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Page last updated at 07:36 GMT, Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Today: Tuesday 15th 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 defence secretary is due to detail cuts which could see thousands of jobs go to pay for new equipment for Afghanistan. And British Airways says it is exploring all options to deal with a strike by cabin crew over Christmas.


The defence secretary is set to announce the government's spending plans for Afghanistan. Extra equipment, including Chinook helicopters, will be paid for by spending cuts in other defence areas. The budget has a £6bn shortfall. Defence minister Quentin Davies discusses the government's defence strategy.


The science minister Lord Drayson will today respond to calls by the country's leading scientists for the introduction of a new statement of principles to ensure that politics and science are kept apart in Whitehall. Scientists proposed the statement of principles after the Home Secretary Alan Johnson sacked the government's drugs advisor. Science correspondent Pallab Ghosh examines whether interference in scientific reports has become more commonplace.

The business news with Nick Cosgrove.


Are men or women the better movers and shakers on a dance floor? According to new research carried out via the Today website, it is men who rate themselves the better dancers. 14,000 people responded to the questionnaire created by Dr Peter Lovatt of the University of Hertfordshire. Dr Lovatt analyses the results.

The sports news with Garry Richardson.


The Irish economy - once the Celtic Tiger - is one of the worst-hit by the worldwide recession. Unemployment currently stands at 12% and the country is 12bn Euros in debt. Last week the Irish government brought in what many are calling the severest budget in the nation's history. Wages for public sector workers were cut, and welfare spending was reduced, and anger is growing that the country's poor seem to be paying for the mistakes of the rich. Correspondent Mike Thomson reports from Dublin.

The paper review.


A businessman who fought off knife-wielding intruders threatening to kill his family has been sentenced to 30 months in jail, and his brother to 39 months. The intruder was left with a permanent brain injury after being struck with a cricket bat so hard that it broke into three pieces. The judge described the incident as "self defence that went too far." Lauren Turner, Thames Valley reporter for the Press Association, outlines the case.

Thought for the day with novelist and columnist Anne Atkins.


The government has praised its own policies for better than expected unemployment figures, and has said that future unemployment would have been even higher without government action. Professor of human geography at the University of Sheffield, Daniel Dorling, discusses the government's claims.


A climate scientist should be given a seat on the Bank of England's monetary policy committee, according to the government's chief scientific adviser, Sir David King. Sir David explains his comments.


Defence Sectary Bob Ainsworth is set to deliver a statement to the Commons on defence equipment priorities. The speech comes as the National Audit Office publishes its defence review which found that the budget is short of £6bn. Professor Michael Clarke, director of the Royal United Services Institute, and sir Malcolm Rifkind, former defence secretary, debate the government's defence strategy.


For the first time in more than a quarter of a century, Dame Julie Andrews will perform on a British stage at a special concert in London next May. Dame Julie has warned fans that, following a botched operation on her vocal chords 12 years ago, she will not sound like she did in her heyday. Vocal coach Carrie Grant discusses how the voice changes with age, and arts correspondent Rebecca Jones looks back on the singer's career.

The sports news with Garry Richardson.


The Irish government announced last week new measures to help steer its troubled economy out of recession. The Irish economy was once the fastest growing in Europe, but has now become one of the worst hit by the world-wide recession, with 12 percent of the population unemployed. Dick Roche, Minister of State for European Affairs, discusses the Irish government's economic policies.


The science and technology select committee have advised that ministers formally explain decisions that reject the advise of government scientists. The Science minister Lord Drayson is to address the suggestions later today. Chairman of the select committee, Phil Willis, outlines the proposals.


Archaeologists have proved that pre-historic people placed flowers in the graves of their dead. The discovery was made at a bronze age burial site at Forteviot, south of Perth, and is the first for Britain. It had previously been thought that pollen found at other digs could have come from honey or the alcoholic drink, mead. Reporter Huw Williams spoke to the archaeologists who led the dig.

The business news with Nick Cosgrove.

Professor of human geography at the University of Sheffield, Daniel Dorling, said on the programme that cutting public spending and public sector jobs was not an inevitable or efficient way of reducing the deficit. Andrew Lilico, who sits on the shadow Monetary Policy Committee run by the Institute of Economic Affairs, reacts to Professor Dorling's comments.


The musician Robert Wyatt, formerly of the rock band Soft Machine, will be guest editing an edition of the Today programme at Christmas. He would like any Today listeners who are involved in amateur choirs to send us recordings of their work which he will play on his programme on New Year's Day. Here is a taste of some of the entries so far, from the Isle of Mull Gaelic Choir, the Amadeus Chamber Choir, and from Melow D.


A split has developed between rich and poor nations at the Copenhagen climate summit. The G-77 developing nations have claimed that their demands are being sidelined, with China saying that it will not accept any climate funding from rich nations. Environment analyst Roger Harrabin investigates whether the rift will stand in the way of a climate change deal being reached.


Are mutual societies a model for the future of public service provision? All the main parties have expressed their interest in the John Lewis model which states that mutual ownership rather than shareholder profit or public ownership is the best system. Cabinet Office minister Tessa Jowell is to launch a new independent commission on ownership. David Boyle of the New Economics Foundation, and Neil O'Brien, director of the Policy Exchange think tank, debate the model.


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