A rundown of stories from Thursday 22 August including programme highlights and comment.
Insight, analysis and expert debate as key policy makers are challenged on the latest news stories.
Thursday 22 August
With James Naughtie and Sarah Montague.
Today's running order
Subject to change
Business news with Simon Jack on news that China's Yuan was little changed against the dollar on Thursday, despite a survey showing stronger-than-expected growth in China's manufacturing sector, though traders expect that a sustained improvement in the economy will support the Yuan in the long term.
UN officials say alleged chemical weapons attacks which Syria's oppositions says killed hundreds near Damascus were a "serious escalation". Dr Mohammed Najjar, of the opposition the Syrian National Coalition, explains his view that Assad has used chemical weapons on civilians.
Business news with Simon Jack on news that City regulators are expected to announce a compensation fund for victims of a cardholder insurance miss-selling scandal involving major UK lenders.
The former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak could be released on bail later after a court ruled that he had served the maximum amount of pre-trial detention. Kevin Connolly, the BBC's correspondent in Cairo, hears from two friends with contrasting views on what this means for Egypt.
GCSE results are out later and for the second year running there are expected to be fewer of the top grades. Luke Walton, the BBC's education correspondent, reports.
Almost 400,000 homes in England have been given planning permission but have yet to be built, according to the Local Government Association. Mike Jones, a Conservative councillor and chairs the LGA's Environment and Housing Board, and Mark Prisk, the Housing Minister, discuss the restrictions on what councils can spend on housing.
The paper review.
How do film-makers know whether their films will make money? Oxford University scientists say the answer may lie in tracking the Wikipedia activity about a film prior to its release. Nik Bower, managing director of the media division of Ingenious Investments, and Catherine Bray, a film critic and editor of Film4.com, discuss the workings of the industry.
Thought of the Day with Abdal Hakim Murad, Muslim chaplain at the University of Cambridge.
Only half of seven year olds in the UK do the government-recommended levels of physical activity, with Bangladeshi children and those living in Northern Ireland being the least active. Carol Dezateux, professor of paediatric epidemiology, and Eileen Marchant, of the Physical Education Association, give analysis.
UN officials say alleged chemical weapons attacks which Syria's opposition says killed hundreds near Damascus were a "serious escalation". The BBC's Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen reports, and Mark Malloch-Brown, former deputy secretary general of the UN, and Sir Jeremy Greenstock, former British ambassador to the UN, discuss the situation and the action that needs to be taken.
A report for the think tank Civitas suggests those of us with siblings live happier and healthy lives. Lauren Sandler, a psychotherapist who runs the website Onlychild.org.uk, and Sky News anchorman Colin Brazier, who authored the report, discuss life without siblings.
Almost 400,000 homes in England have been given planning permission but have yet to be built, research suggests. John Stewart, director of economic affairs at Home Builders Federation, and Roger Harding, head of policy, research and public affairs at homelessness charity Shelter, discuss the LGA study that found that little progress had been made in reducing the backlog over the past year.
Business news with Simon Jack including analysis of what to do when businesses die.
The trial of the deposed Chinese political boss Bo Xi Lai has begun in the eastern city of Jinan. The BBC's world affairs editor John Simpson reports.
What is being done to tackle a lack of compassionate care in parts of the NHS, raised in the Francis Report into high mortality rates at Stafford Hospital? The Today programme's Nicola Stanbridge reports.
Four young Egyptian women from Misr International University in Cairo, who were in London for a course run by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, tell the Today programme's Sarah Montague their thoughts about what has happened in Egypt.
Insurance workers are proudest of their profession while railway staff are least likely to be satisfied, according to a new study. Trevor Kent, former past president of the National Association of Estate Agents, and Vanessa Robinson, head of research at the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, discuss what it's like to work in a sector that has negative connotations.