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Page last updated at 06:22 GMT, Monday, 17 August 2009 07:22 UK
Today: Monday 17 August 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.

Military chiefs insist British troops in Afghanistan are "undeterred" by the violence despite the UK military death toll passing 200. An advertising campaign warning of the risks of driving after taking drugs is being launched in England and Wales.


A hundred leading figures from across the centre-left and civil society in the UK are calling on the government to establish a High Pay Commission. The statement has been co-ordinated by the political pressure-group Compass. The group's General Secretary, Gavin Hayes discusses what the commission would achieve.


The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) is urging parents not to use processed meats in their children's packed lunches. It warns that including sandwich fillers such as ham and salami could mean children get into habits that increase their risk of developing cancer later in life. Lisa Cooney, Head of Education at WCRF, explains the risks.


Journalist and former MP Martin Bell and former Church of England envoy and hostage Terry Waite are considering putting together a field of candidates to stand against expenses-tarnished MPs at the next election. Martin Bell explains their plans to clean up politics.

Business news with Nick Cosgrove.


Pet owners in Florida have been blamed for releasing pythons into the delicate ecosystem when they get too big. Miami correspondent Andy Gallagher went out with with the hunters who have been tasked with capturing and killing the snakes.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.


The Department of Transport is launching the first nationwide campaign to target drivers who take drugs, with a series of adverts costing more than £2m highlighting the dangers. Transport Secretary Lord Adonis and criminal solicitor Rob Brown discuss whether the adverts will be a deterrent.

The paper review.


Official UFO files are being released online by The National Archives. The release is part of a three-year project between the Ministry of Defence and the National Archives, aimed at opening up the records to a worldwide audience. The records feature papers relating to the Rendlesham Forest sightings and the MoD's final position statement on the incident. National Archives consultant Dr David Clarke, explains what the newly released records tell us.


Leading cancer specialist Karol Sikora has joined the debate on the NHS which has been stirred up by the ongoing debate in the US over President Obama's health care reform plans. He discusses his view that health systems like the UK's are "doomed" with Dr Michael Dixon, chair of the NHS Alliance.

Thought for the day with Canon Dr Alan Billings.


Triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt has claimed a new world record in the 100m sprint at the World Championships in Berlin. Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run the four minute mile, describes the work that goes into record breaking athletic performances.


Three more British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, taking the total number of UK fatalities to 204. The MoD are to give details of the injuries suffered by troops during the last weeks of July - which are expected to reflect the ferocity of the recent offensive against the Taliban. Defence secretary Bob Ainsworth discusses whether British troops are coping with the mounting casualties.


The timetable for the release of the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, is still being disputed. The Times newspaper this says the Scottish government has buckled under pressure from the US and there is now "no chance" he will be released on Wednesday as expected. The Scottish government firmly denies the report and says Mr al-Megrahi's early release is still being considered. Scottish political editor Brian Taylor analyses the latest developments.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.


Afghans will go to the polls in presidential elections on Thursday. World affairs editor John Simpson reports from Kabul on fears that Taliban violence will hamper turnout in the election.


Shadow foreign secretary William Hague has condemned the Foreign Secretary David Miliband for saying there are circumstances in which acts of terrorism are "justifiable" and "effective". Mr Miliband was speaking on Radio Four about the anti-apartheid activist, Joe Slovo. Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell and terrorism expert Andy Hull examine the foreign secretary's comments.

Business news with Nick Cosgrove.


According to a Human Rights Watch report, gay men in Iraq are being murdered in what appears to be a new, coordinated campaign of attacks. Correspondent Natalia Antelava reports from Baghdad on the surge in violence against homosexuals.

Names in this item have been changed to protect the men's identities.


The Conservatives have launched a new assault on the credibility of media studies as an A-level subject. They say schools should score fewer points in schools league tables for passes in "soft" subjects like media studies, as opposed to "hard" subjects like maths and physics. Dr Julian McDougall, Reader in Media Education at Newman University College, Birmingham, discusses this much-criticised subject.


The row over whether diplomats at the US embassy should pay the London Congestion Charge shows no sign of abating as the new US ambassador to Britain, Louis Susman, is sworn in. The embassy refuses to pay up, claiming that the levy is a tax, so diplomats are immune. London Assembly member Murad Qureshi, discusses whether the embassy can continue to avoid the charge.


A new book by Professor Bernd Greiner looks at the moral questions posed by the Vietnam War and the dynamics of "asymmetrical" warfare. Greiner's analysis exposes what the US military got wrong in Vietnam - a frontless war against an invisible enemy. Professor Greiner discusses the parallels that can be drawn between the Vietnam war and the war in Afghanistan with the journalist and military historian Sir Max Hastings.



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