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Page last updated at 07:35 GMT, Wednesday, 26 December 2012
Today: Wednesday 26th December

At Hundreds of hunts are meeting around the country this morning - but a senior minister has said there's no chance of over-turning the current ban on hunting with dogs in the next year. Millions of shoppers will be out in force for the Boxing Day sales - but many will have to cope with flooding and industrial action. And throughout programme, it is the first of our Christmas guest editor programmes, and today the guest editor is the Mass Observation archive of diaries and testimony by ordinary people.

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

More than 300 hunts are expected to hold their traditional Boxing Day meets today. Anti-hunt campaigners say that hunting rules are being flouted - and the successful prosecution of the Heythrop Hunt earlier this month for unlawfully hunting with dogs has brought the whole issue of hunting back into the front of the public mind. Alex Dunlop reports from the Great Thurlow Hunt in Suffolk, and Chris Mason, the BBC political correspondent, explains the current tensions between campaigners and people taking part in the hunts.


Between Christmas and new year the Today programme will be guest edited. Today it is edited from the Mass Observation Archive - a collection of reports, posters, tickets, questionnaires, surveys, and perhaps most importantly diaries, which convey a sense of everyday life in Britain since 1937. James Hinton, who has written a new book - The Mass Observers, and Fiona Courage, curator of the Mass Observation Archive, discuss how Christmas and New Year have changed over the generations.

Boxing Day shopping frenzy across the country and 800,000 shoppers are expected to come to London's West End for the sales. The BBC's Rowan Bridge reports.

Since Wednesday, 470 homes have been flooded and there are still 150 flood warnings in place. Mark Bridge, the London Inn, explains how his pub has been flooded and how they have been coping with the weather.

A contribution from The Mass Observation archive from Christmas Eve 1940 - a couple in a shop fall foul of a "speak your weight" weighing machine.

Sports news with Chris Dennis.

London underground drivers who are members of Aslef are due to strike today over a a pay dispute. Howard Collins, chief operating officer of the London Underground, and Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, discuss the strike action.

The paper review.


As part of the Today programme's Mass Observation guest edit Nicola Stanbridge looks at how people have seen out one year and welcomed in the next over the generations, and why this time of year spurs people on to make changes in their lives.

Thought for the Day with Linda Woodhead, Professor of Religion and Society at Lancaster University.

British medical personnel - and in particular surgeons - will help the government to provide humanitarian assistance at short notice when disaster strikes abroad under a new scheme announced today by the Department for International Development. Professor Anthony Redmond, director of the International Emergency Trauma Register, explains what the initiative will hope to achieve.

More than 300 hunts are expected to hold their traditional Boxing Day meets today. It is the biggest day in the hunting calendar and comes after the RSPCA brought its first ever prosecution of a traditional hunt when the Heythrop Hunt pleaded guilty to charges of illegal hunting. Sir Barney White-Spunner, executive chairman of the Countryside Alliance, explains how he viewed the prosecution brought by the RSPCA.

President Morsi has signed a new Egyptian constitution into law after the results of the referendum on it were announced, which showed a two-thirds of voters in support of it. Bethany Bell, the BBC's correspondent in Cairo, explains that opponents have challenged the legitimacy of the constitution and of the referendum.


As part of the Today programme's Mass Observation guest edit Nicola Stanbridge reports from where the Mass Observation archive is kept at the University of Sussex.

Sports news with Chris Dennis.

Oxfam is claiming that what it calls the "overwhelmingly negative portrayal of Africa" by the media is undermining popular support for efforts to bring an end to hunger on the continent. Barbara Stocking, former chief executive of Oxfam, explains that it is launching a new publicity campaign "Food For All" with a more optimistic message that there is enough food in the world to feed everyone.

A look at the morning's papers.


Today's programme is guest edited by Mass Observation this morning. Juliet Gardener, the historian, Simon Garfield, the author and trustee of the Mass Observation archive, and Dr Lucy Robinson, a lecturer in history at Sussex university and is one of the leaders of a project called Observing the 1980s discuss the contribution that Mass Observation has made to people's lives.

British Composer Sir Richard Rodney Bennett died on Christmas Eve.

There is fresh doubt over whether one of the big mysteries of this year has truly been solved: the remains of a World War II carrier pigeon carrying a coded message found by a couple removing their fireplace in Surrey. Michael Smith, a trustee of Bletchley Park - the former code breaking centre - and is author of the Secrets of Station X, explains the mystery.

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