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Page last updated at 07:23 GMT, Friday, 11 December 2009
Today: Friday 11th 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.

The BBC has learned that Gordon Brown overruled plans by Alastair Darling to do more to repair public finances in the pre-Budget report. And new research shows that harsher penalties have not stopped motorists from using hand-held mobile phones while driving.


The NHS has been warned that it faces a tough financial future despite the Chancellor's pledge that health will be protected from spending cuts. The pre-Budget report shows that the service will need to find £20bn in savings over the next two years. Dr Richard Taylor, independent MP for Wyre Forest, discusses the cuts.


The Israeli government has said it is "extremely disappointed" by the British government's decision to advise shops to clearly label food produced by Jewish settlers in Palestinian territories. Until now, food has been labelled "produce of the West Bank", but the new voluntary guidance advises that labels provide more precise information. Correspondent Bethany Bell reports from Ramallah.


The Rothenstein Security Depot, one of the biggest weapons silos in Europe during the Cold War, is being sold in a property auction. The building in Germany contains dozens of once top secret tunnels covering an area of 300,000 square metres, all hidden inside a mountain. Correspondent Steve Rosenberg visited the bunker.

Business news with Nick Cosgrove.


The number of drivers using hand-held mobile phones is now greater than it was before tougher penalties were introduced. The number has been rising steadily since the laws were tightened two years ago. Former transport minister Stephen Ladyman, who introduced the penalties, discusses their success.

The sports news with Arlo White.


Carwyn Jones has been sworn in as the new First Minister of Wales. He faces many challenges in his new role as leader of a Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition, including a possible referendum on the Welsh Assembly's powers and a tough economic climate. Mr Jones discusses his policies.


Western aid money for Helmand is being mis-directed, according to charity Medicins Sans Frontiers (MSF). It says that thousands of pounds are being wasted on hospital equipment as no-one is trained to use it. Christopher Stokes, general-director of MSF, discusses aid allocation in Afghanistan.

The paper review.


Invictus, a new film adapted from the novel Playing the Enemy, is due to hit cinema screens across South Africa today. It tells the story of how the then President Nelson Mandela used rugby to unite a divided, post-apartheid country during the 1995 World Cup. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the movie stars Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar, the white South African rugby captain. But the biggest challenge was faced by Morgan Freeman, playing Nelson Mandela. South Africa correspondent Karen Allen spoke to the films' cast.

Thought for the day with The Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks.


The Government is to change the laws governing MP expenses. Any MPs who break the rules can be fined, or made to repay the money. The announcement comes as further details of thousands of requests made under the second homes allowance were published online. Speaker John Bercow reacts to the latest expenses revelations, and Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker discusses the new legislation.


How do you manage public services in tough economic times? Analysis of the pre-Budget report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies has found that all the extra money the government has spent on public services since coming to power could be unwound by 2018. John Curtice, professor of politics at the University of Strathyclyde, and former government secretary David Blunkett discuss the future funding of public services.


Andrew Marr's TV series The Making of Modern Britain has been attacked by Telegraph columnist Charles Moore. Mr Moore described the series as simplistic, lefty, gimmicky and offering no real historical insight. The comments have led to a public spat the two personalities. Mr Moore, and historian and broadcaster Tristram hunt, debate whether TV history programmes are as affective as they used to be.

The sports news with Arlo White.


The Israeli government has said it is "extremely disappointed" by a British government decision to advise shops to clearly label food produced by Jewish settlers in Palestinian territories. Yigal Palmor, Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, comments on the changes.


The Today programme has been hearing from Major Richard Streatfeild who is serving with the Rifles in Helmand province. In his latest despatch he describes how even in the battle-scarred Sangin valley there is time for sport.

Business news with Nick Cosgrove.


The EU's ever-controversial Common Agricultural Policy (Cap) is the focus of a meeting of 22 EU countries this week. Rural affairs correspondent Jeremy Cooke, outlines the Cap policy. Tom Hind, head of Economics and International Affairs at the National Farmer's Union, and Sean Rickard, senior lecturer in Business Economics at Cranfield University School of Management and a government advisor, discuss how the Cap should be changed to meet changing global conditions.


The Chicago band Tortoise defies categorisation. Their sound has evolved over the last 15 years through technical and instrumental experiments in the studio. They've inspired many bands and they've even appeared on the required listening list at Trinity College of Music. Our reporter Nicola Stanbridge spoke to the influential band.


A new book by John Ure , a former UK diplomat in central Asia, describes the Victorian obsession with the balance of power in central Asia as being very similar to our current preoccupation with Afghanistan and Pakistan. Mr Ure, author of Shooting Leave: Spying Out Central Asia in the Great Game, and Dr Huw Davies, lecturer in defence studies at King's College, London, examine the similarities between modern and Victorian international relations.


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