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Good evening, welcome to the start of the weekend with Midlands Today
from the BBC. Deadline midnight - the final hours of consultation on
the controversial high-speed rail link. It is not only not going to
solve the deep divide, it is going to be worse, it will not help the
environment. A viper in our midst - at the words
of a judge who jailed this man for the terrorist offences. He was a
posting violent, extremist views on land, encouraging people to murder
MPs. Birmingham City admit they have
financial problems, but are adamant it is not a crisis. It could be
Armageddon, but it could be a new start, who knows what is in the
future? 's and a Motown revival, not in
Detroit, but Warwickshire, thanks Good evening. Tonight: vital for
Britain, its economy and its transport network or a blight on
our countryside that will haunt the government? Those are the fiercely
contrasting views of Network Rail and the Countryside Alliance,
who've just added their submissions to the consultation on High Speed 2.
The rest of us have less than six hours to do the same, as the
deadline to have a say on the proposal to build a high-speed rail
link between London and Birmingham ends at midnight. But it'll be the
Transport Secretary who'll have the final word, and he won't be rushed
into making any decisions before the end of the year. Giles Latcham
reports on possibly THE most controversial engineering plan to
affect our region. "Never the twain shall meet" goes
the saying, but today they did. On the last day of the public
consultation we brought together two voices from opposing sides of
the HS2 debate. I can understand what you are coming from. Could one
convinced the other? Night out of 10 train project over inflate day
I accept that usage numbers were higher and then they turned out to
be the case, but the economic benefits from that far exceeded
those that were convicted. This would be developed, there would be
some business parks. This is part of the regeneration. But every
building built here, that is one less in Coventry, Wolverhampton...
It would be enormously beneficial for us to be able to operate, would
work in London that has become a major global city, and do it in the
regions. It is not just the ability to do things over the internet, it
is having face-to-face beatings, being able to get there quickly, it
is really important. If you have a big office in London and a 49
minute trip to Birmingham, why do you need an office in Birmingham?
Many places will say, we don't need that office, we will shut it down,
Precious little common ground, but arguments commonly heard at
roadshows and public meetings across the Midlands since
consultation began in February. The government won't say how many
responses and comments they have had through this consultation
period, but they are due to make a statement based on them by the end
of the year. Ahead of that, their message today was simple - yes, we
can talk about it, but a new line we must have. Anyone who has ever
been stuck in the queue at Euston on Friday night trying to get on a
train to Birmingham or Manchester will know we are rapidly running
out of capacity on the west coast main line, and urgently need a new
line to give additional capacity but those are journeys. This whole
project is a vanity project... of our MEPs was travelling by road,
rallying support for the anti-s. Why was the green bait -- Green
Belt created? It is about to be conurbations, one of the things,
when it has been built, it will make the West Midlands and
Birmingham a satellite of London. The Countryside Alliance say lives
will be destroyed. In London, they want changes to the route.
Consultation will soon be over, but with stakes as high as these, the
arguments continue. Thanks for joining us. Staying off
the street and out of trouble, the teenagers taking to the stage
instead. And we're at one of the country's
biggest dance festivals, which has grown from its beginnings in a
Warwickshire farmhouse to become a An internet blogger from
Wolverhampton has been jailed for 12 years after admitting soliciting
the murder of MPs who'd voted for the Iraq war.
Bilal Zaheer Ahmad, who's 23, was also sentenced for other terror ism
offences at Bristol Crown Court. Our reporter has been following the
case and joins us now. What more can you tell us? This is all to do
with postings he made online last year, specifically after a trial
that had taken place in London. She had stabbed the Labour MP Stephen
Timms, he went on line, posted messages in her support, and said,
revolution Muslim, he said other people should go out and do the
same thing. The judge -- judge described him as a viper in our
midst. Really strong words from Mr Justice Royce and, he said, you
were intent on striking at the heart of our democracy. You report
to be a British citizen, but would you stand for is totally alien to
what we stand for in this country. Strong words, a 12 year sentence,
he was also told that when he is released, he will have to spend at
least five more years on licence. Whatever the police said? They are
pleased, because the offices were the ones in apiarist not long after
those comments. They are particularly worried about online
extremism. People have a right to freedom of speech, but with that
comes a responsibility, they should do that within the law. Ahmad went
beyond the law, he solicited the murder of many people, and it is an
important sentenced today. By sheer coincidence, I happened to be at
the counter-terrorism officers when he was arrested last November, so I
know how important this is, they're taking online extremism very
seriously indeed, not just Islamic extremism, but also from the far
right. Birmingham City's acting chairman
Peter Pannu is flying back from Hong Kong as speculation continues
over the club's financial position. Tonight, another of the club's top
players is all set to leave St Andrew's to reduce the wage bill.
But the Blues insist their bankers are being very supportive. Ian
Winter reports. Something's missing at St Andrew's.
The proud name of Birmingham City is disappearing. But some fans fear
losing a few letters is the least of their club's problems. Even the
signs are coming down at Birmingham City! It is an absolute crisis.
Crisis, what crisis? That's the gist of the latest statement on the
Blues website. Designed to calm fears about the club's financial
position. But this was the fateful moment in May, when the Blues'
owner Carson Yeung realised the Premier League gravy train had been
derailed by relegation. And four weeks later, he was arrested in
Hong Kong on suspicion of money laundering. Frozen assets in the
Far East are causing anxious times at St Andrew's. Acting chairman
Peter Pannu admits the benefactor's legal wrangles does pose some
If the case is proven against him, the Hong Kong government could
seize his assets, and effectively owned Birmingham City Football Club.
It could be Armageddon, but it could be a brand new start, who
knows what is going to be in the future? This pantomime soap opera
that is Birmingham City. Football fan Peter Knowles is keeping a
close eye on developments at St Andrew's, because he's also
stockbroker. I think the chances of them going into administration are
quite slim at the moment. They are still receiving the parachute from
a Sky, which means from a trading perspective, there is money coming
in. It is only if there is no money coming in that I would be worried
if I was at them. So Blues fans will give thanks for those
parachute payments. And offer a little prayer that their absence
from the Premier League will last no more than one season.
Ian joins us live at St Andrew's. What sort of reaction will Peter
Pannu get from the Blues fans? is very difficult to answer. I
understand that Peter Pannu is hoping to be back in time for
tomorrow's kick-off, their friendly against Everton, that hinges on
flight connections. The club say they are where there may be a small
protest, they're not sure the size of it, they haven't secured a shirt
sponsor. That is being offered on a match-by-match basis, although they
point out they have sold over 11,000 season tickets, only 900
less than this time a year ago. is the latest player most likely to
be leaving St Andrew's? They're very latest tonight is that
goalkeeper Ben Foster has been having a medical at the Hawthorns,
and is on the verge of completing a season-long loan to West Brom, with
West Brom's goalkeeper moving in the other direction. Blues fans
always knew that relegation would mean the sale of some of their more
highly paid players, but the fact that Ben Foster is now the 4th big-
name player to be leaving St Andrews is a cause for concern, and
he may well not be the last to leave the club before the end of
August. Thank you. Warwickshire Social Services has
launched an independent inquiry following the murder of a 27-year-
old woman from Gemma Hayter was found naked and beaten on a disused
railway line a year ago. Yesterday five people were found guilty of
killing her. A serious case review began in January to establish
whether any lessons need to be learned.
A murder inquiry's underway after a man died following an explosion in
a garage last weekend. 41-year-old Job Wilding died from severe burns
after a gas cylinder exploded on Gristhorpe Road in Selly Oak in
Birmingham. Another man, who's 35, is in a critical condition. Three
people have been arrested and released on bail.
Teenagers are the most likely to be the victims of street disorder, yet
they're often the first to be labelled the troublemakers.
Now one group is trying to turn around that image by working on a
play called Rough Diamonds. Our reporter Kevin Reide went to
Wolverhampton to see them rehearse. These youngsters at the EYES
project are in a race against time. Next week they'll be performing
their play Rough Diamonds to the public at Wolverhampton's grand
theatre, tackling issues such as racism, teenage pregnancy, and
street crime. Look, mate, I don't know you, so back down, okay?
Backed down! Look! More than 70 young people from all backgrounds
are involved - the aim being to keep them off the streets and out
of trouble, and at the same time uncover natural talent. A lot of
times they haven't identified their talents, learned how to translate
this into marketable skills. This is one avenue where we can all
identify their talents, and they can work on one project together
and see what they can produce. project serves as a beacon of hope
for many young people in Wolverhampton, steering them away
from not only anti-social behaviour but in some cases much more serious
Former gang member Isia Maylor knows only too well the perils of
the streets. The 25-year old has served a prison sentence for gun
crime, but EYES and Rough Diamonds has helped him discover talents he
never knew he had. It's also taught him a thing or two about life.
was in jail, I come out of jail, and... I straightened my ways. I
thought I was bigger than everyone. That isn't the case. We're all
equals. More rehearsals as the countdown begins, but what do those
here feel there needs to be to stop anti social behaviour?? I think
there should be more organisations like this, to help people get off
the street. Things where they can play, knowing there is not going to
be trouble coming to them. More youth centres and organisations,
more clubs that can be due to what you want to do when you grow older.
Although there are two things available, they are not advertised
enough for Curtains are up next Wednesday - a chance for
Wolverhampton to take great pride The positive things going on there.
Good to have you with us this evening - still to come: a soul
legend gives Warwickshire the It's holiday time but if you're not
going away you may be going to a music festival - they're lots of
them going on all over the region and over next six weeks we're going
to be there too meeting the hundreds of thousands of people
that travel to them from all over the country. Today sees the start
of our first big festival of the summer - Global Gathering which has
gone from humble beginnings in Warwickshire eleven years ago to a
multimillion pound world- wide business. Ben Sidwell is at the
festival now. There are some flashing lights.
Welcome to the main stage. The party is well under way. This
weekend 55,000 people will be here to enjoy the festival. It is thanks
mainly to one of music entrepreneur from Stratford upon Avon. I spent
much of the week behind the man behind Global Gathering.
Under way for its 11th year, it is one of the main fixtures of the
music festival calendar but the scenes near Stafford this afternoon
are long way from the tranquillity of the HQ in the Warwickshire
countryside. We have been lucky where we are situated and at the
end of the day if it is not broken, you don't fix it. Everything is
running well at the moment. The offices are great, we are here to
stay. James has won a group of four who came up with the idea for
Global Gathering in the year 2000. He is the boss of the company and
the only remaining member. It was what he did with the testable six
years ago that changed the business forever. We believe it it was a
great festival for five years in the UK and why shouldn't we do
these international events and the countries we targeted to do events
in had not really had them in the past. They all said yes and he we
are five years later doing an international show and they are
doing well. The week leading up to the festival means time in the car
travelling between the office and the festival site making sure
everything is ready. When the headline it goes on on the Friday
night, the sound and lights are great, the crowd goes mad and you
think that is the biggest... The hair on the back of the next stanza.
They arrived in their thousands and I met up with James again. For him,
the next 48 hours are the most important of the whole year. There
is a huge element of risk which mitigates as you get more
established. We have been going 11 years and we know what the fan base
is and we budget accordingly. We're a company that needs to make a
profit. We also make sure we plough money back into the best will.
festival ends on Sunday morning. By Monday, the team will be checking
it has been a financial success before planning begins the next
year. Let's speak to James. We said it is
a multi-million-pound business. You go to some strange places like
South Korea and Belarus. It all gets bored out of reputation, we
have been doing this for 11 years, I have invited people from all over
the world and they have witnessed what we do in the UK and one to
take it to their country. We have worked with some great people and
grown the festival from the Ukraine, five years ago, Russia four years
ago, Belarus and they had seen it in neighbouring countries.
Basically they wanted to do it. have shown music festivals can make
money and do not have to be multinational companies. It is that
having an idea and wanting to deliver something and Petula heart
and soul into it. There is risk, yes, it is financially risky to put
these things on. When you have that amount of people in a field, it
feels amazing. As I said, the festival goes on until the early
hours of tomorrow morning and then they look to do it all again next
year. From Warwickshire, goodbye. The thousands turning out. Just a
week before the start of the new football season, a shock at Port
Vale as their long standing chairman Bill Bratt resigns. He'll
stay on the board. Mr Bratt's been in charge for nearly 10 years, but
fans have vented their anger towards him over a lack of
investment. Laura May McMullan's been finding out where this leaves
the club. There's just eight days to go
before the start of the season and tonight Port Vale are without a
permanent chairman. Today Bill Bratt decided to sever his day to
day ties with the club. For I love the club, I have done what I can.
It has been a difficult time, the past 18 months. I believe it is
right for somebody else to do it. It's been a turbulent time at Vale
Park. Some fans have been protesting for months - accusing
the board of a lack of investment. And last month at an EGM here there
was a vote of no confidence in the board.
Fans have mixed views. It is not just Bill Bratt, it is all of them.
The club needs to move on. The money needs to be found from
somewhere. The higher you are, the harder you fall. I believe in
supporting the club through thick and thin. This was Bill Bratt
talking to me last month. Today he cleared his desk and walked away
after nine seasons at the helm. is not worth the aggravation but
because you love something you do it. We knew at the time the club
would have folded so we mortgaged our houses and put the money in.
has decided to stay on the board for the time being and another
director has now taken temporary control. More importantly the fans
are hoping it won't be another Just to confirm earlier, Ben Foster
has signed on loan for the season for West Bromwich Albion.
The Aviva UK Trials and Championships have just got
underway in Birmingham. They're being held at the newly opened
Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr. The competition is the final throw
of the dice for those athletes hoping to board the Team GB plane
for next month's World Championships in South Korea. And
BBC WM will have coverage of the Championships this evening on DAB
digital radio and it continues on 95.6FM on tomorrow and Sunday.
Stoke city manager Tony Pulis says fitness levels and a lack of new
signings could affect them in Europe. The Potters won the first
leg of their Europa League third qualifying round last night against
Hajduk Split, thanks to a third minute goal from Jon Walters. The
Stoke boss says the match highlighted the need to bring in
new players. We are weak in respect of the depth of the squad but we
want to bring Pale's -- players in he will come straight into the team,
not just to fill this caught up. We want players in the group he will
get straight in the team. But last night's win will also be remembered
for the passion of the visiting supporters. Take a look at this,
the Croation fans didn't let the defeat spoil their visit to the
Potteries - in fact, they kept up their high energy support for their
Most of them took their shirts off. Heavy Metal music and its links to
the Midlands are well known but now the region's gaining a reputation
for Soul. An unknown band's attracting Motown stars of the past
onto British soil, as our Arts and Culture reporter Satnam Rana's been
finding out. Atherstone located near the
northernmost tip of Warwickshire and home to 8 and a half thousand
people, It's most famously known for it's Shrove Tuesday Ball Game.
Every town has its ugly spots but look behind here and there is
They say music unites and nowhere is it more apparent than in here.
Seven Warwicksire lads make up The Stone Foundation - a soul band. Add
in lead singer from Mowtown yester years Joe Harris from The
Undisputed Truth - a 1970s Motown So how did the collaboration
happen? We have turned this place into...
How do you feel? It has been fun. A real thrill to be playing with a
Grammy Award winner. We a council estate kids. The band have already
managed to get airtime on 6 Music and will be performing at The Royal
Albert Hall tonight. But why did Joe Harris decide to come all the
way to rural Warwickshire to get his musical fix? They are doing
some things I used to do a long time ago, the same field, the
camaraderie. These guys have a lot of talent and musical knowledge and
they play the music like those guys in Memphis.
Motown originated in Detroit dubbed Hitsville USA by it's founder Berry
Gordy. It's a still a hit with tourists today. But It's not the
first time the Midlands has been connected Motown - Edwin Star made
Polesworth near Tanworth his home in the mid 1970s. He used to call
me a lot, we had the same producer in Motown and he would get me to
come over and I was like, OK, I will make a date. Strange things
happened, the guitar players here have worked for Edwin Starr.
for Stone Foundation it means their ten year musical journey so far is
at least being noticed - so much so that they'll be supporting The
Now, the weekend weather. It has been quite a cloudy day, we
will spend much of the weekend chasing large amounts of cloud
around. Let's be positive, it will be warm and some sunny spells. We
will see some good breaks developing. Now, we have a weak
weatherfront straddled across southern parts of the region of
bringing the Vale of cloud and spits some spots of light rain and
drizzle. Through this evening, where we have that front we'll keep
things quite cloudy and damp with drizzle in Hereford and Gloucester.
The skies clear and the lowest temperatures of ten Celsius.
Tomorrow morning, for some it will be a cloudy start, especially in
the south with the remnants of the weather front, further north
sunshine from the word go, there will be sunny spells through the
day, quite a lot of cloud but warmer than today, highs of 22
Celsius. Tomorrow evening looks fine if you are having a barbecue.
Some sunny spells to end the day. Sunny spells into Sunday as well.
Thicker cloud works into the West by the end of the day but it will
be warm, highs 25. Next week, turning unsettled, the message is
make the most of the weekend. A look at tonight's main headlines:
The tabloids on trial - two newspapers are fined for contempt
of court - many more have to pay out for libel.