeat the Germans in World War II was the Russian Marshal Georgy Zhukov. Author Geoffrey Roberts, who has looked at his up and down life in the Soviet Union, explains why he is still a hero in Russia.

The Home Office has released the details of the oath that newly elected police and crime commissioners will have to swear before they take up their jobs. Tal Michael, who is running for North Wales PCC, and Times columnist Matthew Parris debate whether an oath is really needed.

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