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Page last updated at 07:23 GMT, Thursday, 17 December 2009
Today: Thursday 17th 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.

England's chief medical officer has recommended that children should not drink alcohol before they are 15. And Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband has warned that the prospects for a deal at the UN summit in Copenhagen are in grave danger.


Talks to try to avert strike action by British Airways cabin crew are due to resume later after ending without agreement. A High Court judgement on the legality of the planned strike is also expected later after BA sought an injunction. Employment correspondent Martin Shankleman outlines the talks and independent pensions consultant John Ralfe discusses the airline's pension deficit.

The business news with Adam Shaw.


The level of youth unemployed has risen to 952,000, the highest since records began in 1992. The government has promised to guarantee a job or training to anyone in that age group who is out of work for more than six months. One of the biggest challenges is finding a permanent rather than temporary job. Correspondent Rajini Vaidyanathan reports from an employment agency in Norwich.


Santa Claus is a reckless role model who encourages obesity and drink driving, according to an academic writing in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal. Dr Nathan Grills, who teaches public health at Monash University in Melbourne, discusses his comments.


Children should not touch alcohol before they are 15 years old, according to England's chief medical officer. A video launched in Derbyshire, where teenage drinking is particularly severe, was withdrawn from YouTube for being too explicit. David Black, director of public health for Derbyshire County Primary Care trust, discusses the teenage drinking problem.

The sports news with Garry Richardson.


Britain will be left incapable of training the technicians needed to develop the planned new next generation of nuclear power plants, scientists have claimed. The warning comes after one of the UK's largest science funders announced it would have to cut its projects and staff. Two of the country's three largest nuclear research projects will be scrapped completely. Professor Patrick Regan, a nuclear physicist at the University of Surrey, and John Womersley, the Science and Technology Facilities Council's director of science programmes, discuss the implications of the funding cuts.

The paper review.


This week schools begin to wind down for the Christmas holidays. Novelist and writer Josephine Hart is concerned that the teaching of English literature is in decline, and that the country's great literary heritage is at risk of becoming the preserve of just an elite. Last year almost 30% of GCSE students failed to take the English Literature exam, and critics say there is an increasing reliance on extracts rather than the use of complete books. Ms Hart investigates whether the teaching of English literature in schools is declining.

Thought for the day with Lord Harries of Pentregarth, Gresham Professor of Divinity.


The serial killer Peter Tobin has been convicted of a third murder, for the killing of Dinah McNichol. Police suspect that he may have had other victims after unexplained items of jewellery were found at his home. Detective Inspector David Swindle, from Strathclyde Police, discusses the operation trying to piece together Mr Tobin's background.


Children under the age of 15 should not consume any alcohol, and teenagers aged between 15 and 17 should drink only infrequently, according to new guidance published today. The guidance comes three months after the British Medical Association called for a ban on all alcohol advertising, including the sponsorship of sports events and music festivals. The report's author, England's chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson, discusses his recommendations.


The Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, is due to arrive at the Copenhagen climate summit today. Talks reopened last night after a nine-hour delay caused by wrangling over texts, which saw Connie Hedegaard, a former Danish climate minister, resign from the conference presidency. Correspondent Tom Feilden outlines the latest in the summit talks.


Led Zeppelin, one of the most successful rock bands of all time, was judged "unconvincing" and "only for specialists" when they played their first session for the BBC. The verdict is recorded in archive material, which has been published for a documentary being broadcast on BBC 6 Music on Christmas Day. Ken Garner, author of the The Peel Sessions: A Story of Teenage Dreams and One Man's Love of New Music, and Neil McCormick, music critic for the Daily Telegraph, reflect on the band's success.

The sports news with Garry Richardson.


The UK has seen the highest increase in TV watching, according to an Ofcom survey. The communications watchdog compared the UK with countries including France, the United States, and Ireland, and found that viewing in the UK rose more than 3 percent last year to an average of 3.8 hours a day. Andrew Billen, TV critic for The Times, and former TV producer and current media consultant, Peter Bazalgette, examine TV's resurgence.


Officials in Yemen have claimed to have killed 34 al-Qaida members. Correspondent Owen Bennett-Jones discusses the latest developments.

The business news with Adam Shaw.


Afghan President Hamid Karzai is set to hold an anti-corruption conference in Kabul, following growing pressure from the US and Britain. Kabul correspondent Martin Patience outlines the conference, and former UN deputy special representative in Afghanistan, Peter Galbraith, who was sacked after highlighting election fraud, discusses President Karzai's relationship with the West.


The new head of the Royal Navy, First Sea Lord Sir Mark Stanhope, has told the BBC that he will fight to preserve the Navy during the next round of Whitehall spending cuts. Sir Mark was speaking during a visit to Iraq where 100 Navy and Royal Marines personnel are almost all that remain of a British presence in the south of the country. Middle East correspondent Paul Wood comments on Sir Mark's trip.


Novelist and writer Josephine Hart has called for the improvement of English literature teaching in schools, warning that the country's great literary heritage is at risk of becoming the preserve of just an elite. Dr Bethan Marshall, senior lecturer in English education at Kings College London and schools minister Diana Johnson debate English literature provision in schools.


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