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Page last updated at 06:29 GMT, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 07:29 UK
Today: Wednesday 7 October 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 Conservatives have defended their plans to reduce the budget deficit, saying they are being honest about what needs to be done to restore the nation's finances. And US President Obama has said his decision on a new strategy in Afghanistan will not please everyone.


President Obama will soon be making a decision on US policy in Afghanistan. He will have talks today with senior military advisers, who want him to send thousands more troops. It's the eighth anniversary of the start of the war. Anthony Cordesman from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, one of those who gave advice on US policy, discusses President Obama's decisions.


British Airways has said it will cut jobs, freeze pay, and change work practices after making losses. Employment correspondent Martin Shankleman, discusses the talks between the company and unions.

Business news with Adam Shaw.


Britain is to withdraw everything except emergency funding from the camps where 250,000 displaced Tamils are confined in northern Sri Lanka. The Tamils have been in the camps since May when the Tamil Tigers were defeated, ending civil war in the country. Correspondent Charles Haviland discusses the UK's announcement.


The first official Conservative gay party pride event took place last night, one of the biggest events of the Tory party conference. Ben Summerskill, chief executive of the gay rights campaign group Stonewall, pulled out of speaking at the event in protest at the presence of what he says are some of the Conservatives' homophobic allies from eastern and central Europe. Evan Davis reports from the party.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.


Shadow foreign secretary William Hague, repeated this week the Conservative pledge to stop Scottish MPs voting on purely English or Welsh issues. The Conservatives would complete the devolution settlement by allowing English MPs a veto on legislation the affects only England, and English and Welsh MPs a veto when it affects England and Wales. Shadow Scottish secretary David Mundell, and the SNP chief whip in the Commons, Stuart Hosie, discuss the Conservative's constitutional change proposals.

Today's papers.


Letters written by artist Vincent van Gogh go on show today in Amsterdam and will come to London next year. Journalist and broadcaster Robert Fox discusses how the letters shed light on van Gogh's mental state.

Thought for the day with the director of the Akhandadhi Das, a Vaishnav Hindu teacher and theologian.


The Pakistani army is expected to launch a full-scale attack on Taliban forces based in South Waziristan, one of the lawless areas on the Afghan border thought to be the hiding place of Osama Bin Laden. Lt Gen Talat Masood, who served in the Pakistan army for 39 years, discusses the offensive.


Shadow Chancellor George Osborne's speech at the Tory Party conference warned voters of tough times ahead. He said we will all have to work longer, receive fewer benefits, and a pay freeze for public sector workers. Mr Osborne discusses his speech and his party's policies.


The author Hilary Mantel has won this year's Man Booker prize for fiction. Her book, Wolf Hall - set in the court of Henry VIII - beat entries from a number of former winners, including JM Coetzee and AS Byatt. Ms Mantel discusses her award.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.


The UK says it will soon withdraw all resources except emergency funding for the camps that the Sri Lankan government is using to detain a quarter of a million displaced Tamils. Minister for International Development, Mike Foster, explains the decision to cut relief to the country.


Over the past two decades, dozens of elderly men and one woman have been stripped of their US citizenship and sent to Europe. American courts ruled that they had hidden their Nazi past. Reporter Sanchia Berg went to Austria in search of 84 year-old Josias Kumpf, who was deported in March this year.


A debate at the British Library tonight, Don and Dusted, asks whether the days of the stereotypical bumbling professor have gone. Mary Beard, professor of classics at Cambridge university, and David Sweeney, Director of research at the Higher Education Funding Council, discuss whether the age of the scholar is over.

Business news with Adam Shaw.


A documentary has been made about Iraqi poet, Nabeel Yasin. Mr Yasin was persecuted by Saddam Hussain and spent 27 years in exile. Mr Yasin and the documentary's maker, Georgie Wheedon, discuss the film.


In June this year more than a hundred Romanian people left Northern Ireland after several violent attacks on their homes. Tensions over their presence had been building in a loyalist area of south Belfast. But now - more than three months on - many of the Roma have returned to the city. Tom Bateman has been speaking to people there to find out if the mood has changed.


Columnist and former MP Michael Brown discusses the Conservatives' economic strategy.


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