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Page last updated at 07:09 GMT, Friday, 2 November 2012
Today: Friday 2nd November

The exams regulator says it had to raise the grade boundaries for English GCSE papers because teachers had marked course-work too generously. Does the man who is reviewing whether we need new airport runways really need three years to reach a decision? And the reaction from the London Mayor Boris Johnson. And also on the programme, Julian Barnes on his literary heroes and the importance of the novel.


Business news with Simon Jack on news that the Bank of England will come under attack for a culture of deference in a series of reviews into its performance today and the Friday boss.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.


The exams regulator in England, Ofqual, says some schools significantly over-marked pupils' in this year's new GCSE English exam in June in order to boost results. Glenys Stacey, Ofqual's chief executive, and Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Headteachers, analyse the finding of the report with regard to over-generous marking.

Flood warnings have been issued in parts of the UK today. Peter Fox, flood risk manager at the Environment Agency explains that after a wet summer, the rivers are full and there is not much capacity in the porous earth below to absorb more water.

Business news with Simon Jack.


The Man Booker Prize-winning author Julian Barnes has just published a collection of essays, called Through the Window, about writers and writing. The BBC's arts editor, Will Gompertz met him to discuss his literary heroes and the importance of the novel.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.


Sir Howard Davies has set out the terms and membership of the Commission he is heading to look at airport capacity. Sir Howard explains his plans and outlines how he will deal with the controversy around a third runway at Heathrow versus a new airport east of London.

The paper review.


Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are trying to get out their supporters for what both sides expect to be a close fight to the American presidency on Tuesday. Today presenter James Naughtie has been watching the voters and the candidates from President Obama's home city Chicago.

Thought for the Day with Bishop Tom Butler.

Industry experts are now estimating the compensation bill lenders will have had to pay for miss-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) could reach as much as £18bn making it the most aggressively miss-sold retail product in UK banking history. Cliff D'Arcy writes for the Financial Times but used to create marketing campaigns at the Bank of Scotland to persuade people to buy PPI, and John Howard, former chair of the Financial Standards Authority consumer panel, examine the issues that consumers and banks are facing.


The government commissioned inquiry into airports starts today. London Mayor Boris Johnson and Baroness Valentine, chief executive of London First, debate the expansion of Heathrow over versus a new airport in east London.

The broadcaster, Danny Baker, has reacted angrily to discovering that his daily radio show on BBC London is to be dropped. Jim White of the Telegraph and Andrew Gimson, political journalist and writer, analyse the importance of a dignified exit.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.


The exams regulator Ofqual has blamed teachers for the GCSE exams fiasco where it got more difficult to get a C grade between January and June of this year. School pupil Rosie Wishart and John Townsley, executive principal of two academy schools in Leeds, discuss whether Ofqual are right to say that the first set of tests were graded generously.

China is preparing itself for a switch of leadership soon and a possible end to its so-called one-child policy. Cai Yong, professor of sociology at Fudan University in Shanghai, Diane Wei Liang, a Chinese author, explain why a government think tank is urging the country's leaders to phase out the strict rules on reproduction.

Business news with Simon Jack.

In the 1970s, many African countries were in the first flushes of independence while in South Africa the apartheid system stood firm. Martin Plaut, the BBC's Africa editor, has watched the changes of the last three decades and, as he leaves the BBC, gives his assessment of the continent.

The Wellcome Trust in London is going to hold an evening of talks about death and what it can teach us about improving life. Joanna Ebenstein, who runs a blog called Morbid Anatomy, and Ben Haggarty, who runs the Crick Crack Club which is a story telling workshop, ask why we find it hard in modern western society to talk about death.

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