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Page last updated at 07:02 GMT, Tuesday, 30 December 2008
Today: Tuesday 30 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.

What is Britain's diplomatic relationship with the Vatican? Francis Campbell considers if his position as the Ambassador to the Holy See - a post that has existed since 1479 - is still justified.

As guest editor Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor prepares to leave his job as Archbishop of Westminster, he is facing the prospect of having to cook for himself for the first time. He visits noted Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli with religious affairs correspondent Robert Piggott to get a few tips.

Air strikes in Gaza have killed at least 10 more people, medical officials say. Correspondent Aleem Maqbool reports on the rising number of casualties, with the UN reporting that about 320 Palestinians and four Israelis have died so far.

The level of compassion that NHS staff show to patients has deteriorated in recent years, the head of an influential think tank says. Correspondent Jane Dreaper reports on the project by the King's Fund to try to get nurses and other staff to focus on being compassionate.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

As guest editor, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor wants to shed a little light on what goes on in the Vatican when the leaders of the Catholic Church gather to elect a new pope. He shows Today presenter Ed Stourton around the Sistine Chapel.

Sports news with Jon Myers.

Speed-limiting devices should be fitted to cars on a voluntary basis to help save lives and cut carbon emissions, according to a new report. John Lewis, who chaired the group that came up with the proposal, discusses if the government overestimates the importance of speed in causing accidents.

Today's papers.

How much responsibility do elected mayors have as a focus and human face for a town or city? Europe correspondent Jonny Dymond compares two similar sized towns in France and England.

Thought for the day with Father Jerome Murphy O'Connor, professor of the New Testament at the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem.

How does religion fit into Prime Minister Gordon Brown's view of the world? Guest editor Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor talks to him about the morality of politics.

Israeli jets have attacked the Gaza Strip for a fourth day, with raids on a number of Hamas government buildings and security installations. Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen and Richard Haass, president of think tank the Council on Foreign Relations, discuss if calls from the international community for a ceasefire will be listened to.

Guest editor Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor will retire shortly from his post as the Archbishop of Westminster. On a trip to Rome he looks back at his career, which has coincided with some of the biggest changes in the Roman Catholic Church since the Reformation.

Sports news with Jon Myers.

Work pressures have been blamed for a "fall in the level of compassion" in NHS workers. Phil Hope, minister of state for care services at the Department of Health, and Professor Sheila Hollins, professor of psychiatry of learning disability at St George's, University of London, discuss how doctors and nurses can be more compassionate.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

What makes music spiritual? Guest editor Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has long been interested in how and why some pieces touch people in a way that others don't. He discusses the properties of a great piece of music with concert pianist Stephen Hough.

Britain was ill prepared to defend itself against attack in the 1970s, records indicate. Files from 1978 are to be released by the National Archives. Peter Hennessy, professor of contemporary British history at Queen Mary, University of London, discusses why Prime Minister Jim Callaghan, was so concerned he scrawled "heaven help us if there is a war!" on one document.

After a morning filled with cooking, a trip around the Sistine Chapel and a conversation about morality with the prime minister, guest editor Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor discusses the best - and worst - things about being editor of the Today programme.



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