16/01/2014 Midlands Today


16/01/2014

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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight: He inspired

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and humbled ` thousands of tributes paid to cancer patient Steve Evans,

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who's died at the age of 52. A gentleman who has bizarrely

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touched the lives of hundreds and thousands of people.

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We'll be asking the Mayor of Wolverhampton how Steve's home city

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plans to honour him. Also tonight: Think the unthinkable ` the advice

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to authorities dealing with suspected child abuse following the

:00:31.:00:39.

murder of Daniel Pelka. We are quite a reserved country in

:00:40.:00:44.

terms of talking about people behaviours and family life but that

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reservation does not work when trying to protect children.

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Amusing or irritating? The advert that some claim reinforces

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stereotypes about the Midlands. A bit of a laugh. Some of the way the

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Black Country people speak. We should be proud of it.

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West Bromwich Albion's new Spanish coach, Pepe Mel outlines his plans

:01:07.:01:10.

for the rest of the season at his first media conference.

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And after all the rain we've had recently, I wish could tell you

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that's your lot, unfortunately it's now. The details coming up later.

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Good evening. "Amazing, funny and magical in all senses." One of the

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thousands of tributes paid to Steve Evans. There's been an overwhelming

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reaction to the death of the council worker, part`time magician and

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cancer patient. Steve was 52. For two years, his positive attitude

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while fighting terminal stomach cancer has inspired and humbled.

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Steve's 26,000 Twitter followers were among the first to hear the

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news of his death this morning. Ben Godfrey reports from Wolverhampton

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where Steve reached, in his words, the end of his journey.

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Steve Evans referred to himself as that bloke from the council, living

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an ordinary life but to his thousands of followers, he was an

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extraordinary man. I had to relax and understand that the journey was

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starting to come to an end. Steve's journey ended this morning and there

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has been an incredible response from many of his Twitter followers. David

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Baddiel described Steve as amazing, funny and magical.

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A former building surveyor turned magician who championed

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Wolverhampton. At the Civic Hall he managed the acts making such an

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impression, his name has joined the wall of fame. When he was first

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diagnosed, it was a hellish time however he was more worried about

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telling other people and the effect it would have on them. Steve called

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his battle with stomach cancer a journey shared by family and

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friends. You think to yourself, I must have this for a reason, that is

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the positive. Or you think to yourself, why be? That is a

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negative. For many, Steve did more to raise awareness for stomach

:03:34.:03:37.

cancer than any health professional. He has done immense work for us. I

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feel guilty that maybe specialists like me should do more public

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education. A gentle man and a gentleman who has bizarrely touched

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the lives of hundreds and thousands of people. Last year he told me he

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was happiest at home in his summer house, close to his wife and

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daughters. A nurse said have you decided what your vision of heaven

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is like? My version would be a Victorian theatre. I can envisage a

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front row that contains Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis and me

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asking them to pick a card. Steve often appeared on BBC Radio five

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Live. His final interview was broadcast on Tuesday. Love is all

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around and I am so blessed that I have had so much a bit around me.

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Well, Ben is in Wolverhampton for us tonight. Ben, you met Steve Evans

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and got to know him. What would he have made of all the reaction to his

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death? He struck me as a very humble man so I guess there would be a big

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element of surprise to the response today. Steve's appeal has been the

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way he has been so honest to talk about something people find to be a

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turbulent subject. Take a look at tonight's paper. `` taboo subject.

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You have known him for over 20 years. Steve was a great character,

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personality. He was Wolverhampton 's favourite son. He did a lot for the

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city, in particular but the mayors parlour as well. Working for the

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various mayors charities. This is a man celebrated life as well as his

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home city. How can the city remember him? The city will remember Steve in

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particular but it is important to give regard to the family and see

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how they want to take the issue forward and the Mayor's pile`up will

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support whatever the family wish to do. The Civic Hall can play a role

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in that in the future. We have spoken to one of Steve's daughters

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who said she was overwhelmed by the messages of goodwill and wanted to

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thank the public for their support. You're watching BBC Midlands Today.

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Still to come tonight: Extra funding for manufacturing in our region `

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the Chancellor on how small businesses can think big.

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Think the unthinkable ` the advice today to authorities dealing with

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suspected child abuse following the murder of Daniel Pelka. The Coventry

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schoolboy was murdered almost two years ago, beaten and starved by his

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mother and stepfather. At the time, agencies were heavily criticised. A

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progress report is ensuring that changes to working practices are

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taking now place. Here's Joan Cummins.

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A boy whose short and tragic life has prompted authorities to ask how

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they deal with suspected child abuse. Daniel Pelka was four when he

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died from a hedge injury `` head injury. His mother and stepfather

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were jailed for a minimum of 30 years. The judge described the

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treatment of Daniel as in comprehensible totality. A serious

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case review in September found that Daniel was invisible and no

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professional tried sufficiently hard enough to talk to him.

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Recommendations included improving the way health, education, police

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and social workers share information, something that is now

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slowly changing. Sometimes it takes cases like this to make people

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realise the level of commitment and consensus and partnership working

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that is required. A specialist safeguarding hub is planned which

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will enhance social assessment centres such as this. Professionals

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in all be services have been reminded of their obligations to

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children and despite cuts on the horizon, the council is determined

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to prioritise child protection. We all have a responsibility, we cannot

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guarantee that this case would never happen again but we have to ensure

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we have processes in place to prevent it. There still remains

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doubt in the city that the authorities are doing their best. We

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have had experiences with people we know. It is wrong. The Council house

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to protect children. The legacy of Daniel could be that the referrals

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of child protection have increased after his death.

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The Government has said there will be a full parliamentary debate on

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the abuse scandal at Stafford Hospital, where patients died

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unnecessarily. It comes on the day the health regulator, Monitor,

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agreed to the break`up of the Mid Staffordshire Hospital Trust.

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Stafford Hospital will become part of University Hospital North

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Staffordshire and Cannock will transfer to the Wolverhampton Trust.

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Children and midwifery services will also be downgraded in Stafford. The

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Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, has until the end of

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February to make a final decision. A report into safety at a quarry in

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the Malvern Hills where two young men drowned last summer recommends

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it shouldn't be filled in to prevent further deaths. Russell O'Neill and

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Justas Juzenas died while swimming at Gullet Quarry, within a week of

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each other last July. But the Royal Society for the Prevention of

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Accidents says more measures do need to be looked at to discourage people

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swimming there. Two former Shropshire businessmen

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have gone on trial over ?14 million invested in children's animation

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programmes. This series, The Boblins, did have some success,

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Birmingham Crown Court heard, airing in the UK and abroad. But David

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Griffiths, from Oreton near Cleobury Mortimer, and Simon Drew, who now

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lives in East Sussex, allegedly gave investors misleading information.

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They deny deception and fraud. The Chancellor, George Osborne was

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in the region today to announce extra funding to boost

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manufacturing. The Government is providing ?30 million to help

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develop new high`tech aerospace technology at the Manufacturing

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Technology Centre in Coventry. Here's our Business Correspondent

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Peter Plisner. A glimpse of the future, the

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Coventry `based technology centre is already at the cutting edge of

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automotive technology. Now it is to play a role in aerospace. A chance

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for George Osborne to visit. The government is invested ?30 million

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to create the centre. It will mean more jobs. In the three years we

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have been here, we have grown to 275 employees. Centres like this are

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helping to take the risk out of inventing research and development

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costs. They are incredibly instance of an if an invention does not work,

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it can be quite costly and catastrophic. Funding for a scheme

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called catapult ensures that does not happen. It aims to bring

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businesses and universities closer to gather. It is an area where we

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have failed to exploit great inventions in the UK. The catapult

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is about helping businesses grab those technologies and skills up to

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the commercial world. And that is something that is already happening

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at Warwick University. Here the development of composite materials

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is helping to make cars lighter and fuel`efficient. Jaguar Land Rover

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have already switched from steel to aluminium bodies on many models,

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saving around a third of the weight but composite promises more savings.

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We do see compensates being used in auto sports but it is still very

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expensive. If we can make it cheaper and quicker to process, we will

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start to see that in the average saloon. It is all about a British

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economy that builds its manufacturing base. That invests in

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the whole country. More investment here means that when it comes to

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automotive and aerospace, this region continues to lead the way.

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Our top story tonight: He inspired and humbled ` thousands of tributes

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paid to cancer patient Steve Evans, who's died at the age of 52.

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Your detailed weather forecast to come shortly from Rebecca.

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Also in tonight's programme: What you think about this advert and

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whether or not it mocks local accents.? It is more of a Birmingham

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accent than a Black Country accent so people do take the Mickey out of

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it. I do not take offence. And the Olympic legacy ` is it

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succeeding in getting more children involved in sport?

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An update now on the story we brought you yesterday of a family

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from Telford fined for taking their children on holiday in term time.

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Stewart Sutherland was told he had to pay nearly ?1,000 in fines and

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court costs. Nearly 60,000 people have viewed the story on our

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Facebook page and we've had hundreds of comments. Sharon Plimmer said,

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"The act of truancy is clearly different to a family holiday.

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Well, the Department for Education declined to be interviewed about

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this today. But they did say children who attend school regularly

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are nearly four times more likely to achieve five or more good GCSEs than

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those who are regularly absent. What seems to be confusing a lot of

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parents is that until last September, head teachers could grant

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leave for the purpose of family holiday for up to ten school days.

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Now it is only to be done in the most exceptional circumstances.

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One education expert at Birmingham city University told us that even

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short holidays can have a big impact. The child is always catching

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up because of the students will know what they are doing, they know what

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is expected of them. They will have missed all of that so it is an

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issue. Meanwhile, a London businessman is

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so incensed by the issue and what has happened to the Sutherlands that

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he's trying to raise the money to pay their fine and costs. And, of

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course, we'll keep you in touch with developments.

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Something else now that's been getting people hot under the collar.

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It's an advert for a hotel chain that seems to mock the accents of

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Birmingham and the Black Country. Amusing or irritating? You can make

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your own mind up. But does it reinforce negative stereotypes about

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the Midlands? Here's Holly Lewis. And aspirational couple plan a mini

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break in Paris but it is the accent that has everyone talking. When the

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advert appeared on you chew it prompted plenty of comment, most of

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it negative. One said, this is a shameful effort to mock the good

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people of the Black Country and another, this advert makes me feel

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physically sick. But in Smethwick, most people could see the funny

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side. I saw it on the telly and it made me laugh. At first, I did not

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know what was going on because you don't hear that sort of accent on

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TV. It is more of a Birmingham accent so people do take the Mickey.

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It does not bother me. It is a comedy thing. It is the latest in a

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long line of similar controversies. Linguist Ursula Clarke has been

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studying accents in the Midlands. Whereas in other regions in the UK,

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people are very proud of the way they speak whereas the people in

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this region are ashamed of the way they speak and they should be proud.

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There was no shortage of pride in Smethwick today. We found the

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Southern accent funny like they find our accent funny.

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Well, Holly is with us now. Holly what have the company which

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commissioned this advertisement had to say? We have had a statement and

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they said, we wanted to create a popular due road that people would

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warm to that is why we cast a Birmingham born and bred actor. We

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wanted to use a friendly act to help create a distinctive character.

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Quite a lot of debate about whether the accent was authentic but it does

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appeared the actor is local. What is the general perception of Birmingham

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and Black Country accents? Ursula Clarke has done a lot of work in

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this area and she was saying the problem is that most studies tend to

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link the Birmingham or Black Country accent to low intelligence. Which is

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perhaps why something like this, people are sensitive about but one

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of the recent studies linked Birmingham or Black Country

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accents, that they came out on top for trustworthiness so it is

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interesting to see how difficult it is to change perceptions but if

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there are more people in the media with a certain accent, it certainly

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does begin to chip away at these prejudices which are stirred up by

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things like this. Football, and West Bromwich Albion

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agreed to sell striker Shane Long to Hull City today. The fee's thought

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to be ?7 million after various add`on clauses are included. So does

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that give their new head coach Pepe Mel money to spend in the transfer

:19:21.:19:23.

window? Well, he's held his first media conference today and a warning

:19:24.:19:26.

there's flash photography in Dan Pallet's report.

:19:27.:19:34.

He arrived through the gloom hoping to bring some Spanish sunshine into

:19:35.:19:40.

Albion's season. Pepe Mel is days into the job and has a big challenge

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ahead. Pepe Mel took Riel batters into Europe last season but this is

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his first job in England so it is a big test. Good afternoon. I am

:19:57.:20:02.

pleased to be here at West Brom. I am sorry for my English. I am not

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worried because this summer, everybody will speak Spanish. No

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problem. But he was also quick to point out he will not bring in new

:20:16.:20:21.

background staff despite an interview last week stating he

:20:22.:20:26.

would. There was no confusion at all. West Brom will keep their

:20:27.:20:34.

existing team, the future will tell whether our systems come and join us

:20:35.:20:38.

but I am happy at the moment and everyone is working well together.

:20:39.:20:43.

Pepe Mel took charge of his first training session on Tuesday. He is

:20:44.:20:53.

able to communicate his messages from a football point of view quite

:20:54.:20:57.

easily, so he will be having lessons, he is keen to learn. He

:20:58.:21:05.

does want to learn the language and he will have lessons over the next

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few months. Pepe Mel knows there was work to be done. His task begins on

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Monday with a visit to Everton and that will be no Spanish holiday. Dan

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is at the hawthorns now. What did you make of the new head coach? He

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came across really well today, very friendly, personable. He does speak

:21:30.:21:34.

a bit of English. He has clearly done his homework on the Albion

:21:35.:21:39.

fans. He knows it will be tough over the next four months but he said,

:21:40.:21:45.

come the summer he might sign some Spanish players. The level of them

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will depend on whether he can keep them in the Premier League. What

:21:50.:21:54.

about that perceived language barrier because I'm not sure that

:21:55.:22:01.

many Albion players speak Spanish? You would be surprised. It is so

:22:02.:22:06.

international, Premier League football. Four of the team are fluid

:22:07.:22:13.

in Spanish and an important member of the backroom staff. He

:22:14.:22:16.

understands and speak it a little bit better than he let on today. He

:22:17.:22:21.

is having intensive lessons so within a matter of weeks or months

:22:22.:22:27.

he will be more fluid. Football is an international language and he

:22:28.:22:30.

should not have problems getting his message across on the training

:22:31.:22:37.

ground. It's almost 18 months since the

:22:38.:22:40.

London Olympics, but the drive to build its legacy continues. A

:22:41.:22:43.

competition to get more school children involved in sport was

:22:44.:22:46.

launched today in Birmingham. Nick Clitheroe has been to meet one of

:22:47.:22:49.

the city's rising sport stars taking part in the School Games.

:22:50.:22:57.

This is 14`year`old basketball fanatic Rebecca. Two years ago she

:22:58.:23:01.

was looking for a new sport to try so the teachers at Heartlands

:23:02.:23:05.

Academy picked for the basketball team at the Birmingham School games.

:23:06.:23:11.

I want to play in America for college basketball and then

:23:12.:23:14.

represent Great Britain in the Olympics. I want to do my own battle

:23:15.:23:21.

club in Africa. In Edgbaston they were launching the latest drive.

:23:22.:23:27.

Setup to build on the legacy of the London Olympics, there is plenty at

:23:28.:23:32.

stake in getting it right. Nationwide, more than ?100 million

:23:33.:23:36.

has been spent on the School games in the run`up to 2015 so has it all

:23:37.:23:43.

been worth it? In the citywide competition we have 95 schools

:23:44.:23:49.

involved, 1600 competitors and over 80 volunteers. There is still more

:23:50.:23:56.

to be done and we want to make sure that we give as wide an opportunity

:23:57.:24:01.

to the Birmingham schools as possible. It is not all about

:24:02.:24:07.

targets as sport is supposed to be fun. We have been doing the javelin

:24:08.:24:14.

and long jump. Good because everyone can join in. If Rebecca is part of

:24:15.:24:19.

that British Olympics basketball team in Tokyo 2020, remember where

:24:20.:24:25.

it all began. It's fair to say it's been a wet

:24:26.:24:28.

start to 2014, with many places being flooded, including Worcester

:24:29.:24:31.

county cricket club. Today though, the clean`up operation got underway

:24:32.:24:34.

at the New Road ground. Flood waters have now started to go down, and it

:24:35.:24:39.

was all hands on deck to tidy up the mess left behind. So, is there more

:24:40.:24:43.

rain to come? Rebecca is here with the forecast.

:24:44.:24:51.

I am beginning to worried that I sound like a stuck record because

:24:52.:24:56.

all I talk about is rain. There is plenty more in the forecast. We have

:24:57.:25:01.

showers around tonight. They will stick with us into tomorrow and by

:25:02.:25:06.

Saturday, more persistent rain to come. By Sunday, we will see things

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getting colder but that is by the time we get to Sunday. Though

:25:13.:25:17.

showers already rattling through the region to Mike. Some of them will be

:25:18.:25:23.

quite heavy at times. Brief periods of respite but most places will

:25:24.:25:27.

continue to see showers right the way until tomorrow morning. With

:25:28.:25:33.

plenty of cloud, rain, temperatures will not fall too low. Loans of five

:25:34.:25:38.

or six Celsius but further west it could drop lower. Tomorrow morning,

:25:39.:25:45.

we have though showers around, some will be heavy. The possibility of

:25:46.:25:49.

help and thunder through the morning but by lunchtime, we will start to

:25:50.:25:55.

see things using as a ridge of high pressure builds. Good spells of

:25:56.:26:00.

sunshine. Not a bad way to and Friday. Temperature is around seven

:26:01.:26:05.

or eight Celsius. Winds will be lighter and it will feel pleasant.

:26:06.:26:10.

For Friday night, we continue to keep these calm conditions. Clear

:26:11.:26:15.

spells to begin with so temperatures will drop away. The cloud then

:26:16.:26:20.

builds once again ahead of the next weather system working its way

:26:21.:26:24.

through on Saturday. Some mist and fog patches developing but

:26:25.:26:29.

temperatures will be around four or five Celsius. Through Saturday we

:26:30.:26:34.

have this next band of rain moving through. Between five and ten

:26:35.:26:41.

millimetres of rain. With all that saturated ground, it will add to

:26:42.:26:47.

that. By Sunday we will see the isobars widening and the wind will

:26:48.:26:51.

drop out so things will stagnate. Temperatures will fall away, some

:26:52.:26:59.

frost as well. It is staying cold as we make our way into next week but a

:27:00.:27:05.

soggy weekend to get through before that.

:27:06.:27:07.

Tonight's headlines from the BBC: the Chancellor George Osborne backs

:27:08.:27:10.

an above inflation rise in the minimum wage.

:27:11.:27:16.

Finally tonight, the death of Steve Evans this morning, in

:27:17.:27:19.

Wolverhampton. He called himself ordinary. But the way he dealt with

:27:20.:27:23.

terminal stomach cancer, often with humour, was simply extraordinary.

:27:24.:27:34.

I know there are many people who are on limited journeys and far too many

:27:35.:27:39.

with cancer, but what makes our journey I is the amount of people

:27:40.:27:48.

that are on it with it with and the amount of love we are surrounded

:27:49.:27:49.

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