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Page last updated at 06:31 GMT, Saturday, 1 September 2012 07:31 UK
Today: Saturday 1st September

The makers of thalidomide have apologised, 50 fifty years after the drug was first sold. Teaching unions say they are still considering taking legal action over the results of this year's GCSE English exams. A Swedish academic is struggling to fund the necessary clinical trials to develop his experimental treatment for the cancer that killed Steve Jobs. Also on the programme, the summer ended as it began for the Coalition, with rowing. So what next for them?

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

The German manufacturer of the drug Thalidomide has issued its first apology, 50 years after pulling off the market the drug that caused thousands of babies to born with congenital birth defects. The apology by pharmaceutical company Gruenenthal was made in a speech given by its chief executive Harald Stock at the inauguration of a special memorial to victims of the drug in Stolberg, Germany. The Today programme's science reporter, Tom Fielden explains the move.

The GCSE English debacle continues. Many pupils who had been expecting a C grade were given a D as a result of the grade boundary changes. They are going to be allowed to resit the exam but not to have their grades automatically brought in line with earlier results. The BBC's correspondent, Chris Mason reports.


The situation in Syria has been growing worse over the past weeks and its residents are flooding to neighbouring countries to find refuge. The BBC's correspondents Nahed Abouzeid in Iraq, Barbara Plett in Lebanon and Bethany Bell in Turkey examine the situation in these countries and Save The Children's Catherine Carter tells us about conditions in a refugee camp in Jordan.


Earlier this week, leading scientists warned the world's population may have to become vegetarian over the next 40 years because of growing water scarcity. Foods rich in animal protein require five to ten times as much water to produce as vegetarian diets. Steven Mithen, author of Thirst: Water & Power in the Ancient World and Jan Lundqvist, a senior scientific adviser at the Stockholm International Water Institute, explain.

Sports news with Jonathan Legard.

Teaching unions say they are still considering taking legal action over the results of this year's GCSE English exams. This follows the decision by the exam regulator Ofqual to allow disappointed pupils to re-sit their exams in November rather than to have their results re-graded. Glenys Stacey, chief executive of Ofqual and Kathryn James, director of policy at the National Association of Head Teachers debate what should be done next.

More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in the 2002 in the Indian state of Gujarat, which erupted after 60 Hindu pilgrims were killed in a train fire. Luke Harding, the Guardian correspondent who was in India at the time and witnessed the riots, and Shoma Chaudhury, managing editor of Tehelka Magazine, whose investigations helped in the prosecution of the verdict, explain what happened.

Thought for the Day with Reverend Joel Edwards, International Director of Micah Challenge.


When it comes to the Paralympics we are amazed by so much of what we see - and often by the "back stories" as well: the people who were told they would never achieve much, or who were achieving plenty but had their bodies shattered by bomb or bullet. And yet we are dimly aware as well that too much sympathy morphs into an attitude of patronising pity that is precisely not what these people are competing for. The BBC's media correspondent, Torin Douglas explains. Also joining the debate, Stuart Cosgrove is Channel 4's director of Creative Diversity and Ian Macrae, editor of Disability Now magazine.
Today's Saturday Telegraph Magazine has an account of a Swedish academic who is struggling to fund the necessary clinical trials to develop his experimental treatment for the cancer that killed Steve Jobs - pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours. He speaks out about the many barriers in his way. Sir Michael Rawlins, chairman of the National Institute of Health & Clinical Excellence and Alan Melcher, professor of Clinical Oncology and Biotheraphy at the University of Leeds join the debate.

Spanish firefighters have been battling a wildfire near the resort of Marbella on the country's Costa del Sol. At least one person has died and thousands more have been evacuated. The body of an elderly man was found near the town of Ojen and rescue workers are searching for his wife. The BBC's correspondent Tom Burridge reports from the scene.

Dallas is back on the box next week on Channel 5 and so is the art of the cliffhanger which it perfected. Dominic Trewdell, TV producer and former storyline producer on Eastenders and Julia Raeside, Guardian journalist writing about television.

Sport news with Jonathan Legard.

It has taken 50 years for the company responsible for thousands of disabilities to apologise. The people are those whose mothers took the drug Thalidomide when they were pregnant. Thalidomider Nick Dobrick explains why it is not enough.

The paper review.

This week Hurricane Isaac disintegrated into a tropical depression as it wandered off into the Midwest United States after hitting the gulf coast. It had struck New Orleans, but the fears that it would turn into another Katrina were, happily, not born out. The BBC's correspondent, Alistair Leithead reports.


When an exam is taken, it is expected to be judged fairly. This did not happen with the GCSE English this year. It was marked differently in January and June. Stephen Chamberlain, executive principal of Clacton Coastal Academy and Sir Chris Woodhead, a former chief inspector of schools in England, discuss what should be done.

We have had the Olympics in London and now the Paralympics. But today in one small Scottish village the focus will be very much on its own particular festival of sport. It is the ancient and traditional Braemar Highland Gathering, a day when hammers are thrown, cabers tossed and bagpipes played loud and long. The BBC's correspondent Colin Wight reports.

The summer ended as it began for the Coalition, with rowing. So what next for them? Polly Toynbee, columnist at the Guardian and Matthew D'Ancona, political columnist on the Evening Standard and Sunday Telegraph join the debate.



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