06/07/2011 Midlands Today


06/07/2011

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Welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines...

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Calls for Government help to create 10,000 jobs in an area where 10 %

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of the workforce is unemployed. I am encouraged by the real sense

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of leadership and ambition. As fire services look to make big

:00:20.:00:25.

cuts, how one brigade has managed it already, they say without

:00:25.:00:30.

putting lives at risk. Can generous Midlanders do it again,

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after raising millions for Pakistan, a fresh appeal for famine victims

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in Africa. And found by a man with at a metal

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:00:49.:00:53.

detector - after the Staffordshire Good evening. Welcome to

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Wednesday's Midlands Today from the BBC. Tonight, fighting to bring

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thousands of jobs to Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, a Government

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minister was today given the hard sell by business leaders desperate

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to secure an Enterprise Zone for the area.

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That could mean 10,000 new jobs as companies are attracted by lower

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companies are attracted by lower business taxes and simpler rules to

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stop the competition is fierce, with up to 25 areas in England

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chasing 10 zones. Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire

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have already missed out once, so will the Government now deliver a

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The minister for business, innovation and skills being shown a

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test-bed in Stafford. Mark Prisk is on a two day visit to the region

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hearing about priorities for job creation and economic growth.

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It is really about the ability to kick-start local economies and our

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ambition to make sure we balance the economy so that we ensure that

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not just services and the south- east, but the Midlands strength is

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strengthened. In manufacturing and developing

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power transmission, there has been investment in the past few years.

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It is Stafford's biggest private sector employee-owned -- employer,

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with 2,000 workers and more dependent on the factories and

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laboratories. A in developing the complex systems

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here, we require many components and products, and we reached out to

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the local supply chains in the region and across the country.

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This is one of the sites the local Enterprise Partnership hope will

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become an Enterprise Zone. Entrap - - attracting employers back will be

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the challenge. This is the first time for a generation we have had a

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united and determined effort to bring certain businesses into these

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three areas. Beforehand, it has been a mix-and-match, with

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different councils wanting to do this, that or the other, but this

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time we are acting together. There have been previous plans to bring

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new economic life into sites such as this, but some experts are

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sceptical of the ambitious targets. The Enterprise Zone is to encourage

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companies to move there. We may get displacement across the southern

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region. Companies already here just moving, and best is not additional

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jobs. Transforming the economic landscape will not be easy. The

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decision on whether it will be granted Enterprise Zone status will

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be delivered by the end of the year. Emir, I spoke to one of the

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region's MPs, John Whalley, Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent North. She

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told me what she thought an Enterprise Zone would do for the

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area. We need jobs, investment for the

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area, and the tax and business rate incentives that would come from an

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Enterprise Zone status. Do they really work? Two separate

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think-tanks have said they are ineffective and expensive.

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There is no one solution to how to get the investment we needed. There

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is always a danger there could be displacement from Enterprise zones,

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but now Enterprise zones are just about that the only show in town in

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terms of getting extra support for job creation in stunt to -- Stoke-

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on-Trent, and that is why I and my colleagues across the border are

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doing all they can to press for the special status for North

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Staffordshire and for this -- the three sites we have identified.

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you have any doubts about the areas economic potential?

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Are we are looking for sustainable development. We are looking to

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attract been technological industries. We want a whole series

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of people to come and invest in Stoke-on-Trent. We have a transport

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infrastructure, a skilled workforce and an Enterprise Department

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working with all local councils to do everything we possibly can to

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get Government support for this job creation that is so urgently needed.

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Do you really have a skilled workforce? 10% are out of work.

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We have people needing jobs, and we have a dedicated and a loyal

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workforce. The people of North Staffordshire need this investment.

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Joanne Whalley, talking to us earlier from Westminster.

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Still ahead... 30 years of the Lichfield Festival, but what is the

:05:44.:05:53.
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Up to 120 library staff could lose their jobs as Warwickshire County

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Council tries to save millions of pounds. Staff were briefed today on

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plans to make 50 full-time posts redundant. That is the equivalent

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of between 80 and 121 jobs. It is hoped the staff can reduce their

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hours or take voluntary redundancy. A 22-year-old man has been arrested

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for aggravated trespass at a rock local -- aggravated trespass at an

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open cast coal mine. Broadcasters have been at the site at UK Coal's

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mind, and the company has been trying to remove protesters since

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they set up in March last year. Fire brigades -- a fire service in

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the region has managed to reduce its expenditure by �1 million in

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the past year. A Staffordshire Fire and Rescue

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Service attends on average 46 incidents every day. Fire bosses

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say the cuts will not compromise community safety and have taken

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advice from frontline firefighters. It is important to engage the

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workforce, the people doing the job on a day-to-day basis, in that

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change process. They see where the inefficiencies are.

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The severs has a budget of �42 million per year and needs to save

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�4 million over the next four years. The plan is ahead of Segel. I am

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quite didn't we are going to make the savings required.

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-- ahead of schedule. We will minimise the disruption to

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the workforce, protect community safety and in no way compromised

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firefighters safety. Area today, the service attended a

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collapsed building in Stoke-on- Trent. One big cost-cutting

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exercise is reducing the number of fire engines set out to false

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alarms. Last year, the service attended more than 5004 farms. They

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aim to reduce that by 2,000 this year. At a cost of �250 per call-

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out, that will help to save �500,000 per year.

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At Sandford community fire station, schoolchildren are being put

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through a drill. The fire service say the role of the fire officer

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and is changing, and it is now all about education and prevention.

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were are all potentially at risk from fire in the home unless we

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take simple steps. That is the type of education we

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are delivering to young people, to community groups.

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The service admits, with savings this large they will have to be job

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cuts. Staff will also take a pay cut. It has actually been able to

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increase the number of fire stations, from 30 to 33.

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The levels of malnutrition among children fleeing Somalia's drought

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could lead to agreement tragedy of unimaginable proportions. That is

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according to the United Nations. It is the worst drought in 60 years,

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and Birmingham aid workers are in Africa now helping with the belief

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effort. Our correspondent is at the headquarters of Islamic Relief.

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There is a 40,000 strong community from Somalia here in the Birmingham.

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We are at one of the warehouses of Islamic Relief. These clothes will

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be sent to charity shops across the country to raise their vital funds

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needed to buy food, hygiene equipment, water and so on. I am

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joined by Jenny Cosgrave from Islamic Relief, and Mohammed Sharif,

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a Somalian community leader and analyst. Tell us what you are doing

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to help? And Islamic Relief has been working

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for many years in the region. We are making sure people have

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access to clean and safe water. We have been providing 35,000 people

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with clean water, seven litres per day that you need to survive. We

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have also been providing food for around 21,000 people, and we have

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also been making sure that over 1,300 women and young children have

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access to medical care. Describe what their reaction is

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within the Somali and community. The Somali people in Birmingham are

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very sad and desperate about this campaign. It is horrific at the

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moment, and they are thinking about the issue back home, discussing how

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they can help. All of the Somalis coming into Birmingham are really

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talking about the issue of the drought in Africa.

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It is a huge talking-point. Islamic Relief have said an initial target

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of �5 million, but of course the Pakistani and -- the Pakistan

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appeal last year raised 30 million, so they are hoping to exceed

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expectations. A rare collection of Roman coins

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dating back well before the time of Christ is to go on show to the

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public. They were found by a man using a metal detector. It is the

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earliest Roman hoard ever found in the region.

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Edge Hill in south Warwickshire, famous for one of the biggest

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battles of the English Civil War, and now for the largest discovery

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of Roman coins in the region. I have spoken to the person who found

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them, who has asked to remain anonymous. He told BT was on the

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way home, went the metal detector at me denies. -- he told me he was

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on the way home. He said although he was grateful for the treasure,

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this is about reminded us of the history of Warwickshire. Buried in

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a pot for almost 2,000 years, some 1146 silver coins were uncovered.

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Some of them were made almost 200 years before the birth of Christ.

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After being verified and catalogued, they are about to be put on display

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at the Warwickshire Museum. They told us it is the largest

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hoard of early Roman coins in the West Midlands, and probably the

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second largest in the country, so pretty significant for Warwickshire.

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The detail is incredible, showing a range of Roman emperors, including

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Julius Caesar and Emperor neo-. They are also revealing of the

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obsession with animals and gods. One of my favourites is this coin,

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dated around AD 45. The inscription on it means, we

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came, we saw and be conquered. Although the Romans were none to

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have some settlements in the county, and the discovery of this Roman

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hoard has prompted more questions than answers.

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It was a big saving, that is the intriguing thing, he put these

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altogether and needed to bury them in the ground? Why did they not

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come back? This weekend, the public will be given the first opportunity

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to ponder the mystery of the coin treasurer and why it was buried in

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A fascinating mystery! There's much more on our Facebook page.

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Back in 1982, the relatively unknown acting trio of Stephen Fry,

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Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson performed at a new arts event in

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Staffordshire. Fast-forward to 2011 and the Lichfield Festival now

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enjoys international acclaim. As it celebrates its 30th birthday, what

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does the Festival mean to the cathedral city? Our correspondent

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has spent the date there. It has been a day of frantic

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preparations. It is the 30th Lichfield Festival. Things may be a

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little quiet here now but it all begins in earnest tomorrow evening

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with more than 500 artists due to perform here, it is promising to be

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quite an event. 30 live size pigs, decorated by

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schools and community groups to represent 30 years of the Lichfield

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Festival. They have had two months to paint them and now they will be

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around the city in different venues. There are 30 because it is the 30th

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anniversary. The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra will play

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tomorrow night and an opera singer will perform in the cathedral.

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Across the city, more than 80 events will be taking place with

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more than 500 artists appearing at theatres, hotels and in the streets.

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The Staffordshire born poet Laureate to Carol Ann Duffy who is

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appearing at the festival has written a special poem. Last year,

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10,500 tickets were sold with more than 30,000 tickets attending. The

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economic impact of the event is estimated to be around �1 million.

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It is certainly something which dry spot for into the city centre to

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the businesses, cafes, shops, hotels. It is certainly something

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that is welcome for City traders in these tough times. It is one of the

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busiest times. We have other festivals as well, but this does

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generate a lot of income. It can only be good in this day and age.

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Now, they see them here, they seek them there. If you see the festival

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paid as he hides at various locations, you will be given two

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tickets to the festival -- the festival paid for. I am joined by

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the festival director now. It is the 30th anniversary, is it going

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to be better? It is certainly going to be big. We have got a whole

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range of things, orchestras, international musicians from all

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around the world to celebrate with us in Lichfield. We have got

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special guests, Michael Moore play ago. We have put many of his books

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across the city for people to pick up and take 10. Carol Ann Duffy has

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written a special poem. The film producer Lord Puttnam is coming and

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also we have an array of world musicians, dancers, comedians and

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authors. They are all coming here to celebrate. We also have free

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events of people in the local community. There will be a market

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this Saturday. Fireworks. And on the 17th, we will meet for a

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special festival birthday party. People can come and join us for a

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piece of cake and help us celebrate our birthday in style. They are

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very important role the festival has for the City? It has an

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important cultural role. And it was founded to bring high quality art

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here. We also foster the skills of our children and local community.

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Plenty of tickets left if you fancy coming along.

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Still ahead, an ancient art from Pakistan. How taxi drivers here are

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ditching their cabs and jumping on horseback to recreate the sport.

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And reports of hail and thunder storms debate. Is there more to

:17:48.:17:58.
:17:58.:18:01.

come? -- thunderstorms to date. There is a big Olympic at the me in

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sport are tonight. First of all, the opening instalment of what

:18:03.:18:09.

could be another football transfers are good. It will get resolved

:18:09.:18:14.

sooner or later. Aston Villa have turned down a �15 million bid from

:18:14.:18:19.

Liverpool for their England players Stuart Downing. He was the player

:18:19.:18:22.

of the year last season for Villa. He scored eight goals. He has got

:18:22.:18:27.

two years left on his contract. It is believed that Villa would want

:18:27.:18:32.

at least �19 million if they were to sell him. The London 2012

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Olympic torch relay will be will be a celebration lasting 70 days. It

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will start next May and 8000 people will get the chance to take part.

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Their job is to carry the torch, being made in commentary.

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-- in Coventry. For the first time in their lives, these bill bumph

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from Edgewick Primary School -- these children from Edgewick

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Primary School. The London 2012 torch will go on show in Coventry.

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8000 more torches will be made, one for each torch-bearer in the relay.

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I like it. It is a shiny fast up I like that it has got 8000 bits on

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it. Someone else excited to see the taught his Phil Bouser with his son

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Harry. He was a torch-bearer during the 2004 Athens Games and has the

:19:27.:19:32.

souvenir to prove it. You never think you are going to be a torch-

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bearer. It was probably the slowest 400 metres I have ever run. You

:19:37.:19:41.

want to savour the moment. I think the Olympic torch symbolises so

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much because the flame is the Olympic Games, probably more

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powerful than the rings and other images, it is the flame that comes

:19:54.:19:57.

from grease and line is the Olympic golden. Anyone can be nominated to

:19:57.:20:01.

be part of the relay and one way of doing it is to climb into the back

:20:01.:20:08.

of this Coventry made London taxi. That is what these people have done.

:20:08.:20:15.

It looks good. Also there today, a man from the Coventry company which

:20:15.:20:19.

has won the contract to make the thousands of tortures. There has

:20:19.:20:23.

been so much bad publicity over the past 10 years with companies

:20:23.:20:28.

closing, unemployment. People have said that Coventry has lost its

:20:28.:20:32.

skills but they are still here. deadline for internet nomination

:20:32.:20:38.

has now ended but there is another chance to nominate when the torch

:20:38.:20:43.

for a Rolls into Cheltenham and Birmingham in August.

:20:43.:20:47.

Eight athletes have returned home to the Midlands with medals from

:20:47.:20:51.

the Special Olympics in Greece. The competition was hot, in more ways

:20:51.:20:55.

than one. The British team were struck down by a nasty virus but

:20:55.:21:05.
:21:05.:21:10.

that did not stop them from being Athens Greece, 2011 Special

:21:10.:21:18.

Olympics. The fireworks may have died, but listen carefully, it is

:21:18.:21:23.

the jingle jangle of medal on medal. It is music to the ears of Richard

:21:24.:21:27.

Murphy and Jamie Dancyger. Back home in Bromsgrove, they have just

:21:27.:21:31.

come back from Athens, to share a host of memories and a clutch of

:21:31.:21:36.

medals to celebrate their athletics success at the Special Olympics.

:21:36.:21:40.

Did it live up to expectations? we were going to make history, have

:21:40.:21:44.

the experience of our lives. Everyone's dream is to become a

:21:44.:21:48.

world champion, to become the best of the best. We beat the best of

:21:48.:21:53.

the best. We gave everything we ever had. He won ever forget it?

:21:53.:22:03.
:22:03.:22:03.

No Wave. I was almost crying. A great feeling. I cannot believe I

:22:03.:22:08.

have done it. We met Richard and Jamie three weeks ago as they

:22:08.:22:11.

prepare to join 7000 athletes with learning difficulties that the

:22:11.:22:16.

Special Olympics. When they arrive, it was flaming hot and many of the

:22:16.:22:22.

British team went down with a nasty virus. But nothing could one could

:22:22.:22:28.

prevent Phil Bouser and Jamie Dancyger from winning medals.

:22:28.:22:34.

proud moments. You are used to doing it locally, that is fine. But

:22:34.:22:38.

doing it at a World Games, it is massive. A I am so proud. I was

:22:38.:22:43.

hoping to get a medal and I did. I was so excited just to be there. A

:22:43.:22:46.

great honour. They will never forget their Special Olympics

:22:46.:22:50.

experience but tomorrow they are back to earth with a bump because

:22:50.:22:56.

Thursday night is training night at the Rylands Centre in Bromsgrove.

:22:56.:23:00.

Great to meet them. And Richard and Jamie were not the only medal

:23:00.:23:04.

winners. There were gold medals for gymnasts Richard Hammond and Sarah

:23:04.:23:08.

Whitehouse, Jane Hinett in the tennis and Briony Johnson in the

:23:08.:23:11.

badminton. There was a silver for Gwillam Jones in the table tennis

:23:11.:23:14.

and bronze for Darren Roberts in the badminton.

:23:14.:23:19.

Well done to all of them. The latest call from Edgbaston in

:23:19.:23:23.

the Twenty-20. Derbyshire made 162 for 5 in their 20 overs against

:23:23.:23:31.

Warwickshire. A sport of a very different kind.

:23:31.:23:35.

It is called tent-pegging and it dates back hundreds of years. It

:23:35.:23:37.

originates from Pakistan and a group from Birmingham have decided

:23:37.:23:44.

to try to keep the sport alive. It involves swapping taxis or courses.

:23:44.:23:49.

Take a small group of cab drivers, give them some well-groomed horses,

:23:49.:23:53.

add in some very sharp lances and you have got a piece of Pakistani

:23:53.:23:56.

heritage being played out in a small corner of the Midlands.

:23:56.:24:00.

This is the sport of tent-pegging, it dates back hundreds of years,

:24:00.:24:08.

originating from h in military tactics. They used to come out at

:24:08.:24:18.
:24:18.:24:18.

night and they used to run, take the 10th, -- take the tent. The end

:24:18.:24:23.

of the game is spot each rider to try and lance a wooden tent peg out

:24:23.:24:27.

of the ground. Points are awarded for piercing, picking it up and

:24:27.:24:33.

carrying a to wait. The pegs are made out of date wood and are from

:24:33.:24:38.

Pakistan and a specially treated so that it will stick like glue to the

:24:38.:24:42.

lance. The men on horseback make up Prince Malik's Lancers. They have

:24:42.:24:45.

got almost 100 years' experience between them. They say that anyone

:24:45.:24:51.

can take part. People who ride horses, showjumping, cross-country,

:24:51.:25:00.

dressage, they look very difficult, you have to put the practice in.

:25:00.:25:05.

This tent-pegging, we have taught lads within four or five weeks.

:25:05.:25:12.

Each year, they compete at events from across the globe -- ad that

:25:12.:25:16.

events a round the country. We have to remind ourselves of where it

:25:16.:25:23.

came from. These people are from Birmingham and Pakistan. They are a

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fantastic example of how we can work together to present it.

:25:26.:25:30.

Today's practice was cut short by the British weather. There was

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still time for the next generation of the Prince Malik's Lancers to

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give the ancient sport a go. Very impressive indeed. Now the

:25:42.:25:52.
:25:52.:25:55.

The cricket is on at Edgbaston. They may be caught out by the rain.

:25:55.:25:59.

But I think they could be lucky as the match will be ending in half-

:25:59.:26:03.

an-hour. There have been lively showers across the region. There

:26:03.:26:07.

have been more in the north where there has been hail and thunder

:26:07.:26:11.

storms. There have also been thunderstorms in Birmingham itself.

:26:12.:26:17.

There is more rain overnight. The next wave of rain after yesterday's.

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It will be more active and there will be stronger winds with it. The

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rain is in the West, heading our way, moving eastwards. Some of it

:26:30.:26:34.

could be quite heavy. It is breaking up as it moves eastwards.

:26:34.:26:38.

The north of the region, Staffordshire, will bear the brunt

:26:38.:26:42.

of the heaviest outbreaks. As it tears later on, there will be more

:26:42.:26:48.

showers. It will turn windier, gusts of 40 p to 50 mph. There will

:26:48.:26:58.

be a lot of cloud. A temperatures holding up. There could be 10 to 15

:26:58.:27:02.

mm of rain. Tomorrow is a day of sunshine and showers once again.

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There could be longer spells of rain. They could again be hail or

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thunder. It is mild in the sunshine, temperatures up to 19 degrees.

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Colder in the showers with the winds picking up.

:27:16.:27:21.

Let us have a look at the headlines. The Prime Minister promises a

:27:21.:27:23.

public inquiry into the phone hacking scandal now engulfing the

:27:24.:27:27.

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