01/10/2014 Midlands Today


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Coming to you for the first time in the UK,


We wash it, we squash it, wd injected into the National Grid


Midlands Today at 50, looking back on the 80s and 90s with


And although we're just about clinging onto the warlth


today, we're already working towards a noticeable change by the weekend,


Moazzam Begg, the former Guantanamo detainee,


is expected back in Birmingham after being released from prison.


He was due to go on trial ndxt week until, unexpectedly, all


the charges he was facing connected with terrorism were dropped today.


But friends say being back in jail has opened wounds connected


While West Midlands Police `dmit the case has challenged the force's


It all began in February when officers swooped


On the 1st of March 2014 he was charged with


seven counts of terrorism rdlated to the civil war in Syria.


Then today, 1st October, following the review of new material,


Here's our special correspondent Peter Wilson.


This afternoon, he walked to freedom. Moazzam Begg (Maas's top


security prison head held hhgh, all charges against him dropped. West


Midlands police had arrested him seven months ago in a fanfare of


publicity. An investigation they describe as long and complex. Next


week, he was due to go on trial at the Old Bailey, instead the


prosecution team pulled the plug. We have come to the conclusion, and it


is the CPS's decision, that there is no longer sufficient evidence to


provide a really realistic prospect of a so it is right today at the


earliest opportunity that the case is withdrawn and Moazzam Begg is


innocent. Who is Moazzam Begg? Quietly spoken but always a fighter.


First against racist gangs hn Birmingham, then taking his family


to Afghanistan to start a ndw life, arrested by the Americans. He was


held at Guantanamo Bay. Fridnds say the latest month in prison have


reopened old wounds. This is what he told me about his treatment as a


detainee. They ordered the need to be hogtied, with my hands bdhind my


back to my legs, with a hood over my head, to begin, beaten and dragged


around. The Muslim communitx and mini `` many civil rights groups


protested long and hard when he was arrested. The police face qtestions


tonight. It is important for the West Midlands police to be open


honest and transparent with the community as to the circumstances of


the arrest, the information they had which led to the arrest and the


reasons why the charges havd been dropped. I have just spoken to


Moazzam Begg's young son. Everyone in the house is excited aftdr seeing


the pictures of his release on TV. He is either going to return to his


home here in Birmingham tonhght or tomorrow morning.


Joining us now is Kerry Bullivant from CAGE, an organisation that


works with communities affected by the War on Terror.


Moazzam Begg is their Outreach Director.


Did use of `` was it a surprise It caught us by surprise, we wdre


making sure that we were gohng to get our work together for the trial


and then we saw that all thd charges were dropped. It is telling that


they say that they have been doing this at the soonest opportunity but


they have had this evidence for a number of months and they h`ve


waited until the very last second to release him. I gather he has accused


the government of demonising the Muslim community? I think anyone


within the Moslem community can speak first`hand and say th`t right


now the feeling of Islamophobia especially in Birmingham on Muslims


is part of cool. `` is palp`ble I live in sparkle, I live in the


community and this is how wd feel now. Is he angry about how he was


treated? He has always been a voice of reason. He went on tours of the


guards of Guantanamo Bay and spoke with them and reconciled with them.


When you hear him speak, it is never anger he says, it it is a positive


message. Do you except that the authorities have to be vigilant with


terrorism especially with the alarming events in Syria and Iraq?


Of course, that they lack ntance in the understanding of what is going


on. They seek to group up everyone which is going on in silhoudtte as


if it is all one group and one thing. It is better to be s`fe than


sorry. Not if you are imprisoning innocent people and demonishng and


attacking an entire community. That will create more problems that your


original problem in the first place. Thank you very much. Thank


you for having me. Good to have you with us thhs


evening here on Midlands Today. What on earth tempted these people


to apply for a job in dark, smoky, And when racing cars roared through


Birmingham, looking back The fire service has scaled back its


plans to reduce full time cover in Hereford and Worcester to jtst one


fully`staffed engine for each city. It still needs to save ?2 mhllion


by 2016. But while frontline services won't


now been as severely affectdd as was first feared,


the long term problem of how to find Another busy morning at Herdford


fire station. At present, there are two macro full`time crews and one


part`time crew who can respond to emergencies across the county. But


at a meeting today, Hereford and Worcester Fire authority voted to


keep all three appliances btt reduce staffing to cut costs. Sincd the


austerity regime started in 201 `12, this authority has saved ?4 million


without affecting the front line services delivered. The onlx area


that we have not explored is the front line services and we `re there


today for that. Councillors voted to keep two full`time crews and one


part`time crew during the d`y, but only one full`time crew at night,


supported by two part`time crews. There were concerns. In Herdford,


51% of the incidents happen doing the day and 41 #49 at night. If they


say we need a day crew during the day, but not for 49% of the


incidents at night, funny, ht is a bit difficult. Let's not mess


around. People's lives are on the line, if a firefighter or someone is


killed because they have not turned up, it is on your heads. Despite the


cuts and concerns about avahlability of part`time staff, the chidf fire


officer was confidence safety would not be, might. We do have pdriods of


an availability across the two counties, the same as across the


site `` country. We are aware of whether it because we backfhll to


move around. The service provider is there. Today's outcome might not be


as damaging as people first feared. But it will not make all thd savings


needed to balance the books. There will still be a shortfall. Ht will


need to be addressed further down the line.


CCTV images have been released of a man police want to talk to


following three separate arson attacks in Birmingham last week


He's seen hiding behind a c`r on 24th September before cycling


The three fires took place `t A and S supplies in nearby


Reddings Lane on the 24th, 27th and 29th of September, causing


A self`proclaimed paedophile hunter from Warwickshire says


the police don't give him the credit he deserves.


Stinson Hunter features in ` Channel Four documentary called


The Paedophile Hunter which is due to be shown at 10 o'clock tonight.


He poses as an underage girl online in order to catch people he thinks


Our message is, leave it to the police, we are about bringing


offenders to justice. For the first time in the UK,


Severn Trent Water is supplxing gas generated by one


of the region's sewage plants into the National Grid, providing gas to


help power around 4000 homes. It's created from the waste produced


by the people of Birmingham. Our Science Correspondent D`vid


Gregory`Kumar has been findhng out Since 1998, 14% of the meth`ne has


been used to generate electricity and heat. It is too noisy to talk on


here but as you can see frol my elegant mining, this is a vdry hot


room. This process waste a lot of energy in the form of excess heat.


So now they are trying something different, the way we do it is we


wash it, squash it with checking with the National Guard and get it


into the network. Very rarely, you can see the gas if it is behng fled.


This is a fairly new idea and a lot of green energy is supported. The


government is consulting on subsidies and it needs if it changes


drastically, it is an idea that may not be rolled out to other sites. So


how long from Flash to freshly washed gas? By the time it reaches


our digestion plant, it sits two weeks while it is being digdstion by


the bacteria in there and then it starts to digests. With angdr at gas


that we can put into the network. It is a flow of the Jed gesturds into


the network. `` it is a flow of the digests in.


The Conservative Party confdrence in Birmingham has now closed with


the Prime Minister's keynotd address to the party delegates at the


Mr Cameron promised to cut taxes for low and middle income e`rners


and also attacked Labour's record on the National Health Servhce


in the Midlands, accusing them of being the party that gavd us


The CBSO's headquarters in Birmingham has officially rd`opened


The Orchestra's rehearsal space and small performance venue has had


The CBSO's patron His Royal Highness the Earl of Wessex listened to


students from Shenley Acadely at the official opening.


The improvements are part of plans to mark the CBSO's


We are taking Birmingham's name around the world and also wdlcoming


the world to Birmingham, so all of the great musicians will be


rehearsing here and using these fantastic facilities. Then hopefully


the next place, telling a form at the great job is.


All this week we're celebrating 50 years of Midlands Today bringing


It's the half way point tonhght 1984 to 1994.


Richard Uridge was in this seat for part of the time.


And he takes us back to a ddcade marked by excess not just in


# But I'm dancing on the valentine... #


The 1980s brought wild fashhons and wilder hair and these Birmingham


The Reflex was their most successful singld.


And talking of wild hair, it seems a long time ago th`t I was


Today, I work in my own training company but the


programme was a big part of my life and I guess it was for you too.


Miners and their supporters turned up in their thousands


In 1984 one story dominated the headlines.


The miners' strike that was to last a whole year.


Union leader Arthur Scargill led a march through Birmingham.


We're going into the 18th wdek of a strike.


We've come too far for anything other than to win a victory


Eventually, of course, the liners went back but pit after pit closed.


It was a long and painful ddath for a once mighty Midlands lining


The final chapter only last year with the closure of Daw Mill


colliery, our last deep pit in Warwickshire.


There were men with tears in their eyes this morning when they


Knowing that that's it, thex're finished, they're on the scrapheap.


Today community leaders and the police are counting


We saw two days of violent rioting, mainly along the Lozells Ro`d.


It flared up following the `rrest of a black man in a stop


But Handsworth today is a thriving multi`cultural part of Birmhngham.


Sometimes you have to dig a little bit deeper for a story


Two weeks ago, the covers were being taken off


There was a strange sucking noise and a crater 40 feet wide


100 feet below ground, the cause of all the troubld.


The remains of the limestond mine that meant work for the men of


But our cameras were well above ground to tell this next tale.


With a spire just over 200 feet high


Waves from Rachel, and a bit of history made in Birmingham today.


Anxious? Of course not.


How would you feel going flxing in a basket?


My presenting colleague Sue Beardsmore was determindd to go


Yes, Midlands Today had its own balloon.


Of course, there have been times when ht hasn't


Five words, Alan Towers with a parachutd.


It certainly was. Ouch!


For Alan's fearless pursuit of the story, Alan earned a broken ankle


With improving television technology, and increased


competition to report the Mhdlands news, there was a need for speed.


The Birmingham Superprix saw thousands throng to an inner`city


racetrack but only after the Birmingham Road Race Bill became


Staying on the roads, in 1981, legendary Midlands Today reporter


John Yates met Britain's oldest motorist, just three months short


So what do you think of people who come up behind and beep you


There were some big news stories in the early '90s that gripped viewers.


River flooding isn't unusual in the Midlands of course, but when the


Severn burst its banks 24 ydars ago, many of you struggled to cope and


Here's your pudding rice. Thank you.


I hope you're all right. Thank you very much.


For Rose, her problem should soon be over


Her daughter is coming here today and taking her away.


But for a lot of people herd in Worcester, there's nowhere else


to go and for the foreseeable future, the floods are set to stay.


In 1991 a royal opening for the International Convention Centre


bringing much needed investlent and jobs in the depths of a recdssion.


In 1994, the world was gripped by thd crisis


in Rwanda with hundreds of thousands fleeing massacres and starv`tion.


You wanted to help, the donations poured in.


With Midlands aid money, with your money,


Oxfam is providing all of them with at least ten litres of water a day.


But are camps like this really sustainabld?


With the spotlight on other trouble spots, does the world's comlunity


In fact I think you still hold the record for the amount raised by any


Your generosity really did lake a difference.


Now there are showers and washbasins, the mortality r`te is at


tiny fraction of what it was ten months ago. Another ten years older


and ten years more grey, a decade of jewellery memories.


Did you know that for the 25th anniversary we even had


a train named after the programme by British Rail?


Happy birthday, be on time `ll the time! The train now leaving platform


one, the BBC Midlands Today. And if you missed this one, there will be


another one along in 25 years. Wonderful stuff, good to sed people


there! And there's a page on our wdbsite,


with lots more video and melories You can find it


at bbc.co.uk/birmingham Birmingham City Football Cltb have


announced they're not renewhng the contract


of acting chairman Peter Pannu. However he does remain a director


of the club and On the pitch, there was relhef


for the manager Lee Clark l`st night Birmingham City arrived in


South East London last night with They hadn't won since the mhddle


of August and the club's parent company had just announced `nnual


losses of nearly ?13 million. But there was clearly nothing wrong


with the team spirit as they took the lead at thd New Den


through Clayton Donaldson. David Cotterill created that one


and eight minutes later he scored the goal of the night to dotble


their advantage. But Birmingham have thrown `way 11


points So when Lee Gregory pulled ` goal


back for Millwall the nerves set in. The fans needn't have worridd


though, Wes Thomas confirming It opens up


a five point gap over the rdlegation Now the challenge is to


maintain that momentum. A former owner of the Birmingham


Brummies speedway team, Tonx Mole, is hoping to take a first step


towards reviving the club tonight. The Brummies folded in July when


financial problems meant thdy could A meeting's being held


at the track in the next hotr to see if a consortium can be formdd to


bring speedway back to the city Now,


how about this for a job advert Are you willing to work in dark


smoky and potentially Are you open to the possibility


of wearing prosthetics and lasks? But scores turned out to take on the


challenge at Alton Towers today They were auditioning to be one of


the cast for this year's Sc`refest, which is the Staffordshire theme


park's busiest time of year. There is some flashing imagdry in


this report. This is not your average job


interview. Next! Usually, you try to bd polite


and impress your future employers. Not scare the living daylights out


of them! It takes people who can get in people's faces, who can be


intense. We put people into a story, most of them in a story, not just a


dark room where people say boo. Over 300 people have auditioned for the


85 acting roles at this year's Scarefest. Some with plenty of


experience. It is so versathle, different, it is dark, it is totally


different to being on a fill or TV set or in a theatre. And sole with


none at all. I always thought it would be cool and fun to work it and


that is why I have auditiondd. Every time I went through a Maze, I


thought, I could do that. Those are successful will end up doing this. I


enjoy scaring people. I scare my friends all the time. It is just a


bit of fun. It is not just businesses such as Alton Towers


developing Halloween benefits. For fancy dress shops, it is vital.


Without it, we would find it very hard to get through the year. We do


40% of our Ye `` yearly salds in two to three weeks. This year, ht is


polluted we will spend ?300 million in this country on Halloween with


around 60% of families taking part. Making it the third biggest event


behind Christmas and Easter. Screaming. ! Very funny! As for the


audition is, it is a few daxs to see if they will be the ones getting


paid to scare people silly. It is a funny old world. Is there


anything scary in the weathdr? Depends on your train of thought. It


might be October but there `re still a few loose ends to tie up from


September which illustrate just how dry it was. It is the driest


September on record. These facts and figures from Worcester illustrate


that quite well. Normally Worcester would see an average of 50


millimetres of rain in Septdmber, this year however they only saw 19


which is just under half, and most of that fell on the 19th of the


month. Obviously all of us `re wanting a bit of rain now, but I


think that we will see that by the end of the week. The temper`tures we


will hold onto but the change is coming where that is concerned as


well. A combination of factors is causing this, a frontal system from


the Northwest `` Northwest by the end of Friday and into the weekend,


and the isobars are starting to squeeze together tighter indicating


that the winds will be pickhng up so it is more breezy into Saturday


Behind the cold front, we h`ve a dash of cold air, you can sde the


blue sweeping in from the wdst, so it is cooler, wetter and brdezy by


Friday and over the weekend. Feeling a lot more autumnal by them. But for


this evening and overnight, we are beginning to see the changes. We saw


some spots of rain through the day, in fact in some places quitd a lot


of rain, it was very localised but it was there. It was brought in by a


cold front which will be cldaring to the first part of tonight and then


behind it slightly fresher conditions. Still a lot of cloud and


when we get breaks, we will get mist and fog patches. Temperaturds were


lowest in the north of the region, nice Elsie is, into the countryside


it could go lower than that. `` nine Celsius. Just about holding into


double figures into Central and southeastern parts. A bit of mist


into tomorrow morning, murkx and cloudy, through the day we see


breaks with brightness and sunshine. It will be an mostly dry dax,


temperatures lower in the North The headlines from the BBC. At the


Tory party conference in Birmingham, that I minister `` Prime Minister


promises a double dose of t`x cut if the Tories win the election. And on


the way home to Birmingham, Moazzam Begg, the former Guantanamo Bay


detainee is freed from prison. I will be back at 10pm, Jonathan.


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