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  1. Updates on Wednesday 17 December 2014
  2. News, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 Thursday

Live Reporting

By Alex Homer

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good evening

That's all for today from BBC Local Live in Birmingham and the Black Country.

We'll be back again at 08:00 tomorrow with the latest news, sport, weather and travel updates.

Tonight's forecast

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today Weather

The mild temperatures are part of a transitional phase and after that we're back to cold clear conditions, although no snow in the next few days.

Shefali Oza reads the forecast

This cloud being generated from the west is going to create some wet conditions but it's bits and pieces of rain. Temperatures around 11C (52F).

Coming up Midlands Today

Mary Rhodes

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

"The darkest moment in my life" - that's how Shah Jehan from Wolverhampton described the moment he heard his young cousins had been killed in the Pakistan school massacre.

Ten-year-old Saif and 9-year-old Noor were among the 141 children and adults killed by the Taliban yesterday. We'll be live at Birmingham Central Mosque, where special prayers are being held this evening.

Join us for

Midlands Today on BBC One at 18:30.

Crash near Birmingham Airport

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

One lane is closed and there is queuing traffic on the M42 northbound at J6, for the A45 by Birmingham Airport, because of a crash.

Travel time is 25 minutes with congestion back to J4 by the A34 for Shirley,

warns BBC Travel.

Ashes Tests for Edgbaston

Mark Mitchener

BBC Sport

Edgbaston and Old Trafford have been

allocated Ashes Tests for 2019 by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

The other three venues - Headingley, Lord's and The Oval - had already been awarded the England v Australia games.

Getty Images

The Oval, Edgbaston - which hosted the final of the 2013 event - and Cardiff are also set to be the three host venues for the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017.

Birmingham pedestrianisation

The A38 underpass which currently goes underneath the old library which is due to be

demolished as part of a radical rehaul of the city's roads.

Paradise scheme artist's impression
Core marketing

The Queensway section, which is currently one-way, will become a two-way route. The site of the former library will be redeveloped which it's hoped will improve access for pedestrians.

Brummie band to be showcased

Louise Brierley

BBC WM Reporter

We've just got some amazing news about Brummie band Ekkah. They've secured the

BBC Introducing weekly slot on the Radio 1 playlist in the week commencing 19 January.


It comes a month after they recorded a session at Maida Vale for Huw Stephens show on Radio 1, which you can watch again


News on the hour

Rebecca Hume

Journalist, BBC WM

At 17:00 we hear the West Midlands police and crime commissioner's reaction to the announcement the region's force is to lose £23m funding next year.

Tune in to

our bulletin for more on this and other stories.

'Costly' eco-heating blasted

Ben Godfrey

BBC Midlands Today

An "eco-friendly" heating system designed to cut household bills in a Birmingham tower block has increased costs, according to tenants.

Contractor Carillion said its communal Ecopod boiler aims to reduce energy consumption and fuel poverty.

Ecopod control panel

But residents in the city council-managed Derwent House, Harborne, said heating their flats was more now more expensive. Carillion says it had discussed "cost effective" usage with residents.

Vehicle destroyed in Dudley car blaze

Dudley News

A car fire which caused a cloud of

black smoke over Dudley left one vehicle burned out.

The incident happened at just before 8am on December 16 when flames engulfed a Volkswagen car in Grazebrook Road

Coming up

Paul Franks

Presenter, BBC WM

Pete York from Birmingham's The Spencer Davis Group popped into the

Havill & Travis gallery in Harborne to see some of the pictures of the '60s music scene.

Pete York next to a picture of himself in The Spencer Davis Group
Jim Simpson

Jim Simpson was there to capture this "then and now" photo. Hear my interview with Jim about his retrospective

at 16:20 on BBC WM.

News on the hour

Rebecca Hume

Journalist, BBC WM

Prayers will be said in Birmingham tonight for the 141 people killed by the Taliban in Pakistan yesterday.

More on this and other stories in

our 16:00 news.

Rock stars' humble beginnings

Paul Franks

Presenter, BBC WM

A new photography exhibition has opened - featuring pictures of pop and rock stars performing in Birmingham before they were famous.

Jim Simpson discovered Black Sabbath (pictured) and now organises the city's International Jazz Festival.

Black Sabbath
Jim Simpson

His collection of photos dating back 50 years is now on display at the

Havill & Travis Gallery in Harborne. I'll be speaking to him
after 16:00 on BBC WM.

Showdown with Preston

Rob Gurney

BBC WM Sport

Walsall now know which side stands between them and

a first ever trip to Wembley - it's Preston.

Loan man Michael Cain and Anthony Forde celebrate Walsall's progression in the cup at Prenton Park
Walsall FC

Dean Smith's side will now face the winners of last night's other semi-final, between Notts County and Preston North End, in a two-legged regional final in January.

Unlicensed taxi crackdown

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Two taxi drivers face prosecution after being snared plying for hire in a licensing crackdown on Broad Street, Birmingham, last weekend.

One of them was a member of the public posing as a licensed driver and was rumbled by undercover police.

Revellers are being

encouraged to pre-book their taxis home after their Christmas and New Year celebrations by the city council.

News on the hour

Rebecca Hume

Journalist, BBC WM

Our top local story: Parts of Birmingham city centre are to be pedestrianised in a £500m rehaul of the city's roads.

Listen live at 15:00.

War hero dies

Halesowen News

A Black Country World War II hero who was horrifically injured in the Anzio landings, has

died following a short illness.

FA Cup giant killer


Everyone loves a giant killing in the FA Cup - and tonight Worcester City could secure another famous victory.

They've already

knocked out the 1987 winners Coventry City in this season's competition and tonight they host Scunthorpe in a second round replay.

Nathan Vaughan

Worcester City goalkeeper Nathan Vaughan (pictured) also works at the Jaguar Land Rover plant in Solihull. His boss has given him today off ahead of the game and says his team can go on in the cup.

'Bleak period' for manufacturers

Tom Richardson

BBC News Online

Manufacturers in the Black Country are facing a "bleak period" for their sector, a report has found.

The Black Country Chamber of Commerce, which published its Quarterly Economic Survey today, found optimism among local businesses had "significantly declined" over the past year.

Listen: 'He had a lot of life'

Danny Kelly

Presenter, BBC WM

It was an emotional show today. A caller contacted me earlier to talk about how the

Peshawar school massacre (pictured) is affecting families in the West Midlands.

Sadj, from Handsworth in Birmingham, told how his 15-year-old cousin Mohammed was among those killed by Taliban militants.

Relatives comfort injured student Mohammad Baqair in Peshawar, 16 December

He said Mohammed, an only child, died instantly after being shot three times. "He was a young boy, he had a lot of life, a lot of friends," he said. Listen to Sadj's full call


News on the hour

Rebecca Hume

Journalist, BBC WM

Prince William recently held a private meeting with Tariq Jahan who wants the circumstances surrounding the death of his son and two friends in the Birmingham riots in 2011 to be formally re-examined.

A Palace spokesman has confirmed the meeting took place.

More on this and other stories in

our bulletin at 14:00.

Tongues wag on Ideye

John Platt

BBC WM Sport

The performances of West Bromwich Albion's

record-signing Brown Ideye was a hot topic callers on last night's football phone-in.

Brown Ideye

Former Baggies midfielder Ian Hamilton told Franksy he believes Ideye needs to be given a run in the team, if he's to have any chance of discovering his best form.

Have your say from 18:00 tonight with Paul Franks

Watch: Mailbox roof completed

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Work has been completed on the Mailbox's brand new roof, as its refurbishment moves a step closer to completion ahead of its opening in Spring 2015.

A screenshot from the timelapese video
The Mailbox

You can see how the project has come together in

this time-lapse video showing the work.

Shoeboxes full of donations

The high commissioner for Sierra Leone has thanked Bishop Vesey's Grammar School, in Sutton Coldfield, for giving

shoeboxes full of donations to children in the Ebola-hit country.

The high commissioner receives the gifts
Bishop Vesey's Grammar School

Donations were collected by the school from as far away as Hull and Sheffield.

News on the hour


A Lichfield man says he's being forced to move to China to be with his pregnant wife because a visa for her to live with him here has been turned down.

We'll bring you more on this in our

13:00 bulletin.

Coming up on TV

Amy Cole

Reporter, Midlands Today

The father of a man killed during the Birmingham riots in 2011 says the Duke of Cambridge supported his calls for a public inquiry during a recent private meeting.

We will hear from Tariq Jahan live in the studio.

Council tenants living in tower blocks in Birmingham are meanwhile demanding an investigation after seeing their hot water and heating costs double since a new system was installed. Join us for

Midlands Today on BBC One at 13:30.

Food firm 'beyond unreasonable'

BBC Newsnight

A major UK food manufacturer is setting

"beyond unreasonable" terms in proposed contract agreements, one of its suppliers has told us.

The firm, 2 Sisters - set up by West Midlands billionaire, "the chicken king" Ranjit Singh Boparan - has been seeking more than four months to pay its bills, a document seen by our programme shows.

Chicken on supermarket shelf

It would have also been entitled to a 3% discount for paying within 90 days. 2 Sisters, which produces Goodfella's pizza and Fox's biscuits, said its proposal was only the starting point for a negotiation with its suppliers.

Council must 'radically change'

Tom Richardson

BBC News Online

Birmingham City Council needs to "radically change" if it is to compete with the likes of Manchester.

That's according to the man who led a review of the city's governance

published earlier this month.

Sir Bob Kerslake


in the Guardian, Sir Bob Kerslake said there was a "council knows best" culture in Birmingham and said members should not look to blame others for the city's problems.

First details of local TV

Birmingham Post

Birmingham's long-awaited TV station will have 41 hours of local programmes a week -

and 40 hours of repeats.

News on the hour

Steve Hermon

Journalist, BBC WM

At 12:00 we hear from a Handsworth man who called BBC WM to tell us his 15-year-old cousin was killed in the massacre in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Listen live


Warning on flu virus

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Pregnant women in Wolverhampton are being urged to come forward by the city council for a

free flu vaccination this winter.

It comes after a report published last week showed that flu was the cause of death in one in 11 women who died in, or shortly after, pregnancy, between 2009 and 2012.

Radical rehaul for city

Jennifer Scott

BBC News Online

Parts of Birmingham city centre are to be pedestrianised in a

radical rehaul of the city's roads.

The new road layout

The Paradise project, due to start on 5 January, will see the A38 underpass removed and traffic redirected around Paradise Circus Queensway.

Donations for Ebola-hit country

Jennifer Scott

BBC Local Live

I've been speaking

Bishop Vesey's Grammar School in Sutton Coldfield, which has collected hundreds of donations of toys for children in Sierra Leone.

Edward Turay, High Commissioner for Sierra Leone (pictured), visited the school to thank its 900 pupils for their efforts.

Edward Turay, ambassador for the Sierra Leone High Commission, thanks pupils at Bishop Vesey's Grammar School

Teacher Julie Wadeson says the school is looking for a firm to help transport the boxes down to London. Once there, they'll be shipped to the Ebola-hit country for Christmas. If anybody can help, they can contact the school on

twitter .

News on the hour

Steve Hermon

Journalist, BBC WM

At 11:00 we hear from one of five men, who claims to have been abused by a former teacher at Tettenhall College in Wolverhampton.

He pursued a civil claim against the college which settled out of court. The institution stressed there were no allegations of negligence against the college in the civil action and they would cooperate with any further enquiry.

More on this and other stories in

our 11:00 bulletin.

Defining Birmingham

Why has Birmingham been named as one of the world's top 10 cities by travel handbook company Rough Guide? Read more


Bull Ring
Birmingham City Council

Watch: Malala 'heartbroken' by massacre

BBC News Asia

Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai who goes to school in Birmingham says she is

''heartbroken'' by the news of a Taliban massacre at a school in Peshawar, killing 141 people, 132 of them children.

Malala Yousafzai

Unemployment falls

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Unemployment fell by 14,000 across the West Midlands - to 187,000.

The latest ONS figures for between August and October equate to 6.8% of the population.