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Page last updated at 07:21 GMT, Tuesday, 29 December 2009
Today: Tuesday 29th 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.

Today's programme is guest edited by the artist David Hockney and some of the items in this running order are longer versions of those broadcast on the programme.

A British man convicted of drug smuggling in China has been executed, the Foreign Office has confirmed. And President Obama has said that "every element" of American power will be used against extremists threatening the US.


A British man has been executed in China, despite last-minute efforts to save him. Akmal Shaikh, who was convicted of drug smuggling, was thought to have suffered from bi-polar disorder and duped into carrying the drugs. Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, discusses the case.


An al-Qaeda group based in Yemen has said that it was behind the failed Christmas Day attack on a US passenger plane. Ginny Hill, a foreign policy analyst who has studied Yemen's recent history, analyses the country's terrorism links.


Politicians seem to like to demonstrate their fitness for office by jogging in public. But our guest editor, artist David Hockney, believes it is a pointless pursuit which reflects an unhealthy obsession with our bodies. The view is shared by the French philosopher, Alain Finkielkraut. Europe correspondent Jonny Dymond joined the philosopher for a promenade around a park in Paris.

The business news with Nick Cosgrove.


David Hockney is preparing for a major exhibition at the Royal Academy in 2012. Mr Hockney re-located to the Yorkshire seaside town of Bridlington after spending many years living in Los Angeles. Today presenter Evan Davis went to meet him in his studio.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.


The BBC's Persian service has been inundated with callers, emails and bloggers trying to get information out of Iran during recent clashes between opposition supporters and government forces. Reporter Nicola Stanbridge spent some time in the BBC Persian TV newsroom.

The paper review.


Today's guest editor David Hockney is against the UK's smoking ban, accusing it of being an attack on smokers which has gone too far. Although many other countries have a ban, Mr Hockney feels the rules are applied in a more draconian way in this country than elsewhere. Defence correspondent and committed smoker Caroline Wyatt investigated Europe's anti-smoking laws.

Thought for the day with Reverend Roy Jenkins, a Baptist minister.


The Nigerian man accused of attempting to detonate a bomb on a transatlantic flight is a former president of University College London's Islamic society. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attended the university, graduating with a degree in Engineering and Business in 2008. On the Today programme yesterday, Home Secretary Alan Johnson said that the government had a strategy to deal with the threat of radicalisation of UK students. Home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw outlines the Prevent strategy and Professor Malcolm Grant, Provost of University College, London, discusses how universities monitor possible radicalisation.


A British man has been executed in China, despite last-minute pleas to save him. Akmal Shaikh's family said that he suffered from delusions and mental ill-health. Mr Shaikh was convicted of carrying a suitcase containing 4 kilograms of heroin which Chinese officials say was enough to kill 27,000 people. Correspondent Quentin Sommerville reports from Beijing, and foreign office minister, Ivan Lewis, comments on the efforts to stop the execution.


Today's guest editor David Hockney has a passion for smoking. On one wall in his house hangs a pipe rack with the words "Smoke and be Happy" inscribed underneath. Mr Hockney asked us to look at the history of smoking with the social historian, David Kynaston.


David Hockney has re-located to Bridlington in Yorkshire from the hot sunny coast of California. Mr Hockney and Today presenter Evan Davis took a drive through Bridlington to look at what inspires the artist.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.


Are we living in a more authoritarian age? Guest editor, artist David Hockney, is concerned about what he sees as an ever increasing slide towards authoritarianism in this country, exemplified by efforts to stop us smoking in public places. He believes the slew of new legislation brought in by the Labour government, creating thousands of new offences, is a relentless attack on our civil liberties and personal freedoms. Political editor Nick Robinson examines the claims.


David Hockney is so fed up with Britain and America's draconian anti-smoking laws that he asked us to dream up a smokers' utopia, where puffers can puff wherever they like. But we didn't have to dream it up, because it already exists. Correspondent Christian Fraser reports from Egypt.

The business news with Nick Cosgrove.


Parents of recent graduates are being given instructions by the government on how to encourage their children to get jobs. The leaflet tells parents to go easy on their children, but also calls for "tough love" to motivate depressed young people back into the job market. Career coach and the report's author, Denise Taylor, discusses the advice.


Today's guest editor, artist David Hockney, discusses his political beliefs.



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