25/02/2014 Midlands Today


25/02/2014

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

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Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg amongst four people arrested in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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new store says it will help regenerate a forgotten corner of

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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one of four people detained this morning in Birmingham and Solihull

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as part of an operation by Counter Terrorism Officers from West

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

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special correspondent Peter Wilson has been following the day's

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developments. Police search teams throughout the

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day continued to comb through the large semidetached house in Hall

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

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

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

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separate addresses in Shirley and Sparkhill. Four people were arrested

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

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Guantanamo Bay detainees and a fierce critic of the government and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Begg has been the director of Cage which represents prisoners around

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the world. Today they claimed his arrest had been politically

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Officers attended three addresses and arrested four people. All four

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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the arrests were coordinated and it was an intelligence led operation

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with no risk or danger to the public.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This police operation is ongoing tonight but that investigation is

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

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

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

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

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service between Shrewsbury and London has moved a step closer

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tonight. Virgin Trains hopes to run two

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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small business helps Chinese customers with marketing. When

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Writtle, BBC Midlands Today, Shrewsbury.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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futility and stupidity of carrying knives. If people carrying knives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lynden Johnson was arrested in connection with the attacks which

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Today the construction phase was completed ` now John Lewis will

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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retailers such as these. This footwear retailer has worries about

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

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

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

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will find it challenging but Birmingham as a whole will benefit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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services and social services. Councillors claim that, if cuts

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

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

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

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

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in the community and adults with learning difficulties and carers.

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

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

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

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

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

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cuts from central government continued, the future of the council

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

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

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

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

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

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Warwickshire in future rather than the current system of county and

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

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detainee Moazzam Begg among four people arrested in Birmingham on

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

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

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

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

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

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National Farmers' Union annual conference has begun in Birmingham.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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writers with connections to the Midlands. It has a literary

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heritage. The hope is that this festival will attract literary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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to Tipperary" was originally composed as an Irish ballad by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:22:30.:22:35.

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

:22:36.:22:38.

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

:22:39.:22:49.

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

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

:22:56.:23:00.

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

:23:01.:23:18.

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

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

:23:27.:23:31.

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

:23:32.:23:35.

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

:23:36.:23:38.

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

:23:39.:23:49.

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

:23:50.:23:53.

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

:23:54.:23:59.

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

:24:00.:24:02.

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

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

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

:24:10.:24:13.

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

:24:14.:24:21.

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

:24:22.:24:39.

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

:24:40.:24:43.

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

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

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

:24:57.:24:59.

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

:25:00.:25:03.

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

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

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

:25:13.:25:17.

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

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

:25:22.:25:30.

particularly rural parts. In Shropshire, temperatures could dip

:25:31.:25:37.

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

:25:38.:25:42.

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

:25:43.:25:47.

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

:25:48.:26:07.

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

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

:26:14.:26:18.

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

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degrees are six Celsius. Showers will develop through Thursday and

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

:26:32.:26:37.

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

:26:38.:26:40.

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

:26:41.:26:41.

days. Tonight's headlines from the BBC: A

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suspected IRA terrorist accused of murdering four British soldiers in

:26:59.:27:01.

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

:27:02.:27:04.

police error. And former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg amongst four

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people arrested in Birmingham on suspicion of terrorism offences.

:27:08.:27:10.

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

:27:11.:27:28.

`` Bye for

:27:29.:27:29.

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