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Page last updated at 06:19 GMT, Wednesday, 29 August 2012 07:19 UK
Today: Wednesday 29th August

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has suggested a temporary new tax on the wealthiest to help economic recovery. The honours system is accused by MPs of favouring Whitehall mandarins and celebrities over unsung local heroes. Also on today's programme, is there any truth at all in all the rumours and sightings of big cats?

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: After six years it appears the United States may have finally put its housing crash behind it.


Nick Clegg has suggested a temporary new tax on the wealthiest to help economic recovery. George Bull, senior tax partner at Baker Tilly, examines if the plan is feasible.

Hurricane Isaac is now on land in Louisiana and is heading for New Orleans. Resident Mary Shelton describes the scene.

Business news with Simon Jack.


The aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres acknowledged last week that it had set up a hospital inside Syria and was treating people in territory held by the rebels. Rachel Craven, a British consultant anaesthetist who has been out to Syria, explains how the hospital has been working.

Dave Grennan, an amateur astronomer from Ireland who has found his second supernova, and exploding star, in two years, describes his discovery.

Sport news with Jonathan Legard.


The Public Administration Select Committee says too many honours are being awarded to politicians, celebrities, and civil servants rather than people who devote themselves to helping their local communities. Bernard Jenkin, the committee's chairman, and Sir Garth Morrison, Lord Lieutenant of East Lothian, debate if the system favours certain types of people.

The paper review.

The British architect Sir David Chipperfield says that the financial crisis has changed the way that people are looking at the built environment, and architects are responding. He debates his thoughts with Maxwell Hutchinson, former president of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

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

The Paralympic Games open today and the film director Stephen Daldry has devised a spectacular opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium in East London. Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, and Marc Woods, a Paralympic swimmer, discuss the upcoming festival of sport.


Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told the Guardian today that "if we want to remain cohesive as a society people of very considerable personal wealth have got to make a bit of an extra contribution". Susan Kramer, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokeswoman in the Lords, explains her thoughts on the need for a new wealth tax.

Is there any truth at all in all the rumours and sightings of big cats? Stephen Harris, professor of environmental sciences at Bristol University and who has investigated a number of reports, explains what he believes is out there.

Sport news with Jonathan Legard.


More than 430,000 people have fled the north of the Mali since Islamist extremists took control in April, and the crisis follows a major drought which has left more than four-and-a-half million people threatened by malnutrition. The Today programme's Mike Thomson has been hearing from a family forced to flee their home to escape both problems.


Business news with Simon Jack. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has been appalling, its economic forecasts a disaster which have given George Osborne "no end of trouble". So says one of the men who helped write the brief for the OBR back when it was set up in 2010. Douglas McWilliams, chief executive of the Centre for Economics and Business Research explains why he thinks the OBR has "caused the politicians a lot of trouble".

French prosecutors have opened a murder investigation into the death of Yasser Arafat, who died in Paris eight years ago. Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen explains how the former PLO leader's family believe he may have been killed by radioactive poisoning, a claim made in a French TV documentary.

California is suffering one of its worst summers for wildfires in recent memory, but it has a little-known secret weapon in its fire fighting war chest, the humble mule has been used by the US Forest Service for decades to haul equipment and vital supplies in remote mountainous areas. Peter Bowes went to Mammoth Lakes, in the Sierra Nevada mountains, to see them in action.

Lord Digby Jones, who gave evidence to the Public Administration Committee looking in to the honours system, shares his views on whether the system should be reformed.

Will the Paralympics change the public attitude towards disability, and if so, how? Richard Hawkes, chief executive of Scope, and the BBC's disability correspondent Peter White, discuss whether the Paralympics can improve attitudes towards disabled people.

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