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Page last updated at 06:02 GMT, Friday, 17 April 2009 07:02 UK
Today: Friday 17 April 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.

US President Barack Obama says CIA agents who used harsh interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects during the Bush era will not be prosecuted. And as South Africans prepare to go the polls, John Humphrys returns to a country he last reported from at the end of apartheid 15 years ago.


Councils in England and Wales should not use surveillance powers to target minor offences such as dogs fouling pavements, the home secretary has said. Home Office minister Vernon Coaker discusses which public authorities - if any - should be able to use the powers in the future.


South Africa is preparing to hold its general election. Today presenter John Humphrys talks to entrepreneur Jay Naidoo, a minister in Nelson Mandela's government, and Jessie Duarte, spokesperson for the ruling ANC party, discuss the current condition of South Africa.

Business news with Nick Cosgrove.


Motorists could face fewer red lights after the government said it was relaxing limits on "green waves" - a system triggering a succession of green lights so drivers don't have to stop and start so often. Reporter Sanchia Berg visits the London Traffic Control Centre to discover how is traffic managed in our congested cities.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.


US President Barack Obama says CIA agents who used harsh interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects during the Bush era will not be prosecuted. North America Editor Justin Webb reports on the release of memos detailing techniques the CIA was able to use under the previous administration. Philippe Sands QC, of University College London, discusses the memos and the possibility of prosecution.

Today's papers.


With over 20 million views on the video sharing website YouTube and features appearing in newspapers around the world, the overnight stardom of Britain's Got Talent contestant Susan Boyle has highlighted the quality - and popularity - of choirs in the UK. Stephen Rhys, conductor of the Putney Choral Society, the choir itself and Graham Welch, professor of music education at the Institute of Education in London, explain the benefits of being in a choir.

Thought for the day with Catherine Pepinster, editor of The Tablet.


Damian Green, the MP arrested in an inquiry into Home Office leaks, says police told him he faced life in jail if convicted. Former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer discusses if, as Mr Green alleged, the entire affair was "absurd".


South Africans go to the polls on 22 April in the fourth national and provincial elections since the end of apartheid in 1994. John Humphrys, who reports from the country for the first time in 15 years, examines how the country has changed.


A former supervisor at the Financial Services Authority has accused the regulator of complacency in its dealings with building societies. Liberal Democrat treasury spokesman Vince Cable explains why the unnamed supervisor approached him with the accusations.


Archaeologists are to search three sites in Egypt that they say may contain the tomb of doomed lovers Anthony and Cleopatra. Archaeologist Professor Jim Crow, of the University of Edinburgh, and classicist Professor Paul Cartledge, of Cambridge University, discuss if some mysteries should remain just that.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.


The US sea captain Richard Phillips, held hostage by Somali pirates for five days, has arrived in the Kenyan port of Mombasa. Writer Jay Bahadur remembers his meetings with some of the pirates. Andrew Mitchell, shadow international development secretary, discusses what can be done to halt piracy in the region.


Four men behind the Swedish-based file-sharing website The Pirate Bay are awaiting a verdict in a criminal case over alleged copyright infringement. Conor McNicholas, editor of music magazine the NME, and Mark Mulligan, vice president of the business and technology advisers Forrester Research, discuss the ramifications of the case.

Business news with Nick Cosgrove.


Britain's domestic security service, better known as MI5, is to appoint a chief scientific adviser. Science correspondent Pallab Ghosh reports on how the new adviser will work with senior intelligence staff to combat terrorism and to help agents in the field in their counter-espionage activities.


Barack Obama is making his first presidential trip to Latin America ahead of the Summit of the Americas, being held in Trinidad and Tobago. Michael Shifter, of the think tank Inter-American Dialogue, and Latin America specialist Ambassador Otto Reich, discusses President Obama's approach.



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