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Page last updated at 08:25 GMT, Saturday, 26 December 2009
Today: Saturday 26th 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.

A fire aboard an airliner about to land in the US city of Detroit was a failed bomb attack, senior US officials say. And Eurotunnel has accused Eurostar of ignoring safety rules when evacuating passengers from trains last weekend.


A fire on a transatlantic flight carrying 278 passengers was a failed terrorist attack, according to US officials. The Nigerian suspect burnt his leg whilst trying to ignite explosives on the Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. Authorities say the man is now being questioned and is listed on intelligence databases as having al-Qaeda links. Correspondent Imtiaz Tyab reports on the incident.


Eurotunnel have accused Eurostar staff of ignoring safety procedures and prolonging delays, after several trains broke down due to cold weather. Correspondent Jannat Jalil reports on the allegations.


The debate over fox hunting is to be resurrected today. The government will renew its support for the 2004 ban on hunting with dogs, which anti-hunting groups say is unworkable and an affront to civil liberties. Correspondent Tom Symonds discusses the law.

The paper review.


Christians in Egypt are being forced to convert to Islam, and refused the right to return to their faith by the Egyptian government, according to charities. Correspondent Christian Fraser investigates the claims.

Sports news with Jon Myers.


The Boxing Day sales are set to begin and internet retailers began their sales on Christmas Eve. Business reporter Joe Lynam spoke to shoppers braving the queues in London's Oxford Street. Brian McBride, managing director of Amazon UK, and Maggie Porteous, managing director of John Lewis Cheadle and Trafford, discuss post Christmas sales.

The paper review.


Last-minute efforts to prevent the execution of a British man are being made. Akmal Shaikh, who was arrested for drug-smuggling, is due to be executed in China on Tuesday. Correspondent Michael Bristow reports from Beijing.


The last edition of the South Bank Show will be aired on Monday. The programme has been running since 1978 and become the standard bearer for arts coverage on ITV, as well as a cultural icon. The show's presenter, Melvyn Bragg discusses its success.

Thought for the day with Catherine Pepinster, editor of the Tablet.


A Nigerian man has allegedly attempted to explode a bomb on a transatlantic flight carrying 278 passengers. Security expert Sally Lievesley comments on the incident.


After an economically turbulent year, the hopes are for a full economic recovery. But when will it happen and who will benefit? George Magnus, senior economic adviser to the investment bank UBS, reflects on the past year and examines the economic future.


The US Senate has passed President Barack Obama's landmark health bill, extending medical insurance to 30 million Americans. North America editor Mark Mardell reports from Washington.


The Today programme been receiving regular updates from Major Richard Streatfeild, who is serving with the Rifles in Helmand province, Afghanistan. In the latest instalment from his diary, Major Streatfeild describes how the Rifles celebrate the holidays.


It has been a very successful year for Hollywood, but have the films been any good? Film critics Sukhdev Sandhu from the Daily Telegraph, and Nigel Andrews from the Financial Times, debate 2009's blockbusters and flops.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.


A man aboard a transatlantic flight has attempted to cause an explosion in a failed suicide attack. The Northwest Airlines plane was carrying 278 passengers from Amsterdam to Detroit. Professor Walid Phares, adviser to the US House of Representatives on counter-terrorism, discusses the incident.

The paper review.


It is five years since the devastating Asian tsunami which killed 226,000 people and affected 14 countries. In Thailand, many of the victims were foreign tourists, including 130 people from Britain. Southeast Asia correspondent, Rachel Harvey, examines how the country has recovered.


Author Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is at the heart of the traditional Victorian Christmas. First published in 1843, the story has stood the test of time and spanned generations. Andrew Billen, TV critic for the Times and author of The Boy Who Invented Christmas, discusses the tale's appeal.


Will Iran accept a UN backed nuclear programme agreement? The deadline for the deal is due in a few days. Author and political activist Tariq Ali, and former speech writer to President Bush, David Frum, discuss US attempts to improve relations with Iran.


On Christmas Eve the Today programme broadcast an interview with John Arthur, an 89 year-old man, about loneliness. Mr Arthur is one of an estimated half-a-million elderly people who spend Christmas alone. The interview struck a chord with many listeners, and we have been inundated with emails from people wanting to meet Mr Arthur, share meals with him and even some offering to take him to Paris at their expense, a dream he has held for many years.

Thank you to all our listeners who contacted us. We have forwarded your emails to Mr Arthur.

A number of charities help older people to deal with issues like loneliness. These include:

Friends of the Elderly

The Cinnamon Trust

Independent Age

Contact the Elderly

Help the Aged/Age Concern



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