09/01/2014 Midlands Today


09/01/2014

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LineFromTo

George. Thank you. That's all so it's goodbye from me and on BBC

:00:00.:00:00.

Hello, welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight: Give us the

:00:00.:00:07.

chance to spend big on your railways and airport. An offer to Birmingham

:00:08.:00:13.

from cash`rich China. We've not seen anything from China so far, or other

:00:14.:00:23.

Asian economies. This could be a big step forward. We'll be asking if the

:00:24.:00:27.

Chinese really mean business. Also tonight: With rivers still rising

:00:28.:00:34.

and 16 warnings, how people are coping with the floods. Submerged

:00:35.:00:37.

under the English Channel for 70 years, now the painstaking work to

:00:38.:00:40.

restore the only remaining German bomber of its kind. When it first

:00:41.:00:44.

came up, it was cover in slime, seaweed. The once`failing school

:00:45.:00:48.

that's turned things around by taking its students outside. We have

:00:49.:00:59.

seen how the rain has caused further flooding problems, so what is

:01:00.:01:03.

looming on the horizon after today's calm? We will have details

:01:04.:01:12.

later. Good evening. China could be about

:01:13.:01:18.

to invest billions of pounds in some of the region's biggest

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infrastructure projects, including high`speed rail and Birmingham

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Airport. In a letter to the city leaders in Birmingham, the

:01:24.:01:26.

state`owned China Railway Group says it wants to make long`term

:01:27.:01:31.

investments. One project is the reopening of a long disused rail

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line. The ?280 million link would give much easier access to HS2, if

:01:36.:01:42.

it eventually goes ahead. 2026 is the projected date when passengers

:01:43.:01:46.

will be able to board the first high speed trains from Birmingham to

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London. Here's our transport correspondent Peter Plisner. An

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economic powerhouse ` China is cash`rich, with many billions of

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pounds to invest. Something that wasn't lost on the Prime Minister,

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who was there on a high`profile trade mission late last year. Even

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then, Chinese officials made it clear they were keen to invest in

:02:16.:02:18.

the UK and specifically plans for high` speed rail. Now in a letter

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sent Birmingham City Council Leader, Sir Albert Bore, the China Railway

:02:22.:02:23.

Group says: the UK and specifically plans for

:02:24.:02:32.

high` talking about expansion at Birmingham airport and better

:02:33.:02:36.

transport links, the group says they would like to explore opportunities

:02:37.:02:39.

to participate in the delivery of those plans. And that could mean the

:02:40.:02:45.

reopening of the former Stonebridge Railway. Its disused trackbed passes

:02:46.:02:48.

close to the airport and NEC. Rebranded the Whitacre link, it

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could also provide access to HS2 for rail travellers in other parts of

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the region. Rail experts maintain that Chinese money will make a big

:02:55.:03:02.

difference. There is European interest in putting money into the

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UK rail industry and has been for a number of years. We have not seen

:03:06.:03:13.

anything from China, or indeed other Asian economies, said this could be

:03:14.:03:17.

a big step forward. It's not the first time the Chinese have invested

:03:18.:03:21.

in the West Midlands. Money from China has helped restart production

:03:22.:03:24.

lines at the collapsed London Taxi Company and before that at

:03:25.:03:27.

Longbridge where British expertise is being used to designed MG cars

:03:28.:03:32.

for production in China. So why infrastructure? Why not? Some argue

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with less government money available, the prospect of

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investment from China could not have come at a better time. Peter joins

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us from Curzon Street in Birmingham, which would be the site

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of the main station for HS two. Are there any dangers in accessing

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Chinese money? I do not think it is any more dangerous than any other

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investment coming in, currently Chinese money is refurbishing an

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office block in Birmingham. They would expect a return. The return on

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investment in things like the London taxi company and energy is the

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automotive technology and ultimately they will want a profit when cars

:04:22.:04:27.

are being sold. They will want a return for investment, there is no

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doubt. What about high`speed rail, some say it is a waste of

:04:32.:04:35.

taxpayers' money. Could this change the argument? Those who are opposed

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to say it could cost taxpayers, the Chinese might want a guarantee of a

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certain level of passengers and they point to the live through Kent which

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has failed to achieve the number of passengers originally forecast and

:04:54.:04:58.

the government is paying a subsidy. Coming up later: The latest on West

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Bromwich Albion's search for a head coach to replace Steve Clarke,

:05:04.:05:08.

sacked a month ago. Drivers are being urged to take

:05:09.:05:12.

extra care tonight after a man became trapped in flood water and

:05:13.:05:15.

had to be rescued from the roof of his car. The Environment Agency says

:05:16.:05:19.

a huge volume of water is running off already saturated farmland

:05:20.:05:23.

leaving many rural roads impassable. There are sixteen flood warnings in

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place. Our reporter Ben Godfrey is beside the River Severn in Bewdley.

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That is due to peak tomorrow. How are things looking?

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Tonight, the River Severn here is rising. The flood barriers,

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temporary, they went in yesterday, it has not got wet yet. It is a

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changing picture, particularly in was stuck. It was clear on our

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travels across the region that it is a changing picture and the threat to

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people and property has not yet been lifted.

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Jacqui Smith's home in Worcestershire is surrounded by

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water and she has not really left her home since Christmas Eve,

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despite spending ?25,000 on flood defences. She is standing on a ledge

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in front of a five feet drop. The waiters speak to her safely was by

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phone. First, the river swelled and after 19 days of rain, the

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tributaries and Brooks are experiencing a fall is of nature. It

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is not just the depth, but the speed of water that makes it dangerous. Do

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not be fooled by the dry and bright conditions, we are told the River

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Severn South Worcester will reach its peak tomorrow. This morning,

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firefighters used a boat to rescue a man from the roof of his car, when

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he got stuck on a main road near Bridgnorth. Even away from the

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rivers, roads are suffering. Do not enter floodwater. If you cannot see

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the far end of the flood, do not go green and if you do go in the flood

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water, check your brakes when you come out. The flood waters are not

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confined to rural areas, this was a residential street in Birmingham

:07:14.:07:18.

today. The root of the problem is down to the positioning of the jet

:07:19.:07:24.

stream which influences the weather. When it is further south, as it has

:07:25.:07:28.

been, you can practically guarantee you will have wet and windy

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conditions. It ushers in low pressure, which in turn results in

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high tides and couple that with storm force winds, it is a recipe

:07:37.:07:40.

for disaster with torrential downpours and tidal surges. While

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the flooding has caused frustration for many, for some, it is a source

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of pleasure with this person, wake boarding in Worcester. An extreme

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sport in extreme conditions. I am joined by a member of the

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Environment Agency, what is the situation? Levels in Boston are high

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and we had to issue another alert in Worcester. They will peak tomorrow

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morning. Upton on seven has had a flood alleviation scheme, our

:08:19.:08:23.

properties protected? It is looking good at Upton. Do you know how many

:08:24.:08:31.

properties have been flooded in our area? Across the River Severn and

:08:32.:08:36.

River Wye catchments, properties have been flooded but the defences

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have protected in excess of 1000. You had a day of rest yesterday to

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prepare for today. What is staffing like? It is a 24`hour operation and

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the incident room is opened 24 hours and we have guys out looking at

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assets. Thanks. Just to add, defied the latest picture where you live,

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you can go to your local BBC radio station.

:09:12.:09:20.

Police and medics are teaming up for the first scheme of its kind aimed

:09:21.:09:23.

at dealing better with people with mental illness. They'll travel

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together to the scene of incidents and emergencies so suspects can be

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assessed on the spot. It's been welcomed by the family of a factory

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worker who died after being restrained by police. Giles Latcham

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reports. He's a man of words. But poet Benjamin Zephaniah is never

:09:42.:09:44.

more heartfelt than when he talks about his cousin Mikey Powell. Mikey

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suffered from mental`health problems and 11 years ago, in the midst of a

:09:48.:09:51.

psychotic episode, was restrained by police officers outside his home in

:09:52.:09:54.

Lozells in Birmingham. He later died of asphyxiation in a police station.

:09:55.:09:57.

The problem was that the police came and treated him like a criminal.

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Within two hours, he was dead. It is that case among others that has led

:10:10.:10:15.

to this rapid response car. We will be able to deal with the patient

:10:16.:10:20.

quickly and their journey into hospital if needed, or signposted to

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another avenue, it will happen quicker. 20% of the work is mentally

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health driven and this will have an impact. Putting a vehicle, a nurse

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and paramedic and police officer, we can solve problems at the first

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point of contact. Can you make sure that's...

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Things have come a long way, in cells in Stoke`on`Trent, psychiatric

:10:48.:10:54.

nurses support offices in assessing suspects when they are arrested. ``

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police officers. But this scheme should mean that they do not go to a

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police station, but a mental health facility. If this scheme had been in

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place, I am pretty sure he would be alive now because anybody in the

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area of mental health will see that what he needed was somebody to talk

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to and to calm him down, not somebody to arrest him. Mikey

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Powell's family campaigned for this scheme and hope it will run into the

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future, averting tragedies like theirs. Our top story tonight: Give

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us the chance to spend big on your railways and airport: an offer to

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Birmingham from cash`rich China. Shefali's on stand`by with a

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detailed weather forecast in a few minutes. Also tonight, the fight for

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every penny. Why the arts are amongst the hardest hit by spending

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cuts. And we are at an outdoor classroom where plants grow and also

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the imaginations of children at a one staining school. A special

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report now on the painstaking restoration of a World War II German

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bomber. The Dornier was recovered from the English Channel last year

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after 70 years under water, but that was just the start of years of work.

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From the RAF Museum in Shropshire, Sian Lloyd reports.

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It looks like a crumpled wreck, but, gradually, every part of the

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last remaining Dornier 17 bomber is being brought back to life. The

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barnacles and seaweed washed away by citric acid, simple lemon juice.

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When it came up, it was covered in the reader deposits, slime and

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seaweed, but the process of the spraying is removing it down to the

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bare metal. It was lifted out the channel six months ago, virtually

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intact. The wings were later removed for the journey by road to the RAF

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Museum's conservation Centre. It is thought the plane was shot down in

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August 1940, when the wing tip hit the water, it went spinning and

:13:20.:13:25.

tipped onto its back before sinking on the sands of the Kent coast. The

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Dornier was the mainstay of the German fleet, attacking British

:13:32.:13:34.

cities in the Battle of Britain. They went out of service in the

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mid`1940s and it was thought none had survived. The Dornier was

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nicknamed the flying pencil because of its narrow fuser large. When you

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crouch inside, you can see why is `` fuselage. Four crewmembers would

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have been cramped in the space. Eventually it will be rebuilt inside

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the museum workshop, but for the moment, only a few pieces are ready

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to work on. This strip of aluminium was found near the bomb release

:14:10.:14:12.

system, the German instructions can still be seen. The idea would be to

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pick and flick the corrosion rather than in density artefact. This

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oxygen cylinder is one of nine recovered from the plane and looks

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as good as new. It has had eight, 12 hours work on it. There is plenty of

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work ahead and funding to be found before it will be ready to go on

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show at the RAF Museum in London. I think they will need to be patient.

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January is a crucial time for arts groups as they try to balance their

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books and apply for what funding is still available. Over the last few

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years, public spending on the arts has been cut at national and local

:14:57.:15:00.

levels. So what does this year hold for organisations trying to keep the

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cultural flame alive? Here's our arts reporter. The Birmingham Royal

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Ballet. The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. And the Royal

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Shakespeare Company. They've all taken cuts but they are big enough

:15:19.:15:22.

and famous enough to survive For smaller organisations, like Vamos

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Theatre in Worcester, ensuring the show goes on is harder. Every pound

:15:25.:15:32.

counts. They're taking this production. Finding Joy, to the

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London Intenational Mime Festival later this month, thanks to new ways

:15:37.:15:47.

of generating funds. The fact that we're not totally dependent on the

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Arts Council, that's also made us more robust so we found other

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partners. Creating partnerships is one way arts organisations are

:15:53.:15:55.

looking to lessen the blow of dwindling grants and budgets in the

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public sector. The Arts Council cannot replace money that was cut by

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local authorities. We can work with partners to be as strong as they

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possibly can. Local authorities are the biggest investors in arts and

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culture, but budgets are squeezed and in Birmingham, the council

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slashed 19% from 11 regularly funded organisations. In response, 14 of

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the major organisations in the city have formed the Birmingham arts

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partnership. By speaking with one voice, we are not allowing ourselves

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to be in competition with each other but to be making the case,

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increasingly strongly and with good effect, that investment in the arts

:16:37.:16:40.

is an important part of the health of the British and the Birmingham

:16:41.:16:46.

economy. There's no turning away from reduced public spending in the

:16:47.:16:50.

arts. But as we enter 2014, the keyword is parternerships. For

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organisations coming together, it is hoped they will create a stronger

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case for culture to ensure investment in the arts continues.

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It's time for sport now and Dan's here. Into a new year now. Any news

:17:15.:17:19.

of a head coach for West Brom? Not quite yet. It has not stopped

:17:20.:17:25.

transfer speculation. The Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has apologised

:17:26.:17:28.

to West Bromwich Albion and dismissed reports that they've

:17:29.:17:31.

agreed a transfer fee for the Baggies striker Shane Long.

:17:32.:17:33.

Meanwhile, Albion's search for a new head coach has now been going for

:17:34.:17:37.

almost a month and there's still no appointment. The chairman of West

:17:38.:17:43.

Bromwich Albion supporters club is growing impatient. John and

:17:44.:17:47.

thousands of baggies fans cannot help wondering why it is taking so

:17:48.:17:53.

long to appoint a new head coach. One would have thought they would

:17:54.:17:57.

have a contingency plan when they did get rid of Steve Clarke.

:17:58.:18:01.

Obviously, it appears they did not. They might have had names they would

:18:02.:18:07.

consider, but they had not got one at the forefront. It will be four

:18:08.:18:11.

weeks on Saturday since Cardiff scored the goal that brought the

:18:12.:18:16.

sack for Steve Clarke. 26 days before `` since he was placed on

:18:17.:18:22.

gardening leave and 26 days of speculation. During that time the

:18:23.:18:26.

bookies have had no shortage of favourites, who have quickly turned

:18:27.:18:35.

ice`cold. Roberto De Matteo, Martin Jol, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer,

:18:36.:18:51.

yesterday, Thomas Schaf. What is the problem? They did not have a list of

:18:52.:18:57.

people when they sacked him. Now it is finding the right person to work

:18:58.:19:04.

with. I think it will be somebody nobody has thought of and it will be

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a surprise. Which direction will Albion take? All should be revealed

:19:09.:19:13.

before the trip to Southampton on Saturday. So we still don't know

:19:14.:19:19.

who'll be taking over. How damaging is it to keep going on

:19:20.:19:26.

without knowing? It is damaging for the club. People accuse them from

:19:27.:19:31.

dithering `` of dithering. But you are wondering what is the problem,

:19:32.:19:35.

why has nobody gone their? The person coming in could be

:19:36.:19:39.

undermined, being seen as the fifth, sixth choice, not a great start.

:19:40.:19:46.

Remember when Wolverhampton sacked Mick McCarthy and struggle to find a

:19:47.:19:50.

replacement and that ended up in relegations. We heard today from

:19:51.:19:54.

Thomas Hitzlsperger on his decision to come out as being gay.

:19:55.:20:00.

He hopes it will fight the problem of homophobia. He had five seasons

:20:01.:20:05.

with Aston Villa. He revealed his sexuality this week. He has retired

:20:06.:20:10.

from football because of injury, but he hopes because he came out, it

:20:11.:20:13.

might encourage current players to do the same. I certainly think it is

:20:14.:20:19.

possible and it will happen. In my case, it took Ron `` it took longer

:20:20.:20:27.

to realise I was gay and admitted to myself, but young players these

:20:28.:20:31.

days, when they are sure about their feelings, they can talk about it.

:20:32.:20:40.

Coventry City's planned stadium could be built just two miles from

:20:41.:20:43.

their former home at the Ricoh Arena. Nuneaton and Bedworth Council

:20:44.:20:49.

have admitted holding preliminary talks. The site is believed to be a

:20:50.:20:56.

former golf course. And Steve Bruce, he is in charge at Hull

:20:57.:20:59.

City, he used to be the manager at Sunderland. More than 500 children

:21:00.:21:09.

in one of the most deprived parts of the Black Country are celebrating

:21:10.:21:11.

tonight after seeing their school make massive improvements following

:21:12.:21:14.

the worst possible Ofsted report. Among the improvements made is a

:21:15.:21:17.

forest school, a way of taking lessons outdoors that the kids seem

:21:18.:21:20.

to love. And that's where we can join our reporter Joanne Writtle.

:21:21.:21:23.

What's happening tonight? This huge outdoor classroom is

:21:24.:21:26.

officially launched tonight. The National storytelling lorry at is

:21:27.:21:33.

telling stories by the fire because the Forest School is said to

:21:34.:21:36.

stimulate the imagination and creativity of children and help with

:21:37.:21:41.

literacy. This came about after the school really did hit rock bottom.

:21:42.:21:51.

The Priory School in Dudley is transforming itself. Everybody is

:21:52.:21:56.

keen to learn, which is what the school wants so that we can have a

:21:57.:22:05.

good future. But a damning Ofsted is Beck should lead to inspectors

:22:06.:22:10.

saying this. In their experience it was the worst inspection they had

:22:11.:22:14.

been a part of, with the school failing in every speck, teaching and

:22:15.:22:21.

learning, leadership, and even the behaviour of pupils. Inspectors had

:22:22.:22:26.

said that lessons were often dull and repetitive and pupils made to

:22:27.:22:33.

little progress. 19 lessons were a next `` were unacceptable but

:22:34.:22:37.

recently, 17 were judged as good and one was judged as outstanding.

:22:38.:22:40.

recently, 17 were judged as good and one was judged I have a good teacher

:22:41.:22:45.

Mr Adams and he is really fun. It is important because if I go to high

:22:46.:22:50.

school, I will get good grades. The new Forest School is taking learning

:22:51.:22:57.

outside the classroom, to encourage creativity and independence. There

:22:58.:23:01.

are other benefits. Building a shelter covers literacy, maths,

:23:02.:23:07.

science, physical education, just by putting up rights together they are

:23:08.:23:11.

using nonstandard measures and looking at angles and discussing the

:23:12.:23:15.

working out of the groups. I like the theme of nature, it is a really

:23:16.:23:23.

nice topic. Now, we get to do a lot of stuff outside and we get to live

:23:24.:23:28.

with the trees. This school is still under close observation, is special

:23:29.:23:32.

measures, but with an almost entirely new set of teachers, recent

:23:33.:23:39.

is actions have recorded progress. A fire sculpture spelling out the

:23:40.:23:45.

name of the school has just been licked as part of the celebration. I

:23:46.:23:52.

am joined by the headteacher. `` just been lit. This school has a

:23:53.:23:59.

special place in your heart? I came through this school as a child and

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so did my children. My mother lives close by. When you were promoted as

:24:04.:24:09.

headteacher, what did you tell children at that first assembly? It

:24:10.:24:15.

was emotional. When I stood in front of the children I reminded them I

:24:16.:24:18.

had sat where they are sitting on that day, and I think that was

:24:19.:24:23.

powerful, because our motto is to believe in themselves and I think

:24:24.:24:27.

that is what the children can be, anything they want to be. The school

:24:28.:24:32.

is still in special measures, are you disappointed? I am not. I knew

:24:33.:24:39.

the job would be a challenge and I am `` we are up for that challenge

:24:40.:24:44.

and we are along the path towards coming out of special measures. Lots

:24:45.:24:48.

of parents are here tonight, including Andrew, and you moved here

:24:49.:24:52.

as the school went into special measures. You must have been

:24:53.:24:57.

worried? Really, really worried. But, what Mrs Bennett has done and

:24:58.:25:04.

Mr Smyth, they have turned the school around and it is fantastic

:25:05.:25:10.

now. It has brought out my son and daughter. My daughter has now left.

:25:11.:25:16.

It is the nominal. Thanks for joining us. This school is still in

:25:17.:25:22.

special measures but there is a warm glow of optimism here.

:25:23.:25:28.

Calls me old`fashioned, I am sure I saw some sunshine this afternoon.

:25:29.:25:33.

Was I dreaming? You were fully awake. There was sunshine around,

:25:34.:25:38.

but it was colder and this trend will continue. You will probably

:25:39.:25:44.

feel the effect as soon as early as tonight. We have a Met office

:25:45.:25:49.

warning for widespread ice tonight. That is on untreated surfaces. This

:25:50.:25:57.

is how it is looking over the next few days with things turning colder.

:25:58.:26:03.

We have night frost and rain later tomorrow afternoon and into the

:26:04.:26:07.

latter part of Sunday. Having said that, the rain that is arriving on

:26:08.:26:12.

Sunday will be heavier and it will be coupled with strong winds. High

:26:13.:26:16.

pressure is dominating for the weekend and that will keep things

:26:17.:26:20.

largely dry until later on Sunday when the low pressure comes in, and

:26:21.:26:25.

the cold front associated with it will bring in the rain, which will

:26:26.:26:30.

be happy. Overnight tonight, we have some showers affecting extremities,

:26:31.:26:37.

but apart from that it is looking drive. It will turn colder. Down to

:26:38.:26:42.

two degrees in the cities and in the countryside, it will be close to

:26:43.:26:47.

freezing. This will give us ice and frost and perhaps isolated fog

:26:48.:26:50.

patches. The folk will lift readily tomorrow. `` the fog patches will

:26:51.:26:57.

lift readily. We will have some showers tomorrow but only affecting

:26:58.:27:02.

the north and south and perhaps the East. The rain is coming in from the

:27:03.:27:08.

west later in the afternoon. It will probably be more persistent along

:27:09.:27:15.

the Welsh borders, but as it heads eastwards, it will start to decay.

:27:16.:27:19.

It will clear and be frosty and foggy.

:27:20.:27:27.

Tonight's headlines from the BBC. A pledge from the Metropolitan Police

:27:28.:27:30.

in the wake of the Duggan inquest. They need to do better with black

:27:31.:27:36.

communities. Give us the chance to spend big on your railways and

:27:37.:27:39.

airport ` an offer to Birmingham from cash`rich China. That was the

:27:40.:27:44.

programme today. I will be back at 10pm. I will have the latest on the

:27:45.:27:46.

flooding.

:27:47.:27:47.

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