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Page last updated at 06:25 GMT, Thursday, 10 September 2009 07:25 UK
Today: Thursday 10 September 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 has made one of the most important speeches of his presidency, explaining his plans for healthcare reform to a joint session of Congress. The main challenger in the Afghan election has claimed the body carrying out the count is being manipulated by the incumbent President Hamid Karzai. And the image of a British grandmother on death row in America is to be put on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square in a plea to save her from execution.


Sir Michael Lyons, the chairman of the BBC Trust, has published an open letter to licence fee payers to say that as a result of a review of what the BBC does, the corporation may become smaller. Sir Michael discusses whether the BBC would prefer to give money back to the licence payer rather than share it with another broadcaster.


On the 25th anniversary of his discovery, the scientist behind DNA fingerprinting has called for a change to the law governing DNA databases. Correspondent Tom Feilden talks to Sir Alec Jeffreys about the implications of his breakthrough.


The kidnap of a reporter in Afghanistan - and the raid to free him that left an Afghan journalist, a British soldier and two civilians dead - has again highlighted the risks of covering the world's danger zones. Hugh McManners, a former Special Forces officer, explains what he thinks of the raid.

Business news with Adam Shaw.


Liverpool football fan Michael Shields, who has been freed after serving four years in prison for attacking a Bulgarian barman, has spoken of his "living hell". Former Bulgarian deputy prime minister Ivailo Kalfin discusses why the first pardon to a Briton convicted overseas was given to Mr Shields.

Sports news with Arlo White.


Failure to introduce healthcare reform has led the US to breaking point and it was now time to act, Barack Obama has said in a speech to Congress. North America editor Mark Mardell reflects on one of the most important speeches of Mr Obama's presidency.


A Conservative government will have much to learn from the way the party runs councils, shadow chancellor George Osborne is expected to say. Labour MP Denis MacShane and Christopher Hood, professor of government at All Souls College, Oxford, discuss how Downing Street can deal with budget restraints.

Today's papers.


The world's oldest "ring of bells" is being rung for the first time in 20 years. Correspondent Mark Worthington reports from Ipswich on the bells, which were cast in the 15th century and rang for centuries in a church which later fell into disrepair before being renovated.

Thought for the day with Canon Lucy Winkett, of St Paul's Cathedral.


"Innocent people do not belong on [the DNA] database, the scientist behind DNA fingerprinting says. Peter Neyroud, chief executive of the National Policing Improvement Agency, discusses whether branding citizens as "future criminals" is a proportionate response in the fight against crime.


About half of television licence fee payers would want the charge to be smaller if given the option, an independent poll commissioned by the BBC Trust has found. Media consultant Peter Bazalgette, and David Elstein, former chief executive of television channel Five, discuss what could be cut from the BBC's spending.


The main challenger in the Afghan election has claimed the body carrying out the count is being manipulated by the incumbent President Hamid Karzai. Correspondent David Loyn discusses his interview with Abdullah Abdullah and his claims that the election commission was on the president's side.


Is there a life after death? David Eagleman, a neuroscientist at the Bayern College of Medicine in Texas, has explored 40 very different and imaginative scenarios of what might happen next. He describes some of his suggestions - ranging from God being a bacterium who is unaware of our existence, to an afterlife where we are surrounded only by people we met in our real lives.

Sports news with Arlo White.


US President Barack Obama has made one of the most important speeches of his presidency, as he faced Congress over his plans for healthcare reform. Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak and Prof James Morone, of Brown University, discuss how the president fared.

Business news with Adam Shaw.


There are fresh hopes for Iran's proposals to resolve its dispute with the West over its nuclear programme, the UN ambassador to the US says. Correspondent Jeremy Bowen reports on the latest talks between Iran and the UN. Author Hooman Majd discusses whether Americans understand the Iranian psyche.


"It makes you really wonder whether [journalist Steve Farrell] was worth rescuing, whether it was worth the cost of a soldier's life", a senior Army source is quoted as saying in The Daily Telegraph. Vaughan Smith, a former soldier and freelance cameraman, and BBC correspondent Jeremy Bowen discuss the journalist whose rescue in Afghanistan left a British soldier dead and what risk is a risk worth taking for a great story.


Poverty in parts of Britain is as bad as in Dickens' times, the president of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers says. Lesley Ward explains her description of a deprived underclass of children who arrive at school unable to dress themselves or use a knife and fork and some even unable to use a toilet properly.


It is the 25th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA footprint. Author Ian Rankin and Julian Baggini, editor of The Philosophers' Magazine, discuss how much society has been changed by the discovery of DNA.

Sarah and Jim's review
Thursday, 10 September 2009, 10:46 GMT |  Today


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