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Page last updated at 07:27 GMT, Monday, 21 December 2009
Today: Monday 21st 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 Iranian opposition has called for a big turnout at the funeral of the leading dissident cleric, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri. Eurostar is suspending services for the third day running. And Mr Speaker outlines what the expenses scandal has meant for parliament.


The shadow home secretary, Chris Grayling, has said that the Conservatives would consider strengthening the rights of householders in England to defend themselves and their property. His comments follow the case of a Buckinghamshire businessman who was jailed last week for attacking a burglar who'd tied his family up at knife point. Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association Paul Mendelle discusses the rights of householders.


Correspondent Tom Symonds reports on the latest on the roads in Kent which have been badly congested, and the series of glitches which stranded five trains inside the Channel Tunnel and trapped more than 2,000 passengers for hours in stuffy and claustrophobic conditions.


China, the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, praised the outcome of a historic UN climate conference that ended with a non-binding agreement that urges major polluters to make deeper emissions cuts. Correspondent Michael Bristow discusses whether the agreement is needed and where we should go from here.

Business news with Adam Shaw.


Athol Fugard, one of the most prolific and internationally-acclaimed playwrights, who tackled the consequences of apartheid in South Africa is about to have a theatre named after him. The arts space will be located in what was one of South Africa's most culturally mixed areas, which during the era of white minority rule, saw the forced removal of black, coloured and Indian families from the neighbourhood. Correspondent Karen Allen reports on how the theatre will be opening in District Six in Cape Town in February.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.


The Medical Protection Society is calling for wholesale reform of the law to ensure doctors accused of sexual offences against patients to remain anonymous until proven guilty. This comes after a woman who accused her gynaecologist of sexual assault and harassment dropped her case against him. Bibi Giles was suing Angus Thomson for £50k over an alleged assault at Droitwich Spa Hospital. Policy director of the Medical Protection Society Stephanie Bown discusses a change she would like in the law to protect doctors' anonymity when they are accused of sexual offences.


Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein leader and former chief of staff of the Provisional IRA, revealed yesterday that his late father had sexually abused members of the family. Ireland correspondent Mark Simpson discusses how Gerry Adams said he found out about his father's abuse, just over 10 years ago.

The paper review.


Major Richard Streatfeild, who is serving in Helmand province with the Rifles, has been giving the BBC regular reports on life on the frontline in Afghanistan. The British government says the long term stability of the country will rely on building up the Afghan security forces. In his latest despatch Major Streatfeild describes meeting his counterpart in the Afghan army and the difficult task he has.

Thought for the day with Rev Dr Colin Morris, a Methodist Minister.


When MPs return after Christmas to Westminster they'll be in election mode; and facing the electorate in a febrile atmosphere. The expenses scandal has caused a large number of MPs to decide not to stand again, and many others to have to face difficult and embarrassing questions. It means that whatever the election result it will leave the House of Commons with a new look. And parliament is expected to continue to reform itself. The Speaker, John Bercow, describes in his words the effects on the House of Commons of recent events.


A Conservative government would consider strengthening the rights of householders who tackle burglars, the shadow home secretary has said. Chris Grayling discusses how he wants the law to be "absolutely clear" and what exactly the Tories would do to review the legislation.


Punk metal act Rage Against the Machine have snatched the Christmas number one from X Factor winner Joe McElderry. The remarkable thing is that Rage Against the Machine seems to have made it thanks largely to a couple in Essex who started a campaign on Facebook to stop the X Factor winner from getting the No 1. John Morter, who started the campaign, discusses how Simon Cowell, creator and owner of the X factor, rang to congratulate him.

The sports news with Rob Bonnet.


World leaders know they are taking a massive risk with the climate. They know what they need to do to reduce the risk to a scientifically acceptable level. But they will not quite do it because they are hemmed in by economic and political risks. Former chief government scientist, Sir David King, and Lord Stern, author of an influential report for the government on the economics of climate change, analyse the impact of the Copenhagen summit.


Business news with Adam Shaw.


It's a month since the town of Cockermouth was devastated by flooding on a "Biblical" scale. Parts of Cumbria were thrown into chaos after more than a foot of rain fell in 24 hours, sweeping away bridges, roads and power lines and forcing hundreds of people from their homes and businesses. The deluge, overnight on November 20, also claimed the life of PC Bill Barker when a bridge in Workington was swept away under him as he directed motorists. Correspondent Graham Satchell discusses what progress has been made and how people are coping.

The paper review.


It's something of a British institution, but in the next few weeks the Comedy Store is opening a new branch in Mumbai. The Indian Comedy Store will try to cash in on growing enthusiasm for new forms of entertainment among the country's cash-rich urban elites. South Asia Correspondent Chris Morris reports from Delhi where Indians will be coming forward to try their hand at stand-up comedy.


Two young women from Nottingham have been speaking exclusively to the BBC about the "nightmare" of finding themselves jailed for smuggling drugs in Brazil. Sasha Brooks and Kimberley Anderson admitted their offence and are awaiting sentence after they were caught with cocaine at Sao Paulo's international airport. The two women have spoken out because they say they want others to learn from their mistakes and not to try the same thing. One of their mothers, Trudy Anderson, discusses how the conditions are very bad for her daughter Kimberley, and how the prison guards will steal blatantly from people and the prisoners.


Polish police have recovered the sign that was stolen from the entrance of the Auschwitz concentration camp, last week. Five people have been arrested over the theft of the sign which reads "work makes you free" in German. Pawel Sawicki, a spokesman for the Auschwitz museum, said the recovery of the sign was an "enormous relief".


Gareth Thomas, captain of Wales and the British Lions, now retired from international rugby is the most prominent figure in the sport to come out as a gay man. Over the weekend he said he had even considered suicide because of his anguish, and now hoped that he would make it easier for others who faced the same dilemma. Delme Parfitt, rugby writer at the Western Mail in Cardiff is his biographer, and British NBA basketball star John Amaechi, who announced after his retirement that he was gay, discuss Thomas coming out.



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