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Page last updated at 06:05 GMT, Thursday, 23 June 2011 07:05 UK
Today: Thursday 23rd June

President Obama has announced that 33,000 US troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of next summer. The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has backed a proposal to offer free shares to the public in the state-owned banks, RBS and Lloyds. Also on today's programme, how one commuter turned his daily train journey to London into art.

To speed up the loading time for this running order, we have replaced the audio with links. To hear the reports, interviews and discussions, just click on the links.

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Business news with Adam Shaw: Growth in the United States, the world's largest economy, is slowing down. Chief economist at Investec, Philip Shaw, considers how serious it could be. And Pierre De Villemejane, chief executive of WWRD Holdings, the company that owns Waterford Wedgwood along with Royal Doulton china, speaks about the struggling pottery industry. Download the podcast

US politicians often accuse Beijing of going against US trade interests, but a booming China could be the key to the economic success of west-coast Americans. Claire Bolderson reports from the state of Oregon.

Leaders from the EU are gathering in Brussels to discuss how to avoid the economic collapse of Greece and a banking crisis throughout the European Union. Former Belgian prime minister, Guy Verhofstadt, who leads the alliance of liberals and democrats in the European parliament, explains why he believes more integration between euro economies is the best solution.

US President Barack Obama has announced that the war in Afghanistan is ending, pledging to withdraw 10,000 US troops this year, with more to follow next summer. North American editor Mark Mardell watched his speech. And Foreign Secretary William Hague gives his reaction to the announcement.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

The compulsory tests in English and Maths at the end of primary school in England should include more teacher assessment and provide a rounder picture of pupils, according to a new report. Independent peer Lord Bew, who lead the review, sets out his suggestions on primary school Sats.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

How should the rest of Europe act if the Greek government fails in its promise to push through a rigorous programme of austerity measures by next week? Today presenter James Naughtie reports from Brussels, where a profound argument about the nature and future of the eurozone lies at the heart of the answer.

Paper review.

President Barack Obama has announced that the war in Afghanistan is winding down, promising the withdrawal of 10,000 US troops this year, and another 23,000 by September 2012. Watch Obama's full speech

The first photo of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to be commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery is to go on show in Edinburgh. Arts editor Will Gompertz had a sneak preview and spoke to the German photographer Thomas Struth, who took the portrait, about his exploration of human relationships.

Thought for the day with Reverend Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James Piccadilly.

A leading member of the House of Lords has spoken out against the coalition's plan to change the upper house, arguing that making it 80% elected will destroy its important role as a revising chamber which checks the Commons. The former Commons speaker Lady Boothroyd outlines her concern that the balance between the two houses, on which British democracy and law depends, could be lost forever.

President Obama has pledged to withdraw 10,000 US surge troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year, and more by next summer. Michael Semple, former deputy to the EU special representative to Afghanistan, looks at how British and US strategy has changed. And Lord Dannatt, the former head of the army, analyses Obama's plan.

In an attempt to break the drudge of the daily commute, one man has turned his journey into an album. Nicola Stanbridge joined Steve Spiro on his journey between West Sussex and London.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

The prospect of Greek's financial collapse has stirred a deep-rooted debate in Brussels over the fundamental nature of the eurozone and how integrated its economies should be. Swedish liberal MEP Olle Schmidt and Jens-Peter Bonde, who was an MEP for 29 years and founded the eurosceptic June Movement party in Denmark, go head-to-head on the best way forward for Europe.

The controversial project to put trams through the centre of Edinburgh, which has already used up 80% of its £545m budget and faced chronic delays, will be debated by the city's council next week. Edinburgh-based author Alexander McCall Smith reflects on its rocky past. And Gordon Mackenzie, transport councillor in the capital, considers continuing.

Business news with Adam Shaw.

Colonel Gaddafi issued a defiant audio message in Libya last night, saying he had his "back to the wall" but did not fear death, and that the battle against the western "crusaders" would continue "to the beyond". Middle east editor Jeremy Bowen reports from Tripoli on the people's continuing fear of the Libyan leader.

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has thrown his weight behind a proposal to offer people free shares in taxpayer-funded banks when they are being sold off. Banking analyst at SRN Ralph Silva examines the idea.

President Obama has announced that 33,000 US troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of next summer. Sir Rodric Braithwaite, former ambassador of Moscow and author of the book Afghansty: The Russians in Afghanistan, and Brigadier Ben Barry, senior fellow for land warfare at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, discuss whether sophisticated armies are ever able to win wars like that in Afghanistan.



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