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Page last updated at 06:23 GMT, Tuesday, 20 July 2010 07:23 UK
Today: Tuesday 20th July

More than 70 countries are taking part in the first conference on the future of Afghanistan to be held on Afghan territory. And David Cameron has arrived in Washington and appealed for an end to British anxiety about the special relationship with the United States.

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Business news with Adam Shaw.

Representatives of 70 countries have begun talks in Kabul on the future of Afghanistan. The key themes raised are security, the state of the economy, the Taleban and foreign troops. Historian William Dalrymple and Clare Lockhart, director of the Institute for State Effectiveness debate whether the country is in a state of civil war.

What kind of police force can we afford in an age of austerity? That is the question addressed today by Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary and the Audit Commission. Sir Dennis O'Connor, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary and Chief Constable Graham Maxwell examine the changes needed in police operations for cuts to be achieved.

The International Conference on Afghanistan in Kabul this morning will be attended by representatives of 70 countries. Hamid Karzai hopes to agree a plan for stabilising the country and assessing progress. But since this is the ninth international conference to be held on Afghanistan's future, BBC's Quentin Sommerville examines whether this one will actually make a difference.

Sir Peter Gibson will lead the inquiry into whether the UK has been complicit in the torture of terrorism suspects. Reprieve's Clive Stafford-Smith and Kim Howells, former chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee debate if Sir Peter is right man for the role. 0726
Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

Ireland's credit worthiness of the country has been cut by the credit rating agency Moodys, making it harder and more expensive for the country to borrow money. Today's Sanchia Berg reports from Dublin on rising concerns about the future of the economy.

The paper review.

Today David Cameron will visit Barack Obama at the White House. There is plenty to discuss: Afghanistan, cutting the deficit, the row over BP and the Lockerbie bomber. Historian Andrew Roberts outlines the importance of the personal chemistry between prime minister and president.

Thought for the day with Bishop Tom Butler.

The Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt signalled over the weekend that the BBC's licence fee could be cut when it comes up for renewal. Steve Hewlett, presenter of Radio 4's Media Show and John Whittingdale, Conservative chairman of the Culture and Media select committee, analyse the intention behind the government's proposal.

The cynical view is that international leaders meeting in Afghanistan will not make any difference to the already corrupt Taleban-controlled country. Britain and the US say they will withdraw their troops within the next three years. Today presenter John Humphrys asks Foreign Secretary William Hague, who is in Kabul for the conference, why wait?

Geologists in Utah have uncovered the first evidence that dinosaurs ate mammals - foraged for them in the undergrowth. Professor Edward Simpson, who led the research which is published in latest edition of Geology - the journal of the Geological Society of America - explains the importance of the discovery. 0829
Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

The rating agency Moody's has cut Ireland's credit rating from AA1 to AA2. Irish minister of state at the Department of Finance Dara Calleary examines the impact of the country's downgrading.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

There has been a hope, particularly in America where religious objections loomed large, that stem cells could in the future be taken from adult cells that have been re-programmed, instead of using embyros left over from fertility treatment and discarding them. But research in the journal Nature throws doubt on this. Today's science reporter Tom Fielden looks at the future of stem cell research.

A former senior civil servant and leading NHS figure is warning that a new government policy, delaying some hospital reorganisations, could end up costing money and wasting an opportunity to improve care for patients. Health correspondent Jane Dreaper reports.

Nearly 40 foreign ministers are taking part in a huge international conference in Kabul. But what is the point of meetings like this, what gets achieved? Professor Malcolm Chalmers, a defence analyst at the Royal United Services Institute and former adviser to Foreign Secretaries Margaret Beckett and Jack Straw, reflects on the role of diplomatic conferences. 0854
Louise Casey, the first commissioner for victims of crime in England and Wales, has said the criminal justice system treats them as a poor relation and an afterthought. Ms Casey and criminologist Professor Marian Fitzgerald debate how victims of crime should be treated.



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