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Page last updated at 08:33 GMT, Thursday, 19 February 2009
Today: Thursday 19 February 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.

Nato defence ministers are facing pressure from the US to commit more troops to Afghanistan. And US authorities are trying to trace the Texan financier, Sir Allen Stanford, who is accused of a huge investment fraud.

Nato defence ministers are meeting in Krakow to discuss whether to send more troops to Afghanistan. This follows President Obama's plans to send 17,000 extra US troops to the region. Correspondent Martin Patience and former Afghan minister, Ali Jalali discuss whether the US is losing patience with the Karzai administration.

UK rail travel is more expensive than in Europe, a report by customer watchdog Passenger Focus says. The report found that while passengers were happy with the standard of rail services they did not consider them value for money. Guy Dangerfield of Passenger Focus talks about what this report means for UK transport.

The Lancashire FA is holding a women-only referee course to try to redress the shortage of female officials in the game. Reporter Nicola Stanbridge visited the FA headquarters in Lancashire to talk to those involved.

Business news with Nick Cosgrove.

Accident and Emergency departments do not routinely check if children are considered at risk by social services, according to the Conservatives. The government says it is not part of the child protection duty of hospitals. Jo Webber from the NHS Confederation explains how new systems will help prevent this confusion.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

The UN International Narcotics Control Board says a major new cocaine trafficking route has developed into Western Europe through the Balkans. Home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw reports on what authorities can do to stop the trafficking and chief executive of Drugscope Martin Barnes discusses whether they are losing the fight against drug crime.

Today's papers.

A film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer winning novel The Road, which is currently in production, is already being considered as a possible Oscar contender. Arts correspondent Rebecca Jones talks about why the novel is set to capture the public imagination.

Thought for the day with the Reverend Dr David Wilkinson, principal of St John's College, Durham

The search continues for Texan billionaire and cricket entrepreneur Sir Allen Stanford who has been charged for investment fraud by US authorities. Writer Jeffrey Robinson, who specialises in financial investigations, discusses what lessons can be drawn from the affair.

As Nato defence ministers prepare to meet in Krakow to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, Gordon Brown is said to be agonising over whether to deploy more British troops to the region. Defence Secretary John Hutton discusses whether Britain still has the capability to engage in major military operations.

Is there anything riper for caricature than the eccentrics of London's private members' clubs? Cartoons lent by some of the London's major clubs will be shown in an exhibition opening at the Cartoon Museum in London. Writer Geoffrey Wansell and club member the Earl of Onslow talk about this British institution.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

A report in The Sun says that prison doctors have told Peter Sutcliffe's lawyers he is no longer dangerous. The paper says if the Justice Secretary agreed to downgrade his risk, he could eventually be released. Psychologist Dr Bob Johnson and director of Civitas David Green discuss whether this sort of rehabilitation is possible.

A report by consumer watchdog Passenger Focus has concluded that rail travel in the UK is more expensive than in Europe. Michael Roberts, chief executive of the ATOC, discusses its findings.

The National Trust is releasing enough land for up to 1,000 allotments on some of the most famous country estates in Britain. Environment correspondent Sarah Mukherjee explores the increasing enthusiasm for growing our own food.

Business news with Nick Cosgrove.

Comedian Lenny Henry has starred in his first Shakespeare play. He takes on the role of Othello in a new production at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Theatre critic for the Times Benedict Nightingale gives us a flavour of the first night.

Former England cricket captain Mike Atherton has criticised the reduction of cricket to "a rich man's plaything". Money and sport go hand-in-hand, but should there be tighter to controls to keep this sort of corruption out of sport? Sports journalists Jim White and James Lawton discuss whether money is destroying sport.


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