25/02/2014 Midlands Today


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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight: Former


Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg amongst four people arrested in


Birmingham on suspicion of terrorism offences. The vehicles seem to be


blocking the road and were seven people at the front door. We're live


outside Moazzam Begg's house in Hall Green. Also tonight, hopes tonight


that there will be a daily train service from Shrewsbury to London


later this year. It's important for us to have the direct link with


London so overseas customers have easy access. Why the boss of this


new store says it will help regenerate a forgotten corner of


Birmingham. # It's a long way to Tipperary. # One of the best`known


songs from the First World War. Did you know it was co`written by a man


from here in the Midlands? And we can only hope that days like today


are a thing of the immediate future. But unfortunately, it's not as


straightforward as that. Rain and winds still feature this week. All


the details of which I'll have for you later.


Good evening. The former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Moazzam Begg is under


arrest tonight on suspicion of terrorism offences in Syria. He was


one of four people detained this morning in Birmingham and Solihull


as part of an operation by Counter Terrorism Officers from West


Midlands Police. In a moment we'll have the latest live, but first, our


special correspondent Peter Wilson has been following the day's


developments. Police search teams throughout the


day continued to comb through the large semidetached house in Hall


Green...the raids carried out by the West Midlands Counter Terrorism


Unit: lady opposite tells me that two children have gone. You do not


expect that to happen next door to you. This was just one of several


separate addresses in Shirley and Sparkhill. Four people were arrested


but only one person named ` Moazzam Begg ` the human face of the


Guantanamo Bay detainees and a fierce critic of the government and


the security services: West Midlands Police do not often choose to reveal


the identity of a suspect but they say because of the public interest


in the case they are doing so. They also say this should not imply any


guilt on the part of Moazzam Begg. Moazzam Begg is a former Birmingham


book shop owner and was arrested in Pakistan by the Americans. He was


held for nearly three years in Guantanamo in Cuba but never charged


with any offences. I've spoken to him many times ` a devout man, a


proud husband and father and fierce campaigner for human rights. Did the


Americans talk to you? They tied my hands behind my back and I was


punched and beaten and dragged around. In recent years, Moazzam


Begg has been the director of Cage which represents prisoners around


the world. Today they claimed his arrest had been politically


motivated and his friends were shocked. He has never been charged


with anything. Police arrest people lots of times and it does not mean


that charges will be brought. Syria is still embroiled in a bitter civil


war....scores of radicalised young people from Britain are said to have


travelled to fight in Syria. One security expert says Al Qaida has a


strong influence there. The imposed extremely harsh version of the law.


Officers attended three addresses and arrested four people. All four


people are currently in custody. Moazzam Begg has rarely been out of


the news tonight rather than campaigning for prisoners.....he's


under arrest and being held at a West Midlands Police station. Peter


Wilson is outside Moazzam Begg's home in Hall Green in Birmingham


this evening. Peter, what's the latest you can tell us about this


investigation? The lights are still on the house and the police are


still inside. It is more than 12 hours since they arrived here.


Computer equipment has been taken away. Police say that all four of


the arrests were coordinated and it was an intelligence led operation


with no risk or danger to the public.


Has there been any further reaction tonight to Moazzam Begg's arrest?


The organisation that he is a director of, Cage, are outraged by


the arrest which they say is politically motivated. They say he


did go to Syria for legitimate purposes and that MI5 were well


aware of that visit. They also say that his passport was seized in


December 2012 and they are wondering why this arrest is happening now.


This police operation is ongoing tonight but that investigation is


under close scrutiny. Good to have you with us this evening on Midlands


Today, coming up later: The floods that caused so much heartache in


town and country. Today, the farmers found out where government emergency


cash will be spent. The re`introduction of a daily train


service between Shrewsbury and London has moved a step closer


tonight. Virgin Trains hopes to run two


services a day to Euston from the end of this year. The details still


have to be approved by the Office of Rail Regulation, but the MP for


Shrewsbury and Atcham told us he was confident the plans would get the go


ahead. This has been a top priority for all the MPs in Shropshire and


all of us have understood the absolute urgency and need of the


service for our county town. It is the number`1 income generator for


tourists and choose Billy and we want to secure more tourism and more


business investment. So, what'll it mean for people in Shropshire who've


been calling for a new daily train service ever since the last one was


scrapped three years ago? Joanne Writtle has been talking to two


businesses that stand to benefit. This family`run metal pressings firm


has been pushing for a rail link to the capital. Foreign customers often


travel from London to Salop Design and Engineering, and the lack of a


train service has been problematic. We have to manage our customers when


they are coming over to the extent that it is sometimes easier to send


a car to pick them up and using the infrastructure which is they are and


should be used. Workers here say links to the capital are crucial. We


will get job security which is a big thing. As a company, it will be


ideal because we will get more work coming to the company. A rail link


to the capital would go some way to helping increasing revenue. This


small business helps Chinese customers with marketing. When


clients come to London, the need to be there. You can only do that by


sitting round a table or even going out to dinner. It is important to


businesses in China. Shrewsbury lost its direct link to London three


years ago, and Midlands Today filmed the last journey. Since then,


Shrewsbury's become the country's only county town without a service


to the capital. Tonight, Virgin Trains said it wouldn't be giving


any details before further talks with the Office of Rail Regulation.


MPs, though, are hopeful the service will return by December. Joanne


Writtle, BBC Midlands Today, Shrewsbury.


A teenager has pleaded guilty to murdering a 16`year`old student


after an argument on a bus in Birmingham. Azim Azam, who was on


his way to a first day at college, was stabbed in the chest as he


stepped off the bus. Today, 18`year`old Azeem Akhtar, who was 17


at the time, was told he'll be sentenced next month and faces a


life's detention. That is too young lives wasted. This highlights the


futility and stupidity of carrying knives. If people carrying knives


they will lose their life or inflict injury on people and spend serious


time in prison. A teenager who died in a crash in the Black Country


yesterday morning has been named as Natasha Whale from Pelsall. The


13`year`old was pronounced dead at the scene in Bloxwich. Her mother,


Shelley, remains in a critical condition after the car they were in


collided with a school bus. Her 17`year`old brother, Callum, has now


been discharged after being treated for minor injuries. A 43`year`old


man from Stoke`on`Trent has been charged following an attack on the


websites of both the Home Office and Home Secretary, Theresa May. Mark


Lynden Johnson was arrested in connection with the attacks which


took place in June 2012. Both websites were forced offline and


prevented visitors accessing them. He'll appear in court next month.


It'll breathe new life into a forgotten corner of Birmingham `


that's the message from the head of John Lewis ahead of the opening of a


new store in the city centre. But some independent retailers are


worried about the potential impact. Here's our Business Correspondent,


Peter Plisner. A first look around what will be a flagship store in a


location that according to the Lewis boss is breaking new ground. The


unique thing is the connection to the station. This has not been done


department store anywhere in the country. It the ease of access.


Today the construction phase was completed ` now John Lewis will


begin fitting the building out. But Andy Street maintains that there's


more to it than just another store opening. We are not just coming to


bring a shop. We want to be the catalyst for the regeneration of


this quarter of the city. I think this will happen pretty quickly. And


this is what it will look like when it's finished next year ` above the


new New Street station it'll become part of the Grand Central


development boasting a host of new stores. New shopping centres are


good news for consumers but it is not the same for independent


retailers such as these. This footwear retailer has worries about


the impact Grand Central and John Lewis will have on the rest of


Birmingham. It is a big concern but it is a city so we should have


another offer rather than just a shopping centre. Areas to the north


will find it challenging but Birmingham as a whole will benefit


from this as it competes and becomes one of the top retail destinations


in this country. And there could be a further boost. There are still


strong rumours that the clothing chain Primark, wants to turned the


city's Pavilions centre into its biggest UK store. Peter Plisner, BBC


Midlands Today. Coventry City Council's been debating plans to


save ?19 million on its budget for next year. Jobs and services are


under threat although the Council says it'll protect children's


services and social services. Councillors claim that, if cuts


continue at their current rate, then the Council won't be able to operate


by 2025. Joan Cummins joins me now from our Coventry studio. So what


services are likely to be under threat from this, Joan? Adult social


services will be hardest hit. These other services that help the elderly


in the community and adults with learning difficulties and carers.


They will be hard hit by the Scout but children will have their


services ring fenced. The council are awaiting their report on the


structural changes to services for children. How many jobs could go?


The council would not be drawn on how many jobs could go in the next


few years but the man in charge of balancing the books said that if


cuts from central government continued, the future of the council


was less than rosy. The situation, if things stay as they are, will be


very bleak. There will be no library service or bin collections each week


and no budget for maintenance and cleaning the streets. Will not have


the money. There was a meeting in Warwickshire today. One of the


solutions they have come up with is to create a unitary authority to run


Warwickshire in future rather than the current system of county and


district councils. This is our top story tonight: Former Guantanamo


detainee Moazzam Begg among four people arrested in Birmingham on


suspicion of terrorism offences. Shefali's standing by with the


weather for the West Midlands. Also ahead: She set her latest novel in


the Potteries, now Joanna Trollope will star at Stoke`on`Trent's first


literary festival. And a world`famous song that rallied the


troops in the Great War, co`written by a musician from the Midlands. The


National Farmers' Union annual conference has begun in Birmingham.


Top of the agenda ` ways to help farmers affected by flooding, and


the future of the badger cull. Our Rural Affairs Correspondent David


Gregory`Kumar is there. David, I gather we've heard more details


about government cash for farmers to help them get over the flooding? It


is not a new announcement about cash but we have been hearing about what


farmers can apply and what they can use it for. Just like a flooded


house farmland needs time to recover and this money will help pay for


things like uninsured damage to land. It is welcome to the farming


industry and we need to assess whether Nader 's and make sure the


right people get the help they need. Once we have a better picture of the


damage, we will assess the upper limit and ensure that we are


targeted in meeting the needs. I think you also get a sense from this


announcement that this is a long term process, that it can be


revisited once the flood waters do drop and the extent of damage to


farmland has been revealed. And what about the future of the badger cull?


Well, of course, on the eve of the conference this weekend we had a


sizeable march of about 1000 people protesting the cull. We are hoping


to hear from a local MP. Owen Patterson was expected to talk here


but he is recovering from an operation at the moment. But the


outgoing president of the NFU Peter Kendall has praised the 32 new areas


that have so far come forward to express their interest in rolling


out the badger cull on a wider scale after the pilot here in the


Midlands. `` in Somerset and Gloucestershire. But we'll know more


about the future of the cull once the independent report into the cull


is published later in the spring. It was the home of the famous author


Arnold Bennett, but until now Stoke`on`Trent has never had its own


literary festival. All that will change this summer, though, when


best`selling novelist Joanna Trollope will be among the stars at


a new event for book`lovers in the city. Liz Copper reports. The girls


cutting the sponge ships. `` shapes. Words from the opening chapters of


Joanna Trollope's latest novel ` based on a family`run pottery firm.


The men do the casting of the women do the decorating but there is a


great crossover and a great sense of family there. Once I had started, I


could not stop. I fell in love with all of it. She will be back here in


the summer to talk about the work and take part in the first literary


festival for the city. This popular book group's been running for more


than 30 years. You felt that she wanted to get to the murders? Its


members are delighted they'll have a high`profile festival in the city. I


have travelled to literary festivals all over the country but to have one


here would be wonderful. For readers, the festival, which will be


held in June, will be a chance to meet internationally acclaimed


authors. It will not just be me, there will be masses of modern


writers with connections to the Midlands. It has a literary


heritage. The hope is that this festival will attract literary


enthusiasts from all over the world. As part of our First World War


commemorations, the BBC has teamed up with the Imperial War Museums to


tell the story of the war at home. Most of us know the world`famous


song that helped rouse thousands of troops into battle during the Great


War. But how many of us know the tune "It's a Long, Long Way to


Tipperary" was co`written by a Birmingham musician? Many feel Harry


Williams isn't given the credit he deserves. Bob Hockenhull reports. A


cold winter's night in Warwickshire. The song that became a tonic for the


troops in World War One is echoing down the years at this country pub.


And what better place ` the man who co`wrote it, Harry Williams, lived


here. The pub near Kenilworth is named after his famous song and the


remains of his old piano are still evident. I can feel that Harry was


here. The old piano is still around and for me it is wonderful. The


players from the rugby club come down and sing it and it is a great


song. # It's a long way to Tipperary. # "It's a Long, Long Way


to Tipperary" was originally composed as an Irish ballad by


Birmingham`born Harry and his writing partner, Jack Judge. Their


publisher turned it into a marching tune. At the advent of the First


World War, it was gradually adopted by soldiers everywhere. It is a very


rousing but also very emotional song and it brings tears to my


daughter's guys because you think of those prove soldiers in the


trenches. It even went into Germany. # It's a long way to Tipperary. #.


The song's popularity with soldiers endured on into the Second World


War. But Harry Williams' family feels he hasn't received the


recognition he deserved. Partner, Jack, took a lot of the credit. Many


people got together to make songs and they were music Hall artists and


Jack was a great extrovert while Harry was crippled and he could not


get around some much but he was a great piano player and composer and


poet. At least Harry lived to enjoy the fruits of his labour. His


family, lifelong publicans, started renting the Tipperary, then called


The Plough, in 1900. The success of "It's A Long, Long Way to Tipperary"


meant it could now be bought ` a relief to his family who were


struggling with tough new licensing laws. The number of hours was


limited, they had to shut for a while in the afternoon, that was


very much brought in the First World War and it went on for basically the


next 80 to 90 years. Guilty he'd not been able to fight because he was a


cripple, Harry Williams also gave money to the war effort. In the eyes


of many, he needn't have felt guilty. He helped compose a song


that gave thousands of soldiers some comfort in their most desperate of


hours. Bob Hockenhull, BBC Midlands Today. It has been a fairly decent


day weather`wise. Here's Shefali. There will be a few showers around


and a lot of sunshine in between. The nights are what we have to watch


out for because they could be wet and windy. The two features that


stand out more as this cold front which will head in tomorrow night


and this next feature will run across the southern half of the


country on Thursday night. It is that a deal we really have to keep


an eye on because it to develop into something more and if it moves a


little more north it could affect us. At this stage, it looks as if


Friday could be a deal showers. Tonight is one of those dry notes


although we have the chance of a few showers through the evening but


these will drift off to the east, leaving all parts try and clearer,


particularly rural parts. In Shropshire, temperatures could dip


low enough for frost. The winds will pick up into tomorrow where we are


looking at the odd shower cropping up here and there. Another breezy


day for the South West but probably one of the drive space for the week


`` driest days of the week. This front could bring quite a lot of


rain with it. But like last night it will move along quite quickly and


leave behind a lot of clear sky. There will be lows of around five


degrees are six Celsius. Showers will develop through Thursday and


then we have the potential area of low pressure which could develop


into something more on Friday. It will be unsettled through the


weekend and the temperatures will drop a little bit lower during the


days. Tonight's headlines from the BBC: A


suspected IRA terrorist accused of murdering four British soldiers in


London won't stand trial ` because of what's being cold a 'reckless'


police error. And former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg amongst four


people arrested in Birmingham on suspicion of terrorism offences.


That was the Midlands Today. I will be back at ten o'clock. By for now.


`` Bye for


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