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Page last updated at 07:17 GMT, Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Today: Wednesday 7 January 2009

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

Israel says it will take seriously a ceasefire plan for Gaza discussed at the United Nations. And half a dozen European countries say gas supplies from Russia have stopped completely because of the dispute with Ukraine.

Marks and Spencer will announce that it is cutting up to 1,230 jobs from its workforce of 70,000, the BBC confirms. Business editor Robert Peston reports on the trading statement just released by the company.

Jonathan Evans, the head of the security service MI5, has given an interview to newspapers. Security correspondent Gordon Corera reports on the first interview to be granted by a serving head of MI5 to the media.

The Egyptian government is coming under increasing pressure from its own people to open the crossing at Rafah - Gaza's border with Egypt. Correspondent Christian Fraser visits the border and reports on an agreement to monitor this border which would be, for Israel, key to any ceasefire.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

Three Catholic adoption agencies are still deciding whether they will comply with new equality laws or close down. Patrick O'Donoghue, Bishop of Lancaster, and Jim Cullen, director of children's services at Catholic Caring Services, discuss the legal obligation not to rule out gay couples as adoptive parents.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

Slovakia has announced that it is calling a state of emergency because it does not have enough gas to cope with the demands of a freezing winter. Correspondent Nick Thorpe and Ferran Tarradellas, spokesman for EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, discuss the effects felt across eastern Europe of Russia's dispute with Ukraine over the gas pipeline.

Today's papers.

How is gardening connected to the wider cultural world? A series of debates taking place at the Museum of Garden History in London tackle how horticulture is connected to film, literature and the fine arts. One of the organisers, Tim Richardson, discusses the culture and politics of gardens.

Thought for the day with Dr Usama Hasan, senior lecturer in engineering and Middlesex University.

The Egyptians and French have devised a plan for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. The Israeli ambassador to London, Ron Prosor, discusses if - after considering it "very, very seriously" - the proposal could be agreed.

Marks and Spencer, the largest fashion retailer in the UK, is to release its trading statement to the stock exchange. Sir Stuart Rose, executive chairman of M&S, and Simon Wolfson, chief executive of Next, discuss if problems in the retailing sector are short-term hurdles or require a systemic change.

Last year's Sats, standard assessment tests for 14-year-old school children, showed boys are falling behind in reading. Oxford University Press is launching Project X - a campaign that promises "truly boy-friendly content" - to inspire kids to read. Reporter Nicola Stanbridge visits Leesons Primary school in Orpington to see the introduction of the new books. Charlie Higson, author of the Young Bond series, and Frank Cottrell-Boyce, screenwriter and novelist, discuss how boys can be encouraged to read.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

How has local media reacted to the events in Gaza? Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen and Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of London-based pan-Arab newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi, review the latest reaction of the newspapers from Arab countries.

The Statistics Authority has published a new code of practice of official statistics. Home affairs editor Mark Easton explains how the authority intends to stop the premature release of unchecked statistics which are "corrosive of public trust".

Business news with Adam Shaw.

A leading academic has warned that the prospect of a prenatal test for autism is drawing closer. In an article to be published on the BBC Health website Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, of the Autism Research Centre, says a test could be up and running within five years, so a debate is needed now about its merits and drawbacks. Professor Joy Delhanty, professor of human genetics at University College London, says when you screen for anything there is always a risk that you lose some unique characteristics.

Who is to blame for the dispute over gas between Russia and the Ukraine? Michael Stuermer, Russian expert and chief correspondent at German newspaper Die Welt, discusses the importance of gas and oil to the Russian economy.

There is a need for more people to leave their brains to medical science, scientists say. Professor Steven Rose, neurobiologist and author of the The 21st Century Brain, says there are mysteries of the mind scientists have not even begun to unravel.



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