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  1. Updates on Thursday 12 May
  2. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 Friday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our coverage across the day

That's all for today - we'll be back from 08:00 tomorrow with more news, sport, weather and travel as it happens.

Rutter ready for Superstock

Mike Taylor


The Wordsley rider Michael Rutter will line up in second place on the grid for this evening's Superstock race at the North West 200 event in Northern Ireland.

Rutter's career total of 13 wins at the North West, which is the biggest-attended annual sporting event in Ireland, is two short of the all-time record.

Michael Rutter
Getty Images

You can see the race live on the BBC Sport website from 17.15.

Tamworth Herald: Front page

Tamworth Herald

The front page of the Tamworth Herald this week:

Tamworth Herald front page
Tamworth Herald

Boxer bows out: 'I'm not the fighter I once was'

BBC Sport

Read more on BBC Sport as three-time world middleweight title challenger Matthew Macklin hangs up his gloves and retires from the ring.

Matthew Macklin: Ex-British and European champion and world title challenger retires

It's been a real rollercoaster - I've had a great career but I know now is the right time to bow out. Fifteen years is a long time in boxing and I'm not the fighter I once was.

Matthew MacklinBoxer

Could trains stop at fewer stations to help improve services?

Peter Plisner

BBC Midlands Today

The current franchise run by Virgin Trains is up for renewal and the Government is starting the process of inviting new bidders. 

But cast your mind back more than three years and you might remember that the Government was forced to scrap the last renewal process after its assessment of bids was described as a shambles.

Virgin Trains

To get it right, there's a consultation exercise. It's wants views on converting more first class carriages into standard class to reduce overcrowding on the line. 

It's also suggesting that trains stop at fewer stations to help improve capacity and speed up journey times. 

Watch: Head of flagship academy trust resigns

Phil Mackie

Midlands correspondent, BBC News

The head of a flagship multi-academy trust praised by the prime minister has resigned, leaving its five schools with an uncertain future.

Chief executive of Birmingham's Perry Beeches Academy Trust Liam Nolan is stepping aside so it "can move forward", staff have been told.

Weather: Overnight forecast for the West Midlands

A fine evening to come for most with plenty of late sunshine. 

Staying dry overnight, clear at first, but it'll cloud over from the east through the course of the night. Remaining mild with lows of 9C (48F).

Friday forecast

Sports club treasurer gambles £200k takings

The treasurer of a sports club in Sutton Coldfield who gambled more than £200,000 of its takings has been jailed for fraud, police say

Jeffrey Hampson
West Midlands Police

Jeffrey Hampson was in charge of finances at Boldmere Sports and Social club. He admitted transferring the cash to his own trading account and squandering it on high risk stocks and shares.undefined

Hampson, from Walmley, managed to repay some of it but he had lost £122,000 by the time he was caught. 

He's been sentenced to two years and eight months in prison.   

Blues director 'optimistic' about new owners

Richard Wilford

BBC WM Sport

Birmingham City director Panos Pavlakis says he is optimistic that the club's potential new owners will be able to carry them forward.

Trillion Trophy Asia are the preferred bidders for parent company Birmingham International Holdings, and will likely complete a takeover once shares in BIH start trading again in Hong Kong.

Listen to the interview in full.

Birmingham City director Panos Pavlakis speaking to BBC reporter Richard Wilford

Video: New cancer treatment takes breath away

Scientists in Birmingham say they have proved cancer patients can be trained to hold their breath for more than five minutes to allow for more effective treatment.

Dr Mike Parkes, from the University of Birmingham, called it a "great success".  

The average breath-hold for patients was more than five minutes

What does it take to win the play-offs?

BBC Sport

Walsall FC clinched a play-off spot, but what chance do they have?

BBC Sport looks through 26 years of statistics to find out what it takes to be promoted via the Football League play-offs.

Norwich winger Nathan Redmond
Getty Images

Watch: 'Downgrade first class train carriages to ease overcrowding', says government

Peter Plisner

BBC Midlands Today

The Department for Transport is suggesting more first class carriages should be converted to standard to ease overcrowding on the West Coast Mainline, which runs through the West Midlands en route from London to Edinburgh.

The Government is also proposing trains stop at fewer stations. It's all part of a consultation on a future 'InterCity' rail franchise.

West Coast franchise

MP calls for power station jobs help

The government's being urged to help workers who'll lose their jobs if, as expected, Rugeley B power station shuts in the summer. 

The plant's owners are blaming what they call the "deterioration in market conditions" for coal-fired power stations in the UK. 

The Conservative MP for Cannock Chase, Amanda Milling, is urging ministers to intervene to help the workers being laid off.

Rugeley B power station

Mayor of the West Midlands election could take place in May next year

Rob Mayor

Black Country Political Reporter, BBC WM

A draft of the law for an election for a Mayor of the West Midlands next year has been released.

It was expected that polling would have been on the same day as local elections, but this document appears to confirm a date of 4 May.

A draft of the law for an election for a Mayor of the West Midlands next year has been released.

At the moment, it hasn’t been decided whether the first holder of the office will serve a three or four-year term.

The Mayor will preside over a combined authority including Birmingham, Coventry and the Black Country councils, and is likely to have powers over things like transport, housing, skills and jobs.

Doctors train patients to hold breath for cancer treatments

BBC Midlands Today

Doctors in the Midlands say they've proved breast cancer patients can be trained to hold their breath for more than five minutes.

Health professionals say it enables medics to administer radiotherapy treatment in a single daily dose. 

Patient being treated by doctor

Researchers found if patients kept still then doctors could target the cancer with a radiotherapy beam without harming nearby healthy tissue. 

At the moment, most radiotherapy sessions are delivered while patients breath normally. 

BBC Birmingham to expand: 'Bursting with pride'

Joe Godwin

Director, BBC Academy and BBC Birmingham

Last Wednesday, Birmingham hosted a premiere for BBC Two's worldwide hit drama series Peaky Blinders

I was bursting with pride watching the hordes of fans lining the canal outside The Mailbox to catch a glimpse of the cast led by star Cillian Murphy and writer Steven Knight. 

Hundreds gather for a red carpet screening of Peaky Blinders in Birmingham

For BBC Birmingham to host an event for a series that has touched the hearts of people in the Midlands really was very special. 

After such a special moment last week I wasn't sure how this week could compare, but today we have announced a package of measures that will build on the Corporation’s existing £125m investment in Birmingham. Read the full blog post online.

Macklin retires from boxing

Richard Wilford


The Birmingham boxer Matthew Macklin has announced his retirement, two days short of his 34th birthday.

Macklin won 35 of his 41 professional fights, 22 of them by knockout. He had three shots at World Middleweight titles, missing out on a split decision to Felix Sturm in 2011.

His final bout was a victory over Brian Rose in London only last month.

Birmingham boxer Matt Macklin
Getty Images

Watch: Pub bombings - son learned his father was dead from line in policeman's notebook

The son of a railway worker killed in the Birmingham pub bombings says he is hopeful fresh inquests will be held and new light shed on who was responsible.

Father of three Trevor Thrupp was 33 when he died in the Mulberry Bush pub in November 1974

Birmingham pub bombings: no evidence to support 'conspiracy theories', says police

Phil Mackie

Midlands correspondent, BBC News

The coroner looking at whether the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings should reopen says she will be able to announce a decision on 1 June.

The barrister representing West Midlands Police says there is no evidence to support "conspiracy theories" that they knew about the bombings in advance.

Birmingham pub bombings: New material is 'significant' and has not appeared anywhere

A "significant" piece of "sensitive information" has been sent to the senior coroner who is considering whether to reopen the Birmingham pub bombings inquests.

The coroner said she did not believe that the sensitive information had appeared anywhere else in the public domain.

Twenty-one people died and 182 were injured after two bombs detonated in Birmingham city centre in 1974.

[The information is] significant and does raise concerns in relation to potential advanced notice [of the bombings], that's as much as I can say

Louise HuntCoroner

The coroner says that it may not be possible to publish her full judgment on the inquests because of confidentiality issues.

Birmingham pub bombings: 'Sensitive material' sent to coroner

Giles Latcham

BBC Midlands Today

Families of some of those killed in the Birmingham pub bombings over 40 years ago have been told that "sensitive material" from the time has been sent to the city's coroner Louise Hunt. 

She told a hearing in Solihull that the material was in her judgement "significant" and related to a claim by lawyers for the families that the authorities may have had advanced warning of the bombings from an IRA mole. 

A barrister representing West Midlands Police said the evidence was that there had been no tip off. 

The coroner is due to give a ruling on 1 June on whether the inquests opened after the bombings in 1974 should be reopened.

New rail timetable

Train operator, London Midland, introduces a new timetable from Saturday which includes services running through Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

View more on twitter

Front page of the Walsall Advertiser

Walsall Advertiser

This week's edition of the Walsall Advertiser has been published.

Walsall Advertiser newspaper front page
Walsall Advertiser

BBC Midlands Today: Stories we're working on

BBC Midlands Today

Hilary McConnell, Producer

Our reporter Giles Latcham is at the hearings about whether there should be fresh inquests into those killed in the Birmingham pub bombings. 

Paul Thrupp lost his father in the terrorist attack in 1974 and he’s speaking for the first time about the impact it had on his family.

As the consultation begins for the West Coast mainline franchise, what do passengers want from the service?  More seats and greater reliability seem to be the most popular requests.

And we’re going back to the 1980s and delving into a Hip Hop archive that’s storied in Dudley (pictured) -  find out more at 18:30 with Nick Owen.

Cliff Price hip hop dancing and spray painting graffiti

Birmingham is breaching pollution standards, WHO says

Birmingham has been named as one of the areas across the UK and Ireland that is breaching air quality standards.

The World Health Organisation has listed places that exceed safe levels for fine particles in the air, known as PM2.5.

The British Lung Foundation calls the report "deeply concerning".

Getty ready for Eurovision: Looking back at the hits

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

It's Eurovision this weekend...  Some people might says it's "Rock Bottom" but others think it "Sounds Good To Me".

As Joe and Jake represent the UK by belting out "You're Not Alone", we take a look at a time when our entries used to hit the charts.

From Brotherhood of Man's Save Your Kisses For Me, to Gina G's Ooh Ahh Just A Little Bit, we knew how to put out a corking tune.

And let's not forget Michael Ball. He took the UK to an impressive second place in 1992 with "One Step Out Of Time".

You can watch the contest's semi final on BBC Four tonight from 20:00 with Scott Mills and Mel Giedroyc.

The final is on BBC One from 20:00 on Saturday.

Government to set out 'major overhaul' of BBC

A government White Paper is expected today to reveal details of a "major overhaul" to how the BBC is run - among the changes, a move of some of the services to Birmingham.

The trust governing the BBC is expected to be abolished, and a new board set up to run day-to-day matters, while Ofcom will become its external regulator.

BBC charter renewal: Government to set out 'major overhaul'

Watch it live on the BBC News channel.

Stourbridge News front page

Stourbridge News

The front page of this week's newspaper includes "Justice for Alfie".

Stourbridge News front page
Stourbridge News

Birmingham pub bombings: Families arrive at court

Phil Mackie

Midlands correspondent, BBC News

The coroner is to hear final submissions on the Birmingham pub bombings inquests today.

The senior coroner for Birmingham and Solihull has received an application from lawyers representing the families of Maxine Hambleton, Trevor Thrupp and James Craig, to resume the inquiry adjourned in August 1974.

View more on twitter

Read more about the Birmingham pub bombings online.

Alleged irregularities over sale of council buildings - report due

Rob Mayor

Black Country Political Reporter, BBC WM

The findings of an investigation carried out by Sandwell Council into the sale of four of its own properties are due to be published next week. 

Wragge and Co was called in to investigate alleged irregularities in the sales, between 2012 and 2014, of three former toilet blocks and an old coroner's office in Smethwick. 

Two ruling cabinet members - who deny any wrongdoing - stood down when the probe started. 

A police investigation ended in March and no action was taken.

Attorney General to review length of woman's jail sentence for murdering baby

The Attorney General is reviewing the sentence given to a woman from Birmingham who murdered a toddler for whom she was the legal guardian. 

Last week, Kandyce Downer, 34, (pictured left) was handed a life sentence, with a minimum of 18 years behind bars. She'd murdered 18-month-old Keegan Downer, who died with more than 150 scars and bruises on her body. 

The review is being considered under the unduly lenient sentence scheme.

Kandyce Downer and Keegan Downer

Trust puts two new schools on hold

Louise Hancock

Newsreader, BBC WM

Plans for two new schools due to be part of Perry Beeches Academy Trust have been put on hold following the resignation of Liam Nolan (pictured), the trust's executive headteacher yesterday. 

The first site, which would have been part of the trust running all five of the Perry Beeches academies, was set to open in September, then the other in 2017. 

Lian Nolan

Latest headlines: BBC Three set to open Birmingham base in 2018; flagship academy trust holds off school openings

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

The top stories for Birmingham and the Black Country this morning include:

- A new base for BBC Three is to be created in Birmingham - it comes as plans for the future of the corporation are set to be unveiled by the Government

- The trust running a chain of academies in Birmingham says plans to open another two schools are on hold after the executive head resigned yesterday

- The son of a railway worker killed in the Birmingham pub bombings hopes new information will lead to the re-opening of the inquests

Birmingham pub bombings: Son calls for inquest to be re-opened

Giles Latcham

BBC Midlands Today

The son of a railway worker killed in the Birmingham pub bombings says he's hopeful fresh inquests will be held and new light shed on who was responsible. 

Father of three Trevor Thrupp died in the Mulberry Bush in November 1974, one of two blasts widely blamed on the IRA. His son Paul (pictured left) is joining other families going to court in Solihull today to urge the coroner to re-open the hearings.

Paul Thrupp speaking to BBC reporter Giles Latcham

The so-called Birmingham Six - six men jailed for the atrocities, which they did not commit - walked free in 1991 after their convictions for the murder of 21 people were quashed by the Court of Appeal.  

If some of the facts come out, that we think will come out, then I think there will be no choice but to make the right decision and re-open the inquest and to take the case forward.

Paul ThruppSon of Trevor, who died in the Birmingham pub bombings

Pollen levels are high

BBC Weather

If you suffer from hay fever, be warned - you may be sneezing today as levels are high.

View more on twitter

BBC Three to get second base in Birmingham by 2018

A new base for BBC Three is to be created in Birmingham, alongside a hub for the corporation's proposed partnerships with local newspapers.

The government is due later to publish its White Paper on the future of the corporation.

BBC Birmingham

The organisation has faced criticism for under investment in the city, once home to the fabled Pebble Mill studios.

The BBC said the plans meant a £10m boost for "fresh talent and innovative digital content for young audiences".