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Page last updated at 07:28 GMT, Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Today: Tuesday 1st December

PLEASE NOTE: We are unable to offer transcripts for our programme interviews. Today is broadcast live and the running order is subject to change.

British diplomats are trying to win the release of five British yachtsmen detained by the Iranian navy. And President Obama is preparing to unveil his long-awaited Afghan strategy, with thousands of extra troops expected to be sent.


President Obama is set to formally announce his decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan today. The troop surge forms part of an exit strategy which Mr Obama has been discussing with foreign leaders. Representative Adam Smith, from the Democratic Party, discusses the president's strategy.


In the first case of its type a rape victim has successfully been awarded compensation by the police. The victim, who was preparing to sue Cambridgeshire police under the Human Rights Act, agreed an out-of-court settlement. Home affairs correspondent June Kelly examines the case.


There is still no word from the Iranian authorities about the five British sailors whose racing yacht is being held after it drifted into Iranian waters. James Boyd, editor of, who is currently in the UAE, comments on the incident.

Business news with Adam Shaw.


England is not producing enough engineers, according to the body that represents the professional engineering community. Engineering UK estimates that half a million engineers will be needed over the next eight years to help build and maintain new and growing industries, such as nuclear power. Sir Anthony Cleaver, chairman of the organisation, discusses the shortage.

The sports news with Rob Bonnet.


Cancer survival rights in the UK are improving, but are lagging behind many other countries, according to new figures released today. Professor Mike Richards, National Cancer Director and author of the report, discusses its findings.


The world's biggest spam email gang could avoid paying a $15m fine imposed on them by the US Federal Trade Commission. The gang, based in Australia, will only have to pay the fine if they step on US soil. Simon Cox of The Investigation on Radio 4 which uncovered the story, discusses the legal implications.

The paper review.


Barack Obama is due to announce a commitment of 30,000 more troops to fight the war in Afghanistan. The President will make the long-awaited statement at the West Point Military Academy, to a divided American public. Parallels have been drawn between the Afghan war and Vietnam war which traumatised American society and the speech will be compared to one made in May 1965 by president Lyndon B Johnson. During this excerpt from the speech, LBJ announced that a further 44 battalions would be sent to Vietnam.

Thought for the day with Canon Dr Alan Billings, an Anglican priest.


The government is to adopt proposals set out by the Social Work Taskforce in the aftermath of the Baby P case. One of the changes is the establishment of a Royal College to give the social work profession an independent voice, and a standards watchdog. Moira Gibb, chair of the Social Work Taskforce, discusses the recommendations.


The Foreign Office is pursuing efforts to secure the release of five British sailors who were detained last Wednesday when their racing yacht was stopped by the Iranian navy en route from Bahrain to Dubai. They are understood to be safe and well. Professional yachtsman Conrad Humphreys and Keith Mutch of the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club discusses the risks of sailing in the region. Foreign Secretary David Miliband comments on the incident.


Western powers are increasing their offensive in Afghanistan. President Obama is set to make his long awaited speech on US strategy in Afghanistan, where it is expected he will send up to 35,000 more US forces. Yesterday Gordon Brown announced 500 more British troops would be sent to the region. Foreign Secretary David Miliband, and Michael Clarke, Director of the Royal United Services Institute, discuss Afghan policy.

The sports news with Rob Bonnet.


The global sea-level could rise far more than expected this century, according to new research from Antarctica. The report concludes that the rate of rise could be 1.4 metres, double that predicted just two years ago, as a consequences of long-term global warming. Prof John Turner of the British Antarctic Survey and lead editor of the review, comments on the findings.

Business news with Adam Shaw.


Created from the ashes of the The Sex Pistols, Public Image Ltd have reformed to play a series of concerts in the run up to Christmas. Reporter Nicola Stanbridge spoke to their lead singer, John Lydon, formerly known as Johnny Rotten.


President Obama is to announce an exit strategy for troops in Afghanistan, with plans to train a further 50,000 Afghans troops by the end of next year. The president is expected to stress that the fight needs to be handed over to the Afghan government and its forces, so that foreign troops can eventually start returning home. Correspondent Martin Patience reports from Kabul.


A task force set up in the wake of the Baby Peter case has recommended the establishment of a new Royal College as part of an overhaul of the social work system. Social workers Fran Fuller and Janet Foulds outline their daily work and the challenges they face.


Olive trees across the West Bank provide a livelihood to Palestinian farmers. But many olive groves lie close to Jewish settlements and for years there have been attacks on Palestinian trees. An Israeli human rights group says complaints of damage to thousands of trees are failing to result in charges. Correspondent Bethany Bell reports from the West Bank.


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