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Best of Today


Insight, analysis and expert debate as key policy makers are challenged on the latest news stories.


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Insight, analysis and expert debate as key policy makers are challenged on the latest news stories.




UK summit to address risks of AI

The UK is to host a global summit in London in the autumn to try and coordinate a common global response to the rise of AI technology. Concerns about the risks posed by AI have increased recently with a group of Silicon Valley executives issuing a statement arguing that artificial intelligence could even lead to the extinction of humanity. Today’s Nick Robinson spoke to Palentir's CEO Alex Karp about the summit and asked him how he reacted to calls by Elon Musk and others for a pause in AI research... (Image, Security conference, Credit, Florence Lo/ Reuters)


Has Saudi Arabia just bought golf?

The international golfing circuits – the PGA Tour and DP World Tour – have agreed to merge with Saudi Arabian-backed LIV Golf, giving Saudi Arabia control of the world golf tour. The comes after a year of disruption in the men's game following the launch of LIV. Litigation between the separate tours will cease and they will move forward as part of the same enterprise. Today’s Nick Robinson spoke to Ben Rhodes, former speech writer and deputy national security advisor to President Obama about the deal – and asked why anyone should care who owns a golf tour? (Image, Brooks Koepka, during the first round of the LIV Golf DC 2023 tournament, Credit, Geoff Burke, USA Today Sports)


Labour on North Sea fossil fuels

Sir Keir Starmer addresses the GMB union, amid criticism of the party’s plans to end new licences for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea. The union and the Labour leader are in conflict over the policy. Today’s Justin Webb spoke to GMB General Secretary says he hopes Sir Keir will listen to the concerns, because "we need a managed decline and not a cliff edge". He put the GMB’s concerns to Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Secretary for Work & Pensions. Image Credit: Reuters/Henry Nicholls


Russia claims to thwart Ukraine offensive

Russia’s defence ministry says it's thwarted several Ukrainian attacks in occupied parts of the Donetsk region, and inflicted reverses on mechanised units in a forested area of Luhansk. Kyiv hasn’t responded directly to the claims, saying only that there had been almost thirty combat clashes in Donetsk and Luhansk. The defence analyst professor Michael Clarke told Today’s Mishal Husain the activity suggests Ukraine's counter-offensive is now underway with ground operations. She also spoke to Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s International Editor, about the pluses and minuses facing the counter-offensive. And she received further analysis from General Sir Richard Barrons, a Former Commander of British Joint Forces Command; and Alina Frolova, a former deputy Defence minister of Ukraine. Image credit: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images


The Today Debate: Is 'Greedflation' making food more expensive?

The Today Debate is about taking a subject and pulling it apart with more time than we could ever have during the programme in the morning. Mishal Husain is joined by politicians, campaigners, food retailers and manufacturers in front of a live audience in the BBC's Radio Theatre to ask whether greed is part of the reason food prices remain so high.


The Today Debate: Do we need a Monarchy?

The Today Debate is about taking a subject and pulling it apart with more time than we could ever have during the Today programme in the morning. Today presenter Mishal Husain was joined by a panel of guests in the BBC's Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House to look at the future of the Royal Family in 'The Today Debate: Do we need a Monarchy?' Joining her were Billy Bragg, the singer and songwriter; Juliet Samuel, a columnist for the Times; Polly Toynbee, a columnist at the Guardian; Charles Moore, former editor of the Telegraph and the Spectator, biographer of Margaret Thatcher and Jason Arday, an academic who works on inequality, race and education.


How could Sheila Seleoane remain undiscovered for so long?

Sheila Seleoane lay dead for two and a half years before her body was found - despite repeated efforts to raise the alarm. Sheila was a 58-year-old medical secretary who died in her South London flat in August 2019. In a final report by the BBC's Harry Farley, he goes back to speak to her neighbours. Today's Martha Kearney speaks to Ian McDermott, chief executive of Peabody, the housing association which was Sheila’s landlord.


How can a death go unnoticed in modern society?

Sheila Seleoane was found in her Peckham flat in February 2022 and had to be identified by dental records. Her neighbours initially made complains to their housing association, Peabody, about a foul stench and maggots in 2019 – but the housing association only made one “proactive attempt” to contact the tenant and cut off her gas. Miss Seleoane’s last known contact was with her GP in August 2019, and when her body was found, the cause of her death was unascertained due to the advanced state of composition of her body. But what was she like and who was she? In the second in a series of three, Harry Farley talks to Today’s Justin Webb about loneliness and isolation while living in an urban area.


Why was my neighbour's body not found for two years?

Residents in a south London block of flats are considering legal action against a housing association, after their neighbour lay dead for two and a half years before her body was found, despite their efforts to raise the alarm. 58-year-old Sheila Seleoane, was a medical secretary, who was found in her flat in Peckham last year. For Sheila's neighbours though it had been obvious for a long time that something was wrong. This week we’re looking more closely at Shelia's story, to explore what happened and what it tells us about modern Britain. Harry Farley speaks to Today's Mishal Husain, and in the first of three reports, he asks why it took so long before Sheila was discovered?


An experiment in "open justice" in the family courts

Judgements made in the family courts can affect families forever, including placing children in care or for adoption. After decades of calls for greater scrutiny of the family courts, at the end of January journalists gained access to report proceedings, in a landmark pilot scheme. Three court centres in Leeds, Carlisle and Cardiff allowed accredited journalists to report cases for the first time, providing the families involved remained anonymous. Our Correspondent Sanchia Berg spent several weeks in Leeds Family Court attending hearings. This week Today has featured a series of her reports, highlighting some of the issues that are usually hidden, including a mother's 'remarkable turnaround' to win back her baby. Today presenter Martha Kearney, also spoke to the judge who spearheaded the pilot, Justice Lieven.


'I'm proud Polish people played a part'

Nick Robinson joins the crowds watching US President Joseph Biden's speech in Warsaw.


Björn from ABBA's Eurovision highlights

Björn Ulvaeus has guest edited BBC Radio 4's Today and his programme included a lot of insights and encounters about Eurovision. Hear him talk to one of the British jurors who in 1974 gave ABBA's Waterloo "nul points" - and doesn't regret it! He also discusses with Erasure's Andy Bell, Radio 1's Adele Roberts and UK Eurovision presenter Rylan Clark the appeal of the contest and ABBA itself to the LGBT+ community. Bjorn also speaks to Martin Österdahl, executive supervisor of Eurovision, about whether it can move to be a fully global competition. (Photo: ABBA triumph at 1974 Eurovision. Credit: BBC)


Sir Jeremy Fleming Guest Edits Today

Today's fourth Christmas guest editor this year is Sir Jeremy Fleming, director of GCHQ, the UK's largest but probably least known intelligence agency. Hear highlights from his programme which centres on the theme of data and trust, including how we all share our own personal information and how intelligence agencies across the world handle that data. Guests include Avril Haines, the United States director of national intelligence, Vint Cerf, one of the founding fathers of the internet, and multiple Olympic champion Sir Ben Ainslie, who discusses the use of data in his sport of sailing.


Dame Sharon White Guest Edits Today

Today’s final Christmas guest editor this year is Dame Sharon White, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership and former head of telecoms regulator Ofcom. She was named as the most powerful black person in the country in the 2023 Power List. One of the key issues for her programme is how society can help more people who have been in care get into employment – and includes a report from the BBC’s Ashley John-Baptiste, who grew up in care. She also speaks to world renown choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne about how to attract a wider audience to ballet, and she interviews England rugby star Maro Itoje about his activism off the field.


Anne-Marie Imafidon Guest Edits Today

Today’s sixth Christmas guest editor is Anne-Marie Imafidon – computer scientist, CEO and co-presenter of Countdown. Hear highlights of her programme, whose central theme is opportunity. She looks at how we work, how we fund science, and how we recognise the achievements of women which have been lost to history, such as Dr Gladys Mae West, whose maths work paved the way for GPS navigation. We also explore two of Anne-Marie’s big passions – Nigerian food and trainers.


Björn Ulvaeus Guest Edits Today

Today's fifth Christmas guest editor is Björn Ulvaeus from ABBA. Hear highlights from his programme, which looks at the impact of Artificial Intelligence and technology on music, the future of democracy and of course Eurovision - the contest which launched Abba's global success nearly 50 years ago. Guests include Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics, the historian Noah Yuval Harari, Andy Bell from Erasure, the boss of Eurovision, as well as its UK presenter Rylan Clark, and former culture minister Lord Vaizey.


Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe Guest Edits Today

Today's third guest editor this Christmas is Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was detained for six years in Iran - before being freed and coming home nine months ago. Hear highlights from her programme including the voices of families of current political prisoners in Iran and Nazanin speaking to chef Yotam Ottolenghi about why one of his recipes has a special resonance for her - and about the solidarity that can be found in food and cooking. Nazanin also has an emotional encounter with tennis ace Andy Murray - she tells him how, while in solitary confinement, she was able to watch him win Wimbledon in 2016 and the joy that brought her. With her husband Richard, she also reflects on trying to get back to normal life against the backdrop of the current uprising and arrests in Iran.


Jamie Oliver Guest Edits Today

Today's second guest editor this Christmas is Jamie Oliver, the chef, entrepreneur and campaigner. Hear highlights from his programme in our Best of Today podcast, including interviews with former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and former Conservative Chancellor George Osborne about expanding free lunches in schools and providing a healthy array of options for students. Jamie Oliver has been open about his struggles in school with dyslexia. He says he was told he was taught alongside those with special needs. Jamie wanted to speak to the rapper Loyle Carner, who has ADHD about his struggles at school and what food means to him.


Lord Botham Guest Edits Today

Today's first guest editor this Christmas is Lord Botham, Ian "Beefy" Botham, former England all-rounder, now crossbench peer and UK Trade Envoy to Australia. Hear highlights from his programme in our Best of Today podcast, including an interview with the current England Cricket captain Ben Stokes, about the future of the Test format of the game. It was a chance meeting after a freak injury in 1977 which first put Lord Botham on the path to nearly four decades of fundraising. He reflects on that moment and looks at advances in the treatment of childhood leukaemia, a cause for which he has raised millions of pounds, with the BBC's medical editor Fergus Walsh.


Joanne Harris: My winter walk

The Today programme has asked some well-known faces to talk about the walks they do and why they’re so important to them at this time of year. Author Joanne Harris, best known for her novel Chocolat, describes her favourite walk from Almondbury, near Huddersfield, and up to Castle Hill. (Image credit: Simone Padovani/Awakening/Getty Images)