02/11/2011 Midlands Today


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


The headlines tonight: Eight children left orphaned. Shock


at the death of a Birmingham couple on a pilgrimage to Mecca. He was an


excellent example for our community in the way he dealt with his family,


the way he treated his sons and daughters.


He's just won a major music award but now this pop star is facing


deportation for living here illegally.


Cracking what will be the world's largest market. The battle to boost


exports to China. And race goers at Warwick on the


controversy over whipping that's splitting the sport. If the rules


don't change, it spoils the race. They used the whip far too much.


Good evening and welcome to Wednesday's Midlands Today from the


BBC. Tonight: Tributes pour in to a couple killed


in a fire on a pilgrimage to Mecca. Dawud Burbank and his wife Khalida


Dost from Birmingham leave eight children. Their two eldest sons


were with them at the time. The couple died when the bus they were


in caught fire travelling from Jeddah airport in Saudi Arabia. Mr


Burbank was a highly respected translator of Muslim religious


texts as Joanne Writtle reports. A coach load of pilgrims headed off


on their own spiritual journey to Mecca from Small Heath in


Birmingham this afternoon. Before they set off, they gave their


reaction to the deaths of Dawud Burbank and his wife Khalida Dost.


I am really sad about it and I hope and pray for the best for the


family. Among Dawud Burbank's closest friends, a head teacher at


a school next to the Salafi Mosque in Small Heath. I saw one of his


son's last night. They were very, very noble, calm, collected. I am


sure inside they are being torn apart. Learned and respected, Dawud


Burbank had translated many Islamic books from Arabic into English. The


book store here in Birmingham has many of his translations on the


shelves. The director of the local mosque and Islamic Centre told me


the funerals had already taken place in Mecca. He explained that


Dawud Burbank's deeply religious beliefs meant there were unlikely


to be family photographs of him. is not that a person and box on a


pilgrimage for dying but it is about worship. In the process, in


the endeavour of performing that pilgrimage, if one is to die, that


is considered a noble death. The Haj. A spiritual journey to Mecca


every adult Muslim's expected to complete at least once. Dawud


Burbank and his wife were with the eldest two of their eight children.


Dawud Burbank converted to the Islamic faith over 20 years ago. It


was on board a bus leaving the airport in Jeddah their trip ended


in tragedy. Brief details of the accident came in last night. The


couple were killed, apparently when a fire broke out. Other pilgrims


from Birmingham scrambling to escape the flames. There were


rumours it was an explosion. When I spoke to the chief in Saudi Arabia,


he denied it was an explosion. He said it was an accident. The engine


was overheated and it caused -- it caught fire. The couple have been


buried near the Mecca. Schoolchildren give us their


versions of William Shakespeare. An Indian pop singer who's just won


a major music award is facing deportation for living here


illegally. Garry Sandhu has been in Birmingham for 10 years and is a


rising star in the Asian music industry. But he's been detained by


the UK Border Agency and could made to leave the UK at any moment.


Here's Bob Hockenhull. Until last week, Garry Sandhu was a


singer whose star was on the rise. In October he was named Best


Newcomer and Best Male Act at the Brit Asia Awards. But now he's in


the custody of the UK Border Agency. Mr Sandhu has been living in


Handsworth in Birmingham for 10 years. This councillor from


Coventry wanted to book him for a concert in the city next year.


what I understand is that he has outstayed his welcome on a visa. I


think thousands of Britons up and down this country have welcomed


Garry Sandhu to their hearts and homes as well. His fans include


this 17-year-old musician from Edgbaston. He recently recorded a


video with Mr Sandhu and was shocked to find out he's been


detained. I just thought there were rumours on the internet and


children shouting, just making up stuff. I am sure he would be back


doing what he loves, and his fans would be backing him 100%. But this


barrister specialising in immigration says the law is clear.


If you what the subject of that decision, it is important for you


to leave the country voluntarily rather than be deported because


should to be deported, then you will be banned from coming back


into the country for 10 years. Sandhu says he's the victim of


false accusations. Rumours have been flying around the internet


claiming he's been released. But the Home Office insists he's still


in custody. 1,500 jobs could go at Sandwell


Council over the next four years, as it tries to cut its budget by


�70 million. Around 500 staff have already been made redundant this


year. It's now expected that a further thousand could go at the


Labour-run council. A woman's been charged with failing


to disclose information under the Terrorism Act. 22-year-old Salma


Kabal from Birmingham was arrested in September as part of an


operation by the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit. She'll


appear in court later this month. Seven men have already been charged


in connection with the investigation. The Government will


ignore Labour's idea of an alternative route for the multi-


million pound higher speeds to project. Labour suggested a writ


including Heathrow Airport and would run in parts alongside the


M40 through Warwickshire. This afternoon, Transport Minister


Theresa Villiers accused the Labour Party of game-playing safe their


proposal had come too late to be considered.


Some analysts believe China will overtake the USA as the world's


largest economy as early as 2016, which explains the increasing


urgency to break into Chinese markets. As a country, we export


more to Spain than China and our exports to the Irish Republic are


double those to the world's most populous country. We report how we


are responding to the challenge. Good result this to the Chinese?


This firm in Kidderminster is breaking into the lucrative Chinese


recycling market. They recycle 100,000 tonnes of material a year.


They already export us more about that to China but they hoped to


send a lot more. The plastic waste is bailed up at Lawrence for


cycling. It is shipped to China where they turn it into plastic


granules to make new products. have got a huge manufacturing base


so they need the raw products we recycle to be manufactured back


into products we will buy back in the UK. It is a closed loop in


reciting. How about electronics? A bit like selling coals to


Newcastle? They are doing it here at this company, where they make


specialist part, shrink equipment. 10 years ago, China account of the


2% of their sales. Today, it is 20%. 10 years ago, America was clearly


the Raj just growth market for us and we were market leaders there. -


- clearly the largest growth market. The shift has gone to China. That


is the single most important market. Gathering in Worcester for a


conference this evening to promote trade with China, business leaders


and a representative of the Chinese embassy. I think there are a lot of


chances for people in Worcester that may go to China to do some


business. There is a lot of chance. We have got quite a unique event


tonight in that this because we have got will provide both a


Chinese perspective and a UK business perspective. That is in


terms of how we overcome some of the barriers to trade successfully


with China. The message to firms it is clear. The prospect of China


becoming the world's biggest economy is a business opportunity


not to be wasted. It is fair to say our exports are warped by imports.


So there must be real scope to do something, isn't there? Yes. 2015,


at the estimated 15 cities in China will have populations of more than


25 million. London only has 7 million. Growth in exports from the


UK to China is currently 40% although it comes from a very low


base. UK exports to China are worth �8 billion, and, of course, the


West Midlands is getting go at share. Yes, those figures are


frightening. In addition to those companies in the report, what other


companies are doing well? Jaguar Land Rover with 15% of everything


that has made in West Midlands plants goes to China, and that


number is rising fast which is why the company wants a factory there.


It is in detailed talks with a Chinese car manufacturer although


they will be not be making that many cars. JCB is the other firm


dibbing well. They have already got up factory in Trina, five years ago


they built it. They are doing very well. What are the Chinese


consumers looking for? What do we need to offer them? What reporters


bought in China is made in China, but they do like high-value


products like fashion items, premium products, like Jaguar Land


Rover products, and, of course, especially the loot of products. We


are also exporting expertise. A good example is at Longbridge, the


old car factory, where the trainees have set up a design centre. There


is a similar one in Leamington. They're working with a variety of


Chinese firms. Andy Newman reports now on how companies in


Worcestershire are responding to the challenge.


It's exactly a year since the public inquiry began into standards


of care at Stafford Hospital. Now a series of roadshows are touring the


country to try to ensure the failings don't happen again. Today


the roadshow reached Stafford. Our Staffordshire reporter Liz Copper


looks at the impact the inquiry's had and what the future might hold


for the town's hospital. What happened here ensured the


county town of Stafford became the focus of national attention. The


failings at its hospital still preoccupy families who live here.


We depend on the local hospital. It is somewhere we go to drink most of


our lives so we want an efficient place. I am going into hospital for


not a serious operation in the next week, and I am not going into


Stafford. I don't feel... They have convinced me they've got it right


yet. I feel, you know, get it resolved and then move on. But what


will the future be as the hospital and its staff do move on? It's


likely it'll be smaller and there'll be fewer beds. It's all


part of the Government's plans for changes in the NHS as a whole.


need to understand the size that Staffords needs to be. We need to


really put some investment and some time and effort into building the


community of the structure, so, some of the people that currently


work in Stafford may well be working in the community. The A&E


department is also under scrutiny. The inquiry has already heard


evidence of what went wrong in the past. Now it's because his vocation


-- is shifting to the future. Trammel is canvassing the views of


those working inside and outside the NHS. Could the world of


retailing help reshape the NHS? The John Lewis Partnership appeared


before the inquiry advising on, amongst other things, customer care.


We talked to other organisations out of prison sector to look for


new ideas, new stimulus as to how we can translate back into our


world in retail and see if we can create new solutions to great


service. So I am an advocate of doing that in our world, so I hope


I will be able to support the inquiry in this same way. It'll be


next year before the people of Stafford learn the inquiry's


recommendations. But they will have repercussions for the entire health


service. Still much more to come in


tonight's programme, including the ex-soldier facing his toughest


challenge - skiing to the North Pole and then doing the same at the


South Pole. But no Arctic snow or temperatures here. Quite the


opposite. It's mild, it's windy and be warned, there's more heavy rain


It's the largest youth drama festivals in the UK, introducing


thousands of young people to our greatest writer and Warwickshire's


most famous son, William Shakespeare. This week,


schoolchildren from across the region have been performing their


own interpretations of his works at Birmingham's Old Rep Theatre.


Here's our Arts Reporter Satnam Rana. Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art


thou Romeo? Final rehearsals for the


Shakespeare Schools Festival ahead of tonight's performance of Romeo


and Juliet for students at Birmingham's Stockland Green School.


We had got children -- teachers to help us, to modernise it. Yes, it


was hard at first, but I went over the lines, and watched Romeo and


Juliet and I came to terms with his language. The student have been


treading the boards since January and all this week The Old Rep


Theatre in Birmingham will have four performances per night open to


the public. These are not the only young people taking part in this


year's festival. Across the region, 40 schools have taken to the stage,


with over 1,200 schoolchildren performing the Bard's words. From


Warwickshire to Worcestershire, Herefordshire to Shropshire and


here in the West Midlands, professional theatres have been


hosting condensed versions of Shakespeare's famous plays. For


students taking part in the Shakespeare School Festival, it's


been both a challenge and a triumph. This is a chance for them to grasp


their cultural heritage and understand something they don't


often get a chance to engage with in a school curriculum. Here, with


a kiss, I die. This festival proves that Shakespeare isn't just a


playwright of the past but one who appeals to present generations with


their own take on how to act out his words.


Time for a winter's tale. The sport. That gag was much ado about


nothing! Coventry City fans are feeling


pretty unhappy right now. Some of them staged a protest outside the


London headquarters of the club's owners before last night's game


against Millwall. After the match, the Sky Blues manager Andy Thorn


said he's sick of hearing excuses from the players as the club


plunged deeper into relegation trouble. Coventry were beaten 3-0.


And they're now four points adrift of safety near the foot of the


Championship table. Thorn described their second half performance as


unacceptable and amateurish. The Birmingham City manager Chris


Hughton says the board is keeping him fully informed about the club's


financial pressures. The parent company has delayed publication of


its annual reports but investors are being warned about a


substantial loss last year. Blues are preparing for tomorrow night's


Europa League tie against Bruges at St Andrews and the manager says


it's not a distraction. Because there are so many games,


your concentration has to be a mark. -- has to be on that. Things out of


prison control or away from the football pitch, you cannot concern


yourself so much because there is a big enough job going on on the


football pitch and dealing with these games. You can hear the match


commentary on BBC WM tomorrow evening. A couple of hours earlier,


step's trip to Tel Aviv is also live on BBC Stoke.


Now, the new jump season got underway at Warwick Racecourse this


afternoon. But there's a big row between the jockeys, and the


sport's governing body. It's all to do with new rules governing the use


of the whip. Jump racing fans have waited all


summer to enjoy this Wednesday at Warwick. The first meeting of the


season. Seven races over hurdles and fences. 50 horses of mixed


ability. And none of them expecting to receive more than eight strokes


of the whip. If they get one over the eight, their jockeys are


guaranteed a five day ban. The jockeys believe the new rules are


too strict and the penalties to severe. They are angry and


threatened to strike if they cannot reach a compromise with the British


resourcing -- British Horseracing Association. Andrew Thornton is one


of many top jockeys who are furious. He believes 8 strokes per race is


not enough. He says jockeys are being punished too harshly for


accidentally miscounting. And in any case, Andrew tells me, the


current whips covered in foam don't hurt the horses, they just sting to


keep them focused on the job in hand. You can do that. It is a


sting, but as you can see, it doesn't mark. We have loved horses


all our lives. We don't want to beat forces. That is not our


passion. It is to run -- it is to win races, make it a competitive


sport and for everybody to endure it. -- and for everybody to enjoy.


In a statement, the BHA said the situation is best served by


maintaining dialogue behind closed doors rather than playing the whole


thing out in the media. But today's punters at Warwick had plenty of


opinions. I think the jockeys are run a very difficult situation. If


they use the whip, they will be accused of cruelty that don't know


any better. If they don't use it, they will be accused of not trying.


The jockeys are threatened strike action. It would be bad for racing


if they do. Andrew Thornton rode two winners at Warwick this


afternoon, and used his whip sparingly. Well within the rules.


He says all his fellow jockeys are hoping to resolve their dispute


with horse racing bosses by dialogue, without the need to


strike. Ian, this subject's sparked quite a


reaction. We have some e-mails from you. Ian Rubery says: "From now on,


whips should be used for safety purposes only, e.g. Steering." He


goes onto say, "Misuse of the whip should result in outright


disqualification." Johnnie Walker says, "No, whips do not have a


place in horse racing today. Greyhounds, racing pigeons and also


for that matter Formula 1 seem to excite people enough without any


cruelty." Amy Louise Swatman says, "The whip should be banned in horse


racing. The poor horses are already running as fast as they can and do


not deserve to be beaten for their efforts!!" It seems the majority of


people who've emailed want an outright ban. That's not even on


the cards, is it? No. It is not an option and it


would create a bigger outcry amongst the jockeys if it were to


come into force because the jockeys are adamant they believe the whip


is a vital safety tool to keep the balls on the straight and narrow in


the heat of a race to make sure it is safe -- to keep the horse. It is


a very heated debate added his son to -- it is going to run a little


bit longer. We will have more on it tomorrow.


Now to one man's incredible challenge. Skiing across the South


Pole and then the North Pole, alone and without back-up. To date, no-


one's ever achieved it. Next week, though, Coventry explorer Mark Wood


will set off on the first leg of an epic journey, as Sarah Falkland


We are heading to our first bit of ice trouble.


With 25 expeditions already under his belt, Mark Wood is used to


inhospitable places. But nothing as bad as this. The South Pole, the


coldest place on the planet, where average temperatures are around


minus 50 Celsius. It is the North- South solo expedition... The former


soldier and firefighter is going to ski the 680 miles across it. Then,


within a few weeks, tackle the 700 miles of ice across the North Pole.


The added interest is polar bears. Large icebergs. There'll be the


usual dangers but the extreme solitude and tiredness could be his


worst enemies. My biggest fear as a solo expedition is finding a wrist


-- a reason to give him, to have that moment where it is... I have


been on my own, I find it really tough. The trip to actually being


alone and travelling so far is to create things in your mind, if you


like. I will be thinking about home, about redecorating the house, about


the next expedition. About how I am going to change my life when I get


back, how I am going to make a difference. All these wonderful


things. You think about everything. You create a whole Disney World in


your head. Personal ambition aside, his big motivations are


highlighting climate change and educating young people. His epic


journey will be followed by schools across the Midlands, including


youngsters at his old school Finham Park in Coventry, who'll be Skyping


with him. If he can do this, he will be famous. It is a main job.


Mike in expedition history. It is really, really gonna be good.


would never do it because it is scary. If he's to survive, Mark


will have to drag more than his body weight in food. He leaves for


South America and the South Pole Incredible, isn't it?


And to see more of the sort of hostile territory that Mark will be


facing, why not take a look at David Attenborough's stunning


It's on BBC One at 9 pm tonight. It is sensational.


We have got quite mild weather, haven't we?


Yes, the cloud and rain are stacking up, poised to come through.


It is being generated by this rather intense area of low pressure


currently to the West and sitting out of the Atlantic. As well as the


rain, we will have stronger winds, and also milder air. That changes


by the weekend. The first batch of rain comes through tonight. It is


going to be mild. We have got some dribs and drabs across us but it


starts to pick up and beef up through the middle part of the


night into the small hours of tomorrow morning. You can see some


bright colours developing in the central part. The Met Office has


issued a yellow alert for up to 12 mm out of the some of the biggest


bursts. The temperatures, a mild night. It is still quite breezy as


the rain comes the rain. It is quite gusty through the day


tomorrow although the rain dies away by the morning, and leaving us


with a brief dry period with quite a lot of cloud tomorrow. The next


area of rain spills up from the South during the latter part of the


day which is going to be fairly light initially. It is through


tomorrow evening and tomorrow night that it turns heavier. Tomorrow is


a mild day with highs of 16. That is above average. Tomorrow evening,


this rain becomes heavier. There is a yellow alert issued from the Met


Office. It clears up, quite a mild night. Friday morning, some


sunshine, followed by some heavy showers.


A look at tonight's main headlines: Tributes have been paid to a couple


who died on a pilgrimage to Mecca. And more on that story about the


deaths of a couple from Birmingham on a pilgrimage to Mecca. Our


reporter Giles Latcham is with a travel agent in Birmingham who


organises similar visits. Giles. They have sent about 350 people to


make it. This isn't the first incident, as it? There was another


one before. Another bus was coming to Mecca. That caught fire as well.


I believe two people died, which is on the website. You have been there


personally. What would you say to people having second thoughts? What


is safety like? Well, actually, the Saudi government, they tried to do


their best to control the things, but when there are approximately 3


million people, these types of things, these unpredictable things


do happen. It is a very wealthy kingdom, we are entitled to expect


high standards of safety, aren't we? They are trying their level


best and investing money to improve things. So I have seen a lot of


changes. I went this year and last year as well, so I have seen a lot


of things improved. Thank you very much for talking to us. This is a


community in mourning for the loss of Dawud Burbank and his wife. The


investigation into what happened continues. We have heard in the --


we have heard that temperatures reached 44 sources in Saudi Arabia


yesterday and the engine overheated. A very sad note on which to close


the programme. Tomorrow, we will find out which of our region's


politicians might be made redundant as the government moves to cut the


number of MPs at Westminster. We will be meeting the 15-year-old


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