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Page last updated at 07:10 GMT, Wednesday, 7 December 2011
Today: Wednesday 7th December

More than three million people plan to take out short-term payday loans, despite facing interest rates of several hundred percent, according to the insolvency industry. A study indicates that healthier lifestyles could cut the number of cancers in the UK by more than 40%. And also on today's programme, Britain's former ambassador to Afghanistan on the risk of the country descending into civil war.

Business news with Simon Jack on how UK interests of Britain will be affected as renegotiations on the design of the eurozone get underway.

A new study suggests that more than 40% of incidences of cancer in the UK could be prevented if people chose healthier lifestyles. Dr Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, outlines the findings.

There have been more anti-government protests and arrests in the centre of Moscow overnight following Russia's parliamentary elections, which US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said were neither free nor fair. Steve Rosenberg reports from Moscow.

According to a report by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), Britons are increasingly looking to themselves, rather than the government, for solutions to social problems and, despite widespread concern about economic disparity, the public does not appear to believe that government redistribution of wealth is the way forward. Penny Young of NatCen produced the report and outlines the main findings.

A new website has been launched which aims to bring together people who are unable to tend their loved ones' graves due to living too far away. Jenny Barsby-Robinson is the woman behind Tendagrave and explains what inspired the idea.

Business news with Simon Jack.

There has been much criticism of Europe's politicians for failing to get a grip on public finances and French politicians are among the loudest voices blaming the crisis on "Anglo-Saxon capitalism". Christian Fraser in Paris examines if Britain's financial markets have become a convenient smokescreen for economic crisis.

Sport news with Garry Richardson.

According to R3, an organisation representing most of Britain's insolvency practitioners, more than 3.5 million people say they are likely to take out a so-called payday loan in the next six months. The Today programme's Andrew Hosken reports.

A review of the papers.

Scientists have found the biggest black holes known to exist, each one 10 billion times the size of our sun. Dr Michele Cappellari, astrophysicist at Oxford University, describes the significance of the discovery.

Thought for The Day with John Bell.

The annual British Social Attitudes Survey has found that people are looking to themselves rather than government to solve society's problems. Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the RSA and Camilla Cavendish, associate editor and columnist at the Times, discuss how politicians should react.

Millions of Britons are likely to take out a high-interest loan in the next six months to make their finances stretch until payday, a group of insolvency experts claims. John Lamidey, of the Consumer Finance Association, which represents the so-called payday loan companies, responds to criticism of the businesses.

The prime minister has said responds to criticism of the businesses. he will veto a new EU treaty if it does not safeguard London's position as the centre of financial services in Europe and ensure that British companies are not damaged by changes to the rules of the single market. Stuart Fraser, chair of policy and resources for the City of London, gives his reaction.

Sport news with Garry Richardson.

A suicide bombing has killed at least 58 people and wounded more than 100 at a shrine in Kabul, prompting the Afghan President Hamid Karzai to say that a sectarian attack on this scale was unprecedented in Afghanistan. World Affairs editor John Simpson and Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, former UK envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, reflect on the significance of the attack.

Business news with Simon Jack.

High quality stem cells unmatched anywhere in the world have been produced by British scientists at Kings College London (KCL), in an achievement described as the "Holy Grail" of regenerative medicine. Professor Peter Braude, Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and former director of the Stem Cell Programme at KCL, explains the importance of the work.

The European Union has warned that Niger and other countries in the Sahel region of West Africa are in need of increased humanitarian assistance because of another looming food crisis. World Affairs correspondent Mike Wooldridge reports.

A new exhibition launching at the Museum of London this week looks at the writings of Dickens on debt and the idea that we are currently returning to some kind of Victorian era. John Bowen, professor of English Literature at York University, and Claire Armitstead, books editor at The Guardian, discuss the kinds of literature that are inspired during times of austerity and debt and how Dickens compares with the literature inspired by the Great Depression.



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