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Page last updated at 06:16 GMT, Thursday, 23 July 2009 07:16 UK
Today: Thursday 23 July 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.

The National Flu Service is expected to go live, giving thousands of swine flu sufferers access to drugs without needing to consult with a GP. Water regulator Ofwat is to give its verdict on planned bill rises in England and Wales covering the next five years. And a £1bn plan to electrify the main rail route between London and Swansea over eight years is to be announced.


Proposals set out by water regulator Ofwat will see average household water bills fall between 2010 and 2015. Regina Finn, chief executive of Ofwat, discusses the plans which, if accepted, would see the average water bill fall by £14 to £330 but, according to the regulator, would allow water companies to invest £21bn in improving services over the next five years.


The last flu pandemic hit Britain in 1969 and killed 30,000 people. It was called the Hong Kong flu virus because the first recorded outbreak was in south Asia in July 1968. It then went on to kill one million people worldwide. Reporter Andrew Hosken speaks to two medical experts who were around at the time to discuss how the UK coped then.


An independent investigation has begun into claims against Catherine Crawford, chief executive of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), the BBC has learned. Home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw reports on the allegations that she discriminated against black officers and did not carry out duties properly. A spokeswoman for the MPA said because there was an ongoing investigation it was "not appropriate" to comment.

Business news with Adam Shaw.


When Canadian musician Dave Carroll flew to Nebraska on United Airlines, its baggage handlers broke his guitar. The company refused him compensation so he wrote a song about it and posted it on YouTube. He discusses the success of the video, which has been viewed 3.7 million times.

Sports news with Arlo White.


US Vice-President Joe Biden has told the BBC that the war in Afghanistan is in the interests of the US and the UK. Correspondent Jonathan Beale reports on the interview, in which Mr Biden said that Afghanistan "is worth the effort we are making".


The financial crisis - and the recession - has been a shock to politics as well as to the banks and the jobs market. In these circumstances what should parties and governments promise to deliver? Today presenter James Naughtie examines the idea of "happiness economics" - the idea that in setting taxes, making social policy and crafting public services, the aim should be to promote well-being.

Today's papers.


An autobiographical account of the life of Russian spy Anthony Blunt is to be made public for the first time. Frances Harris, head of modern historical manuscripts at the British Library, discusses the life of the surveyor of the Queen's pictures and the so-called fourth man in the infamous Cambridge spy ring.

Thought for the day with the Reverend Angela Tilby, Vicar of St Bene't's Church in Cambridge.


Whitehall does not have an ambitious enough vision for science and engineering in this country, a Commons select committee says. Lib Dem Phil Willis, who chairs the universities, science and skills committee, discusses why he believes the government needs to "raise its game" with Sir David King, director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.


The National Flu Service, the first of its kind in the world, is expected to go live. Medical correspondent Fergus Walsh reports on how the service works. Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the British Medical Authority's GPs' committee, discusses whether this service will relieve pressure on the NHS.


President Barack Obama has defended his plans for health reform in a news conference broadcast live in the US. Sidney Blumenthal, a long time adviser to the Clintons, explains the pledge to push through a reform by the end of the year that would, Mr Obama says, reduce costs, increase choice and ensure coverage.


A UK firm that turns mobile messages into text faces questions over its privacy standards, technology and finances following a BBC investigation. Technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones and one of the users of the service, Today presenter Evan Davis, discuss Spinvox's service - which aims to convert voice messages into text messages using advanced speech recognition software.


Cambridge don, Soviet spy, keeper of the Queen's pictures - Anthony Blunt lived quite an extraordinary life. His own account of it is now available at the British Library. Author John Banville and MI6 historian Professor Christopher Andrew, of Cambridge University, discuss what the manuscripts reveal.

Business news with Adam Shaw.


The government may have a solution to the problem of the invasive Japanese knotweed plant. Dr Dick Shaw, lead researcher on the project, explains how the introduction of a bug could halt the progress of the plant which has proved impervious to so many previous attempts.


Residents of Chicago have been gathering to remember the life and times of John Dillinger - the notorious 1930s bank robber who was gunned down in the streets exactly 75 years ago. Correspondent Kevin Connolly joins the commemorations and considers whether the criminals of the Great Depression were heroes, thumbing their noses at an oppressive state, or just out and out villains.


Should today's politicians and generals revisit the early 19th Century thinker on war, Carl von Clausewitz, for inspiration in Afghanistan? Brigadier Allan Mallinson, former cavalry officer and military historian, and Professor Jeremy Black, of Exeter University, discuss the extent to which the current conflict can be placed into context.


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