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Page last updated at 07:12 GMT, Thursday, 17 November 2011
Today: Thursday 17th November

Two thirds of immigrants wives could be banned from coming to the UK under plans to stop them being a burden on the state. The government is ordering the NHS to cut the backlog of patients waiting longer than 18 weeks for hospital treatment in England. Also on the programme, how to cook like someone from the 17th century.

Business news with Simon Jack on news that the Bank of England has cut the UK's growth forecast to just 1% in its quarterly report.

As eurozone countries struggle to come up with a viable solution to fix the economic crisis, a number of different options are being looked at, including closer fiscal integration and an unwinding of the internal market. European commissioner for the internal market Michel Barnier explains what he thinks might happen.

There are around a quarter of a million people in England who have been waiting more than 18 weeks for hospital treatment. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley talks about how the government believes these "hidden" NHS waiting lists are a legacy of Labour's 18-week treatment target initiative.

David Cameron is to announce a new £1m prize for engineering as part of the effort to rebalance the economy. The chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Prize, the president of the Royal Academy of Engineering Lord Browne, explains the idea behind the award.

Business news with Simon Jack.

It has been joked that there should be a "group of debt" in the qualifying stages of football's Euro 2012 tournament for countries, including Italy, Ireland and Portugal, which are struggling with their economies. Business editor Robert Peston examines the connections between football and finance.

Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Football Association has said it is time for Sepp Blatter to step down, following his comments on racism in football.

The Arab League, supported by China, has given the Syrian government three days to agree to a roadmap to end the violence. But President Bashar al-Assad does have one last bastion of support, Russia. Former head of the BBC's Russian service Konstantin Eggert explains why.

It is 50 years since a UN convention declared a war on drugs aiming to create a drug free world. Now, the former head of MI5, Baroness Manningham-Buller, is to join a group of peers in calling for cannabis to be decriminalised in the UK as part of a wider reform of what they say is the outdated campaign. Baroness Meacher, chair of the all-party Group on Drug Policy Reform and Christian Guy, Policy Director of the Centre for Social Justice, discuss how realistic these aspirations are.

A review of the papers.

When and how did the idea of recipe books evolve and what do they tell us about the history of domestic life in this country? Historian Sara Pennell has been trawling through the Wellcome Collection's archive of recipes.

Thought for The Day with Akhandadhi Das.

According to a new study, as many as 1-in-12 people self-harm as teenagers, the majority of them girls. A former self-harmer tells her story and Dr Paul Moran of the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College Hospital gives his thoughts on what mental health charities say is a growing problem.

Two-thirds of the wives of immigrants could be banned from coming to the UK under plans to stop them being a burden on the state. David Metcalf, chair of the Migration Advisory Committee and Danny Sriskandarajah, director of the Royal Commonwealth Society, discuss the implications of such a measure.

There are real fears that inaction in Syria could lead to a situation in which the country dissolves into civil war with potentially disastrous consequences for Syrians and for the wider Arab world. Anne-Marie Slaughter, former director of policy planning at the US State Department, discusses why the Arab League has now been galvanised into action.

There are more than 25 "ghost stations" on the London Underground, including Brompton Road on the Piccadilly Line, which closed in 1934. Evan Davis went to investigate the station with Ajit Chambers, an entrepreneur who is seeking permission to turn it into a tourist attraction, and Mark Mason, author of Walk the Lines, a new book about the tube.

Sport news with Garry Richardson.

It is a day to celebrate engineering with the launch of a huge prize for engineering achievement, the Queen Elizabeth prize. Paul Westbury, who runs engineering company Buro Happold, explains why the status of engineering needs to be elevated.

The 1940s jazz club, Cafe Society, is being recreated at London's Southbank Centre. The Today programme's Nicola Stanbridge spoke to the founder, Barney Josephson's wife Terry Trilling-Josephson, about the legendary New York club which made history for racial integration. And Alex Webb explains why he has decided to recreate it.

Business news with Simon Jack.

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell is currently visiting in Burma. The BBC's David Loyn is travelling with him and managed to speak to Aung San Suu Kyi about her hopes for upcoming elections.

An airline is investigating claims that passengers were forced into a whip-round to pay to complete their journey from India to Birmingham. Bhupinder Kandra, the majority shareholder in the airline involved Comtel air, told Today presenter Justin Webb that he would not be paying the passengers back, as they were owed the money by travel agents who booked the flight and not by the airline.

Political party funding has come under the spotlight with Nick Clegg ruling out extra state funding, saying taxpayers wouldn't stand for it, while the Committee on Standards in Public Life is to publish a report on it. Steve Richards, The Independent's chief political commentator and Anne McElvoy, public policy editor at The Economist, debate just how far the state should be involved in party funding.


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