22/01/2014 Midlands Today


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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight: Ex`footballer


Stan Collymore, who's received death threats on Twitter, says not enough


is being done to police social media.


A lot of people giving casual racialist abuse and casual


homophobia and they are children that need protecting from


themselves. We'll be asking a social media expert if anything can be done


to stop abuse on the internet. Also tonight: Unemployment in the


West Midlands shows the biggest fall in the country ` down by 32,000 `


but still higher than the national average.


I'm not racist, says West Brom's Nicolas Anelka ` he wants the FA to


drop charges over his controversial on`field gesture.


Do you recognise any of these people? The hunt to reunite one


family with their lost history, found in a shoe box. There are


wedding photos, birthdays, holidays. It is a whole life in a box.


And there's something a little colder heading our way tomorrow. But


the rain is never too far away, and we're back to wet and windy to


finish the week. Your full forecast coming up later.


Good evening. Staffordshire Police are investigating hundreds of racist


and threatening tweets to the former Aston Villa footballer Stan


Collymore. He went public today saying Twitter had done nothing to


remove the offending comments. The social media network has become a


favourite way for footballers and other celebrities to keep in touch


with fans. But there are concerns tonight that abuse is likely to get


even worse, unless Twitter changes its open door policy. Here's Giles


Latcham. Lovely control. Down goes Luis Suarez.


It started with a game of a football and this contentious moment `


Liverpool striker Luis Suarez winning a crucial penalty against


Aston Villa from which they scored. A former player for both clubs, Stan


Collymore, who lives in Cannock, is now a football pundit. On Twitter he


said he thought Suarez had dived and now he's paid a penalty ` enduring a


torrent of abusive tweets, some of them racist, as well as several


death threats. All I want if I was walking down broad Street and


someone threatened to murder me is that that same punishment under


English law is applied to Twitter. The tweets Stan Collymore's


complained about are so unsavoury we can only show you brief extracts. In


most cases, Collymore himself re`tweeted or republished them so


his half a million followers could see what he's been subjected to. A


spokeswoman for Twitter told us targeted abuse is against its rules


and they have "established processes" for working with police


forces. Forces like Staffordshire, who say they're investigating


hundreds of tweets sent to Collymore from the UK and abroad. We need the


assistance of Twitter in this case. I trust that that will be


forthcoming. We will continue to use other methods to identify those


involved as well. So we will run that alongside the work we are doing


with Twitter. It is really important we are aware of what content we put


out there. At a college in Birmingham today a timely warning


for students preparing for a career in social media. Stan Collymore


thinks much of the abuse he's had comes from youngsters who don't


understand the consequences. Technology is evolving and everyone


has Twitter. Children can use it now. This is the way society is. The


biggest thing that people don't have is awareness and that needs to be


taught. I have waited six weeks for 22 cases of people overtly racially


abusing me to be passed on to the police by Twitter. That is not good


enough. In a career of laws as well as highs, Stan Collymore has had to


develop a thick skin but he says Twitter has become a cesspool he is


no longer prepared to tolerate. I'm joined now by Mike Jackson,


Professor of Computer Science at Birmingham City University. It's not


just celebrities who are being subjected to abuse on social media


but is the problem getting worse? I think it is getting worse. The


Internet has always been a place for bandit 's. As more people join, I


think there is more abuse to people who are not expecting it. What could


be done to stop this abuse? To a certain extent, it is human nature.


What is happening is against the law and could be prosecuted but


sometimes they are very difficult to locate. Isn't part of the problem


that the abusers believe they can get away with it? Some people


deliberately set out to be anonymous, going out to abuse


somebody in such a way they are not found. They could go to an Internet


cafe or change their IDE. It makes them difficult to locate. What can


be done to change that to prosecute these people? I think the police are


on top of it. Are they? They are clued up as to what the problem is


not there are so many people doing it that it becomes difficult. It is


the scale of the problem. It is not that you can't trace them just to


the scale? Yes. Are you on Twitter? No. I didn't think people would want


to hear the trivia of my life. We have had a huge reaction. A common


reaction from many of our viewers using social media to get in touch


is if you post a comment you're laying yourself wide open ` it is a


form of broadcasting. That's right. Whilst I am not on Twitter, I have


been on numerous discussion groups and generally what you expect with


the Internet is that many people will disagree with you but there is


a significant difference between that and death threats.


Coming up later in the programme: A stark warning to schoolchildren on


binge drinking in a bid to deter alcohol abuse.


Unemployment in the West Midlands has shown the largest fall in the


country. The number of people out of work in this region fell by 32,000


over the last quarter. That's 222,000 people out of work ` a rate


of 8.1%. So a welcome fall although we're still 1% above the national


average. We can go live now to our business correspondent Peter


Plisner. So, Peter, where are the new jobs coming from?


Well, Mary, our location tonight should give you a clue. Here in


Smethwick they're building a new school. It's one of the growing


number of projects that have lead to a big increase in jobs within the


construction industry. That in turn has contributed to that big fall in


the region's unemployment total today. With me from Interserve, the


firm that's building this new school, is Julie Bradley. It has


been a tough recession but things are finally on the up. It seems so


and we are confident that the local economy is picking up, we are


winning more work and we recently won a contract with Birmingham


University for a multi`million pound sports complex which we are


encouraged by. We will be able to push that confidence to our supply


chain and boost employment in the local area. Is it mostly private or


public? We work a lot with public but we are also seeing interest in


the private sector. We are seeing a general upsurge. Can it last? There


is confidence there and we need to build on that and understand how we


can impact more in the future but, yes, I think so. While unemployment


has fallen again here in the West Midlands, in some parts of the


region it remains stubbornly high, particularly in our biggest city.


Birmingham ` a world class city with high levels of inward investment `


but look beyond the landmark buildings and there's an


unemployment problem. Ladywood just outside the city centre is the UK's


worst unemployment blackspot with more than a quarter of the


population out of work. Part of the problem appears to be a lack of


skills and, with growth in the construction industry, at this


college in the heart of Ladywood it's not surprising that many of


those looking for work are opting for construction related courses.


Romell Stewart is one of them. Since he left school two years ago, he's


struggled to find a permanent job. But he's ambitious. I want to be


able to open up my own business in a few years' time and have people


working for me. And according the principal of the college skills are


crucial. The job centres have a real issue at the moment because they


have got students with no qualifications, skills or language,


then we know they won't be able to put them into any kind of job and


sending them to interviews won't be of any use. And that's the reason


Somalian`born Hashim is improving his English. It is difficult these


days. You have to learn English to get a job so you have to learn to


communicate those people speak English, the majority of the UK. But


it's not just people who are suffering ` a lack of skills is also


holding back local businesses. In recent months this Ladywood`based


engineering firm has struggled to fill its vacancies. It's incredibly


hard because it takes us probably for `6 months to find somebody with


the skills we require. A lack of skills isn't a problem that's unique


to Birmingham but here it's clearly a major issue.


So work still to be done finding jobs for many people. And the


Government seems to think we could learn a thing or two from German


industry. Yes, during a visit to Staffordshire


today, the Trade Minister Lord Livingston has announced he plans to


offer help to nearly 9000 medium`sized businesses. In Germany


those companies are known as Mittelstand and they're credited


with keeping that country's economy booming. The Government believes the


same could happen here, as Bob Hockenhull reports.


This is the family`owned Balluff factory in Stuttgart. It started


life in 1921 and has grown to be a world leader in sensor technology.


The great`grandson of the founder was invited to share its secrets at


a conference at Staffordshire's JCB factory. We drive long`term


strategies and that gives us the flexibility to try out something


that doesn't seem to get the return right away but long`term is very


fruitful. Mittelstand are medium`sized companies. It's these,


not large multinationals, credited with creating Germany's economic


success. Our Government believes a similar model here could boost the


UK economy by ?50 billion. Germany has been concentrated on this for


nearly 60 years so we can't do it overnight. But if you look at German


company exports outside the EU, it is much higher than the UK. F Ball


near Leek ` an example of what the Government wants. It makes adhesive


flooring, is still family`run, has invested millions in machinery but


kept the 130`strong workforce. Investing in people is one of the


most vital things to ensure that the customer can get what he wants.


Today's conference is taking place at JCB, which was once a


medium`sized company itself. One delegate had a warning though. Don't


try to copy the German model because it can never be as good as the


original. Look at it and take their best out of it. It's estimated


Britain would have 250,000 extra jobs if mid`sized companies had


grown at the same rate as Germany's. The help announced today should help


companies expand and create jobs and hopefully in future that could bring


unemployment down even further. And later in the programme we'll be


hearing from young people trying to find work in one of the most


competitive sectors, arts and entertainments, about just how hard


it is to find that first job. The Government's defeated the latest


legal challenge by opponents of the controversial High Speed Rail


scheme, linking London to Birmingham and the north of England. Protestors


say they'll now take their case to Europe. The Supreme Court ruled


unanimously against opponents of HS2, who'd argued ministers were


failing to meet their environmental obligations.


A former Police Community Support Officer from Cheltenham caught


smuggling drugs into Indonesia has been sentenced to 14 years in


prison. 43`year`old Andrea Waldeck, who worked for Gloucestershire


Police, claims she was coerced by her boyfriend. She was arrested last


April with 1.5 kilos of A report by the Conservative Party


into the organising of a Nazi`themed stag party by the Cannock Chase MP


Aiden Burley says his conduct was offensive and unacceptable. Mr


Burley was sacked from his job as a ministerial aid after these pictures


emerged in 2011. The Conservative Party says Mr Burley has apologised,


and paid a high price for his foolishness.


The MP for Birmingham Perry Barr Khalid Mahmood is recovering after a


kidney transplant. The operation took place yesterday at the city's


Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Our top story tonight: ex`footballer


Stan Collymore, who's received death threats on Twitter, says not enough


is being done to police social media.


Your detailed weather forecast to come shortly.


Also in tonight's programme: can a new scheme help young people find


work in one of the toughest sectors to break into?


And 100 years of history abandoned in a shoe box ` the pictures that


tell one unknown family's story. There have been more developments in


the row surrounding the West Bromwich Albion footballer Nicolas


Anelka. It's emerged that the Premier League club could lose two


more sponsors as a result of Anelka's controversial gesture. And


the French striker has been writing about the incident on Facebook. Ian


Winter is at the Hawthorns tonight. What's he been saying, Ian?


Mary, this row continues to simmer away, with no end in sight. Just to


recap: This is the controversial gesture ` the quenelle ` that's been


described by some as an inverted Nazi salute. But today Nicolas


Anelka has been on social media to say that he is neither racist nor


anti`Semitic. On his Facebook page the Albion striker refers to a


Jewish leader in France who believes that Anelka's gesture could not be


considered to have an anti`Semitic connotation. And that's why he's


asking the FA to lift the charges that have been made against him.


But two of Albion's sponsors are believed to be reconsidering their


position? Yes, on Monday, it was Zoopla, the property website, who


said they wouldn't be renewing their ?3 million deal at the end of the


season. Now, Jack Wolfskin, the outdoor clothing company, and Holler


Watches are both understood to be reviewing their sponsorship deals


with West Brom, as they await the outcome of the FA verdict. As for


Nicolas Anelka, he's facing a minimum five`match ban if the FA


charge is upheld. And he's got until six o'clock tomorrow evening to


respond to those allegations against him.


A survey of 5000 under`18s in Staffordshire has revealed nearly


three quarters have tried alcohol. 63% had their first drink under the


age of 13 and some admitted drinking before they were ten. A new campaign


warning about the effects of binge drinking has been launched, as Laura


May McMullan's been finding out. I haven't had a drink now for 15


months. Dan Kendrick is 24 years old. He started drinking when he was


16. It got to the stage where he was drinking two litres of vodka and


five pints of cider a day. I was stuck in the same circle. I was in


hospital regularly. Dan was able to detox and get help with the BAC


O'Connor charity in Burton on Trent. He's says it's been life changing.


It's like they've rebuilt me back to how I was. You get to know the real


you. A new social media campaign warning about the effects of alcohol


is now targeting 11`14 year olds across Staffordshire. Animations


will also be screened at local cinemas. So you know anyone who's


tried alcohol? Yes. Maybe it is Rivaldo and not everybody does but I


think a lot of people drink. Well, out of 5230 youngsters in


Staffordshire who were surveyed, 73% said they'd had a drink. 63% tried


their first drink before they were 13 and some admitted to trying


alcohol under the age of ten. Alcohol support charities say the


number of young people drinking has declined in recent years but the


amount consumed by those who do remains high. Dan Kendrick says he's


just glad he was able to beat his addiction before it damaged his


health and his future. Now, whilst this region saw the


biggest fall in unemployment anywhere in the country today, the


number of young people without a job remains high. And that first job can


be the hardest to get. In Birmingham 16 to 24`year`olds are being offered


paid positions with arts organisations to help them into a


hugely competitive industry. Here's our arts reporter Satnam Rana.


Sophie is one of the first apprentices on the Creative


Employment Programme ` a Government scheme offering opportunities in the


arts and cultural sector. She's a design apprentice with learning


provider Creative Alliance, here helping pupils at Victoria Park


Academy Smethwick with their school magazine. I think when I was looking


to go straight into work without having a degree it was a lot harder


so getting an apprenticeship was a good opportunity to get into the


workplace. At The Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham, Bethany is


four months into her apprenticeship. I applied for lots of different jobs


but nobody would hire you without paid work experience so this will


really help me to get another job later. Now 30 paid apprenticeships


and internships are all up for grabs for unemployed 16 to 24`year`olds.


15 arts organisation are taking part in a jobs fair at the Rep this


Saturday. This is the cultural sectors response in the city to


youth unemployment. The company is coming together to invest our own


time and experience to support young people into finding work. This


centre in Aston is offering seven Charlie is one of those who got a


job follwing his apprentiship with softwarre company Trilby. It all


fell into place at the right time. The hope is that these


apprenticeships will create the wokers of tomorrow.


Dozens of old photographs ` some dating back to the start of the last


century ` have been discovered in a shoe box by staff at a Solihull


charity shop. They form an irreplaceable record of one family's


history. Now staff want to get them back to their rightful owner. Sarah


Falkland has the details. Precious memories from a bygone age.


Magical milestones of life. But whose life? It's Downton Abbey


style. It reminded me of that. We enjoyed looking through it and


looking at their hairstyles and fashion. The photos were inside one


of half a dozen shoe boxes dropped off to the Acorns Hospice Shop at


Castle Bromwich by an elderly lady. It was obviously a mistake to bring


them in because all the boxes were the same sort perhaps she thought it


was shoes as well. It is a family history in a box. Those wedding


photos, Christmases, holidays. Why would you want to throw that away?


While some recall the days of World War I, many are much later. They're


so endearing, staff here have turned detective in the hope of finding out


who's who. Look, a rubber dinghy. Weston`super`Mare. One thing that


comes up again and again is not a face but a place ` Bodenham Manor in


Herefordshire. There is a letter of reference from the lady who used to


live here in connection with her chauffeur. It says he had been in


the service of the family for 21 years during which time he proved


himself a thoroughly trustworthy and hard`working servant. There was a


rent because well from an address in Kings Norton. We are thinking the


chauffeur moved from Hereford to Birmingham. Another clue is a


memorial card for one Clara Gibbs, who died in 1944 at the age of 84.


Did he come back from the trenches? Did she find true love? Someone must


have the answers. If you can solve the mystery, please


get in touch with us here. Some lovely sunshine around today.


How's it looking for the next couple of days, Rebecca?


of days, Well, things are getting a little


colder for the next couple of days. That doesn't mean it's time to get


the sledge out just yet though. It's a bit of a mixture to come over the


next few days ` we'll get some sunny spells at times, but the rain is


never too far away, and by the time we get to Sunday, The Met Office has


a yellow weather warning in place for that heavy rain. Today though


it's certainly been a different picture. Although we had plenty of


cloud about through the day, as the afternoon went on we got more breaks


and some sunny spells. . And to begin with tonight isn't looking too


bad either. We still have a few showers rattling through but for the


first half of tonight it'll be a largely clear. The wind will drop


out initially which means temperatures could fall quite low


for a time. There is also plenty of moisture in the air which means we


could see the odd patch of mist and fog. Some rain through the rush


hour. Once it clears away, it will be a lovely sunny day. But it'll be


chilly in the breeze. Temperatures around 5`6 Celsius. Then to begin


with tomorrow night temperatures will fall away ` and it'll be chilly


for a time, with the possibility of some places getting down to `1, but


it's not long before cloud builds ahead of the next band of rain.


Heavy rain to come by Friday morning ` again we could see some wintry


bursts in there. Tonight's headline from the BBC:


Ex`footballer Stan Collymore, who's received death threats on Twitter,


says not enough is being done to police social media.


And you've been getting in touch with us on social media to let us


know what you think about that story. On our Facebook page, Dawn


Turner says, racist remarks and death threats should not be


acceptable in any form. On Twitter, Julie G writes, it's utterly


disgraceful. If that abuse was shouted in the streets then the


foul`mouthed louts would be arrested! Carl Medlin posted on


Facebook, if you don't like it, don't use Twitter ` simple. Thanks


for all your comments. That was the Midlands Today. I'll be


back at ten o'clock with more


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