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Page last updated at 07:23 GMT, Monday, 17 December 2012
Today: Monday 17th December

The annual talks to determine fish quotas and days at sea next year begin this week. President Obama has said the US must do more to protect its children in the wake of Friday's shootings at a school in Newtown, Connecticut. And the Christmas family newsletters - or "round robins" - how should they be written?

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

The Syrian Vice President says neither his government nor the rebels fighting to overthrow it can win a decisive victory, but that's not what Western diplomats are saying. We hear from Patrick Cockburn - the Independent's Middle East correspondent, and Walid Safour - from the Syrian opposition.


Cod stocks in the North Sea are rising but that is not making the arguments in the EU over fishing quotas any easier. The annual talks on the common fisheries policy kick off tomorrow - there are plans for cuts in the amount of cod that can be fished in order to get numbers back to optimal levels. Kevin Keane reports from Peterhead.


When the Today Programme first visited Bong county in Liberia, John Humphrys spoke to a young man called Patrick - one of a number of boys sleeping rough in the warehouses on the edge of Gbarnga market. Evan Davis has been back to Gbarnga market during his recent trip, to find out what has happened to Patrick since we last heard from him.

Sport news with Rob Bonnet.


President Obama made a visit to Newtown Connecticut on Sunday, giving some expression to the nation's emotions at the death of so many six and seven-year-olds. He has promised to use the powers of his office to try to prevent more tragedies like this in the future. Jonny Dymond reports. And President of the Independent Firearm Owners Association Richard Feldman speaks to Sarah Montague about gun laws in the US.

The paper review.


It's that time of year where some families take it upon themselves to send out not just a nice simple Christmas card, but a whole family newsletter to everyone they know. Writer Lynne Truss has devised six cunning ways you could respond and maybe put an end to the smug family boasting.

Thought for the Day with John Bell of the Iona Community.


A new group is to be set up looking at the obstacles in the NHS in England providing better cover at weekends. Prof Norman Williams is President of the Royal College of Surgeons.


Tomorrow, the annual argument over European fishing quotas starts. Despite cod levels in the North Sea rising, they are not doing as well as they should be, so the EU commission wants to cut quotas next year. Professor Callum Roberts and Richard Benyon MP discuss the issue and the consequences for Britain's fishermen.


The deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will be giving a speech today trying to distance himself and his party from Conservative policies. Political editor Nick Robinson reports.

Sport news with Rob Bonnet.

A police officer has been arrested on suspicion of misconduct in public office. The arrest was made by officers investigating who leaked the official police log to newspapers of the argument between the former chief whip Andrew Mitchell and police at the gates to Downing Street. Andy Moore reports.

The Liberal Democratic Party was in power in Japan from 1955 to 2009 - bar one 11-month pause. Then for three years it was in opposition. But it is now back in government with a huge majority. Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports from Tokyo.


Property prices have not been a source of much good news in recent years, but Northern Ireland has suffered more than any other. Lesley Curwen reports.


The charity Barnado's thinks we are failing to get the best out of teenage fathers. Jonahan Rallings, Barnardo's assistant director of policy and research, talks about the Family Strategic Partnership.

The small Belgian town of Nechin - about 2km from the French border - is now home to French actor and tax exile Gerard Depardieu. The 75% tax rate in France on earnings over a million, is also the reason France's richest man, Bernard Arnaud, is applying for Belgian citizenship. French commentator Benedict Paviot and Europe editor for the Press Association Geoff Meade, discuss the trend.

Bradley Wiggins adds Sports Personality of the Year to his list of victories. The Olympic gold medallist, who became the first Briton to win the Tour de France this year, secured almost a third of the public votes. Talking to the Today programme, he says his triumphs were just part of a victorious summer for British sport.

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