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Page last updated at 07:27 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010
Today: Wednesday 20th January

PLEASE NOTE: We are unable to offer transcripts for our programme interviews. Today is broadcast live and the running order is subject to change.

President Obama's healthcare reforms are under threat after a shock Republican win in Massachusetts. And the NHS in England provides better value for money than elsewhere in the UK, research has found.


The Bank of England's monetary policy committee (MPC) is no longer fit for purpose, according to one of its former members, David Blanchflower, who has accused the MPC's decisions of deepening and prolonging the recession. Mr Blanchflower outlines his concerns.


The Obama administration has been dealt a blow on the first anniversary of President Obama's inauguration. Republican Scott Brown has won a shock victory in the race for the US Senate seat in Massachusetts left vacant by Democrat Edward Kennedy's death. North America editor Mark Mardell reports on the Republicans' win.

Business news with Adam Shaw.


The NHS in Scotland spends more money per person than the rest of the UK but provides worse access to treatment, according to a report from the Nuffield Trust. Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's deputy First Minister and Health Secretary, reacts to the report, and Dr Jennifer Dixon, director of the Nuffield Trust, discusses its findings.

Sport news with Rob Bonnet.


US troops are fanning out across Haiti as aid operations gather momentum, a week after the devastating earthquake. Mike Thomson reports from the capital, Port-au-Prince.

The paper review.


Artist Vincent Van Gogh enjoyed writing letters, which are to be displayed at London's Royal Academy in the first major exhibition of his work for more than 40 years. John Humphrys and artist Maggi Hambling took a look at the exhibition.

Thought for the day with the writer Rhidian Brook.


Five police officers are to be disciplined for their investigation into sexual assault allegations against a London taxi driver, John Worboys. An Independent Police Complaints Commission report identified failings in the way the Metropolitan Police (Met) investigated the allegations. Worboys was jailed indefinitely last year for drugging and attacking 12 female passengers in the back of his cab. Deborah Glass, the Independent Police Complaints Commissioner for London, and Commander Simon Foy, head of homicide and serious crime at the Met, discuss the investigation.


The pre-election campaign moves onto families today. The government is to launch its green paper on families as the Conservatives publish the families section of their draft manifesto. Ed Balls, Secretary for Children, Schools and Families, and his shadow David Willetts, discuss their party's policies.


The "voice of rugby", broadcaster Bill McLaren, died yesterday. During a career with the BBC which spanned almost 50 years, Mr McLaren was renowned for his love of the game, the depth of his knowledge and an often glittering turn of phrase. BBC golf commentator Peter Alliss, and the Times' sports writer Simon Barnes, reflect on Mr McLaren's unique appeal.

Sport news with Rob Bonnet.


A British Council lecture marking President Obama's first year in office is to investigate the president's use of "soft power", a cooperative form of foreign policy. Professor Joseph Nye, who is delivering the speech, Soft Power and Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century, and the pioneer of the theory, discusses Mr Obama's approach to foreign policy so far.

Business news with Adam Shaw.


Children who are heavy users of text abbreviations such as LOL (laughing out loud), plz (please), and l8r (later) are unlikely to be problem spellers and readers, a new British Academy study has found. Dr Clare Wood, the report's author and Communication Champion Jean Gross discuss the use of text.


The government and Conservatives are to announce their policies for families, in the build up to the general election. Liberal Democrat families spokesman, David Laws, outlines his party's policy.


Can Haiti be re-built? Plans for long term reconstruction are on hold while agencies deliver emergency aid to the disaster zone. Paul Collier, professor of economics at Oxford University and a former UN special adviser on Haiti and Jo Da Silva, director of ARUP international development, discuss how the island will recover in the longer term.



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