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Page last updated at 06:27 GMT, Thursday, 20 December 2012
Today: Thursday 20th December

The acting director general of the BBC has defended the decision not to sack anyone after scathing criticism over a shelved Newsnight investigation into Jimmy Savile. A cancer charity says people could be dying unnecessarily because of age discrimination. And also on the programme, the comeback of the festive, maybe grotesque Christmas jumper.

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 on news that the European Commission is expected to rubber-stamp plans to recapitalise another four of Spain's regional lenders as part of efforts to shore up the country's faltering banking sector.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.


BBC management pay-offs are too big, says the Commons public accounts committee today. The Labour MP Margaret Hodge, who chairs the committee, gives her view that that among senior managers there are too many pay-offs that can not be justified.

Business news with Simon Jack.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) as described proposals for a voluntary register of health care support workers as "fundamentally weak". Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, explains that if support workers are only offered a voluntary register it could lead to confusion and inconsistency.

The BBC has learned that there are a growing number of Roma children being taken into care - one official has told The Report on Radio 4 they are currently dealing with up to a 150 Roma children. The BBC's Simon Cox discovers that they are part of a new wave of Roma migrants that are not being picked up in official figures.

Successful solo rock stars are around twice as likely to die early as those in equally famous bands with multiple members, research published in the online journal BMJ Open suggests. Professor Mark Bellis, the public health academic behind the research, outlines the link between traumatic childhood events and rock 'n roll excess.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.


The United Nations estimates that more than half-a-million people have fled Syria since the start of the uprising there in spring of last year. The Today programme's Mike Thomson reports that the neighbouring countries are struggling to cope.

The paper review.

You do not have to be a Mayan to believe that tomorrow represents at least the end of an era in numerology if not the end of the world. Hugo Dixon, founder and editor of Reuters Breakingviews, explains that the last 13 years have been astonishingly fertile for magic numbers.

Thought for the Day with Reverend Joel Edwards, international director of Micah Challenge.

People in later life who develop cancer are less likely to be fairly assessed than they would be if they were young according to Macmillan Cancer Support. Les Scaife, now in his eighties, who is a breast cancer patient, explains his diagnosis and Professor Mike Richards, national cancer director for the department of health, gives his view on the findings of the report.


The BBC has been accused of a "cavalier" attitude towards licence fee money over a £450,000 payoff to director-general George Entwistle as MPs warned: "Public servants should not be rewarded for failure." It follows yesterday's publication of the Pollard inquiry into the BBC's decision to scrap a Newsnight investigation into Jimmy Savile, which said there was "chaos and confusion" at the BBC, but there had been no cover-up. Lord Patten, chair of the BBC Trust, defends the cooperation's decisions.


The novelty Christmas jumper was for years seen as a cringe worthy present, but now it seems that festive jumpers have become a fashion must-have. Justine Picardie, editor in chief of Harpers Bazaar, and Hilary Alexander, fashion consultant, discuss the resurgence of Christmas jumpers.


This week the Today programme been providing a handbook on how to handle one of the modern hazards of Christmas - the family newsletter. The writer Lynne Truss reads here latest response to the round robin.

The United Nations has suspended its polio vaccination programme in Pakistan, after two more health workers were shot dead. Dr Altaf Bosan, national coordinator for the government of Pakistan's polio control cell, says that they will continue operations for a fourth day tomorrow to ensure the programme is completed.

Business news with Simon Jack.

Scientists have found a planet orbiting one of the stars closest to us and they think it has the right conditions to support life. Professor Hugh Jones, professor of astronomy Hertfordshire University, says that the discovery of five small planets confirms that there are planets around most stars.

The publication of the Pollard inquiry into the BBC's decision to scrap a Newsnight investigation into Jimmy Savile said there was "chaos and confusion" at the BBC, but there had been no cover-up. Sir Christopher Bland, former BBC chairman, and Lis Howell, former managing editor of Sky News, discuss the BBC's handling of the crisis and the future of the corporation.

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