16/04/2012 Midlands Today


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Welcome to Midlands Today. They headlines: The whole region is now


officially a drought zone but there will be no hosepipe ban. In part of


the Midlands, we are looking at a lack of rainfall over the last 18


months that we would normally only see once in a hundred years.


Pakistan's hockey team becomes the latest side to choose a West


Midlands to train for the Games. An elected mayor should have powers


be on the city. Following the death of the


Gloucestershire trained Synchronised, is the race simply


too came to us? -- dangerous? Welcome to the start of the week.


Our top story, the whole region has been declared a drought zone.


Drought orders effective from today mean all of the West Midlands is


now on alert. The region's biggest water company, Severn Trent Water,


says there will not be a hosepipe ban this summer. We have continued


the dry trend we have seen for the last two years with only between 31


and 40% of the expected rainfall. That has had a pronounced impact on


river levels. Many are now exceptionally low, including the


Wye, the Trent and the Avon. What across the region, groundwater


levels are also classed as exceptionally low. David Gregory


begins his report from a potato have bombed.


-- potato farm. When levels of this low, this is


only useful to passing swans. are looking at a lack of rainfall


in the last 18 months we would only expect to see once every hundred


years, so it is quite a significant impact, and with the two dry


windows we have had, levels are low. It could have a serious impact upon


the environment. On this farm, the Environment Agency has been working


with the farmer. Relaxing rules and allowing him to take water from


this river at a time which is traditionally outside the


abstraction season. It is a lie on the farm to recharge the reservoirs.


But farmers would like to see other changes to help them survive the


drought. Especially when it comes to planning and building new


reservoirs on their land. We have been through the planning process


with one and we have had a lot of help with it, but it has taken


about 18 months to get it through, which is too long. And the cost of


doing that, to get consultants in, sometimes takes the project out of


reach for us doing it because we are spending too much money on


getting the product -- the project already rather than building up the


reservoir of. This could mean poorer quality crops for farmers


here in the Midlands. We can cross live to David Gregory


now. Just how serious is the water level situation? I guess we have


had two years where we have had less than average rainfall, so we


need two years of above-average rainfall and it is winter that is


key, because it is that we trod period where for use the rain to


fill up a will rivers -- v re- charge period. We need persistent


rain that serves the ground and makes it nice and wet so any


further rain fall soaks ride in and recharges the ground water. That is


something we have not had. -- soaks right in. How can the water


companies be confident we will not have a hosepipe ban this summer


when we are in a drought? This is a Severn Trent Water reservoir that


supplies Rugby and they have built her pipeline to refill it from a


nearby river and they would argue that thanks to this kind of moving


of water, they are definitely able to keep the water flowing into our


taps, and that is what many companies say as well. So while


there may not be an official hosepipe ban, if we are still


talking about a drought in 12 months' time, whatever water we


save this summer and winter, we might turn out to be very great for


forehead and a year's time. Everybody should be thinking more


carefully about what we used a waterfall. -- grateful for it.


Under the hammer - the irreplaceable medical library sold


off to pay the bills. It has emerged a would-be suicide


bomber jailed for plotting to blow up an aeroplane has been released


only after he helped prosecutors in the United States. Saajid Badat,


from Gloucester, was arrested in 2003 and admitted conspiring to


place a device on an aircraft. Articulate, intelligent, full of


promise. Saajid Badat was the grammar-school boy turned would-be


terrorist. He was arrested nine years ago at a family home in


Gloucester where police found a dismantled bomb stored in suitcases.


He admitted plotting to use the device hidden in his shoe to blow


up a transatlantic airliner but he never went through with it. He was


jailed for 13 years but the sentence has now been cut to 11


years. This was one of the most serious terrorist threat to our


nation since September 11th. It is because he has agreed to give


evidence against a 25-year-old man involved in a plot to blow up the


city's subway system in New York. It is extremely common for people


either under threat of conviction or who have been convicted to


agreed to testify to get a reduction of sentence. It is far


less common in the UK is so it is very interesting in terms of


transatlantic co-operation. Badat's plot was very similar to that of


Richard Reid, the shoe bomber. Following his arrest it was decided


that Badat could not face being a courier of death and he rejected


terrorism. Four workers had complained about


the behaviour of Mr Schu council's former leader before he went on to


sexually assault a teenage girl at County Hall. -- Gloucestershire


council. George Lord was accused of sexual assault on a 14-year-old


girl. The council was deemed to have acted appropriately but


communication could have been better. The councils say they do


with the previous complaint at the time. In all cases, action was


taken to stop the unwanted attention and it did stop. On that


basis, I don't think anybody could have predicted the next case was


going to be a serious sexual assault.


The former Birmingham City player Trevor Francis has been discharged


from hospital in Burnham -- in Birmingham after suffering a


suspected heart attack. He was admitted to Heartlands Hospital on


Friday. He had emergency surgery over the weekend.


Elected mayors of Birmingham and Coventry should take a leading role


well outside the city boundaries, effectively becoming the voice of


the region. That is according to new research published today. In


less than three weeks, the people go to the polls to decide if they


want elected mayors with far- reaching powers. The research has


been commissioned by Warwickshire University.


The Midland Metro does not just run through Birmingham. It stretches


through the Black Country. Unlike the wit of an elected mayor, which


would stop at the City borders. -- unlike that of an elected mayor.


But some say their powers should be extended to places where people


have not actually voted them in. There is an argument for leading


without authority, that just because you do not have political


authority over an economic which, doesn't mean you cannot use your


authority to do something about a region. If you look at the West


Midlands region, we have got Coventry, which is a city, which


might have a mayor, and then Birmingham. We also have


Wolverhampton, so the real question is, how do you co-ordinate this? No


one person can have a mandate for the whole read -- region.


cities that say yes in the referendum, how much to pay the


mayor could become a political minefield. And then there is the


question of what is more accountable. Council leaders are


chosen by other councillors, whereas a directly elected mayor is


chosen by the voters. The counter argument goes that it could be


dangerous to put all of a power in hands of just one person. The


Warren Commission's answer is for the Government to put a system in


place so that counsellors can expel mayors who abuse their power. But


it is the voters who will decide whether council leaders get to stay


in the driving seat. Those votes to decide whether an


elected mayor should run Birmingham and Coventry take place on the same


day as local council elections. In some councils, all the seats are


being contested. In others, just a third of seats are up for grabs.


Patrick Burns has been looking at what is at stake.


Launching their manifesto in Solihull today, the Greens launched


their manifesto today to create jobs and help small businesses. But


Birmingham, like Parliament itself, is run by a Conservative-Liberal


Democrat coalition. Labour need four more seats to regain power


here after eight years. And what other partnership faces a similar


Labour challenge at Newcastle- under-Lyme, one of 18 councils


holding elections or stop the Conservatives control nine,


including some wafer-thin majorities. Labour have three and


another three are under no overall control, leaving just one with


overall Lib Dem majority. With the whole council up three election,


they could lose control to the Conservatives. So the coalition


partnership in Westminster have daggers drawn. Could we be looking


at an old-fashioned fight? Well, what price the new politics?


Traditionally, the third party have struggled in our part of the world.


Their only even doubt been a region with 60 constituencies. There could


be the credit squeeze between the juggernauts. In Walsall, there is a


minority Conservative constituency there. May be in Walsall only need


four net gains on their own account to have a majority of their own. --


Labour in Walsall. You could be likely to have the opposition


picking up seats? It is extraordinary how successive


governments have found themselves becoming unpopular. We have seen


the documented woes of the Tory party and the so-called Tory spring


and their coalition partners, the Lib Dems, their poll ratings rooted


stubbornly at around 12%. There is this mid-term Blues factor, which


is on my blog Page, and it affects a team in our part of the world. In


Rugby, they have a whole council election. It could be a moment when


we find out which way the political wind is blowing.


A still head the Stephen, penalty or a dive? Ashley Young is in the


firing line after Manchester United won a penalty for this.


And spring could still feel like winter, but how fitting that rain


is in full flow this week after the drought zone announcement.


With the start of the Olympic Games just over 100 days away, the


Pakistan hockey squad has become the latest side to choose the West


Midlands as its base during the Games. They will train at Chase


Park. They arrived in the UK head of the Olympics. Pakistan played


England in a series of internationals three years ago and


were impressed with the facilities. There are the latest in a growing


list of international squads choosing to base themselves outside


the capital as the countdown to London 2012 continues.


The Olympics is the greatest show on earth, and if you cannot be the


host city, there are always fringe benefits. Cannock hockey club will


host Pakistan. We are one of the few venues that can has the team


because of the facilities and we are always looking to develop our


facilities to enable any visiting country to be able to play at a top


Staffordshire county council worked hard with the club to attract


Pakistan here. They're hoping it will provide a short-term financial


boost for local businesses but also raise the county's wider profile.


The first one is to the local community, and people are selling


their merchandise here. The second one is to prove what an ideal


situation the county is in, two of four world class accommodation for


sporting facilities. It was also confirmed today that the University


of Wolverhampton has attracted the Australian judo team to train at


it's Walsall campus. Coventry will benefit too. The small Asian


kingdom of Bhutan will base its archers, boxers and taekwondo squad


at the University of Warwick. Dominica's boxers are in


Wolverhampton and Malawi's entire team in Cheltenham are more about


feeling a part of the Olympics. At the other end of the scale it's


been estimated that Birmingham's scoop in signing up the American


and Jamaican athletics teams could give the city a �20 million boost.


But it's the sporting benefits that are getting these young stars


excited. The ability to watch the world's best on your doorstep and


even take them on. I've only played against under 21s, this would be a


massive opportunity to see if I can keep the ball out! Some economists


argue about how realistic the claimed financial benefits are. But


this Olympics is also about creating a legacy of increased


sports participation. Bringing the world's best to the West Midlands


will surely help them achieve that goal. We do seem to be getting more


and more involved. Dan's here with tonight's sport,


and there's been plenty of reaction to Villa's game at Old Trafford.


Plenty of reaction between now and -- to what happened between


Manchester United and Aston Villa. Yes, Gordon Taylor of the PFA


players union says blatant diving cannot be tolerated. And Stan


Collymore wants the Premier League to introduce retrospective


punishment. The former Villa striker was incensed to see Ashley


Young awarded a penalty for Manchester United, as Ian Winter


reports. It's certainly got the tabloids


talking, the broadsheets bristling, and former footballers fuming. Stan


Collymore is the ex-Villa player turned media pundit.. He was


watching closely when Ashley Young took an early tumble at Old


Trafford. 75,000 home fans screamed penalty - match referee Mark Halsey


said penalty, and Stan the Man said: When he is looking to check


on to his right foot, he is live -- leaving his leg in. If you are


looking to contact somebody, more often than not, you're going to


find somebody, so as far as I'm concerned, it is a cheat, it is a


dive. It should be under the laws of retrospective punishment.


slow motion, it doesn't look good. The slightest of touches from


Ciaran Clarke, and Ashley Young is poleaxed inside the penalty area. A


free gift for Wayne Rooney. And frustration for Alex McLeish. 1-0


down to that all-important early goal, and a 4-0 defeat soon


followed. I have seen the replay, he tries to pull his leg away, but


actually has thrown his leg towards Ciaran Clarke and has got his team


appeared to At least he never pulled those sort of tricks when he


played for the Villa. Did he? Well yes, he did, actually. In fact,


Villa fans like Stan can recall several embarrassing moments like


this before his �17 million move to Old Trafford. It is a yellow card


for diving. They always loved his precocious talent, but never warmed


to this side of Ashley's game. you say to a youngster, don't do it,


but then they get a professional contract, and the manager says, so


long as we get the result, do it for your life. So, did he dive, or


did he not? The debate will rage on and Villa fans have the


collywobbles, with five games left to preserve their Premier League


status. And there's more from Stan


Collymore on tonight's Late Kick- off with Manish Bhasin, here on


BBC1 at 11.05pm. The show includes all the goals


from the Football League, including Coventry's 1-1 draw at Burnley.


Clive Platt's equaliser, mid-way through the second half, leaves the


Sky Blues four points adrift of safety, with only three games left,


starting at home to Millwall tomorrow night.


The former Coventry striker Marlon King did his old club a favour by


scoring against their main relegation rivals Bristol City.


Nikola Zigic got Birmingham's second, as the Blues fought from 2-


0 to earn a valuable point. Shrewsbury Town are moving ever


closer to automatic promotion from League Two. Terry Gornell scored


two of the goals as they beat Rotherham 3-1 on Saturday. It means


they're still the only team in all four divisions to remain unbeaten


at home this season. The win lifts the Shrews up to second, now four


points clear of the chasing pack with four games to go.


Walsall welcomed a VIP guest to the Banks's Stadium on Saturday to


watch their 1-0 home defeat by Tranmere. The Saddlers' former


goalkeeper Bert Williams MBE received a great reception from the


fans at half-time. Bert, who's 92, began his career at Walsall before


going on to play for Wolves and England. His visit raised �400 for


the Alzheimer's Society. Trainer Jonjo O'Neill is said to be


heartbroken at the death of Gold Cup winner Synchronised in


Saturday's Grand National. Synchronised broke a leg while


running loose and was put down. He was one of two horses which died


during Saturday's race, provoking debate about the safety of the race.


It was dramatic and produced the closest finish in the race's


history. Neptune Collonges is diving! It took a photo-finish to


separate the winner - Neptune Collonges from the runner up


Sunnyhill Boy. It meant Gloucestershire trainer Jonjo


O'Neill had lost the race by a nose. But far worse news soon surfaced -


that Gold Cup winner Synchronised had suffered a fatal injury and had


been put down. Synchronised and jockey Tony McCoy fell at Bechers


Brook on the first circuit. He then galloped on alone and suffered


injury jumping the 11th as a loose horse. Synchronised was the stable


star at Jackdaws Castle in Temple Guiting having won the Gold Cup


just four weeks ago. His trainer was still too upset to talk about


his death today, but spoke about the horse last week. I have done


everybody, it is a fantastic feeling, it is just a nice to know


that you have done it, really, and hopefully, everything goes well and


it continues that way for him. second horse, According to Pete,


was also put down on Saturday. He suffered a broken leg after being


brought down. The safety of the National is under scrutiny. There


were too many loose horses still running across the horse. The field


is just too big, so when mistakes get made, there is nowhere for the


jockeys and horses to go other than into each other, and death and


injury occurs. It has taken the spotlight away form the winner


Neptune Collonges. His owner, Shropshire businessman John Hales


has defended the race, and so has the trainer. Obviously it is sad


when that happens, we all know there is an element a brisk before


it even starts. Anything we can look out over the next few months


with Aintree and the BH a to see what we can do, learn any lessons,


will be done. The death could change the story of the Grand


National for good. You have spoken to people at the


yard, what have they said? I called them this morning, and they are


understandably devastated. The last Gold Cup winner to die in the Grand


National was in 1972. To enjoy a road that horse. That is a dreadful


irony. It will be a long time until they get back to normal. There is


always debate about the Grand National, you sometimes -- somehow


feel this time it is under more threat than ever. Because a Gold


Cup horse -- winning horse has been involved. It is not as simple as


just changing the fences, they have done that before, because there is


an argument that they go faster. There is talk about having a


smaller field, I think that could be sensible, some people say it


takes an element away from the race. It will take a while until anything


is decided. I think that is the sensible thing, led the emotion


died down, and look at it in the months ahead, don't rush into it.


But it has to look -- be looked at again. It is a very sad.


There was Olympic delight and despair for members of the Stafford


and Stone canoe club at the British team trials at the weekend. Lizzie


Neave won all three of her races on the Olympic course at Lee Valley.


It ensures the 24-year-old will go to her first games this summer as


the only woman in the single kayak class. But club team-mates Mark


Proctor and Tom Brady missed out on Olympic selection. And this


stunning shot from Graham Dorrans was enough for West Bromwich Albion


to beat QPR and guarantee Premier League football at the Hawthorns


next season. Call me biased! But it was pretty spectacular.


One of Britain's oldest medical societies is having to sell its


library to prevent a financial crisis. The Birmingham Medical


Institute faces increasing rents and falling income.


Some of the books being sold date back to 1500 and others are so rare


they've never appeared on the market. Here's our health


correspondent, Michele Paduano. The Birmingham Medical Institute


began in 1875. It keeps doctors, dentists and nurses up to date with


medical practice. But it needs to secure its financial future. Its


ancient books, many donated by Birmingham Library and studied


until recently at the University will be sold at auction with regret.


It is enormous. Particularly the University, the middle -- Medical


School, it is a sad day for them indeed. But we feel we have to face


up to the realities of the situation today.


These books dating back to 1502 survived the war in crates. The


collection is so vast it's been divided into two sales. Even the


dealers set to profit see the tragedy. Even though I have been


dealing in books for 60 years, it is very sad to see this being


disbursed, because to my mind, it should never have been put on the


market, it should have been kept at the library. This vellum book is


the first complete anatomy valued at �15,000. Next to it, the first


English anatomy which is even rarer rare. The sale should fetch half a


million pounds. Usually it is the same kinds of books that go round


and round, but in amongst here are books I have never heard of, not


just one or two, but dozens and dozens. These are going to cause a


real sensation. This doctor noticed that milkmaids who had cowpox had


smallpox. In 7096 he injected a country boy with limb from Enoch


made, and then he gave him small pox. The boy remained well. It was


the beginning of worldwide fascination. -- vaccination.


Birmingham is sacrificing its medical heritage, so that its


historic institute can survive. A beautiful day today, if a little


We still have some way to go until we sort out these drought


conditions, but we are heading in the right direction. As far as low


pressures go, this one is a bit of a beast. It has got quite a tightly


set pack of isobars around it, which means that as well as it been


a wet, we will see strong winds. That is the only drawback, because


it means that as well as it been cold, those winds are going to


enhance the feel of the cold. But back to this deluge I mentioned


earlier in the programme, it is heading our way tonight. We will


have to see how long this heavy rain last, because it might


decrease as it moves eastwards, and it might become a lighter. You can


see we have some heavy rain to come, by the time it is all over, by the


end of tomorrow morning, we are looking at up to 20 mm of rain in


places. We can see gusts of up to 40 mph on the higher ground, those


temperatures are going to be above freezing tonight. It is going to be


a wet and windy rush-hour tomorrow morning, that rain clearing


Eastwood, followed by a rash of showers and sunshine. We are


looking at gusts a gain of 40 mph, that will make it feel colder, even


A look at tonight's main headlines: Anders Breivik goes on trial in


Norway and admits killing 77 people, but claims he was acting in self


defence. And despite the region being


declared a drought area, water companies say there'll be no


hosepipe ban. That's all from us this evening,


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