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Hello, welcome to the programme. The headlines. A family's dismay as
a schoolgirl with Down's syndrome has a her picture hijacked and
ridiculed on the internet. You just feel sick, and sad that people have
got so little respect, or human kindness, really.
Brighter jobs news as a Chinese lighting firm moves manufacturing
to Birmingham. As Syria agrees a temporary
ceasefire, exiles pledge to keep up the pressure with a demonstration
in Birmingham tonight. We are conscious of making sure that
people continue to think about what is happening in Syria, continue to
be active. 100 years after the Titanic sank in
the act -- Atlantic, remember in the Midlands links with the ill-
fated liner. Good evening, welcome to Thursday's
Midlands Today from the BBC. Our top story tonight, how internet
abuse has disgusted the family of a teenager with Down's Syndrome. The
mother of Heidi Crowter today appealed to so-called internet
trollers to stop posting sick and offensive messages about her
daughter. Pictures of Heidi were copied from a parents support group
website without permission. They were then posted on other Facebook
pages where users were invited to mock young people with disabilities.
Sarah Falkland reports. She is great fun, she has always
got a caring and happy attitude. She is very sensitive. 16 year-old
Heidi Crowter has Down's syndrome. Four year, she has been a victim of
internet trolls. Pictures has appeared on a Facebook page,
entitled, do not listen to the guy above me, she has Down's syndrome.
She has always -- also been put on another more sexually explicit page.
You feel sick and sad that people have got so little respect for
human kindness, that they can do something like this. Until
yesterday, Heidi, from Coventry, had been shielded from the truth
about the trolls, but with her parents trying to tell Wedding --
get wider support, she felt could not keep it a secret. I think it is
an acceptable. Were you very shocked? A little bit, yes. In a
statement today, Facebook says there is a policy in place for
Heidi's mother to report these unauthorised photos. She tells us
that she and a small army of her friends have been doing that since
last October. The statement went on to say that Facebook has a real
identity Prost -- policy, which makes people accountable for their
actions and behaviour, and a set of rules which are intended to create
a balance between enabling free- speech, and preventing harassment
and abuse. One of the first high- profile cases of trolling involved
this Worcestershire schoolgirl who died after throwing herself under a
train. Sean Duffy was jailed for 18 weeks for targeting bereaved
families on line. He is the second Pursey -- person to be jailed for
trying in the UK. Bay of Risley do not know anyone with Down's
syndrome, -- they obviously do not know anyone with Down's syndrome,
they think things about them like they are stupid, when clearly Heidi
is not and other people are not. They definitely would not do it is
a new Heidi. She is intelligent. know! Is the people who did this
are watching now, what would you like to say to them? I would like
to say, stop doing it, please. With a snout is Professor Ellis
Cashmore, who is a professor of social media -- with us now. We
seem to be hearing more and more about the dark side of the internet.
Patrols, yes. It is a difficult question to answer -- the trolls,
yes. Intentional malice is not quite enough. I imagine they are
people who do not command any authority or respect from their
front in everyday life, and out of their frustration with their own
insignificance, they decide to try and distinguish themselves. And one
they can do this with a fair degree of confidence that they will not be
Is on social media sites. And they are cool, sadistic sometimes. An
absolutely offensive -- and they are cruel, sadistic sometimes. In a
perverse way, they are getting their own way. This is what they
want. They have aroused people's anxiety and anger. And here we are.
Top talking about them, right now. You can almost imagine them saying,
this is a result, they are talking about us. There are so many plus
point about the internet, but this darker side is so dark, what can be
done? With every blessing comes a curse. And in practice, this is
very difficult to police. Facebook are saying, we like to strike a
balance between free speech and offensiveness. Somewhere in between.
The number of people who are actually prosecuted, even
identified, are miniscule compared to the number of people who are
trailing. So you think it will go on? I cannot see any stop to it.
Thanks for being with us this evening. Still ahead: The Caribbean
schoolgirls blazing a trail to Birmingham before Jamaica's
athletic superstars head to the China's largest lighting
manufacturer opened a new factory in Birmingham today. The company
behind it believes this region could be ideally placed to make
lights and then sell them across European markets. NVC has so far
created 70 permanent jobs and hopes to increase that to around 250 by
2015. The welcome news on jobs, comes despite a regional business
survey which says the number of manufacturers taking on new workers
fell from 31% to 26% at the end of 2011. And a warning there are
flashing images in Kevin Reide's report on how one firm is bucking
that trend. What do the Beijing Olympics and
this new warehouse in Birmingham have in common? The company that
owns the warehouse was the main lighting supplier for the Games.
Today its founder and owner was here to officially open it. Saying
he chose Birmingham because it is in the centre of England.
TRANSLATION: We are not just aiming to distribute in the UK, we see
here as a stepping stone into Europe as part of global expansion
plans. The company first came to Birmingham in 2009, employing eight
people to import the lighting equipment it makes in China. It now
assembles here and in the future hopes to begin manufacturing.
have got the money to invest in our country. So it they can give the
jobs to our workforce. It is lagging a little bit. If they are
going to bring light into Britain, that is great. The more jobs that
are available, people can get into work. I think it is a good thing,
because we have got work in place so more people can get employed.
All this comes as the West London's -- West Midlands's Chamber of
Commerce fires a broadside at the government, claiming manufacturing
jobs are in decline and blames too much red tape, saying it is
difficult to recruit staff and grow businesses. If you take someone on,
you commit yourself to red tape, the most simple of which is acting
as a tax collector for the government. All of those complex is
multiply and businesses are reluctant to take on people and the
dole queue grows. That is not our experience here at all. We have
grown gradually over the last few years, head count is up to 70
people. The process of recruiting people have not been a problem.
there may be a storm brewing between businesses and the
government here in the West Midlands, but for at least one firm,
the future is looking bright. The economic benefits of the
proposed high speed railway from London to the Midlands have been
halved in figures released by the Government. Latest predictions
suggest the project will bring �1.20 of benefit for every pound
invested. That compares with an original forecast of �2.40. But the
Department for Transport insists the figures don't reflect all the
wider advantages HS2 will bring. A lorry driver who admitting
causing the death of a cyclist by careless driving has walked free
from court with a suspended jail sentence. 47-year-old Karl Austin
from Stoke-on-Trent was killed while taking part in an event for
his cycling club last summer. Today at Derby Crown Court 62 year old
Michael Bray, seen here on the far left, was given a six month jail
sentence suspended for two years. A convicted arsonist who burned
down mobile homes and blackmailed residents into selling their
property has been forced to pay �750,000 in compensation. John
Doherty was jailed for 12 years for terrorising his victims at The Glen
caravan park near Bromsgrove in Worcestershire. They've been
compensated under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Campaigners fighting to
save jobs at a Kidderminster-based carpet firm have been gathering
signatures for their petition today. More than 150 posts are at risk at
Brintons Carpets. The company employs 1,700 people worldwide and
says the cuts will allow it to compete in the future. But
campaigners want the industry to stay in the town and are planning
to take their petition to the government.
Protesters claim it makes no sense to close both GP surgeries in the
centre of one of our most historic towns and move them to the
outskirts. A campaign led by comedian Jo Brand's mother has
collected 1,200 signatures. The NHS says the move is an integral part
of plans for a �27 million hospital of plans for a �27 million hospital
of plans for a �27 million hospital and health centre complex and any
delays could kill off the project. Our health correspondent Michele
Paduano reports. With muscle inflammation, and
osteoporosis, 84 year-old Grace is not by far the most elderly and
frail person in this complex. But she moved to the centre of Ludlow
to have immunity -- amenity that the GP on her doorstep. Getting on
and off buses is not easy even for me. It is worse for many people
here, believe me. They are much worse than I am physically. So, yes,
we just cannot lose our surgeries. The campaign group, Save the Ludlow
count surgery, includes a retired GP. It is rubbing salt in the wind
having collected a petition. Joyce had to go to Downing Street with
her daughter, comedienne Jo Brand. Nobody is going to want to trail a
mile and a bit out to the eco Park, and stand in the rain in the winter,
all with small children in a pushchair and have got chest
infections. They are not going to want to. Ludlow is due to get a �27
million new hospital here. It is meaning more hospital services in
south Shropshire. Crucially, both town centre at GP surgeries must
move to the new site. To retain a surgery in the centre of Ludlow
would not just undermined the integrated nature of care on the
hospital site, it would greatly increase costs of the overall
scheme and jeopardise the Ludlow hospital development. Bosses to the
eco Park run every 20 minutes to 30 minutes. It takes about half an
hour on this bus to get up to the eco Park. There is also a dial a
ride service that patients can ask for 24 hours in advance, and there
is a �100,000 coming for a new community bus service that patients
can pay for separately. This is a historic market town is spit and
there seems no room for compromise. -- is split.
Also roads continue in the Premier League but good Aston Villa be a
drive into the relegation nightmare?
We have had the worst of the showers but the best of the
temperatures, it is getting colder by the weekend. It is all coming up
later. After 13 months of violence a
tentative ceasefire's in place tonight in Syria and for now at
least it appears to be holding. But opponents of the regime are still
fleeing the country and there's fresh testimony tonight from
Syrians here in the Midlands who've been aiding refugees. Giles Latcham
has this report. Back home in Birmingham, husband
and wife, both Syrian nationals, we are not naming them because they
fear for their families in Syria. He is an NHS psychologist who spent
the past nine days in refugee camps. In a clinic, he treated dozens of
people haunted by nightmares and flashbacks, traumatised by it
murder and torture. An ad that said that five of her family were killed
a band of her eyes. -- and Lady DEC said. They planted mines around the
image -- village and exploded them, children were picking vines and
they saw that they were slaughtering children like a sheep.
They went to Syria with the charity Hand in Hand For Syria that went to
help the casualties of President Asad's crackdown. I saw a mother,
she said, she did not want anything, she just wanted to remember her son.
He was 16 year-old and she said he died in front of her eyes. Reports
of fierce fighting as the ceasefire junior today, a Midlands-based
activists will stage a vigil tonight in Birmingham, anxious to
rid mind the world that Syria is still a nation in conflict. We are
conscious that people continue to think about what is happening in
Syria, be active in supporting Syrian people. Like standing up
against anybody, you have to stand in solidarity with each other, and
that is what we are trying to do tonight. Harrowing though the
experience was, the doctor and his wife are planning to return next
month. It is their duty, they say, to their homeland and its people.
Time for the sport now. What a dreadful night for a Black Country
side's. A month from now and it'll all be over. But we're still a long
way from learning how many of our teams will survive when the dust
settles on the Premier League relegation battle. Wolves
increasingly look doomed but Aston Villa could still join them in the
Championship. Nick Clitheroe reports.
There's no lack of spirit about this Wolves team but the gulf in
quality was illustrated yet again as Arsenal swept into Molineux.
Once Neil Swarbrick had awarded a penalty and sent Sebastian Bassong
off after just 9 minutes victory for the visitors seemed a formality.
Within a couple of minutes it was two.Theo Walcott doubling the home
fans dismay. And any hope of a revival was completely quashed when
Yossi Benayoun added Arsenal's third. If they get five more
efforts like a got tonight with 11 players on the pitch, we will get
as many as we possibly can. It is a tough time, and things seem to go
against you when you are in the bottom of the league. But the
spirit and the togetherness of the lads showed today, I can only ask
for for the next five games. Wolves may look relegation certainties now
but they're not the only Midlands side in trouble. Wigan's victory
over Manchester United means Aston Villa are only six points above the
bottom three. West Bromwich Albion are realistically, if not
mathematically, safe and it looked that way as they succumbed to
Manchester City's revival of the title race. They were a goal down
inside six minutes but it was the second half when the deluge of
goals arrived. They can look forward to another Premier League
season. Their two biggest Midlands Chris Wright took the 10th and
final wicket to claim for in the innings. Rain-affected play, a
short time ago, Warwickshire were 91-three in reply. The Birmingham
Brummies won the first big Midlands derby of the Elite League season
with a 50 points to 42 victory over Wolverhampton. A dramatic 11th heat
was the outstanding race of the night at the Perry Barr stadium.
Sebastian Ulamek held off Wolverhampton's Freddie Lindgren
round the final bend to open up an eight point lead. It was the
Brummies' first win of the season. A netball team from Jamaica is in
Birmingham this week as part of a sports exchange leading up to the
Olympics. The Jamaican under 16 national squad will play a series
of matches in the city. Later this year the stars of Jamaica's track
and field team will be based in Birmingham ahead of the Games in
July. Nadine Towell reports on our Jamaican Connection in the run up
to the greatest show on earth. Bringing a flavour of the Caribbean
to the council house in Birmingham. For many of these Jamaican
teenagers, this is their first overseas trip. They are here as
part of a pre- Olympics exchange programme, building up to the
arrival of the Jamaican athlete in Birmingham this summer. So after
their formal welcome, the girls were then introduced to the sites
and the shops. It is very wonderful, just the buildings are amazing. The
different look. It is very nice. Festival, the temperature, it is
very cold! As well as the building, they are larger, much larger.
This is what they are really here for, a series of competitive
netball matches between the Jamaicans and a team from
Birmingham, been played every day for the rest of this week. This
time last year, a team from Birmingham went to Jamaica on the
first leg of the exchange. Now they are in no mood for revenge. It was
very competitive last year, they beat us in every match. This year,
we are hoping to change it and beat them tonight. They are amazing,
really good. I am hoping to win today! These girls are the first
Jamaican sports team to come into Birmingham in 2012. They are well
aware they are being followed here by their countrymen later this year,
including Olympic champion and world record holder Usain Bolt.
are seeing them, we hope we have her set the stage for them. We hope
they receive the wonderful hospitality we have received from
Birmingham. On court, the Jamaicans won the first match of the series
by a tight margin. Up the atmosphere here is anything to go
by, the athletes arriving for the Olympics this summer should expect
a hero's welcome. Just give us the timetable of when
our visiting Olympians are arriving. We are only 14 weeks away from the
Jamaican team arriving, July 15th. The following day the US team
arrives. The city of Coventry arena is the first game in football.
Let's go back to cricket, in seven county matches today, 77 wickets
fell. The batsmen did not want to be out
so long! The ball was moving but not as much as it should have done
for the amount of wickets. It is perishing out their! It's 100
years since the sinking of the Titanic. But not many people
realise how much of the liner was built right here in the Midlands.
Well, now a new exhibition's commemorating this region's role.
Bob Hockenhull reports on our links to the Titanic disaster and on the
lasting effect on the lives of people even today.
On route to the spot where the Titanic sank. But not all on board
this week's anniversary crews are descendants of the victims. We
spoke to Sheila from Hall Green in Birmingham, just before she set off.
She has no family connection to the disaster, yet felt compelled to
join the cruise, retracing the chip's fate full journey. She had
been collecting memorabilia connected to the tragedy since her
father described seeing a sinking ship during the Second World War.
He said it was a terrible thing to witness the death of a ship, and it
seemed such an emotive expression it stayed with me. To me, that
Cruise is an opportunity not only to pay respects to the hundreds of
people who died, but also to the ship herself. Sport in the White
Star liner uniform worn by the Titanic crew, Andrew has also let
the 100 year old tragedy have a profound effect on his life. The
amateur historian has spent 30 years uncovering the region's
forgotten contributions to the ship, not just the anchor, famously made
near Dudley, but much more. She is registered in Liverpool, so the
people of Liverpool thinks -- pink she is a love of will ship. She was
built in Belfast so they think it is a Belfast ship. But 70% of the
interiors were made in the Birmingham and Black Country, so
she is a Birmingham and back- country ship. Andrew has set up a
museum, collecting bits of the ship itself. This debris was found by
fishermen in Ireland. Visitors will be able to get up close to this
genuine Titanic sidelight. It was brought up on the seabed in the
1990s, and is now owned by the Coventry-based Titanic Heritage
Trust. More and more is being uncovered about the victims from
the Midlands. One of them, William Higgins, was a former MD at the
engineering company where Andrew's exhibition was being staged. It is
about people, people who's lives were never fulfilled. Generation
it's a who never went forward. That is the most poignant thing about
the whole story. Andrew's research has found it is a story about life
as well as death. Worcester confectioner Henry Morley died in a
tragedy, but Kate Phillips, the 19 year-old shop assistant he was an
open with, survived, and gave birth to their daughter. Three brothers,
Jess of Alfred and John Davies from West Bromwich died, but there are
parents set up a successful business in America with the
compensation money. A country so many other people were destined
never to reach. It is an intriguing story and
continues to be fascinating. I interviewed 80 Turkic -- Titanic
survivor years ago, it was fascinating.
Tomorrow, we will have report on the captain of the Titanic, Edward
Smith. He came from Staffordshire. How much was he to blame for the
disaster? For a lot more, go to the website.
The weather has been causing some interesting outcome in the cricket
Things have been kicking off in Coventry. Earlier on we had report
of thunderstorms there. April has not release Brown any surprises on
us so far. At the beginning of the week we had a westerly which meant
temperatures were reasonable. That will change by the weekend, we will
see northerlys flooding in and washing away those warmer colours.
Mrs Howard looks in summary. Wintery showers come the weekend,
also it will turn more windy and it will be colder. Back to tonight and
this evening, first of all. Showers will be dying away in the next
couple of hours. Looking much clearer and dry across the region,
so it will be cold as well. It could be freezing across rural
parts, we will see a widespread frost in those areas, more so than
on previous night. For tomorrow morning, we will be soaking up the
rays once again. A beautiful sunny start. Then the show was full role
in from the north-west by the afternoon. -- the showers will roll
in on the afternoon. Top temperatures still quite reasonable.
As the northerlys sink in, like winds tomorrow, it will turn colder.
The days are cold, the night will become colder. Tomorrow night,
temperatures could get below freezing. Again, a widespread frost.
For gardeners, it can do watch out for his Saturday night into Sunday.
Or widespread frost and wintry showers as well. Dry ice under. But
A fragile ceasefire in Syria appears to be holding tonight.
And internet abuse for a girl with Down's syndrome, her family say
they are disgusted and appeal for aid to stop.
There have been reports of a big bang similar to a large explosion
across cock -- Coventry, Warwickshire and Northern
Oxfordshire. Houses shook and windows shook, as far as rugby.