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Page last updated at 07:12 GMT, Friday, 23 March 2012
Today: Friday 23rd March

The government is to introduce minimum alcohol pricing in England and Wales to try to reduce excessive drinking. Inspectors have carried out unannounced checks on abortion clinics after concerns that some are breaking the law. And also on the programme, why one member of Radiohead is turning to his classical heroes for inspiration.

We are no longer providing clips of every part of the programme but you will be able to listen via the BBC iPlayer .

Business news with Simon Jack, with Friday boss, Nick Wilkinson, CEO of Evans Cycles.


Unannounced inspections have taken place at abortion clinics in England after Health Secretary Andrew Lansley ordered the Care Quality Commission to carry out checks to find out whether the legal requirement for two doctors to approve each abortion was being followed correctly. Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, responds.


In just over a week the people of Burma will go to the polls after what's been a period of unprecedented change after a succession of democratic reforms. The Today programme's Mike Thomson reports from the country's former capital, Rangoon.


One of Keats' best loved poems, Ode to Autumn with its description of the water-meadows in Winchester, is now believed to actually be describing a nearby hill, currently occupied by a car park. Professor Richard Marggraf Turley, of the Department of English and Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University, outlines how researchers came to this conclusion.

Business news with Simon Jack.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.


The government's new Alcohol Strategy plans to turn the tide against irresponsible drinking which costs the UK £21bn a year with measures including a minimum unit price of 40p for alcohol in England and Wales and banning multi-buy discount deals. Gavin Partington, of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, and Sir Ian Gilmore, the Royal College of Physicians' special adviser on alcohol, discuss the pros and cons of the proposal.

Paper review.


The Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki is a pioneer of 20th century experimental music, developing new tonal scales and melodic structures in the 1960s. Now he's collaborating with one of his biggest fans - Jonny Greenwood, guitarist with the band Radiohead, who's also forging a career as a classical composer. John Wilson, presenter of Radio 4's Front Row met them backstage at a joint concert at the Barbican in London.

Thought for the day with The Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks.


The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) releases new guidance about tuberculosis (TB) in hard-to-reach communities, following Health Protection Agency figures that show that in 2011 there were 9,042 reported cases of TB in the UK, an increase of five percent from new cases reported in 2010. The Today programme's Louise Jackson went to visit an outreach programme in South London while Professor Mike Kelly, director of public health at NICE, outlines concerns about the disease.


The government is to publish its cross-departmental Alcohol Strategy for England and Wales to tackle drink-fuelled violence and binge-drinking. Home Secretary Theresa May outlines the measures they are putting into place and outlines her work to obtain assurances from Jordan that will enable the deportation of the radical Muslim cleric, Abu Qatada.


The Spanish Ministry of Defence has given Britain two unique Enigma cipher machines, dating back to the Spanish Civil War,

which provide a key part of the largely unknown story of how code-breaking in Spain laid the foundations for crucial work at Bletchley Park during the Second World War. Security correspondent Gordon Corera reports from Toledo in Spain.

Sports news with Rob Bonnet.


More than 130 servicemen and women have been given military honours for their bravery during military operations in Afghanistan and Libya. Two of those honoured were Royal Navy reservist, Michelle Ping, who was mentioned in despatches, and Serjeant Deacon Cutterham from The Rifles Regiment who has been awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, who describe their experiences.


Business news with Simon Jack. Simon tested the theory that it is cheaper to cook from scratch than it is to buy ready meals and asked the opinion of chef Allegra McEvedy.

George Osborne appeared to distance the government from the goal of eradicating poverty in UK by 2020 when he was interviewed on this programme yesterday. Alison Garnham, chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, and Neil O'Brien, director of Policy Exchange, discuss what this might mean for government's commitment to getting rid of child poverty.

Today is Sport Relief day on the BBC and a good example of the kind of project the charity supports is the Waterberg Welfare Society in the South African province of Limpopo which provides mobile HIV clinics, drugs and community education projects, to try to bring down the number of HIV infections. South Africa correspondent Karen Allen went to find out more about their work.

The Scottish Parliament's presiding officer is about to sew the first stitch on the first panel of the Great Tapestry of Scotland, which will illustrate the history of Scotland and when finished will be the world's longest tapestry. Alexander McCall-Smith, author and co-chairman of the Great Tapestry of Scotland Trust, and Andrew Crummy, the artist who has designed the tapestry, describe what they hope to achieve.

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