05/07/2011 Midlands Today


05/07/2011

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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today with Nick Owen and Suzanne Virdee.

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The headlines tonight: Two arrests as protesters try to

:00:07.:00:15.

disrupt plans for a giant open-cast coal mine. This is a small crime to

:00:15.:00:18.

stop the bigger crime of carrying on destroying and devastating the

:00:18.:00:20.

planet. A turning point in education as

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more and more schools bid to become independent academies. The freedoms

:00:26.:00:29.

and autonomy you endure as an academy will allow you to do things

:00:29.:00:32.

that you may be haven't thought of before.

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A leukemia patient demands a rethink on plans to stop

:00:34.:00:37.

prescribing the drugs that saved his life.

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And one of the world's oldest jet aircraft comes home to a place of

:00:41.:00:51.
:00:51.:00:55.

honour in the city where it was Good evening and welcome to

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Tuesday's Midlands Today. Tonight, angry scenes at the site of a huge

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open-cast coal mine as protesters chain themselves to excavating

:01:02.:01:08.

machines. They're trying to halt the mine on the outskirts of

:01:08.:01:11.

Telford. It could eventually produce up to 900,000 tonnes of

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coal, but the protesters say it would scar the landscape and the

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fuel it produces would pollute the atmosphere. Here's our Shropshire

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This footage shot by protesters at an open-cast mine site shows one of

:01:25.:01:30.

them on machinery, fastened to it by the neck. Other campaigners are

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seen here on the site run by UK Coal at New Works in Telford. At

:01:35.:01:43.

their protest camp later, a witness described what happened. So we

:01:43.:01:48.

access the site, run down and had the bicycle locks, will not our

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next arms to the diggers and disposed of the keys so they could

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not be accessed. And we were there for several hours which stopped the

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diggers working complete bid. people might say why put yourself

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in danger by chaining yourself to the machinery? As far as we are

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concerned, this is a small crime to stop the bigger crime of

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devastating the planet. Two men were arrested. Clearly whilst we

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would seek to facilitate lawful, peaceful protest at what has

:02:21.:02:24.

happened here today is not lawful for.

:02:24.:02:27.

Environmental protesters set up camp here in March last year. Today

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UK Coal said it would now seek a court order to evict them. But

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protesters have dug tunnels and built tree houses. They can

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peacefully cut myself out of the tunnel and out of the tree houses

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but we are not going to fight but I am going to be locked in when I am

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in my tunnel so they will have to cut me out.

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Work on the site continued around three hours after the arrests. This

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the reaction of the company. don't know whether they realise how

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unsafe and act they carried out. Not only for themselves, they have

:03:07.:03:12.

no proper footwear or anything like that, but also for our operatives.

:03:12.:03:15.

If one of those had to swerve and it caused an accident, that would

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be a problem we would have to suffer. UK Coal says the 900,000

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tonnes of coal extracted from this site over 32 months will meet the

:03:25.:03:29.

energy needs of one million homes for one year.

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Tonight two men remain in custody, arrested on suspicion of aggravated

:03:31.:03:41.
:03:41.:03:44.

UK Coal said that those involved in illegal activity had had their

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moment and it was now time for the company to do their job. A

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spokesman said that once a court order was in place, a specialist

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eviction team would be employed with the protesters insisting they

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have no intention of leaving. Later, the sky-high price of gold

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:04:09.:04:10.

and how it's being blamed for a The quiet revolution that's taking

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place in our classrooms now - what it could mean for the future of our

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children's and grandchildren's education? It was under Labour back

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in 2002 that the first academy school opened. It was free of local

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authority control and directly funded by the Government. There are

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now 801 across the country But since June last year, and the

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new coalition government, applications have soared. A third

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of secondary schools are now bidding to become academies,

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including 122 here in this region. But opinions remain bitterly

:04:38.:04:47.

divided, as Giles Latcham has been A public meeting in Walsall for

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parents of children at two schools planning to break away from local

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authority control and take charge of their own finances. But there

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are plenty of sceptics. You have got no local authority help. Prices

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of everything will go up. Uniforms, meals, school trips, everything. In

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my eyes, it is not a very good idea at all.

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The idea is for Hatherton Primary to merge with a nearby College to

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create a single high-performing academy and the governors say the

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uniforms will be supplied free. But teachers aren't convinced either.

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There's of this a lot of scare stories around the country of of

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academies where people have lost their jobs and have been facing

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difficulties. What they want his assurances and they are not getting

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them at the moment. At this school in Sutton Coldfield,

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teachers opposed to academy status walked out in protest. But

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elsewhere it has worked. It is a well-known place now and the

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opportunities and exam results and everything has been so improved.

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The people look forward to coming to school here because the place,

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the building we have got, to look at it is amazing.

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This academy in Tipton replaced a struggling secondary and three

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years on, results are vastly improved. So supporters of

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academies so they are all about freedom. To change the curriculum,

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freedom to restructure the school year, they have five terms here

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instead of three. Freedom to pay teachers more and here they do.

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Freedoms and autonomy that he enjoyed as an academy will allow

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you to do things that you have not thought of before. And as long as

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that makes a difference to young people and their learning and the

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outcomes and ultimately how they are with in the community, it can

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only be a good thing. Bournville in Birmingham and

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another school planning to convert to an academy. But here, parents

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are still doubtful. Some of them ask where the accountability is.

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I had a problem that the school could not resolve, I could go to my

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local councillor who has been elected to represent me and I could

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take it up with them. But I will not be able to do them when the

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school becomes an academy. A decade on from the first academy,

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they're still controversial for many people. But for many others,

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it's a simple equation. Academy Joining us now is Professor Stephen

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Gorard, an education expert from Birmingham University. Do you think

:07:25.:07:35.
:07:35.:07:38.

academy schools are good for our It is not a question of what I

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think, the evidence shows -- there is no evidence that they do better

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with equivalent children. They were intended to circumvent the ban on

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schools in failing circumstances becoming specialist schools. But

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has disappeared. Looking at the new academies, do you think they are a

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good thing? Will they provide better education long term? Many

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schools want to become them. Yes, and some reasons are financial why

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they become academies. This is not a choice for an individual school,

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but many of the schools have become academies will have seen through an

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entire cohort of students... What I think they have done is change the

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intake to schools. Were they have been in disadvantaged areas. They

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have prevented schools from getting into a spiral of decline. Do you

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think generally too much has been made of talk of academies against

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Lea schools. All any parent wants is for their child to go to school

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to do well and be happy. Of course. If they clearly worked or clearly

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did not, we would be arguing about whether it is a control. Council

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control is not an issue here. We have got good data on 50 of the

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schools now. And all the improvements have been about 50-50.

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Thank you. A cancer patient is fighting to

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keep available on the NHS a drug he says saved his life. Kris Griffin

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has had leukemia for more than three years and he wants other

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patients to have access to the drug. But it's thought NHS funding will

:09:34.:09:36.

soon be withdrawn after a recent review decided it was too expensive

:09:36.:09:42.

and not always effective. Cath Two pills which Kris Griffin says

:09:42.:09:45.

are keeping him alive. He takes them every morning at his home in

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Kidderminster to fight his chronic myeloid leukemia or CML. They have

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eradicated the majority of the leukaemia in my system. The feeling

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I have when I take them is utterly thankful of the system, it makes me

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very humble and it is very very surreal.

:10:06.:10:09.

Kris is taking dasatinib, one of three drugs that CML patients are

:10:09.:10:12.

offered as a second line of attack against the disease. The other two

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are high-dose imatinib and nilotinib. The cost is over �30,000

:10:17.:10:20.

per patient per year. And it's these three drugs which could lose

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NHS funding under a proposal from NICE, the drug advisory body. They

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are questioning not only because if -- cost effectiveness but the

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clinical effectiveness of this. What would you say to this? I would

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love to sit and debate with them and get them to put a price on my

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life. In 10 years, we have progressed on to the second and

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third generation drugs. What is the point in developing them if we

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cannot use them? Needless to say, it's emotive.

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Leukemia patients protested at a meeting of NICE in Manchester last

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month. MPs too are being petitioned. Kris Griffin's MP says if funding

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is withdrawn, there are other ways. There is money available and if

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consultants and patience think that NICE may have got it wrong, there

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is a route through that through the cancer drugs fund.

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Kris is in remission and about to become a father. It is madness.

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Lovely, though? Yes. Lovely. NICE say the guidance doesn't mean

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that people currently taking the drugs will stop receiving them. A

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final ruling on funding will be Detectives have offered a fresh

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appeal for information. Richard Deakin, who was 27, died

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after he was shot while in bed at his home in Chasetown. It's

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believed a black Corsa, found abandoned less than a mile away,

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had been used as a getaway car. A �20,000 reward has been offered for

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information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

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Duran Duran have -- postponed their tour because of the lead singer's

:12:05.:12:13.

for his problems. Simon Le Bon has been told to get physiotherapy

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treatment. The ban so they hope to my schedule as many of the

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performances as possible. The Shropshire Hills have been put

:12:24.:12:29.

on a map of Countryside Under Threat. It's been produced by the

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Campaign For The Protection Of Rural England which says plans to

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run power lines through the county could spoil an Area of Outstanding

:12:35.:12:38.

Natural Beauty. They're worried the Government is making it easier for

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developers to carry out projects which harm the countryside by

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reducing the powers of local authorities.

:12:42.:12:45.

The NHS in Gloucestershire has started using reminiscence pods to

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help dementia patients. The pioneering therapy allows patients

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to talk about a specific era with the help of a portable living room.

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Talking about the radio or TV programmes they remember, for

:12:55.:12:58.

example, can help jog patient's memories and reconnect them with

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their past. A heart specialist who was

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dismissed after a nine-year dispute with a hospital trust has been in

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court today to try to get a ruling that his sacking was illegal. Dr

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Raj Mattu blew the whistle about patients dying in overcrowded bays

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in Coventry in 2001. Our health correspondent, Michele Paduano,

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reports from the High Court in London. He was then suspended in

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bullying allegations, it has cost the system �6 million. He was

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eventually sacked last year. Our reporter reports from the High

:13:34.:13:39.

Court in London. October last year. Dr Raj Mattu

:13:39.:13:44.

lying seriously ill in hospital bed. His GP, Dr David Buckley and a

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medical specialist, wrote to university hospitals in

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Warwickshire asking to delay a disciplinary hearing in November

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because of his illness and distress making his illness worse. The

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chief-executive of the hospital disregarded the letters and sacked

:13:59.:14:04.

Dr Raj Mattu without him giving evidence in his defence. The

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barrister told the court that this was unfair and so but the trust

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knew that Dr Raj Mattu was unfit to attend and should not have gone

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ahead. He argued that the human rights had been breached because Dr

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Raj Mattu was not afforded an independent inquiry and because

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effectively his career as a doctor had ended.

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Dr Raj Mattu seemed here with his wife will undergo cross-examination

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:14:34.:14:45.

tomorrow. -- seemed here with his Thanks for joining us this evening.

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Still to come, whisper it quietly, but the football season's just

:14:48.:14:58.
:14:58.:15:01.

around the corner with some of our David Cameron will tomorrow outline

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plans to reduce Britain's military presence in Afghanistan by the end

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of next year. The Prime Minister, who's on a visit to Kabul, is

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expected to bring the number of British troops in the country below

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9,000. That could affect the Mercian Regiment which recruits

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largely from the Midlands and is serving in Afghanistan. With them

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is BBC WM reporter, Louise Brierley. I spoke to her earlier in Camp

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Bastion and asked her about the conditions she'd found there.

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has been another hot day here in Afghanistan, up to 42 degrees

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Celsius, that is not too bad here in Camp Bastion with air-

:15:32.:15:36.

conditioning but on the front line, they are living in very basic

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conditions. They are living on rations with no air conditioning

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and carrying 80 kilograms on their backs, that is more than I way. And

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they do not have tea breaks here. They work seven days a week, out

:15:50.:15:54.

for six months at a time and only go home for two weeks during that

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period. David Cameron has been there talking about the security

:15:58.:16:02.

handover, I believe the three Mercians have been helping with

:16:02.:16:09.

that? Yes, the Afghan national police and Afghan army taking over

:16:09.:16:12.

their own security. That is something that three Mercian are

:16:12.:16:16.

involved with. They have been training the army to use everything

:16:16.:16:19.

from metal detectors to reading maps. That is something you would

:16:19.:16:24.

not have seen here a few months ago. They are also getting Leeds on

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operations. But people I spoke to say there is still a lot to do here.

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Can you give us an idea what we will be seeing on your report on

:16:34.:16:38.

Midlands Today next week was Mike we would -- we will be talking

:16:38.:16:42.

about the Mercians involvement with the Afghan national army. I have

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been talking to young soldiers who served with Private Gareth

:16:45.:16:48.

Bellingham who sadly died three weeks ago and may have been paying

:16:48.:16:51.

their tributes but on a lighter note, we will also be looking at

:16:51.:16:55.

life back at base here et Camp Bastion, what people do to chill

:16:55.:17:00.

out, everything from going to the gym to Pizza Hut, things you might

:17:00.:17:07.

not expect to see here in Afghanistan. Louise Brierley art in

:17:07.:17:15.

Afghanistan with the Mercians. The sky-high price of gold is being

:17:15.:17:18.

blamed for a spate of muggings targeting Asian women. Thieves are

:17:18.:17:20.

snatching valuable gold necklaces and even earrings from victims.

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Andy Newman reports. Indian gold. High quality, high

:17:23.:17:26.

value, and in high demand in the criminal underworld. Some of these

:17:26.:17:32.

necklaces are worth �5,000 each. In recent weeks on the streets of

:17:32.:17:35.

Handsworth and Sandwell there have been a series of jewellery snatches

:17:35.:17:37.

mainly targeting middle-aged Asian women. Four took place in the last

:17:37.:17:47.
:17:47.:17:48.

In one typical incident, a 16-year- old woman was walking on a street

:17:48.:17:51.

in Handsworth when she was tapped on the shoulder. As she looked

:17:51.:17:55.

round, the robber grabbed her necklace and ran off.

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The police say because the robberies are opportunist they

:17:57.:18:02.

could be avoided if women wore their jewellery less prominently.

:18:02.:18:07.

It is a case of covering up, not wearing a jury overtly. Don't

:18:07.:18:13.

advertise the jury if you are wearing. -- jewellery.

:18:13.:18:15.

Jewellers confirm that the record price of gold is probably

:18:15.:18:19.

contributing to the trend. They say they're trying to do their bit to

:18:19.:18:25.

thwart the thieves. We tell customers to be careful with what

:18:25.:18:28.

they show. We are also working with the police to operate a radio

:18:28.:18:32.

scheme whereby we can liaise with the police and local traders about

:18:33.:18:36.

what is going on on the street. With immediate effect.

:18:36.:18:39.

As the message for increased vigilance goes out, the advice to

:18:39.:18:42.

people who own expensive jewellery seems to be that you can still wear

:18:42.:18:52.
:18:52.:18:56.

it with pride, but wear it with They are beautiful.

:18:56.:19:00.

And you can hear more about those street robberies in Phil Upton at

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Breakfast on BBC WM tomorrow morning.

:19:02.:19:06.

It may only be 5th July, many of us have yet to enjoy our main summer

:19:06.:19:09.

holiday, but the new football season is already upon us.

:19:09.:19:11.

Birmingham City and Walsall were back in training this morning. And,

:19:11.:19:15.

as Dan Pallett found out, for many the season never really went away.

:19:15.:19:18.

Oh, no. That's the last thing a player wants to see at pre-season

:19:18.:19:22.

training. Footballs in the bag and a mini-assault laid out on the

:19:22.:19:26.

pitch instead. The hard work starts here for League One Walsall. In

:19:26.:19:33.

fact, it hardly ever ends. Especially if you're a new signing.

:19:33.:19:36.

This is the first time out of contract so for me personally, I

:19:36.:19:40.

was looking at my phone all the time and waiting for it to ring so

:19:40.:19:44.

I perspired by holiday for as late as I could. And then as soon as I

:19:44.:19:49.

went on holiday, it still happened. So I was on the facts were seen

:19:49.:19:53.

sorting it out from the hotel. -- on the fax machine.

:19:53.:19:57.

Fitness is the early priority. The new season gets under way on 6th

:19:57.:20:06.

August. This exercise are getting the players fit without injuries.

:20:06.:20:09.

At Birmingham City, the manager is among the new boys. His big

:20:09.:20:12.

decisions involve which players will be sold to balance the books

:20:12.:20:15.

now Blues are in the Championship. Will striker Nikola Zigic be

:20:15.:20:18.

binned? Well, he trained on his own this morning. And then there's the

:20:18.:20:20.

recent arrest of part-owner, Carson Yeung, on charges of money

:20:20.:20:26.

laundering. It hasn't affected us in the slightest. We are obviously

:20:27.:20:32.

conscious of it but business goes on as normal. The important side

:20:32.:20:36.

for me is that it is dead like today when the players are back and

:20:36.:20:40.

dealing with the players -- days like today.

:20:40.:20:48.

Yes, football's back - that's if it ever went away! Wives and

:20:48.:20:58.
:20:58.:21:05.

girlfriends everywhere are saying They don't get much football in

:21:05.:21:10.

between but I think it is great. And we also have the cricket, that

:21:10.:21:20.
:21:20.:21:20.

is perfect for you. Yes, I love it! Cricket season and we have got

:21:20.:21:24.

showers. For most it was moderate burst of rain but the best is yet

:21:24.:21:31.

to come. It has yet to come. You can see the Kell of rain news in

:21:31.:21:35.

from the West and that is the pattern for all the rest of the

:21:35.:21:41.

week. We have got the rain followed by showers. At least the winds are

:21:41.:21:45.

OK, they pick up and then they come down and the temperatures around

:21:45.:21:49.

average for the time of year. For tonight, we can see that rain will

:21:49.:21:53.

clear away to the east. We have got some late sunshine the seeping and

:21:53.:21:57.

that is an indication that things are drying up. With clear its bells

:21:57.:22:04.

will see temperatures going down to about 13 Celsius. And then we see

:22:04.:22:08.

showers moving in from the West, fairly heavy batch of them in

:22:08.:22:12.

places but it is by tomorrow morning that they really get going.

:22:12.:22:16.

Heavy ones, possibly some thundery ones in places but in between some

:22:16.:22:22.

sunshine. And the showers could join to form longer spells of rain.

:22:22.:22:26.

Temperatures getting up to around 20 Celsius. But the winds will be

:22:26.:22:30.

picking up especially towards the end of the day ahead of the band of

:22:30.:22:33.

rain coming through tomorrow night. A wet night tomorrow night with

:22:33.:22:37.

quite heavy rain, that will be a more active band of rain and then

:22:37.:22:39.

we have got showers through the rest of the week. Temperatures

:22:39.:22:47.

around average for the time of year. Night time temperatures are not too

:22:47.:22:57.
:22:57.:22:57.

bad. It was a day aviation enthusiasts

:22:57.:23:00.

will never forget, when one of the oldest flying jet aircraft in the

:23:00.:23:03.

world came back home. The Gloster Meteor flew into Coventry Airport

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close to where it was built, after a painstaking restoration programme.

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Our reporter Kevin Reide is there. This Gloster Meteor has been

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grounded since 1969, when it was last in service with the RAF. But

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over the last 16 years it's been lovingly restored and today it was

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arriving at its new home, Coventry Airport.

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ARCHIVE FOOTAGE: the first squadron...

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The Gloster was first introduced in 1944 making history as the first

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jet-powered British fighter. It wasn't renowned for its

:23:35.:23:38.

aerodynamics but did go on to prove itself as an effective fighter for

:23:38.:23:41.

the RAF and other air forces. Today's Meteor was built five years

:23:41.:23:51.
:23:51.:23:52.

later and piloted by Dan Griffiths. Excellent, it is flying really

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nicely. Amazingly, it is flying The Meteor is also famous for its

:24:02.:24:04.

engines. They're a direct derivative from the jet engine

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pioneered by Coventry's most famous son, Sir Frank Whittle. Today

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though there was a slight scare when immediately after landing, one

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of the engines began billowing smoke. My opinion is that the

:24:15.:24:19.

lining at the back of the jet pack has come lows and then you get the

:24:19.:24:23.

very hot exhaust gases which have burned a bit of paint off the

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outside but apart from that, it just needs a bit of lagging and she

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will be back in the air. The Meteor cost half a million

:24:31.:24:34.

pounds to restore and is one of only four left flying in the world.

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By chance, another of those four was also at Coventry Airport and

:24:37.:24:47.
:24:47.:24:48.

left with the same test pilot, en He was very cool about the smoke

:24:48.:24:52.

coming out of the ancient or DUP artists can draw inspiration from

:24:52.:24:56.

all sorts of areas but how many are inspired by a terrible personal

:24:56.:24:59.

trauma? A new exhibition in commentary

:24:59.:25:03.

features a reconstruction of a spine, damaged by the artist

:25:03.:25:09.

herself in a serious car crash. 1997, the year that changed this

:25:09.:25:14.

woman's life foreign a. The last thing I remember his I was driving

:25:14.:25:19.

down the A46 in Coventry, a man cut me up and I somersaulted and the

:25:19.:25:23.

next thing I remember, I woke up in hospital. The doctors were really

:25:23.:25:26.

excited because I was still alive and they said it was a miracle that

:25:26.:25:32.

I have lived. For somebody who once worked as a model, these are done

:25:32.:25:38.

who is now 35 knows she will never walk again. And has devoted her

:25:38.:25:42.

life to coming to terms with their disability. This is an 11 ft

:25:42.:25:47.

sculpture of my spinal column. I cut it by hand. In the centre you

:25:47.:25:51.

can see the damage to vertebrates and there is no disc because my

:25:51.:25:57.

spine does not have a disc above that there to break. And this skin

:25:57.:26:02.

or muscle actually ages over time. And it changes in appearance. It

:26:02.:26:07.

looks a bit different here. inspiration through injury,

:26:07.:26:10.

uplifting those who visit it. is a one-off macro basically to

:26:10.:26:20.
:26:20.:26:20.

what we have seen before. to see what trauma she has been in. It is

:26:20.:26:23.

great that you can touch it. think every day that I am very,

:26:23.:26:29.

very lucky to be here and alive and this is a celebration of that. And

:26:29.:26:39.
:26:39.:26:39.

that is why I am so happy to share The an art of a different sort now,

:26:39.:26:47.

look at this. A Warwickshire gardener has picked up an award at

:26:47.:26:50.

the Royal horticulture Society Flower Show. The naked garden used

:26:50.:26:54.

glass containers full of water suspend plans and that showed their

:26:54.:27:00.

roods and means knows so well is used for the plant. As the 28th are

:27:00.:27:05.

just muddle at that. It looks like a laboratory. Let's take a look at

:27:05.:27:10.

the main headlines. The parents of the murdered schoolgirl Holly Wells

:27:10.:27:15.

and Jessica Chapman have been contacted by police investigating

:27:15.:27:20.

the News of the World phone hacking scandal. And here, angry scenes as

:27:20.:27:25.

Eco protesters tried to hold a giant open-cast coalmine

:27:25.:27:31.

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