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Page last updated at 07:17 GMT, Thursday, 24 December 2009
Today: Thursday 24th 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.

Millions of motorists across the UK face disruption after another night of ice and snow. And the Queen will use this year's Christmas broadcast to pay tribute to British troops serving in Afghanistan.


Travellers face another day of disruption as the UK wakes to widespread ice and patches of freezing fog. Correspondents Huw Williams and Louise Perry report on the latest conditions around the country.


The US Senate is to vote on a health bill which could bring the country closer to a universal health care system. North America editor Mark Mardell reports on the reaction to the bill, from a Washington hospital in a poor neighbourhood.


Violent clashes between authorities and opposition supporters in Iran are continuing. Websites are claiming that the stand-off broke out after security forces prevented people from attending a ceremony to commemorate the influential dissident figure, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri. And, in an interview with Channel 4 News, President Ahmedinejad has said that President Obama has "failed to meet expectations". Ali Ansari, director of the Iranian Institute at the University of St Andrews, analyses the comments.

Business news with Nick Cosgrove.


The old-fashioned steam train has proved its reliability. As trains in the South East ground to a halt in the snow, the Tornado, a £3m Peppercorn class A1 Pacific built last year, came to the rescue of passengers stranded at Victoria Station, delivering them safely home. Mark Allat, chairman of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, discusses the possibility of a resurgence in the fortunes of the steam trains.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.


The Church of England has made a financial appeal to the government to help pay for the upkeep of medieval churches. The church, which holds enormous investments, says the buildings are a national asset and that tax-payers should help contribute to their restoration. Religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott visited Canterbury Cathedral and Frank Field, former chairman of the Churches Conservation Trust, discusses the request.


Four British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan in four days. Correspondent Peter Greste is with the 3 Rifles in Sangin.

The paper review.


It has been a difficult run up to Christmas with mayhem on the roads, trains stuck in tunnels, and flights cancelled. But as it is Christmas Eve, the Today programme found a few people with more cheery tales to tell.

Thought for the day with Padre Mark Christian, senior chaplain of 11 Light Brigade.


US Senate Democrats are set to clear the last hurdle on President Obama's healthcare overhaul, virtually ensuring the final passage of the biggest health policy changes in four decades. But within the Democrat party, there are divisions over the bill, which has been criticised for not being ambitious enough Ohio Democrat, Congressman Denis Kucinich, examines the bill.


Half a million elderly people will be spending Christmas alone this year, according to the Young Foundation. John Arthur, who is 89-years old, discusses how he feels about spending Christmas by himself.


Is swimming in cold water good for your health? Despite freezing temperatures, the Serpentine Swimming Club will be out in Hyde Park tomorrow for their annual Christmas Day outdoor swim. Their oldest member to be taking part is 83 years old. Brian Thomas, the club's secretary, and Professor Michael Tipton of the University of Portsmouth, discuss swimming in the cold.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.


The death penalty could be introduced in Uganda for acts of gay sex. The proposed bill is due to be voted on in the new year and has attracted international outrage and controversy. The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who is Ugandan and left the country in the days of former President Idi Amin, discusses reaction to the bill.

Business news with Nick Cosgrove.


Russia's wildlife and forests are being destroyed by illegal logging. In the first of two special reports from the Russian far east, Moscow correspondent Rupert Wingfield Hayes looks at how China's hunger for wood is driving the destruction of one of the last great untouched forests on earth.


Four British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan in four days. Veteran ITN broadcaster, Sandy Gall, who has reported from the country over 40 years, comments on why foreign troops are still involved in conflict.


Is the current financial crisis different to past recessions? The Harvard professor and former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, Kenneth Rogoff, has been looking back on past financial downturns through history for his new book, This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly. Prof Rogoff discusses what has been learnt from previous financial crises.


Half a million elderly people will be spending Christmas alone, according to research carried out by the Young Foundation. Will Norman, principal research associate at foundation and co-author of Sinking and Swimming, Understanding Britain's Unmet Needs and psychologist Oliver James examine the rise in loneliness.



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