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Summary

  1. Unemployment increases in the West Midlands
  2. City tram route opening delayed again
  3. Fire breaks out at derelict pub
  4. Villa sale may happen by end of week
  5. Updates on Wednesday 18 May 2016

Live Reporting

By Stephanie Barnard

All times stated are UK

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End of live updates

That's it for live updates today. We'll be back from 08:00 on Thursday with live news, sport, travel and weather updates for Birmingham and the Black Country.

Overnight forecast: More rain likely

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

Heavy showers and thunderstorms will die away through the evening to leave a dry night. 

Cloud will tend to thin and break, perhaps allowing some patchy mist or fog to form during the early hours with lows of 7C (45F).

Watch: Weather forecast for West Midlands

Latest headlines: GPS inmate trial to be carried out in the West Midlands; Electric blanket started caravan fire

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

The top stories in the BBC WM newsroom include:

- A new scheme to track the movements of inmates using GPS technology will be trialled in the West Midlands

- A man arrested in Birmingham on suspicion of Syria-related terrorism offences is released on bail

- An electric blanket was the cause of a fire in a caravan near Cannock in which a man died, say firefighters 

Watch: 2,500 miles to Wembley

BBC Midlands Today

How far would you go to get a ticket for the FA Cup final?

Stu Wilkinson and Tom Lynn have followed the winners of every single round – starting with Gornal Athletic vs Bromsgrove Sporting back in August, via places like Chasetown, Doncaster and Reading.

2,500 miles to Wembley

Aston Expressway: Lane blocked

BBC Travel

There's one lane blocked and queuing traffic on the A38(M) Aston Expressway outbound in Birmingham between A38, Dartmouth Circus and B4132, Park Circus, because of a broken down car, BBC Travel news reports.

There's also a lane blocked and slow traffic on the M6 northbound between J6 A38(M) Aston Expressway and J7, A34 (Great Barr), because of a broken down vehicle. Congestion to J5, A452 (Castle Bromwich).  

Walsall must manage their 'emotions'

Ged Scott

BBC Sport

Walsall boss Jon Whitney says the Saddlers must manage their "emotions" in Thursday's play-off semi-final with Barnsley.

Whitney's side would make history if they turned round a three-goal deficit.

No team has even come back to win from three goals down since English football first brought in the play-offs in 1987.

Walsall interim head coach Jon Whitney
Empics

Analysis: The future of Aston Villa

Mark Regan

BBC WM Sport

After years of trying it appears Randy Lerner may be about to sell Aston Villa.

Following the shock resignations of Mervyn King and David Bernstein from the Villa board Chairman Steve Hollis revealed in statement that he was in “extensive negotiations” related to the sale of the club. 

Since then speculation has been rife as to who may be tempted to take over from Lerner as owner.

Former Everton Chief Executive Keith Wyness
Getty Images

It appears that a solo Chinese investor is closing in on completing the deal for a fee believed to be in the region of £60m. 

The identity of this potential new owner is as yet unknown but one man that has been linked with playing a key role in the deal is former Everton Chief Executive Keith Wyness (pictured), who would be in line for a similar role at Villa if the deal goes through.

Watch: There are lots of 'ifs buts and maybes' in Villa deal

BBC WM Sport

Here's Mark Regan with a run down on what's happening with the Aston Villa story today.

The club could be sold by the end of the week for as little as £60m.

Latest on Villa Takeover

Terror suspect released on bail

A man arrested in Birmingham on suspicion of Syria-related terrorism offences has been released on bail. 

The 21-year-old was detained yesterday morning by police in Handsworth. 

The West Midlands counter terror unit say he's been bailed under strict conditions pending further enquiries. 

Fatal fire at caravan park caused by electric blanket

A fatal fire at a caravan park in south Staffordshire was caused by an electric blanket, the fire service says.

Firefighters arrived at St James's caravan park on New Road, Featherstone, in the early hours of Monday and spent more than five hours tackling the blaze, although there was nothing that could be done to save an elderly man found at the scene.

The fire
BBC

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue is urging people to get their electric blankets tested and said all older or faulty blankets should be replaced.

'New Street Metro could be open by bank holiday'

Peter Plisner

BBC Midlands Today

Birmingham Metro is delayed for a second time due to track alignment issues.

The original plan was to open the Metro extension at the same time as the revamped New Street station last September.

The opening was then put back to the end of the year, but safety concerns over the Christmas shopping period meant another deadline was missed.

Metro station in Birmingham
BBC

Now the issues with the track mean this weekend's grand opening is off too.

Once the latest issues have been resolved the tram drivers need to be trained on the new section of track.

That's expected to take around a week, which means that if all goes well, the Metro extension could be ready to carry its first passengers on the bank holiday weekend.

Councillor 'asked to cancel wife and son's tickets'

Alex Homer

BBC News Online

A former deputy council leader "interfered" in parking tickets issued to members of his family, a lawyer has found.

A leaked report also alleges Mahboob Hussain tipped off his son about the upcoming sale of a Sandwell Council property.

Sandwell councillor Mahboob Hussain 'asked to cancel wife and son's tickets'
BBC

Author James Goudie QC suggested Labour's Mr Hussain committed six council code of conduct breaches.

Mr Hussain, now suspended by Labour, has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Villa buy out announcement could coincide with new manager

Pat Murphy

BBC Midlands football reporter

Aston Villa could be sold for as little as £60m by the end of the week.

The unnamed buyer's team is now looking over Villa's financial records.

Former Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson and ex-Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion boss Roberto Di Matteo are the two favoured candidates to replace Remi Garde. 

Pearson and Di Matteo
Getty Images
Pearson and Di Matteo

The double announcement of new owner and manager could coincide, but there are still numerous hurdles to be cleared.    

BBC Midlands Today: Stories we're working on

BBC Midlands Today

Anthony Bartram, Producer

We have a huge story today, particularly if you are a basketball fan! He’s 6ft 11in and one of the biggest names in NBA history. 

Retired Houston Rockets star Hakeem Olujawon (pictured), has moved his family to the West Midlands and is now putting his skills to good use by helping a small community basketball club in Birmingham. 

Hakeem’s not the only big name on the programme tonight...

Hakeem Olujawon playing basketball
Getty Images

As Jaguar launches its new F-Pace in the UK we’ll be giving the new “sports utility” the once over with motoring experts and talking to workers on the production line. 

Finally if you’ve been toiling away in the garden you’ll be interested in our weather presenter Rebecca Wood’s assignment today. 

She’s at Coventry University looking at the latest biomechanics research which uses computerised avatars to assess how much a spot of weeding can improve your health. Join us on BBC One from 18:30 tonight.

Automotive supplier to expand in the West Midlands

One of Jaguar Landrover's leading suppliers has announced expansion plans.

Sertec, Coleshill
BBC

Sertec, which has its headquarters in Coleshill will lease a new facility on the Hams Hall Estate which it says will free up space at its existing factory for production.  

History made as inaugural meeting of Sutton Coldfield Town Council takes place

Sutton Coldfield Local

Views sought on Birmingham buskers: Have your say

Elizabeth Glinka

BBC Midlands Today

People are being asked for their views, as Birmingham City Council draws up a set of new guidelines for buskers and street entertainers. 

Birmingham city centre
BBC

The authority has been working on the plan with the actors' union Equity and the Musicians Union. 

The aim is to allow street entertainers to work without disrupting traders and shoppers. People can give their views on the council's website.

Queen's speech: Satellite-tagged inmates could be sent home on weekdays

The 63rd Queen's Speech has been delivered, detailing the laws the government is planning to introduce in the coming year.

As part of the changes the Queen said satellite tracking tags will be used to monitor offenders in pilot schemes which could see inmates being sent home on weekdays to hold down jobs.

The tags will watch the movements of offenders using GPS technology and will be piloted in eight police areas including Staffordshire, West Midlands and Hertfordshire from September.

The Queen
BBC

Local companies provide parts for new Jaguar

Peter Plisner

BBC Midlands Today

The UK launch of Jaguar's latest model is taking place in Cheltenham today. 

The 4x4 called the F-Pace is made at the firm's plant in Solihull with a number of local companies providing parts. 

Already, 25,000 have been pre-ordered and there's thought to be a six-month waiting list. 

F-Pace launch

Signalling problem affecting rail services

BBC Travel

signalling problem between Droitwich Spa and Bromsgrove means trains are unable to run between Droitwich Spa and Birmingham New Street via Bromsgrove, Network Rail reports.

Some services between Droitwich Spa and Birmingham New Street will be diverted via Kidderminster.  

Latest headlines: Unemployment increases in the West Midlands, Villa sale could happen soon

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

The top stories for Birmingham and the Black Country in the newsroom at the moment include:

- The West Midlands has bucked the national trend and seen an increase in unemployment of 8,000 people

Randy Lerner is closer to selling Aston Villa than at any time in his 10 year stewardship of the club

- Rain has delayed the start of the final day of Warwickshire's County Championship match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge 

Unemployment rises in the West Midlands

BBC WM

Unemployment is up in the West Midlands by 8,000 according to the latest figures.

The Office for National Statistics said 154,000 people were out of work between January and March. 

UK unemployment fell to 1.69 million between January and March, down 2,000 from the previous quarter.  

Labour set to take control of Dudley Council

Rob Mayor

Black Country Political Reporter, BBC WM

Labour look set to take control of Dudley Council after the Conservatives failed to do a deal with UKIP. 

This months local elections left Labour two seats short of an overall majority, but UKIP now say they'll abstain in a crucial vote tomorrow night, paving the way for Labour's Pete Lowe to stay on as the leader of a minority administration. 

Dudley Council
BBC

UKIP say they tried to make constructive progress with the Tories, but have accused the party of attacking them in the press, whilst the Tories say UKIP have been "bought by Labour".

Cricket: Nottinghamshire v Warwickshire

BBC Sport

Warwickshire go into the final day of their Specsavers County Championship at Trent Bridge needing seven more wickets to secure their first win of the season.

Nottinghamshire are chasing 227 to win and resume on 21 for three.

Crash death motorcyclist named

Louise Hancock

Newsreader, BBC WM

A motorcyclist found dying by a police officer following a mystery crash in Birmingham has been named as Patrick Jackson, from Handsworth. 

Patrick Jackson
West Midlands Police

Police say they are still trying to establish the cause of the crash, which claimed the 44-year-old's life in the early hours of Saturday morning on St Chad's Queensway.

The force believes Mr Jackson was riding in convoy with a second motorcyclist and is appealing for anyone who may have seen what happened to contact them.

City tram route opening delayed again

The launch of a new tram service to Birmingham New Street station has been delayed for a second time.

The last part of the £128m project to extend the Metro line along Corporation Street was due to open this weekend.

First tram service
Centro

It is bitterly disappointing, as everything else is in place and ready to go. But, as we have said right from the start, safety is paramount

Phil HewittCentro

Police chase in Kingstanding

Great Barr Observer

A high-speed police chase took place in Kingstanding in the early hours of this morning.  

View more on twitter

Villa sale may happen by end of week

BBC Sport

Relegated Aston Villa could be sold to a Chinese businessman by the end of this week for as little as £60m.

American Randy Lerner, who bought the club a decade ago for a similar sum, is closer to a deal than at any time since putting it up for sale in 2014.

Villa fans protest against Lerner's ownership of the club
Reuters