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Page last updated at 07:58 GMT, Thursday, 20 August 2009 08:58 UK
Today: Thursday 20 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.

Millions of Afghans have begun voting in the country's second presidential election since the fall of the Taliban. And hundreds of thousands of teenagers are set to receive their A and AS-level grades, and results are expected to improve for the 27th year in a row.

0709

Polling stations have opened in the second presidential election in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban. Correspondents Martin Patience and Peter Allen report from the country on what is happening as people come to vote.

0714

A and AS-level results are expected to improve for the 27th year in a row. Kevin Green, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, and Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group of universities, discuss whether the A-level is still an A-grade qualification.

0719
Business news with Nick Cosgrove.

0721

Israel's President Shimon Peres celebrated his 86th birthday with a celebrity concert featuring songs adapted from his poetry. Middle East correspondent Paul Wood reports on the album of 12 songs performed by top Israeli artists.

0724
Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

0731

Tesco Personal Finance is expected to announce plans to create up to 800 jobs in Glasgow as part of the company's rapid expansion in Scotland. Chancellor Alistair Darling considers public concern about more established financial institutions.

0741
Today's papers.

0744

Musician Edwyn Collins, formerly the lead singer of the band Orange Juice, will make a return to the Edinburgh festival four years after suffering two severe strokes and contracting MRSA. Reporter Nicola Stanbridge talks to Collins and his wife, Grace Maxwell, about the care offered to stroke victims and their families.

0748
Thought for the day with Professor Mona Siddiqui, of the University of Glasgow.

0751

The terminally-ill Libyan man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing is expected to learn later he is being freed from prison. Saad Djebbar, of the Centre for North African Studies at Cambridge University, and Frank Duggan, president of the US organisation Victims of Pan Am, discuss Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi - who has served eight years of a life sentence for killing 270 people in the bombing of 1988 flight.

0810

Millions of Afghans have begun voting in the country's second presidential election since the fall of the Taliban. World affairs editor John Simpson reports from a polling station in a village near Kabul on the importance of the vote.

0815

Hundreds of thousands of teenagers are set to receive their A and AS-level grades, and results are expected to improve for the 27th year in a row. Higher education minister David Lammy discusses the expected scramble for university places.

0820

How can commentators keep the interest of listeners for a five-day sporting event? Just before the fifth and final Ashes Test begins, Henry Blofeld, of Radio 4's Test Match Special, discusses whether it is easier to commentate on something that is all over in a matter of seconds.

0828
Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

0835

A senior Conservative has called for MPs' pay to be doubled - in return for scrapping their second home allowance. Sir Patrick Cormack explains his comment that MPs annual pay should increase from £64,766 to more than £130,000. He says the tidiest solution for MPs would be to abolish all personal allowances and roll it up in salary.

0841

New world 800m champion Caster Semenya has been asked to take a gender test, according to athletics' governing body. Correspondent Mike Costello reports on fears that she should not be able to run as a woman.

0845
Business news with Nick Cosgrove.

0847

People in Afghanistan have begun voting in the country's presidential elections. British Ambassador to Afghanistan Mark Sedwill reflects on an escalation of violence in recent days meant to disrupt the polls.

0850

There is a level of government debt where you run the risk of not being able to meet your obligations, Conservative leader David Cameron has said. Richard Portes, professor of economics at London Business School, and Gerard Lyons, chief economist at Standard Chartered Bank, discuss whether Britain could default on its borrowing.

0855

Young people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are receiving their A level results. Lord Baker, who introduced the National Curriculum through the 1988 Education Act, and Dylan William, professor of educational assessment at the Institute of Education, University of London, discuss the difficulties in reforming an education system.




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