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Page last updated at 07:16 GMT, Wednesday, 28 December 2011
Today: Wednesday 28th December

Guest edited by the artist Tracey Emin, featuring a return to her hometown of Margate, the economic importance of art, and whether people still aspire to be teachers. Also on the programme, the funeral has begun of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il who died ten days ago.

The business news with Lesley Curwen on a report which predicts unemployment will reach rise once again in 2012.

Our guest editor, artist Tracey Emin returned to her old school because it was from the art department there that she believes she got the spirit that made her an artist. The school is King Ethelbert in Birchington just outside her home town of Margate in Kent, and since 2008 it has been a visual arts specialist school. She met four current students, Ashleigh, Amy, Ollie and Bella in a cafe in Margate to find out the thoughts of young artists today.

During World War II about 5,000 soldiers deserted from the Irish armed forces to enlist with the British Army but because Ireland was officially neutral in the war when the deserters returned the Irish government placed them on a blacklist which barred them from most jobs. John Waite reports on growing calls in Ireland to resolve what many regard as a historic injustice.

Anti-government demonstrators have been out in force in the Syrian city of Homs as Arab League observers begin a peace mission. But with the UN reporting over 5,000 people killed since protests began in March, Ausama Monajed advisor to the secretary general of the Syrian National Council addresses scepticism at whether the Arab League has the ability to end the violence.

The quality of food offered up to patients in hospitals is an issue close to our guest editor Tracey Emin's heart as towards the end of his life her father was confined to hospital but could not eat the food served to him there. She asked health correspondent Jane Dreaper to investigate why our institutions have such a problem providing good food.

The business news with Lesley Curwen.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

Tens of thousands of people who were flooded in 2007 could find it impossible to get cover for their homes and businesses unless a new agreement is reached between Insurers and the government. Harriett Baldwin MP for West Worcestershire and Nick Starling, director of general insurance at the Association of British Insurers debate the flaws in the current insurance system.

Tracey Emin is a big radio fan and wanted to celebrate the voices she loves to tune in to. Frank Skinner reads Lord Byron's When We Two Parted.

A review of the papers.

Our guest editor today Tracey Emin thinks the quality of food served to patients in many hospitals is a real cause for concern and was keen to hear from the chef and restaurateur Heston Blumenthal, who has been involved in a project seeking to make hospital food more palatable. The Today programme's Sarah Montague spoke to him about it.

Thought for the Day with The Right Reverend James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool.

Tracey Emin believes the visual arts have a key role to play in our country's economic growth. Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate galleries and Gregor Muir, executive director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) examine how much potential there is for the visual arts to contribute to the growth of the economy.

The state funeral of North Korea's former leader Kim Jong-il is underway in the capital Pyongyang. World affairs editor John Simpson has been watching the ceremony.

Today's guest editor Tracey Emin returns to Margate on the Kent coast where she spent most of her childhood. Most recently she's been a staunch supporter of the town's new Turner Contemporary gallery and believes it has and will play a significant role in Margate's economic regeneration. She went to find out how do people in Margate today feel about their town.

In the second instalment of Tracey Emin's celebration of voices she loves to hear on the radio, author Jeanette Winterson reads William Blake's The Divine Image.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.

The quality of hospital food is one of the subjects our guest editor has chosen to focus on. Health minister Simon Burns responds to the concerns highlighted by Tracey Emin.

The business news with Lesley Curwen.

Tracey Emin is reflecting her love of radio by getting some of her favourite voices to read some poetry. Broadcaster Sue MacGregor reads a poem by the poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy: Your School.

Do we give teachers the respect we should and if not how much do portrayals of teachers in the media have to do with it? That's one of the questions our guest editor Tracey Emin wanted us to look at and asked the Today programme's Sanchia Berg to investigate.

The funeral is under way for Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader who armed his nation with nuclear weapons and condemned many of his people to starvation through economic ineptness. John Everard was British Ambassador to North Korea from 2006 to 2008 reflects on the implications of this public outpouring of grief for the former leader.

Tracey Emin talks about why she chose to focus on the topics she did during her stint as guest editor on the Today programme.



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