17/10/2013 Midlands Today


17/10/2013

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dual fuel customers will go up by more than 9%. That is all

:00:00.:00:08.

Hello and welcome to the programme. The headlines: Police raid homes

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across Birmingham to track down an international drug scam, bringing

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heroin into the UK. They've been using human careers, who have been

:00:21.:00:24.

bringing their heroin in. Normally around four to 12 kilos each time.

:00:25.:00:30.

It follows the discovery of 95 kilos of heroin destined for the UK, with

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a street value of this `` of ?5 million. 700 badgers are killed in

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Gloucestershire, less than half the government target.

:00:42.:00:45.

The time frame is now likely to be extended. Wolverhampton council

:00:46.:00:48.

tries to save nearly ?100 million over the next five years.

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We are going to pay more for less which is what keeps happening. These

:00:53.:00:58.

are tough times. It's just not good. Under threat, a memorial to soldiers

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who died in the First World War. Now 10,000 people have signed a

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petition to save it. And we have the weather.

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Today raised hopes. Is the rest of the week going to

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dash them as all eyes turn to the weekend. The forecast for you later.

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Good evening. Five people have been arrested in early morning raids in

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the West Midlands, on suspicion of trafficking large amounts of heroin

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into the UK. Police believe they're responsible for importing the drug

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from Pakistan, through Europe via countries such as Spain. Officers

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have already intercepted more than 50 kilos of heroin destined for the

:01:42.:01:45.

British market which the dealers had tried to smuggle in via specially

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adapted suitcases, books and clothing. Today's raids were the

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first carried out in the Midlands by the newly formed National Crime

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Agency. Police moved quickly to capture

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suspected key players in an international smuggling gang. A man

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and a woman were arrested at this house in Stourbridge by officers

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from the newly formed National Crime Agency. Further arrests were made in

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the Bordesley Green and Alum Rock areas of Birmingham ` and in

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Bradford in West Yorkshire. We feel they are a significant gang. The

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drugs we seized as part of this operation with colleagues in Europe

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has been about 95 kilos. In the UK, we've seized 50 kilos and to put

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that into context, that has a street value of around ?5 million. It is a

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significant amount. Couriers are believed to have been used to

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conceal the drugs in books and next to clothes on flights to Europe from

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Pakistan. The National Crime Agency says it hopes today's operation will

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be the first of many investigations in the West Midlands that will have

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an improved joined up approach to fighting crime. Those arrests are

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part of an... Officers from Spanish police are here observing. Police

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officers from Holland and Germany have also been involved. The Spanish

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police observing said they hoped today's raid would seriously disrupt

:03:17.:03:19.

drug trafficking in their country too. One of the main priorities for

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the police is the cooperation with other law enforcement agencies, in

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order to fight organised crime groups who operate without frontiers

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or borders. Half the estimated 5,000 organised crime gangs operating in

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the UK are involved in drug smuggling ` tackling them and their

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global network is seen as a priority for this new crime fighting unit.

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Our Special correspondent Peter Wilson joins us in the studio now.

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So is Birmingham a major destination for heroin from Pakistan, Peter?

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I am not here talking about today's raids, or those that were arrested,

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but historically, there is a city in Pakistan called... Back in the 60s,

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lots of people came from there because they were building a dam and

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60% of the Pakistani people living in Birmingham come from that city.

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It's known as little Birmingham. It is also right on the route for

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heroin coming in from Afghanistan. There is also another community,

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which lives on the border of Afghanistan. Lots of people from

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Birmingham are from those areas as well. The vast majority are

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law`abiding but a small minority are linked to the heroin trade. We are

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hearing a lot about organised crime at the moment.

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What exactly does that mean? It means big business. At one time, it

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was estimated that drugs trade in this country alone per year was with

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something like ?40 billion. If you think about Land Rover doubt

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you are, they make ?1.6 billion a year. Drugs is ?40 billion. The sums

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are truly astronomical. If you years ago, I went and sat in

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the home of a man. I had been told he was one of the

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Birmingham drug lords. He told me he was a taxi driver. I had also been

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told he had at one time ?1 million in cash hidden under his

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floorboards. We went for a walk through a certain part of Birmingham

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in the streets and people were treating him almost like that Marlon

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Brando character out of the Godfather. People were bowing and

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scraping because he was one of the most influential people in the

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city. But no one had heard of him. Coming up later in the programme:

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Why young dads often feel isolated: a call to help fathers as young as

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14. The company responsible for the

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pilot badger cull in Gloucestershire has applied for an eight week

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extension to its licence. New figures were released today which

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showed that, in the six weeks since the shooting started, only 708

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badgers have been killed ` less than half the target. Our eural affairs

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correspondent David Gregory`Kumar is inside the cull zone for us now. So,

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has this all turned out to be a bit of an embarrassing failure, David?

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It's hugely embarassing for the Government and those running the

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Gloucestershire cull. It's estimated there were 2,350 badgers in the

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Gloucestershire cull zone. And in a programme of controlled shooting for

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the past six weeks, around 30% of the population have been killed.

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Well short of the 70% target. Now as you say the company running the cull

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wants to carry on for anther eight weeks.

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Things have gone so badly with the Gloucestershire badger cull the

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shooting could now carry on right up until Christmas. It is obvious that

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six weeks is not long enough. Somerset was granted a further three

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weeks. The local company have applied to Natural England for a

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further eight weeks and that is under discussion with them. I am

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very keen this is run by local people. It is down to the local

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company to work that out with Natural England. The Somerset cull

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may have faced problems but they look like achieving the cull target.

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So why has Gloucestershire failed so spectacularly? They will be a number

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of reasons why the numbers are lower than we in the culling companies

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have hoped. Some of them will be to do with what is happening this year,

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the two rain, the type of farming, what the badgers are doing and where

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they are eating and so on. We will consider it all in the round.

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Protesters are clearly a part of that. So protesters have made a big

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difference in Gloucestershire. They certainly made a difference. It has

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meant we've had to pull back our operatives to go to other areas. The

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government insists this is just a pilot but the highly well`equipped

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protesters in Gloucestershire have cause real problems for the cull.

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Let's talk to some of those protesters. Nick and Jean are from

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Gloucestershire. What is your reaction to this extension to the

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cull, potentially of eight weeks? If it wasn't so tragic, the whole thing

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would be laughable. They've had six weeks to do this. They've only

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killed the third of the badgers. How do they think over another

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eight`week period, and how then can call that an extension, I don't

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know, how do they think they will achieve success in bad weather? It

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has been a disaster from start to finish. Nick, people like you have

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had an impact. There are all sorts of protesters out here every night.

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Feet on the ground have made a big difference in Gloucestershire. We

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act purely within the law. We've had over 500 people as part of our

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patrol. We have not deliberately set out to stop the shooters that are

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looking for wounded badgers. If we are in a field near the shooters,

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they have to go somewhere else. If we've made a difference in that way,

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so be it. Do you think you've stopped shooting? We know we have

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because I've been out in the field and we've seen the shooters. The

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police have been called and they've been told to stop shooting. It has

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made an impact. People know that we are there. We've got hundreds of

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people coming from all over the country. They are amazing people,

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from all age groups, from different occupational groups. Totally

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incredible, out there all weathers, from seven until seven. They are

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mind`boggling. If more people want to join us, we would love to have

:10:03.:10:06.

them in the wounded badger patrol. This extension has been applied for

:10:07.:10:14.

and there will be a decision as soon as tomorrow.

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He has been released on bail to be electronically tagged before

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sentencing on November the 28th. Leaders in Wolverhampton say it is

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unlikely that any residents in the city will be left unaffected by the

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council 's efforts to strip out almost ?100 million from its budget

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over the next five years. It is now looking at 165 proposals to reduce

:10:54.:10:58.

some services as well as putting council tax bills at the first time

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in four years. Lifeguards at the Central Baths in

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Wolverhampton, road sweepers who keep the city streets clean and

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youth workers helping youngsters find their feet. Just three of the

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groups of people facing redundancy as the City Council tries to make

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?98 million worth of cuts by 2019. We've been forced into this position

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because of the reduction in government grants that we have

:11:31.:11:36.

suffered, something like 40% between 2010 and the end of 2015/16. There's

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been a swimming pool on Bath Avenue since 1847. The current facility is

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in desperate need of a refurbishment the council can't afford. This could

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be one of the biggest casualties of the cuts. The council was

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withdrawing ?316,000 worth of annual subsidy and if another operator

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cannot be found, it says it will have to close. Youth services in the

:11:59.:12:05.

city will also lose ?1.1 million. These young people are on a course

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that combines maths and english basics with learning about the music

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industry. It's privately funded, but at least three of the students are

:12:13.:12:15.

there because of council run projects. The duty is being used all

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the time so there is definitely a need for youth provision, more youth

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provision within Wolverhampton. To know there are going to be cuts in

:12:29.:12:31.

the city is quite sad because we're not going to be able to do some of

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the good work. Council tax bills are also expected to go up for the first

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time in four years. But one of the city's MPs says growth in the

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private sector should offset some of the job losses. In the West Midlands

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between 1997 and 2010, we were the only part of the country which saw a

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decrease in the number of private sector jobs. We are going to have to

:12:52.:12:56.

rebalance the economy and there are real positives which points to a

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positive future. The council says the financial crisis isn't their

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mess, but it's up to them to clear it up and everyone in the city will

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feel the impact. Teenage dads desperately want to be

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good parents, but often feel isolated, according to a report from

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the charity 4`Children. Now a Black Country group's calling for more

:13:19.:13:22.

help for them from the government in a region with one of the highest

:13:23.:13:25.

teenage pregnancy rates in England and some fathers as young as 14.

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Louise was just 15 when she became pregnant. 16`year`old Luke stood by

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her. Anyway, I feel like I've lost my youth but in another way, I've

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gained something from fatherhood. It is just amazing. The couple who live

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in Sandwell, admit it's been a struggle. But they're still up at

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five every morning, ready to leave the house at seven so Ethan can go

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to nursery and they can both go on to college. I want to be

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successful. I want my son to see that he can do what he wants to do

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when he is old enough, and go for it just like I have. You are doing

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really well. We pride view. Simon Jakeman became a father at 18. He

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too has been helped by the Sandwell charity Krunch which helps young

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fathers get into education, training or to find work. They helped me get

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my maths and English qualifications. That has led to me getting this job.

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I can provide for my family. What do you think you would have done

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without this? I would be unemployed, probably on the book ``

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Dole. I would be getting into trouble. We do parenting courses,

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cooking classes, basic life skills, how to use a washing machine. The

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charity has helped around a hundred young dads in the last four years in

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the Sandwell area. Teenage pregnancy rates here and across the West

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Midlands are some of the highest in England. Ethan is now six months

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old. His parents say they're determined to provide him with

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positive role models and they're working hard to get their lives back

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on track. This is our top story tonight: Five

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people are arrested in raids across the West Midlands as police target

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an international drug smuggling gang.

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Your detailed weather forecast to come shortly from Shefali. Also in

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tonight's programme: Keep on running ` a dilapidated athletics track

:15:44.:15:47.

transformed as part of our Olympic legacy.

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And why the dodo isn't quite as dead as we thought. Well, not in

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Herefordshire anyway! A public meeting's just got underway

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in Warwickshire to discuss controversial plans to extract gas

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from deep underneath the countryside around Marston. Cluff Natural

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Resources has applied for a licence to use a technique known as

:16:11.:16:15.

Underground Coal Gassification. Holes are drilled into coal seams

:16:16.:16:19.

deep below the surface and then set alight. That releases gases which

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can then be used to produce power. The Coal Authority is still

:16:32.:16:33.

considering the application which the energy firm says would create up

:16:34.:16:37.

to 400 new jobs. Our reporter Giles Latcham is in Leamington Spa where

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the meeting is taking place for us now. So who's arranged this tonight?

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It has been organised by a small group, newly formed to contest this

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application to drill in an area south of here. About 60 people have

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turned out so far, many fear it will spoil the countryside. Sue is one of

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the founders of this group. This application is a speculative one to

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see if the product is viable. It could be five years away. If it

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happens, you jumping the gun? I don't think so because once in while

:17:19.:17:23.

has been drilled, it is therefore perpetuity. Very many wells leaks

:17:24.:17:31.

and we don't want to see a polluting well which could spawn into hundreds

:17:32.:17:35.

of thousands. We need to know now what this could turn into. Important

:17:36.:17:46.

to distinguish this is not fracking. It uses similar technology but

:17:47.:17:50.

rather than using water and chemicals, the coal in the ground is

:17:51.:17:55.

set on fire. This is therefore quite risky business because who knows

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what is down there, who knows what you can release. It's a very

:18:01.:18:07.

experimental technology which almost every test has been shut down for

:18:08.:18:12.

pollution incidents. Gas prices have gone up again today. There is a rich

:18:13.:18:16.

seam of coal here. We can't ignore that, can we? They are not linked.

:18:17.:18:21.

This is an expensive technology. It takes a lot of energy to get gas

:18:22.:18:25.

from coal so deep in the ground. When it comes out, you cannot plug

:18:26.:18:30.

it in to the gas that we use. This would be used for diesel, jet fuel,

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it's completely fictitious to say this is helpful in that way. Many

:18:37.:18:42.

people are already very concerned about this.

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Almost 10,000 people have signed a petition to save a memorial to

:18:45.:18:48.

soldiers who died in the First World War. It's inside the former

:18:49.:18:50.

magistrates court in Stoke`on`Trent ` which is now for sale after it was

:18:51.:18:54.

closed as part of government saving plans. Fenton Town Hall, until

:18:55.:18:58.

recently a Magistrates' court. Inside a unique record of soldiers

:18:59.:19:01.

who gave their lives during the First World War. Made from Minton

:19:02.:19:09.

tiles, Fenton's history is built into the very fabric of the walls

:19:10.:19:15.

here. But now the building's for sale and facing an uncertain future.

:19:16.:19:23.

It is just so incredibly important that these men, most of them very

:19:24.:19:29.

young, are not forgotten and desecrated, because that is what

:19:30.:19:33.

would happen if the building was demolished. The memorial cannot be

:19:34.:19:38.

removed without being demolished. Jane Jones and Callan Chevin both

:19:39.:19:40.

have great grandfathers who fought in the North Staffs Regiment. The

:19:41.:19:48.

thought of a possibility it could be destroyed is disgusting. It is so

:19:49.:19:57.

dishonourable. As a young Pip `` person in Stoke, I feel it is my

:19:58.:20:00.

duty to carry on the memory of these fallen heroes. The war memorial

:20:01.:20:05.

outside a building makes reference to the names recorded inside. The

:20:06.:20:09.

mystery of Justice has said any sale of the building will involve a

:20:10.:20:13.

condition that the tile memorial will be preserved. It says the

:20:14.:20:16.

government has a duty to taxpayers to provide best funny for money when

:20:17.:20:19.

the property is sold. The campaigners have collected a

:20:20.:20:21.

petition with almost 10,000 signatures, they'll be delivering it

:20:22.:20:24.

to Downing Street at the weekend. They're also got poppy seeds which

:20:25.:20:27.

they're planning to plant on all roads into the town. If we can plant

:20:28.:20:35.

poppies around the town, what the residents are saying is we haven't

:20:36.:20:38.

forgotten about you. We are remembering you. Ultimatately the

:20:39.:20:41.

campaigners want the chance to buy this building themselves. They

:20:42.:20:44.

hoping it can be saved, and in doing so, they can honour the memory of

:20:45.:20:50.

soldiers who sacrificed their lives. A Birmingham athletics club which

:20:51.:20:53.

faced merger or even closure has been saved, thanks to the Olympic

:20:54.:20:58.

legacy. Sparkhill Harriers was formed more than a century ago, but

:20:59.:21:02.

its home track had fallen into disrepair and was no longer fit for

:21:03.:21:05.

use. Today, though, that track re`opened after a face`lift costing

:21:06.:21:16.

more than ?300,000. This is the Olympic legacy they

:21:17.:21:19.

promised, young people inspired by the London Games being coached by

:21:20.:21:24.

top British athletes. But just as important is the Olympic legacy

:21:25.:21:28.

under their feet. A brand new track costing 325 thousand pounds that

:21:29.:21:37.

will be home to Sparkhill Harriers. It is really good. It was better

:21:38.:21:41.

than the last track because the other track had massive holes in

:21:42.:21:45.

it. It is nice to run on it and I don't trip up sometimes. I can feel

:21:46.:21:50.

it underneath my feet, it's a lot more bouncy. It's really good. I've

:21:51.:21:56.

never felt a track like this before. It's really soft for your spikes to

:21:57.:22:02.

go on. What a legacy. The good condition of this particular track

:22:03.:22:07.

will carry on for years and years. It is so good to see so many young

:22:08.:22:12.

people enthusiastic about running. It will be well used. It was

:22:13.:22:15.

desperately needed. A year ago I filmed the shocking state into which

:22:16.:22:19.

the Fox Hollies track had fallen. Rotting equipment and an

:22:20.:22:22.

embarrassing running surface. A club founded in 1902 and with an Olympic

:22:23.:22:26.

silver medallist in their Hall of Fame faced an uncertain future. We

:22:27.:22:33.

were having great difficulty in seeing how we could keep the club

:22:34.:22:35.

going because we thought we might even have to lose the junior

:22:36.:22:40.

section. The work has gone in with various organisations to produce

:22:41.:22:43.

this new track is of importance to us. Already, to `` together with the

:22:44.:22:50.

Olympic effect, we are seeing a new influx of people coming. But funding

:22:51.:22:53.

from the city council, Sport England and Ninestiles school has

:22:54.:22:56.

transformed it. And who knows one day one of these young runners could

:22:57.:23:00.

swap a Sparkhill vest for a British Olympic vest.

:23:01.:23:05.

Now, what's the most famous of all extinct species? Surely it has to be

:23:06.:23:11.

the dodo, as in dead as. Dodos lived on the island of Mauritius and are

:23:12.:23:15.

thought to have grown to a large size because they had no natural

:23:16.:23:18.

predators. But then man arrived in the 16th century and astonishingly,

:23:19.:23:21.

within just a few decades, it had been wiped out. Now the bird forms

:23:22.:23:25.

the centrepiece of a new exhibition in Herefordshire, carrying a strong

:23:26.:23:31.

environmental message. Nature left unspoilt can look like

:23:32.:23:36.

this. The stunning secenery of the Black Mountains on the Herefordshire

:23:37.:23:41.

Welsh Border. But meddle with nature and you get the story of the extinct

:23:42.:23:46.

dodo. It's a story brought to life in this exhibtion at Monnow Valley

:23:47.:23:56.

Arts Cntre in Walterstone. Why bring this exhibition to Herefordshire?

:23:57.:23:59.

There is an important reason because this is a beautiful is it ``

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beautiful, unspoiled area. We are trying to get the message across to

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preserve the area and not to do as we did centuries ago with the dodo

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in Mauritius. And you've actually got the bones of the bird to bring

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the story to life as well. We have indeed. This is the prime exhibit

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here. These are actual dodo bones, the last remains of a beautiful bird

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that would still be alive today if it wasn't for us. The bones belong

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to this man. Ralfe Whistler inherited them from his late father.

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His Suusex home is like a permanent museum to thr woerld's largest

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collection of all things dodo. It is fun! It brings a smile to most

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people 's faces. If you are a collector, you like collecting

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almost anything. I do collect and it is almost now Ralfe's fascination

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for the The peculiar bird is being shared in our region. Built in. The

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name of this extinct bird comes from its rather fat behind so when the

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Dutch founded, they named it fat bottom. Over time, it became known

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as a dodo. Alas poor dodo may be dead as can be but the flighless

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bird sends us alla warning to look after our natural surroundings

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before tis too late. Let's catch up with the weather.

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Slightly better today, Shefali. What's the forecast?

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We had some sunshine today and very few showers. Yesterday, we were

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expecting some heavy ones but there have not been any reports of any.

:25:41.:25:43.

There has even been a positive development on the rain for

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tomorrow. There is still heavy rain to come but it looks as though the

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alignment of it was a little further west. We should miss the worst of

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it. Also, we have, piling in behind it, if you heavy showers. Is there

:25:56.:25:59.

anything over the weekend, there are showers will be heavier than the

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rain tomorrow. We have got blustery showers on Sunday. It is also going

:26:16.:26:18.

to stay quite mild. It will be fairly breezy. We got some sunshine

:26:19.:26:20.

in between those showers as well. Because of today's sunshine, we

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start the night off with clear skies and because of that, we could see Mr

:26:24.:26:25.

developing early on, even fog for the east of the region where we hold

:26:26.:26:28.

onto the clear skies for longest. There will be time for that to

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develop into fog. Later in the night, we will see the cloud

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thickening up from the South West, head of this rain for tomorrow. The

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coldest spot would be the south`west. The morning tomorrow,

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we've still got that fog to contend with. As the cloud pushes further

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eastwards, that will lift them stand for Clinton low cloud. It is a dull

:26:57.:27:07.

day tomorrow. Perhaps some heavy bursts in the rest of the region

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tomorrow but the temperatures will be lower tomorrow. If at all, it's

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tomorrow night that we will see the rain pepping up a little bit. A damp

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wet night tomorrow night. For the weekend, we are looking at some

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showers and some sunshine. Tonight's headlines from the BBC.

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British Gas is the latest energy supplier to put up its prices ` up

:27:34.:27:37.

to eight million households face higher bills. And police raid homes

:27:38.:27:40.

across Birmingham, as they track an international drugs gang, bringing

:27:41.:27:42.

heroin into the UK. That was the Midlands Today. David

:27:43.:27:46.

Gregory`Kumar will be back at ten o'clock with latest update on the

:27:47.:27:48.

day's news.

:27:49.:27:49.

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