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Thursday 31st 2007
PLEASE NOTE: We are unable to offer transcripts for our programme interviews.

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Today's briefing hour: catch up on the day's news, sport and business.
0600 - 0630
0630- 0700

0700 - 0730

07:10 The police and army in Iraq have searched Sadr City in their hunt for the five British men kidnapped this week. Our world affairs editor John Simpson is one of the few westerners who's spent any time in Sadr City and joins us.

07:12 The cross-party Foreign Affairs select committee in the Commons is unhappy that it has not been briefed by the Foreign Secretary or the Europe minister prior to the European summit on June 20th. We speak to the Committee Chairman, Mike Gapes.

07:15 Business News with Greg Wood.

07:18 If you want to see a reconstruction of Noah's Ark - complete with boarding dinosaurs - then head to the American state of Kentucky to a newly-opened museum devoted to creationism, the belief in the literal truth of the biblical account of how life came to exist.

07:21 One month before a nationwide ban on smoking comes in to force in England, the most effective treatment yet found to help people stop smoking has been approved for use on the NHS. Our reporter David Chazan explains.

07:25 Sports News with Steve May.

0730 - 0800

07:30 We in the west may have become pretty disillusioned with President Putin and his leadership of Russia but what do the Russians themselves think of him and the way he has taken their country? Bridget Kendall reports from the city of Nizhny-Novgorod.

07:40 Today's papers.

07:43 This weekend sees the world premiere of the last piece of music composed by Elgar. The pianist David Owen Norris who discovered the music speaks to us.

07:45 Thought for the Day with Reverend Dr Giles Fraser, Vicar of Putney.

07:50 A climate change deal at next week's G8 summit is unlikely. The main block to progress, if leaked reports are to be believed, is the United States. Sir David King, the government's Chief Scientific Adviser speaks to us.

0800 - 0830

08:10 As of today teachers in English schools will be allowed to search pupils who they think are carrying knives. We speak to Kevin Everard who runs the Be Safe Project, Carol Whitty the Deputy General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers and Alan Johnson, Education Secretary.

08:20 The chief suspect in the murder of the former Russian agent, Alexander Litvenenko, held a news conference today in Moscow.

08:23 The international mission in Afghanistan depends on one key factor - winning the support of the Afghan people. Alistair Leithead has been investigating the latest incident in the Western province of Herat.

08:25 Sports Update with Steve May.

0830 - 0900

08:30 In 2005, members of the G8 conference pledged to double its aid to Africa by 2010. But a new report from the OECD prepared for the forthcoming G8 shows that official development aid from rich countries actually fell by 5 percent last year and aid to Africa grew only 2 percent over the same period. The International Development Secretary Hilary Benn and Mandla Mandela - Aids campaigner and Nelson Mandela's grandson, join us.

08:38 Shouting at the referee has probably always been a part of football. But if the players themselves do it and the referee feels threatened, there's a lot of harm in it. Iain Blanchard of the FA joins us.

08:45 Business update with Greg Wood.

08:48 The head of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Patrick O'Brien, will today warn Catholic politicians they can't remain full members of the church if they support abortion. We speak to the Bishop of Paisley.

08:52 Jim Watson is getting a prize from his colleagues this week. He is the man, with Francis Crick, who discovered the structure of DNA. We speak to Steve Jones, the Professor of Genetics at University College London and Dr Mark Walport of the Wellcome Trust.

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Thought for the Day

Thought for the Day for today and the last week can be heard from the Religion and Ethics Website

The Blunder Clips

Some of Our Less Memorable Moments
These infamous sound clips have risen from the Today vaults again to haunt our newsreaders and presenters. Enjoy!

Can of what John?
John gets confused over the expression, 'opened a can of worms.'
- 18th March 2005
What is our website and email address John?
John gets confused about all this modern technology and it's David Blunkett Jim!
- 22 December 2004
Who's reading the news Sarah?
Sarah introduces a guest newsreader. And it's catching, as Nick Clarke of the World at One demonstrates
- 4/5th October 2004
The boy who likes to say YES!
Sports presenter Steve May is left trying desperately to get his seven year old guest to say something other than yes!
- 23rd September 2004
When the technology fails John and Jim have to Ad-Lib...
Jim introduces a very strange sounding 
'Yesterday in Parliament' package.
 - 23th July 2004
Paul Burrell sings opera?
Sarah cues in a very odd sounding Paul Burrell clip.
 - 25th October 2003
Sarah decides it's her turn - and interrupts Allan's discussion
-7 June 2002
Garry Richardson waits and waits and waits for Brendan Foster.
The Extended Interview

We don’t always have time to play the whole interview on air. Listen to the extended interview here, exclusive to the Today website.

Don De Lillo Interview
The American writer Don de Lillo who wrote Underworld and is one of the biggest figures in modern American literature - has become a classic. A Penguin classic. A great accolade, but usually one reserved for the dead. John interviewed him and asked what it's like to be thought of as a "classic"?
Mouloud Sihali Interview
Mouloud Sihali from Algeria, North Africa, is one of the suspected terrorists that the Home Secretary wants to deport back to Algeria. Based on secret intelligence and police investigations, the Home Secretary has deemed Sihali a threat to the Nation's security. Last year Mouloud Sihali was found not guilty of being a part of a so called released Ricin plot.
The nominations for the Oscars were announced yesterday, and The Constant Gardener is tipped for a place on the shortlist. It stars Ralph Fiennes who picked up an Evening Standard Film Award this week for his role in the film. Polly Billington spoke him and to the author, John le Carre, about the film and its chances at the Oscars. (31/01/06)
Edward Stourton interviews the President of Mexico, Vincente Fox, and Tom Shannon, the United States Under Secretary of State with responsibility for the Americas, on the Summit of the Americas in Argentina and the prospect of a free trade agreement for the region.
President Vincente Fox.
Under Secretary of State Tom Shannon.
50th anniversary of Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett.
The uncut interview with Sir Peter Hall, the first director to stage the play in 1955, with the last surviving member of the original main cast, Timothy Bateson who played 'lucky', and playwright Ronald Harwood.
Jim Naughtie speaks to the Archbishop of Kaduna, Josiah Idowu Fearon, about the Anglican Church in Africa and tensions between Christians and Muslims. (25/05/05)
Edward Stourton interviews Monsignor Charles Burns, a retired head of the Vatican's Secret Archives, in Rome about the funeral of the Pope John Paul II.
Part 1
Part 2
First BBC interview of Moazzam Begg, former Guantanamo Bay detainee. Mr Begg speaks to our reporter Zubeida Malik about his ordeal and how he continues to campaign for five Britons still there to be freed.
Justin Webb interviews Walter Cronkite who pays tribute to Dan Rather, a 73 year old news presenter in America who is retiring after 24 years.
Tony Blair speaks to Jim at the British Embassy in Washington, following his controversial Rose Garden press conference with Bush. The Iraq war, the Middle East and the first hints of an EU constitution referendum u-turn. (17/04/04).
Jim Naughtie interviews the Nigerian High Commissioner in Britain, Dr Christopher Kolade, about the recent increase of religious violence in Nigeria.
John Humphrys interviews Prince Hassan of Jordan on the critical situation in Iraq.
Jim Naughtie interviews Bob Woodward. First Watergate, now a controversial book into events in the White House pre-Iraq war.
Sarah Montague interviews Paul Burrell.
The former royal butler denies betraying Diana, Princess of Wales, insisting his controversial new book was "a loving tribute".
General James L. Jones
During his visit to  London - the Supreme Commander of Nato talks to James Naughtie about the threat posed to NATO by a stronger EU military force.
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