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Page last updated at 07:29 GMT, Thursday, 11 December 2008
Today: Thursday 11 December 2008

PLEASE NOTE: We are unable to offer transcripts for our programme interviews. Today is broadcast live and the running order is subject to change.

Police say there has been a fall in knife crime in areas where they have clamped down. Germany has criticised Britain's "borrow and spend" strategy for tackling the economic downturn. And Woolworths is expected to see a busy day of trading as a store closure sale starts at all its 815 outlets.

The number of teenagers carrying a knife and using it has fallen, in those areas of England and Wales where police forces specifically target knife crime. Home affairs editor Mark Easton considers how much of a success the Tackling Knives Action Plan has been.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

Postmen and women are being told to walk at a set speed of 4mph in order to deliver more mail, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) claims. Correspondent Gavin Lee discusses the allegations and what a reasonable walking speed might be.

How secure is the UK's food supply? An all party committee of MPs are launching their enquiry into what needs to be done to face the challenges for the UK of increased world demand for food supplies. Environment correspondent Sarah Mukherjee reports from Borough Market in South London, where the launch is taking place.

The introduction of two new aircraft carriers will be delayed so the money can be spent instead on troops in the frontline in Afghanistan, the MoD is expected to announce. Rear Admiral Scott Lidbetter, former head of the Fleet Air Arm, and Brigadier Alan Mallinson, who was in the army for 35 years, discuss the delay of the carriers expected to cost £3.9bn.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

How quick is a normal walking speed? Postmen and women are being told to walk at 4mph in order to hit delivery targets. Ian Blake, a former Outward Bound instructor, says 3mph would be more correct.

The Today programme has investigated the gang culture in Edmonton, north London - and has uncovered a world where violence and revenge are rife. Reporter Angus Stickler visits the area and discovers that children as young as 11 are being recruited into gang violence.

Today's papers.

Should the law in the UK be changed to make assisted suicide legal? Cristina Odone, whose brother Lorenzo lived for many years with a fatal disease - documented in the film Lorenzo's Oil - while his parents fought to find a cure, discusses the recent high-profile assisted suicide cases.

Thought for the day with The Right Reverend Lord Harries of Pentregarth.

Downing Street has hit back at an outspoken attack by Germany's finance minister on the government's plans to combat the economic downturn. Peer Steinbruck had criticised the UK's decision to cut VAT and raise the national debt to record levels. Business editor Robert Peston discusses whether Britain's switch from financial prudence to heavy borrowing is "crass" or "breathtaking".

There is evidence that knife crime has fallen over the past six months in areas where the police have significantly increased stop and search. Brian Paddick, former deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, and young actor Femi Oyeniran, discuss the fall serious injury or death by 17%.

The pound has reached a record low against the euro. One euro is now worth nearly 88 pence; a year ago it was 72 pence. Steven Bell, chief economist at fund management company GLC, discusses if this will spur the recovery or is just a sad reflection of the state of the UK economy.

One of the country's leading classical composers and the Master of the Queen's Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, is dedicating his latest work to the former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney - who says he's "thrilled to bits". Arts correspondent Rebecca Jones has been given a special preview of the choral piece, commissioned to mark Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture, and talks to the man who wrote it.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

Several thousand people have marched through the Greek capital Athens to protest at the government's economic policies, as part of a general strike. The city is still reeling from the unrest after the shooting of a teenager by police. Reporter Andrew Hosken spends the day on the streets to gauge the mood of Athens.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

Postmen and women are being bullied into walking faster by Royal Mail managers, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) claims. Bob Gibson, of the CWU, discusses claims that delivery staff are being told to walk at a set speed of 4mph in order to deliver more mail. The Royal Mail denies the allegations.

By 2011, the UK science budget will reach £4bn. Now an unconventional new prize being launched by University College London hopes to foster the bluest of blue skies research. Professor Don Braben explains that the hope is to uncover the latest Einstein or Max Planck.

The 80th Royal Variety Show is to take place at the London Palladium. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will be attending. Jan Moir, a columnist for the Daily Mail, and Roger Royle, of the Entertainment Artistes' Benevolent Fund - which receives money from the Royal Variety shows - discuss if the show is still as relevant as it was 80 years ago.

The term "gangs" is often used very loosely. It might be a group of vicious young men and women who really do terrorise their neighbourhood. It might just be a bunch of bored youngsters who hang around together and try to look tough. Camilla Batmanghelidjh, of the charity Kids' Company, says that getting this definition right is very important.



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