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Page last updated at 07:07 GMT, Thursday, 15 December 2011
Today: Thursday 15th December

As troops withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, we hear about the effects of post traumatic stress disorder from two war veterans. Our correspondent reports from inside a Chinese village where they appear to be having a revolution. And also on the programme, is a blanket green tax an effective way of tackling climate change?

Business news with Simon Jack on stormy weather in the financial markets as the euro, shares, oil and even gold, a traditionally "safe" investment, fall in value.

The Today programme's Zubeida Malik has been following three young unemployed people in their search for jobs. In her latest report, they meet Employment Minister Chris Grayling to discuss their concerns.

The body advising the government on climate change says claims that the costs of green energy and other low carbon technologies will lead to sharp rises in fuel bills are wrong. David Kennedy, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change explains why.

Fears that homeowners caught in negative equity are causing stagnation in the housing market are expected to be addressed in a Financial Services Authority review of the mortgage market. David Hollingworth, of London and Country Mortgages, outlines the issues facing homeowners.

The gallows at Pretoria prison in South Africa, where more than 130 political prisoners were hanged, are being turned into a museum and a living protest against capital punishment. Southern Africa correspondent Karen Allen has been given a tour of the jail with South Africa's deputy prison's commissioner Nontsikelelo Jolingana.

Business news with Simon Jack.

An unpublished Charlotte Bronte manuscript, that reveals a precursor to a scene in Jane Eyre, is to be auctioned at Sotheby's. Stephen Whitehead, a trustee of the Bronte Society, describes the manuscript.

Sport news with Garry Richardson.

After nearly nine years of war, the US military will today formally mark the end of its combat operations in Iraq with a ceremony in Baghdad. Lubna Naji, a doctor in Baghdad who the Today programme has spoken to many times over the years, reflects on this day as does world affairs editor John Simpson, who has been reporting from Iraq since the first Gulf War.

A look at today's papers.

There is a continuing stand-off between villagers and authorities in China's southern province of Guangdon because of a dispute over land-rights which have intensified after the death of a villager in police custody. The BBC's Martin Patience reports from the the village of Wukan.

Thought for The Day with John Bell.

Owners of dangerously out-of-control dogs which harm others in a public place could face up to two years in jail under new guidelines for judges. Peter Chapman, chairman of the Sentencing Committee of the Magistrates Association and Melanie Page, founder of Deed not Breed, debate the effectiveness of such changes.

A ceremony in Baghdad is to mark the symbolic end of the Iraq war with the last US troops to withdraw at the end of the month and plans are in place for British and US troops to leave Afghanistan soon. As the memories of those wars fade for soldiers stationed there, what will be the lasting effect on them mentally and physically? Veterans Lewis McKay and Neil Christie recount their experiences of post traumatic stress disorder.

An article in the Economist says that the popularity of both religious and non-religious Christmas carol concerts is increasing. Classical music promoter Raymond Gubbay and Observer music critic Fiona Maddocks, discuss why we seem to want more carols this Christmas.

Sport news with Garry Richardson.

The Committee on Climate Change has issued figures which it says show that green policies are not the main cause of rising fuel bills and that most of the increase is because of higher wholesale gas prices. Matthew Sinclair, Director of Tax Payers' Alliance and George Monbiot, journalist and green campaigner, discuss whether increased taxation a good way of tackling climate change.

Business news with Simon Jack.

A ceremony to mark the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq will be held in the country today, a symbolic end to the nearly nine-year war. A former official at the Pentagon and chairman of the Defence Policy Board, Richard Perle, reflects on the wider legacy of the US influence in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East.

The government is launching a pilot scheme in England to cull badgers in an effort to combat the spread of TB among cows. It is estimated the disease will cost the taxpayers up to £1bn over the next decade. Peter Kendall, the National Farmers Union (NFU) president and Rosie Woodroffe from the Institute of Zoology debate the need for such measures.

Some 4,000 children were evacuated from the Basque country to the UK in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War when churches, cooperatives and members of the Communist Party helped organise their transfer to the UK. The British government was not involved as it wanted to remain as neutral as possible. Andy Brockman, an archaeologist who specialises in modern conflict, and Juanita Vaquer, one of the original 4,000 evacuees, discuss the power of popular activism.



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