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Page last updated at 07:10 GMT, Friday, 6 January 2012
Today: Friday 6th January

In the second of the Today programme's New Year leader interviews, Evan Davis is in Manchester to talk to the Prime Minister David Cameron. Also on the programme, Professor Stephen Hawking answers the questions you put to him.

Business news with Simon Jack on the Euro hitting a 16 month low against the pound and the dollar.

The prime minister is to launch a drive to change the culture of nursing in England by saying in a speech that nursing needs to be about patients not paperwork. Jo Webber, Deputy policy director of the NHS confederation, outlines how the changes are likely to change the health service.

The government's plan for the economy has two parts, shrinking the public sector and growing the private sector. The problem is that so far the shrinking part has been easier than the growing part. Evan Davis spent yesterday in and around Manchester to see how well the growing part is going.

Business news with Simon Jack.

MP Diane Abbott caused a storm on Twitter with her comments about a "white divide and rule agenda". Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, columnist for the Independent, and Diran Adebayo, award winning novelist, discuss the controversy.

Shortly before Christmas we offered you the chance to put your questions to the celebrated physicist Stephen Hawking as one way of marking his 70th birthday on Sunday. Hundreds of questions came in via Twitter, email and on our Facebook page. Science correspondent Tom Feilden has selected a few and has been to Cambridge to put them to the man himself.

The paper review.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg have raised the prospect of bringing in new powers to curb tax avoidance by leading companies and wealthy individuals. Graham Aaronson QC, a barrister specialising in tax cases and commissioned by the Treasury to lead a review of tax avoidance last year, explains whether there is a realistic chance of the government legislating on this issue.

Thought for the day with the Reverend Doctor Giles Fraser.

The Chief Executive of a council in greater London has suggested that the legal limit for school class sizes should be raised from 30 to 32. Lee Elliot Major, Head of Policy and Research at the Sutton Trust, and Christine Blower, General secretary of the National Union of Teachers, debate whether class sizes are likely to expand in the face of government cuts.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said, in the second of our New Year leader interviews, that the government will act on top pay levels, has called for politicians to "speak up" about nursing standards and has defended his use of the EU summit veto.

The BBC's political editor Nick Robinson gives his analysis of David Cameron's interview.

Research published in the British Medical Journal suggests that brain function starts to decline from the age of around 45 and, controversially, that action might be taken. Neuroscientist professor Steven Rose gives his view on the research.

Business news with Simon Jack.

How excited are people outside London about the Olympic Games? The polling data shows there's not that much of a London effect on enthusiasm or lack thereof. In Manchester, Evan Davis finds out how the people of Manchester feel about the games.

When he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone disease at the age of 21, doctors thought he would not live more than another few years. But this Sunday Professor Stephen Hawking turns 70 and is celebrating a life of outstanding achievement. His biographer Kitty Ferguson and Dr Harvey Reall, a reader in theoretical physics at Cambridge and a former student of Professor Hawking, discuss his life and work.


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