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Page last updated at 07:21 GMT, Wednesday, 21 November 2012
Today: Wednesday 21st November

A report out this morning from the office of the children's commissioner deals with the sexual exploitation of children outside their homes. There's still no sign of the hoped-for ceasefire between Israel and Gaza. The Church of England has voted against allowing women to become bishops. And do we really need a sequel to The Snowman?

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, including Hewlett Packard's claim that a British technology company overstated its value - just before HP bought it.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.

Now that the British government has officially recognised Syria's opposition as the true representatives of the people, what difference will it make to what support we give? Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, speaks to Today.

For decades, most pupils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have sat GCSEs and A-levels. But over the next few years it seems likely that that geographical consensus on the key exams for teenagers will break up. There are worries that different parts of the UK sitting increasingly different exams could lead to confusion and even unfairness. The BBC's education correspondent Luke Walton has been to a Welsh school that's close to the English border.

The number of people dying each year from liver disease in England is increasing. That's unlike almost every other country in Europe where deaths from the disease are falling. The chief medical officer for England, Prof Dame Sally Davies, discusses why she has singled out the disease in her first report in the job.


The Children's Commissioner for England, Maggie Atkinson, has expressed deep concern about the scale of child sexual exploitation in the country. An interim report by her office says in one year alone it identified at least sixteen and a half thousand children who were at high risk of being sexually abused by gangs and groups. Deputy Chief Constable Peter Davies from the Association of Chief Police Officers explains that police are taking action to improve how they identify and investigate this form of abuse.

Business news with Simon Jack.

The BBC's arts correspondent Rebecca Jones visits a new exhibition at the Handel House Museum in London celebrating the life of Charles Jennens, the first editor of modern Shakespeare.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.


The Church of England has voted against allowing women to become bishops and it will be many years before it can even be discussed by the general synod again. It's been suggested that Westminster should step in, with parliament effectively forcing the church to change its rules on the basis that they are discriminatory. John Sentamu, archbishop of York, speaks to the Today programme's John Humphrys.

The paper review.


When a man vandalised a Rothko at the Tate Modern last month by writing on it, the gallery said they were confident they could quickly and completely repair it. But it seems the damage is far worse than they originally thought, says the BBC's arts editor Will Gompertz.

Thought for the Day with Brian Draper, associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.


There is still no sign of the hoped-for ceasefire between Israel and Gaza. Air strikes and rocket attacks have continued overnight. Parts of Gaza are now without power and another 20 Palestinians were reported to have been killed yesterday. And Israel says one of its soldiers and a civilian have been killed by the ongoing rocket attacks. Chatham House's Yossi Mekelberg and Col Richard Kemp from the Royal United Services Institute analyse the prospects for an end to the violence.


A report out this morning from the Office of the Children's Commissioner deals with the sexual exploitation of children outside their homes. There were 2,500 confirmed victims in the past year or so and more than 16,000 at high risk. The report's author, Sue Berelowitz, outlines its main findings and recommendations.

And the Today programme's John Humphrys has been talking to the parents of one girl who was groomed and sexually exploited while she was in her early teens. Their voices are spoken by actors.


The great-great-great granddaughter of Charles Dickens will be giving a talk at Westminster today, not about her ancestor's novels but about his work as a parliamentary reporter. She joins Claire Tomalin, who's written a biogrpahy of Dickens, to speak to the Today programme's Sarah Montague.

Sports news with Garry Richardson.


When the Home Secretary Theresa May blocked the extradition of the computer hacker Gary McKinnon to the United States last month, senior US officials were reported as saying that her relationship with the United States was "finished". The US Attorney General Eric Holder, who was quoted as feeling "completely screwed" by Mrs May's decision, speaks to Today's Sarah Montague.

Business news with Simon Jack.

Last month, Britain signed an agreement with Bahrain to provide it with military and security assistance. The Ministry of Defence describes it as a continuation of an existing relationship which will help provide security to a critically important region - but Bahraini opposition spokesmen claim the agreement has encouraged the government of Bahrain to extend its crackdown on the pro-democracy movement. Andrew Hosken reports.

Rebels in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo say they have seized the regional capital, Goma. Fighters from the M23 rebel group - which Congo says is backed by Rwanda - entered the city earlier on Tuesday. They met little resistance from the Congolese army or United Nations peacekeepers. Jason Stearns - the author of Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa - explains what are the implications of the latest escalation of violence.

Channel 4 are planning a sequel to The Snowman this Christmas: The Snowman and the Snow Dog. Erica Hepper and Daiman Barr debate whether it is a good idea.

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