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Page last updated at 06:32 GMT, Wednesday, 25 July 2012 07:32 UK
Today: Wednesday 25th July

As the first events of the 2012 Olympic Games begin today, the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt tells Jim Naughtie how the government is dealing with the security challenges and the planned strike action by border staff. The Syrian government is sending thousands of troops to the second city, Aleppo, and fighting is also continuing in Damascus. And also on Today's programme, why today is flying ant day.

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 Lesley Curwen, looking ahead at the UK's latest growth figures.


Border staff in the PCS union are planning to take strike action on the eve of the Olympics, and the RMT transport union is in talks with South West Trains after staff voted for an overtime ban. Peter Hendy, Transport Commissioner for London, gives his reaction.

A cross-party committee of MPs wants the code covering the re-employment of former civil servants in the private sector to be put on a statutory basis. The Conservative Bernard Jenkin, who chairs the committee, explains why they want the change.

Opinion polls are suggesting a rise in support for the UK Independence Party. The BBC's Ben Wright spoke to some former Tories who are now in UKIP at the weekend, at a conference called "the next big step."

Business news with Lesley Curwen.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.


The government is announcing that its cut in the subsidy for onshore wind generation is going to be less than expected. Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, explains why.

The paper review.

The Society of Biology wants to find out why huge numbers of flying ants are expected to take to the air and is organising a survey to map what happens. Mark Downs, the society's chief executive, explains how the survey will work.

Thought for the day with Reverend Joel Edwards, international director of Micah Challenge.


The latest figures for Gross Domestic Product will be released later today, and are expected to show that the UK economy contracted slightly between April and June. Economics Editor Stephanie Flanders has more details and Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, and Terry Smith, chief executive of Tullett Prebon, discuss the economic situation in the UK.

The Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt speaks to Jim Naughtie

on how the government is hoping to deal with the security challenges and the planned strike action by border staff.

The Reuters news agency has been reporting this morning that the Syrian government has sent thousands of troops surging towards Aleppo, the country's biggest city and commercial capital. The BBC's Ian Pannell, who is with those forces, reports.

The Olympic Lanes have opened this morning and motorists are banned from using them on penalty of a £135 fine, which has brought to mind the Zil Lanes of the Soviet era which used to allow the politburo to move freely around. The BBC's Moscow correspondent Daniel Sandford has been delving into their history and Edward Lucas, former Moscow Bureau chief of the Economist, compares Zil Lanes and Olympic Lanes.

Sport news with Garry Richardson.

An eleven year old boy has been found on a flight from Manchester airport to Rome after boarding without a ticket or passport. John Greenway, a spokesman for Manchester Airport, explains how this was able to happen.

Analysts are saying that America's worst drought for 50 years could mean that rising food prices could hit some of the world's poorest countries. Joe Kelsay of the Indiana Department of Agriculture explains how bad the situation is, and Dr Alice Bows, senior lecturer in Energy and Climate Change at the Sustainable Consumption Institute, explains what needs to be done.

Business news with Lesley Curwen.

Michael Clarke, director of the Royal United Services Institute, on the situation in Syria.


As the Olympics open on Friday, we all know that a competitor from China stands a better chance of taking a medal than an athlete from Chad, but how about a model that quantifies those assumptions, providing detailed national rankings even before the games begin? Philippa Thomas reports on the business of prediction and sports economist Dr John Glen shares his thoughts.

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